Start Watching Thoughts – Osho

How can I tell the difference between one part of the mind observing another part of the mind, and the watcher? Can the watcher watch itself? One time I thought I had got it and then the same day I heard you say in a discourse, “If you think you’ve got the watcher, you’ve missed.” Since then, I try watching feelings in the body, thoughts, and emotions. Mostly, I’m just caught in them. But, once in a while, rarely, I feel tremendously relaxed and nothing stays – It just keeps moving is there anything to do?

Deva Waduda, one has to start watching the body – walking, sitting, going to bed, eating. One should start from the most solid, because it is easier, and then one should move to subtler experiences. One should start watching thoughts, and when one becomes an expert in watching thoughts, then one should start watching feelings. After you feel that you can watch your feelings, then you should start watching your moods, which are even more subtle than your feelings, and more vague.

The miracle of watching is that as you are watching the body, your watcher is becoming stronger; as you are watching the thoughts, your watcher is becoming stronger; as you are watching the feelings, the watcher is becoming even more strong. When you are watching your moods the watcher is so strong that it can remain itself – watching itself – just as a candle in the dark night not only lights everything around it, it also lights itself.

To find the watcher in its purity is the greatest achievement in spirituality, because the watcher in you is your very soul; the watcher in you is your immortality. But never for a single moment think, “I have got it,” because that is the moment when you miss. Watching is an eternal process; you always go on becoming deeper and deeper, but you never come to the end where you can say “I have got it.” In fact, the deeper you go, the more you become aware that you have entered into a process which is eternal – without any beginning and without any end.

But people are watching only others; they never bother to watch themselves. Everybody is watching – that is the most superficial watching – what the other person is doing, what the other person is wearing, how he looks . . . Everybody is watching; watching is not something new to be introduced in your life. It has only to be deepened, taken away from others, and arrowed towards your own inner feelings, thoughts, moods – and finally, the watcher itself.

A Jew is sitting in a train opposite a priest. “Tell me, your worship,” the Jew asks, “why do you wear your collar back to front?”

“Because I am a father,” answers the priest.

“I am also a father, and I don’t wear my collar like that,” says the Jew. “Oh,” says the priest, “but I am a father to thousands.”

“Then maybe,” replies the Jew, “it is your trousers you should wear back to front.”

People are very watchful about everybody else.

Two Polacks went out for a walk; suddenly it began to rain. “Quick,” said one man, “open your umbrella.”

“It won’t help,” said his friend, “my umbrella is full of holes.”

“Then why did you bring it in the first place?”

“I did not think it would rain.”

You can laugh very easily about the ridiculous acts of other people, but have you ever laughed about yourself? Have you ever caught yourself doing something ridiculous? No, you keep yourself completely unwatched; your whole watching is about others, and that is not of any help.

Use this energy of watchfulness for a transformation of your being. It can bring you so much bliss and so much benediction that you cannot even dream about it. A simple process, but once you start using it on yourself it becomes a meditation. One can make meditations out of anything.

Anything that leads you to yourself is meditation. And it is immensely significant to find your own meditation, because in the very finding you will find great joy. And because it is your own finding – not some ritual imposed upon you – you will love to go deeper into it. The deeper you go into it, the happier you will feel – peaceful, more silent, more together, more dignified, more graceful.

You all know watching, so there is no question of learning it. It is just a question of changing the object of watching. Bring them closer.

Watch your body, and you will be surprised. I can move my hand without watching, and I can move my hand with watching. You will not see the difference, but I can feel the difference. When I move it with watchfulness, there is a grace and beauty in it, a peacefulness, and a silence. You can walk, watching each step; it will give you all the benefit that walking can give you as an exercise, plus it will give you the benefit of a great simple meditation.

The temple in Bodhgaya where Gautam Buddha became enlightened has been made in memory of two things . . . one is a Bodhi tree under which he used to sit. Just by the side of the tree there are small stones for a slow walk. He was meditating, sitting, and when he would feel that sitting had been too much – a little exercise was needed for the body – he would walk on those stones. That was his walking meditation.

When I was in Bodhgaya, having a meditation camp there, I went to the temple. I saw Buddhist lamas from Tibet, from Japan, from China. They were all paying their respect to the tree, and I saw not a single one paying his respect to those stones on which Buddha had walked miles and miles. I told them, “This is not right. You should not forget those stones. They have been touched by Gautam Buddha’s feet millions of times. But I know why you are not paying any attention to them, because you have forgotten completely that Buddha was emphasizing that you should watch every act of your body: walking, sitting, lying down.”

You should not let a single moment go by unconsciously. Watchfulness will sharpen your consciousness. This is the essential religion – all else is simply talk. But Waduda, you ask me, “Is there something more?” No, if you can do only watchfulness, nothing else is needed.

My effort here is to make religion as simple as possible. All the religions have done just the opposite: they have made things very complex – so complex that people have never tried them. For example, in the Buddhist scriptures there are thirty-three thousand principles to be followed by a Buddhist monk; even to remember them is impossible. Just the very number thirty-three thousand is enough to freak you out: “I am finished! My whole life will be disturbed and destroyed.”

I teach you: just find a single principle that suits you, that feels in tune with you, and that is enough.


From The Golden Future, Discourse #18, Q3

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from  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 and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from and

2 thoughts on “Start Watching Thoughts – Osho”

  1. Dear Purushottama

    Thank you so much for sending this gem. I so appreciate your posts. And the meditations from Osho you have put together on your website.. Plus everything else! So beautiful ❤️ Love Bodhitara

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jivan Bodhitara,

      Every week we send out links for the discourses from our meditation meetings. I have added you to the mailing list. Let me know if you would like me to remove your name from the list and I will do so immediately. love.



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