A Direct Apperception – Jean Klein

Presence, the now, refers to our eternity. We can never think of it, represent it, because we are it. It is an instantaneous apperception that it refers to our totality. Every step undertaken to find it is going away. It is the ultimate goal in every human being to know it, to be it. It is everlasting peace and joy.

Jean:  Any questions?

Q:        You’ve said that it is only through inquiry, by asking the question, “Who am I?” that we come to know our real nature, ourselves. At what point in a life time does the question really come up? When do we really feel the question?

Jean:  It needs a certain maturity to come to this question. By maturity I mean that you know, in a certain way already, what you are not. This knowing what you are not brings you to the fore feeling what you are. The moment you know what you are not, you are free from all directions, and you are brought back to the starting point which means, “Who am I?” And in this moment, there is no more reference to anything, anything known. And then, I would say, you are taken by reality. There is no more a knower and something known. There is only being the known.

Q:        But how can I ask the question so that it doesn’t remain mental? So that it has real transformative power to change my life? Otherwise, it remains mental repetition, or a mental inquiry. How do I make it a really existential question, living question?

Jean:  When you ask the question, you don’t know the answer. So automatically you find yourself in a state of not knowing. In this state of not knowing, your mind is completely unfurnished. You are free from all representation. It is only in this state of not knowing, in this openness of not knowing, waiting for the eventual known. When the waiting becomes free from what it is waiting for – in this waiting without waiting – there is the living answer.

Q:        What does it mean to be enlightened?

Jean:  It supposes that there is somebody to be enlightened. As long as you take yourself for somebody, you live in darkness. When you realize that the somebody is a mental image, and it is when you think of it and you produce it. Then you give it up. This image has no more a role to play. And in this instantaneous giving up, it gives you up. It produces, I would say, a great laughing. In this laughing, it’s like you will feel yourself free from all representation. You function in daily life and all functions refer to you.

Q:        Many teachers teach different forms of meditation practice. If a person sincerely follows a meditation practice, will that lead him to the consciousness or the non-state that you have referred to?

Jean:  Going to meditation means to find yourself in a laboratory. The entity which looks for peace, joy, security, in other words God, will never find it because our cerebrality can never know what truth really is. So, as long you can find the meditator, meditation is an illusion. And this giving up the meditator and even the meditation, then what remains, I would say, is a current of love. There is not another, only the love.

Q:        But the conditioning to take ourself as a person runs so deeply, don’t we need some kind of technique or process to break ourselves of this identification, to decondition the mind and the body?

Jean:  Every state, every object refers to the now. It appears in the now, and it vanishes in the now. Every technique remains [keeps] you in the realm of the mind, but that can never free yourself from the mind, free from memory. So I would say, see really what is next to you, what is the near to you, look at your nearness. It can never be an object. It can never be a state. You are your nearness. Otherwise, there is conditioning and conditioning. To see it really clearly means wisdom.

Q:        Jean, isn’t this rather confusing for someone who would come to one of your seminars and find that there is meditation. There is bodywork, an advaita yoga you might say, where we are working with sensation and feeling the energy body. All of which ultimately have to be objects. All of which are existent and not eternal. What do they have to do with this nearness, this presence you are speaking of?

Jean:  We are working with objects, sensation, feelings, but really, we don’t know this original perceptions, original feelings. We know only a certain pattern. In this session, you become familiar with listening, listening to your sensation, to your feelings, your reactions, resistance. In this listening, you give the feeling, the sensations, the opportunity to unfold itself in the observation. It comes to a new reorchestration of your feelings and sensations. This unfolding is only possible because you are open to it, you welcome it. Now welcoming is an idea, but really with your whole being being open to it, what refers to your totality. You realize that it isn’t you, that you are not in the body, in the perception, in the feeling.

Sometimes we use certain techniques, which generally are used in a progressive way, but it is only occasionally. It is the idea behind that which we are looking for – we are it fundamentally – because in the end all things appear in the now, and it has its reality in the now. It is the now which gives the perceptions, the apperceivings, its reality. I would say, only then we have a certain reality. We have an expanded reality, but at the end, it belongs to the now, to the present. All what appears is a prolongation, an expansion, of the now, of consciousness, of awareness.

So, it brings you back, in other words, to your real nature, because all that is done emphasizes not on the object part but on the ultimate subject part, consciousness.

Q:        This listening that you speak of, is this an integral part of being or is it an attribute, a way toward being?

Jean:  The listening of which you are speaking is free from all memory. There are no expectations. There is no goal. In this listening we are looking away from the goal, looking away from the target. So it is unconditioned listening. In listening, the listening is open to itself. It refers to itself. And at the end, it knows itself by itself.

Q:        You said that all objects point to our true nature or the background, do some objects point more directly, and just what do you mean by this?

Jean:  All objects point where [toward] your real nature, but then? When? you see nearer an object the smallest sense perceptions. It belongs to our five senses. So generally, when the mind is not informed that you are behind all sense perceptions, then you are more or less fixed to the sense perceptions. So your question, is there other form of objects which reveals your real nature, I would say these are objects which point directly to beauty. This means these are objects which have been conceived, produced in beauty, and these objects, the artist which offers it to you in a certain way, don’t emphasize the object part what is producing. It is why he produced it in a very economic way. He frees the object of its objectivity. So the listener, or the person who looks at it, may be free from the senses and brought back to real beauty.

The artist has from time to time, this feeling of absolute beauty, free from the person. And then this state, free from the person, the artist likes, I would say, to thank – thanking to be allowed to be. And this thanking brings him to offering. He offers it. And the object which he offers is free from any anecdotic part, and free from keeping it for the senses. So in a certain way, he shares his inner beauty. His beauty is your own beauty and oneness. It is so in listening to music, and it is also looking at any art objects – sculpture, painting, architecture, and so on.

Q:        In this enlightened non-state, what about feelings and emotions? Do you feel anger or happiness and joy in the same way or is there a difference?

Jean:  When you are established in the now, the present, there is no place for somebody who reacts, who resists. All what appears to you, appears to your totality. All counterparts – positive, negative – are, I would say, abolished. You may say certain things appearing in your life are not completely appropriate. That is sure, but there would not be a reaction. When you qualify it, it is more or less; it is not functional, but you are not more psychologically involved in it.

Q:        Jean, I would like to ask a question about relationships. When two people come together, like a man and a woman, and live with each other, and one of them is interested in this kind of approach to life and the other perhaps isn’t, it is often a lot of ground for conflict, which has led me to feel sometimes that it might be better if I were living alone. It might be somehow easier to accomplish this kind of awakening. And I wondered what you had to say about that?

Jean:  It is love which brought both together. And it is in this oneness that the personality of each unfolds, but both personalities refer to oneness, to love. When the personality of the woman, of the man don’t refer to the oneness, to love, you can be sure there is a kind of degeneration because the personality, the character, or what you call the individual, has its reality in this oneness, in love. It is so on every level. Every activity in its own level refers to this oneness. Otherwise, there is a moment, there is no more stimulation. It is this oneness which gives life to all activities. The moment we believe in this restricted being, of personality to personality, of man and woman, then you can be sure there is not only a kind of degeneration in its form of energy, but there is constant comparison because the personality is completely insecure, looks for security, for the moment that doesn’t refer to the oneness. There is only asking, demanding. So, you must refer to the original encounter, you as a man with a woman which means love.

Q:        Jean, you just mentioned referring to the oneness. I notice that when I experience fear, I identify almost totally with my body and biological survival. How can I break that restricted identification when I am in that state?

Jean:  Fear is first a perception. You feel fear. And then feeling, you qualify it. You name it; you say “fear”. But the word fear is memory refers to a certain pattern that you have, the notion that you mean by fear. So the idea of fear doesn’t refer to the actual fear, the actual perception. So pedagogically I would say, free yourself from the concept fear then you face really the perception which is localized in your body.

See in this moment how you function. You try to change the fear. You try to escape. You try by all means to refuse it. In the refusing, in the escaping, you give more or less fuel to the fear. When you see it really, there is a moment natural that you allow the fear to be fear. And it becomes energy – really energy alive. You accept it completely. It is not psychological acceptance, but it is functional acceptance – accepted to know it more and more deeply. Then the perception refers completely to your accepting. It is in this accepting position that what you accept frees itself; and it dissolves in you, in your presence. It reveals really what you are profoundly.

Live with the fear more and more deeply. Accept it. Even love it. You are not more bound it. When you are not more bound to it, when you are not more involved in it, it frees itself. It is a reaction. But in accepting it you will come completely through the fear. You remain completely a witness to it. It vanishes in your witnessing. It means intimate living. You are able to do it.

Q:        Jean, this question has probably come up many, many times, but it is the issue of money and our desire for it, and how we use it, and our feeling that it is going to provide security for us. Could you speak about the issue of money and our proper relationship to it.

Jean:  I have observed that many people have a wrong relationship with money. First, I would say that you are not the owner of your money. You are the administrator. And being an administrator of your money, you are detached in a certain way. You have a non-relation with your money because an ownership is avidity, a striving, a coming. An administrator is only functioning. Try functioning with your money and spending it and then earning it.

The first thing what I think is that you are completely emotional, psychologically involved with your money. It is generally when you take your money for [as] yourself, an expansion of yourself, belonging to yourself, that you will have a bad death. You will only dying [die] but never really dying [die]. It is your money which keeps you from dying. Many people take risk with your [their] body and mind, but they would never take risk with the money, for money is something which keeps you. Owns you. Lets you never go. Because there is a moment in life that they have to go. But what is important [is] that when you be really [are] an administrator of your money, the distribution and the earning become really functional. It’s been coming to you because somebody has spent it.

Apparently, I don’t see that you spending money [is] an augury. The question may be more or less the mind. (Soft laughter.)

Q:        Thank you.

(More laughter.)

Jean:  I think in daily life you should come often back to the starting point and the starting point you can never think of it because the moment you think of the starting point the point is already in the past. The starting point is the presence, the eternal now. All flows out from the now, and all appears and disappears in the now. And the now is a kind of original perception. It is a direct apperception; you know yourself in your totality. There is not a knower there is only known.

-Jean Klein

From Dialogues with Jean Klein, Part 1

Here you can read more from Jean Klein.

Here you can listen to A Direct Apperception (Dialogues with Jean Klean part 1).

Here you can listen to Dialogues with Jean Klein part 2.

Here you can watch the videos of the Dialogues with Jean Klein on YouTube.

Is Thinking Necessary? – Toni Packer

This is the sixth day of the November 87 Seven-day Retreat.

Several questions have come up in meetings, probably more than we can go into in depth this morning, but I will mention them anyways.

One is: Isn’t thinking necessary in our day-to-day living? So we will look at that and look at thought which is sticky.

Another question concerns partial awareness: Is there such a thing as partial awareness? Being aware partially?

Then there was a question several people asked, What is love? Is there any place for love in this work?

And there were questions about fear and the fear of dying, the fear of death.

We will start out with the question: Isn’t thinking necessary in our day-to-day living?

One wonders where does such a question come from? Does it come out of observation in our day-to-day living? Or does it come out of the assumption that thought is bad? There shouldn’t be thought. And so, one may continue to think if the mind is empty of thought (which seems to be a goal) certainly one may think this is one’s own spiritual goal – not to have disturbing thoughts – then how will I live my day-to day-living?

We do have enormous amounts of assumptions. Some more available to us than others. Others are very tacit, subliminal assumptions, particularly if we have gone through spiritual training where there seems to be a quite universal demand about cutting thoughts. Just recently, I read in one magazine, issued by a spiritual organization, several articles in which this was emphasized – cut, cut, cut, when thoughts come up. Or don’t get involved in the complexes of thinking, just this (Toni thumps the table)! If you understand that, there is no need to think! And one may find, that one who for many years has trained in that way, that that sort of the thinking atrophies in a way. One thinks along given lines, which one has done before one entered a spiritual organization; now one has a new line to think along. And the leader, the teacher, the authority, the spiritual guide will do the thinking for one, if it’s necessary.

So one doesn’t have to bother one’s mind. I am not saying that facetiously. It does go on.

One knows oneself; one asks questions and expects answers. Questions which one can explore oneself. Not that it isn’t helpful and okay to explore a question together. And yet to see the question, where it comes from, and to listen in the light of the question. No one can do that for one. We re-emphasize this because we are so used to having someone else lead us, do our thinking and guiding for us, which is probably the single most obstructive thing in our life. Relying on someone else and therefore not the openness, the innocency, of looking and listening oneself.

So is thinking necessary in our day-to-day living? Well, we can watch – of course it is. We wouldn’t find our way into the kitchen if we didn’t have memory of how to get there. And that memory does not need to be prompted. It is there, when the bell rings. (Laughter.) How to get here, how to drive home, how to find one’s address, one’s house, and in our daily work, and learning a new skill, studying, all of this requires memory and thinking and memorizing new information.

I personally feel that it is important to be aware of what is going on in the world, close to one’s home as well as in distant areas. To be aware what we human beings are involved in, enmeshed in, worldwide, close at home and all over the globe. Not to see it with an axe to grind or to prove something that one has already concluded but to look freshly all the time and to not be opaque within, as one watches the news. The news in depth, documentary, the past, of the past wars, to not just watch or read what is happening out there but simultaneously be transparent to what goes on within oneself in this closest and most intimate of all laboratories that is available to us – our own thoughts and feelings and emotions and conflicts, upheavals, turmoil, and so forth. To be intimate with it; open to see what goes on in oneself. Not hesitant or fearful to discover the truth of one’s moment-to-moment thoughts and feelings and turbulence, conflicts, contradictions because they are what make up the turbulence, contradictions, and conflict in this world, and vice versa.

If that transparency and that openness to what is happening, not from a point of view but open, if that takes place, our thinking about relationship among human beings personally and universally will be intelligent. It will not happen according to party lines. You will not be defensive of a system that one may have been educated in, an ideology or religious doctrine. One will understand and think intelligently about all doctrine, all indoctrination, and what it does to human beings, to us – by observing within and outside. And when there is this openness, and the clarity of watching and looking and asking questions and discussing with interested friends, then our thinking will be intelligent. It will not be partisan, distorted, defensive, or aggressive; it will reflect what is actually happening.

But it does not happen if there is not awareness of the thinking process itself. And that no matter how much one reads about it, or hears about it, that has to be observed, caught as it happens. And this is what we devote so much time and energy to here, all of us.

When the mind is open, not closed in opinion or defense or fear, but open to listen and to think and to look, then one can discover that certain thoughts do not close up the mind. They can go on and the mind remains open. Right now, we are certainly thinking. Examples are given at times which mean memory is used to remember an incident, to bring it in as an example – that is memory and thought – and yet in speaking or listening, the mind need not close up.

The sound of the airplane, or the breathing of participants here, the changing of a posture, the rustling of clothes, the creaking of a joint, that’s all there. One doesn’t need to label it, and therefore it doesn’t need to disturb the listening. And yet there is a certain focusing on what is being said. Focusing means gathering attention and listening to what is being said and not labeling what else is heard.

If one thought, well this airplane, is this flying toward Boston? I flew over here once and I saw this place down here; I actually did! (Laughter.) It was amazing. I could see these lakes; it was almost frozen and there was sparkling sunshine like we have had. And usually, I have an image of not having any idea about geography and direction and where I am, but when I looked out there, that image must not have been there because something was recognized which looked like Hemlock Lake, and sure enough it was. One could see these lakes like fingers. That is what they are called. And there were these three fields, three patches of openness in the midst of the bare trees. The house was not visible; we were too high.

So coming back, hearing the airplane, will one think, is this the plane to Boston? And get involved in the memory of how nice it was, beautiful site, and the lovely colors, then one cannot also pay attention to listening. But if a sound is heard without being labelled, and the associations do not take place because the attention, the energy and attention is in listening – to the words that are being said – then the sounds do not disturb. They do not close down the mind or narrow it down.

The mind does get almost instantly closed up or narrowed down when there is what we call sticky thought about oneself, one’s pains, or one’s hopes, one’s desires. What injustice has been done to one. An angry incident coming up which the mind goes over and over, wanting some satisfaction from the person that did one wrong. Thought in which the self is threatened, or wants to maintain itself, prove itself, or aggrandize itself. Those thoughts do not allow for an open mind. All the energy and emotions are so intense and absorbing that the outside doesn’t seem to exist anymore, neither the awareness of the process itself.

Or can that dawn at any moment? Can one wake up in the midst of sticky thoughts which close down the mind so that the bird is not heard? Of course, of course, one can wake up. Waking up can happen at any moment. It happens on its own. It’s unfathomable. It has no cause. One comes to, sees the anger, sees the jealousy, or whatever is agitating the mind, or the desire. Then what happens?

People often tell me, “I don’t like to look because it is too painful what I see; it’s too ugly. It makes me shiver or shudder at myself.” And with that one withdraws from looking. Maybe a moment of awareness and then the mind going off on some other track. Why? Why? Why this fear of looking at oneself? Why this feeling of revulsion? One isn’t afraid of looking at other people and criticizing them heartily. (Laughter.) Actually, I think that to the extent that we hate to do it in ourselves, we are that much more engaged in criticizing and analyzing others. Finding fault with what we observe in others. There we can safely look and tackle it. Why not within oneself? What is the threat? What is threatened? What is so threatening about it?

Let us take the hypothetical case that we had no ingrained image about ourselves – how we should be – which we have nurtured and thought about and has been inculcated into us for years and years and is in the air. The moral images of a society, of a family, or a racial collective, they are taken in by osmosis. Those standards and images – how one ought to be – are there in us, in our memory. And what we see does not correspond to what we think we should be, or what we maybe always have believed we are. We can so deceive ourselves. A strong image about what we are like distorts our vision or ignores what behavior manifests; it is ignored. It is not seen. It is rationalized or just doesn’t come into awareness. And therefore, what deep down ails us – the conflict of contradiction in ourselves between what we actually think and do, and what we think we ought to be thinking and doing – that conflict deepens and widens and grates more and more.

This is the human disease. The difference between what actually is happening (the awareness of that) and what we think we are, and living (trying) desperately (or not so desperately) to live up to that. It is so fraught with emotion too, because when we are little, we are chided, reminded, reprimanded, punished. If an adult was treated like we treat children, in this respect, we would explode. Well, children explode too but even that they are often not allowed to do. Constantly being told what to do; what not to do; this is right; this is wrong – by us parents who may do the same things and not be aware of it. It is always so obvious when maybe one is invited to a party where there are many adults with many children. Adults talking noisily, laughing hilariously, and making all kinds of noise, but when the kids get too noisy, “Quiet down, be quiet!” And sometimes not so gently when the children are reminded once or twice, and then they are sent to their rooms, with a noisy command. Being yelled at to be quiet! We don’t notice these things until we begin to notice them.

My husband Kyle said, while we were with our grandchildren a few years ago at his . . ., “One should really be grandparents before one is parents.” Because when it’s not your children, then you can have this openness, and you see what happens. How parents worry about the image that the kids project. “My child will he look like that . . .how will he look in school? Will he behave like this forever?” All these fears and anxieties of making children behave properly, all the while not observing, not taking the time to see the whole thing what happens. Giving attention at a certain segment of the whole thing and then maybe disapproving or stepping in, not having seen what went on before. What oneself did and said before that may have agitated a child.

So we are coming back to wondering whether it is not possible to see oneself, even if it is painful? To look at what is revealed in awareness, if it is painful or frightening or ugly. Realizing that one is observing a human being – in action, in relationship, under stress.

It is not necessary to immediately identify and say, “This is me and I should be that way.” Then the trouble starts; the difficulty begins, and one will ignore or escape. If one remains with it and comes to some profound understanding of how we operate and react, then we will not need this tremendous outlet to blame others, see fault in others.

We realize our common inheritance and common patterns, common bondage, and maybe, common freedom from it. Because if it is possible in one human being to see anger in oneself and have it end in the seeing . . .[all human beings can] be free of it. Drop it. It has flared up but it can be dropped instantly, the angry thought, while you may still convulse for a while. And one gives the time to slow down again, to come back into balance. But an angry thought or a grudge can be dropped instantly, as it is seen. If this is possible for one human being, it is possible for all human beings. Why shouldn’t it be? At least one cannot assume that this is for an elite. Then one is stuck with a new idea.

Actually, one doesn’t immediately escape from something that is seen but looks caringly and feels the feelings of sorrow or anger or fear without naming them, without reacting positively or negatively – just that – the reality, the actuality of it, the aliveness of it. A joy comes into this world – the joy of discovering what is true, what is actually happening – and not this conflict and dilemma of needing to hide or escape, and pretending, being hypocritical.

Maybe we can leave that and go on to the next question which was about whether there can be partial awareness? Or whether a lot of the awareness that we seem to experience is partial awareness? Before we get into it, let us just say that thinking about oneself, remembering what one did and then thinking about it, is not awareness, even though it often masquerades for awareness. One may think very honestly and perceptively, as we say, about oneself. Be able to analyze it very astutely. Remembering and then bringing to bear one’s knowledge about other behavior in oneself, memories, and so forth; but it is not awareness. It is thinking and analyzing.

Which reminds me, using this as an example. Once taking a walk with a psychoanalyst, a close friend, who was telling me about some recurring problem that we both had witnessed. We were together at the time. A recurring problem that this person had in relationship. And in taking our walk together, she was analyzing very honestly and non-defensively how this comes about this clash in the relationship, this repetitive clashing. And since it was apparent that it was some concern, over some particular concern that I had witnessed, I think this is why she was explaining how it happened. And at one point I asked, “Would it be possible to see this as it happens because it happens over and over and over again? Just be aware of it as it happens. Not analyzing it afterwards but seeing it at the moment.” She said instantly, “I don’t want to use my energies that way.” It was an amazing response. It was not deliberated. It came so quickly and maybe, now I am analyzing, (laughter) there is pleasure in our clashes and our angry explosions with each other. We don’t want to let go of that. It gives some release, a feeling of power over each other. One has to observe that for oneself. It is easy afterwards to say why it happened, but why can’t one see it as it happens? And is there attachment? That is a question which one has to ask oneself, ask of oneself. Attachment to the very thing that we are suffering from, only partially suffering from; the other side of it is pleasure. Pleasure in the suffering, in the anger, in the outlet, in the release, in the violence, in the domination and power. It all reveals itself when the mind is not judgmental but open to look. Asking questions and then being quiet in the looking.

So back now to partial awareness. I think it is a very worthwhile inquiry whether, as one feels there is awareness of something, whether the mind is really open to the whole. To the whole situation. One may be minutely occupied with a job. Maybe one is working in the kitchen. One is cutting the carrots, scrubbing them under the water, paying attention. We talked about it the other day. Feeling the water, the coldness of it and the texture of the carrot, seeing its shape and little dark ridges, slicing it and so forth. Being there, being attentive, as attentive as one can be, and all the while, not noticing that somebody else wants to get to the sink. (Laughter.)

So there can be careful minute attention but on a very small, limited stage. And very often when that kind of awareness takes place, center stage is still the me, aware that it is aware, and quite pleased with itself. (Laughter.) There is an image there of oneself being aware, paying attention. Paying attention all right to this thing but not in a broader sense in which there is no image to hold onto. The image can be seen and let go of. It goes if it’s seen because if it is seen, it is seen for its partiality, for its narrowness and stickiness – its darkness. And when the self-image goes, with its commands that you must be attentive, you must be aware, when that goes, it is seen and understood and doesn’t continue, and the world opens up. There is the sky again and all the people next to one, not so different from oneself. Much more alike than different. Which maybe leads us into our next question on What is love?

Is there any love in this work? somebody asked. Being involved in discovering about oneself and often the despair. The deep grief in seeing what one has done to other people. How hurtful one’s violent emotions have been in the past, maybe just a moment ago, and the real feeling of despair, of frustration, and sometimes of hopelessness. Will this ever change?

See these too are thoughts and judgements about oneself. Why can’t there be just seeing? Like when the sun comes out of the clouds, it covers everything, the beautiful brown grasses, the green grasses, and any kind of trash that may be lying around. It’s equally lit up. No differentiation there, no discrimination there. And actually, an awareness which is not beset by immediately judging, the me coming back and judging: this is bad, this is good, this is ugly and so forth. Awareness is of the same nature, of the same essence; it is non-judgmental. It just illumines what’s there.

Can one quickly catch seeing when a judgement is coming up and not be caught up in it? So that there is no, no duality in this seeing, no owner of these behaviors, no possessor of the anger or sufferer of the pain. That’s made up by thought. We went into this quite in detail yesterday, how thought creates the sufferer of the pain.

In reality, in truth there is just the pain. And that is not the word either; it’s not the concept, the idea. It’s what it is. What is it? Without words, without any duality, no one there, just what’s there! No thought about me being this way or that way. That divides instantly, and then there is no more sun, no more light. Then there are only our prejudices, and fears, and opinions, and standards which shade, throw shade, a shadow.

So the question is really – isn’t it? – whether this constant self-centeredness or self-enclosing, this ongoing enclosing oneself with one’s self-image and its needs and fears and so forth, whether that can end, in the light of awareness? So that there is just what is. There is no duality, no owner, no sufferer, no wanter of something different. Those thoughts as they come up are seen, are spotted, and dissolve like snow on a warm blade of grass.

These moments happen to all of us, I’m sure, at times. A moment when there is no feeling of conflict; there is no feeling of standing against anything. There just being the vast expanse of what is there, including what is happening in this chunk of life which is part of the wholeness of life. And it is when there is not the immediacy of judging and wanting different things or fearing. None of that, it is quiet. It is an abeyance. The energy is gathering in awareness, in attention, in not knowing. In not knowing what is right or wrong. Not interested in right or wrong, just interested in being there. In that state, one may find the welling up of love. Out of nowhere. And belonging to no one. Because belonging and owning is thought, self-enclosing thought, but love, lovingness, has nothing to do with thought. It has nothing to do with possession or wanting or lacking. It is just there when it is there. And it spreads like the sunshine. It covers without any discrimination. That’s not part of it; it’s not partial.

And I don’t think it could ever do harm. How could it? Because it is not self-enclosed. When that love is there – it’s not the word, it’s not a concept. When that’s there, then there is no fear of dying. No fear of death. There is no fear. Because the self-enclosure isn’t there. That’s where fear is born and maintained, in the self-enclosure – what will happen to me?

Fear is born out of the attachment to somebody or something. It even gives rise to the attachment. Fear of being lonely. Fear of not getting what one wants or needs. Fear of not continuing as the story of one’s life, as an image. All of our fear of imagining dying is fear of imaging. Fear of not continuing as me, as I know me. So fear and self are wedded; they are inseparable. Where there is a feeling of self, there is fear. There is also pleasure. And the vehicle for both of them being thought and image. For both pleasure and fear, the vehicle is thought, thinking and imaging about myself in relationship to what will happen to me pleasurably and frighteningly. When there is no self-enclosure, when the self-image is quiet, it’s not there, one can even say there is a dying to it, then there is no fear. What would one be afraid for?

Can one look at these things? Ponder them and go into it deeply? (Pause.) Dying to the idea of oneself which is the creator of fear. Dying to the idea of oneself and seeing it and the vanishing of that – that’s being alive – so that then one is alive. Part, inseparable part of all of life, in which the cyclical, periodic, annual dying is no problem. Not only no problem, but there cannot be a new shoot, a new leaf, a new flower or blade of grass without an old one having ended.

So why are we so afraid of ending? It’s like all thought stuff, image stuff. Can one see that, see it freely without withdrawing? Without commenting on it and withdrawing because of the comments? “I won’t be anywhere, what will happen to me?” Actually, when one is not enclosed in this whole collection of images about oneself, then one is everywhere and nowhere. That is what nowhere means, everywhere. (Pause.)

We will end here for today.

-Toni Packer

From a talk given on the sixth day of the November 87 Seven-day Retreat.

Here you can listen to the talk Is Thinking Necessary?

Desiring the Unattainable – Osho

Desire only that which is within you.

It looks absurd, paradoxical, illogical: Desire only that which is within you. Desire is basically for that which is not within you. Desire means the desire for something that is not within you. If it is already within you, then what is the need to desire it?

We never desire ourselves as we are. We always desire something else. No one desires himself; there is no need. You are already that; you are not missing anything. You desire something that is missing.

This sutra says: Desire only that which is within you for many reasons. One, if you desire something that is not within you, you may get it, but it will never become yours. It cannot. Really, you can never become the master of it; you will just become a slave. The possessor is always possessed by his possessions. The greater the number of possessions, the greater the slavery that is created.

You are possessed by your possessions, and you were desiring to be the master. Frustration sets in because your whole hope is frustrated. You come to a point where the things you wanted are there, whatever you desired has happened, but you have become the slave. The kingdom now appears to be nothing but an imprisonment and whatever you possess, or think that you possess, is not really possessed, because it can be taken away at any moment. Even if no one takes it away, death is bound to take it.

In religious terminology, that which can be taken away by death is not yours. Death Is the criterion. There is only one criterion to judge whether you really possess something. Judge it against death and see whether you will still have it after. your death. If death takes it, you never possessed it. It was just an illusion.

Is there something that death cannot take from you? If there is nothing, then religion is pointless, meaningless. But there is something that death cannot take over and that something is hidden within you. You already possess it. It is your innermost nature. It has come with you; you are born with it. Or rather, it will be better to say that you are it, not that you possess it. If you possess it, it can be taken away.

You are it, it is your very being. It is your very ground; it is your existence. That is what is called atman. Atman means that which you are already. No one can take it away from you; not even death can destroy it. This sutra says: Desire only that which is within you. Desire atman, desire your innermost self, desire the center which you already possess but you have forgotten completely.

Why does man forget? It is a necessity. To survive, attention has to be paid to the outside world. To survive, to exist, to remain in life, you have to continuously pay attention to things: to food, to shelter. The body needs attention. It becomes ill, it is prone to suffering. The body is continuously struggling to survive because, for the body, there is death. The body is in a continuous struggle with death, so constant attention has to be paid to it.

The body is always in a state of emergency because at any moment death can occur. You have to be continually aware and continually conscious of this fight against death, so your whole attention moves outward. No energy is left to move within. This is a survival necessity. That’s why we go on forgetting that one center within us exists that is deathless, one center within us exists that is eternal, one center in us exists that is absolute bliss.

Pain attracts attention; suffering attracts attention. If you have a headache, your attention moves to the head; you become aware that you have a head. If there is no ache in the head, you forget your head. You become headless – as if you have no head.

The body is felt only when it is ill. If your body is absolutely healthy you will not feel it. You will become weightless. Really, you will become bodiless. This is the only criterion of authentic health: that the body is not felt at all. Whenever the body is felt it means that there is some illness, some disturbance. Your attention is called.

There are so many problems that come from the outside that your attention is constantly engaged and occupied there. That’s why you forget that something exists right in the very center of your being that is deathless, that is divine, that is blissful. This sutra says:

Desire only that which is within you.

For within you is the light of the world – the only light that can be shed upon the path. If you are unable to perceive it within you, it is useless to look for it elsewhere.

The eighth sutra:

Desire only that which is beyond you.

Desire only that which is beyond you. Always desire the impossible, because only through that desire do you grow. And what is impossible? Climbing Mt. Everest is not impossible; neither is going to the moon. Both have become possible. Someone has reached Everest. Even when no one had reached there, it was not impossible. Difficult, but not impossible. It was within human capacity to reach. The moon is within our capacity to reach and soon man will reach other planets as well. It is not impossible, only difficult. Someday it will become possible. Only one thing is impossible, one thing is beyond you, and that is your innermost self.

Why? I say that the moon is not so difficult to reach even though the moon is so far away, and I say that your innermost self is more impossible to reach even though it is just within you. Why is it so difficult to reach then? Because it is within you, that’s why. You only know how to reach what is without. Your hands can reach for what is without, your eyes can see what is without. Your senses open to the outside; you have no senses that can help you look within. Your mind moves without; it cannot move within. That’s why the mind has to be thrown. Only then can you enter meditation.

The mind is basically a movement toward the without. You can observe this very easily. Whenever you think, you are thinking of something that is outside of you. Whatsoever you think about is always outside you. Have you ever thought about anything that is within? There is no need to think about what is within because you can experience it. There is no need to think about it; thinking is a substitute. You can realize that which is within you. It is just by the corner. You move your head, you change your direction. From without you turn within, and you can experience it. What is the need to think about it?

But we go on thinking even about the within. We think about what atman is. We think, “What is the self?” We create philosophies and systems. We go on creating theories that the self means ‘this’, the definition is ‘this’, and no one tries to feel it. It is so near to you – what is the need of theories?

Theories are needed for what is far away, because you cannot reach it right now. You have to create a bridge. Theories are needed to reach the moon, but they are not needed to reach the center within you, because there is no gap. Nothing is to be bridged; you are already there. Just a change in your attitude is needed and you can realize it. There is no need of theorizing or philosophizing. But we go on creating philosophies. We have created thousands and thousands of philosophies. and philosophers go on wasting their lives thinking about that which was already within them. They could have jumped within at any moment!

But it is beyond. Beyond the senses, because the senses cannot open toward it; they open in the opposite direction. And beyond the mind, because the mind cannot lead you there; it always leads you somewhere else. The mind is an instrument for the world; it is a mechanism to move without, to move away from you. It is meant for that. That’s why there is so much emphasis that in samadhi there is no mind. Samadhi is a state of no-mind, the mind ceases.

In the techniques of meditation that we are doing, the whole effort is this: how to cease to be a mind, how to drop the mind, how to drop thinking, how to come to a moment where no thinking exists, where simply attention, simply awareness, exists. ‘No thinking’ means that there are no clouds in the sky; just the sky is there. ‘No thinking’ means that there are no clouds in the mind, just consciousness. In that consciousness, you are within.

When you are in the mind, you are without; when you are in no-mind, you are within. This transfer from mind to no-mind is the whole journey. If you can add ‘no’ to your mind, you have reached. That’s why it is called beyond.

Desire only that which is beyond you – beyond your senses, beyond your mind, beyond your ego. ‘You’ will not be there. Your innermost center is not you; you are just the periphery. The periphery cannot be at the center. When you move toward the center you leave the periphery. The periphery cannot exist at the center. It belongs to the center but it exists outside the center, just around it.

Whatsoever you know about yourself is just the periphery: your name, your identity, your image. You are a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian; you are black, or you are white; you are this and that. Your nation, race, culture – all this is just on the periphery; all your conditionings are just on the periphery.

The world cannot enter your center. It can only cultivate the periphery; it can only touch you on your boundaries. Only your boundary can be Hindu, only your boundary can be Christian, only your boundary can be Jain. ‘You’ are not; you cannot be.

Only your boundary belongs to India or to Pakistan or to America. You cannot belong to any nation, to any race. You belong to existence itself. All divisions are false at the center, but meaningful on the periphery.

Whatsoever you know about yourself is your ego. ‘Ego’ is just a utilitarian word. Your whole periphery means ‘you’. But this ‘you’ will drop when you start moving inward. This ‘you’ will drop by and by; this ‘you’ will disappear; this ‘you’ will evaporate. Then a point will come when you are authentically yourself; your old self is no longer there.

That’s why it is said: Desire only that which is beyond you. It is beyond you because when you reach it you have lost yourself.

Desire only that which is unattainable.

Desire only that which is unattainable. What is unattainable? Look around – everything is attainable. You may not have attained it, but it is attainable. If you make enough of an effort, you can attain it. Potentially, it is attainable.

Alexander created a big empire. You may not have created one, but what Alexander can do you can do. It is not impossible; it is not unattainable. You may not have gathered as many riches as Rockefeller or someone else but what Rockefeller can do you can do It is human: it is within your capacity. You may be a failure. you may not be able to attain it, but it is attainable. Your failure is your own failure, but potentially you could have been a success so the thing cannot be said to be unattainable.

Then what is unattainable? That which cannot be attained? If that is the meaning, then what is the point of desiring it? If it cannot be attained, then the desire is futile. Why desire that which is unattainable? What’s meant by it?

The meaning is very deep, esoteric. The meaning is that your innermost self is unattainable because it is already attained. You cannot attain it because you are it. You cannot make it an achievement. It is not something that has to be attained. It is already there; you have never been away from it. You have never lost it; it is your very nature. It is you, your innermost being. You cannot achieve it; you can only discover it. You cannot attain it; you can only uncover it; you can only recognize it.

There is no possibility of inventing it; it is already there. It is not to be earned; it is already there. You just have to give your awareness to it. You have to focus your awareness on it and suddenly that which was never lost is found.

When Buddha attained enlightenment, someone asked him, “What have you attained?”

Buddha said, “Nothing, because whatsoever I have attained – now I know that it was always there. It was never lost. I have simply discovered it. I have known some treasure which was, already, always within me.”

Desire only that which is unattainable.

It is unattainable, because it forever recedes. You will enter the light, but you will never touch the flame.

In another sense also it is unattainable. You will never be able to say, “I have attained it,” because who will say that I have attained it? That ‘I’ which can claim is no more. That ego – the periphery – is no more. In attaining, in discovering, it has to be lost. The ego has to be thrown away, cast away. You can reach only when you have become egoless. You cannot reach with the ego, because the ego itself is the barrier.

So who is there who will claim? It is said in the Upanishads that if someone claims that he has attained, know well that he has not attained, because the very claim is egoistic. If someone says. “I have known God,” know well that he has not known God; because once God is known, who is there to claim? The knower is lost in the very phenomenon of knowing. Knowing happens only when the knower is not When the knower is absent, the knowing happens – so who will claim?

There was one Zen monk, Nan-in. Someone asked him, “Have you known the truth?”

He laughed but kept silent. The man said, “I cannot understand your mysterious laughter. Nor can I understand your mysterious silence. Use words. Tell me. And be dear about it. Tell me yes or no. Have you known the truth, the divine?”

Nan-in said, “You are making it difficult for me. If I say yes, the scriptures say, ‘One who says, “I have known,” has not known.’ So if I say yes, it means no. And if I say no, it will not be true. So what am I supposed to do? Don’t force me to use words. I will laugh again and keep silent. If you can understand, it is okay. If you do not understand, it is also okay. But I will not use words. Don’t force me to, because if I say yes, it means that I have not known, and if I say no, it will not be true.”

You will reach, but in your purity. In that purity, your ego will not be there. The ego is the impure, foreign element within you – just the dust gathered all around you. It is not you. Naked, you will reach. Your ego is just like your clothes. It will not be there.

Desire only that which is unattainable.

-Osho

From The New Alchemy: To Turn You On, Discourse #4

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Bring the Dawn, Dispel the Darkness – Osho

When I was a student at a Japanese Buddhist University I heard the word consciousness. Beloved Osho, what does it mean?

Kranti Satbodha, consciousness you already have, but only in a very small proportion. It is just like an iceberg – one tenth is above water and the rest is under water. Just a little bit is conscious in you.

I am saying something and you are listening to it; without consciousness it is not possible. These pillars of Chuang Tzu Auditorium are not listening – they don’t have consciousness. But we are aware only of a very small piece of consciousness.

Meditation is the whole science of bringing more and more consciousness out of darkness. The only way is to be as conscious as possible twenty-four hours a day. Sitting, sit consciously, not like a mechanical robot; walking, walk consciously, alert to each movement; listening, listen more and more consciously, so that each word comes to you in its crystal-clear purity, its definitiveness. While listening, be silent, so that your consciousness is not covered by thoughts.

Just this moment, if you are silent and conscious you can hear small insects singing their song in the trees. The darkness is not empty, the night has its own song; but if you are full of thoughts then you cannot listen to the insects. This is just an example.

If you become more and more silent, you may start listening to your own heartbeat, you may start listening to the flow of your own blood, because blood is continuously flowing all through your body. If you are conscious and silent, more and more clarity, creativity, intelligence, will be discovered.

There are millions of geniuses who die without knowing that they were a genius. There are millions of people who don’t know why they have come, why they lived and why they are going.

It happened . . . George Bernard Shaw was traveling from London to some other place in England. The ticket checker came and Bernard Shaw looked in all his pockets, opened his suitcase – he was perspiring – the ticket was missing.

The ticket checker said, “I know you; everybody knows you, there is no need to be worried. You must have put it somewhere, don’t be so tense”. Bernard Shaw said, “Who is being tense about the ticket?” The ticket checker said, “Then why are you perspiring and looking so nervous?”

He said, “The problem is that now the question arises of where I am going. It was written on the ticket. Now, are you going to tell me where I am going? Who is going to tell me?” The ticket checker said, “How can I tell you where you are going?”

So Bernard Shaw said, “Then you should go and leave me alone. I have to find the ticket. It is a question of life and death. Where am I going? I must be going somewhere, because I have come to the station, purchased the ticket, entered the compartment. So one thing is certain, I must be going somewhere.”

This is the situation most people never come to know – their consciousness is a hidden treasure. One does not know what it contains unless you awaken it, unless you bring it into light, unless you open all the doors and enter into your own being and find every nook and corner. Consciousness in its fullness will give you the idea of who you are, and will also give you the idea of what your destiny is, of where you are supposed to go, of what your capacities are. Are you hiding a poet in your heart, or a singer, or a dancer, or a mystic?

Consciousness is something like light. Right now you are in deep darkness inside. When you close your eyes there is darkness and nothing else.

One of the great philosophers of the West, C.E.M. Joad, was dying, and a friend, who was a disciple of George Gurdjieff, had come to see him. Joad asked the friend, “What do you go on doing with this strange fellow, George Gurdjieff? Why are you wasting your time? And not only you . . . I have heard that many people are wasting their time.”

The friend laughed. He said, “It is strange that those few people who are with Gurdjieff think that the whole world is wasting its time, and you are thinking that we are wasting our time.” Joad said, “I don’t have much longer to live; otherwise, I would have come and compared.”

The friend said, “Even if you have only a few seconds more to live, it can be done here, now.” Joad agreed. The man said, “You close your eyes and just look inside, and then open your eyes and tell me what you find.”

Joad closed his eyes, opened his eyes and said, “There is darkness and nothing else.” The friend laughed and he said, “It is not a time to laugh, because you are almost dying, but I have come at the right time. You said that you saw only darkness inside?” Joad said, “Of course.”

And the man said, “You are such a great philosopher; you have written such beautiful books. Can’t you see the point, that there are two things – you and the darkness? Otherwise, who saw the darkness? Darkness cannot see itself – that much is certain – and darkness cannot report that there is only darkness.” Joad gave it consideration and he said, “My God, perhaps the people who are with Gurdjieff are not wasting their time. This is true, I have seen the darkness.”

The friend said, “Our whole effort is to make this “I,” the witness, stronger and more crystallized, and to change the darkness into light. And both things happen simultaneously. As the witness becomes more and more centered, the darkness becomes less and less. When the witness comes to its full flowering, that is the lotus of consciousness – all darkness disappears.”

Satbodha, we are here in a mystery school, doing nothing else than bringing more and more crystallization to your witness, to your consciousness; so that your inner being, your interiority, becomes a light, so full and overflowing that you can share it with others.

To be in darkness is to be living at the minimum. And to be full of life is to live at the maximum.

– Osho

From The Razor’s Edge, Discourse #11

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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

To Loosen the Bonds of Personality – Osho

The ninth sutra:

Regard most earnestly your own heart.

For through your own heart comes the one light which can illuminate life and make it clear to your eyes.

Only one thing is more difficult to know – your own heart. Not until the bonds of personality are loosed, can that profound mystery of the self begin to be seen. Not till you stand aside from it will it in any way reveal itself to your understanding. Then, and not till then, can you grasp and guide it. Then, and not till then, can you use all its powers and devote them to a worthy service.

Regard most earnestly your own heart. The most basic thing to be understood is that you cannot understand your own nature, your own heart, your own being, because of your personality, because of a false entity that you have created around you.

We live encased in personalities. Personalities are false. They are simply masks, facades to be shown to others. But the practice becomes so deep that you forget your original face completely. Showing your false faces to others, by and by you get identified with them and you begin to think that these are your faces. Then your original face, your real face, remains hidden.

Whatsoever you do, howsoever you act, whatsoever you say, remember well whether it comes from your heart or from your personality. Make the distinction clear. It will be a great help to you in the inner search.

When you say to someone, “I love you,” from where are these words coming? From where? What is the origin of them? Are they coming from your heart? Really, is your heart filled with love? Or are they just coming from your personality, just from your false face? Are you saying them just as a way of manners, a formality, an etiquette, or are you saying them as a means to something else?

You may desire someone’s body, you may desire sex with someone, but you say, “I love you.” This saying is just a deception. It would be better if you said, “I desire sex with you, but no love is there. Your body is attractive to me, magnetic to me, but there is no love. It may grow, but right now there is no love. I am interested only in your body.”

But if someone says that only your body is attractive to him, you are not going to be in love with the man. You will escape! You will say, “What nonsense are you saying?” The false face must be there. Only then can the body be given or taken.

So you go on cultivating your personality. When you are feeling hurt within, sad, even then you go on smiling. Consider whether your smile is just a painted smile, just on the lips, an exertion by the lips, or whether it is coming from deep down and spreading on the lips. Is the source rooted somewhere deep, or is there no source, is it just a painted smile? When you smile, observe it and you will come to know when the smile is false and when the smile is real.

When someone is sad, or someone is in misery, or someone has lost a friend, a beloved, a husband, a wife, you go to him. Your face looks sad and sorrowful. Remember, and consider deep within, whether this sadness is real or whether you are just displaying it and deep down you are simply bored, deep down you are trying to figure out how to leave, deep down you are thinking of other things, not at all interested in the person: his misery, his suffering. Go on considering this and you will come to know two different layers within you. The false one is the personality.

The word ‘personality’ is very significant. It comes from a Greek word persona. Persona means ‘the mask’. In Greek drama the actors used masks, false faces. Those false faces were called personae. And from that, the word ‘personality’ comes. It is beautiful. It means that you are acting with a false face. It is not you. You are hiding behind the false face, because you cannot reveal your real face.

I am not saying to necessarily go on revealing your real face everywhere. There is no need. Somewhere, the persona is needed. But be clear that this is the persona; this is not you. Inside, you must know when you are acting and when you are real. You must not be deceived by your acting! You must not become identified with your acting! I know that faces are needed. Otherwise, it will be difficult to live in society, very difficult. Faces are good in a way. They facilitate, they work as lubricants. And in a big society with so many people, you need not reveal your reality everywhere.

Someone meets you in the morning. You feel disturbed by it. You think, “Why have I seen this man’s face this morning? His face may destroy my whole day.” But, outwardly, you smile and say, “Good morning. How happy I am to see you.” Inwardly, you are not happy at all!

But this is okay as far as manners are concerned. It will not be good to say to the man, “I am feeling very unhappy. You have destroyed my morning. Your face is dangerous. I am afraid that seeing you will ruin my whole day.” This will not be good. Unnecessary. Unnecessarily disturbing to the other man. There is no need.

But you must know what is a mask and what is real. You must be aware of what is going on within. What is within is your real being and what is going on on the surface is just a social utility. If you can make a clear-cut distinction between you and your personality, then personality becomes just like clothing. You can drop it at any moment and become naked.

If you cannot drop it, it means that you are so attached to it that the distinction is not there, the separation is not there; there is no gap. A gap is needed so that at least in your room, in your bathroom, you can put your personality away and become real. At least in meditation, you can throw the personality and become real. There, it is not needed.

Meditation is nonsocial. It is not concerned with anyone else; it is concerned only with yourself. So no mask is needed; you can be authentic. But you cannot be authentic because you don’t know the distinction. Even in meditation I feel that you are doing many false things.

Freud became aware – when he first started psychoanalysis, he was not aware of it, but by and by he became aware that patients would say things that were not real just to make Freud happy, to confirm his theories – because when Freud was happy, they also felt happy. Only after twenty years of psychoanalysis did he become aware that what they were saying was not real.

For example, Freud says that sex is the root of every mental disturbance. Patients would come to him and tell him about their disturbances. Then they would reveal that sex was the root of their disturbances. Freud thought that his theories were confirmed by thousands and thousands of examples. Only later on did he become aware that many of them were lying just to make him happy, to confirm his theory.

Sometimes I feel the same thing. When I say, “Go mad!” and you go mad, I know that you are going mad just to make me happy. But there is no need. I am already too much happy! There is no need. Don’t do anything that is not real. It is not going to help anyone. Be authentic, be real, at least in your meditation – because there, you alone are concerned.

Tillich has said somewhere that religion is the concern of the individual, a totally personal concern with oneself. It is not concerned with anyone else. Religion is individual, so you need not think of anyone else while meditating, not even of me. Be real. Throw your masks. Anything authentic will help you to move inward, anything unreal will help you to move outward.

That is the reason why Shankara calls the world illusion. The more you move away from yourself, the more you are moving into illusion; and the more you go inward, the more you are moving into reality. Your personality is the gateway toward illusion, toward an unreal dream world. Throw that gate, throw that bridge completely. At least in meditation.

I am not saying for you to go and move in society and be authentic. You will be in difficulty. If you feel happy to do it you can do it, but I’m not saying that; don’t put the blame on me. The society will create troubles for you. It doesn’t want your real faces; it wants your unreal faces.

And it is okay as far as the society is concerned. Use an unreal face when you go out, but when you go within, throw that face completely. Don’t get identified with it, don’t carry it inward. A day may come when you will become so strong that even in society you would like to move with a real face, but that depends on you. First, look inward and, at least momentarily, put aside your personalities.

For through your own heart comes the one light which can illuminate life and make it clear to your eyes.

Only one thing is more difficult to know – your own heart. Not until the bonds of personality are loosed, can that profound mystery of self begin to be seen.

The personality works as a barrier and the light from your heart cannot come to you. Discard the personality, even momentarily, temporarily and the light will flood you, and you will enter in a different world: the world of the heart.

Not till you stand aside from it will it in any way reveal itself to your understanding.

You have to put yourself aside: your personality, your ego.

Not till you stand aside from it will it in any way reveal itself to your understanding. Then, and not till then, can you grasp and guide it. Then, and not till then, can you use all its powers, and devote them to a worthy service.

And before the moment that you yourself have come into deep contact with your innermost heart, you cannot do anything that is good, that is worthy. You cannot be of any service to anyone. Whatsoever you do, even with good will, will create evil, because the doer is ignorant. What you do is not significant. Who you are is more significant.

If you are ignorant, living in total darkness – if the light from the heart has not penetrated in you, has not filled you yet – you may have good wishes, good will, but whatsoever you do will result in evil, because nothing good can come out of a dark heart.

So don’t try to be of any service to anyone unless you have come to the inner light. Then, your whole life will become a service. Then there will be no need to make it a duty, then you will not serve anyone as a duty. Then service will flow out. Of you spontaneously. And when service becomes spontaneous, with no concept of duty in it, when service becomes love – you cannot do anything else but serve; when there is no question of making others happy; when really the contrary has happened: you are so happy that now the happiness overflows in you and reaches to others – only then does good result from whatsoever you do.

It has happened that even without any goodwill, good happens – if you are filled with light and happiness. But much goodwill, without the inner light, may be dangerous for others. People who are engaged in service toward others without any inner sadhana create much mischief. The whole society is suffering from these mischievous people who go on serving others without in any way having realized their own inner light. Remember this: the first thing is your own self-realization. Serving others is secondary. And don’t think that, through serving others, you can realize your self. Through realizing your self you can move into serving others, not vice versa.

It is impossible to help others till you have obtained some certainty of your own. When you have learned the first fifteen rules and have entered the hall of learning you’re your powers developed and sense unchained, then you will find there is a fount within you from which speech will arise.

These notes are written only for those who can read what I have written with the inner as well as the outer sense.

Remember this. It is impossible to help others till you have obtained some certainty of your own. Resist the temptation to help others. It is evil unless you have obtained some certainty of your own.

Don’t try to be a guru, don’t try to be a helper. because you will disturb; you will create more problems. Remember well that you cannot help. you cannot guide anyone. unless you have got the inner light. When the inner light is there, the help, the guidance, will flow from you.

Resist the temptation. The temptation is great, because the ego feels very fulfilled. Someone comes to ask your advice. The temptation is there to give advice without knowing what you are doing, without being aware that you don’t know. If someone asks you whether God is, you are not strong enough to say, “I don’t know.” You say something. Either you say, “Yes. God is. I am a believer,” or you say, “No, God is not. I am a disbeliever,” but in both cases you give advice. In both cases you confirm something that you don’t know.

Remember this, for the spiritual seeker a very basic, very significant point: whatsoever you really know, confirm only that. If you don’t know, it is better to say, “I don’t know.” Someone asked Albert Einstein once, “What is the difference between science and philosophy?”

His reply is one of the wisest. He said, “If you come to a scientist and ask a hundred questions, about ninety-nine he will say, ‘I don’t know.’ Only about one will he say, ‘I know. But this too,’ he will say, ‘is only relative knowledge. Tomorrow it can change. It is not absolute.’

If you go to a philosopher and ask one question, he will give a hundred answers. And with absolute conviction that this is so. If someone says something else, he will be condemned to hell. “He is wrong!” That’s why philosophy leads nowhere. Answers and answers and answers leading nowhere. Answering so much and not even answering a single question. The basic thing is lacking: the philosopher is not strong enough to say, “I don’t know.”

The scientist is stronger. He can say, “I don’t know.” And even when he says, “I know,” he says, “Up until now this has been true. But I cannot say anything about tomorrow. Things may change, many new facts may become known and then the truth will have to be readjusted.” I would like to tell you that yoga is also a science; it is not a philosophy. Meditation is a science: it is not a philosophy. Remember this, don’t guide anyone unless you have a certain knowledge, a certain experience. And even then, tell others that “this is my experience. It may not be so for you. It is how I have come to it. Your way may differ; it may not prove true for you. So don’t take my advice blindly. You can experiment with it. It is an open experiment.”

Then you can be of some help. Otherwise. you can create disturbances. Don’t get tempted. Don’t advise unless you really know. Don’t guide. First be a disciple; don’t try to be a master. Mastership will come. When your discipleship has become complete and total, the master will emerge within you. But not before that moment, not before that time. Wait for it. It happens.

-Osh0

From The New Alchemy to Turn You On, Discourse #14

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Look Into the Hearts of Men – Osho

The seventh sutra:

Regard earnestly all the life that surrounds you.

Regard the constantly and moving life which surrounds you, for it is formed by the hearts of men, and as you learn to understand their constitution and meaning, you will by degrees be able to read the larger world of life.

Reverence for life, regard for life. Ordinarily, the so-called religious are life negative. They are against life. Look at their faces, look at their eyes. They are condemning everything. This negative attitude has created a denial of life all over the earth. Religion has appeared to become an ally of death not a friend of life. It appears to be against life because it constantly goes on telling you, “Leave life. Transcend it. Move to some other life which is beyond this life.”

God seems to be against you being a part of life. It is as if life has been taken as a punishment. “You are here because you sinned. You would not be here if there was no sin in your life.” But this whole attitude is ill, pathological. Really, the divine and life are not two things. Rather, they are an extension of one phenomenon.

Here and there (this and the beyond) are not two things. What is here, this life, is a step toward the beyond. If you deny this life, you will not reach the other; you cannot go beyond. To go beyond this, no denial is needed.

To go beyond, a deep insight into life is needed. How to create a deep insight into life? Unless you have a reverence for life it is impossible. Revere life wherever you find it; help it to grow. Be creative toward it; don’t be destructive.

But we are destructive in many ways. Look around you. Everything that is deeply connected to life is condemned. Sex is condemned, love is condemned, because they are the source of life.

A person who is religious must be a monk, a celibate. Why? Why should a seeker of the divine be a celibate? What is the need? Why is there so much propaganda against sex, against love, against life? It is because sex seems to be the source of life; it seems to be the original energy that moves the world. Those who are against the world are bound to be against sex. “Cut sex completely from your life!” – that is their teaching. But if you cut sex, you cut all of life. If you are against sex, you cannot revere life. You have gone against life itself.

These sutras are very meaningful. They say to revere life in all its forms because the more reverence you have the deeper you can go. God is not really beyond, but rather within this life. God is the center, the very center. and life is just the periphery. Move deeply in life and you will reach to the very center, the very ground of life itself.

God is not the creator; he is the very creativity. Christian and Mohammedan concepts about ‘God the creator’ have created much confusion. These attitudes are a little childish. Good if you are talking to children, but nonsense if you are talking to persons of understanding.

It appears from the Christian and Mohammedan dogmas that God created the world somewhere in the past. He created the world within six days and then, on the seventh, he relaxed. And after that, he has not done anything. The world started running on its own.

This concept creates a divisive attitude: that God and the world are two different things. That’s not true. God has not created the world and made it separate from himself. It is not like when a painter paints a picture. The painter is one thing; the picture is something different. The Hindu concept is deeper. It says that God is not like a painter but, rather, like a dancer: Shiva the dancer. Like a dancer, because the dance and the dancer are not two. You cannot separate them. The painter can be separated from his painting, but the dancer cannot be separated from his dance. Dancer and dancing are one.

God is not the creator, not a separate entity. God is the very creativity, the very life. So if you are against life, you are against God.

Gurdjieff is reported to have said somewhere a very paradoxical but very true statement. He has said that the so-called religions are all against God because they are against life.

But authentic religiousness is always for life, never against it.

If you move deeper in the dance, you will reach the dancer. The dance is just the form. If you move deeper in the dance, you will reach to the very heart of the dancer. And if you move deeply into life, you will reach to the life-originating principle: God.

God is creativity. Or, if you allow me to say it, I would like to say that God is the very existence itself. God is life. Jesus has said, “God is love.” That was one of the reasons he was crucified – because he called God ‘love’. Love is condemned, it is a sin, and he called God ‘love’. He must have looked very rebellious; he must have seemed to be too much in favor of the life on earth. The old Jewish mind, the old religious mind, couldn’t tolerate it. This is sacrilege! Jesus talking about God in terms of love? God is beyond life and love! You must leave everything: life, love, everything. Only then can you find him. And this man Jesus – he brings God down to earth, and he talks in terms of love.

Really, God is life, God is love. God is this very world. Don’t create a division, don’t create a dualism. Only then can you revere life. Whenever you see life anywhere – a seed sprouting, a tree flowering, stars moving, a river flowing, a child laughing – remember God is near you. When a child laughs, look at the laughter. Enter into it. You have entered the very temple. When the river flows, watch lovingly. Be one with its flow; be in a deep reverence.

Hindus have called all rivers goddesses; they have called all hills deities. They have made the earth holy. It is one of the most beautiful things that has ever happened in human consciousness. Hindus call the Ganges: Mother. This is reverence for life. Hills they call gods. This is reverence for life. They worship trees. Those who have become intellectually sophisticated think they are stupid, superstitious people, but they are not. The tree is not the thing. When they are worshipping a tree or a river, they are worshipping life.

A tree is more alive than any temple, than any church; a river is more alive than any mosque. The stone idols in your temples are dead; a tree is more alive. You may be superstitious, but the person who is worshipping a tree is not. He may not be aware of what he is doing, but a deep reverence for life in all its forms is there, a deep respect.

And celebrate. Wherever you feel that life is growing, celebrate it, love it, welcome it, and a great transformation will happen to you because if life is revered in all its forms, you become more alive. You become more receptive to life, and life begins to flow abundantly in you; it overflows in you. That is what bliss is: life overflowing.

But you are more interested in death and less interested in life. More interested in destruction, in hate; more interested in wars than in love, in life. It makes you dead and dull. Before you are really dead, you are dead. When death really occurs to you, you are already dead.

Whatsoever you revere you will become. If you revere life, you will become life and more life. If you revere death, you will become death and more death.

Remember this:

Regard the constantly changing and moving life which surrounds you, for it is formed by the hearts of men; and as you learn to understand their constitution and meaning, you will by degrees be able to read the larger world of life.

The eighth sutra:

Learn to look intelligently into the hearts of men.

Study the hearts of men, that you may know what is that world in which you live and of which you will be a part.

We never look directly into anyone’s heart. It is dangerous, insecure, because then you may become involved; you may have to do something. So we never touch anyone. We just remain aloof, far away, removed. We move without touching anyone. And when I say this, I don’t only mean physically. Psychologically also.

We move without touching anyone physically. We are afraid to touch anyone or to have anyone touch us. Psychologically also we live in a shell: enclosed, encapsulated.

There are reasons for it. If you penetrate into somebody’s heart, you will have to do something about it. You will be filled with love, you will be filled with higher, superior values. Then you cannot remain as mean as you are, you cannot remain as unkind as you are, you cannot remain as self-centered as you are. If you look into the heart of the other, you will have to melt. The very looking into the heart of the other will become a merging of your egos.

So, no one looks at anyone. We don’t even look into the hearts of our friends. We take them for granted. We never even look into the hearts of our wives and husbands, our lovers and beloveds. We create an image, and we live with the image. We never talk to each other directly, because if you talk directly, you don’t feel safe; you become vulnerable. Remember this, if you penetrate into anyone’s heart, simultaneously your own heart becomes vulnerable. Otherwise, is not possible. If I look deeply inside you, I become available to you. You can also look deeply within me.

But that feels dangerous. I don’t want anyone to look deeply within me, because on the surface I am different, a false person. Deep down, I am someone else. On the surface I go on smiling – very kind, very loving – and deep down much hatred is there, much ugliness is there. So I don’t want anyone to penetrate within me.

But if I penetrate within you, the very effort to penetrate you simultaneously makes me available to you. We are afraid. We don’t want anyone to trespass, to look within us. It is dangerous to look into anyone’s heart and to be looked into by anyone. We become encapsulated, dead. We go on moving within an imprisonment.

Then how can you know life? If even a human heart is strange to you, and you have not looked into it, how can you move deeply into the greater heart of the divine, the very center of existence? Learn to look. From looking into the hearts of others you can learn to look deeply. It is the person’s depths. The depth of the person is his heart.

We talk through the mind. That is not the depth. The mind is on the surface, on the periphery. We talk, we discuss, we communicate only with words. We never remain silent even for a few minutes. Even those who are in love go on talking constantly, because if you are silent the heart can be penetrated. So we go on talking and talking.

The husband comes home. He starts talking. Nonsense, irrelevant things. What happened in the market, what happened in the shop, what is in the news, what’s come on the radio. He goes on talking. And the wife also goes on talking: what other wives are talking about in their houses and so on. They go on talking, they go on talking, until they fall asleep. Why so much talking? What is the purpose of it? Are they really interested in communicating something? No! They are afraid to communicate. If they are silent then their hearts will start communicating, so they go on talking. Talking creates a barrier. Mind to mind they meet so that heart to heart they will not meet. A heart-to-heart meeting is possible only in silence.

This is the way we are living. Then we say that we are living in misery. What else is possible? Misery will be your fate. But it is not your destiny. It is your own created misery; it is you who have created it. Encapsulated, you will be in misery. Open, vulnerable. you will become capable of being blissful. This opening is to be learned through looking into the hearts of men.

This sutra says:

Learn to look intelligently into the hearts of men.

Intelligence is impartial: no man is your enemy: no man is your friend. All alike are your teachers. Your enemy becomes a mystery that must be solved, even though it takes ages: for man must be understood. Your friend becomes a part of yourself, an extension of yourself, a riddle hard to read.

The sutra says Learn to look intelligently . . . By intelligently is meant be impartial. If you are partial, you cannot reach to the heart. All partiality focuses you in the mind; only impartial consciousness comes to the heart.

The heart is impartial; the mind is always partial. The mind is always party-bound, sectarian, for this and against that. The heart is neither for nor against. The heart is simply an opening, a receiving, a welcoming. It has no enemies and no friends; only the mind has enemies and friends. By ‘intelligence’ is meant impartiality. Only then are you intelligent.

If you are partial, you are not intelligent. You may appear to be sophisticated, educated, logical, but you are not wise, not really intelligent. Intelligence has the quality of no prejudice, no partiality, no feeling for and against, because only then can you look at the whole.

For example, if I say that you are my friend, it will be impossible for me to enter your heart. Or if I say that you are my enemy, then too it will be impossible to reach your heart. When I say you are my friend, or my enemy, I have taken you for granted. I feel that I know you. I understand that I have understood you. Otherwise, how is friendship possible? When I say you are my friend, I show that I like you; I’m saying that I like you. And when I say I like you, I have become partial. Then I cannot reach your heart. My liking will become a barrier.

When I say I like you, I am really imposing myself upon you. My liking. I say you are good because how you are is according to my liking. Now I have entered in you, I have imposed myself upon you. I cannot reach your heart, I cannot know you as you are, because of my liking.

When I say you are my enemy, I am saying I don’t like you, I dislike you. This dislike becomes a barrier. When I say I like you, I try to find out things which I like. When I say I dislike you, I try to find out things which I dislike. Then I am just trying to prove myself, not trying to know you as you are. Liking/friendship, disliking/enmity are my interpretations, my fictions. Your naked fact, your naked facticity, is forgotten.

Intelligence means that you are neither my friend nor my enemy. You are you; I am I. I am not going to impose myself upon you. Now I will try to understand what you are. Not according to my likes and dislikes, but what you are. Every man is a mystery, every man is a riddle. If you try to solve the mystery of even one single individual, if you are capable of solving even one single riddle, you will have become capable of much more, because even one individual is understood through the heart. You have come to know the art: how to penetrate into the heart.

And the same technique, the same method, will help you to penetrate into the divine heart. The divine heart is greater, infinite, but the human heart is a glimpse of it. The human heart is a fragment of it, alive. So don’t be dead toward the humanity that is around you. Learn to love it, revere it. And, learn to look intelligently into the hearts of men.

This learning will make you more mature; this learning will make you more sensitive toward a higher learning, which is divine. The heart of the divine can be penetrated only by those who have become capable of knowing the human heart for what it is.

-Osho

From The New Alchemy to Turn You On, Discourse #13

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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

The Jivanmukta Lives in this Silence – Osho

One who does not ever discriminate through intellect between the individual self and the supreme self on the one hand, and between the supreme and the universe on the other, is called a jivanmukta.

One who treats equally both the noble person who does him honor and the ignoble who offends him is called a jivanmukta.

The world does not remain the same as before for one who has known the supreme; therefore, if one sees the world as the same, he should be taken for one who has not attained the knowledge, and who is still extrovert.

So far as the experience of happiness, sorrow, et cetera, is concerned, it is assumed to be due to prabdhakarma – that is the predestined cause-effect chain – because every effect flows from the cause of action. There is no effect anyway without the cause. As upon waking, the effect of dreaming ends, so also upon the attainment of knowledge that “I am the supreme,” the accumulated karmas, conditionings of millions of births, become extinct.

-Adhyatma Upanishad

One who does not ever discriminate through intellect between the individual self and the supreme self, and between the supreme and the universe, is called a jivanmukta.

Some more qualities of a jivanmukta; something more about the state of mind of a jivanmukta, of the state of consciousness.

The first: there is no division. He sees the whole world as an organic unity, there is no division. Things are not divided; the whole universe is one. He sees the unity. The diversity is there, but the diversity is just on the surface; a jivanmukta sees the unity behind it. Every diversity is just a hidden unity. Why? Why do we divide? – and a jivanmukta never divides.

It is because of the intellect, the medium of intellect. If you look through the intellect, everything is divided immediately. Intellect is the instrument to divide, to analyze. For example, you see light, you see darkness, you see birth, you see death. Birth and death in existence are one; birth is death, two poles of one process. If you are born you are on the journey to die. The whole of your life is nothing but a gradual process of dying. But the mind divides; mind says birth is good, death is bad. Mind says life is good, death is bad. But death is part of life, life is part of death – they cannot be divided.

Have you ever seen anything alive which is not also dying simultaneously? A flower has come up, has opened its petals. This opening of the petals – can you see it as a process of death? The flower is alive, young, but it is dying already. The evening will come and the petals will wither away. And the withering of petals is really nothing but the conclusion; in the morning the process began, the petals opened. The very opening in the morning will become withering in the evening; the petals will wither away.

So where do you divide? Where is the line where you can say that the flower was alive, and when the flower started to die? Is there any distinction? Can we mark a boundary that up to this point the flower was alive, in the process of more and more life, and from this point the flower started to die? No, there is no possibility of division.

Birth and death is a continuous process. One pole is birth, another pole is death. But mind, intellect, thinking, divides. Mind says birth is good, celebrate it; death is bad, weep over it. And the same goes on; the whole of life becomes a division between things which are not divided. Because of this division we live in a false world, a mind-created world. You say this is love and this is hate, and this is religion and that is irreligion, and this is sin and that is virtue – all divisions, on all layers, on all planes, are through the mind.

Put aside the mind and look at life, and then everything is one: then life and death are one, then darkness and light are one, then love and hate are one.

A jivanmukta never divides because a jivanmukta looks at life without the mind coming in, interfering. Can you look without the mind, even for a single moment? Try it. It is one of the most arduous things, but if possible, the most beautiful. Look at a flower and don’t allow the mind to come in between you and the flower. But the mind comes immediately – you have not even seen really, and the mind says, “This is a rose – beautiful, red,” and the desire to possess it, to pluck it, arises. The mind starts functioning. The flower is there and the cloud of mind comes in, and you look through the mind. Don’t allow this.

Look at the flower. Don’t let your mind say, “This is a flower. This is a rose.” Just look.

Stop the mind and just look.

Don’t allow the mind. Don’t move, and don’t allow the mind any movement; just look. Become a stare. Let your whole consciousness flow from your eyes, and don’t allow the mind to create any cloud between you and the flower. Then what happens? If you go on trying . . .

This is a meditation – a meditation based on non-verbalization. Don’t verbalize, let the flower be there. Observe it, be a witness to it, but don’t verbalize the experience. Don’t translate it into language. The rose is there – red, alive. Feel it, see it, remain with it. But don’t allow the mind to come in and say something – “This is beautiful,” or something else. It is difficult in the beginning, but if you go on trying, sometimes for seconds there will be no language. The flower will be there in all its beauty, in all its aliveness, youngness, but with no name, with no linguistic concept attached to it. The rose has never known that it is a rose; it is you who have called it a rose.

A rose is a rose without ever being aware of being a rose. The name is given by your mind. The rose is simply a rose without knowing whether it is beautiful or ugly – you have called it so. If there is no mind in the world, the rose will be there but it will not be a rose, it will not be a beautiful flower; it will be just existence flowering with no name attached to it – no verbalization, no language, no valuation. It will flower. It will be just the same, simple existence. If you don’t verbalize you will come to be acquainted with the flower as it is, without human interpretation. And when the mind is not there, for a single moment there is a breakthrough. The rose is there, you are here; and if the mind is not there to divide you, if the mind has dropped, suddenly you become one with the rose.

I don’t mean that you become a rose. It will be very difficult then to become a human being again. I don’t mean that you become a rose. You remain whatsoever you are, and the rose remains whatsoever the rose is – but suddenly there is a communion, a meeting. Your consciousness moves directly, with no hindrance, and the rose also moves, comes nearer. You become close and intimate, and the flower enters you; the doors are open, and you enter the flower. The doors of the flower are always open, there is no mind to close them – but when your doors open, the flower moves in you, and you move in the flower, and there is a constant harmony. The flower contributes, you also contribute, and there is a meeting.

That meeting can become a glimpse into the cosmos, because a flower is not just a flower. It is the whole cosmos grown into a flower, the whole cosmos becomes a flower. You are also not just a human being – the whole cosmos has become consciousness in you; that too is a flowering. And when these two flowerings meet, that meeting is ecstatic, blissful. And through that meeting you for the first time become aware of a non-verbal existence.

Man has created verbalization, man has created language, man has created mental concepts. They all drop, and the whole of existence becomes a deep silence, a no-music.

The jivanmukta lives in this no-music. The jivanmukta lives in this silence. The jivanmukta lives without mind. It seems absurd – how can one live without mind? Then he will go mad . . .

So the last point to be remembered is never think that a madman has no mind. Really, a madman has a very fixed mind, solid. A madman has really more mind than you, that’s why he has gone mad; too much mind has created the whole mess.

A madman and a jivanmukta are poles apart. The madman is too much mind; a jivanmukta is no mind, and we are in between somewhere. And we go on moving – sometimes we reach the madman, sometimes we have the glimpse of a jivanmukta. At any moment you can become mad. In anger you become temporarily mad, in sex you become temporarily mad – any moment you can become a madman, but fortunately you can come back. If you cannot come back, and become fixed in the extreme, you become mad.

So the madman is not without a mind; rather, he is with too much or with many minds – multi-minds. He is a crowd of minds. And a jivanmukta is just the opposite pole: no mind. That doesn’t mean that he cannot think. Really, on the contrary, only a jivanmukta can think; you cannot think. What is the difference? Thoughts go on in you, thinking is an obsession with you. You are not the master. Thoughts go on and on, you cannot stop them. You cannot say, “Don’t come,” you cannot say, “Now I want to relax, no more thoughts.” Whatsoever you say they are not going to listen to you; rather, if you disturb them they become more mad. If you say, “Don’t come,” they come more.

Try with a single thought: try to forget it, and you cannot forget it. Try to stop it, and it will haunt you. It will go on and on, and it will defeat you; you are not the master. You cannot think; just this mad crowd of thoughts, and you think that you think – you cannot think. Only a jivanmukta can think, because thoughts are not his masters. He uses thoughts just like you use your legs. When you want to walk, you use them; when you don’t want to walk, the legs are relaxed, non-moving. But think of a man who says to his legs, “Please, now stop,” and they go on moving! They say, “We cannot stop. Who are you to stop us?” Then we will say that the legs have gone mad. Your mind is like that. You say, “Stop and it never stops. You say, “Think over this,” and it goes on to think of something else. Try, and you will know your mind is not your slave.

So it is better to say that your mind thinks you, not that you think with your mind. Your mind possesses you, it is not you who are in possession of the mind. A jivanmukta uses his mind just like you use your legs: when he wants to, he thinks – and he thinks whatsoever he wants. If he never wants to think he remains quiet, silent; there is no mind inside.

When this mind is not there constantly, you come into contact with brahman, and then you know tat twamasithat art thou Without the mind there is no division; then the self inside becomes the supreme. When there is no division, the self and the supreme are one, one wave of existence.

Your self is nothing but the supreme come down to your body, resting in you – your body has been taken as an abode. Your body is just a host and the supreme has become a guest in you.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #47

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Samyak Smriti, Right Remembering – Osho

Prarbdhakarma fulfills itself only when one identifies the self with the body, but it is no good identifying with the body. Who wants to sever this identification and free himself of prarbdhakarma, illusion of the body, is the basis for the projection of prarbdhakarma.

But that which is projected or imagined by illusion can never be real. And how can it arise or manifest if it is not real? And how can it be destroyed if it is not manifested? How can the false, the unreal have the bondage of conditioning?

-Adhyatma Upanishad

This body is the result of ignorance and knowledge destroys it fully. Ignorance then raises doubt as to how this body exists even after realization. To remove this doubt of the ignorant, the scriptures have ordained the concept of prarbdha externally.

In reality there is neither body nor prarbdha.

This sutra is very strange, but very true. To understand this sutra is to understand many, many things about scriptures, about teachers, about masters, methods, techniques, doctrines.

This sutra says that in reality there is no world, in reality there is no suffering; in reality, whatsoever you feel and know is not – but in reality, remember. As far as you are concerned, it is real.

As far as you are concerned, it is real.

We should try to understand it through dream, because the Eastern mind has been very much fascinated by the reality of dream. And this sutra can be understood only through dream.

You are dreaming. While dreaming you can never doubt that the dream is a dream. While dreaming, the dream is true, real, as real as any reality – even more real. Why do I say even more real? I say this because when you get up in the morning, you can remember your dream – but when you go into sleep you cannot remember what has happened, what was happening when you were awake. This is a rare phenomenon. In dream you forget your so-called reality completely.

You cannot remember that you are a doctor in the day while you are awake, or an engineer, or a minister. You cannot remember in your dream the facts of the day, when you were awake. The whole reality, the so-called reality of the day is completely washed away by the dream – it seems more powerful. But in the morning when you get up, when sleep has gone, you can remember your dream. It means the reality of your day is not strong enough to completely wash away the reality of the dream. In dream you forget your day completely, but in your day, in your waking state of mind, you can remember your dreams. Dreams appear to be more real – that’s why I say “even more real.”

In dream you can never doubt that whatsoever you are seeing is unreal or real; it IS real, it is felt to be authentically real. Why? Why does dream appear so real? – and this is not your first experience. You have been dreaming for your whole life, and every day in the morning you have come to know that the dream was unreal. Yet, when you go to sleep tonight and dream, you will not remember your whole life’s experience, that dreams are unreal. Again, you will fall into the illusion, and you will feel the dreams as real. In the morning again you will repeat that “it was just a dream, nothing real.” What is happening? So much experience of dreaming, still the dream remains real. Why? – because really, anything becomes real if you are absent.

Your absence gives reality to false things.

In the dream you cannot remember yourself – so whatsoever passes in front of your eyes becomes real because you are not. You are so unreal that anything can be felt as real. If you can remember yourself in the dream, the dream will drop; it will cease immediately.

Gurdjieff used to give this technique to his disciples: to remember themselves continuously. In the day go on remembering “I am, I am.” Do whatsoever you are doing but continuously make it a point to remember “I am” – not verbally, feel it – “I am.” Eating, go on eating, and simultaneously feel “I am.” Remember “I am.” You are walking, go on walking; remember “I am.” This Gurdjieff called “self-remembering.” Buddha has called it “right remembering” – samyak smriti.

Go on remembering – “I am.” If this feeling of “I am” goes deep, it will follow you in sleep also. And when there is a dream, you will remember – “I am.” Suddenly the dream will stop: if you are, then there can be no dream.

This is just to explain to you a greater truth: in this life, the world is because we are not. This is the Upanishad’s basic teaching. In this world, the world is, everything is – you are not. Only you are not; everything is.

That’s why you cannot feel whether it is real or unreal. Remember yourself, be centered in yourself, be conscious, aware. And as you become more intensely aware, you will feel simultaneously that the world is dropping its reality and is changing into a dream. When you become aware totally, the world becomes a dream. This means, if you are real, then whatsoever you experience is a dream – whatsoever, I say – if you are authentically real, conscious, alert, then all your experiences are dreams.

If you are unaware of yourself, then your own reality is projected onto the dreams, then your own reality is transferred to the dreams. Your own existence is transferred to dreams and experiences and thoughts, and they become real. They have a borrowed reality; your own reality has gone to them. They are not real.

For example, look in a mirror. Your face is there in the mirror; it looks real – it is not. It is just a borrowed reality; it is not real at all. You are real, the mirror reflection is just a dream. Forget yourself completely – as it happens particularly with women; they forget themselves completely – and the mirror figure becomes more real. Look at a woman looking into the mirror, observe her. What happens? She is no more – only the mirror is, and the mirror-woman has become real. She has completely forgotten herself. The mind is doing the same.

The world is just a mirror.

You have forgotten yourself, and the reflection has become real.

This is a borrowed reality.

Remember yourself!

Do it with a mirror and you will come to a deep realization. Do it with a mirror: gaze constantly into the mirror, gaze in your eyes reflected in the mirror continuously, for thirty minutes, forty minutes. Go on staring, and constantly go on remembering, “I am real. This is a reflection. This which is mirrored is reflection. I am real, not this reflection.” Go on remembering inside, “I am, I am, I am,” and go on staring into the eyes of the reflected figure – your own figure. Suddenly – any moment this can happen – the reflection will disappear. Suddenly the mirror will be vacant. It is a very strange experience when suddenly you are in front of the mirror, and the face has disappeared and the mirror is vacant. Why does it happen? If you go on remembering “I am, I am,” and this remembering becomes authentic, then the borrowed reality comes back to you and the mirror becomes vacant.

Even for a single moment if you can see the mirror as vacant – no face, nothing reflected – you will feel a sudden upsurge of reality in you. For the first time you may become aware that you are.

This same thing happens with the world when someone becomes a witnessing self. One day, this explosion comes to him – the whole world disappears, the whole world becomes just vacant; only I am, and the whole world has disappeared as if it was never there. This experience is the ultimate. Again, the mirror will reflect your face, but now you know it is just a reflection. Again, the world will come – for one moment you will see the world has disappeared, and again the world will be there – but now it will never be real again. It will be just a dream world, and all the figures will be dream figures. It will be a great drama.

But when you know it as a drama, a pseudo phenomenon, you are freed from it. Then there is no clinging, and then there is no slavery, no bondage.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #49

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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

 

An Experimental Approach – Douglas Harding

Good evening to you and welcome to Discovery. My name is Barbara O’Shuller, and my guest is Douglas Harding, an Englishman who is here in this area to speak among other things about the fine art of living free from stress.  He is a speaker, an architect, author, and teacher.

Welcome Douglas.

Welcome. (Laughter) Welcome to you, if I may say that.

You certainly may.

Welcome to you in my space. Yes.

You’ve got some very provocative titles for your books, and I am going to share them first off, and then maybe ask you to talk about them. On Having No Head, is one. All of these are published by Penguin Arcana. Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious, that’s all one book, The Little Book of Life and Death, Head Off Stress, and a novel, The Trial of the Man Who Said He was God. Wonderful titles.

Provocative, I think.

Very provocative. Let’s start with number four, the novel that hasn’t come out yet, The Trial of the Man Who Said He was God. Who is this man and why did he say he was God?

Well, it’s a blasphemy trial, in the year 2003. It’s, I suppose, almost like science fiction in a way. And here’s this chap who says that nearer to him than all else, at the very center of his life, is the origin of the world, is the indwelling spirit, reality, God – many names. It could be Buddha-nature, could be the kingdom of heaven, or whatever, and that is central in his life.

And that he himself is very real, as a person, as a man, but that man is peripheral to that center. So the human part of him is not central. The human part is there, and for instance, and in particular, what he sees in the mirror is his human face and human personality. And that is what other people pick up. It’s out there, it’s about a meter or two away from the center, and that’s where he keeps his humanity, and that is on show for other people. They are receiving it. That’s where they hold their cameras to photograph him. That’s where he finds that guy, in my case Douglas – why, he is there in the mirror. And this man who is on trial for blasphemy is saying who he really, really, really is, this indwelling deity or reality, spirit, essence. That that is who he really, really is, and that’s the center of his life.

The whole art of life is to go there, stay there, because you never came out of it anyway. It’s where you belong; it’s home. And he says that this is deeply traditional, and it’s what all the great religions are saying at the very heart of the heart of the heart of them. And he is saying that those people who are trying him for blasphemy in the year 2003, why, they are the blasphemers because what they are doing is to put the guy in the mirror – that they see in the mirror – they turn that person around and bring him forward and put that person at the center of their world. And this is blasphemy because the center of your world, the world of everyone, the center of being, the right center, where we are, is in fact the reality we come from, our source. So that is what the trial is about, and it’s what the first book is about On Having No Head, you see. Instead of a head here, a meatball, which I am supposed to be looking out of, why, when I look here, you see, I’m looking at you Barbara now, and I don’t find anything in your way. I find the meatball is non-existent here, and I am space for Barbara, which is a great improvement, I can say, on what people told me was here.

Hmm. Who is putting him on trial? Where is this taking place in 2003?

Well, I don’t tell you where it is taking place, but I guess it is Great Britain, somewhere.

Aren’t we enlightened enough now, and hopefully will be in 2003, not to be putting people on trial for discovering their own divinity?

Well, you see, the issue of blasphemy is a very important one. Some people have said it’s the great issue of the last part of the century. I mean, Salman Rushdie, you see, had been under threat of annihilation, under threat of being polished off . . . .

Still is. I saw something in the paper today.

And still is. Yes. And there is a great deal in the world, I mean, no doubt not so much in this country or in Great Britain, but in the world; this is a very alive issue. And people are being jailed and even polished off, even executed, now, on account of this – of alleged blasphemy. So it is a very real issue. But the point is not really, the book is not to put in a plea for tolerance and a liberal, open view about these things. That is not the point. The point is that this trial taking place in the future – it’s an account of the trial, you see – this trial is a peg on which to hang the doctrine, the teaching, the experience which my whole life is about, which is seeing who you really, really are at center. And when he defends himself against 27 witnesses, you see, it comes out what he is saying, and he is answering the people who say he is talking nonsense. So, I think it is an excellent peg on which to hang what I have to say.

Well, let’s go back to the first book, On Having No Head, and maybe explore through that some of what you are all about.

I think that is a good idea, Barbara. So, what would you like me to do? Tell you what it’s all about?

Well, I certainly want you to tell me what it is all about, but maybe what we should do, is go back a little further and find out how you found out about what it’s all about. As in who are you, and what is your experience?

Yes, well that is a good starting point, isn’t it? Well, I am English, I am 83, they tell me, and somewhat long in the tooth, if I have any teeth to be long in! And I was an architect, but all my life, since youth really, my passion has not been architecture at all. I earned my living at it, but my passion is to find out who I really, really, really am. The issue of my identity has been what makes me tick all along. I find it absolutely fascinating, and there are many reasons why I think this is the great issue of my life and should be of other people’s lives – our true identity. The reasons I have, which you might like me to mention, for looking at this, rather than being nose to the grindstone doing architecture – why, I earned my living at architecture – but this is my passion. Who am I? Who is this architect?

My reasons for looking into this matter were that I was such a terrible mess. I mean as a young man, I really was incredibly shy, uptight, stressed, and socially very badly adjusted, and lots of problems like that. So that was a reason for looking to see, to find a cure for this condition. And the great religious traditions have said, the cure is central in my life. The cure of my problem is to see, Barbara, who has the problem. The cure of my problem, I don’t  care what the problem is, is to see who has the problem.

That’s a tricky one, isn’t it?

I had terrible problems and I had to see, therefore, who had the problem. But I think my main reason, apart from being a mess, which is a good reason, my main reason I think . .

That’s a good starting place.

Well, my main reason was not that really. My main reason was gratitude and surprise, at having happened. I think people . . .

At having happened at all?

At having happened at all. I needn’t have happened, you see. But I am so pleased to have happened! And I think it’s a miserable, horrible, chicken-hearted thing to go through life never asking, “Who is going through life?” And taking everybody’s word, Barbara, but my own word.

Look, I’ve got inside information which is denied to everyone because nobody can come here and be where I am any more than anyone can go where you are and be you. And here I have information about who I am, first-hand information, and I find, when I really look here and dare to be my own authority, and look at where I am coming from, I find I am exactly the opposite, but exactly the opposite, of what I have been advertised to be, or what people tell me I am, or what language tells me I am. I find I am the exact opposite, and my troubles, my stress, my agony, my anguish came, very largely I think, I’m sure, from lying about who I am, taking everybody’s word for what I am, and not daring to have a look for myself. And nobody can tell me what it is like here but me because nobody is here. Everybody is too far away. They are about a foot, at least a foot or two away, aren’t they? A meter away. And I have inside information. And when I dare to look here, which I did and do, I find that everything is the exact opposite of what I had supposed, and what society tells me.

And you suggest that language gets in our way of this?

Yes. Let me give you an example of this. An absolutely hot, stop press instance now, I would say, straight from the shoulder, so to speak.  Well, here in front of me is my new friend who I met 10 minutes ago called Barbara. And there she is, and here in front of this mike here is someone taking Barbara in, in receipt of Barbara, you see. Well, I find that society and language tell me that Barbara and I are in a symmetrical relationship and face-to-face. And that there is something here called a head, a face – a meatball I call it! – there is something here in receipt of her. And we are in a symmetrical relationship and it’s a face-to-face situation.

I find this absolute utter and total nonsense and that I am busted wide open for Barbara at this time, and there is nothing in Barbara’s way. And we are not face-to-face. There is a face there, Barbara’s face, and Douglas’s absence of face here, which is in receipt of her.

Yes

So, I have nothing, thank God, to keep Barbara out with, and the only face I have at this time is a charming lady’s face about half a century younger than Douglas’s face (when I see Douglas’s face in the mirror). I am busted wide open for you, and it’s true! But if you say, “Well Douglas, you are a crazy man, of course there is something here, but you can’t see it,” I swear to you, there is nothing here and, Barbara, if you don’t . . . .

There is nothing here either is there?

Well, that’s for you to say! Well you see, if you say, “Douglas you are a crazy man. There is something here,” I say, “All right Barbara, come and see.” And you see, Barbara, if you were to come up to me now, I suppose we are about 4 ft 6 apart now, aren’t we – 5 feet apart – and if you want to take a picture of Douglas, why, you would take it there. There you get the top half of him, probably. If you came half way, a couple of feet, you would get his face, wouldn’t you?

Hmm.

And then if you came here to 6 inches with your camera, you would get a picture of his nose, or an eye, or lips. And then you would have to start putting sophisticated lenses on, even exchange your optical microscope for an electron microscope, and then your pictures – but pictures – would be of tissues, of cells, molecules, atoms. Well atoms are nearly all empty space.

That’s right.

And you come in, even leaving atoms behind, to particles, and even God knows what they are or even where they are, or even when they are, I mean, they are so absent, aren’t they? So, I complete the story and I say, “I have come all the way up to this place and I have lost Douglas, and instead, I’ve lost Douglas, a decaying, old, 83-year-old, stale meatball, and I have now there in front of me a much younger (and I almost said, more delicious . . . [laughter]) on your shoulders,” so you see!

And I find this hilarious. I find it lubricates personal relationships, and it’s an instance of many, many things. Only one instance of the ways society and language con us into denying who we really, really, really are. And when I look here and see who I really, really am, as I am doing at this moment, I am capacity, aware capacity. I am space which is infinite space, every which way, for it is awake space, an unbounded space for the world, at this time, (Barbara representing the world) for Barbara to happen in. And I find this delightful. It removes fear from my life, it removes stress, and I just enjoy life this way.

What a wonderful perspective!

You can see, it’s true, isn’t it?

Yes, quite.

And we are trading faces, aren’t we?

Yes, it’s wonderful.

Yes, it is wonderful. It really is wonderful. Yes. We are trading faces. You see, the thing is – this is very important, Barbara –  we are built not for confrontation; we are built for loving. Now I am not talking about the feeling of love. I am talking about the set up in which love is possible. In which love flourishes. And I say, in the real world when we dare to have a look and question language and social conditioning, in the real world, we are incredibly blessed, and we are built for loving. We are built open for one another.

And society runs on the face-to-face model of confrontation in all languages as face to face, visage á visage, face á face, and in all languages it’s a symmetry. And this is a lie. It’s not true. You see two other people, they are face-to-face, but it is never true of oneself, vis-á-vis someone over there.

So, it is just a totally different way of life. But this is only one instance of the difference between who I find myself to be here, and who my language, and society, and parents, and teachers, bless their hearts, told me was here. So, what I do in all these books, in all my meetings with people, is to go round and say, “Dare to look for yourself at what you are looking out of, and you will find that you are this immense, immortal, imperishable, awake capacity for the world. And this is the heart of all the great religions.

Hmm. Douglas, let’s talk about more lies. Tell me some more lies.

Yes. I will tell you another lie. Jeff and I drove here from San Francisco. No, well, from Santa Cruz actually. Did we move or did the country move? The question is, if we look at which moved, the country or the car? And you see, when we are very, very little, we sit in the car and we tell the truth. And the telegraph poles go rushing by and the buildings turn; and the whole scenes are ballets and the whole scene dances; and this is the truth. And then we grow up and we set it out differently and our story is that the world grinds to a halt and we move along the freeway.

Well, what happens, Barbara, to all that motion? All the dance in the world, all that motion, what happens to it? I say it comes in here, and I lose my inner tranquility. Now I say, now let me tell the truth, restore the commotion to the world where it belongs, I find my inner peace and the world dances. And this is evidence of who I really, really, really am, the indwelling deity, the reality that we are never moved.

Aristotle said, “God is the unmoved mover of the world.” Well, when you get in your car, get a hold of the wheel and see, first of all you notice the driver doesn’t have a head. You know, if you had a video camera here – and when people want to sell you a car, frequently they show it like this – a headless driver, feet on the controls, hands on the wheel, and there I am a headless driver and the whole scene is moving through me. And so, if we dare to look, we find the one here never moved an inch. Who you really, really, really are never moved. Yet another example.

So let us talk about The Little Book of Life and Death. What is this death stuff all about if we are immortal and full of this, this grandeur of the universe?

Yes. Well, the one I see in the mirror, Barbara, is dying, has been dying for 83 years, hasn’t he? I mean, he gets older every time I look in the mirror and that is my death certificate; that is the one who is dying. And what we do is bring that one in the mirror where he belongs, you see, turn him around and put him here, and this is a kind of suicide really. He belongs there in the mirror, over there in other people. If I take that picture in the mirror and try and bring it here, it disappears as I bring it here. In order to find my face again, I have to put it out there, but when I look here at this clarity, this place, there is nothing here to perish. Nothing here to perish. So, it is the case of coming home, seeing there is nothing here to perish. As simple as that.

Who I am, who I am, is imperishable. The shelf life of that chap out there, what is it? Short. The shelf life of the one here is infinite, it is not biodegradable, is  it?

So, what do you talk about in The Little Book of Life and Death? What kind of  . . . .

I talk about that. The point is, where is death? Where is life and where is death? Well, let me put it like this. Every thing perishes. Every thing perishes. An atom will perish, a particle will perish, people perish, even stars, planets, galaxies perish. Everything perishes – has births and death. Galaxies last a long time, particles, very little time. But every thing perishes.

About the thing here? No, I am not a thing here. Here is no thing, therefore it’s imperishable. And I look here, I find no thing to perish. It’s as simple as that.

And this agrees so much with what, for instance, St. Paul said. He asked the questions, “Oh death, where is your sting? Oh grave, where is your victory?” Well, it’s there. We now answer the apostle, death is there and not here.

So, death cannot get to me. This place is free of every thing, visibly, Barbara, empty, open, speckless. Therefore, it cannot perish because there is nothing there to perish.

And this again agrees with the teaching of all the great traditions, which say that we really, really are at the center, the imperishable origin of the world, not a product of the world.

Yes. Can we track with you from that young man who was having a hard time of it and beginning the journey of discovering these things? And maybe if you talk a little bit about your journey early on and how you developed these concepts, the understanding of the lies, and beginning to put the truth of the world back into place?

Well, I happened to notice (and it was very surprising) that where I was, was open to the world. I happened to be walking in the Himalayas at the time, but that had nothing to do with it really. I just happened to notice, looking out my body, I saw my legs there, and my hands and arms, my chest, and so on. Everything came to a stop here, you see, above my shoulders. On my shoulders, let’s say, was the whole scene. And I was enlarged. I was the scene; I was the Himalayas. I was Everest, and all that and I was full of that scene. And there was nothing here in the way. I am not telling you I don’t have a head. Of course I have a head, of course I have a brain, and all that stuff, eyes and so on. But I don’t have them here. I have them over there in your camera, in other people, in my mirror, and they are there. And here is the absence of all that.

Yes.

This is after all deeply traditional. You take Tennyson, he says, “Nearer is He . . .” (He is talking about God, you see.) “Nearer is He than breathing, closer than hands and feet.” In the Koran . . .

Yes.

Mohammed says, “Allah is nearer to me than my own neck vein.”

Yes.

Well, I believe that that’s it. Eckhart, a great, great Christian, philosopher, mystic of the 13th, 14th century, preached a sermon, a delightfully brief sermon, “God’s in. I’m out. God’s in. I’m out.”

“God’s in. I’m out.”

“God’s in, I’m out.” That’s the whole thing. I mean, God is nearer to me than Douglas is, you see. I mean, Douglas is around. Douglas is important to me. You know, there he is.  He’s what I give to other people, or what I inflict on other people, you see. But who I really, really, really am here, visibly, is this one.

And this is common, not only to the great religions but, I think, the great poets of the world – well, Tennyson for a start. Perhaps not the greatest but what about Shakespeare? Shakespeare is onto this absolutely. In Measure for Measure, he’s got lines like this, which you will remember. “Man, proud man, dressed in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what is most assured, his glassy essence like an angry ape, plays such tricks before high heaven as make the angels weep.” So, what Shakespeare is saying, is, Barbara, that we have a choice. You know, we either perceive what is so evident, what is so on show – our glassy essence, this space here – either we perceive that, enjoy that, live from that, or we are in terrible danger of behaving like angry apes.

Mm.

Now that is strong stuff, isn’t it?

Sounds appropriate. When you were in the Himalayas, did you have any other experiences that helped to contribute to this understanding?

No, I think that this is so radical nothing will compete with it. I mean, this is the heart of the heart of the matter, isn’t it? I mean, everything else flows from that. But I do say this, that having seen this curious thing, you know, being headless, what should I say – enjoy that, live from that and all the other things shall come.

And you see, also, I found – this is rather interesting – I found that I could share this with nobody. People either thought I was extremely profound, mystical, symbolical, and impenetrable, or they thought I was just raving mad, you see. So I failed to share this with people. And for eighteen years I never was sure I shared it with anybody.

But I did in the middle of that time have a very comforting thing because I discovered the early Zen Masters of the 8th and 9th centuries in China. And they were saying that the whole art of life— they called it Enlightenment, a word I hate but still they called it satori or Enlightenment – the whole art of life and the cure for our troubles and the answer to our problems is to see our true face. And this is called our original face.

Well I say, I have two faces, the acquired one I see in the mirror, and the original one here. And the original one is the face of God or the Buddha-nature or whatever, the true face we have which is an infinite, imperishable, perfect capacity for what was given. Now the one in the mirror is the acquired face and that one we put here illegitimately because, in fact, it belongs there and not here. And when we are very miserable, Barbara, you see, we haven’t been taken for a ride, we haven’t been conned, we haven’t come under the influence of language and so forth. And every mum and some dads know that the one in the mirror there, is for a little child, a baby, a friend, never oneself. A long process of indoctrination and you get the kid – and you must do, to join the club, this is what is necessary – to get the kid to agree that that is my face. It’s not natural. It’s an acquired thing. And when we are very, very little, we are honest, you see, we are busted wide open. This is the charm of children that they are they are busted wide open for the world.

Seeing is an acquired thing isn’t it, period? Seeing, understanding the world through sight, we learn that don’t we?

Yes, we do but I am talking about something which so basic. Are we coming from a thing, which is a perishing, limited, small, decaying, ageing thing, solid, opaque, small, and very, very brief? Come on. Or are we coming from the imperishable capacity that contains the world?

So what happens to this awareness of the imperishable capacity after the perishable part dissolves?

Well, it is really not quite a proper question, if I may say so? Because it is timeless, you see. And after and before don’t quite apply. And where we are coming from is timeless and where there is no thing, no change. I mean there is no change. There is no way of registering time, and if there is no way of registering time, why, hey ho, there is no time!

Anyway, I have a little experiment here, you see, which I do and people think it’s idiotic but I find it very true. You see, I look at the time now, and I look at the time in the studio here, and it’s twenty to eight in Carmel, or Monterey, whichever it is. It is twenty to eight in England now, where I have come from – another time. And in Tokyo, another time. Each place has got its own time. Well, what’s the time here, right where I am, this side of the microphone? What’s the time right here, no distance from me?

Now I’ve got my watch here, and it says the time out there is, a couple of feet away, no, a foot away, is 7:39. And I bring my watch up, you know, gradually, and gosh, at an inch away, I’m not sure what time it is. And half an inch, even the watch is going! And at no distance there is no time to register.

So you see, who you really, really, really are, this one never moved, Barbara. It, she, or he, God – excuse the term, I like that term – he is who you really, really, really are, and he never moved, and he has no boundaries. He is speckless, and he is faceless, and contains the whole world. And this is where you are coming from, and it is absolutely timeless.

Most of us, I think, worry about when the perishable part is no longer contained in the form that we so preferred, what happens to memory and what happens to this continuity that we feel that we would like to call Douglas, or Barbara, or Jeff?

Yes. Well, quite right. Emily Brontë wrote a rather famous and splendid poem called “Last Lines.” And she said a true thing, I think. “When suns and universes cease to be, every existence will exist in thee.” In other words, in the timeless, is a kind of freezer, which prevents things from perishing, you see. It contains perishable things. And, Barbara, you see, the content of the timeless will never recover from containing Barbara, or even Douglas. You are established there in the timeless. And I would say, I am not professing to understand this. Presently, I shall know more about it from direct experience!

[Laughter.] We are talking with Douglas Harding on KAZU 90.3. This is Discovery. So, we have gone through The Little Book of Life and Death, and On Having No Head, and we started with your novel that is not published yet, The Trial of the Man Who Said He was God. Let’s talk about Head Off Stress. The world is full of stress, probably because we are still believing all these lies.

Well, I think that might be so partly, Barbara. But I think the situation is this – things are built on stress, they run on stress. Our cars run on gas. I mean, things are held together by stress. Stress is a good thing there because it holds things together and prevents them falling apart. What is stress but a system of complementary pressures, forces, isn’t it.?

Mm.

And the whole world runs on stress. And it is a good thing and a necessary thing. The world is a stress system. What we do is to get out there, imagine ourselves out there, involved in that stress world. And of course, we take on stress and it gives us a hard time because we are not essentially – who we really, really, really are – is not only not out there, subject to stress, but is absolutely and totally free of stress from where we are at the center. And the one you are really looking out of, Barbara, at this time, is unstressable.

So, if you want to be hot you go to the Equator, if you want to be cool, you go to the North Pole, and if you want to be unstressed, you come home to the place you have never left, because nothing is there to be stressed. It’s as simple as that. And it’s a case of coming home, coming home, to the place you have never left, the place you are looking out of, and seeing there is nothing there to be stressed.

And you can come home on any ticket. Any ticket home is a good ticket, and I can point to this place. And we shall be doing some experiments like that in our workshop here, or in Santa Cruz rather. And we can point to this place we are looking out of, we can see when we put on our glasses – two lenses – we put on our glasses, and we see we are looking not out of two pupils in a meatball, we are looking out of one enormous frameless window. And not in our own direct experience are two little pupils. Well, that is coming home from the stress world to the world where there is nothing to be stressed. So, if you want to be free of stress, go where there isn’t any, and that is right where you are.

Mm. Let’s talk a little more about what people will be experiencing in the workshop. What is a workshop with Douglas Harding?

Well, one of the things I say is don’t believe a word I am saying. You are the authority.  You see, we are suffering all of us from indoctrination, from being grievously intimidated, and we allow people to tell us what it is like where we are. Nobody is in a position to tell you what you are like where you are. You are the authority. So, in a workshop I say don’t believe a thing I say, test it. Test it, because you are the authority on who you are. And this workshop is about who you really, really are. And I say who you really, really, really are is unbelievably blessed, splendid, perfect, and the answer to all your problems is who you really, really, really are.

So, we get together in a workshop to do sundry experiments –  quite a lot of them – for coming home to the place we’ve never left and finding this blessing, this energy, a freedom which is there for free where we are.

And the workshop normally consists of three or four sections. A spiel, an introductory spiel, rather along the lines of what we are doing here, you see. Then the experiments which are the nitty gritty. They are what count. The words are kind of froth, the experiments are what count. So the first thing is a spiel, saying why we are getting together. The second thing are the experiments, all of them bringing us home to this infinitely neglected treasure in the space where we are coming from. And the third part is – well everyone sees this. I don’t allow anyone not to see it, it’s so obvious, isn’t it? The experiments don’t give you a chance, you’ve got to see it. Everybody gets the point, just as you do. I mean, immediately you got the point. So, in a workshop everybody gets the point. Now what they do with it is another matter.

So we go on then to look at how we live this, which is the great thing. It’s not much use seeing it and then putting it on one side by all the other amusing things we’ve encountered. The workshop addresses the practicality of this and how we keep it alive. And we have questions also.

And I think around that time towards the end, we get on to what for me is really a crucial matter and that is a case of confidence. What horse am I backing in life? Am I backing Douglas who is a loser? Come on, he is a loser, I mean, he is dying. He has been dying for 83 years. He’s a loser. I mean, I am not distressed about that because, I mean, it’s his nature. He is not a winner, and in so far as I trust him, things go wrong. But when I trust who I really, really, really am, where I am coming from – my true nature, my Buddha-nature, or the indwelling Holy Spirit, or the kingdom of heaven, or God, or whatever you like to call this which I really, really am – if I give up my trust, give up my self-confidence in that little guy, and rely on this one, I find I am taken care of, and that things work out. I don’t get what I want but I get what I need. So that is what the workshop is about.

Of course, it is, as you say, simple, a simple thing to see.

Obvious.

And it’s obvious in many ways, but it is not so easy for people to do. Why is it so hard for people to hear what you are saying, or hear what other sages say about this, or what their neighbor says about it, and why is it so difficult for people to implement it? Why does it take many, many years to begin to . . .?

Well, it doesn’t take many . . . it doesn’t take any time to see it, does it? It’s a piece of cake, the most obvious thing in the whole world. We don’t know what obviousness is until we see this. It’s absolutely obvious. All we’ve got to do is turn our attention around 180° from what we are looking at to what we are looking out of. So, it’s absolutely obvious. And to establish it we keep coming back. Every time you come back to the place you never left and dissolve the hallucinated block here, which is hallucination. Why every time you do that it’s easier, you see, it’s easier every time. So, it’s a matter of practice. And the work has to be done. Yes, the work has to be done. And with some people I think it can result fairly soon in being centered. So you are not out to lunch. You are really with yourself. You are centered. Because the normal human condition is to be out to lunch.

But why is the normal human condition to be out to lunch?

Well, because you are in a kind of coma. We are out there, eccentric, looking at ourselves and wondering what other people see. And donating, building up here the image of something. When we are very little, we were centered and all animals are centered. They are living from their space. But as we grow up and join the human club, we are out to lunch. We must join the human club. It’s very important. But the price is too high. The subscription is too high, and I withdraw my subscription. What we are asked to do, when we belong to the human club, is to survey ourselves from about a meter away through other people’s eyes. Well, you can’t do that. And what I am on about is looking at yourself from where you are, and looking at where you are coming from, seeing what you are looking out of, as well as what you are looking at.

Well, if all of this is at the heart of all the great religious traditions . . .

It is.

. . .what happened? Why aren’t the religious traditions giving us this insight as clearly as you are giving it?

Well, that is a very good question. I think though it’s at the heart of the great religions. I think that religion becomes contaminated in a thousand ways, and the truth, the initial truth, on which the thing was built, the original vision of this, gets overlaid by churchianity, by priests, by the interests, the power trip. The power trip that each religion does develop, really. Power over people. And so the life and the heart of the great religions is that there are some heretics, like Douglas, who go back to the beginning and look at things as they were originally.

And in my view Christ, Jesus, was on to this absolutely. I mean he talked about the man who looks upon himself only from outside and not also within, makes himself small. And how big are you? And I say if you really look and see who you are, you are worldwide. You are worldwide. We make ourselves small. Barbara, we get shrunk in the wash. And you know, when we were very little, infants, we look kind of small, don’t we? About 2 feet long, really very tiny. But do you think an infant for itself is tiny? The infant for itself has got no boundaries, for sure.

That’s true.

And then when we join the club, we shrink from being worldwide into being a little thing.

Now, is it any wonder that young people become anti-social and angry, and rebellious? Is it any wonder when overnight, they got shrunk from being all things to being just what they look like from outside?

So, what I am on about, you know the whole thing is, I am not what I look like. I am not here at zero inches what I look like at a hundred inches. I am not only unlike that, I am the exact opposite. So I tell you, you are getting what Douglas looks like, I’ve got what Douglas is. And they are totally different. And the great human nonsense is to say, “I am here, what do I look like to you over there!” Which is absolute rubbish, isn’t it?

Yes, quite. What is interesting to me though is that we are willing to shrink, and yet some of us, like you, are unwilling to shrink. And what is the difference? Why are most of us willing to go along with this shrinking process, and every once in a while, somebody says, “No, I won’t do this?”

Well, I think it is a mystery; I don’t know the answer. But I think it is connected with the whole origin of the world and of evil, and so on. I think you know, probably the best light we can get on this, is to think of, say, I mean this is like a kind of myth, is think of God, Buddha-nature, reality, with no world, just perfect. God is there for millions and millions of eons and ages just revolving the circle of his own perfections. He is absolutely perfect. Nothing ever happened. And after billions and billions of years, he got bored or she got bored. And what she did was to say, “I’m going to do a terribly difficult thing, a terribly risky thing. I am going to pretend to be three people, Barbara, Jeff, and Douglas, possibly a few more, you see. I am going to pretend to be these different people.” And the result of that was that in order to get the whole thing set up you have to have this illusion thing going, so that people think they are separate from God in their origin.

And so, God set up the thing, playing a game of hide and seek with herself. And this is part of God’s plan that we pretend that we are solid lumps, and we are what we look like. And I say that the great fun of life and the object in life is to come off that and tell the truth.

You say, “Why aren’t many more people on to this?” And that I don’t know. I am doing my best to encourage people; I am doing my little best to encourage people to not only look at this but share it with others.

It’s very easily shareable as we have seen, isn’t it?

Yes. Quite, quite. Who are the most exciting people that you have spent time with in your wonderful 83 years?

Well, I think everybody is of value to me and teaches me. I’ve met many, many teachers and gurus, you and Jeff, now. Everybody teaches me. I am so refreshed by my friends. But perhaps one of the most notable ones I have met . . . well yes, I have had a few friends. I am not going to go name dropping now, but I have had some pretty marvelous friends, and still have. But I think one of the most impressive was Ananda Maya Ma, in Bangalore, in India, who had a vast, vast following of people in north India. And she was onto this. A most beautiful woman.

Yes, somebody was just talking about her last night to me.

Really?

Describe her.

She was a very, very beautiful woman. We shared this thing together when I went to see her in India. I think she is one of the most remarkable people I have known. But the people I share it with, like you now, it is as though one has known those people for ever and ever. Because, look, the barriers are down, Barbara, aren’t they?

I mean, when I see who I am – well, look, look now. I have your face, which you have given me out of your generous heart. You have given me your face which you don’t have, and I have it, and I’m looking after it and treasuring it. That’s a wonderful thing to do, to give me your face. Now, what about what is behind that face? What about the consciousness which is the essence of Barbara? Now will I find that by peeking now into your eyes? I won’t! There are not two little hobgoblins of consciousness behind your pupils. But if I want to find the awareness which is Barbara, that essence, that indwelling Godhead, Godhood, I look here, and what I see here – this space, this capacity. It has no laundry marks of Douglas on it, you see. Or Barbara, or Jeff. It will do for you, and it will do for everyone, and it’s infinite as I look here now. I mean, here it is, and it goes on and on for ever and ever and ever. And it has no personal marks on it. And it is awake, boundless, real, and where we are all coming from. So, I now say to you, there is a double intimacy, if you don’t mind my saying so. It is I have your face. I have your appearance there, for which God be praised. And I am your reality. So I have your appearance over there, and here I am your reality. Now that is so different from the confrontation story in the world, isn’t it? So there we are face-to-face, head-on collision. Confrontation.

You have never confronted anyone in your life. This thing we are built, Barbara, for, busted wide open for each other, aren’t we? It’s really marvelous. And when we start telling the truth of who we are, the world is full of blessing.

Yes. You don’t like the word enlightenment, why?

Well, I mean, because, well partly because it’s been made into such an inaccessible, mysterious thing. I say that we are all, all, living from our enlightenment. And here we are, fully established in our enlightenment. All we’ve got to do is not to achieve it but turn around and acknowledge it. And we build up this absurd picture of something which can only be attained by folding your legs into a granny knot for 20 years or I don’t know what, all sorts of things you see. You know, I say, we don’t know what obviousness is until we see who we really are.

Mm. You mention the word evil. What is evil? Why do we perceive evil? What is that all about?

Well, I think evil is the name we give to alienation, separation. And evil is failure to be open. Evil is turning your back on the world. You see here, who I really, really am here is naked and open, exposed to the world. And the little guy in the mirror, Douglas, has turned his back on the world. Now, he must do so. But if that is the whole story, well, that is evil because what he says is keep out. I can see my little chap in the mirror, around who my ego, imagined personality is constellated, around the little guy. Well, he is, by himself, evil in the sense that he says, “Keep out. I’m just announcing myself. I am shutting the world out because I’m a thing. And I am looking after my thing, and I turn my back on the world. I’ve got enough troubles of my own, thank you very much.” But the one here, who I really, really am which is about a meter away from the one in the mirror, the one I really, really am here is open to the world, busted wide open to the world, naked, and taking on the world’s joy and suffering. You see, I think that one of the reasons why we resist this, Barbara, is we really do say, “I’ve got enough problems of my own. I don’t want to be busted wide open like this.”

Yes. I think that’s true. And maybe we should talk about that. What about suffering? Suffering affects – somebody was talking to me the other day about this – and he said, “If I open up and am available to myself and the world, I’ll be receiving all that suffering and pain.” And that is something we consider and maybe you’ve hit it on the head there. That our willingness to be shrunk comes from our unwillingness to be in what we perceive to be close contact with this suffering that’s beyond us.

That’s beautifully put. Yes. You see, I really think that the answer to my anguish is not to separate it from the world and to see who I really, really am, means to take on the suffering of the world. And in Christianity this is a very powerful ingredient of that faith. And in Buddhism, you know, wisdom without compassion is like a bird with one wing, and compassion which is feeling other’s suffering, is essential to wisdom. Inseparable from wisdom. And I think the way I should put it is, coming from who I really, really am, I am naked and open to the suffering of the world and then can go beyond it to what lies at the back of the suffering, the one here who doesn’t separate himself from any of the suffering in the world. To take it on and acknowledge it, is, I think, to find an incredible peace and joy underneath it, somehow.

Yes, but the journey through to that is such a terrifying one.

Yes, but I think it is even more terrifying if you are in your own little box there, having your personal suffering. You think that the world has chosen you for some really nasty stuff. And there you are full of resentment, suffering your own thing with no way out at all.

Yes.

And I think the way out is to allow yourself to be invaded by the suffering of others and then your heart will . . . . You see, I talk about losing your head, and when . . . I am talking about literally one is headless. But when one loses one’s head and is busted wide open, instead of this meatball which closes me up, then I find my center of gravity, in fact, does move down. And I lose my head and I find my heart. I find my heart. And one does find, of necessity feels – one doesn’t set it up but I think one does find – that the hurt of the world is one’s own hurt.

But that is vast and deep, isn’t it?

Yes, and I think our blessing lies in that direction.

Can you talk about your own entry into that vast, deep place of suffering?

Well, I don’t think one enters into it to take on suffering. I think, I don’t like suffering any more than anyone else does. I don’t want to suffer any more than I need. But what I need to do is to be truthful and come home to who I really am. And when I see who I really am, which I do now, this clarity, this openness, this exposure to the world, this being full of you, and the scene there, when I see that, I think I take care of the whole thing, suffering and all. And I don’t need to do two, three, or four things, see who I am and then address the suffering of the world. I think the seeing who I am embraces all that. And I think when you see who you are, you will find this happening naturally. Your compassion will be awakened.

What’s the importance of sacrifice? The traditions speak of sacrifice?

Well you see, I think we should not be too gloomy about this because it’s really our natural condition, our sacrifice one for another. Look, the only way I can have your face for now is to disappear as Douglas, isn’t it? And this  is death. Douglas dies and is resurrected as Barbara. You see what I mean? And we give our lives for one another, Barbara. This is incredibly beautiful. And all this gloomy sacrifice business is a bind. I think it is something which is so blessed that I give my life for you.

You know, who was it said, Paul I think, “Greater love hath no man than this, than to give his life for a friend.” Well, we give out lives for one another. I give my life for Barbara not because I’m a nice old thing but because I am just truthful, and I am seeing that I am disappearing in your favor. And that is sacrificing Douglas for, well sacrificing the little guy who is perishing for the great one who can never perish. So, what sacrifice? It’s gain, isn’t it, my God?

Yes, interesting.

Yes, ultimate gain.

Douglas, of the traditions that you have studied, which one seemed closest to you, to this heart? Which of the traditions seemed to have less of this crust of inappropriate stuff attached to them? Is it the Zen Buddhist tradition, perhaps?

No, I wouldn’t say so. I think that I would say that, having been brought up in the Christian faith, and for many years, all my early years, deeply in that faith, it’s in my blood. I can’t deny it. I can’t put that on one side for any other faith. But I think that going deeply, deeply into the heart of Christianity I find that many, many insights are shared between that faith and the other faiths. And each moreover, it seems to me that each faith, has a unique contribution to make, so I owe a great deal to Zen, and Zen Buddhism. I owe only slightly less, I think, to Hinduism and some recent Masters like Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta. And I owe a very great deal to Sufism and particularly Jalalludin [Rumi]. So yes, I suppose I am rather ecumenical.

But I think the thing is, one can make the mistake of window shopping and going around saying I don’t belong to any of them because they have all got something true to say, and that means you tend not to go deeply into any one of them. And for me, I think it just sticks with me that – and I suppose this is more a gut reaction, or early conditioning, for me it sticks –  (this realization is basic to me) that the reality behind the universe is none other than self-giving love.

And it is shown in what I was saying. We are built, all of us are built to this Christ pattern, to give our lives for one another, and we vanish in favor of the one there. And it is so beautiful Barbara. It moves my heart and excites my mind. The vision of this sings, really.

Let’s talk about Jalalludin’s view of this. He is the one in the Sufi tradition that we think of when the word “beloved” is used. That great connection with what we are talking about.

Yes, that’s right.

Maybe you’d care to say some more about him?

Yes, I can give you one or two quotes from him. He says, “Dissolve yourself into nothingness. Become nothingness, nothingness, nothingness.”

He talks a lot about losing your head. “Dissolve your head into nothingness.” He talks a lot about that. One thing he said was, “Become vision, vision, vision. Become vision.”

What did he mean by that?

Become vision. Well, what is looking out of here is vision itself, you know. Vision itself. It is the awake perceiver of the whole world. So, he says, “Lose your head  . . . .” Oh, a great deal about headlessness, he’s got. He said, “Heads go rolling like the ball in polo.” “Heads go rolling like the ball in polo.” And he says, seeing into your clarity, your nothingness, is the whole thing.

Did you have a chance to meet Ramana Maharshi?

No, I never did. I was in India when he was alive but I never met him. But I regard him as having had a great influence on my life. And what he said were about three things which I would absolutely take.

First of all, he said, although he didn’t put it quite as neatly as this. He said the answer to your problem, whatever it might be, is to see who has the problem. That’s  one. And the second thing he said – it’s easier to see who you are, than it is to become enlightened – it’s easier to see who you are than to see a gooseberry in the palm of your hand. And the third thing, I can’t think of at the moment. But those will do, won’t they?

Yes, those are two good ones.

Those will do. The answer to your problem is to see who has the problem. And the vision of who you are is the most obvious and accessible thing in the world. Oh, the pity, the pity.

And everyone around him said, “Only you can do it master.” And they put him on a pedestal so high they couldn’t hear a word he said. So sad.

That happens a lot, doesn’t it?

It happens a lot, and it happened very much in his case. I have visited his ashram and people there . . . you know, they can’t see this. And if I go there and say it’s the most obvious thing in the world, look at what your master said, I should probably get my marching orders.

They would chase you out?

I think they would. I think they would a bit. Although I contributed a great deal to their journal, Mountain Path, (but I only did it by quoting him all the time!) which he says it’s available, it’s obvious, and it’s the answer to your problem. And there we are.

Douglas, would you give us a retrospective on, I won’t use the word retrospective, let’s shift it around, about the future of this species who is having a hard time in this shrunken state. How do you feel we are progressing in the last part of the twentieth century? Or not progressing as the case may be?

Going back. Well you see, I think it’s a very fascinating story. And the story began (what was it? a million years ago or five million) when a very smart ape, with a very nice hand for grasping things, and a big forebrain, and so forth, when he became human. And the way he became human was – he saw his face in the water; he saw that specter there, and the specter invaded him. It rushed up his arm and invaded him and parasitized him here. So he took that thing that belongs there in the water, or the mirror (which he probably didn’t have) and he came here, and he became what . . . . He took on what belongs there, a yard away, and he became shrunk. And he joined the human club.

Now five million years is quite a long time to play that game. It is a game and it has produced, gosh, what it has produced including all the equipment in front of me now at this time.  It has produced language and everything else. So, it was a very important game. But gosh, I think it’s a game which five million years of, a million years, is long enough. And I think we should now play a different game. And for the last two and a half thousand years there have been people who have been playing a different game and who see what Ramana Maharshi and others are pointing at. And I think the opportunity now, the human race given these communications, given our dire need, given the experiments which we are able to share with people, because they are a breakthrough, Barbara. They are a breakthrough, making this so directly perceptible – given all those things – I think there is a sporting chance, that we shall make it.

I don’t mean that the whole, that everyone shall be “headless,” but this could become the vision of the cutting edge of our race. A sufficient number of leaders or people who are setting the tone and so on should see this. And I think there is a chance. Because we have come through ages of stagnation, ice ages, we are very versatile, a very tough species. And I do think there is a chance. Anyway, I am doing my best to see. And I think that it’s time we played a new game And confrontation is the name of the old game and it doesn’t work and it takes you to hell.

We are talking with Douglas Harding. Oh, my goodness we have come very close to the end of our program. Time goes fast, doesn’t it?

Yes, it does.

People say, “Ninety minutes, that’s an awful long time to talk,” and then it goes by just like that. Gosh, I wanted to ask you about modern psychology, but I don’t think we have enough time to do that. Do you have any . . . .

Quickies on that?

Quickies on psychology?

Well, of course it’s a very impressive achievement, Freud and Jung and all that tribe saying all sorts of incredibly valuable things. But if I imagine that that is going to cure my heart’s anguish, I am mistaken. Psychology is a rainforest in which you can lose yourself immediately [laughter]. I mean, you never come out and you know it’s an endless, endless thing. One thing leading to another. Even Freud himself talked about analysis as interminable or terminable. It is not the cure.

Psychology is for polishing up that little guy in the mirror, Douglas. [Laughter.] And he’s a pretty hopeless case to polish. He won’t take a polish really. [Laughter.] And who I really, really am is upstream of psychology. It’s metaphysics, if you wish. And I think that when you come from who you are, and see who you are – and what should I say – tell the truth, submit to the evidence, have the humility to submit to the evidence, that I think is the best thing you can do for your psychology. And then when you look into – why shouldn’t you? – look into psychological methods and processes, you can award marks for those who got it right [Laughter.] Or at least, didn’t get it right but they didn’t stand in the way of this vision.

How about science?

Well yes of course. You see this is absolutely agreeable to modern science. Look, when you go up to a thing, you lose it, don’t you? I don’t care what you take, any darn thing you like, a book, a person, a hand, anything whatever, you lose it. Now, I go all the way up to myself –  I told you about, you know, taking pictures on the way up here . . .

Right. When you get down to the subatomic particles they disappear.

Well sure. That’s right. And I, here, in this place I am pointing at, which is what you perceive as Douglas’s topknot or meatball, here I find no thing whatever. And this is scientifically verifiable because I say, “Come and see.” In other words, to put it more generally, what I am is a  function of the distance or range of the observer. Now, looked at from where you are, I am perceived to be a man. Looked at from much further away, I disappear into why the Monterey Peninsula, and America, and the Earth, and the Solar System, and the Galaxy. Or coming nearer I am perceived to be why, a nose, and then tissues and cells and molecules and  atoms and so on. So what I am is relative to the view, the position of the viewer.

Now, I view myself from zero centimeters and where I am is where this wonderful indwelling Godhead resides. And it is no thing, imperishable consciousness, awake, and real. Real. Reality. And where I am coming from, and the source of all inspiration and energy. We get so tired hallucinating something here to block it out with.

Yes. Well, I’ve got to say goodbye to you Douglas. I don’t’ want to. I’d like to continue this for another hour or so. But I would like to thank you very much for joining us on Discovery. And thank you Jeff for coming and bringing Douglas. And thank you Douglas.

Thank you, Barbara. It’s very special to be interviewed by someone with whom I immediately shared what I have to share.

Thank you. Thank you.

From a radio interview with KAZU, Monterey, California given in 1992.

Here you can listen to the Douglas Harding Monterey Radio Interview.

Here you can find, Who Are We Really?, a video presentation created by one of Douglas’s long time students which illustrates the experiments that Douglas created in order to give us a direct experience of who “we really, really are.”

And here you can find more posts on Douglas Harding.

The Master of the Shouts – Osho

A little note about Rinzai, master of the irrational.

Rinzai, also known as Lin-Chi, was born in the early ninth century and was to become the founder of one of the most significant schools of Zen.

Brilliant as a child, later, when Rinzai became a priest, he studied the sutras and scriptures. Realizing the answer did not lie within them, he went on pilgrimage, visiting Obaku and Daigu, two great masters. After his enlightenment he became priest of a small temple on the banks of the Hu-t’o River.

Maneesha has asked:

Our beloved master, Rinzai became known as the master of the shouts. His specialty consists . . . he used shouts as a method to silence you – a sudden shout. You are asking about God, you are asking about heaven, you are asking about great philosophical or theological problems and the master immediately shouts. Your mind gets a shock, almost an electric shock. For a moment you are not, only the shout is. For a moment the mind stops, time stops – and that is the whole secret of meditation.

Many mystics around the world have used sounds, but in a very superficial way. Rinzai used shouts in a tremendously deep way. His shouts would become just like a sword entering in you, piercing to the very center.

You can understand . . . when you shout Yaa-Hoo! your mind disappears. Yaa-Hoo! has no meaning, but shouting it you get suddenly thrown to your own center, and once you have touched your own center, even for a simple glimpse, your life has started changing.

Rinzai would shout at the disciples to give them a first experience of their centering. You are both a circumference and a center. You live on the circumference; the shout simply pushes you to the center. Once you experience being at the center you suddenly see the whole world changing. Your eyes are no more the same; your clarity and transparency are absolute. You see the same green leaves greener, the same roses rosier, the same life as a festival, as a ceremony. You would love to dance.

And then the disciples, once they learned that the shout can help them to reach to their very center . . . It was a strange sight when Rinzai started accepting disciples near the river. The disciples would be shouting around the whole valley, and the valley would resound with shouts. You could tell from miles away that you were somewhere close to Rinzai. It was not only that he was shouting, but that shouting was a method to throw you from the circumference to the center.

There are many ways to throw you to the center. Every way is valid if you reach to your center, because your center is the only immortal part in you. Everything else is going to die.

Today Professor Barks is here. He has done a tremendous job in translating Rumi. He has come as close as possible, but I don’t think he knows that Rumi’s whole effort by whirling is to find the center. If you whirl for hours, you will see slowly that something at the very center is not moving at all, and that is you. Your body is whirling, but your consciousness is a pillar of light.

Rumi attained his first enlightenment by whirling for thirty-six hours continuously. People thought he was mad. Even today a small group of his followers continues. They are called whirling dervishes. But the point is the same: whirling, your whole body becomes a cyclone, and your witnessing self becomes the center. Everything moves around you, but the center remains unmoving. To know this unmoving center is to know the very master key of all the mysteries of life.

Rinzai had no idea about Rumi, neither did Rumi have any idea about Rinzai, but both were working on the same strategy – somehow to force you to the center. As your consciousness becomes deeper, as it becomes an easy thing to go to the center just like you go in your house and come out, you have become a buddha.

Then slowly, slowly your center starts changing your circumference. Then you cannot be violent, then you cannot be destructive; then you are love. Not that you love – you are love. Then you are silence, then you are truth, although the old you has disappeared. That was your circumference, that was the cyclone that is gone. Now, only the center remains.

Rinzai’s method is far simpler than Rumi’s. Very few people will be able to whirl for hours, but shouting is a simpler method. Anybody can shout and can shout wholeheartedly, and it can be very intense and urgent. Whirling you will take hours to find out the center; shouting, a split second and you are at the center.

The anecdote…

Rinzai became known as the master of the shouts. On one occasion a monk asked, “What about the cardinal principle of the Buddha-dharma?”

Now, he is asking something important. What is the cardinal principle of the religion of Buddha?

Rinzai shouted – the monk bowed.

“Do you say that’s a good shout?” Rinzai asked.

The monk commented: “The thief in the grass has met complete defeat.”

“What is my offence?” Rinzai asked.

The monk replied, “It won’t be pardoned a second time.”

Rinzai gave another shout.

The first shout of Rinzai was perfectly good. The monk bowed down because he felt a great relief by moving from the circumference to the center. But Rinzai was a little suspicious. Because everything in this world becomes traditional, it had started becoming traditional that Rinzai will shout and you have to bow down to show that you have understood it, that it has reached to your center. It was becoming a tradition.

This is very unfortunate. Everything becomes a habit, a ritual, a tradition, and loses all meaning. Now, his bowing down may be true or may be just a mannerism. That’s why Rinzai asked, “Do you say that’s a good shout?”

The monk commented: “The thief in the grass has met complete defeat.”

What does he mean by this? The monk is saying, “You have been found being unsuccessful. Your shout missed.”

The monk commented: “The thief in the grass has met complete defeat.”

“What is my offense?” Rinzai asked.

The monk replied, “It won’t be pardoned a second time.”

The monk is saying, “Your shout missed.” He is not saying that shouting at him a second time will not be pardoned; he is saying, “Your being a failure will not be pardoned – It won’t be pardoned a second time. The first time I forgive you; you missed, you did not reach to my center. I bowed down because you tried, you tried hard. But the second time it will not be pardoned.”

Anybody reading it will think that he is saying, “If you shout a second time it will not be pardoned.” That is not the case. He is saying, “Your failure will not be pardoned a second time.”

Rinzai gave a shout – and the anecdote ends suddenly. After the shout there is silence. The second shout succeeded. Now the monk is silent, Rinzai is silent.

There have been long progressions for reaching to yourself, like yoga. But devices like Rinzai’s are very simple, don’t require any discipline as a prerequisite. Anybody . . . no need of having a certain character; good or bad, sinner or saint, it does not matter. What matters is to reach to the center, because at the center you are neither a sinner nor a saint. Your being a sinner or a saint are all on the periphery. Our whole society lives on the periphery; all our divisions are very superficial.

I am reminded of a great follower of Buddha, Nagarjuna. He lived naked. Perhaps Nagarjuna is the greatest logician that has walked on the earth. Aristotle is no comparison to him, neither is Shankara; Nagarjuna’s argumentation is the most refined. But he used to live naked – a beautiful man – and even kings and queens were disciples to him. In a certain capital the queen was his disciple. She asked him, “You will have to give me a favor. I want to take away your begging bowl.”

He said, “That is not a problem. You can have it.”

She said, “That is only half of it. I have prepared a begging bowl for you. This one you give to me; it will be a present, the most precious to me in the whole world. And I have made a begging bowl which you cannot reject, you have to accept it.”

He said, “I have not seen it either.”

She said, “Seeing or not seeing is not the question. First, give me the promise that you will not reject it.”

So he said, “Okay, I will not reject it.”

She brought out the bowl, and it was made of solid gold, studded with diamonds. Nagarjuna said, “You don’t understand the situation. Whether I reject it or not, I will not be able to keep it even for a few hours. A naked man carrying a begging bowl made of solid gold, studded with great diamonds – do you think I will be able to keep it? But I have promised, so I will accept it.”

A thief was watching the whole transaction. He followed Nagarjuna. He knew that this fellow lives outside the city in a dilapidated temple, and every afternoon after he has taken his food, he goes to sleep. This is a very good time to take this begging bowl away. Anyway, somebody is going to take it away . . .

So he went and he was hiding behind a wall by the side of a window watching that somebody else does not enter inside. Nagarjuna made his place to sleep and he had complete awareness that somebody had been following him.

“Why keep him unnecessarily waiting? Anyway, I am going to sleep and he will take the begging bowl. It is better to give it him. Why make him a thief?” So he threw the begging bowl outside the window where the thief was sitting.

The thief could not believe it. This is really a strange man. A strange desire arose in the thief that it would be good to have a little time to sit at this man’s feet, so he asked from the window, “Can I come in?”

Nagarjuna said, “What do you think I have thrown the begging bowl for? – to bring you in. Come in. That was just an invitation.”

The thief could not understand, but was very much impressed by the man.

Nagarjuna said, “I did not want to make you a thief, that’s why I have thrown the begging bowl. Now you can have it.”

The thief said, “It is so precious; you are a man of great mastery over yourself. I also hope one day I will not be a thief but a master like you.”

Nagarjuna said, “Why postpone it? It is a very simple secret. You can become a master.”

He said, “You don’t understand. I am a thief; I am a born thief. I cannot resist the temptation.”

Nagarjuna said, “It does not matter at all. You can remain a thief. I will give you a small meditation: whatever you do, even if you go to steal in the palace, just be a witness of what you are doing. I don’t want you not to be a thief; do whatever you want to do, but do it with full awareness. Just be a witness.”

He said, “This seems to be simple. I have been going to many saints. They say, ‘First you drop stealing, otherwise you cannot be religious.’ You are the first man who is not asking me to drop stealing.”

Nagarjuna said, “Those saints that you have met are not saints. No saint will ask you to drop stealing. Why? Do it perfectly well. Just remain a witness.”

The thief could not understand the strategy. After the third or fourth day he came back to Nagarjuna and said, “You are very clever. In these four days there have been so many opportunities to steal, but as I go to steal, to take something, immediately my hand relaxes. The moment I witness myself stealing it seems to be so embarrassing that I pull my hand back. For four days I have not been able to steal anything.”

Nagarjuna said, “Now it is your problem; I have nothing to do with it. You can choose. You can choose witnessing, or you can choose stealing.”

The man said, “Only in these four days have I been able to feel my own dignity. I cannot drop witnessing. I am coming with you.”

What witnessing does is again throw you back to your center. At the center you are a buddha. On the periphery, who you are does not matter. Once you start living at the center, slowly, slowly your circumference will start changing its colors. It will become as pure as you are at the center. It will become as compassionate as you are at the center. It will take all the fragrance of the center in all your activities.

The authentic religion does not preach morality. Morality comes on its own accord. The authentic religion teaches you to be centered in yourself. Then everything that is good follows, and what is bad simply does not arise. It is not a question of choice; choicelessly you are good. It is not that you are being good; you cannot be otherwise.

This is the miracle of Zen.

Zen simply means witnessing.

These shouts throw you to the center, and once you have learned to be at the center, you will know that on the periphery you are always a beggar, and at the center you are always an emperor. And who wants to be a beggar?

Religion is the alchemy of transforming beggars into emperors.

A great Zen poet, Ikkyu, wrote:

Crazy madman,
Blowing up a crazy wind,
Wandering here and there,
Amidst brothels and wine shops.

Is there an enlightened monk
Who can match me
Even for a single word?

I paint the south; I paint the north;
I am painting the west and east.

He is saying “People think I am crazy . . . ” Crazy madman, blowing up a crazy wind, wandering here and there, amidst brothels and wine shops.

An authentic buddha is not afraid of brothels and wine shops. The saints who are afraid are really repressed people; they are not transformed beings.

Is there an enlightened monk who can match me?

A buddha can move with absolute freedom in the marketplace. Those who renounce the world are the cowards, the escapists, and they have destroyed all the religions of the world. All the religions are in the hands of the cowards.

An authentic religious man is a lion, and he is so centered in himself that he is not worried about being anywhere. He is so certain of his purity, of his eternity, of his divinity that he knows that if a thief comes to him, it is the thief who will have to change; if a prostitute comes to him, it is the prostitute who will have to change.

Our so-called saints are so much afraid. Their fear shows their repressions. A repressed man is not a religious man; he is simply sick, he needs psychiatric treatment.

-Osho

From Rinzai: The Master of the Irrational, Discourse #1

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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