Almost everybody does it, unless one becomes enlightened.
The habit is the easier way to do a thing. The whole mechanism of a habit is that you need not be conscious about it. It has become a mechanical part of you, a part of your robot mind: it does things by itself. You can go on thinking other things, dreaming other dreams, and the habit takes every action to its end - with more perfection because a habit is mechanical, and machines don't commit mistakes.
So everybody is dominated by habit. And it is one of the most important things, to get out of this domination. It is moving from mechanicalness to consciousness.
In the beginning it is very arduous. You are doing one thing, and at the same time you have to remain conscious - so you are divided. Because of your division, your action may not be as perfect as when the habit does it alone; it simply knows how to do it.
For example, if you learn bicycling, in the beginning it is very difficult, for the simple reason that you are too conscious, and there are many things to be conscious of. You have to take care of the handles, where they are moving, the direction. You have to take care of your legs, whether they are working on the pedals. You have to take care whether there are people on the road, cars or trucks.
There are so many things to take care of, and you don't have any habit.
So, many times you will fall down, but as it becomes more and more habitual... it is called the transfer from consciousness to the mechanical part of your being. It is being done every day: the conscious mind learns a thing and then delivers it to the mechanical mind; then the conscious mind is free again, and the mechanical mind goes on doing all the things.
This is a natural way to make things simple, but as far as your growth of consciousness is concerned, it is against you. It is efficient, in tune with nature, but not in tune with a higher nature - that is the cosmos, the conscious cosmos, where every action has to be conscious.
So try anything that has become mechanical: do it consciously. You will have difficulties because the result may not be so good. Don't be worried about the result - your concern is that whatever is done, is done with alertness. The action will take a longer time, but it will be more graceful.
Work first on one habit until you have changed the habit back to the conscious mind; and then there is a tremendous joy. Then work on another habit. Once you have started working on different habits, after working on a few habits, it will become easier and easier to change them back to the conscious mind, from where they have all originated.
Once a man's whole life becomes conscious, there is nothing more to be achieved. There is no repentance possible because whatever he has done, he has done fully consciously. There is no question of looking back.
Memories are part of the mechanical mind. The mechanical mind accumulates memories the same way the computer accumulates memories, because the computer will have to do those same things again and again; it has to accumulate memories.
As all the habits are transferred back to consciousness, you will be suddenly freed from the past; there is no question of carrying any memories. If you want, you can remember something consciously, but memories cannot float in your mind on their own, without your permission - or even against you.
And this is the intricate relationship: the past memories create the future. No one knows anything about the future; everybody knows about the past. In the past you have experienced things; you would like to experience them even better in the future. That's how you create the future and future desire.
The more the past is there, the more you have to project into the future - and between the past and the future you miss all that is real.
It is immensely important that you get rid of the bondage of the past. Simultaneously the future also disappears because it was only a projection of past memories - and you are left only with the present.
Consciousness is always of the present.
And because you are not in the present, you have to delegate actions to your robot. And mind is a robot. People go on doing things, and doing perfectly well, and that makes them feel as if everything is going right. But every machine does it. It is better to commit a few errors, a few mistakes, but be conscious.
Humanity begins when you are finished with habits. Even if you have done the same thing many times, you always do it as if it is something new, with the excitement of the new, with the adventure of the new. And the excitement and the adventure fills each of your moments with tremendous blissfulness. Start from a small habit.
There is a Zen story of a master who had a small boy attendant. The master had a continuous way...
while speaking there would be moments when he would become silent and point his finger. It was always the old message: the finger is pointing to the moon. Whenever he came to a point where words could not do anything, he would be silent, just pointing his finger. He would not even say, "The finger is pointing to the moon" - he would just make the gesture.
It had become a joke amongst the disciples, not understanding what he was doing. The disciples, discussing in the restaurant or other places, sometimes would stop somebody and point a finger, and they would all laugh about it.
The boy attendant was always there - he had also become accustomed to the finger. He used to stand behind the master in case he needed him, and sometimes he would play a joke on the master.
When people were listening to the master very seriously, from behind, the boy would just point his finger up - and everybody would start laughing.
The master was puzzled, "I have not said anything that makes you laugh - what is the matter?"
Finally, looking at their eyes, he found that it was the boy who was doing all the tricks; at any time he could do it.
The next day the master appeared with a knife, and as the boy pointed his finger, he called him, "Come before me and do it!" Because the master was ordering, the boy raised his finger - and the master cut it off with the knife and then said, "Now do it again!"
The people were shocked, the disciples were shocked: this was too much! The boy had lost a finger - blood was coming out - and the master was asking him, "Do it again!" And in that moment of intense pain the boy's mind had already stopped working; he had never expected that this will happen.
Whenever something absolutely unexpected happens, the mind simply has no way to function; it is not prepared for it. But in his silence, the boy could see that he had been foolish, and he could understand for the first time that it is not the finger that matters - it can be cut off - what matters is the moon.
The boy, it is said, became enlightened in that very moment, fell to the feet of the master and thanked him.
Many disciples could not understand it at all. First, cutting off the finger looked too violent, too inhuman. Secondly, the boy falling at his feet and saying, "I am grateful. I was not expecting... I was not here for enlightenment either, I was just a servant, but you have done a miracle. My whole being is silent. The pain is there, but I am only a witness."
Start with very small habits; just don't do them habitually. Don't take complicated habits. And when you are working on small habits, change to something about which the mind is not programmed; then the mind cannot continue the habit. Do it in some other way for which the mind is not prepared.
You will have to be conscious to do it.
Everything can be done in many different ways. For example, you have always been writing with the right hand; try to write with the left hand. You will be immensely conscious because you have never done it, and the mind has no idea of how to do it. And the left hand is joined with a different side of the mind, which is not aware. It is not in communication with the side of the mind with which the right hand is connected, so there is no question of communication. You just write with the left hand.
You will have to be conscious - there is no other way to do it. And you will be surprised: the handwriting is different, writing is difficult; you make spelling mistakes.... Strange, because you have never made spelling mistakes before. The writing is not beautiful - you are writing like a child who starts from scratch. This will give you a chance to be conscious about writing.
And this time don't give it to the robot - you write everything consciously, slowly, gracefully. And when you have succeeded in doing it, then move to the right hand; with the same consciousness start writing.
And this way it can be done. About every habit you can find some way in which you have never done it before. It will increase your intensity, increase your consciousness and diminish the mechanical part. Finally the robot will end - and freedom from the robot mind is freedom to grow.
Machines cannot grow:
Only consciousness can expand and grow.
In Zen they have been giving koans to their disciples. That is just to break their habits. Those koans are absurd. "The sound of one hand clapping" - it is simply absurd, illogical; it doesn't happen.
But why have they been insistent on it? - because the mechanical mind is absolutely incapable of conceiving it; it becomes dumb and gives a chance for consciousness to arise.
If it was two hands making a sound, the mechanical mind would be perfectly capable: it has done it, it knows the way. The whole purpose of the koan is to take your freedom back from mechanical habit. So, strange kinds of koans have been developed.
And that's why I say that Zen has reached perhaps to the most refined point of religiousness. Their methodology, their work, is no longer theological; it is absolutely grounded in your psychology and its transformation.
So choose any habit and start; and then go on changing habits and releasing your consciousness from that involvement. For a few days you will have a little haphazard, confused state of mind. But that is only in the transition period when lifelong habits are going to be destroyed, and whatever consciousness has become implicated with them is going to be released. But it is tremendously worthwhile.
Habit is easy - consciousness is difficult, but only in the beginning. Once all habits are gone, consciousness is far easier and far more enjoyable.
You start doing things - each thing that you do becomes some new venture. In the world of habits it is all repetition. In the world of consciousness there is no repetition.
You cannot do anything about it - nor can I do anything about it!
The first thing to understand is that music is a by-product of meditation.
The first musicians, the pioneers, were really not trying to create music; they were trying to find some way to convey the silence, the beauty, the calmness, the soothingness that they had felt in meditation. They have worked in many ways; in fact all the arts have their origin in meditation, but music comes the closest, because music is nothing but a play between sound and silence.
To the ordinary musician the sound is important. To the master musician the silence is important:
he uses sound only to create silence. He raises sound to a high pitch and then drops it so suddenly that you fall into a deep silence.
In the East the classical music is absolutely devoted to meditation. It has not forgotten its origin. But the origin must have been thousands of years back. There is no written record about it, so whatever I am saying is according to my inner experience. I have felt it, that I use language also in the same way... words to create moments of wordlessness. Basically it is the same technique.
So it is possible: listening to music you may remember me. You may feel close to me, although I am not a musician. There is no superficial connection between me and music, but there is something deeply connected.
The musician is using notes of music to create periods of silence.
I am using words to create gaps.
Those gaps are more real, closer to my experience than the words. But it is difficult for people to understand the gaps - they can understand only words. So I have to trick them into the gaps. They come to listen to the words, but slowly, slowly they start slipping into the gaps. And finally they will find that they have been tricked: the words were irrelevant. What was really relevant was the gap between two words.
It has been a problem with the television people, because they have a limited time - ten minutes, fifteen minutes at the most. And they have been asking me, "You speak so slowly, and you give so many gaps, that our fifteen minutes are just equal to five minutes. You speak only five minutes, and ten minutes is going into the gaps. Can't you speak more usually and not give so many gaps?"
And I had to tell them, "It is impossible, because my message is in the gaps. Words I can leave, and be silent; but gaps I cannot leave. Then there is no point in saying anything. What I am saying is those gaps; what you are listening to are the words."
So because I am using the same technique... not being a musician, I cannot play any instrument; there has not been time for me to learn to play any instrument. I have been involved so much with consciousness that whatever time was available to me, I have given to consciousness. So I am the most unskilled person. I cannot sculpt, I cannot write poetry, I cannot play music - all that I can do is in some way create the same technique through words.
And that's why listening to music - particularly classical music - you may feel closer to me. You may feel very close. It does not matter what technique is used; the basis is the same.
All the arts have their origin in meditation, and all the arts have moved far away from meditation - and this is a calamity. Otherwise every artist, whatever his special art, should find a way towards meditation. But it doesn't seem so.
On the contrary, most of the modern artists, musicians, dancers, poets, painters, sculptors, rather than reaching to meditation, end up in madness - that is the other extreme of meditation. And the reason is because in the original sources the gaps were important, not the words. But as time passed words became more important than the gaps.
If you are going to print a book exactly the way I speak, it will become too lengthy and people will not be able to understand - what is the matter, why so many gaps? So in printing you will have to bring the words closer and drop the gaps.
The same happened in music, the same happened in dancing. The dancer was trying to express his inner experience. He would go into a certain movement and then there would be a sudden stop, and he would become just like a statue. And that was the moment to understand.
Gurdjieff had a group of disciples prepared for such a kind of dancing. He was giving a demonstration in New York. The people were in a frenzy, dancing, and Gurdjieff was standing by the side of the stage. Then suddenly he would say, "Stop!" And all the dancers would freeze immediately. The frenzy, the movement was all gone: utter silence, not only in the dancers but in the audience too. And that was the message. At one point he brought all the dancers very close to the edge of the stage, and then he said, "Stop!"
Now, stopping there meant falling from the stage. But no matter what, that was their training: they fell like statues, and those who were present could not believe what atmosphere it created. Their minds stopped working. Two dozen dancers simply falling as if they have become dead! No movement was allowed. As they are, they have to freeze exactly; then whatever happens - whether they fall or not, even when they have fallen and the position is uncomfortable - they are not to change it. They have to remain just the way they are.
And the people who were present reported that they had never seen such an immense impact on the audience - not of the dance, but of the stoppings. And again Gurdjieff would say, "Begin!" And the whole frenzy would come back - all the music and all the dancing. But he was trying to give to the people - through dancing - an experience of the gaps.
As far as I am concerned, it is absolutely on the right track that you are moving. You have found a way of being close to me.
Whenever you are silent, you are close to me.
Whenever your mind begins chattering, you start going away.
But modern music has fallen from grace because it has forgotten its basic purpose. It has forgotten its origin. It does not know that it has anything to do with meditation. And the same is true about other arts. They have all become non-meditative, and they are all leading people to madness.
The artist himself is creating a danger for himself and is also creating a danger for those who will be his audience. He may be a painter, but his painting is crazy; it has not come out of meditativeness.
You can see the modern sculpture - it has lost all connections with its origin. The same is true about poetry. It is almost prose, it is no longer poetry. The difference between prose and poetry is becoming less and less. The difference was this: that prose was for mundane affairs, it had not come out of meditation. But poetry was not for mundane affairs.
In poetry there are jumps from one line to another, from one paragraph to another. In poetry nothing is said, but something is conveyed. You can only have a feel of it, you cannot get hold of it. The best poetry is almost uninterpretable.
One of the poems of Coleridge was part of some university syllabus. But the teacher could not figure it out, and he felt very embarrassed in front of the students. But he said, "There is nothing to be worried about. I know Coleridge, he is my neighbor. I will go to him tomorrow to ask exactly what he means, because I cannot figure out any meaning in this. It is beautiful poetry, but it has no meaning - and without meaning what can I explain to you? I enjoy it, you can enjoy it, but there is nothing to be said about it. But then it cannot be in the university syllabus, where everything has to be explainable."
The next day he went to Coleridge, and he asked Coleridge, "Can you please explain the meaning of this poetry you have written? I am embarrassed in front of my students because I cannot explain it."
Coleridge looked at the poem and said, "Yes, when I wrote it two persons knew what it meant; now, only one knows."
The teacher said, "Then certainly you must be the one."
He said, "No, I am not the one. When I wrote it I knew what it meant, and God knew what it meant.
Now only God knows! You forgive me. I had written it - it will be better to say that it has been written through me - but I am not certain what it means. I love it, and once in a while I read it, I sing it, I remember it - it is one of the best of my poems - but don't ask about the meaning, because only one knows, and that is God.
"If you meet him ask him, because I am also feeling very embarrassed. You are not the first person to come; a few others have also come before with the same question - and only about this poem."
And what he said is very significant: "When I wrote it two persons knew the meaning. Now only one knows, and that is God." And when somebody says, "Only God knows," it means nobody knows.
"God" is just a substitute for "nobody."
The best painting will give you a glimpse of silence - just looking at it, it will create some tranquility in you. But that is no longer true about modern painting. If you go on looking at a modern painting you will start feeling crazy, you will start feeling nauseous.
It is not a coincidence that a man like Jean Paul Sartre writes a novel called NAUSEA. The whole modern artistic world is suffering from nausea, and they are simply throwing up, vomiting. Their paintings are their vomit, their poems are their vomit.
This was not the case with classical art. It was the most beautiful flowering of their beings that the artists offered. It was not nausea, it was fragrance. You could understand it, you could feel it, but you could not make it explainable. You could not hold it in your fist - it was very slippery.
In the East it has been a tradition in all the arts, in philosophy, in religion, that great masters would discuss in the open, publicly, whatever they knew about. Great musicians would play their music in public - that too was a debate. And it was really a very cultured phenomenon; there were no hard feelings. It was not a question of "me" winning - defeating the other; the question was of deciding what the truth was. Whoever won or was defeated was irrelevant: truth should always win.
So the person who won the debate was accepted by the other with great reverence as his master.
It was not enmity; it was gratefulness: "You made me aware that I was moving in a wrong direction."
The same was true about musicians.
There is a famous story about Tansen. He was the musician in the court of Akbar. Akbar was very interested to have the best from all directions in his court - the best musician, the best poet, the best philosopher, and so on and so forth. He had chosen Tansen, and Tansen was perhaps one of the greatest musicians the world has ever produced.
Akbar had given orders that where Tansen used to live, throughout the whole neighborhood, nobody could play music. It would be a disturbance to Tansen. Anybody playing music there would be put into jail, or he had to accept a challenge and come to the court and face Tansen with his music.
So many people came and were defeated; Tansen had certainly something higher to give. But there was a man, Baiju Bawara. His name was Baiju; bawara means mad. People thought he was mad, so his full name became Baiju Bawara. His whole ambition was to come to a point where he could defeat Tansen - he was a great musician himself.
He worked hard for twenty-four hours a day. For the final touches he went to Haridas, the same man who was the teacher of Tansen. Haridas was very happy: "I never thought that another man like Tansen would ever be my disciple. But you have the quality. Just one thing is missing - you have a desire to defeat somebody, and that is not very musical. That is making your being unmusical.
"You have beautiful instruments and you have beautiful art, but your heart is not in the music; it is in defeating somebody. And unless you drop that idea you will never be equal to Tansen. He has no idea to defeat anybody, that's why he goes on winning."
It was very difficult for Baiju Bawara to get rid of the desire, because that was the desire through which he had devoted his whole life to music. But if the master said so, then it was better to wait.
He forgot all about Tansen, slowly slowly.
And once, when Haridas became very old, be became sick; and he had a kind of paralysis of the legs, so he could not go from his small cottage to the nearby Krishna temple. And without seeing Krishna, he would not eat anything.
Many physicians tried to treat him. They could not do anything. Baiju Bawara heard about it. He came running from his village, and he played early in the morning, when Haridas used to get up.
The music that he played and the song that he sang means: "My eyes are thirsty to see you. Give strength to my legs; otherwise you will be responsible if I cannot see you. Don't leave me."
And Baiju Bawara sang with such beauty and played with such greatness that Haridas stood up, went to Krishna's temple where he was playing on the steps, and worshipped Krishna. Coming back, he told Baiju Bawara, "Now you can go and have a competition with Tansen. Now you don't have any desire of competition or winning. And if your music can heal my legs, you have got the master key."
But Baiju Bawara said, "What is the point? I have fallen in love with music. I have forgotten all about Tansen. It was a childish desire. And you were right - I would have been defeated; and you are also right that today I would be victorious. But now there is no desire; I don't want to be a court musician.
And the very idea is ugly, it is not part of a musical mind. You were right - that kind of desire....
"Now music has become my meditation. It is not for competition. It is not to be victorious, to be famous. It is enough unto itself."
Haridas said, "Baiju, you are really bawara! You are really mad. Now is the point at which you can win." Baiju never went, but because Haridas himself had said, "This is the point at which you can win," it was absolutely certain that he had gone higher than Tansen. And in refusing to go in for a competition, he showed that now his music was not part of the marketplace, it was something sacred. Now it had become his meditation.
If music moves rightly, it will take you to meditation.
So your experience is perfectly good. Let it happen more and more.
It is natural; and it will be fulfilled.