Discovering Who You Are – Douglas Harding

[Text from a handout designed by Douglas Harding in the mid-1970s and distributed in workshops organized by Werner Erhart.]

1. Cut a head-sized hole in a card and hold it out in front of you.

2. See how empty that hole is – and how full of the scene. Now slowly put it on until your face fits in the hole. Or is it still empty? What’s happened to its boundaries?

3. Try putting it on again to make sure that, right where you are now, there is this boundless emptiness you can fill with anything you like. This is WHAT and WHO you are!

But (you may say) I can feel my face.

Right! Try fingering your face and head all over and see whether you can fill your space with a coloured, opaque, complicated, limited thing for living in. Is it dark, sticky, small in there? Aren’t you as faceless, transparent, open and vast as ever – with a lot of touch sensations in the nearer regions of your vastness?

But (you may go on) I can’t rely on vision only. How could you show this to a blind man?

Shut your eyes, drop memory and imagination, and notice whether you have any limits now, are in any kind of box. Aren’t you more like room – silence for these sounds to happen in, space for these passing sensations of warmth, pressure, etc., this flow of feelings and thoughts? Just room or capacity – but aware of itself now as that!

Peeling The Onion

But (you may say) everyone else can see there’s a human being here.

It all depends on how far off they are. Seen from a distance of 1,000,000 light years you appear as a galaxy (the Milky Way), from a distance of 1 light year as a star (the Solar System), of 100,000 miles as a planet (the Earth), of 10 feet as a human, of 1/1000 inch as a cell. Nearer still you read as molecules, atoms, particles… Only you can complete their outside story and view yourself from 0 inches, as No-thing – and Here is the central Reality, of which all those regional views are your appearances.

But (you may go on) I feel like a human being.

Sometimes. But aren’t you capable of so identifying with your family, your organisation, country, species, or planet (in case of threat from outer space) that you’d die (as man or woman) for them? And in your best moments don’t you embrace the universe? Other times, don’t you narrow down to (say) an aching tooth? You take responsibility for – you become – as much of the world as you choose – because already you are it all. So your feelings about yourself are as elastic and changeable as your appearances. What they are appearances of never changes.

All the same (you insist) I belong, physically, to the human layer of the onion.

As a mere human body you don’t exist. What is that body without its substructure of cells, molecules, atoms, particles? You could spare a kidney, a lung and all four limbs, but what if your Earth and Sun were cut off? The whole of your body is the Whole. As for your mind, don’t your thoughts and feelings cover all layers of the onion – from its empty core?

But what happens to personal relationships, to love, to all communication, if I disappear?

Look at a friend’s face. Dropping memory and imagination, is there anything where you are to shut out that face with? Or are you empty for him or her? Aren’t you built open, built for welcoming, for loving?

Growing Up – Or Down?

There are four stages of your growing up:

1. As an INFANT you were for yourself No-thing.

Like any animal, you were faceless, immense and at large, unseparate from your world – without being aware of all of this.

2. As a CHILD you were for yourself No-thing and something.

You learned to look at yourself from a few feet away “through others’ eyes” and see yourself as a human being – a special one at that. You came to identify with that face in your mirror, and answer to its name. Yet you remained, for yourself, at large, space for your world to happen in. You may occasionally have become fully aware of your space, of yourself-as-you-see-yourself (a child is apt to ask why others have heads and she hasn’t, to protest that she isn’t a girl – she’s not like that at all! – or declare that she is nothing, not present, invisible). Both views of yourself – from outside as a small thing and from inside as this vast No-thing – were true and needful.

3. As a GROWN-DOWN (so-called adult) you are now for yourself that small thing.

Your learned view of yourself from outside has come to overshadow and practically blot out your original view of yourself from inside. You have grown down, not up. Instead of containing your world, it contains you – what’s left of you. Shrunk from being the whole into being this tiny part, you grow greedy, resentful, frightened, unsuccessful, tired, stiff, out of touch with your Source, plain crazy:

Greedy – as you try to regain as much as possible of your lost empire,

Resentful or aggressive – as you seek revenge on a system that has cruelly cut you down to size,

Frightened and lonely – as you see yourself a mere thing, at the mercy of and up against all other things,

Unsuccessful – because working for, and taking responsibility for, yourself as a mere individual human is making sure of failure: the end of all your personal enterprises is death,

Tired – because it takes so much energy building and rebuilding this imaginary box for living in, right where you are,

Stiff, unnatural, phoney – because you act to impress, not express,

Uncreative – because you have cut yourself off from your Source and Centre and see yourself as a mere regional effect,

Crazy – because you “see” something that isn’t there and imagine (contrary to all the evidence) that you are at 0 feet what you look like at 6 feet – a solid, opaque, coloured, outlined lump of stuff. How can your world remain sane if its very Centre has gone insane?

Insofar as you don’t suffer from these handicaps you remain “a child at heart,” more or less unconsciously in touch with the truth of who you are.

4. As a GROWN-UP (truly adult) you are for yourself No-thing and all things.

Stuck at Stage 3 you are a case of arrested development. The experiments show how simple and natural it is to go on to the next stage and truly grow up. In fact, carrying out the experiments and taking their point you have already made it to Stage 4. Congratulations!

Stage 4 isn’t, like the infant, losing yourself in your world. Nor, like some meditators, finding yourself within and letting the world go by. It is simultaneously looking in at your Space and out at what fills it – two-way attention. This means you have nothing left of your very own to shut the world out with – and so it’s all yours!

And this means you go on to take responsibility for those “others” out there, for suffering mankind, the living Earth, all the way to the Whole – because you lie at the empty Source of it all. But you don’t lie back. You find yourself loving and serving your neighbour (Who isn’t your neighbour?) as yourself, because he or she is yourself.

And, sooner or later, you may discover that your overall aim is assisting him or her, and all mankind, and ultimately all beings, to come to this 4th Stage and really grow up. This is a big job – the toughest adventure of them all. (Paradoxically it’s also the easiest, already in the bag, seeing that no being ever strayed from Home or left its Source, anyway.) Meantime your own entry into Stage 4 is natural and obvious. All you have to do is look at the spot you occupy right now, at what’s 12 inches your side of these words, taking in these marks on the screen. And what presently will take in the people around you, houses, animals, stars, the lot – at your pleasure.

You are a Grown-up, no longer a Grown-down.

Again, congratulations!

In Practice

Okay, I’ve got it. But seeing What/Who I am comes in flashes. How to maintain and strengthen this seeing?

The answer comes in 3 parts:

1. Make full use of techniques which re-direct your attention to this neglected spot at the Centre of your Universe. Some simple reminders are given below. Eventually everything you experience takes you back to yourself, its Source, and life becomes one big “workshop exercise.”

2. Spend as much time as possible with friends who share this seeing. The condition is infectious.

3. Above all, work with such friends – performing the humblest or grandest of tasks – at clear-cut goals whose ultimate aim is not “your own” achievement of Stage 4, but the world’s. The marvellous thing is that what’s best for the world is best for you – the best therapy, discipline, work, fun – because you are the world! And this includes all the world’s resources of modern science, communication, organisational know-how. If you are serious about this great enterprise you will neglect no means to its success.

It may well be that the survival of the Species – let alone its progress – depends on its growing up to Stage 4 within a relatively short time, so that this stage is regarded as the norm, the standard against which maturity is reckoned. This doesn’t mean that everyone, or even the great majority, will get there so quickly. (After all, though Stage 3 – the Grown-down – is now regarded as normal, huge numbers of people are still more or less at Stage 2, and not yet capable of clearly seeing themselves from out there, as things in the world.)

REMINDERS

Face-to-No-face – So much of your time is spent with people – either imagining you are confronting them face-to-face, or seeing it’s never been like that at all. The most available of all pointers to what you are is also the best recipe for good “personal relationships.”

Single Eye – How many eyes are you looking out of, in your own experience, right now? Check up by slowly putting on your glasses and seeing what happens to those two “windows.” If you don’t wear glasses, make up a pair with your thumbs and forefingers. Outline with your hands the extent of this huge window – frameless, spotless, with nobody looking out of it.

Pointing – Point at your feet, legs, torso… noting how you’re pointing at something, and this something is distant from your finger. Now point at your “face”. What are you pointing at now, dropping memory and imagination? How far is it – are you – from that finger?

Neck-line – Look up at our heavenly bodies, out at your earthly body, down at your human body. Outline with your finger the boundary of that body, on present evidence – the place where it meets your Space.

Travelling – Spinning, driving your car, walking, see whether you are moving in the world, or the world in you.

Other Senses – Observe what happens to the food that goes into holes in people’s head, and what happens to the food that actually has taste. Listen to the Silence-you-are, into which sounds are now popping.

Thoughts and Feelings – Can you discover any thoughts and feelings which aren’t fleeting and don’t belong to the world of objects (ranging from your human to your cosmic body)? Is anything central and permanent except this Awareness, this sense of Being, or I AM? YOU ARE THAT!

-Douglas Harding

As seen at The Headless Way

No Self, No Other – Osho

Osho, say something more about self-knowledge. That’s my whole interest and inquiry. 

Self-knowledge is a contradiction in terms. When it really happens, there is no self and there is no knowledge. If the self is there, it can’t happen. If knowledge is there, it has not happened. So a few preliminary things to be understood.

First: for self-knowledge to happen, the self has to go. You have to forget all about your ego. You have to be in a state of egolessness.

And the second thing: you have to forget all about knowledge too. If you are continuously hankering to know, that very hankering will prevent you. God reveals himself only to those who are not hankering for anything, who are not desiring anything – not even to know God. Mysteries are revealed only to those who simply wait, who make no demand on God. They wait with open eyes, they wait with open heart, but with no demand.

Your demand is basically ego-oriented. Why do you want to know? Because knowledge gives power. Try to understand it. Knowledge is power. The more you know, the more powerful you become. Ego is always interested in becoming knowledgeable. If you know about nature, you become powerful over nature. If you know about people, you become powerful over people. If you know about your own mind, you become powerful over your own mind. If you know about God, you will become powerful over God.

The search for knowledge, deep down, is really the search for power. And how can you be powerful over reality? The very idea is ridiculous. Allow the reality to be powerful over you… relax. And allow the reality to take possession of you, rather than you trying to take possession of reality.

To be really in a state of self-knowledge, one has to forget self and forget all inquiry into knowledge. Then it happens! And only then it happens.

There have been three efforts in the whole history of human consciousness concerning self-knowledge. The first effort is of the realist. The realist denies the self; he says there is no self inside, no subject; only the object exists, the thing, the matter, the world. That is his way to avoid the inner journey.

The inner journey is dangerous. You will have to lose all! Self-knowledge and all, root and all – you will have to lose all. The realist cannot take that risk. He finds an explanation. He says, “There is no soul. There is no self. All that exists in the world is objects.” So he becomes concerned with knowing the objects. He forgets the subjectivity and becomes occupied with the objectivity. That’s what science has been doing for three hundred years. It is a way of escaping from oneself.

The second way is that of the idealist who says there is no object: the world is maya – illusion. There is nothing to know outside, so just close your eyes and go in. Only the knower is true – the known is false. The realist says only the known is true and the knower is false; the idealist says only the knower is true and the known is false. And just see the absurdity of it – because how can there be a knower if there is no known? And how can there be a known if there is no knower?

So the idealist and the realist are only choosing half of the reality. About the other half they are afraid.

The realist is afraid to go in, because to go in means to go into emptiness, into utter emptiness. It is to fall in a bottomless pit, in an abyss… unpredictable. Where one will land nobody knows, or whether there is any landing at all.

The realist is afraid of the knower, so he denies it. Out of fear he says it is not: “My whole concern is with the known, the object.” And the idealist is afraid of the object, of the world, of the enchantments of the world, of the magic of the world. He is afraid of getting lost into the desires and passions. He is afraid of getting entangled into things – money, power, prestige. He is so afraid that he says, “All is dream. The world that is outside is not real. The real world is inside.”

But both are being half true. And remember: a half-truth is far worse than a total lie. At least the total lie has one quality about it: it is total – the quality of totality. And one thing is beautiful about a total lie: it cannot deceive you long – because it is such a lie, even the stupid person will be able to see sooner or later that it is a lie. But the half-truth is dangerous – even an intelligent person can get lost into it.

And then there is the third way: the way of the mystic. He accepts both, and rejects both. That is my way. He accepts both because he says, “On one plane both exist – the knower and the known, the subject and the object, the inner and the outer. But on another plane, both disappear and only one remains – which is neither the known nor the knower.”

The mystic’s approach is total. And I would like you to understand the mystic’s approach as deeply as possible. On one level both are right. When you are dreaming, the dream IS true, and the dreamer is true. When you are awake in the morning, it is no more true. Now the dreamer is gone, the dreaming is gone – both have gone. Now you are awake. Now you are existing on a totally different level of consciousness.

The world is true, the ego is true, when man is ignorant, unconscious, unaware. When man becomes aware, when Buddhahood happens, then the world is not there, neither is there any ego – both have disappeared. “Both have disappeared” does not mean that nothing is left: both have disappeared into each other. Only one is left now, two are not left. The knower and the known have become one.

That oneness is what is really meant by self-knowledge. But the word is not right. No word can be right. About such great experiences which go beyond duality, no word can be right.

Man tries in two ways to overcome the epistemological dichotomy which is inherent in self-knowing.

One way is to confine his knowing to objects of the world of the non-self. This way is to escape from self-knowledge. The people who want to escape from self-knowledge condemn it as introverted, unsocial, abnormal, even perverted. They call it a kind of intellectual masturbation, navel gazing: they call these people lotus-eaters, dreamers, poets, mystics, somehow gone astray from reality.

How much of the pursuit of research in the natural sciences is motivated by the effort to keep our attention off ourselves? This question has to be asked.

People become interested in scientific research – why? Are they really interested in some scientific project? Or are they simply trying to avoid going in? The greater possibility is that they are avoiding going in.

Albert Einstein said before he died that if God were going to give him another chance to be born, he would not like to become a scientist again. A friend who was by the side of the bed asked, “Then who would you like to become?”

And he said, “Anybody, but not a scientist. I would like to become a plumber even, but not a scientist.”

Why? Albert Einstein was a man of great sensitivity, of great intelligence; a man who could have easily become a Buddha. Had all the potential, and missed – because he poured all his intelligence into the objective world. He became too much concerned about the stars and time and space, etcetera, and he forgot completely about himself. He became so much engaged with other things and other problems that he forgot completely who he was, or that some time has to be given to oneself too.

One of the socialist leaders of India, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, went to see him. He was telling me that when he went to see Albert Einstein he had to wait six hours. The time had been fixed by Albert Einstein himself, and again and again the wife would come and bring tea and other things and would say, “We are sorry but he is taking his bath.” So long?

Dr. Lohia asked, “How long is he going to take his bath?”

The wife said, “Nobody knows, because when he sits in his tub he starts thinking of great things. And he forgets completely where he is. And we are not allowed to disturb him, because he may be chasing some subtle train of thought, and if we disturb him it may be a loss to humanity.”

Dr. Lohia became more interested. He said, “But what does he go on doing sitting there?”

The wife said, “Please don’t ask… he plays with soap-bubbles. He keeps himself engaged with soap-bubbles, and goes on thinking. All the great problems that he has solved, they have been solved in his tub.”

You must have heard of great scientists becoming absent-minded. Those are not just jokes – there is a truth in it. They lost track of their own being. It is said of Immanuel Kant: one night he came back home, he knocked on the door, it was getting dark, and the servant looked from the window, from the top floor, and said, “The master is not at home.”

It is Emmanuel Kant’s house, he is the master, but the servant thought somebody had come to see the master. So he said, “The master is not at home. He has gone for a walk.”

And Immanuel Kant said, “Okay, then I will come later on.”

And he went! After walking for one hour, then he suddenly realized, “What nonsense has this servant been playing with me? I am the master!”

If you become too much engaged in outer things, there is a possibility your whole consciousness will start moving into extroversion. Nothing points to yourself.

Another night, Immanuel Kant came back home. He used to carry a walking-stick. He went in the room and forgot what is what, so he put the walking-stick on the bed, and he himself stood in the comer. Only in the middle of the night, suddenly he recognized the fact that something was wrong.

This IS possible. One can become really so much obsessed with the objective… one can lose all track of oneself. One can fall in a shadow. Scientists live in that kind of shadow. Philosophers live in that kind of shadow.

Subjectivity is eliminated when objects and objective interests take over. The ontological imperialism of scientific methodology is a pressing danger. It is one matter to hold that if something cannot be known by scientific methods, it cannot be known, but it is quite another matter to hold that if something cannot be known by scientific methods it does not exist.

And once you become too much obsessed with the objective, then naturally you become obsessed with the methodology of science too – then that is the only valid method to know. If something is not available to that method, then not only do you say it cannot be known, you start saying, slowly, slowly, unconsciously, unawares, that if it cannot be known through scientific method it cannot exist.

That’s why scientists go on saying God does not exist. Not that God does not exist – it is just their methodology. Their methodology is for the object and God is your subjectivity. Their methods are meant to catch hold of that which is separate from you. And God is not separate from you: God is your innermost being, your inferiority.

Through scientific methods, love cannot be proved. That does not mean love does not exist. For it, a different methodology is needed, a different approach, a different vision, a different way of seeing. The scientist avoids the problem of self-knowing by getting more and more interested in the objective world. By getting more and more into things, he goes farther and farther away from himself.

And there is a third effort also to overcome the subject/object dichotomy, and that is the way of the mystic. One way to avoid this problem of subject and object is that of the scientist: only object exists. The other way to avoid the dichotomy – because it is insoluble – is that of the idealist: to say that the world is illusory, it doesn’t exist, it is maya, close your eyes. Both are wrong. The third is the method of the mystic: he transcends. He does not deny reality to the object, he does not deny the reality to the subject – he accepts the reality of both. He bridges them.

That is the meaning of the famous Upanishadic statement: Tat-Tvam-Asi – That art thou. This is a bridging. In this bridging, self-knowledge happens. Self disappears, knowledge disappears – knowing remains; a clarity, a transparency. All is clear. There is nobody to whom it is clear, and there is nothing which is clear – but ALL IS clear. It is only clarity and clarity…. This is called by the Buddhists: The Lotus-Land of Buddha. All is clear and fragrant, and beautiful, and graceful. Then the splendor opens its doors.

The mystic transcends the problem by attempting a form of knowing in which the knower and the known are merged into one unit. Now nothing is left in the concept of ‘knowledge’.

Knowledge cannot be divided into direct and indirect. All knowledge is indirect. Knowledge is a salute, not an embrace. It is a representation, a symbolization, a universalization, an analysis. In a sense, knowledge is a form of falsifying; for reality is concrete, particular, specific, unanalyzed. Knowledge is a dry and dead fact – it is not wet experience. And experience is not knowledge but knowing.

That’s why Krishnamurti always uses the word ‘experiencing’ rather than ‘experience’. He is right. He turns the noun into a verb: he calls it experiencing. Remember that always: transform nouns into verbs and you will be Dover to reality. Don’t call it knowledge: call it knowing. Don’t call it life: call it living. Don’t call it love: call it loving. Don’t call it death: call it dying. If you can understand that the whole life is a verb, not a noun, there will be great understanding following it like a shadow.

There is no self and there is no other.

The great Jewish mystic and philosopher, Martin Buber, says that prayer is the experience of I and thou, a dialogical experience a dialogue. Yes, in the beginning prayer is so, but not in the end. For the beginners, prayer is a dialogue between I and thou. But for those who have arrived, prayer is not a dialogue because there is neither I nor thou – only one. Dialogue cannot exist. It is not communication: it is communion. It is not even union, but unity.

Self-knowledge is of great importance. Nothing else is of more importance than that. But remember these two pitfalls: one is denying subjectivity and becoming a realist; another is denying reality and becoming an idealist. Avoid these two pitfalls. Walk exactly in the middle.

And then you will be surprised – the self has disappeared, the knowledge has disappeared. But then descends knowing. Great light descends, and a light that not only transforms you but transforms your whole world.

Buddha is reported to have said: The moment I became enlightened, the whole existence became enlightened for me. This is true. I am a witness to it. Exactly that’s how it happens. When you become enlightened, the whole existence becomes full of light and remains full of light. Even darkness becomes luminous, even death becomes a new way of living.

-OSHO

From The Perfect Master, V.2, Chapter Two

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

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Without Ripples – Osho

Anything I see happening in myself is false, illusory, and a mind trip, right? And my recognition of the mind trip is a mind trip too?

RIGHT. As far as thoughts go, everything is a mind trip. When thoughts cease and you see without any thoughts crowding in your mind, when you see clearly with no smoke of the thoughts surrounding you, when your look is simple, innocent, uncorrupted by thoughts, then it is not a mind trip. Only meditation is not a mind trip; everything else is a mind trip. Or, love is not a mind trip; everything else is a mind trip. If love or meditation has happened to you, you will know what I am indicating towards. In a deep moment of love, thinking stops. The moment is so intriguing, the moment is so tremendously powerful, the moment is so intensely alive, that thinking stops. You are simply in awe, a great wonder surrounds you. Or in deep meditation, when the moment of silence has come and you are absolutely silent, still—no flickering, no wavering, no trembling, the flame of your consciousness is straight—then thinking stops. Then you are outside the grip of the mind. Otherwise, everything is a mind trip.

Remember it: one has to go beyond the mind because the mind is samsar, the mind is the world. It is because of your thinking that you are missing the truth. Once thinking is stopped you are face to face with the reality. It is the continuous screen of thinking that is distorting reality. It is as if you are looking in a lake full of ripples. It is a full moon night, and the lake is reflecting the beautiful moon—but it is full of ripples. You cannot gather it together; the moon goes on splitting into a thousand fragments. The whole lake seems to be spread over by the moon, silvery, many fragments of the moon all around. Then the wind stops, the ripples disappear: those fragments start falling into one moon. The silver that was spread all over the lake becomes more concentrated in one place. When the lake is completely without ripples, the moon is reflected perfectly.

When the mind is with thoughts, the lake is with ripples; when the mind is without thoughts, the lake is without ripples. God is reflected perfectly when there is no ripple in you. Forget all about God—the only thing to be done is how to become ripple-less, how to become thoughtless, how to drop this constant obsession with thinking. It can be dropped—it is because of your cooperation that it continues. It is your energy that you go on giving to it that keeps it alive. It is just like a man on a bicycle: he goes on pedaling—it is his energy that keeps the cycle going on. Once he stops pedaling, the cycle may go a little further because of the past momentum, but then it has to stop.

Don’t give energy to your thoughts. Become a witness—indifferent, aloof, distant. Just see the thoughts, and don’t be in any way involved in them. Note the fact: the thoughts are there; but don’t choose this way or that, don’t be for or against, don’t be pro or con. Just be a watcher. Let the mind-traffic move, just stand by the side and look at it, unaffected by it, as if it has nothing to do with you.

Sometimes try it: go on the busiest street where the traffic rush is too much. Stand by the side of the road and see the traffic—so many people going hither and thither, and cars and bicycles and trucks and buses. You just stand by the side and look, and do the same inside: close your eyes and see—the mind is a traffic of thoughts, thoughts rushing here and there. You watch, you just be a watcher. By and by, you will see that the traffic is becoming less and less. By and by, you will see that the road is empty, nobody is passing. In those rare moments, first glimpses of samadhi will enter in you.

There are three stages of samadhi. First, when you achieve glimpses through gaps—one thought comes, then it has gone and another has not come for the time being. There may even be a gap for a few seconds; in that interval reality penetrates you—the moon becomes one. The reflection is there only for a single moment, but you will see the first glimpse.

This is what in Zen they call satori. By and by, the gaps will become bigger, and when the gaps become bigger and you can see reality more clearly, that vision of reality changes you. Then you cannot be the same because your vision becomes your reality also. Whatsoever you are seeing affects your being. Your vision, by and by, is absorbed, digested. That is the second stage of samadhi.

And then comes the last stage: when suddenly the whole traffic disappears, as if you were fast asleep and dreaming and somebody has shaken you and awakened you, and the whole traffic of dreaming has stopped. In that third stage you become one with reality, because there is nothing to divide. The fence that was dividing you has disappeared. The wall is no more there. The wall is made of the bricks of thoughts, desires, feelings, emotions; once it disappears—it is a China wall, very ancient, and every strong—but once it disappears, there is no fence between you and God. When for the first time the third stage happens, that is where the Upanishads announced, “Aham Brahamasi“—I am God, I am the Brahma. It is where the Sufi mystic, Mansur, declares, “Ana’l Haq“—I am the truth. It is there when Jesus declares, “I and my God are one, I and my Father are one.”

-OSHO

From The Beloved, Chapter Ten

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.

 

The Invitation – Osho

Can you say who you are?

 Maneesha, I am an invitation for all those who are seeking, searching, and have a deep longing in their hearts to find their home.

I am an answer to the question that everybody is, but cannot formulate—a question that is more a quest than a question, more a thirst than a verbal, mental inquiry; a thirst that one feels in every cell and fiber of his being, but has no way to bring to words and ask.

I am an answer for that question which you cannot ask and you cannot expect that it could be answered. When I say I am the answer, I don’t mean that I can give you the answer… yes, if you are ready, you can take it. I am just like a well, ready for you to throw your bucket and draw the water for yourself. I have it but I cannot reach to you without your efforts.

Only you can reach to me.

It is a strange invitation.

It will take you on a long pilgrimage and it will end only where you already are. You will have to move many steps and on many paths just to come to yourself, because you have gone far away from yourself. You have completely forgotten the way back. I am a reminder, a remembrance, of the lost home.

As a person I do not exist.

As a person I only appear.

I exist as a presence.

Since the day I came to know myself, the person disappeared. There is only a presence, a very living presence that can quench your thirst that can fulfill your longing. Hence, in one word I can say I am an invitation, of course just for those who have a deep longing in their hearts that they are missing themselves—a deep urge, that unless they find themselves, everything else is meaningless. Unless it is your a priori concern, your ultimate concern, such that if it is needed you are even ready to lose everything for it, but you cannot drop it….

There are thousands of desires, but as far as longing is concerned there is only one: to come back home, to find your reality. And in that very finding, you have found all that is of any value—blissfulness, truth, ecstasy.

Jesus used to say, “If you have eyes to see, see. If you have ears to hear, hear.” Of course, he was not talking to the blind and to the deaf. He was talking to people just like you. Perhaps he was talking just to you, because you are not new.

You are as ancient as the whole existence.

You have always been here.

You may have come across many masters; you may have come close to many buddhas, but you were too much engaged in trivia. You were not aware of your longing.

I am an effort to provoke the dormant in you, to wake up the asleep. The fire is there, but is burning very low because you have never taken any care of it.

My invitation is to make you aflame, and unless you know a life which is luminous and aflame all your knowledge is just a deception. You are gathering it to help you forget that the real knowledge is missing.

But however great is your accumulation of the other, the objective, the world, it is not going to become a substitute for your self-knowing. With self-knowing suddenly all darkness disappears, and all separation from existence.

I am an invitation to take a courageous jump into the ocean of life. Lose yourself, because that is the only way to find yourself.

-OSHO

From The Invitation, Chapter One

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.

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All and Nothing Mean the Same – Osho

You said that really there is no one inside us, there is only a void, an emptiness, but then why do you often call it the being, the center?

 Being or non-being, nothing or all – they look contradictory but they both mean the same. All and nothing mean the same. In dictionaries they are opposites but in life they are not. Nobody understands. Look at it in this way: if I say that I love all, or if I say that I love no one, it means the same. If I love someone, then only is there a difference. If I love all, it means the same as loving no one. There is no difference then. The difference is always in degrees, relative. And these are both two extremes, they have no degrees: the total and the zero have no degrees. So you can call the total a zero, or you can call a zero the total. That’s why some enlightened persons have called the inner space emptiness, sunya, the void, nothingness, non-being, anatma – and some have called it the inner being, the absolute being, the Brahma, atma, the supreme self. These are the two ways to describe it. One is positive, the other is negative. Either you have to include all or have to exclude all – you cannot describe it with any term which is relative. An absolute term is needed.

Both the contradictory poles are absolute terms.

But there have been some enlightened persons who have remained totally silent. They have not called it anything, because whatsoever you call it – whether you call it being or non-being – the moment you give it a name, a term, a word, you have erred, because it includes both.

For example, if you say, “God is alive,” or “God is life,” it is meaningless, because then who will be death? He includes all. He must have death in him as completely as life, otherwise to whom will death belong? And if death belongs to someone else and life belongs to God – then there are two Gods, and then there will be many problems which cannot be solved. God must be both life and death. God must be both the creator and the destroyer. If you say God is the creator, then who is the destroyer? If you say God is good, then who will be evil? Because of this difficulty, Christians, Zoroastrians, and many other religions have created a Devil side by side with God, because to whom will the evil belong? They have created a Devil. But nothing is solved – the problem is only pushed one step back because then it can be relevantly asked, “Who has created the Devil?” If God himself creates the Devil, then he is responsible. And if the Devil is something independent, not related to God, then he himself becomes a God, a supreme power. And if God has not created the Devil, how can God destroy him? It is impossible. Theologians go on giving some answers to a question but that answer again creates more questions.

God created Adam, then Adam became evil. He was expelled. He disobeyed God and he was expelled from the heavenly world. It has been asked again and again, and relevantly, why did Adam become evil? The possibility must have been created by God in him – the possibility to be evil, to go wrong, to disobey. If there was no possibility, no inherent tendency, then how could Adam go wrong?

God must have created the tendency. And if the tendency for evil was there, another thing is also certain: the tendency to overcome it was not so strong. The tendency to fight it was not so strong. The evil tendency was stronger. Who created this strength? No one except God can be responsible. Then the whole thing seems to be a hoax. God creates Adam: he creates an evil tendency in him, a strong evil tendency which he cannot control; then he goes wrong; then he is punished. God should be punished, not Adam! Or, you have to accept that some other force exists side by side with God.

And that other force must be stronger than God, because the evil can tempt Adam and God cannot protect him. The Devil can provoke and seduce and God cannot protect. The Devil seems to be a stronger God.

There is a church, recently born in America, called the church of Satan, the church of the Devil. They have a high priest, just like the pope of the Vatican. And they say that history proves that the real God is the Devil. And they look logical. They say, “Your God, the God of good, has always been defeated, and the Devil has always been the victorious. The whole of history proves it. So why worship a weak God who cannot protect you? It is better to follow a strong God who can seduce you but who can protect you also – because he is stronger.” The church of the Devil is now a growing church. And they seem logical. This is what history proves.

This duality – to save God from the negative pole – creates problems. In India we have not created the other pole. We say God is both: the creator and the destroyer, the good and the bad. This is difficult to conceive of because the moment we say “God” we cannot conceive of him being bad. But in India we have tried to penetrate the deepest mystery of existence – that is, oneness. Somehow, good and bad, life and death, negative and positive, meet somewhere, and that meeting point is existence, oneness. What will you call that meeting point? Either you will have to use a positive term, or a negative one, because we don’t have any other terms. If you use positive terms, then you call it “Being” with a capital B – God, Absolute, Brahma. Or if you want to use s negative term, then you call it nirvana, nothingness, sunya, non-being, anatma. Both indicate the same. It is both and your inner being is also both. That is why sometimes I call it being, and sometimes I call it non-being. It is both. It depends on you. If the positive appeals to you, then call it being. If the negative appeals to you, then call it non-being. It depends on you. Whatsoever feels good, whatsoever you feel will give you maturity, growth, evolution, call it that.

There are two types of persons: one who cannot feel any affinity with negativity and the other who cannot feel any affinity with the positive. Buddha is the negative type. He cannot feel affinity with the positive, he feels affinity with the negative. He uses all negative terms. Shankara doesn’t feel affinity with the negative. He talks about the ultimate reality in positive terms. Both say the same thing. Buddha calls it sunya, and Shankara calls it Brahma. Buddha calls it the void, nothing, and Shankara calls it the Absolute, the All. But they are saying exactly the same thing.

Ramanuja, one of Shankara’s greatest critics, says that Shankara is just a hidden Buddhist. He is not a Hindu, he only appears to be because he uses positive terms. That is all the difference there is. Wherever Buddha says nothing, he says Brahma – all else is the same. Ramanuja says that Shankara is the great destroyer of Hinduism because he has brought Buddhism in from the back door by just using a trick – wherever a negative term is used, he uses a positive term, that’s all. He calls him a Prachhana-Bouddha, a crypto-Buddhist. And he is right in a way because there is no difference. The message is the same.

So it depends on you. If you feel an affinity with silence, nothingness, then call that great being Emptiness. If you don’t feel an affinity, if you feel afraid, then call that emptiness The Great Being.

But then your techniques will be different. If you feel scared with emptiness, aloneness, nothingness, then the four techniques I talked about last night will not be of much use to you. Forget them. There are other methods about which I have been talking. Use positive techniques.

But if you are ready and have the courage to be supportless, to move into emptiness, alone, ready to cease completely, then these four techniques will help you tremendously. It depends on you.

-OSHO

From The Book of Secrets, Chapter 80

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

The Book of Secrets

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Enter Space, Supportless, Eternal, Still – Osho

Enter space, supportless, eternal, still.   

Three qualities of space have been given in this technique. Supportless: there can be no support in space. Eternal: it can never end. Still: it will be soundless, it will be silent. Enter this space, it is within you.

But the mind always asks for support. People come to me and if I say to them, “Just sit silently, with closed eyes, and don’t do anything,” they say, “Give me some avalamban, some support. Give me some mantra as a support, because I cannot sit.” Just sitting is difficult. If I give them a mantra, it is okay. They can go on repeating the mantra. Then it is easy. With support you are never empty, that’s why it is easy. Something must go on, you must be doing something. Doing, the doer remains: doing, you are filled. You may be filled with Omkar, Aum, Ram, Jesus, Ave Maria, anything – you may be filled with anything, but you are filled. Then you are okay Mind resists emptiness. It wants always to be filled by something else, because if it is filled it can be. If it is not filled it will disappear. In emptiness you will attain no no-mind. That’s why mind asks for support.

If you want to enter inner space, don’t ask for support. Drop all supports, mantras, gods, scriptures, whatsoever gives you a support. If you feel you are supported, drop it, and just move inside – supportless. It will be fearful; you will feel scared. You are moving to where you can be lost completely. You may not be able to come back because all supports will be lost. Your contact with the bank is lost and where this river will lead you, no one knows. Your support is lost. You may fall into an infinite abyss. Hence, fear grips you, and you ask for some support. Even if it is a false support, you enjoy it. Even a false support is helpful. Because for the mind it makes no difference whether a support is real or false – it must be a support, that’s the point. You are not alone, something is there and supporting you. […]

It happened once that a man came to me. He was living in a house where he felt there were spirits and ghosts. And he was very worried. Through worries, he started seeing more illusions. Through worries, he became ill, weak. His wife said, “If you live any longer in this house, I am leaving.” His children were sent to some relative’s house.

The man came to me and he said, “It has become very difficult now. I see them clearly. They walk in the night. The whole house is filled with spirits. You help me.”

So I gave him one of my pictures and said, “Take it. Now I will tackle those spirits. You simply sleep silently, you need not worry. Really, I will tackle them, I will see to them. Now it is my business. And don’t interfere. Now you need not be concerned.”

The man came the next day. He said, “I slept, it was so beautiful! You have done a miracle!” And I had not done anything but give a support. Through support the mind was filled. It was no longer vacant; someone was there.

In ordinary life you are leaning on many false supports, but they help. And unless you become strong enough, you will need them. That’s why I say that this is the ultimate technique – no support.

Buddha was dying and Anand asked him, “Now you are leaving us, what shall we do? How shall we attain? How shall we proceed now? When the master is gone, we will be wandering in darkness for many, many lives. No one is there to lead us, to guide us, the light is going out.”

So Buddha said, “It will be good for you. When I am no more, you become your own light. Move alone, don’t ask for any support, because support is the last barrier.”

And it happened. Anand had not become enlightened. For forty years he was with Buddha, he was the closest disciple, he was just like a shadow to Buddha, moving with him, living with him; he had had the longest contact with him. For forty years Buddha’s compassion was falling over him, raining over him – for forty years. But nothing happened; Anand remained as ignorant as ever. And the day after Buddha died, Anand became enlightened – the next day, the very next day. The very support had been the barrier. When there was no more Buddha, Anand could not find any support. It is difficult. If you live with a Buddha, and the Buddha goes, then no one can be a support to you. Now no one will be worth clinging to. One who has been clinging to a Buddha cannot cling to anybody else in this world. This whole world will be vacant. Once you have known a Buddha and his love and compassion, then no love, no compassion can compare. Once you have tasted that, nothing else is worth tasting. So Anand was alone for the first time in forty years, totally alone. There was no way to find a support. He had known the highest support; now lower supports would not do. The next day he became enlightened. He must have moved into the inner space, supportless, eternal, still. […]

So remember, don’t try to find any support. Be supportless. If you are trying to do this technique, then be supportless. That is what Krishnamurti is teaching, “Be supportless. Don’t cling to a master.  Don’t cling to anything.”

That is what every master has been doing. A master’s whole effort is first to attract you towards him, so that you start clinging to him. When you start clinging to him, when you become close and intimate with him, then he knows that the clinging must be cut. And you cannot cling to anyone else now – that is finished. You cannot move to anyone else – that is impossible. Then he cuts the clinging and suddenly you are left supportless. It will be miserable in the beginning. You will cry and you will weep and you will scream and the whole being will feel that you are lost. Into the very deepest depth of misery you will fall. But from there one arises alone, supportless.

Enter space, supportless, eternal, still. 

That space has no beginning, no end. And that space is absolutely soundless. There is nothing – not even a sound vibrating, not even a ripple. Everything is still.

That point is just within you. Any moment you can enter it. If you have the courage to be supportless, this very moment you can enter it. The door is open. The invitation is for all, all and everyone. But courage is needed; courage to be alone, courage to be empty, courage to dissolve and melt, courage to die. And if you can die within to your inner space, you will attain to the life which never dies, you will attain to amrit, to immortality.

-OSHO

From The Book of Secrets, Chapter 79

 

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

The Book of Secrets

Here you can find all of Shiva’s 112 Meditation Techniques.

Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt Enter Space, Supportless, Eternal, Still.

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Does the World Say that it Exists? – Ramana Maharshi

 

Ramana_Maharshi_faceDr. Bernhard Bey, an American Chemist who had interested himself in Vedanta for the last twenty years, now in India, came on a visit to the Master. He asked: “How is abhyasa to be made? I am trying to find the Light.” (He himself explained abhyasa as concentration = one-pointedness of mind.)

The Master asked, what was his abhyasa till now.

The visitor said he concentrated on the nasal base, but his mind wandered.

M.: Is there a mind?

Another devotee gently put in: The mind is only a collection of thoughts.

M.: To whom are the thoughts? If you try to locate the mind, the mind vanishes and the Self alone remains. Being alone, there can be no one-pointedness or otherwise.

D.: It is so difficult to understand this. If something concrete is said, it can be readily grasped. Japa, dhyana, etc., are more concrete.

M.: ‘Who am I?’ is the best japa.

What could be more concrete than the Self? It is within each one’s experience every moment. Why should he try to catch anything outside, leaving out the Self? Let each one try to find out the known Self instead of searching for the unknown something beyond.

D.: Where shall I meditate on the Atman? I mean in which part of the body?

M.: The Self should manifest itself. That is all that is wanted.

A devotee gently added: On the right of the chest, there is the Heart, the seat of the Atman.

Another devotee: The illumination is in that centre when the Self is realised.

M.: Quite so.

D.: How to turn the mind away from the world?

M.: Is there the world? I mean apart from the Self? Does the world say that it exists? It is you who say that there is a world. Find out the Self who says it.

-Ramana Maharshi

From Talks with Ramana Maharshi, Talk 81, 15th October, 1935