How does this bondage happen? How is it that we never feel that we are IN the body, but feel that we ARE the body? The witnessing self is never felt. We always feel some identity; we always feel some identification. And the witnessing consciousness is the reality. So why does this happen? And how does this happen?
You are in pain - what is really happening inside? Analyze the whole phenomenon: the pain is there, and there is this consciousness that pain is there. These are the two points: the pain is there, and there is this CONSCIOUSNESS that the pain is there. But there is no gap, and somehow "I am in pain" - this feeling happens - "I am in pain." And not only this - sooner or later, "I am the pain" begins, happens, starts to be the feeling.
I AM pain; I am IN pain; I am AWARE OF the pain" - these are three different, very different states.
The rishi says, "I am AWARE of the pain." This much can be allowed, because then you transcend pain. The awareness transcends - you are different from it, and there is a deep separation. Really, there has never been any relation; the relation begins to appear only because of the nearness, because of the intimate nearness of your consciousness and all that happens around.
Consciousness is so near when you are in pain - it is just there by the side, very near. It has to be; otherwise, the pain cannot be cured. It has to be just near to feel it, to know it, to be aware about it.
But because of this nearness, you become identified, and one. This is a safety measure again; this is a security measure, a natural security. When there is pain you must be near; when there is pain your consciousness MUST go in a rush towards the pain - to feel it, to do something about it.
You are on the street and suddenly you feel a snake there - then your whole consciousness just becomes a jump. No moment can be lost, not even in thinking what to do. There is no gap between being aware and the action. You must be very near; only then this can happen. When your body is suffering pain, disease, illness, you must be near; otherwise, life cannot survive. If you are far off and the pain is not felt, then you will die. The pain must be felt immediately - there should be no gap. The message must be received immediately, and your consciousness must go to the spot to do something. That's why nearness is a necessity.
But because of this necessity, the other phenomenon happens: so near, you become one; so near, you begin to feel that "this is me - this pain, this pleasure." Because of nearness there is identification: you become anger, you become love, you become pain, you become happiness.
The rishi says that there are two ways to disassociate yourself from these false identities. You are not what you have been thinking, feeling, imagining, projecting - what you are is simply the fact of being aware. Whatsoever happens, you remain just the awareness. You are awareness - that identity cannot be broken. That identity cannot be negated. All else can be negated and thrown.
Awareness remains the ultimate substratum, the ultimate base. You cannot deny it, you cannot negate it, you cannot disassociate yourself from it.
So this is the process: That which cannot be thrown, that which cannot be made separate from you, is you; that which can be separated, you are not.
The pain is there; a moment later it may not be there - but you will be. Happiness has come, and it will go; it has been, and it will not be - but you will be. The body is young, then the body becomes old.
All else comes and goes - guests come and go - but the host remains the same. So the Zen mystics say:
Do not be lost in the crowd of the guests.
Remember your host-ness.
That host-ness is awareness.
That host-ness is the witnessing consciousness.
What is the basic element that remains always the same in you? Only be that, and disidentify yourself from all that comes and goes. But we become identified with the guest. Really the host is so occupied with the guest, he forgets.
Mulla Nasruddin has given a party for some friends and some strangers. The party is very boring, and half the night is just lost and it goes on. So one stranger, not knowing that Mulla is the host, says to him, "I have never seen such a party, such nonsense. It seems never-ending, and I am so bored that I would like to leave."
Mulla says, "You have said what I was going to say to you. I myself have never seen such a boring and nonsense party before, but I was not so courageous as you are. I was also thinking to leave it and just run away." So they both run.
Then, in the street Mulla remembers and says, "Something has gone wrong, because now I remember: I am the host! So please excuse me, I have to go back."
This is happening to us all.
The host is lost - The host is forgotten every moment.
The host is your witnessing self.
Pain comes and pleasure follows; there is happiness, and there is misery. And each moment, whatsoever comes you are identified with it, you become the guest.
Remember the host.
When the quest is there, remember the host.
And there are so many types of guests: pleasurable, painful; guests you would like, guests you would not like to be your guests; guests you would like to live with, guests you would like to avoid - but all guests.
Remember the host.
Constantly remember the host.
Be centered in the host.
Remain in your host-ness; then there is a separation. Then there is a gap, an interval - the bridge is broken. The moment this bridge is broken, the phenomenon of renunciation happens. Then you are IN it, and not OF it. Then you are there in the guest, and still a host. You need not escape from the guest, there is not need.
Then you can be in the crowd and alone. And if you cannot be alone in the crowd, you can never be alone anywhere, because the capacity to be alone in the crowd is needed to be alone when you are really alone; otherwise, if you cannot be alone in the crowd, the crowd will be there when you are alone. The mind will be crowded even MORE, because the mind has a tendency to feel absence more than presence.
If your beloved, if your lover is present, you can just forget very easily. But if he is not present, you cannot forget. The mind has the tendency to feel absence more, because through absence is desiring. And mind is just desiring, so mind feels absences more; otherwise, there can be no desiring. If you can forget absences, then desire becomes impossible. So we forget presences, and we go on feeling absences. Whatsoever is not, is desired; and whatsoever is, is just forgotten.
So when you are alone, the crowd will be there; it will follow you. If you escape from the crowd, the crowd will follow you. So do not escape, do not try - it is impossible. Remain where you are, but don't be centered in the guest.
Be centered in yourself, remember the host.
This host is your being in its purity.
Do not fall in love with the guest.
Do not fall in hate with the guest.
Really, this word is very good: "falling" in love. Why falling in love? Why not rising in love? No one rises in love, everyone falls in love. Why? Why this falling? Really, the moment you are in love, or in hate, you fall from your host-ness. You just fall from your host-ness; you become the guest. That is the misery, that's the confusion, that's the darkness.
Wherever you are - doing, not-doing, lonely, in the crowd, active, inactive - wherever you are, go on remembering the host. Remember that whatsoever is happening is just a guest, and you are the host, and don't be identified with anything. Anger comes - remember you are the host; anger is just a guest. It has come and it will go.
I am reminded of a Sufi story.
A great emperor asks his wise men to give him a mantra of such a type that it can be used in any dangerous, fatal situation - ANY. Advice is always particular, and he wants a mantra, an advice, the essence of all wisdom, so that it can be used in any situation whatsoever, whenever there is danger.
The wise men are very confused, very disturbed, and in a deep anguish. They cannot find such an essence of all wisdom. Then they go to a Sufi mystic and he gives a piece of paper and says, "This should not be opened unless there is REALLY danger! And then the advice will be there." So the king put the piece of paper under the diamond of his ring.
There are many moments when the danger approaches, but the Sufi has emphatically said, "Unless you feel this is really the last hope - that nothing can be more dangerous - only then open it!" Many dangers come and go, and the king always feels this is not the last; something more can still happen.
Even death approaches, and the king is just on his deathbed, but still he cannot open it, because he remembers still more is possible.
But his wise men say, "Now please open it. We want to see what is there." But the king says, "The promise must be fulfilled. Really, now it is irrelevant what is there; the mantra has worked upon me.
Since having this mantra with me, I have not felt any danger at all. Whatsoever the danger was, I have felt still more was possible, and I have remained the host. I was never identified."
Danger can never become the ultimate unless you are identified with it, and then anything can become the ultimate - just anything! Just anything ordinary can become the ultimate, and you are disturbed. And the king said, "Now I am not worried at all, whatsoever. The man is wise; the Sufi knows - I am not concerned about what he has written."
Then, the king died without opening the ring. The moment he died, the first thing his wise men did was to open the ring. There was nothing; it was just a piece of paper... just a piece of paper - not a word, not a single word of advice.
But the advice worked; the mantra worked.
So be centered in your host, and remember nothing is happening to you. All that is happening is just the guests, visitors; they will come and go. And it is good that they come and go; it enriches you, you become more mature. But don't follow them, don't be involved with them. Don't become one with them. Don't fall in love and hate; don't fall into identification.
Remain the host, and then the ultimate happening happens.
Then the ultimate explosion becomes possible.
Once the witnessing soul is known, you will never be the same again. The whole world disappears and you are transmuted into a new dimension of bliss. Identification is misery; non-identification is bliss.
To fall in love and hate with the guest is misery. To transcend them, and to be centered in oneself, is bliss.