Questioner: I’d just like to ask a question about awareness. For example, when I sleep I’m not aware of that or when I dream, I’m not aware that I’m dreaming, and I think it’s real. So I wanted to ask you what happens to you when you sleep?
Sadhguru: Oh, me? Who told you I sleep?
Questioner: I don’t know. I thought every human being has to sleep. What can we do about that, to be more aware when I sleep?
Sadhguru: One thing is, unfortunately, there’s no entertainment in my sleep. I don’t dream. I have not dream at all for a long time. There’s simply no dream. I just – when I sleep I’m like, I sleep like everything is dead. That’s why I sleep very few hours because I sleep like I’m totally off, completely off.
Questioner: So you’re aware that you’re sleeping?
Sadhguru: You’re always thinking awareness is mental alertness. Mental alertness is different, awareness if different. If you term mental alertness as awareness, then your dog is much more aware than you. But that’s not right. It’s not true. A wild animal is far more aware than you are. Is that so? It’s not true. He’s mentally alert. Whenever you’re constantly placed in situations where your survival is in question, you will become mentally alert. That mentally alert thing doesn’t make you aware.
Mental alertness is different, awareness if different
Awareness is not different from aliveness. Your aliveness is awareness. You know that you’re alive, only because you’re aware, isn’t it? Isn’t it so? Otherwise, how would you know you’re alive? How do you know you exist? Because you’re aware. When we talk about awareness, we’re not saying you’re not at all aware. If you’re not at all aware, you wouldn’t know that you’re here. You’re aware. It is just that you’re not aware of the whole scope of what this is. You’re only aware of a certain part of what this is.
Awareness is not different from aliveness. Your aliveness is awareness
If we want to look at this as a mechanism – this is a kind of mechanism, an incredible mechanism but it’s still a mechanism. Only in parts you’re aware. You’re not aware of the whole mechanism and the possibility of what it is – it’s in that context we’re talking about awareness. Do not mix up mental awareness, mental alertness and awareness. Because mental alertness can be switched on and switched off. Awareness cannot be switched on and switched off. It’s just on.
Life is awareness, please see – there’s no other way. What you call as life is a certain level of awareness, isn’t it? So, are you aware? Yes, I’m alive. Am I mentally alert? Not at all. There’s, there is no mind in me. When I sleep, I sleep like dead.
This happened to me about, what, about thirteen years ago or so. Usually, I never subject myself to these things, I think it’s an indignity. But I was caught up in an obligation where I had to give in to this. And there somebody wanted to measure the gamma waves in my brain. And they said, “We want to measure.” So, I gave in to this, and they wired me up all over. If I knew how many wires, even in the last moment I would’ve said no but one by one, one by one they fixed it all over. Then they said, “You meditate.” I said, “I don’t know any meditation. They said, “What? You teach meditation.” “That’s different. For people who do not know how to be, I teach meditation, but I don’t know any meditation. I never meditate.” “Aiyoo.”
I said, “See if you want, I can simply sit still. Is that okay?” They said, “Okay, you just sit still.” So I simply sat. Then after some time I feel somebody doing this-this-this [tapping on the knees] to me. I thought, “Okay, they’re putting one more wire or something,” just left them. Then they started poking me more and like this-this-this. I said, “Okay” and I opened my eyes and I said, “Okay, what’s wrong?” They were all looking at me like… [in amazement], you know, either… something has happened, my eyeballs are popped out or… I don’t know, I looked like an alien or whatever. I said, “Why, what happened? Is everything OK? I didn’t change shape or something.” They said, “You know our machines are saying you’re dead. At least you could be brain-dead because all of them are running flat.” I said, “That’s a great diagnosis you’ve got.” So, about the brain being alive, I can’t vouch for it but I’m alive, you can see that. The rest of it, it’s up to you.
So, it is just that, if the mind is off, there’s no mental alertness and it need not be. You don’t have to sleep like an animal – constantly every little sound, you know, your ears go like this. That’s why you’re not given that kind of ears you can move. You see how a cat, or a dog is sleeping, just a little… [they move their ears]. You don’t have to sleep like that. In your bedroom, it’s not a issue of survival. That’s not a issue, isn’t it? You can turn off the whole damn thing and sleep.
Mental alertness is necessary for survival, it’s not awareness
Now, if I go sleep in the wild, I sleep in a different way. You know, when I go out and camp, I don’t pitch a tent, I just sleep on the tree. So, then I sleep in a different way, I’m constantly alert because I’m on a tree branch. Either I could drop myself like the apple that fell long time ago or an elephant could pluck me down or a snake could get me – so, now I’m alert mentally. But when you sleep in your bed, and if you’re not married, you can switch off your survival process. There’s no danger for you.
So, mental alertness is necessary for survival, it’s not awareness. Awareness is anyway on, there’s nothing to do about it. You take away the distractions, it’s fully on. It’s always fully on. It’s just that to make you conscious of that, you have to take away the distractions. So, whatever you’re trying to do, whatever form of meditation you’re doing – all you’re trying to do is take away your involvement with the distractions, so that this aliveness becomes a reality for you.