Learn Waiting, Pure Waiting – Osho

At times I feel like I can just sit silently and wait for eternity – and other times like sobbing with the futility of sitting outside a gate I cannot even see – frozen between action and inaction. Does one miss by demanding? Is impatience a lack of trust?

One misses only by demanding. Demanding means that will is still there: you would like to have things your own way, you are still deciding how things should be. Then, naturally, if things are not like that, impatience arises; and if the demands are not fulfilled… frustration, anger, rage. And if it goes on and on, sooner or later you lose interest. You start thinking ‘This is impossible. All this talk about enlightenment, nirvana is impossible.’ You start finding ways of escaping from it; of getting back into the world, into the meaningless trivia, the mundane, the mediocre; of getting occupied – at least one is occupied, one has no time to think that things are futile. Sitting and waiting, again and again the idea arises ‘What are you doing here?’ The door has not opened yet – not only that, but you don’t know whether the door exists or not. The door is there just in front of you, but because of the demanding mode of your mind you cannot see it. The demanding mode of the mind keeps you blind. The door opens only for those who are in a non-demanding mode. Demand means imposing your will on existence.

And the existence is not willing for that. And it is good that it is not willing for that; otherwise, just as you are neurotic, the whole would go neurotic. So many wills imposing themselves upon existence, and if the existence were to yield to each and everybody’s desire… Just think what would happen: the whole would start falling into parts. There would be so many contradictory demands on it that those demands would drive it mad. If God is still sane the only reason is that nobody’s demands are ever fulfilled; nobody’s demand is ever even heard.

Prayers reach to him only when they are non-demanding. If there is even a hidden demand somewhere, that very demand makes the prayer so heavy that it cannot leave the earth. When there is no demand then it is weightless, then it can rise; then the gravitation has no effect on it, then it can go to the highest, to the deepest core of existence.

Only those prayers are heard which are nothing but jubilations, ‘alleluia’, for no particular reason. Only those prayers are heard which are nothing but thanks.

And, remember it, a mind which is entangled in thinking never comes to the point where thanking can happen. Thinking becomes a bar, a hindrance, to thanking. Either you can be thinking or you can be thanking, but you cannot be both together. Thanking arises out of non-thinking, and a demanding mind cannot afford to be non-thinking. He has to think, he has to work out… He has a demand that has to be fulfilled – he is after it, he is chasing it, he is putting everything at stake.

God is absolutely deaf to the prayers which demand, but God is absolutely open to the prayers which have no demand.

Krishna Gopa, you ask: At times I feel like I can just sit silently and wait for eternity – and other times like sobbing with the futility of sitting outside a gate I cannot even see – frozen between action and inaction.

Those are the great moments, when you are frozen between action and inaction. Remain frozen. Don’t do anything, just remain in that moment. You are on the verge of a new birth. If you can wait, a new life will arise – what Taoists call wei wu wei, action without action. And that happens only when you are frozen between action and inaction, if you choose you miss that birth. If you can remain frozen, don’t choose – so what? Remain in that moment. It is arduous for the mind because the mind starts feeling suffocated, the mind says ‘Do something, something has to be done. Anything will do, but do something. Don’t remain frozen here, you will die.’ You are not dying, the mind is dying, the ego is dying. The ego says ‘Do something – at least meditate, chant the name of God, pray. Do something.’ And if you do something, you have moved into action again.

These are rare moments, Gopa, when there is no action and no inaction, and you are frozen. Not that you are lethargic, so there is no inaction; you have energy, but the energy is not going anywhere because there is no goal left. The energy is simply there like a reservoir rising higher and higher, becoming greater and greater. You are ready to explode into something, into something absolutely new, of which you cannot even dream. You are on the verge of a new mode of life: action in inaction. Then a new activity starts in which you are not the actor, in which you are only a vehicle, a passage.

But I know those moments are hard, I have passed through those moments just as you are passing. One thing only can I say to help you: that they pass. But great patience is a must. Don’t be impatient, the impatience comes from the mind. The mind starts saying ‘Do something! Become occupied with something!’ because mind cannot exist without occupation, mind IS occupation. When there is no occupation there is no mind; suddenly you are silent, suddenly you arrive at the primal awareness. That’s what Buddhists call ‘Buddha-nature’. There is nothing to do, nothing to think; you are, but your being is just a pure mirroring, watching, waiting. And not waiting for something in particular because you don’t know where the gate is, you don’t know what is going to happen. So it is not a question of waiting for something; if you wait for something, you wait for Godot.

Waiting has to be pure. Enjoy waiting for itself, for its own sake. Don’t you see the beauty of just waiting – the purity of it, the benediction of it, the innocence of it – just waiting, not even capable of answering for what? See the point of it: pure waiting, not knowing what is going to happen. If you know what is going to happen that will be supplied by your past, it will be a continuity with the past; it will not be new. Maybe modified, but it will be again the same thing, it will be a repetition. How can you know what is going to happen? You have not known it before so how can you even imagine it?

Finding that there is no way to imagine the future, no way to imagine the unknown, the known ceases, all ideas in the mind disappear – ideas about God, ideas about samadhi, enlightenment. All disappears; in that disappearance is enlightenment. Never think for a single moment that your idea of enlightenment is going to be fulfilled. How can you have any idea of enlightenment? And whatsoever idea you have is going to be wrong.

When enlightenment happens, you will be surprised. You had read all the scriptures, and it wasn’t mentioned anywhere. It can’t be mentioned. You will be surprised. You have been hearing me year in, year out, and I had never mentioned it. I am trying, but it can’t be done in the very nature of the case. I am trying to do it in a thousand and one ways, but they are only indications… But when you arrive at the reality of it, when it explodes in you, then you will know that no Buddha has ever been able to say it. And then you will know that nobody is ever going to say it. It has remained unuttered.

And it is good that it has remained unuttered; otherwise, it would never be a new phenomenon to anybody. Millions of Buddhas have happened and they have talked about it and talked about it; you already know about it – and then it happens. It may be just something known, then it will not be a break-through, it will not be a discontinuity, it can’t be utterly new and radical.

It is utterly new and utterly radical.

So, waiting has to be with no idea for what. A real waiter cannot answer the question for what he is waiting; he can only shrug his shoulders, he can say ’I don’t know.’ But one thing is certain: that waiting is infinitely beautiful, waiting is infinitely joyous. When the whole turmoil disappears and it is all silence, it has a beauty of its own.

You ask me: Does one miss by demanding?

Certainly, absolutely. Demand has to be dropped.

Is impatience a lack of trust?

Yes, certainly, absolutely. Impatience simply means you can’t trust existence, you have to do something. You can’t just sit there and trust that it will happen when you are ripe; that when spring comes, the grass will grow of its own accord. You cannot trust; you have to pull the grass from the earth. You cannot wait like a farmer who has thrown his seeds into the soil and they have disappeared, and now he does not know anymore where they are, whether they are going to grow into plants, whether they are ever going to ripen.

Think of a farmer. He has lost the seeds that he had. He waits, he silently waits; he trusts, he trusts nature. ‘Soon the clouds will be coming, soon there will be great greenery all around and the seeds will start sprouting. They will become alive, they will come out of their slumber, they will again like to see the sun and the rain – it is going to happen.’ He trusts, it is just trust.

A meditator is a farmer. And, of course, he has to trust the ultimate nature of existence. Wait. Waiting is like a seed, waiting is the seed, the seed of enlightenment. If you can wait in its time – and you cannot decide the time – in its season, and you don’t know in what season… Because it differs, it differs from individual to individual.

Mahavir became enlightened on an absolutely dark night when there was no moon; Buddha became enlightened on a full-moon night. Once a Jaina came to me and he asked ’Why this difference? Is there something in it? Why did Mahavir become enlightened on a dark night with no moon? Why did Buddha become enlightened on a full-moon night? They are polar opposites. It is not just accidental; Buddha and Mahavir are polar opposites – contemporaries, but polar opposites. Mahavir is a man who struggles, who goes as deeply as possible in the will, by the will. He surrenders only at the last moment. His whole journey is a struggle; hence he is called Mahavir; the word means ‘the great warrior’. He is a warrior: his path is that of sankalpa, that of struggle, will, war. He goes on refining his will, he goes on and on sophisticating his will, making it more subtle, more purified. He has to surrender it – finally one has to surrender it – but he surrenders it only at the last moment when he has done all that he can do. Buddha is a totally different person: the man who arrives through let-go, the man who arrives through relaxing, the man who arrives not by fighting but by yielding.

They are totally different people; they will have different seasons of ripening, different seasons of blooming, different times. And nobody can say beforehand; it is unpredictable when your season will come, when it will be spring for you. One has to wait and one has to trust. Impatience is lack of trust.

Gopa, you have a subtle ego lurking somewhere in your unconscious. You have to become aware of it – that ego creates the problem, that ego surfaces again and again and you start demanding and you become impatient. And that is not your true nature. If it were your true nature I would have told you to become a warrior. Your real nature, your intrinsic quality, is not that of a warrior but of a lover.

But people are like that: divided, split. A part of your mind wants to fight, but the major part wants to relax. That’s why it happens that at times, you say, I feel like I can just silently sit and wait for eternity… That is your true nature – listen to it, get more and more into that – that is your real space, that is where your kingdom is. You have to explore this region more and more, you have to go into it. And when you start going into it and you start enjoying it and you start feeling that you can wait for eternity, the other part becomes worried. It is an intruder, a foreigner in your being; it is not your true being. That starts intruding, interfering; it comes and creates problems for you.

… and other times like sobbing with the futility of sitting outside a gate I cannot even see – frozen between action and inaction.

Avoid the other part. When I am saying avoid it, I am not saying repress it. If you repress it, it will become more and more powerful. By avoiding it I mean neglect it, ignore it, don’t nourish it anymore, don’t care about it. If it comes, take note of it but don’t get involved in it. Keep yourself aloof. Just know that it is an intruder.

I have looked in your eyes deeply, Gopa, in your being deeply. This is my reading about you: that you will come through love not through demanding, that you will come through relaxation not through willing, that you will come through waiting not through fighting. So you have to nourish that which is really your nature and you have to stop nourishing that which is not your real nature.

And how to decide what is your real nature? Whenever you are moving into your real nature you will feel happy, you will feel blissful. That is the criterion, remember it always. So whatsoever gives you joy, serenity, calmness, coolness – whatsoever makes you more centered – is your true nature.

That has to be nourished more and more, more care has to be taken about it; you have to pour your energies into it. And whenever you feel sad, depressed, angry, restless, that is not your real nature. You have to slowly, slowly disassociate yourself from this. Keep yourself aloof – just as when an uninvited guest comes to your home. It is an uninvited guest. And if you go on feeding both, you will get more and more into a kind of split; that’s how people become schizophrenic.

Learn waiting, pure waiting.

Martin Heidegger has said that pure waiting is openness, just openness – not in a particular direction, not toward a particular object, not for something special; just opening – opening to all the sides, to the whole of existence – a multi-dimensional opening. No object is consciously sought, you are not desiring anything; you are just waiting, open, for the unknown to happen, for the indefinable to happen. That’s God: the indefinable, the unknown and the unknowable. And the secret key to invite it is just to be in an open state, waiting with a throbbing heart, certainly, waiting with great love, but not knowing for what; waiting with great poetry in your being, waiting with a song, but not knowing for whom, for what.

This is sannyas, my sannyas. This is the space I would like all of you to enter.

Openness is the absence of single-perspective perceiving and thinking. Thinking is always one-dimensional; it moves in one direction; it is concentration. Waiting is meditation, not concentration. And if you have read in books and heard the so-called religious people saying again and again that ‘meditation is concentration’ you have to uncondition yourself about it; that is utter nonsense. Concentration is thinking; it is to move systematically into a certain thought, in a certain direction; it is directed, it is addressed. Concentration can only lead you towards the known – in a more systematic way of course, in a more scientific way of course – but only to the known. It is from the known to the known, it is never a revolution, it is never a quantum leap. It is from one conclusion to another conclusion, it is a refinement of the same thing, it is continuity.

Meditation is non-dimensional or multi-dimensional; it is overflowing in all directions. It is not directed towards any object, hence there is no demand, no desire. And how can there be thinking? Being is there, certainly, presence is there; you are there, very much you are there, but just like a sky without clouds, a mirror without dust – pulsating, alive, vital, open, waiting for the unknown. You can’t have any idea of it. That’s why I say if you are a Christian you will miss, because then you have an idea of God. If you are a Hindu, you will miss – then you have already concluded how God is. If you are a theist or an atheist you will miss, because you have already decided without experiencing.

Just wait without getting into any doctrine, any sect, any scripture. Just wait without thought. And let it happen! Obviously, great trust will be needed, and that is the function of being with a Master: to imbibe trust. What are you doing here sitting with me? Imbibing trust, learning how to be open. Sometimes you may be surprised why I go on talking every day. This is just a device to help you become more receptive: when you are listening to me you become more receptive. Listening has to be a kind of receptivity. Listening, you become open, you become all ears.

Have you watched one thing? Eyes are male, ears are female, that’s why eyes can offend. Have you ever heard of anybody’s ears offending you? They cannot offend. Eyes can rape; they are male, aggressive, violent. A man can look at you in such a way that he has violated you, that he has transgressed. Eyes can be used like swords; they are not just receptive, they are projective, they project. Ears can’t project, they simply receive, they are just open.

Talking to you every day is a message. The message is not in the content of my talk, the message is in the situation that it creates. The message is: become ears, become feminine, become open. Ears are just open, and you cannot even close them – nature has not provided for it. Eyes can be open or closed. Even while you are asleep the ears remain open – there is no other way, nature has not provided for it – they are pure opening. You may have heard again and again in the Jewish scriptures, Christian scriptures, Mohammedan scriptures, in the Vedas, that God has ‘been heard’.

Mohammed heard the Koran; he couldn’t see where it was happening from, who was saying it. And the prophets in ancient Israel had been hearing – they could not see, but they could hear. If you ask the psychoanalyst, he will say that these people are just neurotic, crazy; they have gone mad. But it is a symbol, and the followers have missed the meaning of it and the antagonists are missing the meaning of it. The message is only this: that God has entered in you through the feminine part of you, the ear.

The question is valid: if nothing can be said about truth, then why talk? Nothing can be said about truth, that is true; still, Buddhas have been talking so then there must be something else in it. That something else is this: just sitting by my side for one and a half hours, slowly, slowly a radical change happens in you. And you can see the shift. If you become a little more aware you will see the shift of your consciousness from the eyes towards the ears: from men you become women. Suddenly, the moment you start listening to me, you are no more male. And only those who shift like that listen.

For one and a half hours remaining continuously with me in a listening mode – open, receptive, non-interfering, non-projective – a great transfer is happening. They are just a device, these words: you become open, and my energy starts flowing in you. Imbibe it, digest it – the taste of it is trust – and more and more trust will arise. This kind of waiting is healing, stilling, strengthening.

Martin Heidegger comes very close to the Zen approach. Once he was asked ‘Then what in the world am I to do?’ Somebody asked him – he was talking about waiting and waiting and waiting, and naturally the question arose ‘Then what am I to do?’ He said ‘We are to do nothing but wait.’ But that is the greatest thing one can d0. Waiting is the greatest art – no craft is higher than that. It needs great courage, trust, great awareness, great love; it needs many things, only then one can wait.

Look into me, feel me, and learn how to wait. And one day, when the waiting has come to its optimum, it will happen. That’s how it has always happened.


From The Sun Rises in the Evening, Discourse #2

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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