Awareness Plus Action – Osho

The reality is always there waiting just near your heart, near your eyes, near your hands. You can touch it, you can feel it, you can live it – but you cannot think it. Seeing is possible, feeling is possible, touching is possible – but thinking is not possible.

Try to understand the nature of thinking. Thinking is always about, it is never direct. You can see the reality, but you will have to think about it and ‘about’ is the trap, because whenever you think about you have moved away. ‘About’ means indirect. ‘About’ means you will not see this flower here and now, you will think about it, and the ‘about’ will become a barrier. Through that ‘about’ you will never reach to this flower.

Seeing is direct, touching is direct – thinking is indirect. That’s why thinking misses. A lover can know the reality, even a dancer can know it, a singer can feel it, but a thinker goes on missing it.

I have heard about one Jewish philosopher. He was an ordinary peasant but very philosophic. His name was Yossel. He would think about everything, as philosophers do. It was very difficult for him to do anything because thinking would take all his time, and by the time he was ready the opportunity was lost.

Once he went to the market, to a nearby village, to sell his wheat. He told his wife, “As soon as I am able to sell the wheat, immediately I will send you a telegram.”

He sold the wheat with much profit so he wrote a telegram, went to the post office, filled in the form – and then started thinking about it.

He wrote: “Wheat sold profitably. Coming tomorrow. Love and kisses, Yossel.”

Then he started thinking and he thought, “My wife will think I have gone mad. Why ‘profitably’? Am I going to sell my wheat at a loss?” So he crossed out the word ‘profitably.’ Then he became more concerned, because if he could miss and write a wrong word he may have made other errors also. So he looked, started thinking about each word.

Then he said, “Why ‘coming tomorrow’? Am I going to come next month? Or next year? My wife knows that I will come as soon as the wheat is sold.” So he crossed out the words ‘coming tomorrow.’

Then he thought, “My wife already knows that I have come to sell the wheat, so why write, ‘sold wheat’?” He crossed that out too. And then he started laughing. He said, “I am writing to my own wife. Why should I write ‘love and kisses’? Am I writing to somebody else’s wife? And is it her birthday or Yom Kippur or something?”

He crossed out that too.

Now only his name remained: Yossel. He said to himself, “Yossel, have you gone mad? Your wife already knows your name.” So he tore up the telegram, happy that he had saved much money and foolishness.

But this is how it happens: if you go on thinking ‘about’, you miss the whole life – everything is crossed out by and by. In the end you are also crossed out – not only is the word crossed out, you are also in the end crossed out. Thinking becomes smoke; everything moves into it and everything is finished.

And action becomes impossible – even to send a telegram is not possible. Action becomes impossible because action is direct and thinking is indirect. They never meet.

This is the problem in the world. People who think, they never act; and people who don’t think, they go on acting. The world is in misery. People who are fools, they go on acting because they never think, they jump in everything. Hitlers and Napoleons and Maos, they go on doing things, and wise people, the so-called thinkers – Aristotle, or Kant, or Hegel – they go on thinking, they never do anything.

The problem for a man who is seeking reality is how to stop the vicious circle of thinking, yet be aware. Because fools also don’t think, but they are not aware. Be aware – the energy that moves into thinking should become awareness. Consciousness that goes on in a vicious circle with thinking should be retained, purified. Thinking should stop, the whirling of consciousness should stop, but not consciousness. Consciousness should become more crystallized and action should be there, action should not stop.

Awareness plus action, and you will attain reality immediately. And not only you – you will create a situation in which others can also attain reality. You will become a milieu, a climate around which things will start happening. That’s what happened with a Buddha, with a Sosan, with a Chuang Tzu.

Remember: action is good, thinking is a vicious circle; it never leads anywhere. So thinking has to stop but not action. There are people who will go on thinking; action will stop. That’s how it happens when a person renounces life, moves to the forest or the Himalayas. He renounces action, not thinking. He renounces the world where action was needed. He is renouncing reality itself, because through action you come in contact with reality. Seeing is action, moving is action, dancing is action, painting is action. Whatsoever you do, you come in contact with reality.

You have to become more and more sensitive in your doing. Doing is not to be renounced; action should be totally there, because that is the passage through which you move into reality and the reality moves into you. Try to understand, because this is very basic – basic to me: renounce thinking, don’t renounce action.

There are people who go on thinking, and there are people who go on renouncing action. But in the Himalayas what will they do? Then the whole energy, not moving in action, will move into thinking. They will become great philosophers. But philosophy is a fool’s land; you live in words, not in realities. Love disappears, only the word ‘love’ is retained. God disappears; because he was there in the fields, in the market, in the world, but the word ’God’ is retained. Actions disappear, only concepts are carried. Your head becomes your whole being.

Avoid. Never renounce action, only renounce thinking. But if you renounce thinking there is a possibility you may become unconscious, or you may become a fool. You may start doing anything whatsoever, because now you don’t know what to do, and you don’t think. You may go crazy.

Thinking is to be renounced, but you are not to become more unaware, more unconscious. You have to become more conscious.

This is the whole art of meditation: how to be deep in action, how to renounce thinking, and how to convert the energy that was moving into thinking to become awareness.

It is going to be very delicate and subtle, because if you miss a step you fall into infinite ignorance.

It is easy to drop thinking, but then you go to sleep. Every day in deep sleep it happens: you renounce, thinking stops – but then you are no more there, consciousness drops. Your consciousness has become too attached, associated, with thinking, so whenever thinking stops you fall into a coma.

And this is the problem. One has to renounce thinking and not fall into a coma, because the coma will not lead you to reality. If you fall unconscious you are not going into reality, you are simply fast asleep: the conscious has merged into the unconscious. Just the reverse has to be attained: the unconscious merges into the conscious. If the conscious falls into the unconscious you fall into a coma, and if the unconscious falls into the conscious and becomes conscious itself, you become enlightened, you become a Buddha, a Sosan.

And it is very easy to help the conscious fall down into the unconscious, because it is a very small fragment. One tenth of your being is conscious, nine tenths of your being is unconscious. Just a small fragment has become conscious, and that too is always wavering. Any moment it can fall, it is very easy.

That’s how it happens in intoxication: you take alcohol, the conscious falls into the unconscious.

Hence the appeal in all the ages and all the climates and in all the countries of alcohol. And this is what happens when you take a drug: the conscious falls into the unconscious.

It is beautiful because thinking stops. Sleep is beautiful and you have many, many dreams. And if you are a good dreamer then a drug will give you beautiful dreams – fantastic, more colorful than any dream can be, more luminous. You move into paradise, into a dreamland, but you are not moving into reality.

LSD, marijuana, mescaline, or any drug, gives you only a good sleep, and in that good sleep you dream. Those dreams are colorful, and your life is so poor and your life is such a misery that you would even like to live those dreams rather than live in this miserable life. You would choose – if that was the only choice – to live in a beautiful dream rather than to live in this miserable life. This life is like a nightmare. Even if a drug is only going to give you a luminous dream, colorful, three dimensional, why not take it? Because what is there in this life? Because life is in such a mess you choose dreams.

Drugs, alcohol, or other sorts of intoxicants, they have always been used by religious people. But through them you never move into the reality. Through them you fall into a torpor, into a coma. And in that coma you can have dreams.

And if you have been thinking too much about God, you can see God, because you can project your own dreams. Dreams can be directed and guided. If you have been thinking too much of Christ, then while under the influence of a drug Christ will appear to you. This is your own mind playing games. If you have been too much attached to Krishna then he will be standing there with his flute on his lips, singing and dancing. If a Hindu, a devotee of Krishna, takes LSD he will see Krishna, and a Christian will see Jesus, and a Buddhist will see Buddha – but these are mind projections. Reality is miserable but don’t hanker after dreams, because if you hanker after dreams then there is only one way: how to help the conscious become unconscious again.

A small part has come up out of unconsciousness, and that is the beauty of a human being. Agony and ecstasy both, but that is the beauty of a human being, that he has become an island in a vast unconscious. This island has to grow higher and higher so it becomes a continent. Through drugs it will go again underwater, you will live again the life of an animal or a tree – beautiful in themselves but not worthy of you, because you are losing so much. And you could have attained reality; that island could have become a continent. But not only drugs – there are other subtle means also to help the conscious become unconscious.

Through music it can be done, through chanting it can be done. If you repeat a mantra continuously you will fall asleep, because anything monotonous brings coma.

They are subtle means, on the surface not like drugs. In every temple, church it is going on – and temples and churches are against drugs, and they don’t know what they are doing. They are also using subtle drugs, not so crude as LSD or marijuana but still drugs – because when you chant a certain word continuously it gives you sleep, it cannot give you anything else.

You relax. The very chanting gives you a deep boredom. The same word – ram, ram, ram – you go on, you go on, you go on… What will you do? Because mind remains alert only if something new is happening, otherwise mind goes to sleep. If something new is happening then mind is alert. If nothing new is happening, only ram, ram, ram, a chanting, and you know again and again it will happen, infinitely, the mind starts feeling sleepy.

Every mother knows this. Whenever a child is not going to sleep she will repeat a line of a song, very simple, two, three words, and she will repeat the same again and again – a lullaby. It becomes a mantra and the child goes to sleep. And the mind is the same – whether you are a child or an old man makes no difference – the mind goes into sleep through lullabies, but the process is the same.

Thinking has to be stopped, but not by becoming unconscious. Thinking has to be stopped by becoming more conscious, alert, aware, so the energy that is moving in thinking moves into consciousness, and a witnessing arises in you. So remember, thinking has to be stopped not through chanting, but through becoming a witness to the thought process – looking at it, watching it, a watcher on the hills, looking, seeing…

If you deeply see and penetrate the words, they start disappearing. A gap comes, an interval. Clouds disappear and the blue sky is seen. You are alert, sensitive – not in a coma. More unconsciousness has been drawn into consciousness; your flame is bigger, more vital, and you can see more, you can touch more, you can smell more. And your action takes on a new quality, the quality of divineness.

Whenever a Buddha touches you, the touch is different. You also touch, you also feel sometimes differences. You touch a man just casually, and then you don’t move through the hand. Then the hand is dead, closed; you simply say hello with a dead hand. You can feel it, that the hand has been given but yet not given. It was diplomatic. The hand was not alive, not warm, not meeting and merging with you. Sometimes when in love the hand is given, it is a merger, energy flows through it, it is an opening. Through the hand the being comes to meet you. It is warm, it is alive, it trusts you.

When a Buddha touches you, it is absolutely different, the quality has changed. Because whenever the consciousness is total, absolute, every action becomes total. When he touches, he becomes just the touch. He is nothing any more. His whole being is the touch, he flows into it. He is nowhere else, he is in the touch.

At that moment he is no more eyes, he is no more ears; at that moment his whole being is transformed into touch. He becomes a total touch, and you will feel that you are illuminated through his touch – energy has moved into you. If you were not ready you may even be shocked. If you were ready then you will rejoice, you will be delighted in it.

When a Buddha looks at you he becomes just the eyes; otherwise is not possible, because he is not divided within. When you look, you look and you do many other things also. Thinking goes on, you go on divided. Your eyes are not total.

When a Buddha looks at you his eyes are total. They will be like a burning sun. They will penetrate you, they will make a hole within your being, they will go directly to your heart. You will never be the same again – if you allow. Otherwise you can remain closed and he cannot penetrate you. Even if he touches, he touches a dead corpse; you can remain closed.

Whenever consciousness is there, and action, consciousness and action become a totality.

-Osho

From Hsin Hsin Ming: The Book of Nothing, Chapter Three

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.

All Dreams Must Cease – Osho

Mind has only one capacity and that is to dream. And this dreaming continues even while you are awake. That’s the reason Sosan or Jesus won’t believe that you are ever awake, because dreaming has one quality: that it can happen only in sleep.

These two things have to be understood first: mind is the source of all dreaming, but dream can happen only in sleep. And if you are dreaming twenty-four hours a day, one thing is absolutely certain: that you are fast asleep. Close the eyes any moment and the dream is there; it continues as an undercurrent. Even while you are engaged, for all outward purposes you seem to be awake, but deep down a current of dreaming goes on and on and on.

Any moment, close the eyes and it is there. It is not interrupted by your occupations. You walk on the street, you drive the car, you work in a factory, in the office – it continues. You go to sleep, then you can feel it more because, unoccupied, the whole attention comes to the mind.

It is just like the stars. In the day you cannot see stars in the sky. They are there, because where can they go? But because of the light of the sun you cannot see them. If you go in a deep well, two hundred feet down, from there you can see stars in the sky even in the day. They are there, but because of so much light you cannot see them. Darkness is needed for them to be revealed.

The same happens with dreaming; dreams are there in the day also, but darkness is needed so that you can see them. It is just like when you go to a theater. If the doors are open the film may continue but you cannot see. Close the doors, make the room dark, and you can see.

Dreaming is your continuity, and unless this continuity is broken you cannot know what truth is. The question is not whether truth is very far away or near, the question is whether the mind is in a dream or not.

So the basic problem is not how to seek the truth; you cannot seek with a dreaming mind, because whatsoever will come before you, your dreams will be imposed on it. Your dreams will be projected on it, you will interpret it. You will not be able to see as it is. You will see according to your dreams, you will falsify it. Truth IS there, because only truth can be – untruth cannot be.

So another thing before we enter the sutra: Shankara has divided reality in three categories, and those categories are beautiful to understand. One category is the category of the truth: that which is. In fact nothing else is possible; only truth is and only truth can be.

The second category is of that which is untruth, which cannot be. No possibility of its being there, because how can untruth be? For being, truth is needed. So untruth is non-being, truth is being. Then Shankara finds a third category that he calls dreaming, appearance, illusion, maya: that which appears to be but is not.

So three categories. Truth, that which is. If your eyes are clear, unclouded, if the mind is not dreaming, then there is only one category – truth. But if your mind is dreaming then two other categories come into existence.

Dream is, in a certain sense, because you dream it. And it is not, in a different certain sense, because it corresponds to no reality. You dream in the night that you have become a king. In the morning you find you are just the same beggar. The dream was false, but the dream was, so it has a quality of truth about it because it happened. And in those moments when it was happening you completely believed in its truth, otherwise it would have stopped immediately.

If you become aware that “I am dreaming and this is false,” the dream is broken, you are awake already. The dream existed for a few hours; it had one quality of truth, that it existed. But it is not true because in the morning you find it was not. It was just a thought, a wave in the air, a flower in the sky – appeared to be true but was untrue.

Truth is being, untruth is non-being, and between the two there is a world of dreaming – it carries the qualities of both. And mind is the source of dreaming, so mind IS illusory. Mind is the source of all maya.

You may be thinking that if you leave the world and go to the Himalayas you will attain to truth. You are wrong, because your house is not maya, your wife is not maya, your children – no. Your mind is maya. And how can you leave the mind here and go to the Himalayas? The mind is within you. If you can drop it, you can drop it anywhere. If you cannot drop it, you cannot drop it whether you go to the Himalayas or not.

The wife, the children, the house, the world, is called maya, illusion, in a secondary sense – because the wife exists, she has a being. She is a Brahma in her own right, she is truth – not as a wife, but as a soul.

Your mind interprets her as wife: “She is my wife.” Then a dream is created. She is there, absolutely true! You are here, absolutely true! And between the two a dream happens. You call her your wife, she calls you her husband. Now a dream exists between the two, and dreams always become nightmares. So all relationships ultimately become nightmares, because you cannot tolerate an illusion very long. An illusion is temporary; sooner or later it has to disappear. It cannot be eternal, it cannot be permanent.

You love a woman, a dream is created. But how long can you dream? By the time the honeymoon is finished the dream is gone – even before. Then what will you do? Then you will pretend, because now you are a slave of your own promises.

You will pretend that you still love, you will pretend that “You are still beautiful,” you will pretend that “There exists no person like you.” But now everything is a pretension. And when you pretend, and the dream is broken, and you still carry the dream, it becomes a burden and nightmarish. That’s why you live in such suffering.

The suffering is nothing but broken dreams, broken rainbows, broken illusions, appearances. And you have invested in them so much you cannot look at the truth: that from the very beginning they were dreams.

Rather than looking at the truth you will throw the responsibility on the other. You will say, “This wife has deceived me. She was not as good as she appeared. She deceived me, she didn’t reveal her true reality.” And you will not see that that is not the point at all. You were creating a dream around her, and because of that dream you couldn’t see the reality. She was also creating a dream around you.

So whenever two persons fall in love there are not two persons, there are four: one the lover, another, the beloved, and between these two the beloved that is a creation of the mind of the lover, and the lover that is a creation of the mind of the beloved. These two are dreams, and these two go on moving.

Sooner or later, when the dream is broken, you are two not four. Whenever you are two there will be difficulty. Then you would like to throw the responsibility on the other: “It is because of the other.” You have missed the point again. That means you will create the same dream around another woman because you will think, “This woman is not going to deceive me, and now I am more clever also.”

But mind is never clever. The essence of mind is foolishness, so mind can never be clever. It can be cunning, cunning in its foolishness, but it can never be wise. That is not its nature, because wisdom happens only when dreaming leaves. So if dreaming is the basic reality of the mind then it can never be wise.

A Buddha is wise because now there is no mind. A Sosan is wise because now he lives in no-mind, now all dreams stop. He looks at things as they are. You never look at things as they are; you mix with your illusions. And you are so afraid to look straight because you know, unconsciously, deep down somewhere you know, that things are not as you look at them.

But you think if you look at the reality of things it will be too much, too heavy – you may not be able to stand it. You mix it with dreams just to make it a little sweeter. You think it is bitter so you coat it with sugar. You coat a person in dreams and you feel the person has become sweet? No, you are simply deceiving yourself, nobody else. Hence, so much misery.

It is out of your dreams that the misery has happened, and one has to be aware of this phenomenon. Don’t throw responsibility on the other; otherwise you will create other dreams. Look that it is you who are projecting, but it is difficult to look.

In a theater, in a cinema hall, you look at the screen, you never look at the back – the projector is at the back. The film is not there really on the screen; on the screen it is just a projection of shadow and light. The film exists just at the back, but you never look at that. And the projector is there. Your mind is at the back of the whole thing, and the mind is the projector. But you always look at the other because the other is the screen.

When you are in love the person seems beautiful, no comparison. When you hate, the same person seems the ugliest, and you never become aware of how the same person can be the ugliest and the same person can be the most beautiful. When you are in love the same person is a flower, a rose, a rose garden with no thorns. When you dislike, when you hate, flowers disappear, there are only thorns, no more a garden – the ugliest, the dirtiest, you would not like even to see. And you never become aware of what you are doing. How can roses disappear so soon, in a single minute? Not even a gap of a single minute is needed. This moment you are in love and the next moment you are in hate; the same person, the same screen, and the whole story changes.

Just watch and you will be able to see that this person is not the point, you are projecting something. When you project love the person looks lovely, when you project hate the person looks ugly. The person is not; you have not seen the real person at all. You cannot see the reality through the eyes of the mind.

If you really want to know what the truth is, scriptures won’t help. Neither will going to the Himalayas be of any help. Only one thing can help: start looking at things without the mind. Look at the flower and don’t allow the mind to say anything. Just look at it. It is difficult because of an old habit of interpreting. You go on interpreting and interpretations differ. Interpretations depend on the mind.

Mulla Nasruddin asked the court for a divorce. He said to the judge, “Now it is impossible. Every day I come back home and I find my wife is hiding some man or other in the closet.” Even the judge was shocked and he said, “Every day?” Nasruddin said, “Every day! And not the same person either – every day a new person.”

Just to console Nasruddin the judge said, “Then you must be very much hurt. You come home tired and you think the wife must be waiting for you, to receive and welcome and be loving. And you come home and you find a new man is hiding in the closet every day. It is very Nasruddin said, “Yes, I feel very hurt – because I never had any room to hang my clothes.”

It depends on the mind how you interpret things.

Then Nasruddin deserted his wife and ran away. He was caught, again brought to the court. The judge said, “You are a deserter and you have to be punished.”

Nasruddin said, “Wait! Before you decide you must see my wife. If you see my wife you will never say that I am a deserter. You will simply say, ’Nasruddin, you are a coward!’ And that I accept. I am not a deserter, simply a coward. But first look at my wife.”

How you look at things depends on you, not on things. Unless you come to a point where you drop the interpreting mind and look direct, look immediate, mind is your mediator. It brings you things distorted, it brings you things mixed with interpretations. They are not pure.

So the only way to reach to truth is: how to learn to be immediate in your vision, how to drop the help of the mind… This agency of the mind is the problem, because mind can create only dreams. But beautiful dreams mind can create, and you can get so excited. Through your excitement the dream starts looking like reality. If you are too excited then you are intoxicated, then you are not in your senses. Then whatsoever you see is just your projection. And there are as many worlds as there are minds, because every mind lives in its own world. You can laugh at others’ foolishness, but unless you start laughing at your own you will not be able to become a man of Tao, the man of nature, the man of truth. So what to do?

Try in small things not to bring the mind in. You look at a flower – you simply look. You don’t say, “Beautiful! Ugly!” You don’t say anything! Don’t bring words, don’t verbalize. Simply look. The mind will feel uncomfortable, uneasy. The mind would like to say something. You simply say to the mind, “Be silent! Let me see. I will just look.”

In the beginning it will be difficult, but start with things in which you are not too much involved. It will be difficult to look at your wife without bringing words in. You are too much involved, too much emotionally attached. Angry or in love, but too much involved. Look at things which are neutral – a rock, a flower, a tree, the sun rising, a bird in flight, a cloud moving in the sky. Just look at things with which you are not much involved, with which you can remain detached, with which you can remain indifferent. Start from neutral things and only then move towards emotionally loaded situations.

People start from the loaded situations; they fail, because it is almost impossible. Either you love your wife or you hate, there is no in between. If you love you are mad, if you hate you are mad – and both ways the words will come. It is almost impossible not to allow the words, difficult, because of so much practice in saying something continuously.

One day I was at Mulla Nasruddin’s house in the morning. They were taking tea when I arrived. The wife said, “Darling, in the night while you were asleep, you were saying many nasty things about me.” Nasruddin looked at me and said, “Who says I was asleep? I cannot say things while awake, that’s why I was pretending sleep.”

Even in sleep, or awake, when you are emotionally too much involved, it is difficult to put the mind aside. It will come in. So look at unloaded situations first. When you have the feeling that, yes, you can look at certain things without the mind coming in, then try with loaded relationships. By and by one becomes efficient. It is just like swimming: in the beginning you feel afraid and in the beginning you cannot believe how you will survive. And you have been working with the mind so long you cannot think that without the mind you can exist for a single moment. But try!

And the more you put the mind aside, the more light will happen to you, because when there are no dreams, doors are open, windows are open, and the sky reaches to you, and the sun rises and it comes to the very heart, the light reaches you. You become more and more filled with truth as you are less and less filled with dreaming.

And if while you are awake dreaming stops, by and by when you are asleep dreaming will stop there also, because it can exist only as a continuous circle. If it is broken anywhere, by and by the whole house disappears. You take out one brick and the whole house is already on the way towards being a ruin.

If during the day you can look at things without dreaming, then in the night less and less dreams will be there, because your night is nothing but a reflection of the day, a continuity of the same. When the day is different the night is different. When you are awake – and by ‘awake’ is meant when you are not dreaming, not that you are sitting with open eyes…

Jesus goes on saying to his disciples, “Be awake!” Were they sleeping before him always, continuously? Because he is every day saying, “Be awake!” Buddha teaching his disciples every day, “Be awake!” Why? They were with open eyes, as alert as you are, but Buddha and Jesus go on saying, “Be awake!” They mean, “Don’t dream, just be here! Don’t go anywhere else!” In the memories, in the past, and you dream; in the future, in imagination, and you dream. Be here-now – only then is there no dream.

In the present there is no dream. In the present there is no mind. In the present you are there and the truth is there. And then there is no gap between you and truth – because both are true and there is no boundary. You melt into truth and truth melts into you. You become Brahma, Brahma becomes you. Dreaming is creating a fence around you, very invisible but subtle, powerful.

-Osho

From Hsin Hsin Ming: The Book of Nothing, Chapter Seven

Hsin Hsin Ming

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.