Yes, there is a great need to remember yourself. Your question is really significant. I call a question significant when it is existential, when it is not intellectual, when it is not bookish, when it does not come out of your knowledge but comes out of your existential experience. It has a totally different quality to it.
Yes, there is something to be remembered. But that something is not outside you, that’s why you cannot figure it out. You simply felt a fear, as if you are forgetting something, a very vague kind of fear – something felt, and not yet clearly felt. Something is there, lurking in the unconscious, in the darkness of your soul: you felt afraid of forgetting.
And then really it becomes a great question: What am I afraid of forgetting? Is there anything I need to remember?
A Zen master was dying. At the last moment, when all his disciples had gathered, he opened his eyes and said, “What is the answer?”
The disciples were dumbfounded, they could not figure it out: “What is the answer?”
So the master started laughing, and he said, “So okay, what is the question?”
He was posing a very, very existential thing: What is the answer? Even before the question is asked, he is asking what is the answer. The question is not asked, because it cannot be asked. But the question is there, it is there in everybody’s soul. One may be alert to it, one may not be alert to it, one may be completely oblivious of it; but the question is there in everybody’s soul.
The soul is a question, it is a quest. Hence the master is asking, “What is the answer?”
The disciples could not figure it out, because this is not the way; people ask first about the question, then they ask about the answer.
And something exactly like that has happened to you. Afraid of forgetting – forgetting what, that is not clear. Just a feeling, a cloud passed by…and the feeling must have been intense.
“Is there anything I need to remember?” you ask. It is you yourself. Self-remembering is needed. Buddha used to call it right-mindfulness, sammasati; Mahavira used to call it vivek, awareness; George Gurdjieff used to call it self-remembering, Kabir used to call it surati. But they all mean the same thing.
You don’t know who you are. You are – that much is certain. In fact only that is certain, and nothing else. The existence of others is not certain.
The English philosopher, Berkeley, had gone for a morning walk with Dr. Johnson. Dr. Johnson was very critical of Berkeley’s ideas, because Berkeley used to say that the whole world is an idea; it is not a reality, but just an idea, an idea in the mind of God. We are ideas in the mind of God – just ideas, pure ideas, not real entities.