Self-remembering vs Witnessing

The technique of self-remembering seems easier for me than witnessing. Do they both lead to the same goal?

They both lead to the same goal, but the technique of self-remembering is harder, longer and dangerous. Only very few people in the whole history of mankind have attained to enlightenment through the technique of self-remembering.

Many have tried, but utterly failed – it looks easy. The reason is that your self-remembering is not going to be your self-remembering, it will be your ego remembering; that’s why it looks easy.

You don’t know the distinction between the self and the false self. The false self is our ego, and the ego is very subtle, very cunning, and tries in every way to pretend to be the real self. That’s why in the beginning it will look easier than witnessing, because in witnessing there is no place for the ego. From the very beginning the ego is avoided.

In witnessing, the ego cannot enter. But in self-remembering, there is every possibility of the ego pretending to be your Self. Then the more you will practice, the more your ego will become stronger.

If somebody wants to travel on the path of self-remembering, he absolutely needs a master. He cannot move alone, because he cannot make a clear-cut distinction of what is false and what is true.

He knows only the false; he is not acquainted with his true being. Unless he is under a very rigorous master it will be very difficult to create a separation between the ego and the self.

I will explain it to you by an ancient Chinese story….

A great master had a big monastery – five hundred monks – and they were all practicing the path of self-remembering. Self-remembering is one of the paths Buddha has recommended.

One man entered into the monastery – he wanted to become a disciple. The master accepted him, but he was a very simple man from a village, almost uneducated. The master told him, “Your job is cleaning the rice in the kitchen.”

It was a big kitchen – five hundred monks. The poor man was cleaning the rice before sunrise and late into the night. He had no time to go to the sermons, to go to the prayers; he had no time to read the scriptures or listen to the wise talks. Those five hundred monks were great scholars, and the monastery was known all over the country.

Twenty years passed and the man continued just cleaning the rice and doing nothing. He forgot even to count the years – what was the point? He forgot the days, the dates, and finally he became suspicious about his own name. For twenty years nobody had used it, nobody had called him by his name – perhaps it was his name, perhaps it was not. For twenty years continuously he was doing one small thing: cleaning the rice, from the moment he woke up until he went back to bed again.

The master declared that his time to depart from the body had come. He wanted to choose his successor, and the way he did it was this: “Anybody who thinks he has succeeded in self-remembering should write on the wall of my hut some insight which shows that he has seen the truth.”

One person, who was thought to be the greatest scholar in the commune, tried. But he was so afraid to write that sentence there, because it was not his insight. He knew – how could he not know it – he knew it was not his insight, it was just borrowed from scriptures. It was not his experience – and it was difficult to deceive the old man.

In the morning the old man came out, asked the servant to erase what had been written, and said, “Find out who this idiot is who has spoiled my wall.”

It is said that the great scholar had not even signed, out of fear that he would be caught. If the master appreciated that this was really a great insight, then he would come out and say, “I have written it.” Otherwise he would remain silent… who knows? Out of five hundred people anybody could have done it!

Almost one dozen great scholars tried, but none of them had the courage to sign his name. And the master behaved in the same way; he erased the line and said, “None of you has come to the point of self-remembering. You have all been feeding the ego in the name of self. I reminded you again and again, but having a big ego is such a joy. And a spiritual ego, the otherworldly ego, the divine ego, becomes even more delicious. Now I will have to find the person myself.”

In the middle of the night the master went to the man who had come twenty years ago. For twenty years the master had not seen him, he had simply been cleaning rice. He woke the man up. The man asked the master, “Who are you?” Because twenty years… he had just seen him once for a few seconds when he was initiated – “And what is the idea of disturbing my sleep?”

The master said, “I am your master. You have forgotten…? Do you remember your name?”

The man said, “That is the difficulty. The work you have given me is such that it needs no name, no fame, no scholarship, no austerities. It is so simple that I have forgotten everything. I cannot be certain that this is my name. A few names come to my mind and I cannot decide which one is mine, but I am grateful to you.” He touched the feet of the master. “Please don’t change my job. I have forgotten everything, but I have also achieved everything. I know a peace that I had never dreamed of, a silence that no word can express. I have known such moments of ecstasy that even if I had died there would not have been any complaint that life has not been fair to me. It has given me more than I was worthy of. Just don’t change my job. I am doing it perfectly well. Has somebody complained about my work?”

The master said, “No, nobody has complained, but your job has to be changed because I am choosing you as my successor.”

The man said, “I am only a rice cleaner. I don’t know anything about being a master or a disciple. I know nothing. Please forgive me, I don’t want to be your successor because I cannot handle such a big job, I can only handle this rice cleaning.”

The master still insisted, “You have achieved that which others have been trying to achieve but have failed. You have achieved it because you were not trying. You were simply doing your small work. Slowly, slowly there was no need for thinking, no need for emotions, no need for anger, no fight, no comparison, no ambition – your ego died. And with the ego died your name. You are not born with a name. It is the ego that is given a name – that is the beginning of the ego. With the death of the ego, you even forgot your own master, because it was the ego that brought you to me.

“Up to that moment you were on a spiritually ambitious trip. You are absolutely the right person, so take my robe, my hat, my sword, which have always been given by the master to the successor. But remember one thing: take them and escape from this monastery as far away as you can, because your life will be in danger. All these five hundred egoists will kill you. You are so simple and you have become so innocent that if they ask you for the robe, the sword, the cap, you will give them. You simply take them and go as far away as you can into the mountains.

“Soon people will start arriving to you just as bees start finding their way towards the flowers when the flowers blossom. You have blossomed. You need not bother about the disciples, you simply remain silently in a faraway place. People will come to you; you simply teach them whatever you have been doing.”

“But,” he said, “I have received no teaching and I don’t know what to teach them.”

The master said, “Just teach them to do small things, silently, peacefully, without any ambition, without any motivation to gain something in this world or in the other world, so that you can become innocent like a child. That innocence is real religiousness. Not being Hindu, not being Mohammedan, but being utterly innocent – just a tabula rasa, a clean sheet on which nothing is written. No Bhagavad Gita, no Koran, no Bible…”

It is possible… a few people have attained through self-remembering. One of the great masters of this age, George Gurdjieff, used the method self-remembering, but you have to be aware that not a single person of his disciples became enlightened – and he was one of the most perfect masters.

But the problem is that the ego and the self are so close and so similar that whatever you think is your self is most probably, in ninety-nine percent of cases, just your ego. The master’s function is absolutely necessary for this method, because he has to destroy your ego. And he has to be hard, harsh. Unless he destroys your ego, self-remembering is going to lead you, not to enlightenment, but to darker spaces of being.

It will strengthen your ego more – you will become a very strong ego, very assertive. In any ordinary field of life you will be very successful. You can become an Adolf Hitler; you can become a Joseph Stalin… Stalin was not his real name, it was given to him because he was such a strong man. ‘Stalin’ means man of steel.

But these people are not a benediction to humanity, they are a curse. If they had not been there man would have been in a far better space, in a far better consciousness.

So if you feel that it is easier for you, then be very careful. I will still suggest that though witnessing may be difficult in the beginning, it is the most safe method without any dangers. It cannot lead you anywhere other than towards enlightenment. So it can even be practiced without a master.

I would like to give you something in which you are not to be dependent on somebody else.

How long have you lived, how many lives? In all these lives you may have come across many saints, many masters, but where have you reached? Your darkness is the same, your unconsciousness is the same. Perhaps they all gave you methods, but the methods were such that they needed constant supervision. Those methods are called school methods. You have to enter into a monastery, live in a monastery, function under a strict discipline – then perhaps you may be able to achieve something from a school method. And there are such monasteries.

In Europe, there is a monastery in Mount Athos; it is one thousand years old. There are almost three thousand monks inside the monastery, and anybody who wants to become a monk in that monastery can decide to enter, but only his dead body will go out.

If there is such a commitment, only then is a person accepted. Once a person enters Mount Athos, you will never see him till he is dead. This is a school for absolute self-remembering, but you cannot put the whole world in monasteries. Who will take care of these monasteries? Hence my preference is to use a method which keeps you free from any commitment, from any dependence – which keeps you in the world and yet not of the world.

Witnessing is the most simple and the most infallible method; it is the essence of all meditations. Even self-remembering, finally, is witnessing – but at a later stage, when you have dropped the ego. And if you start looking inside yourself, you can understand what I am saying. Can you see your ego and self separately? You simply know one thing: that is I. You don’t know two things: that I is the ego, and that the ego is capable of nursing itself through anything.

I have heard…

A small child was passing by the side of a palace. He had failed his examination and was feeling very angry with the teachers. He was ready to do something, and suddenly, he found a pile of stones by the side of the road. He took one big stone from the pile and threw it at the palace. Now the palace had nothing to do with his failing, nor had the stone anything to do with it, but he was in such anger he wanted to do something; the energy was there, and it needed to be released. The boy went on his way, but what happened to the stone?

As the stone started rising up he looked down – his brothers and sisters and cousins were all there. And the stone said to them, “I am going on a pilgrimage. I have been thinking about it for a long time. God willing, I will succeed in my adventures and come back to you to relate all that I experience on the way.”

All the other stones looked at this stone with their mouths open: “What is happening? He has no wings.” He was just a stone like themselves. They also wanted to fly, but they knew that they could not. “But he is flying, you cannot deny it…” So they all said, “Okay, just remember us; don’t forget us. You are a hero. In the centuries of time sometimes one stone gets wings the way you have, and we are proud that you belong to us, to our family.”

They were even feeling great pride because one of the stones was flying towards the palace. The stone hit against a glass window, and naturally, when a stone hits glass it is the glass that is broken, not the stone – it is just the nature of things. But the stone said to the pieces of glass, “You idiots. I have always said, ‘Never come in my way. Whoever comes in my way will be shattered to death.’ Now look what happened to you. Let this be a lesson to everyone who is listening.”

At that very moment the guard on the gate heard the noise of the stone falling on the floor, the glass being broken… he rushed in. He took the stone in his hands, and the stone said – although the guard could not understand his language, because he talked in Nepalese…! He said, “Thank you my lord, you are the owner of this palace – I can see from your beautiful dress. I will never forget this honor that you have given to me – taken me in your own hands.”

The situation was totally different, but the ego goes on turning every situation in its favor.

The guard was afraid that if the king came to know then he would be caught: “What are you doing? Who has thrown the stone?” He threw the stone back out of the window.

And these are the ways of the ego: the stone said, “Thank you! You are not only a great host; you understand the hurts of other people too. You know I am longing to meet my friends. I want to tell them the whole story of my visiting the palace of the king – the meeting with the king, the conversation with the king, the destruction of the enemies who came in my way.” And as he was falling back into the pile of the stones, he said to them, “Brothers and sisters, I am back. You should all be proud. My name should go down in history, and with me, my family’s name. This pile of stones is no ordinary pile, it is something historical.”

The ego has its ways of fulfilling itself even in situations where it should be shattered. So beware of it.

Self-remembering can be done only in a school where you are devoting yourself to the discipline twenty-four hours a day, because it is the moment you remember yourself… While walking you remember, “I am walking” – then walking is no longer natural. It becomes divided: you are separate, and the walking is separate.

Walking is a simple process, but in life you are doing a thousand and one things which are very complex. If you are going to remember yourself while using a machine, while driving a car… it could be very dangerous because your whole focus is in remembering yourself. You could cause an accident which could be dangerous to you, which could be dangerous to others.

Life has its own wisdom. The body has its own wisdom. For example, try one thing and you will understand what I mean: you have been eating every day your whole life but you have never thought about what happens to the food when it goes down your throat – you forget about it. Don’t forget about it. Just for three days try to remember that the food has gone in. Remember that the food is being digested, that juices, chemicals and other things are coming in from different directions, that the food is being mixed with them and the food is being transformed into different things. It is becoming blood, it is becoming your flesh, it is becoming your bones.

In three days’ time you will have such a disturbed stomach, you cannot imagine. It will take at least three months to get it back to its normal state. You are not needed to remember it. It knows its function, and it does its function perfectly well without your remembering.

That’s why when you are sick it is better to rest, because the body needs you to sleep so it can work better without any disturbance from you.

You must have heard the famous story about a centipede….

A centipede has one hundred legs – that’s why it is called centipede. And for centuries, centipedes have been in the world, walking perfectly well – no problem. But one day a rabbit became curious. He saw the centipede, he tried to count his legs and said, ”My God! One hundred legs! How does he manage to remember which one to put first, which one to put second?

“If I had one hundred legs,” the rabbit thought, “I would get entangled and I would fall immediately; I could not walk at all. This centipede is performing a miracle.”

He said, “Uncle, uncle, wait, wait! I have a question if you don’t mind…”

The centipede said, “There is no hurry. I was just going for a morning walk. You can ask your question.”

He said, “My question is simple: you have one hundred legs…?”

The centipede said, “One hundred? In fact, I have never counted. It would be too difficult for me to count them, but if you say so then perhaps I must have.”

The rabbit said, “My curiosity is: how do you manage to walk with such a trail of one hundred legs? How do you manage which one comes first, then second, then third, then fourth…?”

The centipede said, “I have never thought about it. I will try. Just now – I will try here.”

And then and there he fell on the ground. He called the rabbit and said, “You idiot! Never ask another centipede such a question, otherwise centipedes will die. We cannot live with this curiosity. I have been doing perfectly well up to now, and just as I started becoming alert about what leg is going when… as I started remembering one hundred legs, my mind got very much puzzled.”

Self-remembering is a school method. And school method means you are in a safe monastery, not doing work that could be dangerous. Otherwise your remembering… working in a factory, working in a carpentry shop and trying to remember, you are bound to get into the same position as the centipede.

I don’t want anybody to get into any trouble in the name of spirituality, hence my suggestion again is just pure witnessing – no question of I. And that too, very playfully, not seriously, with a sense of humor.

If you forget, there is no harm. Whenever you remember, again you start. You will forget many times, you will remember many times. There is no question of guilt; it is human.

Very slowly, bigger and bigger gaps of witnessing will arise in you, and as the gaps of witnessing become bigger, your thoughts will become smaller, less. The moment your witnessing comes to a peak – at certain times with a crystal clarity – the thoughts will simply disappear. You will be in an absolute silence. Whatever you are doing will not be disturbed by your silence, but on the contrary, your workmanship, your creative effort will be enhanced.

If you are making statues, or painting, or playing music… with such a mad mind, with all kinds of thoughts running around, and you can still manage to create beautiful music – just think of a silent mind, how much deeper and higher music you could create.

The same applies to every area of life. I make it a point to be remembered that if your meditation is right, everything in your life will start falling into better shape. That is the only criterion. No need to ask anybody else; you can see yourself.

Everything in your life will become better with your meditation. When your meditation is at its highest peak, all your efforts will have a beauty and a grace and a creativeness that you cannot imagine. That’s why I say; don’t divide spiritual life from the ordinary life. Don’t create any division at all. Let this life remain one single whole.

So if your consciousness changes, then everything that surrounds you also changes.

I cannot imagine a man of meditation renouncing his wife. No, a man of meditativeness will love his wife more. Perhaps his love will become more and more purified, less and less sexual, more and more prayerful. But he cannot renounce her, that is ugly.

Leaving a poor woman and escaping – that is not the work of a brave man. It fits to a coward, but not to a man who is meditating.

In my village I loved to sit in an old man’s small shop. He used to sell sweets. I was attracted, not by his sweets, but by the sweetness of the man. He would say, “The cost price of this many sweets is one rupee, and if you are willing, just for my labors and for my family, you can give me one anna more – that is my profit.”

First he would tell the cost price, and then he would tell his profit. And that too he would leave up to you: “If you don’t want to give it to me, you can take it at the cost price – of course, I am a poor man, I cannot give it to you below the cost price. I can give you my labor, I can give you my profit, but I cannot go below the cost price.”

And I inquired – because it was a sweet market and there were many shops, I inquired in other shops about what he was saying cost one rupee. And others were selling for two rupees, two and a half rupees – the same quantity, but not the same quality, not the same love.

While he was preparing his sweets, I used to sit. He even asked me, “You are the only one. Why do you come and sit here?”

I said, “I simply like it – to see you work. You work so lovingly, as if you were preparing these sweets for your beloved who is coming after many years – and you don’t know who the customer will be.”

And he laughed. He said, “As far as I know it is the same customer who always comes – different faces, but the customer is the same. That’s why I cannot deceive. I cannot cheat, I cannot exploit because it is the same customer with different faces. I have recognized him.”

His whole life I would describe as the life of a great saint, although nobody in the world would recognize him as a saint because we have this idea so deeply rooted in our minds that a saint should renounce life, get away from life. That anti-life attitude has proved so poisonous that it has destroyed the whole beauty of human existence. It has taken away the whole dignity of man.

Hence I still insist – even if you feel self-remembering is easier – that you try witnessing. Even though it is difficult in the beginning, it becomes very easy as you go ahead.

Gautam Buddha has said, “My teaching is bitter in the beginning but sweet in the end.”


From The Sword and the Lotus, Discourse Ten

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Fear of Transformation – Osho

Many people seem to be interested in meditation, but that interest cannot be very deep because so very few are transformed through it. If the interest is really deep, it becomes a fire by itself. It transforms you. Just through intense interest you start becoming different. A new center of being arises. So many people seem to be interested but nothing new arises in them, no new center is born, no new crystallization is achieved. They remain the same.

That means they are deceiving themselves. The deception is very subtle but it is bound to be there. If you go on taking medicine, having treatments, and the illness remains the same – rather on the contrary, it goes on increasing – then your medicine, your treatment, is bound to be false. Maybe deep down you don’t want to be transformed. That fear is very real – the fear of transformation. So on the surface you go on thinking that you are deeply interested, but deep down you go on deceiving.

The fear of transformation is just like the fear of death. It is a death, because the old will have to go and the new will come into being. You will be there no more, something totally unknown to you will be born out of you. Unless you are ready to die, your interest in meditation is false, because only those who are ready to die will be reborn. The new cannot become a continuity with the old. The old must be discontinued. The old must go. Only then can the new come into being. The new is not an outgrowth of the old, the new is not continuous with it – the new is totally new. And it comes only when the old dies. There is a gap between the old and the new – that gap gives you the fear. You are afraid. You want to be transformed but simultaneously you want to remain the old. This is the deception. You want to grow, but you want to remain you. Then growth is impossible; then you can only deceive; then you can go on thinking and dreaming that something is happening, but nothing will happen because the basic point has been missed.

So there are many people all over the world who are very interested in meditation, moksha, nirvana, and nothing is happening. There is so much noise about it but nothing real is happening. What is the matter?

Sometimes the mind is so cunning that because you don’t want to be transformed, the mind will create a superficial interest so that you can say to yourself, “You are interested, you are doing whatsoever can be done.” And you remain the same. And if nothing happens, you think that the technique you are using is wrong, the guru you are following is wrong, the scripture, the principle, the method, is wrong. You never think that even with a wrong method transformation is possible if the real interest is there; even with a wrong method you will be transformed. If you are really interested in transformation, you will become different even if following a wrong guru. If your soul and your heart is in your effort, no one can mislead you except yourself. And nothing is a barrier to your progress except your own deceptions.

When I say that even a wrong master, a wrong method, a wrong principle, can lead you to the real, I mean that the real transformation happens when you are intensely involved in it, not through any method. The method is just a device, the method is just a help, the method is secondary – your being involved in it is the fundamental thing. But you go on doing something – not even doing, you go on talking about doing. And words create an illusion: because you think so much about it, you read so much about it, you listen so much about it, that you start feeling you are doing something. So-called religious persons have developed many deception devices.

I have heard that a motorist, driving along a road, saw the school building on fire. The teacher of the small school of that small village was Mulla Nasruddin. He was sitting under a tree. The motorist called to him, “What are you doing there? The school building is on fire!” Mulla Nasruddin said, “I know about it.” The motorist was much excited. He said, “Then why are you not doing something?” Mulla Nasruddin said, “Ever since it started I have been praying for rain. I am doing something.”

Prayer is a trick to avoid meditation, and the so-called religious mind has developed many types of prayer. Prayer can also become a meditation – when it is not only a prayer, it is a deep effort, a deep involvement. Prayer can also become meditation, but ordinarily prayer is just an escape. To avoid meditation, people go on praying. To avoid doing anything they pray. Prayer means that God must do something. Someone else must do. Prayer means that we are passive – something must be done to us. Meditation is not prayer in that sense: meditation is something you do to yourself. And when you are transformed, the whole universe behaves differently to you, because the universe is nothing but a response to you, whatsoever you are. If you are silent, the whole universe responds to your silence in thousands and thousands of ways. It reflects you. Your silence is multiplied infinitely. If you are blissful, the whole universe rejects your bliss. If you are in misery, the same happens. The mathematics remains the same, the law remains the same: the universe goes on multiplying your misery. Prayer won’t do. Only meditation can help because meditation is something to be done authentically by you, it is a doing on your part.

So the first thing I would like to say to you is be constantly alert that you are not deceiving yourself. You may be doing something and still deceiving yourself.

I have heard that Mulla Nasruddin once came running into a post office, grasping the postmaster by the lapel, shook him, and said, “I have gone crazy. My wife has disappeared!” The postmaster felt sorry and he said, “Really, she has disappeared? Unfortunately this is a postal department – you have to go to the police department to report this disappearance.” Mulla Nasruddin shook his head negatively and said, “I am not going to be caught again. In the past my wife also disappeared and when I reported it to the police department, they found her. I am not going to be caught again. If you can take the report, take it, otherwise I am going.”

He wants to report to feel good, to feel that he has done whatsoever can be done. But he doesn’t want to report to the police department because he is afraid.

You go on doing things just to feel good, just to feel that you are doing something. But really you are not ready to be transformed. So all that you do just passes as useless activity – not only useless, harmful also, because it is a wastage of time, energy, and opportunity. These techniques of Shiva are only for those who are ready to do. You can ponder over them philosophically – that means nothing. But if you are actually ready to do, then something will start happening to you. They are alive methods, not dead doctrines. Your intellect is not needed; your totality of being is required. And any method will do. If you are ready to give it a chance, any method will do. You will become a new man.

Methods are devices, I will repeat again. If you are ready, then any method can do. They are just tricks to help you to take the jump, they are just like jumping boards. From any jumping board you can jump into the ocean. The jumping boards are insignificant: what color they are, which wood they are made of is irrelevant. They are simply jumping boards and you can take a jump from them. All these methods are jumping boards. Whatsoever method takes your fancy, don’t go on thinking about it, do it!

Difficulties will arise when you start doing something – if you don’t do anything there will be no difficulty. Thinking is very easy doing because you are not really traveling, but when you start doing something, difficulties arise. So if you see that difficulties have arisen, you can feel that you are on the right track – something is happening to you. Then old barriers will break, old habits will go, there will be change, there will be disturbance and chaos. All creativity comes out of chaos. You will be created anew only if all that you are becomes chaotic. So these methods will destroy you first, then only will a new being be created. If there are difficulties, feel fortunate – that shows growth. No growth is smooth… and spiritual growth cannot be smooth, that is not its nature. Because spiritual growth means growing upwards, spiritual growth means reaching into the unknown, reaching into the uncharted. Difficulties will be there. But remember that with each difficulty that is passed you are crystalized. You become more solid. You become more real. For the first time you will feel something centering within you, something becoming solid.

As you are now you are just a liquid phenomenon, changing every moment, nothing stable. Really you cannot claim any ‘I’ – you don’t have one. You are many ‘I’s’ just in a flow, a river-like flow. You are a crowd, not an individual yet. But meditation can make you an individual.

 This word ‘individual’ is beautiful: it means indivisible. Right now as you are, you are divided. You are only many fragments clinging together anyhow without any center being there, without any master in the house, with only servants. And for a moment any servant can become the master.

Every moment you are different because you are not – and unless you are, the Divine cannot happen to you. To whom can it happen? You are not there. People come to me and they say, “We would like to see God.” I ask them, “Who will see? You are not there. God is always there, but you are not there to see. It is just a passing thought that you want to see God.” The next moment they are not interested; the next moment they have forgotten all about it. A persistent, intense effort and longing is needed. Then any method will do.

Now, we should enter the methods.


From The Book of Secrets, Chapter 73

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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Don’t Abandon Existence – Osho

Is it not necessary to desire, to long and to seek truth and avoid the untrue, to seek truth ad renounce the false?

Divyananda, there is no way to seek truth because truth is not far away. Truth is not “there” somewhere so that you have to go to it, so that you have to reach to it; truth is not to be sought because truth is the very being of the seeker. How can you seek the seeker? How can you know the knower? That is impossible. You cannot encounter yourself. You are the truth.

Hence all seeking is futile, but one learns only through seeking. One learns this tremendously important fact, that all seeking is useless, only through seeking; there is no other way to learn it. You seek and you fail, you seek again and you fail; slowly slowly it becomes clear to you that seeking itself is the cause of missing it. Then seeking drops of its own accord. And when there is no longing, no desire, when you are utterly silent, when the very mind of the achiever has disappeared, you are surprised that what you have been seeking all along has always been with you.

Yoka says:

It is not necessary to look for truth or avoid illusion.

Why? – because to look for it is to begin in a wrong direction and to avoid illusion is foolish because illusion means that which is not. How can you avoid that which is not and how can you seek that which is? That which is is, and that which is not is not.

Yoka also says:

We know that both are comprised in emptiness, that they have no form and bounds. Non-form is neither empty nor non-empty. It is the true reality of Buddha.

One has simply to become utterly empty. And when I say “utterly empty” I mean one has not to be just empty “utterly empty” means empty of everything and also empty of emptiness. Otherwise the mind is so cunning it can now cling to a new idea of emptiness.

A disciple of Yoka was coming again and again to him, bringing his experiences that were happening in his deep meditation, and Yoka was hitting him. Whatsoever he said he would be hit, irrespective of what he was saying. He was bringing beautiful experiences: the rising of the kundalini, a great experience of light, a beautiful inner fragrance, the sound of one hand clapping – whatsoever he had heard that people had achieved through meditation he was bringing – but he was being hit again and again.

One day he came with absolute trust: “Now the Master is going to accept my experience, to recognize it – the time has come,” because that day he was going to say, “I have achieved emptiness.”

That is the ultimate. What more can there be? What can there be beyond emptiness? He was very happy that for the first time he was not going to be hit – but even before he had spoken, the Master hit him.

He said, “This is too much! I have not even uttered a single word!”

Yoka said, “It doesn’t matter what you say, it does not matter whether you say it or not – I know. I knew the moment you entered in the room that you were again here with some foolish idea.”

He said, “But sir, you should have listened. This is not a foolish idea; this is the experience of all the Buddhas!”

So Yoka said, “Yes, so you say. It seems you are hankering for another hit!”

And the disciple said, “Sir, I have experienced emptiness!”

Yoka laughed, hit him and said, “Throw it away! It is all nonsense!”

The disciple said, “How can I throw emptiness? I can throw everything else!” That was the first time that he argued with the Master; obviously, his argument seems to be logical. You can throw the experience of light because you are the experiencer. You can throw the experience of energy – you are the experiencer. Any experience can be thrown, but how can you throw the experience of emptiness? There is nothing to throw!

The disciple said, “How can I throw emptiness?”

Then the Master hit him hard and said, “Then carry it out – but do something. Either throw it or carry it out.”

And the disciple said, “What are you asking me? I cannot carry it out because it is just empty, and I cannot throw it either.”

The Master said, “Now you are clinging to the idea of emptiness. This is not emptiness – this is not true emptiness. Now you are full of the idea of emptiness. Once it was light, once it was energy, once it was fragrance now it is emptiness. It is nothing but labels changing. And unless you throw this too you will not be truly empty. A truly empty person is neither empty nor nonempty. There is nothing to experience, not even emptiness. And in that state of silence when there is nothing to experience – no object, no content, but only consciousness, only the observer and nothing to observe only the seer and nothing to see – one attains truth.”

Yoka says:

Our spirit is like a clear mirror thus it reflects the universe harmoniously. Our spirit and the universe are one.

Once you are utterly empty you are a mirror. You are not only aware of your inner truth; you become aware of the truth of the whole existence. And they are not two; they are two aspects of the same phenomenon, two sides of the same coin – the outer and the inner.

All manner of troubles arise if we abandon existence to obtain emptiness; that too is sickness.

Listen to these tremendously significant words of Yoka. Yoka is one of the great Zen Masters. He says: 

All manner of troubles arise if we abandon existence to obtain emptiness; that too is sickness. It is like throwing oneself into the fire to escape drowning. 

Don’t abandon existence. Don’t abandon the ordinary existence in any effort for some illusory truth, for some illusory longing for God. Leave that for the fools. The intelligent person simply lives moment to moment with no desire to seek anything, with no expectation of finding anything. He simply lives moment to moment, joyously. His life is very ordinary; he has no desire to be extraordinary. He has no desire to be a Buddha, hence he is a Buddha. He has no desire to be extraordinary, hence he is extraordinary. Because every ordinary person has the desire to be extraordinary; only extraordinary people don’t have that desire.

If we try to grasp truth or if we wish to escape error and illusion, we practice discrimination, an artificial and erroneous attitude.

Once you say, “This is truth and that is untruth,” you have started discriminating – and to discriminate is the disease of the mind. That is the function of the mind: to discriminate. “This is right, that is wrong. This is true, that is false. This is worldly, that is spiritual. This is materialist, that is religious.” Once you start discriminating there is no end to it and you are in the grip of the mind. Drop discriminating and you are out of the grip of the mind. To be out of the grip of the mind is to be free, is to know what freedom is.

Most men forget spirit treasure, they have to recourse to dualist thinking and abandon the true nature of spirit. To pass the barrier of Zen by means of zazen, we should finish with reason, knowledge, illusion. Then we shall attain to supreme wisdom and enter into the palace of nirvana.

Nirvana is not somewhere else; it is your inner space. Just get out of the clutches of the mind. Your mind is like an octopus: if somehow you get free of one of the legs of the octopus, there are other legs. There are gross legs and there are subtle legs, and by the time you start getting free of the other legs you are getting entangled into other legs. It goes on and on in circles.

The man who escapes from the world, what is he saying? In the East for thousands of years people have been renouncing the world because they say it is illusion. If you truly understand that it is illusion, then what is there to renounce?

These fools even come to me and they ask, “What kind of sannyas are you teaching people? Sannyas means renunciation. They should leave the world, but they live in the world. Not only do they live in the world, they live more deeply and totally in the world than other worldly people! What kind of sannyas is this?” They think I am teaching a wrong kind of sannyas.

I am teaching the ultimate sannyas, not a wrong kind but for the first time the right kind. The wrong kind has prevailed for a long time, for centuries. See the stupidity of the whole thing: you call something illusory and then you escape from it. If it is illusory there is no need to escape. It should be so simple! If it is real then why escape? If it is real then how can you escape?

Nobody renounces their dreams. Or do you renounce them every morning when you wake up – “I renounce all my dreams. I renounce all the treasures that I had in my dreams. I renounce the kingdom of my dreams”? You don’t renounce them, otherwise people would laugh at you – you have gone mad! Dreams are dreams.

And these so-called spiritual people have been telling the world that the world is a dream – renounce it. What nerve – to call it a dream and in the same breath to say, “Renounce it”! Either it is not a dream or it is a dream – make sure what it is. And either way you cannot renounce it. If it is a dream there is no point in renouncing; if it is a reality, how can you renounce reality? – Because reality is synonymous with God.

Hence I teach: Rejoice! There is no need to renounce anything – there is nothing to be renounced. Rejoice, and rejoice more totally! Rejoice in a multi-dimensional way. Dance, sing, be blissful. Let laughter be your life, let love be your life. That is the only true way to know what is.


From Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Chapter 14

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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A Religious Quality of Unity – J. Krishnamurti

Meditation implies a mind that is so astonishingly clear that every form of self-deception comes to an end. One can deceive oneself infinitely; and generally meditation, so-called, is a form of self-hypnosis—the seeing of visions according to your conditioning. It is so simple: if you are a Christian you will see Christ; if you are a Hindu you will see your Krishna, or whichever of the innumerable gods you have. But meditation is none of these things. It is the absolute stillness of the mind, the absolute quietness of the brain.

The foundation for meditation has to be laid in daily life, in how one behaves, in what one thinks. One cannot be violent and meditate; that has no meaning. If there is, psychologically, any kind of fear, then obviously meditation is an escape. For the stillness of the mind, its complete quiet, an extraordinary discipline is required; not the discipline of suppression, conformity, or the following of some authority, but that discipline or learning which takes place throughout the day, about every movement of thought. The mind then has a religious quality of unity. From that there can be action which is not contradictory.

-J. Krishnamurti

From Meditations, page 76



Darkness Has Its Own Joy – Osho

Sometimes running here and there, talking, laughing, working, reading, writing and cleaning – The fact is: When the door closes behind and the eyes are shut – it is dark.

Thoughts or no thoughts, feelings or no feelings it is dark. Morning or night any time inside it is dark. Looking inside for the looker it is dark. Is ‘I’ darkness? Who is writing this question? 

Yes, Prasad, ‘I’ is darkness, the ego is darkness, and if you look within and the looker is there, it will remain dark. Morning or evening won’t make any difference, thoughts or no thoughts won’t make any difference, because the ‘I’ itself is the essential thought, the fundamental thought – the looker.

It contains all thoughts and all feelings. You can look, but you have already divided yourself in two: the looker and the looked-upon. And this division is darkness, this duality is darkness, this split is darkness.

Oneness is luminous, oneness is light; twoness is darkness.

So, whenever a meditator goes in, first he always encounters darkness, and that darkness is frightening – who wants to go into that darkness? One becomes afraid, one wants to escape from it. In the beginning it is always so, but if you go on and go on and go on, and you stop even asking for light… Why should you ask? If it is dark, it is dark. And darkness is perfectly right – and when darkness is perfectly right, darkness is absolutely bright.

Accept it. Love it. Embrace it. Feel one with it. And the moment the split disappears, when there is no looker and the looked-upon, no observer and the observed, then suddenly there will be light – and a light which needs no fuel, a light which is eternal.

But if you are divided, then that light won’t happen to you.

So, what is to be done? You have to love this darkness, you have to fall into this darkness and disappear. Don’t search for the light. The search for the light will keep you distant, unloving, unavailable to the darkness, and that will be a barrier to light. Don’t search for light. If it is dark, it is dark. This is what Buddha calls tathata. If it is dark, it is dark; don’t ask for something else, let it be dark, enjoy it. What is wrong with darkness?

But we are conditioned in such a way that we cannot enjoy a few things. We have been brought up in such a way that we can enjoy only light, not darkness. Now this is missing something tremendously beautiful and something tremendously alive.

Darkness has its own joy, light has its own joy, and the person who understands will enjoy both. And he will not create any conflict and he will not choose. Darkness has silence in it, which no light can ever have. Darkness has a stillness in it, utter stillness, which no light can ever have. And darkness has infinity: unbounded it is, it knows no boundaries. Light has always boundaries to it: it is never infinite, it is finite. Light comes and goes; darkness abides, darkness is eternal.

It is because of this experience that in India we have painted Krishna as dark – his other name, shyam, means dark, ‘the black one’.

Darkness has depth. Whiteness is shallow, whiteness always looks superficial. Start enjoying darkness. Feel its infinity, feel its spaciousness, feel its eternity. Be touched by it and be moved by it – it is so velvety, it has a beauty of its own. And unless you are capable of loving darkness, you have not earned the right to know light.

The light that you know is the outside light; it is against darkness. And the light that you will know when you transcend inner darkness will not be against darkness, it will contain all that darkness has – and something more, and plus. Remember it: the light outside is not the true light; the true light will have all the qualities of this light and all the qualities of this darkness and still will be more than the sum total of both of them. It is a great splendour where dualities meet and merge into each other, where dualities pour all their beauties into each other and a new beauty arises: the beauty of unity, integration.

So, remember it: whatsoever you know about light and darkness – both have to be left behind. When you close your eyes, you have left the light outside; now you enter darkness. Love it. Sing a song with it. Have a dance with it. Don’t fight with it, don’t be afraid of it, don’t keep a distance from it. And don’t go on looking for light. Forget about light. This darkness is there – it has to be enjoyed; one has to be grateful to God for this darkness, this silence, this stillness, this velvety expanse. And then, one day, the observer and the observed are no more two.

When you love something, the duality disappears. If you love darkness, you become darkness. And when there is no duality, there comes a luminousness of a totally different quality. It is not the light that comes from the sun, and it is not the light that comes from electricity, and it is not the light that comes from the moon; then you have come to the very source of all light and all darkness, then you have come to the very root, the very ground, of being.

It is beautiful that the darkness is arising in you. You have taken a great step. Now, don’t go on fighting with it; otherwise, the next step will be hindered.

That’s what I was saying the other day: if the myth of Sisyphus were written by a Zen Master, it would have been totally different – the gods would have been defeated. You cannot punish a Zen Master. Sisyphus would have enjoyed, would have danced, would have been ecstatic, because there is no goal, so there is no failure. When the rock starts slipping back towards the valley, he would have listened to the sound echoing, re-echoing, in the valleys. He would have enjoyed it, and he would have started the downward journey with great joy because he knows the beauties of the valley too. Yes, there are beauties of the hilltop, the sunlit hilltop, and the openness of the sky, but there are beauties of the valley too: the shelter, the security, the beautiful birds, and the rivers, and the friends, and the pub. Sisyphus would have come back dancing from the hill, thinking of the pub and the friends and the beloved. And his children must have been waiting, and his woman – and it was time. And he would have had a beautiful, restful night, and in the morning he would have begun again: he would have taken the rock back to the top, another day, another challenge. Another day, another adventure, and in the morning he would have started again, whistling a song. The story would have been totally different.

The Greeks could not envision it; the logical mind cannot envision it, an illogical mind is needed to envision that beauty. Yes, when you go in and there is darkness, don’t become the Greek Sisyphus, remember what I am telling you. Love the darkness: it is a gift. All is a gift from God. Feel grateful to God that he has given you such a beautiful darkness of your own – so virgin, so pure, uncontaminated. Relax into it, and as you relax, it disappears. When you have relaxed totally, it is no more found. Then you have arrived at the very source of all darkness and all light, but that source has a totally different quality of light. It is not this light – it has something of it. It is not this darkness – it has something of it, but it is immensely vast. That’s why the mystics have always felt it difficult to say what it is.

Ineffable it is, inexpressible it is, and indefinable it is.

But, Prasad, you have taken a great step; going into darkness is a great step. Zen people call it ‘the great doubt’, and the Christian mystics call it ‘the dark night of the soul’. But the morning is just arriving, just following. The dark night of the soul has the morning following just on the heels of it, just following like a shadow. Don’t be too worried about the darkness, don’t become too obsessed by it; otherwise, you will miss the morning that is following it – and is just coming on the heels.

This is the way to look at life, and then thorns are no more thorns; they also have a beauty of their own. Then the cactus is as beautiful as any rose. And your heart expands when you can see the beauty of a thorn. To see the beauty of a rose is not much – anybody can see it; nothing is required of you. The rose is so obviously there – even a stupid person can see the beauty of it. But to see the beauty of the thorn great intelligence is needed, much is required of you; it is a challenge. Unless you have found beauty everywhere, you will not find God. Unless you are at home everywhere, you will never be at home.

So, in darkness, be at home. Whatsoever arises in you has to be accepted with joy as a gift. And I know it is difficult sometimes to think that this is a gift when you are ill, when it is all dark, when you are miserable, when love is broken. How can you see the beauty of it when a beloved dies? Death has happened – it is difficult to see the beauty. That only shows that you have a very, very narrow definition of beauty, that you have imposed some definition on reality. Drop that imposition. Let reality be freed.

Just the other day I was reading about a Hassid mystic, Zusia. He is one of the most beautiful Hassid mystics. He was going into the hills, and he saw many birds, caught by a man, in a cage. Zusia opened the cage – because birds are meant to fly – and all the birds flew away. And the main man came rushing out of his house and he said ‘What have you done?’ And Zusia said ‘Birds are meant to fly. Look how beautiful they look on the wing!’ But the man thought otherwise; he gave Zusia a good beating. His whole day’s work had been destroyed, and he had been hoping to go to the market and sell the birds, and there were many many things to be done – and now Zusia had destroyed the whole thing. He gave him a really good beating, but Zusia was laughing, and Zusia was enjoying – and he was beating him! Then he thought this man must be mad. And Zusia started moving.

When the man had finished, Zusia asked ‘Have you done it, or would you like to do a little more? Are you finished? Because now I have to go.’ The man could not answer. What to answer? This man was simply mad! And Zusia started singing a song. He was very happy – happy that the birds were flying in the sky and happy that he was beaten and yet it didn’t hurt, happy that he could receive it as a gift, happy that he could still thank God. There was no complaint. Now, he had transformed the whole quality of the situation.

This has to be learned. Slowly, slowly a man has to become so wide that all is accepted, yes, even death, only then the song bursts forth. Yes, even the darkness, only then the light arrives. The moment you have accepted the night totally and there is no seeking and hankering for the morning, the morning has come. This is how it comes, this is the way of its coming.


From The Sun Rises in the Evening, Chapter Six

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation


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

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The Question of Meditation – J. Krishnamurti

We are going to discuss the question of meditation; it is a rather complex question and before we go into it, we have to be very clear about this searching, this seeking for experience, trying to find out a reality. We have to understand the meaning of seeking and the searching out of truth, the intellectual groping after something new, which is not of time, which is not brought about by one’s demands, compulsions and despair. Is truth ever to be found by seeking? Is it recognizable when one has found it? If one has, can one say, ‘this is the truth’ – ‘This is the real’? Has search any meaning at all? Most religious people are always talking about seeking truth; and we are asking if truth can ever be sought after. In the idea of seeking, of finding, is there not also the idea of recognition – the idea that if I find something I must be able to recognize it? Does not recognition imply that I have already known it? Is truth ‘recognizable’ – in the sense of its having already been experienced, so that one is able to say, ‘This is it’? So what is the value of seeking at all? Or, if there is no value in it, then is there value only in constant observation, constant listening? – Which is not the same as seeking. When there is constant observation there is no movement of the past. ‘To observe’ implies seeing very clearly; to see very clearly there must be freedom, freedom from resentment, freedom from enmity, from any prejudice or grudge, freedom from all those memories that one has stored up as knowledge, which interfere with seeing. When there is that quality, that kind of freedom with constant observation – not only of the things outside but also inwardly – of what is actually going on, what then is the need of seeking at all? – For it is all there, the fact, the ‘what is’, it is observed. But the moment we want to change ‘what is’ into something else, the process of distortion takes place.

Observing freely, without any distortion, without any evaluation, without any desire for pleasure, in just observing, we see that ‘what is’ undergoes an extraordinary change.

Most of us try to fill our life with knowledge, with entertainment, with spiritual aspirations and beliefs, which, as we observe, have very little value; we want to experience something transcendental, something beyond all worldly things, we want to experience something immense, that has no borders, that has no time. To ‘experience’ something immeasurable one must understand the implications of ‘experience.’ Why do we want ‘experience’ at all?

Please do not accept or deny what the speaker is saying, just examine it. The speaker – let us again be definite about that matter – has no value whatsoever. (It’s like the telephone, you do not obey what the telephone says. The telephone has no authority, but you listen to it.) If you listen with care there is in that, affection, not agreement or disagreement, but a quality of mind that says, “Let’s see what you’re talking about, let us see if it has any value at all, let us see what is true and what is false.” Do not accept or deny, but observe and listen, not only to what is being said, but also to your reactions, to your distortions, as you are listening; see your prejudices, your opinions, your images, your experiences, see how they are going to prevent you from listening.

We are asking: what is the significance of experience? Has it any significance? Can experience wake up a mind that is asleep, that has come to certain conclusions and is held and conditioned by beliefs? Can experience wake it up, shatter all that structure? Can such a mind – so conditioned, so burdened by its own innumerable problems and despairs and sorrows – respond to any challenge? – can it? And if it does respond, must not the response be inadequate and therefore lead to more conflict? Always to seek for wider, deeper, transcendental experience, is a form of escape from the actual reality of ‘what is’, which is ourselves, our own conditioned mind. A mind that is extraordinarily awake, intelligent, free, why should it need, why should it have, any ‘experience’ at all? Light is light, it does not ask for more light. The desire for more ‘experience’ is escape from the actual, the ‘what is’.

If one is free from this everlasting search, free from the demand and the desire to experience something extraordinary, then we can proceed to find out what meditation is. That word – like the words ‘love’, ‘death,’ ‘beauty,’ ‘happiness’ – is so loaded. There are so many schools which teach you how to meditate. But to understand what meditation is, one must lay the foundation of righteous behavior. Without that foundation, meditation is really a form of self-hypnosis; without being free from anger, jealousy, envy, greed, acquisitiveness, hate, competition, the desire for success – all the moral, respectable forms of what is considered righteous – without laying the right foundation, without actually living a daily life free of the distortion of personal fear, anxiety, greed and so on meditation has very little meaning. The laying of that foundation is all-important. So one asks: what is virtue? What is morality?

Please do not say that this question is bourgeois, that is has no meaning in a society which is permissive, which allows anything. We are not concerned with that kind of society; we are concerned with a life completely free from fear, a life which is capable of deep, abiding love. Without that, meditation becomes a deviation; it is like taking a drug – as so many have done – to have an extraordinary experience and yet leading a shoddy little life. Those who take drugs do have some strange experiences, they see perhaps a little more colour, they become perhaps a little more sensitive, and being sensitive, in that chemical state, they do perhaps see things without space between the ‘observer’ and the thing observed; but when the chemical effect is over, they are back to where they were with fear, with boredom, back again in the old routine – so they have to take the drug again.

Unless one lays the foundation of virtue, meditation becomes a trick to control the mind, to make the mind quiet, to force the mind to conform to the pattern of a system that says, “Do these things and you will have great reward.” But such a mind – do what you will with all the methods and the systems that are offered – will remain small, petty, conditioned, and therefore worthless. One has to inquire into what virtue is, what behavior is. Is behavior the result of environ- mental conditioning, of a society, of a culture, in which one has been brought up? – You behave according to that. Is that virtue? Or does virtue lie in freedom from the social morality of greed, envy and all the rest of it? – Which is considered highly respectable. Can virtue be cultivated? – And if it can be cultivated then does it not become a mechanical thing and therefore have no virtue at all? Virtue is something that is living, flowing, that is constantly renewing itself; it cannot possibly be put together in time; it is like suggesting that you can cultivate humility. Can you cultivate humility? It is only the vain man that ‘cultivates’ humility; whatever he may cultivate he will still remain vain. But in seeing very clearly the nature of vanity and pride, in that very seeing there is freedom from that vanity and pride – and in that there is humility.

When this is very clear then we can proceed to find out what meditation is. If one cannot do this very deeply, in a most real and serious way – not just for one or two days then drop it – please do not talk about meditation. Meditation, if you understand what it is, is one of the most extraordinary things; but you cannot possibly understand it unless you have come to the end of seeking, groping, wanting, greedily clutching at something which you consider truth – which is your own projection. You cannot come to it unless you are no longer demanding ‘experience’ at all, but are understanding the confusion in which one lives, the disorder of one’s own life. In the observation of that disorder, order comes – which is not a blueprint. When you have done this – which in itself is meditation – then we can ask, not only what meditation is, but also what meditation is not, because in the denial of that which is false, the truth is.

Any system, any method that teaches you how to meditate is obviously false. One can see why, intellectually, logically, for if you practice something according to a method – however noble, however ancient, however modern, however popular – you are making yourself mechanical, you are doing something over and over again in order to achieve something. In meditation the end is not different from the means. But the method promises you something; it is a means to an end. If the means is mechanical, then the end is also something brought about by the machine; the mechanical minds says, “I’ll get something.” One has to be completely free from all methods, all systems; that is already the beginning of meditation; you are already denying something which is utterly false and meaningless. And again, there are those who practice ‘awareness.’ Can you practice awareness? – If you are ‘practicing’ awareness, then you are all the time being inattentive.

So, be aware of inattention, not practice how to be attentive; if you are aware of your inattention, out of that awareness there is attention, you do not have to practice it. Do please understand this; it is so clear and so simple. You do not have to go to Burma, China, India, places which are romantic but not factual. I remember once travelling in a car, in India, with a group of people.

I was sitting in front with the driver, there were three behind who were talking about awareness, wanting to discuss with me what awareness is. The car was going very fast. A goat was in the road and the driver did not pay much attention and ran over the poor animal. The gentlemen behind were discussing what is awareness; they never knew what had happened! You laugh; but that is what we are all doing, we are intellectually concerned with the idea of awareness, the verbal, dialectical investigation of opinion, yet not actually aware of what is taking place.

There is no practice, only the living thing. And there comes the question: how is thought to be controlled? Thought wanders all over the place; you want to think about something, it is off on something else. They say practice, control; think about a picture, a sentence, or whatever it is, concentrate; thought buzzes off in another direction, so you pull it back and this battle goes on, backward and forward. So one asks: what is the need for control of thought at all and who is the entity that is going to control thought?

Please follow this closely. Unless one understands this real question, one will not be able to see what meditation means. When one says, “I must control thought,” who is the controller, the censor?

Is the censor different from the thing he wants to control, shape or change into a different quality? – are they not both the same? What happens when the ‘thinker’ sees that he is the thought – which he is – that the ‘experiencer’ is the experience? Then what is one to do? Are you following the question? The thinker is the thought and thought wanders off; then the thinker, thinking he is separate, says, ‘I must control it.’ Is the thinker different from the thing called thought? If there is no thought, is there a thinker?

What takes place when the thinker sees he is the thought? What actually takes place when the ‘thinker’ is the thought as the ‘observer’ is the observed? What takes place? In that there is no separation, no division and therefore no conflict therefore thought is no longer to be controlled, shaped; then what takes place? Is there then any wandering of thought at all? Before, there was control of thought, there was concentration of thought, there was the conflict between the ‘thinker’ who wanted to control thought, and thought wandering off. That goes on all the time with all of us.

Then there is the sudden realization that the ‘thinker’ is the thought – a realization, not a verbal statement, but an actuality. Then what takes place? Is there such a thing as thought wandering? It is only when the ‘observer’ is different from thought that he censors it; then he can say, ‘This is right or this is wrong thought,” or “Thought is wandering away I must control it.” But when the thinker realizes that he is the thought, is there a wandering at all? Go into it, sirs, don’t accept it, you will see it for yourself. It is only when there is a resistance that there is conflict; the resistance is created by the thinker who thinks he is separate from the thought; but when the thinker realizes that he is the thought, there is no resistance – which does not mean that thought goes all over the place and does what it likes, on the contrary.

The whole concept of control and concentration undergoes a tremendous change; it becomes attention, something entirely different. If one understands the nature of attention, that attention can be focused, one understands that it is quite different from concentration, which is exclusion. Then you will ask, “Can I do anything without concentration?” “Do I not need concentration in order to do anything?” But can you not do something with attention? – Which is not concentration. ‘Attention’ implies to attend, that is to listen, hear, see, with all the totality of your being, with your body, with your nerves, with your eyes, with your ears, with your mind, with your heart, completely. In that total attention – in which there is no division – you can do anything; and in such attention is no resistance. So then, the next thing is, can the mind in which is included the brain – the brain being conditioned, the brain being the result of thousands of thousands of years of evolution, the brain which is the storehouse of memory – can that become quiet? Because it is only when the total mind is silent, quiet, that there is perception, seeing clearly, with a mind that is not confused.

How can the mind be quiet, be still? I do not know if you have seen for yourself that to look at a beautiful tree, or a cloud full of light and glory, you must look completely, silently, otherwise you are not looking directly at it, you are looking at it with some image of pleasure, or the memory of yesterday, you are not actually looking at it, you are looking at the image rather than at the fact.

So, one asks, can the totality of the mind, the brain included, be completely still? People have asked this question – really very serious people – they have not been able to solve it, they have tried tricks, they have said that the mind can be made still through the repetition of words. Have you ever tried it – repeating “Ave Maria,” or those Sanskrit words that some people bring over from India, mantras – repeating certain- words to make the mind still? It does not matter what word it is, make it rhythmic-Coca Cola, any word – repeat it often and you will see that your mind becomes quiet; but it is a dull mind, it is not a sensitive mind, alert, active, vital, passionate, intense. A dull mind though it may say, “I have had tremendous transcendental experience,” is deceiving itself.

So it is not in the repetition of words, nor in trying to force it; too many tricks have been played upon the mind for it to be quiet; yet one knows deeply within oneself that when the mind is quiet then the whole thing is over, that then there is true perception.

How is the mind, the brain included, to be completely quiet?

Some say breathe properly, take deep breaths, that is, get more oxygen into your blood; a shoddy little mind breathing very deeply, day after day, can be fairly quiet; but it is still what it is, a shoddy little mind. Or practice yoga? – Again, so many things are involved in this. Yoga means skill in action, not merely the practice of certain exercises which are necessary to keep the body healthy, strong, sensitive – which includes eating the right food, not stuffing it with a lot of meat and so on (we won’t go into all that, you are all probably meat eaters). Skill in action demands great sensitivity of the body, a lightness of the body, eating the right food, not what your tongue dictates, or what you are used to. Then what is one to do? Who puts this question? One sees very clearly that our lives are in disorder, inwardly and outwardly; and yet order is necessary, as orderly as mathematical order and that can come about only by observing the disorder, not by trying to conform to the blueprint of what others may consider, or you yourself may consider, order. By seeing, by being aware of the disorder, out of that comes order. One also sees that the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, sensitive, alert, not caught in any habit, physical or psychological; how is that to come about? Who puts this question? Is the question put by the mind that chatters, the mind that has so much knowledge? Has it learned a new thing? – which is, “I can see very clearly only when I am quiet, therefore, I must be quiet.” Then it says, “How am I to be quiet?” Surely such a question is wrong in itself; the moment it asks ‘how’ it is looking for a system, therefore destroying the very thing that is being inquired into, which is: how can the mind be completely still? – Not mechanically, not forced, not compelled to be still. A mind that is not compelled to be still is extraordinarily active, sensitive, alert.

But when you ask ‘how’ then there is the division between the observer and the thing observed.

When you realize that there is no method, no system, that no mantram, no teacher, nothing in the world that is going to help you to be quiet, when you realize the truth that it is only the quiet mind that sees, then the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet. It is like seeing danger and avoiding it; in the same way, seeing that the mind must be completely quiet, it is quiet.

Now the quality of silence matters. A very small mind can be very quiet, it has its little space in which to be quiet; that little space, with its little quietness, is the deadest thing – you know what it is. But a mind that has limitless space and that quietness, that stillness, has no center as the ‘me’, the ‘observer,’ is quite different.

In that silence there is no ‘observer’ at all; that quality of silence has vast space, it is without border and intensely active; the activity of that silence is entirely different from the activity which is self-centered. If the mind has gone that far (and really it is not that far, it is always there if you know how to look), then perhaps that which man has sought throughout the centuries, God, truth, the immeasurable, the nameless, the timeless, is there – without your invitation, it is there. Such a man is blessed, there is truth for him and ecstasy.

Shall we talk this over, ask questions? You might say to me, “What value has all this in daily life? I’ve got to live, go to the office; there is the family, there is the boss, competition – what has all this got to do with it?” Do you not ask that question? If you ask it, then you have not followed all that has been said this morning.

Meditation is not something different from daily life; do not go off into the corner of a room and meditate for ten minutes, then come out of it and be a butcher – both metaphorically and actually.

Meditation is one of the most serious things; you do it all day, in the office, with the family, when you say to somebody, “I love you” when you are considering your children, when you educate them to become soldiers, to kill, to be nationalized, worshipping the flag, educating them to enter into this trap of the modern world; watching all that, realizing your part in it, all that is part of meditation. And when you so meditate you will find in it an extraordinary beauty; you will act rightly at every moment; and if you do not act rightly at a given moment it does not matter, you will pick it up again – you will not waste time in regret. Meditation is part of life, not something different from life.

-J. Krishnamurti

From The Flight of the Eagle, Chapter Three

Living Life Totally vs Witnessing – Osho

I am a little confused. Is there a contradiction between living life totally, and at the same time witnessing it from outside?

I have seen the question. It was too long, so I told someone to summarize it, but in the summary it has lost its basic quest.

The question was that I am teaching witnessing but I also teach you to do it totally. And the problem to the questioner is that if we do it totally, then who will witness it? And if we witness it, at least a part of our consciousness will not be in the action, it will not be total. So he is asking whether we can totally be in the act, or we have to divide ourselves into a witness and into a doer. The question has arisen because you have only thought about it. You have not done anything to experience what I am saying.

First, witnessing is not a doing.

When the mirror reflects you, do you think it does something? It is simply its nature to reflect. There is no action on its part. Even when you are not there it is reflecting. It may be reflecting simply the walls of the room, it may be reflecting anything that is in front of it.

Reflection is not an activity. So it is with witnessing – witnessing is not an activity.

If you think logically, the contradiction will arise. But if you do what I am saying, you can be totally into an act – your body will be in it, your mind will be in it, your heart will be in it, and that is your totality. But there is something beyond these three which is not counted as you, which is not you, which is part of the universal consciousness, which is the divine in you – and that is the mirror.

So when you are witnessing, your mirror is reflecting. You are totally in the act – your body, your mind, your heart – everything is in the act. But there is something more than these three things.

In the East we have called it simply by number. We have not given it a name for a certain reason.

We have called it the fourth, turiya. It is a number, it is not a name. We have not given it a name because any name will create some meaning in your mind, some ideas in your mind; a number cannot do that.

You consist of three elements: the body, the mind, the heart. The fourth is just a silent presence in you – it is not you. Don’t include it within the boundaries of you; it is beyond you. It is capable of reflecting you as totally in the act. And the action will not divide because it is not an action; it is witnessing, it is simply reflecting.

It is one thing to think about it; then immediately the logic, the reason will say that you are doing two things – you are walking and you are witnessing. That divides. But this is only logical reasoning.

Just try to walk silently, joyously – put everything into a morning walk. Your body is relishing the morning sun, the air; your mind is full of the rising life all around you; your heart is throbbing with excitement; the birds are singing and the sky is so colorful… You be just the walk. And you will be surprised that there is someone witnessing which cannot say “I” – which is not your ego, which is the universal self.

Your body is different from mine, your mind is different from everybody else’s, your heart is different from everybody else’s. But in consciousness we are one continent – nobody is an island. That universal consciousness is always there. Either you are aware of it, then it makes your life a rejoicing, or you are unaware of it, then your life becomes just a dragging somehow towards death.

So there is no contradiction at all. But remember, there are many experiences. If you think about them you will find contradictions. If you experience them you will not find any contradiction.

When you ask a question try to experience it not just out of thinking. Ask out of your experience, and then it will be a totally different thing. Everything is not logical, and it is good that everything is not logical. That’s why there is some mystery. That’s why there is some unknowable surrounding you. There is a possibility to discover it, and that discovery is the greatest ecstasy.

I have not found any contradiction in my experience, but in thinking, I agree with you there is contradiction.

But I am not telling you to think about it, I am telling you to live it.


From The Sword and the Lotus, Chapter Twelve

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