When My Mind is the Cause of Unhappiness – Osho

When my mind is the cause of my unhappiness either I don’t know how to come out of mind or I must still enjoy being in my mind, dreams, fantasies.

If the house is on fire and you see the flames of fire you will escape. And you will know how to escape, you will find a way. When the house is on fire who worries whether you are getting out of the right door or whether you are getting out of the back door or getting out of the window? Who bothers? Once you feel that the house is on fire you will not even think about how to get out. You will get out first and then you will think. And then you will wonder how it happened.

Buddha used to say that you ask about techniques because you are not yet aware that the house is on fire.

When you come across a snake on the path do you ask how to get out of the way? And you may not have come across a snake in your whole life. This may be for the first time.

And you may never ever have heard anybody talking about how to get out of the way of a snake, but still you will get out of the way — you will jump. You will not sit there and think about what to do, how to do it, whom to consult, where to find a guru. You will not think, you will simply jump.

The questioner says, When my mind is the cause of my unhappiness either I don’t know how to come out of mind or I must still enjoy being in my mind, dreams, fantasies.

When my mind is the cause of my unhappiness…. Still it is not clear to you.

You may have heard me saying again and again that mind is the cause of all unhappiness. You have listened to me, you have become like a parrot — now the question arises. But you have not yet felt it. If you have felt that mind is the cause then you will jump out of it, you will know the way. The way is there, the way has always been there. It is not your realization. And you must still be enjoying your dreams, your fantasies, because the mind stops immediately, the moment you stop enjoying it. There is no other way to stop it. It is just like a bicycle: you go on pedaling it, it goes on moving. If you stop pedaling it, it may go a little further because of the past momentum but then it will stop.

Mind needs constant co-operation, constant infusion of energy from your side, constant identification. The mind needs your help, it is a mechanism, it cannot run on its own accord. Deep down you are helping it. When the body lies there and the soul has disappeared, the mind stops instantly. It cannot work without you.

You must be enjoying it. In fact, religion is also one of your fantasies; God is your biggest dream. Listening to religious people, seeing their ecstasy, watching their grace, greed has arisen in you. Your mind fantasizes. It would be beautiful to be in nirvana, it would be beautiful to be enlightened. Your mind starts dreaming about it. Then you come to hear that the mind has to be dropped.

Three persons were talking. One said, “If in a dream you get one million rupees, what are you going to do? As far as I am concerned, I am going for a world tour. That has been my dream from my very childhood. What are you going to do?”

The other said, “If I get one million rupees, I am not going anywhere. I am just going to rest in my house. Why bother? I am going to stop going and just rest and relax and enjoy. Who bothers to go from here to there?”

And they asked the third man, “If you get one million rupees in a dream, what are you going to do?”

He said, “I will immediately close my eyes and sleep again, to dream more to get many more millions. If you can get one million rupees in one dream, I will dream the same dream again to get one million more.”

Your mind is your dream, your fantasy. You are still in it. Even when you are thinking about how to get out of the mind, that too is a mind fantasy. And you must be enjoying it.

I have heard.

Mulla Nasruddin stormed out of his office and yelled, “Something has got to be done about those six phones on my desk. For the past five minutes I have been talking to myself.”

Mind is nothing but talking to yourself. What else is it? The inner talk, the inner chattering, the rehearsing for the future, the chewing again and again the past experiences—you are talking to yourself. It is a monologue. With nobody else to talk to, you talk to yourself.

If windows were possible into your mind and people could look inside, or there was a system…. Someday there may be. Science will find a way to magnify your mind. Your mind can be attached, wired, to an instrument and the instrument will start broadcasting what is going on inside your mind. Then you will be simply amazed to see that you are mad. You will not allow anybody to connect your mind to an instrument. Sometimes write down what goes on in your mind on some blank paper. Close the doors and windows so nobody comes in and just write it down. Don’t deceive, because nobody will ever see, you can burn it immediately. Just write down whatsoever goes on. Don’t improve upon it, don’t add something, don’t delete anything. Photographically simply write down the way the mind goes on. Within ten minutes you will see how mad you are, you will see what is going on?

But we never look. We look outside; we never look into the mind. Looking into the mind is what meditation is all about.

Bodhidharma, the real founder of Zen, used to say, “Looking face to face with the mind is all. Looking directly into your mind is all.” Once you start looking directly you will be surprised. You will come to know that you are carrying a madman; not one really, a madhouse—many madmen inside, running hither and thither, all against each other, fighting, struggling, warring.

If you look deep inside into the mind directly, first you will be amazed, mystified as to why you go on carrying this mind.

And the second thing you will realize is that you are not the mind, you are the looker, the watcher, the witness, who is seeing into the mind. And that will give you a freedom that you have not yet known. You are confined in the body, then you are confined in the mind. Once you come to know that you are neither the body nor the mind, suddenly you become unconfined — you are as big, as vast as the sky. Then there is no boundary line around you; then you are one with this ocean of life; then you are one with God. “That art Thou” –“Tat twamasi.” Then you come to know that “I am That”, the witness.

So the only thing you can do is just to look deeply inside the mind. It will have two aspects. First you will feel very, very crazy, going mad. Don’t try to escape from that madness because if you escape, again you will escape outside. Stick to it, let it be mad but go on looking into it, go on looking into it. Sometimes it takes months, sometimes it takes years but it is worth it, even if it takes lives. If you go on looking, unwaveringly, not getting distracted here and there, then one day the second aspect arises in you—that you are a witness. Your mind looks very, very far away, very distant, on some other planet, only sounds are heard, a few flickering waves come to you. The more you become a witness, the more the energy gathers together in becoming a witness, the more and more energy is taken away from the mind. The mind starts withering. One day you are there all alone without any mind. Then you are in a state of nowhereness.

I have heard about two hobos who were caught by the police and were brought to the court. The policeman suspected they had not committed anything wrong, but their way of life, their style was suspicious.

The magistrate asked the first hobo, “Where do you live?”

He said, “Nowhere.”

He asked the second, “Where do you live?”

He said, “I am this guy’s neighbor.”

The first guy lives nowhere, the other is the neighbor—the answer is pure Zen.

When you come to know yourself, you come to know that you are nowhere, “nowhen”, because there is no time, no space. Suddenly you are the whole, spread all over reality.

This is what we in the East call moksha, absolute freedom.

But you must be enjoying your mind, that’s why you are asking how to get out of it, what the way is to get out of it. These are the questions of people who are trying to deceive themselves. You don’t want to get out of it so you ask “how?” because with the “how?” postponement is possible. The “how?” cannot be done right now, you will have to practise it; it can happen only tomorrow, it cannot happen right now. The “how?” gives you time—tomorrow. And then you say, “Okay, so we will do it tomorrow. It cannot happen right now.”

People ask me, “Can enlightenment happen right now?” If I say “yes”, they say, “Then why is it not happening?” Then they think it is not going to happen to them because if it was going to happen, it would have happened already. It happens right now! If I say to them, “You will have to work for it, you will have to do hard, arduous work, you will have to move in deep discipline,” then they say, “Then it is okay. So somewhere in the future it will happen.” And they are relieved. So it is not going to happen right now—someday—so what is the hurry?

Whether it is tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, it makes no difference—it is tomorrow. Both ways they find a way to postpone.

Now let me give you a paradox to meditate on: it always happens right now but one has to work for it. It never happens in the tomorrow, it always happens today, because there is no tomorrow. But one has to work hard; one has to gather together all one’s energies and to put them at stake. If all your energies are together right now, if you desire intensely, passionately, if your desire has become almost a flame and you are aflame with one desire, only with one desire to attain to enlightenment it can happen right now. If you are so thirsty that you disappear and only thirst remains, then God starts pouring into you. Then you have earned, you have earned the capacity. You have become receptive.

When my mind is the cause of my unhappiness…. Never ask such questions.

You still think it is not so. This is a hypothetical question; when, if, etc., are hypothetical questions.

When my mind is the cause of my unhappiness…. No, either it is or it is not, there is no question of “when.” Either you know that it is the cause of unhappiness or you know that it is not the cause of unhappiness. Decide. If it is not the cause of unhappiness, then things are clear: there is nothing to be done with mind. In fact, if it is not the cause of unhappiness, then the cause must lie somewhere outside you. That’s what Communists say—Marx and Mao. That’s what they say—that the cause of happiness is somewhere outside you not inside you: in the structure of the society, the economic system of society, in the political world—somewhere outside you. If your misery comes from outside there is no way to get out of it. Because the cause is outside you, how can you destroy it?

Because of this fact, Freud by and by became very despondent in his later life and finally, before he died, he wrote in a letter: Man can never be happy; it is impossible. Man’s desire to be happy is an impossible desire. Man can never be happy because it is not in his hands to be happy.

But Freud is wrong. I am here and I say to you that I am happy. So it is not a question of my belief. It is not a belief that I am happy. Buddha is happy, Krishna is happy, Jesus is happy. But Freud—why does he think that man cannot be happy? And he is not a man to make meaningless statements. He is a very sincere man. Forty, fifty years of deep observation has brought him to make the statement that man cannot be happy. The reason is that he was also looking for the cause somewhere beyond man.

Marx looks for it in the social structure; Freud looks for it in the unconscious. But the very definition of unconscious is that which is not available to you, that of which you are not conscious. It is outside you, you are in your consciousness. It is outside you, it is somewhere you don’t know where. From where does your misery come? How can you change it?

Religion takes a radically and diametrically opposite standpoint: you are the cause. It makes one sad in the beginning that ‘I am the cause of my misery’ but really one should be happy. If I am the cause, then there is a possibility, then there is hope because I can stop it. I can try not to be the cause of my unhappiness.

With religion, man becomes responsible; with communism, man becomes irresponsible.

With religion, man becomes a free agent in this world; with communism, man becomes a mechanical thing, a robot-like thing. With religion, you attain to being a soul, you become a soul; with communism, the soul disappears, you are no more there. If the cause of happiness is outside, if the cause of misery is outside, then your soul is outside—it is not within you. Then you are to be manipulated by the state, then you are nothing but a hollow puppet and the strings are somewhere in the Kremlin—somebody is manipulating from there. Then life is almost meaningless, not only meaningless, but horrible. Man is not a hollow puppet; man has a substantial being in him.

So when you say, when my mind is the cause of my unhappiness, you have taken my statement as true without realizing it, without becoming a witness to it. Never do that, otherwise questions arise unnecessarily. It is better not to answer hypothetical questions because they will create more hypothetical questions. If you are unhappy because of your mind, recognise the fact.

Somebody insults you. Do you think you are unhappy because somebody insulted you or do you think you are unhappy because you have a very subtle ego which felt hurt by this insult? Now the possibilities are only two. Either you are unhappy because he insulted you. If that is the possibility, the only possibility, then you can never be happy because the world is vast and how can you manage that nobody will insult you ever? It is beyond you. If it is your ego which feels hurt, then the possibility exists that you can drop the ego. Then let the whole world insult you, you can go on laughing, it makes no difference.

Mulla Nasruddin and one of his friends had been drinking all evening in a bar. The friend finally passed out and fell to the floor. The Mulla called a doctor who rushed him to a hospital.

When he came to, the doctor asked him, “Do you see any pink elephants or little green men?”

“No,” groaned the patient.

“No snakes or alligators?” the doctor asked.

“No,” the drunk said.

“Then just sleep it off. You will be all right in the morning,” said the doctor.

But Mulla Nasruddin was worried.

“Look, doctor,” he said, “that boy is in bad shape. He said he could not see any of them animals and you and I know the room is full of them.”

What I say will not make much difference if you know the room is full of them. Finally you are going to be the deciding factor. So watch your mind. Is your mind the cause of misery? If it is not then you cannot be a religious man. Then one day or other you are going to be a communist. These are the two alternatives: religion and communism.

Everybody has to decide. And I would suggest to you that if you feel that your mind is not the cause of misery, then become a communist—nothing wrong in it, be sincere.

Sooner or later you will be frustrated, and a frustrated communist becomes religious very easily. Many people need that frustration because then that alternative is finished. Then there is only one alternative. Never hang between the two, never be in the limbo.

Many people are in the limbo. They go to the church but their heart is communistic. When I say communistic I don’t mean they belong to the communist party, I mean that they believe that the cause of their misery is outside.

A stubborn old Dubliner stepped into the dentist’s office with a terrific toothache. He could not, however, muster up enough courage to have the tooth pulled. So the dentist gave him a glass of whisky to bolster him.

Then the dentist said, “Right, ready now?”

“’Not quite,” said the man smacking his lips.

Two more drinks of whisky and finally he finished up the entire bottle.

“Now step into the chair,” the dentist begged.

The Irishman came out swinging into the middle of the room.

“I would like to see the swine who would dare to touch my tooth now!”

You are almost drunk with your mind. And I am going to touch your teeth, remember.

You have to become a little sober; you have to become a little more aware. Once you have a little awareness you will start seeing that it is your mind, nothing else but your mind that goes on spinning new webs of misery. It is just like a spider: he goes on creating a net and goes on being caught into himself.

The first thing to be decided is whether you realise the fact that your mind is the cause of your misery, of your unhappiness. Once this is decided everything becomes clear. Then there is no need, really, to ask how to get out of it. And if you have not yet decided and I help you in some way to get out of it, I will be in trouble. Let me tell you one anecdote to make the thing clear.

The woman bather had got into a hole and she could not swim, nor could the young man on the end of the pier. But when she came up the first time and he caught sight of her face he could yell, and he did. Just then a big fisherman walked by.

“What is up?” he asked.

“There!” hoarsely cried the young man. “My wife, drowning. I can’t swim. A hundred dollars if you save her!” In a moment the fisherman was in the water; in another he was out of it with the rescued woman.

He approached the young man. “Well, what about the hundred dollars?”

If the young man’s face had been ashen-gray before, now it was dead white as he gazed upon the features of the rescued woman.

“Yes I know,” he gasped, “but when I made the offer I thought it was my wife who was drowning and now, now it turns out it was my wife’s mother!”

“Just my luck,” said the fisherman sadly, thrusting his hand into his trouser pocket. “How much do I owe you?”

So first you decide whether your mind is your wife or your mother-in-law. Then only can something be done about it. Otherwise you will be angry with me. If I pull you out of your mind and you were still fantasizing and dreaming, you will be tremendously angry and annoyed and irritated. And if you were dreaming sweet dreams, then more so, because you were hoping that something was just going to be fulfilled.

One day Mulla Nasruddin’s wife woke him up in the morning and he became very, very angry and he said, “You foolish woman. Is this the right time?”

She said, “But the sun is up.”

He said, “It has nothing to do with the sun. I was dreaming about a man who was offering me a hundred rupees and just at the moment I was going to take it, you came. You have destroyed the whole thing.”

He tried again to create sleep, tried to close his eyes, turned this way and that, but you cannot catch hold of a dream. Once it is gone it is gone. And he started saying, “Okay, I will accept even ninety, eighty, seventy, whatsoever you give, I will accept, but give it!”

But there was nobody to give.

If you are dreaming, then dream a little more. Nobody is ever fulfilled by dreaming but one has to figure it out oneself –“Enough is enough. I have dreamed enough, fantasized enough, and nothing comes except misery, except frustration.” Each desire brings more frustration, each expectation turns finally into frustration.

Once you understand it, there will be no need to take you out of it; once you understand it, the very understanding becomes the coming out of it. The very understanding means freedom from mind.

-OSHO

From Dang Dang Doko Dang, Chapter Six

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.

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

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.

 

The Journey from non-being to No-Being

We must first come to the recognition that we live outside of our center. We live outside of our body. We know our body from the exterior. We know our senses by sensing objects. Without objects we have no knowledge of ourselves. By our contact with outside objects our body exists. If we had no contact we would have no knowledge of ourselves.

Somewhere along the way our center has been touched and we have become aware of its existence. It may just be a dim flame but we know deep down that it is there. We have the power to move into our center. It is only because of what interests us that we remain on the periphery.

We can move to the center by retracing our steps out. We have made and do make the journey out all day long. Our attention moves from our center out through the senses and chases dreams. Our mind is the sixth sense. By becoming aware of the outward movement of our energy and attention it comes to a halt. When the movement is seen in awareness, the movement ceases.

From where does the thought of “I” arise. What is it pointing to? Is it pointing to this body that people see from the outside? Does it point to this collection of memories, thoughts and dreams that are circulating and referred to as “mind?” Is it not pointing to somewhere deep inside?

Let’s make contact there. Let us feel what it is like to inhabit our bodies. We need not worry about reincarnation let us first learn to incarnate this body here and now. We can move our attention to our interiority. We can feel our bodies from the inside. We can sense ourselves behind the senses. We can find ourselves behind the mind.

It is from this interior position that we are able to allow the unconscious mind to let go of all of its content. By not getting involved but remaining a witness the mind lets go of all of its collectibles, all of its memories, dreams and fears. Without either rejecting or grasping, without judging, we remain a witness and stay rooted in our center, in our interiority, in our being.

It is in this center that the witness grows, that we create our soul. Up until this point we have had no soul. We have had no center. There was not anyone home. Now the fire is lit and we are tending the flame.

The next step will be to let go of this center but we cannot let go of what we do not have. We must first become crystallized. We must first come into Being before we can let go into No-being.

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

 

The Great Forgetting – Jean Klein

The whole problem of dying is based on the premise that we are born and that this born something or someone dies. So the first step is this question: Who or what is born and who or what dies?

The idea of being born is just that, an idea. It is second-hand information. It is what our mothers told us. If we ask ourselves, “Do I know that I am born?” and we look closely, we will see that, yes, a perception is born and dies, but we cannot say, “I am born.”

It is vital in all genuine exploration to become free from second-hand information, free from common sense. If we begin by questioning the questions, we will find that we are led to question the questioner. This is the beginning of self-inquiry.

When we let go of second-hand information, we are face to face with bare facts, precepts rather than concepts. When we leave aside day-dreaming, hypothesis and the taken- for- granted, we are left with the core of the problem, which I would say in this case is: Why speak of death before knowing what life is? Because if we don’t know what life is, how can we even begin to talk of death? So let us first talk about life.

The expressions of life appear and disappear in our awareness. We know what time is, we know what space is, we know what an experience is. How could we know these things if we did not, in some way, also know what timeless, spaceless, experienceless means? Can we know white without reference to black? Can we know dark without reference to light? We know impermanence because in some way we “know” permanence. This permanence is not an experience in time and space. It is not a condition. It does not belong to existence because existence is in time and space. It is essentially nothing, yet in some way we refer to this nothingness very often. It is the background from which we function. It has nothing to do with succession, with past and future. It is cause less and cannot be born.

When we discover this background, the problem of death becomes completely meaningless. When this timeless awareness from which we function unconsciously becomes aware— aware of itself—, then we know that what we are is timeless and spaceless. We know what life is, and it does not enter our mind to even think of death because we live knowingly in this timeless background, in the now, and succession is only an expression of this now.

The real question then is: how can I come to know life so that death is meaningless? I would say that we can never know, in an objective way, what life is. We can only be life, be the knowing. This knowing is an instantaneous apperception, free from space and time, in which there is not a knower and something known. It is the awakening of life in its fullness.

This awakening is our real birth. The phenomenal birth is only an accident and it remains an accident as long as our real nature, our real birth, is not explored. Once we are awake in life, we are profoundly aware that we are not a conceptual object. The object and the reflex to objectify oneself does not arise. It is a state of profound openness, a total absence of being anything, where there is simply life, “isness”. It is timeless and dimensionless, and cannot be objectified, that is, experienced. It is not born and what is not born cannot die. In this original non-state, the idea of death does not even occur.

The fear of dying comes from mis-taking oneself to be the body-mind. This mistake is a thought only. So really the fear of dying comes from the capacity to think. When there is no thought, there is no space and time. Space, time, coming, going, past, future, exist only in thought. They have no autonomous reality. All the fear created by society and religions around so-called dying is mind-fabrication. But it is only an object which can be afraid and you are not an object.

Dying on the biological level does not create fear. Fear is in the mind, not in the body. The fear of dying is only anticipation that “I” will disappear. The idea of a final disappearing destroys all security for the “I” image. But this “You,” “me”, this self-image is also a thought construct built up from memory. The powerful instinct for what is wrongly called self-preservation (the term shows how we have identified with the body-mind) is merely biological survival. Life is desireless but the body-mind is an expression of life, so one could say that the desire to stay alive comes from life itself. As an expression of life, the body accomplishes the course inherent to its nature.

The real meaning of death and dying is completely different from that usually understood by these words. When one knows the continuum that is life, all perceptions (of which our body is but one) are felt as appearing and disappearing in awareness or consciousness. This appearing and disappearing is the real meaning of birth and death. We are born every moment a thought or sensation appears and we die every moment the concept or perception disappears. We die every evening before going to sleep, and we are born every morning. So we need to become acquainted with this dying, this letting-go of the objective world.

We should ask ourselves in our most profound intimacy:
What is there before the thought appears? What is there when the thought disappears? What is there when the body goes to sleep and before it wakes up? When we observe closely, we will find, not the absence we took for granted, but a presence, a presence that cannot, however, be objectified. It is too early, it is our nearest.

If we really know how to go to sleep we will know how to die. We will be already familiar with dying, already familiar with the dissolution of the born. To do this, one must, before going to sleep, lay aside all qualifications. We must become as naked psychologically as we are physically. This means that we put aside all opinions, thought, worries, ideas before we go to sleep. It is an offering of all that we are not. In letting go there is an expansion of mind and body and in all expansion is the fore-feeling of reality, our globality. This should be done each time we sleep until we find that, before the body wakes up in the morning, we are. Presence is already there.

It is better not to postpone this letting-go of the personal entity and all its qualifications until the actual moment of death. Otherwise, it is necessary to have someone who knows life to assist in the final letting go. This is supposedly the priest’s role in the last rites. The function of the priest, shaman, lama or other, is to help one go knowingly through the threshold from the object world to the objectless world. It is to help the dying one forget all the residues of the person and so be open to a new dimension of life. It is an offering back to life of all the expressions that life gave us temporarily. Then what remains is original consciousness.

But whoever is assisting someone over the threshold must be qualified to do so. This simply means that the personality must be absent. In assisting someone to die, one must die with them. The moment you die with the dying one, he or she is stimulated by your dying, by your giving up of all qualifications. Timeless presence, love, has the power to free the dying person from the residues of identification with the phenomenal world. There is no place at all in this assistance for feelings of sadness, pity, fear, nor is there room for talking. All this keeps the dying one grasping onto the objective world.

Ideally, the best way to die is in silence. But when one is steeped in the rituals of a religious tradition, these may help one, in the absence of a qualified priest or real friend, to let go of specific attachments. But the rites must be impersonal, give no hold to the person as, for example, certain sounds draw one beyond the world of sentiment and emotivity.

The way to come to this letting-go is, as I said, the same as before going to sleep. Everything that appears in the moment is seen as a fact. One takes note of the fact without analysis or interference and feels the welcoming in this unconditional taking-note. When we face, in this way, everything that appears, then the openness, attention, in which the perception was welcomed, comes back to us. We find ourselves in the light. This is a natural giving up without intention. So, whether we are dying (and we must!) or assisting someone to die, it is the same procedure. We take a knowing stand in consciousness.

It is crucial to come to know death while still alive. The quality of life is completely different for one who knows letting-go in the waking state. This is the real meaning of the word death. It is the real significance of the word sacrifice. As Meister Eckhart said, “God is when I am not.” We are only born after the death of all that is personal. Only when we are awake in nothingness can we speak of fullness.

But there is another reason for not leaving the real dying until the last moment. There is the real danger that one will remain stuck to the expressions of life and, at the moment of death, emphasize the object, so
that one is taken passively to what is beyond. Passively here means “not knowingly.”

The question may arise: What difference does it make how I die? Consciousness is not affected by birth or death. There is not one moment without consciousness, so after the death of the body, consciousness is
always there. But how one dies does make a difference, because after the death of the person, although consciousness is, it can be awake—conscious of itself—or not. Generally, after the death of the body-mind, this being consciousness is passive, it is not consciousness conscious of itself. What is of utmost importance, therefore, is to be knowingly consciousness and this can only come about before the body dies. Since most of us only know ourselves as objects and do not know ourselves as consciousness, few,
after death, dissolve in consciousness which knows itself.

Consciousness which knows itself is fulfilled and does not look for further expression. As the residues of the body disperse in global energy, consciousness dissolves in its own light. There is nobody to go
anywhere and nowhere to go.

All ideas about different states and stages of the dissolution of energy are, therefore, meaningless to the awakened one and a hindrance to the one who is in the process of letting go of all qualifications and attachments. Such concepts cause confusion. They are mind-constructs since there is no one left to know such things. As long as there are such ideas, there is still a somebody to know. And as long as there is still a somebody to know, there has been no real dying.

It is possible that in one who is still fixed on the objective world, identified with the personality, children, spouse, money, vocation and so on, it may be difficult for the energy to dissolve. It remains concentrated. That is why there are rituals of various kinds which help dissolve the energy and aid the
giving up of all hold on the phenomenal plane. And it is why sometimes, though the body is not visible, there may still be residues of the personality. One should accept these and take several sessions to systematically empty oneself of all ideas, memories and feelings for the dead person. It is a process of elimination. Then one sees that there is much more to the relationship than one could remember. Memory belongs to our minds, but the real relationship is not limited by memory.

The problem of physical suffering during dying needs to be addressed because the question naturally arises as to how one can come to a real letting-go in the face of acute pain. The first thing to clarify is that
pain must be seen as an object like any other, from the perspective that what we are fundamentally is not an object and cannot be afraid or feel pain. So we must be absolutely clear about our profound non-involvement
in the events surrounding the sensation we call pain or illness.

We cannot say, “I am afraid, I am in pain, I am dying,” because the “I” is unchanged and unchanging. It is the body which feels sensation and the mind that creates fear. Once there is clarity about what one is not
—the body and its sensations, the mind and its thoughts—the suffering is dramatically reduced. Then the sensation, the illness can be faced squarely without psychological interference.

Pain, like every object, is a pointer to our real nature. It must be seen objectively, in front of us as if the body belonged to another. In objectifying it, we are extricated from it, no longer drowned in the illness,
the sensation. And in the psychological space thus created, there will be a glimpse of real freedom from the burden. It is not enough to vaguely note this brief feeling of detachment. We must become truly interested in this feeling of freedom, that is, make it, in turn, an object of attention, sustain and live in this free feeling. With it comes the conviction that one is neither the healthy nor the unhealthy body.

Illness and death are an opportunity, par excellence, to clarify the fundamental error of our existence: that we have identified awareness, consciousness, life, with its object and it is through this mis-take that
all conflict and suffering arise. Illness then is a gift, a gift to help us realize more quickly what we are not. It gives us an opportunity that should not be refused: to be what we are.

Our living in wholeness stimulates our surroundings, our family and friends. I would say it stimulates the life in them. Knowingly or unknowingly, they share life with us and, at death, neither we nor they will
feel isolated. This feeling of life will remain and continue to stimulate them because life is eternal and in it all are oneness.

But generally family and friends do not have an honest relation with the dying one. They continue, in some way, to hold onto, to try to save, the person. They do not let him or her meet the light. This is because relationships in the family are of object to object, person to person. So it is better not to have the family present at the moment of dying if they cannot perform the last rites, be priests, so to speak, that is, die with you.

It is important that the dying one offer up the expressions of life consciously. However, in certain circumstances, clarity may be impaired by the intensity of the pain or the use of medications to relieve it. At the very moment of the final release, nature usually takes itself in charge and pain does not cloud awareness, so when assisting a dying person, a doctor has a great responsibility. First and foremost, he or she must represent health, life and, like the priest, prepare the patient for the final release. The doctor
must also die with the patient. All his talent is needed to first help the patient distance himself from identifying with the object, and then to see precisely how much medication is necessary to make this distancing possible. The patient must retain a profound awareness of what is happening.

Either prolonging life artificially or taking one’s life prematurely is a deep lack of respect for all life has given us. It is a lack of gratitude, a profound ignorance. Life gives us the opportunity for a real birth and all interfering is a refusal of this opportunity. When one awakes in the real “I,” the destiny of all that we are not no longer has any meaning. Pain, an accident, death, is on the film, but we are the light which illuminates the film. So, thinking about the fate of the body and trying to interfere is a mark of ego-centredness and a lack of love.

Only an ego can have concepts and intentions, and as long as we live as the contracted ego we will have a false view of what life is. What we generally call “my life” belongs only to the mind and thus appears to take place in succession. The illusion of life as time gives us the impression that we can
interfere. This wrong seeing is sometimes corrected before dying when there is a panoramic memory of one’s whole life. This is because there is a sudden letting-go of the mind’s control, of the channelling of one’s being into strict succession in time and space. In this sudden letting-go we are ejected into the timeless and facts appear to us without all the intervening thoughts that generally qualify every fact. This panorama usually occurs at a crisis when there is a very dramatic letting-go. In a natural death one is
gently dissolved in being.

Real death is, then, the death of conceptual living. Life is presence, always in the here and now, the moment itself. In the absence of the “person” there is simply living, non-volitional acting. Non-volitional living is living in happiness. It is only in non-intentional living that there is acceptance, and it is only in accepting, in welcoming, that all the elements of a situation can be clearly seen. When we live in accepting, illness has no hold, no substance, and we have the greatest possibility of getting better.

All the changes the body undergoes are hypothetical and transitional, but there is nothing hypothetical about what we really are—consciousness. It is prior to body. It is prior to thought. It is between two concepts or percepts. It is silent awareness, nameless, without attribute. It is the total giving up of all qualifications, freedom from all identifications. It is the eternal presence we take for absence. When one lives knowingly in this presence, there is no death.

Then when you see the moment to go has come, and you have learned how, I would even say learned the technique of giving up, it is extremely beautiful. Dying then is thanking, a thanking for having had the opportunity to know life, to be the knowing, to be thanking itself. In the great forgetting of all that we are not, dying is the total release into openness, openness to the light.

-Jean Klein

Excerpt from The Book of Listening, pp. 67-75

On Meditation – Jean Klein

You will feel in your meditation that there is still a residue of the idea of finding something, but we have very often repeated that the seeker is the sought. What you are fundamentally you can never objectify because you are it. An object is a fraction; it appears in your wholeness, in your globality. When you really come to the understanding that the seeker is the sought, there is a natural giving up of all energy to find something. It is an instantaneous apperception. I don’t say perception, because in perception there is a perceiver and something perceived. An apperception is an instantaneous perceiving of what is perceiving. So it can never be in a relation of subject- object, just as an eye can never see its own seeing. That is why I said you will first find yourself behind yourself. I say behind yourself because you know yourself mainly in subject- object relationship, in your factory, in your forehead. The energy which strikes the factory in a certain moment and makes the factory work is localized behind, so stay with the energy behind and you will find a glimpse of non- subject- object relationship. This glimpse is seen with your whole intelligence which is there in the absence of the person, the thinker, the doer. Understanding, being the understanding, is enlightenment.

( Silence)

You can never perceive your globality, your wholeness. If there is a perceived, it is not your wholeness. Your globality, your wholeness, is it’s own perceiving. So it is clear your globality can never be perceived, it can never be an object. It is non- dual. It must be clear for the mind that what you are looking for is the looking itself. When you really see this with your intelligence and love and understanding, there is a natural giving up of all projected energy. All energy directed towards finding something comes back to its homeground. This moment of equilibrium, you must live. It is purposeless because it is what you fundamentally are.

In this non- dual non- state you cannot speak of relation. You must visualize this relationless state, you must love it, you must approach it with your whole intelligence. This is the only thing that you should remember; everything else that has been said can be put in the waste basket!

– Jean Klein

From Transmission of the Flame, pp. 65-66

Meditation is the Bridge Between Yoga and Advaita

Hakuin begins his Song of Meditation, “All beings are from the very beginning Buddhas.” Nisargadatta Maharaj tells us to take as a hypothesis that we are the “absolute”, because it is not yet our experience. Osho begins his discourse series on The Heart Sutra with these words, “I salute the Buddha within you. You may not be aware of it, you may not have ever dreamed about it — that you are a Buddha, that nobody can be anything else, that buddhahood is the very essential core of your being, that it is not something to happen in the future, that it has happened already.” But he goes on to say “But you are fast asleep, you don’t know who you are. Not that you have to become a Buddha, but only that you have to recognize it, that you have to return to your own source, that you have to look within yourself.”

This paradox that we are already Buddhas but that we do not recognize it is at the heart of much confusion today. It is here where those who are professing a neo-advaitan philosophy clash with the gradualists, with the yogis. But there should be no conflict. It is just that each side is only seeing half of the situation. We Are already enlightened but it is Not yet our experience. We have not Realized our enlightenment and until we do Realize our natural state then the work continues.

It is important for the neo-advaitans to understand that just intellectually knowing that we are already enlightened does not a Buddha make. And in order to uncover that sleeping Buddha there is a transformation yet to take place. And it is also important for the yogis to understand that we are from the very beginning Buddhas and that our work is not to make us into something that we are not already, but to uncover our already existing true nature. Hence it is not a question of becoming but of uncovering.

So what is the bridge between this gulf of understanding?  What is needed for the transformation from the potential to the realized to take place? When Nisargadatta Maharaj was asked what he did before his enlightenment was realized, he said that he accepted the words of his guru “that he was the absolute” and he meditated on the “I am” for three years.  J. Krishnamurti has said that “seeing is transformation.” He says that it is the observation of the mind itself that is the transformation. And Osho’s entire life work was to illuminate ‘meditation’ as the bridge between our current state of living in the mind and the awakened life of no-mind.

So if my enlightenment is only in words, only in concepts and not in my daily life then perhaps it would be best to continue on the journey back to Self and that journey must pass through no-mind.  On the other hand if I see enlightenment as a goal in the future of becoming then too it would be good to come home to Being and out of the goals in the world of mind.

Meditation is the way in.

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.