This Coolness is Your Meditation – Osho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This coolness is your meditation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Osho

From Nothing to Lose but Your Head, Chapter Twelve

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

You can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

From In a Thought to Out of Mind

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

In a thought.

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

 

Watch a thought.

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

Watch mind.

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

Out of mind!

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

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

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

 

What is Tantric Sex? – Osho

What is tantric sex? After ‘monkey sex’ and after ‘love-bliss sex’, before the highest cosmic and religious sex in which no partner is needed, in which the cosmos is the partner, isn’t there tantric sex in which two partners are involved, a sex act which is a meditation based on certain techniques? 

It is good that after meditating on death you will be meditating on Tantra and Tantra sex. Because sex is also a small death. And because of that small death in sex, there is so much release of joy in you. For a single moment you disappear, and that moment is the climax, the orgasm. In that single moment you don’t know who you are. In that single moment you are pure energy vibrating, pulsating. With no center to it, with no ego in it.

In that single moment of orgasmic space you lose all boundaries, separation. You become vast, huge. You are no more separate from the other. That’s why there is so much joy – although the moment is very small. And once it is gone you feel very frustrated, because it has been so short, it was so fleeting. And you start hankering again. And each time that moment comes you reach to a pinnacle and then you fall into a deep darkness, into the abyss.

So sex brings you joy, and sex brings you great misery too. It takes you to sunlit peaks and then drops you into the darkest valleys. After each sex act one feels frustrated. Something was happening, happening, and it happened…and you could not even catch hold of it and it was gone.

So sex remains the greatest fascination and the greatest frustration.

Because of these two things in the act of sex, there are two types of people. Those who become too much fascinated with the fascination, addicted with sex, they are the people who go on indulging in all kinds of sexualities, and their whole life is nothing but a search for more sex, better sex. And the other, who become addicted with the frustration of sex, they renounce the world, the woman, the man; they escape to the Himalayas or into the monasteries. But both have reacted to sex. Your worldly and your other-worldly, they are not different – they both are sexual, they have chosen one part of the sex act. They have chosen opposite parts, but they have chosen out of the sex act.

That’s why your so-called religions are so much against sex – they have chosen the frustration part. The indulgent and the renunciate are two aspects of the same coin. They are not different people, they are the same people, and both have chosen out of sex.

Tantra is a totally different attitude. It says: There is joy in sex and there is frustration in sex. Because the moment of orgasm is very small. That moment can become very deep, that moment can remain there for hours. That moment, once you know the art of remaining in it, can surround you twenty-four hours. Tantra transforms sex. Tantra is the true religion. It does not choose between the fascination and the frustration, it transcends both. It uses sex as a key. And it is a key – because all life comes through it, all flowers bloom through it and all birds sing through it. All that you see around you, the green and the red and the gold, all comes through sex and is sex energy. All the poetry and all the songs and all the music is rooted in sex-energy. All art, all creativity, is nothing but an expression of sex.

So Tantra sex has to be understood. A few things: The Tantric definition of sexuality is opposite to the modern definition. The modern mind regards sex as a need – like hunger for food – which incidentally provides sense-and ego-gratification. That’s how Freud thinks about sex, that it gives you ego-gratification, satisfaction, relaxation; it relieves tensions, it is a need. Tantra regards sex as a powerful instinctual return to our ultimate reality, one of the highest forms of meditation.

There you have to understand – the first thing to remember – Freud does not understand sex’s ultimate depth. Freud has only looked into the repressed sexuality of man. What Christianity has done in the West, the wrong, Freud was trying to put it right. But Christianity remains superficial and Freud remains superficial. Why? Because the cure cannot go deeper than the disease. The disease was superficial; the cure cannot be deeper than that.

Tantra does not define sex as a need – it is not. A man can live without sex, it is not a need. Not like food – you cannot survive without food. It is not like thirst – you cannot survive without water. But you can survive easily without sex – maybe you can survive longer. Sex is not a need like food or thirst or hunger. Sex has a definitely total dimension, a different dimension altogether. It is a way to contact the ultimate reality. It is an urge to move to the original source.

In ordinary sex it happens only for moments. Even that is rare, because there are very few orgasmic persons left in the world. People have become so much civilized that to be orgasmic seems impossible. A civilized person cannot be orgasmic because he cannot allow himself to be wild.

Only a wild person can be orgasmic, because orgasm is wild. The better you are civilized, the better you are cultured, sophisticated, educated, the less is the possibility for you to be orgasmic. Then sex is just a relief. It is like sneezing, nothing much. It is sheer wastage.

You accumulate energy and you don’t know what to do with your energy. And the energy becomes heavy on you, it has to be thrown out in some way or other. So you go on throwing the energy. But you have lost the language of orgasm. What is the language of orgasm? If you are really orgasmic you will groan and moan and shout and sing and pray, and a thousand and one things will happen when you are making love to your woman or to your man. It is going to be a mad thing.

And that is difficult in a civilized world. Mm? The whole neighborhood will know that now you are making love. And people will start phoning the police-station that there is danger, one person has gone orgasmic.

Yes, you will dance, you will sing, you will utter incoherent sounds, gibberish will come.

One never knows what will happen because you lose control. To be orgasmic means the capacity to lose control. The constant control is there, you are simply sitting on your energies controlling them – ‘This should be, this should not be. This is right, that is wrong.’ You are continuously doing that, inhibiting, repressing. Only go so far, beyond that is danger, only this much is allowed. How can you be orgasmic?

And if you are not orgasmic in other things, you cannot be orgasmic in sex. If in your anger you control, then you cannot be orgasmic in sex. If you can be orgasmic in anger, only then can you be orgasmic in sex. Man is a totality. If you cannot get into a rage, how can you get into love? Impossible.

Have you watched it? Knowingly, unknowingly, couples stumble upon the fact that if they want to make love it is a must that they should fight before they make love. So each evening, couples fight, become angry. Mm? – that becomes a little help. A pillow-fight is helpful. Your energies start moving, your juice starts flowing. And if you can be a little silly and stupid in anger then you can be silly and stupid in love too. Then who cares?

A natural man is orgasmic in all his emotions.

Somebody has asked a question: ‘If people become authentic as you say they should become, authentic and natural, and if they don’t smile because a smile is phony, and if they go on screaming and shouting in the streets, what will happen to the world?’

Many things will happen to the world. First, wars will become impossible. There will be no Vietnams and no Israels, because people will never accumulate so much anger in them that they have to kill, and kill millions. Many things will happen to the world if people are natural. Then they will not shout so much as you think they will shout. Right now they are allowed to shout they will shout – but for how long? If they are given complete freedom, shouts and abusing and condemnation and fights will start disappearing from the world. It is a vicious circle. It is as if you have been starving a person and you don’t allow him to go close to the fridge. And you say ‘If we allow him he will eat too much.’ And you have been starving him – and now you are afraid if you allow him any freedom he will eat too much, he will fall ill. So you don’t allow him to come to the fridge. He has to live by his quota – whatsoever you give, he has to live on.

Now he fantasizes, he dreams: What to do? How to reach to the fridge? How to eat more? His whole imagination becomes focused on food, he dreams of food.

A famous Sufi story says: Three persons were travelling. They purchased a Sufi sweet, halvah. But they had not enough money and the halvah was very costly. It was not enough for three, so there was great debate – who should eat it? They decided ‘We should do one thing: we all should sleep, and in the morning whosoever has dreamt the best dream, he will be the person to eat it all.’ Agreed, they fell asleep.

Early morning, they related their dreams. One said, he was a Christian, he said ‘I dreamt of Jesus. And Jesus said “Come to Heaven, I have prepared the place for you.” And he was calling me, inviting me. It was such a beautiful dream, I have never dreamt such a thing. And Jesus was so radiant, and I feel so good that I have been accepted by Jesus.’

The second was a Hindu. He said ‘This is nothing. I dreamt I have become Krishna. And thousands of gopis are dancing around me, beautiful damsels, and I am playing on the flute. It was such a beautiful dream.’

And the third was a Mohammedan Sufi. And they asked ‘What about you?’ He said ‘Mohammed appeared and said “You fool! What are you doing here? Go and eat the halvah!” So I have eaten it! Because how can you reject when Mohammed commands?

If you are hungry, if you are kept starving, then the fear arises that if you are left loose in the streets you may enter into a restaurant, kill the owner, or do something. But if you are well fed then nobody does anything like that. This is what has happened – for thousands of years you have been repressed, you have been made more and more phony. Now the fear arises. The questioner is right – the fear arises, if people become authentic and start screaming and shouting and doing things the way they always wanted to do and were never allowed to do, the world will go mad

Yes, for a few years the world will go mad. But that madness will be therapeutic, it will help immensely. After that nobody will ever go mad. Neurosis will disappear, psychosis will disappear wars will disappear, politicians will become meaningless. Nations and the militaries and armies will become irrelevant – they will not be needed. That’s why the politician and the priest are so much in favor of repressing people, because they depend on these repressions. Wars will not be there.

Generals won’t like it, army people won’t like it, if there is no Vietnam  then their whole purpose is lost. If there are no nations then what is the point of having prime ministers and presidents? They are irrelevant.

Government becomes irrelevant if people are natural. Less and less government will be needed. So, so many people have investments. And their fear looks right, logical, because for so many centuries man has been repressed that they are afraid that things may explode. Yes, for a few years, for one generation at least, there will be great explosion. Then things will disappear.

Bertrand Russell has written that when he was a child, even legs of chairs were covered with cloth. Legs, because they look sexual. And he says ‘I had not seen any legs of a woman.’ The garments had to be so long that you could not see. And Bertrand Russell says in those days people used to fantasize about legs, dream about legs. Even a dream about a leg was enough of an excitement, an ecstasy. Now nobody bothers about the legs. Once you have seen men and women naked you stop worrying about, dreaming about, their nakedness. Dreams change.

The world needs to be more natural. Then there will be less anxiety, less fear, less worry. But for a generation there will be great explosion – after that, things will settle. We have to take that risk, only that risk can save humanity. Otherwise everybody is going mad.

The Tantra attitude about sex is that sex is not a need. It is a cosmic experience, it is an experience of meditation. It is an instinctual return to our ultimate reality, one of the highest forms of meditation.

In fifteen minutes to an hour or more of uninterrupted coitus, Tantra seeks a complete loss of the ego. Just see the difference. Freud says it is a gratification for the ego. And that’s how it has become, and Freud is not wrong. If you see the modern man, he is right.

People go on making love just to prove that they are males or females, or what charming people they are, beautiful people they are. People go on finding new women, new men, just to prove that ‘I am still attractive.’ My observation of people is that they don’t fall in love. Their joy is not love, their joy is conquest. Once they have achieved a woman they are no more interested in her. It is not love.

Now they are seeking new pasture, now they want a new woman. Now they want to prove again that they are still young, looked at, they still have charisma, magnetism. And the more women they can make love with, the more their ego is satisfied. This is not love. And Freud is right that sex gives ego-gratification.

But look at Tantra. Tantra has a totally different idea. Tantra says: The appeal of sex is because it gives you a moment of egolessness, timelessness, meditation. Because of ego-gratification, sex has become very, very superficial, it only scratches the skin. It does not go deep, it has no depth. So many people are worried about premature ejaculation. The reason? They don’t love. If they love, then naturally they can make love for longer periods – the more you are in love, the longer the period will be. For hours you can be in love, because there is no hurry, the ego is not controlling.

In a Tantra coitus you can remain for hours. It is a kind of melting with the woman or with the man, it is a kind of relaxation into each other’s being. And it is meditative, because there is no ego, no thought stirs. And time stops. This is a glimpse of God. Tantra is the natural way to God, the normal way to God. The object is to become so completely instinctual, so mindless, that we merge with ultimate nature – that the woman disappears and becomes a door for the ultimate; the man disappears and becomes a door for the ultimate.

This is the Tantra definition of our sexuality: The return to absolute innocence, absolute oneness.

The greatest sexual thrill of all is no search for thrills, but a silent waiting, utterly relaxed, utterly mindless. One is conscious, conscious only of being conscious. One is consciousness. One is contented, but there is no content to it. And then there is great beauty, great benediction.

The questioner asks: What is tantric sex… A sex which is a meditation based on certain techniques?

If you are too much technique-oriented you will miss the mystery of Tantra. That is pseudo Tantra that is based on techniques. Because if techniques are there, ego will be there, controlling. Then you will be DOING it. And doing is the problem, doing brings the doer. Tantra has to be a non-doing; it cannot be technical. You can learn techniques – you can learn certain breathing so that the coitus can become longer. If you breathe very, very slowly, if you breathe without any hurry, then the coitus will become longer. But you are controlling. It will not be wild and it will not be innocent. And it will not be meditation either. It will be mind – how can it be meditation? The mind will be controlling there. You cannot even breathe fast, you have to keep your breathing slow – if the breathing is slow then ejaculation will take a longer time, because for ejaculation to happen the breathing has to be fast and chaotic. Now, this is technique but not Tantra.

Real Tantra is not technique but love. It is not technique but prayer. Is not head-oriented but a relaxation into the heart. Please remember it. Many books have been written on Tantra, they all talk about technique. But the real Tantra has nothing to do with technique. The real Tantra cannot be written about; the real Tantra has to be imbibed. How to imbibe real Tantra? You will have to transform your whole approach.

Pray with your woman, sing with your woman, play with your woman, dance with your woman, with no idea of sex. Don’t go on thinking ‘When are we going to bed?’ Forget about it. Do something else, and get lost into it. And some day love will arise out of that being lost. Suddenly you will see that you are making love and you are not making it. It is happening, you are possessed by it. Then you have your first Tantra experience – possessed by something bigger than you. You were dancing or you were singing together or you were chanting together or you were praying together or meditating together, and suddenly you find you both have moved into a new space. And when you have started making love you don’t know, you don’t remember either. Then you are being possessed by Tantra energy. And then for the first time you will see a non-technical experience.

When you are making love don’t control. Go into un-control, go into chaos. It will be fearful, frightening, because it will be a kind of death. And the mind will say ‘Control!’ And the mind will say ‘Jump in and keep control, otherwise you will be lost in the abyss of it.’ Don’t listen to the mind, get lost. Abandon yourself utterly. And without any technique you will come to see a timeless experience. There will be no two in it: oneness. A consciousness will be there, a lucid passive consciousness will be there, you will know what is happening, because you will be fully aware. But you will not be there. Awareness will be there.

You have to imbibe the Tantra spirit – it is not a technique to be learned.

-Osho

From This Very Body the Buddha, 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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

The Journey from non-being to No-Being

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

 

The Great Forgetting – Jean Klein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Jean Klein

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

Meditation is the Bridge Between Yoga and Advaita

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

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

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

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

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

Meditation is the way in.

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

The Deepest Freedom – Dipa Ma

The Deepest Freedom

“Gradually I became acquainted with suffering,

the cause of suffering,

the arising of suffering,

and the end of suffering.”

DIPA MA BELIEVED, unconditionally, that enlightenment—total liberation of the mind and heart—is the purpose of human life and the primary reason for meditation practice. She never tired of reminding her students: “You must practice to know at least one stage of enlightenment. Otherwise you have not made use of your human life.”

In the Theravada tradition, little is written about the actual experience of enlightenment. The reticence of many teachers on this subject is largely to avoid setting up an attitude of striving. This chapter brings enlightenment experiences out into the open, with the aim of showing that there is nothing secret or supernatural about them. Although it might be inferred from these stories that enlightenment can happen rather easily, there are also stories of awakening taking many years or even decades.

While there is no “right way” on this path, and consequently nothing to judge, compare, or anticipate, Joseph Goldstein offers this important caveat: “The experience of enlightenment is about letting go of ‘self.’ Over the years, I’ve seen people who have experienced enlightenment use it to create more self. They attach to the experience and identify with it. This is missing the point, and it can create a lot of suffering.”

Kamikaze yogi

My first two three-month retreats were blasting through, “bliss bomb”–type retreats, where I described myself as a kamikaze yogi. But my third three-month retreat was weeping from the first day until the end. At times, I would have such incredible internal aching and tearing apart that I thought I couldn’t sit more than five minutes. At first, when I reported this to Dipa Ma, she suggested I just “note it.”

But finally there was a certain point where I really thought I was going to explode if I sat any longer. Dipa Ma sat down next to me, took my hand, held it and caressed it with love and gentleness, like caressing a baby. While she was doing this, she assured me, “If you make it through this, you will earn great merit.”

Doing this, she gave me an absolute transmission of her confidence and love. My doubt disappeared; I totally believed her words. I went back to the hall and sat on my cushion, and . . . something just opened up. I don’t know how much I should describe of it. I started to have experiences like you see in the classical texts on enlightenment. She was guiding me with special resolutions during this time.

I am grateful that she kept me practicing. Even though for two and a half months I was racked with restlessness and achiness and wanted to “roll up the mat” and go home, she kept me going.

-Anonymous

Did you get enlightened?

Dipa Ma came to teach a class at my school for three weeks. At the end of the class, we were to do a weekend intensive retreat with her. The day before the intensive she said to me, “You are going to have a ‘realization experience’.” I wondered, “What is this supposed to mean?”

That night, I meditated for a while, and then I got up because I was getting very sleepy. I went back to my room, and something shifted. I realized I needed to go back and meditate some more, so I went back to meditate, and I got extremely concentrated.

There was simply the watching of my breath. I was noting every microcosm of the rising and falling, every little bit, and I had the ability to watch the intentions of thoughts coming. It was like a bubble that would break, then the thought would be there, then it would pass, and there would be stillness, then another intention of the thought would arise, then break like a bubble on the surface of water and so on. It was not me doing this, because I absolutely had no capacity for that level of concentration. I think it was simply by Dipa Ma’s grace. There was incredible stillness, and a huge amount of space in between thoughts where nothing was going on.

Then there was a huge shift in awareness, as if I went “out” somewhere where attention reversed. There was no body anymore, just the arising and passing away of things. It completely blew me away.

The next day Dipa Ma asked me, “Well, did you get enlightened?” Later, because I was so new at meditation—I didn’t have a background or context for this experience—a lot of fear came up. First there was this incredible insight, then fear arose when I saw that everything was being annihilated moment after moment. My mind became so confused; I didn’t have the ability to watch the confusion, and it was a long time before the experience matured in me. It was three years before I had the desire to meditate again.

-Anonymous

Enlightenment was rather matter-of-fact to Dipa Ma’s Indian students. Jack Engler recalls that they practiced within the context of their families and daily life. “When Dipa Ma recognized a certain kind of ripeness in them, she would say, ‘Arrange your affairs, see if you can get two weeks off from the family, and come and stay in this room next to me and just devote yourself for ten or fourteen days to this practice.’ That’s when enlightenment happened to them. That is all the intensive practice they did, and even then, some of them had to return home during that time to take care of family matters.”

Just two or three days

I took my mother [Dipa Ma’s sister Hema] every evening to the monastery, and once I met a Burmese lady there who told me about her practice at home with her small children. She worked in the day, and she did meditation at night when her children were asleep. Within two months, she said, she finished the first stage [of enlightenment].

So I took that example while I was teaching full time and studying in my master’s program. I got up at 4 AM and meditated until 5:30 AM. I went to school until 3:30 PM, then I took my mother to the monastery. After that I would do my homework until 9 PM. Then I would do walking meditation for an hour with my dog. Then I would sit for another hour until 11 PM. At 11, I went to sleep.

All the time, on the bus to school, during my classes, everywhere, I practiced noting [mentally noting each sensory experience]. After about two or three weeks, Munindra told me to take my vacation and come and meditate. I told him it was impossible to take time off school, and he said, “Well, just two or three days will do.” So I went for Thursday through Sunday. Since there was so little time, I decided to stay up all night Thursday, and I kept meditating into Friday.

On Friday night at about 1 AM, I thought something “went wrong.” In the morning, I told my mother and Dipa Ma that something strange had happened. They started laughing and laughing. They told me it was the first stage, and they were very glad for me.

-Daw Than Myint

Okay, a tiger is coming

On the very first day I met her, Nani [Dipa Ma] gave me meditation instructions and told me, “You can practice at home.” I went home that afternoon and immediately started practicing for twenty days. During the twenty days of meditation, I felt I had a high fever, I felt like a hot iron was penetrating my body. Then I saw snakes everywhere, and tigers were jumping at me. I reported this to Nani, and she told me, “Don’t worry. Don’t take any medicine. You have a fever, but it is not a disease: it will spontaneously leave. Just be mindful of it. Just feel it and note it. When snakes or tigers come, don’t worry. Just notice, ‘Okay, a tiger is coming.’ That is all.”

Then I began having vivid pictures of dead bodies. I saw many, many dead bodies in an arid place, and I had to walk on the dead bodies. I was terrified. Nani said, “Don’t fear. Just make a mental note of ‘seeing.’ These visions are from our many births. What we have done in previous births often comes to mind in meditation.” From her instruction, I noted, “seeing a dead body,” and “walking on dead bodies.” I also kept noting, “I’m seeing in my mind.”

Soon there was just awareness, everything stopped, my mind became clear and peaceful, and I came to awaken. All my pains were eradicated. I came to understand what was my body, what was my mind, and what was the way of meditation. There was no turning back. After twenty days, I left my seat and went out into the world.

-Jyotishmoyee Barua

This most precious thing

When I was doing my research in Calcutta, Dipa Ma brought her neighbor to me, a sixty-five-year-old woman whose name was Madhuri Lata. She had raised her family, her children were gone, and, unlike most Indian families, she was alone with her husband, with no extended family living in the same household. Her husband had said to her, “You have nothing to do now. This ‘aunt’ of yours, Dipa Ma, teaches this meditation practice. Why don’t you talk with her? It’ll give you something to do.”

Madhuri, who had mild developmental delays, went to Dipa Ma, and Dipa Ma gave her the basic instructions [to place her attention on the rise and fall of the abdomen with each inhalation and exhalation and] to note to herself “rising, falling, rising, falling.” Madhuri said, “Okay,” and started to go home, down four flights of stairs and across the alley to her apartment. She didn’t get halfway down the stairs before she forgot the instructions. So, back she came. “What was I supposed to do?” she asked. “Rising, falling, rising, falling,” said Dipa Ma. “Oh, yes, that’s right.”

Four times, Madhuri forgot the instructions and had to come back. Dipa Ma was very patient with her. It took Madhuri almost a year to understand the basic instructions, but once she got them, she was like a tiger. Before she began to practice, Madhuri was bent over at a ninety-degree angle with arthritis, rheumatism, and intestinal problems. When I met her, after her enlightenment experience, she walked with a straight back. No more intestinal problems. She was the simplest, sweetest, gentlest woman. After she told me her enlightenment story, she said, “All this time, I’ve wanted to tell someone about this wonderful thing that happened to me, and I’ve never been able to share this before, this most precious thing in my life.”

-Jack Engler

All emotion is from thinking

Despite severe emotional difficulties, a Vietnamese monk, Venerable Khippa-Panno, was able to attain insight with Dipa Ma’s encouragement. In 1969, he had gone on a retreat during which, for five days, he was unable to stop laughing and crying. His teacher, deciding Khippa-Panno had gone mad, told him to stop the retreat and return home. When Dipa Ma heard this, she invited Khippa-Panno to practice with her.

For a whole month, I practiced at her house. She advised me, “You will overcome this difficulty. If everything is noted, all your emotional difficulties will disappear. When you feel happy, don’t get involved with the happiness. And when you feel sad, don’t get involved with it. Whatever comes, don’t worry. Just be aware of it.” On a later retreat, when I felt the craziness come, I remembered her words. I had so much difficulty with the emotions that I wanted to leave the retreat, but I remembered her faith in me, and her saying, “Your practice is good. Just note everything, and you will overcome the difficulty.” With this knowledge of her confidence in me, my concentration got deeper. Soon I came to see that all emotion was from thinking, nothing more. I found that once I knew how to observe the thoughts that led to the emotions, I could overcome them. And then I came to see that all thoughts were from the past or the future, so I started to live only in the present, and I developed more and more mindfulness. . . . I had no thoughts for a period of time, just mindfulness, and then all my emotional difficulties passed away. Just like that! And then I had an experience. I wasn’t sure what it was. It was only a moment, and there wasn’t anyone to confirm it at the time. My emotional problems have never returned. Later, in 1984, when I saw Dipa Ma in America, she took me aside and asked about my meditation. When I told her, she told me that I had completed the first stage [of enlightenment]. She told me like a mother would tell a child. -Venerable Khippa-Panno

From Dipa Ma, Chapter Six, Schmidt, Amy. Windhorse Publications Ltd. Kindle Edition.