Can you talk about the difference between so-called self-consciousness and self-awareness? Is self-consciousness a form of unawareness, or is there something of awareness in it?
Prem Anudeva, self-consciousness is a disease, it is sickness. Self-awareness is health – it is wholeness. Both words appear to be the same, but in fact, because language is created by unconscious people, they cannot make the fine demarcations.
Self-consciousness simply means ego consciousness and self-awareness means soul consciousness. Your ego is a false entity. Because you have so much money, because you have so much power, because you are born in a very respected family… your education, your position in life – all these things constitute your ego. But your soul comes with you when you are born, it has nothing to do with anything. Whether you are educated or uneducated – Kabir was not educated; Jesus was not educated – whether you come from a respectable family or not, does not matter.
It is not known whether Kabir was born from a Hindu family or a Mohammedan family. He was found on the bank of the Ganges by a sannyasin, Swami Ramananda; a small child whose parents had left him there. Perhaps he was illegitimate. But Kabir became one of the richest human beings the world has known. No family, no certainty of what religion he belonged to, no education, no riches – he remained a weaver his whole life. He would weave and go every market day into the market to sell his clothes, and that was his whole earnings; it was enough for seven days.
But you cannot find a richer man; so full of bliss that each of his songs still carries something alive in it. After centuries have passed, just the words of Kabir can echo something within you – as if Kabir were present. He has poured his heart in his words; those words are of gold.
Jesus was a carpenter’s son – very poor, absolutely uneducated, had no idea about scriptures, learning, scholarship – but still he had a richness, a consciousness, so that even on the cross he did not forget to pray to God. His last words on the earth were: “Father, forgive these people who are crucifying me, because they know not what they are doing; they are unconscious people.”
Such compassion comes out of self-awareness.And self-awareness does not depend on anything outside you, it depends only on you. The soul is there; you have just to wake it up. It is an awakening.
Avoid self-consciousness – that is sickness of the soul; and go deeper into self-awareness – that is your authentic reality.
One morning a young woman got out of bed, slipped into her robe, raised the shade, uncovered the parrot, put on the coffee pot, answered the phone, and heard a masculine voice say, “Hello, honey. My ship just hit port and I am coming right over.” So the young lady took the coffee pot off the stove, covered up the parrot, pulled down the shade, took off her robe, got into bed, and heard the parrot mumble, “Christ, what a short day that was!”
Man is not even that much alert. You go on living like a zombie – a routine life, every day repeating the same – without ever thinking that you have not yet done the most important thing: you have not encountered yourself. You have not attained to self-awareness; you are engaged in making your ego as big as possible.
But the ego is your enemy, not your friend. It is the ego that gives you wounds and hurts you. It is the ego that makes you violent, angry, jealous, competitive. It is the ego that is continuously comparing and feeling miserable.
Self-awareness is awareness of your inner world, the kingdom of God. As you become aware of the tremendous beauty of your own being – its joy, its light, its eternal life, its richness, its overflowing love – you feel so blessed that you can bless the whole world without any discrimination.
Kill the ego, because that is hiding your authentic soul. And discover your soul; that will be your self-awareness.
Self-awareness, Anudeva, is the way to your kingdom, which is also the kingdom of God.
It is within you.
You are not to go anywhere; you have to come back home.
Osho, The Hidden Splendour, Ch 18, Q 3