There is an endless recurrence to life. This has its usefulness – it brings maturity. It has its dangers too – it can also bring inertia. Passing through the same thing twice, there are two possibilities: either you will experience it more deeply while passing through it for the second time, or the second time you may not experience it even as much as you did while passing through it for the first time. Both possibilities are there.
You hardly ever look at the tree that may be standing in front of your house; you must have seen it so many times that now there is no need to look at it. It is most unusual for husbands and wives to ever look at each other. Thirty odd years may have passed in living together and they have already looked at each other, long ago, in the early days of their marriage. Since then, no occasion has arisen to really look at each other again. In fact, they haven’t found any reason to look at one another. But on the other hand, one would not miss looking at an unknown woman passing on the street!
The fact is, the unfamiliar is very easily observed. We become blind towards the familiar – a blind spot develops towards it. There remains no need to see a familiar person.
For example, close your eyes and try to remember your mother’s face – and you will see how difficult it is to do so. You can easily recall the face of a film actress, but as you close your eyes and try to see your mother’s face, it will start disappearing. Her features will soon get mixed up; it becomes so hard to catch her image. You have seen her face so often, so closely, but you have never looked at her with an attentive mind. Closeness turns into unfamiliarity.
So repeatedly passing through the same experiences – life after life – there are two possibilities. And as far as what you would like to do is concerned, the choice is up to you. The freedom is yours. Either you can become unconscious and mechanical as most of us have become….
You can go on moving mechanically, doing more or less the same things day after day. For instance, you were angry yesterday, and also the day before yesterday, and the day before that – last year too, and the year before last as well. It would be more than enough just to keep an account of this present life. If you have lived for fifty years so far, then how many times have you become angry, and how many times have you repented after that anger? Each time your repentance has been followed by anger, and anger has been followed by repentance – and so on and so forth. Gradually the whole thing has been turned into a routine.
Looking at a person, you can easily guess that right now this man is angry and soon he will express his repentance about it. If you have observed this same person getting angry three or four times already, you will not only be able to recount what he may have already said so far in his anger but also what else he is going to say. And you will also be able to predict what he will say while he is repenting after his anger: he will swear never to get angry again, although he has sworn that before too, and it doesn’t mean a thing. This whole business has turned into an unconscious routine.