Often I find myself making sacrifices for mindfulness. In the hectic modern society that many of us live in, we find our mindfulness slipping and our ego’s strengthening, however much we endeavor to live in a mindful way. I think the reason for this, or at least my own reason, is because excuses are made to temporarily sacrifice mindfulness in place of productivity, concentration or the pursuit of our material goals . Ironically, we do not actually need this trade off and doing our duties in a state of mindfulness can only help us in every way. We become flustered and gain tunnel vision with only the end goal in mind and as a result weaken our state of mindfulness. What we need to realize is that mindfulness needs to be our mindset all of the time, with no exceptions. All of the time we must be here, now. Even when we are planning for the future or reflecting on the past, we are still doing it from this moment right now, and we can consequently be present in that moment when we do so. No matter what you have hanging over you, debts, violence, death, illness, we can live in the moment when dealing with all of these things.
Not only theoretically, but actually, and there are enlightened people who are a living example of this. People often ask “how do you know that that is true?”. We only have their word for it, and that is where faith comes in. You can only truly understand something that you have experienced yourself first hand. So we can only trust that an enlightened guru lives as they say they do. You could say ‘what reason does that person have for lying?’. Surely there are reasons related to the ego- fame, power, manipulation and recognition. So it is up to our own discretion to trust in these teachers and their methods. These teachers might say ‘do not trust even me’ and then we might think ‘see, only a true master would say this’. But again it could just be a game to gain other’s trust. There is no limit to the methods people might employ when fueled by their own greed.
Here is a nice little story by Osho that summaries the essence of what a real master is:
Just the other night I was reading a book. I was surprised. Such books can be written only in this age and only in America, nowhere else. The author says in the introduction: “Are you unemployed? Are you ill? Are you without a woman or without a man? Are you poor? Would you like to have better health, more money? Would you like to win over a woman or a man? Would you like to defeat your enemy? Or anything? Then here is the key.” And this man is pretending to be a spiritual master. “Here is the key.” And as a proof he says, “Look at me. Just three years ago I was poor, my life with my wife was a constant conflict. I was unhappy and was thinking of committing suicide. I was one of the most miserable men in the world. But I found this secret from a guru in Tibet.” Now this “Tibet” is beautiful. You can always find something from Tibet!
“And that secret worked. Now I have a Cadillac car, a beautiful house to live in, a bank balance of five figures; my life has become absolutely beautiful, love has flowered between me and my wife. I have become famous.” And he gives his address. He says, “You can come anytime.” He lives in Montreal. “You can come any time and you can see yourself what miracles have happened through my guru and his blessing. And I can give you the secret too.”
People would have laughed at this kind of spirituality in the ancient days. But these kinds of people are available, these kinds of people have become very prominent. Whatsoever you demand they are ready to give – at least, they promise to give. There is no need to really give, the promise is enough. You go to one guru and if you fail, if you don’t attain, you start moving to another. And somebody else comes to the first guru, and this way people go on moving from one guru to another guru with the desire that somewhere it is going to happen.
First be alert that this world is a market, a supermarket. All kinds of claimers are there. They listen to your desires and they claim. They speak the language of your desires.
A real master does not speak the language of your desire and your demand. A real master only promises one thing – death. A real master says, “I am going to be your cross. I can help you to die and disappear.” A real master can only promise you crucifixion, because only through crucifixion is resurrection. Only when you disappear as man is God born in you. Only when you are not, God is.
So whenever you find a dangerous master who is ready to throw you into flames, who is ready to destroy you utterly and who is not in any need of your being a follower, who does not care a bit whether you follow him or not – only that master can be of some help.
But always remember, the answer is within you. He will only direct you within yourself. Because you are not capable of going into your own self, a kind of help is needed – somebody who knows the way; somebody who has gone into his own being and is fully aware of the path and the possibilities of going astray; who is aware of how many pitfalls there are; who is aware of how many wrong turns there are; who is aware of how many false doors there are and who is aware of the arduous work that one has to do.
A real master will not promise you instant enlightenment – that is just stupid. There are no short-cuts. One has to grow slowly, patiently. Money may be possible instantly – you can become a thief – but you cannot steal God, you cannot become that kind of thief. Money is possible – you can deceive the income tax officer, or the income tax department – but how are you going to deceive God?