When My Mind is the Cause of Unhappiness – Osho

When my mind is the cause of my unhappiness either I don’t know how to come out of mind or I must still enjoy being in my mind, dreams, fantasies.

If the house is on fire and you see the flames of fire you will escape. And you will know how to escape, you will find a way. When the house is on fire who worries whether you are getting out of the right door or whether you are getting out of the back door or getting out of the window? Who bothers? Once you feel that the house is on fire you will not even think about how to get out. You will get out first and then you will think. And then you will wonder how it happened.

Buddha used to say that you ask about techniques because you are not yet aware that the house is on fire.

When you come across a snake on the path do you ask how to get out of the way? And you may not have come across a snake in your whole life. This may be for the first time.

And you may never ever have heard anybody talking about how to get out of the way of a snake, but still you will get out of the way — you will jump. You will not sit there and think about what to do, how to do it, whom to consult, where to find a guru. You will not think, you will simply jump.

The questioner says, When my mind is the cause of my unhappiness either I don’t know how to come out of mind or I must still enjoy being in my mind, dreams, fantasies.

When my mind is the cause of my unhappiness…. Still it is not clear to you.

You may have heard me saying again and again that mind is the cause of all unhappiness. You have listened to me, you have become like a parrot — now the question arises. But you have not yet felt it. If you have felt that mind is the cause then you will jump out of it, you will know the way. The way is there, the way has always been there. It is not your realization. And you must still be enjoying your dreams, your fantasies, because the mind stops immediately, the moment you stop enjoying it. There is no other way to stop it. It is just like a bicycle: you go on pedaling it, it goes on moving. If you stop pedaling it, it may go a little further because of the past momentum but then it will stop.

Mind needs constant co-operation, constant infusion of energy from your side, constant identification. The mind needs your help, it is a mechanism, it cannot run on its own accord. Deep down you are helping it. When the body lies there and the soul has disappeared, the mind stops instantly. It cannot work without you.

You must be enjoying it. In fact, religion is also one of your fantasies; God is your biggest dream. Listening to religious people, seeing their ecstasy, watching their grace, greed has arisen in you. Your mind fantasizes. It would be beautiful to be in nirvana, it would be beautiful to be enlightened. Your mind starts dreaming about it. Then you come to hear that the mind has to be dropped.

Three persons were talking. One said, “If in a dream you get one million rupees, what are you going to do? As far as I am concerned, I am going for a world tour. That has been my dream from my very childhood. What are you going to do?”

The other said, “If I get one million rupees, I am not going anywhere. I am just going to rest in my house. Why bother? I am going to stop going and just rest and relax and enjoy. Who bothers to go from here to there?”

And they asked the third man, “If you get one million rupees in a dream, what are you going to do?”

He said, “I will immediately close my eyes and sleep again, to dream more to get many more millions. If you can get one million rupees in one dream, I will dream the same dream again to get one million more.”

Your mind is your dream, your fantasy. You are still in it. Even when you are thinking about how to get out of the mind, that too is a mind fantasy. And you must be enjoying it.

I have heard.

Mulla Nasruddin stormed out of his office and yelled, “Something has got to be done about those six phones on my desk. For the past five minutes I have been talking to myself.”

Mind is nothing but talking to yourself. What else is it? The inner talk, the inner chattering, the rehearsing for the future, the chewing again and again the past experiences—you are talking to yourself. It is a monologue. With nobody else to talk to, you talk to yourself.

If windows were possible into your mind and people could look inside, or there was a system…. Someday there may be. Science will find a way to magnify your mind. Your mind can be attached, wired, to an instrument and the instrument will start broadcasting what is going on inside your mind. Then you will be simply amazed to see that you are mad. You will not allow anybody to connect your mind to an instrument. Sometimes write down what goes on in your mind on some blank paper. Close the doors and windows so nobody comes in and just write it down. Don’t deceive, because nobody will ever see, you can burn it immediately. Just write down whatsoever goes on. Don’t improve upon it, don’t add something, don’t delete anything. Photographically simply write down the way the mind goes on. Within ten minutes you will see how mad you are, you will see what is going on?

But we never look. We look outside; we never look into the mind. Looking into the mind is what meditation is all about.

Bodhidharma, the real founder of Zen, used to say, “Looking face to face with the mind is all. Looking directly into your mind is all.” Once you start looking directly you will be surprised. You will come to know that you are carrying a madman; not one really, a madhouse—many madmen inside, running hither and thither, all against each other, fighting, struggling, warring.

If you look deep inside into the mind directly, first you will be amazed, mystified as to why you go on carrying this mind.

And the second thing you will realize is that you are not the mind, you are the looker, the watcher, the witness, who is seeing into the mind. And that will give you a freedom that you have not yet known. You are confined in the body, then you are confined in the mind. Once you come to know that you are neither the body nor the mind, suddenly you become unconfined — you are as big, as vast as the sky. Then there is no boundary line around you; then you are one with this ocean of life; then you are one with God. “That art Thou” –“Tat twamasi.” Then you come to know that “I am That”, the witness.

So the only thing you can do is just to look deeply inside the mind. It will have two aspects. First you will feel very, very crazy, going mad. Don’t try to escape from that madness because if you escape, again you will escape outside. Stick to it, let it be mad but go on looking into it, go on looking into it. Sometimes it takes months, sometimes it takes years but it is worth it, even if it takes lives. If you go on looking, unwaveringly, not getting distracted here and there, then one day the second aspect arises in you—that you are a witness. Your mind looks very, very far away, very distant, on some other planet, only sounds are heard, a few flickering waves come to you. The more you become a witness, the more the energy gathers together in becoming a witness, the more and more energy is taken away from the mind. The mind starts withering. One day you are there all alone without any mind. Then you are in a state of nowhereness.

I have heard about two hobos who were caught by the police and were brought to the court. The policeman suspected they had not committed anything wrong, but their way of life, their style was suspicious.

The magistrate asked the first hobo, “Where do you live?”

He said, “Nowhere.”

He asked the second, “Where do you live?”

He said, “I am this guy’s neighbor.”

The first guy lives nowhere, the other is the neighbor—the answer is pure Zen.

When you come to know yourself, you come to know that you are nowhere, “nowhen”, because there is no time, no space. Suddenly you are the whole, spread all over reality.

This is what we in the East call moksha, absolute freedom.

But you must be enjoying your mind, that’s why you are asking how to get out of it, what the way is to get out of it. These are the questions of people who are trying to deceive themselves. You don’t want to get out of it so you ask “how?” because with the “how?” postponement is possible. The “how?” cannot be done right now, you will have to practise it; it can happen only tomorrow, it cannot happen right now. The “how?” gives you time—tomorrow. And then you say, “Okay, so we will do it tomorrow. It cannot happen right now.”

People ask me, “Can enlightenment happen right now?” If I say “yes”, they say, “Then why is it not happening?” Then they think it is not going to happen to them because if it was going to happen, it would have happened already. It happens right now! If I say to them, “You will have to work for it, you will have to do hard, arduous work, you will have to move in deep discipline,” then they say, “Then it is okay. So somewhere in the future it will happen.” And they are relieved. So it is not going to happen right now—someday—so what is the hurry?

Whether it is tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, it makes no difference—it is tomorrow. Both ways they find a way to postpone.

Now let me give you a paradox to meditate on: it always happens right now but one has to work for it. It never happens in the tomorrow, it always happens today, because there is no tomorrow. But one has to work hard; one has to gather together all one’s energies and to put them at stake. If all your energies are together right now, if you desire intensely, passionately, if your desire has become almost a flame and you are aflame with one desire, only with one desire to attain to enlightenment it can happen right now. If you are so thirsty that you disappear and only thirst remains, then God starts pouring into you. Then you have earned, you have earned the capacity. You have become receptive.

When my mind is the cause of my unhappiness…. Never ask such questions.

You still think it is not so. This is a hypothetical question; when, if, etc., are hypothetical questions.

When my mind is the cause of my unhappiness…. No, either it is or it is not, there is no question of “when.” Either you know that it is the cause of unhappiness or you know that it is not the cause of unhappiness. Decide. If it is not the cause of unhappiness, then things are clear: there is nothing to be done with mind. In fact, if it is not the cause of unhappiness, then the cause must lie somewhere outside you. That’s what Communists say—Marx and Mao. That’s what they say—that the cause of happiness is somewhere outside you not inside you: in the structure of the society, the economic system of society, in the political world—somewhere outside you. If your misery comes from outside there is no way to get out of it. Because the cause is outside you, how can you destroy it?

Because of this fact, Freud by and by became very despondent in his later life and finally, before he died, he wrote in a letter: Man can never be happy; it is impossible. Man’s desire to be happy is an impossible desire. Man can never be happy because it is not in his hands to be happy.

But Freud is wrong. I am here and I say to you that I am happy. So it is not a question of my belief. It is not a belief that I am happy. Buddha is happy, Krishna is happy, Jesus is happy. But Freud—why does he think that man cannot be happy? And he is not a man to make meaningless statements. He is a very sincere man. Forty, fifty years of deep observation has brought him to make the statement that man cannot be happy. The reason is that he was also looking for the cause somewhere beyond man.

Marx looks for it in the social structure; Freud looks for it in the unconscious. But the very definition of unconscious is that which is not available to you, that of which you are not conscious. It is outside you, you are in your consciousness. It is outside you, it is somewhere you don’t know where. From where does your misery come? How can you change it?

Religion takes a radically and diametrically opposite standpoint: you are the cause. It makes one sad in the beginning that ‘I am the cause of my misery’ but really one should be happy. If I am the cause, then there is a possibility, then there is hope because I can stop it. I can try not to be the cause of my unhappiness.

With religion, man becomes responsible; with communism, man becomes irresponsible.

With religion, man becomes a free agent in this world; with communism, man becomes a mechanical thing, a robot-like thing. With religion, you attain to being a soul, you become a soul; with communism, the soul disappears, you are no more there. If the cause of happiness is outside, if the cause of misery is outside, then your soul is outside—it is not within you. Then you are to be manipulated by the state, then you are nothing but a hollow puppet and the strings are somewhere in the Kremlin—somebody is manipulating from there. Then life is almost meaningless, not only meaningless, but horrible. Man is not a hollow puppet; man has a substantial being in him.

So when you say, when my mind is the cause of my unhappiness, you have taken my statement as true without realizing it, without becoming a witness to it. Never do that, otherwise questions arise unnecessarily. It is better not to answer hypothetical questions because they will create more hypothetical questions. If you are unhappy because of your mind, recognise the fact.

Somebody insults you. Do you think you are unhappy because somebody insulted you or do you think you are unhappy because you have a very subtle ego which felt hurt by this insult? Now the possibilities are only two. Either you are unhappy because he insulted you. If that is the possibility, the only possibility, then you can never be happy because the world is vast and how can you manage that nobody will insult you ever? It is beyond you. If it is your ego which feels hurt, then the possibility exists that you can drop the ego. Then let the whole world insult you, you can go on laughing, it makes no difference.

Mulla Nasruddin and one of his friends had been drinking all evening in a bar. The friend finally passed out and fell to the floor. The Mulla called a doctor who rushed him to a hospital.

When he came to, the doctor asked him, “Do you see any pink elephants or little green men?”

“No,” groaned the patient.

“No snakes or alligators?” the doctor asked.

“No,” the drunk said.

“Then just sleep it off. You will be all right in the morning,” said the doctor.

But Mulla Nasruddin was worried.

“Look, doctor,” he said, “that boy is in bad shape. He said he could not see any of them animals and you and I know the room is full of them.”

What I say will not make much difference if you know the room is full of them. Finally you are going to be the deciding factor. So watch your mind. Is your mind the cause of misery? If it is not then you cannot be a religious man. Then one day or other you are going to be a communist. These are the two alternatives: religion and communism.

Everybody has to decide. And I would suggest to you that if you feel that your mind is not the cause of misery, then become a communist—nothing wrong in it, be sincere.

Sooner or later you will be frustrated, and a frustrated communist becomes religious very easily. Many people need that frustration because then that alternative is finished. Then there is only one alternative. Never hang between the two, never be in the limbo.

Many people are in the limbo. They go to the church but their heart is communistic. When I say communistic I don’t mean they belong to the communist party, I mean that they believe that the cause of their misery is outside.

A stubborn old Dubliner stepped into the dentist’s office with a terrific toothache. He could not, however, muster up enough courage to have the tooth pulled. So the dentist gave him a glass of whisky to bolster him.

Then the dentist said, “Right, ready now?”

“’Not quite,” said the man smacking his lips.

Two more drinks of whisky and finally he finished up the entire bottle.

“Now step into the chair,” the dentist begged.

The Irishman came out swinging into the middle of the room.

“I would like to see the swine who would dare to touch my tooth now!”

You are almost drunk with your mind. And I am going to touch your teeth, remember.

You have to become a little sober; you have to become a little more aware. Once you have a little awareness you will start seeing that it is your mind, nothing else but your mind that goes on spinning new webs of misery. It is just like a spider: he goes on creating a net and goes on being caught into himself.

The first thing to be decided is whether you realise the fact that your mind is the cause of your misery, of your unhappiness. Once this is decided everything becomes clear. Then there is no need, really, to ask how to get out of it. And if you have not yet decided and I help you in some way to get out of it, I will be in trouble. Let me tell you one anecdote to make the thing clear.

The woman bather had got into a hole and she could not swim, nor could the young man on the end of the pier. But when she came up the first time and he caught sight of her face he could yell, and he did. Just then a big fisherman walked by.

“What is up?” he asked.

“There!” hoarsely cried the young man. “My wife, drowning. I can’t swim. A hundred dollars if you save her!” In a moment the fisherman was in the water; in another he was out of it with the rescued woman.

He approached the young man. “Well, what about the hundred dollars?”

If the young man’s face had been ashen-gray before, now it was dead white as he gazed upon the features of the rescued woman.

“Yes I know,” he gasped, “but when I made the offer I thought it was my wife who was drowning and now, now it turns out it was my wife’s mother!”

“Just my luck,” said the fisherman sadly, thrusting his hand into his trouser pocket. “How much do I owe you?”

So first you decide whether your mind is your wife or your mother-in-law. Then only can something be done about it. Otherwise you will be angry with me. If I pull you out of your mind and you were still fantasizing and dreaming, you will be tremendously angry and annoyed and irritated. And if you were dreaming sweet dreams, then more so, because you were hoping that something was just going to be fulfilled.

One day Mulla Nasruddin’s wife woke him up in the morning and he became very, very angry and he said, “You foolish woman. Is this the right time?”

She said, “But the sun is up.”

He said, “It has nothing to do with the sun. I was dreaming about a man who was offering me a hundred rupees and just at the moment I was going to take it, you came. You have destroyed the whole thing.”

He tried again to create sleep, tried to close his eyes, turned this way and that, but you cannot catch hold of a dream. Once it is gone it is gone. And he started saying, “Okay, I will accept even ninety, eighty, seventy, whatsoever you give, I will accept, but give it!”

But there was nobody to give.

If you are dreaming, then dream a little more. Nobody is ever fulfilled by dreaming but one has to figure it out oneself –“Enough is enough. I have dreamed enough, fantasized enough, and nothing comes except misery, except frustration.” Each desire brings more frustration, each expectation turns finally into frustration.

Once you understand it, there will be no need to take you out of it; once you understand it, the very understanding becomes the coming out of it. The very understanding means freedom from mind.

-OSHO

From Dang Dang Doko Dang, Chapter Six

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.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

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