Do I have to know and understand the roots of my old patterns in order to be able to drop them or is awareness enough?
Deva Suparni, this is the dividing line between Western psychology and Eastern mysticism. Western psychology is an effort to understand the roots of your old patterns, but it does not help anybody to get rid of them.
You become more understanding; you become more sober, you become more normal; your mind is no longer a great mess. Things are settled a little better than they ever have been before, but every problem remains the same – it simply goes dormant. You can understand your jealousy, you can understand your anger, your hate, your greed, your ambitions, but all this understanding will remain intellectual. So even the greatest psychologists of the West are far away from the Eastern mystics.
The man who founded Western psychology, Sigmund Freud, was so much afraid of death that even the mention of the word ‘death’ was enough to throw him into a coma; he would become unconscious, the paranoia of death was so great. It happened three times. He was so much afraid of ghosts that he would not pass by the side of a cemetery. Now, a man like Sigmund Freud who has tremendous intellectual acumen, who knows every root of the mind, who knows every subtle functioning of the mind, still remains confined in the mind.
Awareness leads you beyond the mind. It does not bother to understand the problems of the mind, their roots, it simply leaves the mind aside, it simply gets out of it. That is the reason why in the East there has been no development of psychology.
It is strange that for ten thousand years at least, the East has been consistently and one-pointedly working in the field of human consciousness, but it has not developed any psychology, any psychoanalysis or psychosynthesis. It is a great surprise that for ten thousand years nobody even touched the matter. Rather than understanding the mind, the East developed a totally different approach, and their approach was disidentifying with the mind: “I am not the mind.” Once this awareness becomes crystallized in you, the mind becomes impotent.
The whole power of the mind is in your identification with it. So it was found to be useless to go unnecessarily digging for roots, finding causes behind causes, working out through dreams, analyzing dreams, interpreting dreams. And every psychologist finds a different root, finds a different interpretation, finds a different cause. Psychology is not yet a science; it is still fictitious.
If you go to Sigmund Freud, your dream will be interpreted in sexual terms. His mind is obsessed with sex. Bring anything and immediately he will find an interpretation that it is sexual.
Go to Alfred Adler, the man who founded another school of psychology – analytical psychology … He is obsessed with another idea: will to power. So whatever you dream will be interpreted according to that idea – it is will to power. Go to Carl Gustav Jung, he interprets every dream as a faraway echo from your past lives. His interpretation is mythological. And there are many other schools.
There has been a great effort made by Assagioli – psychosynthesis – to bring all these schools together, but his psychosynthesis is absolutely useless. At least psychoanalysis has some truth in it, and analytical psychology also has some truth in it; but psychosynthesis is simply a hodgepodge. It has taken one part from one school, another part from another school, and it has joined them together.
Assagioli is a great intellectual; he could manage to put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle in the right places. But what was significant in Sigmund Freud was significant in a certain context; that context is no longer there. He has only taken what appears to be significant, but without the context it loses all meaning. Hence, Assagioli has worked his whole life for some synthesis, but he has not been able to create anything significant. And all these schools have been working hard.
But the East simply bypassed the mind. Rather than finding out the causes and roots and reasons, they found out one thing: from where does the mind get its power? From where does the energy come to feed it? The energy to feed the mind comes from your identification that “I am it.” They broke that bridge. That’s what awareness is: being aware that “I am not the body, I am not the mind. I am not even the heart; I am simply pure awareness, a sakshi.”
As this awareness deepens, becomes crystallized, the mind has more and more a shadow existence. Its impact on you loses all force. And when the awareness is a hundred percent settled, mind simply evaporates.
Western psychology has still to figure out why it is not succeeding. Thousands of people are going through psychoanalysis and through other therapeutic methods, but not a single one of them – not even the founder of those schools – can be called enlightened, can be said to be without problems, can be said to be without anxieties, anguishes, fears, paranoia. Everything exists in them as it exists in you.
Sigmund Freud was asked many times by his disciples, “You psychoanalyze all of us; we bring our dreams to you to be interpreted. It will be a great experiment if you allow us to psychoanalyze you. You give us your dreams and we will try to analyze and find out what they mean, from where they come, what they indicate.” But Sigmund Freud never agreed to that. That shows an immense weakness in the whole framework of psychoanalysis. He was afraid that they would find the same things in his dreams that he was finding in their dreams. Then his superiority as a founder, as a master would be lost.
He was not aware at all of people like Gautam Buddha or Mahavira or Nagarjuna. Because these people don’t dream, there is nothing to analyze. These people have come so far away from the mind that all connections are cut. They live out of awareness, not out of intellect. They respond out of awareness, not out of mind and its memories. And they don’t repress anything; hence there is no need for any dreaming.
Dreaming is a by-product of repression. There are aboriginal tribes where people don’t dream. Or if they dream, they dream only once in a while. They are surprised to know that civilized people dream almost the whole night. In eight hours’ sleep, six hours you are dreaming. And the aboriginal is simply sleeping eight hours in deep silence, with no disturbance. Sigmund Freud was aware only of the sick Western people. He was not aware of a man of awareness; otherwise the whole history of Western psychology would have been different.
I will not tell you, Suparni, to make an effort to understand the roots of your mind and its patterns; it is simply a useless wastage of time. Just awareness is enough, more than enough. As you become aware, you come out of the grip of the mind, and the mind remains almost a dead fossil. There is no need to bother from where the greed came, the real question is how to get out of it. The question is not from where the ego arose – these are intellectual questions which are not significant for a seeker.
And then there will be many philosophical standpoints: from where greed arose, from where ego came in; from where your jealousy, from where your hate, from where your cruelty came in – looking for the beginnings of all this. And mind is a vast complex; in fact, life is too small to figure out all the problems of the mind and their origins. Their origins may be of thousands of lives. Slowly Western psychology is coming closer to it – for example, primal therapy.
Janov understood that unless we find the beginnings of the problems … That means to him, being a Christian, believing only in one life – the roots must be found somewhere in childhood. So he started working to remind you of your childhood, and then he stumbled upon a new fact – that in deep hypnosis people not only remember their childhood, they remember their birth. They also remember the nine months in the mother’s womb, and a few very sensitive people even remember their previous life.
And then he became afraid himself, that he was going into a tunnel which seemed to be unending. You go into the past life and that will take you again, through the whole long passage, to another life.
Your mind is many lives old, so you are not going to be able to find its root in the present. Perhaps you will have to travel backwards through thousands of lives, and it is not an easy thing. And then too, even if you come to understand from where the greed has come, it does not make any change. You will have to then know how to drop it.
And there are so many problems that if you start dropping each problem separately, you will need millions of lives to be completely finished with the mind. And while you are figuring out about one problem, other problems are growing, gathering more energy, more vitality, more influence. It is a very stupid game.
In the East, not a single person in the whole past – in China, in India, in Japan, in Arabia – has ever bothered about it. It is fighting with shadows. They worked from a very different angle and they succeeded immensely. They simply pulled their awareness out of the mind. They stood outside the mind as a witness and they found a miracle happening: as they became a witness, the mind became impotent, it lost all power over them. And there was no need to understand anything.
Awareness goes on growing higher and the mind goes on growing smaller – in the same proportion. If awareness is fifty percent then mind is cut to fifty percent. If awareness is seventy percent, only thirty percent of the mind remains. The day awareness is a hundred percent, there is no mind to be found at all.
Hence, the whole Eastern approach is to find a state of no-mind – that silence, that purity, that serenity. And mind is no longer there with all its problems, with all its roots; it has simply evaporated the way dewdrops evaporate in the sun in the morning, leaving no trace behind. Hence I will say to you, awareness is not only enough, it is more than enough. You don’t need anything else.
Western psychology has no place for meditation in it yet, and that’s why it goes on going round and round, finding no solution. There are people who have been in psychoanalysis for fifteen years. They have wasted fortunes on it – because psychoanalysis is the most highly paid profession. Fifteen years in psychoanalysis and all that has happened is that they have become addicted to psychoanalysis. Now they cannot remain without it. Rather than solving any problem, a new problem has arisen. Now it has become almost like a drug addiction. So when they get fed up with one psychoanalyst, they start with another. If they are not being psychoanalyzed, then they feel something is missing.
But it has not helped anybody. Even they accept that there is not a single man in the whole West who has been completely analyzed. But such is the blindness of people that they cannot see the simple point, why a single person is not there – when there are thousands of psychoanalysts analyzing people – who has been perfectly analyzed and who has gone beyond mind.
Analysis cannot take you beyond. The way beyond is awareness, the way beyond mind is meditation. It is a simple way and it has created thousands of enlightened people in the East. And they were not doing anything with the mind, they were doing something else: they were simply becoming aware, alert, conscious. They were using mind also as an object.
The way you see a tree, the way you see pillars, the way you see other people – they were trying to see the mind also as separate, and they succeeded. And the moment they succeeded in seeing the mind as separate, that was the death of the mind. In its place grows a clarity; intellect disappears, intelligence arises. One does not react anymore, one responds. Reaction is always based on your past experiences, and response is just like a mirror: you come in front of it and it responds, it shows your face. It does not carry any memory. The moment you have moved away, it is again pure, no reflection.
The meditator becomes finally a mirror. Any situation is reflected in him and he responds in the present moment, out of presence. Hence, his every response has a newness, a freshness, a clarity, a beauty, a grace. It is not some old idea that he is repeating. This is something to be understood, that no situation is ever exactly the same as any other situation that you have encountered before. So if you are reacting out of the past, you are not able to tackle the situation; you are lagging far behind.
That is the cause of your failure. You don’t see the situation, you are more concerned with your response; you are blind to the situation. The man of meditation is simply open with his eyes, available to see the situation and let the situation provoke the response in him. He is not carrying a ready-made answer to it.
A beautiful story about Gautam Buddha…. One morning a man asked him, “Is there a God?”
Buddha looked at the man, looked into his eyes and said, “No, there is no God.”
That very day in the afternoon another man asked, “What do you think about God? Is there a God?” Again he looked at the man and into his eyes and said, “Yes, there is a God.”
Ananda, who was with him, became very much puzzled, but he was always very careful not to interfere in anything. He had his time when everybody had left in the night and Buddha was going to sleep; if he had to ask anything, he would ask at that time.
But by the evening, as the sun was setting, a third man came with almost the same question, formulated differently. He said, “There are people who believe in God, there are people who don’t believe in God. I myself don’t know with whom I should stand. You help me.”
Ananda was very intensely listening now to what Buddha says. He had given two absolutely contradictory answers in the same day, and now the third opportunity has arisen – and there is no third answer. But Buddha gave him the third answer. He did not speak, he closed his eyes. It was a beautiful evening. The birds had settled in their trees – Buddha was staying in a mango grove – the sun had set, a cool breeze had started blowing. The man, seeing Buddha sitting with closed eyes, thought that perhaps this is his answer, so he also sat with closed eyes with him.
An hour passed, the man opened his eyes, touched the feet of Buddha and said, “Your compassion is great. You have given me the answer. I will always remain obliged to you.”
Ananda could not believe it, because Buddha had not spoken a single word. And as the man went away, perfectly satisfied and contented, Ananda asked Buddha, “This is too much! You should think of me – you will drive me mad. I am just on the verge of a nervous breakdown. To one man you say there is no God, to another man you say there is a God, and to the third you don’t answer. And that strange fellow says that he has received the answer and he is perfectly satisfied and obliged, and touches your feet. What is going on?”
Buddha said, “Ananda, the first thing you have to remember is, those were not your questions, those answers were not given to you. Why did you get unnecessarily concerned with other people’s problems? First solve your own problems.”
Ananda said, “That’s true, they were not my questions and the answers were not given to me. But what can I do? I have ears and I hear, and I have heard and I have seen, and now my whole being is puzzled – what is right?”
Buddha said, “Right? Right is awareness. The first man was a theist. He wanted my support – he already believed in God. He had come with an answer, ready-made, just to solicit my support so that he can go around and say, ‘I am right, even Buddha thinks so.’ I had to say no to him, just to disturb his belief, because belief is not knowing. The second man was an atheist. He had also come with a ready-made answer, that there is no God, and he wanted my support to strengthen his disbelief and so he can go on proclaiming around that I agree with him. I had to say to him, ‘Yes, God exists.’ But my purpose was the same.
“If you see my purpose, there is no contradiction. I was disturbing the first man’s preconceived belief; I was disturbing the second person’s preconceived disbelief. Belief is positive, disbelief is negative, but both are the same. Neither of them was a knower and neither of them was a humble seeker; they were already carrying a prejudice.
“The third man was a seeker. He had no prejudice, he had opened his heart. He told me, ‘There are people who believe, there are people who don’t believe. I myself don’t know whether God exists or not. Help me.’ And the only help I could give was to teach him a lesson of silent awareness; words were useless. And as I closed my eyes he understood the hint. He was a man of certain intelligence – open, vulnerable. He closed his eyes.
“As I moved deeper into silence, as he became part of the field of my silence and my presence, he started moving into silence, moving into awareness. When one hour had passed, it seemed as if only a few minutes had passed. He had not received any answer in words, but he had received the authentic answer in silence: don’t be bothered about God; it does not matter whether God exists or does not exist. What matters is whether silence exists, awareness exists or not. If you are silent and aware, you yourself are a god. God is not something far away from you; either you are a mind or you are a god. In silence and awareness mind melts and disappears and reveals your divineness to you. Although I have not said anything to him, he has received the answer, and received it in a perfectly right way.”
Awareness brings you to a point where you are able to see with your own eyes the ultimate reality of yourself and the universe … and a miraculous experience that you and the universe are not separate, that you are part of the whole. To me this is the only meaning of holy.
You have been trained for analysis, for understanding, for intellectual gymnastics. Those things are not going to help anybody; they have never helped anybody. That’s why the West lacks one most precious dimension – that of enlightenment, awakening. All its richness is nothing in comparison to the richness that comes from enlightenment, from achieving the state of no-mind.
So don’t get entangled with the mind; rather become a watcher by the side of the road and let the mind pass on the road. Soon the road will be empty. The mind lives as a parasite. You are identified with it; that is its life. Your awareness cuts the connection, it becomes its death.
The ancient scriptures of the East say that the master is a death – a very strange statement, but of immense meaning. The master is a death because meditation is the death of the mind; meditation is the death of the ego. Meditation is the death of your personality and the birth and the resurrection of your essential being. And to know that essential being is to know all.
Becky Goldberg phoned down to the hotel manager. “I am up here in room five hundred and ten,” she shouted angrily, and I want you to know there is a man walking around the room across the way stark naked, and his blinds are up.”
“I will be up right away,” said the manager. He entered Becky’s room, peered through the window and said, “You are right Madam, the man does appear to be naked. But his window still covers him from the waist down, no matter where he is in the room.”
“Ah, yes,” yelled Becky. “Just stand on the bed, just stand on the bed!”
Mind is a strange fellow. Where there is no problem, it creates a problem. Why should you stand on the bed? Just to find that somebody is naked in his room? One has to be aware of all these stupidities of the mind. I don’t agree with the theory of evolution of Charles Darwin, but I have a certain respect for the theory, because it may not be historically true that the monkeys became men, but it is certainly psychologically true – because man’s mind is just like a monkey … stupid in every way.
There is no point in digging deep into the rubbish of the mind. It is not your being, it is not you; it is just the dust that you have gathered through many, many lives around you.
A young woman went to the doctor, afraid that she had gangrene because of two small spots, one on each of her thighs. The doctor examined her carefully and then told her it was not gangrene and she had nothing to worry about. “But by the way,” he asked the girl as she was leaving, “is your boyfriend a gypsy?” “Yes,” replied the girl, “as a matter of fact he is.”
“Well,” said the doctor, “tell him that his earrings are not gold.”
These are mind’s functionings. It is a great discoverer.
The old definition of a philosopher is that he is blind in a dark night, in a dark house where there is no light, and he is searching for a black cat which is not there. But this is not all: he finds her! And he writes great treatises, theses, systems, proves logically the existence of the black cat.
Beware of the mind: it is blind. It has never known anything but it is a great pretender. It pretends to know everything.
Socrates has categorized humanity into two classes. One class he calls the knowledgeably ignorant: the people who think they know and they are basically ignorant; that is the work of the mind. And the second category he calls the ignorant knowers: the people who think, “We don’t know.” In their humbleness, in their innocence, descends knowing.
So there are pretenders of knowledge – that is the function of the mind – and there are humble people who say, “We don’t know.” In their innocence there is knowledge, and that is the work of meditation and awareness.
Copyright© OSHO International Foundation
From The New Dawn, Discourse #18