The Light of Awareness – Osho

We feel that to penetrate and transform the deeper layers of the unconscious only through awareness is difficult and not enough. What else should one do other than the practice of awareness? Please explain more about the practical dimensions of this matter.

The unconscious can be transformed only through awareness. It is difficult, but there is no other way. There are many methods for being aware, but awareness is necessary. You can use methods to be aware, but you will have to be aware.

If someone asks whether there is any method to dispel darkness except by light, howsoever difficult it may be, that is the only way – because darkness is simply the absence of light. So you have to create the presence of light, and then darkness is not there.

Unconsciousness is nothing but an absence – the absence of consciousness. It is not something positive in itself, so you cannot do anything except be aware. If unconsciousness were something in its own right, then it would be a different matter – but it is not. Unconsciousness doesn’t mean something; it only means not consciousness. It is just an absence. It has no existence in itself; in itself it is not. The word “unconscious” simply shows the absence of consciousness and nothing else. When we say “darkness” the word is misleading, because the moment we say “darkness” it appears that darkness is something that is there. It is not, so you cannot do anything with darkness directly – or can you?

You may not have observed the fact, but with darkness you cannot do anything directly. Whatsoever you want to do with darkness you will have to do with light, not with darkness. If you want darkness, then put off light. If you don’t want darkness, then put on light. But you cannot do anything directly with darkness; you will have to go via light.

Why? Why can you not go directly? You cannot go directly because there is nothing like darkness, so you cannot touch it directly. You have to do something with light, and then you have done something with darkness.

If light is there, then darkness is not there. If light is not there, then darkness is there. You can bring light into this room, but you cannot bring darkness. You can take light out from this room, but you cannot take darkness out from this room. There exists no connection between you and darkness. Why? If darkness were there, then man could be related somehow, but darkness is not there.

Language gives you a fallacy that darkness is something. Darkness is a negative term. It exists not. It connotes only that light is not there – nothing more – and the same is with unconsciousness. So when you ask what to do other than to be aware, you ask an irrelevant question. You will have to be aware; you cannot do anything else.

Of course, there are many methods for being aware – mm? – that is a different thing. There are many ways to create light – but light will have to be created. You can create a fire and there will be no darkness. And you can use a kerosene lamp and there will be no darkness, and you can use electricity and there will be no darkness. But whatsoever the case, whatsoever the method of producing light, light has to be produced.

So light is a must, and whatsoever I will say in reference to this question will be about methods to produce awareness. They are not alternatives, remember. They are not alternatives to awareness – nothing can be. Awareness is the only possibility for dispelling darkness, for dispelling unconsciousness. But how to create awareness? I talked about one method which is the purest: to be aware inside of whatsoever happens on the boundary line of the unconscious and of the conscious – to be aware there.

Anger is there. Anger is produced in darkness; anger has roots in the unconscious. Only branches and leaves come into the conscious. Roots, seeds, the energy source, are in the unconscious. You become aware only of faraway branches. Be conscious of these branches. The more conscious you are, the more you will be capable of looking into darkness.

Have you observed at any time that if you look deeply in darkness for a certain time, a certain dim light begins to be there? If you concentrate in darkness, you begin to feel and you begin to see. You can train yourself, and then in darkness itself there is a certain amount of light – because, really, in this world nothing can be absolute, and nothing is. Everything is relative. When we say “darkness,” it doesn’t mean absolute darkness. It only means that there is less light. If you practice to see in it, you will be capable of seeing. Look! Focus yourself in the darkness! And then, by and by, your eyes are strengthened and you begin to see.

Inner darkness, unconsciousness, is the same. Look into it. But you can look only if you are not active. If you begin to act, your mind is distracted. Don’t act inside. Anger is there – don’t act, don’t condemn, don’t appreciate, don’t indulge in it, and don’t suppress it. Don’t do anything – just look at it! Observe it! Understand the distinction.

What happens ordinarily is quite the reverse. If you are angry, then your mind is focused on the cause of anger outside – always! Someone has insulted you – you are angry. Now there are three things: the cause of anger outside, the source of anger inside, and in between these two you are. Anger is your energy inside, the cause which has provoked your energy to come up is outside, and you are in between. The natural way of the mind is not to be aware of the source, but to be focused on the cause outside. Whenever you are angry you are in deep concentration on the cause outside.

Mahavir has called krodha – anger – a sort of meditation. He has named it roudra dhyan – meditation on negative attitudes. It is! – because you are concentrated. Really, when you are in deep anger you are so concentrated that the whole world disappears. Only the cause of anger is focused. Your total energy is on the cause of anger, and you are so much focused on the cause that you forget yourself completely. That’s why in anger you can do things about which, later on, you can say, “I did them in spite of myself.” You were not.

For awareness you have to take an about-turn. You have to concentrate not on the cause outside, but on the source inside. Forget the cause. Close your eyes, and go deep and dig into the source. Then you can use the same energy which was to be wasted on someone outside . . . the energy moves inwards. Anger has much energy. Anger is energy, the purest of fires inside. Don’t waste it outside.

Take another example. You are feeling sexual: sex is again energy, fire. But whenever you feel sexual, again you are focused on someone outside, not on the source. You begin to think of someone – of the lover, of the beloved, A-B-C-D – but when you are filled with sex your focus is always on the other. You are dissipating energy. [. . .]

Science is more concerned with the cause and religion is more concerned with the source. The source is always inside; the cause is always outside. With cause you are in a chain reaction. With cause you are connected with your environment. With source you are connected with yourself. So remember this. This is the purest method to change unconscious energy into conscious energy. Take an about-turn – look inside! It is going to be difficult because our look has become fixed. We are like a person whose neck is paralyzed and who cannot move and look back. Our eyes have become fixed. We have been looking outside for lives together – for millennia – so we don’t know how to look inside.

Do this: whenever something happens in your mind, follow it to the source. Anger is there – a sudden flash has come to you – close your eyes, meditate on it. From where is this anger arising? Never ask the question: who has made it possible? Who has made you angry? That is a wrong question. Ask which energy in you is transforming into anger – from where is this anger coming up, bubbling up? What is the source inside from where this energy is coming?

Are you aware that in anger you can do something which you cannot do when you are not in anger? A person in anger can throw a big stone easily. When he is not angry he cannot even lift it. He has much energy when he is angry. A hidden source is now with him. So if a man is mad, he becomes very strong. Why? From where is this energy coming? It is not coming from anything outside. Now all his sources are burning simultaneously – anger, sex, everything, is burning simultaneously. Every source is available.

Be concerned with from where anger is bubbling up, from where the sex desire has come in. Follow it, take steps backwards. Meditate silently and go with anger to the roots. It is difficult but it is not impossible. It is not easy. It is not going to be easy because it is a fight against a long, rooted habit. The whole past has to be broken, and you have to do something new which you have never done before. It is just the weight of sheer habit which will create the difficulty. But try it, and then you are creating a new direction for energy to move. You are beginning to be a circle, and in a circle energy is never dissipated.

My energy comes up and moves outside – it can never become a circle now – it is simply dissipated. If my movement inwards is there, then the same energy which was going out turns upon itself. My meditation leads this energy back to the same source from where the anger was coming. It becomes a circle. This inner circle is the strength of a Mahavir. The sex energy, not moving to someone else, moves back to its own source. This circle of sex energy is the strength of a buddha.

We are weaklings, not because we have less energy than a buddha: we have the same quanta of energy, everyone is born with the same energy quanta, but we are accustomed to dissipating it. It simply moves away from us and never comes back. It cannot come back! Once it is out of you, it can never come back – it is beyond you.

A word arises in me: I speak it out; it has flown away. It is not going to come back to me, and the energy that was used in producing it, that was used in throwing it away, is dissipated. A word arises in me: I don’t throw it out; I remain silent. Then the word moves and moves and moves, and falls into the original source again. The energy has been reconsumed.

Silence is energy. Brahmacharya is energy. Not to be angry is energy. But this is not suppression. If you suppress anger, you have used energy again. Don’t suppress – observe and follow. Don’t fight – just move backwards with the anger. This is the purest method of awareness.

But certain other things can be used. For beginners, certain devices are possible. So I will talk about three devices. One type of device is based on body awareness. Forget anger, forget sex – they are difficult problems. And when you are in them, you become so mad that you cannot meditate. When you are angry you cannot meditate; you cannot even think about meditation. You are just mad. So forget it; it is difficult. Then use your own body as a device for awareness.

Buddha has said that when you walk, walk consciously. When you breathe, breathe consciously. The Buddhist method is known as anapanasati yoga – the yoga of the incoming and outgoing breath, incoming and outgoing breath awareness. The breath comes in: move with the breath; know, be aware, that the breath is moving in. When the breath has gone out again, move with it. Be in, be out, with the breath.

Anger is difficult, sex is difficult – breath is not so difficult. Move with the breath. Don’t allow any breath to be in or out without consciousness. This is a meditation. Now you will be focused on breathing, and when you are focused on breathing thoughts stop automatically. You cannot think, because the moment you think your consciousness moves from breath to thought. You have missed breathing.

Try this and you will know. When you are aware of breathing, thoughts cease. The same energy which is used for thoughts is being used in being aware of breath. If you start thinking, you will lose track of the breath, you will forget, and you will think. You cannot do both simultaneously.

If you are following breathing, it is a long process. One has to go into it deeply. It takes a minimum of three months and a maximum of three years. If it is done continuously twenty-four hours a day . . . it is a method for monks, those who have given up everything; only they can watch their breathing twenty-four hours a day. That’s why Buddhist monks and other traditions of monks, they reduce their living to the minimum so that no disturbance is there. They will beg for their food and they will sleep under a tree – that’s all. Their whole time is devoted to some inner practice of being aware – mm? – for example, of breath.

A Buddhist monk moves. He has to be continuously aware of his breath. The silence that you see on a Buddhist monk’s face is the silence of the awareness of breathing and nothing else. If you become aware your face will become silent, because if thoughts are not there your face cannot show anxiety, thinking. Your face becomes relaxed. Continuous awareness of breathing will stop the mind. The continuously troubled mind will stop. And if the mind stops and you are simply aware of breathing – if the mind is not functioning – you cannot be angry, you cannot be sexual.

Sex or anger or greed or jealousy or envy – anything needs the mechanism of mind. And if the mechanism stops, you cannot do anything. This again leads to the same thing. Now the energy that is used in sex, in anger, in greed, in ambition, has no outlet. And you go on continuously being concerned with breathing, day and night. Buddha has said, “Even in sleep try to be aware of breathing.” It will be difficult in the beginning, but if you can be aware in the day, then by and by this will penetrate into your sleep.

Anything penetrates into sleep if it has gone deep in the mind in the day. If you have been worried about a certain thing in the day, it gets into the sleep. If you were thinking continuously about sex, it gets into the sleep. If you were angry the whole day, anger gets into the sleep. So Buddha says there is no difficulty. If a person is continuously concerned with breathing and awareness of the breathing, ultimately it penetrates into the sleep. You cannot dream then. If your awareness is there of incoming breath and outgoing breath, then in sleep you cannot dream.

The moment you dream, this awareness will not be there. If awareness is there, dreams are impossible. So a Buddhist monk asleep is not just like you. His sleep has a different quality. It has a different depth and a certain awareness in it is there.

Ananda said to Buddha, “I have observed you for years and years together. It seems like a miracle: you sleep as if you are awake. You are in the same posture the whole night.” The hand would not move from the place where it had been put; the leg would remain in the same posture. Buddha would sleep in the same posture the whole night. Not a single movement! For nights together Ananda would sit and watch and wonder, “What type of sleep is this!” Buddha would not move. He would be as if a dead body, and he would wake up in the same posture in which he went to sleep. Ananda asked, “What are you doing? Were you asleep or not? You never move!”

Buddha said, “A day will come, Ananda, when you will know. This shows that you are not practicing anapanasati yoga rightly; it shows only this. Otherwise, this question would not have arisen. You are not practicing anapanasati yoga if you are continuously aware of your breath in the day, it is impossible not to be conscious of it in the night. And if the mind is concerned with awareness, dreams cannot penetrate. And if there are no dreams, mind is clear, transparent. Your body is asleep, but you are not. Your body is relaxing, you are aware – the flame is there inside. So, Ananda,” Buddha is reported to have said, “I am not asleep – only the body is sleep. I am aware! and not only in sleep. Ananda – when I die, you will see: I will be aware, only the body will die.”

Practice awareness with breathing; then you will be capable of penetrating. Or practice awareness with body movements. Buddha has a word for it: he calls it “mindfulness.” He says, “Walk mindfully.” We walk without any mind in it.

A certain man was sitting before Buddha when he was talking one day. He was moving his leg and a toe unnecessarily. There was no reason for it. Buddha stopped talking and asked that man, “Why are you moving your leg? Why are you moving your toe?” Suddenly, as the Buddha asked, the man stopped. Then Buddha asked, “Why have you stopped so suddenly?”

The man said, “Why, I was not even aware that I was moving my toe or my leg! I was not aware! The moment you asked, I became aware.”

Buddha said, “What nonsense! Your leg is moving and you are not aware? So what are you doing with your body? Are you an alive man or dead? This is your leg, this is your toe, and it goes on moving and you are not even aware? Then of what are you aware? You can kill a man and you can say, ‘I was not aware.’” And, really, those who kill are not aware. It is difficult to kill someone when you are aware.

Buddha would say, “Move, walk, but be filled with consciousness. Know inwardly you are walking.” You are not to use any words; you are not to use any thoughts. You are not to say inside, “I am walking,” because if you say it then you are not aware of walking – you have become aware of your thought, and you have missed walking. Just be somatically aware – not mentally. Just feel that you are walking. Create a somatic awareness, a sensitivity, so that you can feel directly without mind coming in.

The wind is blowing – you are feeling it. Don’t use words. Just feel, and be mindful of the feeling. You are lying down on the beach, and the sand is cool, deeply cool. Feel it! – don’t use words. Just feel it – the coolness of it, the penetrating coolness of it. Just feel! Be conscious of it; don’t use words. Don’t say, “The sand is very cool.” The moment you say it you have missed an existential moment. You have become intellectual about it.

You are with your lover or with your beloved: feel the presence; don’t use words. Just feel the warmth, the love flowing. Just feel the oneness that has happened. Don’t use words. Don’t say, “I love you,” you will have destroyed it. The mind has come in. And the moment you say, “I love you,” it has become a past memory. Just feel without words. Anything felt without words, felt totally without the mind coming in, will give you a mindfulness.

You are eating: eat mindfully; taste everything mindfully. Don’t use words. The taste is itself such a great and penetrating thing. Don’t use words and don’t destroy it. Feel it to the core. You are drinking water: feel it passing through the throat; don’t use words. Just feel it; be mindful about it. The movement of the water, the coolness, the disappearing thirst, the satisfaction that follows – feel it!

You are sitting in the sun: feel the warmth; don’t use words. The sun is touching you. There is a deep communion. Feel it! In this way, somatic awareness, bodily awareness, is developed. If you develop a bodily awareness, again mind comes to a stop. Mind is not needed. And if mind stops, you are again thrown into the deep unconscious. With a very, very deep alertness you can penetrate. Now you have a light with you, and the darkness disappears.

Those who are bodily oriented, for them it is good to be somatically mindful. For those who are not bodily oriented it is better to be conscious of breathing. Those who feel it difficult, they can use some artificial devices. For example, mantra – mm? – it is an artificial device for being aware. You use a mantra such as “Rama-Rama-Rama” continuously. Inside you create a circle of “Rama-Rama-Rama” or “Aum” or “Allah,” or anything. Go on repeating it. But simple repetition is of no use. Side by side, be aware. When you are chanting “Rama-Rama-Rama,” be aware of the chanting. Listen to it – “Rama-Rama-Rama” – be aware.

It will be difficult to be aware of anger because anger comes suddenly and you cannot plan it. And when it comes you are so overwhelmed that you may forget it. So create a device like “Rama-Rama- Rama.” You can create it, and it will not be a sudden method. And if used for a long time, it becomes an inner sound. Whatsoever you are doing, there will be “Rama-Rama” as a silent sequence. Be aware of it. Then the mantra is complete, the japa is complete, the chanting is complete, when you are not only the creator of the sound but also the listener. It is not only that you are saying “Rama” – you are also listening to it. The circle is complete. I say something. You listen; the energy is dissipated. If you yourself say “Rama” and you yourself listen to it, the energy comes back. You are the speaker, you are the listener.

But be aware of it. It should not become a dead routine. Otherwise, you can go on saying “Rama- Rama-Rama” just like a parrot, without any awareness behind it. Then it is of no use. It may create a deep sleep even. It may become a hypnosis. You may become dull. Mm? Krishnamurti says that those who chant mantras, they become dull, they become stupid. And he is right in a way, but only in a way. If you use any chanting just as a mechanical repetition, you will become dull. Look at the so-called religious people: they are just dull and stupid. No intelligence, no flame in their eyes of life, of aliveness. They just look dead, like lead, heavy. They have not given anything to the world, they have not created anything. They have just repeated mantras.

Of course, if you go on repeating a particular mantra without awareness, you will be bored by it yourself, and boredom will create stupidity. You will become dull; you will lose interest. A certain sound repeated continuously can even create madness. But Krishnamurti is right only in a sense; otherwise he is completely totally wrong. And whenever one judges something by those who are not following it, really that judgement is not good. Anything must be judged by the perfect example.

The science of japa is not just to repeat. Repetition is secondary. It is just a device to create something of which to be aware. The real thing is to be aware. The basic thing is to be aware. If you build a house, the house is secondary. You build it to live in. And if there is no living, and you create a house and live outside, then you are foolish.

Repetition of a certain name or sound is creating a house to live in. It is creating a certain milieu inside. And if you have created it, you can manipulate it more easily than sudden happenings. And by and by you can become accustomed to it, related to it in a deep consciousness – but the real thing, the basic thing, is to be conscious of it.

The science of japa says that when you become a hearer of your own sound, then you have reached. Then you have completed the japa. And there is much in it. When you see a sound, for example, “Rama,” your peripheral apparatus is used in creating it, your vocal apparatus. Or it you create a mental sound, then your mind is used to create it. But when you become alert about it, that alertness is of the center, not of the periphery. If I say “Rama,” this is on the periphery of my being. When I listen to this sound “Rama” inside, that is from my center – because awareness belongs to the center. If you become aware in the center, now you have the light with you. You can dispel unconsciousness.

Mantra can be used as a technique; there are many, many methods. But any method is just an effort towards awareness. You cannot escape awareness. You can start from wherever you like, but awareness is the goal. [. . . .]

These are all methods of will: you will have to do something.

On the path of will, there are only guides. There are not really Gurus, Masters. There are simply guides. They instruct you; you have to do everything. They cannot do. [. . . .]

The last dying words of Buddha to Ananda are, “Ananda, be a lamp unto yourself. Don’t follow me: appa deepo bhava – Be a lamp unto yourself! Don’t follow me.” Ananda was following Buddha continuously for forty years. It was not a small period. For his whole life Ananda had followed devotedly, and no one could say that his devotion was imperfect in any way or incomplete. It was total. But Ananda, the most devoted follower, could not achieve Enlightenment, and the death of Buddha was nearing.

One day Buddha said, “Now, today I am going to leave this body.”

So Ananda began to weep and said, “What will I do now? For forty years I have been following you in every single detail.”

Even Buddha could not say, “You have not followed and that’s why you have not reached.” He had followed and he was sincere, but he was still an ignorant man.

Buddha said, “Unless I die, Ananda, it seems you will not reach.”

“Why?” Ananda asked. Buddha said, “Unless I die, you cannot return to yourself. You are too much attached to me, and I have become the barrier. You have followed me, but you have forgotten yourself completely.”

You can follow a Teacher blindly and still reach nowhere – if you are just following the Teacher according to you. Remember these words: “according to you.” Then you have not surrendered. Surrender means now you are no more there to decide. The Teacher decides. Even if the Teacher is not there, surrender to the cosmic energy. Then the cosmic energy decides. The moment you surrender, your gates are thrown open and the cosmic flood enters you from everywhere and transforms you.

Look at it this way: my house is filled with darkness. I can do two things. Either I have to create light in my house – then I will have to create it; or, I can open my doors and the sun is outside. I just open my doors, and my house becomes a host to the Divine guest, to the sun, to the rays. Then I become receptive and the darkness disappears.

On the path of will, you have to create the light. On the path of surrender, light is there – you have just to be open. But when the house is dark and when everywhere there is darkness, one fears to open doors – one fears even more. Who knows whether light will enter or whether thieves will come in? So you lock up. You close every possibility so that nothing enters in. That is the situation.

Either create light by yourself: then the darkness disappears. Or use the cosmic light: that is always there. Then open yourself! Be vulnerable! Then don’t depend on anyone. Then be ready, whatsoever happens. If you are ready no matter what may happen, then darkness itself becomes light. With that readiness, nothing can remain dark. That very readiness transforms you totally.

-Osho

From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.1, Discourse #18, Q1

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

For a related post see Path of Will or Path of Surrender.

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You have to Go Beyond Colors – Osho

When one experiences different forms of light and colors in meditation – such as red, yellow, blue, ochre, etc. – how can one know to which layers of being they belong? Is there any gradual sequence of color and light experiences before reaching the ultimate light experience?

Light itself is colorless. All colors belong to light, but light is not a color. Light is just the absence of colors. Light is white; white is not a color. When light is divided, analyzed or passed through a prism, then it is divided into seven colors.

Mind also works as a prism – an inner prism. The outer light, if passed through a prism, is divided into seven colors; the inner light, if passed through mind, is divided into seven colors. So the experience of colors in the inward journey means that you are still in mind. The experience of light is beyond mind, but the experience of colors is within mind. So if you are still seeing colors, then you are still within mind. The mind has not been transcended.

So the first thing to remember is that the experience of colors is within mind, because mind works as a prism through which the inner light is divided. So first one begins to experience colors; then colors dissolve and only light remains.

Light is white; white is not a color. When all the colors are one, white is created. When all the colors are one, then you feel white. When all the colors are there undivided, then you experience white. When no color is there, then you experience black. Black and white are both not colors. When no color is present, then there is black. When all colors are present, undivided, then there is white. All the colors are just divided light.

If you are feeling colors inside, then one thing: you are within mind. So the experience of colors is mental; it is not spiritual. The experience of light is spiritual, but not of colors – because when mind is no more you cannot experience colors. Then only light is experienced.

Secondly, there is no fixed sequence of colors. There cannot be because each mind differs. But the experience of light is exactly the same. Buddha experiencing light or Jesus experiencing light the experience is the same. It cannot be otherwise because that which creates differences is no more. Mind creates differences.

We are here – we are different because of our minds. If mind is no more, then the factor which divides, which differentiates, is not there. So the experience of light is similar, but the experiences of colors are different and the sequence differs. That’s why, in each religion, a different sequence has been given. Some believe that this color comes first and that comes in the end; others believe quite differently. That difference is really the difference of minds. For example, a person who is fearful, deeply rooted in fear, will experience yellow as the first color. The first color coming in will be yellow, because yellow is the color of death – not only symbolically, but actually also.

If you take three bottles – one red, one yellow, one just white, plain white – and just put into these three bottles the same water, the yellow bottle will deteriorate first. Then the others will deteriorate. The red bottle of water will deteriorate in the end, last. Yellow is a death color. That’s why Buddha chose yellow as the robe for his bhikkus – because Buddha says that to die from this existence absolutely is Nirvana. So yellow was chosen as a death color.

Hindus have chosen ochre, a shade of red, as the color for their sannyasins, because red or ochre is the color of life – just the opposite of yellow. It helps you to be more alive, more radiant. It creates more energy – not only symbolically, but actually, physically, chemically. So a person who is very energetic, alive, deeply rooted in the love of life, will experience red as the first color, because his mind is more open to red. A fear-oriented person is more open to yellow, so the sequence will differ. A very silent person, one who is very still, will experience blue as the first. So it will depend.

There is no fixed sequence because there is no fixed sequence of your mind. Each mind differs in orientation in tendencies, in structure, in character. Each mind differs! Because of this difference the sequence will be different. But one thing is certain: each color has a fixed meaning. The sequence is not fixed, it cannot be, but the meaning of the color is fixed.

For example, yellow is a death color. So whenever it happens first, it means you are fear-oriented – that your mind’s first opening is for fear. So wherever you move, the first thing you will notice will be fear, or the first reaction of your mind in any new situation will be fear. Whenever something strange is there, the first response will be fear-filled. If red is the first color in your inner journey, then you are more rooted in the love of life, and your reactions will be different. You will feel more alive, and your reactions will be more life affirmative.

A person whose first experience is yellow will always interpret everything in terms of death, and a person whose first experience is red will always interpret his experiences in terms of life. Even if someone is just dying; he will begin to think that he must be reborn somewhere else. Even in death he will interpret rebirth. But for the person whose first experience is yellow, even if someone is born he will begin to think that he is going to die someday. These will be the attitudes. So a red-oriented person can be happy even. in death, but a yellow-oriented person cannot be happy even in birth. He will be negative. Fear is a negative emotion. Everywhere he will find something to be sad and negative about.

For example, I said that a very silent person will feel blue, but this means a silent person who is inactive at the same time. A silent person who is active at the same time will feel green as the first experience. Mohammed chose green as the color for his fakirs. Islam has green as the symbolic color. That is the color of their flag. Green is both – silent, still, but also active. Blue is just silent and inactive. So a person like Lao Tzu will first begin to feel blue; a person like Mohammed will begin to feel green first. So the symbolic system of colors is a fixed thing, but the sequence is not fixed.

Another thing has to be noted, and that is that seven colors are pure colors. But you can mix two, you can mix three, and a new color comes out. So it may be that you never experience pure color in the beginning. You may experience three colors, their combination, or two colors or four colors. Then again it depends on your mind. If you have a very confused mind, then your confusion will be shown in the colors.

Now they have evolved in the West a color test in psychology. and it has been proving very meaningful. Just giving you many colors and allowing you to choose the first preference, then the second, then the third, then the fourth, decides much, shows much. If you are sincere and honest, then it shows much about your mind, because you cannot choose without any inner cause. If you choose yellow first, the logic of it is that then red will be the last. It has its own logic. If death is your first choice, then life is going to be your last, you will put red as the last. And one who chooses red first will automatically choose yellow as the last. The sequence will also show the structure of the mind.

But once, twice, thrice – the cards are given to you again and again – and the strange thing is that the first time you choose yellow, your first preference, then the second time you are given the same cards but you don’t choose yellow as your first preference. The third time you choose something else, and the whole sequence changes. So the cards are given seven times. If a person goes on choosing yellow as the first color continuously for seven times, then it shows a very fixed mind – very much fixed – a fixation. This man is constantly rooted in fear. He must be living in many phobias, because everything will take the shape of fear. But if he is given the cards another seven times and now he changes – once blue and once green and once something else – then there is a double sequence. One sequence in one series and another sequence in the second series – that also shows much. In the second series, if he never repeats one color as his first preference, that shows he is very fluctuating and nothing can be decisively said about him. He will be unpredictable. And the sequence also changes because the mind is changing constantly.

Recently, because of LSD, marijuana and other drugs, many things have come up from the unconscious mind. When Aldous Huxley told about his experiences with LSD, he talked as if he had entered heaven. Everything was beautiful, utopian, colorful, poetic. Nothing was bad in it. There was nothing like a nightmare – nothing of fear or death. Everything was alive, abundantly alive, rich. But when Zaehner took it, he entered hell. With the same LSD he entered hell, and it was a long nightmare – horror filled,

Both misinterpreted their experiences. Aldous Huxley thought that this was a quality of LSD and that because of LSD this heaven experience had come up. Zaehner interpreted quite diametrically opposite from Huxley and he said, “It is just a nightmare, a deep horror. One must not go into it – it can create madness.” But the interpretation is on the same lines: he also thought that it was LSD which had created this experience.

The reality is different. It was LSD working only as a catalytic agent. LSD cannot create heaven, cannot create hell. LSD can only open you, and whatsoever is in you is projected. So if Zaehner’s experience is absolutely colorless it is because of Zaehner’s mind, and if Huxley’s experience is colorful it is because of Huxley’s mind. LSD can only give you a glimpse into your own mind. It can open your own deeper layers. So if you have a suppressed unconscious inside, then you may enter hell; or if you have nothing suppressed, if you have a relaxed unconscious, a natural one, then you may enter heaven – but that will depend on what type of mind you have. The same happens when one goes deep into an inner journey: whatsoever you encounter is your own mind. Remember this – whatsoever you encounter, it is your own mind.

The color sequence is also your own mind’s sequence, but one has to go beyond colors. Whatsoever the sequence, one has to go beyond colors. So one must continuously remember that colors are mental. They cannot exist without mind – the mind working as a prism. When you go beyond mind, there is light – colorless, absolutely white. And when this whiteness begins to be there, only then have you gone beyond mind.

Jains have chosen white as the color for their monks and for their nuns, and the choice is meaningful. As Buddhists have chosen yellow and Hindus ochre, Jains have chosen white, because they say only when white begins does spirituality really begin. Mohammed has chosen green because he says if silence is dead, then it is meaningless. Silence must be active, it must participate in the world, so a saint must also be a soldier. He has chosen green. All colors are meaningful.

There is a Sufi sect which uses black – black clothes for their fakirs. Black is also very, very meaningful. It shows absence of color, everything absent. It is just the contrary of white. Sufis say that unless we become totally absent, the God cannot be present to us. So one must be like black – absolutely absent, a nonentity, a nonbeing, just a nothingness. They have chosen black.

Colors are meaningful. So with whatsoever you choose you show much. Even your clothes indicate much. Nothing is just accidental. If you have chosen a particular color for your clothes, it is not accidental. You may not be aware why you have chosen it, but science is aware – and it shows much. Your clothes show much because they belong to your mind, and your mind chooses. You cannot choose without your mind having certain leanings, certain tendencies.

So the sequence will be different, but all sequences and all colors belong to your mind. Don’t be bothered much about them. Whatsoever color is felt, just go on passing it; don’t stick to it. Sticking to it is the natural tendency. If some beautiful color is there, one becomes stuck to it – don’t. Move! Remember that colors belong to mind. And if some color is fearful, one goes back so that it is not felt. That too is not good, because if you go back no transformation is possible. Pass through it! Don’t go back. It is your mind: pass through it! Even if a color is fearful, even if ugly, even if chaotic or beautiful or harmonious, whatsoever, go through it.

You must reach a point where colors are not, but only light remains. That entry into light is spiritual. Everything before that is mental.

-Osho

From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.1 #12, Q1

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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The Upward Flow of the Mind – Osho

Unmani bhaavah paddyam.

The upward flow of the mind is paddyam – the water of divine worship.

The mind is the bridge between matter and consciousness, between without and within, between the gross and the subtle. When I say mind is the bridge, I mean many things. Man comes to the world through mind; man comes to the body through mind; man comes to desires through mind. So wherever you reach, the reaching is always through the mind. If you create a hell for yourself, you create it through mind. If you create a heaven, that also is through mind.

One of the Zen patriarchs, Hui-Hai, has said, “Mind is heaven and mind is hell.” So whatsoever you are or whatsoever you can be, it will depend ultimately on how your mind works. This working can create something for you which is not; this working can reveal to you that which is. So a mind can create a very illusionary world around it: it is capable. It can dream, and it can dream so real that you cannot even detect that whatsoever is seen and perceived is not real.

So mind has a projective force; it can project. That which is not, mind can create. And because mind can create that which is not, it can forget that which is. It can just be in such a state that the reality is never in any contact with it; and whatsoever happens, it depends only on the mind. So the mind has to be taken as the root of everything that one can experience. Even if one has to know the Divine, one has to go through mind. Of course, that going is difficult because that going implies dropping of the mind. Even if dropping of the mind is needed, it is through mind – because unless you drop the mind you will never be able to know the true.

Mind is everywhere, either positively or negatively. Whatsoever you are doing – creating an illusory world or discovering the real creating a madness for yourself or creating a meditative state – it is all through mind. Wherever you go, you go through the bridge of the mind. Even if you have to come to yourself, it will be through mind. Of course, the coming will be negative; you will have to negate mind. You will have to come back, and the same steps will have to be taken – only the direction will be different. If I go from my home, there are steps which lead me away. If I am returning back, the same steps will lead me back – only the direction will be different. So if you can understand how mind goes out, you know that the same path is to be followed back.

Secondly, in Indian symbology, “upward” is synonymous with “inward”, and “downward” is synonymous with “outward”. When we say “upward” we mean inward; they both mean the same. The more inward you go, the more upward; the more outward you go, the more downward. These two are different symbols. The Chinese mind has always used “downward” as synonymous with “inward”, and “upward” as synonymous with “outward”. So whenever Lao Tzu would speak, he would never use “upward”; he would say, “Come downward,” and by down he means come within. So the within for Lao Tzu is just like an abyss: you fall in.

Indian symbology is different. We use upward for inward. For us the inward is not like an abyss, it is like a peak. Both can be used because symbols are just symbols, they indicate; more than that is meaningless. So it has always been a problem. The Upanishads always talk of upward, and the symbol is fire – fire constantly running upward. For Lao Tzu and Taoists, water is the symbol – water running downward, finding the most downward position possible. It can rest only when the deepest abyss has been found. But fire will rest only with the sun. It will go upward, upward, to the invisible upwardness.

There is no contradiction. Really, whenever persons like Lao Tzu or Zarathustra or Jesus speak, they may use contradictory terms but they are never contradictory. They cannot be, that is impossible. So if their words are contradictory, that only shows their type, their choice, their individuality, their way of saying things – nothing more. But pundits, scholars, can make much out of these apparent contradictions. And whenever we are talking about the Absolute, the Ultimate, one thing must be understood very clearly: you can use either of the extremes to express it, and each extreme is as valid as the other.

For example, the Upanishads use for the Divine the word “Absolute”. This is one extreme, that of positivity – the Perfect, the Absolute. Buddha uses for that same state and the same realization, “Nothingness” – the other extreme. Totally opposite as far as words go, but as far as the realization is concerned, they both mean the same. But it created much confusion.

Buddha appeared to be absolutely contradictory to the Hindu mind. He was not. He was one of the purest Hindus possible, but he used a negative word. That was his liking, and it is good not to discuss likings – because one is as valid or as invalid as the other. Both can be used. Either you say “the infinite” or you say “the zero” – both are infinite. If you take it in the beginning, it is zero. If you take it in the end, it is infinite. Both mean the same thing.

Just like this, Buddha and Mahavir, both contemporaries, used very contradictory language. Mahavir says, “To know the Self is the ultimate knowledge, the wisdom. To know the Self is the wisdom.” And Buddha says, “To believe in the self is the only ignorance.” Mahavir says, “Only the Self is,” and Buddha says, “Only the self is the deception, the most false thing.” Nothing can be more contradictory, so Jains and Buddhists have been fighting constantly for twenty-five centuries. But the whole conflict is based just on linguistic fallacies – because Mahavir uses the word “Self”, negating everything of the ego in it. He says, “You become the Self when there is no ego.” So really, “Self” becomes just like “no-self”. If there is no ego, the Self becomes just like no-self. And Buddha uses the “self” as the ego and he says the self means the ego, so the most perfect ego means “the self”. Then the meaning becomes clear. So both are right. When Buddha says, “To believe in a self is to be ignorant,” he is right. And Mahavir is also right when he says, “To know the Self is the ultimate wisdom.” The contradiction is just apparent.

Lao Tzu says, “To go down to the last is to reach the basic Existence.” He begins from the beginning: “Drop down back to the very beginning, to the original source. The original source is deep down.” The Upanishads say, “Go up to the last where the peak is achieved.” Lao Tzu says, “Go down to the original source,” and the Upanishads say, “Go up to the ultimate possibility, to the very end. Achieve the potentiality to the very end; make the potentiality absolutely actual.” The beginning and end are not two separate things. Really, no end can end unless it reaches again to the beginning. And the beginning begins only where the end ends.

Life moves in a circle, so if you begin a circle, the point of beginning will be the point of the ending also. Life moves in a circle, so you can say the same point is the beginning and the end both. So the upward is not contradictory to the downward. The Lao Tzuan downward and the Upanishadic upward – both mean the same. Only the words differ.

If we can penetrate to the meaning beyond the words, only then can we conceive of and comprehend these minds. These minds are living in such experiences which cannot really be expressed through ordinary words. But they have to use ordinary words, so they can use only ordinary words with a very different meaning, with a very different connotation. So one thing more: when the Upanishads say upward, remember, it is the same as inward. The more you go in, the more up, and vice versa: the more up you go, the more in. What is this upwardness or inwardness? And why should the sutra say that this upward flow of the mind is the only water by which you can worship the feet of the Divine? So many things are implied. One is that it is useless to use just water – it is useless!

Al-hillaj Mansoor, a Sufi mystic, was killed. When his hands were cut, blood began to flow, and he used that blood as Mohammedans use water for wazu – cleaning the body before going to the worship. They use water, but Mansoor used blood. And when he made the gesture of wazu, someone asked from the crowd, “Mansoor, have you gone mad? What are you doing?”

Mansoor said, “For the first time I am doing wazu, cleaning myself with my own blood – because how can you clean yourself with water?”

He gives a deeper significance. Really, he means that unless you die, how can you purify yourself for the prayer? Wazu through blood means dying. Only dying can be a real cleansing, a real purity. And when you die, you become able to pray. Unless you die, you cannot pray. So the courage to die becomes a basic requirement for prayer.

This sutra says, “The upward flow of the mind is the water for the Divine feet.” No other water will do. It goes even deeper than Mansoor’s blood, because blood is not so deep – it is only skin-deep. You can do wazu with your blood; it is not so deep yet. But the upward flowing mind is the deepest possibility, for two reasons: basically, the mind is downward flowing; basically, the trend is to flow downward because it is easy. The downward flow is always easy. The upward needs effort; the upward needs a fight with the gravitation; the upward means austerity. You cannot flow upward – unless you change your nature completely. It is a transformation! The downward flow is but natural, it is in the very nature of things. So mind has a downward flow naturally.

Think of it in this way: if you want to think and concentrate on the Divine, you will feel much difficulty. The mind will be wavering constantly. You will not be able to concentrate even for a single moment, really. It will be going here and there. Concentration will not be possible, contemplation will not be possible, meditation will not be possible. Mind will not be ready. Even with much effort, you will find it is not coming to the Divine, towards the Divine. But think of sex, and mind is absorbed. No need to concentrate – it concentrates. No need to make any effort – mind flows easily.

Really, we don’t know anything else except sex by which we can understand what concentration means. So it happens always that whenever a person can concentrate on any other thing, sex will not be a problem for him – whenever! Even if he is just a scientist, a research-worker, working in his lab, if he can concentrate on his work then sex will not be a problem in his life at all. But if you cannot concentrate on anything else, then your mind will be flowing through the channel of sex constantly.

One thing must be understood: when you are thinking about sex, you are totally absorbed. There is no wavering. You even forget that you are thinking about sex – you may remember afterwards. Even this much wavering is not there. You forget that you are different and that this procession of sexual thoughts and images is different. You become one with them. This is what is meant when bhaktas say, “the constant remembering of the Divine – without you, without ‘I’.” The same phenomenon occurs, only the object changes. It is not sex now; the object becomes Divine. And unless the Divine becomes as absorbing as sex is naturally, you cannot flow upward.

So the upward flow is an effort: you have to pull yourself together for it. The downward flow is easy. That’s why, whenever you feel tense, sex becomes a relaxation, a relief – because every tension means that you have been pulling yourself together towards something which is not natural. Then if you can relax to the downward flow, you will feel a relief. So in the West particularly, sex has become just a relief – just a relief from tensions. It is, and it is because when you flow downward no effort is needed. So sex is used by many, really by ninety-nine percent of people, as a tranquillizer. If you move in sex then you can sleep well. Why? Because when the mind is flowing downward your whole body is relaxed. Unless you are relaxed m the same way when your mind is going upward, you are not a religious person at all.

That is the difference between a secular mind and a religious mind. A secular mind is at ease with downward flowing, relaxed. A religious mind is only relaxed when upward flowing. Whenever a religious mind has to flow downward, it becomes tense. Ultimately, when the upward flow is achieved, the same effort will be needed to flow downward – even more effort, because upwardness, even when arduous, is still upwardness, and downwardness. even with no effort, is downwardness. And when one has to come down with effort, the effort becomes a thousandfold more arduous.

For a person like Ramakrishna, even to eat is an effort. For a person like Buddha, even to move is an effort, even to be in the body is an effort. This effort means that the whole nature has become transformed. That which was downward before has now become upward, and that which was upward before has become downward. A religious mind flows upward as if the upwardness has just become downwardness. Meera is at ease when she is dancing and singing for Krishna, but when her husband Rana is there, she is not at ease, because Rana now is a downward flow. This upward flow is bound to be an effort for us. Unless you will it, you will not achieve it.

Now, again, you will find a conflict between Tao and the Upanishads. Lao Tzu says, “Effortlessness is the means,” and the Upanishads says, “Effort, total effort, is the means.” When Lao Tzu says “effortlessness”, he means be so still that not a single movement is there, because any effort is a movement, any effort is a tension, any effort means that you are outside. So when Lao Tzu says “effortlessness”, he is using it to mean an absolutely relaxed state of mind – do not do anything.

It is not so easy. It is as difficult as the upward flow – rather, even more difficult, because we can understand terms which imply doing, but we cannot understand terms which imply non-doing. Non-doing for us is more arduous, but both are arduous, and both try through different ways to achieve the same point. If you become totally effortless, you achieve your innermost center – because you cannot move! When there is no movement you will drop down, down, down to the center. Every peripheral event is an effort. When there is no effort, you will be down in your ultimate center.

The Upanishads again use a different way which is, of course, in logical relationship with their concept of upwardness. They say absolute effort is needed. When you make an absolute effort, you will become more tense, more tense, more tense, and there will come a moment when you will be nothing but tension. You will be nothing but tension! Then there is nothing further. The ultimate has been achieved. Now you are just a tension. When this climax comes, suddenly you will fall from the climax. You cannot go further; you have come to the last limit. The tension has come to its ultimate, the maximum; it cannot go further. When tension comes to a total climax, you suddenly relax and you reach the point which is meant by Tao, by Lao Tzu – effortlessness. You come to the center.

So there are two ways: either relax directly as Tao implies or relax indirectly as the Upanishads say. Create the tension to its ultimate, and then there will be relaxation. And I think the Upanishads are more helpful, because we are tense and we understand the meaning, the language, the ways of tension. Tell someone suddenly to relax and he cannot. Even relaxation becomes a new tension for him. I have seen a book which is entitled You Must Relax. The very “must” will create tension. The word is anti-relaxation – “must”. It becomes hard work: you must relax. So try now to relax, and your very effort to relax will create more tensions. The title should rather be You Must Not Relax, if you want to relax.

Relaxation cannot come directly to us. We are tense, so much tense. Relaxation doesn’t mean anything; we have not known it. Lao Tzu is right, but to follow him is very difficult. And it looks simple. Always remember – whenever something looks very simple it must be very complex, because in this world the most simple is the most complex. And because it looks simple you may deceive yourself. So I can say, “Just relax!” – it will not happen.

I was working for ten years continuously with Lao Tzuan methods, so I was continuously teaching direct relaxation. It was simple for me so I thought it would be simple for everyone. Then. by and by, I become aware that it is impossible. I was in a fallacy: it was not possible. I would say, “Relax!” to those I was teaching. They would appear to understand the meaning of the word, but they could not relax. Then I had to devise new methods for meditation which create tension first – more tension. They create such tension that you become just mad. And then I say, “Relax.”

When you have come up to the climax, your whole body. your whole mind, becomes hungry for relaxation. With so much tension, you want to stop, and I go on pushing you to continue, continue to the very end. Do whatsoever you can do to create tensions, and then, when you stop you just fall down from the peak into a deep abyss. The abyss is the end, the effortlessness is the end, but the Upanishads use tension as the means.

So be effortful to flow upward. Really, to use the word “flow” is not good because flow means downward. How can you flow upward? You have to struggle. To flow upward means a struggle, constant struggle. A moment is missed, and you will find you are downward. For a moment you stop the struggle, and you will be flowing downward. It is a constant struggle against the current. So now understand what the current is and against what current you have to struggle upward.

Your habits are the current, long habits, habits generated by many, many lives; not only human lives – animal lives, vegetable lives. You are not isolated; you are part of a long succession, and every habit is just engrained. You have been flowing downward continuously for millennia, so it has become a deep habit. Really, it has become your nature. You don’t know any other nature. You know only one nature which goes down and down and down. This downwardness is the current, and every cell of the body, every atom of the mind is just part of a long, long succession of habits. They are so deep that we don’t even remember from where they came. […]

This is the current. When you are violent, you alone are not violent: your whole history is violent. When you are sexual, you alone are not sexual: the whole history is sexual, the whole succession. That’s why it has so much force. You are just a dead leaf in a big current.

So what to do so that you can go upward against the current? What to do?

Three things to be done: one, whenever mind begins to flow downward, become aware as early as possible – as early as possible! Someone has insulted you. For you to become angry, a little time is needed because it is a mechanism. You will get angry, but after a gap. Things will happen like a flash. First you will feel insulted. The moment you feel insulted, the second current will begin to flow: you will become angry. At first the anger will not be conscious; first it will be just like a fever. Then it will become conscious. Then you will begin to express or suppress it.

So when I say, “the earlier the better”, I mean when someone insults you, become aware as soon as you begin to feel that you have been insulted. And whenever you become aware, just make an effort to stop. Don’t fall into the automatic track even for a single moment. Even a single moment’s stop will help much. Longer stops will help even more.

When Gurdjieff’s father was dying, he called his boy. He was just nine, and Gurdjieff remembered the incident all his life. The father called him. He was the youngest child and the father said, “I am so poor, I cannot give you anything, my boy. But one thing which my father gave to me I can give you. You may not even be able to understand what it means now, because I myself was not able to understand what it meant when my father gave it to me. But it proved the most precious thing in my life, so I am just giving it to you. Preserve it! Someday you may begin to understand it.”

So Gurdjieff just listened. The father said, “Whenever you feel angry, never reply before twenty-four hours. Reply, but let there be a gap of twenty-four hours.”

Gurdjieff followed his dying father’s advice. It became deeply impressed in his mind the very day his father died, and Gurdjieff said, “I have practiced many, many, many spiritual exercises, but that was the best. I never could be angry in my life, and that changed the whole flow, the whole current, because I had to stick to the promise. Whenever someone would insult me, I would create something, some situation. I would just tell him that I would come back after twenty-four hours to reply, and I have never replied because it proved such nonsense to reply.” Only a gap was needed. And the whole life of George Gurdjieff became something different.

So even if you can begin with one thing in the current, you will begin to change the whole. Really, this is one of the basic truths of esoteric religion: that you cannot change a part unless you change the whole. And it works both ways. Either you change the whole, then the part will change; or you change even a single part totally and the whole will follow – because they are so integratedly related.

So begin anywhere. Find out your chief characteristic. Find out the chief characteristic for you: that which is most forceful, which you cannot resist, that which tempts you and causes you to go down. It may be sadness, it may be anger, it may be greed, it may be anything. Find out your chief characteristic, your weakness. And begin with the stronger one, then the weaker ones can be won very easily. Begin with the strongest. If anger is the strongest begin with anger. First, when you feel that you have been insulted, you have been rejected, you have been hindered – anything which creates anger – just when you feel that “Now the first step has been taken and I am feeling insulted,” stop for a moment. Don’t breathe; just stop the breath wherever it is. If it is out, let it be out. If it is in, let it be in. Stop breathing for a moment, then release the breath. Go in, and find out whether you have missed the thing, or it is still there.

You will have missed it. The connection is missed. You will have given a gap to the automatic working. Somewhere you have disjointed the mechanism, and breathing is wonderful to disjoin anything. Just stop breathing, and there is a disjoining inside. Your feeling insulted and the mechanism of anger will not be joined. And if they are missed even for a single moment, they are missed. Your mechanism will never know that you have been insulted.

The earlier this happens, the better. There are even earlier stages – they belong to the other, not to you. When the other is insulting you, before feeling insulted look at him and feel that he is angry. Stop your breath and look at him again, and you will not be insulted. He will insult you, but you will not be insulted. You will not feel insulted because again there comes a gap. This gap is between him and you. Now he cannot cross this gap; he cannot insult you. He will insult, but somewhere he has missed you. You are not the target now. For him you are the target, but actually you are not. You can laugh, and if you laugh it is better.

So first create a gap. Second: do something which is ordinarily never done in such situations. When someone is insulting, no one laughs, no one smiles, no one thanks, no one hugs, embraces. Do something which is never done! Then you are against the current, because the current is always that which is done, that which is usually done. This is what the current means. Be unusual! Someone is beating you: laugh and feel the difference – not only in those who are beating you, but within yourself. If you can laugh, you will feel totally different. Try it – something absurd. Then you disconnect the whole mechanism, you confuse the whole mechanism, because the mechanism cannot understand what is happening. A mechanism is just a mechanism. It may be very deep rooted, but it is mechanical; it has no consciousness. So confuse your animal. Don’t allow him to push and pull and manipulate. Confuse the animal! The more you confuse him, the less powerful he becomes – and by “animal” I mean your past.

This is a rare experiment: to do something which is never done. When you are happy, do something which is never done in happiness: be sad, act sad, be angry, act angry. Confuse the mechanism. Just don’t allow the mechanism to know everything that is to be done. Don’t allow, and within a year your mechanism will be at a loss. Someone will be insulting, and your mechanism will not know at all what to do. You have broken from your past. So try! Every moment can be an experiment, and you will feel a sudden change in your consciousness. When someone is insulting you, laugh and feel what is happening inside – something new you have never known. […]

Become unpredictable: this is the second thing. If you are predictable, you are a thing, not a person. The more unpredictable, the more you are not a thing – not just a thing among things. You become a person. So the second thing against the current: be unpredictable. Sometimes be absurd. Just don’t try to be logical because the current is logical. Remember this: the current is very logical – strictly logical. Everything is related. You insult me: I am angry. You appreciate me: I am happy. You call me good, and I am one way; and you call me bad, and I am different. Everything is predictable, it is logical.

Really, if you are angry and I don’t reply to you with anger, you will feel something strange has happened. You will not be at ease. You will not be at ease because something illogical has come in. We live in a logical world. This current is very logical, mathematical; everything is fixed. Unfix it! Disturb it! Create a chaos! Create an inner anarchy! Only then can you throw the animal heritage. Animals are predictable and animals are very logical. To transcend them you must have the courage to be illogical, and that is the deepest courage – to be illogical. […]

Really, if you can understand, life is illogical, death is illogical, love is illogical, God is illogical, and all that is logical is just marketplace. In this life everything that is meaningful, significant, deep, ultimate, is illogical. So create an illogical-ness inside. Don’t be too logical – then you can break. Logic is the foundation of your old mind, your traditional mind. Illogic should be the beginning of the new mind.

And, thirdly, whenever you feel convenience, comfort, easiness, be alert: the mind is flowing downward. So don’t ask for inner comfort, otherwise you will be lost. Don’t ask for inner convenience, otherwise you will be lost. Whenever you feel everything is okay, be alert, you are flowing downward – because nothing is okay really. So whenever you feel that everything is okay, nothing is to be done and everything is just flowing, everything is good, remember, you are flowing downward. Be aware of inner conveniences. And when I say “comfort and convenience,” I mean inner ones. Outwardly it makes no difference – you may be in comfort outwardly – but inwardly never allow comfort to set in.

That’s why no one remembers religion when he feels happy. When you feel sorrow, when you feel sadness, when you feel misery, you begin to think about religion. Inconvenience inside must be used. So two things: first remember always that the downward flow is very convenient. Don’t be a victim to it. Always create some inner inconvenience. This is tap – inner inconvenience. This is tap – this is austerity. What do I mean by inner inconvenience?

You are sleeping, relaxed: create an inner inconvenience. Let the body relax, but don’t relax the alertness. Sufis have used vigil, night vigil, as an inner inconvenience. The whole night they will be on vigil. In India, sleep was never used, really – food and hunger were used as inner inconveniences. The hunger is there: don’t take food. The hunger is there: remember it, be aware of it, and yet be away from it. An inner inconvenience is created. The mind has a habit to fall for the convenience, so create any inner inconvenience. And always go on changing, because if you are fixed to one thing it will not be an inconvenience for long.

You can even become fixed to your fasting, then it becomes a convenience rather than an inconvenience, because to take food may begin to appear as an inconvenience. Once you know that the body can run without food – the body begins to feel more light, the body begins to feel more alive, the body begins to feel more vital; and the body has a built-in process so that for at least three months you can be without food, without any food – after seven or eight days, to take food will be inconvenient. So use fasting as an inconvenience, and when fasting begins to settle, use food.

Gurdjieff was strange in this. He would give you such strange foods – such strange foods you have never eaten! The whole stomach would be disturbed, and he would create inconvenience. […]

And his followers were very much afraid because he would force them to eat so much that it became a torture. From eight in the night up to twelve – four hours – would be for eating, and he would be there. He would go on forcing – no one could say no, He would force so much alcohol that ordinarily it would just make you deadly unconscious, but he would go on. He would create inner inconvenience and he would say, “Let the inconvenience be there. Remember! Be awake!” He would go on pouring alcohol, and he would say, “Remember! Remember, and be awake!”

Tantrics have used alcohol, and a real tantric can take any amount of it without being affected at all. They say, and they say rightly, that alcohol creates the deepest inconvenience inside. To fight with it and remain aware is the most arduous thing. When the alcohol goes in, and every body cell becomes lethargic, and the chemical begins to work, and the mind begins to lose consciousness, then to be aware is the most arduous tap – austerity – possible. But it is possible, and once it happens you will never be the same again.

So create any inner inconvenience. The current always helps you to be convenient: that is a trick; then you begin to flow with it. So the third thing for the upward flow of the mind is to create inward inconvenience continuously and go on changing. You can make anything a habit – go on changing. When something becomes convenient, leave it; create something new. Then, by these inconveniences, you create a crystallization inside. You become integrated, one. And for this oneness, this integration, this chemical crystallization, alchemists use the word “gold”. Now the baser metal has been changed into higher. Now you are gold. This integration is the third point to remember.

So continuously be aware that some integration must take place. No moment should be missed in which you have not tried to integrate yourself. You are walking: a moment comes when your legs give way, and they say, “Now you cannot move.” That is the point to move. Now move! Now don’t listen to the legs, and you will become aware of a subtle force – because the body has two force reservoirs. One is just ordinary, for day-to-day use. Another, a deeper one, is infinite. It is not for everyday use: it only comes into operation when some emergency is there.

You are walking: you have walked twenty miles, and now you know very well, your logic says, your mind says, every fiber of the body says that now no movement is possible – you will just drop dead. A single step more, and you will drop dead! This is the moment: now move! Don’t listen to the body! Now run! Don’t listen to the body, and suddenly there will be an upsurge of energy again. Within moments you will feel a new energy, and now you can walk for miles together. This energy comes from the reservoir, and this reservoir is connected only when the day-to-day energy source is just empty. If you listen to the body then this reservoir is never used.

You are feeling sleepy, and now you cannot even open your eyes. This is the moment. Stand! Open your eyes! Stare! Don’t blink! Forget sleep and try to be awake – and within seconds a sudden upsurge of energy will overflow. There will be no sleep. You will be fresher than you have ever been in the morning. A new morning, an inside morning has happened. A deeper source energy has come. This is how to integrate your mind and how to let it be arrowed upwards continuously.

The rishi says, “The upward flow of the mind is the water for Divine worship.” Mm? No other water will do. This constant upward flow, by this and only by this can you worship the feet of the Divine.

-Osho

From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.1, Discourse #7

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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Encountering the Unconscious – Osho

Considering the example of sensual instinct, kindly explain what are the practical ways to encounter the unconscious mind, and how can one know that one has become free from it?

The unconscious is not really unconscious. Rather, it is only less conscious. So the difference between conscious and unconscious is not of polar opposites, but of degrees. Unconscious and conscious are related, joined; they are not two. But our ways of thinking are based on a particular false system of logic which divides everything into polar opposites.

Reality is never divided like that; only logic is divided. Our logic says either yes or no; our logic says either light or darkness – and there is nothing in between as far as logic goes. But life is neither white nor black. It is, rather, a great expanse of grey. One extreme becomes white, another extreme becomes black, and life is a great expanse of grey, degrees of grey. But for logic white and black are realities and there is nothing in between – but life is always in between these two. So, really, every problem should be understood not as a logical problem, but as a life problem – only then can you do something with it. If you are too fixed with this false logic, then you will never be able to solve any problem.

Aristotle has proved to be one of the greatest menaces, blocks to the human mind, because he created a system – which became dominant all over the world – that divides everything into two opposites. Really, this is a strange fact. We have nothing for the in between reality – not even words.

De Bono, a modern non-Aristotelian logician, has created a new word – “po”. He says that we have only two words, “yes” or “no”, and there is no neutral word. “Yes” is one opposite, “no” is another – there is no neutral word. So he has coined a new word – “po”. “Po” means “I am neither for nor against.” If you say something and I say “po” it means, “I have heard you I am neither for nor against. I am not making any judgment.” Or, to say “po” means: “Perhaps you are right, perhaps you are wrong. Both are possible.” Or the use of the word “po” means: “This is also one point of view. I need not be on the ‘yes’ side or the ‘no’. It is not a compulsion.”

De Bono has derived this word from words like hyPOthesis or POtentiality. This “po” is a neutral word, not loaded with any judgment, condemnation or appreciation. Just use the word “po” and you will feel the difference. You are not taking any standpoint in the polar opposites.

So when I say “conscious” and “unconscious”, I don’t mean the Freudian opposition. For Freud, conscious is conscious and unconscious is unconscious. The difference is that of white and black, yes and no, life and death. When I say “unconscious” I mean “less conscious”. When I say “conscious” I mean “less unconscious”. They overlap each other.

So what to do to encounter the unconscious? As far as Freud is concerned the encounter is impossible. Because it is unconscious, how can you encounter it? The question means the same as if someone says, “How to see in darkness?” Mm? The question is irrelevant, meaningless. If you put it in this way, “How to see in darkness?” and if I say, “With light,” then the question has not been answered at all because you ask, “How to see in darkness?” and if there is light then there is no darkness – you are seeing light.

So, really, in darkness no one can see. When we say “darkness” we mean that now seeing is not possible. What do you mean when you say “darkness”? You mean that now seeing is not possible. What do you mean when you say “light”? You mean that now things can be seen. Really, you have never seen light: you have only seen light reflected in things which you can see. You have never seen light itself – no one can see it. We see only things, not light, and because things are seen, we assume, infer, that light is there.

You have not seen darkness; no one has seen it. Really, darkness is just an inference. Because nothing is seen, you say there is darkness. So when someone asks, “How to see in darkness?” the words look meaningful, but they are not. Language is very deceptive, and unless one becomes careful in using language one will never be able to solve any problem. Ninety-nine percent of problems are just linguistic problems, but if you don’t know how to penetrate the garb of language you will never be able to tackle the real problem.

If you ask Freud how to encounter the unconscious, he will say, “It is nonsense; you cannot encounter it. If you encounter it, it will become conscious, because encountering is a conscious phenomenon.” But if you ask me how to encounter the unconscious, I will say, “Yes, there are ways to encounter it” – because for me, the first thing to be noted is that “unconscious” means simply “less conscious”. So if you grow more conscious, you can encounter it – so it depends.

Secondly, unconscious and conscious are not fixed boundaries. They change every moment – just like the retina of the eye. It is changing constantly. If there is more light, it is narrowed down. If there is less light, then it widens. It is constantly making an equilibrium with the light outside. So your eye is not really a fixed thing; it is constantly changing. Just like that is your consciousness. Really, to understand the phenomenon of consciousness by the analogy of the eye is very relevant, because consciousness is the inner eye, the eye of the soul. So just like your eye, your consciousness is constantly expanding or shrinking. It depends.

For example, if you are angry, you become more unconscious. The unconscious is now more spread, and only a very minor part of you remains conscious. Sometimes even that part is not there either – you become completely unconscious. But in a sudden accident: you are on the road and suddenly you feel that an accident is going to be there and you are on the verge of death – you suddenly become conscious and there is no unconscious at all. The whole mind is conscious. And this change is continuously taking place.

So when I say conscious and unconscious, I don’t mean any fixed boundaries. There are none, there are no fixed boundaries. It is a fluctuating phenomenon. It depends on you to be less conscious or more conscious. You can create consciousness; you can train and discipline yourself for more consciousness or for less consciousness. If you train yourself for less consciousness, you will never be able to encounter the unconscious. Really, you will even become incapable of encountering the conscious.

When someone has taken some intoxicant, he is training his mind to be totally unconscious. When you go into sleep, or if you can be hypnotized, or if you can auto hypnotize yourself, then you lose consciousness. There are many tricks, and many of those tricks which help you to be more unconscious are even known as religious practices. If you do any monotonous, repetitive thing – for example, if you go on continuously saying “Ram-Ram-Ram-ram”, in a very monotonous tone, you will become less conscious. And this constant repetition of “Ram-Ram-Ram”, in a monotonous tone, will be just auto-hypnotic. You will go to sleep: it is good for sleep.

If you can create monotony then you will be less conscious, because a bored mind cannot remain conscious. The boredom is too much, and the mind would like to go to sleep.

We know, every mother knows, how to put a child to sleep. A lullaby does nothing but create boredom. Every mother knows how to put a child to sleep. With a lullaby – a constant repetition of certain words – the child is bored, so he goes into sleep. This lullaby can be created by movement, by anything which is monotonous – by anything! Just move the child monotonously, rotate the child monotonously, and he will go to sleep because he feels bored. Even if you put the child’s head near your heart he will go to sleep, because your heartbeat is a very boring thing. So put the child near your heart, and he will feel bored because of the constant repetition of the heartbeat. The child knows it very well because for nine months continuously he has heard it. Even old persons can use the “tick-tick” of a clock for going into sleep, and the reason is only the resemblance to the heartbeat. So if you feel that sleep is not coming, just concentrate on your clock and feel the beat, and soon you will drop into sleep.

You can create unconsciousness by creating boredom. By taking any intoxicant, by taking any drug, any sedative, any tranquillizer, you can create unconsciousness. Consciousness also can be created, but then quite different methods have to be used.

Sufi mystics use whirling dances. With such vigorous whirling you cannot sleep. It is impossible. How can you fall asleep when dancing? Someone seeing your dance may go to sleep; for him it may become a boring thing – but you cannot go. So Sufis use dance to create more activity inside, more vitality, so that consciousness spreads. And these dances are not really dances. They look like dances. The Sufi who is doing the dance is constantly remembering every movement of the body. No movement should be done unconsciously. Even if a hand is raised, then this hand must be raised with full consciousness that you are raising the hand – now the hand is raised; now you are dropping it again. No movement should be allowed unconsciously. You are whirling around, dancing vigorously; no movement is to be made unconsciously. Every movement must be done consciously, with full alertness.

Then suddenly the unconscious drops, and with three months of dancing continuously, for hours, you encounter the unconscious. You penetrate deep, deep, deep, and suddenly you become aware of everything that is inside. That is what I mean by encountering the unconscious. Nothing remains which is not in clear vision. Your totality, all your instincts, all your suppressions, your whole biological structure, everything – not only of this life, but of all lives – suddenly is revealed. You are thrown into a new world which was hidden or, rather, to which you were not alert. It was there, but you were asleep – or your consciousness was so narrowed down that it escaped.

Your consciousness is just like a torch – narrowed. You enter darkness with a torch; you have a light, but it is a narrow, focused light. You can see something, but all else remains in darkness. When I say that nothing unconscious remains, I mean unfocused consciousness – unfocused. A focused consciousness will always choose something to see and choose many things not to see; it is a choice. So I use the similarity: just like a torch, narrowed down. One point will become very clear, but everything else will be in darkness. This is what we ordinarily do through concentration.

The more you concentrate, the less you will be able to encounter the unconscious. You will be able to know something very definitely at the cost of not knowing many things. That’s why experts, by and by, become just ignorant – ignorant of the whole world: because they have narrowed down their minds to a particular thing in order to know more about it. So it has been said that an expert is a person who knows more and more about less and less. In the end, only a point remains focused which he knows at the cost of ignoring everything else.

This is how concentration works. So through concentration you can never encounter the unconscious. You can encounter the unconscious only with meditation – and this is the difference between concentration and meditation. Meditation means your mind working not as a torch but like a flame: everything is enlightened around it – everything. It is not narrowed down; the light is diffused. It is not moving in one direction – it is moving in all directions simultaneously so the whole is enlightened.

How to do it? I said Sufis use dance as an active meditation and then they can encounter the unconscious. Zen monks in Japan use absurd problems to encounter it. You face some problem which cannot be solved – which cannot be solved at all! Howsoever you try, the problem is such that it cannot be solved. They call such problems “koans” – absurd problems.

For example, they will say to some seeker, “Find out what your original face is.” And by original face they mean the face you had before you were born, or the face you will have after you die – the original face. They will say, “Find out how your original face looks.” How can you find it out? One has to meditate on it. The problem is such that you cannot solve it by intellect, by reason. You have to ponder over it, meditate over it, go on meditating and searching: “What is my original face?” And the teacher will be there with his staff, and he will look around to see if someone is going into sleep. Then the teacher’s staff will be on your head. You cannot sleep; sleep is not allowed at all. You have to be constantly awake.

So a Zen teacher is a hard taskmaster. You have to meditate before him, and he will not allow you to drop into sleep – because the moment when you are dropping into sleep is the moment to encounter the unconscious. If you can remain out of sleep, then the unconscious will be revealed – because that is the line. The very line from where you drop into sleep is the line where you can enter into the unconscious.

You can try this. You have been sleeping every day, but you have not encountered sleep yet. You have not seen it – what it is, how it comes, how you drop into it. You have not known anything about it. You have been dropping into it daily, coming out of it, but you have not felt the moment when sleep comes on the mind – what happens. So try this, and with three months’ effort, suddenly, one day, you will enter sleep knowingly: drop on your bed, close your eyes, and then remember, remember that sleep is coming and “I am to remain awake when the sleep comes.” It is very arduous, but it happens. One day it will not happen, one week it will not happen. Persist every day, constantly remembering that sleep is coming and, “I am not to allow it without knowing. I must be aware when sleep enters. I must go on feeling how sleep takes over, what it is.”

And one day, suddenly, sleep is there and you are still awake. That very moment you become aware of your unconscious also. And once you become aware of your unconscious you will never be asleep again in the old way. Sleep will be there, but you will be awake simultaneously. A center in you will go on knowing. All around will be sleep, and a center will go on knowing. When this center knows dreams become impossible. And when dreams become impossible, daydreams also become impossible. Then you are asleep in a different sense, and then you will be awake in the morning in a different sense. That different quality comes by the encounter.

But this may look difficult, so I suggest to you a simpler exercise to encounter the unconscious. Close the doors of your room and put a big mirror just in front of you. The room must be dark. And then put a small flame by the side of the mirror in such a way that it is not directly reflected in it. Just your face is reflected in the mirror, not the flame. Then constantly stare into your own eyes in the mirror. Do not blink. This is a forty-minute experiment, and within two or three days you will be able to keep your eyes unblinking.

Even if tears come, let them come, but persist in not blinking and go on staring constantly into your eyes. Do not change the stare. Go on staring into the eyes, your own, and within two or three days you will become aware of a very strange phenomenon. Your face will begin to take new shapes. You may even be scared. The face in the mirror will begin to change. Sometimes a very different face will be there which you have never known as yours.

But, really, all these faces belong to you. Now the subconscious mind is beginning to explode. These faces, these masks, are yours. Sometimes even a face that belongs to a past life may come in. After one week of constant staring for forty minutes, your face will become a flux, just a film-like flux. Many faces will be coming and going constantly. After three weeks, you will not be able to remember which is your face. You will not be able to remember your own face, because you have seen so many faces coming and going.

If you continue, then any day, after three weeks, the most strange thing happens: suddenly there is no face in the mirror. The mirror is vacant, you are staring into emptiness. There is no face at all. This is the moment: close your eyes and encounter the unconscious. When there is no face in the mirror, just close the eyes – this is the most significant moment – close the eyes, look inside, and you will face the unconscious. You will be naked – completely naked, as you are. All deceptions will fall.

This is the reality, but the society has created many, many layers in order that you will not be aware of it. Once you know yourself in your nakedness, your total nakedness, you begin to be a different person. Then you cannot deceive yourself. Then you know what you are. And unless you know what you are you can never become transformed, because any transformation becomes possible only in this naked reality: this naked reality is potential for any transformation. No deception can be transformed. Your original face is now here and you can transform it. And, really, just a will to transform it will affect the transformation.

But you cannot become transformed! You cannot transform your false faces. You can change them, but you cannot transform them: by “change” I mean you can replace them with another false face. A thief can become a monk, a criminal can become a saint. It is very easy to change, to replace the masks, the faces. These are not transformations at all.

Transformation means becoming that which you really are. So the moment you face the unconscious, encounter the unconscious, you are face to face with your reality, with your authentic being.

The false societal being is not there, your name is not there, your form is not there, your face is not there. The naked forces of nature are there, and with these naked forces any transformation is possible – and by just willing it! Nothing is to be done. You just will, and things begin to happen. If you face yourself in this nakedness, just will whatsoever you like, and it will be.

In the Bible it is said: “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” In the Koran it is said: “God said, ‘Let there be the world,’ and there was the world.” Really, these are parables – parables of the willpower which is hidden in you. When you encounter your naked reality, the basic, elemental forces, you become a creator, a god. Just say, utter a word, and it happens. Say, “Let there be light,” and there will be light. Before the encounter, if you are trying to transform darkness into light it is not possible. So this encounter is basic, foundational, for any religious happening.

Many, many methods have been invented. There are sudden methods, there are gradual methods. I have told you about a gradual method. There are sudden methods, but with a sudden method it is always very difficult – because with a sudden method it can happen that you may simply die. With a sudden method it can happen that you may suddenly go mad – because the phenomenon is so sudden that you cannot conceive of it. You just drop, shattered.

This happened in the Gita. Arjuna is forcing Krishna to reveal his cosmic form. Krishna goes on talking about other things, but Arjuna is persistent and he says, “I must see. I cannot believe unless I see. If you are really a god, then reveal to me your cosmic from!” Krishna reveals it, but it is so sudden, and Arjuna is not prepared at all. He begins to cry and says to Krishna, “Close it! Close it! I am scared to death!”

So if you come to it through some sudden method, it is dangerous. Sudden methods are there, but they can be practiced only in a group – in a group where others can help you. Really, ashrams were created for these sudden methods because they cannot be practiced alone. A group is needed, adepts are needed, and a constant vigilance is needed, because sometimes you may drop unconscious for months continuously. Then if there is no one who knows what to do, you may be taken for dead. You may be buried or burnt. Many times, Ramakrishna happened to go into deep Samadhi. For six days or for two weeks continuously he had to be forcefully spoon-fed because he was just as if unconscious. A group is needed for sudden methods, and a teacher becomes an absolute necessity.

Sudden methods dropped from Indian practices because of Buddha, Mahavir and Shankaracharya because they insisted that monks should travel continuously. They didn’t allow monks to be in ashrams. They were not to remain anywhere for more than three days. There was a need for this because at the time of Mahavir and Buddha, ashrams became just exploitation centers; they became just big businesses. So Mahavir and Buddha both insisted that a sannyasin shouldn’t remain anywhere more than three days. And three days is a very psychological limit, because in order to be attuned with some place or with some people you need more than three days.

In a new house, you cannot feel at ease unless three days have passed. This is a psychological attuning time. If you remain in a house for more than three days, then the house begins to look as if it is yours. So a sannyasin must not remain anywhere more than three days. Buddha and Mahavir insisted. But because of their insistence, ashrams were destroyed and school methods dropped out of practice – because a wandering monk cannot practice sudden methods. He may be in a village, but no one may know anything about it, and if he practices a sudden method and the happening happens, then he will be in danger: he will have to die.

So Mahavir, Buddha and, later on, Shankaracharya, all these three, insisted that monks go on wandering continuously. They must not remain in one place; they should be homeless wanderers. So it was good in one way, and it proved bad in another. It proved good because establishments were destroyed, but it proved bad also because with establishments certain very, very significant practices, methods, just went into oblivion.

Sudden methods require the constant vigilance of a group. A teacher becomes a necessity. So Buddha could say, “You can know even without me,” but a Patanjali cannot say that. Krishnamurti can say, “No teacher is needed,” but a Gurdjieff cannot say that. And the real reason for these differences is their methods: Gurdjieff has school methods and Krishnamurti belongs to the tradition of wanderers, no school methods, so no teacher is needed.

With gradual methods you can proceed alone because there is no danger. You have to proceed inch by inch, and as far as a one-inch happening is concerned, you can control it yourself. But if you have to take a jump with no steps in between, then you will need someone who knows where you are going to fall, who knows what can happen. A teacher is not really needed to show you the methods; he is needed really, afterwards when the method has done something and you have moved into the unknown.

So there are sudden methods, but I will not talk about them. I have given you one gradual method, and there are many. I will not talk about the sudden methods because it is dangerous to talk about them. If someone is interested, then he can be led – but talking is impossible. That’s why school teaching has always insisted that nothing should be written – because once you write something it becomes public and anyone can do it. Anyone can become just a victim of his own curiosity, and then no help will be coming. So even when something is written about sudden practices, a basic link is always missing.

So those who begin practices through scriptures are always in danger, and many times it happens that they just go mad – because a missing link is always bound to be there, and that missing link is always supplied by word of mouth from the teacher to the disciple. And it is a private and secret process, the missing link. because that is the key. No scripture is really complete and no scripture can ever be really complete, because those who know can never write a thing completely. Something must remain hidden, as a key, so no one can use it. You can read about it, you can comment on it, you can write a thesis upon it, but you cannot practice it because a certain key is not given in the scripture itself. Or, if it is given, it is given in such a way that you cannot decode it; the technique to decode it is not given in it.

So nothing about sudden practices – but you can do something gradually. And this mirror meditation is a very powerful method – very powerful – to know one’s own abyss and to know one’s own naked reality. And once you have known it, you become the master. Then just say something, and things begin to take shape. In that encounter, if you say, “I must die this moment,” you will die that very moment. If you say, “I must become a Buddha this very moment,” you will become a Buddha that very moment. Time is not required at all – just a will.

You may begin to think that then it is very easy, but it is a difficult problem. First, to reach it is difficult, though not so difficult, but to will in that moment is very difficult. Such a vital silence takes you over, you cannot even think. Your mind cannot even move. You are in such awe, everything stops – even breathing. A very still moment, totally silent, and will becomes impossible. So one has to train oneself how to will in that still moment – how to will without words, how to will without thoughts. That is possible, but then one has to practice for it.

You are looking at a flower: look at the flower, feel the beauty of it – but don’t use the word “beautiful”, not even in the mind. Look at it, let it be absorbed in you, reach to it, but don’t use words. Feel the beauty of it, but don’t say, “It is beautiful,” not even in the mind. Don’t verbalize, and gradually you will become capable of feeling a flower as beautiful without using the word.

Really, it is not difficult: it is natural. You feel first; then the word comes. But we are so habituated with words that there is no gap. The feeling is there, and suddenly, you have not even felt, and the word comes. So create a gap. Just feel the beauty of it, but don’t use the word.

If you can dissociate words from feeling, then you can dissociate even feeling from Existence. Then let the flower be there and you be there as two presences, but don’t allow the feeling to come in. Don’t even feel now that the flower is beautiful. Don’t feel! Let the flower be there and you be there arrowed in a deep embrace without any ripple of feeling. Then you will feel beauty without feeling. Really, then you will be the beauty of the flower. It will not be a feeling; you will be the flower. Then you have existentially felt something. When you can do this, you can will. When everything is lost – thought, words, feeling – then you can will existentially.

To help this will, many things have been used. One is that the seeker must constantly go on thinking, “When the thing comes, when that happening happens, what am I going to be?” The sutras of the Upanishads like “Aham brahmasmi” – I am the Brahman – are not meant as literal statements. These sutras are not meant as statements, they are not meant as philosophical theories, they are meant to engrave a deep will in the very cells of your being. So when that moment comes, you don’t need your mind to tell you, “I am the Brahman.” Your body begins to feel it, your cells begin to feel it, your every fiber begins to feel it: “Aham brahmasmi.” And this feeling does not need to be created by you. It will have gone deep into your existence. Then suddenly when you encounter the unconscious and the moment of will has come, and you can become a creator – your whole existence begins to vibrate “Aham brahmasmi.” And the moment your existence begins to vibrate “Aham brahmasmi,” you become a Brahma – you become! Whatsoever you can feel, you become.

This should not be known as metaphysics – it is not! It is an experience. So you can know it only through experiencing. Do not decide whether it is right or wrong; do not think in terms of yes and no. Just say, “Po – okay,” and make some effort. Just say, “Okay! It may be.” Don’t decide – because we are very hasty deciders. Someone will say, “No, it is not possible.” Really, he is saying. “I am not going to try”; he is not saying it is not possible. He is deceiving himself. He is saying, “I am not going to try,” and because of this “I am not going to try”, how can it be possible? He is rationalizing for himself.

Someone else says, “Yes, it is possible. It has happened to many. It has happened to my guru, to my teacher, it has happened to this one and that.” He is also not going to try because he is making it a trivial fact: “It has happened to many, so it is not such a thing for which one has to try!” He feels, “It can happen to me also.” No, don’t say yes or no. Just take it as an experiment, a hypothesis, to be worked out. Religion is not a given thing; one has to create it in oneself. It is not something which is given to you or which can be given; it is something which you have to uncover in yourself.

So don’t decide unless you experience, don’t decide unless you know. Never decide beforehand. Otherwise, you can go on continuously listening to things, thinking about them, and doing nothing – because thinking is not doing; thinking is just an escape from doing.

-Osho

From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.1 #6, Q1

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

For a related post see A Still Mind: The Door to the Divine.

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.

What is the Zen Attitude towards Death?

What is the Zen attitude towards death?

Laughter. Yes, laughter is the Zen attitude towards death. And towards life too, because life and death are not separate. Whatsoever is your attitude towards life will be your attitude towards death, because death comes as the ultimate flowering of life. Life exists for death. Life exists through death. Without death there will be no life at all. Death is not the end but the culmination, the crescendo. Death is not the enemy, it is the friend. It makes life possible.

So the Zen attitude about death is exactly the same as is the Zen attitude towards life – that of laughter, joy, celebration. And if you can laugh at death, in death, you are free from all. You are freedom then. If you cannot laugh at death you will not be able to laugh in life either. Because death is always coming. Each act in life, each move in life, brings death closer. Each moment that you live, you get closer to death. If you cannot laugh with death, how can you laugh with life and in life?

But there is a difference between the Zen Buddhists and the other religions. Other religions are not that deep. Other religions also say that there is no need to fear death, because the soul is immortal. But in the very idea of the immortality of the soul, your mind is seeking eternity and nothing else. In the very idea of immortality you are denying death, you are saying there is no death. You are saying “So why be afraid? There is no death. I am going to live – if not as this body, still I am going to live as this soul. My essential being will continue. So why fear death? Death will not be destroying me. I will remain, I.will persist, I will continue.” The other religions compromise with your desire to remain for ever. They give you a consolation. They say, “Don’t be worried. You will be in some other body, in some other form, but you will continue.” This seems to be a clinging.

But the Zen approach towards death is utterly different, immensely profound. Other religions say death is not to be worried about, not to be feared, because the soul is eternal. Zen says: There cannot be any death, because you are not. There is nobody to die. See the difference – there is nobody to die. The self exists not, so death cannot take anything away from you. Life cannot give you anything, and death cannot take anything away. There is no purpose in life and no purpose in death. There is nobody to die. Other religions say you will not die, so don’t be worried about death. Zen says: You exist not – for whom are you worrying? There is nobody in life and there will be nobody in death. You are pure emptiness. Nothing has ever happened there.

Zen does not compromise with your desire for eternity. It does not compromise for your security; it does not compromise with your ego in any form. Zen is utterly radical, it cuts the very root. Zen says: The idea to survive for ever is idiotic. What are you going to do if you survive for ever? Are you not yet finished with your doing? Have you not yet become frustrated enough with your doing? Have you not seen the foolishness and the stupidity of your being? What does it bring to you except misery? The more you are an ego, the more miserable you are. Can’t you see it, that the ego functions like a wound? It hurts. Still you want to continue this wound, still you want to continue this wound for ever and ever. You don’t want to be cured. Ego is illness, to be egoless is to be cured. But you want to be saved for ever.

In your very idea of remaining forever, being saved for ever, there is a kind of miserliness. Other religions say: Save. Save yourself. Zen says: Spend. Spend yourself. Because to be utterly spent is to be saved.

A Christian was walking with Mulla Nasruddin, they had gone for a morning walk. And the Christian showed Mulla Nasruddin his church. He said, “This is my church. Look.” And on the church there was a big board – on the board was written: Jesus Saves! Mulla Nasruddin looked at it and said, “So what! My wife saves better.”

Saving of any kind is a miserly attitude towards life. Spend – don’t hoard. Relax your clinging. Don’t keep your hands clenched like fists. Open them, be spent. Be spent like a flower which has released its fragrance to the winds. Be spent like a candle which has lived its night, danced, and now is no more. The Buddhist word for nirvana means ’putting out the candle’. When you are utterly spent, when you have authentically lived and spent yourself totally and there is nothing left in you except emptiness, you have arrived home. Because emptiness is the home.

You are the world. When you are not, you have come home.

The Zen attitude towards life is that of laughter, of living, of enjoying, of celebrating. Zen is not anti-life it is life-affirmative. It accepts all that is. It does not say deny this, deny that. It says all is good: live it, live it as totally as possible. Being total in anything is to be religious. Being partial in anything is to be worldly. And live so totally that when death comes you can live death totally too. Laugh so totally that when death comes you can have your last laugh.

A great master, Lo-shan, was coming closer to his death. When he sensed that death was close, Lo-shan called everyone into the Buddha-hall and ascended the lecture seat. First he held his left hand open for several minutes. No one understood, so he told the monks from the eastern side of the monastery to leave. Then he held his right hand open. Still no one understood, so he told the monks from the western side of the monastery to leave. Only the laymen remained. He said to them, ’If any of you really want to show gratitude to Buddha for his compassion to you, spare no efforts in spreading the Dharma. Now, get out! Get out of here!’ Then, laughing loudly, the master fell over dead.

Now this man, Lo-shan, is going to die. He gathers all his disciples. He opens one of his hands, nobody understands. He is saying, “With an open hand I lived, with an open hand I am going. Totally I lived, totally I am going. I was never closed. Now death is knocking on the door, my doors are open.” Then he raised his other hand. People did not understand. Then he said to the people, “Buddha had such immense compassion on you.”

What is the compassion of Buddha? The compassion of Buddha is this – that knowing perfectly well that you will not understand, he tried. That is his compassion. Knowing perfectly well that it is impossible to understand something that Buddha says, he tried his whole life to help you to understand. That is his compassion. He is trying to help you see that which you cannot see. Trying to bring into language and words that which cannot be reduced to words. Trying to do the impossible, that is his compassion.

Lo-shan said to the people, “Do one thing also – spread Buddha’s word, his dharma. Whatsoever he has said, go on spreading it.” Maybe somebody may understand sometime. Even if one understands in thousands, that’s enough. Even if one blooms in millions, that is enough. One person flowering fills the whole earth with his fragrance. Yes, a single individual flower of consciousness transforms the whole quality of consciousness on the earth. It raises the consciousness of the whole earth.

And then he told them, “Now, get out! Get out of here!” What does he mean by “Get out, get out of here!”? He is telling them: The mind in which you are, get out, get out of the mind. The ego in which you are, get out of the ego. But Zen masters have their own ways of expression. First, he threw out half the monks from one gate, then the other half from another gate. Then only laymen remained. And now he tells them, “Get out! Get out of here!” Then, laughing loudly, the master fell over dead.

What is his laughter? Why is he laughing? There is a Zen parable:

Thus he arrived before a great castle on whose facade were carved the words “I belong to no one and to all. Before entering you were already here. When you leave you will remain.”

He is laughing at the ridiculousness, absurdity. The absurdity of everything and all. Everything is so contradictory. Life exists through death, love exists through hate, compassion exists through anger. And only those who are not can be. And those who are cannot be. It is so absurd, it is so contradictory. He is having his last laughter at this whole situation of so-called life. It is not logical, that’s why he is laughing. It is so illogical. What can you do with such an illogical phenomenon? You can have a good laugh.

Another master, Etsugen, shortly before he died, called his monks together. It was December first. “I have decided to die on the eighth of this month,” he told them. “That’s the day of the Buddha’s enlightenment. If you have any questions left about the Teaching, you’d better ask them before then.”

Because the master continued with his regular duties during the next few days, some of the monks thought he was having a little fun at their expense. Most, however, were struck with grief.

By the evening of the seventh, nothing unusual had happened. Nonetheless, Etsugen had them all assemble and taught them for the last time about the Buddha’s enlightenment. He then arranged his affairs and went into his room.

At dawn he took a bath, put on his ceremonial robes, and sitting erect in the lotus posture composed this death poem:

Shakyamuni descended the mountain.

I went up.

In my teaching,

I guess I’ve always been something of a maverick.

And now I’m off to hell – yo-ho!

The inquisitiveness of men is pure folly.

Then, shutting his eyes, and still sitting, he died.

A Zen master can die any moment. He can decide. Why? Because he is already dead. The day he became enlightened, he died. Now only the visible form goes on living – inside, all is emptiness. He is thoroughly dead. So any day he can drop this form. It is just a soap-bubble: a small prick and it will be gone. And you cannot choose a better day to die than Buddha’s enlightenment day, because that day Buddha died.

About Buddha there is a beautiful story. He was born on a certain day, the same day he became enlightened, and the same day he died. The birth, the enlightenment and death, all these three great things happened on the same day. This is very indicative – it says birth, enlightenment and death are all the same. It has a message: They are all alike. They are not different, their quality is the same.

Birth is a kind of death. When a child is born out of the womb, if the child can verbalize what is happening he will say, “I am dying.” Because he has lived for nine months in the womb in such comfort, in such luxury, in such convenience. No worry, no problem, no work. Everything is available, you need not even ask for it. He need not even breathe on his own, the mother breathes for him. He need not eat, the mother eats for him. He simply lives. It is paradise.

Psychologists say that the search for paradise is nothing but the memory, the nostalgia, of the womb. Because you have lived in those nine months at the highest peak of comfort, luxury. And the whole search for paradise is for nothing but how to enter into that kind of warm womb again.

In India, the innermost part of the temple is called garbha, womb – very meaningfully. Where the deity of the temple sits, the innermost shrine, is called garbha – the womb. In ordinary life also we are searching the same comfort. When you feel a room is cozy, what do you really remember when you say that the room is cozy? Warm, alive, receptive, welcoming. You are not a stranger, you are a welcome guest. You are reminded of something of those nine months. Science goes on improving comfort, luxury, but not yet have we been able – and I think we will never be able – to create the womb situation again.

The child has lived in such abundance, it is just a continuous celebration. In silence, in utter silence. Now he is being thrown out. And he does not know anything about the outside world, whether there is any world or not. He is thrown out of his home. If the child can say anything he will say “I am dying.” You call it birth, you who are outside – but ask the child, just think of the child. The child will think, ”I am being uprooted, I am thrown out. I am being rejected.” The child clings, the child does not want to go out. The child feels it a kind of death. On one side it is death, on another side it is birth.

And so is enlightenment, again. On one side, on the side of the mind, it is death. The mind feels “I am dying.” The mind clings. The mind tries in every way to prevent this enlightenment happening. The mind creates a thousand and one questions, doubts, inquiries, distractions. Wants to pull you back – “Where are you going? You will die.”

This happens here every day. Whenever a person starts moving closer to meditation, fear arises. Great fear. His whole being is at stake, he starts trembling. Actual trembling arises in his being. Now he is facing the abyss – on one side it is death, on another side it will be birth. If the mind dies he will be born as consciousness. If thought dies he will be born as samadhi, as no-thought. If the mind disappears he will be born as no-mind. If this noise of the mind disappears then he will be born as silence. On one side it will be death, another side birth.

And so is death. Each death is also a birth, and each birth is also a death.

This story of Buddha’s being born on a certain day at a certain time, then at the same time and the same day becoming enlightened, at the same time and the same day dying, is meaningful. It simply says that all these three things are the same. One thing is missing, I would like to add that too. If you really fall in love then the whole list is complete. All these four things, then your whole life is complete. If I am to write Buddha’s story again, I will add this too, that he fell in love on the same day at the same time. Because that too is a birth and a death. The people who were writing Buddha’s story were not so courageous. They have dropped the idea of love, that seems to be dangerous.

These are the four greatest things in life, the four directions of life. This is the whole sky of life.

Etsugen decided to die on Buddha’s enlightenment day. Many Zen monks have been deciding to die on that day. And they die on that day. And they don’t commit suicide and they don’t take any poison – they just collapse. But their collapse is beautiful. They collapse with a smile, with laughter.

And this is a tradition in Zen, that before a master dies he has to compose a death poem. That too is very significant. Death should be received with poetry, with joy. That is your last statement, your testament. It should be in poetry. It should be poetry – prose won’t do, prose will look a little too worldly. Something more, something of a song. Etsugen wrote this poem. “Shakyamuni” is the name of Buddha.

Shakyamuni descended the mountain.

I went up.

He is saying “I have been just the opposite of Buddha.” Only a Zen master can say that. Otherwise, followers are followers – they are imitators, they are carbon-copies. But real followers are not, they are authentic beings. They live their life. They live with great respect for the master, with immense respect for the master, but they live their life. In fact, that immense respect for the master will make you capable to live your own life.

Buddha lived his own life. If you are really respectful towards him you will live your own life, that’s how you will pay your homage.

Shakyamuni descended the mountain

I went up.

In my teaching

I guess I’ve always been something of a maverick.

And now I’m off to hell – yo-ho!

The inquisitiveness of men is pure folly.

He is saying “Now I am off to hell.” He is joking. Only a Zen master can joke at the last moment. Only a Zen master can have the guts to say, “Now I am off to hell.” In fact, Zen people say that wherever a master is, there is heaven. If he is in hell, hell will be heaven. Heaven is his climate; he carries it with himself.

“Then, shutting his eyes, and still sitting, he died.” So silently, so poetically, so radically.

And the third story.

When the master, Tenno, was dying, he called to his room the monk in charge of food and clothing in the temple. When the monk sat down by the bed, Tenno asked, “Do you understand?”

Now, he has not said anything and he asks, “Do you understand?”

“No,” the monk was puzzled and said.

Tenno laughed, and said, “Do you understand?”

The monk said, “No.” And was more puzzled.

Then Tenno, picking up his pillow, hurled it through the window, and said, “Do you understand?”

And the monk said, “No. And you are making me more and more confused.”

Then he said, “Okay, then I will do the real thing.” He closed his eyes, gave a lion’s roar, and died.

He was dying. This disciple was not yet insightful. He was dying – if you have loved your master, if you have really loved your master, you will know what is happening to him. That’s why he asked, “Do you understand?” He is asking “Have you not come to know that I am dying? Has it not reached to your heart yet that I am dying?” At the last moment he is testing his disciple. Even death is being used as a kind of teaching. Even death is being used as the last effort to awaken the disciple. Then he laughed, and asked “Do you understand?” The laughter was so total, if the disciple had looked into the eyes of the master and heard the laughter, there was the whole teaching of Buddha in it, all the scriptures in it. The totality of it. And he would have seen that the master is leaving the body.

But he must have got into thinking. The master asked, “Do you understand?” And he has not said anything – what does he mean by “Do you understand?” The disciple must have gone into his mind. Because he had gone into his mind, the master laughed to bring him out of his mind. Because nothing brings you out of your mind like laughter.

Somebody has asked “Why, Osho, do you go on telling jokes?” That’s why. Nothing brings you out of your mind like laughter. When you have a good laugh the logic disappears – at that moment, at least. And the jokes are so absurd. They are jokes because they are absurd; you laugh because they are ridiculous, you laugh because they don’t follow the rules of logic, they go just against it. They take such an unexpected turn that your thinking could not have concluded. Because of that unexpected turn, because of that sudden leap . . . the whole joke goes in one way, then comes the punchline. And the punchline is a leap, it is discontinuous.

 A joke is a great meditation.

The master laughed. Loud was his laughter, total was his laughter. He wanted to bring this disciple out of his mind – he had gone too much into thinking. He was thinking “Why has he asked, ‘Do you understand?’ What does he mean?” He has asked a simple question – a question to provoke the disciple to be alert of the master’s situation, what is happening to him. If the disciple was really in tune with the master, that would have been a shock: “Do you understand?” And he would have opened his eyes and he would have looked into the being of the master and would have felt that the master is ready to leave the body. But he went into thinking and missed the point. Hence the master tried again by laughing. And asked, “Do you understand?” Still the disciple was more puzzled, because he could not see why the master is laughing. He started thinking “Why?”

The moment you bring the question “Why?” you are moving into the rut, the dead rut, of the mind. Once you have asked why, you miss the meditative moment. Seeing that the disciple is very gross, he had to be gross. He had to throw his pillow out of the window – he had to do something absolutely meaningless, just to shock. But the disciple was more puzzled, even more puzzled.

Then he gave a lion’s roar. And died. It is said that for many centuries the roar was heard in his monastery. Whenever people would sit silently and meditate they would hear the lion’s roar. This was his last shock. And then he died. Why did he do this, this lion’s roar? Maybe nothing is bringing him out of his mind – this utterly absurd thing, a lion’s roar for no reason at all, may bring him out of the mind. And then he died. If nothing else brings him out of his mind, then death will bring him. And if even for a single moment you can taste the space called no-mind, then you know that there is nobody to die.

Nobody lives, nobody dies. Nothingness lives, nothingness dies. You are not. Have a good laugh at this situation. You are not and you exist. You are not and you are. This is the cosmic joke.

You ask me, What is the Zen attitude towards death?

Laughter. But that is their attitude towards life too.

-Osho

From This Very Body the Buddha, Discourse #8

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.

A Still Mind: The Door to the Divine – Osho

Nishal-gyanam asanam.

Non-wavering knowing is asana – the posture.

Man is neither a body, nor a mind alone – he is both. Even to say that he is both is wrong in a way because body and mind are separate only as two words. Existence is one. Body is nothing but the outermost core of your consciousness, the grossest expression of consciousness. And consciousness, on the other hand, is nothing more than the subtlest body, the most refined part of the body. You exist in between.

These are not two things, but two ends of one thing. So whenever knowing becomes non-wavering, body is also affected; non-wavering knowing creates a non-wavering body. But the vice versa is not true. You can impose non-wavering on the body, but the knowing will not become non-wavering. It can help – a very little. It can be helpful, but not much.

Body posture became very important because we are body oriented. Even those who say that we are not bodies think in terms of body. Even those who say, “We are not bodies,” their thinking, their mind, remains tethered to the body. Even they begin with body postures. Asana means giving your body a posture in which the body becomes non-wavering, still. It is supposed that if the body is still, then the mind will go into stillness.

This is not true – the contrary is true! If the mind becomes still, then the body becomes still. And then a very mysterious phenomenon happens: if the mind is still, you can go on dancing but your body will remain still. And if your mind is not still, you can be just dead but still the body will be wavering, because the mind wavering creates subtle vibrations which come to the body and the body goes on wavering inside. Try it. You can sit just like a statue – dead, stonelike. Close your eyes and feel. Outwardly, no one can say that your body is wavering, but inwardly you will know that it is. A subtle trembling is there. Even if it cannot be detected from the outside, you can feel it from the inside.

If your mind is totally still, then even if you are dancing you will feel from inside that the body is still. A Buddha is still even when he is walking, and a non-Buddha is not still even when he is dead. The vibrations come from your center, they originate from you, and then they spread towards the body. The body is not the originator, it is not the source, so you cannot stop them from the periphery. You can impose, you can practice, but inside there will be turmoil – and this imposing will create more conflict than stillness.

So this sutra says that to practice meditation, posture – a still posture – is needed. But what do we mean by a posture? This sutra says that “a non-wavering knowing” is the posture. If the mind is non-wavering, then you are in the right posture. In that right posture everything can happen.

So don’t deceive yourself by creating bodily imitations. You can create them; that is very easy. On the circumference, on the periphery, to impose stillness is very easy. But that is not your stillness. You remain in turmoil, you remain wavering. From the center the waves must not come.

What is this non-wavering knowledge? It is one of the deepest secrets. To understand it we will have to go deep into the very construction of mind, so let us begin.

Mind has many types of thoughts. Every thought is a wavering, every thought is a wave. If there are no thoughts, then the mind will be non-wavering. A single thought, and you have trembled. A single thought, and you are not still. And a single thought is not a single thought: it is a very complex phenomenon. A single thought is created by many waves; a single word even is created by many waves. So only when many waves are there in the mind is a single word created, and a single thought has many words. Thousands and thousands of ripples create one thought.

Thought is the outermost, but waves have preceded. You become aware only when waves become thoughts because your awareness is so gross. You cannot be aware when waves are pure waves still in the formation of becoming a thought. The more you will become aware, the more you will feel that thought has many layers. Thought form is the last. Before thought there are seed waves which create the thought, and before the seed waves there are still deeper roots which create seeds.

Seeds create thought. At least three layers are very easily visible for a conscious mind. But we are not conscious: we are asleep. So we become aware only when waves take the grossest form – thought. As far as we know, thought seems to be the most subtle thing. It is not. Thought really has become a thing. When there are pure waves, you cannot even detect what is going to happen, what thought is going to be created in you. So we become aware only when waves become thought.

A single thought implies thousands of waves, so we can conceive how much we are wavering – continuous thinking, not a single moment of no thought, one thought followed by another constantly, no gap. So we are really a wavering, a trembling phenomenon. Soren Kierkegaard has said that man is a trembling – just a trembling and nothing else. And he is right in a way. As far as we are concerned, man is a trembling. A Buddha may not be, but then Buddha is not a man.

This thought process is the process of wavering. So non-wavering means a no-thought state of mind. Really, the sutra says “non-wavering knowing” – mind is not even mentioned. So first, three layers of mind have to be distinctly understood.

One is the conscious mind, and one type of thought belongs to the conscious level. These thoughts are the least important. They constitute moment-to-moment reactions, reflexes. You are on the road and a snake passes and you jump. The snake gives you a stimulus and you respond. So one type of thought is like this: stimulus outside and a response from the periphery. Really, you don’t think: you just act. A snake is there: you act; you become aware and you act. You don’t go inside to ask what to do. The house is on fire and you run. This is a peripheral reaction.

So one type of thought is the moment-to-moment reflex type. Even a Buddha has to react in this way. This is natural; nothing is wrong with it. If you react moment-to-moment, then nothing is wrong with the mind – but that is not the only layer.

Then there is a second layer. This second layer is the subconscious. Religions call it “conscience.” Really, this second layer is created by the society; it is a society in you. Society penetrates everyone, because society cannot control you unless it penetrates you; so it becomes a part of you. The upbringing, the education, the parents, the teachers – what are they doing? They are doing one thing: they are creating the subconscious mind. They are giving you thoughts. structures, ideals, values. These thoughts belong to the second layer They are helpful, they have their utility, but they are harmful also. They are instruments to move easily, conveniently in the society, but they are barriers also.

This second layer has to be understood more. This second layer consists of ideas within, fixed ideas, fixations. So whenever your peripheral mind is working moment-to-moment, it is not pure. Only a child is pure, innocent – he is working moment-to-moment. There is no subconscious to interfere.

You are not working moment-to-moment. The subconscious is constantly interfering. It is giving you choice: what to choose, what not to choose. Every moment it is making you narrow. You become just unaware of many things because of the subconscious. It will not allow you to be aware of everything. And about many things you become too much aware because this subconscious mind forces you constantly to be aware of them.

Every society creates a different type of subconscious, so, really, one’s being a Hindu or a Christian or a Jain belongs to the subconscious mind. As far as the peripheral mind is concerned, everyone reacts in the same way; it is natural. But the subconscious mind is not natural; it is a social product. So we behave in different ways. You see a church. A Hindu can pass without even becoming aware that there is a church. He need not be aware. But a Christian cannot pass without becoming aware that there is a church. He may even be anti-Christian – consciously he may even be like Bertrand Russell who can write a book called Why I am not a Christian – but he will become aware. The subconscious is working there.

A Brahmin, he can intellectually understand that the problem of untouchability is just violent, cruel, and intellectually he can think that it is not good, but this is the conscious mind. The subconscious is working there. If you ask him to marry a Sudra girl, somewhere deeply he is struck. He cannot conceive of it. Even to eat with an untouchable becomes difficult. Intellectually he understands nothing is wrong in it, but the subconscious goes on projecting and pushing. And he cannot react naturally: the subconscious distorts, perverts.

This subconscious is supplying you constantly with many ideas which you think are your own. They are not. They have been fed to you just like a computer is fed. You can get information out of a computer only if you have previously fed it. The same is the case with man also, with mind also. Whatsoever you are getting out is just because of what has been fed in before. Everything has been fed in. This is what we mean by education, the so-called education: feeding information. So it is ready in the unconscious every moment. It is so ready, really, that even when you don’t need it, it comes up. It constantly overfloods your mind, and it becomes a constant wavering, a constant trembling. This subconscious mind is the root cause of so many social evils.

Really, the world could be one if there were no subconscious mind. Then there would be no distinction between a Hindu and a Mohammedan. The distinction is of the subconscious feeding, and it goes so deep that you cannot even feel how it works. You cannot go behind it. It goes so deep that you always remain in front and you feel helpless. But the society is also helpless. It is a substitute – a poor substitute, but a substitute. Unless man becomes totally aware, the society cannot dispense with the subconscious.

For example, if a man becomes totally aware, he cannot be a thief. But man, as he is, is not aware at all, so society has to create a substitute for awareness: it must put a strong suggestion inside that theft is bad, evil, sin, that you must not be a thief. This idea must be put deep in the subconscious so that when you begin to think of theft the subconscious comes up and says, “No. this is sin,” and you are stopped. This is a social substitute for awareness – and unless man comes to awareness the society cannot dispense with the subconscious, because it has to give you some rules. Unless you are so aware that rules are not needed at all, the subconscious will have to be maintained.

So each society has to create a subconscious. And I call that society good – remember it – I call that society good which creates a subconscious that can be dispensed with very easily; and I call a society bad which creates such a subconscious that cannot be dispensed with: because if it cannot be dispensed with, then it becomes a hindrance when you try to be aware. And, really, no such good society exists now which gives you a dispensable substitute, a dispensable subconscious, which gives you a subconscious as a utilitarian instrument so that the moment you become aware, you can throw it.

To me, that society is good and religious which gives you an inherent freedom about the subconscious. But no society gives it. so. no society is religious, really. Every society is totalitarian, and every society takes your mind in such a way that you become just an automaton – and you go on thinking and deceiving yourself that your thoughts are yours. They are not! Even the very language we use is contaminated, the words we use are contaminated. We cannot use a single word without the subconscious being there. It comes suddenly. Society uses it very cunningly, and then your reactions, your reflexes, are not spontaneous. […]

This subconscious mind is constantly working, day and night. The mind’s working is double. One working belongs to your conscious mind. It is concerned with how to control the subconscious consciously, constantly. Then the subconscious is controlling the conscious mind. It is working to control your reactions, your actions, your reflexes, everything. Whatsoever you are doing must be controlled! This is the society’s grip on you. You are just moving in society’s hands. No value is yours. How can it be? How can a value be yours when you are not at all aware? Only awareness can give you authentic, individual values.

All these values are supplied. If the society is vegetarian, then you have vegetarian values. If the society is non-vegetarian, then you have non-vegetarian values. If the society believes in this, then you are a believer in it. If the society doesn’t believe, then you are a disbeliever. But you are not; only society is there.

This is a double control: one control is on your conscious mind, your behavior. Another control is more deep and more dangerous, and that is the control on your instinctive nature. The first part is conscious, the second is subconscious. The subconscious is created by society. And the third is the instinctive. which is given by biological nature: that which you really are biologically, that which you are born with. That’s a third part, the deepest: the biological instinctive nature.

This second, subconscious mind is controlling outward behavior and also controlling inward instincts. Nothing should be allowed to come up to the conscious mind from your instinctive nature if the society is against it. Nothing should be allowed to come up – even up to your consciousness. So this subconscious creates a great barrier for the instinctive nature.

For example, sex is an instinct, the deepest, because without it life cannot exist on earth. So life depends on sex. It is not easily dispensable; obviously, it must not be – otherwise life will become just impossible. So it has a deep grip. But the society is anti-sex; it is bound to be. The more a society is organized, the more it will be anti-sex – because if your sex instinct can be controlled then everything can be controlled, and if your sex instinct cannot be controlled then nothing can be controlled. So it becomes a fighting ground.

You must be aware that whenever a society becomes sexually free, that society cannot exist. It is defeated. When Greek culture became sexually free, Greek civilization had to die. When Roman civilization became sexually free, it had to die. Now America cannot exist anymore. America has begun to be sexually free. The moment a society becomes sexually free, the individual is not in its grip. You cannot force him.

Really, unless you suppress sex you cannot force your youth to war. It is impossible. You can force your youth into war only if you suppress sex. So the hippie slogan is really meaningful: “Make love, not war!” So society has to suppress the deepest instinct. Once it is suppressed, you can never rebel. Many things have to be understood about it.

Children, when they mature sexually, begin to be rebellious – never before. The moment a boy is mature he will begin to be rebellious against his parents, never before – because with sex comes individuality. With sex he really becomes a man, never before. Now he can be independent. Now he has the initial energy with him, because he can propagate, he can reproduce. Now he is complete.

At fourteen, a boy is complete, a girl is complete. They can be independent of their fathers and mothers, so rebellion begins to take shape. If the society has to control them, sex must be suppressed. All instincts have to be suppressed because we have not been able yet to create a society in which freedom is not against all, in which one individual’s freedom is not against all. We have not yet been able!

We are still primitive, not yet civilized, because a society can be called civilized and cultured only when each individual grows to his total potentiality, is not suppressed. But politics will not allow it, religions will not allow it, because once you give total freedom to instinctive nature, then churches and temples and the so-called religious business cannot continue. Religion will be there, more authentic, but religions cannot continue: because if you cannot create fear, then no one will come to this religious business.

People come because of fear; and if you suppress their instincts, they become fearful – fearful of themselves. A child feels existential fear for the first time when his sex is suppressed. He feels guilty. He begins to feel that something is wrong, and he begins to feel also that “No one has this evil that I am having inside. I am guilty.” You create guilt; then you can control. Then he feels inferior inside, afraid. This fear is then exploited by religious heads, by political leadership, because they all want to dominate.

You can dominate only when people are fearful. And how can you create fear? If you can convince them that something which is constantly within them is sin, they will be fearful. They will be fearful! All the time sex will be there, and they will become afraid – afraid of themselves and guilty. They cannot enjoy anything then. Then the whole life becomes a frustration. Then they go on seeking somewhere help, guidance, someone to take away their responsibility, someone to lead them to heaven, someone to protect them from hell.

This third, instinctive layer is the unconscious. The subconscious is controlling it every moment – every moment! And it controls so fanatically that everything is destroyed – or at least distorted. We never feel from the third layer what real instinct is. We never feel! Everything is distorted. From this subconscious mind – the most suppressed, the most distorted, the most destroyed – come all the miseries. All the miseries, all the paranoia, all the schizophrenia, all mental diseases, they come from this third layer.

These three – conscious, subconscious and unconscious – these are the three types of thoughts. The deeper the layer from where the thought comes, the more irrelevant it looks. So if you just write down your thoughts as they happen, you will feel that you are just mad. What is going on in your mind? What type of thinking is going on? Most of it looks irrelevant. It is not! It is relevant, only with missing links – because the subconscious will not allow everything to come up. Something escapes and comes to the mind, and the gaps are there.

That’s why you cannot understand your dreams: because even in dreams the subconscious is always alert not to allow everything, and the unconscious has to try symbolic routes. It has to change everything just to escape the censor of the subconscious. So it goes on giving you messages in symbolic, pictorial forms.

Your mind is flooded: first, with outward reactions and reflections which are natural; second, by subconscious thoughts which have been produced by the society; and third, by instinctive nature which has been suppressed totally. These three constantly flood the mind. And because of these you are constantly wavering – constantly wavering and trembling. You cannot even sleep. Dreams will continue; that means mind will continue wavering. Twenty-four hours a day, the mind is just a mad thing going round and round and round.

In this state of affairs, how can you be still? How can you attain the posture, the non-wavering mind? How can you achieve it? And when the rishi says that non-wavering knowing is the posture – the right posture – he means that unless these layers are broken and the contents released, you will never be in a state of pure knowing. The mind will not be cleansed; you will not attain the purity of perception. So what to do? What to do to achieve this non-wavering knowing?

Three things: one, whenever you are living moment-to-moment, don’t allow your subconscious to interfere constantly. Sometimes, just drop the subconscious and live in the moment. It is not needed. sometimes it is needed. When you are driving, the subconscious is needed, because the skill of driving becomes a part of the subconscious. That’s why you can talk and you can smoke and you can think and you can drive. The driving is now not a conscious effort. It has been taken over by the subconscious. So it is good to use it whenever it is needed, but when it is not needed, just drop it – put it aside! Without any murmur, just put it aside and be in the moment.

There are many moments when the subconscious is not needed, but only because of old habit you go on using it. You have come back from the office and you are sitting in your garden: why should the subconscious come in now? You can listen to the birds just as once you listened when you were a child without a subconscious.

Relax in these moments, and just be there near the reality. Don’t allow your subconscious mind to come in. Just put it aside! Play with children, put the subconscious aside.

A father who cannot play with his children as their equal cannot really be a right father, because no communication is possible unless you are equal to them. A mother cannot really be a mother unless she can become a child again with her child. Then there is a rapport. Then both become equal. Then there is a friendship. Then a different quality of love comes in. So, really, a child never feels independent, free, at liberty with his parents – never! He begins to feel freedom for the first time when he goes to his chums – not with his parents.

So remember constantly that whenever you can relax your subconscious, relax it! It is not needed to be there every moment.

There are many moments, but you will not relax it even in your bed. You have gone to sleep and it is working. You want to sleep and it will not allow you. It says, “I am to do much work.” It goes on thinking; it goes on working. You can put off the light – mm? – that means you stop the first, the peripheral mind. Now there will be no light; you will not be able to see. You can close the doors. Now there will be no noise, no sound. You have completely closed yourself off from outside stimuli. That means now you need not react, so the first layer of the mind is relaxed.

But what to do with the second layer? You put off the light, close the doors, close your ears, close your eyes, but it goes on working – because you have never allowed it not to work. And, really. A man is not the master of his mind unless he achieves this: that when he wants to work with the mind he works; when he doesn’t want to work the mind, he doesn’t. And the second capacity is the greater. […]

It needs only the breaking of an old habit. But you have never tried it. You have used your subconscious constantly; your subconscious mind doesn’t have any memory of when you have allowed it not to work. So the first thing to do is to allow your subconscious mind sometimes to be put aside. Don’t use it, and soon you will have a less wavering mind. You can become capable of this, and it is not difficult. You must only become conscious of your subconscious workings. Don’t allow – just relax sometimes and tell your subconscious mind: “Stop!”

One thing more to remember: never fight with it; otherwise, you will never be capable of this nonwavering. Never fight with it, because when a master begins to fight with his servant, he accepts equality. When a master begins to fight with a servant, he has accepted him as the master. So please remember: never fight with the subconscious mind; otherwise, you will be defeated. Just order it – never fight.

Know the difference – what I mean when I say just order it. Just say to it, “Stop!” and begin to work. Never fight with it! This is a mantra, and the mind begins to follow it. Just say, “Stop!” Nothing more, nothing less. Say, “Stop totally!” and begin to behave as if the mind had stopped. And soon you will become capable, and you will be just wonder-struck at how this mind stops by just saying “Stop!” It is because mind has no will.

You might have seen someone in a hypnotic trance. What happens? In a hypnotic trance, the hypnotist goes on simply giving orders and the mind follows – the man follows. Absurd orders, and the man begins to follow, the hypnotized subject follows them. Why? Because the conscious mind has only been put to sleep, and the subconscious mind has no will of its own. Just tell it to do something and it will do it.

But we are not aware of our own capacity, so rather than ordering we go on begging, or, at the most, we begin to fight. When you fight, you are divided. Your own will begins to fight with you. The subconscious mind has no will at all. So, if you want to stop smoking, don’t try. Just order and stop. Don’t try at all. If you fall in the trap of trying you will never win, because you have accepted something which is not there. You just say to the mind, “Now I stop this very moment,” and soon you will become aware that things begin to happen. It is natural! Nothing is strange about it: it is just natural. Once you have to be aware of it, that’s all. So just put the subconscious mind aside and begin to live in the moment.

Then the second thing you have to do is: when you have become capable of putting the mind aside when something outside is working as a stimulus, then try the other way – when some instinct is coming up, just put the subconscious mind aside. It will be a bit difficult, but when the first thing is achieved it will not be difficult at all. Just see now that again the sex is coming up, the anger is coming up, and just say to the subconscious mind, “Let me face it directly. Don’t come in – let me face it directly! You are not needed.” Just order the mind and face the instinct directly. And once you begin to encounter your own instincts directly, you will be the master without the need of any control.

When you need control, you are really not the master. A master never needs control. If you say, “I can control my anger,” you are not the master – because a controlled thing can erupt any moment, and you will remain constantly in fear of that which you have controlled. There will be a constant fight. In any weak moment you will be defeated. So, please, don’t control. Be a master! – don’t control. These are two completely different dimensions.

When I say be a master, this mastery comes only when you encounter your nature, your biological nature as it is, in its purity. I wonder, have you ever seen your sex in its purity without moral teachings coming in, without the gurus and mahatmas dropping in, without the scriptures? Have you seen your sex instinct in its purity, in its pure fire? If you have seen it, you will become the master of it. If you have not seen it, you will remain a cripple and you will remain a defeated one. And howsoever you try to control, you will never be able to control it. That is impossible!

Control is impossible: mastery is possible. But mastery has a different root. Mastery means knowledge; control means fear. When you fear something, you begin to control. When you know something, you become the master: there is no need to control. And knowledge means direct encounter. Instincts should be known in their purity. Drop the subconscious, because it is a constantly disturbing factor. It goes on distorting things; it will never allow you to see things as they are. It will always put the society in between, and you will see things through the society as they are not.

Really, this is the miracle of the subconscious mind – that if you look through it things begin to be as you see them. The subconscious mind can impose any color, any shape on things. Just put it aside; face your biological nature directly. It is beautiful! It is wonderful! Just face it directly. It is Divine! Don’t allow any moralistic nonsense to distort it. See it as it is.

Science observes things, and the basis of its observation is that the observer must not come in: he must remain just an observer. And whatsoever the thing reveals should be allowed. The observer must not come in to disturb and destroy or distort or give a shape or a color. A scientist is working in his lab: even if something comes up which destroys his whole concept, his whole philosophy, his whole religion, he must not allow his mind to come in. He must allow the truth to be revealed as it is.

The same goes for inner working, inner research: allow your biological nature to reveal itself in its pure being. And once you know it you will be the master – because knowledge means mastery, knowledge means power. Only ignorance is weak. And through control there is no knowledge, because the whole concept of control is brought in by the subconscious, by the society.

So if you can do two things with your subconscious: one, allowing the fact of the outside Existence to come to you directly; and then, two, allowing the “facticity” of the inside Existence to be realized in its purity, in its innocence – then a miracle happens. It is a miracle, and that miracle is this: that subconscious and unconscious drop. Then mind is not divided in three. Then mind becomes one. That oneness of mind, undivided oneness, is what the Upanishads call “the knowing” – because even the knower is not there. When these three divisions have dropped, when even this division of knower is not there, then only pure knowing, only mirrorlike knowing remains.

With this knowing, you have two centers: one, the outside periphery where you unite with the universe; and another, the inside where again you unite with the universe. And this knowing joins both the inner and the outer – the atma and the brahma.

This pure knowing is without any trembling. This pure knowing is the posture, the right posture, in which the Enlightenment happens, the Realization happens, in which you become one with Truth. This is the door – but how to cleanse? It is not simply a theory; it is not a theoretical statement at all. It is just a scientific procedure; it is a process. Do something to dissolve the divisions of the mind. And if you want to dissolve the mind, concentrate on the subconscious, the middle portion of the mind, which is society. Drop it!

It is, of course, necessary for a child to be brought up in a society. It is necessary! So the subconscious is a necessary evil: the society has to teach him many things – but they should not become fetters. That’s why I say that a better society, a real, moral society, will also teach, side by side, how to break this subconscious. A better society will give its children the subconscious with a conscious methodology of how to drop it when it is not needed and how to be free of it.

It is needed up to the point when you become aware, when you achieve an awakened state of mind. Until then it is needed. It is just like a blind man’s staff. A staff cannot substitute for eyes: it is just a groping in the dark. But a blind man needs it, and it is helpful – but a blind man can become so much attached to his staff that when his eyes are healed and he has begun to see, he still cannot throw away his staff, and goes on groping. Because groping is easier when the eyes are closed, he remains with closed eyes and goes on groping with his staff.

This subconscious is like a blind man’s staff. A child is born, but he is not born aware. The society has to give him something so that he can move and grope – some values, some ideals, some thoughts. But they should not become the eyes. And what I am saying is: if you drop the divisions and create more awareness within yourself, you will have eyes, and with those eyes this staff is not needed.

But it is a related thing. If you drop the subconscious, you will become aware; if you become aware then the subconscious will drop. So begin from anywhere. You can begin by being more aware, then the subconscious will drop. Mm? This is a samkhya process, this is a samkhya methodology: just be aware and, by and by, the subconscious will drop. The yoga process is a second way – the other, the contrary: drop the subconscious, and you will become more aware. Both are related.

So wherever you want to begin, the important thing is to begin. Begin from anywhere, either from being more conscious or from being less obsessed with the subconscious. And when these divisions drop, you will have a pure knowing. That pure knowing is the posture. With that pure knowing, with that non-wavering knowing, your body will achieve a stillness you have not known at all.

We are not aware: that’s why we don’t know how disturbed we are in our bodies. You cannot sit still, and if you try to sit still then for the first time you will become aware of subtle movements in the body: the leg will begin to say something, the hand will begin to say something, the neck will begin to say something, every part of the body will begin to give you information. Why? It is not that when you sit still the body begins to move; it is moving every moment. It is only because you are otherwise occupied that you are not aware. There are subtle movements continuously: your body is constantly moving and moving. This constant wavering really doesn’t belong to your body. It belongs to your mind. The body only reflects. […]

A Buddha sits just like a statue. It is not that he has forced his body to be still. The mind is still, and the body need not reflect because there is nothing to reflect.[…]

Unless one can be so silent, one can never feel what Existence means, what life means, what the bliss of it is, the benediction. Only in such silence does life descend. You become aware of the music, of the nectar. You begin to feel it, but only in silence. And that silence comes only when you are non-wavering. If you are wavering, if the mind is just wavering and there is trembling inside, you cannot feel that silence.

You cannot attain silence directly: you have to attain non-wavering, then silence comes as a shadow. If non-wavering comes, then silence comes. […]

Silence never divides, silence joins you.

For example, if we are sitting here and everyone becomes so silent that not a thought has any existence, not a single ripple is there in the mind, everyone silent, totally silent, will you be different from anyone else? Will you be different from your neighbors? How can you be different? The feeling of difference is a thought. Do I mean you will feel one with them? No, because the feeling of oneness is a thought. You will simply be one, not a feeling. Really, there will be no one here – just silence. […]

When you begin to be silent you begin to be in deep communion with Existence. Thoughts and thoughts are noises. Waves and waves are thoughts and tremblings inside. They create a barrier, they disrupt – they make you alone. Then you begin to be alone in this whole universe, and that loneliness creates meaninglessness. The more lonely you are, the more you will feel meaningless, futile, useless, and then you will begin to fill yourself with more noise. With radio, television, with anything, you will try to fill yourself, to be occupied. You run from here to there, from this club to that club. Go on running! Don’t leave any gap in which you might become aware of your loneliness! So this whole life just becomes a running from one point to another. This is madness, and the whole earth has become a madhouse.

So attain to this posture – and don’t begin with the body. Begin with the subconscious mind, and then your body will reflect what is happening within. Even now it is reflecting what is happening within. The body is a mirror; it is transparent. Those who have eyes, they know that the body is transparent. You enter here, and I know what is happening inside you – because you cannot enter without showing it. You look at me, and I know what is happening inside your eyes – because how can you raise your eyes without expressing that which is within? It is being shown every moment!

Every moment is an indication. It is related; nothing is irrelevant. Your body is showing every moment, but you don’t know the body language. The body has a language of its own, and it shows – everything! You cannot deceive. You can deceive with your language. but not with your body – not with your body! You can smile, but your lips will say that there is no smile within. You can show something by your face, you can try, but still the face will give hints that this is false.

This body is just giving information every moment. You cannot change it. You can try, but you cannot change it. And even if you succeed in changing your body, you can succeed only in deceiving others not yourself, because the inside cannot change by the outside change. It is not basic. You can cut a tree by the roots, but not by the leaves. If you cut the leaves, new leaves will come up again and one leaf will be replaced by two. Cut two, and four leaves will come out of that spot. The tree will take revenge, the roots will take revenge. They will say, “You are cutting one leaf – we will put two. We are capable of constantly supplying – infinitely.”

So don’t be bothered by leaves. And body has only leaves: roots are deep within. Cut the roots, and the leaves will wither away by themselves. When there are no roots to feed, the leaves will drop by themselves. Your body will change. Change the mind and the body will change. Mind is the root!

Attain a non-wavering knowing, and the door will be open, and you will be able to have a glimpse into the unknown. The unknown is not far off: only you are closed. The unknown is here, but you are running. The unknown is here, but you are in such a hurry and in such speed that you cannot look at it.

Stand still! I don’t mean your body: let your mind stand still, your consciousness, and suddenly you will become aware of something which has always been there. You have been seeking for it, seeking and searching, lives and lives running for it – and it was here. It is so near, and that’s why you have missed it. It is just by the corner, and you have sought it everywhere except this place where you are standing.

Non-wavering reveals to you the here and now. That standing still in consciousness reveals to you the presence which is here.

-Osho

From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.1, Discourse #5

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

For a related post see Encountering the Unconscious.

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

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Sowing Seed – Osho

Maneesha, a great master on his own authority, Nangaku, is working on a greater master, Ma Tzu, who is just a seed right now, but contains a great buddha.

You are also seeds. It is up to you if you remain closed. Then you will never know your ultimate nature as a buddha. A little courage, a little opening, a little dying of the cover of the seed and the buddha starts sprouting in you.

You cannot blame the climate. The rains are there. The clouds have even entered into the auditorium, they are just passing before my eyes. So close are the clouds . . . but the strange thing is that the closer the clouds are, the more the seed becomes afraid. Afraid of the unknown, afraid of . . . one never knows what is going to be outside. Hidden inside a cover, the seed feels safer, more secure.

On the path of Zen, you have to learn these important words: openness, joy in insecurity – a challenge from the unknown has always to be welcomed. That is the way of growing up. Most of the people in the world, who Wilhelm Reich has called “little men,” die as little men, although their destiny is not to be little men. Wilhelm Reich was perfectly right in respect of the masses, the crowd, to call his book Listen, Little Man. But he was absolutely wrong because he could not see that hidden in the little man is the greatest buddha.

He simply condemned the little man because all the little men were condemning him. He was a genius; not a buddha but an intellectual giant, and he has been condemned by the crowds. Finally he was forced within the walls of a madhouse. And he was saying immensely sensible things. He was bringing a new territory to be explored.

But all those fearful people, afraid of the unknown, afraid of losing the security and the safety of the bank balance, forced him into a madhouse. And he was not mad. In his madhouse days he wrote his best books. They are evidence that he was not mad. But the politicians and the crowd and the government all conspired to force him to live in a madhouse. They all laughed at his immensely valuable discoveries about human energy. Naturally he was angry.

So when he wrote the book Listen, Little Man, it was not out of compassion, it was out of reaction. They had done harm to him, and he at least was able to condemn them. His book is beautiful in describing the little man. But the essential part of the little man is the seed, his potentiality, which Reich completely forgets in his anger.

Otherwise, he was very close to becoming enlightened. But in his anger, his reaction, he was incapable of seeing the point that the people were bound to condemn him – his being a genius was enough reason for their condemnation. They were bound to crucify him and it had to be understood as the natural course of things. But he could not take it as the natural course of things. He could not understand that it is something that has to happen to every genius who opens the doors of insecurity.

And because of this great cloud of anger, he was completely blind, unable to see that the little man is a buddha, hidden deep down as a seed.

Nangaku is instructing Ma Tzu.

After his first instructions from his master, Nangaku, on the meaning of the dharma, Ma Tzu felt as if he were drinking the most exquisite nectar.

After bowing to the master, Ma Tzu asked him, “How must one be attuned to the formless samadhi?”

The first thing to understand is the meaning of dharma. Unfortunately, the Sanskrit word ‘dharma’ – or the Pali word which Buddha used, ‘dhamma’ – has been wrongly translated as ‘religion’ by the theologians, and by scholars it has been translated as ‘law’, the ultimate law. Both have missed the point.

Dharma is not religion. In fact if you go to the roots of the words, religion means that which binds you, and dharma means that which frees you. They are absolutely contrary to each other. Dharma simply means your intrinsic nature. It is not written in scriptures and nobody can tell you what your dharma is. You have to find it yourself. This is a great dignity, conferred on the individual by existence, that you don’t have to live on borrowed knowledge. The living source of life is just flowing close by. Why not drink it and be quenched?

Ma Tzu says, after understanding the meaning of the dharma, that He felt as if he were drinking the most exquisite nectar. The deeper you go in your meditations, the closer you will come to the eternal stream of your life sources. It is pure nectar, because it declares your immortality, it declares your eternity. It declares that death is a fiction; it has never happened and will never happen to anyone. One only changes the house; one gets into another form or maybe into the formless existence.

Ma Tzu’s statement that He felt as if he were drinking the most exquisite nectar shows his tremendous understanding. He is very new in meditation; he is so young. But age has nothing to do with your realization. It is not that when you get old, you will be able to become a buddha easily. On the contrary, the older you become the more difficult it becomes for you to drop your lifelong habits, concepts, ideologies.

Just two years ago Pope the Polack was in India and he was surprised to see that the very poor and the orphans who have been converted to Christianity were doing the same in their churches as they had been doing before: burning incense, bringing flowers for Jesus Christ. He could not believe what the priests were doing, because these people were doing exactly what they used to do in their temples. Instead of Krishna, now Christ is there, everything else is the same.

But the priests told him that they had to make a few considerations, a few compromises. These people cannot understand a religion without incense, without flowers. And the pope conceded that for Indian Christians it is okay.

As you become old, it becomes very difficult to change your ideology, your lifelong belief. It becomes hardened. The old man becomes hard, and in the same way everything around him becomes hard. The best situation in which to grow into your potential is childhood. Next to it is your youth. Most probably the childhood will be spoilt by the parents, by the priests.

The authentic religion has to depend on youth, because youth has a certain rebelliousness natural to it. A young man can rebel against the whole past without any guilt. He can clean his heart of all the old dead scriptures and statues, and the challenge of the unknown stirs his heart. He wants to accept the greatest challenge, and this is the greatest challenge in life – to allow your seed to open to the unknown skies, to the winds, the sun, the rain; one never knows what is going to happen.

There is nobody to guide the seed, there are no scriptures for the seed to read. The seed is taking a risk by coming out, and you should understand that the risk is not small. The risk is exactly a death. The seed has to die in the soil; only then the sprouts of the potentiality of the seed will start growing. Perhaps it will become a rose flower, or a lotus, or some other kind of flower. It does not matter. What matters is flowering, not the name of the flower. A wild flower is as beautiful as the most precious rose. They are brothers in one way, that they both have come to their flowering. They have both enjoyed the joy of growth, they both have seen with their own eyes what was hidden in their seed. They have both taken the same risk and the same challenge.

In fact, it is a death and a resurrection. The seed dies and resurrects into many flowers, into many fruits, into many seeds. It is said that a single seed can make the whole earth green. Just one plant is not its potential. On that one plant there will come thousands of seeds again, each seed again carrying thousands of seeds.

Just a single seed can fill the whole earth with absolute greenness. Such tremendous possibility in a small seed! And you are a living seed, conscious. The most precious thing in existence is within you: consciousness. The seed is groping in the dark, still finding the way. And you are conscious, you have a little light, but you don’t move from your position, you remain a little man. In fact you hate all those who have gone to the other shore because their very going condemns you, that you have failed to fulfill your own destiny.

After bowing to the master, Ma Tzu asked him, “How must one be attuned to the formless samadhi?”

The master must have said to him that unless you become attuned with existence in utter silence, you cannot know the dharma, the very principle of life and existence. Ma Tzu’s inquiry is that of an honest seeker. He loved what was said, he felt it as if it was exquisite nectar – but he would not believe it. There are still things to be settled. His question is not the question of a student, it is the question of a would-be master.

“How must one be attuned to the formless samadhi?”

He cuts out all unnecessary questions and comes exactly to the right thing, how one should be attuned to the formless samadhi.

Samadhi is a Sanskrit word, very beautiful in its meaning. It comes from a root which means, when there is no question and no answer, when your silence is so profound that you don’t even have the question; answers are left far away but you don’t have even the question. Such innocence which is just silent is called samadhi. And in this samadhi you can fall in tune with the heartbeat of the universe. Only in samadhi can you become one with the whole. There is no other way.

Every day what we are doing in the name of meditation is moving towards samadhi. Meditation is the beginning and samadhi is the end. Ma Tzu’s question is that of a potential buddha. He is not asking about non-essentials, just the very essential.

The master said, “When you cultivate the way of interior wisdom, it is like sowing seed. When I expound to you the essentials of dharma, it is like the showers from heaven. As you are receptive to the teaching, you are destined to see the Tao.”

Tao is Chinese for what we call samadhi; the Japanese call it satori, the Chinese call it Tao. Tao is perhaps the best of all these expressions, because it is not part of language. It simply indicates something inexpressible, something that you can know but cannot say, something that you can live but cannot explain. It is something that you can dance, you can sing, but you cannot utter a single word about it. You can be it; you can be the expression of Tao, but you cannot say what it is that you are expressing.

Ma Tzu again asked: “Since the Tao is beyond color and form, how can it be seen?”

You have to understand this dialogue very deeply, because it will give you the right direction for what has to be asked. There are thousands of things to ask, but the essentials are very few and unless you start by asking the essentials, you will not come close to the truth.

As Nangaku mentioned the Tao, Ma Tzu immediately asked: “Since the Tao is beyond color and form, how can it be seen? – you are saying that if you enter into samadhi, you will see the Tao.”

The master said: “The dharma-eye of your interior spirit is capable of perceiving the Tao. So it is with the formless samadhi.”

It was for this reason that the East had to develop the concept of the third eye. These two eyes can see only the form, the color, but they cannot see the formless and the colorless. For the formless and colorless they are blind. In samadhi you close these eyes and a new perceptivity, which can be metaphorically called ‘the third eye’, arises in you; a new sensitivity which can feel and see what is not possible for your outer senses.

The dharma-eye, which is the third eye of your interior spirit, is capable of perceiving the Tao. When I say to you in meditations, “Go deeper, look deeper,” I am trying in every way so that your third eye, which has remained dormant, opens up.

Ma Tzu still asked, “Is there still making and unmaking?”

Can we do something inside? Can we make a buddha inside? Is there still some creativity inside? It is a very profound question.

To this, the master replied, “If one sees the Tao from the standpoint of making and unmaking, or gathering and scattering, one does not really see the Tao. Listen to my gatha.”

He says that as far as your inner world is concerned your buddha is already there; you don’t have to make it. Everything is as it should be in your inner world.

I am reminded of the Russian scientist, Kirlian, who brought a new vision to the objective scientist; its implications are immense. He was a great photographer and he went on perfecting and refining his lenses. His whole idea was that if something is hidden in a seed as a potential, then perhaps the photograph of the potential can be caught with a better lens.

It was a very strange idea, but scientists and mystics and philosophers and poets are all a little bit crazy. Everybody tried to persuade him: “Don’t do such nonsense, how can you see the rose in the seed?”

He said, “If it is going to be, then it must be present in some way – perhaps our eyes are not capable of seeing it.” And finally, he succeeded. He managed to create lenses which could take a photograph of what was going to happen in the future. He would put the seed in front of his camera and a photograph would come of a rose flower.

And then he would wait for the seed to die into the soil – and it was one of the miracles of modern genius, that when the real rose came, it would be exactly the same as the photograph. He has caught the future in his net.

He became convinced that if it is true about the seed then it can be used in many things. For example, Kirlian photography has now become an absolute must in Russian hospitals. People come just to be checked, to see if there is any possibility of disease in the future.

His lenses have become even more refined now after his death; a whole school of Kirlian photographers has been working on it. They can see at least six months ahead. If you are going to be sick in six months’ time, the photograph will show it – that after six months you will have cancer.

There is no other way to find it out, but it can be treated although it has not become manifest. It is a tremendous blessing to medicine. We can cure people before they become sick.

What we see with our eyes is not all. Even in the outside world our eyes have limitations. Kirlian photography has gone beyond our eyes into the objective world. In the same way the third eye opens in the inner world and brings you your whole potentiality in its fullness. You don’t have to do anything, you have just to recognize it. A buddha is not made, a buddha is only remembered.

Nangaku said, “Listen to my gatha.” That is an ancient way; ‘gatha’ means poetry. “What I could manage to say in prose, I have said. Now listen to my poetry. Something that I have not been able to say in prose can be said in poetry.

“The ground of the no-mind
Contains many seeds
Which will all sprout when
Heavenly showers come.”

They have come and now it is up to you to take the challenge.

“The flower of samadhi
Is beyond color and form.

How can there be any more
Mutability?”

It is said that at this, Ma Tzu was truly enlightened, his mind having transcended the world of phenomena. He attended upon his master for a full ten years. During this period, he delved deeper and deeper into meditation.

Kanzan wrote:

In my house there is a cave,
And in the cave is nothing at all –
Pure and wonderfully empty,
Resplendent, with a light
Like the sun.
A meal of greens will do
For this old body,
A ragged coat will cover
This phantom form.

Let a thousand saints appear
Before me – I have the
Buddha of heavenly truth!

Once you have looked into your inner cave and found the light, the life, the very source of your being, then the so-called saints don’t mean anything. They are just moralists, following a certain system of morality, beliefs, but they don’t have the truth. If you have the truth then even a thousand saints cannot weigh more than your buddha. Your buddha is the ultimate and it is not borrowed. You have discovered it.

Maneesha has asked:

-Osho

From Ma Tzu: The Empty Mirror, Discourse #2

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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A Direct Apperception – Jean Klein

Presence, the now, refers to our eternity. We can never think of it, represent it, because we are it. It is an instantaneous apperception that it refers to our totality. Every step undertaken to find it is going away. It is the ultimate goal in every human being to know it, to be it. It is everlasting peace and joy.

Jean:  Any questions?

Q:        You’ve said that it is only through inquiry, by asking the question, “Who am I?” that we come to know our real nature, ourselves. At what point in a life time does the question really come up? When do we really feel the question?

Jean:  It needs a certain maturity to come to this question. By maturity I mean that you know, in a certain way already, what you are not. This knowing what you are not brings you to the fore feeling what you are. The moment you know what you are not, you are free from all directions, and you are brought back to the starting point which means, “Who am I?” And in this moment, there is no more reference to anything, anything known. And then, I would say, you are taken by reality. There is no more a knower and something known. There is only being the known.

Q:        But how can I ask the question so that it doesn’t remain mental? So that it has real transformative power to change my life? Otherwise, it remains mental repetition, or a mental inquiry. How do I make it a really existential question, living question?

Jean:  When you ask the question, you don’t know the answer. So automatically you find yourself in a state of not knowing. In this state of not knowing, your mind is completely unfurnished. You are free from all representation. It is only in this state of not knowing, in this openness of not knowing, waiting for the eventual known. When the waiting becomes free from what it is waiting for – in this waiting without waiting – there is the living answer.

Q:        What does it mean to be enlightened?

Jean:  It supposes that there is somebody to be enlightened. As long as you take yourself for somebody, you live in darkness. When you realize that the somebody is a mental image, and it is when you think of it and you produce it. Then you give it up. This image has no more a role to play. And in this instantaneous giving up, it gives you up. It produces, I would say, a great laughing. In this laughing, it’s like you will feel yourself free from all representation. You function in daily life and all functions refer to you.

Q:        Many teachers teach different forms of meditation practice. If a person sincerely follows a meditation practice, will that lead him to the consciousness or the non-state that you have referred to?

Jean:  Going to meditation means to find yourself in a laboratory. The entity which looks for peace, joy, security, in other words God, will never find it because our cerebrality can never know what truth really is. So, as long you can find the meditator, meditation is an illusion. And this giving up the meditator and even the meditation, then what remains, I would say, is a current of love. There is not another, only the love.

Q:        But the conditioning to take ourself as a person runs so deeply, don’t we need some kind of technique or process to break ourselves of this identification, to decondition the mind and the body?

Jean:  Every state, every object refers to the now. It appears in the now, and it vanishes in the now. Every technique remains [keeps] you in the realm of the mind, but that can never free yourself from the mind, free from memory. So I would say, see really what is next to you, what is the near to you, look at your nearness. It can never be an object. It can never be a state. You are your nearness. Otherwise, there is conditioning and conditioning. To see it really clearly means wisdom.

Q:        Jean, isn’t this rather confusing for someone who would come to one of your seminars and find that there is meditation. There is bodywork, an advaita yoga you might say, where we are working with sensation and feeling the energy body. All of which ultimately have to be objects. All of which are existent and not eternal. What do they have to do with this nearness, this presence you are speaking of?

Jean:  We are working with objects, sensation, feelings, but really, we don’t know this original perceptions, original feelings. We know only a certain pattern. In this session, you become familiar with listening, listening to your sensation, to your feelings, your reactions, resistance. In this listening, you give the feeling, the sensations, the opportunity to unfold itself in the observation. It comes to a new reorchestration of your feelings and sensations. This unfolding is only possible because you are open to it, you welcome it. Now welcoming is an idea, but really with your whole being being open to it, what refers to your totality. You realize that it isn’t you, that you are not in the body, in the perception, in the feeling.

Sometimes we use certain techniques, which generally are used in a progressive way, but it is only occasionally. It is the idea behind that which we are looking for – we are it fundamentally – because in the end all things appear in the now, and it has its reality in the now. It is the now which gives the perceptions, the apperceivings, its reality. I would say, only then we have a certain reality. We have an expanded reality, but at the end, it belongs to the now, to the present. All what appears is a prolongation, an expansion, of the now, of consciousness, of awareness.

So, it brings you back, in other words, to your real nature, because all that is done emphasizes not on the object part but on the ultimate subject part, consciousness.

Q:        This listening that you speak of, is this an integral part of being or is it an attribute, a way toward being?

Jean:  The listening of which you are speaking is free from all memory. There are no expectations. There is no goal. In this listening we are looking away from the goal, looking away from the target. So it is unconditioned listening. In listening, the listening is open to itself. It refers to itself. And at the end, it knows itself by itself.

Q:        You said that all objects point to our true nature or the background, do some objects point more directly, and just what do you mean by this?

Jean:  All objects point where [toward] your real nature, but then? When? you see nearer an object the smallest sense perceptions. It belongs to our five senses. So generally, when the mind is not informed that you are behind all sense perceptions, then you are more or less fixed to the sense perceptions. So your question, is there other form of objects which reveals your real nature, I would say these are objects which point directly to beauty. This means these are objects which have been conceived, produced in beauty, and these objects, the artist which offers it to you in a certain way, don’t emphasize the object part what is producing. It is why he produced it in a very economic way. He frees the object of its objectivity. So the listener, or the person who looks at it, may be free from the senses and brought back to real beauty.

The artist has from time to time, this feeling of absolute beauty, free from the person. And then this state, free from the person, the artist likes, I would say, to thank – thanking to be allowed to be. And this thanking brings him to offering. He offers it. And the object which he offers is free from any anecdotic part, and free from keeping it for the senses. So in a certain way, he shares his inner beauty. His beauty is your own beauty and oneness. It is so in listening to music, and it is also looking at any art objects – sculpture, painting, architecture, and so on.

Q:        In this enlightened non-state, what about feelings and emotions? Do you feel anger or happiness and joy in the same way or is there a difference?

Jean:  When you are established in the now, the present, there is no place for somebody who reacts, who resists. All what appears to you, appears to your totality. All counterparts – positive, negative – are, I would say, abolished. You may say certain things appearing in your life are not completely appropriate. That is sure, but there would not be a reaction. When you qualify it, it is more or less; it is not functional, but you are not more psychologically involved in it.

Q:        Jean, I would like to ask a question about relationships. When two people come together, like a man and a woman, and live with each other, and one of them is interested in this kind of approach to life and the other perhaps isn’t, it is often a lot of ground for conflict, which has led me to feel sometimes that it might be better if I were living alone. It might be somehow easier to accomplish this kind of awakening. And I wondered what you had to say about that?

Jean:  It is love which brought both together. And it is in this oneness that the personality of each unfolds, but both personalities refer to oneness, to love. When the personality of the woman, of the man don’t refer to the oneness, to love, you can be sure there is a kind of degeneration because the personality, the character, or what you call the individual, has its reality in this oneness, in love. It is so on every level. Every activity in its own level refers to this oneness. Otherwise, there is a moment, there is no more stimulation. It is this oneness which gives life to all activities. The moment we believe in this restricted being, of personality to personality, of man and woman, then you can be sure there is not only a kind of degeneration in its form of energy, but there is constant comparison because the personality is completely insecure, looks for security, for the moment that doesn’t refer to the oneness. There is only asking, demanding. So, you must refer to the original encounter, you as a man with a woman which means love.

Q:        Jean, you just mentioned referring to the oneness. I notice that when I experience fear, I identify almost totally with my body and biological survival. How can I break that restricted identification when I am in that state?

Jean:  Fear is first a perception. You feel fear. And then feeling, you qualify it. You name it; you say “fear”. But the word fear is memory refers to a certain pattern that you have, the notion that you mean by fear. So the idea of fear doesn’t refer to the actual fear, the actual perception. So pedagogically I would say, free yourself from the concept fear then you face really the perception which is localized in your body.

See in this moment how you function. You try to change the fear. You try to escape. You try by all means to refuse it. In the refusing, in the escaping, you give more or less fuel to the fear. When you see it really, there is a moment natural that you allow the fear to be fear. And it becomes energy – really energy alive. You accept it completely. It is not psychological acceptance, but it is functional acceptance – accepted to know it more and more deeply. Then the perception refers completely to your accepting. It is in this accepting position that what you accept frees itself; and it dissolves in you, in your presence. It reveals really what you are profoundly.

Live with the fear more and more deeply. Accept it. Even love it. You are not more bound it. When you are not more bound to it, when you are not more involved in it, it frees itself. It is a reaction. But in accepting it you will come completely through the fear. You remain completely a witness to it. It vanishes in your witnessing. It means intimate living. You are able to do it.

Q:        Jean, this question has probably come up many, many times, but it is the issue of money and our desire for it, and how we use it, and our feeling that it is going to provide security for us. Could you speak about the issue of money and our proper relationship to it.

Jean:  I have observed that many people have a wrong relationship with money. First, I would say that you are not the owner of your money. You are the administrator. And being an administrator of your money, you are detached in a certain way. You have a non-relation with your money because an ownership is avidity, a striving, a coming. An administrator is only functioning. Try functioning with your money and spending it and then earning it.

The first thing what I think is that you are completely emotional, psychologically involved with your money. It is generally when you take your money for [as] yourself, an expansion of yourself, belonging to yourself, that you will have a bad death. You will only dying [die] but never really dying [die]. It is your money which keeps you from dying. Many people take risk with your [their] body and mind, but they would never take risk with the money, for money is something which keeps you. Owns you. Lets you never go. Because there is a moment in life that they have to go. But what is important [is] that when you be really [are] an administrator of your money, the distribution and the earning become really functional. It’s been coming to you because somebody has spent it.

Apparently, I don’t see that you spending money [is] an augury. The question may be more or less the mind. (Soft laughter.)

Q:        Thank you.

(More laughter.)

Jean:  I think in daily life you should come often back to the starting point and the starting point you can never think of it because the moment you think of the starting point the point is already in the past. The starting point is the presence, the eternal now. All flows out from the now, and all appears and disappears in the now. And the now is a kind of original perception. It is a direct apperception; you know yourself in your totality. There is not a knower there is only known.

-Jean Klein

From Dialogues with Jean Klein, Part 1

Here you can read more from Jean Klein.

Here you can listen to A Direct Apperception (Dialogues with Jean Klean part 1).

Here you can listen to Dialogues with Jean Klein part 2.

Here you can watch the videos of the Dialogues with Jean Klein on YouTube.

This Light in Oneself – J. Krishnamurti

One can talk endlessly, describing, piling words upon words, coming to various forms of conclusions, but out of all this verbal confusion if there is one clear action that action is worth ten thousand words. Most of us are so afraid to act because we ourselves are confused, disorderly, contradictory and rather miserable. And we hope through this confusion, through this disarray, that some kind of clarity could come into being, a clarity that can never be clouded over, a clarity that is not of another, a clarity that is not given or induced or taken away, a clarity that keeps itself without any effort, without any volition, without any motive, alive; a clarity that has no end and therefore no beginning. Most of us do desire, or most of us, if we are at all aware of our inward confusion, want such clarity.

This morning, if we may – and I’m sorry you have to sit in a hall like this when there are lovely clouds, clear sunshine and waving trees; to sit in a hall is rather unpleasant – I would like this morning, if I may, to see if each one of us could come upon this clarity, so that when you leave this hall your mind and your heart are very clear, undisturbed, with no problems and no fear. If we could go into this it would be immensely worthwhile to see for each one of us if we could be a light to ourselves, a light that has no dependence on another and that is completely free. To go into that one has to explore rather a complex problem. Either one can explore it intellectually, analytically, taking layer after layer of confusion and disorder, taking many days, many years, perhaps a whole lifetime – and then not finding it. Either you do that, this analytical process of cause and effect; or perhaps you can side-step all that completely and come to it directly – without the intermediary of any authority of the intellect, or of a norm. To do that requires that much abused word ‘meditation’. That word has unfortunately become a monopoly of the East and therefore utterly worthless.

I don’t know why the mysticism, if it is mysticism at all and not self-hypnosis and illusion, why the Orient, the East, has this peculiar dominance over the West about spirituality, as though they have got it in their pocket and give it out to you. Most of them do at a considerable expense, you have to pay for it: or they use that as a means of exploiting you in the name of an idea or a promise. I don’t know why, both in India and those unfortunate people who come out of that country, including myself – though I am not an Indian, I refuse to have any nationality – there is a peculiar feeling that being an old civilization, having talked a great deal about this peculiar quality of spirituality, that they therefore have this authority. I’m afraid they haven’t – they are just like you and me, they are as confused, dull, clever with their tongues, and they have learnt one or two tricks and try to convey to others the method, the system of meditation.

So that word has become rather spoilt; like love it has been besmirched. But it is a lovely word, it has a great deal of meaning, there is a great deal of beauty, not in the word itself but the meaning behind that word. And we are going to see for ourselves, each one of us, if we cannot come upon this state of mind that is always in meditation. To lay the foundation for that meditation one must understand what living is – living and dying. The understanding of that life and the extraordinary meaning of death is meditation; not searching out some deep mystical experience; not – as it is done in the East – a repetition of words, as the Catholics and others also do, a constant repetition of a series of words, however hallowed, however ancient. That only makes the mind quiet, but it also makes the mind rather dull, stupid, mesmerized. You might just as well take a tranquillizer, which is much easier. So that is not meditation, the repetition of words, the self-hypnosis, the following of a system or a method.

I think we should be very clear about these two facts: experience and following a method, a system, that promises a reward of vast transcendental experience and all that silly nonsense. When one talks about experience, the word itself means, does it not, ‘to go through something, to be pushed through’. And to experience also implies, doesn’t it, a process of recognition. I had an experience yesterday, and it has either given me pleasure or pain. To be entirely with that experience one must recognize it. Recognition means something that has already happened before and therefore experience is never new. Do please bear this in mind. It can never be new because it has already happened before and therefore there is a recollection, a remembrance, a memory of it and therefore a person who says, ‘I’ve had great transcendental experience, a tremendous experience’, such a person is obviously either exploiting others, because he thinks he has had a marvelous experience, which already has happened and therefore is utterly old. Or, a person who says, ‘I’ve had the most extraordinary spiritual experience’ wants to exploit others. Truth can never be experienced, that is the beauty of it, because it is always new, it is never what has happened yesterday. That must be totally, completely, forgotten or gone through – what has happened yesterday – the incident of yesterday must be finished with yesterday. But to carry that over as an experience to be measured in terms of achievement, to convey to others that one has something extraordinary in order to impress, to convey, to convince others, seems to me so utterly silly.

So one must be very cautious, guarded about this word experience, because you can only experience and remember that experience only when it has already happened to you. That means, there must be a center, a thinker, an observer, who retains, holds the thing that is over and therefore something already dead; and therefore nothing new. It is like a Christian steeped in his particular conditioning, burdened with two thousand years of propaganda; when he perceives or has a vision of his savior, whatever he may call him, it is merely a projection of what has been, his own conditioning, his own wish, his own desire. It is the same in the East, their own particular Krishna or whoever it is.

So one must be tremendously cautious about this word. You cannot possibly experience truth. As long as there is a center of recollection as the ‘me’, as the thinker, truth is not. And when another says that he has had an experience of the real, distrust him, don’t accept his authority. We all want to accept somebody who promises something, because we have no light in ourselves, and nobody can give you that light, no one – no guru, no teacher, no savior, no one. Because we have accepted so many authorities in the past, we have put our faith in others, either they have exploited us or they have utterly failed. So one must distrust, deny all spiritual authority. Nobody can give us this light that never dies.

And the other thing is this acceptance of authority – the following of another who promises through a certain form, certain system, method, discipline, the eventual ultimate reality. To follow another is to imitate. Please do observe all this, listen to all this simply. Because that is what one has to do: one has to deny completely the authority of another, however pretentious, however convincing, however Asiatic he be. To follow implies not only the denying of one’s own clarity, of one’s own investigation, one’s own integrity and honesty, but also it implies that your motive in following is the reward. And truth is not a reward. If one is to understand it, any form of reward and punishment must be totally set aside. Authority implies fear. And to discipline oneself according to that fear of not gaining what the exploiter in the name of truth or experience, and all the rest of it says, denies one’s own clarity and honesty. And if you say you must meditate, you must follow a certain path, a certain system, obviously you are conditioning yourself according to that system or method. And what that method promises perhaps you will get, but it will be nothing but ashes. Again the motive there is achievement, success and at the root of it is fear, and fear is pleasure.

It is clearly understood between yourself and myself that there is no authority in this. The speaker has no authority whatsoever. He is not trying to convince you of anything, or asking you to follow. You know, when you follow somebody, you destroy that somebody. The disciple destroys the master and the master destroys the disciple. You can see this happening historically and in daily life, when the wife or the husband dominate each other, they destroy each other. In that there is no freedom, there is no beauty, there is no love.

So, having laid that clearly then we can now proceed to meditate about life, about death, about love. Because if we do not lay the right foundation, a foundation of order, of clear line and depth, then thought must inevitably become tortuous, deceptive, unreal, and therefore valueless. So the laying of this order, this foundation, is the beginning of meditation. Our life, the daily life which one leads, from the moment we are born till we die – through marriage, children, jobs, cunning achievements – our life is a battlefield, not only within ourselves but also outwardly, in the family, in the office, in the group, in the community and so on. Our life is a constant struggle: that is what we call living. Pain, fear, despair, anxiety, with enormous sorrow constantly our shadow, that is our life. Some of us, perhaps a small minority, and it is always a small minority that create, bring about a vital change, perhaps a small minority, neither accepting or denying this disorder, this confusion, this frightening mess in ourselves, and in the world, can look at it, can observe this disorder without finding external excuses – though there are external causes for this confusion – to observe this confusion, to know it, not only at the conscious level but also at a deeper level.

You know a great deal, especially in the West, has been written about the unconscious. They have given such extraordinary significance to it. It is as trivial, as shallow as the conscious mind. You can observe it yourself, not according to any specialist; if you observe it you will see that what is called the unconscious is the residue of the race, of the culture, of the family, of your motives and appetites and all the rest of it – it is there, hidden. And the conscious mind is occupied with the daily routine of life, going to the office, sex and all the rest of it. To give importance to one or to the other seems to me so utterly empty. Both have very little meaning, except that the conscious mind has to have technological knowledge in order to have a livelihood.

This constant battle, both within the deeper layer as well as at the superficial layer, is the constant way of our life, and therefore a way of disorder, a way of disarray, contradiction, misery. And such a mind trying to meditate, by going to some school in the East, is so utterly meaningless, infantile. And so many do, as though they can escape from life, put a blanket over their misery and cover it up. So meditation is bringing about order in this confusion, not through effort, because every effort distorts the mind. That one can see. To see truth the mind must be absolutely clear, without any distortion, without any compunction, without any direction.

So this foundation must be laid; that is, there must be virtue.

Order is virtue. This virtue has nothing whatsoever to do with the social morality, which we accept. Society has imposed on us a certain morality, and the society is the product of every human being. Society with its morality says you can be greedy, you can kill another in the name of god, in the name of your country, in the name of an ideal; you can be competitive, you can be greedy, envious, monstrous, within the law. And such morality is no morality at all. You must totally deny that morality within yourself in order to be virtuous. And that is the beauty of virtue; virtue is not a habit, it is not a thing that you practice day after day in order to be virtuous. Then it becomes mechanical, a routine, without meaning. But to be virtuous means, does it not, to know what is disorder, the disorder which is this contradiction within ourselves, this tearing of various pleasures and desires and ambitions, greed, envy, fear – all that. Those are the causes of disorder within ourselves and outwardly. To be aware of it; to come into contact with this disorder. And you can only come into contact with it when you don’t deny it, when you don’t find excuses for it, when you don’t blame others for it.

Then in the denial of that disorder there is order. Order isn’t a thing that you establish daily; virtue which is order comes out of disorder, to know the whole nature and structure of that disorder. This is fairly simple if you observe in yourself how utterly disorderly we are, which is how contradictory we are. We hate, and we think we love. There is the beginning of disorder, this duality. And virtue is not the outcome of duality. Virtue is a living thing, to be picked up daily, it is not the repetition of something which you called virtue yesterday. Then that becomes mechanical, worthless.

So there must be order. And that is part of meditation. Order means beauty and there is so little beauty in our life. Beauty is not man made; it is not in the picture, however modern, however ancient it is; it is not in the building, in the statue, nor in the cloud, the leaf or on the water. Beauty is where there is order – a mind that is utterly unconfused, that is absolutely orderly. And there can be order only when there is total self-denial, when the ‘me’ has no importance whatsoever. The ending of the ‘me’ is part of meditation. That is the major, the only meditation.

Also we have to understand another phenomenon of life, which is death – old age, disease, and death accidentally through disease or naturally. We grow old inevitably and that age is shown in the way we have lived our life, it shows in our face, how we have satisfied our appetites crudely, brutally. We lose sensitivity, the sensitivity that one has had when one was very young, fresh, innocent. And as we grow older we become insensitive, dull, unaware and gradually enter the grave.

So there is old age. And there is this extraordinary thing called death, of which most of us are dreadfully frightened. If we are not frightened, we have rationalized this phenomenon intellectually and have accepted the edicts of the intellect. But it is still there. And obviously there is the ending of the organism, the body. And we accept that naturally because we see everything dying. But what we do not accept is the psychological ending of the ‘me’, with the family, with the house, with the success, the things I have done, the things I have to do, the fulfillments and the frustrations – and there is something more to do before I end! And the psychological entity, the ‘me’, the I, the soul, the various words that we give to this center of myself as my being, we are afraid that will come to an end. Does it come to an end? Does it have a continuity? The East has said it has a continuity, reincarnation, perhaps being born better next life if you have lived rightly. And you have here other forms of resurrection and a new way – you know, all that. After all if you believe in reincarnation, as the whole of Asia does – I don’t know why they do, what they do, because it gives them a great deal of comfort – if you do believe in that idea then in that idea is implied, if you observe it very closely, that what you do now, every day, matters tremendously, because in the next life you’re going to pay for it or be rewarded for how you have lived. So what matters is not what you believe will happen next life, but what you are, how you live. And that is implied also when you talk about resurrection. You have symbolized it in one person and worship that person, because you yourself don’t know how to be reborn again in your life now – not in Heaven at the right hand of god, or the left hand, or behind, or forward of god, whatever that may mean.

So what matters is, how you live now – not what you think, what your beliefs are, what your dogmas, superstitions are, what your achievements are, but what you are, what you do. And we are afraid that the center, called the ‘I’, should come to an end; and we say: does it come to an end? If you have lived in thought – please listen to this – if you have lived in thought, that is when you have given tremendous importance to thinking, and thinking is old, thinking is never new, thinking is the continuation of memory – if you have lived there, obviously there is some kind of continuity. And it is a continuity that is dead, over, finished, it is something old. Therefore only that which ends can have something new.

So dying is very important to understand: to die, to die to everything that one knows. I don’t know if you have ever tried it? To be free from the known, to be free from your memories, even for a few days; to be free from your pleasure, without any argument, without any fear, to die to your family, to your house, to your name, to become completely anonymous. It is only the person who is completely anonymous who is in a state of non-violence; he has no violence. And to die every day, not as an idea but actually; do it sometime.

You know, one has collected so much, not books, not houses, not the bank account, but inwardly, the memories of insults, the memories of flattery, the memories of neurotic achievements, the memory of holding on to your own particular experience, which gives you a position. To die to all that, without argument, without discussion, without any fear just to give it up. Do it sometime, you’ll see. It used to be the old tradition in the East that a rich man every five years or so, gave up everything, including his money and began again. You can’t do that nowadays, there are too many people, everyone wanting your job, the population explosion and all the rest of it. But to do it psychologically. It is not detachment, it is not giving up your clothes, your wife, your husband, your children or your house, but inwardly not to be attached to anything. In that there is great beauty. After all, it is love, isn’t it? Love is not attachment. When there is attachment there is fear. And fear inevitably becomes authoritarian, possessive, oppressive, dominating.

So meditation is the understanding of life, which is to bring about order. Order is virtue, which is light, which is not to be lit by another, however experienced, however clever, however erudite, however spiritual. Nobody on earth or in heaven can light that, except yourself, in your own understanding and meditation. And to die to everything within oneself, for love is innocent and fresh, young and clear.

Then, if you have established this order, this virtue, this beauty, this light in oneself, then one can go beyond. Which means then the mind, having laid order, which is not of thought, then the mind becomes utterly quiet, silent – naturally, without any force, without any discipline. And in the light of that silence all action can take place, the daily living, from that silence.

And if one has or if one were lucky enough to have gone that far, then in that silence there is quite a different movement, which is not of time, which is not of words, which is not measurable by thought, because it is always new; it is that immeasurable something that man has everlastingly sought. But you have to come upon it; it cannot be given to you. It is not the word, not the symbol, those are destructive. But for it to come, you must have complete order, beauty, love, and therefore you must die to everything that you know psychologically, so that your mind is clear, not tortured, so that it sees things as they are, both outwardly and inwardly.

-J. Krishnamurti

From Public Talk #4, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 19 May 1968

Here you can listen to the talk This Light in Oneself.

Is Thinking Necessary? – Toni Packer

This is the sixth day of the November 87 Seven-day Retreat.

Several questions have come up in meetings, probably more than we can go into in depth this morning, but I will mention them anyways.

One is: Isn’t thinking necessary in our day-to-day living? So we will look at that and look at thought which is sticky.

Another question concerns partial awareness: Is there such a thing as partial awareness? Being aware partially?

Then there was a question several people asked, What is love? Is there any place for love in this work?

And there were questions about fear and the fear of dying, the fear of death.

We will start out with the question: Isn’t thinking necessary in our day-to-day living?

One wonders where does such a question come from? Does it come out of observation in our day-to-day living? Or does it come out of the assumption that thought is bad? There shouldn’t be thought. And so, one may continue to think if the mind is empty of thought (which seems to be a goal) certainly one may think this is one’s own spiritual goal – not to have disturbing thoughts – then how will I live my day-to day-living?

We do have enormous amounts of assumptions. Some more available to us than others. Others are very tacit, subliminal assumptions, particularly if we have gone through spiritual training where there seems to be a quite universal demand about cutting thoughts. Just recently, I read in one magazine, issued by a spiritual organization, several articles in which this was emphasized – cut, cut, cut, when thoughts come up. Or don’t get involved in the complexes of thinking, just this (Toni thumps the table)! If you understand that, there is no need to think! And one may find, that one who for many years has trained in that way, that that sort of the thinking atrophies in a way. One thinks along given lines, which one has done before one entered a spiritual organization; now one has a new line to think along. And the leader, the teacher, the authority, the spiritual guide will do the thinking for one, if it’s necessary.

So one doesn’t have to bother one’s mind. I am not saying that facetiously. It does go on.

One knows oneself; one asks questions and expects answers. Questions which one can explore oneself. Not that it isn’t helpful and okay to explore a question together. And yet to see the question, where it comes from, and to listen in the light of the question. No one can do that for one. We re-emphasize this because we are so used to having someone else lead us, do our thinking and guiding for us, which is probably the single most obstructive thing in our life. Relying on someone else and therefore not the openness, the innocency, of looking and listening oneself.

So is thinking necessary in our day-to-day living? Well, we can watch – of course it is. We wouldn’t find our way into the kitchen if we didn’t have memory of how to get there. And that memory does not need to be prompted. It is there, when the bell rings. (Laughter.) How to get here, how to drive home, how to find one’s address, one’s house, and in our daily work, and learning a new skill, studying, all of this requires memory and thinking and memorizing new information.

I personally feel that it is important to be aware of what is going on in the world, close to one’s home as well as in distant areas. To be aware what we human beings are involved in, enmeshed in, worldwide, close at home and all over the globe. Not to see it with an axe to grind or to prove something that one has already concluded but to look freshly all the time and to not be opaque within, as one watches the news. The news in depth, documentary, the past, of the past wars, to not just watch or read what is happening out there but simultaneously be transparent to what goes on within oneself in this closest and most intimate of all laboratories that is available to us – our own thoughts and feelings and emotions and conflicts, upheavals, turmoil, and so forth. To be intimate with it; open to see what goes on in oneself. Not hesitant or fearful to discover the truth of one’s moment-to-moment thoughts and feelings and turbulence, conflicts, contradictions because they are what make up the turbulence, contradictions, and conflict in this world, and vice versa.

If that transparency and that openness to what is happening, not from a point of view but open, if that takes place, our thinking about relationship among human beings personally and universally will be intelligent. It will not happen according to party lines. You will not be defensive of a system that one may have been educated in, an ideology or religious doctrine. One will understand and think intelligently about all doctrine, all indoctrination, and what it does to human beings, to us – by observing within and outside. And when there is this openness, and the clarity of watching and looking and asking questions and discussing with interested friends, then our thinking will be intelligent. It will not be partisan, distorted, defensive, or aggressive; it will reflect what is actually happening.

But it does not happen if there is not awareness of the thinking process itself. And that no matter how much one reads about it, or hears about it, that has to be observed, caught as it happens. And this is what we devote so much time and energy to here, all of us.

When the mind is open, not closed in opinion or defense or fear, but open to listen and to think and to look, then one can discover that certain thoughts do not close up the mind. They can go on and the mind remains open. Right now, we are certainly thinking. Examples are given at times which mean memory is used to remember an incident, to bring it in as an example – that is memory and thought – and yet in speaking or listening, the mind need not close up.

The sound of the airplane, or the breathing of participants here, the changing of a posture, the rustling of clothes, the creaking of a joint, that’s all there. One doesn’t need to label it, and therefore it doesn’t need to disturb the listening. And yet there is a certain focusing on what is being said. Focusing means gathering attention and listening to what is being said and not labeling what else is heard.

If one thought, well this airplane, is this flying toward Boston? I flew over here once and I saw this place down here; I actually did! (Laughter.) It was amazing. I could see these lakes; it was almost frozen and there was sparkling sunshine like we have had. And usually, I have an image of not having any idea about geography and direction and where I am, but when I looked out there, that image must not have been there because something was recognized which looked like Hemlock Lake, and sure enough it was. One could see these lakes like fingers. That is what they are called. And there were these three fields, three patches of openness in the midst of the bare trees. The house was not visible; we were too high.

So coming back, hearing the airplane, will one think, is this the plane to Boston? And get involved in the memory of how nice it was, beautiful site, and the lovely colors, then one cannot also pay attention to listening. But if a sound is heard without being labelled, and the associations do not take place because the attention, the energy and attention is in listening – to the words that are being said – then the sounds do not disturb. They do not close down the mind or narrow it down.

The mind does get almost instantly closed up or narrowed down when there is what we call sticky thought about oneself, one’s pains, or one’s hopes, one’s desires. What injustice has been done to one. An angry incident coming up which the mind goes over and over, wanting some satisfaction from the person that did one wrong. Thought in which the self is threatened, or wants to maintain itself, prove itself, or aggrandize itself. Those thoughts do not allow for an open mind. All the energy and emotions are so intense and absorbing that the outside doesn’t seem to exist anymore, neither the awareness of the process itself.

Or can that dawn at any moment? Can one wake up in the midst of sticky thoughts which close down the mind so that the bird is not heard? Of course, of course, one can wake up. Waking up can happen at any moment. It happens on its own. It’s unfathomable. It has no cause. One comes to, sees the anger, sees the jealousy, or whatever is agitating the mind, or the desire. Then what happens?

People often tell me, “I don’t like to look because it is too painful what I see; it’s too ugly. It makes me shiver or shudder at myself.” And with that one withdraws from looking. Maybe a moment of awareness and then the mind going off on some other track. Why? Why? Why this fear of looking at oneself? Why this feeling of revulsion? One isn’t afraid of looking at other people and criticizing them heartily. (Laughter.) Actually, I think that to the extent that we hate to do it in ourselves, we are that much more engaged in criticizing and analyzing others. Finding fault with what we observe in others. There we can safely look and tackle it. Why not within oneself? What is the threat? What is threatened? What is so threatening about it?

Let us take the hypothetical case that we had no ingrained image about ourselves – how we should be – which we have nurtured and thought about and has been inculcated into us for years and years and is in the air. The moral images of a society, of a family, or a racial collective, they are taken in by osmosis. Those standards and images – how one ought to be – are there in us, in our memory. And what we see does not correspond to what we think we should be, or what we maybe always have believed we are. We can so deceive ourselves. A strong image about what we are like distorts our vision or ignores what behavior manifests; it is ignored. It is not seen. It is rationalized or just doesn’t come into awareness. And therefore, what deep down ails us – the conflict of contradiction in ourselves between what we actually think and do, and what we think we ought to be thinking and doing – that conflict deepens and widens and grates more and more.

This is the human disease. The difference between what actually is happening (the awareness of that) and what we think we are, and living (trying) desperately (or not so desperately) to live up to that. It is so fraught with emotion too, because when we are little, we are chided, reminded, reprimanded, punished. If an adult was treated like we treat children, in this respect, we would explode. Well, children explode too but even that they are often not allowed to do. Constantly being told what to do; what not to do; this is right; this is wrong – by us parents who may do the same things and not be aware of it. It is always so obvious when maybe one is invited to a party where there are many adults with many children. Adults talking noisily, laughing hilariously, and making all kinds of noise, but when the kids get too noisy, “Quiet down, be quiet!” And sometimes not so gently when the children are reminded once or twice, and then they are sent to their rooms, with a noisy command. Being yelled at to be quiet! We don’t notice these things until we begin to notice them.

My husband Kyle said, while we were with our grandchildren a few years ago at his . . ., “One should really be grandparents before one is parents.” Because when it’s not your children, then you can have this openness, and you see what happens. How parents worry about the image that the kids project. “My child will he look like that . . .how will he look in school? Will he behave like this forever?” All these fears and anxieties of making children behave properly, all the while not observing, not taking the time to see the whole thing what happens. Giving attention at a certain segment of the whole thing and then maybe disapproving or stepping in, not having seen what went on before. What oneself did and said before that may have agitated a child.

So we are coming back to wondering whether it is not possible to see oneself, even if it is painful? To look at what is revealed in awareness, if it is painful or frightening or ugly. Realizing that one is observing a human being – in action, in relationship, under stress.

It is not necessary to immediately identify and say, “This is me and I should be that way.” Then the trouble starts; the difficulty begins, and one will ignore or escape. If one remains with it and comes to some profound understanding of how we operate and react, then we will not need this tremendous outlet to blame others, see fault in others.

We realize our common inheritance and common patterns, common bondage, and maybe, common freedom from it. Because if it is possible in one human being to see anger in oneself and have it end in the seeing . . .[all human beings can] be free of it. Drop it. It has flared up but it can be dropped instantly, the angry thought, while you may still convulse for a while. And one gives the time to slow down again, to come back into balance. But an angry thought or a grudge can be dropped instantly, as it is seen. If this is possible for one human being, it is possible for all human beings. Why shouldn’t it be? At least one cannot assume that this is for an elite. Then one is stuck with a new idea.

Actually, one doesn’t immediately escape from something that is seen but looks caringly and feels the feelings of sorrow or anger or fear without naming them, without reacting positively or negatively – just that – the reality, the actuality of it, the aliveness of it. A joy comes into this world – the joy of discovering what is true, what is actually happening – and not this conflict and dilemma of needing to hide or escape, and pretending, being hypocritical.

Maybe we can leave that and go on to the next question which was about whether there can be partial awareness? Or whether a lot of the awareness that we seem to experience is partial awareness? Before we get into it, let us just say that thinking about oneself, remembering what one did and then thinking about it, is not awareness, even though it often masquerades for awareness. One may think very honestly and perceptively, as we say, about oneself. Be able to analyze it very astutely. Remembering and then bringing to bear one’s knowledge about other behavior in oneself, memories, and so forth; but it is not awareness. It is thinking and analyzing.

Which reminds me, using this as an example. Once taking a walk with a psychoanalyst, a close friend, who was telling me about some recurring problem that we both had witnessed. We were together at the time. A recurring problem that this person had in relationship. And in taking our walk together, she was analyzing very honestly and non-defensively how this comes about this clash in the relationship, this repetitive clashing. And since it was apparent that it was some concern, over some particular concern that I had witnessed, I think this is why she was explaining how it happened. And at one point I asked, “Would it be possible to see this as it happens because it happens over and over and over again? Just be aware of it as it happens. Not analyzing it afterwards but seeing it at the moment.” She said instantly, “I don’t want to use my energies that way.” It was an amazing response. It was not deliberated. It came so quickly and maybe, now I am analyzing, (laughter) there is pleasure in our clashes and our angry explosions with each other. We don’t want to let go of that. It gives some release, a feeling of power over each other. One has to observe that for oneself. It is easy afterwards to say why it happened, but why can’t one see it as it happens? And is there attachment? That is a question which one has to ask oneself, ask of oneself. Attachment to the very thing that we are suffering from, only partially suffering from; the other side of it is pleasure. Pleasure in the suffering, in the anger, in the outlet, in the release, in the violence, in the domination and power. It all reveals itself when the mind is not judgmental but open to look. Asking questions and then being quiet in the looking.

So back now to partial awareness. I think it is a very worthwhile inquiry whether, as one feels there is awareness of something, whether the mind is really open to the whole. To the whole situation. One may be minutely occupied with a job. Maybe one is working in the kitchen. One is cutting the carrots, scrubbing them under the water, paying attention. We talked about it the other day. Feeling the water, the coldness of it and the texture of the carrot, seeing its shape and little dark ridges, slicing it and so forth. Being there, being attentive, as attentive as one can be, and all the while, not noticing that somebody else wants to get to the sink. (Laughter.)

So there can be careful minute attention but on a very small, limited stage. And very often when that kind of awareness takes place, center stage is still the me, aware that it is aware, and quite pleased with itself. (Laughter.) There is an image there of oneself being aware, paying attention. Paying attention all right to this thing but not in a broader sense in which there is no image to hold onto. The image can be seen and let go of. It goes if it’s seen because if it is seen, it is seen for its partiality, for its narrowness and stickiness – its darkness. And when the self-image goes, with its commands that you must be attentive, you must be aware, when that goes, it is seen and understood and doesn’t continue, and the world opens up. There is the sky again and all the people next to one, not so different from oneself. Much more alike than different. Which maybe leads us into our next question on What is love?

Is there any love in this work? somebody asked. Being involved in discovering about oneself and often the despair. The deep grief in seeing what one has done to other people. How hurtful one’s violent emotions have been in the past, maybe just a moment ago, and the real feeling of despair, of frustration, and sometimes of hopelessness. Will this ever change?

See these too are thoughts and judgements about oneself. Why can’t there be just seeing? Like when the sun comes out of the clouds, it covers everything, the beautiful brown grasses, the green grasses, and any kind of trash that may be lying around. It’s equally lit up. No differentiation there, no discrimination there. And actually, an awareness which is not beset by immediately judging, the me coming back and judging: this is bad, this is good, this is ugly and so forth. Awareness is of the same nature, of the same essence; it is non-judgmental. It just illumines what’s there.

Can one quickly catch seeing when a judgement is coming up and not be caught up in it? So that there is no, no duality in this seeing, no owner of these behaviors, no possessor of the anger or sufferer of the pain. That’s made up by thought. We went into this quite in detail yesterday, how thought creates the sufferer of the pain.

In reality, in truth there is just the pain. And that is not the word either; it’s not the concept, the idea. It’s what it is. What is it? Without words, without any duality, no one there, just what’s there! No thought about me being this way or that way. That divides instantly, and then there is no more sun, no more light. Then there are only our prejudices, and fears, and opinions, and standards which shade, throw shade, a shadow.

So the question is really – isn’t it? – whether this constant self-centeredness or self-enclosing, this ongoing enclosing oneself with one’s self-image and its needs and fears and so forth, whether that can end, in the light of awareness? So that there is just what is. There is no duality, no owner, no sufferer, no wanter of something different. Those thoughts as they come up are seen, are spotted, and dissolve like snow on a warm blade of grass.

These moments happen to all of us, I’m sure, at times. A moment when there is no feeling of conflict; there is no feeling of standing against anything. There just being the vast expanse of what is there, including what is happening in this chunk of life which is part of the wholeness of life. And it is when there is not the immediacy of judging and wanting different things or fearing. None of that, it is quiet. It is an abeyance. The energy is gathering in awareness, in attention, in not knowing. In not knowing what is right or wrong. Not interested in right or wrong, just interested in being there. In that state, one may find the welling up of love. Out of nowhere. And belonging to no one. Because belonging and owning is thought, self-enclosing thought, but love, lovingness, has nothing to do with thought. It has nothing to do with possession or wanting or lacking. It is just there when it is there. And it spreads like the sunshine. It covers without any discrimination. That’s not part of it; it’s not partial.

And I don’t think it could ever do harm. How could it? Because it is not self-enclosed. When that love is there – it’s not the word, it’s not a concept. When that’s there, then there is no fear of dying. No fear of death. There is no fear. Because the self-enclosure isn’t there. That’s where fear is born and maintained, in the self-enclosure – what will happen to me?

Fear is born out of the attachment to somebody or something. It even gives rise to the attachment. Fear of being lonely. Fear of not getting what one wants or needs. Fear of not continuing as the story of one’s life, as an image. All of our fear of imagining dying is fear of imaging. Fear of not continuing as me, as I know me. So fear and self are wedded; they are inseparable. Where there is a feeling of self, there is fear. There is also pleasure. And the vehicle for both of them being thought and image. For both pleasure and fear, the vehicle is thought, thinking and imaging about myself in relationship to what will happen to me pleasurably and frighteningly. When there is no self-enclosure, when the self-image is quiet, it’s not there, one can even say there is a dying to it, then there is no fear. What would one be afraid for?

Can one look at these things? Ponder them and go into it deeply? (Pause.) Dying to the idea of oneself which is the creator of fear. Dying to the idea of oneself and seeing it and the vanishing of that – that’s being alive – so that then one is alive. Part, inseparable part of all of life, in which the cyclical, periodic, annual dying is no problem. Not only no problem, but there cannot be a new shoot, a new leaf, a new flower or blade of grass without an old one having ended.

So why are we so afraid of ending? It’s like all thought stuff, image stuff. Can one see that, see it freely without withdrawing? Without commenting on it and withdrawing because of the comments? “I won’t be anywhere, what will happen to me?” Actually, when one is not enclosed in this whole collection of images about oneself, then one is everywhere and nowhere. That is what nowhere means, everywhere. (Pause.)

We will end here for today.

-Toni Packer

From a talk given on the sixth day of the November 87 Seven-day Retreat.

Here you can listen to the talk Is Thinking Necessary?

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