Death is Not the Enemy – Osho

Death is not the enemy. It appears to be so because we cling too much to life. The fear of death arises out of the clinging. And because of this clinging we are unable to know what death is. Not only that, we are unable to know what life is too.

The man who is not able to know death will not be able to know life either, because deep down they are two branches of the same tree, If you are afraid of death, basically you will remain – because it is life that brings death. It is through living that you come to dying.

You would like to become stagnant frozen, so that you don’t flow, so that death never happens. You would like to get stuck somewhere on the way, so that you never come to the ocean and disappear.

A man who is afraid of death clings to life too much; but the irony is that even if he clings too much to life, he is not able to see what life is. His clinging to life becomes a barrier to understanding life too. He cannot understand death, he cannot understand life; he remains in a deep misunderstanding, in a great ignorance.

So this is one of the most fundamental things to see: that death is not the enemy. Death cannot be the enemy. In fact, the enemy exists not. The whole existence is one. All is friendly. All is yours, it belongs to you and you belong to it. You are not strangers here.

Existence has given birth to you; existence has mothered you. So when you die, you simply go back to the original source to rest and to be born again.

Death is like a rest. Life is activity: death is rest. And without rest activity is not possible. Life is like the day and death is like the night. And without the night, the day cannot exist on its own. It is night that prepares you for the day, it is night that rejuvenates you, gives you energy back. You move in your deep sleep to the very point where death will lead you.

Every night you go into death – it is a small death – hence in the morning you feel so alive. Unfortunate are those people who don’t die every night. In the morning they are more tired than they were when they went to bed. They were dreaming, they were still clinging to life in their dreams. They didn’t go in a let-go. They didn’t allow death to take possession of them and mend many things and give rest, relaxation, new energy. These are the unfortunate people. The fortunate people are those who go into a tremendously deep sleep, a dreamless sleep. In the morning they are again alive, ready to face life in its manifold forms, full of joy, full of response, ready to take any challenge that life proposes.

Death is like the night. Life is yang and death is yin. Life is male, death is female. Life is aggression, ambition – a great effort to conquer many things. And death is relaxation from all aggression – an inward journey. One relaxes into oneself. Zen people call it ‘the asylum of rest’.

Life is an adventure; you go away from yourself; you go farther and farther away. The farther away you are, the more miserable you become. You go in search of happiness, but the more you search for happiness, the farther you are from it. And you can see it in your own life. This is not a philosophy; this is a simple statement of fact. Everybody goes in search of happiness. But the farther away you go, the more miserable you become.

Life is a search for happiness – but brings misery. One day you are fed up and tired and bored. That adventure no longer appeals. You relax into yourself, you come back. The closer you come to yourself, the happier you become. The more you forget about happiness, the happier you become. The day you stop seeking and searching for happiness, you are happy.

Life is a promise for happiness, but only a promise. It never fulfills. Death fulfills it. Hence, I repeat: death is not the enemy. Death is your home where you come after many, many journeys – tired, frustrated, exhausted – to seek shelter, to seek rest, to gain again the lost vitality. One thing.

Second thing: life and death are not so much apart as we think. You think life happened the day you were born, and death will happen the day you die. So there is a seventy or eighty or one hundred years’ gap. It is not so. Birthing and dying go on together your whole life. The moment you start breathing you start dying too. Each moment there is life and there is death – two wheels of the same cart. They go together. They are simultaneous. You cannot put them so far apart – seventy years is too much distance. You cannot put them so far apart – they are there every moment. Every moment something is being born in you and something is dying.

Dying and living are together. In seventy years’ time you are finished with this dying and living. You are tired of the game. You would like to go home. You have played with sand castles. You have argued, fought for your sand castles: This is mine and that is thine, and enough is enough! Evening has come and the sun is setting and you want to come home. After seventy years you slip into deep rest. But dying and living continue together. To see it in that light will bring great insight to you. Each moment both are there.

So there is no need to be afraid. It is not that death is going to happen somewhere in the future. The future creates problems: It is going to happen somewhere in the future – how to protect yourself? How to create Great China Walls against it? What arrangements should be made so it doesn’t happen to you, or at least so it can be postponed a little more?

But it is already happening! It is not a question in the future. It has been happening since you have been here. You cannot postpone it; you cannot do anything about it! There is no way to do anything about it. It is the very process of life – dying is part of the very process of life.

For example, it comes very, very prominent and loud and bold when you make love. Naturally, because love gives you the feeling of life. But have you watched? After each love act you become depressed. Relaxed, silent, but a kind of frustration is also there. At the peak of your love you are at the peak of life, and then suddenly you fall into death. Each love act brings life to a peak, and, naturally, gives you a glimpse into the abyss of death that is surrounding it. The valley of death is very clear when the peak of life is very high.

Out of this experience, two types of culture have arisen in the world. One is sex-against, and one is death-against.

The sex-against culture emphasizes more the frustration that follows the sex act. It is more concerned with the valley. It says, “Look, nothing is achieved, only frustration. That was all illusion; that peak, that orgasm, was just illusory, momentary. See what really comes in the end – just frustration. Again, you are flat on the ground. So it was a kind of illusion that you have created, but this is reality.”

After each sex act, everybody starts thinking of how to become celibate, how to drop this whole miserable wheel, how to get out of this vicious wheel. The idea of celibacy and Brahmacharya has arisen because of that second part. It is there! People who are sex-against see only it. People who are death-against don’t see it. People who are death-against, they simply see the peak, they don’t look into the valley. Once the peak is there, they close their eyes and go into sleep. They don’t think about the valley. The valley is there, but they have chosen only the peak.

But see, there is a corollary to it. If you only see the peak then you will be very much afraid of death, because you will not have any experience of it. Then death will remain unknown forever. Only when you are dying, then you will come across it. Then it will be too much and too new, and too unfamiliar and unknown, and it will shock you very much.

So the people who are death-against and only see the peak of life, the orgasmic peak of the sex act, will avoid the valley, they will not look into it. Then ultimately, one day, that valley is there. They are very afraid. Hence, in the West, where sex has become more free and people are less sex-against, hey are more death-against. They are fighting against death. Somehow death has to be destroyed.

In the East, people are sex-against. They look only into the valley. They don’t look at the peak; they say the peak is just illusory. Because they look into the valley, they have become more and more death-prone, ready to die. In fact, waiting to die; in fact, hoping to die, desiring to die, dreaming to die. In the East the greatest ideal is how to die so utterly that you are never born again. That is the ultimate death.

In the West the idea is how to create a situation where you don’t die at all; you go on living – on and on and on. Both attitudes are lop-sided. Both attitudes create a kind of imbalance in you, and that imbalance is the misery of man.

A real man, an authentic man, will face all; he will not choose. He will not say, “I will see only the valley and I will be oblivious of the peak,” or “I will only see the peak and I will remain oblivious of the valley.” He will see both as they are. He will not choose.

Not to choose is Zen. To be choiceless is Zen: to see things as they are in their totality – good and bad, heaven and hell, life and death, day and night, summer and winter – to see them as they are. Zen is not an either/or philosophy. It does not give you a choice because it says, “If you choose, you will always be afraid of the one that you have not chosen.”

See into it: if you choose something, you will remain constantly trapped with that which you have not chosen, because the not-chosen is the rejected, the not-chosen is the repressed. The not-chosen is a hankering to take revenge. The not-chosen is getting ready – someday, in a weaker moment, it will explode with a vengeance.

So the man who is sex-against is always afraid of the vengeance of sex – it can explode any moment. And the man who is afraid of death, death-against, is naturally always trembling death is coming. He knows, there is a tacit understanding. Whether you see it or not, it makes no difference. Just not seeing it will not make it disappear. It is there. You know it is there and it is coming. And it is coming closer every moment.

The man who is sex-against will be afraid of sexuality erupting any moment in his consciousness. And the man who is death-against will be afraid of death coming any day and possessing him and destroying him.

Both kinds of people remain fear-oriented; and both kinds of people remain in a fighting state, continuously conflicting. They never come to a calm tranquility, an equilibrium. Equilibrium is when you don’t choose, when you see the fact as it is. Life is not an either/or question, there is nothing to choose. It is all together. By your choice, nothing is changed. By your choice, only you get into a kind of ignorance. That which you choose is part, and that which you are not choosing is also part of reality. The unchosen part of reality will remain hanging around you, waiting to be accepted. It cannot disappear, there is no way for it to disappear. If you love life too much and you don’t want to see the fact of death… death is there hanging around like a shadow.

Zen says: See both – they are one piece, they are together. Seeing them together, without any choice, without any prejudice, you transcend them. Seeing them together, you are no more identified with life and no more identified with death. When you are not identified, you are free, you are liberated.

Identification is what imprisonment is. Let this be understood perfectly, because that is the root cause of all our misery, slavery.

Identification – this word is very significant. It means you get identified with a part. You become one with one part of life, that part you start thinking of as if it is the whole. Nothing is wrong with the part as such, but the part is the part; it is not the whole. When you start thinking of the part as the whole, partiality arises. When you start claiming for the part as if it is the whole, you are becoming blind to the whole. Now you will be in conflict with reality. And you cannot win against reality, remember it. You cannot win against reality. It is impossible. It does not happen, it cannot happen. You can win only with reality, never against reality. Victory is with reality. That’s why all the great Masters have put so much emphasis on surrender. Surrender means to be with reality. Then victory is certain – because reality is going to win. It is always the reality that wins. If you are with it, you will be a winner; if you are against it, you are going to be a loser. And we are all losers, we have been fighting.

We choose a small part and claim that this is the whole. We choose life, we take life out of its basic context – death – and we say, “This is me. I am life.” Now you are getting into trouble. You will be encaged in this identification. How will you manage death then? – and it is there, and it is happening every moment, and it is going to take you unawares one day.

You get identified with the body, “I am the body,” then there is trouble. You get identified with the mind, “I am the mind,” then there is trouble. Getting identified is getting into trouble. Identification is the very stuff ignorance is made of. Once identification is dropped, once you don’t get identified with anything, you simply remain a witness – not saying, “This I am” or “that I am.” You simply remain a witness. You see life as passing, you see death as passing, you see sex as passing, you see frustration, joy, success, failure. You go on seeing; you remain a pure seer. You don’t get hooked with anything; you don’t claim “I am this.” Without claiming, who are you? Without confining and defining yourself, without giving a limitation to yourself, if you can remain flowing, just seeing, there is liberation. There is great liberation.

Unidentified one is free. Identified, one is encaged.

Zen says: Don’t be identified with anything whatsoever. And then, naturally, transcendence happens. You see misery coming and you remain a watcher. You see misery arising, engulfing you, surrounding you like great dark smoke, but you remain a watcher. You see it, you don’t judge. You don’t say, “This is me,” or “This is not me.” You don’t say anything at all, you remain non-judgemental. You simply see this is the fact, that there is misery. 

Then as it had come one day, one day it starts disappearing. Clouds had gathered and now they are disappearing, and there is great sunshine and happiness. You don’t get identified with that either. You just see that sunshine has come back; clouds have disappeared. You don’t say, “This is me,” you don’t say, “This is not me.” You don’t make any statement at all about yourself. You simply go on watching.

Many times, it will happen – misery will come, happiness will come – many times you will succeed, many times you will fail. Many times, you will be depressed, and many times you will feel very high. Watching all this duality, by and by you will see that you are beyond all these dual pairs of things.

And so is a pair – life and death. And so is a pair – mind and body. And so is a pair – the world and nirvana. All are dual pairs. When you can see thoroughly, when you can see transparently, and you don’t choose, you are something transcendental – the witness. That witness is never born and never dies.

Death and life come into that witness’ vision, but that witness is eternal. It was there before you were born, and it will be there when you are gone. You have been coming into the world millions of times, and you may yet be coming – and still you have never come. The world appears in you just like a reflection appears in a mirror. Nothing, in fact, happens to the mirror. Or do you think something happens to the mirror?

You are standing before a mirror and the mirror reflects your face. Do you think something is happening to the mirror? Nothing is happening. You are gone, the mirror is empty. Somebody else comes before the mirror, the mirror reflects that face – beautiful or ugly – it has no choice, it is choiceless. You bring a beautiful rose-flower, it reflects; you bring an ugly thorn, it reflects. You bring a beautiful face, it reflects; you bring an ugly face, it reflects. It has no choice. it does not say, “This is not good and I am not going to reflect,” and, “This is very good and I will cling to it. Please don’t go away from here. remain here. I am you; you are me.” No, the mirror simply reflects.

This mirror-like quality is what is meant by witnessing. And that’s why the mirror remains clean of all impressions. It goes on reflecting, but no impressions are collected on it. This is the state of awareness. This is what meditation is all about.

Watch, see, be alert, but don’t choose. And don’t get into any part. The part is not the whole. The part is part, and sooner or later the part will go, because the part cannot stay long enough. And when it goes you will be miserable because you will not be willing to leave it; you will cling to it, because you got identified with it. But it will have to go, and you will feel miserable and you will cry and you will weep – but that is your creation. If you had remained like a mirror there would be no problem. Whatsoever happens, happens. You remain undis-turbed and undistracted.

This is the very essential core of all religions. It is not a question of practice, it is not a question of learning concepts, dogmas. It is not a question of reciting sutras. It is a question of insight! And this insight is available to you. There is no need to go to anybody for this insight. You have been carrying it all along. From the very beginning it has been so. It is there, the mirror is there. Just start using it.

Try sometimes and you will be surprised! The same thing that has been disturbing you in the past no more disturbs. Somebody insults you – you simply watch, you don’t get identified with it. You don’t say, “He has insulted me.” How can he insult you? You don’t know yourself who you are, how can he know who you are? He cannot insult you. He may have been insulting some image that he carries of you, but that is not you. He may be having some idea about you, and that idea he is insulting. How can he insult you? He cannot see you at all.

If you remain alert and watchful, you will be surprised – the insult came and went and nothing happened inside you, nothing was stirred, The calmness was radiant. No vibration, no wave, not even a ripple arose in you. And you will be tremendously blissful knowing this mirror like quality. Then you are becoming integrated.

Then somebody comes and praises you. Try it again. Be watchful. Don’t think he is praising you. He may be praising somebody he thinks you are. He may be praising you for some ulterior motives of his own. That is none of your business. You simply see the fact that “this man is praising me.” But remain a mirror. Don’t swallow it! Don’t cling to it! If you swallow it you will be in difficulty. Then ego arises – with identification, ego.

And then you start expecting that everybody should praise you like this man. Nobody’s going to praise you like that. Then there is hurt and misery. And tomorrow this man may not praise you again. His motive may have been fulfilled. Or tomorrow he may start thinking that he was wrong, or tomorrow he may take revenge. Whenever somebody praises you, some day he is going to insult you too – because he has to take revenge, he has to put things right.

An imbalance arises. When somebody is praising you, he is not feeling really very good; it hurts him to praise you. He has to show you that you are higher than him – that hurts. He may not show it right now, but he will keep the hurt, the wound, inside. And some day if the opportunity arises, he will show you who you are; he will put you in your right place. And then you will be very much hurt. This man has been praising you so much, and now he hurts you. But he has not done anything. It is you – you started clinging to the idea that he had put in your mind.

Not getting identified with anything, watching, keeping the mirror-like quality is what brings one, by and by, closer to enlightenment.

Rinzai was giving a lecture one day on the ‘True Man of No Title’. That’s what I mean when I say the mirror-like quality – the ‘True Man of No Title’. There is inside you a True Man of No Title. It is neither man nor woman, neither Hindu nor Mohammedan, neither good nor bad – it has no titles – neither educated nor uneducated, neither Eastern nor Western, it has no titles – neither a saint nor a sinner, it has no titles. And that is the true man inside you.

Rinzai was giving a lecture one day on the ‘True Man of No Title’. This was the title of his lecture:

A monk, quite perplexed, went up to him and asked, “What is this True Man of No Title?” Rinzai grabbed him by the neck and yelled, “Speak! Speak!” The monk was dumbfounded and could say nothing. Rinzai let go of him and exclaimed: “What worthless stuff is this True Man of No Title!”

What Rinzai did was to create a situation. The man asked, “What is this True Man of No Title?” Rinzai grabbed him by the neck and shouted, “Speak! Speak!” He has shocked him. In that shock all titles have disappeared. In that shock he is nobody, simply nobody, a mirror. In that shock the mind is no more spinning. In that shock he is simply dumbfounded. Rinzai has created a situation for him to look into this real man of no title, this mirrorlike quality.

But the man missed, he started thinking how to answer. “What is my Master doing to me? Is this the right thing to do to a questioner?” He must have got into thoughts like that. He missed the point. That’s why Rinzai exclaimed: “What worthless stuff is this True Man of No Title!”

The moment your mirror starts clinging to something, you become worthless. The moment your mirror is covered and attached to something; it is collecting dust – you become worthless. The moment the mirror collects no dust, you have immense worth – you are a god. The only difference between a Buddha and you is this much: that your mirror has collected much dust and Buddha’s mirror has become completely clean of all dust. Your thoughts are nothing but dust.

But sometimes you value dust very much. You say, “This is golden dust, this is no ordinary dust. This is pure gold! I have to hold it. I should not allow anybody to rob me of it; it is very valuable.”

That’s how you have become attached to life. You think it is very valuable. And because you become attached, you think of death as the enemy, the robber. Death is coming and it will rob you of all your gold, of all the precious stones that you have carried all along. It will take all the dust off your mirror – and that’s all you have been thinking is your life. Hence, you are afraid.

If you see the point, death is a friend. In fact, a far greater friend than life itself. Why do I say so?

I say so because in life you get attached, you collect dust. Death takes all your attachments and all your dust away. If you can see the point, you will feel tremendously grateful to death. What you cannot do, death does for you. That’s why if you can do it, then there is no death for you; then there is no need for death. If a man can clean his consciousness through meditation, then he will never die.

I’m not saying that he will not die in the body – that is a natural thing. But he will never come across death. Death happens only to the dust that collects on the mirror. The mirror never dies! The mirror itself is undying. This witnessing is an undying process, it is eternal. The traveler continues; only the clothes become torn and rotten, and they have to be changed. The traveler continues; only dust gathers on the body and you have to take a bath.

But if you start thinking that your dust is you, you will not take any bath. There are people who are very much afraid of taking a shower – as if they will lose something, something valuable. There are people who are afraid of meditation because meditation is a shower. It takes all the nonsense thoughts that you have collected, accumulated – all the junk that you go on carrying in your head.

And your head is suffering, is very heavy, and you are miserable, but still you go on carrying it thinking that it is valuable.

Death is a great friend, it unburdens you. It unburdens you of all that you have accumulated. Once this unburdening is allowed voluntarily, death becomes samadhi. If you don’t allow it voluntarily, then death is not a samadhi, it is a pain. Now see the point. The same thing can be utter pain, and the same thing can be utter joy. It depends on your interpretation – how you look at things, how you penetrate a certain experience, how deep you go into it. 

If you are a clinger, very possessive, then death will be very painful and will be a great anguish. You will suffer. You will not suffer because of death, you will suffer because of your clinging, because of your possessiveness, because of your attachments, because of your greed, and all that.

But if you are not a clinger, you are not very possessive, you are not greedy, you are not egoistic, you are not aggressive, suddenly death’s quality has changed. It comes like a fresh breeze of God. It comes and cleanses you. It gives you a great rest much needed. It purifies you. It takes you into the eternal source from where you will rise again. If you go voluntarily into it you will rise in a better form, because you have learned something from the last form. If you don’t go voluntarily, then too death will throw you into the furnace, will burn you, but forcibly, and you will come back again into the same form because you have not learned anything.

The student who has not learned anything has to be sent to the same class again and again and again. A Buddha is a person who has learned all the possibilities of all forms. He has been a rock, and he learned it. He has been a tree, and he learned it. He has been a tiger, and he learned it. He has been a man and a woman, he learned it. He has been a god and he learned it. And he went on learning and learning and learning…. And one day he has finished all forms. He has gone through all forms – watching, choicelessly alert, keeping his mirror bright, un-clouded, he has come through all the forms. And he has now come to a point where no more learning is needed. He has learned the lesson. Then he disappears. Then death becomes nirvana. Then he spreads all over existence, then he becomes a fragrance. Then he enters the cosmic form. Now small forms are no more needed. He has learned all that was there in those small forms. All that was contained in those small forms he has decoded. He has become a grown-up. Now there is no need for him to go back to school. He becomes part of the whole. He spreads over the whole. Then he is a song in the heart of the cosmic mind, a blessing, a peace. He does not come any more, he has gone beyond the point of return.

This is the ultimate learning. But one has to go through all the forms. And death brings a great lesson, far greater than life. And death brings a very intense possibility to understand, because life is spread long range – death comes in a very, very potential way in a very short time. In a single moment it shakes you. If you are not alert you will miss that moment, the moment is very tiny. If you are alert, then that very moment becomes a door into the divine.

Once you are not attached to death, once you are not afraid of death, death becomes a game, a play.

Listen to this beautiful story:

Almost blind at the age of ninety-six and no longer able to teach or work about the monastery, Zen Master Yamamoto decided it was time to die, so he stopped eating. When asked by his monks why he refused his food, he replied that he had out-lived his usefulness and was only a bother to everybody.

Now ninety-six… it is enough. And the old man thinks that now it is time to die, so he stops eating food. Death is just a rest. It is time to rest. He starts preparing to retire. This is the understanding that is needed. 

The disciples told him, “If you die now” – it was January and very cold – “when it is so cold, everybody will be uncomfortable at your funeral and you will be an even greater nuisance, so please eat!”

Those were also great people. Mm? – the reason they give: “Please just think of the cold. You will be dying, it is January and much too cold, and you will be a greater nuisance to all of us. We will have to go to your funeral – so start eating.”

This can happen only in a Zen monastery with a Zen Master and Zen disciples. Nobody is worried about the death. Death is okay. The Master is ready to die, but look at the disciples. Those disciples are also very close to enlightenment. They say, “Stop your nonsense! Right now it is not a good time. Why do you want to create trouble for us? Yes, you are a bother – ninety-six years old – but that will be even more bothersome, dying in the middle of January. Please eat!”

So the old man laughed, he resumed eating, but when it became warm again he stopped, and not long after quietly toppled over and died.

Death, too, is then a game, something to be played with. Then you are not afraid. There is nothing to be afraid of. Then you are not even serious. Look at the non-seriousness of the whole thing. Can you think of something like this happening in the West? Impossible! It can only happen in the East where people have accepted life and death both, as they are.

And this can happen only when you know that nobody is going to die – that’s why they could joke with the old man, and the old man laughed. He was not offended. Just think of the disciples saying, “This will be a nuisance, sir, dying in the middle of January. It is so cold and it will be a great bother for all of us to go to the funeral.” Just see the point of it, the humor of it – as if life and death are nothing but jokes, as if the old man is just going to play an act, as if it is not truth!

That’s how it is. Simply as if he is going to play an act. “Please don’t play it right now, later on you can do it when the days are warmer.” The old man laughed; he didn’t feel offended. He must have enjoyed it tremendously. This was a great insight in his disciples. Now they even take death humorously. When you start taking death also humorously, you are a man of under-standing. You are, by and by, turning into The Man of No Title, the real Man of No Title. When you take death also with humor, you have already gone beyond it. And to go beyond life and death is to go into your reality.

Another anecdote:

When Tozan was dying a monk said to him, “Master, your four elements are out of harmony, but is there anyone who is never ill?”

“There is,” said Tozan.

He was very ill. The whole body was just disintegrating. The four elements were no more together. It was a kind of riot inside his body, Elements were trying to get free of each other. Tozan was old and dying, and the disciple asks, “Your four elements are out of harmony, but is there anyone who is never ill?”

“There is,” said Tozan.

“Does this one look at you?” asked the monk.

“It is my function to look at him,” answered Tozan.

“How about when you yourself look at him?” asked the monk.

“At that moment I see no illness,” replied Tozan.

In you there are two worlds: the world of birth and death, and the world that is transcendental. Yes, the body can be very ill, and yet there may be no illness in you – if you don’t get attached to illness, if you don’t get identified with illness, if you don’t start thinking “I am ill.” It is only a kind of hypnosis. It has to be learned through many many doors.

When you feel hungry, what do you say? You say, “I am hungry.” You are not – the body is hungry; the organism is hungry. You are just a watcher, you are just seeing that the body is hungry. Then you eat and you fed satisfied, and you say, “Now I am satisfied, fully satisfied.” You are not satisfied, because you were not hungry in the first place! First you had seen hunger in the body, now you feel satisfaction in the body – but you are just a witness. First your mirror was reflecting the hungry man standing in front of you, and now your mirror reflects the satisfied man standing before you – but the mirror was never hungry and the mirror is not satisfied either.

One day you are healthy, another day you are ill – the mirror reflects! One day you are young, another day you are old. One day you are loved, another day you are hated. One day appreciated, another day condemned. The mirror goes on reflecting. The function of the mirror is just to reflect whatsoever is the case. But each time you get identified.

Stop this identifying yourself with things that are standing in front of you, and suddenly you will see you have never been ill and never been hungry and never been born, and never are you going to die. You are the very source of eternity. You are eternal.

-Osho

From Zen: The Path of Paradox, V.3, Discourse #7

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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A Small and Momentary Gap – Osho

How is it possible that by simply becoming aware at a particular point in the breathing process one can attain enlightenment? How it is possible to become free from the unconscious by just being aware of such a small and momentary gap in the breathing?

This question is significant, and this question is likely to have occurred to many minds, so many things have to be understood. First, it is thought that spirituality is a difficult attainment. It is neither: that is, it is neither difficult nor an attainment. Whatsoever you are, you are already spiritual. Nothing new is to be added to your being, and nothing is to be discarded from your being; you are as perfect as possible. It is not that you are going to be perfect sometime in the future, it is not that you have to do something arduous to be yourself. It is not a journey to some other point somewhere else; you are not going somewhere else. You are already there. That which is to be attained is already attained.

This idea must go deep, only then will you be able to understand why such simple techniques can help. If spirituality is some attainment, then of course it is going to be difficult – not only difficult, but really impossible. If you are not already spiritual, you cannot be, you never can be, because how can one who is not spiritual be spiritual? If you are not divine already then there is no possibility, there is no way. And no matter what effort you will make, effort made by one who is not already divine cannot create divinity. If you are not divine, your effort cannot create divinity. Then it is impossible.

But the whole situation is totally opposite: you are already that which you want to attain. The end of longing is already there, present in you. Here and now, this very moment, you are that which is known as divine. The ultimate is here; it is already the case. That is why simple techniques can help. It is not an attainment, but a discovery. It is hidden, and it is hidden in very, very small things.

The persona is just like clothes. Your body is here, hidden in clothes; in the same way your spirituality is here, hidden in certain clothes. These clothes are your personality. You can be naked just here and now, and in the same way you can be naked in your spirituality also. But you do not know what the clothes are. You do not know how you are hidden in them; you do not know how to be naked. You have been in clothes so long – for lives and lives and lives you have been in clothes – and you have been so identified with the clothes, that now you do not think that these are clothes. You think these clothes are you. That is the only barrier.

For example, you have some treasure, but you have forgotten or you have not yet recognized that this is a treasure, and you go on begging in the streets… you are a beggar. If someone says, “Go and look inside your house. You need not be a beggar, you can be an emperor this very moment,” the beggar is bound to say, “What nonsense you are talking. How can I be an emperor this very moment? I have been begging for years and still I am a beggar, and even if I go on begging for lives together, I am not going to be an emperor. So how absurd and illogical your statement is, ‘You can be an emperor this very moment.’”

It is impossible. The beggar cannot believe it. Why? Because the begging mind is a long habit But if the treasure is just hidden in the house, then from simple digging, removing the earth a little bit, the treasure will be there. And immediately he will not be a beggar again, he will become an emperor. It is the same with spirituality: it is a hidden treasure. Nothing is to be achieved somewhere in the future. You have not yet recognized it, but it is there already in you. You are the treasure, but you go on begging.

So simple techniques can help. Digging the earth, removing a little bit, is not a big effort, and you can become an emperor immediately. You have to dig a little bit to remove the earth. And when I say remove the earth; it is not only symbolically that I am saying it. Literally your body is part of the earth, and you have become identified with the body. Remove this earth a little bit, create a hole in it, and you will come to know the treasure.

That is why this question will occur to many. Really, to everyone this question will occur: “So small a technique like this – being aware of your breathing, being aware of the incoming breath and the outgoing breath, and then realizing the interval between the two – is this enough?” Such a simple thing! Is this enough for enlightenment? Is this the only difference between you and Buddha, that you have not realized the gap between two breaths and Buddha has realized it – only this much? It seems illogical. The distance is vast between a Buddha and you. The distance seems infinite. The distance between a beggar and an emperor is infinite, but the beggar can immediately become an emperor if the treasure is already hidden.

Buddha was a beggar like you; he was not a buddha always. At a particular point the beggar died, and he became the master. This is not a gradual process really; it is not that Buddha goes on accumulating and then one day he is not the beggar and he becomes the emperor. No, a beggar can never become an emperor if it is going to be an accumulation, he will remain a beggar. He may become a rich beggar, but he will remain a beggar. And a rich beggar is a bigger beggar than a poor beggar.

Suddenly, one day Buddha realizes the inner treasure. Then he is no more a beggar, he becomes a master. The distance between Gautam Siddharth and Gautam Buddha is infinite. It is the same distance that is between you and a buddha. But the treasure is hidden within you as much as it was hidden in Buddha.

Take another example…. One man is born with blind eyes, diseased eyes. For a blind man, the world is a different thing. A small operation may change the whole thing, because only the eyes have to be made all right. The moment the eyes are ready, the seer is hidden behind and he will begin to look from the eyes. The seer is already there, only windows are lacking. You are in a house with no windows. You can break a hole in the wall, and suddenly you will look out. We are already that which we will be, which we should be, which we are to be. The future is already hidden in the present; the whole possibility is here in the seed. Only a window has to be broken, only a small surgical operation is needed. If you can understand this, that spirituality is already there, already the case, then there is no problem concerning how such a small effort can help.

Really, no big effort is needed. Only small efforts are needed, and the smaller the better. And if you work effortlessly it is still better. That is why it happens, many times it happens, that the more you try, the harder it is to attain. Your very effort, your tension, your occupiedness, your longing, your expectation, becomes the barrier. But with a very small effort, an effortless effort as they call it in Zen – doing as if not doing – it happens easily. The more you are mad after it, the less is the possibility, because where a needle is needed you are using a sword. The sword will not be helpful. It may be bigger, but where a needle is needed a sword will not do.

Go to a butcher – he has very big instruments. And go to a brain surgeon: you will not find such big instruments with the brain surgeon. And if you do find them, then escape immediately! A brain surgeon is not a butcher. He needs very small instruments – the smaller the better.

Spiritual techniques are more subtle; they are not gross. They cannot be, because the surgery is even more subtle. In the brain the surgeon is still doing something with gross matter, but when you are working on spiritual planes the surgery becomes more and more aesthetic. No gross matter is there. It becomes subtle – that is one thing.

Secondly, the questioner asks, “If something is smaller, how can a bigger step be possible through it?” This concept is irrational, unscientific. Now science knows that the smaller the particle, the more atomic, the more explosive – the bigger really. The smaller it is, the bigger the effect. Could you have conceived before 1945, could any imaginative poet or dreamer have conceived that two atomic explosions would wipe out completely two big cities in Japan – Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Two hundred thousand people were simply wiped out of existence within seconds. And what was the explosive force used? An atom! The very smallest particle blew up two big cities. You cannot see the atom. Not only with your eyes can you not see, you cannot see by any means. The atom cannot be seen with any instrument; we can only see the effects.

So do not think that the Himalayas are bigger because they have such a big body. The Himalayas are just impotent before an atomic explosion. One small atom can wipe out the whole Himalayas. Size in gross material is not necessarily power. On the contrary, the smaller the unit, the more penetrating. The smaller the unit, the more intensely it is filled with power.

These small techniques are atomic. Those who are doing bigger things do not know atomic science.

You will think that a person who is working with atoms is a small person working with small things, and a person who is working with the Himalayas will look very big. Hitler was working with great masses; Mao is working with great masses. And Einstein and Planck, they were working in their laboratories with small units of matter – energy particles. But ultimately, before Einstein’s research politicians were just impotent. They were working on a bigger canvas, but they did not know the secret of the small unit.

Moralists always work on big planes, but these are gross. The thing looks very big. They devote their whole lives to moralizing, practicing this and that, to sanyam – control. They go on controlling; the whole edifice looks very big.

Tantra is not concerned with this. Tantra is concerned with the atomic secrets in the human being, in the human mind, in human consciousness. And tantra has achieved atomic secrets. These methods are atomic methods. If you can attain them, their result is explosive, cosmic.

Another point is to be noted. If you can say, “How is it that with such a small, simple exercise one can become enlightened?” you are saying this without doing the exercise. If you do it, then you will not say that this is a small, simple exercise. It looks this way because within two or three sentences the whole exercise has been given.

Do you know the atomic formula? Two or three words, and the whole formula is given. And with those two or three words, those who can understand, those who can use those words, can destroy the whole earth. The formula is very small.

These too are formulas, so if you just look at the formula it will look to be a very, very small, simple thing. It is not! Try to do it. When you do it, then you will know that it is not so easy. It looks simple, but it is one of the deepest things. We will analyze the process; then you will understand.

When you take your breath in, you never feel the breath. You have never felt the breath. You will immediately deny this. You will say, “This is not right. We may not be conscious continuously, but we feel the breath.” No, you do not feel the breath, you feel the passage.

Look at the sea. Waves are there; you see the waves. But those waves are created by air, wind. You do not see the wind; you see the effect on the water. When you take breath in it touches your nostril. You feel the nostril, but you never know the breath. It goes down – you feel the passage. It comes back – again you feel the passage. You never feel the  breath, you just feel the touch and the passage.

This is not what is meant when Shiva says, Be aware. First you will become aware of the passage, and when you have become completely aware of the passage, only then will you begin, by and by, to be aware of the breath itself. And when you become aware of the breath, then you will be capable of being aware of the gap, the interval. It is not as easy as it looks.

For tantra, for all seeking, there are layers of awareness. If I embrace you, first you will become aware of my touch upon your body; not of my love, my love is not so gross. And ordinarily we never become aware of love. We are aware only of the body in movement. We know loving movements, we know non-loving movements – but we have never known love itself. If I kiss you, you become aware of the touch, not of my love; that love is a very subtle thing. And unless you become aware of my love the kiss is just dead, it means nothing. If you can become aware of my love, then only can you become aware of me, because that again is a deeper layer.

The breath goes in. You feel the touch, not the breath. But you are not even aware of that touch. If something is wrong, only then do you feel it. If you have some difficulty in breathing, then you feel it; otherwise you are not aware. The first step will be to be aware of the passage where breath is felt to be touching; then your sensitivity will grow. It will take years to become so sensitive that not the touch, but the movement of breath is known. Then, says tantra, you will have known prana – the vitality. And only then is there the gap where breath stops, where breath is not moving – or the center where the breath is touching, or the fusion point, or the turning where the breath, the ingoing breath, becomes outgoing. This will become arduous; then it will not be so simple.

If you do something, if you go into this center, only then will you know how difficult it is. Buddha took six years to come to this center beyond the breath. To come to this turning, he had a long, arduous journey of six years; then it happened. Mahavir was working on it for twelve years; then it happened. But the formula is simple, and theoretically this can happen this very moment – theoretically, remember. There is no barrier theoretically, so why should it not happen this very moment? You are the barrier. Except for you this can happen this very moment. The treasure is there; the method is known to you. You can dig, but you will not dig.

Even this question is a trick not to dig, because your mind says, “Such a simple thing? Don’t be a fool. How can you become a buddha through such a simple thing? It is not going to be.” And then you are not going to do anything, because how can this happen? Mind is tricky. If I say this is very difficult, the mind says, “This is so difficult it is beyond you.” If I say this is very simple, the mind says, “This is so simple that only fools can believe in it.” And mind goes on rationalizing things, always escaping from doing.

Mind creates barriers. It will become a barrier if you think this is so simple, or this is too difficult – then what are you going to do? You cannot do a simple thing, you cannot do a difficult thing. What are you going to do? Tell me! If you want to do a difficult thing, I will make it difficult. If you are going to do a simple thing, I will make it simple. It is both – it depends on how it is interpreted. But one thing is needed, that you are going to d0. If you are not going to “do” then the mind will always give you explanations.

Theoretically, it is possible here and now; there is no actual barrier. But there are barriers. They may not be actual, they may simply be psychological – they may just be your illusions – but they are there. If I say to you, “Do not be afraid – go! The thing that you are thinking is a snake is not a snake, it is just a rope,” still the fear will be there. To you it appears to be a snake.

So whatsoever I say is not going to help. You are trembling; you want to escape and run away. I say it is just a rope, but your mind will say, “This man may be in conspiracy with the snake. There must be something wrong. This man is forcing me toward the snake. He may be interested in my death, or something else.” If I try to convince you too much that this is a rope that will only show that I am somehow interested in forcing you toward the snake. If I say to you that theoretically it is possible to see the rope as a rope this very moment, your mind will create many, many problems.

In reality there is no dilemma; in reality there is no problem. There never has been, there never will be. In mind there are problems, and you look at reality through the mind; thus, the reality becomes problematic. Your mind works like a prison. It divides and creates problems. And not only that, it creates solutions which become deeper problems, because in fact there are no problems to be solved. Reality is absolutely unproblematic; there is no problem. But you cannot see anything without problems. Wherever you look, you create problems. Your “look” is problematic. I told you this breath technique; now the mind says, “This is so simple.” Why? Why does the mind say this is so simple?

When for the first time the steam engine was invented, no one believed it. It looked so simple – unbelievable. Just the same steam that you know in your kitchen, in your kettle, the steam running an engine, running hundreds and hundreds of passengers and such a load? The same steam that you are so well-acquainted with? This is not believable.

Do you know what happened in England? When the first train started, no one was ready to sit in it – no one! Many people were persuaded, bribed, they were given money to sit in the train, but at the last point they escaped. They said, “Firstly, steam cannot do such miracles. Such a simple thing as steam cannot do such miracles. And if the engine starts, that means that the devil is at work somewhere. The devil is running the thing, it is not the steam. And what is the guarantee that once the thing starts you will be capable of stopping it?”

No guarantee could be given because this was the first train. Never had it stopped before, it was only probable. There was no experience, so science could not say, “Yes it will stop.”

Theoretically it will stop… but the people were not interested in theories. They were interested if there was any actual experience of stopping a train: “If it never stops then what will happen to us who will be sitting in it?”

So twelve criminals from the jail were brought as passengers. Anyhow they were going to die, anyhow they were sentenced to death, so there was no problem if the train was not going to stop.

Then the mad driver who thought that it was going to stop, the scientist who had invented it and these twelve passengers who were anyhow going to be killed, they alone would all be killed. “Such a simple thing as steam,” they said at that time. But now no one says this, because now it is working and you know it.

Everything is simple – reality is simple. It seems complex only because of ignorance; otherwise everything is simple. Once you know it, it becomes simple. The knowing is bound to be difficult not because of reality, remember, but because of your mind. This technique is simple, but it is not going to be simple for you. Your mind will create difficulty. So try with it.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #4

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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On Reincarnation – Osho

I want to say one thing to you: the whole idea of reincarnation is a misconception. It is true that when a person dies his being becomes part of the whole. Whether he was a sinner or a saint does not matter, but he had also something called the mind, the memory. In the past the information was not available to explain memory as a bundle of thoughts and thought waves, but now it is easier.

And that’s where, on many points, I find Gautam Buddha far ahead of his time. He is the only man who would have agreed with my explanation. He has given hints, but he could not provide any evidence for it; there was nothing available to say. He has said that when a person dies, his memory travels into a new womb – not the self. And we now can understand it, that when you are dying, you will leave memories all around in the air. And if you have been miserable, all your miseries will find some location; they will enter into some other memory system. Either they will enter totally into a single womb – that’s how somebody remembers one’s past. It is not your past; it was somebody else’s mind that you have inherited.

Most people don’t remember because they have not got the whole lump, the whole heritage of a single individual’s memory system. They may have got fragments from here and there, and those fragments create your misery system. All those people who have died on the earth have died in misery. Very few people have died in joy. Very few people have died with the realization of no-mind. They don’t leave a trace behind. They don’t burden anybody else with their memory. They simply disperse into the universe. They don’t have any mind and they don’t have any memory system. They have already dissolved it in their meditations. That’s why the enlightened person is never born.

But the unenlightened people go on throwing out, with every death, all kinds of misery patterns. Just as riches attract more riches, misery attracts more misery. If you are miserable, then from miles, misery will travel to you – you are the right vehicle. And this is a very invisible phenomenon, like radio waves. They are traveling around you; you don’t hear them. Once you have the right instrument to receive them, immediately they become available. Even before the radio was there, they were traveling by your side.

There is no incarnation, but misery incarnates. Wounds of millions of people are moving around you, just in search of somebody who is willing to be miserable. Of course, the blissful does not leave any trace. The man of awakening dies the way a bird moves into the sky, without making a track or a path. The sky remains empty. Blissfulness moves without making any trace. That’s why you don’t get any inheritance from the buddhas; they simply disappear. And all kinds of idiots and retarded people go on reincarnating in their memories and it becomes every day thicker and thicker.

Today, perhaps, it has come to the point to be understood and to be dissolved; otherwise it is too thick to allow you to live, to allow you to laugh.

Your own consciousness has no wounds.

Your own consciousness knows nothing of misery.

Your own consciousness is innocent, utterly blissful.

To bring you in touch with your own consciousness, every effort is being made to detract you from the mind. The mind contains all your misery, all your wounds. And it goes on creating wounds in such a way that, unless you are aware, you will not even find how it creates them. […]

I teach you the watcher.

The only way to get out of misery patterns, whether ancient or new, is witnessing. I say it is the only way, because nobody has escaped from the mind without becoming a witness. Just witness, and suddenly you will start laughing at your own misery. All our miseries are so superficial – and most fundamentally, they are all borrowed.

And everybody is giving his misery to everybody else he comes in contact with. People are talking continuously about their miseries, about their troubles, about their conflicts. Have you ever heard anybody talking about his joyous moments? About his dances and songs? About his silences and blissfulness? No, nobody talks about these things. People go on sharing all their wounds, and whenever you are talking about your misery to somebody, without your knowing, you are transferring a miserable pattern. The person may be thinking that he is only listening to you, but he is also catching the vibe of misery, the wounds.

When I said that you carry other people’s wounds, my statement meant that your own consciousness has no wounds. If everybody becomes alert, meditative, there will be no wounds in the world. They will simply disappear. They will not find any house, any shelter. This is possible. If it is possible for me, it is possible for everybody.

-Osho

Excerpt from The Zen Manifesto, Discourse #5

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 Viha Osho Book Distributors.

Start Witnessing Your Boredom – Osho

For me it’s either high-energy excitement where life is wonderful and a joy to be alone; or very often these days there’s a quietness that’s dull and boring. In the one there’s juice but no awareness, and in the other there’s awareness but no juice. Is there a knack in bringing these two together?

It is a very simple thing. You say you have moments of great ecstasy, full of juice, but you become drowned in that juice; the ecstasy is so overwhelming you forget to be watchful. You become immersed in that ecstasy; the witness is not there. And then you say there are moments when you are sad, bored, but the witness is there.

You just have to put things in their right place. Start from your boredom and sadness, because the witness is there and the witness is going to be the bridge. So when you are sad and bored, just watch it, as if it is something outside of you – it is. You are always a witness – now you are witnessing sadness and boredom.

It is easy to witness sadness and boredom, because who wants to get immersed in boredom? But this is of tremendous importance because you can learn the whole art while you are bored.

Just watch it, and as your witnessing grows you will see there is a distance between you and the boredom, the sadness, the misery, the pain, the anguish. You are not part of all that experience; you are standing high above on the hills, a watcher on the hills, and everything else is moving down deep in the dark valley.

You already have the secret, just practice it more and more. Just sit by the side of a donkey, sit by the side of a buffalo; go on looking at the buffalo and you will be bored! All around you can find objects which will be immensely helpful for you. You need not wait for moments to come, because who knows when the buffalo will come to you? Why not go to the buffalo?

You can just go to our cattle, sit amongst them, and you will be bored. Those cattle will go on munching the grass – do you think you will start munching the grass? You will not get involved in that. Sitting amongst the cattle, amongst the buffaloes, you will find yourself just a witness.

Don’t become sad, don’t become bored. Let the boredom be there, let the sadness be there; you remain just a witness. And it is easier in such situations.

Once you have strengthened your witness, then let those moments of ecstasy, heights… try your witnessing then. It will be a little difficult there; one wants to jump into that groovy space. Who wants to sit on the bank and watch? – because one is afraid one may be simply watching and the moment will go.

Don’t be worried. If you witness, the moment will remain there and will grow deeper, bigger, more colorful. But not at any point have you to become identified with it. Remain detached, just a spectator.

The art is the same; whether it is boredom or ecstasy does not matter. What matters is that you are not involved, you remain aloof, you remain standing there.

There is a Zen story I have loved very much. Three friends had gone for a morning walk, and then they suddenly saw on the hill a Zen monk standing.

One of the friends said, “I think he must have come with his friends; they must have been left behind and he is waiting for them.”

The other said, “I cannot agree with you, because seeing that man I can say one thing is certain; he is not waiting for somebody who has been left behind, because he never looks back. He is just standing like a statue. Anybody who is waiting for somebody who is left behind will once in a while look, to see whether the fellow has come or not. But he is unmoving.

“He is not waiting for any friend. I think… I know this monk; he has a cow and the cow must have been lost in the thick forest. And that is the highest place from where he can look all over the forest and find the cow.”

The third man said, “You have forgotten your own argument. If he was looking for the cow then he would be looking all around. He would not just stand there like a statue, focused in one direction; that is not the way of looking for a lost cow.” He said, “As far as I can tell, he is doing his morning meditation.”

But the other two said that the basic philosophy of Zen is that you can meditate anywhere, you can meditate doing anything. What was the need to go to that hill in the early morning, in the cold, and stand there to meditate? “He could have meditated in his cozy monastery where they have a special meditation temple. He could have been there – what was the need to go? No, we cannot agree.”

They argued; finally they said, “It is better we go to the hill. It will be a waste of time but there is no other way to settle what he is doing.” Such is the curiosity of the human mind – very monkeyish.

Now why trouble yourself? Let him do whatever he is doing. If he is searching for his cow it is his business; if he is waiting for his friend, it is his friend; if he is meditating it is his business – why should you poke your nose into it? But that’s how people are.

They became so excited arguing with each other that they decided, “We have to go.” They forgot that they had come just for a small morning walk, and going to the hill will take hours, then coming down the hill… the sun will be almost directly overhead. But the question… they have to come to a conclusion. And in fact they want to prove that “I am right.” Each of them wants to prove that “I am right.” Now the only man who can decide is that monk.

They reached – huffing, puffing. The monk was standing there with half-closed eyes. That is the Buddhist way – to keep the eyes half closed when you are meditating, because if you close your eyes completely you may doze into sleep; that is more possible than going into meditation. If you keep your eyes fully open you will get interested in thousands of things. A beautiful woman passes by, and meditation is lost, anything can disturb. So keep the eyes half closed so you don’t see exactly what is happening outside, and you have to keep your eyes half open so you don’t fall asleep.

The first man asked, “Master, we have heard much about you but we never had any chance to come to your monastery. Fortunately, we had come for a morning walk and we saw you. We have a question I want you to answer: Are you not waiting for somebody who has been left behind?”

The monk with half-closed eyes said, “I have nobody, I am alone. I was born alone, I will die alone, and between these two alonenesses I am not trying to fool myself that somebody is with me. I am alone and I am not waiting for anybody.”

The second man said happily, “Then certainly your cow has got lost in the thick forest and you must be looking for it.”

The monk said, “It seems strange idiots have come here! I don’t possess a single thing. I don’t have any cow, the monastery has it; that is not my business. And why should I waste my time looking for a cow?”

The third man was immensely happy. He said, “Now you cannot deny: you must be meditating. Is it not so? – you are doing your morning meditation!”

The monk laughed; he said, “You are the worst idiot of the three! Meditation is not done, it is not a doing. You can be in meditation but you cannot do it. It is a state. So certainly I am not doing meditation. I am in meditation, but for that I need not come to this hill; anywhere I am in meditation.

Meditation is my consciousness.

“So you all get lost! And never disturb anybody who is standing with half-closed eyes, remember it.”

But they all three said, “Forgive us – we are stupid, certainly we are stupid to walk miles and to ask you such…. We are feeling embarrassed. But now that we have come and now that we accept we are stupid, just one question from all of the three, not separate: Then what are you doing?”

And the master said nothing.

In that nothing is the witness.

When you witness, you will be surprised that the boredom, the sadness, the blissfulness, the ecstasy – whatever it is – starts moving away from you. As your witnessing goes deeper, stronger, becomes more crystallized, any experience – good or bad, beautiful or ugly – disappears. There is pure nothingness all around you.

Witnessing is the only thing that can make you aware of an immense nothingness surrounding you.

And in that immense nothingness…. It is not empty, remember. In English there is no word to translate the Buddhist word shunyata. In that nothingness… it is not empty, it is full of your witness, full of your witnessing, full of the light of your witness.

You become almost a sun, and rays from the sun are moving into the nothingness to infinity.

One of the Indian mystics, Kabir, has said, “My first experience was that of a sun, and as my experience went on growing… the outer sun is nothing; the inner sun is infinite. Its light fills the whole infinity of existence. And in that moment I am only a witness; I am there.”

So start witnessing your boredom, sadness, because the question is not the object, the question is the art of witnessing. So use any object – anger, hate, love, jealousy – anything will do. If you cannot find anything just put up a mirror and look at your face and witness it. And you will be surprised, immensely surprised; when you are in a complete state of witnessing the mirror becomes empty, you are not there.

In total witnessing the object disappears.

You will be able for the first time to see the mirror just as nothingness.

Start from things which are easier, and then go on moving to things which are groovier. The bridge is simple.

-Osho

From From Death to Deathlessness, Discourse #24

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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

 

Freedom is Being – Anand Amido

Fall leaves fallen

Fallen fall leaves

This offering has been pondered over, allowed to slosh around in my mind, in my interiority, and even spilled over onto a white page to be fiddled with, adjusted, and examined for tone.  (Light but not pedantic!)  No fight picking here, simple exploration, seeking understanding, and then deeper understanding.

When I sit of a morning, Japanese style since my knees protest the least in such a pose, fragments of thought cruise, gallop, creep seemingly through my skull!  Little strips of data from last night’s TV viewing, an old memory of something that jars and gnaws and has to be forgiven and laid to rest (again and again), self-reminders to watch my breath, closely followed by some genuine breath watching, until off I go again climbing onto that endlessly spinning merry-go-round.

At a certain point, my legs suggest we have all been sitting for quite long enough.  Now my legs respond very gracefully to a little wiggle, a little twitch, and we all settle down again.  But then, the mind with some considerable force declares, “Let’s stand up.”  At that point, I have to be really alert and not automatically follow its dictates! For, I have recently read Osho saying that we always stop “meditating” before something happens.  So, I ignore my mind.  Rude of course, but when someone doesn’t have your best interests at heart, is one obliged to listen carefully to their point of view and respond as your upbringing dictates?!  Sorry mind.  If I engage with you, I am lost, and so I turn away!

So then, I settle and yummy is the best word to describe it.

-Amido

A Bridge to No-body – Osho

Truth is always here. It is already the case. It is not something to be achieved in the future. You are the truth just here and now, so it is not something which is to be created or something which is to be devised or something which is to be sought. Understand this very clearly; then these techniques will be easy to understand and also to do.

Mind is a mechanism of desiring. Mind is always in desire, always seeking something, asking for something. Always the object is in the future; mind is not concerned with the present at all. In this very moment the mind cannot move – there is no space. The mind needs the future in order to move. It can move either in the past or in the future. It cannot move in the present; there is no space. The truth is in the present, and mind is always in the future or in the past, so there is no meeting between mind and truth.

When the mind is seeking worldly objects it is not so difficult, the problem is not absurd; it can be solved. But when the mind starts seeking the truth the very effort becomes nonsense, because the truth is here and now and the mind is always then and there. There is no meeting. So understand the first thing: you cannot seek truth. You can find it, but you cannot seek it. The very seeking is the hindrance.

The moment you start seeking you have moved away from the present, away from yourself, because you are always in the present. The seeker is always in the present and the seeking is in the future, you are not going to meet whatsoever you are seeking. Lao Tzu says, “Seek not; otherwise you will miss. Seek not and find. Don’t seek and find.”

All these techniques of Shiva’s are simply turning the mind from the future or the past to the present. That which you are seeking is already there, it is the case already. The mind has to be turned from seeking to non-seeking. It is difficult. If you think about it intellectually it is very difficult. How to turn the mind from seeking to non-seeking? – Because then the mind makes non-seeking itself the object! Then the mind says, “Don’t seek.” Then the mind says, “I should not seek.” Then the mind says, “Now non-seeking is my object. Now I desire the state of desirelessness.” The seeking has entered again, the desire has come again through the back door. That is why there are people who are seeking worldly objects, and there are people who think they are seeking non-worldly objects. All objects are worldly because “seeking” is the world.

So you cannot seek anything non-worldly. The moment you seek, it becomes the world. If you are seeking God, your God is part of the world. If you are seeking moksha – liberation – nirvana, your liberation is part of the world, your liberation is not something that transcends the world, because seeking is the world, desiring is the world. So you cannot desire nirvana, you cannot desire non-desire. If you try to understand intellectually, it will become a puzzle.

Shiva says nothing about it, he immediately proceeds to give techniques. They are non-intellectual. He doesn’t say to Devi, “The truth is here. Don’t seek it and you will find it.” He immediately gives techniques. Those techniques are non-intellectual. Do them, and the mind turns. The turning is just a consequence, just a by-product – not an object. The turning is just a by-product.

If you do a technique, your mind will turn from its journey into the future or the past. Suddenly you will find yourself in the present. That is why Buddha has given techniques, Lao Tzu has given techniques, Krishna has given techniques. But they always introduce their techniques with intellectual concepts. Only Shiva is different. He immediately gives techniques, and no intellectual understanding, no intellectual introduction, because he knows that the mind is tricky, the most cunning thing possible. It can turn anything into a problem. Non-seeking will become the problem.

There are people who come to me who ask how not to desire. They are desiring non-desire. Somebody has told them, or they have read somewhere, or they have heard spiritual gossip that if you do not desire you will reach bliss, if you do not desire you will be free, if you do not desire there will be no suffering. Now their minds hanker to attain that state where there is no suffering, so they ask how not to desire. Their minds are playing tricks. They are still desiring, it is only that now the object has changed. They were desiring money, they were desiring fame, they were desiring prestige, they were desiring power. Now they are desiring non-desire. Only the object has changed, and they remain the same and their desiring remains the same. But now the desire has become more deceptive.

Because of this, Shiva proceeds immediately with no introduction whatsoever. He immediately starts talking about techniques. Those techniques, if followed, suddenly turn your mind: it comes to the present. And when the mind comes to the present it stops, it is no more. You cannot be a mind in the present; that is impossible. Just now, if you are here and now, how can you be a mind? Thoughts cease because they cannot move. The present has no space in which to move; you cannot think. If you are in this very moment, how can you move? Mind stops, you attain to no-mind.

So the real thing is how to be here and now. You can try, but effort may prove futile – because if you make it a point to be in the present, then this point has moved into the future. When you ask how to be in the present, again you are asking about the future. This moment is passing in the inquiry, “How to be present? How to be here and now?” This present moment is passing in the inquiry, and your mind will begin to weave and create dreams in the future: some day you will be in a state of mind where there is no movement, no motive, no seeking, and then there will be bliss – so how to be in the present?

Shiva doesn’t say anything about it, he simply gives a technique. You do it, and suddenly you find you are here and now. And your being here and now is the truth, and your being here and now is the freedom, and your being here and now is the nirvana.

The first nine techniques are concerned with breathing. So let us understand something about breathing, and then we will proceed to the techniques. We are breathing continuously from the moment of birth to the moment of death. Everything changes between these two points. Everything changes, nothing remains the same, only breathing is a constant thing between birth and death.

The child will become a youth; the youth will become old. He will be diseased, his body will become ugly, ill, everything will change. He will be happy, unhappy, in suffering; everything will go on changing. But whatsoever happens between these two points, one must breathe. Whether happy or unhappy, young or old, successful or unsuccessful – whatsoever you are, it is irrelevant – one thing is certain: between these two points of birth and death you must breathe.

Breathing will be a continuous flow; no gap is possible. If even for a single moment you forget to breathe, you will be no more. That is why you are not required to breathe, because then it would be difficult. Someone might forget to breathe for a single moment, and then nothing could be done. So, really, you are not breathing, because you are not needed. You are fast asleep, and breathing goes on; you are unconscious, and breathing goes on; you are in a deep coma, and breathing goes on. YOU are not required; breathing is something which goes on in spite of you.

It is one of the constant factors in your personality – that is the first thing. It is something which is very essential and basic to life – that is the second thing. You cannot be alive without breath. So breath and life have become synonymous. Breathing is the mechanism of life, and life is deeply related with breathing. That is why in India we call it prana. We have given one word for both – prana means the vitality, the aliveness. Your life is your breath.

Thirdly, your breath is a bridge between you and your body. Constantly, breath is bridging you to your body, connecting you, relating you to your body. Not only is the breath a bridge to your body, it is also a bridge between you and the universe. The body is just the universe which has come to you, which is nearer to you.

Your body is part of the universe. Everything in the body is part of the universe – every particle, every cell. It is the nearest approach to the universe. Breath is the bridge. If the bridge is broken, you are no more in the body. If the bridge is broken, you are no more in the universe. You move into some unknown dimension; then you cannot be found in space and time. So, thirdly, breath is also the bridge between you, and space and time.

Breath, therefore, becomes very significant – the most significant thing. So the first nine techniques are concerned with breath. If you can do something with the breath, you will suddenly turn to the present. If you can do something with breath, you will attain to the source of life. If you can do something with breath, you can transcend time and space. If you can do something with breath, you will be in the world and also beyond it.

Breath has two points. One is where it touches the body and the universe, and another is where it touches you and that which transcends the universe. We know only one part of the breath. When it moves into the universe, into the body, we know it. But it is always moving from the body to the “no-body,” from the “no-body” to the body. We do not know the other point. If you become aware of the other point, the other part of the bridge, the other pole of the bridge, suddenly you will be transformed, transplanted into a different dimension.

But remember, what Shiva is going to say is not yoga, it is tantra. Yoga also works on breath, but the work of yoga and tantra is basically different. Yoga tries to systematize breathing. If you systematize your breathing your health will improve. If you systematize your breathing, if you know the secrets of breathing, your life will become longer; you will be more healthy and you will live longer. You will be stronger, more filled with energy, more vital, alive, young, fresh.

But tantra is not concerned with that. Tantra is concerned not with any systematization of breath, but with using breath just as a technique to turn inward. One has not to practice a particular style of breathing, a particular system of breathing or a particular rhythm of breathing – no! One has to take breathing as it is. One has just to become aware of certain points in the breathing.

There are certain points, but we are not aware of them. We have been breathing and we will go on breathing – we are born breathing and we will die breathing – but we are not aware of certain points.

And this is strange. Man is searching, probing deep into space. Man is going to the moon; man is trying to reach farther, from earth into space, and man has not yet learned the nearest part of his life. There are certain points in breathing which you have never observed, and those points are the doors – the nearest doors to you from where you can enter into a different world, into a different being, into a different consciousness. But they are very subtle.

To observe a moon is not very difficult. Even to reach the moon is not very difficult; it is a gross journey. You need mechanization, you need technology, you need accumulated information, and then you can reach it. Breathing is the nearest thing to you, and the nearer a thing is, the more difficult it is to perceive it. The nearer it is, the more difficult; the more obvious it is, the more difficult. It is so near to you that again there is no space between you and your breathing. Or, there is such a small space that you will need a very minute observation, only then will you become aware of certain  points. These points are the basis of these techniques.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #3

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Osho describes the first technique here Between Two Breaths.

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.

The Last Technique – Osho

This is the last technique Osho gives in The Book of Secrets. With the first techniques he begins with watching the breath and onto developing the witness, he continues through 112 techniques in total, introducing many doors into our interiority, and then finally, he leaves us here in our utter aloneness.

Enter space, supportless, eternal, still. 

Three qualities of space have been given in this technique. Supportless: there can be no support in space. Eternal: it can never end. Still: it will be soundless, it will be silent. Enter this space, it is within you.

But the mind always asks for support. People come to me and if I say to them, “Just sit silently, with closed eyes, and don’t do anything,” they say, “Give me some avalamban, some support. Give me some mantra as a support, because I cannot sit.” Just sitting is difficult. If I give them a mantra, it is okay. They can go on repeating the mantra. Then it is easy. With support you are never empty, that’s why it is easy. Something must go on, you must be doing something. Doing, the doer remains: doing, you are filled. You may be filled with aumkar, aum, Ram, Jesus, Ave Maria, anything – you may be filled with anything, but you are filled. Then you are okay Mind resists emptiness. It wants always to be filled by something else, because if it is filled it can be. If it is not filled it will disappear. In emptiness you will attain no no-mind. That’s why mind asks for support.

If you want to enter inner space, don’t ask for support. Drop all supports, mantras, gods, scriptures, whatsoever gives you a support. If you feel you are supported, drop it, and just move inside – supportless. It will be fearful; you will feel scared. You are moving to where you can be lost completely. You may not be able to come back because all supports will be lost. Your contact with the bank is lost and where this river will lead you, no one knows. Your support is lost. You may fall into an infinite abyss. Hence, fear grips you, and you ask for some support. Even if it is a false support, you enjoy it. Even a false support is helpful. Because for the mind it makes no difference whether a support is real or false – it must be a support, that’s the point. You are not alone, something is there and supporting you.

It happened once that a man came to me. He was living in a house where he felt there were spirits and ghosts. And he was very worried. Through worries, he started seeing more illusions. Through worries, he became ill, weak. His wife said, “If you live any longer in this house, I am leaving.” His children were sent to some relative’s house.

The man came to me and he said, “It has become very difficult now. I see them clearly. They walk in the night. The whole house is filled with spirits. You help me.” So I gave him one of my pictures and said, “Take it. Now I will tackle those spirits. You simply sleep silently, you need not worry. Really, I will tackle them, I will see to them. Now it is my business. And don’t interfere. Now you need not be concerned.” The man came the next day. He said, “I slept, it was so beautiful! You have done a miracle!”

And I had not done anything but give a support. Through support the mind was filled. It was no longer vacant; someone was there.

In ordinary life you are leaning on many false supports, but they help. And unless you become strong enough, you will need them. That’s why I say that this is the ultimate technique – no support.

Buddha was dying and Anand asked him, “Now you are leaving us, what shall we do? How shall we attain? How shall we proceed now? When the master is gone, we will be wandering in darkness for many, many lives. No one is there to lead us, to guide us, the light is going out.” So Buddha said, “It will be good for you. When I am no more, you become your own light. Move alone, don’t ask for any support, because support is the last barrier.”

And it happened. Anand had not become enlightened. For forty years he was with Buddha, he was the closest disciple, he was just like a shadow to Buddha, moving with him, living with him; he had had the longest contact with him. For forty years Buddha’s compassion was falling over him, raining over him – for forty years. But nothing happened, Anand remained as ignorant as ever. And the day after Buddha died, Anand became enlightened – the next day, the very next day. The very support had been the barrier. When there was no more Buddha, Anand could not find any support. It is difficult. If you live with a Buddha, and the Buddha goes, then no one can be a support to you. Now no one will be worth clinging to. One who has been clinging to a Buddha cannot cling to anybody else in this world. This whole world will be vacant. Once you have known a Buddha and his love and compassion, then no love, no compassion can compare. Once you have tasted that, nothing else is worth tasting. So Anand was alone for the first time in forty years, totally alone. There was no way to find a support. He had known the highest support; now lower supports would not do. The next day he became enlightened. He must have moved into the inner space, supportless, eternal, still.

So remember, don’t try to find any support. Be supportless. If you are trying to do this technique, then be supportless. That is what Krishnamurti is teaching, “Be supportless. Don’t cling to a master.  Don’t cling to anything.”

That is what every master has been doing. A master’s whole effort is first to attract you towards him, so that you start clinging to him. When you start clinging to him, when you become close and intimate with him, then he knows that the clinging must be cut. And you cannot cling to anyone else now – that is finished. You cannot move to anyone else – that is impossible. Then he cuts the clinging and suddenly you are left supportless.

Enter space, supportless, eternal, still. 

That space has no beginning, no end. And that space is absolutely soundless. There is nothing – not even a sound vibrating, not even a ripple. Everything is still.

That point is just within you. Any moment you can enter it. If you have the courage to be supportless, this very moment you can enter it. The door is open. The invitation is for all, all and everyone. But courage is needed; courage to be alone, courage to be empty, courage to dissolve and melt, courage to die. And if you can die within to your inner space, you will attain to the life which never dies, you will attain to amrit, to immortality.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse 79

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

All 112 of Shiva’s meditation techniques (Vigyan Bhairav Tantra)

Here you can listen to the complete meditation technique Enter Space, Supportless, Eternal, Still.

Osho’s discourses on the meditation techniques of Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

An Experiment in Awarefulness

Ultimately, we are told, meditation is samadhi, total relaxation in total awareness. And we have heard, “The kingdom of God is within,” “Be a light unto yourself.” But for most of us this is not our experience at this moment. It is only theoretical, philosophical, hypothetical.

So in order to determine the validity of such statements we have to take them only as a hypothesis and we have to experiment scientifically.

All meditation techniques are scientific experiments to discover our own inner landscape; they are tools to remove the tensions that prevent a natural relaxed state and to return unawareness into its natural state of awakened consciousness.

To be able to enter into this scientific experiment we must first put all the hypotheses aside. We have to look without prejudice and see for ourselves.

We begin by entering the inner body. We know the outer body. It is the body that we see in the bathroom mirror and mistakenly think that is who we are. It is the body that is an image in our mind made up of what everyone else has said about it or how we imagine others see us.

But to enter the inner body we must sense the body from the inside. We scan the body from the inside and discover any points of tension and make them objects of our awareness. We sense the body’s interiority and discover its wholeness as an object which appears within awareness.

With this strengthened awareness we watch the breath. We watch and follow the breath through its journey in and out of the body. We don’t try to manipulate the breath but just watch its movements. In watching the breath closely we discover the turning points where breath moves from out to in and from in to out. In watching the totality of the movement of breath as an object we discover that it too appears within awareness.

Next we listen, first to the sounds around us. And second to the thoughts passing by and finally to our feelings.  We listen to the sounds around us without rejecting them, without judging them. We watch the movements of the mind without judging, without analyzing, without rejecting and without grasping. We feel the emotions and subtle moods, again, without judging, without analyzing, without rejecting and without grasping. And by this listening we find that both the objects of sound, thought and feelings appear within awareness.

With each of these steps we feel that awareness has been strengthened when the reality is that the identification, the unawareness has been reduced revealing the underlying naturalness of awarefulness. Slowly, slowly we begin to bask more and more in this awarefulness without objects.

By our own scientific inquiry we have shined the light unto ourselves and discovered that indeed the kingdom of God is within.

Now it is up to us to bring this awarefulness into our daily life, chopping wood, carrying water.  And in those times that it seems difficult to be aware we can return to any of the steps of this experiment whenever we wish and rebuild our awarefulness.

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama

Two Difficulties on the Path of Meditation – Osho

What are the difficulties on the path of meditation and how can we overcome them?

There are only two difficulties on the path of meditation: one is the ego. You are continuously prepared by the society, by the family, by the school, by the church, by everybody around you, to be egoistic.

Even modern psychology is based on strengthening the ego. The whole idea of modern psychology, modern education, is that unless a person has a very strong ego he will not be able to struggle in life, where there is so much competition that if you are a humble man anybody will be able to push you aside. You will always remain backward. You need a very strong steel ego to fight in this competitive world. Then only can you become a success in any field. It may be business, it may be politics, it may be any profession – you need a very assertive personality. Our whole society is geared to produce an assertive personality in the child.

From the very beginning we start telling him, “Come first in your class.” And when the child comes first in the class, everybody praises him. What are you doing? You are feeding his ego from the very beginning. You are giving him a certain ambition: “You can become the president of the country; you can become the prime minister of the country…” And he starts the journey with these ideas. His ego goes on becoming bigger and bigger as he succeeds.

In every way the ego is the greatest disease that can happen to man. If you succeed, your ego becomes big – that is a danger, because then you will have to remove a big rock which is blocking the path. Or if the ego is small – you have not been successful, you have proved to be a failure – then your ego will become a wound. Then it hurts, then it creates an inferiority complex. Then too it creates a problem: you are always afraid to enter into anything, even in meditation, because you know you are a failure, you are going to fail. That has become your mind because everywhere you have failed. And meditation is such a great thing, you cannot succeed.

If you enter into meditation with this idea that failure is bound to happen and that is your destiny, that is your fate, then of course you cannot succeed. So if the ego is big it prevents; if the ego is very small it becomes a wound, then too it prevents. In each case the ego is one of the problems.

The second problem… and after stating both the problems I will tell you how to get rid of them. It is not difficult, but first you have to understand the problem in all its complexity….

The second hindrance on the path of meditation is your constantly chattering mind. You cannot sit even for a single minute. The mind goes on chattering: relevant, irrelevant, meaningful, meaningless… thoughts go on. It is a constant traffic and it is always rush hour. Whenever you close your eyes there are so many thoughts running in all directions, that if you sit down for ten minutes and write down whatever is going on in your mind – without any editing, because you are not going to show this to anybody, so don’t be worried…! Close the door, lock it from inside so that nobody comes in, and just write exactly what goes on in the mind for ten minutes. And after ten minutes read it.

And you will be surprised: “Is it my mind or has somebody gone mad?” Just because you have never looked at it, you have never thought about what is going on.

And if you try, as many people try, because studying books on meditation they think that if you can stop the thoughts by chanting a mantra or the name of God then perhaps the mind can be vacated from thoughts… The books are mostly written by people who have never meditated. I know many people who have written books on meditation. They came to me to ask how to meditate, and I said, “But in my library I have your book.”

They said, “Yes, we studied a few books on meditation and wrote the book just to help others.”

I said, “But first you should have tried what you have written. If you cannot help yourself, on what grounds do you think you can help others? You may have destroyed many people’s peace of mind.”

And there are so-called teachers of meditation who will also give you a mantra, that chanted, chanted fast, or any name… Close your eyes, do a certain ritual, take a bath, sit in a lotus posture, start the meditation, and go on as fast as you can – faster and faster, repeating the same name, “Krishna, Krishna, Krishna…” Do it as quickly as possible. After five to seven minutes, you will be in a state of what is scientifically known as autohypnosis. It is not meditation, but it does no harm. After ten to twelve minutes, when you come out of it you will feel a certain peace, a certain well-being; you will feel good, but this is not meditation.

I am not against it if you are trying to do it only to feel good. You can do it, but don’t think that by doing it you are going to realize your godliness. That is not possible because this is simply a deliberately created sound sleep. When you repeat a certain word continuously, fast, the mind has no way to go on chattering. You don’t give it any gap to put its thoughts into. Your chanting is so fast that the mind has to remain almost in a situation of a crossroads where the policeman has stopped the whole traffic. Your continuous chanting creates the situation of a policeman stopping the whole traffic, but the traffic is still there, it has not gone; in fact, more traffic has gathered on all the roads.

And the moment you come out of meditation your mind will have such a rush as it has never had – naturally, because all the traffic that you have stopped will have to pass. This is not meditation.

One more thing before I tell you what exactly is the problem with the mind. A few teachers of meditation – and particularly in this part of the world, in the East – are saying, “Keep your mind fixed on something. Start from something outer – a black dot on the wall – and then slowly, slowly close your eyes, and with closed eyes look at the black dot.”

And if you have been staring at the black dot for a few minutes, naturally with closed eyes you will see the black dot. Just the impression takes time to disappear. It is the negative of the positive black dot; it is part of the science of photography. It is the negative that you have created inside. Now look at this negative black dot and if you can continue looking at it, the same thing will happen after five to seven minutes – auto-hypnosis. You will feel good, and that is the danger. Because you feel good, afterwards you feel a certain well-being; you think you are on the right path – not necessarily.

And these things are also not easy – chanting continuously for five to seven minutes is not easy. A few thoughts will enter in and disturb it.

Keeping your mind fixed on one dot is also not easy. Thoughts may come, move across and disturb you.  And if you ask your teachers they will say, “This is your past karma; you will have to wait.” There is no question of past karma, your method is simply wrong.

If you are learning to ride a bicycle and you go on falling again and again, and you ask somebody and he says, “It is because of your past karma…” It is simply that you don’t know how to ride the bicycle. It has nothing to do with past karma or past life. You simply need the right technique.

I have heard of a story….

A man was very much interested to attain miraculous powers. Wherever he went they said, “First you have to learn meditation. Without meditation you cannot have miraculous powers.”

Finally, he found a very wise old man about whom he had heard, “He is the greatest meditator alive, but you will have to serve him and not to be in a hurry. You just serve him; whenever the time is right he will give you the meditation and his blessing. You should not ask for it.”

The poor man served the man for one year and he was getting tired: “This is too much. The second year has begun and the old man still says, ‘No sign.’” He was getting fed up and thinking of running from that temple. The day he was thinking to run, the old man said, “Listen. I was waiting for the right time, but you cannot wait. The time is not right, but because of your hurry I will give you the method. It is very simple and very suited to you.”

The man said, “My Lord, my God!” He touched his feet. He said, “I was waiting for this day. I am a fool for having such bad thoughts about you. Just forgive me.”

He said, “Don’t be worried about it. This is the method; you go home” – he had written on a small piece of paper just a small mantra and he gave him that. “This is the mantra. You have to chant it for ten minutes. Just remember one thing: while chanting, don’t let any monkey come into your mind.”

The man said, “You must be mad! Monkeys have never come into my mind. In my whole life not a single monkey has come into my mind – why should a monkey come into my mind?”

The old man said, “I don’t know, but this is the condition that goes with this mantra.”

The man said, “There is no problem.” But he was worried. As he was coming down the steps of the temple, he already started seeing monkeys. He would close his eyes – and there were the monkeys.

He said, “My God! I have not even started!”

He went home. He took a good bath and sat in padmasana. But as he closed his eyes, and before he could start the mantra, the monkeys started coming – not one! In a line… giggling…!

The man said, “What happened?” He tried hard, but by the morning he was utterly tired. He went to the master. He said, “Take your mantra back. If this is the condition then I cannot fulfill it ever because of those monkeys. There is not one – you had said one – I don’t know how many there are.

I have been counting – they go on coming! And I am going mad! I simply don’t want any miraculous power, and I don’t want any meditation. I simply want to go home. Just help me to get rid of the monkeys. I am giving your mantra back – but who knows about the monkeys?”

If you try forcibly to keep something out of your mind, it is bound to come. This is a universal law.

Seeing the false methods, understanding that the mind is a constant process of thought, I want to explain to you something very simple, without any conditions. All that you have to do… no special posture is needed; whether you have taken a bath or not does not matter. It does not mean that at a certain time, at a certain place you should do it. No, you can do it anywhere, any time. I want it to be so easily possible for you that it mixes with your ordinary life and you don’t have to take some time out of your life specially given to meditation.

The process is witnessing.

The thoughts are moving in the mind – you have nothing to do with those thoughts. You are not to prevent them, you are not to chant a mantra, you have just to be a watcher. You have just to see that thoughts are passing, and you are standing by the side of the road looking at the traffic, unconcerned. Whether a bullock cart passes or an elephant passes or a camel passes… it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to make any judgment. You are just sitting by the side watching the whole scene.

It takes a few days, because of your old habit to make judgments. Something comes, you say, “This is very good” – and you have lost your capacity of being a watcher, you have already given judgment.

Something comes and you say, “This should not come, this is evil” – you have already fallen back.

Good or evil, beautiful or ugly, you are separate. You are the witness, you are just a mirror. Anything that passes by does not affect the mirror at all. Something good – the mirror reflects. Something bad – the mirror reflects. When they have gone, the mirror is as empty as ever.

Your consciousness is a mirror, and your consciousness is neither good nor bad. Your consciousness may have lived thousands of years, but not even a scratch is possible on your consciousness. It only reflects; its function is reflection. That’s why I say the divine between you and me is the same – there is no difference at all. I just have recognized that the witnessing is a pure mirror, eternally pure – and you get identified, you forget. […]

Once you get the knack of witnessing without judgment you will be surprised: the moment you are utterly a witness all the thoughts disappear. There is simply a plain white screen and no thoughts.

This is the first experience, that you have come to the door of meditation. Just go on looking at the white screen. Don’t do anything. Consciousness has a nature – if it cannot find any object which prevents it, then it goes round and comes back to you.

In existence everything moves in a circle. Remember that: nothing moves in a straight line. If there is no obstacle, the consciousness comes back to its own source. And the consciousness coming back to one’s own source, for the first time sees who is there, who has always been there. That is your real being.

You can call it godliness, you can call it divineness, you can call it truth. Any name will do because it has no name; it is a nameless reality. But once it is realized then there is nothing else left. You have attained to the ultimate flowering of your being. This is enlightenment.

So put your ego aside – whether it is big or small, don’t be worried – and just be a witness to your mind. Wait and be patient. Don’t be in a hurry. It may take a few days for you to get the knack. It is a knack! It is not an art!

If it was an art, it would have been very simple to teach, but because it is a knack you have to try. Slowly you get it.

How do you learn to swim? It is not an art. If it was an art you could have learned it in your bedroom. Just on your bed you could have done all the exercises that are prescribed in the book. But it is not an art; you have to go to water. And you will have to face death a few times, but that is part of the progress. Each time you face death, each time you learn something – the knack slowly comes to you. Within two or three days you will be able to swim.

One Japanese professor of psychology is trying to teach six-month-old children to swim, and he has succeeded. Then he tried with three-month-old children, and he has succeeded. Now he is trying with the newly born, and I hope that he succeeds. There is every possibility because it is a knack. It does not need any other kind of experience, age, education… it is simply a knack.

And if a six-month-old or a three-month-old baby can swim, that means we are naturally endowed with the idea of how to swim. We just have to discover it. Just a little bit of effort and you will be able to discover it.

The same is true about meditation… more true, than swimming. You just have to make a little effort.

And if you don’t succeed, don’t be worried. You are losing nothing – just a little rest.

And whenever you are going to sleep you can try – just lying in bed, or in the morning when you are awake, wait for a minute. Give it a try and then wake up. While taking a shower you can try it, because it is a question of witnessing.

You can witness anything, and anywhere.

There are one hundred and twelve methods of meditation, exhaustive. No more methods can be added to them. And these one hundred and twelve methods are written by Shiva himself perhaps ten thousand years ago. The name of the book is Vigyana Bhairava Tantra. It simply describes one hundred and twelve methods, each method in two lines.

I have tried all the methods, and the most surprising experience was that the basic thing in each of the methods is witnessing. Their strategies differ, but their soul is just witnessing.

So I have reduced the one hundred and twelve methods of Shiva into a single method. I am giving you the essential method which no meditation can afford to drop – it is the most essential. You can add any other structure to it, but I have dropped the whole structure. I am giving you the very soul of meditation. You just try, give it a chance. And if I can succeed, I don’t see why you cannot succeed.

Millions have succeeded in the past. We have just forgotten completely the greatest science of discovering ourselves. It has to be rediscovered and it has to be again spread all over the earth if we want the world to be saved, if we want the world not to be destroyed.

One of my professors, Doctor S.K. Saxena, loved me very much. Most days I used to stay with him instead of in the hostel, because he would not allow me to go to the hostel.

I asked him, “Why do you insist…? Because I am of no use to you – I simply sit in the garden and meditate.”

He said, “That is the reason I want you to be here. I am getting old, I have never meditated. Most of my life I have been a professor in America. I have never given any thought to meditation.”

Despite this, he had written for his doctoral thesis a book, History of the Evolution of Consciousness. He said to me, “When you are here I feel something settling in me. When you sleep in my house” – he lived alone – “I have a better sleep. I don’t know why, but just your presence somehow helps me to be more together.”

I said, “I can tell you why. But rather than depending on me, why don’t you start meditating?”

And by chance, today it happens that his son is present in the audience. S.K. Saxena is dead. I received a message that he wanted to see me before he died. He wanted that I should be present by his side when he died. But I received the message after he had died, months after. Perhaps he wanted to die in the same peaceful silent atmosphere that he had found around me. I feel sad for him, sorry for him, that what he could have attained himself he unnecessarily depended on somebody else for.

Meditation is something that is your birthright. Claim it! Make it a decision, a commitment that whatever happens, you will not die before you have attained to a meditative state. It is only a question of a firm determination. And if you can attain to meditation, your life will become real life, and your death will become a door to the divine.

It will no longer be a death; it will no longer be an end. It will just be freedom from the body and entering into the universal, unlimited, infinite.

Okay?

-Osho

From The Sword and the Lotus, Discourse #8

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

The Awakening of Meditation

We have all gathered to hear a talk on the awakening of meditation. But before we begin talking about the awakening let us first consider what we are awakening from.

Most of us live our life with very little sense of our own being. We simply react to stimuli. There are well laid down patterns in which our behavior travels. We live almost as if we are sleep- walking. We walk around the day in a dream. We rarely have any contact with the real world, the world without the screen of mind.

Even when we are walking in nature, because we desperately want that connection to what is ‘real’, we walk in a dream. We are constantly preoccupied with our thoughts. Occasionally something shakes us momentarily from our slumber; it may be the sound of a bird or the sight of a meadow. But even then, very quickly the mind rushes in and compares to some previous experience. Some memory rushes in and we are taken away to another time and place.

For most of us it is often some tragedy that shakes us to our roots and brings us back out of our dreams, face to face with reality. Some unexpected event throws our life in turmoil and we are brought into the moment away from our itinerary of life. It is in these moments that there is a great opportunity to change our course, to reexamine our priorities and to begin an inquiry into the essential questions of life. But more often than not it is only a brief alteration of our life-program and once the crisis passes we are once again living our life in the world of dreams.

A more potent opportunity for transformation comes when one has lived life fully and has been successful in following one’s dream only to find in the end that one is as empty as when one began. There is more possibility for change here because one has already pursued dreams to the very end. All that energy that was being projected out chasing rainbows suddenly collapses onto itself and a real conversion is possible.

Others have looked deeply into life and seen through the illusions that becoming brings. A keen intelligence can see through the fallacy of the promise of becoming. For them, even the ‘concept’ of living in the now has an appeal.

No matter how we arrived, by being at a talk on “the awakening of meditation” we show that we are hungering for an awakening. We know that the life we are living is not the life of bliss, is not the life of love and laughter, is not the life of celebration, is not the life of enlightenment that we have heard is possible. So we are interested in hearing what the speaker has to say about awakening and about meditation.

The title of this talk has been deliberately chosen because there is ‘an awakening of meditation’ that takes place and it is meditation that brings about that awakening.

In order for us to make the journey out of ‘becoming’ and into ‘being’ we must first come to see how we are continually propping up the straw man of becoming. We must see how we are continually projecting our consciousness out into the idea of a person. We must see how we are reinforcing the identification with a separate limited body-mind.

So we begin by creating the witness. We begin by bringing our attention back home and we find that when we are engaged in any mindful act we have less unconsciousness lying about. We are both stopping sending out energy into unconsciousness and we are creating the witnessing, the awareness. We are beginning the journey home.

With this newfound presence we are ready to begin the journey in.

This is a journey from the outer body to the inner body. What is the outer body? The outer body is the body that everyone sees. It is an image. It is fat or it is trim. It is tall or it is short. It may be male or it may be female. It is the you that everyone sees.

But there is a body that only you can know. It is the inner body. From the outer body you make contact with the outside world through your senses. You feel the floor beneath your feet. You feel the warmth or the coolness of the room. You hear the sounds around you. But with the inner body you just feel, you sense. It is a global sensing. It is not divided into the five senses. It is a total sensing. It is more subtle than your body sensing. We feel a sense of ourselves without any definition. It is being. It is beingness.

It is here in this interiority that we are able to move deeper into meditation, into witnessing. It is here at our center that we learn the knack of watching the traffic of our mind without either rejecting and pushing away or grabbing and rushing into. It is here that we simply watch the flow of the river of thinking. We are not controlling. We are more interested in the watching itself rather than the content of what is being watched. We are becoming familiar with the witnessing, with the watcher. The stronger that the witness becomes the more that we are at home, but this is not part of becoming. In fact it is the opposite of becoming. We have simply stopped the becoming; we have stopped the outward flow of consciousness and energy. Our attention is remaining at home and the more that the outward flow ceases the more the at-homeness increases, the more we are aware of our Self.

When this witness crystallizes, then for the first time ‘we are’, then for the first time the ‘master’ is at home. Then for the first time we know the “Awakening of Meditation.”

Buddha has said that there are only two mistakes one can make on the path. The first is not to begin the journey and the second is not to complete it. So we must begin from wherever we are but we should not stop until the awakening.

We are all part of a global sangha, a global community of those who are moving on the journey. And we can, within this global sangha support each other, we can prod each other, we can challenge each other until each of us comes to our own awakening.

There are many pitfalls along the way and so to guard against falling victim we can share in the wisdom from those who have gone before. And the biggest pitfall that we are warned against is the ‘illusion’ of awakening. The mind is very capable of appropriating the language of awakening and deceiving us into thinking that we have attained. It is very possible to come to an intellectual understanding, and in fact it is helpful to come to this understanding, but it is possible to come to this understanding and think ‘aha, I have attained.’

The real awakening we have been told is found in silence. It is not in language, it is not in words. If we need the use of language for our own experience of awakening then we can know well it is intellectual. When we arrive at the moment when we are able to ‘be’ just ‘be’ in silence without the traffic of the mind, without having to describe to ourselves our situation then it is no longer intellectual. It is ‘being understanding’.

There are many techniques that have been designed to aid us in moving into our interiority and these can be helpful in bringing us to the place where witnessing begins. These techniques have been created in order to help remove the obstacles to our own meditation they are not teaching us meditation but they are helping to make meditation possible. They help to create the space in which our own natural meditativeness blossoms.

Once the witness is awakened then it is only awareness that will carry us on. Then just sitting doing nothing the spring comes by itself is appropriate but not before. First we must clear away that which is preventing us from ‘just sitting, doing nothing.’

The greatest meditation and the core of all meditation is watching. It is the witness, just watching all that presents itself without being drawn out in a fight for or against. Without our involvement eventually the mind loses steam. It is our involvement that powers it on. By just watching the mind; slowly, slowly it begins to break apart and the blue sky begins to appear. By and by the gaps appear and we are left in our pure awareness. This is the “Awakening of Meditation.”

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama