The root problem of all problems is mind itself. The first thing to be understood is what this mind is, of what stuff it is made; whether it is an entity or just a process; whether it is substantial, or just dreamlike. And unless you know the nature of the mind, you will not be able to solve any problems of your life.
You may try hard, but if you try to solve single, individual problems, you are bound to be a failure – that is absolutely certain – because in fact no individual problem exists: mind is the problem. If you solve this problem or that, it won’t help because the root remains untouched.
It is just like cutting branches of a tree, pruning the leaves, and not uprooting it. New leaves will come, new branches will sprout – even more than before; pruning helps a tree to become thicker.
Unless you know how to uproot it, your fight is baseless, it is foolish. You will destroy yourself, not the tree.
In fighting you will waste your energy, time, life, and the tree will go on becoming more and more strong, far thicker and dense. And you will be surprised what is happening: you are doing so much hard work, trying to solve this problem and that, and they go on growing, increasing. Even if one problem is solved, suddenly ten problems take its place.
Don’t try to solve individual, single problems – there are none: Mind itself is the problem. But mind is hidden underground; that’s why I call it the root, it is not apparent. Whenever you come across a problem the problem is above ground, you can see it – that’s why you are deceived by it.
Always remember, the visible is never the root; the root always remains invisible, the root is always hidden. Never fight with the visible; otherwise you will fight with shadows. You may waste yourself, but there cannot be any transformation in your life, the same problems will crop up again and again and again. You can observe your own life and you will see what I mean. I am not talking about any theory about the mind, just the “facticity” of it. This is the fact: mind has to be solved.
People come to me and they ask, “How to attain a peaceful mind?” I say to them, “There exists nothing like that: peaceful mind. Never heard of it.”
Mind is never peaceful – no-mind is peace. Mind itself can never be peaceful, silent. The very nature of the mind is to be tense, to be in confusion. Mind can never be clear; it cannot have clarity, because mind is by nature confusion, cloudiness. Clarity is possible without mind, peace is possible without mind, silence is possible without mind – so never try to attain a silent mind. If you do, from the very beginning you are moving in an impossible dimension.
So the first thing is to understand the nature of the mind, only then can something be done.
If you watch, you will never come across any entity like mind. It is not a thing, it is just a process; it is not a thing, it is like a crowd. Individual thoughts exist, but they move so fast that you cannot see the gaps in between. The intervals cannot be seen because you are not very aware and alert, you need a deeper insight. When your eyes can look deep, you will suddenly see one thought, another thought, another thought – but no mind.
Thoughts together, millions of thoughts, give you the illusion as if mind exists. It is just like a crowd, millions of people standing in a crowd: is there anything like a crowd? Can you find the crowd other than the individuals standing there? But they are standing together, their togetherness gives you the feeling as if something like a crowd exists – only individuals exist.
This is the first insight into the mind. Watch, and you will find thoughts; you will never come across the mind. And if it becomes your own experience – not because I say it, not because Tilopa sings about it, no, that won’t be of much help – if it becomes your experience, if it becomes a fact of your own knowing, then suddenly many things start changing. Because you have understood such a deep thing about mind, then many things can follow.
Watch the mind and see where it is, what it is. You will feel thoughts floating and there will be intervals. And if you watch long, you will see that intervals are more than the thoughts, because each thought has to be separate from another thought; in fact, each word has to be separate from another word. The deeper you go, you will find more and more gaps, bigger and bigger gaps. A thought floats, then comes a gap where no thought exists; then another thought comes, another gap follows.
If you are unconscious you cannot see the gaps; you jump from one thought to another, you never see the gap. If you become aware you will see more and more gaps. If you become perfectly aware, then miles of gaps will be revealed to you. And in those gaps, satoris happen. In those gaps the truth knocks at your door. In those gaps, the guest comes. In those gaps God is realized, or whatsoever way you like to express it. And when awareness is absolute, then there is only a vast gap of nothingness.
It is just like clouds: clouds move. They can be so thick that you cannot see the sky hidden behind. The vast blueness of the sky is lost, you are covered with clouds. Then you go on watching: one cloud moves and another has not come into the vision yet – and suddenly a peek into the blueness of the vast sky.
The same happens inside: you are the vast blueness of the sky, and thoughts are just like clouds hovering around you, filling you. But the gaps exist, the sky exists. To have a glimpse of the sky is satori, and to become the sky is samadhi. From satori to samadhi, the whole process is a deep insight into the mind, nothing else.
Mind doesn’t exist as an entity – the first thing. Only thoughts exist.
The second thing: the thoughts exist separate from you, they are not one with your nature, they come and go – you remain, you persist. You are like the sky: never comes, never goes, it is always there. Clouds come and go, they are momentary phenomena, they are not eternal. Even if you try to cling to a thought, you cannot retain it for long; it has to go, it has its own birth and death. Thoughts are not yours, they don’t belong to you. They come as visitors, guests, but they are not the host.
Watch deeply, then you will become the host and thoughts will be the guests. And as guests they are beautiful, but if you forget completely that you are the host and they become the hosts, then you are in a mess. This is what hell is. You are the master of the house, the house belongs to you, and guests have become the masters. Receive them, take care of them, but don’t get identified with them; otherwise, they will become the masters.
The mind becomes the problem because you have taken thoughts so deeply inside you that you have forgotten completely the distance; that they are visitors, they come and go. Always remember that which abides: that is your nature, your Tao. Always be attentive to that which never comes and never goes, just like the sky. Change the gestalt: don’t be focused on the visitors, remain rooted in the host; the visitors will come and go.
Of course, there are bad visitors and good visitors, but you need not be worried about them. A good host treats all the guests in the same way, without making any distinctions. A good host is just a good host: a bad thought comes and he treats the bad thought also in the same way as he treats a good thought. It is not his concern that the thought is good or bad.
Because once you make the distinction that this thought is good and that thought is bad, what are you doing? You are bringing the good thought nearer to yourself and pushing the bad thought further away. Sooner or later, with the good thought you will get identified; the good thought will become the host. And any thought when it becomes the host creates misery – because this is not the truth. The thought is a pretender and you get identified with it. Identification is the disease.
Gurdjieff used to say that only one thing is needed: not to be identified with that which comes and goes. The morning comes, the noon comes, the evening comes, and they go; the night comes and again the morning. You abide: not as you, because that too is a thought – as pure consciousness; not your name, because that too is a thought; not your form, because that too is a thought; not your body, because one day you will realize that too is a thought. Just pure consciousness, with no name, no form; just the purity, just the formlessness and namelessness, just the very phenomenon of being aware – only that abides.
If you get identified, you become the mind. If you get identified, you become the body. If you get identified, you become the name and the form – what Hindus call nama, rupa, name and form – then the host is lost. Then you forget the eternal and the momentary becomes significant. The momentary is the world; the eternal is divine.
This is the second insight to be attained, that you are the host and thoughts are guests.
The third thing, if you go on watching, will be realized soon. The third thing is that thoughts are foreign, intruders, outsiders. No thought is yours. They always come from without, you are just a passage. A bird comes into the house from one door, and flies out from another: just like that a thought comes into you and goes out of you.
You go on thinking that thoughts are yours. Not only that, you fight for your thoughts, you say, “This is my thought, this is true.” You discuss, you debate, you argue about it, you try to prove that, “This is my thought.” No thought is yours, no thought is original – all thoughts are borrowed, and not secondhand, because millions of people have claimed those same thoughts before you. Thought is just as outside as a thing.
Somewhere, the great physicist, Eddington, has said that the deeper science goes into matter, the more it becomes a realization that things are thoughts. That may be so, I am not a physicist, but from the other end I would like to tell you that Eddington may be true that things look more and more like thoughts if you go deeper; if you go deeper into yourself, thoughts will look more and more like things. In fact, these are two aspects of the same phenomenon: a thing is a thought, a thought is a thing.
When I say a thought is a thing, what do I mean? I mean that you can throw your thought just like a thing. You can hit somebody’s head with a thought just like a thing. You can kill a person through a thought just as you can throw a dagger. You can give your thought as a gift, or as an infection. Thoughts are things, they are forces, but they don’t belong to you. They come to you; they abide for a while in you and then they leave you. The whole universe is filled with thoughts and things. Things are just the physical part of thoughts, and thoughts are the mental part of things.
Because of this fact, many miracles happen – because thoughts are things. If a person continuously thinks about you and your welfare, it will happen – because he is throwing a continuous force at you. That’s why blessings are useful, helpful. If you can be blessed by someone who has attained no-mind, the blessing is going to be true – because a man who never uses thought accumulates thought energy, so whatsoever he says is going to be true.
In all the Eastern traditions, before a person starts learning no-mind, there are techniques and much emphasis that he should stop being negative, because if you once attain to no-mind and your trend remains negative, you can become a dangerous force. Before the no-mind is attained, one should become absolutely positive. That is the whole difference between white and black magic.
Black magic is nothing but when a man has accumulated thought energy without throwing out his negativity beforehand. And white magic is nothing but when a man has attained too much thought energy, and has based his total being on a positive attitude. The same energy with negativity becomes black; the same energy with positivity becomes white. A thought is a great force, it is a thing.
This will be the third insight. It has to be understood and watched within yourself.
Sometimes it happens that you see your thought functioning as a thing, but just because of too much conditioning of materialism you think this may be just a coincidence. You neglect the fact, you simply don’t give any attention to it; you remain indifferent, you forget about it. But many times you know that sometimes you were thinking about the death of a certain person – and he is dead. You think it is just a coincidence. Sometime you were thinking about a friend and a desire arose in you that it would be good if he comes – and he is on the door, knocking. You think it is a coincidence. It is not coincidence. In fact, there is nothing like coincidence, everything has its causality. Your thoughts go on creating a world around you.
Your thoughts are things, so be careful about them. Handle them carefully! If you are not very conscious, you can create misery for yourself and for others – and you have done that. And remember, when you create misery for somebody, unconsciously, at the same time, you are creating misery for yourself – because a thought is a two-edged sword. It cuts you also simultaneously when it cuts somebody else.
Just two or three years ago, one Israeli, Uri Geller, who has been working on thought energy, displayed his experiment on BBC television in England. He can bend anything just by thinking: somebody else keeps a spoon in his hand ten feet away from Uri Geller, and he just thinks about it – and the spoon bends immediately. You cannot bend it by your hand, and he bends it by his thought. But a very rare phenomenon happened on the BBC television; even Uri Geller was not aware that this is possible.
Thousands of people in their homes were seeing the experiment. And when he did his experiment, bent things, in many people’s houses many things fell and became distorted – thousands of things all over England. It was as if the energy was being broadcast. And he was doing the experiment at a ten-foot distance, then from the television screen in people’s homes, around the area of ten feet, many things happened: things got bent, fell down, became distorted. It was weird!
Thoughts are things, and very, very forceful things. There is one woman in Soviet Russia, Mikhailovana. She can do many things to things from far away, she can pull anything towards herself – just by thought. Soviet Russia is not a believer in occult things – a communist country, atheistic – so they have been working on Mikhailovana, on what is happening, in a scientific way. But when she does it, she loses almost two pounds of weight; in a half-hour experiment she loses two pounds. What does it mean?
It means that through thoughts you are throwing energy – and you are continuously doing it. Your mind is a chatterbox. You are broadcasting things unnecessarily. You are destroying people around you, you are destroying yourself.
You are a dangerous thing – and continuously broadcasting. And many things are happening because of you. And it is a great network. The whole world goes on becoming every day more and more miserable because more and more people are on the earth and they are broadcasting more and more thoughts.
The further back you go, you find the earth the more and more peaceful – less and less broadcasters. In the days of Buddha, or in the days of Lao Tzu, the world was very very peaceful, natural; it was a heaven. Why? The population was very, very small, one thing. People were not thinkers too much; they were more and more prone to feeling rather than thinking. And people were praying. In the morning, they would do the first thing and that would be a prayer. In the night they would do the last thing – the prayer. And throughout the whole day also, whenever they would find a moment, they would be praying inside.
What is a prayer? Prayer is sending blessings to all. Prayer is sending your compassion to all. Prayer is creating an antidote of negative thoughts – it is a positivity.
This will be the third insight about thoughts, that they are things, forces, and you have to handle them very carefully.
Ordinarily, not aware, you go on thinking anything. It is difficult to find a person who has not committed many murders in thought; difficult to find a person who has not been doing all sorts of sins and crimes inside the mind – and then these things happen. And remember, you may not murder, but your continuous thinking of murdering somebody may create the situation in which the person is murdered. Somebody may take your thought, because there are weaker persons all around and thoughts flow like water: downwards. If you think something continuously, someone who is a weakling may take your thought and go and kill a person.
That’s why those who have known the inner reality of man, they say that whatsoever happens on the earth, everybody is responsible, everybody. Whatsoever happens in Vietnam, not only are Nixons responsible, everybody who thinks is also responsible. Only one person cannot be held responsible, and that is the person who has no mind; otherwise everybody is responsible for everything that goes on. If the earth is a hell, you are a creator, you participate.
Don’t go on throwing responsibility on others – you are also responsible, it is a collective phenomenon. The disease may bubble up anywhere, the explosion may happen millions, thousands of miles away from you – that doesn’t make any difference, because thought is a non-spatial phenomenon, it needs no space.
That’s why it travels fastest. Even light cannot travel so fast, because even for light space is needed. Thought travels fastest. In fact it takes no time in traveling, space doesn’t exist for it. You may be here, thinking of something, and it happens in America. How can you be held responsible? No court can punish you, but in the ultimate court of existence you will be punished – you are already punished. That’s why you are so miserable.
People come to me and they say, “We never do anything wrong to anybody, and still we are so miserable.” You may not be doing, you may be thinking – and thinking is more subtle than doing. A person can protect himself from doing, but he cannot protect himself from thinking. For thinking everybody is vulnerable.
No-thinking is a must if you want to be completely freed from sin, freed from crime, freed from all that goes around you – and that is the meaning of a buddha. A buddha is a person who lives without the mind; then he’s not responsible. That’s why in the East we say that he never accumulates karma; he never accumulates any entanglements for the future. He lives, he walks, he moves, he eats, he talks, he is doing many things, so he must accumulate karma, because karma means activity. But in the East it is said even if a buddha kills, he will not accumulate karma. Why? And you, even if you don’t kill, you will accumulate karma. Why?
It is simple: whatsoever Buddha is doing, he is doing without any mind in it. He is spontaneous, it is not activity. He is not thinking about it, it happens. He is not the doer. He moves like an emptiness. He has no mind for it, he was not thinking to do it. But if the existence allows it to happen, he allows it to happen. He has no more the ego to resist; no more the ego to do.
That is the meaning of being empty and a no-self: just being a non-being, anatta, no-selfness. Then you accumulate nothing; then you are not responsible for anything that goes on around you; then you transcend.
Each single thought is creating something for you and for others. Be alert!
But when I say be alert, I don’t mean that think good thoughts, no, because whenever you think good thoughts, by the side you are also thinking of bad thoughts. How can good exist without bad? If you think of love, just by the side, behind it, is hidden hate. How can you think about love without thinking about hate? You may not think consciously, love may be in the conscious layer of the mind, but hate is hidden in the unconscious – they move together.
Whenever you think of compassion, you think of cruelty. Can you think of compassion without thinking of cruelty? Can you think of nonviolence without thinking of violence? In the very word “nonviolence,” violence enters; in the very concept it is there. Can you think of brahmacharya, celibacy, without thinking of sex? It is impossible, because what will celibacy mean if there is no thought of sex? And if brahmacharya is based on the thought of sex, what type of brahmacharya is this?
No, there is a totally different quality of being which comes by not thinking: not good, not bad, simply a state of no-thinking. You simply watch, you simply remain conscious, but you don’t think. And if some thought enters… it will enter, because thoughts are not yours; they are just floating in the air.
All around there is a noosphere, a thought-sphere, all around. Just as there is air, there is thought all around you, and it goes on entering on its own accord. It stops only when you become more and more aware. There is something in it: if you become more aware, a thought simply disappears, it melts, because awareness is a greater energy than thought.
Awareness is like fire to thought. It is just like you burn a lamp in the house and the darkness cannot enter; you put the light off – from everywhere darkness has entered; without taking a single minute, a single moment, it is there. When the light burns in the house, the darkness cannot enter. Thoughts are like darkness: they enter only if there is no light within. Awareness is fire: you become more aware, less and less thoughts enter.
If you become really integrated in your awareness, thoughts don’t enter you; you have become an impenetrable citadel, nothing can penetrate you. Not that you are closed, remember – you are absolutely open; but just the very energy of awareness becomes your citadel. And when no thoughts can enter you, they will come and they will bypass you. You will see them coming, and simply, by the time they reach near you they turn. Then you can move anywhere, then you go to the very hell – nothing can affect you. This is what we mean by enlightenment.
From Tantra: The Supreme Understanding, Discourse #2
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6 thoughts on “The Root Problem – Osho”
This is everything, the whole journey for want of a better word. Beautiful.
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This actually blows up and destroys all contexts…the beginning of the end…and one is no more to be found anywhere.
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Thanks for your new post on the root problem. I’ve not previously read much by Osho (apart from a cheaply-acquired meditation manual) – the 93 Rolls Royces/disciple thing in the past had tended to put me off. But I found this insightful & eloquent and will check out more.
Incidentally, I read your previous post on Atmananda with great interest (it was what led me to your site initially). After working my way through the remarkable ‘Notes’, I’d been hoping to find a copy of Atma Darshan and/or Atma Nirvriti (after reading commentaries recommending those works – Darshan in particular). Disappointing to see the publisher’s letter demanding that you remove those downloads (I had assumed those books would be way out of copyright by now). After some further looking, it appears you’re not the only one to receive such a demand. Somewhat frustrating.
I believe these are both very short books. Do you know anywhere I might be able to find electronic copies anywhere (eg PDF/text) without paying the extortionate prices being charged for the out-of-print physical copies? I’d be extremely grateful for any suggestions.
Brian Dean (North Wales, UK) https://newsframes.wordpress.com/ http://www.anxietyculture.com/
There is a silence which arises, simply by reading this. feeling so high just reading this… The magic of Osho… just his words are meditative
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Do we have mind? Or is it just the storage of the past?