Osho Speaks on Nadabrahma Meditation

It is a mantra meditation, and mantra is one of the most potential ways. It is very simple yet tremendously effective, because when you chant a mantra or you chant a sound your body starts vibrating; your brain cells particularly start vibrating.

If rightly done your whole brain becomes tremendously vibrant, and the whole body also. Once the body starts vibrating and your mind is already chanting, they both fall in a tune. A harmony – which is ordinarily never there – between the two. Your mind goes on its way, your body continues on its own. The body goes on eating, the mind goes on thinking. The body goes on walking on the road the mind is moving far away in the stars. They never meet – they both go on separate pathways, and that creates a split.

The basic schizophrenia is created because the body goes in one direction, the mind goes in another direction. And you are the third element – you are neither the body nor the mind, so you are pulled apart by these two. Half of your being is pulled by the body and half of your being is pulled by your mind. So there is great anguish – one feels torn apart.

In a mantra meditation – Nadabrahma or any chanting – this is how the mechanism works: when you start chanting a sound – and any sound will do; even abracadabra – if you start resounding inside, the body starts responding. Sooner or later a moment comes when the body and the mind are both together in one direction for the first time. When body and mind are both together, you are free from the body and the mind – you are not tom apart. Then the third element which you are in reality – call it soul, spirit, atma, anything – that third element is at ease because it is not being pulled in different directions.

The body and the mind are so much engrossed in chanting that the soul can slip out of them very easily, unobserved, and can become a witness – can stand out and look at the whole game that is going on between the mind and the body. It is such a beautiful rhythm that the mind and body never become aware that the soul has slipped out… because they don’t allow so easily, mm? they keep their possession. Nobody wants to lose his possession. The body wants to dominate the soul, the mind wants to dominate the soul. This is a very sly way to get out of their hold. They become drunk with the chanting, and you slip out.

So in Nadabrahma, remember this: let the body and mind be totally together, but remember that you have to become a witness. Get out of them, easily, slowly, from the back door, with no fight, with no struggle. Mm? they are drinking – you get out, and watch from the outside…. This is the meaning of the English word ‘ecstasy’ – to stand out. Stand out and watch from there… and it is tremendously peaceful. It is silence, it is bliss, it is benediction.

This is the whole secret of chanting – that’s why chanting has prevailed down the centuries. There has never been a religion that has not used chanting and mantra. But there is a danger also! If you don’t get out, if you don’t become a witness, there is a danger – then you have missed the whole point. If you become drunk with the body and the mind and your soul also becomes drunk, then  chanting is an intoxicant. Then it is like a tranquillizer – it will give you a good sleep, that’s all. It is a lullaby. Good – nothing wrong in it – but not of any real value either.

So this is the pitfall to be remembered: chanting is so beautiful that one wants to get lost. If you are lost, then good, you enjoyed a rhythm, an inner rhythm, and it was beautiful and you liked it, but it was like a drug – it is an acid trip. By chanting, by the sound, you created certain drugs in your body.

Chanting creates chemical changes in the body, and those changes are no different than marijuana or LSD. Some day, when research goes deeper into meditation, they are going to find that chanting creates chemical changes – just as fasting also creates chemical changes. After the seventh or eighth day of fasting, one feels tremendously jubilant, weightless, very glad for no reason, delighted – as if all burden has disappeared. Your body is creating a certain chemical change.

I am as much against LSD as I am against fasting. And if chanting is used as a drug, I am against it. So the point to be remembered is that you have to use the sound, the chanting, the mantra, not as an intoxicant for your being. Let it be an intoxicant for the body and the mind but you slip out of it before you become intoxicated; you stand out and you watch. You see the body swaying and you see the mind feeling very very peaceful and calm and quiet. Watch from the outside and be alert like a flame.

If this is not done you will have a good sleep but nothing more. Then it is a good thing for health but nothing for the ultimate growth.

Good – pay attention to Nadabrahma, mm? And sometimes sitting silently, start chanting anything, ‘aum’, will do, or choose anything, any word, and get in tune with it. Meaning is not important: it can be meaningless – it can be meaningful. ‘Aum’ has no meaning. Or you can create your own mantra and chant it. But remember to slip out of it.

Let the body get drunk, let the mind get drunk, let them fall into a deep love-affair with each other, and you slip out of it. Don’t stay there longer – otherwise you will fall asleep. And if one falls asleep, it is not meditation. Meditation means awareness. So remember it!

-Osho

From The Buddha Disease, Chapter 31

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Also see OSHO Nadabrahma Meditation

You can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

The Mystery of Meditation – Osho

Meditation is not only a method; it is not simply a technique. You cannot learn it. It is a growth: a growth of your total living, out of your total living. Meditation is not something that can be added to you as you are. It can come to you only through a basic transformation, a mutation. It is a flowering, a growth. Growth is always out of the total; it is not an addition. You must grow toward meditation.

This total flowering of the personality must be understood correctly. Otherwise one can play games with oneself; one can occupy oneself with mental tricks. And there are so many tricks! Not only can you be fooled by them, not only will you not gain anything, but in a real sense you will be harmed. The very attitude that there is some trick to meditation – to conceive of meditation in terms of method – is basically wrong. And when one begins to play with mental tricks, the very quality of the mind begins to deteriorate.

As mind exists, it is not meditative. The total mind must change before meditation can happen. Then what is the mind as it now exists? How does it function?

The mind is always verbalizing. You can know words, you can know language, you can know the conceptual structure of thinking, but that is not thinking. On the contrary, it is an escape from thinking. You see a flower and you verbalize it; you see a man crossing the street and you verbalize it. The mind can transform every existential thing into words. Then the words become a barrier, an imprisonment. This constant transformation of things into words, of existence into words, is the obstacle to a meditative mind.

So the first requirement toward a meditative mind is to be aware of your constant verbalizing and to be able to stop it. Just see things; do not verbalize. Be aware of their presence, but do not change them into words. Let things be, without language; let persons be, without language; let situations be, without language. It is not impossible; it is natural. It is the situation as it now exists that is artificial, but we have become so habituated to it, it has become so mechanical, that we are not even aware that we are constantly transforming experience into words.

The sunrise is there. You are never aware of the gap between seeing it and verbalizing. You see the sun, you feel it, and immediately you verbalize it. The gap between seeing and verbalizing is lost. One must become aware of the fact that the sunrise is not a word. It is a fact, a presence. The mind automatically changes experiences into words. These words then come between you and the experience.

Meditation means living without words, living non-linguistically. Sometimes it happens spontaneously. When you are in love, presence is felt, not language. Whenever two lovers are intimate with one another they become silent. It is not that there is nothing to express. On the contrary, there is an overwhelming amount to be expressed. But words are never there; they cannot be. They come only when love has gone.

If two lovers are never silent, it is an indication that love has died. Now they are filling the gap with words. When love is alive, words are not there because the very existence of love is so overwhelming, so penetrating, that the barrier of language and words is crossed. And ordinarily, it is only crossed in love.

Meditation is the culmination of love: love not for a single person, but for the total existence. To me, meditation is a living relationship with the total existence that surrounds you. If you can be in love with any situation, then you are in meditation.

And this is not a mental trick. It is not a method of stilling the mind. Rather, it requires a deep understanding of the mechanism of the mind. The moment you understand your mechanical habit of verbalization, of changing existence into words, a gap is created. It comes spontaneously. It follows understanding like a shadow. The real problem is not how to be in meditation, but to know why you are not in meditation. The very process of meditation is negative. It is not adding something to you; it is negating something that has already been added.

Society cannot exist without language; it needs language. But existence does not need it. I am not saying that you should exist without language. You will have to use it. But you must be able to turn the mechanism of verbalization on and off. When you are existing as a social being, the mechanism of language is needed; but when you are alone with existence, you must be able to turn it off. If you can’t turn it off – if it goes on and on, and you are incapable of stopping it – then you have become a slave to it. Mind must be an instrument, not the master.

When mind is the master, a non-meditative state exists. When you are the master, your consciousness is the master, a meditative state exists. So meditation means becoming a master of the mechanism of the mind.

Mind, and the linguistic functioning of the mind, is not the ultimate. You are beyond it; existence is beyond it. Consciousness is beyond linguistics; existence is beyond linguistics. When consciousness and existence are one, they are in communion. This communion is meditation.

Language must be dropped. I don’t mean that you have to suppress it or eliminate it. I only mean that it does not have to be a twenty-four-hour-a-day habit for you. When you walk, you need to move your legs. But if they go on moving when you are sitting, then you are mad. You must be able to turn them off. In the same way, when you are not talking with anyone, language must not be there. It is a technique to communicate. When you are not communicating with anybody it should not be there.

If you are able to do this, you can grow into meditation. Meditation is a growing process, not a technique. A technique is always dead, so it can be added to you, but a process is always alive. It grows, it expands.

Language is needed, but you must not always remain in it. There must be moments when there is no verbalizing, when you just exist. It is not that you are just vegetating. Consciousness is there. And it is more acute, more alive, because language dulls it. Language is bound to be repetitive so it creates boredom. The more important language is to you, the more bored you will be.

Existence is never repetitive. Every rose is a new rose, altogether new. It has never been and it will never be again. But when we call it a rose, the word ‘rose’ is a repetition. It has always been there; it will always be there. You have killed the new with an old word.

Existence is always young, and language is always old. Through language, you escape existence; you escape life, because language is dead. The more involved you are with language, the more deadened you will be by it. A pundit is completely dead because he is nothing but language, words.

Sartre has called his autobiography ’Words’. We live in words. That is, we don’t live. In the end there is only a series of accumulated words and nothing else. Words are like photographs. You see something that is alive and you take a picture of it. The picture is dead. Then you make an album of dead pictures. A person who has not lived in meditation is like a dead album. Only verbal pictures are there, only memories. Nothing has been lived; everything has just been verbalized.

Meditation means living totally, but you can live totally only when you are silent. By being silent I do not mean unconscious. You can be silent and unconscious but it is not a living silence. Again, you have missed.

Through mantras you can auto hypnotize yourself. By simply repeating a word you can create so much boredom in the mind that the mind will go to sleep. You drop into sleep, drop into the unconscious. If you go on chanting “Ram Ram Ram” the mind will fall asleep. Then the barrier of language is not there, but you are unconscious.

Meditation means that language must not be there, but you must be conscious. Otherwise there is no communion with existence, with all that is. No mantra can help, no chanting can help. Auto hypnosis is not meditation. On the contrary, to be in an auto-hypnotic state is a regression. It is not going beyond language; it is falling below it.

So drop all mantras, drop all these techniques. Allow moments to exist where words are not there. You cannot get rid of words with a mantra because the very process uses words. You cannot eliminate language with words; it is impossible.

So what is to be done? In fact, you cannot do anything at all except to understand. Whatever you are able to do can only come from where you are. You are confused, you are not in meditation, your mind is not silent, so anything that comes out of you will only create more confusion. All that can be done right now is to begin to be aware of how the mind functions. That’s all – just be aware. Awareness has nothing to do with words. It is an existential act, not a mental act.

So the first thing is to be aware. Be aware of your mental processes, how your mind works. The moment you become aware of the functioning of your mind, you are not the mind. The very awareness means that you are beyond: aloof, a witness. And the more aware you become, the more you will be able to see the gaps between the experience and the words. Gaps are there, but you are so unaware that they are never seen.

Between two words there is always a gap, however imperceptible, however small. Otherwise the two words cannot remain two; they will become one. Between two notes of music there is always a gap, a silence. Two words or two notes cannot be two unless there is an interval between them. A silence is always there but one has to be really aware, really attentive, to feel it.

The more aware you become, the slower the mind becomes. It is always relative. The less aware you are, the faster the mind is; the more aware you are, the slower the process of the mind is. When you are more aware of the mind, the mind slows down and the gaps between thoughts widen. Then you can see them.

It is just like a film. When a projector is run in slow motion, you see the gaps. If I raise my hand, this has to be shot in a thousand parts. Each part will be a single photograph. If these thousands of single photographs pass before your eyes so fast that you cannot see the gaps, then you see the hand raised as a process. But in slow motion, the gaps can be seen.

Mind is just like a film. Gaps are there. The more attentive you are to your mind, the more you will see them. It is just like a gestalt picture: a picture that contains two distinct images at the same time. One image can be seen or the other can be seen, but you cannot see both simultaneously. It can be a picture of an old lady, and at the same time a picture of a young lady. But if you are focused on one, you will not see the other; and when you are focused on the other, the first is lost. Even if you know perfectly well that you have seen both images, you cannot see them simultaneously.

The same thing happens with the mind. If you see the words you cannot see the gaps, and if you see the gaps you cannot see the words. Every word is followed by a gap and every gap is followed by a word, but you cannot see both simultaneously. If you are focused on the gaps, words will be lost and you will be thrown into meditation.

A consciousness that is focused only on words is non-meditative and a consciousness that is focused only on gaps is meditative. Whenever you become aware of the gaps, the words will be lost. If you observe carefully, you will not find words; you will only find a gap. 

You can feel the difference between two words, but you cannot feel the difference between two gaps. Words are always plural and the gap is always singular: “the” gap. They merge and become one. Meditation is a focusing on the gap. Then, the whole gestalt changes.

Another thing is to be understood. If you are looking at the gestalt picture and your concentration is focused on the old lady, you cannot see the other picture. But if you continue to concentrate on the old lady – if you go on focusing on her, if you become totally attentive to her – a moment will come when the focus changes and suddenly the old lady has disappeared and the other picture is there.

Why does this happen? It happens because the mind cannot be focused continuously for a long time. It has to change or it will go to sleep. These are the only two possibilities. If you go on concentrating on one thing, the mind will fall asleep. It cannot remain fixed; it is a living process. If you let it become bored it will go to sleep in order to escape from the stagnancy of your focus. Then it can continue living, in dreams.

This is meditation Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Style. It’s peaceful, refreshing, it can help your physical health and mental equilibrium, but it is not meditation. The same thing can be done by autohypnosis. The Indian word ‘mantra’ means suggestion, nothing else. To take this as meditation is a serious mistake. It is not. And if you think of it as meditation, you will never search for authentic meditation. That is the real harm that is done by such practices and propagandists of such practices. It is just drugging yourself psychologically.

So don’t use any mantra to push words out of the way. Just become aware of the words and the focus of your mind will change automatically to the gaps.

If you identify with words, you will go on jumping from one word to another and you will miss the gap. Another word is something new to focus on. The mind goes on changing; the focus changes. But if you are not identified with words, if you are just a witness – aloof, just watching the words as they go by in a procession – then the whole focus will change and you will become aware of the gap. It is just as if you are on the street, watching people as they pass by. One person has passed and another has not yet come. There is a gap; the street is vacant. If you are watching, then you will know the gap.

And once you know the gap, you are in it; you have jumped into it. It is an abyss – so peace-giving, so consciousness-creating. It is meditation to be in the gap; it is transformation. Now language is not needed; you will drop it. It is a conscious dropping. You are conscious of the silence, the infinite silence. You are part of it, one with it. You are not conscious of the abyss as the other; you are conscious of the abyss as yourself. You know, but now you are the knowing. You observe the gap, but now the observer is the observed.

As far as words and thoughts are concerned, you are a witness, separate, and words are the other. But when there are no words, you are the gap – yet still conscious that you are. Between you and the gap, between consciousness and existence, there is no barrier now. Only words are the barrier. Now you are in an existential situation. This is meditation: to be one with existence, to be totally in it and still conscious. This is the contradiction, this is the paradox. Now you have known a situation in which you were conscious, and yet one with it.

Ordinarily, when we are conscious of anything, the thing becomes the other. If we are identified with something, then it is not the other, but then we are not conscious – as in anger, in sex. We become one only when we are unconscious.

Sex has so much appeal because in sex you become one for a moment. But in that moment, you are unconscious. You seek the unconsciousness because you seek the oneness. But the more you seek it, the more conscious you become. Then you will not feel the bliss of sex, because the bliss was coming from the unconsciousness.

You could become unconscious in a moment of passion. Your consciousness dropped. For a single moment you were in the abyss – but unconscious. But the more you seek it, the more it is lost. Finally a moment comes when you are in sex and the moment of unconsciousness no longer happens. The abyss is lost, the bliss is lost. Then the act becomes stupid. It is just a mechanical release; there is nothing spiritual about it.

We have known only unconscious oneness; we have never known conscious oneness. Meditation is conscious oneness. It is the other pole of sexuality. Sex is one pole, unconscious oneness; meditation is the other pole, conscious oneness. Sex is the lowest point of oneness and meditation is the peak, the highest peak of oneness. The difference is a difference of consciousness.

The Western mind is thinking about meditation now because the appeal of sex has been lost.

Whenever a society becomes non-suppressive sexually, meditation will follow, because uninhibited sex will kill the charm and romance of sex; it will kill the spiritual side of it. Much sex is there, but you cannot continue to be unconscious in it.

A sexually suppressed society can remain sexual, but a non-suppressive, uninhibited society cannot remain with sexuality forever. It will have to be transcended. So if a society is sexual, meditation will follow. To me, a sexually free society is the first step toward seeking, searching.

But of course, because the search is there, it can be exploited. It is being exploited by the East.

Gurus can be supplied; they can be exported. And they are being exported. But only tricks can be learned through these gurus. Understanding comes through life, through living. It cannot be given, transferred.

I cannot give you my understanding. I can talk about it, but I cannot give it to you. You will have to find it. You will have to go into life. You will have to err; you will have to fail; you will have to pass through many frustrations. But only through failures, errors, frustrations, only through the encounter of real living, will you come to meditation. That is why I say it is a growth. Something can be understood, but understanding that comes through another can never be more than intellectual. That is why Krishnamurti demands the impossible. He says, “Do not understand me intellectually” – but nothing except intellectual understanding can come from someone else. That is why Krishnamurti’s effort has been absurd. What he is saying is authentic, but when he demands more than intellectual understanding from the listener, it is impossible. Nothing more can come from someone else, nothing more can be delivered. But intellectual understanding can be enough. If you can understand what I am saying intellectually, you can also understand what has not been said. You can also understand the gaps: what I am not saying, what I cannot say. The first understanding is bound to be intellectual, because the intellect is the door. It can never be spiritual. Spirituality is the inner shrine.

I can only communicate to you intellectually. If you can really understand it, then what has not been said can be felt. I cannot communicate without words, but when I am using words I am also using silences. You will have to be aware of both. If only words are being understood then it is a communication; but if you can be aware of the gaps also, then it is a communion.

One has to begin somewhere. Every beginning is bound to be a false beginning, but one has to begin. Through the false, through the groping, the door is found. One who thinks that he will begin only when the right beginning is there will never begin at all. Even a false step is a step in the right direction because it is a step, a beginning. You begin to grope in the dark and, through groping, the door is found.

That is why I said to be aware of the linguistic process – the process of words – and to seek an awareness of the gaps, the intervals. There will be moments when there will be no conscious effort on your part and you will become aware of the gaps. That is the encounter with the divine, the encounter with the existential. Whenever there is an encounter, do not escape from it. Be with it. It will be fearful at first; it is bound to be. Whenever the unknown is encountered, fear is created because to us the unknown is death. So whenever there is a gap, you will feel death coming to you. Then be dead! Just be in it, and die completely in the gap. And you will be resurrected. By dying your death in silence, life is resurrected. You are alive for the first time, really alive.

So to me, meditation is not a method but a process; meditation is not a technique but an understanding. It cannot be taught; it can only be indicated. You cannot be informed about it because no information is really information. It is from the outside, and meditation comes from your own inner depths.

So search, be a seeker, and do not be a disciple. Then you will not be a disciple of some guru, but a disciple of the total life. Then you will not just be learning words. Spiritual learning cannot come from words but from the gaps, the silences that are always surrounding you. They are there even in the crowd, in the market, in the bazaar. Seek the silences; seek the gaps within and without, and one day you will find that you are in meditation.

Meditation comes to you. It always comes; you cannot bring it. But one has to be in search of it, because only when you are in search will you be open to it, vulnerable to it. You are a host to it. Meditation is a guest. You can invite it and wait for it. It comes to Buddha, it comes to Jesus, it comes to everybody who is ready, who is open and seeking.

But do not learn it from somewhere; otherwise you will be tricked. The mind is always searching for something easier. This becomes the source for exploitation. Then there are gurus and gurudoms, and spiritual life is poisoned.

The most dangerous person is the one who exploits someone’s spiritual urge. If someone robs you of your wealth it is not so serious, if someone fails you it is not so serious, but if someone tricks you and kills, or even postpones, your urge toward meditation, toward the divine, toward ecstasy, then the sin is great and unforgivable.

But that is being done. So be aware of it, and don’t ask anybody, “What is meditation? How do I meditate?” Instead, ask what the hindrances are, what the obstacles are. Ask why we aren’t always in meditation, where the growth has been stopped, where we have been crippled. And do not seek a guru because gurus are crippling. Anyone who gives you ready-made formulas is not a friend but an enemy.

Grope in the dark. Nothing else can be done. The very groping will become the understanding that will liberate you from darkness. Jesus said: “Truth is freedom.” Understand this freedom. Truth is always through understanding. It is not something that you meet and encounter; it is something you grow into. So be in search of understanding, because the more understanding you become, the nearer you will be to truth. And in some unknown, expected, unpredictable moment, when understanding comes to a peak, you are in the abyss. You are no more, and meditation is.

When you are no more, you are in meditation. Meditation is not more of you; it is always beyond you. When you are in the abyss, meditation is there. Then the ego is not; then you are not. Then the being is. That is what religions mean by God: the ultimate being. It is the essence of all religions, all searches, but it is not to be found anywhere ready-made. So be aware of anyone who makes claims about it.

Go on groping and don’t be afraid of failure. Admit failures, but do not commit the same failures again.

Once is all; that is enough. The person who goes on erring in the search for truth is always forgiven. It is a promise from the very depths of existence.

-Osho

From The Psychology of the Esoteric, Chapter Two   Psychology of the Esoteric

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

Be Still and Know – Osho

What exactly do you mean by saying “Be still and know” and also “seek the strength of no-desire”?

Be still and know is one of the most fundamental sutras of the inner alchemy. But by being still is not meant that you have to force stillness upon yourself. A forced stillness is not true stillness. One can sit like a Buddha, almost like a statue, absolutely still, and yet deep down there may be great turmoil, a thousand and one thoughts rushing. There may be great traffic in the mind. The body can be forced to sit silently for hours, and you can also learn tricks to still the mind.

For example, if you chant any mantra for hours, any name of God, if you simply go on chanting “Allah, Allah, Allah,” it functions like a tranquilizer. Repetition of a single word or a single mantra creates a certain melody in your mind soothing, very soothing, very calming. And a kind of stillness will be felt which is not the true kind—because the sound of a certain mantra is simply changing the chemistry of your mind. The change is not alchemical, it is chemical.

Sound is chemistry. Hence music can help you to become still. And, moreover, when a certain word or a mantra Is repeated constantly, you become hypnotized by it. That’s the secret of all hypnosis. You look at a flame, a candle flame, constantly—what are you doing? You are repeating the flame through the eyes, again and again and again. It is a repetition; it is a mantra—through the eyes. Or you can repeat a mantra inside yourself; that is through the ear, through the sound. Any sense can be used. Perfume, incense can be used; the same incense can hypnotize you.

Hypnosis means going into deep sleep, artificial sleep. That’s exactly the meaning of the word ‘hypnosis’: a sleep deliberately created. It can be through a tranquilizer, it can be through a soothing silence, sound, music, perfume, incense—there can be a thousand and one ways, but you will become hypnotized. And, hypnotized, you will feel a kind of stillness which is not true.

And also, if you repeat a certain mantra again and again, you will feel bored. Boredom also brings sleep. That’s why doctors suggest to people who cannot sleep that they count sheep from one to a hundred, and then backwards from a hundred—ninety-nine, ninety-eight, back to one—and then go up the ladder again… go on coming up and down. How long can you do it? Somewhere after going three or four times up and down the ladder you will fall asleep. It is the most ancient formula for falling asleep: count sheep from one to a hundred and then come back—because it is such a boring job that you lose all interest in it. And the moment you lose all interest in it, there is nowhere to escape except in sleep.

Mothers know it perfectly well. Hence the lullaby: the mother goes on repeating a single note again and again and the child falls asleep. And children have their own mantras: they can suck on their thumbs—that is a mantra. The child goes on sucking on the thumb; it is very consoling, soothing. He believes that it is the breast of the mother, and he-falls asleep. Children invent their own methods—the teddy bear, or just the corner of the blanket, and the child holds it; if you take the blanket away from him he cannot sleep.

Even grownups are not really grownups; they have their own ritual of going into sleep. For example, if every day you clean your teeth before going to sleep, try it one day without cleaning the teeth and you will be surprised: you cannot fall asleep. Something is missing. You have created a mantra. You change the dress, a different dress than you use in the daytime…you go into a subtle ritual.

A few people who are religious, so-called religious, they will do some prayer. That too is a ritual. Grownups are not really grownups; they have grown in age, but not psychologically, not spiritually. The world is full of children of many ages: one year, two years, up to seventy, eighty, ninety—all children.

I am not talking about their stillness. When I say “Be still and know” I mean a stillness that comes out of understanding, not out of any kind of hypnosis. And out of understanding the first thing that happens is: “Seek the strength of no-desire.” The more you look into your life; you will find your life is in a mess because of desiring. Why are you in such a storm continuously? It is because of the desire — not only one desire but a thousand and one desires. And no desire can ever be fulfilled; no desire has ever been fulfilled. Desire as such is incapable of being fulfilled, intrinsically it is unfulfillable. Hence each desire creates turmoil, expectation, hope, then frustration, hopelessness. And you have a thousand and one desires surrounding you, and you go on supporting your own enemies.

When you look in, when you watch, you become aware that desire is the cause of your whole misery. Seeing it, desiring disappears—just by seeing it, desiring disappears. Seeing that desire never leads anywhere, but that you go on moving in circles and desire goes on goading you in the same repetitive patterns, seeing this—not because I am saying it, but seeing it on your own—desire disappears. And the disappearance of desire is the stillness, the real stillness, I am talking about.

It brings two things to you: great strength, because all the energy that was involved in a thousand and one desires is released. Now energy no more leaks from you; you don’t have any holes for it to leak from. You become a reservoir of great energy. And the second thing: because now there is no noise of desires clashing, conflicting with each other, there is no civil war going on… what to do? To be or not to be? To do this or to do that? When there is no conflict, no desire, when all the storm is gone, the silence that follows the storm, that is the stillness I am talking about.

Be still and know.

And I am not saying that by being still you will be ready to know—no. Just by being still you will know. Being still and knowing are the same phenomenon, because when you are still like a mirror, a still lake, no ripples, then the whole firmament, the whole sky, is reflected in the lake. The stars come down, and the moon, and the clouds—all are reflected in tremendous beauty in the lake. When your consciousness becomes a still mirror, a still lake, a silent reservoir of energy, God is reflected in it.

You will not attain to knowledge, remember. You will become wise, you will become a Buddha. You will not become a great scholar, a great pundit, a great theologian or a philosopher. You will be a Buddha. You will have an innocent kind of knowing: you will know how to live, you will know how to die, you will know how to love—you will know the real art of life. And the real art of life consists only of three things: how to live, how to love, how to die. And these things you will not know from scriptures; these things you will know from your innermost core.

I call this education. “Be still and know, seek the strength of no-desire.” It is desire that is making you weak; it is no-desire that will make you strong. It is desire that is creating continuous storms in you, it is no-desire that will bring stillness—and a stillness that comes on its own is authentic; it is not a kind of hypnosis. It is not through mantra, it is not through any device, it is not through any trick. You are not trying to pretend to be still: you are simply still. This will give you a new birth, you will be reborn. Jesus says: “Unless you are born again, you shall not enter into my kingdom of God.” I say the same to you—but the rebirth is a state of no-desire, a state of no-mind, a state of total stillness.

-Osho

From Be Still and Know, Discourse #10   Be Still and Know

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