The Mind is the Watched – Osho

I have come to a dead end. I see the impotence of the mind and feel all action useless. Does the mind totally die only in samadhi? 

Please say something about mind and action in witnessing.

Vinod Bharti, you say, “I have come to a dead end”—but I don’t feel it so. Not yet, because when you really come to a dead end, a transformation immediately happens. You are coming closer to it; of that much I am certain. The dead end is not far away, but you have not come to it yet. Your whole question proves it.

You are coming closer, you are feeling intuitively that it is not far away—but it has not been reached yet. Still, there is hope. Still, deep down, you are dreaming that this is not going to be the dead end; hence the question arises.

You say, “I see the impotence of the mind….” You have not seen it yet, you only think you have. Seeing and thinking are totally different, but one can get mixed up very easily. Thinking can pretend to be seeing. You are not seeing the impotence of the mind; otherwise even this question would not arise. If the mind is really impotent, what can it ask? What can it think about? It simply falls from you, it withers away.

But the shadow is on you, and that’s a good sign. The day is not far away when you WILL see the impotence of the mind—and then immediately the transformation. Then, immediately, a sudden enlightening experience. All questions disappear; all answers disappear, because when the mind is seen, really seen as impotent, what is there to ask and what is there to find? The mind simply evaporates. Then life is left, pure life, unhindered, undistorted by the mind.

Then you will not say that you feel all action useless. If you see the impotence of the mind, the mind disappears but action becomes for the first time tremendously beautiful. There is no question of utility at all. Life has no utility in itself. What is the use of a rose flower?—but still it goes on growing, still it goes on opening, still it goes on releasing its fragrance. What is the use of it? What is the use of the sun rising every day? Is there any use for the sun itself? What is the use of the starry night?

The word “use” is part of the paraphernalia of the mind. Mind always thinks in terms of utility. The mind is a Jew; it always thinks in terms of purpose, profit, utility. When the mind disappears, action does not disappear, activity disappears—and there is a great difference between the two. Activity has utility; action is pure joy, pure beauty. You act not because something has to be achieved, you act because action is a dance, is a song. You act because you are so full of energy.

Have you watched a child running on the sea beach? You ask him, “Why are you running? What is the purpose of your running? What are you going to gain out of it?” Have you watched the child collecting seashells on the beach? You ask him, “What is the utility of it all? You can use your time in a more utilitarian way. Why waste your time?”

The child is not concerned about utility at all, he is enjoying his energy. He is so full of energy, so bubbling with energy that it is a sheer dance — any excuse will do. These are just excuses — seashells, pebbles, colored stones. These are just excuses — the sun, the beautiful beach…just excuses to run and to jump and to shout with joy. There is no utility at all. “Energy is delight” — that is a statement made by William Blake, one of the most mystical poets of the West. Energy IS delight. When there is great energy, what are you going to do with it? It is bound to explode.

Action comes out of energy, out of delight. Activity is businesslike. Action is poetry. Activity creates a bondage because it is result oriented: you are doing it not for its own sake, you are doing it for some goal. There is a motive, and then there is frustration. Out of a hundred cases, ninety-nine times you will not achieve the goal, so ninety-nine times you will be in misery, frustration. You did not enjoy the activity itself, you were waiting for the result. Now the result has come, and ninety-nine times out of a hundred there is frustration. And don’t hope for the remaining one percent, because when you achieve the goal, there is frustration also. The goal is achieved, but suddenly you realize that all the dreams you have been dreaming about the goal are not fulfilled.

You have achieved the money, but where is the joy that you have always been hoping for when the money was there? You have that great marble palace, but you are the same poor man — the same emptiness inside, the same hollowness. You used to live in a hut, now you start living in a palace — but the SAME person. You were miserable in the hut, and you will be even more miserable in the palace, because the palace has more space and of course when there is more space you will be more miserable. What else can you do with that space? All that you know is how to be miserable.

So you see poor people and you see rich people. The only difference is that the poor people are still hoping. There is hope; hence poor people are not so frustrated. Rich people have lost all their hopes; they are more frustrated. The poor person can still dream — he can still go on counting in his mind how great a bank balance he will have next year and the year after. Soon the day will come when he will be rich and he will have a car and a good house and a good wife, and the children will be going to good schools. But what can the rich man dream? All that he can dream about he has already, and nothing is happening out of it. The money is there, but he is as empty as ever.

There are two kinds of poor people: the poor poor and the rich poor. And remember, the second category is far worse.

Activity means there is a goal; activity is only a means to that end. Action means that the means and the end are together in it. That’s the difference between action and activity.

Vinod Bharti, activity will become useless, but then action arises and action has a totally different dimension. You act for the sheer joy of acting. For example, I am speaking to you — it is not activity, hence I am not concerned with the result at all. It is a pure act. I enjoy communicating with you, I enjoy communing with you. I am grateful to you that you allow me. If you don’t allow me, I will have to talk to the trees or to the rocks, or I will have to talk to myself! I am obliged to you; you need not be obliged to me. It is a pure act. There is something in me that wants to relate. There is no goal orientation — I am not expecting anything from you. If something happens, good; if nothing happens, even better! If you become enlightened, good; if you don’t become enlightened, far out! — for the simple reason that if you all become enlightened, who am I going to talk to? So please, delay your enlightenment as long as you can — this much of a favor you have to do for me! It is a simple act. No motive, no future in it — just the present.

Hence I am not trying to create a system of thought — I cannot, because to create a system of thought you have to be motivated. Then you have to link everything in a certain logical order. I can enjoy fragments.

When P. D. Ouspensky wrote his first book on Gurdjieff, he gave it the title In Search of the Miraculous. He was a man of a philosophic bent, a great mathematician, logician and philosopher.

When he showed the book to George Gurdjieff, his master, Gurdjieff just looked here and there for a few minutes and then he said, “Give it a subtitle too: Fragments of a Teaching.”

He was a little puzzled, because he had tried to make a whole system and Gurdjieff was suggesting an extra title. “The main title, In Search of the Miraculous,” Gurdjieff said, “is okay, but it needs the subtitle, Fragments of a Teaching — in fact, Fragments of an Unknown Teaching.”

Ouspensky asked, “Why?”

Gurdjieff said, “Because I cannot create a system of thought — these are all fragments.”

And you can see it happening here. You can collect all my thoughts, but they will be only fragments — fragments but not a system. To create a system, you need to be goal oriented. You have to follow a certain structure, and you have to go on like an arrow towards a target.

That is not possible either for a man like me or Gurdjieff. We cannot follow any goal. Our every act is complete in itself, entire in itself. It has no relationship with the past and no relationship with the future. It is total. If I die this very moment, there will be no desire in me even to have completed the sentence.

Action is an end unto itself; it has no utility. When the mind is seen to be impotent, the mind disappears. In that very seeing, the mind disappears. And, of course, with it all utilitarian activities will also disappear, because mind is the cause of goal orientation. It contains all your motives. It contains your past and the future; it does not contain the present at all. And when there is no mind, all that is left is pure present. You act moment to moment, and each moment is enough unto itself. Hence the beauty of the statements of Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, because each statement is in itself perfect, it needs nothing. You can take any statement from anywhere, and you can meditate over it and it will give you the taste of Tao, Dhamma — truth.

Buddha used to say again and again that the taste of the sea is the same. You can taste it from anywhere, from any shore — the taste is the same. This shore or that makes no difference. Each statement of a buddha has the taste of truth. But it is not concerned with utility….

Vinod Bharti, you are feeling in an intuitive way that something is coming closer of which you are afraid: “the dead end.” Everybody becomes afraid, and out of fear the question has arisen. You ask, “I have come to a dead end. I see the impotence of the mind and feel all action useless. Does the mind totally die only in samadhi?”

Just the reverse is the case: when the mind dies totally, what is left is samadhi. So I cannot say that the mind dies totally only in samadhi; that will be putting things upside down. The mind dies first, and then what is left is called samadhi. That state of no-mind is called samadhi.

But the death of the mind frightens, scares one. That’s what you are feeling: the shadow of death. It is not YOUR death, it is the death of the mind which is not you. But for many lives we have lived identified with the mind, so when the death of the mind comes closer it feels as if WE are going to die. It is not a dead end for YOU, it is certainly a dead end for the mind. That too has not come yet, but the mind is freaking out, because once it has come, then there is no way out for the mind. If it can escape just before the dead end, then there is a possibility of surviving…hence the question.

You say: “Please say something about mind and action in witnessing.” In witnessing, mind remains only as a biocomputer, a mechanism, but separate from you; you are no longer identified with it. When you want any memory you can use the mind just as you can put on your tape recorder. Mind is really a tape recorder. But it is not continuously on, not twenty-four hours on. When needed, the witness, the man of meditation, the man of awareness, is capable of putting the mind on or off. He puts it on when there is some need.

If I am talking to you, I have to put the mind on; otherwise language will not be possible. No-mind is silent; there is no language; only mind can supply the language. I have to use the mind to relate with your mind; that’s the only way to relate with your mind, so I put it on.

When I go back and sit in the car, I put it off. Before Heeren turns the ignition on, I turn MY ignition off! In my room I don’t need my mind. When my secretary comes with the letters, or with some work, I say to her, “Hello!” And inside I say, “Hello, mind. My secretary has come!” Otherwise there is no need for the mind.

When you are witnessing, the mind remains, but not constantly working. Your identity is broken. You are the watcher; the mind is the watched. It is a beautiful mechanism, one of the most beautiful mechanisms that nature has given to you. So you can use it when needed for factual memory — for phone numbers, for addresses, for names, for faces…. It is a good tool, but that’s all it is. It need not sit upon you continuously twenty-four hours a day. Even while you are sleeping, it is sitting on your chest torturing you, giving you nightmares. All kinds of relevant and irrelevant thoughts go on and on.

It does two harms. One: you lose your purity of witnessing, you don’t remain a mirror. Your mirror becomes so covered with the dust of thoughts that you start becoming closed to existence, you cannot reflect existence. The full moon is there, but your mirror does not reflect it. How many people are there who see the full moon? Even if they see it, they don’t SEE — their seeing is not of any value. They don’t rejoice, they don’t dance. How many people are there who see the flowers? Just now the birds are singing, but how many people are there who are aware of the birds and the wind passing through the trees?

When the mind is no longer hovering over you continuously, you become aware of infinite beauty, of truth, of the celebration that goes on and on in existence. But the mind is there, put aside — you can put it on when needed.

And when activity ceases, action is born. Action means response; activity means reaction. When you are in action, it means the mind is put aside and your consciousness is in a direct contact with existence; hence the response is immediate. Then whatsoever you do is not ready-made. It is not a ready-made answer given by the mind; you are responding to the reality as it is. Then there is beauty, because your action is true to the situation.

But millions of people in the world are simply living through ready-made answers. They are already carrying the answer; they don’t listen, they don’t see the situation confronting them. They are more interested in the answer that they are carrying within themselves than in the question itself, and they go on living their answer again and again. That’s why their life becomes a boredom, a repetitive boredom, a drag. It is no longer a dance, it cannot be a dance.

Action is a dance; activity is a drag. Activity is always untrue to the situation; action is always true to the situation. And activity is always inadequate because it carries an answer from the past, and life goes on changing every moment, so whatsoever you bring from the past is never adequate, it always falls short. So whatsoever you do, there is frustration; you feel that you have not been able to cope with reality. You always feel something is missing, you always feel your reaction was not exactly as it should have been. And the reason is that you have simply repeated, parrot-like, a ready-made answer, cheap but untrue – untrue because the situation is new.

Vinod Bharti, the mind will be there but with a new status, with a new functioning. It will be under your control: you will be the master, not the mind. You will use it when it is needed; you will not use it when it is not needed. It cannot insist that you have to listen to it, that you have to go on listening to it. Even if you are sleeping, it goes on knocking on your doors; it does not allow you even to have a beautiful sleep.

The second loss is that because the mind is working twenty-four hours a day, from the cradle to the grave, it becomes mediocre, it becomes stupid. It never has enough energy, it becomes very weak; hence the impotence. If the mind has time to rest, it will again become rejuvenated, it will again be fresh.

The mind of a buddha is always fresh, it is always young. It is always responding with such freshness, with such newness that it seems unbelievable. Your questions may be the same, but the answers of a buddha always have a new nuance to them, a new flavor, a new fragrance. You can go on listening to the Buddha for years, and still you will remain enchanted. Even if he repeats something it is never the same — the context is different, the color is different, the meaning is different.

The mind will be there, more alive, more potent, more restful, younger, fresher — not your master but a good servant, an obedient servant. Activity will disappear totally; there will arise action.

Action means there is no goal to it. Just as the poets say “poetry for poetry’s sake” or “art for art’s sake,” the same is the situation with the mystic. His action is for action’s sake; there is no other goal to it. He enjoys it just like a small child, innocently he enjoys it.

Vinod Bharti, witnessing is the miracle that changes everything in your life. Then the dead end is only a new beginning, a death and a birth — the death of the old, a total death; a discontinuity with the old, and the arrival of something absolutely unknown, the arrival of the new. It is a resurrection — a crucifixion and a resurrection. But the resurrection is possible only after crucifixion.

The dead end is going to come, but it is the beginning also. And you will see the beginning immediately, when the dead end has come. If you are just thinking about it, that it is coming, it is coming…the mind can even say, “It has come — beware, escape! While there is time, run away!” Then you will miss the other side of it. You will see only the cross, you will miss the resurrection.

You are thinking the mind is impotent. Your thinking is on the right track, but thinking will not help, seeing is needed. Become a witness so that you can see that the mind is impotent. Feel that activities are useless, but not action. Action continues. Buddha lived for forty-two years after his enlightenment. Action continued, activities disappeared.


From Come, Come, Yet Again Come, Chapter One

Come, Come, Yet Again Come

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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