Sudden Enlightenment and its Obstacles – Osho

You said that either one sees the world or the Brahman and that no gradually increasing perception of the Brahman is possible. But in experience we feel that as we become aware and more silent and still, the feeling of the divine presence becomes gradually clearer and clearer. What is this gradual growth and clarity if the authentic experience is never gradual, but sudden?

This has been a very ancient problem: “Is enlightenment sudden or gradual?” Many things have to be understood. There has been a tradition which says that enlightenment is gradual and that everything can be divided into degrees, everything can be divided into steps – that like anything else, knowledge can also be divided; you can become more and more wise, you can become more and more enlightened. This has been widely accepted because the human mind cannot conceive of anything sudden. Mind wants to divide, analyze. Mind is a divider. Degrees can be understood by the mind, but suddenness is non – mental-beyond mind.

If I say to you that you are ignorant and that gradually you will become wise, this is comprehensible, you can comprehend it. If I say to you, “No, there is no gradual growth. Either you are ignorant or you become enlightened, there is a sudden jump,” then the question arises of how to become enlightened. If there were no gradualness, there could be no progress. If there were no degree of growth, no degrees, then you could not make progress, you could not proceed. From where to begin? In a sudden explosion, the beginning and the end are both the same. There is no gap between the beginning and the end, so from where to begin? The beginning is the end. It becomes a puzzle for the mind, it becomes a koan. But sudden enlightenment seems to be impossible. It is not that it is impossible, but that the mind cannot conceive of it. And, remember, how can the mind conceive of enlightenment? It cannot. It has been widely accepted that this inner explosion is also gradual growth. Even many enlightened persons have conceded that to your minds, and they have said, “Yes, there is a gradual growth.”

It is not that there is. They have said it and accepted your attitude, your way of perception. They have been in a deep compassion for you. They know that if you start thinking that it is gradual, the start will be good, but there will be no gradual growth. But if you start, if you go on seeking it, someday the sudden thing will happen to you. And if it is said that enlightenment is only sudden and no gradual growth is possible, you are not even going to start and it will never happen. Many enlightened persons have said that enlightenment is a gradual thing just to help you, just to persuade you to start.

Something is possible through gradual process, but not enlightenment – not enlightenment, something else. And that something else becomes helpful. For example, if you are making water to evaporate it, heating it, evaporation will come suddenly. At a certain point, at a hundred degrees, evaporation will happen – suddenly! There will be no gradual growth between water and vapor. You cannot divide; you cannot say that this water is a little vapor and a little water. Either it is water or it is all vapor. Suddenly the water jumps into the state of vapor. There is a jump – not gradual growth. But by heating you are gradually giving heat to the water. You are helping it to reach the hundred degree point, the evaporating point. This is a natural growth. Up to the evaporating point, the water will grow in the sense of being more and more hot. Then evaporation will happen suddenly.

So there have been masters who were wise, compassionate, who used the language of the human mind which you can understand, telling you, “Yes, there is a gradual growth.” It gives you courage and confidence and hope, and a possibility that it can happen to you also. You cannot attain in a sudden explosion, but by and by, step by step, with your limitations, with your weaknesses, you can grow to it. It may take many lives, but still there is hope. You will just get heated by all your efforts.

The second thing to remember: even hot water is still water. So even if you become more clear in your mind, more pure in your perceptions, more moral, more centered, you are still man, not a buddha, not enlightened. You become more silent, more still, calmer. You feel a deep bliss, but still you are a man, and your feelings are really negative, not positive.

You feel calm because you are now less tense. You feel blissful because now you are clinging less to your miseries; you are not creating them. You feel collected. It is not that you have come to realize the one, but only because now you are less divided. Remember this: your growth is negative. You are just hot water. The possibility is there that at any moment you will come to the point where evaporation happens. When it happens, you will not feel calmness, you will not even feel blissful, you will not feel silent, because these attributes are relative to their opposites. When you are tense, you can feel silence. When you feel noise, you can feel stillness. When you are divided, fragmentary, you can feel oneness. When you are in suffering, anguish, you can feel bliss.

That is why Buddha was silent – because language cannot now express that which is beyond polarities. He cannot say, “Now I am filled with bliss,” because even this feeling that “Now I am filled with bliss” is possible only with a background of suffering and anguish. You can feel health only with a background of illness and disease; you can feel life only with a background of death. Buddha cannot say, “Now I am deathless,” because death has disappeared so completely that deathlessness cannot be felt.

If the misery has disappeared so completely, how can you feel blissful? If the noise and the anguish are so absolutely non-existent, how can you feel silence? All these experiences, feelings, are related to their opposites. Without their opposites they cannot be felt. If darkness disappears completely, how can you feel light? It is impossible.

Buddha cannot say, “I have become light!” He cannot say, “Now I am filled with light.” If he says such things, we will say he is not yet a buddha. He cannot utter such things. Darkness must be there if you want to feel light; death must be there if you want to feel deathlessness. You cannot avoid the opposite. It is a basic necessity for any experience to exist. So what is Buddha’s experience? Whatsoever we know, it is not that. It is neither negative nor positive, neither this nor that. And whatsoever can be expressed, it is not that.

That is why Lao Tzu insists so much that truth cannot be said, and the moment you say it you have falsified it. Already it is untrue. Truth cannot be said because of this: it cannot be divided into polar opposites, and language is meaningful only with polar opposites. Language becomes meaningless otherwise. Without the contrary, language loses meaning.

So there is a tradition which says that enlightenment is gradual, but that tradition is not really the truth. It is just a half-truth uttered in compassion for human minds. Enlightenment is sudden, and it cannot be otherwise. It is a jump! It is a discontinuity from your past! Try to understand: if something is gradual, the past goes on remaining in it. If something is gradual, then there is a continuity.

There is no gap. If from ignorance to knowledge there is gradual growth, the ignorance cannot completely disappear. It will remain, it will continue, because there has been no discontinuity, there has been no gap. So the ignorance may become more polished, the ignorance may become more knowledgeable. The ignorance may appear wise, but it is there. The more polished it is, then, of course, the more dangerous. The more knowledgeable it is, then the more cunning one is and the more capable of deceiving oneself.

Enlightenment and ignorance are absolutely separate, discontinuous. A jump is needed – a jump in which the past dissolves completely. The old is gone; it is no more, and the new has appeared which was never there before.

Buddha is reported to have said, “I am not that one who was seeking. The one who has appeared now never was before.” This looks absurd, illogical, but it is so. It is so! Buddha says, “I am not he who was seeking; I am not he who was desiring enlightenment; I am not he who was ignorant. The old man is dead completely. I am a new one. I never existed in that old man. There has been a gap. The old has died and the new is born.”

For the mind to conceive of this is difficult. How can you conceive of it? How can you conceive of a gap? Something must continue. How can something disappear completely and something new appear? It was absurd for logical minds, it was absurd for scientific minds, just two decades before. But now, for science, it is not absurd. Now they say that deep down in the atom electrons appear and disappear, and they take jumps. From one point the electron takes a jump to another; in between the two it is not. It appears at point A, then disappears and reappears at point B, and within the gap it is no more. It is not there. It becomes absolutely non-existent.

If this is so, it means that non-existence is also a sort of existence. It is difficult to conceive of, but it is so: non-existence is also a sort of existence. It is as if something moves from the visible to the invisible, as if something moves from form to formlessness.

When Gautam Siddharth, the old man who died in Gautam Buddha, was seeking, he was a visible form. When the enlightenment happened, that form completely dissolved into the formless. For a moment there was a gap; there was no one. Then from that formlessness a new form arose.

This was Gautam Buddha. Because the body continues in the same way, we think that there is a continuity, but the inner reality changes completely. Because the body continues in the same way, that is why we say “Gautam Buddha” – that “Gautam Siddharth has now become Gautam the awakened; he has become a buddha.” But Buddha himself says, “I am not he who was seeking. I am a totally different one.”

It is difficult for the mind to conceive of this – and for the mind many things are difficult, but they cannot be denied just because they are difficult for the mind. The mind has to yield to those impossibilities which are incomprehensible to it. Sex cannot yield to the mind; the mind has to yield to sex. This is one of the most basic inner facts – that enlightenment is a discontinuous phenomenon. The old simply disappears and the new is born.

There has been another tradition, a later tradition, of those who have been insisting all through history that Enlightenment is sudden – that it is not gradual. But those who belong to it are very few. They stick to the truth, but they are bound to be very few because no following can be created if sudden Enlightenment is the case. You simply cannot understand it, so how can you follow it? It is shocking to the logical structure and it seems absurd, impossible. But remember one thing: then you move into deeper realms. Whether of matter or of mind, you will have to encounter many things of which a superficial mind cannot conceive.

Tertullian, one of the greatest Christian mystics, has said, “I believe in God because God is the greatest absurdity. I believe in God because mind cannot believe in God.” It is impossible to believe in God; no proof, no argument, no logic can help the belief in God. Everything goes against him, against his existence, but Tertullian says, “That is why I believe – because only by believing in an absurdity can I move away from my mind.”

This is beautiful. If you want to move away from your mind, you will need something of which your mind cannot conceive. If your mind can conceive of it, it will absorb it into its own system, and then you cannot transcend your mind. That is why every religion has insisted on some point which is absurd. No religion can exist without some absurdity just as a foundation in it. From that absurdity you either turn back and say, “I cannot believe so I will go away.” Then you remain yourself – or you take a jump, you turn away from your mind. And unless your mind is killed the enlightenment cannot happen.

Your mind is the problem, your logic is the problem, your arguments are the problem.

They are on the surface. They look true, but they deceive. They are not true. For example, look how the mind’s structure functions. The mind divides everything in two, and nothing is divisible. Existence is indivisible; you cannot divide it – but mind goes on dividing it. It says that “this” is life and “this” is death. What is the actual fact? The actual fact is that both are the same. You are both alive and dying this very moment; you are doing both. Rather, you are both -death and life.

Mind divides. It says, “this” is death and “this” is life. Not only does it divide; it says that both are opposites, enemies, and that death is trying to destroy life. And it looks okay: death is “trying to destroy life.” But if you penetrate deeper, deeper than the mind, death is not trying to destroy life!

You cannot exist without death. Death is helping you to exist. It is every moment helping you to exist. If for a single moment death stops working, you will die.

Death is every moment throwing away many parts in you which have become non-functional. Many cells die; they are removed by death. When they are removed, new ones are born. You are growing: something is dying and something is being born continuously. Every moment there is death and life, and both are functioning. In language I have to call them both two. They are not two; they are two aspects of one phenomenon. Life and death are one; “life-death” is a process. But mind divides.

That division looks okay for us, but that division is false.

You say “this” is light and “that” is dark; you divide. But where does darkness start and where does light end? Can you demarcate them? You cannot demark them. Actually, whiteness and blackness are two poles of a long greyness, and that greyness is life. On one pole blackness appears and on another pole whiteness appears, but the reality is grey, and that grey contains both in itself. Mind divides and then everything looks clear-cut. Life is very confusing; that is why life is a mystery.

And because of this, mind cannot understand life. It is helpful to create clear-cut concepts. You can think easily, conveniently, but you miss the very reality of life. Life is a mystery, and mind demystifies everything. Then you have dead fragments, not the whole.

With the mind you will not be able to conceive of how enlightenment is sudden, how you will disappear and something new will be there which you had never known before. But don’t try to understand through mind. Rather, practice something which will make you more and more hot.

Rather, try to attain some fire which will make you more and more hot. And then one day suddenly you will know that the old has disappeared; the water is no more. This is a new phenomenon. You have evaporated, and everything has changed totally.

Water was always flowing downwards, and after evaporation the new phenomenon is rising upwards.

The whole law has changed. You have heard about one law, Newton’s law of gravity, which says that the earth attracts everything downwards. But the law of gravity is only one law. There is another law. You may not have heard about it because science has yet to uncover it, but yoga and tantra have known it for centuries. They call it levitation. Gravity is the pull downwards and levitation is the pull upwards.

The story of how the law of gravity was discovered is well known. Newton was sitting under a tree, under an apple tree, and then one apple fell down. Because of this he started thinking, and he felt that something is pulling the apple downwards. Tantra and yoga ask, “How did the apple reach upwards in the first place? How?” That must be explained first – how the apple reached the upward position, how the tree is growing upwards. The apple was not there; it was hidden in a seed, and then the apple traveled the whole journey. It reached the upward position and only then did it fall down. So gravity is a secondary law. Levitation was there first. Something was pulling the apple upwards. What is that?

In life we easily know gravity because we are all pulled downwards. The water flows downwards; it is under the law of gravity. When it evaporates, suddenly the law also evaporated. Now it is under levitation, it rises upwards.

Ignorance is under the law of gravity: you always move downwards, and whatsoever you do makes no difference. You have to move downwards. In every way you will have to move downwards, and struggle alone will not be of much help unless you enter a different law – the law of levitation. That is what samadhi is – the door for levitation. Once you evaporate, once you are no more water, everything changes. It is not that now you can control: there is no need to control, you simply cannot flow downwards now. As it was impossible before to rise upwards, now it is impossible to flow downwards.

It is not that a buddha tries to be non-violent; he cannot do otherwise. It is not that he tries to be loving; he cannot do otherwise. He has to be loving. That is not a choice, not an effort, not any cultivated virtue, it is simply that now this is the law: he rises upwards. Hate is under the law of gravity; love is under levitation.

This sudden transformation doesn’t mean that you are not to do anything and that you are simply to wait for the sudden transformation. Then it will never come. This is the puzzle. When I say – or someone else says – that enlightenment is sudden; we think that if it is sudden nothing can be done that we must simply wait. When it will happen, it will happen, so what can one do? If it is gradual you can do something.

But I say to you that it is not gradual, and yet you can do something. And you have to do something, but that something will not bring you enlightenment. That something will bring you near the phenomenon of enlightenment. That something will make you open for the phenomenon of enlightenment to happen. So enlightenment cannot be an outcome of your efforts; it is not. Through your efforts you simply become available for the higher law of levitation. Your availability will come through your effort, not enlightenment. You will become open, you will become non-resistant, you will become cooperative for the higher law to work. And once you are cooperative and non-resistant, the higher law starts functioning. Your efforts will yield you; your efforts will make you more receptive.

It is just like this: you are sitting in your room with closed doors. The sun is outside, but you are in darkness. You cannot do anything to bring the sun in, but if you simply open the doors your room becomes available. You cannot bring the sun in, but you can block it out. If you open your doors, the sun will enter, the waves will come; the light will come into the room.

You are not really bringing the light; you are simply removing the hindrance. The light comes by itself. Understand it deeply: you cannot do anything to reach enlightenment, but you are doing many things to hinder it – to hinder it from reaching to you. You are creating many barriers, so you can only do something negatively: you can throw the barriers; you can open the doors. The moment the doors are open, the rays will enter, the light will touch you and transform you.

All effort in this sense is to destroy the barriers, not to attain enlightenment. All effort is negative. It is just like medicine. The medicine cannot give you health; it can only destroy your diseases. Once the diseases are not there, health happens; you become available. If diseases are there, health cannot happen.

That is why medical science, Eastern or Western, has not yet been able to define what health is. They can define each disease exactly – they know thousands and thousands of diseases and they have defined them all – but they cannot define what health is. At the most they can say that when there is no disease you are healthy. But what is health? Something which goes beyond mind. It is something which is there: you can have it, you can feel it, but you cannot define it.

You have known health, but can you define it – what it is? The moment you try to define it you will have to bring disease in. You will have to talk something about disease, and you will have to say, “No-disease is health.” This is ridiculous. To define health you need disease? And disease has definite qualities. Health also has its own qualities, but they are not so definite because they are infinite. You can feel them; when health is there you know it is there. But what is it? Diseases can be treated, destroyed. Barriers are broken and the light enters. Similar is the phenomenon of enlightenment. It is a spiritual health. Mind is a spiritual disease, and meditation is nothing but medicine.

Buddha is said to have said, “I am a medicine man, a vaidya – a physician. I am not a teacher and I have not come to give you doctrines. I know a certain medicine which can cure your diseases. And don’t ask about health. Take the medicine, destroy the disease, and you will know what health is. Don’t ask about it.” Buddha says, “I am not a metaphysician, I am not a philosopher. I am not interested in what God is, in what soul is, in what kaivalya, aloneness, moksha, liberation, and nirvana is. I am not interested! I am simply interested in what disease is and in how it can be cured. I am a medicine man.” His approach is absolutely scientific. He has diagnosed human dilemma and disease. His approach is absolutely right.

Destroy the barriers. What are the barriers? Thinking is the basic barrier. When you think, a barrier of thoughts is created. Between you and the reality a wall of thoughts is created, and thoughts are more dense than any stone wall can be. And then there are many layers of thought. You cannot penetrate through them and see what the real is. You go on thinking about what the real is and you go on imagining what the real is, and the real is here and now waiting for you. If you become available to it, it will happen to you. You go on thinking about what the real is, but how can you think if you don’t know?

You cannot think about something which you don’t know; you can only think about something which you already know. Thinking is repetitious, tautological; it never reaches to anything new and unknown. Through thinking you never touch the unknown; you only touch the known, and it is meaningless because you already know it. You can go on feeling it again and again; you may enjoy the feeling, but nothing new comes out of it.

Stop thinking. Dissolve thinking, and the barrier is broken. Then your doors are open and the light can enter. And once the light enters, you know that the old is no more. You know now that that which you are is absolutely the new. It never was before; you had never known it; but you may even say that this is the “ancient-most” – it was there always, not known to you.

You can use both expressions; they mean the same. You can call it the “ancient-most” – the brahman who has always been there, and you can say that you were missing it continuously.

Or you can say that this is the newest – that which has happened only now and never was before.

That too is right because for you this is the new. If you want to speak about the truth, you will have to use paradoxical expressions. The Upanishads say, “This is the new and this is the old. This is the most ancient and this is the newest. It is the far and the near both.” But then language becomes paradoxical, contradictory.

And you ask me, “What is this gradual growth and clarity if the authentic experience is never gradual, but sudden?” This clarity is of the mind; this clarity is of a lessening of disease; this clarity is of the falling of barriers. If one barrier falls you are less burdened, your eyes are less clouded. If another barrier falls you are still more unburdened, your eyes become still more clear. But this clarity is not of enlightenment; this clarity is only of a lessening disease, not of health. When all barriers disappear, with those barriers your mind also disappears.

Then you cannot say, “Now my mind is clear, it is no more.” Then you simply say, “Now there is no mind.” When there is no mind, then the clarity is of enlightenment. Then the clarity is of enlightenment! That is absolutely different. Then another dimension has opened. But you will have to pass through clarities of mind. Remember always that no matter how clear your mind becomes; it is still a barrier.

No matter how transparent your mind becomes, even if it becomes a transparent glass and you can look to the other side, still it is a barrier and you will have to break it completely. So sometimes it happens that when one is meditating one becomes more and more clear, more sane, more still; silence is felt. Then one clings to meditation and thinks that everything is achieved. Great masters have always been emphasizing that a day comes when you have to throw your meditation also.

I will tell you one story – one Zen story. Bokuju was meditating – meditating very deeply, meditating with his whole heart. His master would come every day, and he would just laugh and go back.

Bokuju became annoyed. The master would not say anything, he would just come and look at him, laugh and go away. And Bokuju was feeling very good in meditation. His meditation was deepening, and he needed someone to appreciate him. He was waiting for the master to pat him and say, “Good, Bokuju. You did well.” But the master just laughed. The laughter felt insulting – as if Bokuju was not progressing, and he was progressing. As he progressed more, the laughter grew more and more insulting. It was impossible to tolerate it now.

One day the master came, and Bokuju was feeling absolutely silent as far as mind can go; there was no noise within, no thought. The mind was absolutely transparent; no barrier was felt. He was filled with a subtle deep happiness, joy was bubbling all over, he was in ecstasy. Thus, he thought, “Now my master will not laugh. Now the moment has come, and he is going to tell me, ‘Now Bokuju, you have become enlightened.’”

That day the master came: the master came with a brick in his hand, and he started rubbing that brick on the rock on which Bokuju was sitting. He was so silent, and the rubbing of the brick created noise. He became annoyed. At last he couldn’t tolerate it, so he opened his eyes and asked his master, “What are you doing?”

The master said, “I am trying to make this brick a mirror, and by continuously rubbing it I hope that someday this brick will become a mirror.”

Bokuju said, “You are behaving stupidly. This stone, this brick, is not going to become a mirror. No matter how much you rub it, it is not going to become a mirror.”

The master laughed and said, “Then what are you doing? This mind can never become enlightened, and you go on rubbing and rubbing it. You are polishing it, and you are feeling so good that when I laugh you feel annoyed.” And suddenly, as the master threw his brick, Bokuju became aware. When the master threw his brick, suddenly he felt that the master was right, and the mind broke. Then from that day on there was no mind and no meditation. He became enlightened.

The master said to him, “Now you can move anywhere. Go, and teach others also. First teach them meditation; then teach them non-meditation. First teach them how to make the mind clear, because only a very clear mind can understand that now even this clear mind is a barrier. Only a deeply meditative mind can understand that now even meditation has to be thrown.

You cannot understand it right now. Krishnamurti goes on saying that there is no need of any meditation, and he is right. But he is talking to wrong persons. He is right; there is no need for any meditation, but he is wrong because of to whom he is saying this. Those who cannot even understand what meditation is, how can they understand that there is no need for any meditation?

This is going to be harmful for them because they will cling to this idea. They will feel that this idea is very good, there is no need of meditation, so “We are already enlightened.”

Listening to Krishnamurti, many feel that now there is no need of meditation and that those who are meditating are foolish. They may waste their whole life because of this thought, and this thought is right. There comes a point when meditation has to be thrown; there comes a point when meditation becomes a barrier. But wait for this point to come. You cannot throw something which you don’t have. Krishnamurti says, “No need of meditation; don’t meditate.” But you have never meditated, so how can you say, “Don’t meditate”?

A rich man can renounce his riches, not a poor man. To renounce you need something to renounce in the first place. If you meditate, you can renounce it one day – and that is the last renunciation, and that is the greatest. Wealth can he renounced; it is easy. Family can be renounced; it is not difficult.

The whole world can be renounced because everything is outer and outer and outer. The last thing is meditation, the innermost wealth. And when you renounce it, you have renounced yourself. Then no self remains – not even the meditating self, the great meditator. Even that image is broken. You have fallen into nothingness. Only in this nothingness, the discontinuity. The old has disappeared and the new has happened. You become available through meditation.

Whatsoever is felt through meditation, don’t think that it is enlightenment. These are just glimpses of a lessening disease, of a dispersing disease. You feel good. The disease is less, so you feel relatively healthy. Real health is not yet there, but you are more healthy than before and it is good to be more healthy than before.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #40, Q1

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Start from the Outer – Osho

On the path of meditation many seekers find it difficult to know clearly whether they are making any progress or whether they are just suspended on one plane, simply moving in repetitions. Will you please explain in detail about those factors which indicate the meditator’s constant progress?

When meditating, working on yourself, if you wonder whether you are making any progress or not, know well that you are not making any progress – because when progress is made you know it. Why? It is just like when you are ill and you are taking medicine. Won’t you be able to feel whether you are getting healthy or not? If you do not feel it and the question arises whether you are getting well or not, know well that you are not getting well. Well-being is such a clear feeling that when you have it you know it.

But why does this question arise? This question arises for so many reasons. One, you are not really working. You are just deceiving yourself. You are playing tricks with yourself. Then you are less concerned with what you are doing and more concerned with what is happening. If you are really doing it, you can leave the result to the Divine. But our minds are such that we are less concerned with the cause and more concerned with the effect – because of greed.

Greed wants to have everything without doing anything. So the greedy mind goes on moving ahead. Then the greedy mind asks, “What is happening? Is something happening or not?” Be really concerned with what you are doing, and when something happens you will know it. It is going to happen to you. You need not ask anyone.

Another reason for asking this question is that we think that there are going to be some signs, some symbols, some milestones we can reach that show: “I have progressed so much,” that “to this plane or to that plane I have reached so much.” We want to calculate before the ultimate goal is reached. We want to be confident that we are progressing.

But, really, there are no milestones – because there is no fixed road. And everyone is on a different road; we are not on one road. Even if you are following one technique of meditation, you are not on the same road; you cannot be. There is no public path. Every path is individual and personal. So no one’s experiences on the path will be helpful to you; rather, they may be damaging.

Someone may be seeing something on his path. If he says to you that this is the sign of progress you may not meet the same sign on your path. The same trees may not be on your path; the same stones may not be on your path. So do not be a victim of all this nonsense. Only certain inner feelings are relevant. For example, if you are progressing, then certain things will begin to happen spontaneously. One, you will feel more and more contentment.

Really, when meditation is completely fulfilled, one becomes so contented that he forgets to meditate – because meditation is an effort, a discontent. If one day you forget to meditate and you do not feel any addiction, you do not feel any gap, you are as filled as ever, then know it is a good sign. There are many who will do meditation, and then if they are not doing it a strange phenomenon happens to them. If they do it, they do not feel anything. If they do not do it, then they feel the gap. If they do it, nothing happens to them. If they do not do it, then they feel that something is missing.

This is just a habit. Like smoking, like drinking, like anything, this is just a habit. Do not make meditation a habit. Let it be alive! Then discontent will disappear by and by; you will feel contentment. And not only while you are meditating. If something happens only while you are meditating, it is false! It is hypnotic! It does some good, but it is not going to be very deep. It is good only in comparison. If there is nothing happening, no meditation, no blissful moment, do not worry about it. If something is happening, do not cling to it. If meditation is going rightly, deep, you will feel transformed throughout the whole day. A subtle contentment will be present every moment. With whatsoever you are doing, you will feel a cool center inside – contentment.

Of course, there will be results. Anger will be less and less possible. It will go on disappearing. Why? Because anger shows a non-meditative mind – a mind that is not at ease with itself. That is why you get angry with others. Basically, you are angry with yourself. Because you are angry with yourself, you go on getting angry with others. 

Have you observed that you get angry only with those people who are very intimate with you? The more the intimacy, the more the anger. Why? The greater the gap between you and the person the less the anger that will be there. You do not get angry with a stranger. You get angry with your wife, with your husband, with your son, with your daughter, with your mother. Why? Why do you get more angry with the persons who are more intimate with you?

The reason is this: you are angry with yourself. The more intimate a person is with you, the more he has become identified with you. You are angry with yourself, so whenever someone is near to you. you can throw your anger upon him. He has become part of you. With meditation you will be more and more happy with yourself – remember, with yourself.

It is a miracle when someone becomes happier with himself. For us, either we are happy with someone or angry with someone. When one becomes happier with oneself, this is really falling in love with oneself. And when you are in love with yourself, it is difficult to be angry. The whole thing becomes absurd. Less and less anger will be there, more and more love, and more compassion. These will be signs – the general signs.

So do not think you are achieving much if you are beginning to see light or if you go on seeing beautiful colors. They are good, but do not feel satisfied unless real psychological changes are there: less anger, more love; less cruelty, more compassion.

Unless this happens your seeing lights and colors and hearing sounds are child’s play. They are beautiful, very beautiful; it is good to play with them – but that is not the aim of meditation. They happen on the road, they are just by-products, but do not be concerned.

Many people will come to me and they will say, “Now I am seeing a blue light, so what does this sign mean? How much have I progressed?” A blue light will not do because your anger is giving a red light. Basic psychological changes are meaningful, so do not go for toys. These are toys, spiritual toys, but you can become a paramahansa if you see a blue light!

These things are not the ends. In a relationship, observe what is happening. How are you behaving toward your wife now? Observe it. Is there any change? That change is meaningful. How are you behaving with your servant? Is there any change? That change is significant. And if there is no change, then throw your blue light. It is of no help. You are deceiving and you can go on deceiving. These are easily achieved tricks.

That is why a so-called religious man begins to feel himself religious: because now he is seeing this and that, but he remains the same. He even becomes worse! Your progress must be observed in your relationships. Relationship is the mirror: see your face there. Always remember that relationship is the mirror. If your meditation is going deep, your relationships will become different – totally different! Love will be the basic note of your relationships, not violence. As it is, violence is the basic note. Even if you look at someone, you look in a violent way. But you are accustomed to it.

Meditation for me is not a child’s play. It is a deep transformation. How to know this transformation?  It is being reflected every moment in your relationships. Do you try to possess someone? Then you are violent. How can one possess anyone? Are you trying to dominate someone? Then you are violent. How can one dominate anyone? Love cannot dominate, love cannot possess. 

So whatsoever you are doing, be aware, observe it, and then go on meditating. Soon you will begin to feel the change. Now there is no possessiveness in relationships. By and by, possessiveness disappears, and when possessiveness is not there relationship has a beauty of its own. When possessiveness is there, everything becomes dirty, ugly, inhuman. But we are such deceivers that we will not look at ourselves in relationships – because there the real face can be seen. So we close our eyes to our relationships and we go on thinking that something is going to be seen inside.

You cannot see anything inside. First you will feel your inner transformation in your outer relationships, and then you will go deep. Then only will you begin to feel something inner. But we have a settled attitude about ourselves. We do not want to look into our relationships at all because then the naked face comes up.

Mulla Nasrudin’s marriage was arranged by his father. It was an arranged marriage, so Mulla had not seen the face of his would-be wife. Then on the wedding day, when the ceremony was over, the wife unveiled her face. She was terribly ugly, and while Mulla was just stunned by the shock she asked, “Now tell me, my love, your commands.” That is a Mohammedan system. The first thing the wife asks is, “Tell me your commands, my love. To whom do I have to remain veiled? To whom am I allowed to show my face?”

Mulla Nasrudin said – rather, groaned – “You can show your face to anyone you like, as long as you do not show it to me! This is a contract.”

We are also in a contract with ourselves. We go on showing our faces to everyone, but never to ourselves. That is a deep contract we have with ourselves – not to feel one’s face. And the way to remain veiled is not to look into your relationships, because relationship is the only mirror. So probe, penetrate into your relationships, and look there to see whether your meditation is progressing or not.

If you feel a growing love, unconditional love, if you feel a compassion without cause, if you feel a deep concern for everyone’s welfare, well-being, your meditation is growing. Then forget all other things. With this observation you will also observe many things in yourself. You will be more silent, less noise within. When there is need you will talk, when there is no need you will be silent. As the case is now, you cannot be silent within. You will feel more at ease, relaxed. Whatsoever you are doing, it will be a relaxed effort; there will be no strain. You will become less and less ambitious.

Ultimately, there will be no ambition. Even the ambition to reach moksha will not be there. When you feel that even the desire to reach moksha has disappeared, you have reached moksha. Now you are free, because desire is the bondage. Even the desire for liberation is bondage. Even the desire to be desireless is bondage.

Whenever the desire for anything disappears, you move into the unknown. The meditation has reached to its end. Then samsara is moksha. Then this very world is liberation. Then this shore is the other shore. But do not go for childish signs. Do not go! They are easy to create. If you think, if you imagine, you can create them.

I do not mean that every feeling of those signs is imagination, but if you think in those terms you can imagine them. If you think that a blue light will happen at a particular stage, you can create it without reaching to that stage. This is very easy; to reach to that stage is very difficult. To create this blue light is very easy. Close your eyes, concentrate on it, and within a few days you will begin to feel it. Then your ego will be strengthened. Now you are “on a spiritual path”. Think of kundalini, and you will begin to feel it in your spine. That is imagination. It is easy, not difficult. But then you are misleading yourself.

I do not say that every experience of that type is imagination, but if you are concerned, it is going to be imagination. Forget it completely. Be concerned with meditation, with your changing relationships, with your silence, with your contentment, with your love. Be concerned with these, and suddenly sometimes, there will be an upsurge of energy into your spine. But do not be concerned with it. Note it down and forget it. Suddenly, you will see a particular light: note it and forget. Suddenly a particular chakra will begin to revolve: note it and forget it. Do not be concerned with it. Your concern is harmful. Remain concerned with contentment, peace, silence, love, compassion, meditation.

These things will go on happening. Then they are real. When you are not concerned and they happen, then they are real. And they show many things, but you need not know what they show because when they happen you know what they are showing. Because the human mind is stupid, if I tell you what they show you will be less concerned with love, silence and compassion. These are very difficult things. It is easy to create a blue light and it is very easy to feel a snake rising in your spine. It is very easy; there is nothing difficult about it.

So, remember, there are two types of inner experience. One type is created by your imagination, another is of happenings. But for happenings, you are not needed; for imagination you are. Do not play with imagination. It is a dangerous game. One can imagine anything, you can imagine anything, but that is not going to help you in any way. And the mind is such that it always tries to find some false substitute, because false substitutes are cheap.

If you have to grow a real rose in your garden, it takes time. It demands patience, effort, and then too nothing is certain. The rose may come, it may not come. It is easy to buy a rose, but then it is not yours. It looks just as if it has come up in your garden, but it has not come up. When you purchase a rose-flower, it has no roots in you: it is just in your hand. It has not been a part of your being. You have never waited for it; you were not patient for it. It is not a child – not your child. You have purchased it. It is there, but like a foreign element in you, not an inner growth.

But there are even more cunning people. They will not purchase a real flower. They will purchase a paper flower, a plastic flower, because it is more permanent. A real flower will fade away. By the evening it will be no more – “So purchase a plastic flower! It is economical, less troublesome, permanent!” But then you are deceiving. Real growth needs time, patience, work. Imaginative growth is imitation. Remember this distinction always.

One thing more: whatsoever you are doing, do not think that results will be coming in the future. If you are doing something real, results are here and now. In inner work, if you have meditated today, results are not going to be tomorrow. If you have meditated today. the perfume of it, howsoever little, will be there. If you are sensitive you can feel it. Whenever something real is done, it affects you here and now.

So do not think that something will happen in the future. If whatsoever you are doing is not changing you now, it is not going to change you at all. Time will not help. Time alone will not help. Time will deepen it, but time alone will not help.

But you may not be sensitive. Whatsoever you are doing, you may not be sensitive. We have become insensitive because in insensitivity there is a certain security. If you do not feel much, you suffer less. The person who feels much suffers much. Because of this, we have tried to make ourselves insensitive. So when something happens so intensely that it is impossible to avoid it, then only do we become aware. Otherwise we go dead, asleep. We move on. That insensitivity will create problems. Then when you meditate, you will not be sensitive to what is happening to you.

So be more sensitive. And you cannot be sensitive in one dimension. Either one is sensitive in all dimensions or one is not sensitive in any. Sensitivity belongs to your total being. So be more sensitive; then every day you will be able to feel what is happening.

For example, you are walking under the sun, feel the rays on your face; be sensitive. A subtle touch is there. They are hitting you. If you can feel them, then you will also feel the inner light when it hits you; otherwise you will not be able to.

When you are lying in a park, feel the grass. Feel the greenness that surrounds you, feel the difference of moisture, feel the odor that comes from the earth. If you cannot feel it, you will not be able to feel when inner things begin to happen. Then you will go on asking whether you are progressing or not.

Start from the outer, because that is easier. And if you cannot feel the outer, you cannot feel the inner. Be more poetic and less businesslike in life. And sometimes it costs nothing to be sensitive. You are taking your bath: have you felt the water? You simply take it as a business routine, and then you are out. Feel it for a few minutes. Just be under the shower and feel the water: feel it flowing on you. It can become a deep experience, because water is life. You are ninety percent water. And if you cannot feel water falling on you, you will not be able to feel the inner tides of your own water.

Life was born in the sea and you have some water within your body with a certain quantity of salt. Go on swimming in the sea and feel the water outside. Soon you will know that you are part of the sea and that the inner part belongs to the sea. Then you can feel that also. And when the moon is there and the ocean is waving in response to it, your body will also wave in response. It waves, but you cannot feel it. So if you cannot feel such gross things, it will be difficult for you to feel such subtle things as meditation.

How can you feel love? Everyone is suffering. I have seen thousands and thousands of people deeply in pain. The suffering is for love. They want to love and they want to be loved, but the problem is that if you ever love them they cannot feel it. They will go on asking, “Do you love me?” So what to do? If you say yes, they won’t believe it because they cannot feel it. If you say no, they feel hurt.

If you cannot feel sun rays, if you cannot feel rains, if you cannot feel grass, if you cannot feel anything that surrounds you – the atmosphere, then you cannot feel deeper things such as love or compassion; it is very difficult. You can feel only anger, violence, sadness, because they are so crude. Subtle is the path that goes inward – and the more subtle your meditation goes, the more subtle will be the feelings. But then you have to be ready. 

So meditation is not just a certain thing which you do for one hour and forget. Really, the whole life has to be meditative. Only then will you begin to feel things. And when I say that the whole life is to be meditative, I do not mean to go and close your eyes for twenty-four hours and sit and meditate – no! Wherever you are you can be sensitive and that sensitivity will pay. Then there will be no need to ask, “Am I progressing or not?”

You are like a blind man. You cannot feel the path because you have never felt anything. And the way we are taught, educated, cultivated, is for insensitivity. A child is weeping; the whole house is against him: “Do not weep! Guests are coming.” Guests are very important, and the child weeping is not at all important. Now you are crushing him for his whole life.

He will stop his weeping, but to-stop weeping is a serious affair. It will change the whole metabolism of his body. To stop weeping he will have to be tense; he cannot be relaxed. He has to push something under which is coming up. He will have to change his breathing. Really, he will stop his breathing – because if the breathing moves easily, weeping will move with it. He will pull in his stomach; everything will be disturbed in his body. Then he will not weep, but he cannot laugh either. Then you are crippling him for his whole life.

Everyone is crippled and paralyzed. We live in a paralyzed world. Now there will be continuous suppression. He cannot laugh, he cannot weep, he cannot dance, he cannot jump. Whatsoever his body feels to do, he cannot do. Whenever the body feels to have something, it cannot have it. And then, when you allow him to play, it is not spontaneous. Even his play becomes fake. You say, “Now you can play.” He was not allowed to play when his whole being was ready to play, and now you tell him to play. But now he tries to play, and it is a work.

Ultimately we create a human being who is more or less an automaton. Can you weep? Can you laugh spontaneously? Can you dance spontaneously? Can you love spontaneously? If you cannot, how can you meditate? Can you play? It is difficult!

Everything has become difficult. Man has become insensitive. Bring your sensitivity back again. Reclaim it! Play a little! To be playful is to be religious. Laugh, weep, sing, do something spontaneously with your full heart. Relax your body, relax your breathing, and move as if you are a child again. Then when you meditate, you will not ask, “What is happening to me? Am I progressing or not, or am I moving in a circle?” You will know.

I understand your difficulty. You cannot feel it now because you have lost feeling. Regain feeling – less thought, more feeling. Live more by heart, less by head. Sometimes, live totally in the body; forget about soul, Self, atman. Live totally in the body – because if you cannot even feel your body, you are not going to feel your soul. Remember this. Come back into the body. We are really hanging around the body; we are not in the body. Everyone is afraid to be in the body. Society has created the fear; it is deep-rooted. Go back into your body; move again; be like an innocent animal.

Look at animals jumping, running. Sometimes run and jump like them, then you will come back to your body. Then you will be able to feel your body, the rays of the sun, the rains, and the wind blowing. Only with this capacity of being aware of all things happening around you will you develop the capacity to feel what is happening within.

-Osho

From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.2, Chapter 18

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