art Martin Stranka
Question: Can I decide to be aware?
Karl: It’s not a decision. It’s simply an awakening, just like that which happens each morning in your bed. You cannot decide whether you wake or not. In the moment of awakening, it’s decided, spontaneously, naturally, without thought. You know it well: first … deep sleep, then … bang, into awareness! This is exactly how the entirety of existence comes about. Before it there is neither the idea, nor the desire, to wake. It simply happens, and from this awakening comes the big bang. It’s nobody’s decision. Nothing has ever been decided.
Q: Doesn’t the ‘I’ decide where and when to direct its attention?
K: This too is not decided. If anything, it is grace. If awareness becomes aware of itself it’s not because of an ‘I’ which decides to pay a bit more attention. You can sit there for a thousand years deciding for awareness and nothing will happen. Perhaps you’ve done this already.
Q: I hope so.
K: Or maybe it’s ahead of you. In either case it’s not in your hands. Nothing depends on you, on this ‘I’, which thinks it’s decisive. Every idea is spontaneous. Every apparent decision comes out of nothing, out of the blue: out of the blue into the great beyond. It has no direction. There’s nothing that has a direction.
Q: This sounds hopeless.
K: It’s neither hopeless nor does it create hope. Either state would mean that one could exist, who needs, or could have hope. There is only a hopeless one and a hopeful one as long as you believe in this idea. Only then do these questions come up. The root is the idea that you exist as an ‘I’. You need to get to the stillness, in which all these ideas have disappeared.
Q: Yes, that’s what I want. I’ve made my decision.
K: Did you ever contribute anything to anything?
Q: I think I did.
K: Simply see that it always happened on its own. It operated on its own and didn’t need your decision. The fear, that without your decision it would cease to happen, is just an idea.
Q: What about the fear that if I make the wrong decision, I will cease to exist?
K: That’s the fear of death. It comes when you see that your free will does not exist and you cannot control anything. Then the ‘I’ defends itself, because it thinks it has something to lose: not just its power to decide, but its very life. Of course this fear will be there. The desire for a rôle in life struggles to survive. The ball keeps rolling, afraid to stop. It rolls without control, but it’s still afraid. After all, it mightn’t be a ball, any more, if the rolling ended.
Q: Am I still there when the rolling ends?
K: When the rôle is played to the end, the ‘I’ ends. The ‘I’ is put together from a personal history of doing things. The idea that this history could end, awakens fear.
Q: So what happens when history stops?
K: It continues just as before, but without your idea of doing something: without any notion of desire, will, control, freedom, or the possibility of making decisions: without any thought of a personal history.
Q: It continues without the person, me?
K: Yes, just like now. Is there a history now? Look at what is really happening. Just see. Does anything actually change as a result of your decision? Do you make a decision at all? Can you ever grab a desire and change it? Has there ever been anything you could control?
Q: I want to lift my hand. There, you see, I lift my hand.
K: A nerve is stimulated, the hand rises, and immediately the ‘I’ comes rushing in and claims: “I have decided this!” Look carefully at your thoughts: the ‘I’ always comes afterwards. Every action occurs on its own; every idea appears on its own; every thought. But then there is a super-idea called ‘I’ which reinterprets every event as part of its own history. That’s all. Nothing more. A thought by the name of ‘I’ leaps in a moment later, claiming the action as its own and commenting: “MY will, MY mistake, MY body, MY life, MY death.”
Q: Perhaps I begin to understand.
K: YOU understand? Then watch YOUR understanding! See when it occurs: this “YOUR”!
Q: Do you mean that my decision is not my decision and my desire is not my desire?
K: Simply be aware. See where the desire comes from. Can you desire to desire? Or does desire emerge from itself, as energy unfolding, like a flower that blooms, without reason or meaning? Desire comes and goes by itself.
Q: At least, when it’s fulfilled, it goes.
K: Not through fulfilment. The primordial desire, that lies behind all others, is the desire for self-realisation. And this desire will never be fulfilled.
Q: So should I forget about this desire too?
K: There is no hope that you ever can know your-Self. The desire for self-realisation only appears, after all other desires have come and gone, without giving you anything. It is then, the desire for self-realisation arises, because only then can you accept the idea that your happiness and peace depend on finding the Self.
Q: Is that wrong?
K: There is simply nothing to find: nothing to realise. The desire for self-realisation appears, and has to disappear, in giving up all searching. When searching ceases, this desire ends.
Q: So, I only have to stop searching?
K: Sure, if that’s all. But you cannot decide to do it, or not. And what is so beautiful is that you do not have to decide. The searching (i.e. the desiring), cannot disappear through a desire. The last desire can only disappear if desirelessness becomes aware of itself. It seems that you desire and want and decide: that you control your own progress and work like Hell , but then: ‘pfft’ or bang! Through some kind of accident, all this is gone.
Q: And then, am I no more?
K: Yes. It’s almost a pity, because you had built up such an interesting relationship with yourself