Fast Asleep Even While Awake – Osho

Men are as forgetful and heedless
in their waking moments
of what is going on around them
as they are during their sleep. 

Fools, although they hear,
are like the deaf;
to them the adage applies
that whenever they are present
they are absent. 

One should not act or speak
as if he were asleep. 

The waking have one world in common;
sleepers have each a private world of his own. 

Whatever we see when awake is death,
when asleep, dreams. 

Heraclitus touches the deepest problem of man: that is — fast asleep even while awake.

You sleep when you sleep, but you also sleep while you are awake. What is the meaning of it? — Because this is what Buddha says, this is what Jesus says, this is what Heraclitus says. You look wide awake, but that is only appearance; deep within you the sleep continues.

Even right now you are dreaming within: a thousand and one thoughts continue and you are not conscious of what is happening, you are not aware of what you are doing, you are not aware of who you are. You move as people move in sleep.

You must have known somebody who moves, does this or that, in sleep, and then goes back to sleep again. There is a disease called somnambulism. Many people in the night get up from their beds; their eyes are open, they can move! They can move, they can find the door. They will go to the kitchen, they will eat something; they will come back and they will go to bed. And if you ask them in the morning, they don’t know anything about it. At the most, if they try to remember it they will see that they had a dream that night and that they woke up, they went into the kitchen. But it was a dream, at the most; even that is difficult to remember.

Many people have committed crimes; many murderers when in the court say that they don’t know, they don’t remember ever having done such a thing. It is not that they are deceiving the court — no. Now psychoanalysts have come to find that they are not deceiving, they are not being untrue; they are absolutely truthful. They did commit the murder – when they were fast asleep they did commit it — as if in a dream. This sleep is deeper than ordinary sleep. This sleep is like being drunk: you can move a little, you can do a little, you can be a little aware also — but drunk. You don’t know what is exactly happening. What have you done in your past? Can you exactly recollect it, why you did what you did? What happened to you? Were you alert when it was happening? You fall in love not knowing why; you become angry not knowing why. You find excuses, of course; you rationalize whatsoever you do – but rationalization is not awareness.

Awareness means that whatsoever is happening in the moment is happening with complete consciousness; you are present there. If you are present when anger is happening, anger cannot happen. It can happen only when you are fast asleep. When you are present, immediate, transformation starts in your being, because when you are present, aware, many things are simply not possible. All that is called sin is not possible if you are aware. So, in fact, there is only one sin and that is unawareness.

The original word sin means to miss. It doesn’t mean to commit something wrong; it simply means to miss, to be absent. The Hebrew root for the word sin means to miss. That exists in a few English words: misconduct, misbehavior. To miss means not to be there, doing something without being present there — this is the only sin. And the only virtue: while you are doing something you are fully alert — what Gurdjieff calls self-remembering, what Buddha calls being rightly mindful, what Krishnamurti calls awareness, what Kabir has called surati. To be there! — That’s all that is needed, nothing more. You need not change anything, and even if you try to change you cannot.

You have been trying to change many things in you. Have you succeeded? How many times have you decided not to be angry again? What happened to your decision? When the moment comes you are again in the same trap: you become angry, and after the anger has gone, again you repent. It has become a vicious circle: you commit anger and then you repent, then you are ready again to commit it. Remember, even while you are repenting you are not there; that repentance is also part of sin. That’s why nothing happens. You go on trying and trying and you take many decisions and you take many vows, but nothing happens – you remain the same. You are exactly the same as when you were born, not even a slight change has happened in you. Not that you have not tried, not that you have not tried enough – you have tried and tried and tried and you fail, because it is not a question of effort. More effort won’t help. It is a question of being alert, not of effort.

If you are alert, many things simply drop; you need not drop them. In awareness certain things are not possible. And this is my definition, there is no other criterion. You cannot fall in love if you are aware; then falling in love is a sin. You can love but it will not be like a fall, it will be like a rise.

Why do we use the term falling in love? It is a falling; you are falling, you are not rising. When you are aware, falling is not possible — not even in love. It is not possible, it is simply not possible. With awareness, it is impossible; you rise in love. And rising in love is a totally different phenomenon from falling in love. Falling in love is a dream state. That’s why people, who are in love, you can see it from their eyes: as if they are more asleep than others, intoxicated, dreaming. You can see from their eyes because their eyes have a sleepiness. People who rise in love are totally different. You can see they are no more in a dream, they are facing the reality and they are growing through it.

Falling in love you remain a child; rising in love you mature. And by and by love becomes not a relationship; it becomes a state of your being. Then it is not that you love this and you don’t love that, no — you are simply love. Whosoever comes near you, you share with them.

Whatsoever is happening, you give your love to it. You touch a rock and you touch as if you are touching your beloved’s body. You look at the tree and you look as if you are looking at your beloved’s face. It becomes a state of being. Not that you are in love — now you ARE love. This is rising, this is not falling.

Love is beautiful when you rise through it, and love becomes dirty and ugly when you fall through it. And sooner or later you will find that it proves poisonous, it becomes a bondage. You have been caught in it, your freedom has been crushed, your wings have been cut; now you are free no more. Falling in love you become a possession: you possess and you allow somebody to possess you. You become a thing, and you try to convert the other person you have fallen in love with into a thing.

Look at a husband and a wife: they both have become like things, they are persons no more. Both are trying to possess each other. Only things can be possessed, persons never. How can you possess a person? How can you dominate a person? How can you convert a person into a possession? Impossible! But the husband is trying to possess the wife; the wife is trying the same. Then there is a clash, then they both become basically enemies, then they are destructive to each other.

It happened: Mulla Nasruddin walked into the office of a cemetery and complained to the manager: “I know well that my wife is buried here in your cemetery but I can’t find her grave.”

The manager checked in his register and asked, “What is her name?”

So Mulla said, “Mistress Mulla Nasruddin.”

He looked again and he said, “There is no Mistress Mulla Nasruddin, but there is a Mulla Nasruddin.” So he said, “We are sorry, it seems something has gone wrong in the register.”

Nasruddin said, “Nothing is wrong. Where is the grave of Mulla Nasruddin? – because everything is in my name.” Even the grave of his wife!

Possession… everybody goes on trying to possess: the beloved, the lover. This is no longer love. In fact when you possess a person, you hate, you destroy, you kill; you are a murderer. Love should give freedom; love IS freedom. Love will make the beloved more and more free, love will give wings, and love will open the vast sky. It cannot become a prison, an enclosure. But that love you don’t know because that happens only when you are aware; that quality of love comes only when there is awareness. You know a love which is a sin, because it comes out of sleep.

And this is so for everything you do. Even if you try to do something good, you harm. Look at the do-gooders: they always do harm, they are the most mischievous people in the world. Social reformers, so-called revolutionaries, they are the most mischievous people. But it is difficult to see where their mischief lies because they are very good people, they are always doing good to others — that is their way of creating an imprisonment for the other. If you allow them to do something good to you, you will be possessed.

They start by massaging your feet, and sooner or later you will find their hands reach your neck; at the feet they start, at the neck they end — because they are unaware, they don’t know what they are doing. They have learnt a trick: that if you want to possess someone, do good. They are not even conscious that they have learnt this trick. But they will do harm because anything, anything that tries to possess the other person, whatsoever its name or form, is irreligious, is a sin. Your churches, your temples, your mosques, they have all committed sins on you because they all became possessors, they all became dominations.

Every church is against religion because religion is freedom. Why does it happen then? Jesus tries to give freedom, wings to you. Then what happens, how does this church come in? It happens because Jesus lives on a totally different plane of being, the plane of awareness; and those who listen to him, those who follow him, they live on the plane of sleep. Whatsoever they hear, interpret, it is interpreted through their own dreams — and whatsoever they create is going to be a sin. Christ gives you religion and then people who are fast asleep convert it into a church.

It is said that once Satan, the devil, was sitting under a tree, very sad. A saint was passing; he looked at Satan and he said, “We have heard that you never rest, you are always doing some mischief or other somewhere or other. What are you doing here sitting under the tree?”

Satan was really depressed. He said, “It seems my work has been taken over by the priests, and I cannot do anything — I am completely unemployed. Sometimes I have the idea of committing suicide because these priests are doing so well.” Priests have done so well because they converted freedom into imprisonments, they converted truth into dogmas – they converted everything from the plane of awareness to the plane of sleep. Try to understand what this sleep exactly is, because if you can feel what it is you have already started to become alert, already — already you are on the way to go out of it. What is this sleep? How does it happen? What is the mechanism? What is its modus operandi?

The mind is always either in the past or in the future. It cannot be in the present, it is absolutely impossible for the mind to be in the present. When you are in the present, the mind is there no more because mind means thinking. How can you think in the present? You can think about the past; it has already become part of the memory, the mind can work it out. You can think about the future; it is not yet there, the mind can dream about it. Mind can do two things: either it can move into the past; there is space enough to move, the vast space of the past — you can go on and on and on. Or the mind can move into the future; again vast space, no end to it — you can imagine and imagine and dream. But how can mind function in the present? It has no space for the mind to make any movement.

The present is just a dividing line, that’s all. It has no space. It divides the past and the future; just a dividing line. You can be in the present but you cannot think; for thinking, space is needed. Thoughts need space, they are just like things — remember it. Thoughts are subtle things, they are material; thoughts are not spiritual, because the dimension of the spiritual starts only when there are no thoughts. Thoughts are material things, very subtle, and every material thing needs space. You cannot be thinking in the present; the moment you start thinking it is already the past.

You see the sun is rising; you see and you say, “What a beautiful sunrise!” — it is already the past. When the sun is rising there is not even space enough to say, “How beautiful!” because when you posit these two words “How beautiful!” the experience has already become past, the mind already knows it in the memory. But exactly when the sun is rising, exactly when the sun is on the rise, how can you think? What can you think? You can be with the rising sun, but you cannot think. For you there is enough space, but not for thoughts.

A beautiful flower in the garden and you say, “A beautiful rose”; now you are not with this rose this moment; it is already a memory. When the flower is there and you are there, both present to each other, how can you think? What can you think? How is thinking possible? There is no space for it. The space is so narrow — in fact there is no space at all — that you and the flower cannot even exist as two because there is not enough space for two, only one can exist.

That’s why in a deep presence you are the flower and the flower has become you. You are also a thought — the flower is also a thought in the mind. When there is no thinking, who is the flower and who is the one who is observing? The observer becomes the observed. Suddenly boundaries are lost. Suddenly you have penetrated, penetrated into the flower and the flower has penetrated into you. Suddenly you are not two — one exists.

If you start thinking, you have become two again. If you don’t think, where is the duality? When you exist with the flower, not thinking, it is a dialogue, not a duologue but a dialogue. When you exist with your lover it is a dialogue, not a duologue, because the two are not there. Sitting by the side of your lover, holding the hand of your beloved, you simply exist. You don’t think of the days past, gone; you don’t think of the future reaching, coming — you are here, now. And it is so beautiful to be here and now, and so intense; no thought can penetrate this intensity. And narrow is the gate; narrow is the gate of the present. Not even two can enter into it together, only one. In the present, thinking is not possible, dreaming is not possible, because dreaming is nothing but thinking in pictures. Both are things, both are material.

When you are in the present without thinking, you are for the first time spiritual. A new dimension opens — that dimension is awareness. Because you have not known that dimension Heraclitus will say you are asleep, you are not aware. Awareness means to be in the moment so totally that there is no movement toward the past, no movement toward the future – all movement stops. That doesn’t mean that you become static. A new movement starts, a movement in depth.

There are two types of movement. And that is the meaning of Jesus’ cross: it shows two movements, a crossroads. One movement is linear: you move in a line, from one thing to another, from one thought to another, from one dream to another dream; from A you move to B, from B you move to C, from C you move to D. This way you move — in a line, horizontal.

This is the movement of time; this is the movement of one who is fast asleep. You can go like a shuttle, back and forth — the line is there. You can come from B to A, or you can go from A to B — the line is there. There is another movement which is in a totally different dimension. That movement is not horizontal, it is vertical. You don’t go from A to B, from B to C; you go from A to a deeper A: from A1 to A2, A3, 4, in depth — or in height.

When thinking stops, the new movement starts. Now you fall into depth, in an abyss-like phenomenon. People who are meditating deeply, they come to that point sooner or later; then they become afraid because they feel as if an abyss has opened — bottomless, you feel dizzy, you become afraid. You would like to cling to the old movement because it was known; this feels like death. That is the meaning of Jesus’ cross: it is a death. Going from the horizontal to the vertical is death — that is the real death.

But it is death only from one side; on the other side it is resurrection. It is dying, to be born; it is dying from one dimension to be born in another dimension. Horizontal you are Jesus, vertical you become Christ.

If you move from one thought to another you remain in the world of time. If you move into the moment, not into thought, you move into eternity; you are not static — nothing is static in this world, nothing can be static — but a new movement, a movement without motivation. Remember these words. On the horizontal line you move because of motivation. You have to achieve something — money, prestige, power, or God, but you have to achieve something; a motivation is there. A motivated movement means sleep.

An unmotivated movement means awareness — you move because to move is sheer joy, you move because movement is life, you move because life is energy and energy is movement. You move because energy is delight — not for anything else. There is no goal to it, you are not after some achievement. In fact you are not going anywhere, you are not going at all — you are simply delighting in the energy. There is no goal outside the movement; movement has its own intrinsic value, no extrinsic value. A Buddha also lives, a Heraclitus lives, I am here living, breathing — but a different type of movement… unmotivated.

Somebody was asking me a few days ago, “Why do you help people in meditation?”

I told him, “This is my delight. There is no why to it — I simply enjoy.” Just like a person enjoys planting seeds in the garden, waiting for the flowers, when you flower I enjoy. It is gardening. When somebody flowers it is a sheer delight. And I share. There is no goal to it. If you fail, I am not going to be frustrated. If you don’t flower, that too is okay, because flowering cannot be forced. You cannot open a bud forcibly — you can, but then you kill it. It may look like a flowering; it is not a flowering.

The whole world moves, existence moves, into eternity; mind moves in time. Existence is moving into the depth and the height, and mind moves backwards and forwards. Mind moves horizontally: that is sleep. If you can move vertically, that is awareness.

Be in the moment. Bring your total being in the moment. Don’t allow the past to interfere, and don’t allow the future to come in. The past is no more, it is dead. And as Jesus says, “Let the dead bury their dead.” The past is no more! Why are you worried about it? Why do you go on chewing it again and again and again? Are you mad? It is no more; it is just in your mind, it is just a memory. The future is not yet. What are you doing thinking about the future? That which is not yet, how can you think about it? What can you plan about it? Whatsoever you do about it is not going to happen, and then you will be frustrated, because the whole has its own plan. Why do you try to have your own plans against it?

The existence has its own plans, it is wiser than you — the whole has to be wiser than the part. Why are you pretending to be the whole? The whole has its own destiny, its own fulfillment. Why do you bother about it? And whatsoever you do will be a sin because you will be missing the moment, this moment. And if it becomes a habit — as it becomes; if you start missing, it becomes a habitual form — then when the future has come again you will be missing it because it will not be a future when it comes, it will be a present. Yesterday you were thinking about today because then it was tomorrow; now it is today and you are thinking about tomorrow, and when the tomorrow comes it will become today — because anything that exists here and now, it cannot exist otherwise. And if you have a fixed mode of functioning such that your mind always looks at tomorrow, then when will you live? Tomorrow never comes. Then you will go on missing — and this is sin. This is the meaning of the Hebrew root of “to sin”. The moment the future enters, time enters. You have sinned against existence, you have missed. And this has become a fixed pattern: robot-like, you go on missing.

I have people coming to me from faraway countries. When they are there they think about me and they get very much excited about me, and they read and they think and they dream. When they come here they start thinking about their homes; the moment they reach they are already going back! Then they start thinking about their children, their wives and their jobs and this and that and a thousand and one things. And I see the whole foolishness. Again they will be back there and then they will be thinking about me. They miss, and this is sin.

While you are here with me, be here with me; be totally here with me so that you can learn a new mode of movement, so that you can move into eternity, not in time.

Time is the world and eternity is God; horizontal is the world, vertical is God. Both meet at a point — that is where Jesus is crucified. Both meet, the horizontal and the vertical, at a point — that point is here and now. From here and now you can go on two journeys: one journey in the world, in the future; the other journey into God, into depth. Become more and more aware; become more and more alert and sensitive to the present.

What will you do? How can it become possible? — Because you are so fast asleep that you can make that a dream also. You can make that itself a thinking object, a thinking process. You can become so tense about it that just because of it you cannot be in the present. If you think too much about how to be in the present, this thinking won’t help. If you feel too much guilt… if you sometimes move into the past you will; it has been such a long routine and sometimes you will start thinking about the future — immediately you will feel guilty that you have committed a sin again. Don’t become guilty; understand the sin but don’t become guilty — and this is very, very delicate. If you become guilty you have missed the whole thing. Now, in a new way, the old pattern starts: now you feel guilty because you have missed the present. Now you are thinking about the past because that present is no longer present; it is past and you are feeling guilty about it — you are still missing.

So remember one thing: whenever you remember that you have gone to the past or into the future, don’t create a problem out of it; simply come to the present, not creating any problem. It’s okay! Simply bring back your awareness. You will miss millions of times; it is not going to happen right now, immediately. It can happen, but it cannot happen because of you. It is such a long, long, fixed mode of behavior that you cannot change it right now. But no worry, God is not in a hurry; eternity can wait eternally.

Don’t create a tension about it. Whenever you feel you have missed, come back, that’s all. Don’t feel guilty; that’s a trick of the mind, now it is again playing a game. Don’t repent: “I again forgot.” Just when you think, come back to whatsoever you are doing: taking your bath, come back; eating your food, come back; going for a walk, come back. The moment you feel you are not here and now, come back — simply, innocently. Don’t create guilt. If you become guilty then you miss the point.

There is sin and there is no guilt — but difficult for you. If you feel there is something wrong, you become immediately guilty. The mind is very, very cunning. If you become guilty the game has started now; on new ground but the game is old. People come to me, they say, “We go on forgetting.” They are so sad when they say, “We go on forgetting. We try but we remember only for a few seconds. We remain alert, self-remembering, then again it is lost — what to do?” Nothing can be done. It is not a question of doing at all. What can you do? The only thing that can be done is not to create guilt. Simply come back.

The more you come back… simply, remember, not with a very serious face, not with much effort; simply, innocently, not creating a problem out of it, because eternity has no problems. All problems exist on the horizontal plane; this problem will also exist on the horizontal plane. The vertical plane knows no problems, it is sheer delight; without any anxiety, without any anguish, without any worry, any guilt, nothing. Be simple and come back.

You will miss many times — it is taken for granted. But don’t worry about it, that is how it is. You will miss many times but that is not the point. Don’t pay much attention to the fact that you have missed many times, pay much attention to the fact that you have regained many times. Remember this. The emphasis should not be that you missed many times, it should be that you regained remembrance many times. Feel happy about it. That you miss, of course, is as it should be. You are human, have lived on the horizontal plane for many, many lives, so it is natural. The beauty is that many times you came back. You have done the impossible; feel happy about it!

In twenty-four hours, twenty-four thousand times you will miss, but twenty-four thousand times you will regain. Now a new mode will start functioning. So many times you come back home, now a new dimension is breaking in by and by. More and more you will be able to stay in awareness; less and less you will go back and forth. The span of going back and forth will be smaller and smaller. Less and less you will forget, more and more you will remember — you are entering the vertical. Suddenly one day, the horizontal disappears. An intensity comes to awareness and the horizontal disappears.

That is the meaning behind Shankara, Vedanta and Hindus calling this world illusory… because when awareness becomes perfect, this world, this world that you have created out of your mind, simply disappears. Another world becomes revealed to you. Maya disappears, the illusion disappears. The illusion is there because of your sleep, your unconsciousness. It is just like a dream. In the night you move in a dream, and when the dream is there it is so true. Have you ever thought in a dream, “This is not possible”? The impossible happens in a dream, but you cannot doubt it. In a dream you have such faith, in a dream nobody is skeptical, not even a Bertrand Russell. No! In a dream everybody is like a child, trusting whatsoever happens. You see your wife coming in a dream — suddenly she becomes a horse. Not for a single moment do you say, “How can this be possible?”

Dream is trust, it is faith. You cannot doubt in a dream. Once you start doubting in a dream the rules are broken. Once you doubt, the dream starts disappearing. If even once you can remember that this is a dream, suddenly this will become a shock and the dream will shatter and you will be fully awake.

This world that you see around you is not the real world. Not that it doesn’t exist. It exists — but you are seeing it through a screen of sleep, unconsciousness is in between. You look at it, you interpret it in your own way; you are just like a drunkard.

It happened: Mulla Nasruddin came running. He was totally drunk and the man who was operating the elevator was just going to close the door, but he somehow pushed in. It was overcrowded. Everybody became aware that he was very drunk; his breath was smelling. He tried to pretend; he tried to face towards the door, but he couldn’t see anything — his eyes, too, were drunk and sleepy. Somehow he was trying to stand, but that was not possible either. And then he felt very much embarrassed, because everybody was looking and everybody was thinking that he was completely drunk; he could feel that. Then he suddenly forgot where he was and he said, “You must be wondering why I called this meeting.” Seeing that so many people were around, he thought that he had called a meeting and that the people were wondering why. By the morning he will be okay. He will himself laugh as you are laughing.

All buddhas have laughed when they awaken. Their laughter is like a lion’s roar. They laugh, not at you, they laugh at the whole cosmic joke. They lived in a dream, in a sleep, intoxicated completely by desire, and through desire they looked at the existence. Then it was not the real existence, they projected their own sleep on it.

You are taking the whole existence as a screen, and then you project your own mind on it and you see things which are not there, and you don’t see things which are there. And the mind has explanations for everything. If you raise a doubt, the mind explains. It creates theories, philosophies, and systems, just to feel comfortable, that nothing is wrong. All philosophies exist to make life convenient, so that everything looks okay, nothing is wrong — but everything is wrong while you are asleep.

One man came to me. He was worried; he is the father of a beautiful daughter. He was very much worried. He said, “Every morning she feels a little sick, and I have been to all the doctors and they say nothing is wrong. So what to do?”

So I told him, “You go to Mulla Nasruddin — he is the wise guy around here and he knows everything, because I have never heard him say, ‘I don’t know.’ You go.”

He went. I also followed just to see what Nasruddin would say. Nasruddin closed his eyes, contemplated on the problem, then he opened his eyes and said, “Do you give her milk before she goes to bed at night?”

The man said, “Yes!” Nasruddin said, “Now, I have found the problem: if you give milk to a child, then the child changes sides the whole night from right to left, from left to right, and through the churning the milk becomes curd. Then the curd becomes cheese, then the cheese becomes butter, then the butter becomes fat, then the fat becomes sugar, then the sugar becomes alcohol — and, of course, in the morning she has a hangover.”

This is what all the philosophies are: some explanations of things; some explanation of things which cannot be explained; pretending to know about something which is not known. But they make life convenient. You can sleep better, they are like tranquilizers.

Remember, this is the difference between religion and philosophy: philosophy is a tranquilizer, religion is a shock; philosophy helps you to sleep well, religion brings you out of sleep. Religion is not a philosophy — it is a technique to bring you out of your unconsciousness. And all philosophies are techniques to help you to sleep well; they give you dreams, utopias.

Religion takes all dreams from you, all utopias. Religion brings you to the truth, and the truth is possible only when you are not dreaming. A dreaming mind cannot see the true. A dreaming mind will convert the truth also into a dream.

Have you ever observed: you set an alarm; in the morning you want to get up at four o’clock, you have to catch a train. Then in the morning the alarm goes off, and your mind creates a dream: you are sitting in a temple and the bells of the temple are tolling – then everything is explained. The alarm is no longer a problem, it cannot awaken you, and you have explained it away — immediately! Mind is subtle.

And now psychoanalysts are very much worried as to how it happens, how the mind creates immediately, so immediately. It is so difficult! — The mind must project it beforehand. How, suddenly, do you find yourself in a church or in a temple where the bells are tolling? The alarm goes off — immediately you have an explanation within the dream. You are trying to avoid the alarm; you don’t want to get up, you don’t want to get up on such a cold winter night. The mind says, “This is not the alarm, this is a temple you are visiting.” Everything explained, you fall asleep.

This is what philosophies have been doing, and that’s why there are so many philosophies — because everybody needs a different explanation. The explanation that helps somebody else to go into sleep will not help you. And this is what Heraclitus says in this passage.

Now try to understand him. He says:

Men are as forgetful and heedless
in their waking moments
of what is going on around them
as they are during their sleep.

In sleep you are not aware of what goes on around you, but in your waking hours are you aware of what goes on around you?

Much research has been done. Ninety-eight percent of messages coming to you your mind never allows to enter — ninety-eight percent. Only two percent is allowed to enter, and that two percent mind also interprets. I say something, you hear something else. I say something else, you interpret it in such a way that it doesn’t disturb your sleep. Your mind immediately gives you an interpretation. You find a place in your mind for it and the mind absorbs it; it becomes part of the mind. That’s why you go on missing Buddhas, Christs, Heraclituses, and others. They go on talking to you; they go on saying they have found something, they have experienced something, but when they say it to you, you immediately interpret it. You have your own tricks.

Aristotle was very much disturbed by Heraclitus. He found out that this man must have some defect in his character — finished! You have categorized because he doesn’t suit you, he disturbs you. Heraclitus must have been very heavy on Aristotle’s mind — because Aristotle moves on the horizontal, he is the master of that, and this man is trying to push you into the abyss. Aristotle moves on the plain ground of logic and this man is trying to push you into the mystery. Some explanation is needed. Says Aristotle, “This man has some defect, some biological, physiological, ‘characterological’ — some defect is there. Otherwise, why should he insist on paradox? Why should he insist on mystery? Why should he insist that there exists a harmony — between the opposites? Opposites are opposites. There is no harmony. Life is life and death is death. Be clear about it, don’t mix things — this man seems to be a muddler.”

Lao Tzu also felt the same. Lao Tzu said, “Everybody seems to be wise except me. Everybody seems to be very clever except me — I am a fool!” Lao Tzu is one of the greatest, one of the wisest persons ever born, but he feels amidst you that he is a fool. Lao Tzu says, “Everybody seems to be so clear a thinker, I am muddle-headed.” What Aristotle says to Heraclitus, Lao Tzu says about himself.

Lao Tzu says, “When somebody listens to my teaching without the mind, he becomes enlightened. If somebody listens to my teaching through the mind, then he finds his own explanations — which have nothing to do with me. And when somebody listens, not listening at all — there are people who listen without listening — when somebody listens as if he is listening without listening, then he laughs at my foolishness.” And the third type of mind is the majority. And says Lao Tzu, “If the majority doesn’t laugh at you, you must be aware that you must be saying something wrong. If the majority laughs, only then are you saying something true. When the majority thinks you are a fool, only then is there some possibility of your being a wise man; otherwise, there is no possibility.”

Heraclitus looks muddle-headed to Aristotle. It will look so to you also because Aristotle has captured all the universities, all the colleges of the whole world. Now everywhere you are taught logic, not mystery. Everywhere you are taught to be rational, not mystic. Everybody is being trained to be clear-cut. If you want to be clear-cut you have to move on the horizontal; there, A is A, B is B, and A is never B. But in the mysterious abyss of the vertical, boundaries meet and merge into each other: man is woman, woman is man; right is wrong, wrong is right; dark is light, light is dark; life is death, death is life. All boundaries meet and merge. Hence, God is a mystery, not a syllogism. Those who give proofs for God are simply doing the impossible; no proof can be given for God. Proofs exist on the horizontal.

That is the meaning of trust: you fall into the abyss, you experience the abyss, you simply disappear in it… and you know. You know only when the mind is not, never before.

Fools, although they hear,
are like the deaf;
to them the adage applies
that whenever they are present
they are absent.

Wherever you are present, that is exactly the place where you are absent. You may be somewhere else, but not there where you are. Wherever you are, there you are not.

It is said in old Tibetan scriptures that God comes many times to you, but he never finds you there where you are. He knocks at your door, but the host is not there — he is always somewhere else. Are you in your house, at your home, or somewhere else? How can God find you? No need to go to him, just be at home and he will find you. He is in search of you just as you are in search of him. Just be at home so when he comes he can find you. He comes, he knocks, millions of times, waits at the door, but you are never there.

Says Heraclitus:

Fools, although they hear,
are like the deaf;
to them the adage applies
that whenever they are present
they are absent.

This is the sleep: being absent, being not present to the present moment, being somewhere else.

It happened: Mulla Nasruddin was sitting in the coffee-house and talking about his generosity. And when he talks he goes to the very extreme as everybody does, because he forgets what he is saying. Then somebody said, “Nasruddin, if you are so generous why don’t you ever invite us to your home? Not even for a single meal have you invited us. So what about it?”

He was so excited he forgot completely about his wife. So he said, “Come on, right now!” The nearer he reached home, the more sober he became. Then he remembered his wife and then he became afraid — thirty persons coming. Just outside the house he said, “You wait! You all know I have a wife. You also have wives so you know. Just wait. Let me first go and persuade her, then I will call you in.” So he went and disappeared.

They waited and they waited and they waited and he did not come, did not come, so they knocked. Nasruddin had told his wife exactly what had happened, that he was talking too much about generosity and he had been caught. His wife said, “But we don’t have anything for thirty persons, and nothing is possible at this late hour in the night.”

So Nasruddin said, “You do one thing: when they knock you simply go and tell them that Nasruddin is not at home.”

So when they knocked the wife came and she said, “Nasruddin is not at home.”

They said, “This is surprising because we came with him, and he went in and we have not seen him go out, and we are waiting on the step, thirty persons — he must be in. You go in and find him. He must be hiding somewhere.”

His wife went in. She said, “What to do?”

Nasruddin became excited. He said, “Wait!” He came out and said, “What do you mean? He could have gone out by the back door!”

This is possible, this is happening every day to you. He forgot himself completely; that’s what happened — in the logic he forgot himself. The logic is right, the argument is right, but what do you mean: “You are waiting at the front door; he could have gone by the back door”? The logic is right but Nasruddin has completely forgotten that he himself is saying it.

You are not present. You are neither in the present to the world, nor to yourself. This is the sleep. Then how can you hear? Then how can you see? Then how can you feel? If you are not present here and now, then all doors are closed. You are a dead person, you are not alive. That’s why Jesus again and again says to his hearers, listeners: “If you have ears, hear me; if you have eyes, see me!”

Heraclitus must have found many people who listen but don’t hear; who see but can’t see because their homes are completely empty. The master is not at home; eyes are looking, ears are hearing, but the master is not present inside. Eyes are just windows; they can’t see unless you see through them. How can a window see? You have to stand at the window, only then can you see. How? — it is just a window, it cannot feel. If you are there then it becomes totally different.

The whole body is like a house and the mind is traveling, the master is always traveling somewhere else and the house remains empty. And the life knocks at your door — you may call it God, or whatsoever you like, the name doesn’t matter; call it existence — it knocks at the door, it is already knocking continuously, but you are never found there. This is the sleep.

One should not act or speak
as if he were asleep.

Act, speak, with full awareness and then you will find a tremendous change in you. The very fact that you are aware changes your acts. Then you cannot commit sin. Not that you have to control yourself, no! Control is a poor substitute for awareness, a very poor substitute; it doesn’t help much. If you are aware, you need not control anger; in awareness anger never arises. They cannot exist together; there is no coexistence for them. In awareness jealousy never arises. In awareness many things simply disappear, all the things which are negative.

It is just like a light: when the light is in your house how can darkness exist there? It simply escapes out. When your house is lighted, how can you stumble? How can you knock at the wall? The light is there, you know the door; you simply reach the door, you get out or in. When there is darkness you stumble, you grope, you fall. When you are unaware you grope, you stumble, you fall. Anger is nothing but stumbling; jealousy is nothing but groping in dark. All that is wrong is wrong, not because of itself but because you are living in darkness.

If a Jesus wants to be angry, he can be; he can use it. You cannot use it — you are being used by it. If Jesus feels that it will be good and helpful, he can use anything — he is a master. Jesus can be angry without being angry. Many people worked with Gurdjieff, and he was a terrible man. When he was angry he would be terribly angry, he would look like a murderer; but that was just a game, just a game, just a situation to help somebody. And immediately, not a single moment’s gap would be there, he would look at another person and he would be smiling. And he would look again at the same person towards whom he had been angry, and he would be angry and terrible looking.

It is possible. When you are aware you can use everything. Even poison becomes elixir when you are aware; and when you are asleep even elixir becomes poison — because the whole thing depends on your being alert or not. Acts don’t mean anything. Acts do not matter. You, your awareness, your being conscious, mindful, is what matters. What you do is not the concern.

It happened: There was one great master, a Buddhist master, Nagarjuna. A thief came to him. The thief had fallen in love with the master because he had never seen such a beautiful person, such infinite grace. He asked Nagarjuna, “Is there some possibility of my growth also? But one thing I must make clear to you: I am a thief. And another thing: I cannot leave it, so please don’t make it a condition. I will do whatsoever you say, but I cannot stop being a thief. That I have tried many times — it never works, so I have left the whole sport. I have accepted my destiny, that I am going to be a thief and remain a thief, so don’t talk about it. From the very beginning let it be clear.”

Nagarjuna said, “Why are you afraid? Who is going to talk about your being a thief?”

The thief said, “But whenever I go to a monk, to a religious priest or to a religious saint, they always say, ‘First stop stealing.'”

Nagarjuna laughed and he said, “Then you must have gone to thieves; otherwise, why? Why should they be concerned? I am not concerned!”

The thief was very happy. He said, “Then it is okay. It seems that now I can become a disciple. You are the right master.”

Nagarjuna accepted him. He said, “Now you can go and do whatsoever you like. Only one condition has to be followed: Be aware! Go, break into houses, enter, bring things, steal; do whatsoever you like, that is of no concern to me, I am not a thief — but do it with full awareness.”

The thief couldn’t understand that he was falling into the trap. He said, “Then everything is okay. I will try.”

After three weeks he came and said, “You are tricky because if I become aware, I cannot steal. If I steal, awareness disappears. I am in a fix.”

Nagarjuna said, “No more talk about your being a thief and stealing. I am not concerned, I am not a thief. Now you decide! If you want awareness then you decide. If you don’t want it, then too you decide.”

The man said, “But now it is difficult. I have tasted it a little, and it is so beautiful — I will leave anything, whatsoever you say.” The thief said, “Just the other night for the first time I was able to enter the palace of the king. I opened the treasure. I could have become the richest man in the world — but you were following me and I had to be aware. When I became aware, suddenly — no motivation, no desire. When I became aware, diamonds looked just like stones, ordinary stones. When I lost awareness the treasure was there. And I waited and did this many times. I would become aware and I became like a buddha, and I could not even touch it because the whole thing looked foolish, stupid — just stones, what am I doing? Losing myself for stones? But then I would lose awareness; they would become again beautiful, the whole illusion. But finally I decided that they were not worth it.”

Once you have known awareness, nothing is worth it — you have known the greatest bliss of life. Then, suddenly, many things simply drop; they become stupid, become foolish. The motivation is not there, the desire is not there, the dreams have fallen.

One should not act or speak
as if he were asleep.

This is the only key.

The waking have one world in common;
sleepers have each a private world of his own.

Dreams are private, absolutely private! Nobody can enter into your dream. You cannot share a dream with your beloved. Husbands and wives, they sleep on one bed but dream separately. It is impossible to share a dream because it is nothing — how can you share a nothing? Just like a bubble, it is absolutely non-existential; you cannot share it, you have to dream alone.

That’s why, because of sleepers, so many sleepers, there exist so many worlds. You have your own world; if you are asleep you live enclosed in your own thoughts, concepts, dreams, desires. Whenever you meet another, two worlds clash; worlds in collision — this is what the situation is. Watch!

Look at a husband and a wife talking; they are not talking at all. The husband is thinking about the office, the salary; the wife is thinking about her dresses for Christmas. Inside they have their own private worlds, but their private worlds meet somewhere — clash rather — because the wife’s dresses will depend on the salary of the husband, and the husband’s salary has to provide for the wife’s dresses. The wife says, “Darling”, but behind the word darling are dresses; she is thinking about them. The “darling” doesn’t mean that which is written in the dictionary, because every time a woman says “darling” this is now just a facade and the husband immediately becomes afraid. He does not show it, of course, because when someone says “darling” you cannot show it. He says, “What is it, dear? How are you?” But he is afraid because he is thinking of his salary, and he knows Christmas is coming and there is danger.

Mulla Nasruddin’s wife was saying to him, “What has happened? Lately I even cry and weep and tears roll down my face and you don’t even ask, ‘Why are you weeping?'”

Nasruddin said, “Enough is enough! — it costs too much to ask. And in the past I have committed that mistake so many times, because those tears are not just tears — dresses, a new house, new furniture, a new car, many things are hidden behind those tears. Those tears are just a start.” No dialogue is possible because there are two private worlds inside. Only conflict is possible.

Dreams are private, truth is not private. Truth cannot be private — truth cannot be mine or yours, truth cannot be Christian or Hindu, truth cannot be Indian or Greek. Truth cannot be private. Dreams are private. Whatsoever is private, remember, it must belong to the world of dreams. Truth is an open sky, it is for all, it is one.

That’s why when Lao Tzu speaks, the language may be different; Buddha talks, the language is different; Heraclitus talks, the language is different — but they mean the same, they indicate towards the same. They don’t live in a private world. The private world has disappeared with their dreams, desires — with the mind. Mind has a private world but consciousness has no private worlds. The waking have one world in common… All those who are waking, they have one world in common — that is existence. And all those who are asleep and dreaming have their own worlds.

Your world has to be dropped; that is the only renunciation I require of you. I don’t say leave your wife, I don’t say leave your job, I don’t say leave your money; leave your anything, no! I simply say leave your private worlds of dreams. That is sannyas for me. The old sannyas was leaving this world, the visible. One goes to the Himalayas, leaves the wife and children; that is not the point at all. That is not the world to leave. How can you leave it? Even the Himalayas belong to this world. The real world which has to be renounced is the mind, the private dreaming world. If you renounce it, sitting in the market you are in the Himalayas. If you don’t renounce it, in the Himalayas also you will create a private world around you.

How can you escape yourself? Wherever you go you will be with yourself. Wherever you go you will behave in the same way. Situations may be different but how can you be different? You will be asleep in the Himalayas. What difference does it make whether you sleep in Poona or you sleep in Boston or you sleep in London or in the Himalayas? Wherever you are you will be dreaming. Drop dreaming! Become more alert. Suddenly dreams disappear, and with dreams all miseries disappear.

Whatever we see when awake is death,
when asleep, dreams.

This is really beautiful: whenever you are asleep you see dreams, illusions, mirages; your own creation, your own private world. When you are awake what do you see? Says Heraclitus, “When you are awake you see death all around.” Maybe that’s why you don’t want to see. Maybe that’s why you dream and create a cloud of dreams around you, so that you are not required to face the fact of death. But remember, a man becomes religious only when he encounters death, never before.

When you encounter death, when you see it face to face, when you don’t avoid, when you don’t dodge, when you don’t escape, when you don’t create a cloud around you, when you face it, encounter it, the fact of death, suddenly you become aware that death is life. The deeper you move into death, the deeper you move in life because, Heraclitus says, the opposites meet and mingle, they are one.

If you are trying to escape from death, remember, you will be escaping from life also; that’s why you look so dead. This is the paradox: escape death and you remain dead; face, encounter death and you become alive. At the moment when you face death so deeply, so intensely, that you start feeling that you are dying — not only around, but within also, you feel and touch death — the crisis comes. That is the cross of Jesus, the crisis of dying. At that moment, from one world you die — the world of the horizontal, the world of the mind – and you resurrect into another world.

Jesus’ resurrection is not a physical phenomenon. Christians have been unnecessarily creating so many hypotheses around it. It is not a resurrection of this body, it is a resurrection into another dimension of this body; it is a resurrection into another dimension of another body that never dies. This body is temporal, that body is eternal. Jesus resurrects into another world, the world of the truth; the private world has disappeared.

In the last moment Jesus says he is worried, troubled. Even a man like Jesus dying is worried, it has to be so. He says to God, he cries, “What are you doing to me?” He would like to cling to the horizontal, he would like to cling to life — even a man like Jesus.

So don’t feel guilty about yourself; you would also like to cling. This is the human in Jesus, and he is more human than Buddha, Mahavira. This is the human: the man comes to face death and he is troubled, and he cries, but he doesn’t go back, he doesn’t fall. Immediately he becomes aware of what he is asking. Then he says, “Thy will be done!” — relaxes, surrenders. Immediately the wheel turns — he is no more in the horizontal; he has entered the vertical, the depth. There he is resurrected into eternity.

Die to time so that you are resurrected into eternity.

Die to mind so you become alive in consciousness.

Die to thinking so that you are born into awareness.

Says Heraclitus, “Whatever we see when awake is death…” That’s why we live in dreams, sleeps, tranquilizers, narcotics, intoxicants — in order not to face the fact. But the fact has to be faced. If you face it, the fact becomes the truth; if you escape, you live in lies. If you face the fact, the fact becomes the door for the truth. The fact is death; that has to be faced. And the truth will be life, eternal life, life in abundance, life which never ends.

And then death is not death. Then life and death are both one, like two wings — this is the hidden harmony.


From The Hidden Harmony, Chapter Two

The Hidden Harmony

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