Please explain ‘right-mindfulness’. If not a goal or something to practice, what is it?
Sambuddha, right-mindfulness is a strange word.
First: there is no mind in it – hence it is called ‘right-mindfulness’. Secondly, there is nothing right and wrong in it – hence it is called right-mindfulness. This is a Buddhist way of saying things.
It can’t be a goal, because when there is a goal you are always in the wrong. Why are you in the wrong when there is a goal? Because when there is a goal there is desire, when there is desire you are unhappy, discontented. When there is desire, there is anxiety – whether you will be able to make it or not? Will it be possible or not?
When there is desire there is future, and with the future anxiety enters into your being. With the desire you have lost contact with the present.
Right-mindfulness is not a goal, cannot be a goal – because when all desires disappear and all goals disappear and you are here-now… that is the moment of right-mindfulness.
Why is it called ‘right’? It is called right be-cause it knows no division between right and wrong.
Nothing is wrong! And nothing is right. All judgements have disappeared. One is utterly innocent.
When you see a rose flower, does the idea arise in you: “It is right, it is wrong”? When you see the morning star disappearing, does the idea arise in you: “Is it right or is it wrong?” When you start looking at life with no judgement, with no prejudice, then you are in the state of right-mindfulness.
Jesus has said: Judge ye not. Jesus has also said: Resist not evil – not even evil has to be resisted, then arises right-mindfulness. When you are neither moral nor immoral, when you are amoral like trees and animals and birds and beasts, when you are like a small innocent child who has just opened his eyes, with no ideas… then, in that silence, in that purity, it is right-mindfulness.
Why is it called right? It is called right be-cause now it knows nothing as right and wrong – it knows no division, it is indivisible. The acceptance is total! – that’s why it is called right. You have fallen into the suchness of existence. You are no longer standing there like a judge.
Judging is wrong. To be in a state of non-judgement is right. Right, NOT against wrong right because all wrong and right have disappeared. You have no opinion. You don’t carry a philosophy in the mind.
You are simply a mirror!
When you come before the mirror, the mirror does not say, “You are beautiful, you are ugly” – it simply reflects. It reflects without condemnation, without appreciation – it reflects choicelessly. It just reflects.
When your consciousness has become a mirror and simply reflects whatsoever is the case, it is right-mindfulness. That mirror-like quality….
And it is not a goal, because every goal will bring dust on the mirror. Every goal will stir desires, and desires surround your mirror like mist – then reflection is not true, then suchness is not reflected.
When you have some idea, you cannot be true to reality. You distort reality according to your idea.
You try to mold reality according to your idea. You are to modify reality. You go on looking for your idea. You are searching for support: you would like reality to support your idea, you would like reality to agree with you – -and then you distort. Then you start seeing things which are not there, and you stop seeing things which ARE there. Then you start living in a mind-world.
To live in the mind is wrong. To live without mind is right, because without mind, the consciousness exists in its purity, mirror-like – it simply reflects. It says nothing! It has no interpretation.
It interprets not.
And why is it called mindfulness? This is the translation of a Buddhist term sammasati. Samma means right – the translation is not very correct, cannot be. Samma is a very strange word, very significant, has many meanings; ‘right’ is only one of its meanings. Samma is the root from where samadhi arises; the word samadhi comes from samma.
Samma means many things. One: tranquility, silence, equanimity, balance, undisturbedness, undistractedness, centredness, groundedness – they are all aspects of samma. ‘Right’ is a very poor translation of samma.
And sati – sammasati. Sati can mean mindfulness, can mean remembrance, can mean reflection, can mean recollectedness, can mean presence. All those meanings are involved in it. Mindfulness is only one of the meanings. It is a very potential and pregnant word—sammasati. It is the seventh step in Buddha’s eight steps – you are very close to reality. The eighth is samadhi.
The seventh is sammasati. You have come very, very close; you are just on the threshold of reality – it has to be very, very significant. When you are utterly present in the presence, when you don’t have any past and don’t have any future… when this cuckoo calling, this train passing, this dog barking, is all… when THIS is all and there is no that, when the word ‘here’ is your whole reality and there is no there, when now contains ALL time and there is no then… then you are in the state of sammasati.
That’s what I go on calling ‘here-now’ – that is sammasati. Then you are utterly present, absolutely present. When something is going on in your mind about the past, you are not here; a part of you is travelling towards the past, and a part of you is travelling towards the future – only a small fragment is here.
When ALL the parts of your being are here, when you are totally at home, nothing is missing, when you are integratedly here, then it is right-mindfulness. In that moment you will reflect reality – as it is, without any distraction, without any distortion. Because you don’t have any thought in the mind, how can you distort it? Thought distorts, thinking is destructive. It goes on imposing – it does not allow you to see that which is.
Right-mindfulness is a state of no-mind, no-thought!
And remember: it is also a state of no-feeling – otherwise, you may think it is a state of feeling. No, it is not – because feeling again creates ripples and the surface of the lake is disturbed, and again the moon is not reflected as it is.
Neither thought disturbs you, nor feeling.
These are the three states: one is thinking – the most disturbed state; second is feeling – less disturbed than thinking, but still disturbed; third is being – no disturbance at all. One is in the head, second is in the heart, third is in your guts. Right-mindfulness is a gut-state: no head, no heart. You are simply there undefined, undefinable.
Sambuddha, you ask me:
Please explain ‘right-mindfulness’. If not a goal or something to practice, what is it?
And, yes, it is not a practice. You cannot practice it, because practice brings goal! Practice is desire, practice is mind. And remember: whenever you practise something, you are imposing something against yourself, otherwise why practise it? Against whom are you practicing? When you practise truth, what will you do? You will repress the untruth – but the untruth will remain there, deep inside you, ready to explode any moment. It will go on accumulating.
When you practice love, what will you do? You will repress hatred. When you practice compassion, what will you do? You will repress anger. And all that is repressed will go on remaining in you, and all that is practiced will remain on the surface, and all that is rejected will go deep into your being. The rejected will become part of your being and the practiced will remain just a coating, a painting on the surface.
And remember: whenever you practice anything, you are angry at it. Naturally so – because all practicing divides you, makes you schizophrenic.
One part of you is trying to manipulate the other part. One part of you is trying to enforce some ideas on the other part. And the part that is trying to enforce is a very impotent part, but articulate – your head. It has no power, but it is very articulate, very clever, very cunning, very argumentative.
And the head goes on imposing on your body, on your heart, which are far more potential, far more powerful; they have energy sources, but they are not articulate, they are not argumentative – they are silent. And the head goes on pretending that it has practiced… and then a situation arises and all practice is thrown away – because the head has no energy.
You think for years that you will never be angry, then one day somebody insults you and in a single moment you have forgotten all that practice. And YOU ARE angry! By the time you come to know that you are angry, anger has already happened. You are burning, you are fire. From where does this fire come? And years of practice! That practice was just on the surface. Mind was pretending; because there was no situation provoking you, mind was able to pretend. Now the situation has arisen and mind is not able to pretend. The reality asserts itself.
That’s why down the ages, through the ages, the so-called religious people have been escaping from society, from life. Why? They are escaping from situations where their practice can be proved wrong; nothing else are they doing. Going to the Himalayas they are simply escaping from the world – because the world brings situations! And their so-called practice and their religion and their discipline is broken again and again. Somebody insults, or a beautiful woman passes by, and all their celibacy and all their brahmacharya and all their ideas are gone. A single beautiful woman is enough to destroy all their years of celibacy.
They escape from women, they escape from the world, they escape from money and the market – they know that they can be moral and religious and saintly only when there is no situation which provokes their reality. Then the mind can go on playing the game in a monastery. When there is no challenge, mind seems to be the master. When there is challenge, mind is no more a master.
Whatsoever you practice remains false. Never out of practice has anything real happened. Beware of this. The real happens only through understanding, not through practice. And what is the difference?
Understanding will say: Remain where situations arise, remain where challenges surround you. Be there where provocations and temptations exist. Test yourself there. Go into situations!
Understanding will say: If anger comes, then go into anger and see what it is. See yourself – don’t trust anybody else’s judgement about it. Go into it! Be burnt by it. Let it leave scars on your being – because one learns only through the hard way. Only your experience will tell you again and again and again that anger is stupid – not that it is a sin! It is simply stupid. And as the understanding grows deeper, anger will be coming less and less. One day… the understanding has touched your very core of being, the light has penetrated you. You have seen through and through that anger is futile: in that very moment anger has disappeared and there has not been any repression.
Remember this: repression is the pitfall for ALL those people who want to transform their lives – they have to avoid repression. Indulgence is not so bad, because indulgence can one day bring understanding, but repression can never bring understanding. How can you understand something which you go on repressing and you don’t look into? – you go on covering it, go on throwing it in the basement of your being.
And remember: the more you practice, the more you pretend, the more you are angry at your own practice. Your real parts, your guts are angry.
The intellectual young man was telling off his girlfriend. “Jane,” he remonstrated, “I don’t think you are the girl for me. My interests are in art, literature and in music. You are only concerned with sports, with gambling and with common activities that are altogether alien to me. In fact, to be blunt about it – you are downright uncouth!”
“Uncouth!” she exploded. “Me?! What are you talking about? Uncouth? Didn’t I go along with you to them operas, them concerts, them lectures, and all that sort of shit?!”
That’s what will happen. You can go on practicing, but deep down you know that you are repressing, that you are rejecting, that you are denying some essential parts of your being. Right-mindfulness is the flavor of understanding, not the outcome of practice. Right-mindfulness is the fragrance – the fragrance of seeing into things deeply, the fragrance of insight.
From Walk Without Feet, Fly Without Wings and Think Without Mind, Chapter Nine
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