You are in Prison and You Think You are Free – Osho

George Gurdjieff has said: “You are in prison. If you wish to get out of prison, the first thing you must do is realize that you are in prison. If you think you are free, you can’t escape.”

What are the prisons that I call “home”?

Rama Prem, George Gurdjieff is one of the most significant masters of this age.

He is unique in many ways — nobody has said things in the contemporary world the way Gurdjieff has said them. He is almost like another Bodhidharma or Chuang Tzu, apparently absurd but in reality giving great indications towards the liberation of human consciousness.

You are asking about one of his significant statements. He often used to say, “You are in prison.” Sometimes he was even deeper into the reality, and instead of saying, “You are in prison,” he would say, “You are the prison.” That is more true.

If you wish to get out of prison — or better to say, if you don’t want to be a prison — the first thing you must do is realize that you are in prison… or you are the prison. This is something to be always remembered as one of the first principles for any seeker of truth.

The tendency of the human mind is to deny those things which are ugly, to hide those things which he does not want others to know — to hide in such a way, in such depths of the unconscious that even he himself becomes unaware of them. This way he maintains his superficial personality.

Gurdjieff had a story about it…

There was a magician who used to live in faraway deep forests, and he had many sheep because that was his only food. In those deep forests he was keeping all those sheep just to kill them every day, one by one. Naturally, the sheep were very afraid of the man, and they used to run into the forest being afraid that any day can be their day. Their friends are gone, there is no reliability… tomorrow they may be gone. Out of fear they used to go far away, deep into the forest. And to find them was a tedious job every day.

Finally, the magician did a trick. He hypnotized all the sheep, and told every sheep, “You are an exception; everybody may be killed but you can never be killed. You are no ordinary sheep; you have a divine privilege.” To some he said, “You are not sheep at all; you are lions, you are tigers, you are wolves. Only sheep are killed. You need not hide yourself in the forest; that is very embarrassing, because a lion hiding himself in the forest in the fear that he will be killed… only sheep are killed.” And in this way, he managed to hypnotize all the sheep in different ways.

He even said to a few sheep, “You are men, human beings, and human beings don’t kill each other. You are just like me. Never be afraid and never escape out of fear.” Since that day, no sheep escaped and hid in the forest, although they all saw every day that one sheep was being killed, slaughtered. But naturally everybody thought, That must be a sheep; I am a tiger, a lion, a human being. I am special and exceptional, I have a divine privilege…. So many different stories he put in their minds.

Gurdjieff says that unless you realize the first thing — that you are in prison, that you are the prison — then there is no hope for freedom. If you already believe that you are free, you are a hypnotized sheep which believes himself to be a lion — exceptional, there is no need to be afraid — which even believes he is a human being. He goes on seeing other sheep being killed, and still remains in a hypnotized state, never being aware of his actuality. To be free, if you already know that you are free, there is no problem.

All the religions together, perhaps unintentionally, have created a tremendous hypnotic state. People believe they have immortal souls. I am not saying that they don’t have, I am simply saying that they don’t know what they are believing. And because they believe they have an immortal soul, they never discover that they already have it. They have been told, “You are the very kingdom of God”… and it is so comfortable and so consoling to believe. But then there is no way to seek and search and find whether your hypothetical belief has any truth in it, or is just a hypnotic trick used by the society to keep you unafraid of death, to keep you unafraid of disease, old age, to keep you unafraid of your loneliness.

Your God may be just a psychological hypnosis. It is not your discovery. That is true — that much is absolutely true. It has been implanted in your mind, and because you go on believing in it, your belief prevents any adventure in seeking the truth.

Ordinarily, you have been told continually that unless you believe, you will not find. But the truth is just the contrary. Belief is a barrier, it is not a bridge. Those who believe never find, because they never even begin the search; there is no need.

You are in prison and you think you are free.

You are in chains but you think they are ornaments. You are a slave but you have been told that you are humble, that you are simple, that this is the way a religious person should be. You are surrounded by many hypnotic strategies developed by society down the ages. And those hypnotic strategies are the root cause of your ignorance, of your misery, of your unenlightened state.

Hence the first thing to realize is that you are in prison. The moment you recognize that you are in prison, you cannot tolerate the prison. Nobody can tolerate it; it goes against human dignity. You will start finding ways to get out of it. You will start finding people who have already got out of it. You may start seeking and searching outside help beyond the walls, because there are people beyond the walls ready with every kind of help. But they are absolutely helpless if you believe that you are living in absolute freedom.

If you believe this imprisonment is your home, then of course it is absolute nonsense even to think of getting rid of it. The wall that keeps you a prisoner, you think is a protection. Then there is no question of making a hole in the wall and getting out, or finding a ladder, or taking some help from the outside. A rope can be thrown from the outside, a ladder can be arranged from the outside, but this is possible only if the basic thing, that you are in prison, is recognized. George Gurdjieff was consistently insisting, “This is a basic realization. Without it, there is no progress towards enlightenment. If you think you are free, you can’t escape.”

“What are the prisons that I call `home’?” Rama Prem, all the so-called homes are nothing but prisons, because they don’t give you freedom, they only give you security, safety, and in place they take away your very being, your freedom, your joy, your dance. But certainly they give you security, safety — and naturally you have to pay for it.

The price that one has to pay is immensely great in comparison to what you get. You have to sell your very soul. But then what is the point of safety and security? You were searching for security and safety for your being, and in the very search you have sold your being. Now you are secure and safe, but what is the point? For whom is the safety and security? It does not serve you, it serves those who have managed to convince you that “If you give your soul, your being, we will take care — then you need not be worried, then we are responsible for your safety and security.”

The moment you give up your responsibility, you give up everything. Then you are just an empty shell, without any meaning and without any essence. Your homes are nothing but beautiful prisons made by you, decorated by you. You think they are protecting you; they are destroying you. Certainly they protect you from the rains and they protect you from the winds and they protect you from the sun, but for these trivia they destroy you completely. You lose all joy, you lose all freedom, you lose all sense of direction. You lose the very purpose you are here for. You get lost in your own home. You become too much concerned about the furniture and about the decorations, and you forget yourself completely. This forgetfulness is a kind of deep psychological sleep.

Your wife, your husband, your children — nobody is yours. All are man-made, arbitrary relationships — even your own children are not your own. They come through you; they don’t belong to you. You belong to the past; they belong to the future. There is no connection, there is no relationship; hence, as man has become more and more intelligent there has come a great generation gap.

One great Russian novelist, Turgenev, has written a book — perhaps his best, his masterpiece – Fathers and Sons. The whole book is about the struggle between the fathers and the sons, because the fathers would like the sons just to be their replicas. Naturally, they will not allow the sons any freedom. Obedience they expect; they expect their sons to be their carbon copies. […]

Religions have created all kinds of crimes in the mind of man, just by prohibiting them. They have also created ideas which prevent man from any search. They say, “Believe” — and belief is cheap. You don’t have to do anything. Gurdjieff had to go to such extents that he started saying to people, “You don’t have souls. It is a wrong idea, implanted within you by religions, that everybody has a soul.”

He had to say such a thing just to wake you up to search whether it is true or not; otherwise, everybody was perfectly asleep. What is the need to search? You already have it; God is within you! So do other things which, if you don’t do, you will not get — become a president, prime minister, become the richest man in the world, conquer the world — because these things will not happen on their own. As far as God is concerned you already have him; he is within you, you don’t have to go anywhere. Any day, any rainy day when you can’t go anywhere to conquer the world, and you don’t have anything else to do — to correct the mechanism of your car, or to open your wall clock, or to open your radio or television even though they are functioning perfectly well, but you don’t have anything else to do…. Any day, when you don’t have anything to do, you can find God. He is within you, in your pocket.

Gurdjieff is perhaps the only man in the whole of history who insisted against all religions that you don’t have a soul — that a soul has to be created, then you have it. You are not born with it, you are born only with the possibility. If you make a great effort, perhaps you may achieve it. Otherwise most people are born and die; there is no soul that survives.

He was telling a compassionate lie. He was not right, but I cannot say that he was telling the lie for any other reason than compassion. It is true you are born with the soul, but it has become such an accepted fact that you don’t even look within yourself. Somebody needs to shatter your idea that you are born with a soul, to tell you that inside you are just empty, hollow. Perhaps this may shake you up, wake you up. Perhaps this may give you the idea to look inside at least one time, whether there is a soul or you have been deceived.

And George Gurdjieff helped more people in this century than anybody else, because he created a great longing: “Don’t die before you have created a soul; otherwise nothing will survive the death. Crystallize your being so that death cannot destroy it. But you are not born with it, you have to create it.”

The idea of all the religions, although true, has not been helpful; it has become a hindrance. Gurdjieff’s compassion is great. All the religions were against him, obviously, because that is the one point they all agree on — that everybody is born with a soul. But Gurdjieff’s point is more psychological, and more effective in creating liberation. He says you are just empty, and you will remain empty unless you make the effort, with a determined will, to create a center within you. There is possibility, potential, but you have to make it an actuality. His insight was great.

And since Gurdjieff, people have forgotten it completely. He was alive just thirty years ago and just within thirty years people have forgotten the great teacher who was compassionate enough even to lie, just to make you shocked; just to create an opening in you so that you can start searching whether what all the religions have been saying has any truth in it or not.

The first thing he says is to realize you are in prison. The first thing that can also be said is, you have to realize that you are not yet. You have to be. You are a seed, but you have to find the right soil, and nobody else can do it for you. If you go on depending on priests and your so-called saints, you will miss this great opportunity that life has given to you. And one does not know whether a second chance is being given or not. It has to be made emphatically clear to you that there is a possibility — once missed, you have missed it forever.

Gurdjieff created a great turmoil in a few intelligent people, and he put them to great work in finding themselves. I don’t agree with George Gurdjieff as far as his methods are concerned, but as far as this statement is concerned I agree totally. It is simply a psychological fact.

There are people who believe they are intelligent. In fact, it is very difficult to find somebody who believes he is unintelligent. If you can find somebody who believes he is unintelligent, there is a possibility for him to be intelligent. But for all those who already believe they are intelligent, you can’t help them. And certainly this whole humanity is not intelligent. Their actions show it, their behavior shows it, their misery shows it — it shows nothing but their retardedness.

But their belief is that they are geniuses — life is just not giving them the right opportunities to show their talents; otherwise, they could have been Picasso, or Sartre, or Bertrand Russell, or Martin Buber; there is no problem. It is just because life is preventing them; otherwise, they have everything. It is not so.

Now education is universal, particularly in advanced countries, but even universal education does not create universal geniuses. Everybody is educated but even that does not give you the same talent. Man is living in a kind of half-awake and half-asleep state, and it is very easy to believe that you are great – great in intelligence, great in beauty, great in everything — rather than finding greatness, creating greatness, because that will require effort, tremendous effort. And enlightenment is the ultimate intelligence. If you already believe you are intelligent, you have stopped yourself from growing.

Just watch exactly where you are. Be very impartial about judging yourself. See exactly, even if it hurts, that you are a slave — of some political ideology, of some religious theology, of some racial stupidity. Just watch and be very impartial and objective about yourself, and you will find what Gurdjieff calls your prisons. And once you recognize your prisons, it is not difficult to get out, because they are your own creations.

Bernstein died and went to hell. The receptionist asked, “Where do you want to go?”

“Do I have a choice?” asked the surprised Bernstein.

“Certainly! This anteroom is surrounded by closed doors. Just listen at each one and decide which you want to enter.”

Bernstein listened at the first door and heard horrible shrieks of agony. He went to the second, then the third — always hearing screams, cries, and yells. Finally, at the seventh door, he heard nothing but gentle murmuring.

He said quickly, “I’ll take this one.”

The door was flung open and he was propelled inside. He found himself up to his lower lip in a vast sea of shit. With him were millions of others, standing on tiptoe, muttering, “Don’t make waves! Don’t make waves!”

Whatever you have made your life is your own choice. Even in hell you have a choice – everywhere you have a choice. Your life is your own creation. Once you recognize it, then every change is possible.

Churchill’s commentary on man was: “Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.” Man is a very strange animal, strangest of all the animals you see. He goes on believing in things which are not, he goes on believing in things which he has not. He never makes any effort, even in finding one very fundamental thing: who he is, from where he comes, and what is his destiny, where he is going.

People discuss all kinds of things, and people read about all kinds of things, but generally they never bother about themselves. It seems they take themselves for granted, and that’s what Gurdjieff wants to stop: Don’t take yourself for granted. Look inside, search for who you are, and whether you are or if there is just emptiness and something has to be done to bring the seed to sprout, to take care of the seed so that one day it can blossom.

Sinking uneasily into the depths of the psychiatrist’s couch, the patient sighed, “Doctor, I have a problem.” He loosened his collar and continued, “I’ve got one son in Harvard and another at Yale. I’ve just gifted them with twin Ferraris. I have a townhouse on upper Fifth Avenue, and a summer home at East Hampton, and a sprawling ranch in Venezuela.”

“Well,” smiled the psychiatrist, obviously impressed, “either I missed something or you really don’t have a problem.”

“Doc,” the harried chap croaked, “I only make seventy-five dollars a week.”

Naturally you will have problems! You make seventy-five dollars a week, and you imagine all these things: two Ferraris, two sons — one in Harvard, one in Yale — a townhouse, a house in the hills, a big ranch in Venezuela, and seventy-five dollars a week! People create their problems. People are utterly poor in their consciousness, and go on believing that the kingdom of God is within. In your poor consciousness, you can have only a very poor God — seventy-five dollars a week. Your God is as rich as your consciousness is, because the God is another name for your consciousness.

-Osho

Excerpt from The Invitation, Chapter Four

The Invitation

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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The Head and the Heart – Osho

How is it possible that Gurdjieff needed another head, an Ouspensky, to work on a third psychology, the psychology of the buddhas, while you work by yourself and you can be both in the state of mind and no-mind?

There have been two kinds of Masters in the world. One kind, the first, has always needed somebody else to express, to interpret, to philosophize, to communicate what the Master has experienced. Gurdjieff is not alone in that; he needed P.D. Ouspensky – without Ouspensky he would not have been known at all. Ramakrishna comes in the same category; he needed a Vivekananda – without Vivekananda Ramakrishna would have remained absolutely unheard of.

So has been the case with many Masters, for the simple reason that their whole work concerned the heart center. They became crystallized in the heart center – so much so that it was impossible for them to move to the head and to use their own heads. It appeared far easier for them to use somebody else’s head rather than their own.

But there was a difficulty in it. One thing was good about it: the Master himself was not constantly moving between two extremes from mind to no-mind, from no-mind to mind – there was no movement in his being; he was absolutely crystallized. But another kind of trouble was there: the man who was being used as a medium – Ouspensky, Vivekananda, or others – was himself not an enlightened person. Gurdjieff could use Ouspensky’s head, but not exactly the way he would have liked to. Ouspensky’s own mind was bound to color Gurdjieff’s experience; he was bound to bring his own prejudices, his own philosophy, his own understanding to it. He had no experience of his own, he was simply a medium. But the medium is not just an empty vehicle, he has his own mind, and anything passing through his mind is going to be changed a little bit here, a little bit there.

Ouspensky introduced Gurdjieff to the world, but he introduced Gurdjieff in his own way. One cannot blame Ouspensky. What could he do? He tried his best. I think he was one of the best interpreters that any Master has ever been able to find; but still an interpreter is an interpreter. It can’t be the same; it is impossible to be the same. Hence sooner or later they had to part from each other.

In the last days of Ouspensky’s life he became almost an enemy to Gurdjieff. He started saying, “Now Gurdjieff has gone mad. At first he was moving in the right direction, but the later Gurdjieff has gone astray.” He could not say that the whole of Gurdjieff’s teaching was wrong because his own teaching was based on Gurdjieff’s teaching, but he divided Gurdjieff in two: the first part of Gurdjieff – when Ouspensky was with him – was right and the later part was wrong. In fact, the later part was the culmination of the first part.

But why did this happen? It was almost bound to happen because sooner or later Ouspensky’s own mind was going to become a barrier. When he first came to Gurdjieff he was absolutely surrendered to him – surrendered in the sense that he was fascinated by his personality, fascinated intellectually – because he was a great intellectual – absolutely surrendered in the intellectual sense, not in the existential sense. If he had been existentially surrendered he would have been of no use because Gurdjieff needed a head, he was in search of a head. He had many other followers who were devoted to him from their very innermost core, but they were not going to become his interpreters to the world.

When Ouspensky came to Gurdjieff he was already a world-famous mathematician, a philosopher. His own book, Tertium Organum, had already been translated into almost all the great languages of the world. And that book, Tertium Organum, is really something tremendous; coming out of a man who was unenlightened it is almost a miracle. Intellectually he managed something which nobody has ever been able to manage. He knew nothing, he had not experienced anything, but his intellectual grasp… his intellect was really sharp. He belongs to the topmost intellectuals of the whole history of humanity; there are very few competitors to rival him. Only once in a while….

Socrates had such a man, Plato. Socrates was the heart of the teaching, Plato was the head.

Exactly the same was repeated in the case of Gurdjieff: Gurdjieff was the heart, Ouspensky became the head. And if I have to choose between the two my choice will be Ouspensky, not Plato. Ouspensky is simply unbelievable; his insight, without any self-realization, is so accurate that anybody who has not experienced will think that Ouspensky was a Buddha, a Christ. Only a Buddha will be able to detect the flaws, not anyone else. The flaws are there but ordinarily undetectable.

He started writing books on Gurdjieff. He wrote one of his greatest contributions, In Search of the Miraculous, then he wrote The Fourth Way. And these two books introduced Gurdjieff to the world; otherwise, he would have remained an absolutely unknown Master. Maybe a few people would have come in personal contact with him and would have been benefited, but Ouspensky made him available to millions.

But as those books spread all over the world and thousands of people started moving towards Gurdjieff, Ouspensky also became very egoistic – naturally, because he was the cause of the whole thing. In fact, he started thinking, “Without me, what is Gurdjieff? Who is Gurdjieff without me? Who was he? When I met him he was just a refugee living in a refugee camp in Constantinople, almost starving. Nobody had ever heard about him. I have made him world famous; the whole credit goes to me.” This idea went to his head – it became too much for him – and in subtle ways he started to dominate the movement. And you cannot dominate a man like Gurdjieff, you cannot dictate to a man like Gurdjieff. They had to part.

In the last days of his life Ouspensky was so against Gurdjieff that he would not tolerate anybody mentioning Gurdjieff’s name to him; in his presence Gurdjieff’s name was not mentioned. Even in his books Gurdjieff’s name was reduced to only “G”; the full name disappeared. After the break just “G” remained – somebody anonymous, “‘G’ said . . .,” not “Gurdjieff.” And he made it clear, very clear: “We have parted and I have developed my own system.” He started gathering his own followers. Those followers were not allowed to read Gurdjieff’s books, those followers were not allowed to go and see Gurdjieff. While Ouspensky was alive he was very suspicious of anybody who wanted to go to Gurdjieff or who even wanted to study his books.

But Gurdjieff was aware that this was going to happen. Still, there was no other way; some head had to be used. Gurdjieff’s work was such that he was absolutely crystallized in his heart; he could not move to the head.

So was the case with Ramakrishna. Vivekananda was an ordinary intellectual, not even of the caliber of Ouspensky, but he made Ramakrishna world famous. Ramakrishna died very early, that’s why Vivekananda and Ramakrishna never parted; otherwise the parting was absolutely certain. But Ramakrishna died and Vivekananda became his whole and sole representative. He dominated all the followers, he dominated the whole movement; he became for them the representative of Ramakrishna. If Ramakrishna had lived, the same thing would have happened sooner or later because Vivekananda was just head and nothing else, nothing of the heart. Even if he talks about the heart it is just head-talk, the head talking about the heart, it is not heart-full. There is no love in it, there is no meditation in it, there is no prayer in it, just intellectual analysis. He knew the scriptures and he forced his ideas on Ramakrishna’s ideas. And Ramakrishna had died so there was nobody to say no to it.

Vivekananda destroyed the whole beauty of Ramakrishna. But that was going to happen because Ramakrishna was not a man of the head at all.

But this has not always been the case. Buddha never depended on anybody else. He was capable of moving from mind to no-mind, from no-mind to mind; that is his greatness. That is a far greater achievement than that of Gurdjieff or Ramakrishna because their achievements are in a way limited. Buddha is very liquid; he is not solid like a rock, he is more fluid – like a river.

So was the case with Lao Tzu: he never depended on anybody else, he said whatever he had to say. He said it himself, and as beautifully as it could be said. And their philosophies are bound to be far more pure because they come from the original man, they come from the original realization, from the very source; there is no via media. So is the case with Zarathustra, Jesus, Krishna, Mahavira.

This is the second category of Masters. The first category is easier in a way; it is easy to be crystallized at one center. It is a far more complex process, a longer and far more arduous journey, to remain alive at both extremes. These are the two extremes: the head and the heart. But it is possible. It has happened before. It is happening right now in front of you.

I live in silence, but my work consists of much intellectual communication. I live in silence, but I have to use words. But when I use words, those words contain my silence. I don’t need anybody else to interpret me; hence there is a far greater possibility that whatsoever I am saying will remain pure for a longer period of time.

And now, since Buddha, many scientific developments have happened….

We don’t know what Buddha actually said although he never used anybody like Ouspensky or Plato or Vivekananda; he himself was his own interpreter. But there arose a problem when he died. He spoke for forty-two years – he became enlightened when he was about forty and then he lived to eighty-two. For forty-two years he was speaking morning, afternoon, evening. Now there were no scientific methods for recording what he was saying. When he died the first question was how to collect it all. He had said so much – forty-two years is a long time, and many had become enlightened in those forty-two years. But those who became enlightened had become crystallized in the heart because that is easier, simpler, and people tend to move to the simplest process, to the shortcut. Why bother? If you can reach a point directly, straight, then why go roundabout? And when Buddha was alive there was no need for anybody else to interpret him; he was his own spokesman, so the need was never felt.

There were thousands of arhats and bodhisattvas; they all gathered. Only those were called to the gathering who had become enlightened – obviously, because they would not misinterpret Buddha. And that’s true, they could not misinterpret him – it was impossible for them. They had also experienced the same universe of the beyond, they had also moved to the farther shore.

But they all said, “We have never bothered much about his words since we became enlightened. We have listened to him because his words were sweet. We have listened to him because his words were pure music. We have listened to him because just listening to him was a joy. We have listened to him because that was the only way to be close to him. Just to sit by his side and listen to him was a rejoicing, it was a benediction. But we did not bother about what he was saying; once we attained there was no need. We were not listening from the head and we were not collecting in the memory; our own heads and memories stopped functioning long ago.”

Somebody became enlightened thirty years before Buddha died. Now for thirty years he sat there by the side of Buddha listening as one listens to the wind passing through the pine trees or one listens to the song of the birds or one listens to the rain falling on the roof. But they were not listening intellectually. So they said, “We have not carried any memory of it. Whatsoever he must have said was beautiful, but what he said we cannot recollect. Just to be with him was such a joy.”

It was very difficult now – how to collect his words? The only man who had lived continuously with Buddha for forty-two years was Ananda; he was his personal attendant, his caretaker. He had listened to him, almost every word that he had uttered was heard by Ananda. Even if he was talking to somebody privately, Ananda was present. Ananda was almost always present, like a shadow. He had heard everything – whatsoever had fallen from his lips. And he must have said many things to Ananda when there was nobody there. They must have talked just on going to bed in the night.  Ananda used to sleep in the same room just to take care of him – he may need something in the night. He may feel cold, he may feel hot, he may like the window to be opened or closed, or he may feel thirsty and may need some water or something, or – he was getting old – he may feel sick. So Ananda was there continuously.

They all said, “We should ask Ananda.” But then there was a very great problem: Ananda was not yet enlightened. He had heard everything that Buddha uttered publicly, uttered privately. They must have gossiped together; there was nobody else who could have said, “I am friendly with Buddha,” except Ananda. And Ananda was also his cousin-brother, and not only a cousin-brother but two years older than Buddha. So when he had come to be initiated he asked for a few things before his initiation, because in India the elder brother has to be respected just like your father. Even the elder cousin-brother has to be respected just like your father.

So Ananda said to Buddha, “Before I take initiation…. Once I become your bhikkhu, your sannyasin, I will have to follow your orders, your commandments. Then whatsoever you say I will have to do. But before that I order you, as your elder brother, to grant me three things. Remember these three things. First: I will always be with you. You cannot say to me, ‘Ananda, go somewhere else, do something else.’ You cannot send me to some other village to preach, to convert people, to give your message. This is my first order to you. Second: I will be always present. Even if you are talking to somebody privately I want to hear everything. Whatsoever you are going to say in your life I want to be an audience to it. So you will not be able to tell me, ‘This is a private talk, you go out.’ I will not go, remember it! And thirdly: I am not much interested in being enlightened, I am much more interested in just being with you. So if enlightenment means separating from you I don’t care a bit about it. Only if I can remain with you even after enlightenment, am I willing to be enlightened, otherwise forget about it.”

And Buddha nodded his yes to all these three orders – he had to, he was younger than Ananda – and he followed those three things his whole life.

The conference of the arhats and the bodhisattvas decided that only Ananda could relate Buddha’s words. And he had a beautiful memory; he had listened to everything very attentively. ”But the problem is he is not yet enlightened; we cannot rely upon him. His mind may play tricks, his mind may change things unconsciously. He may not do it deliberately, he may not do it consciously, but he still has a great unconscious in him. He may think he has heard that Buddha said this and he may never have said it. He may delete a few words; he may add a few words. Who knows? And we don’t have any criterion because many things that he has heard only he has heard; there is no other witness.”

And Ananda was sitting outside the hall. The doors were closed and he was weeping outside on the steps. He was weeping because he was not allowed inside. An eighty-four-year-old man weeping like a child! The man who had lived for forty-two years with Buddha was not allowed in! Now he was really in anguish. Why did he not become enlightened? Why did he not insist7 He made a vow, a decision: “I will not move from these steps until I become enlightened.” He closed his eyes, he forgot the whole world. And it is said that within twenty-four hours, without changing his posture, he became enlightened.

When he became enlightened he was allowed in. Then he related… all these scriptures were related by Ananda. But who knows? He became enlightened afterwards. All those memories belong to the mind of an unenlightened person; even though he had become enlightened, those memories were not those of an enlightened person. It is not absolutely certain that what is reported is exactly what Buddha said.

But now science has given all the technology. Each single word – not only the word but the pauses in between – the very nuances of the words, the way they are uttered, the very gestures, all can be recorded. The words can be recorded, the gestures can be photographed, films can be made, tapes can be made.

Now the best way for any enlightened person is not to depend on anybody else, although that path is difficult, far more difficult, because you have to do two things together. You have to constantly shuttle back and forth, back and forth. You have to constantly go into wordlessness and come out from that emptiness into the world of words. It is a difficult phenomenon, the most difficult phenomenon in the whole of existence; because when you enter into silence it is so beautiful that to come back to the universe of words looks absurd, meaningless. It is as if you have reached to the sunlit peaks and then you come back to the dark holes where people live in the valley, the slums. When you have touched the sunlit peaks, when you can live there and you can float like a cloud in the infinite sky, to come back to the muddy earth, to crawl again with people who are living in mud seems to be very absurd. But there is no other way. If you have compassion enough you have to go into this difficult process.

It depends on many things too. It depends on the whole process by which a Master has reached through many lives. Ramakrishna was never an intellectual in any of his lives. A simple man – in this life he was a simple man. Even if he had wanted to it would have been impossible for him to become a Vivekananda too. It was easier to find somebody who could do that work.

Gurdjieff, when he was very young, only twelve years of age, became part of a party of seekers: thirty people who made a decision that they would go to the different parts of the world and find out whether truth was only talk or there were a few people who had known it. Just a twelve-year-old boy, but he was chosen to join the party for the simple reason that he had great stamina, he had great power. One thing was certain about him: whatsoever he decided, he would risk all for it. He would not look back, he would never escape even if he had to lose his life he would lose his life. And three times he was almost shot dead – almost, but he pulled himself back into life somehow; the purpose was still unfulfilled.

Those thirty people traveled all over the world. They came to India; they went to Tibet and the whole Middle East, all the Sufi monasteries, all the Himalayan monasteries. And they had decided to come back to a certain place in the Middle East and to relate whatsoever they had gained; after each twelve years they were going to meet. At the end of the first twelve years almost half of them did not return; they must have died somehow, or forgotten the mission, or become entangled somewhere. Somebody must have got married, fallen in love. A thousand and one things can happen – people are accident-prone. Only fifteen people returned. And after the next twelve years only three people came back. And the third time only Gurdjieff was there, all the others had disappeared. What happened to them nobody knows.

But this man had very great decisiveness: if he had decided then nothing was going to deter him. He was almost killed three times; the only thing that saved him was his mission, that he had to go back, and he pulled himself out of his death. It needed great inner power.

He had no time to become an intellectual. He was moving with mystics – from one monastery to another monastery, from one cave to another cave, from one country to another country. He came to India, he went to Tibet, he went up to Japan; he gathered knowledge from all over the world. By the time he himself became enlightened there was no time left for him to intellectualize it, to put it into words. He knew the taste, but the words were not there. He needed a man like Ouspensky.

My own approach has been totally different. I began as an intellectual – not only in this life but in many lives. My whole work in many lives has been concerned with the intellect – refining the intellect, sharpening the intellect. In this life I began as an atheist with an absolute denial of God.

You cannot be an atheist if you are not supra-intellectual, and I was an absolute atheist. People used to avoid me because I was doubting each and every thing and my doubt was contagious. Even my teachers would avoid me.

One of my teachers was dying; I went to see him. He said, “Please… I am happy that you have come, but don’t say a single word because this is not the time. I am dying and I want to die believing that God is.”

I said, “You cannot. Seeing me, the doubt has already arisen.’

He said, “What do you mean?”

And the thing started! Before he died, just after twelve hours, he died an atheist. And I was so happy! I had to work for twelve hours continuously. Out of desperation he said, “Okay, let me die peacefully. I say that there is no God. Are you happy? Now leave me alone!”

My university professors were always in difficulties. I was expelled from one college, then another, and then thrown out of one university. Finally one university admitted me with the condition – I had to sign it, a written condition – that I would not ask any questions and I would not argue with the professors.

I said okay. I signed it and the Vice-Chancellor was very happy. And I said, “Now, a few things. What do you mean by ‘argument’?”

He said, “Here you go!”

I said, ”I have not written that I would not ask for any clarification. I can ask for a clarification. What do you mean by an ‘argument’? And if I cannot ask a question, what is the point of your whole department of philosophy? – because all your philosophers ask questions. The whole of philosophy depends on doubt; doubt is the base of all philosophy. If I cannot doubt your stupid philosophers, your stupid professors, then how am I going to learn philosophy?”

He said, “Look at what you are saying! You are calling my professors, in front of me, stupid!”

I said, “They are stupid, otherwise why these conditions? Can you think of somebody being intelligent and asking his students not to question him? Is this a sign of intelligence? A professor will invite questions. An intelligent professor will be happy with a student who can argue well.”

That remained a problem. My whole approach from the very beginning was not that of a Ramakrishna. I am not a devotional type, not at all. I have arrived at God through atheism, not through theism. I have arrived at God not by believing in him but by absolutely doubting him. I have come to a certainty because I have doubted and I went on doubting till there was no possibility to doubt anymore, till I came across something indubitable. That has been my process.

That was not the process of Gurdjieff. He was learning from Masters, moving from one Master to another Master, learning techniques and methods and devices. He learned many devices, but he learned in a very surrendered spirit, that of a disciple.

I have never been anybody’s disciple; nobody has been my Master. In fact, nobody was ready to accept me as a disciple, because who would like to create trouble?

[…]

My whole approach has been a totally different approach than that of Ramakrishna and Gurdjieff. I have arrived through doubt; I have arrived through deep and profound skepticism. I have arrived not through belief but through the denial of all belief and disbelief too, because disbelief is belief in a negative form.

A moment came in my life when all beliefs and all disbeliefs disappeared and I was left utterly empty. In that emptiness the explosion happened. Hence it is not so difficult for me, so I can argue easily. I can even argue against argument; that’s what I am going to continue to do. I can argue against intellect because I know how to use intellect.

Ramakrishna had never used his intellect; he started from the heart. And the same is the case with Gurdjieff. Buddha could use the intellect because he was the son of a king, well educated, well cultured. All the great philosophers of the country were called to teach him; he knew what the intellectual approach was. And then he became fed up with it.

The same happened with me. I know what can be achieved through intellectual effort: nothing can be achieved through it. When I say it I say it through my own experience.

But it has been beautiful in one way. It did not result in giving me truth – it cannot give truth to anybody – but in an indirect way it has cleansed the ground, it has prepared the ground. It has not helped me to realize myself, but it has helped me to communicate whatsoever I have realized.

I can communicate with you very easily, with no problems. You can ask all kinds of questions, you can ask, you can doubt, because I know that all these questions and doubts can be quashed, they can be destroyed. And it is good that you should ask because then I can destroy your questions. Once all your questions are destroyed, the answer arises in your own being. In that utter emptiness something wells up; it is already there.

I am not in favor of repressing doubt by believing. You are not here to believe in me, you are here to bring out all your disbelief. Your doubts, your questions, all are respected, welcome, so that they can be taken out from you. Slowly, slowly a silence, a state of not-knowing arises. And the state of not-knowing is the state of wisdom, is the state of enlightenment.

-Osho

Excerpt from Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Chapter Eight

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 online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Gurdjieff’s Work is for a Particular Type – Osho

1 February 1976 pm in Chuang Tzu Auditorium

[A visitor says that he was at John Bennett’s school in England, where they did Gurdjieffian exercises: Actually I left there quite confused – I suppose there’s no way out of that. I never had much ability to do any of the exercises or things like that.]

It may not have suited you because Gurdjieff’s work is for a particular type, the will type – people who can work hard and very persistently, almost madly… because the whole thing depends on a very deep crystallisation of the ego. Once the ego is crystallised then further steps can be taken. But the whole Gurdjieffian system depends on you having a centre, a self.

Ordinarily you don’t have a centre. In fact Gurdjieff says you don’t have a soul – that is only a possibility; you may die without attaining it. What he calls the soul is nothing but a crystallised self, and crystallised so much so that it takes the position of being sovereign, enthroned, in the crowd of your many selves.

Ordinarily you have many egos, not one, and a conflict continuously going on. Sometimes one is in power, sometimes another is in power; a sort of democracy. A political head is not permanent; so much politics goes on within. So much politics and so much chaos goes on within that you never know where you are, who you are, what you are. Sometimes you have the feeling that you are this, but by the time you realise it that self is gone, is no more m power.

When you have a permanent self then Gurdjieff’s system really starts functioning. To attain that permanent self, one has to do tremendous work, in fact absurd work. Just out of too much work crystallisation happens; the work functions out of a chemical opportunity. For example in many sufi schools from where Gurdjieff got the point, you have to remain alert for the whole night – for months. The only process to be done is not to allow yourself to fall asleep; it is very difficult. After a few days it becomes almost impossible, but if you can go on and on and on suddenly you realise one day that you are tired no more, that you are no longer feeling sleepy. You are as fresh as if you have been sleeping all the time – a deeper layer of energy has been broken.

We have three layers of energy. One is day to day, routine; you need it for eating, digesting, working, moving. It is finished in twenty-four hours and the next day you create it again. And there is a second layer of energy which is deeper; it becomes available only in emergencies.

Suddenly the house is on fire. You were tired and were falling to sleep, but now you feel that much energy is available. You are running and doing things and for hours you are in hard work. Not for a single moment do you remember that you are tired or that you would like to fall asleep. This is an emergency level available only in dangerous times. Gurdjieff used to create many situations for this purpose – just to bring this emergency level into functioning.

And then there is a third layer that comes only when you are touching the point of death; not only emergency but a death situation. He himself did the last of his experiments, which was to go through a very dangerous car accident. It was managed, it was not an accident; he did it with everything planned. Even doctors could not believe how a man could survive after such a crash. It was impossible – but he survived. The whole body was broken, all the bones were broken, but he survived. The whole effort was to come to a point where death touches you; you were almost going to die – and then the third layer becomes available to you. If in that moment you can remain alert, then you have touched the very rock bottom of your being – call it God. So the first layer is only of the ego, the second layer is of the soul, and the third layer is that of God.

But the whole work of Gurdjieff is hard, work of the will, and I don’t see that you are the type. To you something more like Zen will be helpful. It moves from the very opposite pole: no effort, nothing to be done but relaxing and surrendering. It is not a question of work on your part. The only thing that you are expected to do is to accept non-doing and relax into it. That is totally different; not only different, but just the opposite polarity of the same thing.

And these are the two types – call them male and female, yin and yang, or whatsoever you like.

But you are the feminine type, and this is the problem and has to be understood: that all feminine types are attracted to a male type. So if you were attracted towards Bennet or Gurdjieff or that type of work, it’s natural. The male type is attracted to the feminine paths of surrender. That’s where confusion arises – the opposite is always attractive.

So try Zen – something in which you have just to sit, just to walk, just to be, as if nothing is to be done. Gurdjieff says you have not soul, it has to be created. Zen says you have everything – just relax and enjoy it; it is there.

Man is standing just in the middle of these two polarities. Move to any extreme and realisation is possible, because the jump is possible only from the extreme ends. You cannot jump from the middle of the road; you have to move to an extreme, and jump from there. So either move to the extreme of work, will – or move to the other extreme of surrender, no effort, passivity.

The whole of the East, particularly the Far East, has developed no-effort methods; and the Middle East, the Sufis particularly, have developed the path of will. So if you have been doing things just following the path of will, I will suggest to you that you move to the other extreme. Suddenly the key may fit….

Mm mm, we are doing here some Buddhist meditations – Vipassana. It will be very good if you can do one ten day course and see. It is just sitting….

Because if you can relax and be passive – and it will be very easy for you – all confusion will disappear. Confusion arises only when you are doing something which is not in tune with your type.

Once something is in tune with your type, all confusion disappears. Confusion is simply indicative, symptomatic, that you are doing something that doesn’t suit you. You may go on doing it and it does not suit you, you go on doing it and it does not suit you, and the mind will say that you are not doing hard enough and that is why there is confusion – and more and more confusion will come. Once something fits… it is just as when the shoe fits – suddenly you forget the shoe. Whenever a method fits, you simply forget about it and everything falls in line. Only the right key and the lock opens. Try to remember what I am saying. Your type is the feminine type. You are not an aggressive being; you are very non-violent. Not very out-going, not intrusive in any way; you would like to be within yourself. But this work, whatsoever you have been doing, can be helpful; at least it can show you that this is not your type.

You be here and try Vipassana.

-Osho

Taken from Above All Don’t Wobble, Chapter seventeen 

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 online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

 

The Last Hour of Life – G. I. Gurdjieff


G. I. Gurdjieff: The Last Hour of Life

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Translation from Russian by Alexandra Kharitonova, with free English rendering by Reijo Oksanen – unearthed by Ilya Kotz & Avi Solomon of the Jerusalem Nyland Group

Imagine, that you have only a few minutes, maybe an hour left to live; somehow you have discovered exactly when you will die. What would you do with this precious hour of your stay on Earth? Would you be able to complete all your things in this last hour, do you have a conscious idea about how to do it?

And letting go your last breath would you feel satisfaction from knowing that you have done everything possible in this life to fulfill that you are constantly present, always vibrating, always waiting, like the son is waiting for the father-sailor? In the manifested world everything has its beginning and its end. In the Real World everything is always present and one beautiful day you will be allowed to forget everything and leave the world “forever”.

Freedom is worth a million times more than [political] liberation. The free man, even in slavery, remains a master of himself. For example, if I give you something, let‘s say, a car, in which there is no fuel, the car cannot move. Your car needs a special fuel, but it is only you who is able to define what kind of fuel is needed and where to get it.

You have to define yourself how to digest my ideas to make them yours, so that they belong only to you. Your car cannot work on the same fuel my car is working on. I suggest to you only the primary material. You have to get from it what you can use. So, more bravely, sit down at the steering wheel.

The organic life is very fragile. The planetary body can die at any moment. It is always one step from death. And if you could manage to live one more day, it is only a chance accidentally given to you by nature. If you will be able to live even one more hour, you can consider yourself to be a lucky person. From the moment of conception we are living on borrowed time.

Living in this world you have to feel death each second, so settle all your life affairs, even in your last hour. But how can anyone know exactly his last hour? For the sense of security make up your things with nature and yourself in every hour given to you, then you will never be met unprepared. The man has to be taught this starting from the [esoteric] school: how to breathe, to eat, to move and to die right. This has to become a part of an educational programme. In this programme it is necessary to include the teaching about how to realize the presence of  “I” and also how to establish consciousness.

Question: How to act if you do not feel that there is something unfinished?

Gurdjieff answered after a pause. He took a deep breath and replied:

Ask yourself who will be in difficulty if you die like a dog. At the moment of death you have to be wholly aware of yourself and feel that you have done everything possible to use all, within your abilities, in this life which was given to you.

Now you do not know much about yourself. But with each day you dig deeper and deeper into this bag of bones and start knowing more and more details. Day by day you will be finding out what you should have done and what you have to re-do among the things you have done. A real man is one who could take from life everything that was valuable in it, and say: “And now I can die”. We have to try to live your lives so that we could say any day: “Today I can die and not be sorry about anything”.

Never spend fruitlessly the last hour of your life because it can become the most important hour for you. If you use it wrongly, you may be sorry about it later. This sincere excitement that you feel now can become for you a powerful source of the force that can prepare you for perfect death. Knowing that the next hour can become the last one for you; absorb the impressions which it will bring to you as a real gourmet. When lady death will call you, be prepared, always. The master knows how to take from each tasty piece the last bit of the most valuable. Learn to be the master of your life.

When I was young I learned to prepare fragrances. I learned to extract from life its essence, its most subtle qualities. Search in everything the most valuable, learn to separate the fine from the course. One who has learned how to extract the essence, the most important from each moment of life, has reached a sense of quality.

He is able to do with the world something that cannot be done by an aboriginal.

It could be that in the last moments of your life you will not have the choice where and with whom to be, but you will have a choice to decide how fully you will live them. The ability to take the valuable from life – is the same as to take from the food, air and the impressions the substances needed to build up your higher bodies. If you want to take from your life the most valuable for yourself, it has to be for the good of the higher; for yourself it is enough to leave just a little. To work on yourself for the good of others is a smart way to receive the best from life for yourself. If you will not be satisfied with the last hour of your life, you will not be happy about the whole of your life. To die means to come through something which is impossible to repeat again. To spend your precious time in nothing means to deprive yourself the opportunity to extract from life the most valuable.

In this world, to live life through, from the beginning to the end – means another aspect of the Absolute. All the greatest philosophers were carefully preparing for the last hour of their life. And now I will give you the exercise to prepare for the last hour on the Earth. Try not to misinterpret any word from the given exercise.

The Exercise

===========

Look back at the hour that has passed, as if it was the last hour for you on the earth and that you have just acknowledged that you have died. Ask yourself, were you satisfied at that hour?

And now reanimate yourself again and set up the aim for yourself. In the next hour (if you are lucky to live one more) try to extract from life a little more than you did in the last hour. Define where and when you should have been more aware, and where you should have put more inner fire.

And now open your eyes wider, and by this I mean – open more possibilities for yourself, be a little more brave, than you were in the previous hour. Since you know that this is your last hour and you have nothing to lose, try to gain some bravery – at least now. Of course, you don’t have to be silly about it.

Get to know yourself better, look at your machine as if from the outside. Now, when you are dying, there is no sense to keep your reputation and your prestige.

And now onwards, until the real last hour, aspire with persistence to receive the most you can from life that is of value, develop your intuition. Take just a few moments each hour to watch at the hour that passed, without judgment, and then tune yourself to extracting more from the following hour.

If we look at each hour like at a separate life unit, you can try to do as much as you can to use every unit totally. Force yourself and find the way to make the next hour much more than the one before, but also be aware that you have taken care of the debts you collected till now. Increase the self-sensing and self-knowledge of yourself, and also increase the ability to master yourself, this will change the work of your machine, which is always out of your control. And these abilities can become the indication of the real changes. And it is absolutely unimportant what the machine is thinking about this.

…To live the rest of your life rehearsing your death hour by hour – is not at all pathological. None can receive more from life than the cancer patient, who knows approximately when he will die. And since he already recognized how he wishes to spend the rest of his life, he will not have to make the total change in it, but he will be able to go somewhere, where he always wished to go, but would not do it in other circumstances.

The man who knows that he will die soon, will try to use to the maximum every hour of the rest of his life. This is exactly what Christ meant when he said that the last days will come soon – the days before the Last Judgment. We are all standing in front of the Judge, but it is not the others who are judging us, but we ourselves do the last estimation of our life. We do not have to fail the most important examination, where the most serious judge is ourself.

Each moment, taken alone, represents the particle of the eternal Creation. Therefore each moment we can extract the most subtle substances, that we can call “the essence of life”.

Imagine yourself the substance “air” or the substance “impressions”. Finally, draw in your mind the substance “moment”. Yes, even the moments of time are the substances.

If we will be able to extract the finest substances from the coarser, sooner or later we will have to pay for it. This law is called The Law of Balance. That is why we will learn how to pay immediately for those that we receive from life. Only then we will not have any debts. To pay immediately – this is what is called “real doing”. “To do” – is to think, to feel, to act, but “real doing” – is to pay immediately.

To do – may mean only one thing: to extract the essence from each moment of life and at the same moment to pay all the debts to the nature and yourself; but only when you have “I”, can you pay immediately.

Real life is not a change of activity, but a change of the quality of the activity. Destiny – is destiny. Each one of us has to find himself in the whole order of things. It is not too late yet to start doing it now, although you have spent the greater part of your life in sleep. Starting from today you can begin to prepare yourself for death and, at the same time, to increase the quality of your living. But do not delay with the start – maybe you really only have just one more hour of life.

Question: Can we share this with others? I think it is very important what we have heard about this evening.

– You can retell it word by word, but until you will [can?] do this [exercise] yourself, it would mean nothing for others. Existence is the means, or the instrument, for action. Think about this and you will find out why it is so.

Question: Therefore, we cannot pay the debts, if we do not exist, or if our “I” is absent?

– Why do you have such a need to pay? Pay for what? If life is only a coincidence, then there is no sense to go on. This does not mean that you have to end your life with a suicide. Opposite, you have to put all your effort into ‘to live’. Ordinary man always lives, just going with the flow. He is not just sleeping, he is absolutely dead. To really live, it is necessary to support the efforts of nature, to take actively from life, and not to act passively – wherever it flows.

Extracting from life the most precious, you have to be able to operate your emotions. See how fairly you can estimate yourself. Look attentively at yourself and you will see many remarkable ways to be fair. Each time notice for yourself different moments when the desires appear. Act as before, but always be aware of their presence. Transport to the world the part of your blood, but one of the higher level.

At the end of each hour after you have estimated its usefulness, imagine that you just woken up in the absolutely unknown in comparison to the previous one gone by. It is important to note that the apparent continuation of the last hour is in reality changing with every hour, although things and people seem the same as before. With the time you will learn to see yourself as a spirit of a special substance, who is coming from one world to another, as an uninvited guest of nature.

Looking from this point of view evaluate everything you do in your life. Looking at the results of all your efforts of the past and think what sense they all have now, in the last hour of your life. Those who are engaged in the Work, are dead to this world and at the same time they are more alive in this world than anyone else. Work… something strange, imperceptible, but for many it is impossible to live without it.

The ordinary way of understanding life is vanity of vanities. However big the result is according to earthly measures, sooner or later it will fail. Even the sand is being rubbed into dust by time. Even the most significant people of history are being forgotten. To understand the real possibilities of this world, it is necessary to find what we can reach in this world that will be very useful in the Real World.

Attentively look at the lives of all the greatest people, those who were commanding armies, who had power over others. What is the benefit for them from all their great actions now, when they are dead? Even when they were alive, all these great actions were no more than empty dreams. We are not here to praise ourselves and to prove ourselves; the most disgusting in the ordinary man is the ability to quickly satisfy his flesh.

The majority of people find many excuses not to work on themselves. They are in a complete prison of their weaknesses. But right now we do not speak about them, but about you.

Understand me right, I do not need followers, I am rather interested in finding the good organizers, the real warriors of the new world. I understand the weakness of the organization, because right now we do not speak about the usual organisation which would consist of initiates.

I remind you once again, learn to live each of your hours with a bigger benefit. Create a detailed plan of the last hour of your life. To understand how one should die, you should grow deep roots into life, only then you will be able to die like a human being, not like a dog. Although, it is not given to everyone – to die. You can become manure for our planet, but it does not really mean do die. To die to this world forever – is an honour. For this honour you have to pay with Conscious Labour and Intentional Suffering. You have to earn this right.

Try to imagine yourself relatively clearly the last hour of your life on earth. Write a kind of a script of this last hour, as if you were writing the script for a film. Ask yourself: “Is this how I want to dispose my life”. If you are not satisfied with the answer, rewrite the script until you like it.

Look at life like at business. Time is your money for life. When you came into this world, a definite amount of money was given to you and this you cannot exceed. Time is the only currency with which you pay for your life. Now you see how you used the biggest part of it in a stupid way. You have not even reached the main goal of life – to have rest. You failed as a businessman and as a user of life – you deceived yourself. All your life you thought that everything is given to you for free, and now suddenly you discovered that – it is not free. You pay for using the time that is why each moment of your stay here costs something.

So how would it be possible for you to reimburse [recover] at least somehow these losses? Check, if the deficit on your bank account is only temporary or is it perhaps constant? Did you lose the time or could you invest it successfully? If you have spent all your money on vacations, then there is nothing to do but to be sorry about the past.

For many years you have been spending your life as if your parents gave you a bank account with unlimited credit. But now the amount is used and you see that you are all alone and that there is none to rely on. There is no more time on your bank account. Now you are forced to earn each hour of your life. All your life you behaved like a child and spent time just like a newly married couple on their honeymoon.

Our main enemy, which is hindering us from applying the necessary efforts – is hopelessness. I know, you will have many excuses not to prepare yourself for the last hour of your life. The habit is a big force, but starting once, you can learn to do each time more and more.

Do not fiddle all day, force yourself at least one hour a day to make an effort, otherwise you will lose everything. Think about the rehearsal of your last hour as if it was ballet exercises – you have to do it all your life.

I dedicate four hours a day for this exercise, but when I was young, I spent on it two times longer.

-George Gurdjieff

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Gurdjieff’s “I AM” Exercise

For the correct understanding of the significance of this first assisting exercise, it is first of all necessary to know that when a normal man, that is, a man who already has his real I, his will, and all the other properties of a real man, pronounces aloud or to himself the words “I am,” then there always proceeds in him, in his, as it is called, “solar plexus,” a so to say “reverberation,” that is, something like a vibration, a feeling, or something of the sort.

This kind of reverberation can proceed also in other parts of his body in general, but only on the condition that, when pronouncing these words, his attention is intentionally concentrated on them.

If the ordinary man, not having as yet in himself data for the natural reverberation but knowing of the existence of this fact, will, with conscious striving for the formation in himself of the genuine data which should be in the common presence of a real man, correctly and frequently pronounce these same and for him as yet empty words, and will imagine that this same reverberation proceeds in him, he may thereby ultimately through frequent repetition gradually acquire in himself a so to say theoretical beginning for the possibility of a real practical forming in himself of these data.

He who is exercising himself with this must at the beginning, when pronouncing the words “I am,” imagine that this same reverberation is already proceeding in his solar plexus.
Here, by the way, it is curious to notice that as a result of the intentional concentration of this reverberation on any part of his body, a man can stop any disharmony which has arisen in this said part of the body, that is to say, he can for example cure his headache by concentrating the reverberation on that part of the head where he has the sensation of pain.

At the beginning it is necessary to pronounce the words “I am” very often and to try always not to forget to have the said reverberation in one′s solar plexus.

Without this even if only imagined experiencing of the reverberation, the pronouncing aloud or to oneself of the words “I am” will have no significance at all.

The result of the pronouncing of them without this reverberation will be the same as that which is obtained from the automatic associative mentation of man, namely, an increase of that in the atmosphere of our planet from our perception of which, and from its blending with our second food, there arises in us an irresistible urge to destroy the various tempos of our ordinary life somehow established through centuries.
This second exercise, as I have already said, is only preparatory; and when you have acquired the knack, as it were, of experiencing this process imagined in yourself, only then will I give you further definite real indications for the actualization in yourself of real results.

First of all, concentrate the greater part of your attention on the words themselves, “I am,” and the lesser part concentrate on the solar plexus, and the reverberation should gradually proceed of itself.

At first it is necessary to acquire only, so to say, the “taste” of these impulses which you have not as yet in you, and which for the present you may designate merely by the words “I am,” “I can,” “I wish.”

I am, I can, I am can.
I am, I wish, I am wish.

In concluding my elucidations of this assisting exercise, I will once more repeat, but in another formulation, what I have already said.

If “I am,” only then “I can”; if “I can,” only then do I deserve and have the objective right to wish.

Without the ability to “can” there is no possibility of having anything, nor the right to it.
First we must assimilate these expressions as external designations of these impulses in order ultimately to have the impulses themselves.

If you several times experience merely the sensation of what I have just called the “taste” of these impulses sacred for man, you will then already be indeed fortunate, because you will then feel the reality of the possibility of sometime acquiring in your presence data for these real Divine impulses proper only to man.

And on these Divine impulses there is based for humanity the entire sense of everything existing in the Universe, beginning from the atom, and ending with everything existing as a whole – and, among other things, even your dollars.

For an all-round assimilation of both these “assisting” or as they might otherwise be called “helping” exercises for the mastering of the chief exercise, I now, at the very beginning of the formation of this new group composed of various persons pursuing one and the same aim, find it necessary to warn you of an indispensable condition for the successful attainment of this common aim, and that is in your mutual relations to be sincere.

The unconditional requirement of such sincerity among all kinds of other conditions existed, as it happened to become known to me from various authentic sources, among people of all past times and of every degree of intellectuality, whenever they gathered together for the collective attainment of some common aim.

In my opinion, it is only by fulfilling this condition for the given proposed collective work that it is possible to attain a real result in this aim which one has set oneself, and which has already become for contemporary people almost impossible.”

-George Gurdjieff

From  Life is real only then, when “I am”

Note:

  • Gurdjieff defines “the genuine I of a man who has reached responsible age” as a concerted togetherness of three factors, notably “the entire sensing of the whole of oneself,” the “I can” impulse and the “I wish” impulse. Only such a man, when he consciously says “I am” – he really is; “I can” – he really can; “I wish” – he really wishes. (Life is real only then, when “I am”)

This excerpt was first seen on the following site:  http://www.satrakshita.com/gurdjieff_i_am_exercise.htm

A video clip of Gurdjieff can be found at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vc2J7IbI2tE&NR=1

Two Hundred Torches Can Give Fire to Millions – Osho

Beloved Osho,

You have just been saying that the words of the Master become mere words after the Master is gone. What will happen after you are gone?

Do you think my words are not already dead for you? First, think of that. The master is there, his words are there, but are those words alive for you? If they are alive for you, don’t be worried. You know the secret.

It is not the words. The master can be there and the words can be dead. So why can’t it happen the other way around? – The master is dead, but the words are still alive. It all depends on you. It is not a question of the master’s life or death, but how you relate to those words.

Yes, it is simpler when the master is there, only in one way. Because those words are spoken, they carry some flavor of the master’s heart. They carry a few beats of the master’s heart towards you. It is simple in this way. But on the other hand, when the master is alive, perhaps the words will never become alive to you, because you start taking the master for granted. Then the words are dead.

It happened in the Second World War that Adolf Hitler declared that he was going to destroy the Tower of London. Millions of people rushed towards the tower – they had passed the tower thousands of times in their lives, but had never taken the trouble to see it. People come from all over the world to see the Tower of London, but Londoners take it for granted. The moment Hitler said he was going to destroy it, suddenly those people who had lived their whole lives in London became aware that the Tower of London could not be taken for granted anymore. They rushed to see it before this madman, Adolf Hitler, destroyed it.

The master is alive – but the disciple can take him for granted. You can take me for granted. Then those words are already dead, because your aliveness is not available. If you are capable of being alert, alive, responsive, it makes no difference: the master may be dead, but his words will go on resounding in you. Even the written words, which are dead, can become alive in you; you just have to open your heart.

The question is not of the master’s life and death, the question basically is of your response.

So don’t be worried about when I am gone. Those who are missing me now will be missing me then too – no loss. Those who are living my message now, they will go on living it. And if they go on living it, they cannot help but spread it. I am not depending on books – all the religions have depended on books – I am depending on you!

George Gurdjieff used to say – very sadly, of course – that if even two hundred people are enlightened, they can make the whole world full of light, full of life. Just two hundred people can transform the whole character of humanity. He could not manage it, but what he said is true.

I am going to manage it! I will not leave you unless I have made enough people enlightened so that they can make the whole world afire, alive. I am depending on you, not on any books. Those books may be helpful in some way to bring people to you, but my word will be throbbing in your heart; only then can you help anybody who comes to you.

And it is so simple. I have more than half a million sannyasins in the world, and more than one million people who are just on the borderline – a little push and they will be sannyasins. One million more who are lovers but cannot drop their camelhood….

On this big a scale, a worldwide scale, nobody has worked before. Gautam Buddha remained confined to the small state of Bihar in India – not even the whole of India. India has thirty states;

Buddha remained confined to one space, one state. He did great work, but it was impossible to transform the whole quality of consciousness on the earth. The same is true about Jesus, Moses – anybody who has been trying.

For a simple reason I have been able to contact millions of people around the world: I am not confined to any tradition. I am not burdened by the past, I am completely weightless. So anybody who is burdened – and who is not burdened? – becomes interested in me, particularly the young people who are fed up with all the nonsense that is being taught in the churches and the synagogues, in the temples, in the mosques.

All these people, these churches, synagogues and mosques, are trying to bridge the gap. You have heard the phrase “generation gap.” Between you and the church, between you and the synagogue, there is not just a generation gap; there is a gap of hundreds of generations. And in trying to bridge it, they are proving themselves buffoons, because truth never compromises. It cannot – with whom will it compromise? Compromising truth means compromising with lies.

And all these people have become afraid that young people are no longer interested; they don’t come to the synagogue, they don’t come to the church, so something should be done that can attract young people. Their whole business is going down.

I have heard about three rabbis…. And by the way, don’t let me drift. Whenever I come across the word “rabbi” I immediately associate it with rubbish. These three rabbis were meeting, discussing, talking about great things. One rabbi said, “My synagogue is the most modern, because we allow people to smoke in the synagogue. There is no harm in it.”

The second rabbi said, “This is nothing, my synagogue is even more modern: we even allow people to make love in the synagogue. What is wrong with it?”

The third rabbi said, “This is nothing. My synagogue is the most avant-garde.”

The two rabbis said, “Just tell us what you have done.”

He said, “My synagogue remains closed for Jewish holidays!”

They are trying hard, but it is just foolishness. They cannot catch hold of the new spirit of man.

I don’t give you any tradition.

I don’t give you any scripture.

I don’t give you any discipline.

Those are all non-essentials. I simply concentrate my whole work on making you more conscious. Consciousness is the key to transform the whole of humanity.

And yes, Gurdjieff is right: if even two hundred people are aflame, enlightened, the whole world will become enlightened, because these two hundred torches can give fire to millions of people.

Those people are also carrying torches, but without any fire. They have everything, just the fire is missing. And when fire passes from one torch to another, the first torch is not losing anything at all.

The enlightened consciousness is an infinite reservoir: it can give to you and yet it remains the same. Its quantity does not decrease, because it is not a question of quantity at all; it is a question of quality. Qualities can be shared without losing anything.

You can love as many people as you want – that does not mean one day you will go bankrupt, and you will have to declare, “Now I have no love.” You cannot go bankrupt as far as love is concerned. Yes, you can go bankrupt as far as money is concerned. Money is a quantity; love is a quality. What to say of enlightened consciousness? It is the highest quality possible; there is nothing higher than that.

Don’t be afraid, worried that if I am gone, then what will happen to my words. I will not be gone before I have sown the seeds of those words in you. They are not mine! They are nobody’s. They are coming out of existence itself – I am simply a vehicle. You can become a vehicle. Everybody is capable of becoming a vehicle. Hence, I am not depending on old strategies; they have all failed. I am depending on living human beings.

And that is the only way to save humanity without becoming a savior, to save humanity without creating in them greed for heaven and fear of hell. The only way to save humanity is to give them some taste of what it means to be enlightened, a little fragrance, so they can feel the invisible.

And I am absolutely certain, utterly happy, that I have got the right people: people who are going to be my books, my temples, my synagogues. This is the reason I call this the first religion, because it depends on living human beings, not on dead holy scriptures, traditions, beliefs.

I am giving you the taste of my being, and preparing you to do the same, on your part, to others. It all depends on you, whether my words will remain living or will die. As far as I am concerned, I do not care.

While I am here, I am pouring myself into you. And I am grateful that you are allowing it to happen. Who bothers about the future? There is nobody in me who can care about the future. If existence can find me as a vehicle, I can remain assured that it can find thousands of people to be its vehicle. I am simply giving you a little opportunity to become vehicles of the whole.

-Osho

From The False to the Truth, Chapter 16.

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 online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

 

No Way – Osho

Osho, the Fourth Way, as taught by Gurdjieff, has been called the way of conscience. What place has conscience in your teaching?

The question is from Cecil Lewis.

No place at all. I don’t believe in conscience, I believe only in consciousness. I don’t believe in morality, I believe only in religion. I am amoral. Conscience is a trick of the society played upon you. The society creates conscience so that you may never need consciousness. You have been deceived. For example, when Jesus says ’Love is God’ it is not out of his conscience, it is out of his consciousness. He knows it. It is not a belief, it is his experience. When a Christian says ’Love is God’ it is his conscience, not his consciousness. He has not known it, he has not lived it. He has only heard it repeated again and again – he has become hypnotized by it.

Each child is being hypnotized by the parents, the priests, the politicians, the society. Constant repetition of a certain thing becomes conscience. You go on teaching to the child, ’this is right. This is right. This is right.’ Hearing it again and again, his mind is being conditioned. After many years he will also say ’This is right’ – it will be automatic. It will not be from his own being, it will come from the gramophone record that the society has placed in his being. It is like an electrode of Delgado. It is the dangerous trick that the society has been playing on everybody, down the centuries.

That’s why there are so many consciences in the world – the Hindu has one type of conscience, the Mohammedan has another type of conscience. How can consciences be so many? Truth is one. And consciences are so many?

From my childhood I was taught a very, very, strict vegetarianism. I was born in a Jaina family, absolutely dogmatic about vegetarianism. Not even tomatoes were allowed in my house, because tomatoes look a little like red meat. Poor innocent tomatoes, they were not allowed. Nobody has ever heard of anybody eating in the night; the sunset was the last limit. For eighteen years I had not eaten anything in the night, it was a great sin.

Then for the first time I went on a picnic with a few friends to the mountains. And they were all Hindus and I was the only Jaina. And they were not worried to cook in the day. Mm? The mountains were so beautiful and there was so much to explore – so they didn’t bother about cooking at all, they cooked in the night. Now it was a great problem for me to eat or not to eat? And I was feeling really hungry. The whole day moving in the mountains, it had been arduous. And I was really feeling hungry – for the first time so hungry in my life.

And then they started cooking. And the aroma and the food smell. And I was just sitting there, a Jaina. Now it was too difficult for me – what to do? The idea of eating in the night was impossible – the whole conditioning of eighteen years. And to sleep in that kind of hunger was impossible. And then they all started persuading me. And they said, ’There is nobody here to know that you have eaten, and we will not tell your family at all. Don’t be worried.’ And I was ready to be seduced, so they seduced me and I ate. But then I could not sleep – I had to vomit two or three times in the night, the whole night became nightmarish. It would have been better if I had not eaten.

Conditioning for eighteen years that to eat in the night is sin. Now nobody else was vomiting, they were all fast asleep and snoring. They have all committed sin and they are all sleeping perfectly well. And they have been committing the sin for eighteen years, and I have committed it for the first time and I am being punished. This seems unjust!

Conscience is created; it is a conditioning. All that you think is good or bad is nothing but a conditioning. But this conditioning can go on managing your whole life. The society has entered in you and controls you from there, from within. It has become your inner voice. And because it has become your inner voice, you cannot hear your real inner voice. So my suggestion is: Unburden yourself of conscience. Throw all the conditioning out, cathart it, be free from it. That’s what I mean when I say don’t be a Christian, a Hindu, a Jaina, a Buddhist.

Just be. And be alert. In that alertness you will always know what is right and what is wrong. And the right and the wrong is not a fixed thing – something may be right in the morning and may be wrong in the evening, and something may be wrong in the evening and may be right in the night. Circumstances change. An alert man, a conscious man, has no fixed ideas. He has spontaneous responses but no fixed ideas. Because of fixed ideas you never act spontaneously. Your action is always a kind of reaction – not action really.

When you act out of spontaneity, with no idea, with no prejudice, then there is real action. And action has passion in it, intensity in it. And it is original and it is first-hand. And action makes your life creative and action makes your life continuously a celebration; because each act becomes an expression of your being. Conscience is a false being.

I think the French language is the only language which has only one word for consciousness and conscience – a single word, meaning both. That is beautiful. Real conscience should be only consciousness, nothing else. You should become more conscious.

But about consciousness also, I have differences with George Gurdjieff. When he says ‘be conscious’ he says ’Be conscious that you are.’ He insists for self-remembering. Now, this has to be understood. Your consciousness has two polarities. One polarity is the content. For example, a cloud of anger is inside you – that is the content. And you are aware of the cloud of anger – that is consciousness, the witness, watchfulness, the observer. So your consciousness can be divided in two – the observer and the observed.

Gurdjieff says: Go on remembering the observer – self-remembering. Buddha says: Forget the observer, just watch the observed. And if you have to choose between Buddha and Gurdjieff, I will suggest choose Buddha. Because there is a danger with Gurdjieff you may become too self-conscious – rather than becoming self-aware, you may become self-conscious. You may become an egoist. And that I have felt in many Gurdjieff disciples – they have become very, very, great egoists. Not that Gurdjieff was an egoist – he was one of the rarest enlightened men of this age. But the method has a danger in it: it is very difficult to make a distinction between self-consciousness and self-remembering. It is almost impossible to make the distinction, it is so subtle. And for the ignorant masses it is almost always self-consciousness that will take possession of them; it will not be self-remembering.

The very word ’self’ is dangerous – you become more and more settled in the idea of the self. And the idea of the self isolates you from existence.

Buddha says: Forget the self, because there is no self. The self is just in the grammar, in the language; it is not anything existential. You just observe the content. By observing the content, the content starts disappearing. Once the content disappears, watch your anger – and watching it, you will see it is disappearing. Once the anger has disappeared there is silence. There is no self, no observer, and nothing to be observed. There is silence. This silence is brought by vipassana, Buddha’s method of awareness.

Ordinary man does both. He goes on changing his gear – sometimes he observes the self, sometimes he observes the content. He goes on moving from this to that, he is a constant wavering. Gurdjieff says the one thing is: Be settled in the observer. Buddha says: Look at the observed.

My own approach is different from both. My approach is that Gurdjieff’s method is more dangerous than Buddha’s method, but even in Buddha’s method there is bound to be some tension – the effort to watch. The very effort to watch will make you tense.

A Buddhist monk was brought to me from Ceylon. He was unable to sleep – for three years he had not slept. And all kinds of medications had been tried upon him but nothing was helping, no tranquillizer was of any help. And nobody had bothered that he goes on doing vipassana, the Buddha’s method of insight – nobody had thought about it. When he came to me, the first thing I asked him was, ’Are you doing vipassana? – Because he is a Buddhist monk, he must be doing it. He said, ‘Yes – for three years.’ I said, ’Then that is the cause of your sleeplessness.’

If you are continuously making effort to watch, then in the night you will not be able to relax and fall into sleep – the watching will become continuous. And if you are watching even in the night, how can you fall asleep? You cannot relax, the tension has become fixed. It is a known fact that Buddhist monks sleep only three, four hours at the most. It is not a gain. They think, and others also think, that this is a gain – they have attained something, they sleep only three, four hours. It is not. They are losing something very valuable – relaxation. And they will look tense; on their faces they will look tense. They will look very quiet, but tense. They will look very silent – but their silence is not the silence of relaxation, but of effort. You can see the effort in the comer, defining them.

My own method is: You relax. Neither watch the watcher nor watch the watched. Just relax, be passive. If something floats and you cannot help seeing it, see it. But don’t make any effort to see it deliberately. If you are relaxed like a mirror, if some cloud passes by, it will be reflected. Be like a mirror – lucid, passive. Drop both – the Gurdjieffian method of self-remembering, and the Buddhist method of watching.

But if you have to choose between Gurdjieff and Buddha, choose Buddha. If you have to choose between Buddha and me, choose me.

Relax. And just see things. And there is nothing much – if you miss something, it is not of worth. You can miss, you are allowed to miss. Take life easy, take it easy.

So people who have been in some kind of effort – and Gurdjieff’s work is of great effort – will be puzzled here. That’s why Lewis is puzzled, a little bit confused. And sooner or later, either he has to understand me or he has to condemn me – both are open. And condemnation will be easier.

Because for thirty years working hard – and now suddenly he has become attracted to a man who does not believe in effort at all. Who does not believe in improvement, who does not believe in growth, who does not believe in going anywhere, who does not believe in any way.

He says, the Fourth Way, as taught by Gurdjieff.

What I am teaching here is: No Way. There is really no way, because truth is not a goal. All ways lead away from where we are. All roads, all ways, all paths, distract you from truth. And there is nowhere to go, either, and nobody to go. There is no way of being here and now but to be here and now. When I say ‘Be here and now’ don’t ask how – the ‘how’ will take you away. When I say ‘Be here and now’ don’t ask ‘What is the way to be here and now?’ There is no way of being here and now but to BE here and now. There is no way to be still, and no need of any way. To see, wholly to see, that there is no way, is at once to be still. Seeing that – is stillness. All ways lead everywhere but here.

To live one’s life as it comes and goes, is awareness; passive, lucid, mirror-like, with no tension. So I don’t teach you attention, because attention has the word ‘tension’ in it. And the phenomenon of attention has the feeling of tension in it – hence the word ‘attention’. Enjoy, relax. Just understanding this, that there is nowhere to go, is liberation. Liberation is not like a goal somewhere else waiting for you. Liberation is understanding that you are already liberated.

It is impious for us to assert so flatly what should be, in the face of what is. What is, is the truth. YATHA BHUTAM – that which is, is the truth. To assert what should be, is impious, sacrilegious, it is a sin. ‘Should’ is a sin. That which is – relax with it, float with it. I don’t teach even swimming, I simply say float with it. It is our responsibility to know how to accept and live through that which is.

So I don’t teach any way – fourth or fifth or sixth. And I don’t teach conscience, I teach a lucid relaxed consciousness. Out of that, many flowerings happen. Out of that, many songs are born.

But they are born on their own. You cannot be the doer of them and you cannot feel enhanced that ‘I have done’. You cannot feel your ego fulfilled through them. The more those flowers will come, the more you will disappear. And one day there is flowering, but you are not. That is the day, the moment, of liberation.

– OSHO

From This Very Body the Buddha, Chapter 4

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 online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.