The Virtuous Circle – Osho

Visesa-darsinaatma-bhava-bhavanavinivrttih.

When one has seen this distinction, there is a cessation of desire for dwelling in the atma, the self.

Buddha has called the ultimate state of consciousness anatta – no self, non-being. It is very difficult to comprehend it. Buddha has said that the last desire to drop is the desire to be. There are millions of desires. The whole world is nothing but desire objects, but the basic desire is to be. The basic desire is to continue, to persist, to remain. Death is the greatest fear; the last desire to be dropped is the desire to be.

Patanjali in this sutra says: when your awareness has become perfect, when viveka, discrimination has been achieved, when you have become a witness, a pure witness of whatsoever happens, outside you, inside you…. You are no more a doer, you are simply watching; the birds are singing outside… you watch; the blood is circulating inside… you watch; the thoughts are moving inside… you watch – you never get identified anywhere. You don’t say, “I am the body”; you don’t say, “I am the mind”; you don’t say anything. You simply go on watching without being identified with any object. You remain a pure subject; you simply remember one thing: that you are the watcher, the witness – when this witnessing is established, then the desire to be disappears.

And the moment the desire to be disappears, death also disappears. Death exists because you want to persist. Death exists because you don’t want to die. Death exists because you are struggling against the whole. The moment you are ready to die, death is meaningless; it cannot be possible now. When you are ready to die, how can you die? In the very readiness of dying, disappearing, all possibility of death is overcome. This is the paradox of religion.

Jesus says, “If you are going to cling to yourself, you will lose yourself. If you want to attain yourself, don’t cling.” Those who try to be are destroyed. Not that somebody is there destroying you; your very effort to be is destructive because the moment the idea arises: “I should persist,” you are moving against the whole. It is as if a wave is trying to be against the ocean. Now the very effort is going to create worry and misery, and one moment will come when the wave will have to disappear. But now, because the wave was fighting against the ocean, the disappearance will look like death. If the wave was ready, and the wave was aware: “I’m nothing but the ocean, so what is the point in persisting? I have been always and I will be always, because the ocean has always been there and will be always there. I may not exist as a wave – wave is just the form I have taken for the moment.

The form will disappear, but not my content. I may not exist like this wave; I may exist like another wave, or I may not exist as a wave as such. I may become the very depth of the ocean where no waves arise….”

But the innermost reality is going to remain because the whole has penetrated you. You are nothing but the whole, an expression of the whole. Once awareness is established, Patanjali says, “When one has seen this distinction, that ‘I am neither this nor that’, when one has become aware and is not identified with anything whatsoever, there is a cessation of desire for dwelling in the atma, in the self.” Then the last desire disappears, and the last is the fundamental. Hence, Buddha says, “You can drop desiring money, wealth, power, prestige – that’s nothing. You can stop desiring the world – that’s nothing – because those are secondary desires. The basic desire is to be.” So people who renounce the world start desiring liberation, but liberation is also their liberation. They will remain in moksha, in a liberated state. They desire that pain should not be there. They desire that misery should not be there. They will be in absolute bliss, but they will be. The insistence is that they must be there.

That’s why Buddha could not get roots into this country which thinks itself very religious. The most religious man who was born on this earth could not get roots into this religious country. What happened? He said, he insisted, to drop the basic desire of being: he said, “Be a non-being.” He said, “Don’t be.” He said, “Don’t ask for liberation because the freedom is not for you. The freedom is going to be freedom from you; not for you, but from you.”

Liberation is liberation from yourself. See the distinction: it is not for you; liberation is not for you. It is not that liberated you will exist. Liberated, you will disappear. Buddha said, “Only bondage exists.”

Let me try to explain it to you.

Have you ever come across health? You have been healthy many times, but can you say what health is? Only disease exists. Health is non-existential; you cannot pin-point it. If you have a headache you know it is there, but have you ever known the absence of headache? In fact, if there is no headache the head- also disappears. You don’t feel it anymore. If you go on feeling your head, that simply shows that there must be a certain tension inside, a certain stress, a strain. A sort of headache must be there continuously. If your whole body is healthy, the body disappears. You forget that the body is. In Zen, when meditators sit for many years, just sitting and doing nothing, a certain moment comes when they forget that they have bodies. That is their first satori. Not that the body is not there; body is there but there is no tension, so how to feel it? If I say something you can hear me, but if I’m silent how can you hear me? Silence is there – it has much to communicate to you – but silence cannot be heard. Sometimes when you say, “Yes, I can hear the silence,” then you are hearing some noise. Maybe it is the noise of the dark night, but it is still noise. If it is absolutely silent, you will not be able to hear it. When your body is perfectly healthy, you don’t feel it. If some tension arises in the body, some disease, some illness, then you start hearing. If everything is in harmony and there is no pain and no misery, suddenly you are empty. A nothingness overwhelms you.

Kaivalya is the ultimate health, wholeness, all wounds healed. When all wounds heal, how can you exist? The self is nothing but accumulated tensions. The self is nothing but all sorts of diseases, illnesses. The self is nothing but desires unfulfilled, hopes frustrated, expectations, dreams – all broken, fractured. It is nothing but accumulated disease, that you call ‘self’. Or take it from another side: in moments of harmony you forget that you are. Later on, you may remember how beautiful it was, how fantastic it was, how far-out. But in moments of real far-outness, you are not there. Something bigger than you has overpowered you; something higher than you has possessed you; something deeper than you has bubbled up. You have disappeared. In deep moments of love, lovers disappear. In deep moments of silence, meditators disappear. In deep moments of singing, dancing, celebration, celebrators disappear. And this is going to be the last celebration, the ultimate, the highest peak – kaivalya.

Patanjali says, “Even the desire to be disappears. Even the desire to remain disappears.” One is so fulfilled, so tremendously fulfilled that one never thinks in terms of being. For what? – you want to be there tomorrow also because today is unfulfilled. The tomorrow is needed; otherwise you will die unfulfilled. The yesterday was a deep frustration; today is again a frustration; tomorrow is needed. A frustrated mind creates future. A frustrated mind clings with the future. A frustrated mind wants to be because now, if death comes, no flower has flowered. Nothing has yet happened; there has only been a fruitless waiting: “Now, how can I die? I have not even lived yet.” That unlived life creates a desire to be.

People are so much afraid of death: these are the people who have not lived. These are the people who are, in a certain sense, already dead. A person who has lived and lived totally does not think about death. If it comes, good; he will welcome. He will live that too, he will celebrate that too. Life has been such a blessing, a benediction; one is even ready to accept death. Life has been such a tremendous experience; one is ready to experience death also. One is not afraid because the tomorrow is not needed; the today has been so fulfilling. One has come to fruition, flowered, bloomed. Now the desire for tomorrow disappears. The desire for tomorrow is always out of fear, and fear is there because love has not happened. The desire to always remain simply shows that deep down you are feeling yourself completely meaningless. You are waiting for some meaning. Once the meaning has happened, you are ready to die – silently, beautifully, gracefully.

“Kaivalya,” Patanjali says, “happens only when the last desire to be has disappeared.” The whole problem is to be or not to be. The whole life we try to be this and that, and the ultimate can happen only when you are not.

When one has seen this distinction, there is a cessation of desire for dwelling in the atma, the self.

The self is nothing but the most purified form of the ego. It is the last remnant of strain, stress, tension. You are still not perfectly open; something is still closed. When you are completely open, just a watcher on the hill, a witness, even the death desire disappears. With the disappearance of this desire, something absolutely new happens in life. A new law starts functioning. You have heard about the law of gravitation; you have not heard about the law of grace. The law of gravitation is that everything falls downwards. The law of grace is that things start falling upwards. And that law has to be there because in life everything is balanced by the opposite. Science has come to discover the law of gravitation: Newton sitting on a bench in a garden saw one apple falling – it happened or not; that is not the point – but seeing that the apple was falling down, a thought arose in him: “Why do things always fall downwards? Why not otherwise? Why doesn’t a ripe fruit fall upwards and disappear into the sky? Why not sideways? Why always downwards?” He started brooding and meditating, and then he discovered a law. He came upon, stumbled upon a very fundamental law: that the earth is gravitating things towards itself. It has a gravitation field. Like a magnet, it pulls everything downwards.

Patanjali, Buddha, Krishna, Christ – they also became aware of a different fundamental law, higher than gravitation. They became aware that there comes a moment in the inner life of consciousness when consciousness starts rising upwards – exactly like gravitation. If the apple is hanging on the tree, it does not fall. The tree helps it not to fall downwards. When the fruit leaves the tree, then it falls downwards.

Exactly the same: if you are clinging to your body you will not fall upwards; if you are clinging to your mind you will not fall upwards. If you are clinging to the idea of self, you will remain under the impact of gravitation – because body is under the impact of gravitation, and mind also. Mind is subtle body; body is gross mind. They are both under the impact of gravitation. And because you are clinging to them you are not under the impact of gravitation, but you are clinging to something which is under the impact of gravitation. It is as if you are carrying a big rock and trying to swim in a river; the rock will pull you down. It won’t allow you to swim. If you leave the rock, you will be able to swim easily.

We are clinging to something which is functioning under the law of gravitation: body, mind. “Once,” Patanjali says, “you have become aware that you are neither the body nor the mind, suddenly you start rising upwards.” Some center somewhere high in the sky pulls you up. That law is called ‘grace’.

Then God pulls you upwards. And that type of law has to be there, otherwise gravitation could not exist. In nature, if positive electricity exists, then negative electricity has to exist. Man exists, then the woman has to exist. Reason exists, then intuition has to exist. Night exists, then the day has to exist. Life exists, then death has to exist. Everything needs the opposite to balance it. Now science has become aware of one law: gravitation. Science still needs a Patanjali to give it another dimension, the dimension of falling upwards. Then life becomes complete.

You are a meeting place of gravitation and grace. In you, grace and gravitation are crisscrossing. You have something of the earth and something of the sky within you. You are the horizon where earth and sky are meeting. If you hold too much to the earth, then you will forget completely that you belong to the sky, to the infinite space, the beyond. Once you are no more attached with the earth part of you, suddenly you start rising high.

When one has seen this distinction, there is a cessation of desire for dwelling in the self.

Tadahiviveka-nimnam kaivalya-pragbharam cittam.

Then the mind is inclined towards discrimination, and gravitates towards liberation.

A new gravitation starts functioning. Liberation is nothing but entering the stream of grace. You cannot liberate yourself, you can only drop the barriers; liberation happens to you. Have you seen a magnet? – small iron pieces are pulled towards it. You can see those small iron pieces rushing towards the magnet, but don’t be deceived by your eyes. In fact, they are not rushing, the magnet is pulling them. On the surface it appears that those iron filings are going, moving towards the magnet.

That is just on the surface. Deep down, something just opposite is happening: they are not moving towards the magnet, the magnet is pulling them towards itself. In fact, it is the magnet which has reached them. With the magnetic field it has approached them, touched them, pulled them. If those iron filings are free, not attached to something – not attached to a rock – then the magnet can pull them. If they are attached to a rock, the magnet will go on pulling but they will not be pulled because they are attached.

Exactly the same happens: once you discriminate that you are not the body, you are no more bound to any rock, you are no more in bondage with earth. Immediately, God’s magnet starts functioning. It is not that you reach to God. In fact, God has already reached you. You are under His magnetic field, but clinging to something. Drop that clinging and you are in the stream. Buddha used to use a word srotaapanna: falling into the stream. He used to say, “Once you fall into the stream, then the stream takes you to the ocean. Then you need not do anything.” The only thing is to jump into the stream. You are sitting on the bank. Enter the stream and then the stream will do the remaining work. It is as if you are standing on a high building, on the roof of a high building, three hundred feet or five hundred feet above the earth. You go on standing, the gravitation has reached you, but it will not work unless you jump. Once you jump, then you need not do anything. Just a step off the roof… enough; your work is finished. Now the gravitation will do all the work. You need not ask, “Now what am I supposed to do?” You have taken the first step. The first is the last step. Krishnamurti has written a book, The First and the Last Freedom. The meaning is: the first step is the last step because once you are in the stream; everything else is to be done by the stream. You are not needed. Only for the first step is your courage needed.

Then the mind is inclined towards discrimination, and gravitates towards liberation.

You start moving slowly upwards. Your life energy starts rising high – an upsurge. And it is unbelievable when it happens because it is against all the laws that you have known up to now. It is levitation, not gravitation. Something in you simply starts moving upwards, and there is no barrier to it. Nothing bars its path. Just a little relaxation, a little unclinging – the first step – and then automatically, spontaneously, your consciousness becomes more and more discriminative, more and more aware.

Let me tell you about another thing. You have heard the word, the phrase: ‘vicious circle’. Let us make another phrase: ‘virtuous circle’. In a vicious circle, one bad thing leads to another. For example, if you get angry then one anger leads you to more anger, and of course, more anger will lead you to still more anger. Now you are in a vicious circle. Each anger will make the habit of anger more strong, and will create more anger, and more anger will make the habit still more strong, and on and on. You move in a vicious circle which goes on becoming stronger and stronger and stronger.

Let us try a new word: virtuous circle. If you become aware, what Patanjali calls vivek, awareness; if you become aware: vairagya. Discrimination creates renunciation. If you become aware, suddenly you see that you are no more the body. Not that you renounce the body; in your very awareness the body is renounced. If you become aware, you become aware that these thoughts are not you.

In that very awareness those thoughts are renounced. You have started dropping them. You don’t give them any more energy; you don’t cooperate with them. Your cooperation has stopped, and they cannot live without your energy. They live on your energy, they exploit you. They don’t have their own energy. Each thought that enters you partakes of your energy. And because you are kaivalya willing to give your energy, it lives there, it makes its abode there. Of course, then its children come, and friends, and relatives, and this goes on. Once you are a little aware, vivek brings vairagya, awareness brings renunciation. And renunciation makes you capable of becoming more aware. And of course, more awareness brings more vairagya, more renunciation, and so on and so forth. This is what I am calling the virtuous circle: one virtue leads to another, and each virtue becomes again a ground for more virtue to arise. “This goes on,” Patanjali says, “to the last moment” – what he calls, dharma megha samadhi. We will be coming to it later on. He calls it ‘the cloud of virtue showering on you’. This virtuous circle, vivek leading to vairagya, vairagya leading to more vivek, vivek again creating more possibilities for vairagya, and so on and so forth – comes to the ultimate peak when the cloud of virtue showers on you: dharma megha samadhi.

In breaks of discrimination, other pratyayas, concepts, arise through the force of previous impressions.

Still, though, many intervals will be there. So don’t be discouraged. Even if you have become very aware and in sudden moments you feel the pull, the upward pull of grace, and in certain moments you are in the stream, floating perfectly beautifully, with no effort, effortlessly, and everything is going and running smoothly, still there will be gaps. Suddenly you will find yourself standing again on the bank just because of old habits. For so many lives you have lived on the bank. Just because of the old habit, again and again the past will overpower you. Don’t be discouraged by it. The moment you see that you are again on the bank, again get down into the stream. Don’t be sad about it, because if you become sad you will again be in a vicious circle. Don’t be sad about it. Many times the seeker comes at very close quarters, and many times he loses the track. No need to be worried; again bring awareness. This is going to happen many times; it is natural. For so many millions of lives we have lived in unawareness – it is only natural that many times the old habit will start functioning. Let me tell you a few anecdotes.

The boss was full of confidence as he approached the reception desk at a large hotel with his secretary and signed the register as Mr. and Mrs.

“Double or twin beds?” enquired the clerk.

He turned to his secretary and asked casually, “Would a double be alright, darling?”

“Yes, sir,” she answered.

“Yes, sir,” the wife was saying to the husband! – but just the old habit of being a secretary, continuously saying, “Yes sir, yes sir, yes sir.” Habits become very ingrained, and they catch hold of you in such a way that unless you are very, very watchful, you will not even suspect.

It happened: An indignant schoolteacher rang the local police station to complain that a crowd of young hooligans had chalked four-letter words all over her front door. “And what is more,” she concluded, “they have not even spelled them right!”

A school teacher is just a school teacher. She is complaining against the four-letter words, but the basic complaint is that they have not even spelled them right. Continuously correcting the spelling of children….

In breaks of discrimination, other concepts arise through the force of previous impressions.

Many times you will be pulled back, again and again and again. The struggle is hard, but not impossible. It is difficult, it is very arduous, but don’t become sad and don’t become discouraged.

Whenever you remember again, don’t be worried about what has happened. Let your awareness again be established, that’s all. Continuously establishing your awareness again and again and again will create a new impact inside your being, a new impression of virtue. One day, it becomes as natural as other habits.

-Osho

From Yoga: The Path to Liberation, Chapter Nine (previously published as Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, V.10)

I have split up the last sutra discourse from the Yoga series into three posts. This is the first of three. The second one is The Cloud Which Showers Virtue and the third is You Are the Abode of the Absolute.

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.

This Coolness is Your Meditation – Osho

[A sannyasin asked about watching ‘a lot of shit going through his head]

It is natural, so don’t feel in any way depressed by it. If you do, it is impossible to get rid of it because you lose all energy in it. People who become interested in meditation, sooner or later start feeling hopeless, because the chatter of the mind seems non-ending; it goes on and on, and the more you try to finish with it, the more it bubbles up. Don’t be in a hurry, and don’t take any negative attitude about it.

Even shit can be used; it can become good manure. So don’t be negative about it. We are going to use it. There is no better fertilizer than it, and when you see a rose flower coming, it is out of a fertilizer. Meditation arises out of the mind. It is no-mind but it is based in the mind. It is just like a lotus born out of mud, just ordinary mud.

And the second thing: don’t try to stop it. Be loose. Tell the mind to just go on and to finish its trip. Remain unconcerned, as if it is none of your business, as if it is just a traffic noise—and it is. It is an engine that goes on continuously from the time of your birth to your death. It goes on making noises, chattering, rehearsing, projecting, remembering the past, desiring the future. Accept it in aloofness.

By and by you will see that there arises a distance and the distance between you and the noise of the mind goes on becoming bigger and bigger and wider and wider. One day suddenly you realize that it is not there. There is a tremendous silence. For moments you will realize that everything stops, and then starts again, but you remain aloof. Remain aloof even to the stopping, because if you rejoice too much in it you are immediately distracted. The mind will come in again and the whole functioning will start. If it stops that is okay. If it starts again, that too is okay.

But this is how the distance is created—and this distance is meditation. As I see it, nothing is needed. Simply be unconcerned and watch. That word ‘watch’ is a little too positive—watchfulness plus aloofness. Then the danger of that positive watching is avoided—a passive watchfulness.

Much is going to happen. Change to orange and forget the old identity. Now you are part of my family.

This word himalaya is very meaningful. Him means cool, ice-cool, and laya means a house—a house of coolness. That’s why we call the mountain Himalaya—the house, the very abode of ice-coolness. And anand means bliss.

Bliss and coolness go together. If you attain to bliss you will become cool, and if you attain to coolness you will attain to bliss. Bliss has no excitement in it. It is simple coolness, silence. It has no fever, no passion in it. So remember these two things – they are going to help you.

Remain cool whatsoever the situation, whatsoever the excitement, suddenly remember that you have to be cool, and relax, and catch hold of your inner coolness. If somebody is insulting you, remember that you have to be cool, and this man is giving you an opportunity. Be thankful to him and don’t be distracted by him. If you can remain cool and indifferent where ordinarily you get easily excited and passion is aroused, when anger comes and distracts you and you become feverish, suddenly you will see that bliss is showering all around you.

You manage coolness, God manages bliss. You take one step, and he takes one step towards you immediately. It is fifty/fifty.

This coolness is your meditation.

.. It is flowing… it is not deadness. Just remain cool like a cool breeze. The moment that you see that your flowing is becoming feverish, stop, because then you are going out of your being. Flow to the extent that you can retain your coolness, and then there is no problem.

Prem means love and dhyana means meditation, and love is going to be your meditation—love meditation.

Be loving as much as you can. Just go on remembering that you have to be loving – to the trees, to the rocks. Even if you are sitting in an empty room, be loving to the empty room. But whatsoever you do and wherever you move, carry a climate of love around you, and by and by you will start feeling it working.

It is everybody’s capacity. Nothing is to be learned about it. Everybody is born with it, just as we are born with the capacity to breathe. But somehow society has destroyed the capacity to love, because love is very dangerous for the society. It is the greatest rebellion there is. Society cannot exist, or this society cannot exist, if people are really loving.

Wars and exploitation and all nonsense will be impossible if people are loving, so society does not want anybody to be loving. But unless you love, God remains unavailable, and unless you move deep in love, you cannot move in God.

So let this be your constant remembrance. Even when you touch things, even a chair, touch them as if they are your beloved. In the beginning it will look crazy, but by and by you will get the knack of it, and everything else will become crazy.

-Osho

From Nothing to Lose but Your Head, Chapter Twelve

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.

Enjoying this Living Death – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Visitor: The will to live is strong. To drop this identification with the body is like dying in a sense. Is it possible to do it voluntarily?

Maharaj: What you call the body is this food, which is the fuel for the sustenance of your Consciousness. The mind is the product of the vital breath; when the vital breath flows the mind flows and creates the world. Language is an external impression that’s made on the child. The child absorbs the vital breath and then talks. Consciousness is the wish to ‘Be’. That Beingness wants to be perpetuated and does not want to be extinguished. Its quality is the will to live. Which is love itself. It loves to live. Because it wants to live and sustain itself, it creates the right conditions and goes into activity in the world.

V: Isn’t this detachment from the body-mind like a form of death?

M: Yes, it is a sort of death. (Maharaj sings a morning prayer.) “The greatest advantage I’ve got is out of the fact that I am enjoying this living death.” Most of the saints talk about this living death.

V: Can we reach a state like you, where we are willing to experience this death?

M: You don’t lose your Self. The whole process is to understand your mis-identification and come out of it. If you accept this then nothing can touch you. Knowing that you are not the body, watch the vital breath as a flow of the mind. You are here in the spark of “I Amness.” When you acknowledge the “I Amness” you become the spark. I am like space and do not have an identity – this is my “I Amness” from which all the talk is being produced.

Now you have heard me talk at length. Do you still feel it necessary to have all this play of dancing and jumping about in Rajneesh’s ashram to achieve Self-realization?

V: No

M: A common man who feels inclined towards spirituality will be full of concepts. Unless he is made to dance and jump about he will not understand the futility of the mind and its concepts. Only then will he come here to listen to these talks.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From Beyond Freedom, pp. 59-60

When You are a Witness then You are Not – Osho

This word “witnessing” is a most significant word. There are hundreds of techniques to achieve centering, but witnessing is bound to be a part, a basic part, in every technique. Whatsoever the technique may be, witnessing will be the essential part in it. So it will be better to call it “the technique of all techniques”. It is not simply a technique. The process of witnessing is the essential part of all the techniques.

One can talk about witnessing as a pure technique also. For example, J. Krishnamurti: he is talking about witnessing as a pure technique. But that talk is just like talking about the spirit without the body. You cannot feel it, you cannot see it. Everywhere the spirit is embodied; you can feel the spirit through the body. Of course, the spirit is not the body, but you can feel it through the body.

Every technique is just a body, and witnessing is the soul. You can talk about witnessing independent of any body, any matter; then it becomes abstract, totally abstract. So Krishnamurti has been talking continuously for half a century, but whatsoever he is saying is so pure, unembodied, that one thinks that one is understanding, but that understanding remains just a concept.

In this world nothing exists as pure spirit. Everything exists embodied. So witnessing is the spirit of all spiritual techniques, and all the techniques are bodies, different bodies. So first we must understand what witnessing is, and then we can understand witnessing through some bodies, some techniques.

We know thinking, and one has to start from thinking to know what witnessing means because one has to start from what one knows. We know thinking. Thinking means judgment: you see something and you judge. You see a flower and you say it is beautiful or not beautiful. You hear a song and you appreciate it or you don’t appreciate it. You appreciate something or you condemn something.

Thinking is judgment. The moment you think, you have begun to judge. Thinking is evaluation.

You cannot think without evaluation. How can you think about a flower without evaluating it? The moment you start thinking you will say it is beautiful or not beautiful. You will have to use some category because thinking is categorizing. The moment you have categorized a thing – labeled it, named it – you have thought about it. Thinking is impossible if you are not going to judge. If you are not going to judge, then you can just remain aware – but you cannot think.

A flower is here, and I say to you, “See it, but don’t think. Look at the flower, but don’t think.” So what can you do? If thinking is not allowed, what can you do? You can only witness; you can only be aware. You can only be conscious of the flower. You can face the fact. The flower is here – now you can encounter it. If thinking is not allowed you cannot say, “It is beautiful. It is not beautiful. I know about it,” or, “It is strange – I have never seen it.” You cannot say anything. Words cannot be used because every word has a value in it. Every word is a judgment.

Language is burdened with judgment; language can never be impartial. The moment you use a word, you have judged. So you cannot use language, you cannot verbalize. If I say, “This is a flower– look at it, but don’t think!” then verbalization is not allowed. So what can you do? You can only be a witness. If you are there without thinking, just facing something, it is witnessing. Then witnessing means a passive awareness. Remember – passive. Thinking is active. You are doing something. Whatsoever you are seeing, you are doing something with it. You are not just passive, you are not like a mirror – you are doing something. And the moment you do something, you have changed the thing.

I see a flower and I say, “It is beautiful!” I have changed it. Now I have imposed something on the flower. Now, whatsoever the flower is, to me it is a flower plus my feeling of its being beautiful. Now the flower is far away. In between the flower and me is my sense of judgment, my evaluation of its being beautiful. Now the flower is not the same to me. The quality has changed. I have come into it. Now my judgment has penetrated into the fact. Now it is more like a fiction and less like a fact.

This feeling that the flower is beautiful doesn’t belong to the flower, it belongs to me. I have entered the fact. Now the fact is not virgin. I have corrupted it. Now my mind has become part of it. Really, to say that my mind has become part of it means: my past has become part, because when I say, “This flower is beautiful,” it means I have judged it through my past knowledge. How can you say that this flower is beautiful? Your experiences of the past, your conceptions of the past, that something like this is beautiful – you have judged it according to your past.

Mind means your past, your memories. The past has come upon the present. You have destroyed a virgin fact; now it is distorted. Now there is no flower. The flower as a reality in itself is no more there. It is corrupted by you, destroyed by you. Your past has come in between. You have interpreted. This is thinking. Thinking means bringing the past to a present fact. That’s why thinking can never lead you to the Truth – because Truth is virgin and has to be faced in its total virginity. The moment you bring your past in you are destroying it. Then it is an interpretation, not a realization of the fact. You have disrupted it. The purity is lost.

Thinking means bringing your past to the present. Witnessing means no past, just the present; no bringing in of the past. Witnessing is passive. You are not doing anything – you are! Simply, you are there. Only you are present. The flower is present, you are present – then there is a relationship of witnessing. When the flower is present and your whole past is present, not you, then it is a relationship of thinking.

So start from thinking. What is thinking? It is the bringing of the mind into the present. You have missed the present then you have missed it totally! The moment past penetrates into the present, you have missed it. When you say, “This flower is beautiful,” really, it has become the past. When you say, “This flower is beautiful,” it is a past experience. You have known, you have judged. When the flower is there and you are there, even to say that this flower is beautiful is not possible. You cannot assert any judgment in the present. Any judgment, any assertion, belongs to the past. If I say, “I love you,” it has become a thing that is past. If I say, “This flower is beautiful.” I have felt, I have judged – it has become past.

Witnessing is always present, never the past. Thinking is always the past. Thinking is dead, witnessing is alive. So the next distinction: first, thinking is active – doing something; witnessing is passive – non-doing, just being. Thinking is always the past, the dead which has gone away, which is no more; witnessing is always the present – that which is. So if you go on thinking, you can never know what witnessing is.

To stop, end thinking, becomes a start in witnessing. Cessation of thinking is witnessing. So what to do? – Because thinking is a long habit with us. It has become just a robot like, mechanical thing.  It is not that you think; it is not your decision now. It is a mechanical habit – you cannot do anything else. The moment a flower is there, the thinking has started. We have no non-verbal experiences; only small children have. Non-verbal experience is really experience. Verbalization is escaping from the experience.

When I say, “The flower is beautiful,” the flower has vanished from me. Now it is my mind, not the flower I am concerned with. Now it is the image of the flower in my mind, not the flower itself. Now the flower itself is a picture in the mind, a thought in the mind, and now I can compare with my past experiences and judge. But the flower is no more there. When you verbalize, you are closed to experience.

When you are non-verbally aware, you are open, vulnerable. Witnessing means a constant opening to experience, no closing. What to do? This mechanical habit of so-called thinking has to be broken somewhere. So whatsoever you are doing, try to do it non-verbally. It is difficult, arduous, and in the beginning it seems absolutely impossible, but it is not. It is not impossible – it is difficult. You are walking on the street: walk non-verbally, just walk, even if just for a few seconds, and you will have a glimpse of a different world – a non-verbal world, the real world, not the world of the mind man has created in himself.

You are eating: eat non-verbally. Someone asked Bokuju – Bokuju was a great Zen Master – “What’s your sadhana?”

So Bokuju said, “My sadhana is very simple: when I am hungry, I eat; when I am sleepy, I sleep –and this is all.”

The man was just bewildered. He said, “What are you saying? I also eat and I also sleep, and everyone is doing the same. So what is in that that you call it sadhana?”

Bokuju said, “When you are eating you are doing many things, not only eating. And when you are sleeping, you are doing everything else except sleeping. But when I eat, I simply eat; when I sleep, I simply sleep. Every act is total!”

Every act becomes total if you are non-verbal. So try to eat without any verbalization in the mind, with no thinking in the mind. Just eat, and then eating becomes meditation – because if you are nonverbal you will become a witness. If you are verbal you will become a thinker. If you are non-verbal you cannot do anything about it, you cannot help it – you will be a witness, automatically. So try to do anything non-verbally: walk, eat, take a bath or just sit silently. Then just sit – then be a “sitting”! Don’t think. Then even just sitting can become meditation, just walking can become meditation.

Someone else was asking Bokuju, “Give me some technique of meditation.”

Bokuju said, “I can give you a technique, but you will not be able to meditate – because you cannot practice a technique with a verbalizing mind.”

Your fingers can move on a rosary, and you can go on thinking. If your fingers just move on the rosary with no thinking, it becomes a meditation. Then, really, no technique is needed. The whole life is a technique. So Bokuju said, “It would be better if you be with me and watch me. Don’t ask for a method. Just watch me – and you will come to know.”

The poor fellow watched for seven days. He began to be more confused. After seven days he said, “When I came, I was less confused. Now I am more confused. I have watched you for seven days continuously – what is there to be watched?”

Bokuju said, “Then you have not watched. When I walk, have you seen? – I simply walk. When you bring tea in the morning for me, have you watched? – I simply take the tea and drink it: just drinking there is NO Bokuju – just drinking. No Bokuju – just drinking of the tea. Have you watched? If you have watched, then you must have felt that Bokuju is no more.”

This is a very subtle point – because if the thinker is there, then there is ego; then you are a Bokuju or somebody else. But if only action is there with no verbalization, no thinking, there is no ego. So Bokuju says, “Have you really watched? Then there was no Bokuju – just drinking of the tea, walking in the garden, digging a hole in the earth.”

Buddha, because of this, has said, “There is no soul” – because you have not watched, you go on continuously thinking that you have a soul. You are not! If you are a witness, then you are not. The “I” forms itself through thoughts. So one thing more: accumulated thoughts, piled-up memories, create the feeling of ego – that you are.

Try this experiment: cut your whole past away from you – no memory. You don’t know who your parents are; you don’t know to whom you belong – to which country, to which religion, to which race. You don’t know where you were educated, whether you were educated or not. Just cut the whole past – and remember who you are. You cannot remember who you are. You are, obviously. You are, but who are you? In this moment, you cannot feel an “I”. The ego is just accumulated past. The ego is your thought condensed, crystallized.

So Bokuju says, “If you have watched me, I was not. There was drinking of the tea, but no drinker.  Walking was there in the garden, but no walker. Action was there, but no actor.”

In witnessing, there is no sense of I; in thinking there is. So if the so-called thinkers are so deeply rooted in their egos. It is not just a coincidence; artists, thinkers, philosophers, literary persons if they are so egoistic, it is not just a coincidence. The more thoughts you have, the greater the ego you have. In witnessing there is no ego, but this comes only if you can transcend language. Language is the barrier. Language is needed to communicate with others; it is not needed to communicate with oneself. It is a useful instrument – rather, the most useful instrument. Man could create a society, a world, only because of language – but because of language, man has forgotten himself.

Language is our world. If for a single moment man forgets his language, then what remains? Culture, society, Hinduism, Christianity, communism – what remains? Nothing remains. If only language is taken out of existence, the whole humanity with its culture, civilization, science, religion, philosophy, disappears.

Language is a communication with others; it is the only communication. It is useful, but it is dangerous – and whenever some instrument is useful, it is in the same proportion dangerous also.  The danger is this: that the more mind moves into language the farther away it goes from the center: So one needs a subtle balance and a subtle mastery to be capable of moving into language, and also to be capable of leaving language, of going out of language, of moving out of language.

Witnessing means moving out of language, verbalization, mind. Witnessing means a state of no-mind, no-thinking. So try it! It is a long effort, and nothing is predictable – but try, and the effort will give you some moments when suddenly language disappears. And then a new dimension opens. You become aware of a different world – the world of simultaneity, the world of here and now, the world of no-mind, the world of reality.

Language must evaporate. So try to do ordinary acts, bodily movements, without language. Buddha used this technique to watch the breath. He would say to his bhikkhus, “Go on watching your breath. Don’t do anything: just watch the breath coming in, the breath going out, the breath coming in, the breath going out.” It is not to be said like this – it is to be felt. Mm? The breath coming in, with no words. Feel the breath coming in, move with the breath, let your consciousness go deep with the breath. Then let it move out. Go on moving with your breath. Be alert!

Buddha is reported to have said, “Don’t miss even a single breath. If a single breath is missed physiologically, you will be dead; and if a single breath is missed in awareness, you will be missing the center, you will be dead inside.” So Buddha said, “Breath is essential for the life of the body, and awareness of the breath is essential for the life of the inner center.”

Breathe, be aware. And if you are trying to be aware of your breathing, you cannot think, because the mind cannot do two things simultaneously – thinking and witnessing. The very phenomenon of witnessing is absolutely, diametrically opposite to thinking, so you cannot do both. Just as you cannot be both alive and dead, as you cannot be both asleep and awake, you cannot be both thinking and witnessing. Witness anything, and thinking will stop. Thinking comes in, and witnessing disappears. Witnessing is a passive awareness with no action inside. Awareness itself is not an action.

-Osho

Excerpt from The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol. 1, Chapter 15

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you can read the entire discourse question from which this is an excerpt Witnessing: The Base of all Techniques.

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.

From In a Thought to Out of Mind

In a thought.
Watch a thought.
Watch mind.
Out of mind!

In a thought.

Ordinarily we live in thought. So even “in ‘a’ thought” is a step, because with ‘a’ thought there is already enough awareness separate to recognize having been in ‘a’ thought. But when we are in thought we are simply lost. But it is through this recognizing “in a thought” that we are gradually gaining strength of consciousness for the next step.

 

Watch a thought.

With this newfound seeing we begin to witness, we begin with watching a thought. It is however very fleeting. Either we enter into the stream of the thought and are lost until we remember and are once again at the beginning, or by watching the thought; the thought peters out and vanishes.

Watch mind.

There is a big shift that happens when we move from watching a thought to “watching mind.” Watching mind means we are not getting into the separate thoughts but watching the energy of mind, the movement of mind. It is seen as an object, as a whole. It is in this seeing the whole of mind that we find ourselves in the next step.

Out of mind!

It is from this “out of mind” that we are able to let all the contents of mind unpack itself and still remain the witness.

The sages don’t talk of no-mind in order to create a far off goal to be reached but rather so that it can be recognized when we stumble into it.

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

 

Sitting for the Sheer Joy of It

That which sees is not the mind. That is why Osho has us begin with watching anything. In the beginning it is helpful to watch the clouds passing, watch the leaves falling, watch a stream flowing or even watch the traffic of cars. This is watching the outside world but it is the beginning.

We can then move to watching the activities of the body, watching without identification. This is the magic of the walking meditation. It is allowing us to experience watching the body walking which is strengthening the watcher, the one that sees.

Watching the breath is another way to strengthen this watchingness. We watch the coming and going of the breath and we are coming out of the identification with breathing.

Moving deeper we begin to watch the comings and goings of the mind. The very effort to watch the mind while we are still identified is how we begin to come out of mind. It does not need to be a serious affair, we are not against the mind. We are just interested in finding, discovering the One who sees. This One who sees is always present in watching. The mind does not watch. The ego cannot watch. Our identification with someone who we perceive watching cannot watch. Always in the background the One who sees is present. We have the power to come out of mind because we have the power to identify with mind. It is not that some power makes us identify, we do that ourselves. Watching the activity of the mind without grasping, without rejecting, without judging we begin to become less identified. Slowly, slowly the One who sees becomes less identified.

Osho has said that if we are able to witness the mind without identification then we can easily move into watching the subtle feelings, the heart, also without grasping. Without choosing the feelings we like, without rejecting the feelings that we find hard to witness and without judging ourselves when we forget again and again.

The above description is Osho’s directions but it has also been my own experience of meditation.

Although I must say that there was a long period of time in which I thought I didn’t need to meditate regularly because I meditated all day long, that was a delusion. Although it was not harmful because it was just an extended period of watching the outside. But at some point I could no longer ignore the quiet invitation to begin to sit and watch the inner world on a regular basis. I was not watching because of some duty to practice; I was watching as an exploration as an experiment. Now I am sitting for the sheer joy of it.

So we can begin from exactly where we are, this very moment, by watching what we are capable of, and slowly, slowly the watchingness deepens. We are also very fortunate because Osho has devised his active meditations to jumpstart this awakening and he has illustrated 112 meditation techniques, that are doors in. And finally he has distilled all meditation down to the art of watching, witnessing.

This is the incredible gift that Osho has left us.

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

 

 

This is the Existential Centering – Osho

You said that awareness created centering and crystallization, but I personally feel that awareness brings a feeling of deep void within me. Please explain the relationship between centering and inner void.

As man is, he is without a center – without a real, authentic center. He has a center, so to speak, but the center is false. He only thinks he has a center. The ego is a false center. You feel that it is there, but it is not. If you go to find it, you will not find it at all.

Bodhidharma reached China 1100 years after Buddha. He was a Buddha himself. The Emperor Wu came to receive Bodhidharma. When no one was there, he asked Bodhidharma, “I am very, very disturbed. My mind is never at ease. What can I do? Tell me. Make my mind at peace, at ease. I am in deep conflict; an inner struggle continues – so do something.” Bodhidharma said, “I can do something. Come early in the morning at four o’clock, but remember to bring your self.”

The Emperor felt: “Either this man is mad or I have not understood what he is saying.” He said, “Of course, I will come. I will come with my self.”

Bodhidharma still insisted, “Do not forget. Bring your self with you. Otherwise, whom am I going to put at ease?”

The whole night the Emperor could not sleep. It was such a strange thing. I looked weird. What does this man mean? And then he began to feel doubtful about whether to go or not, and it was to be in the early hours, at four o’clock in the morning. And Bodhidharma had said to come alone: “Let your self only be with you; no one else.” So no one could know what he was going to do, and he looked mad. It was even dangerous. But still, he was tempted. This man was really a different type of being. He attracted! He was magnetic! So the Emperor couldn’t stay at home, he came. When he was coming near, Bodhidharma said, “You have come, but where is your self?”

Wu said, “You make me puzzled. The whole night I couldn’t sleep. What do you mean by ‘my self’? I am here.”

So Bodhidharma said, “Give me your self. I will make it silent, at peace, at ease. Close your eyes and find out where it is. Point it out to me and I will make it disappear totally, and there will be never any problem again.”

So the Emperor Wu closed his eyes and sat before Bodhidharma. The morning was absolutely silent. No one was there. He could even hear his own breath; he could hear his own heartbeat. And Bodhidharma was there constantly telling him, “Go in and find out where it is. If you cannot find it, then what can I do?” And he searched and searched and searched for hours together. Then he opened his eyes, and he was a different man.

He said, “I do not find it anywhere. It is all void. There is no self.”

Bodhidharma said, “If there is no self and there is void, are you disturbed now? Is someone at a dis-ease inside? Now where is the anguish you were talking about? So much talking about it, and now where is it?”

Wu said, “It is nowhere, because the person has disappeared, so how can dis-ease exist without him? I tried and tried, but it is nowhere to be found. Really, I was myself in deception. I always thought ‘I’ am inside. I tried to find it, and it is not there. There is simply a void – shunya – an emptiness, a nothingness.”

So Bodhidharma said, “Now go to your home, and whenever you feel that something is to be done with your self, first find out where it is.”

It is a false entity. Because we have never searched for it, it seems to exist. Because we have never gone in, we go on talking about the “I”. It is not there. So the first thing to be understood is that if you meditate, if you become silent, you will feel a void, because you cannot find the ego. The ego was all the furniture; now the furniture has disappeared. You are just a room – rather, a room-ness.

Even the walls have disappeared. They were part of the ego. The whole structure has disappeared, so you will find a void.

This is the first step – when the ego disappears. It is a false entity; it is not there. It only appears to be, and you go on thinking that it is there. It belongs to your thinking, not to your being. It belongs to your mind, not to your existence. Because you think it is there, it is there. When you go to find it, it is not found. Then you feel the void, emptiness. Now persist in this emptiness, remain in this void.

The mind is very cunning. It can play games. If you begin to think and observe this, this voidness, if you begin to think, you will fill it again. Even if you say, “This is void,” you are out of it, already out of it. The void has disappeared – you have come in. Remain with the void; remain void. Do not think. It is difficult, very frightening. One gets dizzy. It is an abyss – an infinite abyss. You are falling down and falling down with no bottom to reach. One gets dizzy; one begins to think. The moment you think, you have found the ground again. Now you are not in the void.

If you can be in the void without escaping it by any thinking whatsoever, suddenly the void will also disappear, as the ego has disappeared – because, really, it is because of the ego that it looks like a void. Ego was the thing which was fulfilling. That was the furniture, and there was no void. Now the ego has disappeared; that is why you feel it as a void. This feeling of emptiness is just because something which was always there is now not there.

If you see me in this chair, then suddenly if you do not find me in the chair, the chair will look empty – not because the chair is empty, but simply because someone was there filling it and now he is no more there. So you see the void, not the chair. You see the void because the absence of something looks like an emptiness. You are still not seeing the chair. You were seeing a person there; now you are seeing the absence of the person. But the chair is still not seen. So when the ego disappears, you feel the void. This is only a beginning, because this void is also the negative part of the ego – the other aspect. This void must also disappear.

It is reported about Rinzai, a Zen Master, that when he was learning with his Teacher, the Teacher always insisted that he should attain the void, the nothingness, the shunya. So one day he came; he had attained it. It was a long effort. To dissolve the ego is a long effort. It was a long journey – difficult, sometimes virtually impossible – but he had attained. So he came, laughing, dancing, happy in ecstasy. He fell down ar his Master’s feet and said, “I have attained. Now the void is there.”

The Master looked at him very unsympathetically and said, ”Now you go and throw this void also. Do not bring it here. Throw this void also. Throw this nothingness, because if you have nothingness it becomes something again.”

Even a void is something. If you can feel it, it is something; if you can know it, it is something; if you can observe it, it is something. Even nothing becomes something if it is in your hands. The Master said, “Throw this void out. Only come to me when even nothingness is not there.”

Rinzai wept. Why couldn’t he see it himself? A void is an attainment, it is something. If you have achieved nothingness, nothingness becomes a thing. When you go deep in the void – without any thinking, without any vibration in the mind – if you remain in this, suddenly the void just disappears and then the Self is known. Then you are centered. Then you have come to the real center. There is the false center, the absence of the false center, and then the real center. By “centering” I mean the ground, the very ground of Being. It is not your center, because you are the false center.

So it is not your center. It is the center – just the center of Being. The very Existence is centered in it. You are the false center; you will disappear. But even in your disappearance, if you begin to feel fulfilled with void, the ego has returned in a very subtle way. In a very subtle way, it has come back. It will say, “I have attained this void,” so it is still there.

Do not allow it to come back. Remain in the void. Do not do anything with the void: do not even think about it, do not even feel anything about it. The void is there: be at ease; let it be there. It will disappear. It is just a negative part. The real thing has disappeared. It is just shadow. Do not catch the shadow; do not cling to the shadow. because the shadow can remain only if the real thing is nearby. Only then can the shadow remain. Ultimately the void disappears, and then there is centering. Then for the first time you are not and YOU ARE – not as you, but as pure Being; rather, as the All. And this point must be noted carefully – that it is not Your center; it is the center of All.

Forget your false center. Go in and dig for it: then it dissolves. It is never found. It is not, so you cannot find it. Then a more arduous thing befalls you: you encounter the void. It is very silent. Compared to the ego world, it is very silent. You are in a deep peace. But do not be satisfied with it. It is false, because it is part of the ego. And if you feel satisfied, the ego will re-enter; it will come back. A part of it was still there. That part will bring it back again, whole. Remain with the void without any thinking.

That is just deathlike. One is dying before one’s own eyes – everything dissolving in a great abyss. And soon you will disappear and only the abyss will be there – not even the knower of the abyss, not even the observer of the abyss, but just the abyss. Then you are centered – centered in the Cosmic Center: it is not your center. For the first time, you are.

Now language will have a different meaning. You are not and you are. Here, yes and no lose their traditional difference, their customary meaning. You are not there as you. Now you are there as the Divine – as the Cosmos itself. This is the existential centering – the centering in the Existence.

-Osho

From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.2, Chapter Two

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.