What is the Zen Attitude towards Death?

What is the Zen attitude towards death?

Laughter. Yes, laughter is the Zen attitude towards death. And towards life too, because life and death are not separate. Whatsoever is your attitude towards life will be your attitude towards death, because death comes as the ultimate flowering of life. Life exists for death. Life exists through death. Without death there will be no life at all. Death is not the end but the culmination, the crescendo. Death is not the enemy, it is the friend. It makes life possible.

So the Zen attitude about death is exactly the same as is the Zen attitude towards life – that of laughter, joy, celebration. And if you can laugh at death, in death, you are free from all. You are freedom then. If you cannot laugh at death you will not be able to laugh in life either. Because death is always coming. Each act in life, each move in life, brings death closer. Each moment that you live, you get closer to death. If you cannot laugh with death, how can you laugh with life and in life?

But there is a difference between the Zen Buddhists and the other religions. Other religions are not that deep. Other religions also say that there is no need to fear death, because the soul is immortal. But in the very idea of the immortality of the soul, your mind is seeking eternity and nothing else. In the very idea of immortality you are denying death, you are saying there is no death. You are saying “So why be afraid? There is no death. I am going to live – if not as this body, still I am going to live as this soul. My essential being will continue. So why fear death? Death will not be destroying me. I will remain, I.will persist, I will continue.” The other religions compromise with your desire to remain for ever. They give you a consolation. They say, “Don’t be worried. You will be in some other body, in some other form, but you will continue.” This seems to be a clinging.

But the Zen approach towards death is utterly different, immensely profound. Other religions say death is not to be worried about, not to be feared, because the soul is eternal. Zen says: There cannot be any death, because you are not. There is nobody to die. See the difference – there is nobody to die. The self exists not, so death cannot take anything away from you. Life cannot give you anything, and death cannot take anything away. There is no purpose in life and no purpose in death. There is nobody to die. Other religions say you will not die, so don’t be worried about death. Zen says: You exist not – for whom are you worrying? There is nobody in life and there will be nobody in death. You are pure emptiness. Nothing has ever happened there.

Zen does not compromise with your desire for eternity. It does not compromise for your security; it does not compromise with your ego in any form. Zen is utterly radical, it cuts the very root. Zen says: The idea to survive for ever is idiotic. What are you going to do if you survive for ever? Are you not yet finished with your doing? Have you not yet become frustrated enough with your doing? Have you not seen the foolishness and the stupidity of your being? What does it bring to you except misery? The more you are an ego, the more miserable you are. Can’t you see it, that the ego functions like a wound? It hurts. Still you want to continue this wound, still you want to continue this wound for ever and ever. You don’t want to be cured. Ego is illness, to be egoless is to be cured. But you want to be saved for ever.

In your very idea of remaining forever, being saved for ever, there is a kind of miserliness. Other religions say: Save. Save yourself. Zen says: Spend. Spend yourself. Because to be utterly spent is to be saved.

A Christian was walking with Mulla Nasruddin, they had gone for a morning walk. And the Christian showed Mulla Nasruddin his church. He said, “This is my church. Look.” And on the church there was a big board – on the board was written: Jesus Saves! Mulla Nasruddin looked at it and said, “So what! My wife saves better.”

Saving of any kind is a miserly attitude towards life. Spend – don’t hoard. Relax your clinging. Don’t keep your hands clenched like fists. Open them, be spent. Be spent like a flower which has released its fragrance to the winds. Be spent like a candle which has lived its night, danced, and now is no more. The Buddhist word for nirvana means ’putting out the candle’. When you are utterly spent, when you have authentically lived and spent yourself totally and there is nothing left in you except emptiness, you have arrived home. Because emptiness is the home.

You are the world. When you are not, you have come home.

The Zen attitude towards life is that of laughter, of living, of enjoying, of celebrating. Zen is not anti-life it is life-affirmative. It accepts all that is. It does not say deny this, deny that. It says all is good: live it, live it as totally as possible. Being total in anything is to be religious. Being partial in anything is to be worldly. And live so totally that when death comes you can live death totally too. Laugh so totally that when death comes you can have your last laugh.

A great master, Lo-shan, was coming closer to his death. When he sensed that death was close, Lo-shan called everyone into the Buddha-hall and ascended the lecture seat. First he held his left hand open for several minutes. No one understood, so he told the monks from the eastern side of the monastery to leave. Then he held his right hand open. Still no one understood, so he told the monks from the western side of the monastery to leave. Only the laymen remained. He said to them, ’If any of you really want to show gratitude to Buddha for his compassion to you, spare no efforts in spreading the Dharma. Now, get out! Get out of here!’ Then, laughing loudly, the master fell over dead.

Now this man, Lo-shan, is going to die. He gathers all his disciples. He opens one of his hands, nobody understands. He is saying, “With an open hand I lived, with an open hand I am going. Totally I lived, totally I am going. I was never closed. Now death is knocking on the door, my doors are open.” Then he raised his other hand. People did not understand. Then he said to the people, “Buddha had such immense compassion on you.”

What is the compassion of Buddha? The compassion of Buddha is this – that knowing perfectly well that you will not understand, he tried. That is his compassion. Knowing perfectly well that it is impossible to understand something that Buddha says, he tried his whole life to help you to understand. That is his compassion. He is trying to help you see that which you cannot see. Trying to bring into language and words that which cannot be reduced to words. Trying to do the impossible, that is his compassion.

Lo-shan said to the people, “Do one thing also – spread Buddha’s word, his dharma. Whatsoever he has said, go on spreading it.” Maybe somebody may understand sometime. Even if one understands in thousands, that’s enough. Even if one blooms in millions, that is enough. One person flowering fills the whole earth with his fragrance. Yes, a single individual flower of consciousness transforms the whole quality of consciousness on the earth. It raises the consciousness of the whole earth.

And then he told them, “Now, get out! Get out of here!” What does he mean by “Get out, get out of here!”? He is telling them: The mind in which you are, get out, get out of the mind. The ego in which you are, get out of the ego. But Zen masters have their own ways of expression. First, he threw out half the monks from one gate, then the other half from another gate. Then only laymen remained. And now he tells them, “Get out! Get out of here!” Then, laughing loudly, the master fell over dead.

What is his laughter? Why is he laughing? There is a Zen parable:

Thus he arrived before a great castle on whose facade were carved the words “I belong to no one and to all. Before entering you were already here. When you leave you will remain.”

He is laughing at the ridiculousness, absurdity. The absurdity of everything and all. Everything is so contradictory. Life exists through death, love exists through hate, compassion exists through anger. And only those who are not can be. And those who are cannot be. It is so absurd, it is so contradictory. He is having his last laughter at this whole situation of so-called life. It is not logical, that’s why he is laughing. It is so illogical. What can you do with such an illogical phenomenon? You can have a good laugh.

Another master, Etsugen, shortly before he died, called his monks together. It was December first. “I have decided to die on the eighth of this month,” he told them. “That’s the day of the Buddha’s enlightenment. If you have any questions left about the Teaching, you’d better ask them before then.”

Because the master continued with his regular duties during the next few days, some of the monks thought he was having a little fun at their expense. Most, however, were struck with grief.

By the evening of the seventh, nothing unusual had happened. Nonetheless, Etsugen had them all assemble and taught them for the last time about the Buddha’s enlightenment. He then arranged his affairs and went into his room.

At dawn he took a bath, put on his ceremonial robes, and sitting erect in the lotus posture composed this death poem:

Shakyamuni descended the mountain.

I went up.

In my teaching,

I guess I’ve always been something of a maverick.

And now I’m off to hell – yo-ho!

The inquisitiveness of men is pure folly.

Then, shutting his eyes, and still sitting, he died.

A Zen master can die any moment. He can decide. Why? Because he is already dead. The day he became enlightened, he died. Now only the visible form goes on living – inside, all is emptiness. He is thoroughly dead. So any day he can drop this form. It is just a soap-bubble: a small prick and it will be gone. And you cannot choose a better day to die than Buddha’s enlightenment day, because that day Buddha died.

About Buddha there is a beautiful story. He was born on a certain day, the same day he became enlightened, and the same day he died. The birth, the enlightenment and death, all these three great things happened on the same day. This is very indicative – it says birth, enlightenment and death are all the same. It has a message: They are all alike. They are not different, their quality is the same.

Birth is a kind of death. When a child is born out of the womb, if the child can verbalize what is happening he will say, “I am dying.” Because he has lived for nine months in the womb in such comfort, in such luxury, in such convenience. No worry, no problem, no work. Everything is available, you need not even ask for it. He need not even breathe on his own, the mother breathes for him. He need not eat, the mother eats for him. He simply lives. It is paradise.

Psychologists say that the search for paradise is nothing but the memory, the nostalgia, of the womb. Because you have lived in those nine months at the highest peak of comfort, luxury. And the whole search for paradise is for nothing but how to enter into that kind of warm womb again.

In India, the innermost part of the temple is called garbha, womb – very meaningfully. Where the deity of the temple sits, the innermost shrine, is called garbha – the womb. In ordinary life also we are searching the same comfort. When you feel a room is cozy, what do you really remember when you say that the room is cozy? Warm, alive, receptive, welcoming. You are not a stranger, you are a welcome guest. You are reminded of something of those nine months. Science goes on improving comfort, luxury, but not yet have we been able – and I think we will never be able – to create the womb situation again.

The child has lived in such abundance, it is just a continuous celebration. In silence, in utter silence. Now he is being thrown out. And he does not know anything about the outside world, whether there is any world or not. He is thrown out of his home. If the child can say anything he will say “I am dying.” You call it birth, you who are outside – but ask the child, just think of the child. The child will think, ”I am being uprooted, I am thrown out. I am being rejected.” The child clings, the child does not want to go out. The child feels it a kind of death. On one side it is death, on another side it is birth.

And so is enlightenment, again. On one side, on the side of the mind, it is death. The mind feels “I am dying.” The mind clings. The mind tries in every way to prevent this enlightenment happening. The mind creates a thousand and one questions, doubts, inquiries, distractions. Wants to pull you back – “Where are you going? You will die.”

This happens here every day. Whenever a person starts moving closer to meditation, fear arises. Great fear. His whole being is at stake, he starts trembling. Actual trembling arises in his being. Now he is facing the abyss – on one side it is death, on another side it will be birth. If the mind dies he will be born as consciousness. If thought dies he will be born as samadhi, as no-thought. If the mind disappears he will be born as no-mind. If this noise of the mind disappears then he will be born as silence. On one side it will be death, another side birth.

And so is death. Each death is also a birth, and each birth is also a death.

This story of Buddha’s being born on a certain day at a certain time, then at the same time and the same day becoming enlightened, at the same time and the same day dying, is meaningful. It simply says that all these three things are the same. One thing is missing, I would like to add that too. If you really fall in love then the whole list is complete. All these four things, then your whole life is complete. If I am to write Buddha’s story again, I will add this too, that he fell in love on the same day at the same time. Because that too is a birth and a death. The people who were writing Buddha’s story were not so courageous. They have dropped the idea of love, that seems to be dangerous.

These are the four greatest things in life, the four directions of life. This is the whole sky of life.

Etsugen decided to die on Buddha’s enlightenment day. Many Zen monks have been deciding to die on that day. And they die on that day. And they don’t commit suicide and they don’t take any poison – they just collapse. But their collapse is beautiful. They collapse with a smile, with laughter.

And this is a tradition in Zen, that before a master dies he has to compose a death poem. That too is very significant. Death should be received with poetry, with joy. That is your last statement, your testament. It should be in poetry. It should be poetry – prose won’t do, prose will look a little too worldly. Something more, something of a song. Etsugen wrote this poem. “Shakyamuni” is the name of Buddha.

Shakyamuni descended the mountain.

I went up.

He is saying “I have been just the opposite of Buddha.” Only a Zen master can say that. Otherwise, followers are followers – they are imitators, they are carbon-copies. But real followers are not, they are authentic beings. They live their life. They live with great respect for the master, with immense respect for the master, but they live their life. In fact, that immense respect for the master will make you capable to live your own life.

Buddha lived his own life. If you are really respectful towards him you will live your own life, that’s how you will pay your homage.

Shakyamuni descended the mountain

I went up.

In my teaching

I guess I’ve always been something of a maverick.

And now I’m off to hell – yo-ho!

The inquisitiveness of men is pure folly.

He is saying “Now I am off to hell.” He is joking. Only a Zen master can joke at the last moment. Only a Zen master can have the guts to say, “Now I am off to hell.” In fact, Zen people say that wherever a master is, there is heaven. If he is in hell, hell will be heaven. Heaven is his climate; he carries it with himself.

“Then, shutting his eyes, and still sitting, he died.” So silently, so poetically, so radically.

And the third story.

When the master, Tenno, was dying, he called to his room the monk in charge of food and clothing in the temple. When the monk sat down by the bed, Tenno asked, “Do you understand?”

Now, he has not said anything and he asks, “Do you understand?”

“No,” the monk was puzzled and said.

Tenno laughed, and said, “Do you understand?”

The monk said, “No.” And was more puzzled.

Then Tenno, picking up his pillow, hurled it through the window, and said, “Do you understand?”

And the monk said, “No. And you are making me more and more confused.”

Then he said, “Okay, then I will do the real thing.” He closed his eyes, gave a lion’s roar, and died.

He was dying. This disciple was not yet insightful. He was dying – if you have loved your master, if you have really loved your master, you will know what is happening to him. That’s why he asked, “Do you understand?” He is asking “Have you not come to know that I am dying? Has it not reached to your heart yet that I am dying?” At the last moment he is testing his disciple. Even death is being used as a kind of teaching. Even death is being used as the last effort to awaken the disciple. Then he laughed, and asked “Do you understand?” The laughter was so total, if the disciple had looked into the eyes of the master and heard the laughter, there was the whole teaching of Buddha in it, all the scriptures in it. The totality of it. And he would have seen that the master is leaving the body.

But he must have got into thinking. The master asked, “Do you understand?” And he has not said anything – what does he mean by “Do you understand?” The disciple must have gone into his mind. Because he had gone into his mind, the master laughed to bring him out of his mind. Because nothing brings you out of your mind like laughter.

Somebody has asked “Why, Osho, do you go on telling jokes?” That’s why. Nothing brings you out of your mind like laughter. When you have a good laugh the logic disappears – at that moment, at least. And the jokes are so absurd. They are jokes because they are absurd; you laugh because they are ridiculous, you laugh because they don’t follow the rules of logic, they go just against it. They take such an unexpected turn that your thinking could not have concluded. Because of that unexpected turn, because of that sudden leap . . . the whole joke goes in one way, then comes the punchline. And the punchline is a leap, it is discontinuous.

 A joke is a great meditation.

The master laughed. Loud was his laughter, total was his laughter. He wanted to bring this disciple out of his mind – he had gone too much into thinking. He was thinking “Why has he asked, ‘Do you understand?’ What does he mean?” He has asked a simple question – a question to provoke the disciple to be alert of the master’s situation, what is happening to him. If the disciple was really in tune with the master, that would have been a shock: “Do you understand?” And he would have opened his eyes and he would have looked into the being of the master and would have felt that the master is ready to leave the body. But he went into thinking and missed the point. Hence the master tried again by laughing. And asked, “Do you understand?” Still the disciple was more puzzled, because he could not see why the master is laughing. He started thinking “Why?”

The moment you bring the question “Why?” you are moving into the rut, the dead rut, of the mind. Once you have asked why, you miss the meditative moment. Seeing that the disciple is very gross, he had to be gross. He had to throw his pillow out of the window – he had to do something absolutely meaningless, just to shock. But the disciple was more puzzled, even more puzzled.

Then he gave a lion’s roar. And died. It is said that for many centuries the roar was heard in his monastery. Whenever people would sit silently and meditate they would hear the lion’s roar. This was his last shock. And then he died. Why did he do this, this lion’s roar? Maybe nothing is bringing him out of his mind – this utterly absurd thing, a lion’s roar for no reason at all, may bring him out of the mind. And then he died. If nothing else brings him out of his mind, then death will bring him. And if even for a single moment you can taste the space called no-mind, then you know that there is nobody to die.

Nobody lives, nobody dies. Nothingness lives, nothingness dies. You are not. Have a good laugh at this situation. You are not and you exist. You are not and you are. This is the cosmic joke.

You ask me, What is the Zen attitude towards death?

Laughter. But that is their attitude towards life too.

-Osho

From This Very Body the Buddha, Discourse #8

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.

Negative Projection, a Technique of Visualization – Osho

Mind itself means projection, so unless you transcend the mind, whatever you come to experience is projection. Mind is the projecting mechanism. If you experience any visions of light, of bliss, even of the divine, these are all projections. Unless you come to a total stopping of the mind you are not beyond projections; you are projecting. When mind ceases, only then are you beyond the danger. When there is no experience, no visions, nothing objective – the consciousness remaining as a pure mirror with nothing reflected in it – only then are you beyond the danger of projections.

Projections are of two types. One type of projection will lead you to more and more projection. It is a positive projection; you can never go beyond it. The other type of projection is negative. It is a projection, but it helps you to go beyond projections.

In meditation, you use the projecting faculty of the mind as a negative effort. Negative projections are good: it is just like one thorn being pulled out by another thorn or one poison being destroyed by another poison. But you must be constantly aware that the danger remains until everything ceases, even these negative projections, even these visions. If you are experiencing something, I will not say it is meditation; it is still contemplation, it is still a thought process. However subtle, it is still thinking. When only consciousness remains with no thought – just an unclouded, open sky – when you cannot say what “I” am experiencing, this much can be said: I am.

The famous maxim of Descartes, “Cogito ergo sum – I think; therefore, I am,” in meditation becomes “Sum ergo sum – I am; therefore, I am.” This “I am-ness” precedes all thinking; you are before you think. Thinking comes later on; your being precedes it, so being cannot be inferred from thinking. You can be without thinking, but thinking cannot be without you, so thinking cannot be the basis upon which your existence can be proved.

Experiences, visions, anything felt objectively is part of thinking. Meditation means total cessation of the mind, of thinking, but not of consciousness. If consciousness also ceases, you are not in meditation but in deep sleep; that is the difference between deep sleep and meditation.

In deep sleep projection also ceases. Thinking will not be there, but simultaneously, consciousness will also be absent. In meditation projections cease, thinking ceases, thoughts are no more there – just like in deep sleep – but there is consciousness. You are aware of this phenomenon: of total absence around you, of no objects around you. And when there are no objects to be known, felt and experienced, for the first time you begin to feel yourself. This is a nonobjective experience. It is not something that you experience; it is something you are.

So even if you feel the divine existence, it is a projection. These are negative projections. They help – they help, in a way, to transcend – but you must be aware that they are still projections, otherwise you will not go beyond them. That is why I say that if you feel you are encountering bliss, you are still in the mind because duality is there: the duality of the divine and the nondivine, the duality of bliss and nonbliss. When you really reach to the ultimate, you cannot feel bliss, because nonbliss is impossible; you cannot feel the divine as divine because the nondivine is no more.

So remember this: mind is projection, and whatever you do with the mind is going to be a projection. You cannot do anything with the mind. The only thing is how to negate the mind, how to drop it totally, how to be mindlessly conscious. That is meditation. Only then can you know, can you come to know, that which is other than projection.

Whatever you know is projected by you. The object is just a screen: you go on projecting your ideas, your mind, upon it. So any method of meditation begins with projection – with negative projection –and ends with nonprojection. That is the nature of all meditation techniques, because you have to begin with the mind.

Even if you are going toward a state of no mind, you have to begin with the mind. If I am to go out of this room, I have to start by going into the room; the first step must be taken in the room. This creates confusion. If I am just going in a circle in the room, then I am walking in the room. If I am going out of the room, then again I have to walk in the room – but in a different way. My eyes must be on the door and I must travel in a straight line, not in a circle.

Negative projection means walking straight out of the mind. But first, you have to take some steps within the mind.

For example, when I say “light,” you have never really seen light. You have only seen lighted objects. Have you ever seen light itself? No one has seen it; no one can see it. You see a lighted house, a lighted chair, a lighted person, but you have not seen light itself. Even when you see the sun you are not seeing light. You are seeing the light returned.

You cannot see light itself. When light strikes something, comes back, is reflected, only then do you see the lighted object and because you can see the lighted object, you say there is light. When you do not see the lighted object, you say it is dark.

You cannot see pure light, so in meditation I use it as a first step – as a negative projection. I tell you to begin to feel light without any object. Objects are dropped, there is just light. Begin to feel light without any objects . . . One thing has been dropped, the object, and without the object you cannot continue to see light for a long time. Sooner or later the light will drop, because you have to be focused on some object.

Then I tell you to feel bliss. You have never felt bliss without any object; whatever you know as happiness, bliss, is concerned with something. You have never known any moment of bliss that is unconcerned with anything. You may love someone and then feel blissful, but that someone is the object. You feel blissful when you listen to some music, but then that music is the object. Have you ever felt a blissful moment without any object? Never! So when I say to feel blissful without any object, it seems to be an impossibility. If you try to feel blissful without any object, sooner or later the bliss will stop, because it cannot exist by itself.

Then I say to feel divine presence. I never say, “Feel God,” because then God becomes an object. Have you ever felt presence without someone being present there? It is always concerned with someone: if someone is there, then you begin to feel the presence.

I drop that someone totally. I simply say, feel the divine presence. This is a negative projection. It cannot continue for long because there is no ground to support it; sooner or later it will drop. First I drop objects, and then, by and by, projection itself will drop. That is the difference between positive and negative projection.

In positive projection, the object is significant and the feeling follows, while in negative projection the feeling is important and the object is simply forgotten, as if I am taking the whole ground from under your feet. From within you, below you, from everywhere, the ground has been taken and you are left alone with your feeling. Now that feeling cannot exist; it will drop. If objects are not there, then the feelings that are directly connected to objects cannot continue any longer. For a while you can project them, then they will drop. And when they drop you alone remain there – in your total aloneness. That point is the point of meditation; from there meditation begins. Now you are out of the room.

So meditation has a beginning in the mind, but that is not real meditation. Begin in the mind, so that you can move toward meditation, and when mind ceases and you are beyond it, then real meditation begins. We have to begin with the mind because we are in the mind. Even to go beyond it, one has to use it. So use the mind negatively, never positively, and then you will achieve meditation.

If you use the mind positively, then you will only create more and more projections. So whatever is known as “positive thinking” is absolutely anti-meditative. Negative thinking is meditative; negation is the method for meditation. Go on negating to the point where nothing remains to be negated, and only the negator remains; then you are in your purity, and then you know what is. Everything that is known before that is just the mind’s imaginings, dreamings, projections.

-Osho

From Meditation: The Art of Ecstasy, Appendix 1

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.

A Letter from Albert Blackburn

Dear R:

Thank you for your letter.  I will answer your questions by sending you this parable which I wrote in 1974, entitled The Train of Thought.

One day I awakened to find myself standing on the platform of a railway station.  The platform was crowded with the entire human race and everyone but me (somehow I knew) was sleepwalking.  I did not know what had awakened me, or what had led me there; I did know that I was awake and apparently could see the real meaning of that was happening around me.

In that most unusual state in which I found myself, I was able to see many strange and wonderful things that no one else could apparently see.  Each person on the platform was enclosed in an aura resembling a soap bubble of many colors, and each color, I knew, represented their qualities and interests.  There were no two exactly the same, but people did seem to gravitate into groups having similar colors.

The station building itself, where tickets were sold, was a beehive of activity.  There were numerous signs advertising such different destinations as Self-Fulfillment, Peace, War, Religion, and so on; the possibilities seemed unlimited.  In a few cases the price of the ticket was clearly marked, but in most it was not.  No one seemed interested in what a trip would cost, as long as the ticket could be paid for later, or charged on a credit card.  There was a sign saying that all sales were final; no refunds or exchanges were possible once the trip was taken.

There were many authorities present acting as guides, teachers, and advisors.  They were clearly identified by their dress, and by the rather prominent badges that they wore. I could see that most of the prospective passengers were so carried away by the whole procedure that without someone’s help they would have indiscriminately climbed aboard the first car to appear.  Others, of a more discriminating nature, eagerly sought advice from the authority that appealed to them the most.

Many authorities went out of their way to recruit gullible passengers, and in this way were able to build up quite a reputation.  Word was passed from generation to generation through tradition, which was thought to be the best authority of all to follow.

I myself had always preferred to make my own choice, and therefore had never followed the advice of any of these well-known authorities.  I found out later that it was my independent attitude that had led to my present state of wakefulness on the platform.  I saw that accepting any authority was an absolute guarantee that one would never awaken, and without awakening, there was an endless trip through space and time.

The whole scene was intensely interesting to me as I watched what seemed to be happening.  Some people got on board and were not seen again, while others would jump on, only to get off almost immediately.  There seemed to be no rules of behavior, since some passengers kept changing cars and even seats for reasons known only to themselves.

The track leading in and out of the station was only visible for a short distance in either direction, for the train entered a tunnel immediately after leaving the boarding area.  The arriving train (which I now saw was only a continuation of the same train) also emerged from a tunnel just before its arrival at the station.  I was unable to determine the length of the train, but I could see that it was continuous.  It was also unique in a most peculiar way – there were five distinct types of railway cars, each with its respective color, shape, size and different way of attracting my attention.  For a time I was puzzled by this, but I finally saw a signboard with a description that enabled the passengers to make a choice.  The first car was called The Car Of Sight, the second The Car of Sound, the third The Car Of Touch, the fourth The Car Of Taste, and the fifth The Car Of Smell.  This information, of course, explained many things to me, and I again focused my attention on this fantastic train.

As I watched the people round me, I could see that they were caught up in a ceaseless round of activity.  They behaved in much the same way that a person does when under hypnosis.  Their attention was focussed entirely on the train, and they seemed to be unaware of anything else.  A constant loading and unloading was going on, and for a time I was at a loss as to why a certain car was chosen.  Finally I perceived that each person’s choice was motivated by a subtle blending of interests, familiarity, prejudice, fear, and desire.  The blending of these qualities in a person was expressed by an overall tone or frequency, which in some corresponding way was linked to a tone or similar frequency that was emitted by each car as it passed by.  The result apparently was like a post-hypnotic suggestion in its effect on the prospective passengers. As I watched people’s reactions, I was struck more and more by the dreamlike quality of the scene.

All of this time, I was in a state of wakefulness in which I could watch the proceedings with detached interest.  But now I also wanted to experience this fascinating train ride that everyone else seemed to be enjoying so much.  The instant my decision to participate was made, a subtle change in my own perception occurred.  My attention was immediately drawn to what seemed to me to be the most beautiful car, which was just arriving. I barely had time to get on board, but found to my delight that it had unlimited seating capacity.  Every seat individually molded itself to each passenger and automatically adjusted to suit that person’s tastes and mental attributes.

Before sitting down in my own choice seat, I glanced around me and saw a glassy look in the eyes of all the seated passengers.  My own eyes no doubt took on the same trance-like look, because as I sat down all memory vanished along with my objective perception. I too was lost in my own private dream world, and I was so busy correlating this new experience with my past life that time just seemed to disappear.  By the time this assimilation had taken place, I realized that I must be missing the thrill of riding in other cars.  I jumped off on the platform and immediately awakened again to the world around me, and realized that I had been asleep and dreaming.

The rest of that day I spent experimenting.  I would take different cars and different seats, but the result was always the same.  I found that as long as I remained on the platform a clear perception of everything could be maintained, but the moment that my attention was arrested by an unusually attractive car I would fall asleep, and everything experienced from that point on was a part of my own personal dream world, and in a rather vague way was connected to that of the other passengers in my general group.  Of course, I had many interesting discussions with my fellow travelers on science, religion, and philosophy, and we reassured one another that some of the rather frightening things that happened were either necessary or happened through the will of God.

It was only after I had jumped off that my memory would return, and I could remember all of the events leading up to the moment when my attention had been diverted, and recall the very subtle way in which my choice of cars and seats had been influenced.  I could also remember everything that I had experienced while on the train, and even the supposedly intelligent conversations which had taken place in the cars.  While I remained on the platform, in an objective state, I could see how superficial our lengthy discussions had been.  What had seemed to be the whole world had only been a tiny fragment of it, so that any judgement or action stemming from it accomplished very little good. The complete picture could be seen and intelligent action taken only by remaining on the platform and in the state of awareness.

I also saw that even though the cars of Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste, and Smell were separate, they were all part of the same train, and were only focal points that attracted attention.  Once on board, a mysterious blending of the whole dream-train into a single unity took place.  A kind of mutual conditioning effect occurred.  The passengers took on the qualities of the train, and the train took on the qualities of its passengers.  I could see that this gradual conditioning process – called by some growth, progress, or evolution – was only a sort of glorified “merry-go-round.”

I could see the whole picture only be stepping off the train.  It was easy to be caught up in the mass hysteria especially as no advance payment had to be made for a ride; anyone could jump on board.  Many, no doubt, thought there was a free trip to an ultimate pleasure, and were unaware that it was a “pay as you leave” system.  Some of the prices paid seemed to me extremely high, since they included sickness, old age, and death; naturally, there was a great deal of grumbling when payment fell due.

After a great of deal of inquiry, I found out that there had been other, isolated cases similar to mine, in which individuals had awakened, and because it did happen from time to time, a new type of pass had been authorized.  It was called “The Cycle of Perception,” and was available free of charge to anyone with the capacity for awareness.

I immediately took advantage of this information and obtained one of these special passes, and from then on my experience was quite different.  Instead of falling asleep immediately, and remaining asleep for the duration of the trip, I only slept at the moment of choice; immediately thereafter I was able to wake up, and the rest of the trip took place in a state of awareness.

It seemed to work in the following way: As the cars came into view, and I began to feel an irresistible attraction towards a particular car, I would fall asleep; I would then awaken in my favorite seat on that car.  I had always remained asleep for the duration of the trip when this had happened before, but now I was able to watch the whole procedure objectively in a waking state.  I could see the superficiality of the whole scene, and was no longer carried away by the conversations of my fellow passengers.  In this way, my desire to blindly participate in this means of transportation gradually diminished, and as a consequence my trips became shorter and less frequent.

The use of “The Cycle of Perception” pass was mandatory during the transition that I was going through, a transition from a state of unconscious participation (in which I was immersed in a hypnotic dream) to a state of complete wakefulness (in which there was no longer any desire to use this antiquated means of transportation).

I have since tried to tell others on the platform of my experiences, but my words seem to fall on deaf ears.  Some people think I’m crazy but most think that even questioning such a wonderful train system is foolish.  “It is here, so why not enjoy it,” they say.  Others think that I should not speak about it for fear that some authority might overhear and bring the whole thing to an end.  Personally, I am tired of watching this “merry-go-round,” and keep wondering if it may not all vanish into thin air some day.  How and why it originally got started is a mystery, but its continuity is assured through the unlimited supply of avid passengers recruited from the entire human species.

In closing my account of the strange phenomenon which I have been describing, let me add the following.  I have found out that this train was conceived of and dedicated millions of years ago by the earliest human beings.  In the beginning, the train was a simple thing, but because it has been refined and added to over the intervening years, it has become the pride of our times.  Habit has also played a great part in its growth.  Through careful observation, I saw that the people who were waiting usually chose familiar cars each time.  Those who were considered leaders (or who were able to easily persuade others) seemed to be held in great regard, because then people didn’t have to make their own decisions.  Most passengers also felt much more comfortable when there were others on the same car, and they aided and abetted each other in their choices.

Through common usage, this “Train Of Thought” has become the universally accepted mode of transportation.  All educational institutions are geared to programming their students in making the ‘right’ choice on the “Thought Train.”  The resulting systems of thought, with all their subtle nuances, are held in great esteem.  These, in turn, support the whole social structure and the economic system, which explains the nervousness and outright anger that is aroused by any suggestion that there might be a better means of transportation.  The constant threats to the system caused by war or natural catastrophes make a few people question the whole thing, but this rarely happens.  I have recently discovered for myself that there really is a different way of getting to where one wants to go.  It is through direct perception, and the result is an instantaneous oneness with the object or situation itself, including all of its related phenomena.  It eliminates having to choose anything related to “The Train Of Thought.”  Direct perception makes the old method of doing things seem obsolete, except as a means of continued communication with other people.  I can conceive of a future state in which more and more people would use this new dimension, and thereby create a brand new society.

The new social structure would be based on real values in human relationships. Of course, many of the destinations of the “Thought Train” would be dropped, such as War, Prejudice, Yours, Mine, Reward, Punishment, Courage, Politics, My Country, Authority, Philosophy, and so on.  There would be a complete social upheaval, since people engaged in these activities would be forced into other lines of work.  It is not hard to see why the train is so ancient, nor why even the slightest effort to upset the status quo is met with resistance from all of those whose livelihood depends upon it.

Perhaps only rare individuals can step away from it from time to time.

Please become aware of your own “Train Of Thought” and find direct perception and now-consciousness.

Affectionately,

Al Blackburn

Albert Blackburn (1988).  Worlds Beyond Thought.  Conversations on Now-Consciousness.  Idylwild Books, P.O. Box 246, Ojai, CA 93023.

Worlds Beyond Thought – Albert Blackburn

The following is an excerpt from a conversation between Albert Blackburn  and Gabriele, his wife.

Albert Blackburn:  Can thought go beyond?

Gabriele:  How can it? And what can go beyond? How can one go beyond?

A:  A new factor must obviously be introduced in order to transcend the thought process; and once again, we should be able to go into it right from this present moment.  Does anything exist in this present moment that is not a part of thought, and that is not a part of our memory bank and ego?

G:  I would say awareness, perception, and the factual things we are surrounded by.

A:  I think that you’re right.  I feel that perception is something beyond thought, because perception is inherent in every living creature in the world.  Every living creature has perception and is able to use perception within its own particular field of consciousness.

G:  Yes.

A:  I think the problem that exists is that we have identified ourselves with perception.  We say we’re perceiving, or we’re feeling, or we’re smelling, or we’re doing.  I think these are all ideas because from a factual point of view there is only seeing, there is only doing, there is only feeling, there is only smelling, there is only hearing; it is only an idea that we are seeing, we are hearing, we are smelling, we are feeling these things.  I believe that each person has to explore this themselves, and see if it is true; does perception exist beyond our personal ideas about it?

To me, it is a very real fact that perception is outside my field of consciousness.  It is completely separate from the thought process.  When my mind is quiet, there is complete perception; there is no fragmentation due to my personal identification with one object.

G:  But the moment I say that I am aware of that beautiful sunset, I bring in my ego, or I bring in the ‘I’ of thought.  I create a memory so that tomorrow I can say, “Yesterday I saw a beautiful sunset.”

A:  That’s right; in other words, we take a mental picture of something the minute we identify it and say, “I have seen it,” or “I am seeing it.”  I must remember it because it is a beautiful picture and I want to put it into my photographic album so that tomorrow I can drag it out and compare it to something else that I have seen, or so that I can tell you about it.

G:  That’s how we generate our own personal body of knowledge. 

A:  It’s also a matter of communication. We can’t communicate with another person without using words and ideas.  Communication on the physical level has to be through the field of consciousness, doesn’t it?

G:  Yes.

A:  I can communicate to you things that I have experienced, or things that I’m experiencing at the present time.  I can do it through words, or I can do it through memory, but I have to use the field of human consciousness.  I have to use the values, the words, and everything else that we both understand in order to get the idea across to you.

But your perception of an idea doesn’t have to involve the field of consciousness. A sudden understanding or a sudden knowing may occur inside of you when you hear me talking about it or describing it.  And even though I’m using my conditioning to describe it, you don’t have to use your conditioning to understand it.  That’s the point.

G:  I can use now-consciousness to understand it.

A:  Right!  This is very important, because it creates an entirely new situation.  In other words, you or I or anyone else, who is endeavoring to communicate a certain idea or a certain insight has to use accepted grammatical forms in order to be understood.  But the holistic understanding of the other person has to lie outside of the field of human consciousness.  If the person who is listening is understanding or interpreting the words in a mechanical way only, then that person’s understanding is only on the verbal level; it doesn’t go any deeper and it doesn’t affect the person’s actions.  For your actions in life to be really affected at the gut level, you have to understand things outside of the field of your personal conditioning. You can’t be caught by any of the words that you hear.  You can’t bring up something from your memory bank or bring up some photograph that you have personally taken, some memory, and have understanding take place.  The minute you catch yourself interpreting something in any way at all – going back to your memory bank in any way at all – drop it.  In dropping the memory, you are open again and free of your conditioning.  Once free, understanding can take place at a deep level, and this can really change your life.

This is why Krishnaji had such difficulty in communicating with the people who listened to him; most of them were interpreting the words that he was using.  They were mired down by the ideas that were evoked in their minds by the words that he used, and they made no impression on them at a deep level.  Consequently, there was no understanding.  They would say, “I understand what Krishnamurti is talking about, it is very plain he’s talking about,” but there was no inner revolution in their understanding of life.

G:  So it became another accumulation of ideas.

A:  Exactly, there was no inner revolution.  The inner revolution can only take place outside of the field of consciousness.  There has to be a listening, not you listening, there has to be a listening without ‘you’ in the picture.  And when there is that listening, then what is heard is not being interpreted, it is not being analyzed, and it is not being filtered through your conditioning.  In that, there’s a holistic understanding which affects you at a deep level, and changes your life, and brings about this inner revolution that Krishnaji was talking about.

G:  That’s right.

A:  I think that is the whole secret of it.

G:  Yes.  So this perception, this awareness is necessary.  If one is in a state of now-consciousness, then what is beyond that?  What is beyond man’s creation, beyond man’s whole field of the known?  What happens?  Let us go into that now.

A:  Well, the world of nature is beyond; understanding, love, affection, attention, compassion, beauty, and all the so-called virtues are beyond; everything that humanity has ever dreamed about possessing, but has never really possessed except as a name or an idea, is beyond human consciousness.  And it is not something that can’t be touched at any time, because what is beyond human consciousness (as we have said before) is the present moment. Thus beauty can be touched in the present moment if I’m not in the picture, ‘I’ as an idea.  Affection can be touched in the present moment; love can be touched in the present moment; understanding can be touched.  All of the things we have just named can be touched in the present moment.

G:  Yes.

A:  It is so simple everybody passes it by, because most of us expect a complicated answer.  You have to experiment and discover for yourself the simple beauty of this approach to life.

G:  It is so direct.

A:  Absolutely direct; direct perception; direct action.

G:  So how does one wake up?  How does one stay in the now?

A:  Well, let us start in this present moment again, because this is the beginning point.  Every step, every question has to begin with this present moment.  Would you ask the question, “How can I sit in this chair?”

G:  No, I guess I know how.

A:  “How can I put my feet on the floor?”  “How can I put my two hands together?”  “How can I look at another person?”  You know, it is so simple. There’s no how to it for us.  So the question is not how to do something in a positive way, but rather what prevents us from doing it? That should be the question.  What prevents me from being aware that I’m sitting in this chair?  What prevents me from being aware that I have my hands clasped together and my thumbs are moving together against each other?  What prevents me from being aware of this?

G:  All that we’ve been talking about.

A:  Right; thought.

G:  Thought.

A:  In other words, identification with a certain object or a certain idea that was recalled through the memory process, a retrieval from our personal memory bank. That’s what prevents us from being constantly attentive and aware of what is happening in the present moment.

G:  Then without awareness there is no true love, no beauty, no compassion, no affection, none of those things that are beyond thought.

A:  They don’t exist, if I’m thinking.

G:  No.

A:  They can’t.  Each one can exist as an idea; I can name each one as an abstraction.  But it is just an idea, it is not the thing itself.  The emotions themselves, which are part of the holistic feeling about life which contains all of those so-called virtues, are there every moment.  But we’re simply not aware of them because we’re busy thinking about some picayune idea that has nothing to do with them at all.

Of course, you have to use thought in order to make plans.  If you have a certain insight into what has to be done this afternoon, or tomorrow, or whatever, you have to use thought.  You have to use the creative planning capacity of your brain in order to bring it about.  But most of the time we’re not in that situation; most of the time we could sit back and enjoy these other things that we’ve been talking about as possibilities.  We could enjoy them as facts, and not just as ideas.

G:  In other words, I don’t see nature when I’m thinking.

A:  Of course not.

G:  I can see that that’s a tree, or a bird, and so on, but I don’t really see it, feel it, or perceive it when the mind is chattering

A:  The minute you name something you don’t perceive it, either.  You perceive the tree, and the minute you name the tree, the perception is gone.  In the act of naming, the name you are giving the tree becomes superimposed between you and the tree.  The same phenomenon takes place in every phase of our life.

G:  Seeing the beauty of what we’re saying, and the necessity of it, and perhaps experiencing it – how does it come about?

A:  I think we should start once again with something that we can understand.  Obviously, thought cannot wake itself up.  I consider thinking a form of dreaming.  (People call it thinking, you know, but actually it is day-dreaming!)  Thought can’t wake itself up.  If you’re in the middle of a dream at night, you normally can’t wake yourself up immediately.  However, there are certain techniques that the occultists use to trick themselves into waking up in the middle of a dream; they then go on with the dream in a different way, objectively.

G:  They’re experimenting with this now in dream labs.

A:  There’s the possibility of doing this.  There’s also the possibility of waking yourself up and becoming aware of the fact that you have been thinking a certain train of thought.  Then, instead of continuing that particular thought (which, from your point of view, might be a negative thought), you continue in the thought process by substituting what you consider to be a more positive, more acceptable thought.

G:  That’s still the same old thing.  It is still using memory to trick yourself into thinking in another way.

A:  So both ways are really tricks of the mind, aren’t they?

G:  Yes.

A:  So, if thought cannot wake itself up, if thought cannot bring itself to an end, if thought cannot extricate itself from the field of human consciousness – which is the origin of thought in the first place – then something else has to take place, doesn’t it?  Another factor must come into play to break the impasse.  Earlier, we came to the realization that perception and awareness are outside of human consciousness.  So what is it that will wake us up?  That was the question you asked.

G:  Just now you said thought can’t achieve its own end.  What do you mean by that?  You can’t think yourself to the end of thought?

A:  No, there has to be some outside agency, doesn’t there?  There has to be some factor outside of my conditioned response.

G:  You said that thought can’t stop itself.  You can’t sit there and say, “I’m going to meditate and stop thinking?”

A:  No, because consciously stopping a negative type of thought, for instance, and turning it into a positive thought, is still continuing the thought process.  Some of the so-called New-Thought organizations do this type of mental manipulation; they tell you to think positively instead of negatively.  It is just a trick of the mind.  In other words, they continue to experience the same dream, only they’ve edited it now, and they turn it into a positive dream instead of a negative one.

But this doesn’t answer your question, and I think it is an intriguing question.  I like to use analogies, because I think analogies are really another way of talking about harmonics on another level.  For example, you yourself have thoroughly studied and used your mind and your mental capacity to its utmost to determine all of the facts concerning a certain way of living.  You’ve gone as far as you can go in creatively thinking about the subject, and have used your mental capacity to find out everything related to the healing work that you do.  Is that true?

G:  Yes, it is.

A:  Then suppose that somebody calls you this afternoon and tells you that your assistance is required tomorrow morning at 8:00, that the capacity that you’ve developed as a ‘healer’ is needed to help someone.  You realize the value of doing this, you see that life has chosen you to do this and that you have the capacity to do it, and you have a feeling that you can perhaps help this other person.  Are you going to need an alarm clock to wake you in time to be ready for your 8 o’clock appointment tomorrow morning?  Or are you going to wake up spontaneously?

G:  I’ll wake up by myself.

A:  You’ll wake up.  You won’t need an alarm clock.  You may set one just as a safety measure because you may not be completely sure you’ll wake up, but you will always awaken.  Just as I’d wake up if somebody called me and wanted to talk about my favorite subject, now-consciousness.  I would wake up; I wouldn’t need an alarm clock because I’m intensely interested in the subject, just as you are intensely interested in what you are doing, too.  We can’t say it is ‘you’ waking yourself up, or ‘me’ waking myself up.  It is the interest that we have in the things with which we are involved that wakes us up.  That interest is part of the life-force, the vitality or energy of life, that awakens us.  Isn’t that true?

G:  Yes, one can hardly wait to get started.

A:  Well, if this is true on the physical level, why doesn’t it apply on other levels as well?  Wouldn’t it apply to waking up from a thought pattern?

G:  It is part of that inner intention, that interest.

A:  Suppose that I have gone into this deeply enough to see the value and the logic of waking up.  I realize that most of the time I identify with just one fragment of each moment.  I can see the potential danger in this limited response to unforeseen challenges and am really serious in my desire to change.  I see that I will be unable to cope adequately with emergencies that may come up as long as I’m plugged into only one channel.  Suppose that you have told me all of this, and I’ve looked into it and understood logically at least that what you say must be true.  I may not have felt it deeply because I have not experienced it myself, but I see that life must be much richer; there must be a thousand things out there of which I’m unaware.

My inquiry and deep interest opens the door for insight.  There is freedom from the known, because I clearly see that thought cannot make a breakthrough.  Another factor, outside of myself, must become operative.  In other words, I can’t consciously awaken myself from sleep, nor can I consciously bring about awareness.

Perceiving the validity of these observations gives me the inner intention to wake up, and this inner incentive accomplishes what thought cannot do.  Thought can’t extricate itself from the trap it has created.  It is the sincere acknowledgement of this impasse that opens the door for insight to occur.

G:  That’s exactly it.

A:  If I’ve reached that stage mentally, and have really pushed it and am really interested, my inquiry and my interest are going to be the very things that wake me up.

G:  And then you carry that through into action.  When someone comes to you with a problem, you approach it with an attitude of ‘I’ don’t know.  For example, I can’t approach the healing process with any knowledge that I have; but if I stay away from thought and just ‘tune’ into the energy that is there, that exists in that same state of perception, the healing may occur.

A:  Exactly.

G:  And if you take that approach when someone comes to you with a question, rather than approaching it from the standpoint of what you’ve already written or thought or experienced, then real communication may occur.  Or you may at least say something important to that person; whether they can comprehend it in the same way or not is not your responsibility.

A:  You are not personally providing the answer.  If you are open, if your cup is empty, and life is pouring information into you moment by moment through the medium of insight, then you are not consciously saying something designed to engender a particular reaction in the other person.  If you have the idea that you are going to effect a certain result, it is a product of thought

G:  That’s right.  ‘I’ am not a healer, ‘I’ can’t heal anybody.

A:  You will spontaneously and intuitively say the right thing, with no idea at all as to why you are saying it.  And it is life that engenders the understanding in the other person that might change the course of that person’s life.  But you are not doing it to bring about a specific result; that is the important point

People thought that Krishnaji deliberately said certain things to them personally that were designed to elicit particular results, because specific results did occur as a consequence of what he said.  But I don’t believe that he himself had any intention of doing that; he said what he did because at that moment it was the right thing to say.  It was life that engendered an understanding in the listener.

G:  Yes, because that energy, that life, that love that comes through, is then actually working in that state beyond thought.  And that is the state of pure insight and pure compassion, and in that state, healing and understanding can take place.

What do you think Krishnaji meant by saying that you must follow a thought to its end?

A:  If I’ve suddenly awakened to the fact that my mind has been identifying with a certain train of thought, there are two directions in which I can go, aren’t there?  Usually that direction is forward; I use thought and imagination to conclude the particular thought that I had been involved in at the time I awakened.  In other words I analyze my thought, interpret the thought that I’ve just had, and follow it through to a conclusion of some kind.  That would involve the thinking process, wouldn’t it?

G:  Yes.

A:  In other words, it would be impossible to proceed from the point at which you have awakened without using thought.

G:  So Krishnaji couldn’t have meant that, could he?

A:  No.  Let’s go back to the analogy of sleeping.  When you wake up in the morning, there’s an immediate awareness of the fact that you are in the bed where you went to sleep (if everything is normal).  An awareness of how you went to asleep at night, of how you prepared yourself for bed, of all of the events leading up to it – all of this comes to you in a flash when you wake up in the morning.  You don’t have to think about it; in a flash you see the whole backward track.  You even picture some of the dreams that your mind was involved in during the night.

In the same way, at a different and higher harmonic level, you can wake up or suddenly become aware of the fact that you’ve been involved in thought.  Immediately, instead of proceeding, instead of analyzing and editing the thought, and all of the rest of the process, be aware of your tendency to do this, and the minute that you start doing it, drop it.  In that dropping there is a clear seeing of the whole backward path.  You see the train of thought that you were involved with and how it originated.  You see the memory that triggered it; you see the life challenge that triggered it – you see the name, or the person, or whatever it was triggered that particular train of thought.  You can then perceive where the thought originated, how it started in your mind, how you were conditioned to react to a particular thing, and how you programmed yourself to respond in a particular way.  And then the thought can even be traced back into all kinds of other little channels back to the actual origin of the memory itself.  When all of that is clearly seen, it dissipates, it withers way.  It is no more, and you will not be troubled by that particular memory again

G:  Are you saying that it diminishes, that the content goes out of it, as well as the feelings associated with it?

A:  The feelings go out of it, the life goes out of it and it shrivels up in the light of understanding.  It withers away in the light of awareness that you focus upon the backward path leading to the whole train of thought.  But if you make the mistake of going forward, you give it new energy, you give it new life, you give it new continuity; and then it keeps coming up over and over again, and there’s no end to it.  It becomes a neurotic response

G:  And there is no end to it at all.

A:  So that’s what I feel that Krishnaji meant when he spoke of following thought to an end.  He knew that if you followed it forward it would lead to a dead end, that you’d never escape it, and that you would discover for yourself that you could never escape it.

G:  Is following thought to an end different then from analysis?

A:  Oh yes, completely; analysis is going forward with thought.  Analysis is going forward, but also looking back while you’re going ahead and analyzing the thing that you thought you were thinking about.  Analysis is part of the thought process.

Now-Consciousness is the world beyond thought, where there is love compassion beauty, and a holistic unity with all of life.

-Albert Blackburn

Excerpt from Worlds Beyond Thought, Conversations on Now-Consciousness, p.102 – 117

Freedom is Being – Anand Amido

Fall leaves fallen

Fallen fall leaves

This offering has been pondered over, allowed to slosh around in my mind, in my interiority, and even spilled over onto a white page to be fiddled with, adjusted, and examined for tone.  (Light but not pedantic!)  No fight picking here, simple exploration, seeking understanding, and then deeper understanding.

When I sit of a morning, Japanese style since my knees protest the least in such a pose, fragments of thought cruise, gallop, creep seemingly through my skull!  Little strips of data from last night’s TV viewing, an old memory of something that jars and gnaws and has to be forgiven and laid to rest (again and again), self-reminders to watch my breath, closely followed by some genuine breath watching, until off I go again climbing onto that endlessly spinning merry-go-round.

At a certain point, my legs suggest we have all been sitting for quite long enough.  Now my legs respond very gracefully to a little wiggle, a little twitch, and we all settle down again.  But then, the mind with some considerable force declares, “Let’s stand up.”  At that point, I have to be really alert and not automatically follow its dictates! For, I have recently read Osho saying that we always stop “meditating” before something happens.  So, I ignore my mind.  Rude of course, but when someone doesn’t have your best interests at heart, is one obliged to listen carefully to their point of view and respond as your upbringing dictates?!  Sorry mind.  If I engage with you, I am lost, and so I turn away!

So then, I settle and yummy is the best word to describe it.

-Amido

How to not create a prison!

I experienced so clearly the sense of being imprisoned and constricted when I casually accepted the offer from my job some years ago to do a master’s degree.  My employer would, so to speak, pay for it.  I would work for them for three years after completing it.  I had always wanted to do a master’s degree!

I so enjoyed the studying.  I love integrating ideas, choosing just the right word, incorporating the learning and understanding into my daily work.  I always knew that having to pay the piper would cause problems and, boy, did it. I found it excruciating to be locked into a work position for a specified amount of time.  I may well have worked there, unconcerned, for three years, but the fact that it was written in stone, threw my mind into turmoil.

I struggled and wriggled and created much misery for myself (hopefully not others).  There would be moments of seeing clearly, all misery somehow magically vanishing, but then, I would start the whole storm up again.

Slowly, slowly, I saw the relationship between the hook of my desire feeding into a whole host of consequences which I found confining.  The more I wriggled and resisted, the more painful the situation proved.  But, it was not really the situation causing the pain.  It was the way I was choosing to experience it.

Confined

And, I, and only I, was the one who had initiated the whole conundrum.  It was such a strong lesson in how to be more conscious in my choices.  How an apparently simple desire can lead one on the road to great distress.  This small writing emerged from that experience.

I construct
With great precision
Domes
That imprison.
Thought, concepts
The ruts of repetition
Form crisscrossing beams
Diminishing space
Compressing my spirit.
I see my work
I abhor it
I struggle
Within its confines
And find
I only create
Further
Confining structures.
I seek freedom
But find myself
Flailing
In a barrage
Of constant
Assembly.
All effort to escape
Compounds
The imprisonment.
In despair
I stop!

-Anand Amido

The Decisive Moment is at Hand – Osho

The coming few years are going to be very significant years in man’s history. Now a handful of people will be of no help in matters spiritual. Unless a mighty spirituality is born, unless a mighty and massive spiritual movement sweeps the earth, making its impact on millions of people, it will be impossible to save the world from the mire of materialism. It will be a very, very momentous moment in man’s life; the coming fifty years are going to be fateful and decisive. Either religion will live, or stark irreligion, all that is against religion, will live.

DSCN0905

These fifty years will also decide about Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna, Jesus, Mohammed, Rama and the rest of them. All these luminaries will be on one side of the scales while on the other side will be the large crowd of insane politicians, materialists and other ignorant people bent on deluding themselves and others too. They are in huge numbers, while only a handful of people will be on one side of the arraignment. And in fifty years’ time the decision will be made.

The struggle that has been going on from time immemorial has reached its moment of decision. And looking at the situation as it obtains at present, there is not much hope. But I am not disappointed because it seems to me that very soon a simple and natural and easy way can be found which will revolutionize the lives of millions of people spiritually.

A few individuals can be of no help in the present times. In olden times it was enough if only one person became enlightened. Now this won’t do. In view of the tremendous explosion of population taking place in the world, a few individuals cannot do a thing. Now something tangible can be possible only if, commensurate with the huge population, hundreds of thousands of people are influenced and involved in spiritualism. And it is possible as I see it. If a few people form a nucleus and begin the work, then India can play a significant role in that momentous fight. No matter how poor and miserable, how degraded and slavish, how misled and misguided this country has been, yet this land has some well-preserved treasures with it. Down the centuries such people have walked this land that their light, their fragrance, their longings have left their vibes in the air, have left their imprint on every blade of grass here. Man has of course gone wrong, but the dust of this land still remembers Buddha’s feet walking it. Man of this country has gone wrong, but the trees still cherish the memory that Mahavira had once stood in their shade. Man has really gone wrong, but the seas surrounding this country still know a different voice they had heard in the past. Man has no doubt gone astray, but the skies of this country are still full of hopes. Everything is there, only man has to come back home.

Of late, I have been constantly praying with the hope that collective explosion in the lives of millions of people may be possible. And you can be of great help in this endeavor. Such explosion in your own life will have immense value not only for you, but for all mankind. With this hope and prayer that you will not only light your own lamps, but that your light will help other extinguished lamps to be lighted, I bid you farewell. I am grateful to you for having listened to me in peace and with such love, and I bow down to God sitting within each one of you. Please accept my salutation.

-Osho

From In Search of the Miraculous, Discourse #8

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation 

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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