The Fire of Awareness – Osho

When I become more and more aware, my attention develops and there remains a feeling that I exist, I am present, I am aware. Please explain how this feeling can be dissolved into an egoless state of just awareness. 

This is again a supposed question. When I become more and more aware, my attention develops and there remains a feeling that I exist, I am present, I am aware.

This never happens, because as awareness grows, the I decreases. In full awareness, you are, but there is no sense that I am. In words, at the most, this can be said – that you feel a subtle amness, but there is no I.

You feel existence, and you feel it in abundance, a fulfilled moment, but the I is not there. You cannot feel I exist; you cannot feel I am present; you cannot feel I am aware. That I is part of unawareness, inattention; part of your sleeping state. It cannot exist. It cannot exist when you are really alert and aware and conscious.

This is how supposed questions can arise. You can go on thinking about them, and nothing will be solved. If this happens – that you feel I am; I am aware – then you only have to note one thing, and that is that you are not alert, you are not aware. Then these feelings – I am aware, I am conscious, I exist – these are thoughts, you are thinking them. They are not realized moments. You can think I am aware; you can go on repeating I am aware – that will not do. Awareness is not this repetition. And when you are aware, there is no need to repeat I am aware. You are simply aware; the I is no more.

Try awareness. Right now, be alert. Where is the I? You are – rather, you are more intensely – but where is the I, the ego? In the very intensity of consciousness, the ego is no more. Later on, when you lose awareness and thinking starts, you can feel I am, but in the moment of awareness there is no I. Right now, experience it. Silently you are here, you can feel your presence, but where is the I? The I never arises. It arises only when retrospectively you think. When you lose awareness the I arises immediately.

Even if for a single moment you can experience simple awareness, you are, and the I is not there. When you lose awareness, when the moment has slipped, gone, and you are thinking, the I comes back immediately. It is part of the thought process. The very concept of I is a thought, it belongs to thinking. I am is a thought.

When you are alert and there is no thought, how can you feel that I am? The amness is there – but that too is not a thought, it is not thinking. It is there existentially; it is a fact. But you can turn the fact into thinking immediately, and you can think about this gap that existed where there was no I. And the moment you think, the I has come back. With thinking, the ego enters – thinking is the ego. With no-thinking, the ego is not. 

So, whenever you want to ask a question, first make it existential. Before giving me the question, test whether whatsoever you are asking is relevant or not. Such questions look relevant, just verbally, but they are like this: I say that the light has been put on, and then I ask, ‘The light has been put on and still the darkness remains, so what is to be done with darkness?’ The only thing is that the light is still off, it has not been put on, otherwise how can the darkness remain? And if the darkness is there, then the light is not there. And if the light is there, then the darkness is not there. They cannot be both together.

Awareness and the ego cannot be together. If awareness has come on, if it is there, the ego has disappeared. This is simultaneous; there is not even a single second’s gap. The light is on and the darkness has disappeared. It is not that it disappears by and by, in steps, gradually. You cannot see it going outside; you cannot say that now the darkness is going out.

The light is there, and the darkness is immediately not there. There is not a single moment’s gap, because if there is a gap then you can see darkness moving out. And if there is a single moment’s gap, then there is no reason why there can’t be a gap of one hour. There is no gap. The act is simultaneous. Really, the coming of the light and the going out of the darkness are two aspects of one phenomenon.

The same happens with awareness: when you are aware, the ego is not. But the ego can go on playing tricks, and the ego can say, ‘I am aware.’ The ego can say, ‘I am aware,’ and can befoul you. Then the question will arise. And the ego wants to accumulate everything, even awareness. The ego not only wants wealth, power, and prestige; it wants meditation also, it wants samadhi also, it wants enlightenment also.

The ego wants everything. That which is possible must be possessed. The ego wants to possess everything – even meditation, samadhi, nirvana. So, the ego can say, ‘Now I have achieved meditation,’ and then the question will arise. The meditation has been achieved, the awareness has come, but the ego remains, the misery remains. The whole burden of the past remains. Nothing changes.

The ego is a very subtle braggart. Be aware of it. It can deceive you. And it can use words, it can verbalize things. It can verbalize anything, even nirvana.

I have heard that once it happened that two butterflies were winging their way through the canyons of New York. Just passing near the Empire State Building, the male butterfly said to the female, ‘You know, if I wanted to, just with one blow I could cause this Empire State Building to collapse.’

One wise man happened to be there who heard this remark, so he called that male butterfly and asked, ‘What were you saying? You know very well that you cannot cause that Empire State Building to collapse with a single blow. You know it well, there is no need to tell you, so why did you say such a thing?’

The male butterfly said, ‘Excuse me, sir. I am very sorry. I was just trying to influence my girlfriend.’

The wise man said, ‘Don’t do it,’ and dismissed the butterfly. 

The male butterfly went back to his girlfriend. Of course, the girl friend asked, ‘What was the wise guy saying to you?’

So, the male braggart said, ‘He begged me and said, “Don’t do it!” He was so afraid, trembling, nervous. He had heard that I was going to cause this Empire State Building to collapse, so he said, “Don’t do it.”’

The same is happening continuously. Those words were uttered by the wise man with a very different meaning. He meant, ‘Don’t say such things,’ but the ego exploited him. Your ego can exploit anything, it is deeply cunning. And it is so experienced in cunning – experiences of millennia – that you cannot even detect where the cunning enters.

People come to me and they say, ‘The meditation has happened. Now what to do about my worries?’ This is how the ego goes on playing tricks – and they are not even aware of what they are saying. ‘The meditation has happened; the kundalini has arisen – so what to do? The worries still continue.’

Your mind wants to believe things, so without doing anything you go on believing, deceiving – wish fulfillments. But the reality doesn’t change by your wish-fulfillments: the worries continue. You can deceive yourself; you cannot deceive the worries. They will not just disappear because you say, ‘The meditation has happened and the kundalini has arisen, and now I have entered the fifth body.’ Those worries will not even hear what you are saying. But if meditation really happens, where are the worries? How can they exist in a meditative mind?

So, remember this: that when you are aware, you are, but you are not the ego. Then you are unlimited, then you are infinite expanse, but with no center. There is no focused feeling of I; just unfocused existence, beginning nowhere, ending nowhere – just infinite sky. And when this I disappears, automatically the you disappears, because the you can exist only in reference to the I. I am here; that’s why you are there. If this I disappears from me, you are no more there. You cannot be. How can you exist?

I don’t mean that you will not be there bodily, that you will not be there physically. You will be there as you are, but for me, you cannot be you. The you is meaningful in reference to my I; my I creates the you. One part disappears; the other disappears for me. Then simple existence is there; all the barriers have dissolved. With the ego disappearing, the whole existence becomes one. The ego is the divider – and the ego exists because you are inattentive. The fire of awareness will destroy it.

Try it more and more. Suddenly become alert. Walking on the street, immediately stop, take a deep breath, become alert for a moment. And when I say alert, I mean simply alert of whatsoever is happening – the traffic noise, people passing and talking, everything that is all around. Simply become alert. You are not there in that moment: existence is and the beauty of it.

Then the traffic noise doesn’t appear to be noise, it doesn’t look like a disturbance, because there is no one to resist it and fight it. It simply comes to you and passes; it is heard and heard no more. It comes and passes. There is no barrier against which it can strike. It cannot make a wound in you, because all wounds are made in the ego. It will pass. There will be no barrier to it on which it can strike; there will be no fight, no disturbance.

Remember this: the noise on the street is not the disturbance. When the noise of the street struggles against you, when you have a fixed notion that it is a disturbance, it becomes disturbance. When you accept it, it comes and passes. And you are simply bathed by it; you come out of it more fresh. And nothing tires you then. The only tiring thing, that which goes on dissipating your energy, is this resistance which we call the ego.

But we never look at it in this way. The ego has become our life, the very gist of it. Really, there is no ego. If I say to someone…. Many times, it happens. If I say to someone to dissolve this ego, immediately he stares at me as if with the question, the nude question, that ‘If ego is dissolved, then where is life? Then I am no more’.

I have heard that one very great politician, a big leader of a country, was asked, ‘You must be getting tired. The whole day, wherever you move, there is a crowd of autograph seekers.’

That politician, that leader said, ‘It almost kills me – but this is only half of the truth.’ He must have been a very rare, honest man. He said, ‘It almost kills me – but almost. If there was no one seeking my autograph, it would kill me completely. This continuous crowd almost kills me, but the other thing would be more dangerous. It would kill me completely if there was no one to ask for my autograph.’

So howsoever tiring the ego, howsoever wearing, you still feel it is life, and if the ego is not there, you feel life will disappear from your mind. You cannot conceive how life can exist without you, without there always being a reference point of I. It is logical in a way, because we have never lived without it. We have lived through it, we have lived around it; we know only one type of life, which is based on ego. We don’t know any other life.

And because we have lived through it, we have not been really able to live. We are simply struggling to live, and the life never happens to us, it just by-passes us. It is always just in the reach, in the hope – just tomorrow, the next moment, and we will be living. But it never comes, it is never achieved. It always remains a hope and a dream – but we go on moving. And because it is not coming, we move fast. That too is logical: if life is not happening to us, the mind can think only one thing – that we are not moving fast enough. So, make hurry, be in a speed.

Once it happened that one of the great scientists, T.H. Huxley, was going to deliver a talk somewhere in London. He came to the station, to the suburban station, but the train was late, so he jumped into a cab and told the driver, ‘Hurry! Go at top speed!’

They were racing fast, when suddenly he realized that he had not given the address. But then he also remembered that he had himself forgotten the address. So he asked the driver, ‘Cabby, do you know where I am supposed to be going?’

He said, ‘No, sir. But I am going as fast as possible.’

This is happening. You are going as fast as possible. Where are you moving? Why are you moving? What is the destination? – the hope that someday life will happen to you. And why is it not happening right now? You are alive – why is it not happening right now? Why is the nirvana always in the future, always in the tomorrow? Why is it not today? And the tomorrow never comes – or whenever it comes it will always be the today and you will miss again. But we have lived only in this way. We know only one dimension of living – this so-called living we are already living – just dead, not alive at all, just pulling together anyhow, just waiting.

With the ego it will always remain a waiting – and a hopeless waiting. You can do it fast, you can make haste, but you will never reach anywhere: just by hurrying you will dissipate energy and you will die. And you have done that so many times. You have always been in a hurry, and in that hurry dissipating energy, and then only death comes and nothing else. You are hurrying for life, and only death comes and nothing else. But the mind, because it is accustomed to only one dimension, because it has known only one way – which is not even a way, but just appears to be a way – will say that if there is no ego, where is life?

But I say to you, if there is ego, there is no possibility of life, only promises. The ego is a perfect promise-maker. It goes on promising you. And you are so unaware – no promise is ever fulfilled, but again you believe. When the new promises are given, you again believe.

Look back! The ego promised many things, and nothing has been achieved through it. All the promises have fallen down. But you never look back, you never compare. When you were a child there were promises for youth: life will be there when you are young. Everyone was saying it, and you also were hoping that when you become young, all that was to happen would happen. Now those days have passed, the promise remains unfulfilled, but you have forgotten. You have forgotten the promise, you have forgotten that is has not been fulfilled. It is so painful to look at it that you never look at it.

Now you hope for the old age – that in old age the sannyas will flower, the meditation will happen to you. Then the worries will be over: your children will have gone to the college, and everything will have become established. Then there will be no responsibility on you. Then you will be able to seek the divine. Then, in the old age, the miracle is going to happen. And you will die unfulfilled.

It is not going to happen, because it never happens in the hope, it never happens with the hope. It never happens with the promise of the ego. It can happen right now. It can only happen right now. But then a very intense awareness is needed, so that you can throw all the promises, and all the hopes, and all the future programs, and all the dreams, and look directly here and now at what you are.

In that returning to yourself – your consciousness not moving somewhere ahead but returning to yourself – you become a circle of consciousness. This moment becomes eternal. You are alert and aware. In that alertness, in that awareness, there is no I; simple existence, simple being. And simplicity comes out of that awareness.

Simplicity is not a loin-cloth, simplicity is not living in poverty, simplicity is not becoming a beggar. Those are very complex and very cunning things, very calculated. Simplicity is born when you have achieved a simple existence where no I exists. Out of that, simplicity arises; you become humble. Not that you practice it, because a practiced simplicity can never be simplicity. A practiced humbleness is just a hidden ego.

It happens: if you can be aware, it starts flowing through you. You become humble; not against the ego, because a humbleness against the ego is again a different sort of ego – a more subtle ego and more dangerous, more poisonous. It is humbleness as the absence of ego; not as the opposite of the ego, just the absence. The ego has disappeared. You have come to yourself and known that there is no ego: simplicity arises, humbleness arises – they simply flow. You have not done anything for them; they are by-products – by-products of intense awareness.

So, this type of question is foolish. If you feel that you are aware and still the I remains, know well that you are not aware. Make effort to be aware. And this is the criterion: when you are aware, the I is not; when you are aware, the I is not; when you are aware, the I is not found there. This is the only criterion.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #54, Q2

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Why Doesn’t the Ego Remain Dead – Osho

Many times I feel so merged in you that it is as if I have died and only you are. But this feeling doesn’t remain constant, and always the ego returns. This happens whenever I have to again communicate with others or return to activity. Why doesn’t the ego remain dead?

If you make it a goal – egolessness – then you will always remain with the ego. Don’t make it a goal, because all goals belong to the ego. If you think that you should remain egoless, who is this “you” who should remain egoless? This is the ego. So the first thing, don’t make it a goal. Any goal will feed the ego – even the goal of egolessness.

When you are egoless enjoy it; when you feel the ego again, be alert – but don’t expect the contrary. If you start expecting you will be more entangled with the same thing. Whenever egolessness is there enjoy it, feel grateful, thank God, and when the ego comes again, be alert. Soon more and more egolessness will happen to you, less and less ego will return. And the moment will come when ego will disappear, but don’t make it a goal. All goals belong to the ego.

Secondly, don’t expect anything, because when you start expecting you have moved from the here and now into the future. When you start expecting something you have started to bring your memory, your past, into the present. This very moment you feel egoless – it is okay. Then it goes, the ego comes. You want to repeat the past again – you must be egoless. You project the past in the future and you miss the present.

And remember, egolessness is possible only if you are here and now. If you move into the past, if you move into the future, the ego will persist. So don’t ask for any constancy because constancy means you want to continue the past into the future. Remain with the moment and don’t expect anything. The ego will drop by itself, no other effort is needed. If the ego has moved it means you are not in the present. So don’t fight with the ego, simply move into the present and ego will drop.

And this is what is happening.

You say: “Many times I feel so merged in you that it is as if I have died and only you are.”

I am here and I am now. I have no past and no future. If you really relate with me you relate with my nowness and here-ness, because there is no other thing with which to relate. If you feel a love, a trust, flowing towards me, that love and trust can flow only in the present. That’s why you feel you have died. It is not because of me that your ego is dying, it is because you have moved with me in the present. Then your past is forgotten, your future is no more. You are here, totally here.

So don’t think that it is something that I am doing to you, it is something that you are doing to yourself – I am just the excuse. Try to understand this because otherwise it will become a clinging. The same can happen anywhere. Remember the secret. If you love me, if you listen to me deeply, if you are here present with me, receptive, open, you are in the present. That’s why for a few seconds the ego will disappear. Then you are not. If you can be in the present anywhere, you will not be.

You can be only either in the past or in the future – you cannot be in the present. Just think about it, how can you be in the present? There is no need. The past accumulates, becomes crystallized, and you feel ‘I’. Then the past projects in the future and says, “This should be, this should not be. I desire this, I don’t desire that.” This is your past desiring – all the bad experiences you don’t want to repeat and all the good trips you want to repeat in the future. This is past asking for something in the future – and you are missing the present, which is the only existence.

Past is no more, it is already dead; future is not yet, it is yet unborn. Both are not. And ego can exist only in non-existence, it is the most false thing possible. The present moment is, it is the only is-ness; nothing else exists. If you relate with the present you cannot exist as an ego, because the present is the real and the real never creates anything false. Out of the real nothing false is created; only out of the false, false comes.

So it can happen… it may be happening to you that for a few moments you disappear. While listening to me, while just sitting with me, you disappear. But I am not doing anything to you. If you think I am doing something then you will cling to me, you will become attached to me; a new attachment will be formed. And then through that attachment you will ask again and again for the same.

Just try to understand the basic law. Then move into the forest, sit under a tree, and be in the here and now. Then be with your friends, remain silent, and remain in the here-and-now. Listen to music, forget the past, forget the future, and be here and now. And if you can be in the present anywhere, suddenly the ego will not be found. And if you ask that this should happen again, ego has come again, because now you are asking for the future, planning for the future. This is the mechanism.

“But this feeling does not remain constant, and always the ego returns.” It will remain constant only when you don’t ask that it should remain constant. It will happen again and again every moment, it will be continued, but don’t ask for its constancy. Rather, enjoy it moment to moment and don’t project it. It will arise again and again every moment, but remember, it is never the old, it is always the new arising, every moment being born again and again. It is not the past continuing, it is the new being born every moment.

“This happens whenever I again have to communicate with others or return to activity.” Why does it happen when you communicate with others? Really you don’t communicate, that’s why. If you communicate it will not happen. While you are here with me, this is a communication. You relate with me, you become silent, you drop your past. You listen so attentively that thinking stops. This is communication.

When you communicate with somebody else you are not communicating, you are just throwing out your inner talk. You are thinking of many things. You may be saying something and thinking something else, meaning something else, doing something else. You are many while you communicate with others – then the ego enters.

In activity also the ego can enter because you become the doer. While I am speaking you are not doing anything at all, you are simply here listening. Listening is not a doing, listening is passive, it is a non-act. You need not do anything; you simply be there and it will happen. If you do something you won’t be able to listen, if you go on doing something you will only appear to be listening but you won’t be listening. When you don’t do anything, listening happens. It is a passive thing. You need not do anything to create this capacity, it is always there.

But when you return to activity the ego can return, because again the doer has come. So what is to be done? When you return to activity remain the witness and don’t become the doer. Go on doing things but remain the witness. Or if it is difficult then just leave everything to the divine and say that the divine is doing everything, you are just a vehicle, a passage, an agent. That’s what Krishna says to Arjuna in the Gita: “You leave everything to me, surrender everything to me. You become just a medium and let things happen. Don’t you be the doer, God is the doer.”

Or if you cannot think of any God then there is another technique, and that is destiny or fate, that everything that is happening is destined. You are not doing it, it was bound to be so, it was going to happen, it was predestined. These are simple things, but you feel these simple things are difficult because they have become difficult in this age.

In the past these simple techniques helped millions to attain silence, peace, egolessness, because they could trust. Fate, or what Sufis call kismet, helped millions… because then simply you say, “I am not the doer. The whole existence has predetermined everything in me and I am just following.” This is the whole secret of astrology. Astrology is not a science but a technique of religion. If a person can believe that things are settled already and one cannot change anything, then the doer cannot arise. But simple faith is needed for that.

If you feel this is difficult – and this is difficult for the modern mind – then only one thing remains, and that is, be alert and move again and again to the present. No faith, no God is needed. But then the path is very arduous because every moment you will have to pull yourself back to the present. 

It is such an old habit to move ahead, it has become such a fixation that you will have to constantly struggle.

Remember not to move in the past and not to move in the future. Then every moment egolessness will arise, it will become a continuous flow. And the more egoless you are the more moments of egolessness, the more glimpses in the divine. The more you are the less the divine is for you, the less you are the more the divine.

-Osho

From Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi, Chapter 17

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 online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from Viha Osho Book Distributors.