Taking Back from the Robot – Osho

Man is always in a state of becoming. Man is not a being but a process of becoming. Hence there is so much misery, anxiety, anguish. Animals are, trees are, mountains are, God also is – man is not. Man is an effort to be.

Trees are not trying to be, they simply are. God also is not trying to be, he is one with isness. Man is just in between the two – of course tense, pulled apart, torn apart. A part of his being wants to become one with the animals, another part of his being wants to rise high into the sky and become God.

Man remains in this tug-of-war.

Walt Whitman says: “There have been many moments in my life when I had the desire to become an animal again, because they are so free of desire, so free of anguish, so free of competition, so free of ambition.”

Look into the eyes of a cow, or into the eyes of a cat or a dog – all seems to be so quiet and silent. As if this moment is all! But look into the mind of man and you will find a maniac. And not one but a crowd, not one but the whole madhouse inside. So many madmen shouting, desiring, asking and asking. And the desires are contradictory. If you fulfill one, necessarily the other becomes impossible to fulfill. If you fulfill the other, then something else becomes the problem.

You cannot satisfy man! There is no communication between his parts. One hand wants to do one thing; another hand may want to destroy it. A part of you is constantly hankering for the past that is lost; another part is striving to reach to the future. How can you be at ease? How can you be at home?

Listen sometimes to what goes on inside your mind.

Just the other night I was reading a passage from Ionesco’s play, The Bald Soprano:

Two couples – the Smiths and the Martins – sit in a room engaging in small talk which does not communicate. A weird clock on the wall which strikes at any time does not communicate either.

At one point in the play, the four characters angrily shout meaningless insults at each other:

“Cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos…. Such coca, such coca, such coca…. Such-cascades of cacao, such cascades of cacao, such cascades of cacao…. ”

When the Martins fall into bored slumber, the maid addresses the audience: “Elizabeth is not Elizabeth, Donald is not Donald. It is in vain that he thinks he is Donald. It is in vain that she thinks she is Elizabeth. But who is the true Donald? and who is the true Elizabeth? Who has any interest in prolonging the confusion?”

Ionesco is telling us in this play that loss of self is the loss of communication, and the loss of communication is the loss of self.

Have you watched inside yourself what goes on? No communication! Between one fragment of your being and another fragment of your being. What to say about communion? There is no communication even. You are not one: you are a multiplicity. And you are a multiplicity because of the multiplicity of desires. You want to become so many things.

In the first place, the moment you want to become something you are losing your being. In the clouds of becoming, the being is lost. The moment you start thinking in terms of what to become, you are no more aware of who you are. When becoming is dropped, energy turns back upon itself.

That’s what Jesus calls conversion – returning to the source. That’s what Patanjali calls pratyahar – coming back to oneself. That is what Mahavir calls pratikraman – turning back to one’s own being.

We are all rushing – rushing for somewhere there in the future. We are all rushing so fast because life is short and time is fleeting. And we go on rushing, and where do we reach? We reach only our graves. Nothing ever is fulfilled, because those desires are by their very nature unfulfillable.

Try to understand the nature of desire. That is the only deception there is, the only mirage, the only illusion. If one understands what desire is, one becomes a Buddha. Seeing the futility of desire, desire is no more valid for you. That dimension simply disappears. Becoming aware that no desire is ever fulfilled, cannot be fulfilled by its very nature, it is intrinsically unfulfillable, you need not then renounce it.

Those who renounce have not understood. Those who have understood, they don’t renounce – there is nothing to renounce! Simply, the desire is no more relevant. It slips out of your hands – not that you renounce it. It simply becomes utterly meaningless. In that very understanding you are free of it.

The whole work of sannyas is to understand the nature of desire. What is the nature of desire?

First thing: it always hankers for that which is not. Now, look into it, meditate over it. This is the very nature of desire: asking for that which is not. How can it be fulfilled? When you have it, your desire will have moved away.

You see a beautiful house, and you desire it and you long for it end you dream about it, and you work hard for years. And then one day the house is yours. But you are surprised, a revelation: the moment the house is yours, the desire is no more there for it. It has already moved. It is never in the present. It can only be in the future. Future is its space, its soil; it grows there. Present is not its soil. In the present it dies – immediately dies. So when the house is yours, and you have moved into the house, suddenly you are surprised: where are those beautiful dreams that you have been dreaming about the house? House is yours, but where are those dreams? They have flown away.

The English poet, Byron, was in love with a woman. He was in love with many women, it is said near about sixty women – and he didn’t live long. And to each woman he was saying, “Without you I cannot live.” And he was deceiving. And the deception may not have been conscious, because he was a good man. It may have been unconscious. He may not have been doing it on purpose, but it was happening. Whenever he became interested in a woman, the whole world would disappear. That woman would be his target.

And he was a beautiful man, talented, a genius. And women are always interested in people who have some kind of talent, some kind of genius. Women are always interested not in the physical beauty as much as in something inner. And Byron had it! that magic touch, that magnetism. So it was very easy for any woman to fall in love with him. But the love would not last for a few days, at the most for a few weeks, and Byron would move to somebody else.

When he fell in love with one woman, she was very, very insistent: “Unless you get married to me I am not interested. You say you are ready to die for me – I don’t want you to die for me. I simply want you to get married to me.”

Now, that was a bigger demand. It is very easy to die – it is so poetic, so romantic – but to live with a woman and to get married is so unpoetic, so unromantic, so utterly meaningless. Byron tried to avoid and avoid, but the woman was also very clever. She had learnt many stories about Byron, that this was happening: “Within weeks, within days, his interest simply disappears. He starts looking at the woman as if he has not known her at all, as if she does not exist.”

The more the woman avoided Byron, the more he became infatuated. That is the nature of desire. The more the woman looked unapproachable, the more mad he was. The more the woman created hindrances, the more he was bent upon it to get her. He was ready to do anything – even marriage. They got married.

The day they got married… Byron and his wife are coming down the steps of the church, the wedding bells are still ringing, guests are still in the church, coming out, Byron is holding the hand of the woman for whom for months he has been dreaming and has not been able to sleep, has not been able to think of anything else. She has been for these few months his whole life.

And suddenly he saw another woman pass by… and for a moment he forgot the woman to whom he had just got married. His hand slipped out of the hand of the woman. The woman saw what was happening. Those eyes were focused on the movement of some other woman, and she asked Byron, “What are you doing?”

And Byron said, “I am sorry, but I have to be true to you. When I saw this woman, my whole energy moved towards her. I forgot about you, completely. It is not conscious that I have taken my hand out of your hand. You ceased to exist in that moment. And I know I was mad after you, but the moment we were married something disappeared. The oasis is no more an oasis. You are an ordinary woman.”

And you will see this happening to you again and again, if you are alert. You strive for a certain thing – and you get it one day! But all joy is in the waiting, dreaming, fantasizing. When you get it, it is finished – because desire cannot live in the present. Desire cannot live with that which is available to you, which is yours. Desire lives only in that emptiness….

Whatsoever you have is never an object of desire – how can it be? What you don’t have is the object of desire. So whenever you have it, the moment you have it, it ceases to be an object of desire. This is the intrinsic nature of desire. Hence desire just drives you and drives you… to no point! It is a vicious circle. You go on moving, much movement… Much ado about nothing!

A Tale Told by an Idiot of Fury and Noise Signifying Nothing – that’s what desire is.

But that is where man is caught. Man is not caught in the world. Don’t renounce the world. The world has nothing to do with it. There are thousands of people who have renounced the world without understanding the nature of desire – they remain the same. They can move to the Himalayas or to a monastery – Catholic, Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan – they can go to Tibet, but nothing is going to happen.

In fact, this is again another game of the desire. Now, they are not desiring the things of the world – they are desiring things of the beyond. Now they desire God, they desire paradise, they desire heaven, they desire Nirvana, enlightenment. But they go on desiring! And desire is the problem, not what you desire. The object is irrelevant. Desire can live with any object. It can live with money, it can live with power, prestige, respectability; it can live with God, it can live with enlightenment. Any object will do.

If you don’t understand desire you will go on changing your objects of desire. And the desire will continue the same. And you will be in the grip of it.

This is a very unconscious state. You are suffering from desire, but you think you are suffering from things. People think they are suffering from their wives, from their husbands, children, society, people. No, not at all. You are suffering only from one thing: desire.

Come to the root cause of it, and try to understand the root cause. And my emphasis is on understanding. I am not saying do something about it. I am not saying don’t desire – no, not at all. I will be the last person to say don’t desire. I am saying something totally different: Look into desire. Meditate on desire. Go deep into it. See it as deeply as possible. Layer upon layer, penetrate into it. Penetrate to the very core of it.

In that very penetration there comes a renunciation which is not of your making. There comes a renunciation which is a gift. And because it comes out of understanding you need not cultivate it, you need not practice it. Its very coming is transforming. You go through a mutation.

Let this be your criterion forever: that that which you do is going to remain superficial – you are superficial, how can you do anything in depth? Your doing is not going to help. Your doing has been your undoing up to now. No more of it. Now change the emphasis. It is not a question of doing.

Sannyas is not a question of doing: it is a question of awareness, understanding, observation, witnessing. Witness desire.

Below man, there is no desire. There are no needs. They are momentary. The tiger is hungry, he searches for the prey. When he is not hungry, there is no desire.

One day, a tiger and a hare entered into a restaurant. And the tiger asked for Coca-Cola. The waiter asked the hare, “What would you like? And your friend has asked only for Coca-Cola – is he not hungry?”

The hare said, “What are you asking? If he was hungry, should I be here? He would have breakfasted long before. He is not hungry – that’s why I am with him.”

If a tiger is hungry, he eats! But when he is not hungry, he does not hoard. He never thinks of the future. Tomorrow does not exist for him. When the spring comes, trees bloom; they don’t prepare for it, they don’t fantasize about it, they don’t have great desires of blooming. They don’t go through rehearsals; they don’t cultivate. They don’t do yoga. When spring comes they bloom! It is simple, it is spontaneous. It is not out of desire – hence the beauty of nature, hence the immense silence of nature. There is no desire. The desire has not entered yet. It cannot enter, because for desire to enter a little bit of conscious-ness is needed – otherwise, how will you think of tomorrow? How will you think of death How will you think of beyond? How will you plan for the future?

A little consciousness is needed – but only a little, because we have seen Buddhas who are fully conscious: again desire disappears. A Buddha again lives spontaneously, like a tree, like a rock, like a river. Of course, there is a great difference the difference is that the Buddha is conscious and the tree is unconscious. But there is a great similarity too: both are utterly in the moment.

Buddha is in the moment because he is fully conscious; the tree is in the moment because it is fully unconscious. One thing is similar, that both are non-dual, a single phenomenon. Buddha is pure consciousness – consciousness and only consciousness. Chinmatram – just consciousness. There is no duality involved in it. And the tree is unconscious – Achinmatram – just unconsciousness no duality involved, purity, one

When the dual comes, tension comes. With the dual, the tug-of-war. Man is dual. A part has become conscious, and the greater part has remained still unconscious. Man is like an iceberg – only the tip of the iceberg is conscious, one tenth. Nine tenths is underneath the water, unconscious. Between these two there is bound to be conflict, a civil war.

Man is a constant civil war. The conscious says, “Do this,” the unconscious says, “Do that.” They are totally different phenomena. They can’t understand each other. There is no possibility of any communication. One says one thing, another says another thing. There has never been any communication between them.

Because of this split, man remains in a turmoil, and remains absolutely unconscious of who he is. If he listens to the conscious he is one thing. If he listens to the unconscious he is totally another. That’s why man is divided in many ways. Not only psychologically – biologically, physiologically man has divided himself. The upper part of the body seems to be higher; the lower part seems to be lower – not just lower, but low in an evaluating sense. You are identified with the upper part of the body; you are not identified with the lower part of the body. The lower seems animal. And you are constantly repressing it.

Because of these repressions, there has arisen a China Wall and you are not one. And without being one, there is no possibility of peace.

The animals are in peace, in utter peace. The Buddha is in peace. Man? Man is just in misery.

Sometimes man decides, as Walt Whitman says, just to become an animal. That’s why there is so much attraction in drugs: they help you for a moment to lose your consciousness. You are again one. It may be alcohol or it may be modern drugs, but they give you a release – a release from the tense life. You relax, you become calm. Suddenly you are one again. And life seems to be no more a continuous fight in which failure is absolutely certain.

When you are drunk, you can dance again, sing again, be loving again. There is no more competition, no more politics. But how long can you remain in a drugged state? You have to come out of it. It cannot become a permanent state. And when you come back, those worries those anxieties, are waiting for you – and they jump upon you with a vengeance. Then it becomes a vicious thing: when you become too tired of the worries, you fall into a drugged coma; and then you come again and the worries are there – they have grown meanwhile. When you were fast asleep in the coma, they were growing, they were multiplying. They don’t wait for you. When you come back they are there to be taken care of.

Man constantly wants to fall back but cannot. All his efforts, at the most, can succeed for a few moments. But this is easier – to fall back. It is always easier because it is downhill. The other way to be blissful is to become a Buddha, but that is an uphill task; one has to grow, grow in consciousness. That is the only growth, remember! To grow in consciousness is the only growth. To transform your dark continent inside into an eternal light, to fill your whole being with light and awareness – that’s what growth is.

Just watch your life, how conscious you are. You will be surprised – it is negligible, it is almost zero. It is very fragile, your consciousness. It is not even skin-deep. Somebody insults you and the consciousness is gone, and you are boiling with anger, mad. Somebody praises you, and the consciousness is gone, and you are puffed up and your ego becomes huge. Just small things!

Just two persons standing by the road when you pass by start laughing, and you are hurt. They may not be laughing at you – there are millions of things to laugh at. You are not the only person to laugh at. They start whispering something, and you start thinking they must be whispering against you, otherwise why should they whisper? Why can’t they talk loudly? And suspicion has arisen. And you are in a turmoil? What is your consciousness?

Rena went into the City Clerk’s office to report the birth of her sixth child.

“But, miss, this is your sixth child by the same father,” said the clerk. “Why don’t you marry him?”

“Are you jivin’?” replied Rena. “I don’t even like the sonuvabitch!”

Then why do you go on making love to this man? But you should not ask the question. People go on doing a thousand and one things, not knowing why they are doing them, for what. They are simply doing them because they have nothing else to do; they are simply doing them to keep themselves occupied.

A man was getting married, and his friends asked him, “How come? Because you were introduced to this woman only two, three days ago. Have you fallen in love or something?”

And he said, “Nothing of the kind! We were dancing in the club and after a few minutes I could not find what to say to her, so I proposed.”

You can laugh at it, but think of your own proposals… were they out of your consciousness, or just because you couldn’t find anything else to say? And one has to say something. Just think: when you talk with a friend or your wife or your husband, are you really talking, or is it just that one has to say something? Silence seems so embarrassing.

And just because something has to be said, you say it, and then it creates trouble. Ninety-nine percent of your troubles will disappear if you stop talking too much.

I have heard:

A hunter went into the jungle. He found there a skull. He was just sitting by the side of the skull, underneath the tree – he was tired and exhausted. Nothing else to do, and there being nobody else he just said “Hello!” to the skull – just by the way.

But he was surprised: the skull said “Hello!” He was shocked too. He said, “Can you talk?”

The skull said, “Yes!”

And the man asked, “What brought you here, to this situation?” The skull said, “Talking, too much talking.”

He was scared. He ran away from the place. He could not believe it. He immediately went to the king, because this was a miraculous phenomenon. And he told the king, “Something one will not believe I have seen, I have heard with my own ears a skull talking! I said ‘Hello!’ because there was nothing else to do and there was nobody else either. Just the skull was lying by the side of the tree. I never thought… but the skull said ‘Hello!’”

He was still trembling.

“And I asked the skull, and she answers! She says, ’Yes.’ She can talk.”

The king said, “You must be joking.”

He said, “No! I bet!”

The king said, “Okay, I will come.”

And the whole court followed, and the king went there, and of course the skull was there, and the man went close to the skull and said, “Hello!” And she didn’t reply. He said, “HELLO!” loudly, and the skull remained silent. He said, “What has happened to you?” But no answer.

And the king said, “I knew it before. Either you are a madman or you have some deceptions in your mind. Cut this man’s head!”

The head was cut and thrown there, and the king returned. When the king returned, the skull said to the head “Hello!”

He said, “You fool! Why didn’t you speak THAT time?”

And the skull asked, “What brought you here?”

And the head said, “Too much talking.”

Ninety-nine percent of your problems will disappear if you don’t talk too much. But what else to do? Life is so empty! One fills it somehow, patches it, stuffs it, makes it look as if it is full. Desires help you infinitely. They keep you on the go. They make you feel that something is happening or is going to happen. They keep you hoping. They keep you on the move; otherwise, how will you move? How you will live? But all those desires are unconscious. You don’t know from where they come, how they take possession of you, where their source is.

Armstrong was brought into court for non-support by his wife.

‘Young man,” said the judge, “your wife says you have twelve children and you don’t support them. How can a man who doesn’t support his family want to have so many children?”

“Your Honor,” said Armstrong, “when I get that feel in’, I feel I could support the whole world.”

But from where does that feeling come? It comes from somewhere in your innermost core, but it is dark and you have never groped for it, from where it comes. The only thing that a man has to do to get out of the misery that is created by the unconscious and the problems that are created by the unconscious is one, the only one key: become more conscious.

What do I mean when I say become more conscious? De-automatize your habits. Remember this: de-automatize your habits. You are walking, it is an automatic habit; you need not be aware of it. But bring awareness to yourself. Walk fully conscious.

Buddha says: When you stand up, stand up consciously; when you sit down, sit down consciously. When you say some-thing, say it very consciously. When you listen to something, listen consciously. When you are eating, eat consciously.

It happened once:

Buddha was not yet enlightened, was coming closer and closer and closer. Maybe ninety-nine percent of his being was almost light; only one percent remained dark. He was just on the verge of enlightenment. It was just a few days before he became enlightened that this incident happened.

They were moving – he had five disciples with him. A fly came and sat on his forehead. Just out of unconscious habit, he waved his hand, the fly went away, but he stopped himself in the middle of the road with the five disciples watching what happened. Now, there was a fly, but he took his hands again, very consciously, slowly, waved at the fly – which was not there!

The disciples were puzzled, they said, “What are you doing? The fly is gone! When you first waved your hand, the fly went away. What are you doing now?”

Buddha said, “I did it unconsciously. It is automatic. It was robot like. Now I am doing as I should have done. The fly is not there – that is not the point – but now I am doing as I should have done. Consciously I move my hand, slowly, with full awareness, attentiveness. My mind is nowhere else. My total mind is focused on this simple act – the hand is moving, and then I wave, with great compassion for the fly.

“The first time, I was walking, I was looking around, and the fly came. And the robot part of my body worked, but I was not in it.”

That’s what happens when you have learned something. If you start learning to drive, in the beginning you have to be very alert – alert about many things: the wheel, and the accelerator, and the brake and the clutch, and the people on the road. You have to be conscious of all these things. Slowly, slowly, once you have learnt to drive, you need not think of anything at all. Everything has become automatized. Now you can sing a song, smoke a cigarette, listen to the radio, talk to the friend – you can do anything! Now, that part, the driving part, needs no attention, your attention is free.

This is a necessity of life; otherwise you will not be able to do many things. So whatsoever you have learned is always transferred to the robot. Then the robot does it and you are free to learn something else. This is perfectly okay in ordinary life, but, slowly, slowly, the robot becomes bigger and bigger. And your tiny consciousness remains tiny.

The work that one has to do upon oneself consists in taking back from the robot, de-automatizing processes. And you will be surprised: if you de-automatize any process, great awareness is released.

Just walk consciously for half an hour, and you will be surprised how quiet, how peaceful and serene you look and you feel. Just sitting in your chair, watch your in-going, out-going breath, silently – the breath goes in, and you know, you watch, it is going in. Each step of the breath: it has touched your nostrils, the inner side of the nose, it is moving, it has touched your throat, it has moved, it has gone deep into your lungs; you can feel the belly coming up. And then you feel for a moment it has stopped. No movement. And then the return journey: the belly falls back, the air is going out; again you feel the same route. It leaves your nostrils… and again a moment’s gap. And then again new fresh air moves in.

If you simply watch such a simple process, you will be surprised: one hour’s watching of breath will bring you so much silence and so much alertness, as you have never felt in your life. And that makes a difference. That is the difference that makes the difference, that transforms your whole life, slowly, slowly. Then you can change everything: eating, walking, breathing – even making love can become a very, very conscious, alert phenomenon.

And then from everywhere, consciousness goes on pouring in. And, slowly, slowly, the balance changes: you become more conscious than you are unconscious. Then you start leaning towards God, farther and farther away you start moving from the animals. When a man is really conscious, all desires disappear just as dewdrops disappear when in the morning the sun rises.

Desires have not to be dropped; they have also to be used to grow in consciousness.

-Osho

From The Perfect Master, V.1, Chapter Seven

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

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