VBT – Meditation 64.4

You Are The Center

I will tell you one old anecdote about Bokuju, another Zen master. He lived alone in a cave, all alone, but during the day, or even in the night, he would sometimes say loudly, “Bokuju” – his own name, and then he would say, “Yes, I am here.” And no one else was there.

Then his disciples used to ask him, “Why are you calling ‘Bokuju’, your own name, and then saying, ‘Yes sir, I am here’?”

He said, “Whenever I get into thinking, I have to remember to be alert, and so I call my own name, ‘Bokuju.’ The moment I call ‘Bokuju’ and I say, ‘Yes sir, I am here,’ the thinking, the anxiety disappears.”

Then, in his last days, for two or three years, he never called “Bokuju,” his name, and never had to reply, “Yes sir, I am here.”

The disciples asked, “Master, now you never do this.”

So he said, “But now Bokuju is always there. He is ALWAYS there, and there is no need. Before I used to miss him. Sometimes the anxiety would take me, cloud me all over, and Bokuju was not there. So I had to remember ‘Bokuju,’ and the anxiety would disappear.” Try your name. When you feel deep anxiety, just call Try this. This is a beautiful thing. Try your name. When you feel deep anxiety, just call your name – “Bokuju” or any name, but your name – and then reply to it, “Yes sir, I am here,” and feel the difference. Anxiety will not be there. At least for a single moment you will have a glimpse beyond the clouds, and that glimpse can be deepened. Once you know that if you become alert, anxiety is not there, it disappears; you have come to a deep knowing of your own self and the mechanism of inner working.

“… Above a chasm, flying in battle, in extreme curiosity, at the beginning of hunger, at the end of hunger, be uninterruptedly aware.”

You can use anything. Hunger is there, become alert. What to do when you feel hunger is there?

What has happened? When you feel hunger you never see it as something happening to you. You become the hunger. You feel, “I am hungry.” The real feeling is that “I am – hunger,” but you are NOT – hunger; you are only conscious of it. It is something happening on the boundary. You are the center, you have become aware of it. It is an object. You remain the subject, you are a witness. You are not – hunger; hunger is happening to you. You were there when hunger was not and you will be there when hunger will have gone. So hunger is an accident; it happens to you.

Become alert, then you will not be identified with it. If you feel hunger, become alert that hunger is there. Look at it, encounter it, face it. What will happen? The more you become alert, the farther away will the hunger be felt; the less alert, the nearer. If you are not alert, exactly at the center you will feel, “I am hunger.” If you become alert, hunger is thrown away. Hunger is there, you are here.

Hunger is an object, you are a witness.

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