Your Identification Breaks in the Fifth Body, Now You will be the Master – Osho

On which plane does the meditator reach the no-thought state? Are thoughts possible without identifying the consciousness with objects or is identity essential for thought?

The perfect no-thought state is attained in the fifth body but small glimpses begin from the fourth body. Thoughts continue in the fourth body but one begins to observe the gaps between two thoughts. Before the fourth there are thoughts and thoughts and only thoughts; we do not see the gap between the thoughts. In the fourth the intervals begin to appear and the emphasis changes. If you have observed gestalt images you will be able to understand this. Suppose there is a picture of a flight of steps: it can be so drawn that if you look attentively you will observe the steps going up; then if you look again you will see the steps coming down. But the most interesting part is that you cannot observe the steps going up and down simultaneously. You can see only one of the two. When you observe the second picture the first picture will have vanished.

We can make a picture in which two faces can be seen facing each other, complete with nose, eyes and beard. First it will appear as if two men are facing each other. Now paint the faces black leaving the intervening space white. Now you will say that there is a flower pot in this intervening space, and the nose and eyes become the outlines of the pot. You will not be able to see the pot and the two faces at one time. When you see the two faces the pot will not be seen; when the pot is observed the faces will vanish. No matter how hard you try to see them all together the gestalt will change its emphasis. When your emphasis shifts to the faces the pot will vanish; when the emphasis is on the pot the faces will vanish.

Up to the third body the gestalt of our mind has its emphasis on thought. Rama comes, so Rama is visible and his coming is visible. The empty space between Rama and his coming, or the empty space before Rama’s coming and after Rama’s going, is not visible to us. The emphasis is on Rama’s coming; the intervening space is not observed. The change starts from the fourth body. All of a sudden it will strike you that Rama’s coming is no longer very important. When Rama was not coming there was the empty space; when Rama has gone there is the empty space. The empty space begins to come within the focus of your mind: faces disappear; the pot becomes visible. And when your attention is on the empty space you cannot think.

You can do only one of the following two things: as long as you see thoughts you will think, but when you see the empty space you will be empty within. However, this will keep alternating in the fourth body. Sometimes you will see the two faces and sometimes the pot: that is, sometimes you will see thoughts and sometimes the gap. Silence will come and so will thoughts.

The difference between silence and emptiness is only this: silence means thoughts have not yet ended, but the emphasis is changed. The consciousness has shifted from thought and takes pleasure in silence, but thought still remains. It is only that the consciousness has shifted: the attention has shifted from thoughts. Then the attention is on silence. But thought returns sometimes – and when it manages to draw your attention, again silence is lost and thought begins.

In the last moments of the fourth body the mind will keep alternating between the two. On the fifth plane all thoughts will be lost and only silence will remain. This is not the ultimate silence, because this silence exists in comparison to thought and speech. Silence means not speaking; emptiness means a state where there is neither silence nor speech. Neither the faces remain nor the flower pot; only the blank paper. Now if you are asked whether the faces are there or the flower pot, you will say neither.

The state of no-thought occurs in its totality in the fifth body. At the fourth we get glimpses of this state; it will be observed off and on between two thoughts. At the fifth the no-thought state will become evident and thoughts will disappear.

Now the second part of your question is, “Is identification necessary for the formation of thoughts, or can thoughts occur without any identification?” Up to the third body identification and thought come simultaneously. There is your identification and there is the coming of thought: there is no interval between the two. Your thoughts and you are one – not two. Now when you are angry it is wrong to say that you are angry. It would be more correct to say that you have become anger, because in order to be angry it should also be possible for you not to be angry.

For instance, I say, “I am moving my hand.” Then suppose you say, “Now stop your hand,” and I say, “That is not possible; the hands keep moving” – then you may well question what I mean when I say, “I am moving my hand.” I should say, “The hand is moving,” because if I am moving the hand I should be able to stop it. If I cannot stop my hand I cannot claim to be its owner. It has no meaning. Because you cannot stop your thoughts, your identification with them is complete up to the third body. Up to there you are thought.

So up to the third body, by hitting someone’s thoughts we are hitting the person himself. If you tell such a person, “What you say is wrong,” he will never feel that what he says is wrong; he will feel he is wrong. Quarrels and fights take place not because of a statement but because of the ‘I’ – because there is complete identification. To attack your thoughts is to attack you. Even if you say, “It is all right if you do not agree with my way of thinking,” within you will feel that you have been opposed. Many times it happens that the idea in question is left aside and we begin to fight for it merely because we put forth the view and not for any other reason. You support it merely because you have put it forth as your viewpoint – because you have declared it as your scripture, your principle, your argument.

Until the third body there is no distance between you and your thoughts. You are the thought. In the fourth wavering begins. You will begin to get glimpses of the fact that you are something apart and your thoughts are something apart. But so far you are unable to stop your thoughts, because deep within the roots the association still exists. Above on the branches you feel the difference. You sit on one branch and the thoughts on the other and you see they are not you. But deep within you and thoughts are one. Therefore, it seems that thoughts are separate, and it also seems that if my association with them is broken thoughts will stop. But they do not stop. At some deeper level the association with thoughts will continue.

Changes begin to take place on the fourth plane. You begin to get a vague notion of thoughts being different and you being different. You still cannot proclaim this, however, and the thought process is still mechanical. You cannot stop your thoughts, nor can you bring them about. If I can say to you, “Stop anger and show that you are the master,” it can also be said, “Bring about anger and prove that you are the master.” You will ask, “How can this be done? We cannot bring about anger.” The moment you can you are its master. Then you can stop it at any moment. When you are the master the process of bringing on anger and stopping it are both in your hands. If you can bring on anger you can stop it also.

It is also interesting to note that stopping it is a little difficult, but bringing it on is easier. So if you want to be the master first begin by bringing on anger, because this is easier. In the situation of bringing it on you are tranquil, but in the situation of having to stop it you are already angry and so you are not even aware of yourself. Then how will you stop it? Therefore, it is always easier to start the experiment by bringing on anger rather than by stopping it. For instance, you begin to laugh but then you find that you cannot stop laughing; it is difficult. But if you are not laughing and you want to bring on laughter you can do it in a minute or two. Then you will know the secret of laughter – from where it comes and how – and then you will know the secret of stopping it also, and it can be stopped.

At the fourth plane you will begin to see that you are separate and thoughts are separate; that you are not your thoughts. Therefore, whenever the no-thought state occurs – as I said before – the witness also comes, and wherever there are thoughts the witness will be lost. In the intervals between thoughts – that is, in the gaps between thoughts – you will realize your separate identity from the thoughts. Then there is no association between you and the thoughts. But even then you will be a helpless observer. You will not be able to do much, though all efforts are to be made in the fourth body only.

So I have defined two possibilities of the fourth body – one that is natural and the other that is obtained through meditations. You will be alternating between these two. The first possibility is thought and the second is understanding. The moment you attain the second potential of the fourth body – vivek, or understanding – the fourth body will drop as well as the identification of consciousness with mind. When you attain the fifth body two things will drop: the fourth body and this identification.

In the fifth body you can bring on thoughts or not bring them on, as you wish. For the first time thoughts will be a means and will not depend on identification. If you wish to bring on anger you can bring on anger; if you wish to bring on love you can do so. If you do not wish to bring on anything you are at liberty not to do so. If you wish to stop anger that is half-formed you can order it to stop. Whatever thought you want to bring will come to you, and that which you do not wish to bring will not have any power to invade your mind.

There are many such instances in the life of Gurdjieff. People considered him a peculiar man. If two people were sitting before him, he would look toward one with the utmost anger and toward the other with the utmost love. So quickly would he change his expression that the two would carry away different reports about him. Though both had met him together, one would say, “He looks like a dangerous man,” while the other would say, “How full of love he is.” This is very easy on the fifth plane. Gurdjieff was beyond the understanding of people around him. He could instantly bring any kind of expression to his face. There was no difficulty for him in this, but there was difficulty for others.

The reason behind this is that in the fifth body you are the master of yourself; you can bring about any feeling you please. Then anger, love, hatred, forgiveness, all your thoughts, become mere play things; therefore, you can relax when you please. To relax after play is very easy but to relax from life is difficult. If I am only playing at anger I will not sit in anger after you leave the room.

If I am playing the game of talking I will no longer be talking after you go. But if talking is my life-breath, then I shall keep on talking even after you leave. Even if nobody listens, I will listen. I will keep on talking because that is my very life; it is not a play after which I can relax. It is my very life, it has taken hold of me. So such a man will talk even at night. In dreams also he will gather a crowd and speak. In dreams also he will quarrel, he will fight and do all that he has been doing in the daytime. He will keep doing this all the twenty-four hours, because that is his life; that is his very existence.

Your identification breaks in the fifth body. Then for the first time you are at peace, you are empty, by your own free will. But when the need arises you think also. So in the fifth body, for the first time you will be putting your power of thinking to use. It would be better to say that before the fifth body thoughts make use of you; after the fifth you make use of thoughts. Before that it is not correct to say, “I think.” In the fifth body you also come to know that your thoughts are not your own: thoughts of people around you also enter your mind. However, you are not even aware that the thoughts you think to be your own could be someone else’s.

A Hitler is born and the whole of Germany is permeated with his thoughts – but each German feels it to be his own thought. A very dynamic person diffuses his thoughts into the minds of others and they become echoes of the same. This dynamism is as serious as it is deep.

For example, it is two thousand years since Jesus died. The thought waves that he left in the world still grasp the minds of Christians who think that these are their own thoughts. The same is the case with Mahavira, Buddha, Krishna and others. Any kind of dynamic person’s thoughts, whether they are of a good person or an evil one, can catch the hold of the human mind.  The hold of Tamerlane and Genghis Khan upon our minds has not yet been released, nor has the hold of Krishna and Rama. Their thought waves move forever around us, and you are able to catch those thought waves that are conducive to your particular state of mind.

It always happens that a man who is very good in the morning becomes evil by noon. In the morning he moves in the waves of Rama; in the afternoon he may be caught by the waves of Genghis Khan. Receptivity and time cause the difference. The beggar always comes to beg in the morning, because the effect of evil vibrations is at the minimum at the time of the rising sun. As the day progresses and as the sun gets tired of its long journey in the skies the influence gains strength, so the beggar has no hope of charity from others in the evening. If a beggar asks a man early in the morning to give two rupees he will not be able to refuse right away; as the day progresses it is more difficult to say yes to the beggar. By evening the man is tired with the day’s work so now he is fully prepared to refuse. The condition of his mind is quite different now; so also is the entire atmosphere of his surroundings. So the thoughts we feel to be our own also do not belong to us.

This you will experience only in the fifth body, and you will be surprised to see the way thoughts come and go. The thought comes, then it goes; it catches hold of you, then it leaves you alone. There are a thousand kinds of thoughts – and very contradictory ones too; therefore, there is confusion in our minds. Every single person is confused. If thoughts were entirely yours there would be no question of confusion. Your one hand catches hold of Genghis Khan and the other catches hold of Krishna, so there is bound to be confusion. Both of these sets of thought waves lie in wait for you, and as soon as you show your readiness they enter within. They are present all around you.

All this you will come to know when your identification with thoughts breaks completely. The biggest change will be that until this time you will have thoughts, but now you will have thinking. There is a difference between the two. Thoughts are atomic: they come and go and they are always alien. To say that thoughts are always alien is quite correct. Thinking is ours, but thoughts are alien. This thinking will start within you after the fifth body. Then you will be able to think; you will no longer be merely collecting the thoughts of others. Therefore, the thinking of the fifth body is never a burden upon you, because it is your own. This thinking that is born in the fifth body may be called wisdom or understanding or whatever you like to call it.

At the fifth plane you have your own intuition, your own understanding, your own intelligence. At the fifth the influence of all outside thoughts will end, and in this sense you will be the master of yourself; you will attain your being; you will become your self. Now you will have your own thoughts, your own power of thinking, your own eyes and your own vision. After this only what you wish will come to you; what you do not wish will never come near you. You can think just what you want to think; other thoughts cannot invade you. Now you will be the master. Here the question of identification does not arise.

In the sixth body thinking is also not required. Thoughts are necessary up to the fourth body; thinking and wisdom are necessary in the fifth. On the sixth plane even these end, because there they are not required at all. You become cosmic; you become one with the Brahman. Now there is no other.

In fact, all thoughts are always related to the other. The thoughts before the fourth body are unconscious links with others. The thoughts of the fifth body are conscious links but they are still related to others. After all, why are thoughts necessary? They are required only to establish a relationship with others. Until the fourth they are unconscious links; at the fifth they are conscious links. But at the sixth no “other” remains for establishing links. All relatedness is finished; only the cosmic remains. I and thou are now one. Now there is no place, no reason for thought to exist.

The sixth is the Brahman – the cosmic reality, where there are no thoughts. In the Brahman there are no thoughts; therefore, it can be said that in the Brahman there is knowing. Actually, the thoughts which exist up to the fourth body are unconscious thoughts; they contain a deep ignorance. It shows that we need thoughts to fight with this self-ignorance. At the fifth there is knowing of the self within, but we are still ignorant about that which is other to us; the other is still there for us. Therefore, there is the need to think in the fifth body. At the sixth there is no inside or outside, there is no I or thou, there is no this or that. Now there is no distance to justify thoughts. Now what is, is. Therefore, at the sixth there is only knowing, not thoughts.

At the seventh knowing also does not exist, because he who knew is no more and that which could be known is no more. So even knowing is not on the seventh plane. The seventh plane is not knowing-less, but beyond knowing. If you like you can call it a state of ignorance also. That is why it is always the case that a man of ultimate consciousness and an absolutely ignorant person seem identical – because their behavior is often similar. This is why there is always a great similarity between a small child and an old man who has attained enlightenment: they are not actually the same but superficially they seem alike. Sometimes an enlightened sage acts in a childlike way; sometimes in the behavior of a child we get a glimpse of saintliness. Sometimes an enlightened one looks like an absolutely ignorant person, an absolute fool, and it would seem that no one could be as foolish as he. But the sage has gone beyond knowledge and the child is still below knowledge. The similarity lies in the fact that they both are outside of knowledge.

-Osho

From In Search of the Miraculous, Discourse #20, Q3

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Related post: Mysteries of the Seven Bodies

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No-Mind and Being Present – Osho

Is there any difference between the state of no-mind and being present?

Shunyam Kaveen, it is an intellectual question, nothing to do with your experience; because if you have experienced even a glimpse of no-mind, all questions including this will simply disappear.

Questions belong to the territory of the mind. No-mind means absolute silence – no question, no answer, no thought at all. Hence we call it no-mind.

First you have to understand the mind, because that’s where you are, that’s from where the question is arising. Unless you understand your space – the point from where you are raising the question – you will not be able, even intellectually, to comprehend some difference between no-mind and being present. There is no difference in experience, just two names for the same experience from two different aspects, two different angles.

No-mind is experienced within you. Nobody else can see it; it is purely subjective. With no-mind comes tremendous presence. When you are in the mind you are almost absent. The quantity of your presence or absence has to be measured by your consciousness. You have such a small layer of consciousness – that’s your only presence. Otherwise, ninety percent you are absent.

But the man of no-mind is one hundred percent present. You can feel his presence from the outside.

You cannot see his no-mind. The presence of his being is a radiation of a silent state within. That is beyond you, but if you are available, receptive, you can experience something of the tremendous presence of his being. In each of his gestures, in each of his looks, in each of his words, or even in his silence, you can be touched by his presence of being.

The presence of being comes into existence only when the person as such disappears. It is the melted state of the person – the presence – as if the flower has disappeared and only the fragrance has remained. You cannot catch hold of it, but you can be surrounded by it. Such people who have their being absolutely present – one hundred percent alert – are known in the world of language as having charisma. There is no other charisma. There is only one charisma and one charismatic aura and that aura comes from no-mind. But no-mind is the center within and the aura is the circumference of that mind, that no-mind.

When inside you everything becomes silent, you are no more as you used to be – a person. Now you are just a fragrance, a presence … But your presence has deepened. It has become a solid pillar of light.

Anybody who is intelligent is bound to feel something new that he has never experienced before. So these are two viewpoints: one is the inner experience of no-mind, and the other is from outside. It is the by-product of no-mind, the presence of being.

But first you have to understand the mind, because that’s where you are and that’s from where the journey has to start towards no-mind, culminating finally into a beautiful fragrance – awareness – a magic aura around you.

People have named it in different ways, because people are different. Somebody will say, “It is a hypnotic force.” Somebody will say, “It is something like magnetism.” Somebody will say, “It is mesmerism.” Somebody will say, “It is charisma.” Somebody will say, “We don’t know exactly what it is.” One thing is certain: it has a tremendous gravity, it pulls you towards itself. And if you ar courageous you can be drowned in it and you can be transformed in that drowning. It will be your death and your resurrection, both. As you are, you will die, as you should be, you will be born.

But mind is a very dark place. To comprehend light from there is almost like a blind man trying to comprehend light.

A young English gentleman returns from a stay at a stately home.

“How was your weekend?” asks a friend.

“Well,” he replies, “if the soup had been as warm as the wine, and the wine had been as old as the chicken, and the chicken had been as tender as the maid, and the maid had been as willing as the duchess, it would have been a perfect weekend.”

This is how the mind functions. If you look into your mind you will start laughing at your own mind. It is never in the present. It can’t have presence because the basic quality is missing. It is never in the present. Either it is in the past, which is no more – just a memory, a faded memory, a faraway echo; perhaps a dream that you had seen sometime, but not more than that – signatures on the water.

You have not even completed your signature and it has disappeared. That’s how the past goes on disappearing. You have not even lived it and it slips out of your hands. And then the mind goes on thinking about it.

So either the mind is past-oriented or it is future-oriented. Because it has missed the past, out of sheer necessity a projection arises about the future. The past is no more in your hands, it is gone, and gone forever. There is no way to bring it back. All that you can do is to project into the future whatever you wanted to do, however you wanted to live … Naturally, while you are thinking about the future, making it fuller than your yesterdays, you are missing the present moment.

Your mind moves like a pendulum from the past to the future, from the future to the past. It never stops just in the middle, where reality is. You are always real, but your mind is always unreal. You are always in the present, you cannot be anywhere else. But your mind is never here, it is all over the world. It will not be just at the point where you are. Except for that place, it can roam all over the world. It can go to the moon, it can go to Everest … Everything is possible for it, whether it is memory or imagination, but the mind has no contact with the present. Your body is far more present; it is totally different from your mind.

And very strangely, all the religions have condemned the body, not the mind; because they themselves were using the mind for the faraway future, farther away than ordinary people think about. You think about tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, or the next year at the most. But all the religions were thinking about a future beyond death. Their heaven and their hell and their God are all so far away from the present moment.

And remember: you will always be in the present moment. And the distance between you and those imaginary spaces in the future will remain the same. It won’t change.

Because all the religions were using mind as their foundation, they had to deny the body. It is very unfortunate, but nothing can be done about it. It has happened.

Your consciousness is exactly in the present, just like your body. So I am in favor of your body, because it shares one thing in common with your being: your being is in the present, your body is also in the present. Only the mind is continuously moving here and there, never coming home.

There is a reason for it not to come home: in the present the mind has no function. What can the mind do in the present? The mind’s capacities consist of memory, which is the past, or imagination, which is the future. That is the whole capacity of your mind. There is no place for the present moment. The mind will not know what to do.

In the present you cannot remember, you cannot imagine; in the present you can be! But in the present you can be only when mind is no longer functioning. Hence, my approach is totally different from all religions: I want you to respect your body, because it is in the present, and that will give you the clue – a direct route to your being; because the being is also in the present.

Just leave the mind aside … But we are against the body, we are very condemnatory of the body, not knowing at all that this condemnation of the body is breaking the bridge to your being. A man of authentic spirituality is deeply in love with his body, because he knows body shares many things with being. Mind shares nothing, either with body or with being. It is an absolute stranger that has been forcibly put into you by the culture, the religion, the society. They are using the mind to enslave you.

And because you are in the mind you continuously go on asking about things of which you have no experience. You don’t know what no-mind is, except a word. You don’t know what presence of being is, except that you have heard about it. Just words won’t do.

Move away from the mind … And when I say to move away from the mind, I am saying to move away from the inner chattering. That is the only disturbance that is preventing you from knowing yourself and this beautiful existence. Because your body is in the present, you are in the present, existence is in the present … They are all here-now. Only the mind is a strange phenomenon. But you have been manipulated by others so much … Your educational systems, your friends, your family – everybody is trying to make you a great mind. In other words, everybody is trying to pull you away from the present moment. […]

The mind is very impotent in a way. It cannot give you any existential juice, any existential experience, and that is the only thing that matters. So please move away from mind. Don’t ask the difference, because there is no difference between no-mind and being present. No-mind is the inner subjective experience and being present is available for everybody. It is the circumference and no-mind is the center. But they are both together. Neither the circumference can be without the center nor the center can be without the circumference.

But the circumference can be experienced, and that’s what has attracted millions of people to a man like Gautam Buddha or Chuang Tzu or Jesus or Moses … It was their integrity, their individuality, their solidity. In comparison to them, people felt hollow. They had immense presence. Other people looked just like shadows, without any souls.

George Gurdjieff started saying to his disciples for the first time in the whole of history – he just died in the year nineteen hundred and fifty … He started saying a very strange thing, and although it is not right, he is not wrong. He started saying to people, “You don’t have souls.” What he meant was: “You don’t have any presence, your being is hollow. Inside you there is nothing but darkness, unconsciousness, absence. Everything is absent.”

You have been told for centuries that you are born with a soul. It is absolutely wrong according to Gurdjieff. I know and he knows that what he is saying is not the truth, but it is a device. He is making you aware of your hollowness, of your emptiness, and he has chosen the best way to hit the nail on the head. He is saying, “You don’t have souls! Forget all that nonsense that tradition has been telling you. That was a deception, but you accepted the tradition that, ‘We have souls already, there is no need to seek and search.’”

He said, “You will have to create the soul, you cannot have it just through birth! Through birth you get only the body. Through your upbringing you get your mind. And through a conscious effort to transcend into the beyond, you will achieve the soul.”

He said definitively that only a very few people have lived with souls. And without a soul, what are you? A cabbage, a cauliflower? I have heard there is some difference between cabbages and cauliflowers. And the difference is that the cabbage is uneducated and the cauliflower has college degrees. But that does not make much difference – both are vegetables. Your life is a vegetation.

Of course I cannot agree with Gurdjieff as far as the truth is concerned. But I agree with him and his compassion – that he did not bother about the truth, he bothered more about you. He wanted to make you aware that unless you do something, you are not going to create a soul. Soul is your own creation. But he went too far. I am not ready to deny you the soul; I only deny you the awareness of it. You are born with the soul as you are born with the body. Mind is a social product. You are not born with the mind. That’s why a Mohammedan has a different mind and a Hindu has a different mind and a Christian has a different mind. You can see their differences of mind. […]

Every person gets a mind ready-made, and that mind is being forced into him by all methods and means. That is the only part that has not been given to you by existence. Existence has given you the body: love the body, rejoice in the body, let the body dance without any guilt and without any fear of these religions, and you will be coming closer to your being through the body.

Nobody has come closer to the being through the mind. Mind is the most arbitrary, artificial creation by the society to subdue the individual, to destroy his individuality, and to destroy the discovery of his own being.

You are born with the soul, but you are absolutely unaware of it – because of the mind. The mind never allows you to be in the present. That’s the reason my insistence on meditation is so strong – because meditation simply means a method to get rid of the mind.

The moment the mind is not there, suddenly you are in a new space: so fresh, so beautiful, so blissful. That is your soul; that is your no-mind. And once you have entered that space, that space starts growing around you and creates a certain energy field. That becomes your presence of being.

-Osho

From Sat Chit Anand, Chapter 19

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.

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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.”

-Osho

From The Sword and the Lotus, Discourse Ten

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 OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

My Approach is Individual – Osho

Many small groups of sannyasins are forming around the world. Would you comment on Gurdjeff’s words, that people who want to wake up, and who are living together in a group, can function as alarm clocks for each other?

George Gurdjieff is right, but right only about his own system. It is true: if you are following Gurdjieff’s ideology and his methods, then a group is an absolute necessity; you cannot work alone.

Then people can function as alarm clocks to each other. If somebody starts falling asleep, somebody can shake him up. When you are starting to fall asleep, somebody else can shake you up and wake you.

Gurdjieff’s method is a school method. He himself was trained in different schools of the Sufis. They are all school methods. School methods have a difficulty – that you have to depend on the group, that if the group is not the right group they can function in just the opposite way: rather than being alarm clocks, they can all become drugs for each other. You may have watched it: if one person starts falling asleep, immediately something in you also starts falling asleep.

Sleep is contagious.

Awakening is not.

It is possible that twenty people may remain asleep and one person awake, but his awakening is not going to be contagious. Most probably, seeing twenty people asleep he will himself fall asleep. So unless you have a very awakened master, the group method is not going to help much.

But in Gurdjieff’s system the group is absolutely necessary; alone you cannot do it. For example, he had his school near Paris…. He told one of the new disciples to dig a trench. The whole day, from the morning – from sunrise to sunset – he was not allowed to go to eat or leave for anything; he had to dig the trench. That was the most important thing.

Now, it needs somebody to watch; otherwise the man may rest sometimes. The whole day is a long time, a hot day… he may go to have a drink or to eat something; or under the tree there is such beautiful shade and coolness… he may fall asleep.

Gurdjieff himself walked continuously the whole day, just by the side of the man. Now, when Gurdjieff himself was walking by his side continuously, the whole day, of course the man could not leave. By sunset he had made the big trench. And Gurdjieff said, “This is only half the work: now you fill it, and then you can go and sleep.”

This was too much. Through great effort the whole day, against all temptations to leave it, he managed, because of Gurdjieff’s presence, to continue, knowing one thing, that it could not kill him: “I cannot die by just not eating for one day or not drinking water. I cannot die – that much is certain. So let us try.”

Now Gurdjieff says, “It is only half the work – you have now to fill it completely, as it was before you started digging. Then you can go and do whatsoever you want.” And Gurdjieff remained there. It took a few hours for the man again to fill the trench – by midnight he was freed.

That new disciple remembers that that night was the most precious in his life; and only after that night could he understand Gurdjieff’s methods.

Man’s energy has layers. The first layer is for day-to-day work. It is soon exhausted, and you start feeling tired. If you don’t listen to this tiredness, and you continue, then the second layer of energy – which is an emergency reservoir of energy – starts functioning. Suddenly you will feel an onrush of new energy becoming available to you, which refreshes you continuously. You cannot believe what has happened: all tiredness is gone. You are more fresh than you were before you started the work.

But the emergency reservoir also is not very big; it is only for emergency situations which don’t last for long. So for one hour or two hours you will be full of energy, more than ever; then again the tiredness comes – and this is a greater tiredness than the first one. 

If you don’t listen to this tiredness… it is really difficult not to listen to it, almost impossible. But if you manage not to listen – and that’s what Gurdjieff wants, that you continue – then you touch the third layer, which is vast, which is universal. And once that layer becomes available to you, you are a new man. Just within a day Gurdjieff could take you to the emergence of the basic power, of the basic energy, the universal energy in you.

But for this kind of method you need a group. If twelve persons are working, then everyone is watching you. Then each person is watched by eleven persons; you cannot escape easily. Alone, it is impossible; you will stop after your day-to-day energy is finished, and you will feel immensely tired, hungry…. That will be the stoppage because there is nobody who can prevent you or whose presence can prevent you; nobody is watching you. So for Gurdjieff’s methods it is perfectly true that groups are needed.

My method can be used in a group, but the group is not necessary; you can use it alone. Any group can become a dependence – so that you can work only in the group. Out of the group, you are back to your usual self. When you are in the group you are a certain person; when you leave the group you are a different person.

I don’t want my sannyasins to be dependent.

It is perfectly good to have small groups, but the methods I have given to you are individual; you can work alone. You don’t need anybody to watch you, because my method is that you have to be the watcher.

Under somebody’s watching eye, out of fear of somebody – and of course when Gurdjieff himself is watching you, you cannot escape – but it is something like slavery. Although he is taking you towards deeper layers of your energy, there is some kind of violence, some kind of enforcement, enslavement.

It is possible for you to do almost the impossible in such a situation. But once Gurdjieff is not there, you will become an ordinary person as you have been before. That has happened to almost all his disciples. Even though they have small groups, they are all mediocre, the same.

Rather than helping each other to be awake, they help each other to fall asleep. When one starts snoring, rather than being an alarm clock, he helps you to snore too.

It can function both ways. The group can be a space where you can become more alert; it can be a space where you can become more asleep. And because people started becoming more asleep in Gurdjieff’s groups after Gurdjieff’s death, those groups have disappeared. People have moved alone. But alone you cannot do those methods.

This is a very spiritual kind of slavery.

The master cannot guarantee to be with you forever; sometime he will be leaving. Then you should not be left in a space where you cannot function without him. And for that, a preparation is needed: from the very beginning you work alone. Even if you are working in a group, you are not dependent on the group; your work, your method, is basically individual.

So my approach is individual.

I am not giving you school methods:

I am giving you individual methods, which can be done together with friends, which can be done alone. So you have freedom.

But there is nothing wrong if sannyasins are making small groups, because those small groups cannot hinder the methods that I have given to you or the work that you have to do upon yourself. It is available in both situations – alone or in groups.

But Gurdjieff had no idea – because he was trained always in schools. Sufis don’t have individual methods; all the methods are group methods. He was trained by Sufis, and he went from one school to another; he learned much from those schools, and he developed and polished many methods which had become old and were not contemporary.

But he could not help many people, for the simple reason that he was the only person who was really awake. All the persons were working under him, under pressure – not out of freedom and joy – working with the motivation that someday they will become awakened like Gurdjieff.

He was certainly a very strange and powerful man. When he was dying, he got up from his bed and started walking in the corridor. His disciples said, “What are you doing? You are so sick – it is better to rest.”

He said, “It is not sickness, it is death – and I don’t want death to find me a weak person. I want to meet death not lying on the bed, but walking on the verandah.”

He died walking. To the last moment he was still working. And he was certainly very awake because he could see death, he could see it was very imminent. But he was a very proud man – he did not like to die like every ordinary man, in the bed, he wanted to die in his own way.

Whenever he was sick, he would go driving, and he would drive as fast as the car could manage. And everybody in the car was just freaking out, afraid that, “Now there is going to be an accident; now it is going to be…” because he never cared about any rules, the lights on the crossroads or anything. He would just drive in a mad way.

Just ten years before he died, he had a very great crash. To avoid a truck, he crashed against a rock by the side of the road. He had so many fractures that it was an impossibility… doctors could not believe that a man with so many fractures could walk home. He came out of the car and walked miles with so many fractures. The doctors could not believe that a man could move even a few feet – and within fifteen days all those fractures were settled. He had immense power.

All his methods are to bring you to the basic source of power. If that basic source of power becomes available to you continuously, it will transform your whole being. But it was not continuously available even to him.

One of his disciples, Bennett, after the Second World War, went to him very tired. He was coming from the war, utterly tired, almost ready to die, willing to die.

Gurdjieff was very old, and it was just five years before he died. He asked Bennett to come close to him, and he took hold of both his hands. Bennett remembers in his biography that it was almost as if Gurdjieff was charging a battery from an electric source.

“I could feel the energy rushing through me, but I also could see that Gurdjieff was becoming pale. I was feeling full of energy, all my tiredness gone, as if I had never been to the war. And there was a great desire to live and a great desire to achieve the ultimate – within seconds. And then Gurdjieff staggered, pale, as if he was going to fall, and went into the bathroom. After ten minutes he came back. He was okay. He was back to his usual health.”

Bennett asked him, “What happened? You have given so much to me.”

Gurdjieff said, “I can give you energy, but I am not yet continuously in touch with the original source, so I gave my own energy to you. And then I had to do a certain exercise in the bathroom to get in touch with the original source; otherwise you can live – I will die!”

This is a totally different path than what I am teaching to you. It is a path of power.

What I am teaching to you is the path of awareness.

… Because the path of power has great dangers in it. It can crystallize your ego. It can make you feel very egoistic because you have so much power – you can do this, you can do that. And that is a danger.

To avoid the ego even in ordinary life is so difficult. If you get in touch with extraordinary sources of power, it will become more and more difficult to get rid of the ego, because the ego will take possession of all your powers.

My work is totally different: you have to be aware. And awareness is not a power. You have to be aware even of your powers. If you come across them, you have to be aware, and you have to remain detached, only a watcher.

That’s where Gurdjieff and I use different words. His methods can be described as “self-remembering.” That’s what he uses – the word “self-remembering.” I do not want to use that word. It is dangerous because the self can be just the ego – it is playing with fire. I simply use the word “witnessing,” with no place for self, ego, or even a faraway cousin.

Just to avoid the most probable possibility, you have just to be a witness. It may not lead you to power – there is no need – but it will lead you to understanding. That is what is needed.

Gurdjieff’s disciples became power-oriented and forgot completely about just being watchful. But he was not telling them to be just watchful. There is a possibility of somebody becoming enlightened through his path also, but it goes in a very zigzag way, with more possibility of being lost than of reaching.

What I have been telling you is something which cannot be misused in any way by you.

And witnessing is a purely individual phenomenon.

-Osho

From Light on the Path, Chapter 29

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 OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

The Mind is the Watched – Osho

I have come to a dead end. I see the impotence of the mind and feel all action useless. Does the mind totally die only in samadhi? 

Please say something about mind and action in witnessing.

Vinod Bharti, you say, “I have come to a dead end”—but I don’t feel it so. Not yet, because when you really come to a dead end, a transformation immediately happens. You are coming closer to it; of that much I am certain. The dead end is not far away, but you have not come to it yet. Your whole question proves it.

You are coming closer, you are feeling intuitively that it is not far away—but it has not been reached yet. Still, there is hope. Still, deep down, you are dreaming that this is not going to be the dead end; hence the question arises.

You say, “I see the impotence of the mind….” You have not seen it yet, you only think you have. Seeing and thinking are totally different, but one can get mixed up very easily. Thinking can pretend to be seeing. You are not seeing the impotence of the mind; otherwise even this question would not arise. If the mind is really impotent, what can it ask? What can it think about? It simply falls from you, it withers away.

But the shadow is on you, and that’s a good sign. The day is not far away when you WILL see the impotence of the mind—and then immediately the transformation. Then, immediately, a sudden enlightening experience. All questions disappear; all answers disappear, because when the mind is seen, really seen as impotent, what is there to ask and what is there to find? The mind simply evaporates. Then life is left, pure life, unhindered, undistorted by the mind.

Then you will not say that you feel all action useless. If you see the impotence of the mind, the mind disappears but action becomes for the first time tremendously beautiful. There is no question of utility at all. Life has no utility in itself. What is the use of a rose flower?—but still it goes on growing, still it goes on opening, still it goes on releasing its fragrance. What is the use of it? What is the use of the sun rising every day? Is there any use for the sun itself? What is the use of the starry night?

The word “use” is part of the paraphernalia of the mind. Mind always thinks in terms of utility. The mind is a Jew; it always thinks in terms of purpose, profit, utility. When the mind disappears, action does not disappear, activity disappears—and there is a great difference between the two. Activity has utility; action is pure joy, pure beauty. You act not because something has to be achieved, you act because action is a dance, is a song. You act because you are so full of energy.

Have you watched a child running on the sea beach? You ask him, “Why are you running? What is the purpose of your running? What are you going to gain out of it?” Have you watched the child collecting seashells on the beach? You ask him, “What is the utility of it all? You can use your time in a more utilitarian way. Why waste your time?”

The child is not concerned about utility at all, he is enjoying his energy. He is so full of energy, so bubbling with energy that it is a sheer dance — any excuse will do. These are just excuses — seashells, pebbles, colored stones. These are just excuses — the sun, the beautiful beach…just excuses to run and to jump and to shout with joy. There is no utility at all. “Energy is delight” — that is a statement made by William Blake, one of the most mystical poets of the West. Energy IS delight. When there is great energy, what are you going to do with it? It is bound to explode.

Action comes out of energy, out of delight. Activity is businesslike. Action is poetry. Activity creates a bondage because it is result oriented: you are doing it not for its own sake, you are doing it for some goal. There is a motive, and then there is frustration. Out of a hundred cases, ninety-nine times you will not achieve the goal, so ninety-nine times you will be in misery, frustration. You did not enjoy the activity itself, you were waiting for the result. Now the result has come, and ninety-nine times out of a hundred there is frustration. And don’t hope for the remaining one percent, because when you achieve the goal, there is frustration also. The goal is achieved, but suddenly you realize that all the dreams you have been dreaming about the goal are not fulfilled.

You have achieved the money, but where is the joy that you have always been hoping for when the money was there? You have that great marble palace, but you are the same poor man — the same emptiness inside, the same hollowness. You used to live in a hut, now you start living in a palace — but the SAME person. You were miserable in the hut, and you will be even more miserable in the palace, because the palace has more space and of course when there is more space you will be more miserable. What else can you do with that space? All that you know is how to be miserable.

So you see poor people and you see rich people. The only difference is that the poor people are still hoping. There is hope; hence poor people are not so frustrated. Rich people have lost all their hopes; they are more frustrated. The poor person can still dream — he can still go on counting in his mind how great a bank balance he will have next year and the year after. Soon the day will come when he will be rich and he will have a car and a good house and a good wife, and the children will be going to good schools. But what can the rich man dream? All that he can dream about he has already, and nothing is happening out of it. The money is there, but he is as empty as ever.

There are two kinds of poor people: the poor poor and the rich poor. And remember, the second category is far worse.

Activity means there is a goal; activity is only a means to that end. Action means that the means and the end are together in it. That’s the difference between action and activity.

Vinod Bharti, activity will become useless, but then action arises and action has a totally different dimension. You act for the sheer joy of acting. For example, I am speaking to you — it is not activity, hence I am not concerned with the result at all. It is a pure act. I enjoy communicating with you, I enjoy communing with you. I am grateful to you that you allow me. If you don’t allow me, I will have to talk to the trees or to the rocks, or I will have to talk to myself! I am obliged to you; you need not be obliged to me. It is a pure act. There is something in me that wants to relate. There is no goal orientation — I am not expecting anything from you. If something happens, good; if nothing happens, even better! If you become enlightened, good; if you don’t become enlightened, far out! — for the simple reason that if you all become enlightened, who am I going to talk to? So please, delay your enlightenment as long as you can — this much of a favor you have to do for me! It is a simple act. No motive, no future in it — just the present.

Hence I am not trying to create a system of thought — I cannot, because to create a system of thought you have to be motivated. Then you have to link everything in a certain logical order. I can enjoy fragments.

When P. D. Ouspensky wrote his first book on Gurdjieff, he gave it the title In Search of the Miraculous. He was a man of a philosophic bent, a great mathematician, logician and philosopher.

When he showed the book to George Gurdjieff, his master, Gurdjieff just looked here and there for a few minutes and then he said, “Give it a subtitle too: Fragments of a Teaching.”

He was a little puzzled, because he had tried to make a whole system and Gurdjieff was suggesting an extra title. “The main title, In Search of the Miraculous,” Gurdjieff said, “is okay, but it needs the subtitle, Fragments of a Teaching — in fact, Fragments of an Unknown Teaching.”

Ouspensky asked, “Why?”

Gurdjieff said, “Because I cannot create a system of thought — these are all fragments.”

And you can see it happening here. You can collect all my thoughts, but they will be only fragments — fragments but not a system. To create a system, you need to be goal oriented. You have to follow a certain structure, and you have to go on like an arrow towards a target.

That is not possible either for a man like me or Gurdjieff. We cannot follow any goal. Our every act is complete in itself, entire in itself. It has no relationship with the past and no relationship with the future. It is total. If I die this very moment, there will be no desire in me even to have completed the sentence.

Action is an end unto itself; it has no utility. When the mind is seen to be impotent, the mind disappears. In that very seeing, the mind disappears. And, of course, with it all utilitarian activities will also disappear, because mind is the cause of goal orientation. It contains all your motives. It contains your past and the future; it does not contain the present at all. And when there is no mind, all that is left is pure present. You act moment to moment, and each moment is enough unto itself. Hence the beauty of the statements of Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, because each statement is in itself perfect, it needs nothing. You can take any statement from anywhere, and you can meditate over it and it will give you the taste of Tao, Dhamma — truth.

Buddha used to say again and again that the taste of the sea is the same. You can taste it from anywhere, from any shore — the taste is the same. This shore or that makes no difference. Each statement of a buddha has the taste of truth. But it is not concerned with utility….

Vinod Bharti, you are feeling in an intuitive way that something is coming closer of which you are afraid: “the dead end.” Everybody becomes afraid, and out of fear the question has arisen. You ask, “I have come to a dead end. I see the impotence of the mind and feel all action useless. Does the mind totally die only in samadhi?”

Just the reverse is the case: when the mind dies totally, what is left is samadhi. So I cannot say that the mind dies totally only in samadhi; that will be putting things upside down. The mind dies first, and then what is left is called samadhi. That state of no-mind is called samadhi.

But the death of the mind frightens, scares one. That’s what you are feeling: the shadow of death. It is not YOUR death, it is the death of the mind which is not you. But for many lives we have lived identified with the mind, so when the death of the mind comes closer it feels as if WE are going to die. It is not a dead end for YOU, it is certainly a dead end for the mind. That too has not come yet, but the mind is freaking out, because once it has come, then there is no way out for the mind. If it can escape just before the dead end, then there is a possibility of surviving…hence the question.

You say: “Please say something about mind and action in witnessing.” In witnessing, mind remains only as a biocomputer, a mechanism, but separate from you; you are no longer identified with it. When you want any memory you can use the mind just as you can put on your tape recorder. Mind is really a tape recorder. But it is not continuously on, not twenty-four hours on. When needed, the witness, the man of meditation, the man of awareness, is capable of putting the mind on or off. He puts it on when there is some need.

If I am talking to you, I have to put the mind on; otherwise language will not be possible. No-mind is silent; there is no language; only mind can supply the language. I have to use the mind to relate with your mind; that’s the only way to relate with your mind, so I put it on.

When I go back and sit in the car, I put it off. Before Heeren turns the ignition on, I turn MY ignition off! In my room I don’t need my mind. When my secretary comes with the letters, or with some work, I say to her, “Hello!” And inside I say, “Hello, mind. My secretary has come!” Otherwise there is no need for the mind.

When you are witnessing, the mind remains, but not constantly working. Your identity is broken. You are the watcher; the mind is the watched. It is a beautiful mechanism, one of the most beautiful mechanisms that nature has given to you. So you can use it when needed for factual memory — for phone numbers, for addresses, for names, for faces…. It is a good tool, but that’s all it is. It need not sit upon you continuously twenty-four hours a day. Even while you are sleeping, it is sitting on your chest torturing you, giving you nightmares. All kinds of relevant and irrelevant thoughts go on and on.

It does two harms. One: you lose your purity of witnessing, you don’t remain a mirror. Your mirror becomes so covered with the dust of thoughts that you start becoming closed to existence, you cannot reflect existence. The full moon is there, but your mirror does not reflect it. How many people are there who see the full moon? Even if they see it, they don’t SEE — their seeing is not of any value. They don’t rejoice, they don’t dance. How many people are there who see the flowers? Just now the birds are singing, but how many people are there who are aware of the birds and the wind passing through the trees?

When the mind is no longer hovering over you continuously, you become aware of infinite beauty, of truth, of the celebration that goes on and on in existence. But the mind is there, put aside — you can put it on when needed.

And when activity ceases, action is born. Action means response; activity means reaction. When you are in action, it means the mind is put aside and your consciousness is in a direct contact with existence; hence the response is immediate. Then whatsoever you do is not ready-made. It is not a ready-made answer given by the mind; you are responding to the reality as it is. Then there is beauty, because your action is true to the situation.

But millions of people in the world are simply living through ready-made answers. They are already carrying the answer; they don’t listen, they don’t see the situation confronting them. They are more interested in the answer that they are carrying within themselves than in the question itself, and they go on living their answer again and again. That’s why their life becomes a boredom, a repetitive boredom, a drag. It is no longer a dance, it cannot be a dance.

Action is a dance; activity is a drag. Activity is always untrue to the situation; action is always true to the situation. And activity is always inadequate because it carries an answer from the past, and life goes on changing every moment, so whatsoever you bring from the past is never adequate, it always falls short. So whatsoever you do, there is frustration; you feel that you have not been able to cope with reality. You always feel something is missing, you always feel your reaction was not exactly as it should have been. And the reason is that you have simply repeated, parrot-like, a ready-made answer, cheap but untrue – untrue because the situation is new.

Vinod Bharti, the mind will be there but with a new status, with a new functioning. It will be under your control: you will be the master, not the mind. You will use it when it is needed; you will not use it when it is not needed. It cannot insist that you have to listen to it, that you have to go on listening to it. Even if you are sleeping, it goes on knocking on your doors; it does not allow you even to have a beautiful sleep.

The second loss is that because the mind is working twenty-four hours a day, from the cradle to the grave, it becomes mediocre, it becomes stupid. It never has enough energy, it becomes very weak; hence the impotence. If the mind has time to rest, it will again become rejuvenated, it will again be fresh.

The mind of a buddha is always fresh, it is always young. It is always responding with such freshness, with such newness that it seems unbelievable. Your questions may be the same, but the answers of a buddha always have a new nuance to them, a new flavor, a new fragrance. You can go on listening to the Buddha for years, and still you will remain enchanted. Even if he repeats something it is never the same — the context is different, the color is different, the meaning is different.

The mind will be there, more alive, more potent, more restful, younger, fresher — not your master but a good servant, an obedient servant. Activity will disappear totally; there will arise action.

Action means there is no goal to it. Just as the poets say “poetry for poetry’s sake” or “art for art’s sake,” the same is the situation with the mystic. His action is for action’s sake; there is no other goal to it. He enjoys it just like a small child, innocently he enjoys it.

Vinod Bharti, witnessing is the miracle that changes everything in your life. Then the dead end is only a new beginning, a death and a birth — the death of the old, a total death; a discontinuity with the old, and the arrival of something absolutely unknown, the arrival of the new. It is a resurrection — a crucifixion and a resurrection. But the resurrection is possible only after crucifixion.

The dead end is going to come, but it is the beginning also. And you will see the beginning immediately, when the dead end has come. If you are just thinking about it, that it is coming, it is coming…the mind can even say, “It has come — beware, escape! While there is time, run away!” Then you will miss the other side of it. You will see only the cross, you will miss the resurrection.

You are thinking the mind is impotent. Your thinking is on the right track, but thinking will not help, seeing is needed. Become a witness so that you can see that the mind is impotent. Feel that activities are useless, but not action. Action continues. Buddha lived for forty-two years after his enlightenment. Action continued, activities disappeared.

-Osho

From Come, Come, Yet Again Come, Chapter One

Come, Come, Yet Again Come

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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The Groove Goes Deep – Osho

Last night you said that desires move between the dead past and the imaginary future. Please explain how and why this dead past proves so dynamic and powerful that it compels a person to flow into the process of endless desire. How can one be free from this dynamic past, the unconscious and the collective unconscious?

The past is not dynamic at all: it is totally dead. But still it has a weight – a dead weight. That dead weight works; it is not dynamic at all. Why the dead weight works has to be understood.

The past is so forceful because it is the known, the experienced, and mind always feels fearful of the unknown, the unexperienced. And how can you desire the unknown? You cannot desire the unknown. Only the known can be desired. So desires are always repetitious. They repeat, they are circular. You always move in the same pattern, in the same circle. The mind becomes just a groove of repetitions, and the more you repeat a particular thing, the more weighty it becomes, because the groove goes deep.

So the past is important not because it is dynamic; it forces you to do something and to desire not because it is forceful, powerful, alive – but only because it is a dead groove. And the past has been repeated so many times that to repeat it has become easy and automatic. The more you repeat a particular thing the more convenient and easier it becomes. The basic convenience is this: that if you are repeating a thing, you need not be aware.

Awareness is the most inconvenient thing. If you are repeating a particular thing, then you need not be aware. You can be just deep asleep, and the thing can be repeated automatically, mechanically. So it is convenient to repeat the past because you need not be aware. You can go on sleeping, and the mind will repeat itself.

That’s why those who say that desirelessness is the state of bliss also say that desirelessness is synonymous with awareness. You cannot be desireless unless you are totally aware. Or, if you are aware you will find that you are desireless, because desires can have a repetitive force upon the mind only when you are not aware. So the more asleep the mind is, the more repetitive and the more mechanical. So the past has the grip only because it is a repetition – and because it is the known. How can you desire the unknown?

For the unknown there can be no desire. The unknown is inconceivable. That’s why, even when we begin to desire God, we are not desiring the unknown. By “God” we must mean something which I known. So go deep: what do you mean by “God”? – Particularly your God. What do you mean by it? You will find under the garb of “God” something known, something experienced.

It may be eternal pleasure. So the so-called religious persons go on saying, “Why are you wasting your life in desires which are momentary? Come to us! Here is the fulfillment; here is the possibility to achieve permanent, eternal pleasure.” The language can be understood. You know the momentary pleasure, so you can desire permanent pleasure – but under the garb of God there is pleasure.

You may be seeking God only because you are fearful of death. Then, under the garb of God, you are really asking for immortality, not to die ever, an eternal life. You know this life – that is your experience – now you want to make it eternal. So whenever we talk about God, the Divine, Liberation, mokhsa, don’t be deceived by the words because the words may be hiding something totally different. And they are hiding it – because how can you desire the unknown? How can you conceive of it? How can you ask for it?

Really, the phenomenon is quite different. When you are not in desire, the unknown comes to you – you cannot desire it. When you are desireless the unknown comes to you. You cannot desire it! The state of desirelessness is the opening for the unknown to come. You cannot desire it because the very desire will become the hindrance.

So mind goes on repeating; it is a mechanical thing. So the dynamism is not in the mind – mind is just a dead, mechanical thing – the dynamism is in your consciousness, and if your consciousness is identified with the mind then the dead mind becomes dynamic. The dynamism belongs to your energy; it is not part of your mind. You are the dynamism behind it. If you are identified with the mind, if you think that you are the mind, then the mind begins to be dynamic. If you are not identified with the mind, then the mind is just dead – just a dead weight, just a mechanical accumulation.

It is a long accumulation – millennia of evolution, many, many, many lives are accumulated there. It is not only that your mind belongs to this life – it belongs to life as such. It has evolved, so it has deep grooves. It is not only that you fall in love: your father and mother have fallen in love before you; their fathers and their mothers and theirs and theirs – they have all fallen in love. The mind has a deep groove of falling in love, so when you fall m love don’t be deceived that you are falling in love. The whole humanity is behind you; the whole humanity has made the groove. It is in your bones, it is in your cells, it is in your very metabolism. Every cell has a sex part in it, and every cell has a groove, and every cell has a mind, memory – long memories, beginningless memories. So if you are identified with this mind, it becomes a force – a dynamic force. You give the energy, but the dead machine begins to move. You pedal it.

So remember: energy belongs to you; dynamism belongs to you. Mind is a mechanical thing produced by millennia of evolution, but it has deep grooves. And if you are identified, then you will have to flow through those grooves. There is no escape then.

So the first thing is how not to identify, how to remember constantly that mind is one thing and you are something else. It is difficult, it is arduous – but it is possible. It is not impossible. And once, if you have even a moment’s glimpse of unidentified Existence, then you will never be the same again. Once you come to know that mind is not the force: “I am the force, the vitality comes from me,” if even for a single moment you have the glimpse of your mastery, then mind will never be master again. And only then can you move into the unknown.

Mind cannot move into the unknown: it is produced by the known. It is a product of the known, so it cannot move into the unknown. That’s why mind can never know what Truth is, what God is.  Mind can never know what freedom is, mind can never know what life is – because intrinsically mind is dead. It is dead: dust accumulated through centuries and centuries – just dust, memory dust.

It seems that mind forces you. It doesn’t force you really; it only gives you the easiest grooves.

It supplies to you only the repeated routine tracks, and you fall victim to convenience – because to break a new route and to create a new track and to move in a new groove is very difficult and inconvenient. That is what is meant by tapa – austerity. If you begin to move in some new grooves which are created not by the mind but created by consciousness, then you are in tapascharya – in austerity. It is arduous.

Gurdjieff had many exercises. One exercise was to deny the mechanism sometimes. You are hungry: just deny and let your body suffer. You be just calm and quiet, and remember that the body is hungry. Don’t suppress it; don’t force it not to be hungry. It is hungry; you know. But at the same time say to it, “I am not going to fulfill this hunger today. Be hungry, suffer! Now, I am not going to move today in this supplied groove. I will remain aloof.”

And, suddenly, if you can do this, you begin to feel a gap. The body is hungry, but somewhere there is a distance between you and it. If you try to occupy your mind, then you have missed the point. If you go to the temple and begin to do kirtan and singing just to forget the hunger, then you have missed the point. Let the body be hungry. Don’t occupy your mind to escape from hunger. Remain hungry, but just tell the body, “Today I am not going to fall in the trap.” You remain hungry, you suffer.

There are persons who are doing fasting, but meaninglessly because whenever they fast they try to occupy the mind so that the hunger should not be known and should not be felt. If the hunger is not felt, the whole point is missed! Then you are playing tricks. Let the hunger be there in its totality, in its intensity. Let it be there; don’t escape from it. Let the fact of it be there, present, and remain aloof and tell the body, “Today I am not going to give you anything.” There is neither conflict nor suppression nor any escape.

If you can do this, then suddenly you become aware of a gap. Your mind asks for something. For example, someone has become angry. He is angry with you, and the mind begins to react, to be angry. Just tell the mind, “I am not going to fall in the trap this time.” Be aloof. Let the anger be there in the mind, but be aloof. Don’t cooperate, don’t be identified, and you will feel that anger is somewhere else. It surrounds you, but it is not in you, it doesn’t belong to you. It is just like smoke around you. It goes on, goes on, and waits for you to come and cooperate.

There will be every temptation. This is what is really meant by temptation. Mm? – no devil is there to tempt you. Your own mind tempts you, because that’s the most convenient way to be and to behave. Convenience is the temptation; convenience is the devil. The mind will say, “Be angry!” The situation is there and the mechanism is just on. Always, whenever this situation was there, you have been angry, so the mind supplies you again with the same reaction.

As far as it goes it is good because mind makes you ready to do something you have always been doing; but sometimes just stand off, off the track, and tell the mind, “Okay, anger is there outside. Someone is angry with me. You are supplying, me with an old reaction, a stereotyped reaction, but this time I am not going to cooperate. I will just stand here and observe and see what happens.” Suddenly the whole situation changes.

If you don’t cooperate the mind falls dead, because it is your cooperation which gives it dynamism, energy. It is your energy, but you only become aware when it is used by the mind. Don’t give it any cooperation, and the mind will just fall down as if without a backbone – just a dead snake with no life. It will be there, and for the first time you will become aware of a certain energy in you which doesn’t belong to the mind but belongs to you.

This energy is pure energy, and with this energy one can move into the unknown. Really, this energy moves into the unknown if it is not associated with the mind. If it is associated with the mind, then it moves into the known. If it moves into the known, then it takes the shape of desire. If it moves into the unknown, then it takes the shape of desirelessness. Then there is sheer movement – a play of energy, a sheer dance of energy, an overflowing energy moving into the unknown.

Mind can only supply the known. If you can be detached from your mind, the energy will have to move, it cannot remain static. That is what is meant by energy: it has to move! Movement is its very life. Movement is not a quality of energy: movement is the very life! It is not that energy cannot be without movement – no! It is the very life, intrinsic.

Energy means movement, so it moves. If mind supplies its grooves, then it moves into the grooves. If there is no supply of grooves and if you have just put off the mind, then too it moves, but now the movement is into the uncharted. This movement is the play, the leela this movement is creative; this movement is spiritual. And it is desireless. It is not because there is some desire that you move. It is because you cannot do anything else but move: you are energy and movement. So see the difference.

When mind works, it works as a dead weight, a mechanical weight, through the past. It pushes you towards the future. Because the past is pushing towards the future, the past again projects its own desires. So first understand the repetitiveness of desires.

There are not so many desires. Really, there are very few. You go on repeating them. Just count how many desires you have. They are not many – very few! You will not even be able to find enough to count on your fingers. How many desires do you have? Very few! And, really, if you look deeply, you may even find that only one desire is there. There are modifications of it, but really only one desire, and the same desire is being repeated continuously. Life after life it is being repeated. You go on repeating and then it begins to seem, it begins to appear, that you are helpless, that the wheel is moving and you cannot do anything. It is not so. You are helpless only because you have forgotten totally that the energy by which the wheel is moving is given by you.

Because of the past, the future is just a repetition. It is the projected past. You again desire the same thing, and you go on again and again. That’s why I said that past and future are parts of mind, not parts of time. Time is just here and now, the present. If mind is not working, then energy will be here and now in the moment. It will move because it is energy, but now the movement will be into the unknown. The known is not there at all. Mind is not, so the known is not.

Someone asked Hui-Hai, “How did you achieve? How did you reach?”

Hui-Hai said, “When I became a no-mind, then I achieved, then I reached.”

We are minds. That means: tethered to the past. If we can become no-minds that means untethered to the past – then the moment is free, fresh, and energy moves – not for something but because it is energy. Remember the difference exactly: it moves not for something; it moves because it is energy.

A river is moving; ordinarily we think it is moving for the sea. How can it know? It is not moving for the sea. It is moving because it is energy. Ultimately, the sea happens to be there; that is another thing. So when you move into the unknown, ultimately you reach to the Divine. It happens to be there. If your movement is pure, you reach it.

The river goes on moving without knowing, without any map. The past cannot supply the map because the river is not going to move on the past tracks again, so every step is into the unknown. And where it is going, there is no way to know. It is not moving because of any desire; it is not moving for something. The future is unknown – just unknown, dark. It moves. Why does it move? It moves because it is energy.

A seed is moving, a tree is growing, stars are moving. Why do they move? Have they to reach somewhere? No! They move because they are energy; pure energy is moving. Because pure energy cannot do anything else, it moves. So when you become just pure energy, not mind but no-mind energy, you move; and then every step is just into the unknown. Then life becomes bliss, it becomes ecstatic, because the old is never repeated again. Never will the morning be the same again, never again this moment. Now it is a sensation, a thrill every time. This thrill creates Meera’s dance; this thrill creates Chaitanya’s singing with this thrill, every moment something new is bursting, exploding. A Buddha is never bored. He looks fresh.

Maulingputta came to Buddha. He was a very inquiring young man, a great scholar, one who knew all that can be known from scriptures, a great pundit. When he came to Buddha he began to ask many questions. The second day again he asked many questions. The third day again he asked many questions. Ananda, another disciple of Buddha’s, was just bored. He asked Buddha, “Are you not bored? He is repeating the same questions again and again.”

Buddha asked Ananda, “Has he repeated? Has he repeated a single question?”

Every moment is so new for a Buddha-conscious mind. For a Buddha-like mind, everything is so new, how can you repeat the old question again? Even the questioner does not remain the same. How can you ask the same question you asked yesterday? The Ganges has flowed so much, so how can you ask the same question again? You will never be the same again yourself.

And Buddha said, “Even if he is asking the same questions, he is not asking the same person. So how can I say he is repeating? He must have asked someone else. Yesterday where was l? The energy has moved.”

Someone was very angry, insulted Buddha; then felt sorry, and the next day came to ask Buddha’s forgiveness. Buddha was just bewildered, and he said, “You are a strange man! You insult one person and then you ask pardon from somebody else.”

The man said, “What are you saying? Am I strange, or are you? I came yesterday and insulted you. I felt very sorry and I couldn’t sleep.”

Buddha said, “That’s why you are still repeating. But I could sleep and now I am a different man. The river has gone on. It is not the same bank again, and I will never be the same so now you are in difficulty, because you cannot ask pardon of a man you will never meet. If I ever meet him I will tell him whatsoever you have said to me.”

This energy moves into the unknown. It is fresh, young, so a Buddha can never be old. The body, of course, will become old, but a Buddha can never be old. He will remain young. That’s why we have never pictured Ram, Krishna or Buddha as old. They became old, but we have no pictures of Krishna’s old age, of Ram’s old age, of Buddha’s old age, of Mahavir’s old age. We have no pictures!

It is not that they never became old – the body has to follow the common lot – but by not creating pictures of their old age we have just meant something more. Really, they were never old because they were so moving – so moving and so young. For such persons death is not an end. It is again a further movement. It is not an end at all.

So mind is not dynamic: mind is mechanical. It can become dynamic if you cooperate with it. Don’t cooperate with it! Remember your aloofness, create a distance. Be aware, and then the mind will be there but you will be outside.

The English word “ecstasy” is very beautiful and meaningful. You may not have even conceived of what this word means – “ecstasy”. It means to stand outside; the word means to stand outside. If you can stand outside of yourself, if you can be outside of yourself, you are in ecstasy. Someone has suggested that to translate “Samadhi” as ”ecstasy” is not good because the word “Samadhi” doesn’t mean to stand outside. Really, Samadhi means to stand inside. So someone has suggested a new word, he has coined a new word: instead of ecstasy he says it is better to translate Samadhi as “instasy” – to stand inside.

Really, these two words mean two different things, but in a certain way they mean the same. If you can stand out of your mind, then you will be able to stand in yourself. If you can stand outside yourself – the so-called self – then you will be, for the first time, inside. So ecstasy is “instasy”. Then you will be in your center.

If you are out of your mind, then you will be centered in yourself. So going out of the mind is going into consciousness. That’s why mind has to be understood as mechanical, as a mechanism, as accumulation, as the past. And once you feel it, you are out of it. But we go on, we continue to identify ourselves with it.

Whenever you say, “This is my thought,” you are identifying. Change the language, and sometimes it helps very much – if you can just change the language! Language has such a deep grip. Say, “This belongs to my past mind,” and feel the difference. When you say, “This is my thought,” you are identified. Say, “This belongs to my mind, my past mind,” and feel how only a change of language creates a distance.

For example, we say, “My mind is tense.” Then you are identified. We even say, “I am tense.” Then there is even more identification. When I say, “I am tense,” there is no gap. When I say, “My mind is tense,” there is a little gap. If I can say, “I am aware that the mind is tense,” then there is a greater gap, and the greater the gap, the less will be the tension.

When we say, “I am tense,” it looks as if someone else is responsible. So psychology suggests never to say “I am tense,” because subtly it makes someone else responsible. They say that rather than to say “I am tense,” one should say, “I am tensing.” Then the responsibility is yours.

So break the old habits of language, mind, thoughts, and then your energy will move. And once the mind is not there, you are free for the first time.

-Osho

From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.1, Chapter Four

Ultimate Alchemy, V. 1

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.

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To Be One Again – Osho

Man is not an island; nothing is. All is interrelated, all is interdependent. Independence – the very word – is false, so is dependence. The reality is interdependence.

Everything is so deeply connected with everything else that nothing can exist apart. If you can understand a small rose flower in its totality, root and all, you will have understood the whole cosmos, because the whole cosmos is involved in that small rose flower. In the smallest leaf of grass all is contained.

But remember, as Fa Tsang said to the Empress: All illustrations, all descriptions are static, and existence is a dynamic flux. It is a river. Each thing goes on moving into each other thing. It is impossible to draw lines where one thing ends and another begins; there are no demarcating lines – there cannot be. So all distinctions are only for practical purposes, they have no existential value.

This is the first thing to be understood. This is very fundamental to the Taoist alchemy. Once this is understood, then the whole alchemy of Taoism becomes comprehensible. Then the lower can be transformed into the higher, because the lower contains the higher already. The baser metal can be transformed into gold because nothing is separate – the baser contains the gold already. As above, so below; as below, so above.

The very idea that all is interconnected makes transformation possible. If things are not interconnected then there is no possibility of any transformation. If the world consists of the philosopher Liebnitz’s monads – windowless, separate, atomic individuals, not connecting with each other at all because they are windowless – then there is no possibility of any transformation.

Transformation is conceivable only because you are me, I am you; we interpenetrate. Can you think of yourself as separate even for a single moment? You cannot even imagine yourself as separate. The flower cannot be separated from the tree; the moment it is separated it dies. The tree cannot be separated from the earth. The earth cannot be separated from the sun. The sun cannot be separated from other stars, and so on and so forth. You separate the leaf, and the leaf dies. You separate the flower, the flower dies. You separate the tree from the earth, the tree dies. You separate the earth from the sun, and the earth dies.

Death means separation. Life means no separation. Hence the ego is bound to die because that is your idea of separation. To think of one’s self in terms of ego is the only cause of death – because the ego is already dead. You can go on flogging the dead horse, but for how long? It is going to die; it is already dead, that’s why it is going to die. That which is alive in you cannot die; life is eternal. But life is not yours, you cannot possess it. Life belongs to all. Life has a vastness, infinity. Death is tiny, death is individual; life is universal. So when you live, you are part of the universe, and when you die you die only because you think you are separate.

The more you feel part of the whole, the more life you will have.

Jesus says, ‘Come to me and I will give you life abundant.’ What is the secret of life abundant?

The secret is: die as the ego, disappear as a separate entity, and the whole universe and all that it contains is yours. Stop possessing, and all is yours. Possess, and you are tiny and limited, and you are going to die. The secret of becoming more alive consists of a single phenomenon of dropping the idea of separation. And whenever it happens, you feel life becoming aflame in you.

Even if it happens in small measures… If you fall in love with somebody, life is aflame in you. And it is not that much has happened, just two persons are feeling one. Learn the lesson from love. Just two persons feeling one, and what joy, and what ecstasy! Think. If you fall in love with the whole then how much ecstasy and how much joy is going to happen! That is life abundant, life infinite.

Separate yourself… There are a few people who live so egoistically that they cannot love; they are the most miserable people in the world. My definition of hell is; to live in separation is hell. To live in non-separation is heaven. To disappear completely, utterly into the whole, is moksha, nirvana. It is ultimate freedom.

The second thing to be understood: that life is polar. That is also very fundamental to the Taoist approach. But the polarity is not that of opposition. The polarity means that the opposites are complementary to each other, they support each other. Life cannot exist without death, hence death is not the enemy. How can death be the enemy of life if life cannot exist without it? It has to be the friend. It prepares the ground for life: it helps life, it provokes life, it challenges life.

Just think. If your body were going to live for eternity, you would not live at all, you would have an infinity to postpone everything. ’Why love today if there is tomorrow? And if tomorrow is infinite, then why bother? Why dance today? We will see tomorrow.’ Just imagine. If your bodily life were going to be eternal, your postponement would become eternal.

You cannot postpone because you are not certain whether there is going to be any tomorrow or not. Nobody knows whether the next breath will come in or not, hence only foolish people postpone. The wise man lives, and the wise man lives here-now. He cannot afford postponement because he knows ‘Only this moment is mine, only this very moment is mine. The next moment may be, may not be. How can I postpone? How can I say “tomorrow”?’

The foolish man postpones until tomorrow, the wise man lives now. The wise man knows no other time than now and no other space than here, and the foolish man goes into things which could have been postponed for eternity – he lives them right now. If he is angry, he lives it right now. If he is loving, he says, ‘We will see tomorrow.’ All that is stupid he goes on living, and all that is luminous he goes on postponing. The wise man also postpones, but he only postpones stupid things.

Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples, ‘When my grandfather died I was only nine years old. He called me close to his death-bed and whispered in my ear.’ He had tremendous love for this small boy. He must have seen the potential of the boy. He whispered in the ears of the boy, ’I have nothing to give to you except a simple piece of advice, and I don’t know whether you will be able to understand it right now or not. But remember it! Some day you may become capable enough, mature enough to understand it. Just remember it. And it is simple advice. If you want to do anything wrong, postpone it for twenty-four hours. And if you want to do something right, never postpone it even for a single moment. If you want to be angry, violent, aggressive, postpone it for twenty-four hours. If you want to be loving, sharing, do not postpone it even for a single moment. Just live it right now, immediately!’

And Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples, ‘That simple advice transformed my whole life.’ How can you be angry if you can postpone it for twenty-four hours? It is impossible. To be so calm and quiet as to postpone it for twenty-four hours is enough guarantee that you are not going to be angry. And who can be angry if he can postpone it for twenty-four hours? Twenty-four hours of contemplation, and the whole absurdity will be plain to you: the whole thing will look ridiculous.

And Gurdjieff was really transformed by this simple message. Sometimes very simple messages can transform you, but you have to live them.

Life exists because there is death. Death gives intensity to life. Death challenges life, it provokes you to live, and to live to the maximum, at the optimum, because – who knows – there may be no tomorrow. Death is always provoking you, goading you to live, and to live totally. Then death is not against life but a friend.

So is the case with all the polarities: the negative and the positive, love and hate, beauty and ugliness, day and night, summer and winter. And so is the case with man and woman. Man cannot be without the woman, and the woman cannot be without the man. They are part of one dialectical process. Between these two poles there is both attraction and repulsion, because attraction and repulsion cannot be separated. Hence you feel attracted towards the woman or towards the man and repulsed at the same time. A part of you wants to be with the woman, a part of you wants to be alone.

You are always hesitating. If you are with the woman or with the man, you start longing for the freedom to be on your own, to be alone. Suddenly you become very interested in being alone and free, and you don’t know where this desire to be free is coming from. The woman or the man, the other, is provoking it. The moment you have left the other, this desire, this longing, this great longing to be alone will disappear. And then you are surprised, really surprised. When you are alone you simply feel lonely. You don’t feel that joy that you had contemplated, you don’t see any freedom; you simply see loneliness surrounding you. And your whole existence becomes cold, frozen, dark. Again the desire arises to be with the other. Now you hanker for love, for togetherness.

This is the problem between man and woman. They are attracted and repulsed together, simultaneously. They want to come to be together and they want to be separate and alone, on their own. Hence the constant conflict between man and woman.

Marriage is a love-hate affair, an attraction-repulsion affair. If the marriage lasts long, it can only last if there are mini-divorces happening every day – only then can it last long. If the man and the woman have decided not to fight, then it is a plastic marriage. They will be together, they will manage to be together, but they will never be together in reality; they will never know those moments of unity. They are only pretending. They are being polite, but not true, not authentic.

Marriage is a kind of intimate enmity. It is an intimate enmity, it is a friendly fight, it is a war. Yes, between two wars there are peaceful moments too, and they are beautiful because of the two wars.

Couples go on fighting – that’s how they keep alive the flame of love. Once they fight, they go away from each other. When they are far away from each other, in their psychologies, they start hankering for the other, they start missing the other. Then they start seeking and groping for the other. Then they come close, and very close, because they have tasted something of loneliness. Now they want to be very close. Once they have tasted of closeness they want to be separate again.

So don’t be worried about it. It is a fundamental phenomenon. You cannot escape it. The only way to escape is to have a pretend marriage, which is not a true marriage. ‘Remain polite to each other.’ It is a kind of contract, that ‘I need you and you need me,’ that ‘I will scratch your back and you scratch my back’ – that’s all – ‘because I need you and you need me. You are my security, I will be your security.’ It is a legal contract but not marriage.

This is the second fundamental to be understood before you can enter into the sutras.

And the third and the most important thing: the third fundamental is that no man is only man and no woman is only woman. Man is both, woman is both; both are both. Man contains a woman within him, and so is the case with a woman: the woman contains a man within her. So it is not only a question of the outside man or outside woman, it is also an inner phenomenon, because the outer and the inner correspond. Just as I said ‘as below, so above’, I can say ‘as outer, so inner’.

Your inner reality is also the same as your outer reality: they correspond, they balance. Now more complexity arises because each man has a woman within him, and he has to come to terms with her. It is not just a question of having a woman outside that you love; otherwise things would have been less complicated.

Whenever two persons are in love, there are really four persons – in each bed there are four persons. Complexity you can understand. Whenever two persons make love, there are four persons making love. It is always group sex, because the man has a woman inside him, and the woman has a man inside her. And it is bound to be so because each is born out of the marriage of a man and a woman. Something of the father will be in you – fifty percent; something of the mother will be in you – fifty percent. To each person the father contributes and the mother contributes. You may be biologically a man – that simply shows that physically you have the mechanism of the man – but deep in your psyche you are neither man nor woman, you are both. That’s why I say if we have to use one word for both man and woman…

Up to now we have been using ‘man’ – that means it contains both. It is only because man has been very dominant in the past. But in the future the pendulum may swing to the other pole, and that will be far more true, because the word ‘man’ does not contain woman, the word ‘woman’ contains man. It will be better to use ‘woman’ as a general word for both.

And so is the case with ‘he’ and ‘she’. ‘She’ contains ‘he’, but ‘he’ does not contain ‘she’. It will be better to use ‘she’ for both, ‘woman’ for both. It will be better to use ‘she’ for God than ‘he’. But both contain each other. Because of this there is a possibility of homosexuality – because of this fundamental duality inside. You may be a man on the outside, and you may become attuned to your inner woman inside. There is no problem in it. Your spirit remains free. Inside it can either become identified with the inner man or it can become identified with the inner woman.

If you are physically a man and you become identified with the woman inside, homosexuality will be the consequence. It can happen in many ways, it can happen for many reasons. So homosexuality is possible because of this inner duality.

And now science is even capable of changing your physical sex. That too is possible, because the Taoist finding has been found to be scientifically true, too. Now just by changing the hormones and your chemistry a little bit, the man can become a woman and the woman can become a man – even physiologically. That simply shows that you are both. Even the difference in the body is only of emphasis.

And sometimes it happens of its own accord too. It has been found that a woman becomes a man or a man becomes a woman. The difference must not have been much – may have been very, very slight: fifty-one percent man, forty-nine percent woman; the balance is just a little more on the side of being a man. It can change in the course of life – new hormones, new food, new climate, new atmosphere, new emotions, illnesses, or anything, can change the balance and the man can become a woman or the woman can become a man. And now science knows that it can be done very easily.

There is every possibility that in future people will change their sex more often, because if you can live both the polarities in one life, then why not? If you can enjoy both visions, then why not? You will have more freedom. You have lived as a man for thirty-five years, and enough is enough. And you would like to see how it is from the other side, because there is no other way to know how it is from the other side than to be on that side.

My own observation of thousands of people has been this: that if a person is a man in this life, in the next life he is born as a woman, and vice versa. And the reason is simple: he becomes tired of being a man, or becomes tired of being a woman, and starts hankering deep down for the other pole. And, naturally, in the next life, because of this great desire to be the other, he is born as the other.

These are the three fundamentals. First: everything is interdependent. Second: life is polar and the polarities are not opposites but complementaries. And third: that each is double inside, no one is single.

In India we have the concept of Ardhanarishwar. That corresponds to the Taoist approach.

Shiva has been sculpted, painted as both – half man, half woman. Half of his body is that of a man and half of his body is that of a woman. When for the first time those statues were discovered by the West, the West laughed – it looked so absurd. What is the point of it? Now they have understood what the point of it is. It is one of the most fundamental things of life.

So are you, just like Shiva, half-half.

These sutras are concerned with this inner polarity, and unless you transcend this inner polarity you will not attain to the One, you will remain two. Meditation is a way to transcend this polarity within you. Meditation takes you away from all dualisms.

In ordinary life you remain dual. And in the space of twenty-four hours you change many times from one pole to the other. Watch. You may be a man, but sometimes you are very feminine, very vulnerable. You may be a woman, but sometimes in the daytime you are very masculine. When the woman is masculine she becomes very very aggressive – more aggressive than any man can ever be, because her aggressiveness is very fresh, unused, just like unused land is very fertile. And so is the case with man. If a man is tender, he is very tender – more than the woman, because that is unused soil, that part of his being has not been used; it is fresh, very alive. So this strange phenomenon is observed again and again if you become a little watchful.

Woman is generally loving; man is not generally loving. Woman is only sometimes quarrelsome, but when she is, then she really is. Man is only sometimes loving, but when he is he really is. Those are the unused parts of their being. When they are used they have a freshness.

This inner polarity keeps you in a kind of anguish, conflict; without it you cannot exist. The One remains invisible – that’s why God is invisible. To become visible the One has to become two. You have to write with white chalk on a blackboard, only then can those words be seen.

To exist, one needs contrast. That is why in the daytime you cannot see stars, in the nighttime you can see – the darkness of the night becomes the background. The stars are there as much as in the night – they don’t go anywhere, they can’t go anywhere; they are where they are. They don’t start coming in the night, they don’t start hiding somewhere in the day. They are where they are, but in the day the contrast is missing. You cannot see them, they are invisible.

God is invisible. If he wants to become man and woman, he will have to become two, he will have to become matter and spirit, he will have to become body and soul, he will have to become this and that. Only the two are visible. The world consists of the ’two’. The world is dual. And the moment you can manage to make this duality disappear in oneness, you will become invisible. It has great significance, but it is a metaphor. It does not mean that you cannot see Lao Tzu or you cannot see me. You are seeing me already, but still you are not seeing me. That part has become invisible. The polarity has disappeared inside, the duality is no more there. Only the dual can be seen, the non-dual becomes unseen.

God has to become two, only then the game, the play, is possible. Ancient Indian scriptures say he felt very lonely. ‘He’ means God. He felt very lonely. He longed for the other, that’s why he became two. He became man and woman, cow and bull, and so on and so forth. The whole existence is sexual. By ‘sexual’ I mean dual. The whole existence is sexual. Sooner or later science is going to discover that there are planets which are male and there are planets which are female. It has to be so. Ancient astrology says so, and I perfectly agree with it – everything is dual. That’s why the sun is represented as being male and the moon as being female. It is not poetry, it is fact. Science may not yet have discovered it, but it has to be so. If everything is dual, then there cannot be any exceptions.

Your attraction for the woman or for the man keeps you in manifestation. Now you will be able to understand why the great mystics down the ages have been teaching you how to go beyond sex – because unless you go beyond sex, you will not go into God. Unless you go beyond sex, you will never go beyond the two, you will remain tethered to the duality of the world. The ‘world’ means God manifest, and ‘God’ means the world disappearing into un-manifestation again. That too is a duality: manifestation, non-manifestation.

In Christian theology things are not so deep, they are very superficial. In Christian theology you have only creation. What about de-creation? How can there be creation without de-creation? In the Eastern theology they are both together: Srushti means creation; pralaya means de-creation. There is a moment when God becomes manifest, and then there is a moment when God becomes unmanifest again – all disappears into nothingness, zero follows, just like you, as I told you in the beginning.

You are with your beloved, you become tired, you want to meditate, you want to go to the Himalayas. God also becomes tired of the world – naturally so. Then he wants to go into retirement. Then he disappears into oneness. Dissolution follows. All disappears. But again, how long can you sit in a Himalayan cave? Even God becomes tired of it. He starts seeking and searching and creating the other again.

And exactly so it happens in each individual soul. You live life, then you become tired, then you want to go beyond life. You have lived your body, and you are tired. Now you want to go beyond the body. And then you can understand my insistence, why I say don’t be afraid of the world and don’t escape from the world, because the world is the very place where renunciation happens. It is one of the poles. That’s why I don’t say escape from the woman or the man. If you escape you may remain interested. Don’t escape. Live it through and through. Indulge in the world, and the very indulgence will become renunciation. Out of that very indulgence you will start feeling that now it is time to disappear into absolute aloneness. And if you are really tired, only then can you go into that absolute aloneness.

People are bound to misunderstand me. In India I am one of the most misunderstood men. They think I am teaching people indulgence. I am teaching renunciation. They think I am teaching a worldly kind of sannyas. They don’t understand. I am teaching real sannyas, because real sannyas arises only out of worldly experience. Real sannyas is not possible in a cave in the Himalayas. It will be unreal, imposed, and deep down you will remain worldly and you will continue to hanker and dream of the world.

Live in the world. Really live in it so you get tired, wearied, finished with it – so much so that one day suddenly it loses all meaning for you, and the renunciation has happened.

To me, the real renunciation happens in the market-place and only in the market-place.

-Osho

From The Secret of Secrets, V.1, Chapter Five

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

The Secret of Secrets

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 OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.