A New Awakening on the Horizon of Our Consciousness
I believe that this talk was from a meditation camp held at Ranakput, Rajashthan in 1964. It would become part of the first book published of Osho’s talks. It has appeared with various titles: Sadhana Path, The Path of Self Realization and The Perfect Way.
The First Morning, June 4 1964
It is a delight to see you. In this solitary place you have come together to realize God, to find the truth, to know your own selves. But may I ask you a question? Is what you are seeking separate from you? You can search for someone who is away but how can you seek that which is your own self? Your own self cannot be sought in the sense in which everything else is sought because in this case there is no difference between the one who is seeking and the one who is being sought. You can seek out the world but you cannot seek your self. He who goes out in search of his self goes farther away from his self. It is important to understand this fact fully. Only then the search may be possible. If you want the material things of the world you have to look outside yourself, but if you want to find your self you have to be composed, unruffled, and to abandon all seeking. What you really are can only be seen in perfect calm and emptiness.
Remember that a search is also an excitement, a tension that it is a desire and a passion as well. But the soul cannot be realized through passion. This is the difficulty. Passion indicates that one desires to become something or to attain something, while the soul is already there within one. The soul is what I, myself, am. Passion and the soul lie in the opposite directions. They are opposite dimensions.
Therefore understand fully that the soul can be realized but it cannot be the object of desire. There cannot be any desire as such for the soul. All desire is worldly; no-desire is spiritual. It is desire and passion that make up the world. Whether this passion or desire is for money or for religion, for authority or for the realization of God, for worldly pleasures or for the liberation of moksha, it makes no difference. All passion is ignorance and bondage.
I do not ask you to desire the soul. I only ask you to comprehend the nature of desire. The understanding of passion frees one from passion because it reveals its painful character. The knowledge of pain is freedom from pain. Nobody, having known pain, can want it. And when there is no desire, when the mind is neither disturbed by passion nor searching for anything, then at that very moment, at that calm and tranquil moment you experience your real authentic being. The soul declares itself when passion disappears.
Therefore my friends, I ask you not to hanker after the soul but to understand desire itself and to rid yourselves of it. Then you will know and will realize the atman, the soul.
What is religion? Religion, dharma, has nothing to do with thoughts or with thinking. It has to do with no-thinking. Thinking is philosophy. It gives you results or conclusions but does not bring you satisfaction. Dharma is contentment. The process of logic is the doorway to thought while samadhi is the gateway to contentment.
Samadhi is the result of shunya and chaitanya, of emptiness and consciousness. The mind must be empty but watchful, and in that state of tranquility the door to truth opens. Truth is realized only out of emptiness and one’s whole life is subsequently transformed.
We reach the stage of samadhi through meditation, but what is generally understood as meditation is not true meditation. It too is thinking. Possibly the thoughts relate to the soul or to God but they are still thoughts. To what the thoughts relate makes no difference. In reality all thoughts pertain to another, to an outsider. They relate to what is not the self, to the material. There cannot be thought about the self because for thought to exist, two are needed. Therefore thought cannot take you beyond duality. If one is to realize this unity, to live in the self and to know it, then meditation, not thinking, is the way. Thought and meditation are in diametrically opposite directions. The former moves outward, the latter inward. Thought is the way to know the other; meditation, the way to know the self. But thought is generally taken for meditation. This is a very serious and widespread mistake and I want to caution you against this fundamental error. Meditation means becoming action-less. Meditation is not action but a state of being. It is being steady in one’s own self.
In action we come into contact with the outside world; in inaction, with ourselves. When we are not doing anything we become aware of what we are, but we are constantly involved in different activities and do not know ourselves. We do not even remember that we exist.
We are deeply preoccupied. At least the body rests but the mind does not rest at all. Awake, we think; asleep, we dream. Engrossed in these constant preoccupations and activities, we simply forget ourselves. In the press of our own affairs we lose ourselves. How strange this is! But it is a fact. We have become lost, not in the crowds of other people, but in our own thoughts, in our own dreams, in our own preoccupations and activities. We have become lost in ourselves. Meditation is the way to extricate ourselves from this self-created crowd, from this mental wanderlust.
By its nature meditation cannot involve any action. It is no-action. It is a term for an unoccupied mind. This is what I teach. It may look rather odd to say that I teach no-action and to say that we have gathered here to practice no-action but the language of man is very poor and very limited. Designed to express action only, it is never able to express the soul. How can that which is fashioned for speech express silence?
The word “meditation ”suggests that it is some sort of action but it is by no means action of any kind. It would be wrong of me to say I was “practicing” meditation; it would be correct to say I was “in” meditation. It is just like love. I am in love, but love cannot be manufactured. Hence I say meditation is a state of mind. It is of prime importance to be clear about this at the outset.
We have not gathered here to do anything but have come to experience that state where we simply are, where no action takes place, where there is no smoke to suggest action and only the burning flame of being remains, where only the self remains, where even the thought that “I am” no longer remains, where simply “being ”remains. This is shunya, emptiness. This is the point where we see not the world, but the truth. It is in this void, in this emptiness, that the wall that keeps you from knowing your self topples; that the curtains of thought rise and wisdom dawns. At this point you do not think, you know. Then there is vision; then there is realization.
But the words “vision” and “realization” are not quite appropriate because here there is no difference between the knower and the known, no difference between the subject and the object. Here there is neither the known nor the knower, simply knowing. In this context no word is suitable. “No-word” is the only appropriate word. If anyone asks me about this state I remain silent – or you might say I convey my answer through my silence.
Meditation is no-action. Action is something we may or may not do according to our wishes. But there is a difference between one’s nature and one’s actions. One’s nature is not action; it is neither doing nor non-doing. For example, understanding and sight are parts of our nature, parts of our being. Even if we do nothing, they will still be there. Nature is constantly present in us and only that which is constant and continuous can be called natural. Nature is not something of our making, it is our foundation. It is our selves. We do not create it, it is an intrinsic cohesion. We call it dharma. Dharma means our nature; it means pure existence.
This constant and continuous nature of ours is suppressed by the scattered direction of our actions. Just as the sea is covered by waves and the sun by clouds, we are covered by our own actions. The layer of activities on the surface hides that which is deep inside. Insignificant waves hide from our view the unfathomable depths of the ocean. How strange it is that the mighty is suppressed by the trivial, that a speck in the eye renders mountains invisible! But the sea does not cease to exist because of the waves. It is the soul of the waves and is present in them as well. Those who know even recognize it in the waves, but those who do not know must wait until the waves subside. They can only look at the ocean after the waves disperse.
We have to dive into this ocean, into nature itself. We have to forget about the waves and jump into the sea. We have to know our own depths where there is the sea without waves, where there is being without becoming.
This world of wave-less and motionless knowing is always present in us but we are not aware of it. We have turned our faces away from it – we look outside, we look at things, we look at the world. But bear one thing in mind – we are looking, and what is seen is of the world. But the one who sees is not the world, it is the self.
If sight is related to the object that is seen it is thought; if sight is free from the object that is seen and turns towards the seer himself it is meditation. Do you follow my distinction between thought and meditation?
Seeing is present in both thought and meditation but in the former it is objective and in the latter it is subjective. But whether we are in thought or in meditation, whether we are in action or in no-action, seeing is a constant factor. Awake, we see the world; asleep, we see dreams; in samadhi, we see our selves – but in each of these conditions there is seeing. Seeing is constant and continuous. It is our nature. It is never absent no matter what the condition.
Seeing is even present in fainting. After we come out of a faint we say, “I don’t know anything. I don’t know where I was.”Please do not think this is ignorance. This is also knowledge. If seeing had been totally absent, the knowledge of “I don’t know anything” would not have been possible, and in that case the time that passed by in the faint would not have existed for you. It would not have been part of your experience; it would not have left any trace on your memory. But you know you were in a state where you were not aware of anything. This too is knowledge. And seeing is also present here. The memory has not recorded any internal or external phenomena during this period, but our seeing has definitely noted, has definitely experienced this gap, this interval. And this experience of the interval, of the gap in the recording of events is later known to the memory as well. Similarly, during sleep, even when there are no dreams, seeing is always present. When we awaken in the morning we are able to say we had such a sound sleep that we did not even dream. This condition too has been observed.
You must realize from all of this that conditions change that the content of consciousness changes, but that seeing does not change. Everything in the realm of our experience changes; all things are in a flux. Seeing and seeing alone is ever-present. The seer alone is the witness to all this change, to all this fluidity. To know this constant and eternal seer is to know one’s self. All else is alien, the other. All else is samsara, the world.
This seer or witness cannot be attained or realized by any action, by any kind of worship or adoration, by any mantra or technique, because he is the witness of all these things as well. He is different and apart from all these things. Whatever can be seen or whatever can be done is different from and other than the witness. He cannot be realized by action but by no-action; not by effort but by stillness. He will be realized only when there is no activity, when there is no object to be seen, when only the seer or witness remains, when only seeing remains. When we are seeing but nothing is being seen, when we know but nothing is being known, then in this consciousness-devoid-of-content the knower of all is known. When there is no object to be seen the curtain in front of the seer drops away, and when there is no object to be known knowledge becomes aware of itself. When there are no waves we can see the ocean; when there are no clouds we can see the blue sky.
This ocean and this sky are there in everyone and if you wish to know this sky, this space, you can. There is a path that leads there and it is present in everyone, available to everyone. And each one knows how to walk on this path. But we only know how to walk on it in one direction. Have you ever thought of the fact that a road cannot lead in one direction only? Inevitably each road travels in two directions, in two opposite directions. Otherwise it is not a road; it cannot exist. The road that has brought you here to the seclusion of these hills is the same road that will take you back. There is only one road for coming as well as for going. The same road will serve both purposes. The road will be the same but the direction will not be the same.
The road that leads to samsara, to the world, is the same as the road that leads to the self. Only the direction is different. What has been in front of you for so long will now be behind you and you will have to direct your sight to what was at your back. The road is the same. We must simply turn, do an about-face. We must turn our backs on what we were facing and face that which was at our backs.
Please ask yourself where your face is turned now. What are you seeing? In what direction is the current of your vision, of your consciousness, flowing? Experience it. Observe it. You will find it is flowing outwardly. All your thoughts are about the world outside. All the time you are thinking about external things, about the world outside. When your eyes are open you see outside; when they are closed you see the same outside – because the forms and images of outside things that are imprinted on the mind rise up and surround us even when our eyes are closed. There is a world of objects outside and inside us there is another world of thoughts, the echo of outside things. Although it is inside this other world it is also outside, because the “I”, the ego, is outside as well. The witness also sees the “I”, the ego, so, therefore, that too is outside.
We are surrounded by objects and by thoughts, but you will see on deeper consideration that being encircled by objects is no hindrance on the path of self-realization, while being surrounded by thoughts is an obstacle. Can objects encircle the soul? Objects can only encircle objects. The soul is surrounded by thoughts. The current of vision, of consciousness, flows towards thoughts. Thoughts and thoughts alone are in front of us everywhere and our sight is curtained by them.
We must turn our faces from thoughts towards thoughtlessness. But this change of direction is revolutionary! How can it be done? First we must know how thoughts are born and only then can we stop them from coming into being. Generally so-called seekers begin to suppress thoughts before they understand how they are born. Some of them may go crazy trying but none of them will ever be free of thoughts. The suppression of thoughts does not help because new thoughts arise every moment. They are like those giants of mythology who, when one head was lopped off, grew ten more.
I do not ask you to destroy thoughts because they die of their own accord every moment. Thoughts are very short-lived; no thought endures for long. A particular thought does not last long but the thought-process does. Thoughts die one after another but the flow of thoughts persists. No sooner does one thought die than another takes its place. This process takes place very quickly and this is the problem. It is not the death of a thought but its quick rebirth that is the real problem. Therefore I do not ask you to kill thoughts. I want you to understand the process of their birth and how you can rid yourselves of this process. One who comprehends the process of the birth of thoughts can easily be freed from it. But one who does not understand the process goes on creating fresh thoughts and at the same time tries to resist them. Instead of thoughts coming to an end, the consequence is that the person fighting them breaks down himself.
Again I repeat: thoughts are not the problem but the birth of thoughts is the problem. How they are born is the problem. If we can stop their coming into being, if we can exercise thought birth-control, the thoughts that have already been born will disappear in a moment. Thoughts die out every second but their total destruction does not happen because new thoughts spring up incessantly.
I say it is not that we have to destroy thoughts but that we have to stop their coming into being. Stopping their birth is as good as their destruction. We all know that the mind is fickle. But what does this mean? It means that no thought endures for long. It is born and it passes away. If we can only stop its birth we will be saved from the violence involved in killing it and it will die of its own accord.
How is thought born? The conception and birth of a thought is the result of our reaction to the outside world. There is a world of events and objects outside and our reaction to this world is alone responsible for the birth of thoughts. I look at a flower. Looking is not thinking and if I simply go on looking no thought will be created. But if as soon as I look at it I say, “It is a very beautiful flower,” a thought has been born. If on the other hand I continue looking at the flower I will experience and enjoy its beauty, but no thought will be born. But as soon as we have an experience we begin to express it in words. With this expression of experience through the symbols of words, thought comes into being.
I am looking at you, and if I just keep on looking at you without expressing it in words, what will happen? As you are now you cannot even imagine what will happen. There will be a great revolution, the likes of which has never been seen before. Words get in the way and stop that revolution from taking place. The birth of thoughts hinders that revolution. If I keep on looking at you and do not give it any expression in words, if I simply keep on looking I will find during the process that a wonderful and divine grace descends upon me and that a quality of emptiness, of the void, is spreading all around. And in this emptiness, in this absence of words, the direction of consciousness takes a new turning and then I do not see only you but even the one who watches over us all gradually begins to appear. There is a new awakening on the horizon of our consciousness, as if we are waking from a dream, and our minds are filled with pure light and infinite peace.
In the final analysis I wish to say that in this Sadhana Camp we must make this one experiment – and that is not to allow our vision to be smothered by words. I call this the experiment of right-mindfulness. You must remember you must stay aware so that words are not formulated. It is possible to stop words evolving because they are just a habit of ours after all. A newborn child views the world without the intermediary of words. This is pure, direct vision. Later he gradually forms the habit of using words because words are helpful and useful in his external life and in the world outside. But what is useful in the outer life becomes an impediment in knowing the inner life. It is because of this that even the old must reawaken in themselves a child’s capacity of pure vision in order that they may know their selves. They knew the world with the help of words and now they must come to know their selves with the help of the void, of emptiness.
What are we to do in this experiment? We will sit quietly, keeping the body relaxed and the spine erect. We will stop all movement of the body. We will breathe slowly and deeply and without any excitement. We will silently observe our own breathing and we will listen to any sounds falling on our ears from outside. We will not react in any way; we will not give them a second’s thought. We will let go into a state of mind where, without the interference of words, we will simply be a witness. We will stand at a distance and watch whatever is taking place. Don’t try to concentrate at all. Simply be quiet and watch whatever is happening. Listen. Just close your eyes and listen. Listen quietly in silence. Listen to the chirping off the sparrows, to the swaying of the trees in the wind, to the cry of a child, to the sound of the water wheel at the well. Simply listen. And do nothing else.
First, within yourself, you will experience a throbbing of the breath and a beating of the heart – and then a new kind of quiet and peace will descend upon you. You will find that although there is noise outside there is silence inside. You will find you have entered a new dimension of peace. Then you will find, that there are no thoughts, that only pure consciousness remains.
And in this medium of emptiness your attention turns towards the place that is your real abode. From the outside you turn towards your home.
Your vision has led you inwards. Simply keep watching. Watch your thoughts, your breath and the movement at the navel. No reaction. The result will be something that is not a creation of the mind that is not of your creation at all. This is in fact your being, your existence. This is the cohesion that sustains us all. It reveals itself unto us and then one’s own self, the biggest surprise of all, appears.
I recall a tale. A sadhu, a seeker, was once standing on a hill. It was early morning and the sun was beginning to shine. Some friends were out for a walk. They saw the sadhu, standing all alone. They asked each other, “What can this sadhu be doing here?”One of them said, “Perhaps his cow often gets lost in the jungle and he is standing on the hill looking for her.”The other friends did not agree. Another said, “From the way he is standing, he does not seem to be looking for something. He rather seems to be waiting for somebody, perhaps a friend who accompanied him and has been left behind somewhere.”But the others did not agree with this either. A third one said, “He is neither searching for any one nor waiting for anyone. He is absorbed in the contemplation of God.”
They could not agree so they approached the sadhu himself to clarify the situation. The first one asked, “Are you looking for your lost cow?” The sadhu replied, “No.” Another asked, “Are you waiting for someone then?” To this he answered, “No. ”The third one asked, “Are you contemplating God?” Again the sadhu replied in the negative. All the three were amazed. Together, they asked him, “Then what are you doing here?” The sadhu said, “I am doing nothing. I am just standing. I am just being.”
We have to exist this simply. We have to do nothing. We have to give up everything and just be. Then something that cannot be put into words will happen. The experience that will come to pass cannot be expressed in words. It is the epitome of experiences. It is the realization of the truth, of one’s self, of God.
From the edition titled The Perfect Way
Copyright© OSHO International Foundation
You can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.