Just Learn to be Aware in all Situations – Osho

Relaxation has always been one of the most valuable states of being for me. “Watchfulness” seems to be possible only then, or at least so much easier. Beloved Master, would you like to comment on how “relaxation” is connected to “awareness”?

Sadhan, they are not only connected with each other, they are almost two sides of the same coin. You cannot separate them. Either you can begin with awareness, and then you will find yourself relaxing… What is your tension? Your identification with all kinds of thoughts, fears, death, bankruptcy, the dollar going down… all kinds of fears are there. These are your tensions, and they affect your body also. Your body also becomes tense, because body and mind are not two separate entities. Body-mind is a single system, so when the mind becomes tense, the body becomes tense.

You can start with awareness; then awareness takes you away from the mind and the identifications with the mind. Naturally, the body starts relaxing. You are no more attached, and tensions cannot exist in the light of awareness.

You can start from the other end also. Just relax… let all tensions drop… and as you relax you will be surprised that a certain awareness is arising in you. They are inseparable. But to start from awareness is easier; to start with relaxation is a little difficult, because even the effort to relax creates a certain tension.

There is an American book – and if you want to discover all kinds of stupid books, America is the place. The moment I saw the title of the book, I could not believe it. The title is, You Must Relax. Now if the ‘must’ is there, how can you relax? The must will make you tense; the very word immediately creates tension. ‘Must’ comes like a commandment from God. Perhaps the person who is writing the book knows nothing about relaxation and knows nothing about the complexities of relaxation.

Hence, in the East we have never started meditation from relaxation; we have started meditation from awareness. Then relaxation comes on its own accord, you don’t have to bring it. If you have to bring it there will be a certain tension. It should come on its own; then only will it be pure relaxation.

And it comes….

If you want to, you can try from relaxation, but not according to American advisors, but in the sense of experience of the inner world.  America is the most childish place on the earth. Europe is a little older – but the East has lived for thousands of years in the search for its inner self.

America is only three hundred years old – in the life of a nation three hundred years are nothing – hence, America is the greatest danger to the world. Nuclear weapons in the hands of children… Russia will behave more rationally; it is an old and ancient land and has all the experiences of a long history. In America there is no history. Everybody knows his father’s name, forefather’s name and that’s all. There your family tree ends.

In India it is very difficult. One of the scholars of this very city, Lokmanya Tilak, proved – and his proof has not yet been disproved by any argument by other scholars. Now almost the whole century has passed, but his evidence is such that it cannot be disproved.

The Western scholars used to argue that Rigveda, the most ancient book in the world, is five thousand years old. There was a difficulty because according to Christianity God created the world four thousand and four years before Jesus Christ, so now it is only six thousand years old. Now they have to put everything, fit everything into six thousand years; beyond that they cannot go. Going beyond means going against Christianity, against The Bible, against Jesus Christ, and it is too risky.

Lokmanya Tilak proved with intrinsic logic that in Rigveda there is a description of a certain constellation of stars about which astronomers are absolutely certain that it happened ninety thousand years ago. There is no way to describe it unless these people had been the observers of that constellation, and it has not happened since then.

Lokmanya Tilak proved that Rigveda may not be older, but it is certainly ninety thousand years old. And one thing brings another thing in. In Rigveda, the founder of Jainism, Adinatha, is mentioned with great respect. That means that if Hinduism is ninety thousand years old, Jainism must be even older, because nobody talks with such respect about contemporaries – particularly contemporaries who are not willing to agree with you.

Adinatha did not agree on any point with Hinduism; that makes it certain that he was not a contemporary. Perhaps by the time Rigveda was written, he had been dead for a thousand years. People have a certain tendency to be respectful about the dead, and the longer they are dead, the more respectful they become. So I am giving you a recipe: if you want to become respectable, be dead, and everybody will be respectful to you.

Have you watched? – When somebody dies, nobody speaks anything against him. It is simply etiquette and mannerism.

In one small town a man died. The tradition is that before a man is lowered down into his grave somebody should say some good things about him. Everybody looked at each other – but because he was such a rascal they could not find single word. He had tortured almost everybody in the town; he was such a harassment that everybody was deep down very happy that finally he had died: “Now we can relax a little.” So nobody was ready to say something good about the man, because everybody knew that people would laugh if they said something good.

Finally one man stood up and said, “Compared to his other four brothers he was an angel. His other four brothers are still alive; you should not forget that fact.” And it was true; those other four brothers were even more nasty, more dangerous. But he managed to say something good about the man – that compared to the four brothers he was an angel. 

Rigveda mentioning Adinatha with deep respect can mean only one thing, that Adinatha was dead long before. About contemporaries, it is very difficult, it hurts your ego… and particularly for those who are not in agreement with you. Not only that, but their arguments are far superior to yours and you cannot even answer them. Then it becomes very difficult to respect them, and condemnation comes on them from all sides. But Rigveda has a whole passage devoted just to making Adinatha almost a god, with not a single word of criticism.

On this point Jainism can be said to be even older than ninety thousand years. Now, these people have history. America is just a baby – or not even a baby, just in pregnancy. Compared to ninety thousand years… maybe it has just been conceived. It is dangerous to give these people nuclear weapons.

There are political, religious, sociological, economical problems, all torturing you. To begin with relaxation is difficult; hence, in the East we have never started from relaxation. But if you want to, I have a certain idea how you should start. I have been working with my Western sannyasins and I have become aware of the fact that they don’t belong to the East and they don’t know the Eastern current of consciousness; they are coming from a different tradition which has never known any awareness.

For the Western sannyasins especially, I have created meditations like dynamic meditation. While I was taking camps of meditators I used a gibberish meditation and the kundalini meditation. If you want to start from relaxation, then these meditations have to be done first. They will take out all tensions from your mind and body, and then relaxation is very easy. You don’t know how much you are holding in, and that that is the cause of tension.

When I was allowing gibberish meditation in the camps in the mountains… It is difficult to allow it here because the neighbors start going mad. They start phoning the police and the commissioner, saying, “Our whole life is being destroyed!” They don’t know that if they would participate in their own houses, their lives would come out of the insanity in which they are living. But they are not even aware of their insanity.

The gibberish meditation was that everybody was allowed to say loudly whatever comes into his mind. And it was such a joy to hear what people were saying, irrelevant, absurd – because I was the only witness. People were doing all kinds of things, and the only condition was that you should not touch anybody else. You could do whatever you wanted…. Somebody was standing on his head, somebody had thrown off his clothes and become naked, running all around – for the whole hour.

One man used to sit every day in front me – he must have been a broker or something – and as the meditation would begin, first he would smile, just at the idea of what he was going to do. Then he would take up his phone, “Hello, hello…” From the his corner of his eyes he would go on looking at me. I would avoid looking at him so as not to disturb his meditation. He was selling his shares, purchasing – the whole hour he was on the phone.

Everybody was doing the strange things that they were holding back. When the meditation would end there were ten minutes for relaxation and you could see that in those ten minutes people fell down – not with any effort, but because they were utterly tired. All the rubbish had been thrown out, so they had a certain cleanliness, and they relaxed. Thousands of people… and you could not even think that there were a thousand people.

People used to come to me and say, “Prolong those ten minutes, because in our whole life we have never seen such relaxation, such joy. We had never thought we would ever understand what awareness is, but we felt it was coming.”

So if you want to start with relaxation, first you have to go through a cathartic process. Dynamic meditation, latihan, kundalini or gibberish. You may not know from where this word gibberish comes; it comes from a Sufi mystic whose name was Jabbar – and that was his only meditation. Whoever would come, he would say, “Sit down and start” – and people knew what he meant. He never talked, he never gave any discourses; he simply taught people gibberish.

For example, once in a while he would give people a demonstration. For half an hour he would talk all kinds of nonsense in nobody knows what language. It was not a language; he would go on teaching people just whatever came to his mind. That was his only teaching – and to those who had understood it he would simply say, “Sit down and start.”

But Jabbar helped many people to become utterly silent. How long you can go on? – the mind becomes empty. Slowly, slowly a deep nothingness… and in that nothingness a flame of awareness. It is always present, surrounded by your gibberish. The gibberish has to be taken out; that is your poison.

The same is true about the body. Your body has tensions. Just start making any movements that the body wants to make. You should not manipulate it. If it wants to dance, it wants to jog, it wants to run, it wants to roll down on the ground, you should not do it, you should simply allow it. Tell the body, “You are free, do whatever you want” – and you will be surprised, “My God. All these things the body wanted to do but I was holding back, and that was the tension.”

So there are two kinds of tension, the body tensions and the mind tensions. Both have to be released before you can start relaxation, which will bring you to awareness.

But beginning from awareness is far easier, and particularly for those who can understand the process of awareness, which is very simple. The whole day you are using it about things – cars, in the traffic – even in the Poona traffic you survive! It is absolutely mad.

Just a few days ago I read about Athens. Athens is even worse than Poona. The government made a special seven day competition for the taxi drivers and they had put golden trophies for those who were the best at following traffic rules, the second and the third. But in the whole of Athens they could not find a single person. The police were getting worried; the days were almost finished, and the last day they wanted to find anyhow three – they may not be perfect, but those prizes had to be distributed.

One man they found was following the traffic rules exactly, so they were very happy. They rushed towards him with the trophy, but seeing the police coming towards him the man went against a red light. Who wants to get unnecessarily into trouble? The police were shouting, “Wait!” – but he did not listen, he was immediately gone, against the light. They tried with two other people, but nobody would stop, seeing the police. So after seven days’ effort, those three prizes are still sitting in the headquarters of the police, and Athens is going on as rejoicingly as ever.

You can have a little taste in Poona, but still you survive because you remain alert, aware. Perhaps the worst traffic situation is in Italy. That’s why I was telling you the other day that the people who sell cars have come to the conclusion that if the man first tries to look at the engine of the car he is a German. If the man first looks at the beautiful lines and curves of the car he is French. But if the man first looks at the horn, whether it works or not, he is an Italian – because the real thing is the horn, otherwise you cannot survive.

You are using awareness without being aware of it, but only about outside things. It is the same awareness that has to be used for the inside traffic. When you close your eyes there is a traffic of thoughts, emotions, dreams, imaginations; all kinds of things start flashing by.

What you have been doing in the outside world, do exactly the same with the inside world and you will become a witness. And once tasted, the joy of being a witness is so great, so other-worldly that you would like to go more and more in. Whenever you find time you would like to go more and more in.

It is not a question of any posture; it is not a question of any temple, of any church or synagogue.

Sitting in a public bus or in a railway train, when you have nothing to do just close your eyes. It will save your eyes being tired from looking outside, and it will give you time enough to watch yourself. Those moments will become moments of the most beautiful experiences. And slowly, slowly, as awareness grows your whole personality starts changing. From unawareness to awareness is the greatest quantum leap.

Hymie Goldberg was on holiday in Ireland, driving his new Mercedes. He came to a small farm where the road went right through a large puddle. Paddy was standing next to it, so Hymie leaned out and asked if the puddle was shallow.

Paddy said, “Yes,” so Hymie drove on, only to have his car sink slowly out of sight.

Spluttering with rage and dripping wet, Hymie shouted at Paddy, “You idiot! Why the hell did you tell me it was shallow enough to drive through?”

Paddy scratched his head and said, “I don’t understand it. The water only came half way up my ducks.”

Just learn to be aware in all situations. Make a point of using every situation for awareness.

A man rushed into the Pig and Whistle pub in great agitation.

“Does anyone own a great big black cat with a white collar?” he said in a nervous voice. There was no reply.

“Well, does anyone know of a large black cat with a white collar?” asked the man again, raising his voice above the general noise of the bar. But still there was no answer.

“Oh dear!” muttered the man, “I think I’ve just run over the priest.”

The difference between a politician and an English lady…

When a politician says yes, he means maybe. When he says maybe, he means no. If he says no, he’s no politician.

When an English lady says no, she means maybe. When she says maybe, she means yes. If she says yes, she’s no lady.


From Satyam Shivam Sundram, Chapter 25

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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Total Relaxation is Paradise – Osho

Will you say something more about relaxation? I am aware of a tension deep at the core of me and suspect that I have probably never been totally relaxed. 

When you said the other day that to relax is one of the most complex phenomena possible, I glimpsed a rich tapestry in which the threads of relaxation and let-go were deeply interwoven with trust, and then love came into it, and acceptance, going with the flow, union and ecstasy….

Anurag, total relaxation is the ultimate. That’s the moment when one becomes a buddha. That is the moment of realization, enlightenment, Christ-consciousness. You cannot be totally relaxed right now. At the innermost core a tension will persist.

But start relaxing. Start from the circumference—that’s where we are, and we can start only from where we are. Relax the circumference of your being—relax your body, relax your behavior, relax your acts. Walk in a relaxed way, eat in a relaxed way, talk, listen in a relaxed way. Slow down every process. Don’t be in a hurry and don’t be in haste. Move as if all eternity is available to you—in fact, it is available to you. We are here from the beginning and we are going to be here to the very end, if there is a beginning and there is an end. In fact, there is no beginning and no end. We have always been here and we will be here always. Forms go on changing, but not the substance; garments go on changing, but not the soul.

Tension means hurry, fear, doubt. Tension means a constant effort to protect, to be secure, to be safe. Tension means preparing for the tomorrow now, or for the afterlife—afraid tomorrow you will not be able to face the reality, so be prepared. Tension means the past that you have not lived really but only somehow bypassed; it hangs, it is a hangover, it surrounds you.

Remember one very fundamental thing about life: any experience that has not been lived will hang around you, will persist: “Finish me! Live me! Complete me!” There is an intrinsic quality in every experience that it tends and wants to be finished, completed. Once completed, it evaporates; incomplete, it persists, it tortures you, it haunts you, it attracts your attention. It says, “What are you going to do about me? I am still incomplete—fulfill me!”

Your whole past hangs around you with nothing completed—because nothing has been lived really, everything somehow bypassed, partially lived, only so-so, in a lukewarm way. There has been no intensity, no passion. You have been moving like a somnambulist, a sleepwalker. So that past hangs, and the future creates fear. And between the past and the future is crushed your present, the only reality.

You will have to relax from the circumference. The first step in relaxing is the body. Remember as many times as possible to look in the body, whether you are carrying some tension in the body somewhere—at the neck, in the head, in the legs. Relax it consciously. Just go to that part of the body, and persuade that part, say to it lovingly “Relax!”

And you will be surprised that if you approach any part of your body, it listens, it follows you—it is your body! With closed eyes, go inside the body from the toe to the head searching for any place where there is a tension. And then talk to that part as you talk to a friend; let there be a dialogue between you and your body. Tell it to relax, and tell it, “There is nothing to fear. Don’t be afraid. I am here to take care—you can relax.” Slowly, slowly, you will learn the knack of it. Then the body becomes relaxed.

Then take another step, a little deeper; tell the mind to relax. And if the body listens, mind also listens, but you cannot start with the mind—you have to start from the beginning. You cannot start from the middle. Many people start with the mind and they fail; they fail because they start from a wrong place. Everything should be done in the right order. If you become capable of relaxing the body voluntarily, then you will be able to help your mind relax voluntarily. Mind is a more complex phenomenon. Once you have become confident that the body listens to you, you will have a new trust in yourself. Now even the mind can listen to you. It will take a little longer with the mind, but it happens.

When the mind is relaxed, then start relaxing your heart, the world of your feelings, emotions—which is even more complex, more subtle. But now you will be moving with trust, with great trust in yourself. Now you will know it is possible. If it is possible with the body and possible with the mind, it is possible with the heart too. And then only, when you have gone through these three steps, can you take the fourth. Now you can go to the innermost core of your being, which is beyond body, mind, heart: the very center of your existence. And you will be able to relax it too.

And that relaxation certainly brings the greatest joy possible, the ultimate in ecstasy, acceptance. You will be full of bliss and rejoicing. Your life will have the quality of dance to it. The whole of existence is dancing, except man. The whole of existence is in a very relaxed movement; movement there is, certainly, but it is utterly relaxed. Trees are growing and birds are chirping and rivers are flowing, stars are moving: everything is going in a very relaxed way. No hurry, no haste, no worry, and no waste. Except man. Man has fallen a victim of his mind.

Man can rise above gods and fall below animals. Man has a great spectrum. From the lowest to the highest, man is a ladder.

Anurag, start from the body, and then go, slowly, slowly, deeper. And don’t start with anything else unless you have first solved the primary. If your body is tense, don’t start with the mind. Wait. Work on the body. And just small things are of immense help.

You walk at a certain pace; that has become habitual, automatic. Now try to walk slowly. Buddha used to say to his disciples, “Walk very slowly, and take each step very consciously.” If you take each step very consciously, you are bound to walk slowly. If you are running, hurrying, you will forget to remember. Hence Buddha walks very slowly.

Just try walking very slowly, and you will be surprised—a new quality of awareness starts happening in the body. Eat slowly, and you will be surprised—there is great relaxation. Do everything slowly… just to change the old pattern, just to come out of old habits.

First the body has to become utterly relaxed, like a small child, then only start with the mind. Move scientifically: first the simplest, then the complex, then the more complex. And then only can you relax at the ultimate core.

You ask me, Anurag, “Will you say something more about relaxation? I am aware of a tension deep in the core of me and suspect that I have probably never been totally relaxed.”

That is the situation of every human being. It is good that you are aware—millions are unaware of it. You are blessed that you are aware, because if you are aware then something can be done. If you are not aware, then nothing is possible. Awareness is the beginning of transformation.

And you say, “When you said the other day that to relax is one of the most complex phenomena possible, I glimpsed a rich tapestry in which the threads of relaxation and let-go were deeply interwoven with trust, and then love came into it, and acceptance, going with the flow, union and ecstasy….”

Yes, Anurag, relaxation is one of the most complex phenomena—very rich, multidimensional. All these things are part of it: let-go, trust, surrender, love, acceptance, going with the flow, union with existence, egolessness, ecstasy. All these are part of it, and all these start happening if you learn the ways of relaxation.

Your so-called religions have made you very tense, because they have created guilt in you. My effort here is to help you get rid of all guilt and all fear. I would like to tell you: there is no hell and no heaven. So don’t be afraid of hell and don’t be greedy for heaven.

All that exists is this moment. You can make this moment a hell or a heaven—that certainly is possible—but there is no heaven or hell somewhere else. Hell is when you are all tense, and heaven is when you are all relaxed. Total relaxation is paradise.


From The Dhammapada, the Way of the Buddha, V.1, Chapter 8

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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