This Coolness is Your Meditation – Osho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This coolness is your meditation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Osho

From Nothing to Lose but Your Head, Chapter Twelve

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

When You are a Witness then You are Not – Osho

This word “witnessing” is a most significant word. There are hundreds of techniques to achieve centering, but witnessing is bound to be a part, a basic part, in every technique. Whatsoever the technique may be, witnessing will be the essential part in it. So it will be better to call it “the technique of all techniques”. It is not simply a technique. The process of witnessing is the essential part of all the techniques.

One can talk about witnessing as a pure technique also. For example, J. Krishnamurti: he is talking about witnessing as a pure technique. But that talk is just like talking about the spirit without the body. You cannot feel it, you cannot see it. Everywhere the spirit is embodied; you can feel the spirit through the body. Of course, the spirit is not the body, but you can feel it through the body.

Every technique is just a body, and witnessing is the soul. You can talk about witnessing independent of any body, any matter; then it becomes abstract, totally abstract. So Krishnamurti has been talking continuously for half a century, but whatsoever he is saying is so pure, unembodied, that one thinks that one is understanding, but that understanding remains just a concept.

In this world nothing exists as pure spirit. Everything exists embodied. So witnessing is the spirit of all spiritual techniques, and all the techniques are bodies, different bodies. So first we must understand what witnessing is, and then we can understand witnessing through some bodies, some techniques.

We know thinking, and one has to start from thinking to know what witnessing means because one has to start from what one knows. We know thinking. Thinking means judgment: you see something and you judge. You see a flower and you say it is beautiful or not beautiful. You hear a song and you appreciate it or you don’t appreciate it. You appreciate something or you condemn something.

Thinking is judgment. The moment you think, you have begun to judge. Thinking is evaluation.

You cannot think without evaluation. How can you think about a flower without evaluating it? The moment you start thinking you will say it is beautiful or not beautiful. You will have to use some category because thinking is categorizing. The moment you have categorized a thing – labeled it, named it – you have thought about it. Thinking is impossible if you are not going to judge. If you are not going to judge, then you can just remain aware – but you cannot think.

A flower is here, and I say to you, “See it, but don’t think. Look at the flower, but don’t think.” So what can you do? If thinking is not allowed, what can you do? You can only witness; you can only be aware. You can only be conscious of the flower. You can face the fact. The flower is here – now you can encounter it. If thinking is not allowed you cannot say, “It is beautiful. It is not beautiful. I know about it,” or, “It is strange – I have never seen it.” You cannot say anything. Words cannot be used because every word has a value in it. Every word is a judgment.

Language is burdened with judgment; language can never be impartial. The moment you use a word, you have judged. So you cannot use language, you cannot verbalize. If I say, “This is a flower– look at it, but don’t think!” then verbalization is not allowed. So what can you do? You can only be a witness. If you are there without thinking, just facing something, it is witnessing. Then witnessing means a passive awareness. Remember – passive. Thinking is active. You are doing something. Whatsoever you are seeing, you are doing something with it. You are not just passive, you are not like a mirror – you are doing something. And the moment you do something, you have changed the thing.

I see a flower and I say, “It is beautiful!” I have changed it. Now I have imposed something on the flower. Now, whatsoever the flower is, to me it is a flower plus my feeling of its being beautiful. Now the flower is far away. In between the flower and me is my sense of judgment, my evaluation of its being beautiful. Now the flower is not the same to me. The quality has changed. I have come into it. Now my judgment has penetrated into the fact. Now it is more like a fiction and less like a fact.

This feeling that the flower is beautiful doesn’t belong to the flower, it belongs to me. I have entered the fact. Now the fact is not virgin. I have corrupted it. Now my mind has become part of it. Really, to say that my mind has become part of it means: my past has become part, because when I say, “This flower is beautiful,” it means I have judged it through my past knowledge. How can you say that this flower is beautiful? Your experiences of the past, your conceptions of the past, that something like this is beautiful – you have judged it according to your past.

Mind means your past, your memories. The past has come upon the present. You have destroyed a virgin fact; now it is distorted. Now there is no flower. The flower as a reality in itself is no more there. It is corrupted by you, destroyed by you. Your past has come in between. You have interpreted. This is thinking. Thinking means bringing the past to a present fact. That’s why thinking can never lead you to the Truth – because Truth is virgin and has to be faced in its total virginity. The moment you bring your past in you are destroying it. Then it is an interpretation, not a realization of the fact. You have disrupted it. The purity is lost.

Thinking means bringing your past to the present. Witnessing means no past, just the present; no bringing in of the past. Witnessing is passive. You are not doing anything – you are! Simply, you are there. Only you are present. The flower is present, you are present – then there is a relationship of witnessing. When the flower is present and your whole past is present, not you, then it is a relationship of thinking.

So start from thinking. What is thinking? It is the bringing of the mind into the present. You have missed the present then you have missed it totally! The moment past penetrates into the present, you have missed it. When you say, “This flower is beautiful,” really, it has become the past. When you say, “This flower is beautiful,” it is a past experience. You have known, you have judged. When the flower is there and you are there, even to say that this flower is beautiful is not possible. You cannot assert any judgment in the present. Any judgment, any assertion, belongs to the past. If I say, “I love you,” it has become a thing that is past. If I say, “This flower is beautiful.” I have felt, I have judged – it has become past.

Witnessing is always present, never the past. Thinking is always the past. Thinking is dead, witnessing is alive. So the next distinction: first, thinking is active – doing something; witnessing is passive – non-doing, just being. Thinking is always the past, the dead which has gone away, which is no more; witnessing is always the present – that which is. So if you go on thinking, you can never know what witnessing is.

To stop, end thinking, becomes a start in witnessing. Cessation of thinking is witnessing. So what to do? – Because thinking is a long habit with us. It has become just a robot like, mechanical thing.  It is not that you think; it is not your decision now. It is a mechanical habit – you cannot do anything else. The moment a flower is there, the thinking has started. We have no non-verbal experiences; only small children have. Non-verbal experience is really experience. Verbalization is escaping from the experience.

When I say, “The flower is beautiful,” the flower has vanished from me. Now it is my mind, not the flower I am concerned with. Now it is the image of the flower in my mind, not the flower itself. Now the flower itself is a picture in the mind, a thought in the mind, and now I can compare with my past experiences and judge. But the flower is no more there. When you verbalize, you are closed to experience.

When you are non-verbally aware, you are open, vulnerable. Witnessing means a constant opening to experience, no closing. What to do? This mechanical habit of so-called thinking has to be broken somewhere. So whatsoever you are doing, try to do it non-verbally. It is difficult, arduous, and in the beginning it seems absolutely impossible, but it is not. It is not impossible – it is difficult. You are walking on the street: walk non-verbally, just walk, even if just for a few seconds, and you will have a glimpse of a different world – a non-verbal world, the real world, not the world of the mind man has created in himself.

You are eating: eat non-verbally. Someone asked Bokuju – Bokuju was a great Zen Master – “What’s your sadhana?”

So Bokuju said, “My sadhana is very simple: when I am hungry, I eat; when I am sleepy, I sleep –and this is all.”

The man was just bewildered. He said, “What are you saying? I also eat and I also sleep, and everyone is doing the same. So what is in that that you call it sadhana?”

Bokuju said, “When you are eating you are doing many things, not only eating. And when you are sleeping, you are doing everything else except sleeping. But when I eat, I simply eat; when I sleep, I simply sleep. Every act is total!”

Every act becomes total if you are non-verbal. So try to eat without any verbalization in the mind, with no thinking in the mind. Just eat, and then eating becomes meditation – because if you are nonverbal you will become a witness. If you are verbal you will become a thinker. If you are non-verbal you cannot do anything about it, you cannot help it – you will be a witness, automatically. So try to do anything non-verbally: walk, eat, take a bath or just sit silently. Then just sit – then be a “sitting”! Don’t think. Then even just sitting can become meditation, just walking can become meditation.

Someone else was asking Bokuju, “Give me some technique of meditation.”

Bokuju said, “I can give you a technique, but you will not be able to meditate – because you cannot practice a technique with a verbalizing mind.”

Your fingers can move on a rosary, and you can go on thinking. If your fingers just move on the rosary with no thinking, it becomes a meditation. Then, really, no technique is needed. The whole life is a technique. So Bokuju said, “It would be better if you be with me and watch me. Don’t ask for a method. Just watch me – and you will come to know.”

The poor fellow watched for seven days. He began to be more confused. After seven days he said, “When I came, I was less confused. Now I am more confused. I have watched you for seven days continuously – what is there to be watched?”

Bokuju said, “Then you have not watched. When I walk, have you seen? – I simply walk. When you bring tea in the morning for me, have you watched? – I simply take the tea and drink it: just drinking there is NO Bokuju – just drinking. No Bokuju – just drinking of the tea. Have you watched? If you have watched, then you must have felt that Bokuju is no more.”

This is a very subtle point – because if the thinker is there, then there is ego; then you are a Bokuju or somebody else. But if only action is there with no verbalization, no thinking, there is no ego. So Bokuju says, “Have you really watched? Then there was no Bokuju – just drinking of the tea, walking in the garden, digging a hole in the earth.”

Buddha, because of this, has said, “There is no soul” – because you have not watched, you go on continuously thinking that you have a soul. You are not! If you are a witness, then you are not. The “I” forms itself through thoughts. So one thing more: accumulated thoughts, piled-up memories, create the feeling of ego – that you are.

Try this experiment: cut your whole past away from you – no memory. You don’t know who your parents are; you don’t know to whom you belong – to which country, to which religion, to which race. You don’t know where you were educated, whether you were educated or not. Just cut the whole past – and remember who you are. You cannot remember who you are. You are, obviously. You are, but who are you? In this moment, you cannot feel an “I”. The ego is just accumulated past. The ego is your thought condensed, crystallized.

So Bokuju says, “If you have watched me, I was not. There was drinking of the tea, but no drinker.  Walking was there in the garden, but no walker. Action was there, but no actor.”

In witnessing, there is no sense of I; in thinking there is. So if the so-called thinkers are so deeply rooted in their egos. It is not just a coincidence; artists, thinkers, philosophers, literary persons if they are so egoistic, it is not just a coincidence. The more thoughts you have, the greater the ego you have. In witnessing there is no ego, but this comes only if you can transcend language. Language is the barrier. Language is needed to communicate with others; it is not needed to communicate with oneself. It is a useful instrument – rather, the most useful instrument. Man could create a society, a world, only because of language – but because of language, man has forgotten himself.

Language is our world. If for a single moment man forgets his language, then what remains? Culture, society, Hinduism, Christianity, communism – what remains? Nothing remains. If only language is taken out of existence, the whole humanity with its culture, civilization, science, religion, philosophy, disappears.

Language is a communication with others; it is the only communication. It is useful, but it is dangerous – and whenever some instrument is useful, it is in the same proportion dangerous also.  The danger is this: that the more mind moves into language the farther away it goes from the center: So one needs a subtle balance and a subtle mastery to be capable of moving into language, and also to be capable of leaving language, of going out of language, of moving out of language.

Witnessing means moving out of language, verbalization, mind. Witnessing means a state of no-mind, no-thinking. So try it! It is a long effort, and nothing is predictable – but try, and the effort will give you some moments when suddenly language disappears. And then a new dimension opens. You become aware of a different world – the world of simultaneity, the world of here and now, the world of no-mind, the world of reality.

Language must evaporate. So try to do ordinary acts, bodily movements, without language. Buddha used this technique to watch the breath. He would say to his bhikkhus, “Go on watching your breath. Don’t do anything: just watch the breath coming in, the breath going out, the breath coming in, the breath going out.” It is not to be said like this – it is to be felt. Mm? The breath coming in, with no words. Feel the breath coming in, move with the breath, let your consciousness go deep with the breath. Then let it move out. Go on moving with your breath. Be alert!

Buddha is reported to have said, “Don’t miss even a single breath. If a single breath is missed physiologically, you will be dead; and if a single breath is missed in awareness, you will be missing the center, you will be dead inside.” So Buddha said, “Breath is essential for the life of the body, and awareness of the breath is essential for the life of the inner center.”

Breathe, be aware. And if you are trying to be aware of your breathing, you cannot think, because the mind cannot do two things simultaneously – thinking and witnessing. The very phenomenon of witnessing is absolutely, diametrically opposite to thinking, so you cannot do both. Just as you cannot be both alive and dead, as you cannot be both asleep and awake, you cannot be both thinking and witnessing. Witness anything, and thinking will stop. Thinking comes in, and witnessing disappears. Witnessing is a passive awareness with no action inside. Awareness itself is not an action.

-Osho

Excerpt from The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol. 1, Chapter 15

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you can read the entire discourse question from which this is an excerpt Witnessing: The Base of all Techniques.

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.

From In a Thought to Out of Mind

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

In a thought.

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

 

Watch a thought.

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

Watch mind.

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

Out of mind!

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

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

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

 

Sitting for the Sheer Joy of It

That which sees is not the mind. That is why Osho has us begin with watching anything. In the beginning it is helpful to watch the clouds passing, watch the leaves falling, watch a stream flowing or even watch the traffic of cars. This is watching the outside world but it is the beginning.

We can then move to watching the activities of the body, watching without identification. This is the magic of the walking meditation. It is allowing us to experience watching the body walking which is strengthening the watcher, the one that sees.

Watching the breath is another way to strengthen this watchingness. We watch the coming and going of the breath and we are coming out of the identification with breathing.

Moving deeper we begin to watch the comings and goings of the mind. The very effort to watch the mind while we are still identified is how we begin to come out of mind. It does not need to be a serious affair, we are not against the mind. We are just interested in finding, discovering the One who sees. This One who sees is always present in watching. The mind does not watch. The ego cannot watch. Our identification with someone who we perceive watching cannot watch. Always in the background the One who sees is present. We have the power to come out of mind because we have the power to identify with mind. It is not that some power makes us identify, we do that ourselves. Watching the activity of the mind without grasping, without rejecting, without judging we begin to become less identified. Slowly, slowly the One who sees becomes less identified.

Osho has said that if we are able to witness the mind without identification then we can easily move into watching the subtle feelings, the heart, also without grasping. Without choosing the feelings we like, without rejecting the feelings that we find hard to witness and without judging ourselves when we forget again and again.

The above description is Osho’s directions but it has also been my own experience of meditation.

Although I must say that there was a long period of time in which I thought I didn’t need to meditate regularly because I meditated all day long, that was a delusion. Although it was not harmful because it was just an extended period of watching the outside. But at some point I could no longer ignore the quiet invitation to begin to sit and watch the inner world on a regular basis. I was not watching because of some duty to practice; I was watching as an exploration as an experiment. Now I am sitting for the sheer joy of it.

So we can begin from exactly where we are, this very moment, by watching what we are capable of, and slowly, slowly the watchingness deepens. We are also very fortunate because Osho has devised his active meditations to jumpstart this awakening and he has illustrated 112 meditation techniques, that are doors in. And finally he has distilled all meditation down to the art of watching, witnessing.

This is the incredible gift that Osho has left us.

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

 

 

This is the Existential Centering – Osho

You said that awareness created centering and crystallization, but I personally feel that awareness brings a feeling of deep void within me. Please explain the relationship between centering and inner void.

As man is, he is without a center – without a real, authentic center. He has a center, so to speak, but the center is false. He only thinks he has a center. The ego is a false center. You feel that it is there, but it is not. If you go to find it, you will not find it at all.

Bodhidharma reached China 1100 years after Buddha. He was a Buddha himself. The Emperor Wu came to receive Bodhidharma. When no one was there, he asked Bodhidharma, “I am very, very disturbed. My mind is never at ease. What can I do? Tell me. Make my mind at peace, at ease. I am in deep conflict; an inner struggle continues – so do something.” Bodhidharma said, “I can do something. Come early in the morning at four o’clock, but remember to bring your self.”

The Emperor felt: “Either this man is mad or I have not understood what he is saying.” He said, “Of course, I will come. I will come with my self.”

Bodhidharma still insisted, “Do not forget. Bring your self with you. Otherwise, whom am I going to put at ease?”

The whole night the Emperor could not sleep. It was such a strange thing. I looked weird. What does this man mean? And then he began to feel doubtful about whether to go or not, and it was to be in the early hours, at four o’clock in the morning. And Bodhidharma had said to come alone: “Let your self only be with you; no one else.” So no one could know what he was going to do, and he looked mad. It was even dangerous. But still, he was tempted. This man was really a different type of being. He attracted! He was magnetic! So the Emperor couldn’t stay at home, he came. When he was coming near, Bodhidharma said, “You have come, but where is your self?”

Wu said, “You make me puzzled. The whole night I couldn’t sleep. What do you mean by ‘my self’? I am here.”

So Bodhidharma said, “Give me your self. I will make it silent, at peace, at ease. Close your eyes and find out where it is. Point it out to me and I will make it disappear totally, and there will be never any problem again.”

So the Emperor Wu closed his eyes and sat before Bodhidharma. The morning was absolutely silent. No one was there. He could even hear his own breath; he could hear his own heartbeat. And Bodhidharma was there constantly telling him, “Go in and find out where it is. If you cannot find it, then what can I do?” And he searched and searched and searched for hours together. Then he opened his eyes, and he was a different man.

He said, “I do not find it anywhere. It is all void. There is no self.”

Bodhidharma said, “If there is no self and there is void, are you disturbed now? Is someone at a dis-ease inside? Now where is the anguish you were talking about? So much talking about it, and now where is it?”

Wu said, “It is nowhere, because the person has disappeared, so how can dis-ease exist without him? I tried and tried, but it is nowhere to be found. Really, I was myself in deception. I always thought ‘I’ am inside. I tried to find it, and it is not there. There is simply a void – shunya – an emptiness, a nothingness.”

So Bodhidharma said, “Now go to your home, and whenever you feel that something is to be done with your self, first find out where it is.”

It is a false entity. Because we have never searched for it, it seems to exist. Because we have never gone in, we go on talking about the “I”. It is not there. So the first thing to be understood is that if you meditate, if you become silent, you will feel a void, because you cannot find the ego. The ego was all the furniture; now the furniture has disappeared. You are just a room – rather, a room-ness.

Even the walls have disappeared. They were part of the ego. The whole structure has disappeared, so you will find a void.

This is the first step – when the ego disappears. It is a false entity; it is not there. It only appears to be, and you go on thinking that it is there. It belongs to your thinking, not to your being. It belongs to your mind, not to your existence. Because you think it is there, it is there. When you go to find it, it is not found. Then you feel the void, emptiness. Now persist in this emptiness, remain in this void.

The mind is very cunning. It can play games. If you begin to think and observe this, this voidness, if you begin to think, you will fill it again. Even if you say, “This is void,” you are out of it, already out of it. The void has disappeared – you have come in. Remain with the void; remain void. Do not think. It is difficult, very frightening. One gets dizzy. It is an abyss – an infinite abyss. You are falling down and falling down with no bottom to reach. One gets dizzy; one begins to think. The moment you think, you have found the ground again. Now you are not in the void.

If you can be in the void without escaping it by any thinking whatsoever, suddenly the void will also disappear, as the ego has disappeared – because, really, it is because of the ego that it looks like a void. Ego was the thing which was fulfilling. That was the furniture, and there was no void. Now the ego has disappeared; that is why you feel it as a void. This feeling of emptiness is just because something which was always there is now not there.

If you see me in this chair, then suddenly if you do not find me in the chair, the chair will look empty – not because the chair is empty, but simply because someone was there filling it and now he is no more there. So you see the void, not the chair. You see the void because the absence of something looks like an emptiness. You are still not seeing the chair. You were seeing a person there; now you are seeing the absence of the person. But the chair is still not seen. So when the ego disappears, you feel the void. This is only a beginning, because this void is also the negative part of the ego – the other aspect. This void must also disappear.

It is reported about Rinzai, a Zen Master, that when he was learning with his Teacher, the Teacher always insisted that he should attain the void, the nothingness, the shunya. So one day he came; he had attained it. It was a long effort. To dissolve the ego is a long effort. It was a long journey – difficult, sometimes virtually impossible – but he had attained. So he came, laughing, dancing, happy in ecstasy. He fell down ar his Master’s feet and said, “I have attained. Now the void is there.”

The Master looked at him very unsympathetically and said, ”Now you go and throw this void also. Do not bring it here. Throw this void also. Throw this nothingness, because if you have nothingness it becomes something again.”

Even a void is something. If you can feel it, it is something; if you can know it, it is something; if you can observe it, it is something. Even nothing becomes something if it is in your hands. The Master said, “Throw this void out. Only come to me when even nothingness is not there.”

Rinzai wept. Why couldn’t he see it himself? A void is an attainment, it is something. If you have achieved nothingness, nothingness becomes a thing. When you go deep in the void – without any thinking, without any vibration in the mind – if you remain in this, suddenly the void just disappears and then the Self is known. Then you are centered. Then you have come to the real center. There is the false center, the absence of the false center, and then the real center. By “centering” I mean the ground, the very ground of Being. It is not your center, because you are the false center.

So it is not your center. It is the center – just the center of Being. The very Existence is centered in it. You are the false center; you will disappear. But even in your disappearance, if you begin to feel fulfilled with void, the ego has returned in a very subtle way. In a very subtle way, it has come back. It will say, “I have attained this void,” so it is still there.

Do not allow it to come back. Remain in the void. Do not do anything with the void: do not even think about it, do not even feel anything about it. The void is there: be at ease; let it be there. It will disappear. It is just a negative part. The real thing has disappeared. It is just shadow. Do not catch the shadow; do not cling to the shadow. because the shadow can remain only if the real thing is nearby. Only then can the shadow remain. Ultimately the void disappears, and then there is centering. Then for the first time you are not and YOU ARE – not as you, but as pure Being; rather, as the All. And this point must be noted carefully – that it is not Your center; it is the center of All.

Forget your false center. Go in and dig for it: then it dissolves. It is never found. It is not, so you cannot find it. Then a more arduous thing befalls you: you encounter the void. It is very silent. Compared to the ego world, it is very silent. You are in a deep peace. But do not be satisfied with it. It is false, because it is part of the ego. And if you feel satisfied, the ego will re-enter; it will come back. A part of it was still there. That part will bring it back again, whole. Remain with the void without any thinking.

That is just deathlike. One is dying before one’s own eyes – everything dissolving in a great abyss. And soon you will disappear and only the abyss will be there – not even the knower of the abyss, not even the observer of the abyss, but just the abyss. Then you are centered – centered in the Cosmic Center: it is not your center. For the first time, you are.

Now language will have a different meaning. You are not and you are. Here, yes and no lose their traditional difference, their customary meaning. You are not there as you. Now you are there as the Divine – as the Cosmos itself. This is the existential centering – the centering in the Existence.

-Osho

From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.2, Chapter Two

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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The Journey from non-being to No-Being

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

 

The Great Forgetting – Jean Klein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Jean Klein

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