Last night you said that desires move between the dead past and the imaginary future. Please explain how and why this dead past proves so dynamic and powerful that it compels a person to flow into the process of endless desire. How can one be free from this dynamic past, the unconscious and the collective unconscious?
The past is not dynamic at all: it is totally dead. But still it has a weight – a dead weight. That dead weight works; it is not dynamic at all. Why the dead weight works has to be understood.
The past is so forceful because it is the known, the experienced, and mind always feels fearful of the unknown, the unexperienced. And how can you desire the unknown? You cannot desire the unknown. Only the known can be desired. So desires are always repetitious. They repeat, they are circular. You always move in the same pattern, in the same circle. The mind becomes just a groove of repetitions, and the more you repeat a particular thing, the more weighty it becomes, because the groove goes deep.
So the past is important not because it is dynamic; it forces you to do something and to desire not because it is forceful, powerful, alive – but only because it is a dead groove. And the past has been repeated so many times that to repeat it has become easy and automatic. The more you repeat a particular thing the more convenient and easier it becomes. The basic convenience is this: that if you are repeating a thing, you need not be aware.
Awareness is the most inconvenient thing. If you are repeating a particular thing, then you need not be aware. You can be just deep asleep, and the thing can be repeated automatically, mechanically. So it is convenient to repeat the past because you need not be aware. You can go on sleeping, and the mind will repeat itself.
That’s why those who say that desirelessness is the state of bliss also say that desirelessness is synonymous with awareness. You cannot be desireless unless you are totally aware. Or, if you are aware you will find that you are desireless, because desires can have a repetitive force upon the mind only when you are not aware. So the more asleep the mind is, the more repetitive and the more mechanical. So the past has the grip only because it is a repetition – and because it is the known. How can you desire the unknown?
For the unknown there can be no desire. The unknown is inconceivable. That’s why, even when we begin to desire God, we are not desiring the unknown. By “God” we must mean something which I known. So go deep: what do you mean by “God”? – Particularly your God. What do you mean by it? You will find under the garb of “God” something known, something experienced.
It may be eternal pleasure. So the so-called religious persons go on saying, “Why are you wasting your life in desires which are momentary? Come to us! Here is the fulfillment; here is the possibility to achieve permanent, eternal pleasure.” The language can be understood. You know the momentary pleasure, so you can desire permanent pleasure – but under the garb of God there is pleasure.
You may be seeking God only because you are fearful of death. Then, under the garb of God, you are really asking for immortality, not to die ever, an eternal life. You know this life – that is your experience – now you want to make it eternal. So whenever we talk about God, the Divine, Liberation, mokhsa, don’t be deceived by the words because the words may be hiding something totally different. And they are hiding it – because how can you desire the unknown? How can you conceive of it? How can you ask for it?
Really, the phenomenon is quite different. When you are not in desire, the unknown comes to you – you cannot desire it. When you are desireless the unknown comes to you. You cannot desire it! The state of desirelessness is the opening for the unknown to come. You cannot desire it because the very desire will become the hindrance.
So mind goes on repeating; it is a mechanical thing. So the dynamism is not in the mind – mind is just a dead, mechanical thing – the dynamism is in your consciousness, and if your consciousness is identified with the mind then the dead mind becomes dynamic. The dynamism belongs to your energy; it is not part of your mind. You are the dynamism behind it. If you are identified with the mind, if you think that you are the mind, then the mind begins to be dynamic. If you are not identified with the mind, then the mind is just dead – just a dead weight, just a mechanical accumulation.
It is a long accumulation – millennia of evolution, many, many, many lives are accumulated there. It is not only that your mind belongs to this life – it belongs to life as such. It has evolved, so it has deep grooves. It is not only that you fall in love: your father and mother have fallen in love before you; their fathers and their mothers and theirs and theirs – they have all fallen in love. The mind has a deep groove of falling in love, so when you fall m love don’t be deceived that you are falling in love. The whole humanity is behind you; the whole humanity has made the groove. It is in your bones, it is in your cells, it is in your very metabolism. Every cell has a sex part in it, and every cell has a groove, and every cell has a mind, memory – long memories, beginningless memories. So if you are identified with this mind, it becomes a force – a dynamic force. You give the energy, but the dead machine begins to move. You pedal it.
So remember: energy belongs to you; dynamism belongs to you. Mind is a mechanical thing produced by millennia of evolution, but it has deep grooves. And if you are identified, then you will have to flow through those grooves. There is no escape then.
So the first thing is how not to identify, how to remember constantly that mind is one thing and you are something else. It is difficult, it is arduous – but it is possible. It is not impossible. And once, if you have even a moment’s glimpse of unidentified Existence, then you will never be the same again. Once you come to know that mind is not the force: “I am the force, the vitality comes from me,” if even for a single moment you have the glimpse of your mastery, then mind will never be master again. And only then can you move into the unknown.
Mind cannot move into the unknown: it is produced by the known. It is a product of the known, so it cannot move into the unknown. That’s why mind can never know what Truth is, what God is. Mind can never know what freedom is, mind can never know what life is – because intrinsically mind is dead. It is dead: dust accumulated through centuries and centuries – just dust, memory dust.
It seems that mind forces you. It doesn’t force you really; it only gives you the easiest grooves.
It supplies to you only the repeated routine tracks, and you fall victim to convenience – because to break a new route and to create a new track and to move in a new groove is very difficult and inconvenient. That is what is meant by tapa – austerity. If you begin to move in some new grooves which are created not by the mind but created by consciousness, then you are in tapascharya – in austerity. It is arduous.
Gurdjieff had many exercises. One exercise was to deny the mechanism sometimes. You are hungry: just deny and let your body suffer. You be just calm and quiet, and remember that the body is hungry. Don’t suppress it; don’t force it not to be hungry. It is hungry; you know. But at the same time say to it, “I am not going to fulfill this hunger today. Be hungry, suffer! Now, I am not going to move today in this supplied groove. I will remain aloof.”
And, suddenly, if you can do this, you begin to feel a gap. The body is hungry, but somewhere there is a distance between you and it. If you try to occupy your mind, then you have missed the point. If you go to the temple and begin to do kirtan and singing just to forget the hunger, then you have missed the point. Let the body be hungry. Don’t occupy your mind to escape from hunger. Remain hungry, but just tell the body, “Today I am not going to fall in the trap.” You remain hungry, you suffer.
There are persons who are doing fasting, but meaninglessly because whenever they fast they try to occupy the mind so that the hunger should not be known and should not be felt. If the hunger is not felt, the whole point is missed! Then you are playing tricks. Let the hunger be there in its totality, in its intensity. Let it be there; don’t escape from it. Let the fact of it be there, present, and remain aloof and tell the body, “Today I am not going to give you anything.” There is neither conflict nor suppression nor any escape.
If you can do this, then suddenly you become aware of a gap. Your mind asks for something. For example, someone has become angry. He is angry with you, and the mind begins to react, to be angry. Just tell the mind, “I am not going to fall in the trap this time.” Be aloof. Let the anger be there in the mind, but be aloof. Don’t cooperate, don’t be identified, and you will feel that anger is somewhere else. It surrounds you, but it is not in you, it doesn’t belong to you. It is just like smoke around you. It goes on, goes on, and waits for you to come and cooperate.
There will be every temptation. This is what is really meant by temptation. Mm? – no devil is there to tempt you. Your own mind tempts you, because that’s the most convenient way to be and to behave. Convenience is the temptation; convenience is the devil. The mind will say, “Be angry!” The situation is there and the mechanism is just on. Always, whenever this situation was there, you have been angry, so the mind supplies you again with the same reaction.
As far as it goes it is good because mind makes you ready to do something you have always been doing; but sometimes just stand off, off the track, and tell the mind, “Okay, anger is there outside. Someone is angry with me. You are supplying, me with an old reaction, a stereotyped reaction, but this time I am not going to cooperate. I will just stand here and observe and see what happens.” Suddenly the whole situation changes.
If you don’t cooperate the mind falls dead, because it is your cooperation which gives it dynamism, energy. It is your energy, but you only become aware when it is used by the mind. Don’t give it any cooperation, and the mind will just fall down as if without a backbone – just a dead snake with no life. It will be there, and for the first time you will become aware of a certain energy in you which doesn’t belong to the mind but belongs to you.
This energy is pure energy, and with this energy one can move into the unknown. Really, this energy moves into the unknown if it is not associated with the mind. If it is associated with the mind, then it moves into the known. If it moves into the known, then it takes the shape of desire. If it moves into the unknown, then it takes the shape of desirelessness. Then there is sheer movement – a play of energy, a sheer dance of energy, an overflowing energy moving into the unknown.
Mind can only supply the known. If you can be detached from your mind, the energy will have to move, it cannot remain static. That is what is meant by energy: it has to move! Movement is its very life. Movement is not a quality of energy: movement is the very life! It is not that energy cannot be without movement – no! It is the very life, intrinsic.
Energy means movement, so it moves. If mind supplies its grooves, then it moves into the grooves. If there is no supply of grooves and if you have just put off the mind, then too it moves, but now the movement is into the uncharted. This movement is the play, the leela this movement is creative; this movement is spiritual. And it is desireless. It is not because there is some desire that you move. It is because you cannot do anything else but move: you are energy and movement. So see the difference.
When mind works, it works as a dead weight, a mechanical weight, through the past. It pushes you towards the future. Because the past is pushing towards the future, the past again projects its own desires. So first understand the repetitiveness of desires.
There are not so many desires. Really, there are very few. You go on repeating them. Just count how many desires you have. They are not many – very few! You will not even be able to find enough to count on your fingers. How many desires do you have? Very few! And, really, if you look deeply, you may even find that only one desire is there. There are modifications of it, but really only one desire, and the same desire is being repeated continuously. Life after life it is being repeated. You go on repeating and then it begins to seem, it begins to appear, that you are helpless, that the wheel is moving and you cannot do anything. It is not so. You are helpless only because you have forgotten totally that the energy by which the wheel is moving is given by you.
Because of the past, the future is just a repetition. It is the projected past. You again desire the same thing, and you go on again and again. That’s why I said that past and future are parts of mind, not parts of time. Time is just here and now, the present. If mind is not working, then energy will be here and now in the moment. It will move because it is energy, but now the movement will be into the unknown. The known is not there at all. Mind is not, so the known is not.
Someone asked Hui-Hai, “How did you achieve? How did you reach?”
Hui-Hai said, “When I became a no-mind, then I achieved, then I reached.”
We are minds. That means: tethered to the past. If we can become no-minds that means untethered to the past – then the moment is free, fresh, and energy moves – not for something but because it is energy. Remember the difference exactly: it moves not for something; it moves because it is energy.
A river is moving; ordinarily we think it is moving for the sea. How can it know? It is not moving for the sea. It is moving because it is energy. Ultimately, the sea happens to be there; that is another thing. So when you move into the unknown, ultimately you reach to the Divine. It happens to be there. If your movement is pure, you reach it.
The river goes on moving without knowing, without any map. The past cannot supply the map because the river is not going to move on the past tracks again, so every step is into the unknown. And where it is going, there is no way to know. It is not moving because of any desire; it is not moving for something. The future is unknown – just unknown, dark. It moves. Why does it move? It moves because it is energy.
A seed is moving, a tree is growing, stars are moving. Why do they move? Have they to reach somewhere? No! They move because they are energy; pure energy is moving. Because pure energy cannot do anything else, it moves. So when you become just pure energy, not mind but no-mind energy, you move; and then every step is just into the unknown. Then life becomes bliss, it becomes ecstatic, because the old is never repeated again. Never will the morning be the same again, never again this moment. Now it is a sensation, a thrill every time. This thrill creates Meera’s dance; this thrill creates Chaitanya’s singing with this thrill, every moment something new is bursting, exploding. A Buddha is never bored. He looks fresh.
Maulingputta came to Buddha. He was a very inquiring young man, a great scholar, one who knew all that can be known from scriptures, a great pundit. When he came to Buddha he began to ask many questions. The second day again he asked many questions. The third day again he asked many questions. Ananda, another disciple of Buddha’s, was just bored. He asked Buddha, “Are you not bored? He is repeating the same questions again and again.”
Buddha asked Ananda, “Has he repeated? Has he repeated a single question?”
Every moment is so new for a Buddha-conscious mind. For a Buddha-like mind, everything is so new, how can you repeat the old question again? Even the questioner does not remain the same. How can you ask the same question you asked yesterday? The Ganges has flowed so much, so how can you ask the same question again? You will never be the same again yourself.
And Buddha said, “Even if he is asking the same questions, he is not asking the same person. So how can I say he is repeating? He must have asked someone else. Yesterday where was l? The energy has moved.”
Someone was very angry, insulted Buddha; then felt sorry, and the next day came to ask Buddha’s forgiveness. Buddha was just bewildered, and he said, “You are a strange man! You insult one person and then you ask pardon from somebody else.”
The man said, “What are you saying? Am I strange, or are you? I came yesterday and insulted you. I felt very sorry and I couldn’t sleep.”
Buddha said, “That’s why you are still repeating. But I could sleep and now I am a different man. The river has gone on. It is not the same bank again, and I will never be the same so now you are in difficulty, because you cannot ask pardon of a man you will never meet. If I ever meet him I will tell him whatsoever you have said to me.”
This energy moves into the unknown. It is fresh, young, so a Buddha can never be old. The body, of course, will become old, but a Buddha can never be old. He will remain young. That’s why we have never pictured Ram, Krishna or Buddha as old. They became old, but we have no pictures of Krishna’s old age, of Ram’s old age, of Buddha’s old age, of Mahavir’s old age. We have no pictures!
It is not that they never became old – the body has to follow the common lot – but by not creating pictures of their old age we have just meant something more. Really, they were never old because they were so moving – so moving and so young. For such persons death is not an end. It is again a further movement. It is not an end at all.
So mind is not dynamic: mind is mechanical. It can become dynamic if you cooperate with it. Don’t cooperate with it! Remember your aloofness, create a distance. Be aware, and then the mind will be there but you will be outside.
The English word “ecstasy” is very beautiful and meaningful. You may not have even conceived of what this word means – “ecstasy”. It means to stand outside; the word means to stand outside. If you can stand outside of yourself, if you can be outside of yourself, you are in ecstasy. Someone has suggested that to translate “Samadhi” as ”ecstasy” is not good because the word “Samadhi” doesn’t mean to stand outside. Really, Samadhi means to stand inside. So someone has suggested a new word, he has coined a new word: instead of ecstasy he says it is better to translate Samadhi as “instasy” – to stand inside.
Really, these two words mean two different things, but in a certain way they mean the same. If you can stand out of your mind, then you will be able to stand in yourself. If you can stand outside yourself – the so-called self – then you will be, for the first time, inside. So ecstasy is “instasy”. Then you will be in your center.
If you are out of your mind, then you will be centered in yourself. So going out of the mind is going into consciousness. That’s why mind has to be understood as mechanical, as a mechanism, as accumulation, as the past. And once you feel it, you are out of it. But we go on, we continue to identify ourselves with it.
Whenever you say, “This is my thought,” you are identifying. Change the language, and sometimes it helps very much – if you can just change the language! Language has such a deep grip. Say, “This belongs to my past mind,” and feel the difference. When you say, “This is my thought,” you are identified. Say, “This belongs to my mind, my past mind,” and feel how only a change of language creates a distance.
For example, we say, “My mind is tense.” Then you are identified. We even say, “I am tense.” Then there is even more identification. When I say, “I am tense,” there is no gap. When I say, “My mind is tense,” there is a little gap. If I can say, “I am aware that the mind is tense,” then there is a greater gap, and the greater the gap, the less will be the tension.
When we say, “I am tense,” it looks as if someone else is responsible. So psychology suggests never to say “I am tense,” because subtly it makes someone else responsible. They say that rather than to say “I am tense,” one should say, “I am tensing.” Then the responsibility is yours.
So break the old habits of language, mind, thoughts, and then your energy will move. And once the mind is not there, you are free for the first time.
From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.1, Chapter Four
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