You are in Prison and You Think You are Free – Osho

George Gurdjieff has said: “You are in prison. If you wish to get out of prison, the first thing you must do is realize that you are in prison. If you think you are free, you can’t escape.”

What are the prisons that I call “home”?

Rama Prem, George Gurdjieff is one of the most significant masters of this age.

He is unique in many ways — nobody has said things in the contemporary world the way Gurdjieff has said them. He is almost like another Bodhidharma or Chuang Tzu, apparently absurd but in reality giving great indications towards the liberation of human consciousness.

You are asking about one of his significant statements. He often used to say, “You are in prison.” Sometimes he was even deeper into the reality, and instead of saying, “You are in prison,” he would say, “You are the prison.” That is more true.

If you wish to get out of prison — or better to say, if you don’t want to be a prison — the first thing you must do is realize that you are in prison… or you are the prison. This is something to be always remembered as one of the first principles for any seeker of truth.

The tendency of the human mind is to deny those things which are ugly, to hide those things which he does not want others to know — to hide in such a way, in such depths of the unconscious that even he himself becomes unaware of them. This way he maintains his superficial personality.

Gurdjieff had a story about it…

There was a magician who used to live in faraway deep forests, and he had many sheep because that was his only food. In those deep forests he was keeping all those sheep just to kill them every day, one by one. Naturally, the sheep were very afraid of the man, and they used to run into the forest being afraid that any day can be their day. Their friends are gone, there is no reliability… tomorrow they may be gone. Out of fear they used to go far away, deep into the forest. And to find them was a tedious job every day.

Finally, the magician did a trick. He hypnotized all the sheep, and told every sheep, “You are an exception; everybody may be killed but you can never be killed. You are no ordinary sheep; you have a divine privilege.” To some he said, “You are not sheep at all; you are lions, you are tigers, you are wolves. Only sheep are killed. You need not hide yourself in the forest; that is very embarrassing, because a lion hiding himself in the forest in the fear that he will be killed… only sheep are killed.” And in this way, he managed to hypnotize all the sheep in different ways.

He even said to a few sheep, “You are men, human beings, and human beings don’t kill each other. You are just like me. Never be afraid and never escape out of fear.” Since that day, no sheep escaped and hid in the forest, although they all saw every day that one sheep was being killed, slaughtered. But naturally everybody thought, That must be a sheep; I am a tiger, a lion, a human being. I am special and exceptional, I have a divine privilege…. So many different stories he put in their minds.

Gurdjieff says that unless you realize the first thing — that you are in prison, that you are the prison — then there is no hope for freedom. If you already believe that you are free, you are a hypnotized sheep which believes himself to be a lion — exceptional, there is no need to be afraid — which even believes he is a human being. He goes on seeing other sheep being killed, and still remains in a hypnotized state, never being aware of his actuality. To be free, if you already know that you are free, there is no problem.

All the religions together, perhaps unintentionally, have created a tremendous hypnotic state. People believe they have immortal souls. I am not saying that they don’t have, I am simply saying that they don’t know what they are believing. And because they believe they have an immortal soul, they never discover that they already have it. They have been told, “You are the very kingdom of God”… and it is so comfortable and so consoling to believe. But then there is no way to seek and search and find whether your hypothetical belief has any truth in it, or is just a hypnotic trick used by the society to keep you unafraid of death, to keep you unafraid of disease, old age, to keep you unafraid of your loneliness.

Your God may be just a psychological hypnosis. It is not your discovery. That is true — that much is absolutely true. It has been implanted in your mind, and because you go on believing in it, your belief prevents any adventure in seeking the truth.

Ordinarily, you have been told continually that unless you believe, you will not find. But the truth is just the contrary. Belief is a barrier, it is not a bridge. Those who believe never find, because they never even begin the search; there is no need.

You are in prison and you think you are free.

You are in chains but you think they are ornaments. You are a slave but you have been told that you are humble, that you are simple, that this is the way a religious person should be. You are surrounded by many hypnotic strategies developed by society down the ages. And those hypnotic strategies are the root cause of your ignorance, of your misery, of your unenlightened state.

Hence the first thing to realize is that you are in prison. The moment you recognize that you are in prison, you cannot tolerate the prison. Nobody can tolerate it; it goes against human dignity. You will start finding ways to get out of it. You will start finding people who have already got out of it. You may start seeking and searching outside help beyond the walls, because there are people beyond the walls ready with every kind of help. But they are absolutely helpless if you believe that you are living in absolute freedom.

If you believe this imprisonment is your home, then of course it is absolute nonsense even to think of getting rid of it. The wall that keeps you a prisoner, you think is a protection. Then there is no question of making a hole in the wall and getting out, or finding a ladder, or taking some help from the outside. A rope can be thrown from the outside, a ladder can be arranged from the outside, but this is possible only if the basic thing, that you are in prison, is recognized. George Gurdjieff was consistently insisting, “This is a basic realization. Without it, there is no progress towards enlightenment. If you think you are free, you can’t escape.”

“What are the prisons that I call `home’?” Rama Prem, all the so-called homes are nothing but prisons, because they don’t give you freedom, they only give you security, safety, and in place they take away your very being, your freedom, your joy, your dance. But certainly they give you security, safety — and naturally you have to pay for it.

The price that one has to pay is immensely great in comparison to what you get. You have to sell your very soul. But then what is the point of safety and security? You were searching for security and safety for your being, and in the very search you have sold your being. Now you are secure and safe, but what is the point? For whom is the safety and security? It does not serve you, it serves those who have managed to convince you that “If you give your soul, your being, we will take care — then you need not be worried, then we are responsible for your safety and security.”

The moment you give up your responsibility, you give up everything. Then you are just an empty shell, without any meaning and without any essence. Your homes are nothing but beautiful prisons made by you, decorated by you. You think they are protecting you; they are destroying you. Certainly they protect you from the rains and they protect you from the winds and they protect you from the sun, but for these trivia they destroy you completely. You lose all joy, you lose all freedom, you lose all sense of direction. You lose the very purpose you are here for. You get lost in your own home. You become too much concerned about the furniture and about the decorations, and you forget yourself completely. This forgetfulness is a kind of deep psychological sleep.

Your wife, your husband, your children — nobody is yours. All are man-made, arbitrary relationships — even your own children are not your own. They come through you; they don’t belong to you. You belong to the past; they belong to the future. There is no connection, there is no relationship; hence, as man has become more and more intelligent there has come a great generation gap.

One great Russian novelist, Turgenev, has written a book — perhaps his best, his masterpiece – Fathers and Sons. The whole book is about the struggle between the fathers and the sons, because the fathers would like the sons just to be their replicas. Naturally, they will not allow the sons any freedom. Obedience they expect; they expect their sons to be their carbon copies. […]

Religions have created all kinds of crimes in the mind of man, just by prohibiting them. They have also created ideas which prevent man from any search. They say, “Believe” — and belief is cheap. You don’t have to do anything. Gurdjieff had to go to such extents that he started saying to people, “You don’t have souls. It is a wrong idea, implanted within you by religions, that everybody has a soul.”

He had to say such a thing just to wake you up to search whether it is true or not; otherwise, everybody was perfectly asleep. What is the need to search? You already have it; God is within you! So do other things which, if you don’t do, you will not get — become a president, prime minister, become the richest man in the world, conquer the world — because these things will not happen on their own. As far as God is concerned you already have him; he is within you, you don’t have to go anywhere. Any day, any rainy day when you can’t go anywhere to conquer the world, and you don’t have anything else to do — to correct the mechanism of your car, or to open your wall clock, or to open your radio or television even though they are functioning perfectly well, but you don’t have anything else to do…. Any day, when you don’t have anything to do, you can find God. He is within you, in your pocket.

Gurdjieff is perhaps the only man in the whole of history who insisted against all religions that you don’t have a soul — that a soul has to be created, then you have it. You are not born with it, you are born only with the possibility. If you make a great effort, perhaps you may achieve it. Otherwise most people are born and die; there is no soul that survives.

He was telling a compassionate lie. He was not right, but I cannot say that he was telling the lie for any other reason than compassion. It is true you are born with the soul, but it has become such an accepted fact that you don’t even look within yourself. Somebody needs to shatter your idea that you are born with a soul, to tell you that inside you are just empty, hollow. Perhaps this may shake you up, wake you up. Perhaps this may give you the idea to look inside at least one time, whether there is a soul or you have been deceived.

And George Gurdjieff helped more people in this century than anybody else, because he created a great longing: “Don’t die before you have created a soul; otherwise nothing will survive the death. Crystallize your being so that death cannot destroy it. But you are not born with it, you have to create it.”

The idea of all the religions, although true, has not been helpful; it has become a hindrance. Gurdjieff’s compassion is great. All the religions were against him, obviously, because that is the one point they all agree on — that everybody is born with a soul. But Gurdjieff’s point is more psychological, and more effective in creating liberation. He says you are just empty, and you will remain empty unless you make the effort, with a determined will, to create a center within you. There is possibility, potential, but you have to make it an actuality. His insight was great.

And since Gurdjieff, people have forgotten it completely. He was alive just thirty years ago and just within thirty years people have forgotten the great teacher who was compassionate enough even to lie, just to make you shocked; just to create an opening in you so that you can start searching whether what all the religions have been saying has any truth in it or not.

The first thing he says is to realize you are in prison. The first thing that can also be said is, you have to realize that you are not yet. You have to be. You are a seed, but you have to find the right soil, and nobody else can do it for you. If you go on depending on priests and your so-called saints, you will miss this great opportunity that life has given to you. And one does not know whether a second chance is being given or not. It has to be made emphatically clear to you that there is a possibility — once missed, you have missed it forever.

Gurdjieff created a great turmoil in a few intelligent people, and he put them to great work in finding themselves. I don’t agree with George Gurdjieff as far as his methods are concerned, but as far as this statement is concerned I agree totally. It is simply a psychological fact.

There are people who believe they are intelligent. In fact, it is very difficult to find somebody who believes he is unintelligent. If you can find somebody who believes he is unintelligent, there is a possibility for him to be intelligent. But for all those who already believe they are intelligent, you can’t help them. And certainly this whole humanity is not intelligent. Their actions show it, their behavior shows it, their misery shows it — it shows nothing but their retardedness.

But their belief is that they are geniuses — life is just not giving them the right opportunities to show their talents; otherwise, they could have been Picasso, or Sartre, or Bertrand Russell, or Martin Buber; there is no problem. It is just because life is preventing them; otherwise, they have everything. It is not so.

Now education is universal, particularly in advanced countries, but even universal education does not create universal geniuses. Everybody is educated but even that does not give you the same talent. Man is living in a kind of half-awake and half-asleep state, and it is very easy to believe that you are great – great in intelligence, great in beauty, great in everything — rather than finding greatness, creating greatness, because that will require effort, tremendous effort. And enlightenment is the ultimate intelligence. If you already believe you are intelligent, you have stopped yourself from growing.

Just watch exactly where you are. Be very impartial about judging yourself. See exactly, even if it hurts, that you are a slave — of some political ideology, of some religious theology, of some racial stupidity. Just watch and be very impartial and objective about yourself, and you will find what Gurdjieff calls your prisons. And once you recognize your prisons, it is not difficult to get out, because they are your own creations.

Bernstein died and went to hell. The receptionist asked, “Where do you want to go?”

“Do I have a choice?” asked the surprised Bernstein.

“Certainly! This anteroom is surrounded by closed doors. Just listen at each one and decide which you want to enter.”

Bernstein listened at the first door and heard horrible shrieks of agony. He went to the second, then the third — always hearing screams, cries, and yells. Finally, at the seventh door, he heard nothing but gentle murmuring.

He said quickly, “I’ll take this one.”

The door was flung open and he was propelled inside. He found himself up to his lower lip in a vast sea of shit. With him were millions of others, standing on tiptoe, muttering, “Don’t make waves! Don’t make waves!”

Whatever you have made your life is your own choice. Even in hell you have a choice – everywhere you have a choice. Your life is your own creation. Once you recognize it, then every change is possible.

Churchill’s commentary on man was: “Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.” Man is a very strange animal, strangest of all the animals you see. He goes on believing in things which are not, he goes on believing in things which he has not. He never makes any effort, even in finding one very fundamental thing: who he is, from where he comes, and what is his destiny, where he is going.

People discuss all kinds of things, and people read about all kinds of things, but generally they never bother about themselves. It seems they take themselves for granted, and that’s what Gurdjieff wants to stop: Don’t take yourself for granted. Look inside, search for who you are, and whether you are or if there is just emptiness and something has to be done to bring the seed to sprout, to take care of the seed so that one day it can blossom.

Sinking uneasily into the depths of the psychiatrist’s couch, the patient sighed, “Doctor, I have a problem.” He loosened his collar and continued, “I’ve got one son in Harvard and another at Yale. I’ve just gifted them with twin Ferraris. I have a townhouse on upper Fifth Avenue, and a summer home at East Hampton, and a sprawling ranch in Venezuela.”

“Well,” smiled the psychiatrist, obviously impressed, “either I missed something or you really don’t have a problem.”

“Doc,” the harried chap croaked, “I only make seventy-five dollars a week.”

Naturally you will have problems! You make seventy-five dollars a week, and you imagine all these things: two Ferraris, two sons — one in Harvard, one in Yale — a townhouse, a house in the hills, a big ranch in Venezuela, and seventy-five dollars a week! People create their problems. People are utterly poor in their consciousness, and go on believing that the kingdom of God is within. In your poor consciousness, you can have only a very poor God — seventy-five dollars a week. Your God is as rich as your consciousness is, because the God is another name for your consciousness.

-Osho

Excerpt from The Invitation, Chapter Four

The Invitation

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.

 

Conscious While Dreaming – Osho

Will you please explain to us what are some of the other factors which can make one conscious while dreaming?

This is a significant question for all those who are interested in meditation, because meditation is really a transcending of the process of dreaming. You are constantly dreaming – not only in the night, not only while you are asleep; you are dreaming the whole day. This is the first point to be understood. While you are awake you are still dreaming.

Just close your eyes at any time of the day. Relax the body and you will feel that the dreaming is there. It never disappears; it is only suppressed by our daily activities. It is like the stars in the day. In the night you see the stars. In the day you cannot see them, but they are there always. They are simply suppressed by the sunlight.

If you go into a deep well, then you can see the stars in the sky even in the day. A certain darkness is needed to see the stars. So go into a deep well and look from the bottom, and you will be able to see the stars in the day also. The stars are there. It is not that in the night they are there and in the day they are not, they are always there. In the night you can see them easily. In the day you cannot see them because the sunlight becomes a barrier.

The same is true with dreaming. It is not that you dream while you are asleep. In sleep you can feel dreams easily because the activity of the day is no more there; thus that inner activity can be seen and felt. When you get up in the morning, the dreaming continues inside while you start acting on the outside.

This process of activity, of daily activity, simply suppresses the dreaming. The dreaming is there. Close your eyes, relax in an armchair, and suddenly you can feel: the stars are there; they have not gone anywhere. The dreams are there always. There is a continuous activity.

The second point. If the dreaming continues, you cannot be said to be really awake. In the night you are more asleep, in the day you are less asleep. The difference is relative, because if the dreaming is there you cannot be said to be really awake. Dreaming creates a film over the consciousness. This film becomes like smoke – you are surrounded by it. You cannot be really awake while you are dreaming, whether in the day or in the night. So the second thing: you can only be said to be awake when there is no dreaming at all.

We call Buddha the awakened one. What is this awakening? This awakening is really the cessation of inner dreaming. There is no dream inside. You move there, but there is no dream. It is as if there were no star in the sky; it has become pure space. When there is no dreaming, you become pure space.

This purity, this innocence, this non-dreaming consciousness, is what is known as enlightenment – the awakening. For centuries spirituality all over the world, East or West, has said that man is asleep. Jesus says this, Buddha says this, the Upanishads talk about this: man is asleep. So while you are asleep in the night you are just relatively more asleep; in the day you are less asleep. But spirituality says that man is asleep. This has to be understood.

What is meant by this? Gurdjieff, in this century, emphasized this fact that man is asleep. “In fact,” he said, “man is a sort of sleep. Everyone is deeply asleep.”

What is the reason for saying that? You cannot know, you cannot remember who you are. Do you know who you are? If you meet a person in the street and you ask him who he is and he cannot reply, what will you think? You will think that he is either mad, intoxicated, or just asleep. If he cannot answer who he is, what are you going to think about him? On the spiritual path everyone is like that. You cannot answer who you are.

This is the first meaning when Gurdjieff or Jesus or anyone says that man is asleep: you are not conscious about yourself. You do not know yourself; you have never met yourself. You know many things in the objective world, but you do not know the subject. Your state of mind is as if you had gone to see a film. On the screen the film is running, and you have become so absorbed in it that the only thing you know is the film, the story, whatsoever is appearing on the screen. Then if someone asks you who you are, you cannot say anything.

Dreaming is just the film – just the film! It is the mind reflecting the world. In the mirror of the mind the world is reflected; that is what dreaming is. And you are so deeply involved in it, so much identified with it, that you have completely forgotten who you are. This is what being asleep means: the dreamer is lost in the dreaming. You see everything except yourself; you feel everything except yourself; you know everything except yourself. This self-ignorance is the sleep. Unless dreaming ceases completely, you cannot awaken unto yourself.

You might have felt it sometimes while looking at a film for three hours, and suddenly the film stops and you come back to yourself. You remember that three hours have passed, you remember that it was just a film. You feel your tears… you have been weeping because the film was a tragedy to you, or you were laughing, or you were doing something else, and now you laugh about yourself. What nonsense you were doing! It was just a film, just a story. There was nothing on the screen – just a play of light and shadow, just an electrical play. Now you laugh: you have come back to yourself. But where were you for these three hours?

You were not at your center. You had moved completely to the periphery. There, where the film was moving, you had gone. You were not at your center; you were not with yourself. You were somewhere else.

This happens in dreaming; this is what our life is. The film is only for three hours, but this dreaming is running for lives and lives and lives. Even if suddenly the dreaming stops you will not be able to recognize who you are. Suddenly you will feel very faint, even afraid. You will try to move again into the film because that is known. You are acquainted with it; you are well adjusted to it.

For when the stopping of the dreaming happens there is a path, particularly in Zen, which is known as the path of sudden enlightenment. There are techniques in these one hundred and twelve methods, there are many techniques which can give you sudden awakening. But it can be too much, and you may not be capable of bearing it. You may just explode. You may die even, because you have lived with dreaming so long that you have no memory of who you are if there is no dreaming.

If this whole world should suddenly disappear and you alone are left, it would be such a great shock that you would die. The same would happen if suddenly all dreaming disappeared from the consciousness. Your world will disappear, because your world was your dreaming.

We are not really in the world. Rather, “the world” consists not of outside things to us, but of our dreams. So everyone lives in his own dream world.

Remember, it is not one world that we go on talking about. Geographically it is, but psychologically there are as many worlds as there are minds. Each mind is a world of its own. And if your dreaming disappears, your world disappears. Without dreams it is difficult for you to live. That is why sudden methods are not used generally, only gradual methods are used.

It is good to note this: gradual methods are used not because there is any need of gradual processes. You can suddenly jump into realization this very moment. There is no barrier; there has never been any barrier. You are already that realization, you can jump this very moment. But that may prove dangerous, fatal. You may not be capable of bearing it. It is going to be too much for you.

You are attuned only to false dreams. Reality you cannot face; you cannot encounter it. You are a hothouse plant – you live in your dreams. They help you in many ways. They are not just dreams, for you they are the reality.

Gradual methods are used not because realization needs time. Realization needs no time! Realization needs no time at all. Realization is not something to be attained in the future, but with gradual methods you will attain it in the future. So what are the gradual methods doing? They are not really helping you to “realize realization,” they are helping you to bear it. They are making you capable, strong, so that when the happening happens you can bear it.

There are seven methods through which immediately you can force your way into enlightenment. But you will not be capable of bearing it. You may go blind – too much of light. Or you may suddenly die – too much of bliss.

This dreaming, this deep sleep we are in, how can it be transcended? This question is meaningful in transcending it:

Will you please explain to us what are some of the other factors which can make one conscious while dreaming?

I will talk about two methods more. One we discussed yesterday. Today, two more that are even easier.

One is to start acting, behaving as if the whole world is just a dream. Whatsoever you are doing, remember this is a dream. While eating, remember this is a dream. While walking, remember this is a dream. Let your mind continuously remember while you are awake that everything is a dream. This is the reason for calling the world maya, illusion, dream. This is not a philosophical argument.

Unfortunately, when Shankara was translated into English, German and French, into Western languages, he was understood to be just a philosopher. That has created much misunderstanding. In the West there are philosophers – for example, Berkeley – who say that the world is just a dream, a projection of the mind. But this is a philosophical theory. Berkeley proposes it as an hypothesis.

When Shankara says that the world is a dream it is not philosophical, not a theory. Shankara proposes it as a help, as a support for a particular meditation. And this is the meditation: if you want to remember while dreaming that this is a dream, you will have to start while you are awake. Normally, while you are dreaming you cannot remember that this is a dream; you think that this is a reality.

Why do you think that this is a reality? Because the whole day you are thinking everything is a reality. That has become the attitude, a fixed attitude. While awake you were taking a bath – it was real. While awake you were eating – it was real. While awake you were talking with a friend – it was real. For the whole day, the whole life, whatsoever you are thinking, your attitude is that this is real. This becomes fixed. This becomes a fixed attitude in the mind.

So while you are dreaming in the night, the same attitude goes on working, that this is real. So let us first analyze. There must be some similarity between dreaming and reality; otherwise this attitude would be somewhat difficult.

I am seeing you. Then I close my eyes and I go into a dream, and I see you in my dream. In both seeings there is no difference. While I am actually seeing you, what am I doing? Your picture is reflected in my eyes. I am not seeing you. Your picture is mirrored in my eyes, and then that picture is transformed through mysterious processes – and science is still not in a position to say how. That picture is transformed chemically and carried somewhere inside the head, but science is still not able to say where – where exactly this thing happens. It is not happening in the eyes; the eyes are just windows. I am not seeing you with the eyes, I am seeing you through the eyes.

In the eyes you are reflected. You may be just a picture; you may be a reality, you may be a dream. Remember, dreams are three-dimensional. I can recognize a picture because a picture is two dimensional. Dreams are three-dimensional, so they look exactly like you. And the eyes cannot say whether whatsoever is seen is real or unreal. There is no way to judge; the eyes are not the judge.

Then the picture is transformed into chemical messages. Those chemical messages are like electrical waves; they go somewhere in the head. It is still unknown where the point is that the eyes come in contact with the surface of seeing. Just waves reach to me and then they are decoded. Then I again decode them, and in this way I know what is happening.

I am always inside, and you are always outside, and there is no meeting. So whether you are real or just a dream is a problem. Even this very moment, there is no way to judge whether I am dreaming or you are really here. Listening to me, how can you say that really you are listening to me, that you are not dreaming? There is no way. That is why the attitude which you maintain the whole day is carried over into the night. And while you are dreaming you take it as real.

Try the opposite; that is what Shankara means. He says that the whole world is an illusion, he says the whole world is a dreaming – remember this. But we are stupid people. If Shankara says, “This is a dream,” then we say, “What is the need to do anything? If this is just a dream, then there is no need to eat. Why go on eating and thinking that this is a dream? Don’t eat!” But then remember – when you feel hunger, it is a dream. Or eat, and when you feel that you have eaten too much, remember, this is a dream.

Shankara is not telling you to change the dream, remember, because the effort to change the dream is again falsely based on the belief that it is real; otherwise there is no need to change anything. Shankara is just saying that whatever is the case is a dream.

Remember this: do not do anything to change it, just remember it constantly. Try to remember for three weeks continuously that whatsoever you are doing it is just a dream. In the beginning it is very difficult. You will fall again and again into the old pattern of the mind, you will start thinking that this is a reality. You will have to constantly awaken yourself to remind yourself that “This is a dream.” If for three weeks continuously you can maintain this attitude, then in the fourth or fifth week, any night while dreaming you will suddenly remember that “This is a dream.”

This is one way to penetrate dreams with consciousness, with awareness. If you can remember in the night while dreaming that this is a dream, then in the day you will not need any effort to remember that this is also a dream. You will know it then.

In the beginning, while you are practicing this, it will be just a make-believe. You start just in faith… “This is a dream.” But when you can remember in dreaming that this is a dream, it will become a reality. Then in the day, when you get up you will not feel that you are getting up from sleep, you will feel you are simply getting up from one dreaming to another. Then it will become a reality. And if the whole twenty-four hours becomes dreaming, and you can feel and remember it, you will be standing at your center. Then your consciousness will have become double-arrowed.

You are feeling dreams, and if you are feeling them as dreams you will start to feel the dreamer – the subject. If you take dreams as real, you cannot feel the subject. If the film has become real, you forget yourself. When the film stops and you know that it was unreal, your reality erupts, breaks out; you can feel yourself. This is one way.

This has been one of the oldest Indian methods. That is why we have insisted on the world being unreal. We do not mean it philosophically; we do not say that this house is unreal so you can pass through the walls. We do not mean that! When we say that this house is unreal, it is a device. This is not an argument against the house.

So Berkeley proposed that the whole world is just a dream. One day, in the morning, he was walking with Dr. Johnson. Dr. Johnson was a hardened realist, so Berkeley said, “Have you heard about my theory? I am working on it. I feel that the whole world is unreal, and it cannot be proved that it is real. And the burden of proving it is on those who say that it is real. I say it is unreal – just like dreams. Johnson was not a philosopher, but he had a very astute logical mind.

They are on the street, just walking in the morning on a lonely street. Johnson then takes one stone in his hand and hits Berkeley’s leg. Blood oozes out, and Berkeley screams. Johnson says, “Why are you screaming if the stone is just a dream? Whatsoever you say, you believe in the reality of the stone. What you are saying is one thing, and your behavior is something different and contrary. If your house is just a dream, then to where are you returning? Where are you returning after the morning walk? If your wife is just a dream, you will not meet her again.”

Realists have always argued this way, but they cannot argue this way with Shankara because his is not a philosophical theory. It is not saying anything about the reality; it is not proposing anything about the universe. Rather, it is a device to change your mind, to change the basic fixed attitude so that you can look at the world in a different, an altogether different way.

This is a problem, continuously a problem for Indian thought – because for Indian thought everything is just a device for meditation. We are not concerned about its being true or untrue. We are concerned about its utility in transforming man.

This is emphatically different from the Western mind. When they propose a theory they are concerned with whether this is true or untrue, whether this can be proved logically or not. When we propose anything we are not concerned about its truth; we are concerned about its utility, we are concerned about its capacity, its capability to transform the human mind. It may be true, it may not be true. Really, it is neither – it is simply a device.

I have seen flowers outside. In the morning the sun rises and everything is just beautiful. You have never been outside, and you have never seen flowers, and you have never seen the morning sun. You have never seen the open sky; you do not know what beauty is. You have lived in a closed prison. I want to lead you out. I want you to come out under the open sky to meet these flowers. How am I to do it?

You do not know flowers. If I talk about flowers, you think, “He has gone mad. There are no flowers.” If I talk about the morning sun, you think, “He is a visionary. He sees visions and dreams. He is a poet.” If I talk about the open sky, you will laugh. You will start laughing, “Where is the open sky? There are only walls and walls and walls.”

So what am I to do? I must devise something which you can understand and which helps you to go out, so I say that the house is on fire and I start running. It becomes infectious: you run after me and go out. Then you will know that what I said was neither true nor false. It was just a device. Then you will know flowers and then you can forgive me.

Buddha was doing that, Mahavir was doing that, Shiva was doing that, Shankara was doing that. We can forgive them later on. We have always forgiven them because once we go out we know what they were doing. And then we understand that it was useless to argue with them because it was not a question of arguing. The fire was nowhere, but we could not understand only that language. Flowers were, but we could not understand the language of the flowers, those symbols were meaningless for us.

So this is one way. Then there is a second method at the other pole. This method makes one pole; the other method makes another pole of the same thing. One method is to start feeling, remembering, that everything is a dream. The other is not to think anything about the world, but just to go on remembering that you are.

Gurdjieff used this second method. This second method comes from the Sufi tradition, from Islam. They worked on it very deeply. Remember “I am” – whatsoever you are doing. You are drinking water, you are eating your food – remember, “I am.” Go on eating and go on remembering, “I am, I am.” Do not forget it! It is difficult because you already think that you know you are, so what is the need to go on remembering this? You never remember it, but it is a very, very potential technique.

When walking remember, “I am.” Let the walking be there, go on walking, but be constantly fixed in this self-remembering of “I am, I am, I am.” Do not forget this. You are listening to me – just do it here. You are listening to me. Do not be so much merged, involved, identified. Whatsoever I am saying, remember, go on remembering. Listening is there, words are there, someone is talking, you are – “I am, I am, I am.” Let this “I am” be a constant factor of awareness.

It is very difficult. You cannot remember continuously even for a single minute. Try it. Put your watch before your eyes and look at the hands moving. One second, two seconds, three seconds… go on looking at it. Do two things: look at the movement of the hand which is showing seconds, and continuously remember “I am, I am.” With every second go on remembering “I am.” Within five or six seconds you will feel that you have forgotten. Suddenly you will remember that “Many seconds have passed and I have not remembered ‘I am.’”

Even to remember for one complete minute is a miracle. And if you can remember for one minute, the technique is for you. Then do it. Through it you will be capable of going beyond dreams and of knowing that dreams are dreams.

How does it work? If the whole day you can remember “I am,” then this will penetrate your sleep also. And when you will be dreaming, continuously you will remember, “I am.” If you can remember “I am” in the dream, suddenly the dream becomes just a dream. Then the dream cannot deceive you, then the dream cannot be felt as reality. This is the mechanism: the dream is felt as reality because you are missing the self-remembering; you are missing ”I am.” If there is no remembering of oneself, then the dream becomes reality. If there is the remembering of oneself, then reality, the so-called reality, becomes just a dream.

This is the difference between dreaming and reality. For a meditative mind, or for the science of meditation, this is the only difference. If you are, then the whole reality is just a dream. If you are not, then the dreaming becomes reality.

Nagarjuna says, “Now I am, for the world is not. While I was not, the world was. Only one can exist.” That doesn’t mean that the world has disappeared. Nagarjuna is not talking about this world, he is talking about the world of dreaming. Either you can be or the dreams can be – both cannot be.

So the first step will be to continue remembering ”I am” constantly; simply, ”I am.” Do not say “Ram,” do not say “Shyam.” Do not use any name, because you are not that. Simply use, “I am.”

Try it in any activity and then feel it. The more real you become inside, the more unreal becomes the surrounding world. The reality becomes “I”, and the world becomes unreal. The world is real or the “I” is real – both cannot be real. You are feeling that you are just a dream now; then the world is real. Change the emphasis. Become real, and the world will become unreal.

Gurdjieff worked on this method continuously. His chief disciple, P. D. Ouspensky, relates that when Gurdjieff was working on him with this method, and he was practicing for three months continuously this remembering of “I am, I am, I am,” after three months everything stopped. Thoughts, dreaming, everything stopped. Only one note remained inside like eternal music: “I am, I am, I am, I am.” But then this was not an effort. This was a spontaneous activity going on: “I am.” Then Gurdjieff called Ouspensky out of the house. For three months he had been kept in the house and wasn’t allowed to move out.

Then Gurdjieff said, “Come with me.” They were residing in a Russian town, Tiflis. Gurdjieff called him out and they went into the street. Ouspensky writes in his diary, “For the first time I could understand what Jesus meant when he said that man is asleep. The whole city looked to me as if it was asleep. People were moving in their sleep; shopkeepers were selling in their sleep; customers were buying in their sleep. The whole city was asleep. I looked at Gurdjieff: only he was awake. The whole city was asleep. They were angry, they were fighting, they were loving, buying, selling, doing everything.”

Ouspensky says, “Now I could see their faces, their eyes: they were asleep. They were not there. The inner center was missing; it was not there.” Ouspensky said to Gurdjieff, “I do not want to go there anymore. What has happened to the city? Everyone seems asleep, drugged.”

Gurdjieff said, “Nothing has happened to the city, something has happened to you. You have been undrugged; the city is the same. It is the same place you moved around in three months ago, but you couldn’t see that other people are asleep because you were also asleep. Now you can see because a certain quality of awareness has come to you. With three months of practising “I am” continuously, you have become aware in a very small measure. You have become aware! A part of your consciousness has gone beyond dreaming. That is why you can see that everyone is asleep, dead, moving, drugged, as if hypnotized.”

Ouspensky says, “I couldn’t bear that phenomenon – everyone asleep! Whatsoever they are doing, they are not responsible for it. They are not! How can they be responsible?” He came back and he asked Gurdjieff, “What is this? Am I deceived somehow? Have you done something to me that the whole city seems asleep? I cannot believe my own eyes.”

But this will happen to anyone. If you can remember yourself, then you will know that no one is remembering himself, and in this way each goes on moving. The whole world is asleep. But start while you are awake. Any moment that you remember, start “I am.”

 

I do not mean that you have to repeat the words “I am,” rather, have the feeling. Taking a bath, feel ”I am.” Let there be the touch of the cold shower, and let yourself be there behind, feeling it and remembering “I am.” Remember, I am not saying that verbally you have to repeat “I am.” You can repeat it, but that repetition will not give you awareness. Repetition may even create more sleep. There are many people who are repeating many things. They go on repeating “Ram, Ram, Ram…” and if they are just repeating without awareness then this ”Ram, Ram, Ram…” becomes a drug. They can sleep well through it.

That is why Mahesh Yogi has so much appeal in the West, because he is giving mantras for people to repeat. And in the West sleep has become one of the most serious problems. Sleep is totally disturbed. Natural sleep has disappeared. Only through tranquilizers and drugs can you sleep; otherwise sleep has become impossible. This is the reason for Mahesh Yogi’s appeal. It is because if you constantly repeat something, that repetition gives you deep sleep; that is all.

So the so-called transcendental meditation is nothing but a psychological tranquilizer. It is nothing – just a tranquilizer. It helps, but it is good for sleep, not for meditation. You can sleep well, a more calm sleep will be there. It is good, but it is not meditation at all. If you repeat a word constantly it creates a certain boredom, and boredom is good for sleep.

So anything monotonous, repetitive can help sleep. The child in the mother’s womb sleeps for nine months continuously, and the reason for this you may not know. The reason is only the “tick-tock, tick-tock” of the heart of the mother. Continuously there is the beat, the heartbeat. It is one of the most monotonous things in the world. With the same beat continuously repeating, the child is drugged. He goes on sleeping.

That is why whenever the child is crying, screaming, creating any problem, the mother puts his head near her heart. Then suddenly he feels good and goes into sleep. Again it is due to the heartbeat. He becomes again a part of the womb. That is why even if you are not a child and your wife, your beloved puts your head on her heart, you will feel sleepy from the monotonous beat.

Psychologists suggest that if you cannot sleep, then concentrate on the clock. Just concentrate on the clock’s tick-tock, tick-tock. It repeats the heartbeat, and you can fall asleep. Anything repetitive will help.

So this “I am,” the remembering of “I am,” is not a verbal mantra. It is not going to be repeated verbally – feel it! Be sensitive to your being. When you touch someone’s hand do not only touch his hand, feel your touch also, feel yourself also – that you are here in this touch, present totally. While eating, do not only eat, feel yourself eating as well. This feeling, this sensitivity must penetrate deeper and deeper into your mind.

One day, suddenly, you are awake at your center, functioning for the first time. And then the whole world becomes a dream, then you can know that your dreaming is a dreaming. And when you know that your dreaming is a dreaming, dreaming stops. It can continue only if it is felt as real. It is stopped if it is felt as unreal.

And once dreaming stops in you, you are a different man. The old man is dead; the sleepy man is dead. That human being which you were, you are no more. For the first time you become aware; for the first time in the whole world that is asleep, you are awake. You become a buddha, an awakened one.

With this awakening there is no misery, after this awakening there is no death, through this awakening there is no more fear. You become for the first time free of everything. To be free of sleep, to be free of dreaming, is to be free of everything. You attain freedom. Hate, anger, greed disappear. You become just love. Not loving, you become just love!

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Chapter Six

The Book of Secrets

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.

 

 

 

Mind is the Whole Problem – Osho

The darkness seems so deep, my eyes covered in a haze, my mind never ending noise – except for those moments I am with you – swirling around and around. The light is there but seems so far away in all this darkness. Sometimes I wonder if I am going to make it. Beloved Master, I cannot find the door.

Don’t be worried. You don’t need to find the door, because you are outside the door! You are never inside; you only believe you are inside. Existentially, you are always outside. The moment you understand that you are out – it was just an idea that you were in – the faraway light is no longer far away; it is you. And the darkness that surrounds you is not found anymore.

But the basic thing is to realize that you are already outside the door. There is no way for you to be inside the door. That’s what I was saying: watchfulness is not part of the mind and cannot be part of the mind.

Mind cannot be a witness.

Mind is the darkness.

Mind is the whole problem, and the solution is just outside the door waiting for you to recognize that you are not in, you are out.

Witnessing the content of your mind, the moment comes when you suddenly become aware of your being always out – even in the darkest nights that have passed you were not in. Such a great joy descends over you that it is existentially impossible for you to get in. It is good that you are not finding the door; otherwise you will get in!

There is no door. Mind remains in; you remain out. Neither the mind can come out nor you can come in. But the attachment with the mind is possible without any door. The identification with the mind is possible without any door.

You have just forgotten yourself.

Nothing is lost, nothing is missing, nothing has to be found. Just remember. A simple remembering – the simplest things are very difficult, that’s true – and this is the most simple thing.

None of the problems are yours. As far as you are concerned, no problem can enter in you, but you can get identified with something which is not you.

I remember a story. A man’s house caught fire. The house was on fire, and it had taken the man’s whole life’s effort to make that beautiful place. Thousands of people had gathered, but there was nothing that could be done. The fire had become so big. And you can understand that man: tears were coming from his eyes. It was his whole life burning in front of him. And then suddenly his son came running and he said, “Dad, why are you worried? We sold the house yesterday. You were out… but we have sold the house. It is now for somebody else to cry and weep, not for you. And we have got enough profit out of it.”

The man immediately wiped away his tears and became just a spectator like the others were spectators. The identity, the invisible identity, ”It is my house,” was no longer there. There was no pain, there was no misery, there was no problem at all. And he was really happy in a way: “Now we can make a better house.” He was feeling relieved; the house was burning, and he was feeling relieved.

And then a second son came running. He said, “It is true that we had negotiated the sale, but the papers were not signed and the money has not been transferred. So it is our house that is burning, and you are looking at it as if you are just a spectator!” Again those tears were flowing and again the heart was breaking. And nothing has visibly changed: the house is burning, the man is standing there. But these people who are bringing messages are changing everything! When he becomes identified, he is burning with the house. When he gets unidentified, he is relieved and he has nothing to do with the house; it is somebody else’s house.

The only thing to be remembered is that you are already out, and by nature there is no way for you to be in. You can believe, you can imagine… still you will be outside. Sitting on the steps of your house you are trying to find the door to go out. You will never find it, it is not there; the whole sky is available. You just stand up and walk in any direction; there is no need of opening any door.

But your attachment, your identification, is with the mind, which is in and which cannot come out. It cannot exist in the light. Now this is the situation: witnessing is always out and cannot enter in; it can exist only in the light, it cannot exist in darkness. Mind is always in; it can exist only in darkness, it cannot exist in light.

Between these two absolutely different things you are having an identification, an attachment, that is creating the trouble for you.

So just remember: you are outside. If you cannot do it suddenly, do it slowly, part by part. When anger is there, watch it, and you will find anger is in and you are out.

When Gurdjieff’s father died Gurdjieff was only nine years old. The father was poor. He called Gurdjieff close to him and told him, “I have nothing to give you as your inheritance. I am poor, and my father was also poor, but he gave me one thing that made me the richest man in the world, although the outside poverty remained. I can only transfer the same to you.

“It is some advice. Perhaps you are too young and you may not be able to do it right now, but remember it. When you are able to act according to the advice, act according to it. The advice is simple. I will repeat it, and because I am dying, listen carefully and repeat in front of me what I have said so I can die satisfied that I have transferred the message that may have come down from father to son for centuries.”

The message was simple. The father said, “If somebody insults you, irritates you, annoys you, just tell him, ‘I have received your message, but I have promised my father that I will answer only after twenty-four hours. I know you are angry, I have understood it. I will come after twenty-four hours and answer you.’ And the same with anything. Give a gap of twenty-four hours.”

The nine-year-old boy repeated what the father said, and the father died, but because it was such a moment the message became engraved. As he repeated the message, the father said, “Good. My blessings will be with you, and now I can die peacefully.” He closed his eyes and died. And Gurdjieff, even though he was nine, started practicing what was given to him. Somebody would insult him, and he would say, “I will come after twenty-four hours to answer you because that’s what I have promised my dying father. Right now I cannot answer you.”

Somebody might beat him, and he would say, “You can beat me right now, but I cannot answer. After twenty-four hours I will come and answer you, because I have promised my dying father.” And later on he used to say to his disciples, “That simple message transformed me totally. The person was beating me but I was not going to react at that moment so there was no question except to watch. There was nothing I had to do: now the person was beating me, I just had to be a spectator. For twenty-four hours there was nothing to do.

“And watching the man created a new kind of crystallization in me. After twenty-four hours I could see more clearly. At the moment when he was beating me it was impossible to see clearly. My eyes were full of anger. If I was going to answer at that moment I would have wrestled with the man, I would have hit the man, and everything would have been an unconscious reaction.

“But after twenty-four hours I could think about it more calmly, more quietly. Either he was right – I had done something wrong and I needed, deserved, to be beaten, to be insulted – or he was absolutely wrong. If he was right, there was nothing to say to him except to go and give him thanks. If he was absolutely wrong… then there was no point at all in fighting with a man who is utterly stupid and goes on doing such wrong things. It is meaningless, it is wasting time. He does not deserve any answer.”

So after twenty-four hours everything settled down and a clarity was there. And with that clarity and the watchfulness of the moment, Gurdjieff changed into one of the most unique beings of this age. And this was the basic foundation of the whole crystallization of his being.

You are always outside.

Just watch.

The mind is always inside. Don’t be identified with it. Unidentified, you will become more and more clear, and the mind will die on its own accord.

The death of the mind and the birth of watchfulness is the beginning of your evolution. And the light will not be far away – it is the light. The darkness will be gone, because when you are light, darkness cannot be around you. That’s why I said that watchfulness is not a technique, it is your nature. Just remember it.

-Osho

From The Path of the Mystic, Chapter Twelve

Path of the MysticCopyright© 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.

 

 

Entering Into Your Veryness – Osho

Is this just my refusal to grow up? Am I fooling myself? Are we all to embrace the Zen Manifesto no matter what ‘type’ we feel we are?

There is no question of type. All types are just superficial. At the innermost core there is only one existence. The Zen Manifesto is not for a particular type, it is for all – for men and for women, and for black and white, and for Hindu and Mohammedan, and for Christian and Buddhist. It does not matter what kind of conditioning you have been brought up in, Zen is simply a technique of entering into your veryness. The entrance is so deep that nothing remains, and all is found.

Gurdjieff has written a book, All and Nothing. I would like to withdraw the word ‘and’, because all is nothing; there is no question of ‘and’. Whatever type you are – introvert, extrovert – it does not matter, you are all part of the same existence. And when you relax into existence, all your differences disappear; only oneness remains. You can call that oneness whatever you like, but basically it is nothingness. You can give it any color; you can call it by any name, but don’t start calling it by another name from the beginning, because that can take you astray. Somebody may think that he can call it God, then he will start worshipping a God which is man manufactured.

For the beginner, “nothing” is the most secure path to avoid the mind playing games. “Nothing” is beyond the reaches of the mind, so it cannot play games with it. But anything else you name it, mind is capable of playing games with it.

The whole effort of meditation is not to allow the mind to play games. It has been playing games for centuries. One has to come to the point of seeing all the games of the mind: all the gods, all the messiahs, all the prophets, all the religions, all the philosophies.

Existence is available to a silent being, not to the learned, not to the well informed, not to the scholar. It is available to the innocent, and meditation is a way of becoming innocent again. Getting back your childhood, being reborn, knowing nothing, a silence, a joy, a blissfulness arises which is indestructible, which is eternal.

-Osho

From The Zen Manifesto: Freedom from Oneself, Chapter Seven    The Zen Manifesto

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 Head and the Heart – Osho

How is it possible that Gurdjieff needed another head, an Ouspensky, to work on a third psychology, the psychology of the buddhas, while you work by yourself and you can be both in the state of mind and no-mind?

There have been two kinds of Masters in the world. One kind, the first, has always needed somebody else to express, to interpret, to philosophize, to communicate what the Master has experienced. Gurdjieff is not alone in that; he needed P.D. Ouspensky – without Ouspensky he would not have been known at all. Ramakrishna comes in the same category; he needed a Vivekananda – without Vivekananda Ramakrishna would have remained absolutely unheard of.

So has been the case with many Masters, for the simple reason that their whole work concerned the heart center. They became crystallized in the heart center – so much so that it was impossible for them to move to the head and to use their own heads. It appeared far easier for them to use somebody else’s head rather than their own.

But there was a difficulty in it. One thing was good about it: the Master himself was not constantly moving between two extremes from mind to no-mind, from no-mind to mind – there was no movement in his being; he was absolutely crystallized. But another kind of trouble was there: the man who was being used as a medium – Ouspensky, Vivekananda, or others – was himself not an enlightened person. Gurdjieff could use Ouspensky’s head, but not exactly the way he would have liked to. Ouspensky’s own mind was bound to color Gurdjieff’s experience; he was bound to bring his own prejudices, his own philosophy, his own understanding to it. He had no experience of his own, he was simply a medium. But the medium is not just an empty vehicle, he has his own mind, and anything passing through his mind is going to be changed a little bit here, a little bit there.

Ouspensky introduced Gurdjieff to the world, but he introduced Gurdjieff in his own way. One cannot blame Ouspensky. What could he do? He tried his best. I think he was one of the best interpreters that any Master has ever been able to find; but still an interpreter is an interpreter. It can’t be the same; it is impossible to be the same. Hence sooner or later they had to part from each other.

In the last days of Ouspensky’s life he became almost an enemy to Gurdjieff. He started saying, “Now Gurdjieff has gone mad. At first he was moving in the right direction, but the later Gurdjieff has gone astray.” He could not say that the whole of Gurdjieff’s teaching was wrong because his own teaching was based on Gurdjieff’s teaching, but he divided Gurdjieff in two: the first part of Gurdjieff – when Ouspensky was with him – was right and the later part was wrong. In fact, the later part was the culmination of the first part.

But why did this happen? It was almost bound to happen because sooner or later Ouspensky’s own mind was going to become a barrier. When he first came to Gurdjieff he was absolutely surrendered to him – surrendered in the sense that he was fascinated by his personality, fascinated intellectually – because he was a great intellectual – absolutely surrendered in the intellectual sense, not in the existential sense. If he had been existentially surrendered he would have been of no use because Gurdjieff needed a head, he was in search of a head. He had many other followers who were devoted to him from their very innermost core, but they were not going to become his interpreters to the world.

When Ouspensky came to Gurdjieff he was already a world-famous mathematician, a philosopher. His own book, Tertium Organum, had already been translated into almost all the great languages of the world. And that book, Tertium Organum, is really something tremendous; coming out of a man who was unenlightened it is almost a miracle. Intellectually he managed something which nobody has ever been able to manage. He knew nothing, he had not experienced anything, but his intellectual grasp… his intellect was really sharp. He belongs to the topmost intellectuals of the whole history of humanity; there are very few competitors to rival him. Only once in a while….

Socrates had such a man, Plato. Socrates was the heart of the teaching, Plato was the head.

Exactly the same was repeated in the case of Gurdjieff: Gurdjieff was the heart, Ouspensky became the head. And if I have to choose between the two my choice will be Ouspensky, not Plato. Ouspensky is simply unbelievable; his insight, without any self-realization, is so accurate that anybody who has not experienced will think that Ouspensky was a Buddha, a Christ. Only a Buddha will be able to detect the flaws, not anyone else. The flaws are there but ordinarily undetectable.

He started writing books on Gurdjieff. He wrote one of his greatest contributions, In Search of the Miraculous, then he wrote The Fourth Way. And these two books introduced Gurdjieff to the world; otherwise, he would have remained an absolutely unknown Master. Maybe a few people would have come in personal contact with him and would have been benefited, but Ouspensky made him available to millions.

But as those books spread all over the world and thousands of people started moving towards Gurdjieff, Ouspensky also became very egoistic – naturally, because he was the cause of the whole thing. In fact, he started thinking, “Without me, what is Gurdjieff? Who is Gurdjieff without me? Who was he? When I met him he was just a refugee living in a refugee camp in Constantinople, almost starving. Nobody had ever heard about him. I have made him world famous; the whole credit goes to me.” This idea went to his head – it became too much for him – and in subtle ways he started to dominate the movement. And you cannot dominate a man like Gurdjieff, you cannot dictate to a man like Gurdjieff. They had to part.

In the last days of his life Ouspensky was so against Gurdjieff that he would not tolerate anybody mentioning Gurdjieff’s name to him; in his presence Gurdjieff’s name was not mentioned. Even in his books Gurdjieff’s name was reduced to only “G”; the full name disappeared. After the break just “G” remained – somebody anonymous, “‘G’ said . . .,” not “Gurdjieff.” And he made it clear, very clear: “We have parted and I have developed my own system.” He started gathering his own followers. Those followers were not allowed to read Gurdjieff’s books, those followers were not allowed to go and see Gurdjieff. While Ouspensky was alive he was very suspicious of anybody who wanted to go to Gurdjieff or who even wanted to study his books.

But Gurdjieff was aware that this was going to happen. Still, there was no other way; some head had to be used. Gurdjieff’s work was such that he was absolutely crystallized in his heart; he could not move to the head.

So was the case with Ramakrishna. Vivekananda was an ordinary intellectual, not even of the caliber of Ouspensky, but he made Ramakrishna world famous. Ramakrishna died very early, that’s why Vivekananda and Ramakrishna never parted; otherwise the parting was absolutely certain. But Ramakrishna died and Vivekananda became his whole and sole representative. He dominated all the followers, he dominated the whole movement; he became for them the representative of Ramakrishna. If Ramakrishna had lived, the same thing would have happened sooner or later because Vivekananda was just head and nothing else, nothing of the heart. Even if he talks about the heart it is just head-talk, the head talking about the heart, it is not heart-full. There is no love in it, there is no meditation in it, there is no prayer in it, just intellectual analysis. He knew the scriptures and he forced his ideas on Ramakrishna’s ideas. And Ramakrishna had died so there was nobody to say no to it.

Vivekananda destroyed the whole beauty of Ramakrishna. But that was going to happen because Ramakrishna was not a man of the head at all.

But this has not always been the case. Buddha never depended on anybody else. He was capable of moving from mind to no-mind, from no-mind to mind; that is his greatness. That is a far greater achievement than that of Gurdjieff or Ramakrishna because their achievements are in a way limited. Buddha is very liquid; he is not solid like a rock, he is more fluid – like a river.

So was the case with Lao Tzu: he never depended on anybody else, he said whatever he had to say. He said it himself, and as beautifully as it could be said. And their philosophies are bound to be far more pure because they come from the original man, they come from the original realization, from the very source; there is no via media. So is the case with Zarathustra, Jesus, Krishna, Mahavira.

This is the second category of Masters. The first category is easier in a way; it is easy to be crystallized at one center. It is a far more complex process, a longer and far more arduous journey, to remain alive at both extremes. These are the two extremes: the head and the heart. But it is possible. It has happened before. It is happening right now in front of you.

I live in silence, but my work consists of much intellectual communication. I live in silence, but I have to use words. But when I use words, those words contain my silence. I don’t need anybody else to interpret me; hence there is a far greater possibility that whatsoever I am saying will remain pure for a longer period of time.

And now, since Buddha, many scientific developments have happened….

We don’t know what Buddha actually said although he never used anybody like Ouspensky or Plato or Vivekananda; he himself was his own interpreter. But there arose a problem when he died. He spoke for forty-two years – he became enlightened when he was about forty and then he lived to eighty-two. For forty-two years he was speaking morning, afternoon, evening. Now there were no scientific methods for recording what he was saying. When he died the first question was how to collect it all. He had said so much – forty-two years is a long time, and many had become enlightened in those forty-two years. But those who became enlightened had become crystallized in the heart because that is easier, simpler, and people tend to move to the simplest process, to the shortcut. Why bother? If you can reach a point directly, straight, then why go roundabout? And when Buddha was alive there was no need for anybody else to interpret him; he was his own spokesman, so the need was never felt.

There were thousands of arhats and bodhisattvas; they all gathered. Only those were called to the gathering who had become enlightened – obviously, because they would not misinterpret Buddha. And that’s true, they could not misinterpret him – it was impossible for them. They had also experienced the same universe of the beyond, they had also moved to the farther shore.

But they all said, “We have never bothered much about his words since we became enlightened. We have listened to him because his words were sweet. We have listened to him because his words were pure music. We have listened to him because just listening to him was a joy. We have listened to him because that was the only way to be close to him. Just to sit by his side and listen to him was a rejoicing, it was a benediction. But we did not bother about what he was saying; once we attained there was no need. We were not listening from the head and we were not collecting in the memory; our own heads and memories stopped functioning long ago.”

Somebody became enlightened thirty years before Buddha died. Now for thirty years he sat there by the side of Buddha listening as one listens to the wind passing through the pine trees or one listens to the song of the birds or one listens to the rain falling on the roof. But they were not listening intellectually. So they said, “We have not carried any memory of it. Whatsoever he must have said was beautiful, but what he said we cannot recollect. Just to be with him was such a joy.”

It was very difficult now – how to collect his words? The only man who had lived continuously with Buddha for forty-two years was Ananda; he was his personal attendant, his caretaker. He had listened to him, almost every word that he had uttered was heard by Ananda. Even if he was talking to somebody privately, Ananda was present. Ananda was almost always present, like a shadow. He had heard everything – whatsoever had fallen from his lips. And he must have said many things to Ananda when there was nobody there. They must have talked just on going to bed in the night.  Ananda used to sleep in the same room just to take care of him – he may need something in the night. He may feel cold, he may feel hot, he may like the window to be opened or closed, or he may feel thirsty and may need some water or something, or – he was getting old – he may feel sick. So Ananda was there continuously.

They all said, “We should ask Ananda.” But then there was a very great problem: Ananda was not yet enlightened. He had heard everything that Buddha uttered publicly, uttered privately. They must have gossiped together; there was nobody else who could have said, “I am friendly with Buddha,” except Ananda. And Ananda was also his cousin-brother, and not only a cousin-brother but two years older than Buddha. So when he had come to be initiated he asked for a few things before his initiation, because in India the elder brother has to be respected just like your father. Even the elder cousin-brother has to be respected just like your father.

So Ananda said to Buddha, “Before I take initiation…. Once I become your bhikkhu, your sannyasin, I will have to follow your orders, your commandments. Then whatsoever you say I will have to do. But before that I order you, as your elder brother, to grant me three things. Remember these three things. First: I will always be with you. You cannot say to me, ‘Ananda, go somewhere else, do something else.’ You cannot send me to some other village to preach, to convert people, to give your message. This is my first order to you. Second: I will be always present. Even if you are talking to somebody privately I want to hear everything. Whatsoever you are going to say in your life I want to be an audience to it. So you will not be able to tell me, ‘This is a private talk, you go out.’ I will not go, remember it! And thirdly: I am not much interested in being enlightened, I am much more interested in just being with you. So if enlightenment means separating from you I don’t care a bit about it. Only if I can remain with you even after enlightenment, am I willing to be enlightened, otherwise forget about it.”

And Buddha nodded his yes to all these three orders – he had to, he was younger than Ananda – and he followed those three things his whole life.

The conference of the arhats and the bodhisattvas decided that only Ananda could relate Buddha’s words. And he had a beautiful memory; he had listened to everything very attentively. ”But the problem is he is not yet enlightened; we cannot rely upon him. His mind may play tricks, his mind may change things unconsciously. He may not do it deliberately, he may not do it consciously, but he still has a great unconscious in him. He may think he has heard that Buddha said this and he may never have said it. He may delete a few words; he may add a few words. Who knows? And we don’t have any criterion because many things that he has heard only he has heard; there is no other witness.”

And Ananda was sitting outside the hall. The doors were closed and he was weeping outside on the steps. He was weeping because he was not allowed inside. An eighty-four-year-old man weeping like a child! The man who had lived for forty-two years with Buddha was not allowed in! Now he was really in anguish. Why did he not become enlightened? Why did he not insist7 He made a vow, a decision: “I will not move from these steps until I become enlightened.” He closed his eyes, he forgot the whole world. And it is said that within twenty-four hours, without changing his posture, he became enlightened.

When he became enlightened he was allowed in. Then he related… all these scriptures were related by Ananda. But who knows? He became enlightened afterwards. All those memories belong to the mind of an unenlightened person; even though he had become enlightened, those memories were not those of an enlightened person. It is not absolutely certain that what is reported is exactly what Buddha said.

But now science has given all the technology. Each single word – not only the word but the pauses in between – the very nuances of the words, the way they are uttered, the very gestures, all can be recorded. The words can be recorded, the gestures can be photographed, films can be made, tapes can be made.

Now the best way for any enlightened person is not to depend on anybody else, although that path is difficult, far more difficult, because you have to do two things together. You have to constantly shuttle back and forth, back and forth. You have to constantly go into wordlessness and come out from that emptiness into the world of words. It is a difficult phenomenon, the most difficult phenomenon in the whole of existence; because when you enter into silence it is so beautiful that to come back to the universe of words looks absurd, meaningless. It is as if you have reached to the sunlit peaks and then you come back to the dark holes where people live in the valley, the slums. When you have touched the sunlit peaks, when you can live there and you can float like a cloud in the infinite sky, to come back to the muddy earth, to crawl again with people who are living in mud seems to be very absurd. But there is no other way. If you have compassion enough you have to go into this difficult process.

It depends on many things too. It depends on the whole process by which a Master has reached through many lives. Ramakrishna was never an intellectual in any of his lives. A simple man – in this life he was a simple man. Even if he had wanted to it would have been impossible for him to become a Vivekananda too. It was easier to find somebody who could do that work.

Gurdjieff, when he was very young, only twelve years of age, became part of a party of seekers: thirty people who made a decision that they would go to the different parts of the world and find out whether truth was only talk or there were a few people who had known it. Just a twelve-year-old boy, but he was chosen to join the party for the simple reason that he had great stamina, he had great power. One thing was certain about him: whatsoever he decided, he would risk all for it. He would not look back, he would never escape even if he had to lose his life he would lose his life. And three times he was almost shot dead – almost, but he pulled himself back into life somehow; the purpose was still unfulfilled.

Those thirty people traveled all over the world. They came to India; they went to Tibet and the whole Middle East, all the Sufi monasteries, all the Himalayan monasteries. And they had decided to come back to a certain place in the Middle East and to relate whatsoever they had gained; after each twelve years they were going to meet. At the end of the first twelve years almost half of them did not return; they must have died somehow, or forgotten the mission, or become entangled somewhere. Somebody must have got married, fallen in love. A thousand and one things can happen – people are accident-prone. Only fifteen people returned. And after the next twelve years only three people came back. And the third time only Gurdjieff was there, all the others had disappeared. What happened to them nobody knows.

But this man had very great decisiveness: if he had decided then nothing was going to deter him. He was almost killed three times; the only thing that saved him was his mission, that he had to go back, and he pulled himself out of his death. It needed great inner power.

He had no time to become an intellectual. He was moving with mystics – from one monastery to another monastery, from one cave to another cave, from one country to another country. He came to India, he went to Tibet, he went up to Japan; he gathered knowledge from all over the world. By the time he himself became enlightened there was no time left for him to intellectualize it, to put it into words. He knew the taste, but the words were not there. He needed a man like Ouspensky.

My own approach has been totally different. I began as an intellectual – not only in this life but in many lives. My whole work in many lives has been concerned with the intellect – refining the intellect, sharpening the intellect. In this life I began as an atheist with an absolute denial of God.

You cannot be an atheist if you are not supra-intellectual, and I was an absolute atheist. People used to avoid me because I was doubting each and every thing and my doubt was contagious. Even my teachers would avoid me.

One of my teachers was dying; I went to see him. He said, “Please… I am happy that you have come, but don’t say a single word because this is not the time. I am dying and I want to die believing that God is.”

I said, “You cannot. Seeing me, the doubt has already arisen.’

He said, “What do you mean?”

And the thing started! Before he died, just after twelve hours, he died an atheist. And I was so happy! I had to work for twelve hours continuously. Out of desperation he said, “Okay, let me die peacefully. I say that there is no God. Are you happy? Now leave me alone!”

My university professors were always in difficulties. I was expelled from one college, then another, and then thrown out of one university. Finally one university admitted me with the condition – I had to sign it, a written condition – that I would not ask any questions and I would not argue with the professors.

I said okay. I signed it and the Vice-Chancellor was very happy. And I said, “Now, a few things. What do you mean by ‘argument’?”

He said, “Here you go!”

I said, ”I have not written that I would not ask for any clarification. I can ask for a clarification. What do you mean by an ‘argument’? And if I cannot ask a question, what is the point of your whole department of philosophy? – because all your philosophers ask questions. The whole of philosophy depends on doubt; doubt is the base of all philosophy. If I cannot doubt your stupid philosophers, your stupid professors, then how am I going to learn philosophy?”

He said, “Look at what you are saying! You are calling my professors, in front of me, stupid!”

I said, “They are stupid, otherwise why these conditions? Can you think of somebody being intelligent and asking his students not to question him? Is this a sign of intelligence? A professor will invite questions. An intelligent professor will be happy with a student who can argue well.”

That remained a problem. My whole approach from the very beginning was not that of a Ramakrishna. I am not a devotional type, not at all. I have arrived at God through atheism, not through theism. I have arrived at God not by believing in him but by absolutely doubting him. I have come to a certainty because I have doubted and I went on doubting till there was no possibility to doubt anymore, till I came across something indubitable. That has been my process.

That was not the process of Gurdjieff. He was learning from Masters, moving from one Master to another Master, learning techniques and methods and devices. He learned many devices, but he learned in a very surrendered spirit, that of a disciple.

I have never been anybody’s disciple; nobody has been my Master. In fact, nobody was ready to accept me as a disciple, because who would like to create trouble?

[…]

My whole approach has been a totally different approach than that of Ramakrishna and Gurdjieff. I have arrived through doubt; I have arrived through deep and profound skepticism. I have arrived not through belief but through the denial of all belief and disbelief too, because disbelief is belief in a negative form.

A moment came in my life when all beliefs and all disbeliefs disappeared and I was left utterly empty. In that emptiness the explosion happened. Hence it is not so difficult for me, so I can argue easily. I can even argue against argument; that’s what I am going to continue to do. I can argue against intellect because I know how to use intellect.

Ramakrishna had never used his intellect; he started from the heart. And the same is the case with Gurdjieff. Buddha could use the intellect because he was the son of a king, well educated, well cultured. All the great philosophers of the country were called to teach him; he knew what the intellectual approach was. And then he became fed up with it.

The same happened with me. I know what can be achieved through intellectual effort: nothing can be achieved through it. When I say it I say it through my own experience.

But it has been beautiful in one way. It did not result in giving me truth – it cannot give truth to anybody – but in an indirect way it has cleansed the ground, it has prepared the ground. It has not helped me to realize myself, but it has helped me to communicate whatsoever I have realized.

I can communicate with you very easily, with no problems. You can ask all kinds of questions, you can ask, you can doubt, because I know that all these questions and doubts can be quashed, they can be destroyed. And it is good that you should ask because then I can destroy your questions. Once all your questions are destroyed, the answer arises in your own being. In that utter emptiness something wells up; it is already there.

I am not in favor of repressing doubt by believing. You are not here to believe in me, you are here to bring out all your disbelief. Your doubts, your questions, all are respected, welcome, so that they can be taken out from you. Slowly, slowly a silence, a state of not-knowing arises. And the state of not-knowing is the state of wisdom, is the state of enlightenment.

-Osho

Excerpt from Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Chapter Eight

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.

Conscious Doing – Osho

As I look in your eyes I never see you there – as if you are absent. You exist absently, and this is the core of all suffering. You can be alive without being at all present, and if you are not present your existence will become a boredom. And this is what has happened. So when I look in your eyes I don’t find you there. You have yet to come, you have yet to be. The situation is there, and the possibility is there – you can be there any moment – but yet you are not.

To become aware of this absence is to begin the journey towards meditation, towards transcendent.

If you are aware that somehow you are missing… you exist but you don’t know why, you don’t know how, you don’t know even who exists within you. This unawareness creates all suffering, because, unknowingly, whatsoever you do will bring suffering. It is not what you do that is basic; it is whether you do it with your presence or with your absence that is significant.

Whatsoever you do, if you can do it with your total presence, your life will become ecstatic; it will be bliss. If you do something without your presence there, absently, your life will be a suffering – bound to be. Hell means your absence.

So there are two types of seekers: one type of seeker is always in search of what to do. That seeker is on a wrong path, because the question is not of doing at all. The question is of being – what to be, how to be. So never think in terms of action and doing, because whatsoever you do, if you are absent it will be meaningless.

Whether you move in the world or you live in a monastery; whether you function in the crowd or you move to an isolated spot in the Himalayas will make no difference. You will be absent here and you will be absent there, and whatsoever you do – in the crowd or in the isolation – will bring suffering.

If you are not there, then whatsoever you do is wrong.

The second type, and the right type of seeker, is not in search of what to do, he is in search of how to be. The first thing is how to be.

One man came to Gautam Buddha. He was filled with much compassion, with much sympathy, and he asked Gautam Buddha, ‘What can I do to help the world?’

Buddha is reported to have laughed and said to the man, ‘You cannot do anything because you are not. How can you do anything when you are not? So don’t think of the world. Don’t think of how to serve the world, how to help others.’ Buddha said, ‘First be – and if you are, then whatsoever you do becomes a service, it becomes a prayer, it becomes compassion. Your presence is the turning point. Your being is the revolution.’

So these are the two paths: the path of action and the path of meditation. They are diametrically opposite. The path of action is basically concerned with you as a doer. It will try to change your actions; it will try to change your character, your morals, your relationships, but never you. The path of meditation is diametrically opposite. It is not concerned with your actions; it is directly and immediately concerned with you. What you do is irrelevant. What you are is relevant. And that is basic and primary, because all action springs from you.

Remember, your actions can be changed and modified, can even be replaced by diametrically opposite actions, but they are not going to change you. Any outward change will not bring the inner revolution, because the outward is superficial and the innermost core remains untouched; by what you do it remains untouched. But the vice versa brings the revolution: if the innermost core is different, the surface automatically changes. So think a basic question; only then can we enter these techniques of meditation.

Don’t be concerned with what you are doing. That may be a trick, that maya be a device to escape from the real problem. For example, you are violent. You can make every effort to be non-violent, thinking that by being non-violent you will become religious; by becoming non-violent you will come closer to the divine. You are cruel, and you may make every effort to be compassionate.

You can do it, and nothing will change and you will remain the same. Your cruelty will become a part of your compassion – and that is more dangerous. Your violence will become a part of your non-violence – that is more subtle. You will be violently non-violent. Your non-violence will have all the madness of violence, and through your compassion you will be cruel.

You can even kill through your compassion; people have killed. There are so many religious wars – they are fought in the mood of compassion. You can kill very compassionately, very non-violently; lovingly you can kill and murder, because you are killing for the sake of the person you are killing. You are killing him for himself, for his own sake, to help him.

You can change your actions, and this effort to change the actions may be just a device to escape the basic change. The basic change is this – first you must be. You must become more alert, more conscious of your being; only then a presence comes to you.

You never feel yourself, and even sometimes when you feel, you feel through others – through excitement, through stimulation, through reaction. Someone else is needed, and via someone else you can feel yourself. This is absurd. Alone, without excitement, with no one there to become a mirror, you fall in sleep, you get bored. You never feel yourself. There is no presence. You live absently.

This absent existence is the non-religious mind. To become filled with your own presence, with the light of your own being, is to become religious. So remember this as a basic point: that my concern is not with your actions. What you do is irrelevant. What you are – absent, present, aware, unaware – that’s my concern. And these techniques we will enter are techniques to make you more present, to bring you here and now.

Either someone else is needed for you to feel yourself, or the past is needed – through the past, through past memories, you can feel your identity. Or the future is needed – you can project in your dreams. You can project your ideals, future lives, moksha. Either you need past memories to feel that you are, or you need a future projection, or someone else, but you alone are never enough. This is the disease, and unless you alone become enough, nothing will be enough for you. And once you alone have become enough unto yourself, you have become victorious, the struggle is over. Now there will be no suffering any more. A point of no return has come.

Beyond this point there is beatitude, eternal bliss. Before this point you are bound to suffer, but the whole suffering, strangely, is your own doing. It is a miracle that you create your own suffering. No one else is creating it. If someone else is creating it then it is difficult to go beyond it. If the world is creating it then what can you do? But because you can do, it means no one else is creating your suffering – it is your own nightmare. And these are the basic elements of it.

The first thing: you go on thinking that you are, you believe that you are. This is simply a belief. You have never encountered yourself, you have never come face to face with yourself; you have never met yourself, there has been no meeting. You simply believe that you are. Throw this belief totally.

Know well that you are yet to be, that you are not, because with this false belief you will never be able to transform. On this false belief your whole life will become false.

Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples, ‘Don’t ask me what to do. You cannot do anything, because to do something first you will be needed. And you are not there, so who will do it? You can think about doing, but you cannot do anything.’

These techniques are to help you, to bring you back; to help you to create a situation in which you can meet yourself. Much will have to be destroyed – all that is wrong, all that is false. Before the real arises the false will have to leave; it must cease. And these are the false notions – that you are.

These are the false notions – that you are a soul, atma, you are Brahma. Not that you are not, but these notions are false.

Gurdjieff had to insist that there is no soul in you. Against all the traditions he insisted, ‘Man has no soul. Soul is simply a possibility – it can be, it may not be. It has to be achieved. You are simply a seed.’

And this emphasis is good. The possibility is there, the potentiality is there, but it is not yet actual.

And we go on reading the Gita and the Upanishads and the Bible, and we go on feeling that we are the soul – the seed thinking that it is the tree. The tree is hidden there, but it is yet to be uncovered.

And it is good to remember that you may remain a seed, and you may die a seed – because the tree cannot come, the tree cannot sprout by itself. You have to do something consciously about it, because only through consciousness it grows.

There are two types of growth. One is unconscious, natural growth: if the situation is there, the thing will grow. But the soul, the atma, the innermost being, the divine within you, is a different type of growth altogether. It is only through consciousness that it grows. It is not natural, it is supernatural.

Left to nature itself it will not grow; just left to evolution it will never evolve. You have to do something consciously; you have to make a conscious effort about it, because only through consciousness it grows. Once the consciousness is focused there, the growth happens. These techniques are to make you more conscious.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Chapter 51   The Book of the Secrets

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you can find all of Shiva’s 112 Meditation Techniques.

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

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

All of Shiva’s 112 meditation techniques can be found here.

The Essential and the Accidental – Osho

The most fundamental religious truth is that man is asleep — not physically, but metaphysically; not apparently, but deep down. Man lives in a deep slumber. He works, he moves, he thinks, he imagines, he dreams, but the sleep continues as a basic substratum to his life. Rare are the moment when you feel really awake, very rare; they can be counted on the fingers. If in seventy years’ life you had only seven moments of awakening, that too will be too much.

Man lives like a robot: mechanically efficient, but with no awareness. Hence the whole problem! There are so many problems man has to face, but they are all by-products of his sleep.

So the first thing to be understood is what this sleep consists in — because Zen is an effort to become alert and awake. All religion is nothing but that: an effort to become more conscious, an effort to become more aware, an effort to bring more alertness, more attentiveness to your life.

All the religions of the world, in one way or other, emphasize that the sleep consists in deep identification or in attachment.

Man’s life has two layers to it: one is that of the essential, and another is that of the accidental. The essential is never born, never dies. The accidental is born, lives and dies. The essential is eternal, timeless; the accidental is just accidental. We become too much attached to the accidental and we tend to forget the essential.

A man becomes too much attached to money — money is accidental. It has nothing to do with essential life. A man becomes too much attached to his house or to his car, or to his wife, or to her husband, to children, to relationship. Relationship is accidental; it has nothing essential in it. It is not your real being. And in this century, the twentieth century, the problem has become too deep.

There are people who call the twentieth century ‘the accidental century’ — they are right

People are living too much identified with the non-essential: money, power, prestige, respectability. You will have to leave all that behind when you go. Even an Alexander has to go empty-handed.

I have heard:

A great mystic died. When he reached Paradise, he asked God, “Why was Jesus not born in the twentieth century?”

The Lord God started laughing and said, “Impossible! Impossible! Where would the twentieth century people ever find three wise men or a virgin?”

The twentieth century is the most accidental. By and by, man has become too much attached to ‘my’ and ‘mine’ — to possessions. And he has completely lost track of his being. He has completely lost track of ‘I’. ‘My’ has become more important. When ‘my’ becomes more important then you are getting attached to the accidental. When ‘I’ remains more important and ‘my’ remains just as a servant, then you are a master, then you are not a slave — then you live in a totally different way.

That’s what Zen people call the original face of man, where pure ‘I’ exists. This ‘I’ has nothing to do with the ego. Ego is nothing but the center of all the non-essential possessions that you have. Ego is nothing but the accumulated ‘my’ and ‘mine’ – my house, my car, my prestige, my religion, my scripture, my character, my morality, my family, my heritage, my tradition. All these ‘my’s’, all these ‘mines’, go on getting accumulated: they become crystallized as the ego.

When I am using the word ‘I’, I am using it in an absolutely non-egoistic sense. ‘I’ means your being.

Zen people say: Find out your face, the face you had before you were born; find out that face that you will again have when you are dead. Between birth and death, whatsoever you think is your face is accidental. You have seen it in a mirror; you have not felt it from the within — you have looked for it in the without. Do you know your original face? You know only the face your mirror shows to you. And all our relationships are just mirrors. The husband says to the wife, “You are beautiful!” and she starts thinking she is beautiful. Somebody comes, buttresses you, says, “You are very wise, intelligent, a genius!” and you start believing in it. Or somebody condemns you, hates you, is angry about you. You don’t accept what he says, but still, deep down in the unconscious it goes on accumulating. Hence the ambiguity of man.

Somebody says you are beautiful, somebody else says you are ugly — now what to do?

One mirror says you are wise, another man says you are an idiot — now what to do? And you depend only on mirrors, and both are mirrors. You may not like the mirror that says you are an idiot, but it has said so, it has done its work. You may repress it, you may never bring it to your consciousness, but deep down it will remain in you that one mirror has said you are an idiot.

You trust in mirrors — then you become split because there are so many mirrors. And each mirror has its own investment. Somebody calls you wise? not because you are wise — he has his own investment. Somebody calls you an idiot, not because you are an idiot-he has his own investment. They are simply showing their likes and dislikes; they are not asserting anything about you. They may be asserting something about themselves, maybe, but they are not saying anything about you — because no mirror can show you who you are.

Mirrors can only show you your surface, your skin. You are not on your skin: you are very deep. You are not your body. One day the body is young; another day it becomes old. One day it is beautiful, healthy; another day it becomes crippled and paralyzed. One day you were throbbing with life; another day life has oozed out of you. But you are not your periphery! You are your center.

The accidental man lives on the periphery. The essential man remains centered. This is the whole effort!

Let me tell you one anecdote. I have-heard a very beautiful Jewish story. It is tremendously significant — it is about a man:

He was always sleepy and always ready to sleep, everywhere. At the biggest mass meetings, at all the concerts, at every important convention, he could be seen sitting asleep.

You must have known that man because you are that. And you must have come across that man many, many times, because how can you avoid him? –It is you.

And he slept in every conceivable and inconceivable pose. He slept with his elbows in the air and his hands behind his head. He slept standing up, leaning against himself so that he should not fall down. He slept in the theater, in the streets, in the synagogue. Wherever he went, his eyes would drip with sleep.

Had he been a Hindu he could have even slept standing on his head in shirshasan. I have seen Hindus sleeping that way. Many yogis become efficient in sleeping standing on their head. It is difficult, arduous; it needs great practice — but it happens.

Neighbors used to say that he had already slept through seven big fires, and once, at a really big fire, he was carried out of his bed, still asleep, and put down on the sidewalk. In this way he slept for several hours until a patrol came along and took him away.

It was said that when he was standing under the wedding canopy and reciting the vows, “Thou art to me….” he fell asleep at the word ‘sanctified’ — try to remember him – and they had to beat him over the head with brass pestles for several hours to wake him up. And he slowly said the next word and again fell asleep.

Remember your own wedding ceremony. Remember your honeymoon. Remember your marriage. Have you ever been awake? Have you ever missed any opportunity where you could have fallen asleep? You have always fallen asleep.

We mention all this so that you may believe the following story about our hero.

Once, when he went to sleep, he slept and slept and slept; but in his sleep it seemed to him that he heard thunder in the streets and his bed was shaking somewhat; so he thought in his sleep that it was raining outside, and as a result his sleep became still more delicious. He wrapped himself up in his quilt and in its warmth.

Do you remember how many times you have interpreted things through your sleep? Do you remember sometimes you have fixed the alarm clock, and when it goes off you start dreaming that you are in the church and the bells are ringing, a trick of the mind to avoid the alarm, to avoid the disturbance that the alarm is creating.

When he awoke he saw a strange void: his wife was no longer there, his bed was no longer there, his quilt was no longer there. He wanted to look through the window, but there was no window to look through. He wanted to run down the three flights and yell ‘Help!’ but there were no stairs to run on and no air to yell in. And when he wanted merely to go out of doors, he saw that there was no out of doors. Everything evaporated! For a while he stood there in confusion unable to comprehend what had happened. But afterward he bethought himself: I will go to sleep. He saw, however, that there was no longer any earth to sleep on. Only then did he raise two fingers to his forehead and reflect: Apparently I have slept through the end of the world. Isn’t that a fine how-do-you-do?

He became depressed. No more world, he thought. What will I do without a world?

Where will I go to work, how will I make a living, especially now that the cost of living is so high and a dozen eggs costs a dollar twenty and who knows if they are even fresh, and besides, what will happen to the five dollars the gas company owes me? And where has my wife gone off to? Is it possible that she too has disappeared with the world, and with the thirty dollars’ pay I had in my pockets? And she is not by nature the kind that disappears, he thought to himself.

You will also think that way one day if you suddenly find the world has disappeared. You don’t know what else to think. You will think about the cost of eggs, the office, the wife, the money. You don’t know what else to think about. The whole world has disappeared! — but you have become mechanical in your thinking.

And what will I do if I want to sleep? What will I stretch out on if there isn’t any world?

And maybe my back will ache? And who will finish the bundle of work in the shop? And suppose I want a glass of malted, where will I get it?

Eh, he thought, have you ever seen anything like it? A man should fall asleep with the world under his head and wake up without it!

This is going to happen one day or other — that’s what happens to every man when he dies. Suddenly, the whole world disappears. Suddenly he is no longer part of this world; suddenly he is in another dimension. This happens to every man who dies, because whatsoever you have known is just the peripheral. When you die, suddenly your periphery disappears — you are thrown to your center. And you don’t know that language. And you don’t know anything about the center. It looks like void, empty. It feels like just a negation, an absence.

As our hero stood there in his underwear, wondering what to do, a thought occurred to him: To hell with it! So there isn’t any world! Who needs it anyway? Disappeared is disappeared — I might as well go to the movies and kill some time. But to his astonishment he saw that, together with the world, the movies had also disappeared.

A pretty mess I’ve made here, thought our hero, and began smoothing his moustache. A pretty mess I’ve made here, falling asleep! If I hadn’t slept so soundly, he taunted himself, I would have disappeared along with everything else. This way I’m unfortunate, and where will I get a malted? I love a glass in the morning. And my wife? Who knows who she’s disappeared with? If it is with the presser from the top floor, I’ll murder her, so help me God.

Who knows how late it is?

With these words our hero wanted to look at his watch but couldn’t find it. He searched with both hands in the left and right pockets of the infinite emptiness but could find nothing to touch.

I just paid two dollars for a watch and here it’s already disappeared, he thought to himself. All right. If the world went under, it went under. That I don’t care about. It isn’t my world. But the watch! Why should my watch go under? A new watch. Two dollars. It wasn’t even wound.

And where will I find a glass of malted? There’s nothing better in the morning than a glass of malted. And who knows if my wife…I’ve slept through such a terrible catastrophe,

I deserve the worst. Help, help, he-e-e-lp! Where are my brains? Where were my brains before? Why didn’t I keep an eye on the world and my wife? Why did I let them disappear when they were still so young?

And our hero began to beat his head against the void, but since the void was a very soft one it didn’t hurt him and he remained alive to tell the story.

This is a story of human mind as such. You create a world around you of illusions. You go on getting attached to things which are not going to be with you when you die. You go on being identified with things which are going to be taken away from you.

Hence, the Hindus call the world ‘illusion’; they don’t mean by the ‘world’ the world that is there — they simply mean the world that you have created out of your sleep. That world is maya — illusion. It is a dream world.

Who is your wife? The very idea is foolish. Who is your husband? Who is your child? You are not yours — how can anybody else be yours? Not even you are yours; not even you belong to yourself. Have you watched sometimes that not even you belong to yourself? You also belong to some unknown existence you have not penetrated. Deeper in yourself you will come to a point where even self disappears — only a state of no-self, or call it the Supreme Self. It is only a difference of language and terminology.

Have you not seen deep down in yourself things arising which don’t belong to you? Your desires don’t belong to you; your thoughts don’t belong to you. Even your consciousness, you have not created it — it has been given to you, it is a given fact. It is not you who have created it — how can you create it?

You are suddenly there… as if it happens by magic. You are always in the middle; you don’t know the beginning. The beginning does not belong to you, and neither does the end belong to you. Just in the middle you can create, you can go on creating dreams. That’s how a man becomes accidental.

Watch out! Become more and more essential and less and less accidental. Always remember: Only that which is eternal is true; only that which is going to be forever and ever is true. That which is momentary is untrue. The momentary has to be watched and not to be identified with.

I was reading a beautiful anecdote:

An elderly Irishman checked out of a hotel room and was half way to the bus depot when he realized he had left his umbrella behind. By the time he got back to the room, a newlywed couple had already checked in. Hating to interrupt anything, the Irishman got down on his knees and listened in at the keyhole.

“Whose lovely eyes are those, my darling?” he heard the man’s voice ask.

“Yours, my love,” the woman answered.

“And whose precious nose is this?” the man went on inside the room.

“Only yours,” the woman replied.

“And whose beautiful lips are these?” the man continued.

“Yours!” panted the woman.

“And whose…?” but the Irishman could not stand it anymore.

Putting his mouth to the keyhole, he shouted, “When you get to a yellow plaid umbrella, folks, it is mine!”

This game of ‘my’ and ‘mine’ is the most absurd game — but this is the whole game of life.

This earth was there before you ever came here, and this will be here when you are gone.

The diamonds that you possess were there before you ever came here, and when you are gone those diamonds will remain here — and they will not even remember you. They are completely oblivious that you possess them.

This game of possessiveness is the most foolish game there is — but this is the whole game.

Gurdjieff used to say that if you start getting disidentified from things, sooner or later you will fall upon your essential being. That is the basic meaning of renunciation. Renunciation does not mean, sannyas does not mean, renouncing the world and escaping to the Himalayas or to a monastery — because if you escape from the world and go to a monastery, nothing is going to change. You carry the same mind. Here in the world, the house was yours, and the wife was yours; there the monastery will be yours, the religion will be yours. It will not make much difference. The ‘mine’ will persist. It is a mind attitude — it has nothing to do with any outside space. It is an inner illusion, an inner dream, an inner sleep.

Renunciation means: wherever you are, there is no need to renounce the things because in the first place you never possessed them. It is foolish to talk about renunciation. It means as if you were the possessor and now you are renouncing. How can you renounce something which you never possessed? Renunciation means coming to know that you cannot possess anything. You can use, at the most, but you cannot possess. You are not going to be here forever — how can you possess? It is impossible to possess anything.

You can use and you can be grateful to things that they allow themselves to be used. You should be thankful to things that they allow themselves to be used. They become means, but you cannot possess them.

Dropping the idea of ownership is renunciation. Renunciation is not dropping the possessions but possessiveness. And this is what Gurdjieff calls getting unidentified. This is what Bauls call realizing ‘Ardhar Manush‘ — the essential man. This is what Zen people call the original face.

-Osho

From A Sudden Clash of Thunder, Chapter Three

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.