Be Like a Hollow Bamboo – Osho

Now we will enter into the sutra.

Do nought with the body but relax; shut firm the mouth and silent remain; empty your mind and think of nought. Do nought with the body but relax. 

Now you can understand what relaxation means. It means no urge to activity in you. Relaxation doesn’t mean lying down like a dead man; and you cannot lie down like a dead man – you can pretend only. How can you lie down like a dead man? You are alive; you can only pretend. Relaxation comes to you when there is no urge to activity; the energy is at home, not moving anywhere. If a certain situation arises you will act, that’s all, but you are not finding some excuse to act. You are at ease with yourself. Relaxation is to be at home.

I was reading one book a few years ago. The title of the book is You Must Relax. This is simply absurd, because the “must” is against relaxation – but such books can only sell in America. “Must” means activity, it is an obsession. Whenever there is a “must” an obsession is hidden behind it. There are actions in life, but there is no “must,” otherwise the “must” will create madness. “You must relax” – now relaxation has become the obsession. You have to do this posture and that, and lie down, and suggest to your body from the toes to the head; tell the toes, “Relax!” and then go upwards.

Why “must”? Relaxation comes only when there is no “must” in your life. Relaxation is not only of the body, it is not only of the mind, it is of your total being.

You are too much in activity, of course tired, dissipated, dried up, frozen. The life-energy doesn’t move. There are only blocks and blocks and blocks. And whenever you do something you do it in a madness. Of course the need to relax arises. That’s why so many books are written every month about relaxation, and I have never seen a person who has become relaxed through reading a book about relaxation – he has become more hectic, because now his whole life of activity remains untouched. His obsession is there to be active, the disease is there, and he pretends to be in a relaxed state so he lies down. All turmoil within, a volcano ready to erupt, and he is relaxing, following the instructions from a book: how to relax.

There is no book that can help you to relax – unless you read your own inner being, and then relaxation is not a must. Relaxation is an absence, absence of activity, not of action. So there is no need to move to the Himalayas. A few people have done that: to relax, they move to the Himalayas. What is the need to move to the Himalayas? Action is not to be dropped, because if you drop action you drop life. Then you will be dead, not relaxed. So in the Himalayas you will find sages who are dead, not relaxed. They have escaped from life, from action.

This is the subtle point to be understood: activity has to go, but not action – and both are easy. You can drop both and escape to the Himalayas, that’s easy. Or, the other thing is easy: you can continue in the activities, and forcing yourself every morning, or every evening, for a few minutes, to relax. You don’t understand the complexity of the human mind, the mechanism of it. Relaxation is a state. You cannot force it. You simply drop the negativities, the hindrances, and it comes, it bubbles up by itself.

What do you do when you go to sleep in the night? Do you do something? If you do, you will be an insomniac, you will move into insomnia. What do you do? You simply lie down and go into sleep. There is no “doing” to it. If you “do,” it will be impossible to sleep. In fact, to go into sleep all that is needed is, the continuity in the mind of the activities of the day has to discontinue. That’s all! When the activity is not there in the mind, the mind relaxes and goes into sleep. If you do something to go into sleep, you will be at a loss, then sleep will be impossible. Doing is not needed at all.

Says Tilopa, Do nought with the body but relax. Don’t do anything! No yoga posture is needed, no distortions and contortions of the body are needed. ”Do nought!” – only absence of activity is needed. And how will it come? It will come by understanding. Understanding is the only discipline. Understand your activities and suddenly, in the middle of the activity, if you become aware, it will stop. If you become aware why you are doing it, it will stop. And that stopping is what Tilopa means: Do nought with the body but relax.

What is relaxation? It is a state of affairs where your energy is not moving anywhere, not to the future, not to the past – it is simply there with you. In the silent pool of your own energy, in the warmth of it, you are enveloped. This moment is all. There is no other moment. Time stops – then there is relaxation. If time is there, there is no relaxation. Simply, the clock stops; there is no time. This moment is all. You don’t ask for anything else, you simply enjoy it. Ordinary things can be enjoyed because they are beautiful. In fact, nothing is ordinary – if God exists, then everything is extraordinary.

People come to me and ask, “Do you believe in God?” I say, “Yes, because everything is so extraordinary, how can it be without a deep consciousness in it?” Just small things …. Walking on the lawn when the dewdrops have not evaporated yet, and just feeling totally there – the texture, the touch of the lawn, the coolness of the dewdrops, the morning wind, the sun rising. What more do you need to be happy? What more is possible to be happy? Just lying down in the night on the cool sheet on your bed, feeling the texture; feeling that the sheet is getting warmer and warmer, and you are shrouded in darkness, the silence of the night …. With closed eyes you simply feel yourself. What more do you need? It is too much – a deep gratitude arises: this is relaxation.

Relaxation means this moment is more than enough, more than can be asked and expected. Nothing to ask, more than enough, than you can desire – then the energy never moves anywhere. It becomes a placid pool. In your own energy, you dissolve. This moment is relaxation. Relaxation is neither of the body nor of the mind, relaxation is of the total. That’s why buddhas go on saying, “Become desireless,” because they know that if there is desire, you cannot relax. They go on saying, “Bury the dead,” because if you are too much concerned with the past, you cannot relax. They go on saying, “Enjoy this very moment.”

Jesus says, “Look at the lilies. Consider the lilies in the field – they toil not and they are more beautiful, their splendor is greater than King Solomon. They are arrayed in more beautiful aroma than King Solomon ever was. Look, consider the lilies!”

What is he saying? He is saying, “Relax! You need not toil for it – in fact, everything is provided.” Jesus says, “If he looks after the birds of air, animals, wild animals, trees and plants, then why are you worried? Will he not look after you?” This is relaxation. Why are you so much worried about the future? Consider the lilies, watch the lilies, and become like lilies – and then relax. Relaxation is not a posture; relaxation is a total transformation of your energy.

Energy can have two dimensions. One is motivated, going somewhere, a goal somewhere; this moment is only a means and the goal is somewhere else to be achieved. This is one dimension of your energy, this is the dimension of activity, goal-oriented. Then everything is a means; somehow it has to be done and you have to reach to the goal, then you will relax. But for this type of energy the goal never comes, because this type of energy goes on changing every present moment into a means for something else, into the future. The goal always remains on the horizon. You go on running, but the distance remains the same.

No, there is another dimension of energy: that dimension is unmotivated celebration. The goal is here, now; the goal is not somewhere else. In fact, you are the goal. In fact, there is no other fulfillment than of this moment – consider the lilies. When you are the goal and when the goal is not in the future, when there is nothing to be achieved, rather, you have just to celebrate it, you have already achieved it, it is there. This is relaxation, unmotivated energy.

So, to me, there are two types of persons: the goal-seekers and the celebrators. The goal-oriented, they are the mad ones; they are going, by and by, crazy, and they are creating their own craziness. And then the craziness has its own momentum: by and by, they move deeper into it – then they are completely lost. The other type of person is not a goal-seeker – he is not a seeker at all, he is a celebrator.

And this I teach to you: Be the celebrators, celebrate! Already there is too much: the flowers have bloomed, the birds are singing, the sun is there in the sky – celebrate it! You are breathing and you are alive, and you have consciousness – celebrate it! Then suddenly you relax, then there is no tension, then there is no anguish. The whole energy that becomes anguish becomes gratitude; your whole heart goes on beating with a deep thankfulness – that is prayer. That’s all prayer is about: a heart beating with a deep thankfulness. 

Do nought with the body but relax.

No need to do anything for it. Just understand the movement of the energy, the unmotivated movement of the energy. It flows, but not towards a goal, it flows as a celebration. It moves, not towards a goal, it moves because of its own overflowing energy.

A child is dancing and jumping and running around; ask him, “Where are you going?” He is not going anywhere – you will look foolish to him. Children always think that adults are foolish. What a nonsense question, “Where are you going?” Is there any need to go anywhere? A child simply cannot answer your question because it is irrelevant. He is not going anywhere. He will simply shrug his shoulders. He will say, “Nowhere.” Then the goal-oriented mind asks, “Then why are you running?” – because to us an activity is relevant only when it leads somewhere.

And I tell you, there is nowhere to go: here is all. The whole existence culminates in this moment, it converges into this moment. The whole existence is pouring already in this moment; all that is there is pouring into this moment – it is here, now. A child is simply enjoying the energy. He has too much. He is running, not because he has to reach somewhere, but because he has too much; he has to run.

Act unmotivated, just an overflow of your energy. Share, but don’t trade, don’t make bargains. Give because you have, don’t give to take back – because then you will be in misery. All traders go to hell. If you want to find the greatest traders and bargainers, go to hell, there you will find them. Heaven is not for traders. Heaven is for celebrators.

In Christian theology, again and again, for centuries it has been asked, “What do angels do in heaven?” This is a relevant question for people who are goal-oriented: “What do angels do in heaven?” Nothing seems to be done, nothing is there to do. Somebody asked Meister Eckhart, “What do angels do in heaven?” He said, “What type of a fool are you? Heaven is a place to celebrate. They don’t do anything. They simply celebrate – the glory of it, the magnificence of it, the poetry of it, the blooming of it, they celebrate. They sing and they dance and they celebrate.” But I don’t think that that man was satisfied by Meister Eckhart’s answer, because to us an activity is meaningful only if it leads somewhere, if there is a goal.

Remember, activity is goal-oriented, action is not. Action is overflowing of energy; action is in this moment, a response, unprepared, unrehearsed. Just the whole existence meets you, confronts you, and a response comes. The birds are singing and you start singing – it is not an activity. Suddenly it happens. Suddenly you find it is happening, that you have started humming – this is action.

And if you become more and more involved in action, and less and less occupied in activity, your life will change and it will become a deep relaxation. Then you “do” but you remain relaxed. A buddha is never tired. Why? – because he is not a doer. Whatsoever he has, he gives, he overflows.

Do nought with the body but relax; shut firm the mouth and silent remain.

The mouth is really very, very significant, because that is where the first activity landed; your lips started the first activity. Surrounding the area of the mouth is the beginning of all activity: you breathed in, you cried, you started groping for the mother’s breast. And your mouth remains always in a frantic activity. That’s why Tilopa suggests: “Understand activity, understand action, relax, and… shut firm the mouth.”

Whenever you sit down to meditate, whenever you want to be silent, the first thing is to shut the mouth completely. If you shut the mouth completely, your tongue will touch the roof of your mouth; both the lips will be completely closed and the tongue will touch the roof. Shut it completely – but that can be done only if you have followed whatsoever I have been saying to you, not before it.

You can do it! Shutting of the mouth is not a very big effort. You can sit like a statue, with a completely shut mouth, but that will not stop activity. Deep inside the thinking will continue, and if thinking continues you can feel subtle vibrations in the lips. Others may not be able to observe it because they are very subtle, but if you are thinking then your lips quiver a little – a very subtle quivering.

When you really relax, that quivering stops. You are not talking, you are not making any activity inside you. Shut firm the mouth and silent remain. And then don’t think.

What will you do? Thoughts are coming and going. Let them come and go, that’s not the problem. You don’t get involved; you remain aloof, detached. You simply watch them coming and going, they are not your concern. Shut the mouth and you remain silent. By and by, thoughts will cease automatically – they need your cooperation to be there. If you cooperate, they will be there; if you fight, then too they will be there – because both are cooperations: one for, the other against. Both are sorts of activity. You simply watch.

But shutting of the mouth is very helpful. So first, as I have been observing many people, I will suggest to you that first yawn: open your mouth as wide as possible, tense your mouth as wide as possible, yawn completely; it even starts hurting. Two or three times do this. This will help the mouth to remain shut for a longer time. And then for two or three minutes, say loudly gibberish, nonsense. Anything that comes to the mind, say it loudly and enjoy it. Then shut the mouth.

It is easier to move from the opposite end. If you want to relax your hand, it is better to first make it as tense as possible. Clench the fist and let it be as tense as possible, do just the opposite and then relax – and then you will attain a deeper relaxation of the nervous system. Make gestures, faces, movements of the face, distortions, yawn, say two or three minutes nonsense – and then shut. And this tension will give you a deeper possibility to relax the lips and mouth. Shut the mouth and then just be a watcher. Soon a silence will descend on you.

There are two types of silences. One, silence that you can force upon yourself. That is not a very graceful thing, it is a violence; it is a sort of rape on the mind, it is aggressive. Then there is another sort of silence that descends on you, like night descends. It comes upon you, it envelops you. You simply create the possibility for it, the receptivity, and it comes. Shut the mouth, watch, don’t try to be silent. If you try, you can force a few seconds of silence, but they will not be of any value – inside you will go on boiling. So don’t try to be silent. You simply create the situation, the soil, put the seed and wait. 

Empty your mind and think of nought.

What will you do to empty the mind? Thoughts are coming, you watch. And watching has to be done with a precaution: the watching must be passive, not active. These are the subtle mechanisms and you have to understand everything, otherwise you can miss anywhere. And if you miss a slight point, the whole thing changes its quality. Watch; watch passively, not actively.

What is the difference? You are waiting for your girl, or your lover – then you watch actively. Then somebody passes by the door and you jump up to look whether she has come. Then, just leaves fluttering in the wind, and you feel maybe she has come. You go on jumping up; your mind is very eager, active. No, this will not help. If you are too eager and too active this will not bring you to Tilopa’s silence or my silence. Be passive as you sit by the side of a river and the river floats by, and you simply watch. There is no eagerness, no urgency, no emergency. Nobody is forcing you. Even if you miss, there is nothing missed. You simply watch, you just look. Even the word “watch” is not good, because the very word “watch” gives a feeling of being active. You simply look, not having anything to do. You simply sit by the bank of the river, you look, and the river flows by. Or, you look in the sky and the clouds float, and passively.

This passiveness is very, very essential; that is to be understood, because your obsession for activity can become eagerness, can become an active waiting. Then you miss the whole point; then the activity has entered from the back door again. Be a passive watcher.

Empty your mind and think of nought.

This passivity will automatically empty your mind. Ripples of activity, ripples of mind-energy, by and by, will subside, and the whole surface of your consciousness will be without any waves, without any ripples. It becomes like a silent mirror. 

Like a hollow bamboo rest at ease with your body.

This is one of Tilopa’s special methods. Every Master has his own special method through which he has attained, and through which he would like to help others. This is Tilopa’s specialty: Like a hollow bamboo rest at ease with your body.

A bamboo: inside completely hollow. When you rest, you just feel that you are like a bamboo: inside completely hollow and empty. And in fact this is the case: your body is just like a bamboo, and inside it is hollow. Your skin, your bones, your blood, all are part of the bamboo, and inside there is space, hollowness.

When you are sitting with a completely silent mouth, inactive, tongue touching the roof and silent, not quivering with thoughts, mind watching passively, not waiting for anything in particular, feel like a hollow bamboo – and suddenly infinite energy starts pouring within you, you are filled with the unknown, with the mysterious, with the divine. A hollow bamboo becomes a flute and the divine starts playing it. Once you are empty then there is no barrier for the divine to enter in you.

Try this; this is one of the most beautiful meditations, the meditation of becoming a hollow bamboo. You need not do anything else. You simply become this – and all else happens. Suddenly you feel something is descending in your hollowness. You are like a womb and a new life is entering in you, a seed is falling. And a moment comes when the bamboo completely disappears.

Like a hollow bamboo rest at ease with your body.

Rest at ease – don’t desire spiritual things, don’t desire heaven, don’t desire even God. God cannot be desired – when you are desireless, he comes to you. Liberation cannot be desired because desire is the bondage. When you are desireless, you are liberated. Buddhahood cannot be desired, because desiring is the hindrance. When the barrier is not, suddenly Buddha explodes in you. You have the seed already. When you are empty, space is there – the seed explodes.

Like a hollow bamboo rest at ease with your body. Giving not nor taking, put your mind at rest.

There is nothing to give, there is nothing to get. Everything is absolutely okay – as it is. There is no need for any give and take. You are absolutely perfect as you are.

This teaching of the East has been very much misunderstood in the West, because they say, “What type of teaching is this? Then people will not strive, and then they will not try to go higher. Then they will not make any effort to change their character, to transform their evil ways into good ways. Then they may become a victim of the devil.” In the West, “Improve yourself” is the slogan; either in terms of this world, or in terms of the other, but improve. How to improve? How to become greater and bigger?

In the East we understand it more deeply, that this very effort to become is the barrier – because your being you are already carrying with you. You need not become anything – simply realize who you are, that’s all. Simply realize who is hidden within you. Improving, whatsoever you improve, you will always be in anxiety and anguish because the very effort to improve is leading you on a wrong path. It makes future meaningful, a goal meaningful, ideals meaningful, and then your mind becomes a desiring.

Desiring, you miss. Let desiring subside, become a silent pool of non-desiring – and suddenly you are surprised, unexpectedly it is there. And you will have a belly-laugh, as Bodhidharma laughed. And Bodhidharma’s followers say that when you become silent again, you can hear his roaring laugh. He is still laughing. He has not stopped laughing since then. He laughed because, “What type of joke is this? You are already that which you are trying to become! How can you be successful if you are already that, and you are trying to become that? Your failure is absolutely certain. How can you become that which you are already?” So Bodhidharma laughed.

Bodhidharma was just exactly a contemporary of Tilopa. They may have known each other, maybe not physically, but they must have known each other – the same quality of being.

Giving not nor taking, put your mind at rest. Mahamudra is like a mind that clings to nought.

You have achieved if you don’t cling; nothingness in your hand – and you have achieved.

Mahamudra is like a mind that clings to nought. Thus practicing, in time you will reach buddhahood.

What is to be practiced then? To be more and more at ease. To be more and more here and now. To be more and more in action, and less and less in activity. To be more and more hollow, empty, passive. To be more and more a watcher – indifferent, not expecting anything, not desiring anything. To be happy with yourself as you are. To be celebrating.

And then, any moment, any moment, when things ripen and the right season comes, you bloom into a buddha.

-Osho

From Tantra: The Supreme Understanding, Discourse #4

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.

One thought on “Be Like a Hollow Bamboo – Osho”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.