Sufi mystic, Bayazid, used to talk to his disciples about awareness, and they would ask, ”But what is awareness? You go on talking about it.” One day he took them to the river. On this side there was a small hill, and on the other side there was a small hill. He said, ”We are going to put up a long wooden bridge – just one foot wide – from this end to the other, and you will have to walk on it. And then you will know what awareness is.”
They said, ”But we have been walking our whole life, and we have never come to know.” He said, ”Wait,” and he did the experiment. Many of them started feeling very afraid, and they said, ”We cannot walk. Just one foot wide?” ”But how much do you need to walk on? When you are walking on the earth, you can walk on a one-foot-wide strip easily. Why, why can’t you walk on a one-foot-wide strip hanging between two hills? Why can’t you walk on it?”
A few people tried. Just two, three feet they went, and they came back, and they said, ”It is dangerous.” Then Bayazid walked and a few followed, and when they reached the other shore, those few who had followed, they fell at his feet and they said, ”Master, now we know what awareness is. The danger was so much that we could not afford to walk in slumber. We had to be alert. Any moment and we would have been gone forever, so we had to keep alert.”
In some rare, dangerous moments you become aware; otherwise not. Awareness means an intensity, such an intensity of wakefulness that no thought interferes. You are simply conscious without any thought. Try it. You can try it anywhere. Walking on the road, walk as if each moment there is danger.
And there is danger! because any moment you can die, any moment death is there. If you become a little more understanding you will understand. It is impossible not to be aware if you see that death is possible any moment. n u cannot live like drunkards.