If I try this method of being aware of my breathing, If I pay attention to my breathing, then I cannot do anything else, the whole attention goes to it. And if I am to do anything else then I cannot be aware of my breathing.
This will happen, so in the beginning choose a particular period in the morning, or in the evening, or at any time. For one hour just do the exercise; do not do anything else. Just do the exercise. Once you become attuned to it, then it will not be a problem. You can walk on the street and you can be aware.
Between ‘awareness’ and ‘attention’ there is a difference. When you pay attention to anything it is exclusive; you have to withdraw your attention from everywhere else. So it is a tension really. That is why it is called attention. You pay attention to one thing at the cost of everything else. If you pay attention to your breathing, you cannot pay attention to your walking or to your driving. Do not try it while you are driving because you cannot pay attention to both.
Attention means one thing exclusively. Awareness is a very different thing; it is not exclusive. It is not paying attention, it is being attentive; it is just being conscious. You are conscious when you are inclusively conscious. Your breathing is in your consciousness. You are walking and someone is passing, and you are also conscious of him. Someone is making noise on the road, some train passes by, some airplane flies by – everything is included. Awareness is inclusive, attention exclusive. But in the beginning, it will be attention.
So first try in selected periods. For one hour just be attentive to your breathing. By and by you will be able to change your attention into awareness. Then do simple things – for example, walking, walk attentively with full awareness of walking and also of breathing. Do not create any opposition between the two actions of walking and breathing. Be a watcher of both. It is not difficult. Look! For example, I can pay attention to one face here. If I pay attention to one face, all the faces will not be here for me. If I pay my attention to one face, then all the rest are bracketed out. If I pay attention only to the nose on that face, then the whole face, the remaining face, is bracketed out. I can go on narrowing down my attention to a single point.
The reverse is also possible. I pay attention to the whole face; then eyes and nose and everything are there. Then I have made my focus wider. I look at you not as individuals, but as a group. Then the whole group is in my attention. If I take you as different from the noise that is going on the street, then I am bracketing out the street. But I can look at you and the street as one whole. Then I can be aware of both you and the street. I can be aware of the whole cosmos. It depends on your focus – on its becoming greater and greater. But first start from attention and remember that you have to grow into awareness. So choose a small period. The morning is good because you are fresh, energies are vital, everything is rising; you are more alive in the morning.
Physiologists say that not only are you more alive, but your height is a little more in the morning than in the evening. If you are six feet tall, then in the morning you are six feet and one half inch and in the evening you go back to six feet. Half an inch is lost because your spine settles down when it is tired. So in the morning you are fresh, young, alive with energy.
Do this: do not make meditation the last thing on your schedule. Make it the first. Then when you feel that now it is not an effort, when you can sit for an hour together completely immersed in breathing – aware, attentive – when you only know this, that you have achieved attention of breathing without any effort; when you are relaxed and enjoying it without any forcing, then you have attained it.
Then add something else – for example, walking. Remember both; then go on adding things. After a certain period you will be capable of being aware of your breath continuously, even in sleep. And unless you are aware even in sleep you will not be able to know the depth. But this comes, by and by this comes.
One has to be patient and one has to start rightly. Know this, because the cunning mind will always try to give you a wrong start. Then you can leave it after two or three days and say, “This is hopeless.” The mind will give you a wrong start. So always remember to begin rightly, because rightly begun means half done. But we start wrongly.
You know very well that attention is a difficult thing. This is because you are totally asleep. So, if you start being attentive to breathing while you are doing something else, you cannot do it. And you are not going to leave the task, you will leave the effort of being attentive to breathing.
So do not create unnecessary problems for yourself. In twenty-four hours you can find a small corner. Forty minutes will do… so do the technique there. But the mind will give many excuses. The mind will say, “Where is the time? There is already too much work to be done. Where is the time?” Or the mind will say, “It is not possible now, so postpone it. Sometime in the future when things are better, then you will do it.” Beware of what your mind says to you. Do not be too trusting of the mind. And we are never doubtful. We can doubt everyone but we never doubt our own minds.
Even those who talk so much of skepticism, of doubt, of reason, even they never doubt their own minds. And your mind has brought you to the state you are in. If you are in a hell, your mind has brought you to this hell, and you never doubt this guide. You can doubt any teacher, any master, but you never doubt your mind. With unflinching faith, you move with your mind as the guru. And your mind has brought you to the mess, to the misery that you are. If you are going to doubt anything, doubt first your own mind. And whenever your mind says something, think twice.
Is it true that you do not have any time? Really? You do not have any time to meditate – to give one hour to meditation? Think twice. Ask again and again to the mind, “Is this the case, that I do not have any time?”
I don’t see it. I have not seen a man who does not have more than enough time. I go on seeing people who are playing cards, and they say, “We are killing time.” They are going to the movies and they say, “What to do?” They are killing time, gossiping, reading the same newspaper again and again, talking about the same things they have been talking about for their whole lives, and they say, “We don’t have any time.” For unnecessary things they have enough time. Why?
With an unnecessary thing mind is not in any danger. The moment you think of meditation, mind becomes alert. Now you are moving in a dangerous dimension, because meditation means the death of the mind. If you move into meditation, sooner or later your mind will have to dissolve, retire completely. The mind becomes alert and it begins to say many things to you: “Where is the time? And even if there is time, then more important things are to be done. First postpone it until later. You can meditate at any time. Money is more important. Gather money first, then meditate at your leisure. How can you meditate without money? So pay attention to money, then meditate later on.”
Meditation can be postponed easily, you feel, because it is not concerned with your immediate survival. Bread cannot be postponed – you will die. Money cannot be postponed – it is needed for your basic necessities. Meditation can be postponed; you can survive without it. Really, you can survive without it easily.
The moment you go deep in meditation, you will not survive on this earth at least – you will disappear. From the circle of this life, this wheel, you will disappear. Meditation is like death, so the mind becomes afraid. Meditation is like love, so the mind becomes afraid. “Postpone,” it says, and you can go on postponing ad infinitum. Your mind is always saying things like this. And do not think I am talking about others. I am talking particularly about you.
I have come across many intelligent people who go on saying very unintelligent things about meditation. One man came from Delhi; he is a big government official. He came only for the purpose of learning meditation here. He had come from Delhi, and he stayed seven days here. I told him to go to the morning meditation class on Chowpatty beach in Bombay, but he said, “But that is difficult. I cannot get up so early.” And he will never think over what his mind has told him. Is this so difficult? Now you will know: the exercise can be simple, but your mind is not so simple. The mind says, “How can I get up in the morning at six o’clock?”
I was in a big city, and the collector of that city came to meet me at eleven o’clock at night. I was just going to my bed, and he came and said, “No! It is urgent. I am very disturbed. It is a question of life and death,” he told me. “So please give me at least half an hour. Teach me meditation; otherwise I might commit suicide. I am very much disturbed, and I am so frustrated that something must happen in my inner world. My outer world is lost completely.”
I told him, “Come in the morning at five o’clock.” He said, “That is not possible.” It is a question of life and death, but he cannot get up at five o’clock. He said, “That is not possible. I never get up so early.”
“Okay,” I told him, “Then come at ten.”
He said, “That will also be difficult because by ten-thirty I am to be present at my office.”
He cannot take one day’s leave, and it is a question of life and death. So I told him, ”Is it a question of your life and death or my life and death? Whose?” And he was not an unintelligent man, he was intelligent enough. These tricks were very intelligent.
So do not think that your mind is not playing the same tricks. It is very intelligent, and because you think it is your mind you never doubt it. It is not yours; it is just a social product. It is not yours! It has been given to you, it has been forced upon you. You have been taught and conditioned in a certain way. From the very childhood your mind has been created by others – parents, society, teachers. The past is creating your mind, influencing your mind. The dead past is forcing itself upon the living continuously. The teachers are just the agents – agents of the dead against the living. They go on forcing things upon your mind. But the mind is so intimate with you, the gap is so small, that you become identified with it.
You say, “I am a Hindu.” Think again, reconsider it. You are not a Hindu. You have been given a Hindu mind. You were born just a simple, innocent being – not a Hindu, not a Mohammedan. But you were given a Mohammedan mind, a Hindu mind. You were forced, encaged, imprisoned in a particular condition, and then life goes on adding to this mind and this mind becomes heavy – heavy on you. You cannot do anything; the mind starts forcing its own way upon you. Your experiences are being added to the mind. Constantly, your past is conditioning your every present moment. If I say something to you, you are not going to think about it in a fresh way, in an open way. Your old mind, your past will come in between, will begin to talk and chatter for or against.
Remember, your mind is not yours, your body is not yours; it comes from your parents. Your mind is also not yours; it also comes from your parents. Who are you?
Either one is identified with the body or with the mind. You think you are young, you think you are old, you think you are a Hindu, you think you are a Jain, you are a Parsi. You are not! You were born as a pure consciousness. These are all imprisonments. These techniques which look so simple to you will not be so simple, because this mind will create constantly many, many complexities and problems.
Just a few days before, a man came to me and he said, “I am trying your method of meditation, but tell me, in what scripture is it given? If you can convince me that it is given in my religious scripture, then it will be easier for me to do.” But why will it be easier for him to do if it is written in a scripture? Because then the mind will not create a problem. The mind will say, “Okay! This belongs to us, so do it.” If it is not written in any scripture then the mind will say, “What are you doing?” The mind goes against it.
I said to the man, “You have been doing this method for three months. How are you feeling?” He said, “Wonderful. I am feeling very wonderful. But tell me… give some authority from the scriptures.” His own feeling is not an authority at all. He says, “I am feeling wonderful. I have become more silent, more peaceful, more loving. I am feeling wonderful.” But his own experience is not the authority. The mind asks for an authority from the past.
I told him, “It is not written anywhere in your scriptures. Rather, many things which are against this technique are written.” His face became sad. And then he said, “Then it will be difficult for me to do it and to continue it.”
Why is his own experience not of any value?
The past – the conditioning, the mind – is constantly molding you and destroying your present. So remember, and be aware. Be skeptical and doubting about your mind. Do not trust it. If you can attain to this maturity of not trusting your mind, only then will these techniques be really simple, helpful, functioning. They will work miracles – they can work miracles.
These techniques, these methods cannot be understood intellectually at all. I am trying the impossible, but then why am I trying? If they cannot be understood intellectually, then why am I talking to you? They cannot be understood intellectually, but there is no other way to make you aware of certain techniques which can change your life totally. You can understand only intellect, and this is a problem. You cannot understand anything else; you can understand only the intellect. And these techniques cannot be understood intellectually, so how to communicate?
Either you should become capable of understanding without intellect being brought in, or some method should be found so that these techniques can be made intellectually understandable. The second is not possible, but the first is possible.
You will have to start intellectually, but do not cling to it. When I say “Do,” try doing. If something begins to happen within you, then you will be capable of throwing your intellect aside and reaching toward me directly without the intellect, without any effort, without the meditator. But start doing something. We can go on talking for years and years, your mind can be stuffed with many things, but that is not going to help. Rather, it may harm you because you will begin to know many things. And if you know many things you will become confused. It is not good to know many things. It is good to know a little and to practice it. A single technique can be helpful; something done is always helpful. What is the difficulty in doing it?
Deep down somewhere there is fear. The fear is that if you do it, it may be that something stops happening – that is the fear. It may look paradoxical, but I have been meeting so many – so many persons – who think they want to change. They say they need meditation; they ask for a deep transformation, but deep down they are also afraid. They are dual – double; they have two minds. They go on asking about what to do, never doing it. Why then do they go on asking? Just to deceive themselves that they are really interested in transforming themselves. That is why they are asking.
This gives a facade, an appearance that they are really, sincerely interested in changing themselves. That is why they are asking, going to this guru and that, finding, trying, but they never do anything. Deep down they are afraid.
Eric Fromm has written a book, Fear of Freedom. The title seems contradictory. Everyone thinks that they like freedom; everyone thinks that they are endeavoring for freedom – in this world and in “that world” also. “We want moksha – liberation – we want to be freed from all limitations, from all slaveries. We want to be totally free,” they say. But Eric Fromm says that man is afraid of freedom. We want it, we go on saying that we want it, we go on convincing ourselves that we want it, but deep down we are afraid of freedom. We do not want it! Why? Why this duality?
Freedom creates fear, and meditation is the deepest freedom possible. You are not freed only from outward limitations, you are freed from inner slavery – the very mind, the base of slavery. You are freed from the whole past. The moment you have no mind, the past has disappeared. You have transcended history; now there is no society, no religion, no scripture, no tradition, because they all have their abode in the mind. Now there is no past, no future, because past and future are part of the mind, the memory and the imagination.
Then you are here and now in the present. Now there is not going to be any future. There will be now and now and now – eternal now. Then you are freed completely; you transcend all tradition, all history, body, mind, everything. One becomes free of the fearful. Such freedom? Then where will you be? In such freedom, can you exist? In such freedom, in such vastness, can you have your small “I” – your ego? Can you say “I am?”
You can say, “I am in bondage,” because you can know your boundary. When there is no bondage there is no boundary. You become just a state, nothing more… absolute nothingness, emptiness. That creates fear, so one goes on talking about meditation, about how to do it, and one goes on without doing it.
All the questions arise out of this fear. Feel this fear. If you know it, it will disappear. If you do not know it, it will continue. Are you ready to die in the spiritual sense? Are you ready to be not?
Whenever anyone came to Buddha he would say, “This is the basic truth – that you are not. And because you are not you cannot die, you cannot be born; and because you are not you cannot be in suffering, in bondage. Are you ready to accept this?” Buddha would ask, “Are you ready to accept this? If you are not ready to accept this, then do not try meditation now. First try to find out whether you really are or you are not. Meditate on this first: is there any self? Is there any substance within or are you just a combination?”
If you manage to find out, you will find that your body is a combination. Something has come from your mother, something has come from your father, and all else has come from food. This is your body. In this body you are not, there is no self. Contemplate on the mind: something has come from here, something from there. Mind has nothing that is original. It is just accumulation.
Find out if there is any self in the mind. If you move deep, you will find that your identity is just like an onion. You peel off one layer and another layer comes up; you peel off another layer and still another layer comes up. You go on peeling layers off, and ultimately you come to a nothingness. With all the layers thrown off, there is nothing inside. Body and mind are like onions. When you have peeled off both body and mind, then you come to encounter a nothingness, an abyss, a bottomless void. Buddha called it shunya.
To encounter this shunya, to encounter this void, creates fear. That fear is there. That is why we never do meditation. We talk about it, but we never do anything about it. That fear is there. You know deep down that there is a void, but you cannot escape this fear. Whatsoever you do, the fear will remain unless you encounter it. That is the only way. Once you encounter your nothingness, once you know that within you are just like a space, shunya, then there will be no fear. Then there cannot be any fear, because this shunya, this void, cannot be destroyed. This void is not going to die. That which was going to die is no more; it was nothing but the layers of an onion.
That is why many times in deep meditation, when one comes nearer to this nothingness, one becomes afraid and starts trembling. One feels that one is going to die, one wants to escape from this nothingness back to the world. And many go back; then they never turn within again. As I see it, every one of you have tried in some life or other some meditative technique. You have been near to the nothingness, and then fear gripped you and you escaped. And deep in your past memories, that memory is there; that becomes the hindrance. Whenever you again think of trying meditation, that past memory deep down in your unconscious mind again disturbs you and says, “Go on thinking; do not do it. You have done it once.”
It is difficult to find a man – and I have looked into many – who has not tried meditation once or twice in some life. The memory is there, but you are not conscious of it, you are not aware of where the memory is. It is there. Whenever you begin to do something that becomes a barrier, this and that begin to stop you in many ways. So, if you are really interested in meditation, find out about your own fear of it. Be sincere about it: are you afraid? If you are afraid, then first something has to be done about your fear, not about meditation.
Buddha used to try many devices. Sometimes someone would say to him, “I am afraid of trying meditation.” And this is a must: the master must be told that you are afraid. You cannot deceive the master… and there is no need – it is deceiving yourself. So whenever someone would say, “I am afraid of meditation,” Buddha would say, “You are fulfilling the first requirement.” If you say yourself that you are afraid of meditation, then something becomes possible. Then something can be done because you have uncovered a deep thing. So what is the fear? Meditate on it. Go and dig out where it comes from, what the source is.
All fear is basically death-oriented. Whatsoever its form, mode, whatsoever its shape, name, all fear is death-oriented. If you move deep, you will find that you are afraid of death.
If someone came to Buddha and said, “I am afraid of death, I have found this out,” Buddha would say, “Then go to the burning ghat, go to the cemetery, and meditate on a funeral pyre. People are dying daily – they will be burned. Just remain there at the marghat – cemetery – and meditate on the burning pyre. When their family members have gone, you remain there. Just look into the fire, at the burning body. When everything is becoming smoke, you just look at it deeply. Do not think, just meditate on it for three months, six months, nine months.
“When it becomes a certainty to you that death cannot be escaped, when it becomes absolutely certain that death is the way of life, that death is implied in life, that death is going to be, that there is no way out and you are already in it, only then come to me.”
After meditating on death, after seeing every day, night and day, dead bodies being burned, dissolved into ashes – just a smoke remains and then disappears – after meditating for months together, a certainty will arise: the certainty that death is inevitable. It is the only certainty really. The only thing certain in life is death. Everything else is uncertain: it may be or it may not be. But you cannot say that it may be or it may not be for death. It is; it is going to be. It has already occurred. The moment you entered life, you entered death. Now nothing can be done about it.
When death is certain there is no fear. Fear is always with things which can be changed. If death is to be, fear disappears. If you can change, if you can do something about death, then fear will remain. If nothing can be done, if you are already in it, then it is absolutely certain that fear will disappear. When fear of death had disappeared, Buddha would allow you to meditate. He would say, “Now you can meditate.”
So you also go deep into your mind. And listening to these techniques will be helpful only when your inner barriers are broken, when inner fears disappear and you are certain that death is the reality. So if you die in meditation there is no fear – death is certain. Even if death occurs in meditation, there is no fear. Only then can you move – and then you can move at rocket speed because the barriers are not there.
It is not distance that takes time, but the barriers. You can move this very moment if there is no barrier. You are already there but for the barrier. It is a hurdle race, and you go on putting up more and more hurdles. You feel good when you cross a hurdle; you feel good that now you have crossed the hurdle. And the idiocy of it, the foolishness of it, is that the hurdle was placed there by you in the first place. It was never there. You go on putting up hurdles, then jumping over them, then feeling good; then you go on putting up more hurdles, then jumping. You move in a circle and never, never reach to the center.
Mind creates hurdles because mind is afraid. It will give you many explanations as to why you are not doing meditation. Do not believe it. Go deep, find out the basic cause. Why does a person go on talking about food and yet never eat? What is the problem? The man seems mad!
Another man goes on talking about love and never loves, another man goes on talking about something else and never does anything about it. This talking becomes obsessive; it becomes a compulsion. One goes on, one sees talking as a doing. By talking you feel that you are doing something, so you feel at ease. You are doing something – at least talking, at least reading, at least listening. This is not doing. This is deceptive; do not fall into the deception.
I will be talking here about these one hundred and twelve methods not to feed your mind, not to make you more knowledgeable, not to make you more informed. I am not trying to make you a pundit. I am talking here in order to give you a certain technique which can change your life. So whichever method appeals to you, do not start talking about it – do it! Be silent about it and do it. Your mind will raise many questions. Just inquire deeply first before asking me. Inquire deeply first whether those questions are really significant or if your mind is just deceiving you.
Do, then ask. Then your questions become practical. And I know which question has been asked through doing and which question has been asked just through curiosity, just through intellect. So by and by I will not answer your intellectual questions at all. Do something – then your questions become significant. These questions which say, “This exercise is a very simple one,” are not asked after doing. This is not so simple. In the end I must repeat again: You are already the truth.
Only a certain awakening is needed.
You are not to go anywhere else. You are to go into yourself, and the going is possible this very moment. If you can put aside your mind, you enter here and now.
These techniques are for putting your mind aside. These techniques are not really for meditation; they are for putting the mind aside. Once the mind is not there, you are!
I think this is enough for today, or even more than enough.
From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #4
Copyright© OSHO International Foundation
An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.
Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.