Concentration is a choice. It excludes all except its object of concentration; it is a narrowing. If you are walking on the street, you will have to narrow your consciousness in order to walk. You cannot ordinarily be aware of all that is happening because if you are aware of everything that is happening you will become unfocused. So concentration is a need. Concentration of the mind is a need in order to live–to survive and exist. That is why every culture, in its own way, tries to narrow the mind of the child.
Children, as they are, are never focused; their consciousness is open from all sides. Everything is coming in, nothing is being excluded. The child is open to every sensation, every sensation is included in his consciousness.
And so much is coming in! That is why he is so wavering, so unstable. A child’s unconditioned mind is a flux–a flux of sensations–but he will not be able to survive with this type of mind. He must learn how to narrow his mind, to concentrate.
The moment you narrow the mind you become particularly conscious of one thing and simultaneously unconscious of so many other things. The more narrowed the mind is, the more successful it will be. You will become a specialist, you will become an expert, but the whole thing will consist of knowing more and more about less and less.
The narrowing is an existential necessity; no one is responsible for it. As life exists, it is needed, but it is not enough. It is utilitarian, but just to survive is not enough; just to be utilitarian is not enough. So when you become utilitarian and the consciousness is narrowed, you deny your mind much of which it was capable. You are not using the total mind, you are using a very small part of it.
And the remaining — the major portion — will become unconscious.
In fact, there is no boundary between conscious and unconscious. These are not two minds. “Conscious mind” means that part of the mind that has been used in the narrowing process. “Unconscious mind” means that portion that has been neglected, ignored, closed. This creates a division, a split. The greater portion of your mind becomes alien to you. You become alienated from your own self; you become a stranger to your own totality.
A small part is being identified as your self and the rest is lost. But the remaining unconscious part is always there as unused potentiality, unused possibilities, unlived adventures. This unconscious mind–this potential, this unused mind–will always be in a fight with the conscious mind; that is why there is always a conflict within.
Everyone is in conflict because of this split between the unconscious and the conscious. But only if the potential, the unconscious, is allowed to flower can you feel the bliss of existence; otherwise not.
If the major portion of your potentialities remains unfulfilled, your life will be a frustration. That is why the more utilitarian a person is, the less he is fulfilled, the less he is blissful. The more utilitarian the approach– the more one is in business life–the less he is living, the less he is ecstatic. The part of the mind that cannot be made useful in the utilitarian world has been denied.
The utilitarian life is necessary but at a great cost: you have lost the festivity of life. Life becomes a festivity, a celebration, if all your potentialities come to a flowering; then life is a ceremony. That is why I always say that religion means transforming life into a celebration. The dimension of religion is the dimension of the festive, the nonutilitarian.
The utilitarian mind must not be taken as the whole. The remaining, the greater–the whole mind–should not be sacrificed to it. The utilitarian mind must not become the end. It will have to remain there, but as a means. The other–the remaining, the greater, the potential–must become the end. That is what I mean by a religious approach.
Intelligence, the narrowing of the mind, is a means toward survival, but not toward life. Survival is not life.
Survival is a necessity–to exist in the material world is a necessity–but the end is always to come to a flowering of the potential, of all that is meant by you. If you are fulfilled completely, if nothing remains inside in seed form, if everything becomes actual, if you are a flowering, then and only then can you feel the bliss, the ecstasy of life.
The denied part of you, the unconscious part, can become active and creative only if you add a new dimension to your life–the dimension of the festive, the dimension of play.
So meditation is not a work, it is a play. Praying is not a business, it is a play. Meditation is not something to be done to achieve some goal–peace, bliss–but something to be enjoyed as an end in itself.
The festive dimension is the most important thing to be understood–and we have lost it totally. By festive, I mean the capacity to enjoy, moment to moment, all that comes to you.
We have become so conditioned and habits have become so mechanical that even when there is no business to be done, our minds are businesslike. When no narrowing is needed, you are narrowed. Even when you are playing, you are not playing, you are not enjoying it. Even when you are playing cards, you are not enjoying it. You play for the victory and then the play becomes a work; then what is going on is not important, only the result.
In business the result is important. In festivity, the act is important. If you can make any act significant in itself, then you become festive and you can celebrate it.
Whenever you are in celebration, the limits, the narrowing limits are broken. They are not needed, they are thrown. You come out of your straitjacket, the narrowing jacket of concentration. Now you are not choosing; everything that comes, you allow. And the moment you allow the total existence to come in, you become one with it. There is a communion.
This communion–this celebration, this choiceless awareness, this nonbusinesslike attitude–I call meditation.
The festivity is in the moment, in the act, not in the bothering about the results, not in achieving something.
There is nothing to be achieved, so you can enjoy that which is here and now.
You can explain it in this way: I am talking to you; if I am concerned about the result, then the talk becomes a business, it becomes a work. But if I talk to you without any expectations, without any desire about the result, then the talk becomes a play. The very act, in itself, is the end. Then narrowing is not needed. I can play with the words, I can play with the thoughts. I can play with your question, I can play with my answer; then it is not serious, then it is lighthearted.
And if you are listening to me without thinking about getting something out of it, then you can be relaxed; then you can allow me to be in communion with you and your consciousness will not be narrowed. Then it is open– playing, enjoying.
Any moment can be a business moment, any moment can be a meditative moment; the difference is in the attitude. If it is choiceless, if you are playing with it, it is meditative.
There are social needs and there are existential needs that are to be fulfilled. I will not say, “Do not condition children.” If you leave them totally unconditioned, they will be barbaric. They will not be able to exist. Survival needs conditioning but survival is not the end, so you must be able to put your conditioning on and take it off–just like clothes. You can put them on, go out and do your business, and then come home and take them off. Then you are.
If you are not identified with your clothes, with your conditioning, if you do not say, for example, “I am my mind,” it is not difficult; then you can change easily. But you become identified with your conditioning. You say, “My conditioning is me,” and all that is not your conditioning is denied. You think, “All that is not conditioned is not me, the unconscious is not me; I am the conscious, the focused mind.” This identification is dangerous. This should not be. A proper education is not conditioned, but is conditioned with the condition that conditioning is a utilitarian need; you must be able to take it on and off.
When it is needed you put it on, and when you do not need it you can take it off. Until it is possible to educate human beings so that they do not become identified with their conditionings, human beings are not really human beings.
They are robots — conditioned, narrowed.
To understand this is to become aware of that part of the mind, the greater part, which has been denied light. And to become aware of it is to become aware that you are not the conscious mind. The conscious mind is just a part. “I” am both, and the greater part is unconditioned. But it is always there, waiting.
My definition of meditation is that it is simply an effort to jump into the unconscious. You cannot jump by calculation because all calculation is of the conscious and the conscious mind will not allow it. It will caution: “You will go mad. Do not do it.”