A lot of water has flowed down the Ganga since that article about the addiction. I had transcended alcohol addiction and sobriety then. It is not quite correct that “I” had transcended them. Transcendence happened after “I” had failed absolutely, completely. Only through the power of awareness and watching, both had disappeared in a blaze of grace never to be seen or heard of again.
The first true transformation had happened in my life. It was real. It was a miracle. I was in awe, and the mind still cannot comprehend it, even now, because he was left out of the loop. I mean something that was such a strong destructive habit for almost half my life, suddenly just gone, evaporated like it never existed from one moment to the next. This was a key experience; I knew this key could be used to transcend the mind itself, and not just part of it.
Many changes happened right after this transformation. I was filled with love and gratitude. All doubt about myself was erased from my mind forever. I knew that truth existed. It was clear confirmation that transcendence is possible − I had experienced it − even on just this small scale of the personal mind, the impact was mind blowing, literally. I had been on the right path, I was not in some kind of spiritual illusion about myself, because even in all that time I had been with my master, I never had an experience that confirmed that I was on the right path, never proof, except his acceptance of me and my love and trust for him. Of course many other things happened on the emotional and mental plane but never this final proof, this dropping into another dimension, this falling out of polarity. But now this was it, the first real transformation made it all real. I was free now of all unconscious layers, free of the hidden influences that had directed this life so far.
I was conscious of myself as part of existence and no longer part of society. I was free of all the games society plays. I had nothing to do with it anymore; there was nothing I wanted from the outer world. Therefore, anxiety dropped away immediately, replaced by a natural trust in existence.
I was loved, accepted and embraced by life, I was ultimately worthy to be alive. I looked at myself now, not anymore at others. I had asked my whole life, the other, the woman, the mother image to confirm me, give me worth and value, love me, or the lover, to satisfy me, give me bliss and fulfillment. But I was asking a mirror image, there was nobody in this reflection, only my own projections, nobody really there, only the reflection echoing back, asking the same from me. As if when I look in my bathroom mirror and ask, “Do you love me?” What will happen? Will the reflection say, “Yes!” No, the reflection will say, “Do you love me?” There was no other!
To me, this is best described by a small anecdote my beloved master Osho told once. I don’t recall in which discourse so I write it as I remember it. My master had a friend who had a butcher shop in his village. (It must be a made up story. No Jain, even an enlightened one, ever walks into a butcher shop.) Anyway, he liked the man and he dropped in occasionally to say hello. One day just before closing time, my master stopped by and asked how his day was. The butcher said he had had a great day today, “I sold all my meat except for this chicken here.”
That very moment, the shop door burst open and a customer rushed in, “Ahh, glad I made it. I have some friends over for dinner today and need a chicken.” The Butcher winked at my master and put the chicken on the scale, “$5.00 please,” he said. “Hmmm,” said the customer, “Do you have a bigger one?” Without hesitation the butcher walked back in his storeroom with the chicken, made some noise and came back with the same chicken. He slapped it on the scale and said, “This one will be $7.” “Tell you what,” said the customer, “I will take them both.”
Now, there is only one chicken. My master said there is always only one chicken. Asking for both will reveal the truth! That there is not two! Being alert, watching, looking, inquiring is asking for both.
Love this story!
The Steps that Led to Transcendence
I want to elaborate on the steps that led to this transcendence because this is a key that can be applied to transcend any duality. And, it can be used by anyone.
Before the transformation from getting drunk and trying to control it, I had always believed I was going in a straight line, from this point to that, from unhappiness to happiness, from addiction to sobriety, from dependence to independence. And to get there I just had to try hard enough, give it my all and one bright sunny day . . . it will happen. I will arrive at my final destination. I will be free, sober, happy, loved, enlightened. And when it didn’t happen, as I had hoped, the reverse attitude kicked in, no matter how hard I try, I will never make it. I will be never be free, sober, happy, loved, enlightened. But in the struggle to be free of the drunkard, I became aware that I was not going in a straight line at all. I became aware of the circle, going from negative to positive and back again to negative, from addict to anti-addict back to addict . . . from unhappiness to happiness back to unhappiness, round and round . . .
If I follow a straight road and keep going and going, I will eventually drive around the planet and arrive exactly where I am now. The same with the mind. Previously, I had never been aware of this fact, because the opposite was always hidden in the unconscious, half of the globe hidden in the dark night.
The invisible road appears non-existent, that is why it looks like it is a straight line. A half circle looks like a straight line going from dawn to dusk, from here to there. The other half is dark, unconscious, hidden, but somehow, through watching my mind and by trying, digging myself out of myself hopelessly, I had brought eventually light to that dark hidden part. I suddenly saw the whole mind. I stood apart. I saw the full circle not just a half. I became aware that they are one whole, one dynamic and not two separate things.
It changed everything!
If you make a circle, the end and beginning meet – only then is the circle complete. If you become a circle, whole, total, in you will meet the beginning and the end. You will be the very source of the world and you will be the very climax of the world. You will be both the alpha and the omega. And unless you become that, something is incomplete; and when something is incomplete you will remain miserable. The only misery that I know is being incomplete. The whole being tends to be complete, needs to be complete, and the incomplete becomes a torture. The incompletion is the only problem. And when you become complete, the end and the beginning meet in you. God as the source and God as the ultimate flowering meet in you.
-Osho, The Hidden Harmony, Discourse #4.
It is not that the mind saw that, he cannot, he is not able to look around the full circle, around the whole globe. The mind, just like the eyes, can always only see half, the front or the back, the up or the down. The eyes can never see front and back, up and down, at the same time. That is the limitation of the mind and body.
Only awareness can see all, no, not see, be all, rooted at the center with full awareness of all that is. Being aware of that, I could not be in illusion anymore that one day I will be fulfilled, that this mind would one day arrive at the destination of one side only, and stay there. There was no destination. A circle has no end, no arrival point, it just goes round and round, on and on, like the horses on a merry-go-round.
Understanding this clearly, the turning in happened, the “letting go” happened, the transformation happened. Addict and anti-addict evaporated into awareness, into the heart of being, because reaching anywhere was not possible. Choice was not possible. Choice was an illusion.
I would never reach one side because there is no one side. There are always two sides, like breathing in and breathing out. There cannot be only breathing in, or only breathing out. But the mind believes that this is possible, that is the illusion.
I would never attain fulfillment of any of my desires because they are all based in duality. There was no love waiting for me at the end of the tunnel, or security, or happiness. There were always both waiting for me. Love and hate, happiness and unhappiness, life and death. If I am in love unaware, hate is waiting in the basement for its turn, because love is based on hate and vice versa. They are each other’s contrast. How would I know what love is if I did not know hate, its opposite?
Seeing this, understanding this, choice was now irrelevant. I would always end up at the opposite again sooner or later. The illusion that I was going somewhere, that I was growing, winning, that one day I would arrive at my goal, was only an illusion, and that I will be condemned forever, lost in eternal despair was also only one side of the coin. It is like a chess player suddenly becomes aware that he is actually playing against himself, his own mirror image.
I became aware that I was 100% addicted to alcohol. I wanted to get drunk, escape, forget, period. And I was aware that I wanted 100% to get rid of the addiction, be free of it, period. And both identifications where mine. I was the only player in this game. I was aware of the player opposite as myself. I was my own enemy, my own competitor. I competed against myself, tried to win against myself.
But now the light was on. I saw who I was playing against, and I knew the next move I would make because the opponent was me, myself, my own mind. I played from now on with an open deck of cards, like playing poker with all the cards face up. You know exactly the next card coming up. The game is meaningless. There is no game anymore because the game consists in not knowing what card will be next; will it be a winner or a loser? That day, the game of playing and winning against the world collapsed because it was all me, my projection. I was the world and I was the individual because I projected me onto the world. The world was me, my projection.
The mind got it too! Once a fact is known, it cannot be reversed. Once a child knows by experience that fire burns, it will know it for life and not touch fire again. Once the mind knows 100% it is not possible to get fulfillment outside, it will cooperate and stop reaching out.
The mind itself inside of me did not collapse yet, only the mind going out, playing with the world, getting, desiring, escaping. Resisting the outside was now meaningless. I did not project the images in my mind onto the outside anymore, but the images themselves where still intact.
The conditioned mind fell onto itself. I was the center now and the world was the periphery. Before, I had no center. I was kicked around like a ping-pong ball on the periphery. I became a light onto myself; I could see where I was going.
Now I had a center. I was “in” but the center was again divided in itself, inside, into its own duality.
. . . .if you are wise, intelligent, and you know how to contain the opposites together in a deep friendly embrace, then thesis opposed by antithesis will create a new phenomenon in your being: synthesis. On a higher plane you will arise. In a deeper way you will be united. And then again, the synthesis functions as a thesis, creates its antithesis, and again, on a higher plane, synthesis. It goes on and on, waves upon waves, higher and higher. There are planes upon planes, and one can go on reaching. The ultimate plane is the total synthesis of your life. All conflict disappears – is not dropped, but disappears of its own accord.
-Osho, The Secret of Secrets, Discourse #29.
For me, the addiction to alcohol was the catalyst that pushed me into awareness, but it can be anything that the mind is addicted to. The mind is basically in its essence addiction.
What I am pointing to in this writing is that any duality can be transcended with deep inquiry and awareness.
The conditioned mind, acquired in this life, had been erased. But the ancient mind, the totality of the mind with its roots in the beginning of time, had not yet. But it opened the door to “The final ultimate synthesis.”
In deep gratitude to my beloved master Osho.
See a related post How I Came to One-Mind.