Neo-Advaita Meets Dzogchen: The Unraveling of a Pseudo-Enlightenment

The following is an excerpt from Sam Harris’s book Waking Up. I must confess that I have not read Sam’s book, but I find the excerpt below to be an incredibly insightful exposé on the deficiencies of neo-advaita.

“Poonja-ji’s influence on me was profound, especially because it came as a corrective to all the strenuous and unsatisfying efforts, I had been making in meditation up to that point. But the dangers inherent in his approach soon became obvious. The all-or-nothing quality of Poonjaji’s teaching obliged him to acknowledge the full enlightenment of any person who was grandiose or manic enough to claim it. Thus, I repeatedly witnessed fellow students declare their complete and undying freedom, all the while appearing quite ordinary—or worse. In certain cases, these people had clearly had some sort of breakthrough, but Poonja-ji’s insistence upon the finality of every legitimate insight led many of them to delude themselves about their spiritual attainments. Some left India and became gurus. From what I could tell, Poonja-ji gave everyone his blessing to spread his teachings in this way. He once suggested that I do it, and yet it was clear to me that I was not qualified to be anyone’s guru. Nearly twenty years have passed, and I’m still not. Of course, from Poonja-ji’s point of view, this is an illusion. And yet there simply is a difference between a person like myself, who is generally distracted by thought, and one who isn’t and cannot be. I don’t know where to place Poonja-ji on this continuum of wisdom, but he appeared to be a lot farther along than his students. Whether Poonja-ji was capable of seeing the difference between himself and other people, I do not know. But his insistence that no difference existed began to seem either dogmatic or delusional.

On one occasion, events conspired to perfectly illuminate the flaw in Poonja-ji’s teaching. A small group of experienced practitioners (among us several teachers of meditation) had organized a trip to India and Nepal to spend ten days with Poonja-ji in Lucknow, followed by ten days in Kathmandu, to receive teachings on the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Dzogchen. As it happened, during our time in Lucknow, a woman from Switzerland became “enlightened” in Poonja-ji’s presence. For the better part of a week, she was celebrated as something akin to the next Buddha. Poonja-ji repeatedly put her forward as evidence of how fully the truth could be realized without making any effort at all in meditation, and we had the pleasure of seeing this woman sit beside Poonja-ji on a raised platform expounding upon how blissful it now was in her corner of the universe. She was, in fact, radiantly happy, and it was by no means clear that Poonja-ji had made a mistake in recognizing her. She would say things like “There is nothing but consciousness, and there is no difference between it and reality itself.” Coming from such a nice, guileless person, there was little reason to doubt the profundity of her experience.

When it came time for our group to leave India for Nepal, this woman asked if she could join us. Because she was such good company, we encouraged her to come along. A few of us were also curious to see how her realization would appear in another context. And so it came to pass that a woman whose enlightenment had just been confirmed by one of the greatest living exponents of Advaita Vedanta was in the room when we received our first teachings from Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, who was generally thought to be one of the greatest living Dzogchen masters. Of all the Buddhist teachings, those of Dzogchen most closely resemble the teachings of Advaita. The two traditions seek to provoke the same insight into the nonduality of consciousness, but, generally speaking, only Dzogchen makes it absolutely clear that one must practice this insight to the point of stability and that one can do so without succumbing to the dualistic striving that haunts most other paths.

At a certain point in our discussions with Tulku Urgyen, our Swiss prodigy declared her boundless freedom in terms similar to those she had used to such great effect with Poonja-ji. After a few highly amusing exchanges, during which we watched Tulku Urgyen struggle to understand what our translator was telling him, he gave a short laugh and looked the woman over with renewed interest.

“How long has it been since you were last lost in thought?” he asked.

“I haven’t had any thoughts for over a week,” the woman replied.

Tulku Urgyen smiled.

“A week?”

“Yes.”

“No thoughts?”

“No, my mind is completely still. It’s just pure consciousness.”

“That’s very interesting. Okay, so this is what is going to happen now: We are all going to wait for you to have your next thought. There’s no hurry. We are all very patient people. We are just going to sit here and wait. Please tell us when you notice a thought arise in your mind.”

It is difficult to convey what a brilliant and subtle intervention this was. It may have been the most inspired moment of teaching I have ever witnessed. After a few moments, a look of doubt appeared on our friend’s face.

“Okay . . . Wait a minute . . . Oh . . . That could have been a thought there . . . Okay . . .”

Over the next thirty seconds, we watched this woman’s enlightenment completely unravel. It became clear that she had been merely thinking about how expansive her experience of consciousness had become—how it was perfectly free of thought, immaculate, just like space—without noticing that she was thinking incessantly. She had been telling herself the story of her enlightenment—and she had been getting away with it because she happened to be an extraordinarily happy person for whom everything was going very well for the time being.

This was the danger of nondual teachings of the sort that Poonja-ji was handing out to all comers. It was easy to delude oneself into thinking that one had achieved a permanent breakthrough, especially because he insisted that all breakthroughs must be permanent. What the Dzogchen teachings make clear, however, is that thinking about what is beyond thought is still thinking, and a glimpse of selflessness is generally only the beginning of a process that must reach fruition. Being able to stand perfectly free of the feeling of self is the start of one’s spiritual journey, not its end.”

-Sam Harris

From Waking Up, Chapter 4

Become the Listening – Osho

Yesterday you explained about three types of listening: first, listening through the intellect, second, through emotion, sympathy and love; and third, through the whole being, through faith. Considering the first two types of listening, how does one arrive at the third type of listening – that is, through the whole being, through faith? And are the intellect and emotions included and involved in the third type of listening?

 Intellectual listening means that when you are listening you are simultaneously arguing with it. A constant argument is going on. I am saying something to you, you are listening, and constantly there is an argument inside: whether this is right or wrong. You are comparing with your own concepts, your own ideology, your own system. So constantly, when you are listening to me, you are comparing whether I confirm your ideas or not, whether I am according to you or not; whether you can concede to me or not, whether I am convincing or not. How is listening possible in this way? You are too full of yourself, so it is miraculous that within this constant inner turmoil you are capable of listening to something. And even then, whatsoever you have heard will not be what I have said. It cannot be – because when the mind is full with its own ideas, it goes on giving colors to everything that comes to it. It hears not what is being said, but what it wants to hear. It chooses, it drops, it interprets, and only then does something penetrate in – but that has a completely different shape. So this is what is meant by intellectual listening.

If you want to go deep in understanding what is being said. this inner turmoil must stop. It must cease! It must not continue! Otherwise, you are in your own way, and constantly destroying the very possibility of something which can happen to you. You can miss, and everyone is missing much.

We live enclosed in our own minds, and we carry that enclosure with us everywhere. So whatsoever we see, whatsoever we hear, whatsoever happens around us, it is never transmitted to the inner consciousness directly. The mind remains in between, always playing tricks.

One must be aware that this is happening. This is the first thing in order to go deep. This is the first thing for the second stage of listening – to be aware of what your mind is doing to you. It is coming in between. Wherever you move, it moves before you. It is not like a shadow which follows. you have become a shadow to it. It goes, and you have to move. It moves before you and colors everything. So you are never in contact with the “facticity” of anything. The mind creates a fiction.

You must be aware of this phenomenon of what the mind is doing. But you are not – because we are. identified with the mind, we never think that the mind is doing something. When I say something and it does not tally with your thought, it is not that you will think that your mind is not tallying with the thought. You will think, “No, I am not convinced.” You do not have a gap between you and your mind. You are identified – and that is really the problem. That is how the mind can play tricks with you.

You are identified with a thought or with a thought process. And this is strange, because only two days before this the thought was not yours. You heard it somewhere; now you have absorbed it and it has become your own. And now this thought will say, “No – this is not right because this is not according to me.” You will not feel the difference that this is mind speaking, memory speaking, the mechanism speaking. You will not feel that “I must remain aloof”.

Even if you have to compare, even if you have to judge, you must remain aloof – aloof from your memory, from your mind, from your past. But there is a subtle identification: “My mind is me.” So I say, “I am a Communist” or “I am a Catholic” or “I am a Hindu.” I never say, “My mind has been brought up in such a way that my mind is Hindu” This is the fact: you are not Hindu. How can you be a Hindu? It is only the mind. If you are the Hindu, then there is no possibility of any transformation.

The mind can be changed, and you must remain capable of changing it. If you become identified with it, then you lose your freedom. The greatest freedom is to be free of one’s own mind. The greatest, I say – to be free from one’s own mind – because it is a subtle bondage, so deep that you never feel it as a bondage The very prison becomes your home.

Be constantly aware that your mind is not your consciousness. And the more you are aware, the more you will feel that consciousness is something totally different. Consciousness is the energy; mind is just the thought content. Be the master of it! Don’t allow it to be the master; don’t allow it to just go ahead of you everywhere. Let it follow you, use it, but don’t be used by it. It is an instrument, but we are identified with this instrument. Mm? So break the identification. Remember that you are not the mind.

But, really, so-called religious persons always remember: “We are not the body.” They never remember: “We are not the mind.” And body is not a bondage at all. Mind is the bondage! Your body is not a bondage at all! Your mind is. And, really, your body comes from nature, from the Divine, and your mind from the society. So body has a beauty, but never the mind. Mind is always ugly. It is a cultivated thing, a false construct. The body has a very beautiful realm. And if you can drop the mind, then you will not feel any conflict at all with the body. The body becomes just a door to the greater – to the infinite expanse. There is nothing ugly in the body – mm? – it is a natural flowering. But the so-called religious people are always against the body and always for the mind. They have created such a nuisance! They have created such confusion! And they have destroyed all sensitivity, because body is the source of all sensitivity. If once you begin to be against your body, you will become insensate.

The mind is just an accumulation of past knowledge, information, experiences. It is just a computer. We are identified with it. […] Remember this: be aware and create a distance between you and your mind. Never create any distance between you and your body. Create a distance between you and your mind! You will be more alive and more childlike and more innocent and more aware.

So the first thing is to create a distance: that is, not to identify. Remember you are not the mind, then the first listening will change into the second. The second is emotional – deeply felt, sympathetic. It is a love attitude. You are hearing some music or seeing a dance, so you don’t just remember the intellect – you begin to participate. When you are seeing a dance, your feet begin to participate. When you are listening to music, your hands begin to be participants; you begin to be part of it. This is a sympathetic way of listening, deeper than intellect. That’s why, whenever you can listen with your heart and feeling, you feel elated, you feel transported to somewhere else. Then you are not in this world. Really, you are in this world, but you feel that you are not in this world. Why? Because you are not in the world of the intellect. A different realm opens – you begin to be actively in it. […]

The second center is more involved. You begin to participate. I say you will understand more if you begin to participate, because the moment you are sympathetic your mind is open – more open than when you are in a constant fight. It is open, receptive, inviting. This is how one can listen through feeling. But still there is a depth even deeper than feeling and that depth I call total listening, with your full being – because feeling is again a part. Intellect is a part, feeling is a part, the source of action is another. There are many parts in your existence, in your being. You can listen with feeling better than with intellect, but still, it is only a part. And when you are listening with your feeling, the intellect will just go to sleep; otherwise, it will disturb. It will just go to sleep!

The third is to listen totally – not even participating with it but being one with it. One way is to watch dance through intellect; another is to feel dance and begin to participate in it. Sitting in your seat, the dancer is dancing. You begin to participate; you begin to keep the beat. And the third is becoming the dance oneself – not the dancer, but the dance. The total being is involved. You are not even out to feel it: you are it! So remember that the deepest knowledge is possible only when you become one with something.

This is by faith. How to come to it? Be aware of your intellect; be unidentified with the mind. Then come to the second – feeling. Then be aware that feeling is just a part and your whole being is just Lying dead. The whole is not there, so bring the whole into it. When you bring the whole in it is not that the intellect is denied, or feeling is denied. They are in it, but now in a different harmony. Nothing is negated. Everything is there, but now in a different pattern. The whole being is participating – is in it – has become it.

So when you listen, just listen as if you have become the listening. […] Be it! Let it go. Vibrate – with no resistance, with no feeling, but with totality! Experiment with it, and you will begin to experience a new dimension of listening. And that goes not only for listening: it is for everything. You can eat that way, you can walk that way, you can sleep that way – you can live that way! […]

If you can be totally in anything, the miracle happens. […]

-Osho

From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.1 #2, Q3

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

For a related post see Total Listening.

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.

 

Total Listening – Osho

So before we enter this mystery, some points have to be understood; otherwise, there will be no entrance.

One is how to listen, because there are different dimensions of listening. You can listen with your intellect, with your reason. Mm? – that is one way of listening to a thing: the most common, the most ordinary and the most shallow – because with reason you are always either in defense or in attack. With reason you are always fighting, so whenever someone tries to understand something through reason he is fighting with the thing. At the most, a very rudimentary understanding is possible, just an acquaintance is possible. The deeper meaning is bound to be missed because the deeper meaning requires a very sympathetic listening.

Reason can never listen with sympathy. It listens with a very argumentative background. It can never listen with love; that is impossible. So listening with reason is good if you are trying to understand mathematics, if you are trying to understand logic, if you are trying to understand any system which is totally rational.

If you listen to poetry with reason, then you will be blind. It is as if one is trying to see with one’s ears or hear with one’s eyes. You cannot understand poetry through reason. So there is a deeper understanding, the second type of understanding, which is not through reason but through love, through feeling, through emotion, through heart.

Reason is always in conflict; reason will not allow anything to pass in easily. Reason must be defeated; only then can something penetrate. It is an armor around the mind; it is a defense method, a defense measure. It is alert every moment that nothing should pass without it being aware, and that nothing should be allowed – unless reason is defeated. And even when reason is defeated the thing is not going to your heart, because in defeat you cannot feel sympathetic.

The second dimension of listening is through heart, through feeling. Someone is listening to music; then no analysis is needed. Of course, if you are a critic, then you will not be able to understand music. You may be able to understand the mathematics, the meter, the language, everything about music – but never music itself; because music cannot be analyzed. It is a whole. It is a totality. If you wait for a single second to analyze it, you have missed much. It is a flowing totality. Of course, paper music can be analyzed, but never real music when it is there, playing. So you cannot stand aloof, you cannot be an observer. You have to be a participant. If you participate, only then do you understand.

So with feeling, the way of understanding is through participation. You cannot be an observer; you cannot stand outside. You cannot make music an object. You have to flow with it, you have to be deeply in love with it. There will be moments when you will not be and only music will be there. Those will be the peaks; those moments will be the moments of music. Then something penetrates to your deeper being. This is a deeper way of listening, but it is still not the deepest.

The first way is through reason – rational; the second is through feeling – emotional; and the third is through being – existential. When you listen through your reason, you are listening through one part of your being. Again, when you listen through your feeling, you are listening through one part of your being. The third, the deepest, the most authentic dimension of listening, is through your totality – body, mind, spirit – as a whole, as a oneness. If you understand this third way of listening, only then will you be able to penetrate the mystery of the Upanishad.

The traditional term for this third listening is “faith”. So we can divide: through reason the method is doubt; through feeling the method is love, sympathy; through being the method is faith, trust – because if we are going into the unknown, how can you doubt? You can doubt the known, but that which is not known at all – how can you doubt it?

Doubt becomes valid if it is concerned with the known. With the unknown, doubt is just impossible. How can you love the unknown? You can love the known. You cannot love the unknown; you cannot create a relationship with the unknown. Relationship is impossible. You cannot relate with it. You can dissolve into it – that is another thing – but you cannot relate with it. You can surrender to the unknown, but you cannot relate to it. And surrender is not a relationship. It is not a relationship at all! It is just dissolving the duality.

So with reason the duality remains: you are in conflict with the other. With love the duality remains: you are in sympathy with the other. But with being the duality dissolves: you are neither in conflict nor in love; you are not related at all. This third is known traditionally as faith, trust – shraddha. As far as the unknown is concerned, faith is the key.

If someone says, “How can I believe” then he misunderstands, then he misses the very point. Faith is not belief. Belief is, again, a rational thing. You can believe; you can disbelieve. You can believe because you have arguments for believing; you can disbelieve because you have arguments for disbelieving. Belief is never deeper than reason. So theists, atheists, believers, nonbelievers, they all belong to the most shallow realm. Faith is not belief, because for the unknown there is no reason for or against. You can neither believe nor disbelieve.

So what remains to be done? You can either be open to it or you can be closed to it. It is not a question of believing or not believing. It is a question of being open or being closed to it. If you trust, then you open. If you distrust, then you remain closed. This is just a key. If you want to open to the unknown, then you will have to be in trust, in faith. If you do not want to be open to it, you can remain closed – but no one is missing except you; no one is at a loss except you. You will remain closed like a seed. When I say it, I mean it.

A seed has to break, has to die; only then is the tree born. But the seed has never known the tree. The dying of the seed can happen only in faith. The tree is unknown, and the seed will never meet the tree. The seed can remain closed in fear – in fear of death. Then the seed will remain a seed and will die ultimately, without being reborn. But if the seed can die in faith that the unknown may be born out of its death. only then does it open. In a way it dies, in a way it is reborn – reborn into greater mysteries, reborn into a richer life. The same is the phenomenon with faith. So it is not belief: never misunderstand it as belief. It is not feeling. It is deeper than both: it is your totality.

So how to listen with one’s totality? With neither reason functioning in antagonism nor feeling functioning in sympathy, but with the totality of one’s being. How can the totality function? Because we know only functions of the parts, we do not know how the totality functions. We know only parts – this part functioning, that part functioning, intellect working, the heart functioning, the legs moving, the eyes seeing. We know only parts functioning. How does the totality function? The totality functions only in a deep passivity. Nothing is active; everything is silent. You are not doing anything. You are just here – just presence – and the doors open. Only then will you be able to understand what the Upanishad’s message is. So your simple presence is needed – no doing on your part, no functioning. That is what is meant by total functioning – just your presence. […]

This is what I mean when I say that if you can listen not with your past, not with your future, but with such a totality that in the present moment only your presence remains; if you can listen silently, passively; if you can just be present here and now; if this very moment is enough – then a different dimension will open. And the Upanishadic message can penetrate only in that dimension.

-Osho

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

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

For a related post see Become the Listening.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

In the Gap Descends the Witness – Osho

You describe witnessing as a knack. Often, late at night, which I am in a very relaxed state, witnessing happens. At other times, though, it just seems to be mind watching mind watching mind. Please comment on this knack.

The moment I say that witnessing is a knack, it implies that there is no way to explain it, no way to teach someone about it, no way to train someone in it.

That’s the whole meaning of the word “knack.”

I can say things which are close enough, but they can never be exact descriptions of the knack. It is not an art, not a craft that can be explained in detail, step by step. But if it is happening to you, there is no problem. You should know what it is; you should know the taste of it.

The problem is arising because you must be trying to do it; not allowing the knack to happen, but trying to make an art of it, so that you can control it. Man wants to control everything; it is part of his basic ego.

The knack cannot be controlled. Either you know it or you don’t know it. You can play around it, and sometimes by chance you stumble upon it: suddenly you have come to know it. That is the moment when you have to be aware in what situation it is happening.

In the night, when you are relaxed, you find it happening. That gives you a clue that relaxation, not an effort to attain witnessing, allows the knack to happen. At other times when you are trying, making an effort, an endeavor to get it, then it is mind watching mind watching mind. It is always the mind.

Mind cannot get the knack.

Mind can learn any art, any technique, any craft: a knack is beyond it. It is not its language, it is not its world. A knack is something beyond mind.

So you have to be clearly aware: the thing is happening to you, the failure of the mind is happening to you. Whenever you are trying, you watch – then you find that it is mind watching another part of the mind. And then you find the one who has found this is also another part of the mind. And this can go on ad infinitum.

Mind is capable of dividing itself infinitely. But finally you will find only mind – you will not come to meditation, you will not come to witnessing.

So your failure is helpful. It says, “Don’t make the effort, don’t try.” Your success indicates that it happens when you are relaxed, when you are not trying. In relaxation, mind is no longer functioning.

The mind is going to be in sleep, it is ready to go into sleep; it is not going into an effort because effort will keep you awake. You cannot fall into sleep by effort.

Sleep and witnessing have something in common.

You cannot make the effort – one thing. Every effort is going to be a failure – another thing. Unless you learn that every effort fails, you cannot get the knack. But once in a while when your mind is getting ready to go to sleep – in between, when you are still awake, and the mind is relaxing to go into sleep – suddenly, witnessing happens. You have got the knack!

Now don’t ask me what it is. That may destroy even your night witnessing, because you may start trying it. Just let it happen as it is happening in the night. You can, at the most, create the same atmosphere whenever you want it to happen, and wait. You cannot force it.

One has to learn a great lesson – that there are things beyond you which you cannot force; you can only remain open, available, waiting, and they come. The moment you become tense to get hold of them, they slip away. It is just like in the open fist you have all the air possible. With the closed fist all the air disappears.

You may be thinking that with a closed fist you are catching hold of the air. No, it has slipped out. It does not belong to the closed fist, it belongs only to the open hand – and it is easily available. You just have to see when it happens, what the surroundings are.

The surroundings mean you are going into sleep, you are tired of the whole day’s work – you don’t want to work anymore. In the gap, before the mind slips into sleep and you lose consciousness – the mind is preparing, is getting ready to go into sleep, but you are still awake – in that minute gap, witnessing happens.

Now, you cannot try the knack. You can simply create the outer situation. In the day, anytime, let the mind go into relaxation. Don’t try – as if you are going to create witnessing: you are simply allowing mind to rest. And at a certain point, that same gap will appear, and in the gap descends the witness.

This is the mystery of a knack – its strangeness and its simplicity too.

– Osho

From Light on the Path, Discourse #32

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.

Listen to the Song of Life – Osho

The fourth sutra:

Listen to the song of life.

Look for it and listen to it first in your own heart. At first you may say it is not there; when I search, I find only discord. Look deeper. If again you are disappointed, pause and look deeper again. There is a natural melody, an obscure fount in every human heart. It may be hidden over and utterly concealed and silenced – but it is there.

Listen to the song of life. Life is a melody; existence is musical – for so many reasons. Existence is harmony; it is not anarchy. It is not a chaos; it is a cosmos, a unity. So complex, so vast, but still united. And life pulsates – from the lowest atom to the highest star. Wave lengths differ, pulsations are of different frequencies, but the whole pulsates in a deep unity, in a harmony. Plotinus has called this ‘the music of the spheres’. The whole existence is a music. It is musical in another sense also. Yoga, tantra and all the schools that have been working esoterically for the inner journey of human consciousness say that life consists of sound; existence consists of sound.

Science differs, but not very much. Science says that the basic particle is electricity not sound. But science also says that sound is a mode of electricity, a sort of electrical expression – that sound consists of electrical particles.

Yoga says that the basic element, the basic unit of existence, is sound, and electricity is a mode of sound. That’s why we have the myth that, through music, fire can be created. If fire [if electricity] is nothing but a combination of sounds, then fire can be created.

This difference between the scientific attitude and the yoga attitude is worth understanding. Why does science say that sound is nothing but electricity and yoga say that electricity is nothing but sound? Because science approaches existence through matter, and yoga approaches it through life.

The deeper you penetrate within yourself, the more you will find a new world of sound and silence. When you reach to the innermost core of your being, you will find the soundless sound. That’s what Hindus have called nad: anahat nad – sound which is uncreated, which is your very life. It is not created by anything; it is not produced. It is just there. It is cosmic.

Aum is the symbol of that sound. If you go deeply within, when the ultimate core is reached, you hear the sound aum. It is not that you produce it. It is simply there, vibrating. It is the basic element of life.

This sutra says Listen to the song of life. But you cannot listen to it unless you have already heard it within your own heart. Whatsoever you can see must be seen first within your own heart otherwise you cannot see it. You cannot hear it. The basic experience must be the inner. Only then can the outer be experienced.

Whatsoever you know in the outer world is nothing but a reflection or a projection. If you are filled with love, the whole of life appears to be filled with love. If you are sitting with your beloved or with your lover, the whole existence is okay. Nothing is wrong, there is no misery. The whole existence is filled with a deep music, because you are filled with a deep music. There is no discord in you; your heart feels a deep harmony. You are so one with your beloved or your lover or your friend that this oneness spreads all over.

But if you are in deep agony – suffering, sad, depressed – the whole existence seems to be depressed. It is you, not the existence. The existence remains the same, but the climates of your mind change. In one climate the existence appears sad. In another climate the existence seems to be celebrating. It is not; existence is always the same. But you go on changing, and your mind goes on being projected. Existence works as a mirror. You are mirrored in it.

But if you think that whatsoever you have interpreted is the fact and not just a projection, you will fall into deeper and deeper illusions. But if you can understand that it is not a fact but a fiction of the mind – that it depends on you, not on existence itself – then you can change. You can go through a mutation, an inner revolution can happen, because now it is up to you.

The world can be a chaos if you are a chaos. The world can be a cosmos if you are a cosmos. The world can be dead if you are dead inwardly; the world can be alive, abundantly alive, if you are alive within. It depends on you. You are the world. Only you exist really, nothing else. Everything else is just a mirror.

I remember one anecdote.

An emperor, a very powerful emperor, created a palace, a palace of mirrors. All around, all over the palace, there were mirrors. The emperor was a very beautiful person and he was so infatuated with his own beauty that he was never attracted in any way to anyone else. He was a narcissist. He loved only himself and he thought that everyone else was ugly.

Finally, he debarred everyone else from entering his palace. He lived alone there, looking at his own face everywhere in the palace. There were mirrors everywhere, thousands and thousands of reflections of his own face.

But then by and by he got bored, fed up. He started disliking himself. He kept meeting himself the whole day, encountering himself. He became ill; he became sad and depressed. He became so dull that he was almost on the verge of death. He was simply fed up with himself.

Then suddenly he remembered: “This palace is my own creation. I need not be here. There is no one forcing me to be here.”

So he broke one mirrored wall – he threw a chair through it. And for the first time in many years, the sky looked within. It was a full-moon night and the full moon peeped within. A fresh world, a new world, alive. He came in contact with it.

He jumped out of his hellhole, out of the prison. Now he was not dead, not dull, not on the point of death. He started dancing, he started celebrating. He forgot his face completely. And it is said that he never looked in a mirror again.

This is what is happening to each one of us. It is not an anecdote about some unknown emperor. It is about you. You live in a mirrored house. When you look at your wife’s face it is not her real face that you see. It is a projection. It is your own face reflected in your wife’s face. When you look at a flower it is not the flower you are looking at. It is your own mental flower projected onto the real flower that you are looking at.

Everywhere, you move with your own mirrors, your own images. And then, of course, you are bored, you are fed up with the whole thing, and you say, “Life is misery.” You say, “There seems to be no meaning to it.” You say, “It would be better to commit suicide. There seems to be no purpose to life. I’m going nowhere, moving around and around in a circle. It leads nowhere. Every day is the same, the same repetition.” But it is not because of existence; it is because of you.

Throw out those mirrors, break those mirrors. Come out of your palace, come out of your imprisonment, and look at the world not through thoughts, not through moods. Look at the world with a naked eye, listen to it with a naked ear. Don’t allow any mental state to come between you and the world.

This is what I call meditation: looking at the world without the mind. Then everything is new, fresh. Everything is alive, eternally alive; everything is divine. But to come to this point you will have to make deep contact, a deep penetration, into your own heart; because there, life’s juice is awaiting you. You may call it ‘elixir’. It is awaiting you.

This sutra says:

Listen to the song of life.

Look for it and listen to it first in your own heart. At first you may say it is not there; when I search, I find only discord. Look deeper. If again you are disappointed, pause and look again. There is a natural melody, an obscure fount in every human heart. It may be hidden over and utterly concealed and silenced – but it is there.

When, for the first time, one tries to enter within, one encounters noise: crowds, thoughts, madness; everything but silence. But don’t be disheartened. Be indifferent to all this noise that you encounter within.

When I say, “Be indifferent,” I mean don’t do anything about it; just be indifferent. Don’t say, “This is bad.” Don’t say, “How can I stop it?” Don’t try to stop it; you cannot. Allow it to flow – just as if clouds are floating in the sky and you are watching them. Or as if traffic is going on in the street and you are watching. Just stand aside and watch the traffic moving on, or stand on the bank and look at the river flowing. Don’t do anything; just stand there. Indifferent, not interested, not in any way involved.

If you can do this – this is what witnessing is. If you can do this, by and by you will penetrate deeper and deeper. Don’t be disheartened, because ultimately, finally, a deep musical source, a deep harmony, a deep rhythmic existence is waiting within you. Penetrate this crowd and you will reach it.

At the very base of your nature, you will find faith, hope and love. He that chooses evil refuses to look within himself, shuts his ears to the melody of his heart, as he blinds his eyes to the light of his soul. He does this because he finds it easier to live in desires. But underneath all life is the strong current that cannot be checked; the great waters are there in reality. Find them . . .

At the very base of your nature, you will find faith, hope and love – these three things. If you can make contact with your inner music, these three things will flower spontaneously within you: faith, hope and love. But these words have very different meanings. They don’t mean the ordinary things we mean by them.

When we say faith what we mean is belief. Belief is not faith. Belief means a forced thing. Doubt is hidden there, but you have wrapped yourself in a belief and pushed the doubt within.

For example, you say, “I believe in God.” What do you mean? Is there really no doubt? Doubt is there. The belief cannot cancel the doubt; it can only hide it. Really, because of the doubt you believe. You are afraid of the doubt. If you don’t believe, if you are doubtful, you will feel inconvenienced. Belief gives you convenience, comfort, solace, consolation. You feel at ease. But the belief is just a mental, intellectual facade. Behind it, the doubt is always lurking.

You will find doubt hidden within every belief. If you say, “I believe strongly,” that means you have very strong doubts behind it. Those who say, “I believe absolutely,” have absolute doubts within them. What is the need of belief? The need is because doubt is there and you feel inconvenienced by it.

That’s why so many people are theists and so few are atheists. But in reality, the world is full of atheists and to find a theist is very difficult; it is impossible. The whole thing is just false. People say that they believe in God because it seems difficult not to believe, inconvenient. Socially, formally, it is not good.

Not that they believe. They doubt, they know they doubt, but they deceive themselves. Their life remains untouched by their beliefs; their religion remains a Sunday religion. Their life is not touched at all. On Sunday they go to church and pray as a social formality, as good manners. Then, out of church, they are the same again. For six days they remain irreligious; for one day they become religious. Is it possible? Six days you remain ugly and one day you become beautiful? Six days you remain bad and one day you become good? Six days you remain evil and suddenly one day you become saintly? Is it possible?

It is impossible. The seventh day must be the false day; the six days are real. The seventh day is just a trick to deceive oneself and others. Belief is false. It is helpful, utilitarian, but untrue. Faith is totally different. Belief means doubt is hidden there; faith means doubt has disappeared. This is the difference.

Faith means the doubt has disappeared. Belief means the doubt is there and you have created a belief against it You doubt whether God exists or not but you say, “I believe,” because your wife is ill and if you don’t believe, who knows? God may be there. Or your job is in danger of being lost. Who knows? God may help. And if you don’t believe, then he will not help. Utilitarian; it has some utility for you. But doubt is there.

Faith means doubt has disappeared. It is the absence of doubt. But it can disappear only when you have known something within; when belief has not been given to you, knowing has arisen in you. When you have come to know, to realize, then faith arises.

And hope. This hope is not that of desire. This hope doesn’t mean hope for the future. It is not in any way concerned with the future. This hope means simply a hopeful attitude about everything. About everything. An optimistic view, a hopeful attitude. Looking at the golden side of things. Whatsoever happens you remain hopeful; you are not depressed.

Depression comes only if you look at the wrong side of things. Everything has two sides: the wrong side and the right side. You can look at the wrong side and then you will be depressed, or you can look at the right side, the golden side, and you will be happy. So, it depends.

The person who is hopeless always looks at what is wrong. The first thing he tries to find is what is wrong. If I tell him, “This man is a beautiful flute player,” he will first look at him and say, “No, I cannot believe that he can play the flute because he is a thief.” What is the concern? A man can be a thief and a good flute player. But he will deny the possibility. He will say, “No, he cannot be. He is a thief, a well-known thief. How can he be a good flute player?”

This is the hopeless mind. With a mind which is filled with hope, if I say, “This man is a thief,” he will say, “But how can he be a thief? He is such a good flute player?”

How do you look at things? With hope or with hopelessness? Ordinarily, unless you have touched the inner music, you will look at the world with a hopeless attitude. Then everything is wrong and whatsoever is done is wrong. And from everywhere, you will derive misery. You will become an expert at being miserable. Anything will help you to be miserable, anything.

When you touch this inner silence, this inner music, you become hopeful; you become hope. Whatever is, you see. You always touch the innermost core of it, the heart of it. And then, there is no depression.

And love. Ordinarily, love is a relationship. But when you touch the innermost being, love becomes your state not a relationship. It is not between you and someone else. Now it is that you have become love, you have become loving. It is not a relationship. Even if you are alone, sitting under a tree, you will be loving. Lonely, alone, with no one there, you will be loving.

It is just like a lonely flower that grows on an unknown path. No one passes there, but the flower goes on spreading its perfume. It is its state. It is not that when some king passes the flower will give its perfume. It is not that if some beggar passes the flower will not give its perfume. If a beggar passes, the flower gives its perfume. If a king passes, the flower gives its perfume. If no one passes, then too the flower goes on spreading its perfume. The perfume is the flower’s very state of being. It is not a relationship.

Our love is a relationship. And when love is a relationship, it creates misery. When love is a state of being, it creates bliss.

A Buddha is also in love, but he is not trying to love you. Simply because of the way he is, love spreads. Love becomes a perfume and goes to the far corners of the earth.

These three qualities will evolve: faith, hope and love. And if these three are there, you don’t need anything else. These three will lead you to the ultimate peak of life and existence.

. . . know that it is certainly within yourself. Look for it there, and once having heard it you will more readily recognize it around you.

If you can feel your inner music, inner truth, inner faith, inner love, inner hope, you will start recognizing it around you. The whole universe will change for you because you have changed. And whatsoever you feel within, now will be felt all around.

The world remains the same; but when you change, everything changes. With you, your universe becomes different. If you are rooted in the divine, the whole existence is rooted in the divine. If you are rooted in evil, the whole universe is a hell. It depends on you. It is you, magnified.

-Osho

From The New Alchemy to Turn You On, Discourse #11

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.

Master of Your Own Mind – Osho

Those who have purified the mind by the practice of sannyas and yoga, and those who have come to understand the exact meaning of the spiritual science indicated in the Upanishad’s Vedant, they in the end become capable of attaining brahmalok – the world of brahman. And liberating themselves from everything, they strive to achieve immortality.

Kaivalya Upanishad

The basic problem before a spiritual seeker is not how to know, but how to be. Knowing is not the problem, it is easy. The real problem is how to be, how the being should be strengthened. Knowing can grow easily; knowing has its own ways of growing. But knowing is a parasitic growth.

Knowing grows in the memory, and memory is just mechanical. That’s why we now have mechanical devices which can be fed with memory – we have computers, and a computer is more efficient than any human brain. A computer can do anything that a human brain can do – and a computer can do many more things which a human brain cannot do. Sooner or later, human memory is going to be replaced by mechanical devices. A mechanical device can do whatsoever your mind is doing, and more efficiently, and in less time. A computer can do a mathematical problem in seconds for which you would need an Einstein, or a person of the caliber of Einstein, to work on for at least three months.

Mind is just a mechanical device. It can grow – you go on feeding it with knowledge, with information, and it can grow. You may not be aware of it, but nothing comes out of your mind which has not been put in it before – nothing. Nothing comes out of your mind which is original. In that way, nothing is original as far as mind is concerned; everything is just repetition. Mind is the most repetitive mechanism. You have to feed it, give it something: it will reproduce it. Not a single thought comes to you which is your own – it has been given to you by society, by education, by study, but always it has been given to you. At the most you can make new combinations, that’s all. Nothing more can be done with the mind. This is one growth, a parasitic growth at the cost of your being. By being, I mean the consciousness with which you are born. And by mind, I mean all the accumulation that has come to your consciousness through society, through education, through culture. You are not born with a mind; you are born with a consciousness. Mind is a later growth. That’s why if a person is not taught, if a person is not educated, then he has a lesser mind, a poor mind. If no language is taught to you, you will know no language. If nothing is taught to you, you will know nothing. Mind is a social growth.

Consciousness is part of you, but mind is not part of you; mind is given to you. The whole process of social cultivation, of social imposition, is to produce a mind in you. That’s why a Christian mind is different from a Hindu mind – because a Hindu society is feeding something and a Christian society is feeding something else. A Mohammedan mind is totally different from a Hindu, or a Christian, or a Jaina mind. But a Hindu consciousness or a Mohammedan consciousness or a Christian consciousness, are not different.

Really, a consciousness cannot be called Christian or Hindu or Mohammedan – but minds are. So unless you go beyond your society – you are imprisoned in your upbringing. This mind, which the society gives to everyone . . . it is a necessity; a society has to give it to you. It is good as far as it goes, but it must not become an imprisonment. A moment must be attained where you are freed from your own mind. Then mind begins to work as a mechanical thing in you; you can use it but you are not identified with it.

Of course one has to use language, one has to use mathematics, one has to know history and geography and everything. But it must not be identified with your consciousness. You must remain a witness to it. You must remain separate, unidentified, different from your own mind. This is what meditation means: how to be not identified with the mind – how to create a space between yourself and your own mind. It is difficult because we never make any separation. We go on thinking in terms that the mind means me: mind and me are totally identified. If they are totally identified, then you will never be at peace; then you will never be able to enter the divine, because the divine can be entered only when the social has been left behind.

When whatsoever the society has given you has been renounced, only then you enter the divine, because only then, you enter pure consciousness. Mind is an overgrowth; it must be put aside. By renunciation, I mean renunciation of the social. And your mind is nothing but a social by-product, it depends on your society.

This mind can go on growing. Then you grow in knowledge; go on studying, go on learning new things, more things, and your mind goes on growing. And a mind is infinitely capable to grow; yet scientists cannot say to what extent this mind can grow. It can go on growing, the process seems infinite. It has so much potentiality – seventy million cells working in the mind, and a single cell can have millions of bits of information in it. A single cell of the mind can have so much information stored in it, and the mind has seventy million cells in it. We are not using even a single cell’s capacity – ordinarily, we are not using a single cell’s capacity – and we have seventy million cells. And each cell seems to be capable of infinite accumulation of information. The mind seems to be infinite in its own way – and it is not you! It is just something which has been given to you.

It is useful, it is utilitarian; that’s why we become identified with it. One has to use one’s mind constantly, and one has to use it so constantly that there is no gap. You don’t remember any moment when you were not your mind, that’s the problem: to remember it, and to create a space, a gap, when you are not your mind. You are yourself and mind is just a device which can be used or not used, and you are the master to choose whether to use it or not.

Ordinarily, the mind is the master and you have to follow it. The mind gives you something to think about and you have to think about it. The mind gives you some dream and you have to dream it. And the mind goes on . . .  And sometimes even if you say to your mind, “Stop!” it is not going to stop, it is not going to listen to you at all. Because you have cooperated with it so much, and you have given it your energy and identification so much, that the mind doesn’t remember your mastery at all. You are just a slave.

Meditation means to create a gap so that you can become master, master of your own mind. And mastery means that you are not identified.

I can order my hand to do anything – to move or not to move. Why? – because I am not identified with the hand; otherwise, who is going to order and who is going to be ordered? I can order my hand to move; it moves. But if my hand begins to move and I say, “Stop!” and it is not stopping, what does it mean? It means only one thing: my order is impotent because of too much identification with the hand. The hand has become a master in its own right – it goes on moving. It says, “I am not going to follow your order at all.”

This has happened with the mind. The mind goes on working in its own way; no order can be given to it. There is no intrinsic impossibility – it is only because you have never ordered it, so it doesn’t know that you are the master. The master has remained so silent, has remained so hidden, that the slave has begun to feel himself the master.

If one goes on growing in this mind, one goes on more and more hidden deep down. And the mind becomes such a great thing, it is difficult to assert your consciousness. That’s why a very ordinary villager with a lesser mind, is with more consciousness. An ordinary person – not very educated, not knowing much – has always, of course, less mind but more consciousness. So sometimes a person who has more mind may behave very foolishly, because he has less consciousness. A person who has a developed mind can work very wisely, behave very wisely if the situation is such that the mind knows what to do and what not to do. Then he can behave, work, do anything very efficiently. But any new situation in which the mind is not aware, and he will be stupid, he will behave stupidly.

A villager — an uneducated person, a primitive, with less mind — will behave more consciously in a new situation, because for him new situations are occurring daily, every moment. With no developed mind, he has to work with his consciousness. That’s why the more the world has grown knowledgeable, the less wise it has become. It is difficult not to produce a Buddha, not because we are more ignorant, but because we know more. It is difficult to produce a Jesus, not because anything is lacking — on the contrary, something has grown too much. Knowledge has grown too much, and if knowledge grows too much, the being begins to feel poor.

We value a person because of what he has: knowledge, wealth, power. We never value a person for what he is. If I am a powerful man, then I am valued; if I am a wealthy man, then I am valued; if I am a man of knowledge, then I am valued – but never simply for what I am. If wealth is lost, then my influence will be lost; if knowledge is lost, the my influence will be lost; if power is lost, my influence will be lost, because I was never valued for what I am. Something which I have – having has become so important, and knowledge is a subtle having.

Being means: the purity of my inner existence, nothing added by the outside – neither wealth, nor knowledge, nor anything else – just my inner consciousness in its purity.

This is what I mean, what this Upanishad means by the growth of being. This being can be achieved only by two methods: renunciation – sannyas – and yoga, the science of positive growth. One must renounce identification: one must come to know that I am not the body, I am not the mind. One must renounce all that which is mind, but I am not. One must come to the center point which cannot be renounced.

A Western thinker, Rene Descartes, begins his theosophical speculation with doubt, and he goes on doubting. He goes on doubting everything that can be doubted. He was a very keen penetrating intellectual; really, he was the father of modern Western philosophy. He goes on doubting everything, he makes it a point that “I will not stop doubting unless a moment comes and I encounter something which cannot be doubted. If I can doubt, I will continue to doubt, unless I stumble upon some fact which is indubitable.” So God can be doubted very easily. It is difficult to have faith; it is very easy to doubt, because for doubt you have only to say no. Nothing else is needed.

“No” is a very non-involving word. If you say yes, you are committed. If I say “Yes, God is,” then I cannot remain the same. If I say, “No, God is not,” I will continue to be the same. “No” is the easiest word in a way: you say it, you are not involved, you remain outside. If you say yes, you are involved. You have come in; now you are committed. To say no to anything is very  easy, because then you need not prove anything. If you say yes then you have to prove it – and proofs are, of course, very difficult. Even if things are, proofs are very difficult. Time is. We know time is, everyone feels time is – but can prove that time is?

Saint Augustine says, “Don’t ask about time, because when you don’t ask, I know it is. When you ask, I begin to hesitate – whether it is or not? And if you persist, I become doubtful.” Can we prove time? It is; everyone knows it is. We cannot prove it.

Can we prove love? Everyone knows it is. Even if one has not felt love, one has felt very deeply its absence. Love is felt – either as a presence of absence, but no one can prove it. So anyone can say, “Love is not,” and you cannot disprove their statement.

Descartes goes on denying, doubting: God is denied, then the world itself is denied – even the world which is here and now. You are here, but I can doubt; it may be just a dream to me. And how can I tell the difference whether it is a dream or not? – because sometimes I have dreamt about talking to people. And when I was dreaming and talking, those who were present were as real as you are – and really, in a way more real, because in a dream you cannot doubt. But if you are really present, I can doubt: it may be just a dream, you may not be there at all, but just a dream, a dream happening to me. And I am dreaming that you are, and I am talking to you, to my dream construct. How can I prove that you are really there? There is no way. There is no way to prove that you are. I can touch you . . . but I can touch someone in a dream, and even in dream I can feel someone’s body.

It is difficult – really, in a way, impossible to make a distinction between reality and dreaming. That’s why Berkeley says that this whole world is just a dream, or a Shankara says that this whole world is just a dream. They can say it and they cannot be disproved.

So Descartes says, “This world is not. It is only a thought, a dream. God is not.” Then he goes on denying everything. Ultimately, he comes to himself, and then he begins to thin “whether I am, or not.” Now there is a fact which cannot be denied, because even if all is dreaming, someone is needed to dream. Even if everything is dubitable, someone is needed to doubt. Even if Descartes says “I am not,” this statement has to be made by someone – even to doubt, he is needed. Then he says, “Now I have come upon a point which indubitable. I can doubt everything, but I cannot doubt myself. If I doubt, the doubt proves me. So he gives a very meaningful formula: He says, “Cogito ergo sum. I think – I doubt – therefore I am.”

This “I-am-ness” must be broken apart from mentation, from mind, one has to renounce all that can be renounced – just like Descartes who says, “I must doubt all that can be doubted, unless I come to a point which cannot be doubted.” Just in the same way, one has to continue renouncing – renouncing all that which can be renounced, unless you come to a point which cannot be renounced.

You cannot renounce your being; all else can be renounced. All else you can say, “This I-am.” All that you can say, “This is I,” you can renounce. You can say, “No, this is not I-am. This body, I am not; this world, I am not, this thought, I am not; this thinking, I am not.” Go on, go on denying. Then comes a moment when you cannot deny more. Simple “I-am-ness remains. Not even “I-am-ness,” but only “am-ness.” That “am-ness” is the existential jump.

This is the first part of the sutra: renunciation, sannyas.

So sannyas is a negative process. One has to go on eliminating: “This is I-am-not.” Go on – “This, that, I am not.” This is renouncing, a negative process, elimination. But this is only a part: you have renounced whatsoever you are not; then you have to grow that which you are – that is yoga; that needs the positive, of growth. That is yoga. Now you have to grow that which is in you. How to grow it? – we have been discussing that – by faith, by devotion, by meditation, by practices, bodily and other. That is yoga.

Sannyas plus yoga means religion. Renounce that which you are not, and grow in that, create in that, which you are. Only by such negative and positive processes in a deep harmony, the brahma, the ultimate, is achieved.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #21

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.

That Moment becomes the Door to the Divine – Osho

Grouping of mind, vital breath, desire, essence and virtue with the associates is called panchvarga, or the five groups. A living being identified with the nature of the panchvarga cannot be free of them without knowledge or knowing.

The disease arising out of the subtle elements like the mind and the rest of it seems to be covering the self, and it is called the seed body, it is also known as the knot, or complex of the heart. And the consciousness dwelling inside is called the kshetragya, or the knower of the field.

-Sarvasar Upanishad

Now the rishi is discussing the complexities of the mind, complexities of the consciousness. Why are we just a complexity? Why is there no innocence and no simplicity? Why is everything just a knot, just a confusion, just insanity inside?

If we can open a mind, then we will see just anarchy there, chaos. We go on somehow managing ourselves, but inside there is nothing which can be said to be a cosmos. Inside there is chaos, simple chaos. This is a miracle that we can manage ourselves; it seems impossible. How are these complexes built? How are they formed? How do we help them form? And how many complexes are there?

There are five divisions of all the complexes. The first complex is the mind. Eastern mysticism has always looked at mind as the disease, as the basic disease. It is just the opposite from the Western attitude towards life. The Greek mind, which is the originator of all Western thinking, always looked towards the mind as the supreme-most thing. Mind is the peak according to the Greek attitude, Greek thinking.

For Aristotle, mind is the peak, mind is the most evolved energy. But to the Eastern mind, mind has been a disease. That’s why the East couldn’t develop science, because if mind is diseased then you cannot develop science really, because science has to be developed with the mind.

The Greek mind could give the impetus to the Western mental evolution, so they could create a very complex structure of science and scientific knowledge. The structure has arrived; the structure is there now, but the consciousness, the human being itself, is lost. It has been at a very big cost. Machines have evolved, but the creator itself is just feeling empty and meaningless. Technology has developed, and now we can create with this technology a very different world – but the very interest to create a different world is no more there.

Sartre or Camus or others – they all feel that there is no sense in existing at all, there is no meaning. Sartre says we are condemned to be alive; there is no need, there is no purpose, nothing is going to come out of all this effort, it is just futile. So Camus asserts that the only philosophical problem, the only metaphysical problem now is suicide. The only possibility for us in which we can be free and active, seems to be suicide; all else is just meaningless.

This has to happen, because with mind, ultimately there can be only madness and suicide. With mind, ultimately there can be only meaninglessness and an effort to forget it. So the whole of the West is now trying to forget – through chemicals, through alcohol, through so many methods, to forget themselves. Life is so meaningless that to be aware is to be in suffering. To know it – the misery all around, the suffering all around, and the meaninglessness of it – to be aware of it is too much; it creates anguish. So it is better to forget it somehow and drop into a world of dreaming.

Chemicals can help. You drop out of the world, and they say to you “turn on.” Where do you turn on? You turn on really to a dream world; there you can find meaning; there you can find purpose. There you can find again the romance and poetry, but not when you are awake, aware, conscious. And they say these chemicals are helping the expansion of consciousness. This is absurd. They are not helping the expansion of consciousness, they are helping only the expansion of the dreaming process. They are only helping you to dream more beautifully, more deeply, to dream more intensely. They are not helping consciousness; they are helping unconsciousness. They are helping deep processes of sushupti – of sleep and dreaming.

This had to happen, because with the mind you cannot go beyond this point. With mind there is no meaning; there cannot be. With mind there is logic, but no meaning; with mind there is reason, but no life. With mind you can create the dead and mechanical, but you completely lose track of existence, of life, of being, of consciousness.

Mind, this rishi says, is the first disease, the basic disease in a way. Why is mind a disease? – because mind is just a disturbance. Mind is just a disturbance in consciousness. It is not your nature; it is just a disturbance. The moment there is no disturbance, there is no mind. And this state of no-mindedness is the state of consciousness – the expansion of consciousness. You drop into yourself: not into dreaming, not into projections, into yourself. Consciously, with full alertness, you come to your center the moment mind is not there.

Meditation means how to be not a mind.

How to be not a mind!

Meditation means how to create the state of no-mindedness.

It doesn’t mean unconsciousness. It means conscious and still, without any disturbance in the consciousness; conscious with no ripples, with no waves, with no vibrations; conscious as a deep, calm, silent pool with no ripples on it, with no disturbances on the surface; just a calm silent pool with no breeze to disturb, just mirrorlike.

With mind one goes on being disturbed more and more, and then this whole process of disturbance is self-perpetuating. One disturbance creates ten more, and those ten create a hundred more. This is self-perpetuating, and then you are in a vicious circle. With this mind something can be done. That is, you can travel outwardly, you can go more into the world. But the more you go into the world the farther you are from yourself. And the farther you have gone, the more the track back is lost. Then you only remember that there is a home, but there is no way to get back. And we continue to remember there is a home; there is a homesickness always somewhere present. There is a home and one has to go back.

But there is no way, and we continually try to find the home with the mind itself, which has lead us astray. Then we go into scriptures, then we go into words, then we go into philosophies, metaphysical systems. And then we are lost even more in it, even more deeply, and the track is not found at all. The track can be found only if you begin to feel and understand that mind is the disease, so you cannot go back with the mind; the mind cannot be used as a vehicle, it cannot be used as a passage. It is not a door towards consciousness. It is a door towards the world, towards objects – not towards the subjectivity. That’s why it is said to be a disease, a complex.

The second is prana, life itself; rather than life, the lust for life. There is a deep fear – fear of death – and there is a deep lust to continue anyhow, to live anyhow. Life itself seems to be the end.

Life cannot be the end itself; if life itself is the end, then one will have to exist on the periphery.

Something must transcend life itself; something must be higher than life itself; otherwise, life can have no meaning. If you say that life itself is the end, then life is bound to be meaningless, because meaning comes from the beyond – always from the beyond. Something for which you exist gives the meaning – that’s why we create many so-called meanings all around us.

Money becomes the meaning because you live for it; power becomes the meaning, prestige becomes the meaning. You create meanings, but those are just bogus meanings – because really, if life is at peril, you will be ready to lose power, money, everything. So you just deceive yourself, but those deceptions can never become the reality. Life remains above them; they are not beyond, they cannot be. That’s why in the West, there are so many feelings of frustration and meaninglessness. That’s an obvious corollary of life being taken as the end.

Life originates in something and then again dissolves into something. Life comes up and then goes down and is dissolved. So the original source of life must be beyond life. It comes out of it and the goes back, just as a wave raises itself and then falls down into the ocean; the ocean remains beyond the wave. The wave comes and goes; it is there this moment, and the next it is gone. The ocean is behind, beyond.

Life is just a wave. Existence is beyond life.

So one who begins to be too involved and too attached, too infatuated with life, loses the existential source of life itself.

Life is just the periphery:

The center is existence.

We have called that existence God.

We have called that existence moksha.

We have called that existence nirvana.

This is something very delicate to be understood. Really, we have never said that God exists. We have said, rather, God is existence. Those who say God exists don’t know what they are saying.

Man exists; God cannot exist in the same way. Trees exist, the earth exists, the sun exists, but not God. A tree may go out of existence, man may not exist, the sun may not exist, but God cannot be conceived as not existing. God is existence; God is is-ness. So really, to say God is, is to repeat oneself.

God means is; God means is-ness.

That is-ness is beyond life.

Life is just a wave on the ocean of is-ness. So we are separate as waves, but not as the ocean. We are separate on our peripheries, but not at the center. At the center we are one. So many waves on the ocean, but in the ocean they are one.

But no wave will be able to conceive it, because it seems so absurd. How can a wave conceive that all the waves around are one with it? – because when another wave is just rising up, one is just dying and falling down. If waves are one, then they must fall simultaneously, they must rise simultaneously. That’s why we are the same. If we are all the same, then how is one rich and how is one poor? Then how is one young and how is one old? And how is one born and how is one dying? – we must be separate, obviously. Then how is one intelligent and one is not? And one is beautiful and one is not? – we must be different, we must be separate. But we are not. There are small waves and there are big waves; there are waves which go higher, there are waves which cannot go higher. But still they are the same – in the ocean they are the same.

f you are aware only of your wavelike life, then you cannot go inside; then this becomes a disease.

And if you are aware that you are a wave, then you must be afraid – you are bound to be afraid of death, of dying, because every wave has to die. You can see that every wave is dying – coming up and down – so you are afraid. This fear comes because you have not known the oceanic existence which is yours; you have known only the wave existence which means life, which means prana.

So, the rishi says the second bondage, the second complexity, the second division of diseases, is lust for life. What does it mean?

It means if one is to go deeply into existence, one has to be ready to die. This readiness to die is the basic quality of a religious mind. This is what constitutes the very essential core of being religious: this readiness to die. This doesn’t mean a suicidal tendency. This doesn’t mean any suicidal tendency, because really all those who commit suicide, commit suicide because of lust for life. This may look paradoxical – but never has a buddha committed suicide, never! Why?

A person who is not in the least lusting for life, desiring life, why is he not committing suicide? Buddha would say, “I am so indifferent to life, I cannot be so infatuated with death. How can I be so infatuated with death? To me, they both mean the same. If life is – okay. If death is – okay.” A buddha okays everything. He cannot choose.

Whenever someone commits suicide, really, he is imposing conditions on life. He is saying life must be like this; otherwise, I commit suicide. “I must get this woman, I must get this post, I must get this and that. If I am not getting, I can live only with my conditions. Then if there is no fulfillment of my conditions, I am ready to die.” Really this readiness to die is not readiness to die. He is asking too much. He is asking too much of life, and out of life; he is so filled with lust that he is even imposing conditions. This death is just a revenge, just a revenge towards life, because life could not fulfill his demands: “I will destroy life if life is not going to be what I desire it to be!” This is revenge, this is violence.

So when I say readiness for death, it means no lust for life, so that whatsoever comes, one is always in a welcoming attitude, in a receptivity. Whatsoever happens, one is ready – even death. Lust for life is the disease. This readiness, simple readiness to die, unties the lust for life.

The third complexity is that of desires. We don’t live in existence; we live in desires. Really, we don’t live in the world at all, we live in desires. Our life is not here and now, it is always somewhere else where the desire is arrowed. It may be anywhere, but it is never here. Never here, because desire needs time – desire cannot be here.

Can you desire anything in the present moment? The moment you desire, you desire for the future; you cannot desire here and now. Here and now there is no desire, there is no possibility of desiring.

Desire needs space – that space is time.

Desire needs some point somewhere else from here – only then can desire exist. It exists as a bridge: a bridge needs two banks, a bridge cannot exist only on this bank. How can the bridge exist? There must be the other; the other bank must be there. Only then does the bridge become possible.

Desire is creating a bridge from here to there.

And the moment you have gone there and lost this moment, you will live always in an inner tension, inner anguish. And really you will never be existential; you will always be in desires, in desires, in desires – always longing for the other shore. Even if you can get to the other shore, you will be again longing for the other shore. No shore can be the fulfillment – desire is self-frustrating. We are nothing but desires. Can you find anything in you which is not a desire? Even when you are praying, it is desire; even when you are meditating, it is a desire; even when you are thinking of the divine, it is a desire. We convert everything into desire. This is the disease, that we cannot conceive of anything without desire.

Buddha used to say, “There is no God.” And he was himself one of the most existential proofs of the divine. He was the perfect argument for the divine; his presence was divine. And he used to say there was no God. One day, Sariputta asked him, “Why do you continue to say there is no God? – because we all feel that when you are, God is. It seems contradictory, a person like you denying God. It seems contradictory because you are the proof, you are enough! We don’t require any argument, but why do you deny it?”

Buddha said, “I deny it because I don’t like God being made an object of desire. If I say God is, you will begin to desire: ‘Then I must get, then I must reach.’ And God is something which you cannot desire, and by desiring cannot get.”

People would ask him, “Is there existence beyond death?” And he would say, “No, there is no existence beyond death.” Why? – simply because if there is existence beyond death, you will begin to desire it.

They would ask, “Is there bliss? Is bliss possible?”

Buddha would say, “No. There is only the cessation of misery, no bliss.”

He was one of the rarest geniuses to see the phenomenon of desiring, the tricks of desiring, and the cunningness of desiring. He would say, “No, there is no bliss at all; only cessation of suffering.” Why? – because if bliss is positively asserted, one begins to desire it.

We convert everything into desiring. We have a mechanism for converting and transforming anything. Put anything into it, and it becomes a desire. We can even desire desirelessness. I have come across people who come and say, “How can I be desireless?” How to be desireless –

they are asking for the supreme-most desire – how to be desireless! But we go on converting. This is the disease; really, this is the disease.

Look at the disease, look at the fact, and don’t ask the “how.” Look at the fact: this is the fact. Live with the fact. Be aware of your mind’s mechanism, and how it transforms everything into desiring.

In that moment of awareness, desiring stops.

And when there is no desiring, you are just here – this very moment. That moment becomes the door to the infinite.

That moment becomes the door to the divine – to nirvana.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #9

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

That Moment Becomes the Door to the Divine is from the evening talk, The Very Awareness is Transformation is from the morning talk of the same day.

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.

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