Can Meditation be Learned – Osho

Can meditation be learned, or is it, like love, a state of being that comes as a present?

Prem Prabhati, meditation cannot be learned in a positive way, but it can be learned in a negative way. This is very important to understand: the basic method of meditation is negative.

What do I mean when I say meditation can be learned negatively, only negatively? I mean that the mind can be unlearned, and the moment you unlearn the mind you are learning meditation. Unlearning the mind is learning meditation; when the mind has been completely unlearned you have learned meditation. You cannot go directly into learning meditation. All that is needed is to remove the mind.

Mind is like a block. The river is there but blocked, it can’t flow. It is covered with rocks; those rocks don’t allow it any outlet. It is surging inside you, it is longing for the ocean, it wants to get out of this prison. That’s why everybody feels so restless. This restlessness is nothing but your consciousness longing to meet with the ultimate. The river wants to reach the ocean. The seed wants to sprout, but it is covered, blocked by a big rock. That rock is of your mind. And it is a big rock because you have been accumulating it for many, many lives. Your meditation is simply crushed underneath it.

You cannot reach meditation directly, but you can remove this rock chunk by chunk. You can take a chisel and a hammer – that’s what I go on providing you – and go on hammering on the rock. Slowly slowly the rock will disappear. The day the rock disappears, suddenly a flow, a fresh flow of water, will start running towards the ocean. That is meditation.

Hence, Prabhati, in one sense meditation cannot be learned. You cannot practice it, because all practicing is of the mind. All practices strengthen the mind, make it stronger. And the mind has to be made weaker; its power over you has to be destroyed. It has to be put in its right place: it is not the master; it has only become the master. You have to stop cooperating with it; you have to stop giving more and more nourishment to it.

That’s what I mean by unlearning the mind. Don’t support it. Don’t cling to it. Don’t rely on it. Don’t be possessed by it. Don’t live according to its dictates. And then slowly, slowly the master is free from the slave. That master is your meditative quality.

You ask me: “Can meditation be learned, or is it, like love, a state of being that comes as a present?”

It is already there. It does not come like a present – nobody ‘presents’ it to you – it is your very nature, svabhava, it is your very being. And so is love.

When meditation has happened, love is its aroma, its perfume. A meditative person is naturally loving; it can’t be otherwise. A loving person is naturally meditative. If it is not so, then you are deceived, then you are carrying false coins. If a man thinks he is meditative and is not loving, then his meditation is nothing but a mind practice, something false, pseudo. Something which is not meditation is masquerading as meditation. He has been deceived by his mind. If a man thinks that he is very loving and is not meditative, his love is nothing but another name for lust. He knows nothing of love; he can’t know in the very nature of things.

Aes dhammo sanantano. This is the ultimate law: meditation brings love naturally – it is its aroma, its fragrance. And love exists only around the flower called meditation, never otherwise. They are together.

Either search for love or for meditation. And you can only search for one, because things are already too complicated. If you start searching for both you will make them even more complicated, you may become more confused. Hence I say, only seek one. If you can find one, the other is found without any effort on your part. Either find love or find meditation and the other will follow it like a shadow.

But they are not learned in a direct way as you learn mathematics, as you learn geography, history, as you learn a new language. That is not the way to learn meditation or love; they are learned in an indirect way. If you want to learn meditation, you will have to unlearn the ways of the mind. If you want to learn love, you will have to unlearn the unloving ways that have become very ingrained in you. Anger, possessiveness, jealousy – these will have to be unlearned.

And it never comes as a gift because it is already given; it is your innermost nature. Yes, it is a grace, a gift, but it is not going to happen in the future, it has already happened. You have never been without it, you CAN’T be without it. Love and meditation constitute your real essential core.

-Osho

From The White Lotus, Chapter Four

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.

Relaxation Without Concentration – Osho

When we start watching our bodies, and then our minds and emotions, there remains an element, although subtle, of concentration. Initially, for example, watching my breathing, I would watch it to the exclusion of everything else – here there was an element of focus. On other occasions, when silence is just there, the breathing may be all there is to watch. This seems to be nearer, but still I feel that more soft focusing of the awareness would take me further and further back, as if relaxing enough to to let the watcher move far enough away so that all is seen, rather than any one thing like thoughts or breathing. Does relaxing allow the watcher to be on the hill?

It is true. Relaxation helps the most. No part of concentration should be in your watchfulness. Concentration is sabotaging the whole process of watchfulness, because concentration is an act of the mind, and watchfulness is something that comes from above, from beyond. If there is any concentration… I can understand, if you start watching your breathing – in the name of watching, you are concentrating on the breathing, you are excluding everything else. Don’t exclude.

Watch your breathing inclusive of all.

Watching your breathing… a temple bell starts ringing, a car passes by, a child starts crying – all that should be included. Your watchfulness should be open. Watching the breathing is simply to begin with. It is not the end. It is just learning how to watch.

But there is a difficulty – you can start thinking that concentration is watching. Concentration is not watching. Concentration is narrow, narrowing the mind, bringing it to a focus on one thing, forgetting everything else. That’s why in relaxing, you will feel more watchful, yet without concentration. If that is happening, that’s perfectly good.

The essential thing is watchfulness, inclusive of all. Concentration can be disturbed, watchfulness cannot be disturbed. These are the differences. If somebody is concentrating on something, anybody can disturb him. Just a small boy can do something and he is distracted and his focus is lost – or not even a small boy, just the wind comes and the door opens and the noise is enough.

So you will find the phenomenon in so-called religious people. They are always angry, because their concentration is continuously disturbed.

Watchfulness cannot be disturbed. It is simply inclusive of all. If the door opens, makes a noise, the wind passes through the trees singing its song, it is available to it. It is not choosing breathing or anything in particular, but simply being there, open, available, present to everything that is happening.

So remember the difference: concentration is sabotaging watchfulness.

To begin with, something has to be given to you so you can have a little taste of what watchfulness is. Then it has to be made wider and wider and bigger, so much bigger that there is no need to do anything. You simply sit, or lie down relaxedly and everything that is happening around you is mirrored in you.

You don’t think about it, you don’t justify it, you don’t condemn it, you don’t evaluate it – you simply watch.

So it is perfectly right. Relaxation, utter relaxation with no focusing of consciousness is real watchfulness.

-Osho

From The Transmission of the Lamp, Chapter Twelve

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.

Being a Light Unto Myself – Dayanand Bharati

The alchemy of transcendence

A lot of water has flown down the Ganga since that article about the addiction, How I Came to One-Mind.

I had transcended alcohol addiction and sobriety then. It is not quite correct that “I” had transcended it. Transcendence happened after “I” had failed absolutely, completely. Only through the power of awareness and watching both had disappeared, in a blaze of grace never to be seen or heard of again.

The first true transformation had happened in my life. It was real. It was a miracle. I was in awe and the mind still cannot comprehend, even now, because he was left out of the loop. I mean something that was such a strong destructive habit for almost half of my life, suddenly just gone, evaporated like it never existed from one moment to the next.This was a key experience; I knew this key can be used to transcend the mind itself, and not just part of it.

Many changes happened right after this transformation.

I was filled with love and gratitude.

All doubt about myself was erased from my mind forever. I knew for certain that truth existed.

It was a clear confirmation that transcendence is possible, I had experienced it, even just on this small scale of the personal mind, the impact was mind blowing, literarily.

I had been on the right path.

I was not in some kind of spiritual illusion about myself, because even in all that time I had been with my master I never had an experience that confirmed that I was on the right path, never a proof, except his acceptance of me and my love and trust for him.

Of course many other things happened on the emotional and mental plane but never this final proof, this dropping into another dimension this falling out of polarity. But now this was it, the first real transformation made it all real.

I was free now of all personal unconscious layers, free of the hidden influences that had directed this life so far.

I was conscious of myself as part of existence and not anymore part of Society. I was free of all the games society is playing. I had nothing to do with it any more, there was nothing I wanted from the outer world.

Therefore, anxiety dropped away immediately, replaced by a natural trust in existence.

I was loved, accepted and embraced by life, I was ultimately worthy to be alive.

I looked at myself now, not anymore at others.

I had asked my whole life, the other, the woman, the mother image to confirm me, give me worth and value, love me, or the lover, to satisfy me, give me bliss and fulfillment.

But I was asking a mirror image, there was nobody in these reflections, only my own projections, nobody really there, only the reflection echoing back, asking the same from me.

Just like when I look in my bathroom mirror and ask, do you love me?

What will happen?  Will the reflection say: Yes!

No, the reflection will say “Do you love me”?

There was no other!

To me, this is best described by a small anecdote my beloved master Osho has told once.

I don’t recall in which discourse so I tell it as I remember it.

My master had a friend who had a butcher shop in his village,

(It must be a made up story, no Jain, even an enlightened one ever walks into a butcher shop), anyway he liked the man and he dropped in occasionally to say hello.

One day just before closing time my master stopped by and asked how his day was, the butcher said he had a great day today, I sold all my meat except for this chicken here.

That very moment the shop door burst open and a customer rushed in, “ahh.. glad I made it, I have some friends over today for dinner and need a chicken.”

The Butcher winked at my master and put the chicken on the scale, “$5 please”, he said.

“Hmmm”, said the customer, “do you have a bigger one?”

Without hesitation the butcher walked back in his storeroom with the chicken, made some noise and came back with the same chicken

He slapped it on the scale and said, “this one will be $7”.

“Tell you what”, said the customer, “I will take both.”

Now there is only one chicken. My master said there is always only one chicken. Asking for both will reveal the truth! That there is not two!

Being alert, watching, looking, inquiring is asking for both.

Love this story!

The steps that led to transcendence

I want to elaborate on the steps that led to this transcendence, because this is a key that can be applied to transcend any duality.

And it can be used by anyone.

Before the transformation of getting drunk and trying to control it I had always believed I was going in a straight line, from this point to that, from unhappiness to happiness, from addiction to sobriety, from dependence to independence. And to get there I just had to try hard enough, give it my all and one bright sunny day…it will happen. I will arrive at my final destination. I will be free, sober, happy, loved, enlightened. And when it didn’t happen, as I hoped, the reverse attitude kicked in, no matter how hard I try I will never make it.

I will be never be free, sober, happy, loved, enlightened.

But in the struggle to be free of the drunkard I became aware that I was not going in a straight line at all, I became aware of the circle, going from negative to positive and back again to negative, from addict to anti-addict back to addict….. From unhappiness to happiness back to unhappiness, round and round….

If I follow a straight road and keep going and going I will eventually drive around the planet and arrive exactly where I am now same with the mind.

Before I was never aware of this fact, because the opposite was always hidden in the unconscious, half of the globe hidden in the dark night.

The road invisible appears non-existent, that is why it looks like it is a straight line, a half circle looks like a straight line, going from dawn to dusk from here to there, the other half is dark, unconscious, hidden, but I had somehow, through watching my mind and by trying, digging myself out of myself hopelessly, brought eventually light to that dark hidden part.

I suddenly saw the whole mind, I stood apart, I saw the full circle not just half. I became aware that they are one whole and not 2 separate things.

It changed everything!

“If you make a circle, the end and beginning meet — only then is the circle complete. If you become a circle, whole, total, in you will meet the beginning and the end. You will be the very source of the world and you will be the very climax of the world. You will be both the alpha and the omega. And unless you become that, something is incomplete; and when something is incomplete you will remain miserable. The only misery that I know is being incomplete. The whole being tends to be complete, needs to be complete, and the incomplete becomes a torture. The incompletion is the only problem. And when you become complete, the end and the beginning meet in you. God as the source and God as the ultimate flowering meet in you.”

-Osho

From The Hidden Harmony, Chapter #4

It is not that the mind saw that, he cannot, he is not able to look around the full circle, around the whole globe, the mind, just like the eyes, can always only see half, the front or the back, the up or the down but the eyes can never see front and back, up and down at the same time.

That is the limitation of the mind and body.

Only awareness can see all, not see, be all, rooted at the center with full awareness of all that is.

Being aware of that, I could not be in illusion anymore that one day I will be fulfilled, that this mind would one day arrive at its destination, at one side and stay there, there was no destination, a circle has no end, no arrival point it just goes round and round, on and on, like the horses on a merry go round.

Understanding this clearly, the turning in happened, the “letting go” happened, the transformation happened, addict and anti-addict evaporated into awareness, into the heart of being, because reaching anywhere was not possible, choice was not possible, choice was an illusion.

I would never reach one side, because there is no one side, there is always 2 sides, like breathing in and breathing out, there cannot be only breathing in, or only breathing out. But the mind believes that this is possible, that is the illusion.

I would never attain fulfillment in any of my desires because they are all based in duality.

There was no love waiting for me at the end of the tunnel, or security, or happiness.

There was always both waiting for me.

Love and hate, happiness and unhappiness, life and death.

If I am in love unaware, hate is waiting in the basement for its turn, because love is based on hate and vice versa, they are each other’s contrast, how would I know what love is if I did not know hate, its opposite.

Seeing this, understanding this, choice was now irrelevant.

I would always end up at the opposite again sooner or later.

The illusion that I was going somewhere that I was growing, winning, that one day I will arrive at my goal was only an illusion, or that I will be condemned for ever, in eternal despair was also only one side of the coin.

It is like a chess player suddenly becomes aware that he is actually playing against himself, his own mirror image.

I became aware that I was 100% addicted to alcohol, I wanted to get drunk, escape, forget, period.

And I was aware that I wanted 100% to get rid of the addiction, be free of it, period.

And both identifications where mine. I was the only player in this game

I was aware of the opposite player as myself, I was my own enemy my own competitor, I competed against myself, tried to win against myself.

But now the light was on, I saw who I was playing against and I knew the next move I would make because the opponent was me, myself my own mind.

I played from now on with an open deck of cards.

Like playing poker with all the cards open faced you know exactly the next card coming up, the game is meaningless, there is no more game because the game consists of the not knowing what card will be next, will it be a winner or a looser?

That day, the game of playing and winning against the world, collapsed, because it was all me, my projection.

I was the world and I was the individual, because I projected me onto the world, the world was me, my projection.

The mind got it too!

Once a fact is known it cannot be reversed, once a child knows by experience that fire burns it will know it for life and not touch fire again.

Once the mind knows 100% it is not possible to get fulfillment outside

It will cooperate and stop reaching out.

The mind itself inside of me did not collapse yet, only the mind going out, playing with the world, getting, desiring, escaping resisting the outside was now meaningless. I did not project the images in my mind onto the outside anymore, but the images themselves where still intact.

The conditioned mind fell onto itself.

I was the center now and the world was the periphery. Before I had no center I was kicked around like a ping pong ball on the periphery.

I became a light onto myself, I could see where I was going. Now I had a center. I was “in” but the center was again divided in itself, inside, into its own duality.

“If you are wise, intelligent, and you know how to contain the opposites together in a deep friendly embrace, then thesis opposed by antithesis will create a new phenomenon in your being: synthesis. On a higher plane you will arise. In a deeper way you will be united. And then again the synthesis functions as a thesis, creates its antithesis, and again, on a higher plane, synthesis. It goes on and on, waves upon waves, higher and higher. There are planes upon planes, and one can go on reaching. The ultimate plane is the total synthesis of your life. All conflict disappears – is not dropped, but disappears of its own accord.”

Osho

From The Secret of Secrets, Vol 2 #13

For me the addiction to alcohol was the catalyst that pushed me into awareness, but it can be anything that the mind is addicted to, the mind is basically in its essence addiction.

What I am pointing to in this writing is, that any duality can be transcended with deep inquiry and awareness.

The conditioned mind, acquired in this life had been erased.

But the ancient mind, the totality of the mind with its roots in the beginning of time had not yet. But it opened the door to “The final ultimate synthesis”.

In deep gratitude to my beloved master Osho.

Dayanand Bharati

This is a follow-up to a previous posting by Dayanand, How I Came to One-Mind.

 

Absolute Perfection is Here and Now – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: The war is on. What is your attitude to it?

Maharaj: In some place or other, in some form or other, the war is always on. Was there a time when there was no war? Some say it is the will of God. Some say it is God’s play. It is another way of saying that wars are inevitable and nobody is responsible.

Q: But what is your own attitude?

M: Why impose attitudes on me? I have no attitude to call my own.

Q: Surely somebody is responsible for this horrible and senseless carnage. Why do people kill each other so readily?

M: Search for the culprit within. The ideas of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ are at the root of all conflict. Be free of them and you will be out of conflict.

Q: What of it that I am out of conflict? It will not affect the war. If I am the cause of war, I am ready to be destroyed. Yet, it stands to reason that the disappearance of a thousand like me will not stop wars. They did not start with my birth nor will end with my death. I am not responsible. Who is?

M: Strife and struggle are a part of existence. Why don’t you enquire who is responsible for existence?

Q: Why do you say that existence and conflict are inseparable? Can there be no existence without strife? I need not fight others to be myself.

M: You fight others all the time for your survival as a separate body-mind, a particular name and form. To live you must destroy. From the moment you were conceived you started a war with your environment—a merciless war of mutual extermination, until death sets you free.

Q: My question remains unanswered. You are merely describing what I know, life and its sorrows. But who is responsible, you do not say. When I press you, you throw the blame on God, or karma, or on my own greed and fear—which merely invites further questions. Give me the final answer.

M: The final answer is this: nothing is. All is a momentary appearance in the field of the universal consciousness; continuity as name and form is a mental formation only, easy to dispel.

Q: I am asking about the immediate, the transitory, the appearance. Here is a picture of a child killed by soldiers. It is a fact—staring at you. You cannot deny it. Now, who is responsible for the death of the child?

M: Nobody and everybody. The world is what it contains and each thing affects all others. We all kill the child and we all die with it. Every event has innumerable causes and produces numberless effects. It is useless to keep accounts, nothing is traceable.

Q: Your people speak of karma and retribution.

M: It is merely a gross approximation: in reality we are all creators and creatures of each other, causing and bearing each other’s burden.

Q: So, the innocent suffers for the guilty?

M: In our ignorance we are innocent; in our actions we are guilty. We sin without knowing and suffer without understanding. Our only hope: to stop, to look, to understand and to get out of the traps of memory. For memory feeds imagination and imagination generates desire and fear.

Q: Why do I imagine at all?

M: The light of consciousness passes through the film of memory and throws pictures on your brain. Because of the deficient and disordered state of your brain, what you perceive is distorted and coloured by feelings of like and dislike. Make your thinking orderly and free from emotional overtones, and you will see people and things as they are, with clarity and charity.

The witness of birth, life and death is one and the same. It is the witness of pain and of love. For while the existence in limitation and separation is sorrowful, we love it. We love it and hate it at the same time. We fight, we kill, we destroy life and property and yet we are affectionate and self-sacrificing. We nurse the child tenderly and orphan it too. Our life is full of contradictions. Yet we cling to it. This clinging is at the root of everything. Still, it is entirely superficial. We hold on to something or somebody, with all our might and next moment we forget it; like a child that shapes its mud-pies and abandons them light-heartedly. Touch them—it will scream with anger, divert the child and he forgets them. For our life is now, and the love of it is now. We love variety, the play of pain and pleasure, we are fascinated by contrasts. For this we need the opposites and their apparent separation. We enjoy them for a time and then get tired and crave for the peace and silence of pure being. The cosmic heart beats ceaselessly. I am the witness and the heart too.

Q: I can see the picture, but who is the painter? Who is responsible for this terrible and yet adorable experience?

M: The painter is in the picture. You separate the painter from the picture and look for him. Don’t separate and don’t put false questions. Things are as they are and nobody in particular is responsible. The idea of personal responsibility comes from the illusion of agency. ‘Somebody must have done it, somebody is responsible’. Society as it is now, with its framework of laws and customs, is based on the idea of a separate and responsible personality, but this is not the only form a society can take. There may be other forms, where the sense of separation is weak and responsibility diffused.

Q: An individual with a weak sense of personality— is he nearer self-realisation?

M: Take the case of a young child. The sense of ‘I-am’ is not yet formed, the personality is rudimentary. The obstacles to self-knowledge are few, but the power and the clarity of awareness, its width and depth are lacking. In the course of years awareness will grow stronger, but also the latent personality will emerge and obscure and complicate. Just as the harder the wood, the hotter the flame, so the stronger the personality, brighter the light generated from its destruction.

Q: Have you no problems?

M: I do have problems. I told you already. To be, to exist with a name and form is painful, yet I love it.

Q: But you love everything!

M: In existence everything is contained. My very nature is to love; even the painful is lovable.

Q: It does not make it less painful. Why not remain in the unlimited?

M: It is the instinct of exploration, the love of the unknown, that brings me into existence. It is in the nature of being to see adventure in becoming, as it is in the very nature of becoming to seek peace in being. This alteration of being and becoming is inevitable; but my home is beyond.

Q: Is your home in God?

M: To love and worship a god is also ignorance. My home is beyond all notions, however sublime.

Q: But God is not a notion! It is the reality beyond existence.

M: You may use any word you like. Whatever you may think of I am beyond it.

Q: Once you know your home, why not stay in it? What takes you out of it?

M: Out of love for corporate existence one is born and once born, one gets involved in destiny. Destiny is inseparable from becoming. The desire to be the particular makes you into a person with all its personal past and future. Look at some great man, what a wonderful man he was! And yet how troubled was his life and limited its fruits. How utterly dependent is the personality of man and how indifferent is its world. And yet we love it and protect it for its very insignificance.

Q: The war is on and there is chaos and you are being asked to take charge of a feeding centre. You are given what is needed, it is only a question of getting through the job. Will you refuse it?

M: To work, or not to work, is one and the same to me. I may take charge, or may not. There may be others, better endowed for such tasks, than I am —professional caterers for instance. But my attitude is different. I do not look at death as a calamity as I do not rejoice at the birth of a child. The child is out for trouble while the dead is out of it. Attachment to life is attachment to sorrow. We love what gives us pain. Such is our nature.

For me the moment of death will be a moment of jubilation, not of fear. I cried when I was born and I shall die laughing.

Q: What is the change in consciousness at the moment of death?

M: What change do you expect? When the film projection ends all remains the same as when it started. The state before you were born was also the state after death, if you remember.

Q: I remember nothing.

M: Because you never tried. It is only a question of tuning in the mind. It requires training, of course.

Q: Why don’t you take part in social work?

M: But I am doing nothing else all the time! And what is the social work you want me to do? Patchwork is not for me. My stand is clear: produce to distribute, feed before you eat, give before you take, think of others before you think of yourself. Only a selfless society based on sharing can be stable and happy. This is the only practical solution. If you do not want it—fight.

Q: It is all a matter of gunas. Where tamas and rajas predominate, there must be war. Where sattva rules, there will be peace.

M: Put it whichever way you like, it comes to the same. Society is built on motives. Put goodwill into the foundations and you will not need specialised social workers.

Q: The world is getting better.

M: The world had all the time to get better, yet it did not. What hope is there for the future? Of course, there have been and will be periods of harmony and peace, when sattva was in ascendance, but things get destroyed by their own perfection. A perfect society is necessarily static and, therefore, it stagnates and decays. From the summit all roads lead downwards. Societies are like people—they are born, they grow to some point of relative perfection and then decay and die.

Q: Is there not a state of absolute perfection which does not decay?

M: Whatever has a beginning must have an end. In the timeless all is perfect, here and now.

Q: But shall we reach the timeless in due course?

M: In due course we shall come back to the starting point. Time cannot take us out of time, as space cannot take us out of space. All you get by waiting is more waiting. Absolute perfection is here and now, not in some future, near or far. The secret is in action—here and now. It is your behaviour that blinds you to yourself. Disregard whatever you think yourself to be and act as if you were absolutely perfect—whatever your idea of perfection may be. All you need is courage.

Q: Where do I find such courage?

M: In yourself, of course. Look within.

Q: Your grace will help.

M: My grace is telling you now: look within. All you need you have. Use it. Behave as best you know, do what you think you should. Don’t be afraid of mistakes; you can always correct them, only intentions matter. The shape things take is not within your power; the motives of your actions are.

Q: How can action born from imperfection lead to perfection?

M: Action does not lead to perfection; perfection is expressed in action. As long as you judge yourself by your expressions give them utmost attention; when you realise your own being, your behaviour will be perfect—spontaneously.

Q: If I am timelessly perfect, then why was I born at all? What is the purpose of this life?

M: It is like asking: what does it profit gold to be made into an ornament? The ornament gets the colour and the beauty of gold; gold is not enriched. Similarly, reality expressed in action makes the action meaningful and beautiful.

Q: What does the real gain through its expressions?

M: What can it gain? Nothing whatsoever. But it is in the nature of love to express itself, to affirm itself, to overcome difficulties. Once you have understood that the world is love in action, you will look at it quite differently. But first your attitude to suffering must change. Suffering is primarily a call for attention, which itself is a movement of love. More than happiness, love wants growth, the widening and deepening of consciousness and being. Whatever prevents becomes a cause of pain, and love does not shirk from pain. Sattva, the energy that works for righteousness and orderly development, must not be thwarted. When obstructed it turns against itself and becomes destructive. Whenever love is withheld and suffering allowed to spread, war becomes inevitable. Our indifference to our neighbour’s sorrow brings suffering to our door.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter 82

Matter is Consciousness Itself – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: I was lucky to have holy company all my life. Is it enough for self-realisation?

Maharaj: It depends what you make of it.

Q: I was told that the liberating action of satsang is automatic. Just like a river carries one to the estuary, so the subtle and silent influence of good people will take me to reality.

M: It will take you to the river, but the crossing is your own. Freedom cannot be gained nor kept without will-to-freedom. You must strive for liberation; the least you can do is uncover and remove the obstacles diligently. If you want peace you must strive for it. You will not get peace just by keeping quiet.

Q: A child just grows. He does not make plans for growth, nor has he a pattern; nor does he grow by fragments, a hand here a leg there; he grows integrally and unconsciously.

M: Because he is free of imagination. You can also grow like this, but you must not indulge in forecasts and plans, born of memory and anticipation. It is one of the peculiarities of a jnani that he is not concerned with the future. Your concern with future is due to fear of pain and desire for pleasure, to the jnani all is bliss: he is happy with whatever comes.

Q: Surely, there are many things that would make even a jnani miserable.

M: A jnani may meet with difficulties, but they do not make him suffer. Bringing up a child from birth to maturity may seem a hard task, but to a mother the memories of hardships are a joy. There is nothing wrong with the world. What is wrong is in the way you look at it. It is your own imagination that misleads you. Without imagination there is no world. Your conviction that you are conscious of a world is the world. The world you perceive is made of consciousness; what you call matter is consciousness Itself. You are the space (akash) in which it moves, the time in which it lasts, the love that gives it life. Cut off imagination and attachment and what remains?

Q: The world remains. I remain.

M: Yes. But how different it is when you can see it as it is, not through the screen of desire and fear.

Q: What for are all these distinctions—reality and illusion, wisdom and ignorance, saint and sinner? Everyone is in search of happiness, everyone strives desperately; everyone is a Yogi and his life a school of wisdom. Each learns his own way the lessons he needs. Society approves of some, disapproves of others; there are no rules that apply everywhere and for all time.

M: In my world love is the only law. I do not ask for love, I give it. Such is my nature.

Q: I see you living your life according to a pattern. You run a meditation class in the morning, lecture and have discussions regularly; twice daily there is worship (puja) and religious singing (bhajan) in the evening. You seem to adhere to the routine scrupulously.

M: The worship and the singing are as I found them and I saw no reason to interfere. The general routine is according to the wishes of the people with whom I happen to live or who come to listen. They are working people, with many obligations and the timings are for their convenience. Some repetitive routine is inevitable. Even animals and plants have their time-tables.

Q: Yes, we see a regular sequence in all life. Who maintains the order? Is there an inner ruler, who lays down laws and enforces order?

M: Everything moves according to its nature. Where is the need of a policeman? Every action creates a reaction, which balances and neutralises the action. Everything happens, but there is a continuous cancelling out, and in the end it is as if nothing happened.

Q: Do not console me with final harmonies. The accounts tally, but the loss is mine.

M: Wait and see. You may end up with a profit good enough to justify the outlays.

Q: There is a long life behind me and I often wonder whether its many events took place by accident, or there was a plan. Was there a pattern laid down before I was born by which I had to live my life? If yes, who made the plans and who enforced them? Could there be deviations and mistakes? Some say destiny is immutable and every second of life is predetermined; others say that pure accident decides everything.

M: You can have it as you like. You can distinguish in your life a pattern or see merely a chain of accidents. Explanations are meant to please the mind. They need not be true. Reality is indefinable and indescribable.

Q: Sir, you are escaping my question! I want to know how you look at it. Wherever we look we find structure of unbelievable intelligence and beauty. How can I believe that the universe is formless and chaotic? Your world, the world in which you live, may be formless, but it need not be chaotic.

M: The objective universe has structure, is orderly and beautiful. Nobody can deny it. But structure and pattern, imply constraint and compulsion. My world is absolutely free; everything in it is self-determined. Therefore I keep on saying that all happens by itself. There is order in my world too, but it is not imposed from outside. It comes spontaneously and immediately, because of its timelessness. Perfection is not in the future. It is now.

Q: Does your world affect mine?

M: At one point only—at the point of the now. It gives it momentary being, a fleeting sense of reality. In full awareness the contact is established. It needs effortless, un-self-conscious attention.

Q: Is not attention an attitude of mind?

M: Yes, when the mind is eager for reality, it gives attention. There is nothing wrong with your world, it is your thinking yourself to be separate from it that creates disorder. Selfishness is the source of all evil.

Q: I am coming back to my question. Before I was born, did my inner self decide the details of my life, or was it entirely accidental and at the mercy of heredity and circumstances?

M: Those who claim to have selected their father and mother and decided how they are going to live their next life may know for themselves. I know for myself. I was never born.

Q: I see you sitting in front of me and replying my questions.

M: You see the body only which, of course, was born and will die.

Q: It is the life-story of thus body-mind that I am interested in. Was it laid down by you or somebody else, or did it happen accidentally?

M: There is a catch in your very question. I make no distinction between the body and the universe. Each is the cause of the other; each is the other, in truth. But I am out of it all. When I am telling you that I was never born, why go on asking me what were my preparations for the next birth? The moment you allow your imagination to spin, it at once spins out a universe. It is not at all as you imagine and I am not bound by your imaginings.

Q: It requires intelligence and energy to build and maintain a living body. Where do they come from?

M: There is only imagination. The intelligence and power are all used up in your imagination. It has absorbed you so completely that you just cannot grasp how far from reality you have wandered. No doubt imagination is richly creative. Universe within universe are built on it. Yet they are all in space and time, past and future, which just do not exist.

Q: I have read recently a report about a little girl who was very cruelly handled in her early childhood. She was badly mutilated and disfigured and grew up in an orphanage, completely estranged from its surroundings. This little girl was quiet and obedient, but completely indifferent. One of the nuns who were looking after the children, was convinced that the girl was not mentally retarded, but merely withdrawn, irresponsive. A psychoanalyst was asked to take up the case and for full two years he would see the child once a week and try to break the wall of isolation. She was docile and well-behaved, but would give no attention to her doctor. He brought her a toy house, with rooms and movable furniture and dolls representing father, mother and their children. It brought out a response, the girl got interested. One day the old hurts revived and came to the surface. Gradually she recovered, a number of operations brought back her face and body to normal and she grew into an efficient and attractive young woman. It took the doctor more than five years, but the work was done. He was a real Guru! He did not put down conditions nor talk about readiness and eligibility. Without faith, without hope, out of love only he tried and tried again.

M: Yes, that is the nature of a Guru. He will never give up. But, to succeed, he must not be met with too much resistance. Doubt and disobedience necessarily delay. Given confidence and pliability, he can bring about a radical change in the disciple speedily. Deep insight in the Guru and earnestness in the disciple, both are needed. Whatever was her condition, the girl in your story suffered for lack of earnestness in people. The most difficult are the intellectuals. They talk a lot, but are not serious.

What you call realisation is a natural thing. When you are ready, your Guru will be waiting. Sadhana is effortless. When the relationship with your teacher is right you grow. Above all, trust him. He cannot mislead you.

Q: Even when he asks me to do something patently wrong?

M: Do it. A Sanyassi had been asked by his Guru to marry. He obeyed and suffered bitterly. But his four children were all saints and seers, the greatest in Maharashtra. Be happy with whatever comes from your Guru and you will grow to perfection without striving.

Q: Sir, have you any wants or wishes. Can I do anything for you?

M: What can you give me that I do not have? Material things are needed for contentment. But I am contented with myself. What else do I need?

Q: Surely, when you are hungry you need food and when sick you need medicine.

M: Hunger brings the food and illness brings the medicine. It is all nature’s work.

Q: lf I bring something I believe you need, will you accept it?

M: The love that made you offer will make me accept.

Q: If somebody offers to build you a beautiful Ashram?

M: Let him, by all means. Let him spend a fortune, employ hundreds, feed thousands.

Q: Is it not a desire?

M: Not at all. I am only asking him to do it properly, not stingily, half-heartedly. He is fulfilling his own desire, not mine. Let him do it well and be famous among men and gods.

Q: But do you want it?

M: I do not want it.

Q: Will you accept it?

M: I don’t need it.

Q: Will you stay in it?

M: If I am compelled.

Q: What can compel you?

M: Love of those who are in search of light.

Q: Yes, I see your point. Now, how am I to go into samadhi?

M: If you are in the right state, whatever you see will put you into samadhi. After all, samadhi is nothing unusual. When the mind is intensely interested, it becomes one with the object of interest — the seer and the seen become one in seeing, the hearer and the heard become one in hearing, the lover and the loved become one in loving. Every experience can be the ground for samadhi.

Q: Are you always in a state of samadhi?

M: Of course not Samadhi is a state of mind, after all. I am beyond all experience, even of samadhi. I am the great devourer and destroyer: whatever I touch dissolves into void (akash).

Q: I need samadhis for self-realisation.

M: You have all the self-realisation you need, but you do not trust it. Have courage, trust yourself, go, talk, act; give it a chance to prove itself. With some, realisation comes imperceptibly, but somehow they need convincing. They have changed, but they do not notice it. Such non-spectacular cases are often the most reliable.

Q: Can one believe himself to be realised and be mistaken?

M: Of course. The very idea ‘I am self-realised’ is a mistake. There is no ‘I am this’. ‘I am that’ in the Natural State.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter 61

Find Out Who You Are – Jean Dunn

Jean Dunn speaks about life with Nisargadatta Maharaj. This interview was recorded by Malcolm Tillis in 1981, while Jean was living in Bombay, India.

Jean Dunn: I am just a normal person of fifty-nine who has been searching all her life until, ten years ago, she heard of Ramana Maharshi. She visited his ashram, went back to the States, then returned to India, where she has been living for the past four years. Two years ago she met Nisargadatta Maharaj, and he became her guru.

Did he give you some form of initiation?
He gave me a mantra and initiation.

How did you first hear about him?
At Ramana Maharshi’s ashram. Many people come to see him; ­there seems to be a tie.

Is it because of the similarity of Self-Inquiry?
It’s no longer that. Maharaj has had cancer of the throat for the past year, so his teachings have been polished; he is saying he’s no longer the consciousness, he observes the consciousness—he’s the Absolute. His teachings are now on that line.

Can you tell me something about his book, I Am That?
It’s in the form of questions and answers. The fifth edition is just coming out. It came out in two volumes in 1973, having been collected and edited by Maurice Frydman, who in late life became a disciple of Maharaj. There has been no further book published. Last year I asked Maharaj—I had been recording all his question and answer periods—if he wanted me to put them together for a book. He said yes. So Seeds of Consciousness will come out this year. Another volume will appear later: Beyond Consciousness.

In spite of his illness he gives darshan every day?
He is in much pain at times but manages to talk twice a day. He is one of the hidden saints, so he only draws a few people at a time. His teachings aren’t for the general public—we are blessed to listen to him.

How does he usually teach?
Up until his illness, it was by questions and answers. Now he will no longer teach the ABCs—he doesn’t have the physical strength; ­ he tells us the position, then it’s up to us.

He seemed to insist that I ask questions.
He wants questions to come out; then there will be silence so that remaining questions will be answered within yourself.

His following is mainly Western, by what I saw.
Westerners are in predominance; thousands have seen him—some for a few days, some stay for months. Some he makes leave at once. He says he doesn’t know why he sends people away, although they want to stay.

Are you living in India on a permanent basis?
Yes, I have a residency permit. I have finished work on the second book; the work is complete. Everything he has to say has been said.

Do you ever miss Western society, your home life?
Never.

Can you say something about your personal relationship to your guru?
There are no words to describe that . . .

Do you have an aim in life? For instance, to become one with him?
My aim in life is to lose an aim in life—that’s his teaching. There’s no purpose to this life; it’s just entertainment. That’s all.

That sounds rather Krishnamurthi-esque.
Many of Krishnamurthi’s followers come here—ten came recently.

How did Maharaj attain enlightenment?
You will find that in the first part of I Am That. I can tell you this: the first time he met his guru— his friend insisted on taking him; he even had to buy the garland to present to the guru—he never wanted to go.

Was he very young then?
He was in his thirties. The bidi (Indian cigarette) shop at the corner belongs to him; his son runs it. He had eight shops, but when his guru died, he left everything—his family and business. He wandered for months all over India, until he met a fellow disciple who convinced him it was better to live in the world. He returned to Bombay, but all the shops had gone except this one. He didn’t want anything; all worldly ambition had gone. When people started coming to him, he built that upstairs room.

It’s minute. What are the dimensions?
Oh, about nine by twelve. I’ve seen that room crowded, mostly by Westerners. He says Indians are not ready for his teachings.

Do you think it was because he didn’t want personal publicity that he appeared to be annoyed with me?
That’s correct. I feel sure that was the idea. He doesn’t want disciples—if they come, it’s fine; if not, that’s also fine. He gains nothing. He has reached the peak because he isn’t enamored of any­thing the world can offer.

Does he ever talk about other gurus and their methods?
He talks about the self-styled gurus who propagate their own con­cepts; but there’s nothing wrong with that at that level.

Does he admire any living teachers?
As far as I know, J. Krishnamurti. In the past, Ramana Maharshi. The other day he said, “Krishnamurti, Ramana and myself are one.”

Does he advocate a vegetarian diet?
That pertains to the body; he doesn’t teach anything to do with that. All he wants you to do is find out who you are.

His followers can drink and indulge in free relationships?
Whatever comes naturally to each person, he should do.

He gives no ethical guidance?
No. As long as you think you are a person and this world is real, then you live by certain rules. Once you understand the complete thing, your life lives itself … There are no rules, no good, no bad—I should do this, I shouldn’t do that. If you think about it, all this is taking place in this life span, in this span of consciousness, and when this consciousness goes, what difference does it make?

Does he not advise detachment from worldly activities?
This comes naturally. The main and only thing he teaches is to find out who you are. The closer you come to this, the more detached you become from the world; that will happen naturally. You can’t do anything to make that happen. This idea of doing something is an ego idea “I” can accomplish. Maharaj says the consciousness drags you there by the ear because it wants to know about itself, your true nature.

What has he said about leaving the body at physical death?
For him, it will be a great festival— he’s looking forward to it. For those thinking they are the body, it will be a traumatic experience. For an enlightened person, it’s a joyous time.

When he gives you meditation, does he ask what you see inside?
There has to be somebody to see something! (laughter) . . . No, he doesn’t. Visions and experiences take place in consciousness; they have no meaning whatsoever. Before you were born, did you know anything about this world? When you die—will you know anything about this world? You didn’t know you existed—you exist as the Absolute, but you aren’t aware of your existence. When this con­sciousness comes, spontaneously, you know “I am.” You grab a body and become identified with that. He wants you to go back, back, away from this into your true nature. Right now it’s consciousness; the longer we abide in that consciousness only and observe it, we see that everything we see is not ours—there’s a “you” seeing this.

But what does he teach about God?
Without me, there’s no God.

Really?
Yes.

And he’s teaching that?
Yes. Was there a God before you were? Without you, is there a God?

What brought me back into this body?
Do you remember a previous body?

Many people have that recollection. Are you saying we have never taken birth before?
There’s no “we”; there’s no entity; there is universal consciousness, which is continually expressing itself through these bodies.

Maharaj doesn’t believe in karma and reincarnation?
Correct.

Ramana Maharshi taught that, surely?
They will talk to you on this level if this is your level. But if you un­derstand what I’m saying—there’s only universal consciousness ex­pressing itself; there’s no individual—then he will bring you there. He will no longer speak of this. If you die with concepts, these concepts take another form, but they will not be you— you don’t know what that form will be. Concepts will come again until they are all gone.

What does Maharaj teach about selfless service, helping others?
On their level, it’s good. But his teaching is that there are no others, no individual entities; everything happens spontaneously; there’s no doer. He teaches: Let this life live itself and understand you are not this.

We are not “this” then we are “that.” What is “that”?
“That” is consciousness right now.

Right now? What will it be when we leave the body?
The Absolute.

Then what comes back?
Consciousness is continually renewing itself. You throw a piece of food into a corner; within a few days, worms will come—life, con­sciousness. The same consciousness in that worm is in you. It’s not “my” consciousness, “your” consciousness; it’s one universal con­sciousness, and that universal consciousness is you.

At our level of understanding, aren’t all these concepts? Didn’t you find these theories confusing at first?
The first day I came to Maharaj, he said, “My beingness is a product of food . . .  and the same consciousness in the donkey was in Sri Krishna.” I went to get a reservation back home; none was available, so as something inside knew this was true, I went back. He had jerked the rug from under my feet, and he kept on doing this until I lost any place to put my feet. He forces you to let go of all concepts.

Does he often send people away who come to see him?
Often. He never knows why, though. Every moment watching him is like a spectacular movie; every person’s need is taken care of­. I’ve watched that happen. You can sit quietly, but questions you have inside will be answered. Everything happens according to your need. There’s no him; he has no purpose of his own: that’s why this can happen. There’s no ego there to bump against.

Living so close to an enlightened being can’t be easy.
It’s not easy if you have any ego left.

Can you say something about the positive side?
There are no words for it; everything is taken care of automatically. There’s no “you” to thank God for anything anymore. You let go of everything. There’s no you, no separate entity; everything is hap­pening spontaneously. It’s like there’s a quiet space where you are, yet everything is happening around you.

What work did you do in America?
I worked on newspapers.

Is there a reason why people get involved with imperfect teachers?
We as human beings think there’s a reason for everything; there are no reasons, no causes—it’s a causeless happening. As long as we are on this human level and think there’s a cause, we will be able to come up with one. If some people are taken for a ride by false gurus, you can say this is happening to them to get rid of something­—whatever happens is perfect. We are just to understand there’s no personal consciousness; everything is impersonal, you see.

But when we meet a perfect teacher, it’s our consciousness which recognizes that, surely?
Yes.

Then our lives change.
Yes.

That’s the new life?
Correct.

That’s part of the divine plan requiring no effort?
No effort.

To round off, could you say what are the benefits gained from coming into contact with your guru.
I’ve gotten rid of the idea there’s somebody going to benefit from something . . . (much laughter)

Discovering Who You Are – Douglas Harding

[Text from a handout designed by Douglas Harding in the mid-1970s and distributed in workshops organized by Werner Erhart.]

1. Cut a head-sized hole in a card and hold it out in front of you.

2. See how empty that hole is – and how full of the scene. Now slowly put it on until your face fits in the hole. Or is it still empty? What’s happened to its boundaries?

3. Try putting it on again to make sure that, right where you are now, there is this boundless emptiness you can fill with anything you like. This is WHAT and WHO you are!

But (you may say) I can feel my face.

Right! Try fingering your face and head all over and see whether you can fill your space with a coloured, opaque, complicated, limited thing for living in. Is it dark, sticky, small in there? Aren’t you as faceless, transparent, open and vast as ever – with a lot of touch sensations in the nearer regions of your vastness?

But (you may go on) I can’t rely on vision only. How could you show this to a blind man?

Shut your eyes, drop memory and imagination, and notice whether you have any limits now, are in any kind of box. Aren’t you more like room – silence for these sounds to happen in, space for these passing sensations of warmth, pressure, etc., this flow of feelings and thoughts? Just room or capacity – but aware of itself now as that!

Peeling The Onion

But (you may say) everyone else can see there’s a human being here.

It all depends on how far off they are. Seen from a distance of 1,000,000 light years you appear as a galaxy (the Milky Way), from a distance of 1 light year as a star (the Solar System), of 100,000 miles as a planet (the Earth), of 10 feet as a human, of 1/1000 inch as a cell. Nearer still you read as molecules, atoms, particles… Only you can complete their outside story and view yourself from 0 inches, as No-thing – and Here is the central Reality, of which all those regional views are your appearances.

But (you may go on) I feel like a human being.

Sometimes. But aren’t you capable of so identifying with your family, your organisation, country, species, or planet (in case of threat from outer space) that you’d die (as man or woman) for them? And in your best moments don’t you embrace the universe? Other times, don’t you narrow down to (say) an aching tooth? You take responsibility for – you become – as much of the world as you choose – because already you are it all. So your feelings about yourself are as elastic and changeable as your appearances. What they are appearances of never changes.

All the same (you insist) I belong, physically, to the human layer of the onion.

As a mere human body you don’t exist. What is that body without its substructure of cells, molecules, atoms, particles? You could spare a kidney, a lung and all four limbs, but what if your Earth and Sun were cut off? The whole of your body is the Whole. As for your mind, don’t your thoughts and feelings cover all layers of the onion – from its empty core?

But what happens to personal relationships, to love, to all communication, if I disappear?

Look at a friend’s face. Dropping memory and imagination, is there anything where you are to shut out that face with? Or are you empty for him or her? Aren’t you built open, built for welcoming, for loving?

Growing Up – Or Down?

There are four stages of your growing up:

1. As an INFANT you were for yourself No-thing.

Like any animal, you were faceless, immense and at large, unseparate from your world – without being aware of all of this.

2. As a CHILD you were for yourself No-thing and something.

You learned to look at yourself from a few feet away “through others’ eyes” and see yourself as a human being – a special one at that. You came to identify with that face in your mirror, and answer to its name. Yet you remained, for yourself, at large, space for your world to happen in. You may occasionally have become fully aware of your space, of yourself-as-you-see-yourself (a child is apt to ask why others have heads and she hasn’t, to protest that she isn’t a girl – she’s not like that at all! – or declare that she is nothing, not present, invisible). Both views of yourself – from outside as a small thing and from inside as this vast No-thing – were true and needful.

3. As a GROWN-DOWN (so-called adult) you are now for yourself that small thing.

Your learned view of yourself from outside has come to overshadow and practically blot out your original view of yourself from inside. You have grown down, not up. Instead of containing your world, it contains you – what’s left of you. Shrunk from being the whole into being this tiny part, you grow greedy, resentful, frightened, unsuccessful, tired, stiff, out of touch with your Source, plain crazy:

Greedy – as you try to regain as much as possible of your lost empire,

Resentful or aggressive – as you seek revenge on a system that has cruelly cut you down to size,

Frightened and lonely – as you see yourself a mere thing, at the mercy of and up against all other things,

Unsuccessful – because working for, and taking responsibility for, yourself as a mere individual human is making sure of failure: the end of all your personal enterprises is death,

Tired – because it takes so much energy building and rebuilding this imaginary box for living in, right where you are,

Stiff, unnatural, phoney – because you act to impress, not express,

Uncreative – because you have cut yourself off from your Source and Centre and see yourself as a mere regional effect,

Crazy – because you “see” something that isn’t there and imagine (contrary to all the evidence) that you are at 0 feet what you look like at 6 feet – a solid, opaque, coloured, outlined lump of stuff. How can your world remain sane if its very Centre has gone insane?

Insofar as you don’t suffer from these handicaps you remain “a child at heart,” more or less unconsciously in touch with the truth of who you are.

4. As a GROWN-UP (truly adult) you are for yourself No-thing and all things.

Stuck at Stage 3 you are a case of arrested development. The experiments show how simple and natural it is to go on to the next stage and truly grow up. In fact, carrying out the experiments and taking their point you have already made it to Stage 4. Congratulations!

Stage 4 isn’t, like the infant, losing yourself in your world. Nor, like some meditators, finding yourself within and letting the world go by. It is simultaneously looking in at your Space and out at what fills it – two-way attention. This means you have nothing left of your very own to shut the world out with – and so it’s all yours!

And this means you go on to take responsibility for those “others” out there, for suffering mankind, the living Earth, all the way to the Whole – because you lie at the empty Source of it all. But you don’t lie back. You find yourself loving and serving your neighbour (Who isn’t your neighbour?) as yourself, because he or she is yourself.

And, sooner or later, you may discover that your overall aim is assisting him or her, and all mankind, and ultimately all beings, to come to this 4th Stage and really grow up. This is a big job – the toughest adventure of them all. (Paradoxically it’s also the easiest, already in the bag, seeing that no being ever strayed from Home or left its Source, anyway.) Meantime your own entry into Stage 4 is natural and obvious. All you have to do is look at the spot you occupy right now, at what’s 12 inches your side of these words, taking in these marks on the screen. And what presently will take in the people around you, houses, animals, stars, the lot – at your pleasure.

You are a Grown-up, no longer a Grown-down.

Again, congratulations!

In Practice

Okay, I’ve got it. But seeing What/Who I am comes in flashes. How to maintain and strengthen this seeing?

The answer comes in 3 parts:

1. Make full use of techniques which re-direct your attention to this neglected spot at the Centre of your Universe. Some simple reminders are given below. Eventually everything you experience takes you back to yourself, its Source, and life becomes one big “workshop exercise.”

2. Spend as much time as possible with friends who share this seeing. The condition is infectious.

3. Above all, work with such friends – performing the humblest or grandest of tasks – at clear-cut goals whose ultimate aim is not “your own” achievement of Stage 4, but the world’s. The marvellous thing is that what’s best for the world is best for you – the best therapy, discipline, work, fun – because you are the world! And this includes all the world’s resources of modern science, communication, organisational know-how. If you are serious about this great enterprise you will neglect no means to its success.

It may well be that the survival of the Species – let alone its progress – depends on its growing up to Stage 4 within a relatively short time, so that this stage is regarded as the norm, the standard against which maturity is reckoned. This doesn’t mean that everyone, or even the great majority, will get there so quickly. (After all, though Stage 3 – the Grown-down – is now regarded as normal, huge numbers of people are still more or less at Stage 2, and not yet capable of clearly seeing themselves from out there, as things in the world.)

REMINDERS

Face-to-No-face – So much of your time is spent with people – either imagining you are confronting them face-to-face, or seeing it’s never been like that at all. The most available of all pointers to what you are is also the best recipe for good “personal relationships.”

Single Eye – How many eyes are you looking out of, in your own experience, right now? Check up by slowly putting on your glasses and seeing what happens to those two “windows.” If you don’t wear glasses, make up a pair with your thumbs and forefingers. Outline with your hands the extent of this huge window – frameless, spotless, with nobody looking out of it.

Pointing – Point at your feet, legs, torso… noting how you’re pointing at something, and this something is distant from your finger. Now point at your “face”. What are you pointing at now, dropping memory and imagination? How far is it – are you – from that finger?

Neck-line – Look up at our heavenly bodies, out at your earthly body, down at your human body. Outline with your finger the boundary of that body, on present evidence – the place where it meets your Space.

Travelling – Spinning, driving your car, walking, see whether you are moving in the world, or the world in you.

Other Senses – Observe what happens to the food that goes into holes in people’s head, and what happens to the food that actually has taste. Listen to the Silence-you-are, into which sounds are now popping.

Thoughts and Feelings – Can you discover any thoughts and feelings which aren’t fleeting and don’t belong to the world of objects (ranging from your human to your cosmic body)? Is anything central and permanent except this Awareness, this sense of Being, or I AM? YOU ARE THAT!

-Douglas Harding

As seen at The Headless Way