Man is a seed of great potential: man is the seed of buddhahood. Each man is born to be a buddha. Man is not born to be a slave but to be a master. But there are very few who actualize their potential. And the reason why millions can't realize their potential is that they take it for granted that they already have it.
Life is only an opportunity to grow, to be, to bloom. Life in itself is empty; unless you are creative you will not be able to fill it with fulfillment. You have a song in your heart to be sung and you have a dance to be danced, but the dance is invisible, and the song -- even you have not heard it yet. It is deep down hidden in the innermost core of your being; it has to be brought to the surface, it has to be expressed.
That's what is meant by 'self-actualization'. Rare is the person who transforms his life into a growth, who transforms his life into a long journey of self-actualization, who becomes what he was meant to be. In the East we have called that man the buddha, in the West we have called that man the Christ. The word 'Christ' exactly means what the word 'buddha' means: one who has come home.
We are all wanderers in search of the home, but the search is very unconscious -- groping in the dark, not exactly aware what we are groping for, who we are, where we are going. We go on like driftwood; we go on remaining accidental.
And it becomes possible because millions of people around you are in the same boat, and when you see that millions are doing the same things that you are doing, then you must be right -- because millions can't be wrong. That is your logic, and that logic is fundamentally erroneous: millions can't be right.
It is very rare that a person is right; it is very rare that a person realizes the truth. Millions live lives of lies, lives of pretension. Their existences are only superficial; they live on the circumference, utterly unaware of the center. And the center contains all: the center is the kingdom of God.
Wasting life in unconsciousness
The first step towards buddhahood, towards the realization of your infinite potential, is to recognize that up to now you have been wasting your life, that up to now you have remained utterly unconscious.
Start becoming conscious; that is the only way to arrive. It is arduous; it is hard. To remain accidental is easy; it needs no intelligence, hence it is easy. Any idiot can do it -- all the idiots are already doing it. It is easy to be accidental because you never feel responsible for anything that happens. You can always throw the responsibility onto something else: fate, God, society, economic structure, the state, the church, the mother, the father, the parents.... You can go on throwing the responsibility onto somebody else; hence it is easy.
To be conscious means to take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders. To be responsible is the beginning of buddhahood.
When I use the word 'responsible' I am not using it in the ordinary connotation of being dutiful. I am using it in its real, essential meaning: the capacity to respond -- that's my meaning. And the capacity to respond is possible only if you are conscious. If you are fast asleep, how can you respond? If you are asleep, the birds will go on singing but you will not hear, and the flowers will go on blooming and you will never be able to sense the beauty, the fragrance, the joy, that they are showering on existence.
To be responsible means to be alert, conscious. To be responsible means to be mindful. Act with as much awareness as you can find possible. Even small things -- walking on the street, eating your food, taking your bath -- should not be done mechanically. Do them with full awareness.
Slowly slowly, small acts become luminous, and by and by those luminous acts go on gathering inside you, and finally the explosion. The seed has exploded; the potential has become actual. You are no longer a seed but a lotus flower, a golden lotus flower, a one-thousand-petaled lotus flower. And that is the moment of great benediction; Buddha calls it nirvana. One has arrived. Now there is no more to achieve, nowhere to go. You can rest, you can relax -- the journey is over. Tremendous joy arises in that moment; great ecstasy is born.
But one has to begin from the beginning.
After a three-day drinking bout, Tooley and Bragan registered at a hotel and asked for twin beds. However, in the darkness they both got into the same bed.
"Hey!" yelled Tooley. "I think a homo has crept in bed with me."
"There's a queer in my bed, too," called Bragan.
"Let's throw the fairies out," called back the first.
A terrific wrestling match ensued and finally Tooley went sailing out of the bed. "How did you make out?" he called from the floor.
"I threw my guy out," said the other Irishman. "How about you?"
"He threw me out."
"Well, that makes us even. Get into bed with me."
This is how man is: in darkness, utterly unconscious; doing things, not knowing why; simply doing because there is an unconscious urge to do. Now, this is not only a mystic hypothesis about man. Sigmund Freud, Gustav Jung, Alfred Adler and others, the modern researchers into the psyche of man, have also come across the same fact.
Freud says man lives unconsciously, although the mind is so cunning that it can find reasons, motives. At least it can create a facade as if you are living a conscious life -- and that is very dangerous because you can start believing in your own facade. Then your life is gone, then you will not be able to use this tremendously valuable opportunity.
People go on doing unconscious things -- although they suffer, although they are immensely miserable, still they go on doing the same things, which bring misery to them. They don't know what else to do. They are not there, they are not present; hence they can't do anything. They are trapped in the unconscious instincts.
Hennessy, loaded to the gills, was lurking on a dark and deserted street corner. Soon a man came walking by, and Hennessy sprang out of the shadows, a gun in his hand.
"Stay where you are!" he slobbered. Then he pulled a bottle out of his pocket. "Here," Hennessy ordered, "take a drink of this."
Too terrified to resist, the poor schnook took the bottle and drank deeply. "Wow!" he exclaimed. "That stuff tastes awful!"
"I know," gurgled the crocked Irishman. "Now you hold the gun and force me to drink some."
The stuff that you are drinking, that stuff that you call your life, is really awful! But you go on forcing yourself, doing the same repetitive acts again and again -- not knowing what else to do, not knowing where else to go, not knowing that there are other alternatives possible, that there are alternative life-styles possible. And the greatest alternative is the religious dimension.
Living in self-remembrance
The religious dimension simply means the dimension of being conscious, of being alert, of living a life with self-remembrance. Let me add that by self-remembrance I don't mean self-consciousness. Self-consciousness is a false phenomenon; it is another name of ego. Self-remembering is a totally different phenomenon; it is the cessation of the ego. In self-consciousness there is no consciousness, there is only self; in self-remembering there is no self, only remembering.
Buddha's whole methodology is that of self-remembering: SAMMASATI. It has been translated as right-mindfulness or right awareness. What is RIGHT awareness? Can awareness also be wrong? Yes, there is a possibility: if awareness becomes too much focused on the object it is wrong awareness. Awareness has to be aware of itself, then it is right awareness.
When you look at a tree, at a mountain, at a star, you can be conscious -- conscious of the tree, conscious of the mountain, conscious of the star -- but you are not conscious of the one who is conscious of all these things. This is wrong awareness, focused on the object. You have to unfocus it from the object, you have to help it turn inwards. You have to bring it to your own interiority, you have to fill your subjectivity with its light.
When one is full of light, not showing other things in the light but only showing the light itself, then it is right awareness and that is the door to nirvana, to God -- to self-actualization.
By birth you are only given an opportunity. There is no inner necessity that you will really become, that your potential will be realized, that you will really attain to beinghood. Only the opportunity is given, then it is up to you. You will have to find the way, you will have to find the master, you will have to find the right situation. It is a great challenge.
Life is a great challenge to know oneself. If this challenge is accepted, you really become man for the first time; otherwise you go on existing on a subhuman level.
And it is not only the worldly people who are living an unconscious life. The so-called religious are not in any way different.
---Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 3, Chp # 7