Witnessing: The Base of All Techniques – Osho

WITNESSING is the technique for centering. We discussed centering. A man can live in two ways: he can live from his periphery or he can live from his center. The periphery belongs to the ego and the center belongs to the being. If you live from the ego, you are always related with the other. The periphery is related with the other.

Whatsoever you do is not an action, it is always a reaction. You do it in response to something done to you. From the periphery there is no action – everything is a reaction; nothing comes from your center. In a way, you are just a slave of the circumstances. You are not doing anything; rather, you are being forced to do. From the center the situation changes diametrically: from the center you begin to act. For the first time you begin to exist not as a relata but in your own right.

Buddha is passing a village. Some people are very angry, very much against his teachings. They abuse him, they insult him. The Buddha listens silently and then he says, “If you are finished then allow me to move. I am to reach to the other village and they will be waiting for me. If something is still remaining in your mind, then when I am passing back by this route you can finish it.”

They say, “We have abused you, insulted you. Are you not going to answer?”

Buddha says, “I never react now. What you do is up to you – I never react now. You cannot force me to do something. You can abuse me; that is up to you. I am not a slave. I have become a free man. I act from my center, not from my periphery, and your abuse can touch only the periphery, not my center. My center remains untouched.”

You are so much touched, not because your center is touched, but only because you have no center. You are just the periphery, identified with the periphery. The periphery is bound to be touched by everything – everything that happens. It is just your boundary, so whatsoever happens is bound to touch it.

And you don’t have any center. The moment you have a center then you have a distance from yourself, you have a distance from your periphery. Someone can abuse the periphery, but not you.

You can remain aloof, detached. There is a distance between you and yourself. Between you as your periphery and you as the center there is a distance, and that distance cannot be broken by anyone else – because no one can penetrate to the center. The outside world can touch you only as the periphery.

So Buddha says, “Now I am centered. Ten years before it would have been different. If you had abused me, then I would have reacted – but now I only act.”

Understand clearly the distinction between reaction and action. You love someone because someone loves you. Buddha also loves you – not because you love him; that is irrelevant. Whether you love him or hate him is irrelevant. He loves you because it is an act, not a reaction. The act comes from you, and the reaction is forced upon you. Centering means now you have begun to act.

Another point to be remembered: when you act, the act is always total. When you react, it can never be total. It is always partial, fragmentary, because when I act from my periphery – that is, when I react – it cannot be total because I am not involved in it really. Only my periphery is involved, so it cannot be total.

So if you love from your periphery, your love can never be total – it is always partial. And that means much, because if love is partial then the remaining space will be filled by hate. If your kindness is partial, the remaining space will be filled by cruelty. If your goodness is partial, then who will fill the remaining space? If your God is partial, then you will need a Devil to fill the remaining space.

That means a partial act is bound to be contradictory, in conflict with itself. Modern psychology says you both love and you hate simultaneously. Amphibian is your mind – contradictory. To the same object you are related with love and with hate. And if love and hate are both there, then there is going to be a confusion – and a poisonous confusion. Your kindness is mixed with cruelty. And your charity is theft, and your prayer becomes a violence. And even if you try to be a saint, on the periphery, your sainthood is bound to be tinged with sin. On the periphery, everything is going to be self-contradictory.

Only when you act from the center is your act total. And when that act is total, it has a beauty of its own. When the act is total, it is moment-to-moment. When the act is total, you don’t carry the memory – you need not! When the act is partial, it is a suspended thing. You eat something: if the eating is partial, then when the actual eating is finished you will continue eating in the mind. It will remain suspended. Only a total thing can have an end and can have a beginning. A partial thing is just a continuous series with no beginning and with no end. You are in your home. and you have carried your shop and market with you. You are in your shop, and you have carried your house and household affairs. You are never; you can never be, at any single moment totally in it. Much is being carried continuously. This is the heaviness, the tense heaviness on the mind, on the heart.

A total act has a beginning and an end. It is atomic; it is not a series. It is there, and then it is not there. You are completely free from it to move into the unknown. Otherwise one goes on in grooves, the mind becomes just groovy. You go on moving in the same circular way, in a vicious circle. You go on continuously in it.

Because the past is never finished, it comes into the present: it goes on and penetrates into the future. So, really, a partial mind. a peripheral mind, carries its past, and the past is a big thing. Even if you don’t consider past lives, even then the past is a big thing. Fifty years’ experiences, beautiful and ugly, but unfinished, everything unfinished – so you go on carrying a fifty-year-long past which is dead.

This dead past will fall upon a single moment of the present. It is bound to kill it. So you cannot live, it is impossible. With this past on you, upon you, you cannot live. Every single moment is so fresh and so delicate, this whole dead weight will kill it. It is killing! Your past goes on killing your present, and when the present is dead it becomes a part. When it is alive, it is not part of you. When it becomes dead, when it has been killed by your dead past, then it becomes yours, then it is part of you. This is the situation.

The moment you begin to act from the center, every act is total, atomic. It is there and then it is not there. You are completely free from it. Then you can move with no burden, unburdened. And only then can you live in the new moment that is always there – by coming to it fresh.

But you can come to it fresh only when there is no past to be carried. And you will have to carry the past if it is unfinished. The mind has a tendency to finish everything. If it is unfinished, then it has to be carried. If something has remained unfinished during the day, then you will dream about it in the night – because the mind has a tendency to finish everything. The moment it is finished, the mind is unburdened from it. Unless it is finished the mind is bound to come to it again and again.

Whatsoever you are doing – your love, your sex, your friendship – everything is unfinished. And you cannot make it total if you remain on the periphery. So how to be centered in oneself? How to attain this centering so that you are not on the periphery? Witnessing is the technique.

This word “witnessing” is a most significant word. There are hundreds of techniques to achieve centering, but witnessing is bound to be a part, a basic part, in every technique. Whatsoever the technique may be, witnessing will be the essential part in it. So it will be better to call it  “the technique of all techniques”. It is not simply a technique. The process of witnessing is the essential part of all the techniques.

One can talk about witnessing as a pure technique also. For example, J. Krishnamurti: he is talking about witnessing as a pure technique. But that talk is just like talking about the spirit without the body. You cannot feel it, you cannot see it. Everywhere the spirit is embodied; you can feel the spirit through the body. Of course, the spirit is not the body, but you can feel it through the body.

Every technique is just a body, and witnessing is the soul. You can talk about witnessing independent of any body, any matter; then it becomes abstract, totally abstract. So Krishnamurti has been talking continuously for half a century, but whatsoever he is saying is so pure, unembodied, that one thinks that one is understanding, but that understanding remains just a concept.

In this world nothing exists as pure spirit. Everything exists embodied. So witnessing is the spirit of all spiritual techniques, and all the techniques are bodies, different bodies. So first we must understand what witnessing is, and then we can understand witnessing through some bodies, some techniques.

We know thinking, and one has to start from thinking to know what witnessing means because one has to start from what one knows. We know thinking. Thinking means judgment: you see something and you judge. You see a flower and you say it is beautiful or not beautiful. You hear a song and you appreciate it or you don’t appreciate it. You appreciate something or you condemn something.

Thinking is judgment. The moment you think, you have begun to judge. Thinking is evaluation.

You cannot think without evaluation. How can you think about a flower without evaluating it? The moment you start thinking you will say it is beautiful or not beautiful. You will have to use some category because thinking is categorizing. The moment you have categorized a thing – labeled it, named it – you have thought about it. Thinking is impossible if you are not going to judge. If you are not going to judge, then you can just remain aware – but you cannot think.

A flower is here, and I say to you, “See it, but don’t think. Look at the flower, but don’t think.” So what can you do? If thinking is not allowed, what can you do? You can only witness; you can only be aware. You can only be conscious of the flower. You can face the fact. The flower is here – now you can encounter it. If thinking is not allowed you cannot say, “It is beautiful. It is not beautiful. I know about it,” or, “It is strange – I have never seen it.” You cannot say anything. Words cannot be used because every word has a value in it. Every word is a judgment.

Language is burdened with judgment; language can never be impartial. The moment you use a word, you have judged. So you cannot use language, you cannot verbalize. If I say, “This is a flower– look at it, but don’t think!” then verbalization is not allowed. So what can you do? You can only be a witness. If you are there without thinking, just facing something, it is witnessing. Then witnessing means a passive awareness. Remember – passive. Thinking is active. You are doing something. Whatsoever you are seeing, you are doing something with it. You are not just passive, you are not like a mirror – you are doing something. And the moment you do something, you have changed the thing.

I see a flower and I say, “It is beautiful!” I have changed it. Now I have imposed something on the flower. Now, whatsoever the flower is, to me it is a flower plus my feeling of its being beautiful. Now the flower is far away. In between the flower and me is my sense of judgment, my evaluation of its being beautiful. Now the flower is not the same to me. The quality has changed. I have come into it. Now my judgment has penetrated into the fact. Now it is more like a fiction and less like a fact.

This feeling that the flower is beautiful doesn’t belong to the flower, it belongs to me. I have entered the fact. Now the fact is not virgin. I have corrupted it. Now my mind has become part of it. Really, to say that my mind has become part of it means: my past has become part, because when I say, “This flower is beautiful,” it means I have judged it through my past knowledge. How can you say that this flower is beautiful? Your experiences of the past, your conceptions of the past, that something like this is beautiful – you have judged it according to your past.

Mind means your past, your memories. The past has come upon the present. You have destroyed a virgin fact; now it is distorted. Now there is no flower. The flower as a reality in itself is no more there. It is corrupted by you, destroyed by you. Your past has come in between. You have interpreted. This is thinking. Thinking means bringing the past to a present fact. That’s why thinking can never lead you to the Truth – because Truth is virgin and has to be faced in its total virginity. The moment you bring your past in you are destroying it. Then it is an interpretation, not a realization of the fact. You have disrupted it. The purity is lost.

Thinking means bringing your past to the present. Witnessing means no past, just the present; no bringing in of the past. Witnessing is passive. You are not doing anything – you are! Simply, you are there. Only you are present. The flower is present, you are present – then there is a relationship of witnessing. When the flower is present and your whole past is present, not you, then it is a relationship of thinking.

So start from thinking. What is thinking? It is the bringing of the mind into the present. You have missed the present then you have missed it totally! The moment past penetrates into the present, you have missed it. When you say, “This flower is beautiful,” really, it has become the past. When you say, “This flower is beautiful,” it is a past experience. You have known, you have judged. When the flower is there and you are there, even to say that this flower is beautiful is not possible. You cannot assert any judgment in the present. Any judgment, any assertion, belongs to the past. If I say, “I love you,” it has become a thing that is past. If I say, “This flower is beautiful.” I have felt, I have judged – it has become past.

Witnessing is always present, never the past. Thinking is always the past. Thinking is dead, witnessing is alive. So the next distinction: first, thinking is active – doing something; witnessing is passive – non-doing, just being. Thinking is always the past, the dead which has gone away, which is no more; witnessing is always the present – that which is. So if you go on thinking, you can never know what witnessing is.

To stop, end thinking, becomes a start in witnessing. Cessation of thinking is witnessing. So what to do? – Because thinking is a long habit with us. It has become just a robot like, mechanical thing.  It is not that you think; it is not your decision now. It is a mechanical habit – you cannot do anything else. The moment a flower is there, the thinking has started. We have no non-verbal experiences; only small children have. Non-verbal experience is really experience. Verbalization is escaping from the experience.

When I say, “The flower is beautiful,” the flower has vanished from me. Now it is my mind, not the flower I am concerned with. Now it is the image of the flower in my mind, not the flower itself. Now the flower itself is a picture in the mind, a thought in the mind, and now I can compare with my past experiences and judge. But the flower is no more there. When you verbalize, you are closed to experience.

When you are non-verbally aware, you are open, vulnerable. Witnessing means a constant opening to experience, no closing. What to do? This mechanical habit of so-called thinking has to be broken somewhere. So whatsoever you are doing, try to do it non-verbally. It is difficult, arduous, and in the beginning it seems absolutely impossible, but it is not. It is not impossible – it is difficult. You are walking on the street: walk non-verbally, just walk, even if just for a few seconds, and you will have a glimpse of a different world – a non-verbal world, the real world, not the world of the mind man has created in himself.

You are eating: eat non-verbally. Someone asked Bokuju – Bokuju was a great Zen Master – “What’s your sadhana?”

So Bokuju said, “My sadhana is very simple: when I am hungry, I eat; when I am sleepy, I sleep –and this is all.”

The man was just bewildered. He said, “What are you saying? I also eat and I also sleep, and everyone is doing the same. So what is in that that you call it sadhana?”

Bokuju said, “When you are eating you are doing many things, not only eating. And when you are sleeping, you are doing everything else except sleeping. But when I eat, I simply eat; when I sleep, I simply sleep. Every act is total!”

Every act becomes total if you are non-verbal. So try to eat without any verbalization in the mind, with no thinking in the mind. Just eat, and then eating becomes meditation – because if you are nonverbal you will become a witness. If you are verbal you will become a thinker. If you are non-verbal you cannot do anything about it, you cannot help it – you will be a witness, automatically. So try to do anything non-verbally: walk, eat, take a bath or just sit silently. Then just sit – then be a “sitting”! Don’t think. Then even just sitting can become meditation, just walking can become meditation.

Someone else was asking Bokuju, “Give me some technique of meditation.”

Bokuju said, “I can give you a technique, but you will not be able to meditate – because you can not practice a technique with a verbalizing mind.”

Your fingers can move on a rosary, and you can go on thinking. If your fingers just move on the rosary with no thinking, it becomes a meditation. Then, really, no technique is needed. The whole life is a technique. So Bokuju said, “It would be better if you be with me and watch me. Don’t ask for a method. Just watch me – and you will come to know.”

The poor fellow watched for seven days. He began to be more confused. After seven days he said, “When I came, I was less confused. Now I am more confused. I have watched you for seven days continuously – what is there to be watched?”

Bokuju said, “Then you have not watched. When I walk, have you seen? – I simply walk. When you bring tea in the morning for me, have you watched? – I simply take the tea and drink it: just drinking There is NO Bokuju – just drinking. No Bokuju – just drinking of the tea. Have you watched? If you have watched, then you must have felt that Bokuju is no more.”

This is a very subtle point – because if the thinker is there, then there is ego; then you are a Bokuju or somebody else. But if only action is there with no verbalization, no thinking, there is no ego. So Bokuju says, “Have you really watched? Then there was no Bokuju – just drinking of the tea, walking in the garden, digging a hole in the earth.”

Buddha, because of this, has said, “There is no soul” – because you have not watched, you go on continuously thinking that you have a soul. You are not! If you are a witness, then you are not. The “I” forms itself through thoughts. So one thing more: accumulated thoughts, piled-up memories, create the feeling of ego – that you are.

Try this experiment: cut your whole past away from you – no memory. You don’t know who your parents are; you don’t know to whom you belong – to which country, to which religion, to which race. You don’t know where you were educated, whether you were educated or not. Just cut the whole past – and remember who you are. You cannot remember who you are. You are, obviously. You are, but who are you? In this moment, you cannot feel an “I”. The ego is just accumulated past. The ego is your thought condensed, crystallized.

So Bokuju says, “If you have watched me, I was not. There was drinking of the tea, but no drinker.  Walking was there in the garden, but no walker. Action was there, but no actor.”

In witnessing, there is no sense of I; in thinking there is. So if the so-called thinkers are so deeply rooted in their egos. It is not just a coincidence; artists, thinkers, philosophers, literary persons if they are so egoistic, it is not just a coincidence. The more thoughts you have, the greater the ego you have. In witnessing there is no ego, but this comes only if you can transcend language. Language is the barrier. Language is needed to communicate with others; it is not needed to communicate with oneself. It is a useful instrument – rather, the most useful instrument. Man could create a society, a world, only because of language – but because of language, man has forgotten himself.

Language is our world. If for a single moment man forgets his language, then what remains? Culture, society, Hinduism, Christianity, communism – what remains? Nothing remains. If only language is taken out of existence, the whole humanity with its culture, civilization, science, religion, philosophy, disappears.

Language is a communication with others; it is the only communication. It is useful, but it is dangerous – and whenever some instrument is useful, it is in the same proportion dangerous also.  The danger is this: that the more mind moves into language the farther away it goes from the center: So one needs a subtle balance and a subtle mastery to be capable of moving into language, and also to be capable of leaving language, of going out of language, of moving out of language.

Witnessing means moving out of language, verbalization, mind. Witnessing means a state of no-mind, no-thinking. So try it! It is a long effort, and nothing is predictable – but try, and the effort will give you some moments when suddenly language disappears. And then a new dimension opens. You become aware of a different world – the world of simultaneity, the world of here and now, the world of no-mind, the world of reality.

Language must evaporate. So try to do ordinary acts, bodily movements, without language. Buddha used this technique to watch the breath. He would say to his bhikkhus, “Go on watching your breath. Don’t do anything: just watch the breath coming in, the breath going out, the breath coming in, the breath going out.” It is not to be said like this – it is to be felt. Mm? The breath coming in, with no words. Feel the breath coming in, move with the breath, let your consciousness go deep with the breath. Then let it move out. Go on moving with your breath. Be alert!

Buddha is reported to have said, “Don’t miss even a single breath. If a single breath is missed physiologically, you will be dead; and if a single breath is missed in awareness, you will be missing the center, you will be dead inside.” So Buddha said, “Breath is essential for the life of the body, and awareness of the breath is essential for the life of the inner center.”

Breathe, be aware. And if you are trying to be aware of your breathing, you cannot think, because the mind cannot do two things simultaneously – thinking and witnessing. The very phenomenon of witnessing is absolutely, diametrically opposite to thinking, so you cannot do both. Just as you cannot be both alive and dead, as you cannot be both asleep and awake, you cannot be both thinking and witnessing. Witness anything, and thinking will stop. Thinking comes in, and witnessing disappears. Witnessing is a passive awareness with no action inside. Awareness itself is not an action.

One day Mulla Nasrudin was very much worried, in deep brooding. Anyone could look at his face and feel that he was lost somewhere in thoughts, very tense, in anguish. His wife became alarmed.

She asked, “What are you doing, Nasrudin? What are you thinking? What is the problem? Why are you so worried?”

The Mulla opened his eyes and said, “This is the ultimate problem. I am thinking about how one knows when one is dead. How does one know that one is dead? If I am to die, how will I recognize that I am dead? – Because I have not known death. Recognition means you have known something before.

“I see you and recognize that you are A, or B or C, because I have known you. Death I have not known,” said the Mulla. ”And when it comes, how am I to recognize it? That is the problem, and I am very much worried. And when I am dead I cannot ask anyone else, so that door is also closed. I cannot refer to some scripture; no teacher can be of any help.”

The wife laughed and said, “You are unnecessarily worrying. When death comes, one knows immediately. When death comes to you, you will know because you will become just cold, ice-cold.” Mulla was relieved. A certain sign, the key, was in his hand.

After two or three months he was cutting wood in the forest. It was a winter morning and everything was cold. Suddenly he remembered, and he felt his hands – they were cold. He said, “Okay! Now death is coming, and I am so far from my house that I cannot even inform anyone. Now what am I to do? I forgot to ask my wife. She told me how one will feel, but what is one to do when death comes? Now no one is here, and everything is going just cold.”

Then he remembered. He had seen many persons dead, so he thought, “It is good to lie down.”

That is all that he has seen dead persons do, so he lies down. Of course, he becomes more cold, he feels more cold – death is upon him. His donkey is just resting by his side under the tree. Two wolves, thinking that Mulla is dead, attack his donkey. Mulla opens his eyes and sees, and he thinks, “Dead men cannot do anything. Had I been alive, wolves, you couldn’t have taken such liberties with my donkey. But now I cannot do anything. Dead men are never reported to have done anything. I can only witness.”

If you become dead to your past, totally dead, then you can only witness. What else can you do? Witnessing means becoming dead to your past, memory, thought, everything. Then in the present moment, what can you do? You can only witness. No judgment is possible. Judgment is possible only against past experiences. No evaluation is possible; evaluation is possible only against past evaluations. No thinking is possible; thinking is possible only if the past is there, brought into the present. So what can you do? You can witness.

In the old Sanskrit literature, the Teacher is defined as the death acharya mrityuh. The Teacher is defined as death! In the Katha Upanishad, Nachiketa is sent to Yama, the god of death, to be taught.  And when Yama, the death god, offers many, many allurements to Nachiketa – “Take this, take the kingdom, take so much wealth, so many horses, so many elephants, this and this,” a long list of things – Nachiketa says, “I have come to learn what death is, because unless I know what death is I cannot know what life is.”

So a Teacher was known in the old days as a person who can become a death to the disciple – who can give death, who can help you to die so that you can be reborn.

Nicodemus asked Jesus, “How can I attain to the Kingdom of God?”

Jesus said, “Unless you die first, nothing can be attained. Unless you are reborn, nothing can be attained.”

And this being reborn is not an event, it is a continuous process. One has to be reborn every moment. It is not that you are reborn once and then it is okay and finished. Life is a continuous birth, and death is also continuous. You have to die once because you have not lived at all. If you live, then you will have to die every moment. Die every moment to the past whatsoever it has been, a heaven or a hell. Whatsoever – die to it, and be fresh and young and reborn into the moment. Witness now! You can only witness now if you are fresh.

-Osho

Taken from The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol. 1, Chapter 15.

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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No Way – Osho

Osho, the Fourth Way, as taught by Gurdjieff, has been called the way of conscience. What place has conscience in your teaching?

The question is from Cecil Lewis.

No place at all. I don’t believe in conscience, I believe only in consciousness. I don’t believe in morality, I believe only in religion. I am amoral. Conscience is a trick of the society played upon you. The society creates conscience so that you may never need consciousness. You have been deceived. For example, when Jesus says ‘Love is God’ it is not out of his conscience, it is out of his consciousness. He knows it. It is not a belief, it is his experience. When a Christian says ‘Love is God’ it is his conscience, not his consciousness. He has not known it, he has not lived it. He has only heard it repeated again and again – he has become hypnotized by it.

Each child is being hypnotized by the parents, the priests, the politicians, the society. Constant repetition of a certain thing becomes conscience. You go on teaching to the child, ‘this is right. This is right. This is right.’ Hearing it again and again, his mind is being conditioned. After many years he will also say ‘This is right’ – it will be automatic. It will not be from his own being, it will come from the gramophone record that the society has placed in his being. It is like an electrode of Delgado. It is the dangerous trick that the society has been playing on everybody, down the centuries.

That’s why there are so many consciences in the world – the Hindu has one type of conscience, the Mohammedan has another type of conscience. How can consciences be so many? Truth is one. And consciences are so many?

From my childhood I was taught a very, very, strict vegetarianism. I was born in a Jaina family, absolutely dogmatic about vegetarianism. Not even tomatoes were allowed in my house, because tomatoes look a little like red meat. Poor innocent tomatoes, they were not allowed. Nobody has ever heard of anybody eating in the night; the sunset was the last limit. For eighteen years I had not eaten anything in the night, it was a great sin.

Then for the first time I went on a picnic with a few friends to the mountains. And they were all Hindus and I was the only Jaina. And they were not worried to cook in the day. Mm? The mountains were so beautiful and there was so much to explore – so they didn’t bother about cooking at all, they cooked in the night. Now it was a great problem for me to eat or not to eat? And I was feeling really hungry. The whole day moving in the mountains, it had been arduous. And I was really feeling hungry – for the first time so hungry in my life.

And then they started cooking. And the aroma and the food smell. And I was just sitting there, a Jaina. Now it was too difficult for me – what to do? The idea of eating in the night was impossible – the whole conditioning of eighteen years. And to sleep in that kind of hunger was impossible. And then they all started persuading me. And they said, ‘There is nobody here to know that you have eaten, and we will not tell your family at all. Don’t be worried.’ And I was ready to be seduced, so they seduced me and I ate. But then I could not sleep – I had to vomit two or three times in the night, the whole night became nightmarish. It would have been better if I had not eaten.

Conditioning for eighteen years that to eat in the night is sin. Now nobody else was vomiting, they were all fast asleep and snoring. They have all committed sin and they are all sleeping perfectly well. And they have been committing the sin for eighteen years, and I have committed it for the first time and I am being punished. This seems unjust!

Conscience is created; it is a conditioning. All that you think is good or bad is nothing but a conditioning. But this conditioning can go on managing your whole life. The society has entered in you and controls you from there, from within. It has become your inner voice. And because it has become your inner voice, you cannot hear your real inner voice. So my suggestion is: Unburden yourself of conscience. Throw all the conditioning out, cathart it, be free from it. That’s what I mean when I say don’t be a Christian, a Hindu, a Jaina, a Buddhist.

Just be. And be alert. In that alertness you will always know what is right and what is wrong. And the right and the wrong is not a fixed thing – something may be right in the morning and may be wrong in the evening, and something may be wrong in the evening and may be right in the night. Circumstances change. An alert man, a conscious man, has no fixed ideas. He has spontaneous responses but no fixed ideas. Because of fixed ideas you never act spontaneously. Your action is always a kind of reaction – not action really.

When you act out of spontaneity, with no idea, with no prejudice, then there is real action. And action has passion in it, intensity in it. And it is original and it is first-hand. And action makes your life creative and action makes your life continuously a celebration; because each act becomes an expression of your being. Conscience is a false being.

I think the French language is the only language which has only one word for consciousness and conscience – a single word, meaning both. That is beautiful. Real conscience should be only consciousness, nothing else. You should become more conscious.

But about consciousness also, I have differences with George Gurdjieff. When he says ‘be conscious’ he says ‘Be conscious that you are.’ He insists for self-remembering. Now, this has to be understood. Your consciousness has two polarities. One polarity is the content. For example, a cloud of anger is inside you – that is the content. And you are aware of the cloud of anger – that is consciousness, the witness, watchfulness, the observer. So your consciousness can be divided in two – the observer and the observed.

Gurdjieff says: Go on remembering the observer – self-remembering. Buddha says: Forget the observer, just watch the observed. And if you have to choose between Buddha and Gurdjieff, I will suggest choose Buddha. Because there is a danger with Gurdjieff you may become too self-conscious – rather than becoming self-aware, you may become self-conscious. You may become an egoist. And that I have felt in many Gurdjieff disciples – they have become very, very, great egoists. Not that Gurdjieff was an egoist – he was one of the rarest enlightened men of this age. But the method has a danger in it: it is very difficult to make a distinction between self-consciousness and self-remembering. It is almost impossible to make the distinction, it is so subtle. And for the ignorant masses it is almost always self-consciousness that will take possession of them; it will not be self-remembering.

The very word ‘self’ is dangerous – you become more and more settled in the idea of the self. And the idea of the self isolates you from existence.

Buddha says: Forget the self, because there is no self. The self is just in the grammar, in the language; it is not anything existential. You just observe the content. By observing the content, the content starts disappearing. Once the content disappears, watch your anger – and watching it, you will see it is disappearing. Once the anger has disappeared there is silence. There is no self, no observer, and nothing to be observed. There is silence. This silence is brought by vipassana, Buddha’s method of awareness.

Ordinary man does both. He goes on changing his gear – sometimes he observes the self, sometimes he observes the content. He goes on moving from this to that, he is a constant wavering. Gurdjieff says the one thing is: Be settled in the observer. Buddha says: Look at the observed.

My own approach is different from both. My approach is that Gurdjieff’s method is more dangerous than Buddha’s method, but even in Buddha’s method there is bound to be some tension – the effort to watch. The very effort to watch will make you tense.

A Buddhist monk was brought to me from Ceylon. He was unable to sleep – for three years he had not slept. And all kinds of medications had been tried upon him but nothing was helping, no tranquillizer was of any help. And nobody had bothered that he goes on doing vipassana, the Buddha’s method of insight – nobody had thought about it. When he came to me, the first thing I asked him was, ‘Are you doing vipassana?’– Because he is a Buddhist monk, he must be doing it. He said, ‘Yes – for three years.’ I said, ‘Then that is the cause of your sleeplessness.’

If you are continuously making effort to watch, then in the night you will not be able to relax and fall into sleep – the watching will become continuous. And if you are watching even in the night, how can you fall asleep? You cannot relax, the tension has become fixed. It is a known fact that Buddhist monks sleep only three, four hours at the most. It is not a gain. They think, and others also think, that this is a gain – they have attained something, they sleep only three, four hours. It is not. They are losing something very valuable – relaxation. And they will look tense; on their faces they will look tense. They will look very quiet, but tense. They will look very silent – but their silence is not the silence of relaxation, but of effort. You can see the effort in the comer, defining them.

My own method is: You relax. Neither watch the watcher nor watch the watched. Just relax, be passive. If something floats and you cannot help seeing it, see it. But don’t make any effort to see it deliberately. If you are relaxed like a mirror, if some cloud passes by, it will be reflected. Be like a mirror – lucid, passive. Drop both – the Gurdjieffian method of self-remembering, and the Buddhist method of watching.

But if you have to choose between Gurdjieff and Buddha, choose Buddha. If you have to choose between Buddha and me, choose me.

Relax. And just see things. And there is nothing much – if you miss something, it is not of worth. You can miss, you are allowed to miss. Take life easy, take it easy.

So people who have been in some kind of effort – and Gurdjieff’s work is of great effort – will be puzzled here. That’s why Lewis is puzzled, a little bit confused. And sooner or later, either he has to understand me or he has to condemn me – both are open. And condemnation will be easier.

Because for thirty years working hard – and now suddenly he has become attracted to a man who does not believe in effort at all. Who does not believe in improvement, who does not believe in growth, who does not believe in going anywhere, who does not believe in any way.

He says, the Fourth Way, as taught by Gurdjieff.

What I am teaching here is: No Way. There is really no way, because truth is not a goal. All ways lead away from where we are. All roads, all ways, all paths, distract you from truth. And there is nowhere to go, either, and nobody to go. There is no way of being here and now but to be here and now. When I say ‘Be here and now’ don’t ask how – the ‘how’ will take you away. When I say ‘Be here and now’ don’t ask ‘What is the way to be here and now?’ There is no way of being here and now but to BE here and now. There is no way to be still, and no need of any way. To see, wholly to see, that there is no way, is at once to be still. Seeing that – is stillness. All ways lead everywhere but here.

To live one’s life as it comes and goes, is awareness; passive, lucid, mirror-like, with no tension. So I don’t teach you attention, because attention has the word ‘tension’ in it. And the phenomenon of attention has the feeling of tension in it – hence the word ‘attention’. Enjoy, relax. Just understanding this, that there is nowhere to go, is liberation. Liberation is not like a goal somewhere else waiting for you. Liberation is understanding that you are already liberated.

It is impious for us to assert so flatly what should be, in the face of what is. What is, is the truth. Yatha Bhutam – that which is, is the truth. To assert what should be, is impious, sacrilegious, it is a sin. ‘Should’ is a sin. That which is – relax with it, float with it. I don’t teach even swimming, I simply say float with it. It is our responsibility to know how to accept and live through that which is.

So I don’t teach any way – fourth or fifth or sixth. And I don’t teach conscience, I teach a lucid relaxed consciousness. Out of that, many flowerings happen. Out of that, many songs are born.

But they are born on their own. You cannot be the doer of them and you cannot feel enhanced that ‘I have done’. You cannot feel your ego fulfilled through them. The more those flowers will come, the more you will disappear. And one day there is flowering, but you are not. That is the day, the moment, of liberation.

– OSHO

From This Very Body the Buddha, Chapter 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.

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 Royal Way – Osho

The belief in the myth of change is the most dangerous kind of belief. Man has suffered much from it – much more than from any other kind of belief. The myth of change – that something better is possible, that man can improve upon himself, that there is some place to go to, that there is somebody to be, and that there is some kind of utopia – has corrupted human mind infinitely down the centuries. It has been a constant poisoning.

Man is already there. Man has been all along that which he wants to be. Man need not change in order to be. All that is needed is an understanding, an awareness – not a change. Becoming is never going to give you being. Through becoming you will remain constantly in anguish, in tension – because becoming means that the goal is somewhere else, that the goal is never here, never now, that the goal is far away. You have to strive for it and your whole life is wasted in striving. And you can go on striving and you will not find it because the goal is here and now, and you are looking then and there.

Your being is in the present, and all ideas of becoming are projections into the future. By projecting into the future, you go on missing the present. That is a way of escaping from the reality. The idea that you have to become something is the idea that takes you away from your real being, from your authentic being. You are already that – that’s why I say the myth of change is one of the most dangerous myths.

It has two dimensions to it. One is political, the other is religious.

The political dimension is that the society can be improved, that revolution can help, that there is a utopia that can be realized. Because of this, politicians have been able to torture, to murder, to exploit, to oppress. And people have suffered in the hope that revolution is going to happen. That revolution never happens. Revolutions come and go and society remains as it has always been.

Hitlers, Stalins, Maos, can exploit people for their own sake. And if you want to get to the utopia, to the wonderland, to paradise, you obviously have to pay for it. This is the secular dimension of the myth – that something better is possible. Right now it is not there, but some day it can be – you have to sacrifice for it. Millions of people were killed in Soviet Russia, tortured inhumanly, for their own good. And logic says that if you want to have a better society, who is going to pay for it? You are going to pay for it, naturally. So the people cannot even revolt, they cannot even resist. If they resist, they look like enemies of the revolution. And the myth is so deep-rooted in the mind that they accept all kinds of humiliations in the hope that maybe if they cannot live in a golden age, their children will. This is the secular direction of the same neurosis.

The religious dimension is that you can have a better future – if not in this life, then in the next. Of course, you have to sacrifice. If you sacrifice the present, you will have the future.

That future never comes. The future in itself cannot come. The tomorrow is not possible, it is always today. It is always the present that is there. The future is just in the mind, in the imagination. It is a dream; it is not part of reality.

The political myth has been taken up by the sadists – those who want to torture others; and the religious myth has been taken up by the masochists – those who want to torture themselves. Torture yourself. Fast. Don’t sleep. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. This is the whole secret of the so-called ascetic attitude towards life: torture yourself. And naturally, your body is helpless, your body is defenseless. It cannot protest. It cannot go against you.

There is a possibility that people may revolt against the politicians, but what is the possibility that your body may revolt against you? There is no possibility. The body is very innocent, helpless. You can go on torturing it and you can go on feeling that you have immense power because you can torture it. You can go on killing it, and feel powerful. And you can attain to a great ego.

There are two kinds of people in the world: the sadists and the masochists. Sadists are those whose enjoyment consists of torturing others, and masochists are those whose enjoyment consists of torturing themselves – but it is the same violence, it is the same aggression. The sadist throws it on somebody else; the masochist turns it upon himself. Because the sadist throws it on others, sooner or later they will revolt. But when the masochist throws it upon himself there is nobody to revolt.

In fact, all revolutionaries; once they are in power, by and by lose respect. Sooner or later they are dethroned; sooner or later their power is destroyed; sooner or later they are thought to be criminals. Your whole history consists of these criminals. Your history is not the history of humanity because it is not the history of humanness. How can it be the history of humanity? It is not the history of humanity; it is only the history of politics, political conflicts, struggles, wars.

It is as if you write the history of robbers and murderers and you call it the history of humanity. The revolutionaries are great murderers, they are no ordinary murderers – otherwise they would have been in the jail or sentenced to death. They are powerful people. They possess power. Until their power goes, they are worshipped like God. But their power goes sooner or later. A day comes when Hitler is no longer honored; he becomes an ugly dirty name. A day comes when Stalin is no longer honored. Just the reverse happens.

But with the other dimension, the religious dimension, of the myth – the ascetic, the self-torturer, the masochist – people never come to know their reality because they never torture anybody else. They torture only themselves. And people go on respecting them. People respect them very much because they are not harmful to anybody except to themselves. That is their business. The ascetics have always been worshipped. But ascetism is a kind of neurosis; it is not normal.

To eat too much is abnormal; to fast is also abnormal. The right amount of food is normality. To be in the middle is to be normal. To be exactly in the middle is to be healthy and whole and holy.

If you go to one extreme, you become a politician. If you go to the other extreme, you become a religious fanatic, an ascetic. Both have missed balance.

So the first thing to be understood is that the religion that we are creating here – and it has to be created again and again because it becomes corrupted again and again – the religion that we are invoking here is not political and is not in the ordinary sense even religious. It is neither sadistic nor masochistic. It is normal. It is to be in the middle.

And what is the way to be in the middle? The way to be in the middle is to be in the world but not to be of it. To be in the middle means to live in the world but not to allow the world to live in you. To be exactly in the middle and to be balanced means you are a witness to all that happens to you. Witnessing is the only foundation for a real authentic religion. Whatsoever is, has to be witnessed – joyfully, ecstatically. Nothing has to be denied and rejected. All denial, all rejection, will keep you in limits and you will remain in conflict. Everything has to be accepted as it is.

And you have to be a watcher. Pleasure comes – watch. Pain comes – watch. Neither be disturbed by pleasure nor be disturbed by pain. Let your calm remain unperturbed. Let your silence, your tranquility, remain undisturbed. Pain will come and go and pleasure will come and go. Success will come and go and failure will come and go. And soon you will come to understand the point that it is only you who remains. That is eternal. This witnessing is eternal.

The contents that flow in the consciousness are temporary. One moment they are there, another moment they are gone. Don’t be worried about them; don’t be either in favor of them or against them. Don’t try to possess them; don’t hold onto them, because they are going to go. They have to go. It is the very nature of things that they cannot be permanent.

Something pleasant is happening. It cannot be permanent. It will have to go. And following it, something unpleasant is already getting ready to happen. It is the rhythm of life – day and night, life and death, summer and winter. The wheel goes on moving.

Don’t hold on and don’t try to make something very, very permanent. It is not possible. The more you try, the more frustrated you will become, because it cannot be done. And when it cannot be done, you feel defeated. You feel defeated because you have not understood one simple thing: nothing can be static. Life is a flux. Only one thing is eternally there and that is your consciousness, that innermost watcher.

Sufis call it ’the watcher on the hills’. The valleys go on changing but the watcher remains on the top of the hill. Sometimes the valley is dark and sometimes the valley is light and sometimes there is dancing and singing and sometimes there is weeping and crying – and the watcher sits on the hill-top and just goes on watching.

By and by the content of consciousness does not matter only consciousness becomes significant. That is the essential foundation of all true religion. And this is the understanding of the Sufis.

Before we enter into this small parable today; let me tell you that there are four ways to approach truth, to be connected with truth.

The first is known in the East as karma yoga – the way of action. Man has three dimensions in him: action, knowing, feeling; so three ways use these three directions: action, knowing feeling.

You can act, and you can act with total absorption, and you can offer your act to God. You can act without becoming a doer. That is the first way – karma yoga: being in action without being a doer. You let God do. You let God be in you. You efface yourself.

In this, the path of action, consciousness changes the content. These two things have to be understood: consciousness and content. This is all that your life consists of. There is something which is the knower in you and something which is the known. For example, you are listening to me. Now two things are there: whatsoever I am saying will be the content, and whatsoever you are inside, listening, watching, that is the consciousness. You are looking at me. Then my figure in your eyes is the content and you, who are looking at that figure in the eye, are consciousness – the object and the subject.

On the path of action, consciousness changes the content. That is what action is. You see a rock. Somebody may stumble upon it – because it is getting dark, night is falling. So you remove the rock from the path. This is action. What have you done? Consciousness has changed the content. On the path of action, content is important and has to be changed. If somebody is ill and you go and serve him and you give him medicine, you are changing the content. If somebody has fallen in the river and is drowning, you jump in and you save him from drowning. You have changed the content.

Action is content-directed. Action is will – something has to be done. Of course, if the will remains ego-oriented, then you will not be religious. You will be a great doer, but not religious. And your path will be of action but not towards God. When you allow God to become your will, when you say, ‘Let thy will be mine,’ when you surrender your will to the feet of god and his will starts flowing through you, then it is the path of action – karma yoga.

The goal of karma yoga is freedom, moksha – to change the contents so much that nothing antagonistic is left there; nothing harmful is left there; to change the content according to your heart’s desire, so that you can be free of limitations. This is the path of Jainism, yoga, and all action-oriented philosophies.

The second path is the path of knowledge, knowing – gyana yoga. On the second path consciousness is changed by the content. On the first, content is changed by consciousness; on the second it is just the reverse – consciousness is changed by the content.

On the path of knowledge you simply try to see what is the case – whatsoever it is. That’s what Krishnamurti goes on teaching. That is the purest path of knowing. There is nothing to be done.

You have just to attain to clarity, to see what is the case. You have just to see that which is. You are not to do anything. You have simply to drop your prejudices and you have to drop your concepts, notions, which can interfere with reality, which can interpret reality, which can color reality. You have to drop all that you carry in your mind as a priori notions – and then let the reality be there. Whatsoever it is, you just see it. And that changes you.

To know the real is to be transformed. Knowing the real as the real, you cannot act in any other way than the way of reality. Once you have known the reality, reality starts changing you. Consciousness is changed by the content.

The goal of the path of knowledge is truth. The goal of karma yoga, the path of action or will, was freedom. The goal of the path of knowing – Vedanta, Hinduism, Sankhya, and other paths of knowing, Ashtavakra, Krishnamurti – is truth, Brahman. Thou art that. Let that be revealed, then you become that. Once you know that, you become that. By knowing God, one becomes God. Thou art that – that is the most essential phenomenon on the second path.

The third is bhakti yoga – the way of feeling. Love is the goal. Consciousness changes the content and the content changes consciousness. The change is mutual. The lover changes the beloved, the beloved changes the lover. On the path of will, consciousness changes content, on the path of knowing, content changes consciousness; on the path of feeling, both interact, both affect each other. The change is mutual. That’s why the path of feeling is more whole. The first path is half, the second path also half, but the path of love is more round, more whole, because it has both in it.

Vaishnavas, Christianity, Islam, and other paths; Ramanuja, Vallabha, and other devotees – they say that subject and object are not separate. So if one changes the other, then something will remain unbalanced. Let both change each other. Let both meet and merge into each other, let there be a unity. As man and woman meet and merge into each other, let there be a unity. As man and woman meet and there is great joy, let there be an orgasm between consciousness and content, between you and reality, between that and thou. Let it not be only a knowing, let it not be only partial – let it be total.

These are the three ordinary paths. Sufism is the fourth. One of the greatest Sufis of this age was George Gurdjieff. His disciple, P. D. Ouspensky, has written a book called The Fourth Way. It is very symbolic.

What is this fourth way? If it is neither of action, nor of knowing, nor of feeling – because these are the three faculties – then what is this fourth way? The fourth way is the way of transcendence. In India this is called raja yoga – the royal path, the fourth way. Neither consciousness changes the content, nor the content changes consciousness. Nothing changes nothing. All is as it is with no change. Content is there, consciousness is here, and no change is happening. No effort to change is there.

This is what I mean by being. With all the three paths something remains in the mind that has to be done. With the fourth, all becoming disappears. You simply accept whatsoever is. In that acceptance is transcendence. In that very acceptance you go beyond. You remain just a witness.

You are no longer doing anything here, you are just-being here.

A goal is not possible with the fourth way. There is no goal. With the first, the goal is freedom; with the second, truth; with the third, love. With the fourth there is no goal. Zen and Sufism belong to the fourth. That’s why Zen people say ’the pathless path, the gateless gate’ – because there is no goal. The goal-less goal. We are not going anywhere. We are not striving for anything. All that is needed is already here. It has been here all along. You have just to be silent and see. There is no need to change anything. With the fourth, the myth of change disappears.

And when there is no need to change, joy explodes – because the energy that gets involved in changing things is no longer involved anywhere; it is released. That released energy is what is called joy.

Sometimes it happens to you too, unknowingly. Sometimes sitting alone, doing nothing, you feel something happen. You cannot believe what it is. You cannot even trust what it is. It is so incredibly new, so unknown. It happens to everybody – in rare moments, for no reason at all. You cannot figure it out; you cannot reckon why it has happened.

You have been lying in your bathtub and suddenly something happens. The mind is not rushing in its usual way; the body is relaxed in the hot water. You are not doing anything; you are just being there. Suddenly it comes – the silence of the house, the birds singing outside, the children playing in the street. All is there as it has been, but with a new quality. There is great restfulness, a relaxation. Something in you is no longer striving for anything. You are not goal-oriented, you are just herenow.

If you start thinking about what it is, you miss it immediately. If you start trying to get hold of it again, you will never get hold of it again. It comes when it comes. It comes when the right situation is there. But you cannot create that right situation. If you try to create it, you will fall into one of the first three ways. If you try to change the content, you will become a follower of the path of action. If you try to change your consciousness through the content, you will become a follower of the second path – the path of knowledge. If you try to make both meet and mingle and merge, then you will become a follower of the third path.

But if you don’t do anything – not willing, not knowing, not feeling – if you just relax, then there is witnessing. Witnessing is not knowing; witnessing is totally different. In fact, it cannot be said that you are witnessing. You are not doing anything – not even witnessing. You are just there. Things are happening. Suddenly a bird starts singing outside and you hear it – because you are there, you hear it. There is no effort to hear it, there is no deliberate concentration for it.

Just the other day I came across a Shankhya sutra of immense beauty: Dhyanam Nirvishayam Manah – that’s how Shankhya sutras define dhyana. Meditation is mind without thoughts, without feelings, without will. Meditation is consciousness without any striving. Dhyanam Nirvishayam Manah. There is no longing for any object. You are not striving for anything. Then you are in dhyana, then you are in meditation. You are not doing anything; on no plane are you doing anything. All doing has simply disappeared. There is utter silence inside you, and absolute rest.

Let this word ‘rest’ be remembered by you; relaxation. You cannot do it, remember. How can you do it? If you do it you cannot relax, because then relaxation becomes a goal and you become a doer. You can only understand it. You can only allow it to happen; you cannot do it, you cannot force it. It has nothing to do with your doing. You can only understand how it happens and you can remain in that understanding. And it comes.

Dhyanam Nirvishayam Manah. When the mind is, with no desire, no object, no goal, not going anywhere, then how can it be tense? It is not a state of concentration. It is not concentration at all because concentration will need striving; concentration is a kind of tension. It is not even attention, because attention is also a kind of tension.

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the word ’meditation’ as concentration. That is absolutely wrong. Meditation is not concentration. Concentration means mind striving, forcing, willing, trying to do something. Putting one’s whole energy into one direction – that’s what concentration means. Meditation means you are not putting your energy into any direction; it is simply overflowing. It is not going in any particular direction; it is simply overflowing like a fragrance, a fragrance overflowing from a flower, unaddressed – neither to the north nor to the south. It is not going anywhere, or, it is going everywhere. Wherever the winds will take it, it is ready to go. It is utterly relaxed.

This moment happens sometimes to you. I would like you to remember that it is not something rare that happens only to religious people. It happens in ordinary life too but you don’t take note of it. You are afraid of it.

Just a few days ago, I received a letter from a woman. She had been here, and then she went home. For six months she was trying and trying to meditate and it did not happen according to her idea of meditation. She must have had some desire about what it should be like. She must have had some expectations, and it was not happening.

She has written a letter to say that one day she was just sitting in the room. There was nothing to do. The husband had gone to the office; the children had gone to school; the house was empty. She was just sitting, not doing anything; there was no desire to do. She was just sitting in the chair with closed eyes – and it happened. It was suddenly there, with all its benedictions. But she became frightened. She became frightened because when it happened suddenly a fear came to her – because it was there, meditation was there, but she was not there. That became a great fear and she simply pulled herself out of it. It felt as if she was disappearing.

Yes, it happens. Your ego cannot exist there. Your ego is not possible there. Your ego is nothing but all your tensions together. Your ego is nothing but a bundle of past tensions, of present tensions, and of future tensions. When you are non-tense, the ego simply falls to the ground in pieces.

She became afraid. For six months she had been trying to meditate and nothing was happening, and then one day it happened. It came while she was completely unaware of it. She was taken aback. It was there. And she had been provoking it and desiring and asking and praying, and it had not come. And then it came. But she missed. It was there but she became frightened. It was too much. She felt as if she might disappear into it and might not be able to come out of it. She pulled herself out of it. Now she writes that she is crying and weeping, and wants it back.

Now this wanting it back won’t help – because it came that day without any wanting. Without any idea of what was going to happen, suddenly it came. It always comes like sudden lightning.

This is the fourth way, that’s why it is called raja yoga – the royal path. The king is not supposed to do anything. Servants do. The king is not supposed to do anything. He simply sits on his throne and things happen. There are so many people to do it. That’s why it is called raja yoga – the path of the king. The other three are ordinary; the fourth is really exceptional. The king is not expected to do anything; he simply sits there relaxed. That’s what we mean by one who is a king. Doing has disappeared, knowing has disappeared, feeling has disappeared – the king is utterly relaxed. In that relaxation it happens.

Sufi and Zen are raja yogas – the royal paths. Neither consciousness changes the content nor the content changes consciousness. This is the fundamental principle: nothing changes, there is no change happening. Things are. The flower is there and you are there. You don’t change the flower and the flower does not change you. Both exist together. It is existence with no motive.

Zen people call it nirvana, the goal, the no-goal – nirvana. One simply ceases to be. The word ‘nirvana’ is beautiful. It means: as if somebody has blown out a candle. Just a few minutes before it was there, the lamp was burning bright, and then you blew it out. Now the flame has disappeared into the infinity. It has become part of the cosmos. You cannot find it. You cannot trace where it has gone, where it is. It has simply disappeared.

There is a Sufi parable.

A Sufi mystic was entering a village and he came across a small boy who was carrying a lit candle. The boy was going to the mosque. The night was coming and the boy was going to the mosque to put the candle there – as an act of worship.

The mystic saw the boy, the innocent boy, his face lighted by the light of the candle. The mystic asked the boy, ‘Have you yourself lighted the candle?’ And the boy said, ‘Yes, sir.’ The mystic jokingly asked, ‘Then you must have seen from where the flame comes. Can you tell me from where the flame comes?’ The boy laughed and blew out the candle and said, ‘Now you have seen it going. Can you tell me where it has gone?’

Nobody knows from where it comes and nobody knows to where it goes. It comes out of nothingness or out of all – which means the same – and it goes back into nothingness or into the all – which is the same. That is nirvana.

Sufis have the word for it – Fana. It means exactly the same. One is utterly lost.

There is no need to do anything on the path of will or on the path of knowledge or on the path of feeling. Nothing is needed to be done – because if you do something you will remain, you will persist a little. Something of the ego may linger on. No change, no improvement, no effort to make you better is needed – just be.

Mohammed says: ‘Be in this world as a stranger or as a passer-by.’ Be in this world but don’t be of it. Be in this world but don’t allow the world to be in you. ‘Be for this world as if thou were to live a thousand years, and for the next as if thou were to die tomorrow.’ Live this moment as if you are going to live forever and yet be mindful that the next moment may not come. So live totally, and yet remain a witness. Be involved in it, but still keep yourself like a watcher on the hill.

– Osho

Excerpt from: Sufis: The People of the Path, Volume 2, #11

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Why Meditation? – Osho

What is the best way to encourage people in meditation?

The first thing: for a patient to go to the doctor you must make him realize that he is sick; otherwise there is no need to go to the doctor.

So the people you want to encourage into meditation: first you have to make them aware that they are frustrated, perhaps for so long that they have forgotten that they are sad. They cannot remember when they laughed from their very hearts. They have become robots – they do things because they have to be done but there is no joy in doing them.

They are living an accidental life. Their birth is accidental, their marriage is accidental, their children are accidental, their job is accidental. Their life has no sense of intrinsic growth and direction. That’s why they cannot feel like rejoicing.

So first you have to make them aware where they are – and almost everybody is in the same situation. Death is coming close – you cannot even rely on your being here tomorrow. And your life is an absolute desert – it has not found any oasis, it has not felt any meaning, any significance – and death may destroy all possibilities in the future.

So first you have to make them aware of their meaningless, accidental, frustrated life. They know it, but they try to suppress their knowing in many ways, because to know it continuously is a torture. So they go to the movies to forget it. They go to parties, they go to picnics, they drink alcoholic beverages; they do everything – just to somehow not remember the reality of their life, their hollowness, futility.

This is the most important part – to remind them. And once a person remembers all this, then to lead him towards meditation is a very simple thing, because meditation is the only answer to all the questions of man. It may be frustration, it may be depression, it may be sadness, it may be meaninglessness, it may be anguish: The problems may be many but the answer is one.

Meditation is the answer.

And the simplest method of meditation is just a way of witnessing. There are one hundred and twelve methods of meditation, but witnessing is an essential part of all one hundred and twelve methods. So as far as I am concerned, witnessing is the only method. Those one hundred and twelve are different applications of witnessing.

The essential core, the spirit of meditation is to learn how to witness.

You are seeing a tree: You are there, the tree is there, but can’t you find one thing more? – that you are seeing the tree, that there is a witness in you which is seeing you seeing the tree.

The world is not divided only into the object and the subject. There is also something beyond both, and that beyond is meditation.

So in every act… and I don’t want people to sit for one hour or half an hour in the morning or in the evening. That kind of meditation is not going to help, because if you meditate for one hour, then for twenty-three hours you will be doing just the opposite of it.

Meditation can be victorious: witnessing is such a method that can spread over twenty-four hours of your day.

Eating, don’t get identified with the eater. The food is there, the eater is there, and you are here, watching. Walking, let the body walk but you simply watch. Slowly, the knack comes. It is a knack, and once you can watch small things….

This crow, crowing… you are listening. These are two – object and subject. But can’t you see a witness who is seeing both? – The crow, the listener, and still there is someone who is watching both. It is such a simple phenomenon. Then you can move into deeper layers: you can watch your thoughts; you can watch your emotions, your moods.

There is no need to say, ”I am sad.” The fact is that you are a witness that a cloud of sadness is passing over you. There is anger – you can simply be a witness. There is no need to say, ”I am angry.” You are never angry – there is no way for you to be angry – you are always a witness. The anger comes and goes; you are just a mirror. Things come, get reflected, move – and the mirror remains empty and clean, unscratched by the reflections.

Witnessing is finding your inside mirror.

And once you have found it, miracles start happening. When you are simply witnessing the thoughts, thoughts disappear. Then there is suddenly a tremendous silence you have never known. When you are watching the moods – anger, sadness, happiness – they suddenly disappear and an even greater silence is experienced.

And when there is nothing to watch – then the revolution. Then the witnessing energy turns upon itself because there is nothing to prevent it; there is no object left. The word ”object” is beautiful. It simply means that which prevents you, objects you. When there is no object to your witnessing, it simply comes around back to yourself – to the source. And this is the point where one becomes enlightened.

Meditation is only a path: the end is always Buddhahood, enlightenment. And to know this moment is to know all.

Then there is no misery, no frustration, no meaninglessness; then life is no longer an accident. It becomes part of this cosmic whole – an essential part. And a tremendous bliss arises that this whole existence needs you.

Man’s greatest need is to be needed. If somebody needs you, you feel gratified. But if the whole existence needs you, then there is no limit to your bliss. And this existence needs even a small blade of grass as much as the biggest star.

There is no question of inequality. Nobody can substitute for you. If you are not there, then existence will be something less and will remain always something less – it will never be full. That feeling – that this whole immense existence is in need of you – takes all miseries away from you.

For the first time, you have come home.

Osho

From Light on the Path, Chapter One

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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Your Real Being, the Master – Osho

Beloved Osho,

In the mind, in the process of thinking, there is so much energy. How can we use that energy in a creative and constructive way?

The question is very complex. It sounds simple, but it is not simple.

You are asking: The mind is full of energy, how to use this energy in a creative and constructive way?

Who is going to use this energy?

If mind itself is going to use this energy, it can never be creative and can never be constructive.

That is what is happening all over the world. That is what is happening in science. The whole misery of science is that mind is using its energy. But mind is a negative force; it cannot use anything creatively, it needs a master. Mind is a servant. Do you have a master?

So to me the question is… meditation brings the master in. It makes you fully aware and conscious that the mind is your instrument. Now, whatever you want to do with it you can do. And if you don’t want to do anything with it, you can put it aside and you can remain in absolute silence.

Right now you are not the master – even for five minutes. You cannot say to the mind, “Please, for five minutes, just for five minutes be silent.” Those will be the five minutes when mind will be faster, rushing more than ever – because it will have to show you who is the master.

There is a famous story in Tibet. A man wanted to learn the art of miracles, so he served a saint who was thought to be a knower of all the secrets. He served the saint day in, day out; he closed his business. The old saint told him again and again, “I don’t know anything. You are unnecessarily wasting your business, and you are becoming a burden to me because whenever I look at you…. Twenty-four hours a day you are sitting here, on my head, and I don’t know any miracles. What to do?”

The man said, “You cannot avoid me so easily. I have heard that you have been hiding those secrets. But if you are stubborn, I am also stubborn. I will die sitting here, but I will learn the secret.”

Finally the saint said, “Listen. This is the mantra” – it was not much, it was a simple mantra – “Just repeat Om, Om, Omkar and all the secrets of all the miracles will be available to you as you become more and more attuned with the mantra.”

The man rushed towards his home. While he was going down the steps of the temple the saint said, “Wait! I have forgotten one thing. After taking the bath, when you are sitting to chant the mantra, remember not to let any monkey enter into your mind.”

That man said, “You must be getting senile! In my whole life no monkey has ever entered into my mind. Don’t be worried.”

He said, “I am not worried. It is just to make you aware, so you don’t come later on and tell me that a monkey disturbed everything.”

The man said, “There is no fear about the monkeys. Everything has entered into this mind, but a monkey? I don’t remember this at all, not even in a dream.”

But as he started moving towards his house he was amazed; monkeys started appearing on the screen of his mind – big monkeys, giggling. He said, “My God!” He tried to push them away, “Get out! Get lost! I don’t have anything to do with monkeys, and particularly today!” But he was surprised that it was not one monkey, it was a vast line; they were coming from all sides.

He said, “My God, I had never thought that in my mind so many monkeys are hidden. But first let me take a bath.” But it was so difficult to take a bath because continually he was shouting “Get out! Get lost!”

Finally his wife knocked on the door – “What is the matter? Who is inside the bathroom? Are you alone?”

He said, “I am alone.”

“But then why are you shouting so loudly, get out, get lost?”

He said, “About these monkeys….”

The woman said, “You have gone mad. What monkeys? There are no monkeys here; keep quiet.”

He said, “Strange. This woman has never been so hard on me, but in a way she is right because there is nobody in the bathroom. But to say that they are in my head looks even worse.”

He sat in his worshipping place, but the monkeys were inside. He closed his eyes; they were sitting all around him. He said, “I have never thought that monkeys are so interested in me. Why are you bothering me? A few are inside the mind, and if I close my mind, a few are sitting all around me. They push me from this side and from that side, and giggling! I am a silent man, and this is not gentlemanly behavior.”

And again the wife looked into his worshipping place and she said, “With whom are you talking?”

He said, “My God, now I have to explain something which I do not understand myself. Just don’t you disturb me tonight. Tomorrow morning I will go and I will see that old man.”

The whole night he took showers many times, rubbed the soap as much as he could to clean himself, but there was no way. In fact, the bathroom was so full of monkeys that to make his way into the bathroom was difficult; to come out of the bathroom was difficult. And when he came back to his worshipping place they were sitting all over – even in his place a big monkey was sitting chanting Om, Om, Om.

That man said, “I cannot wait for morning.” It was midnight. He rushed to the temple, woke up the old man and told him, “What kind of mantra have you given to me?”

He said, “I have told you, that was the condition. That’s why for so many years I have not told it to anybody – because that condition is unfulfillable. You simply drop this idea of miracles, and the monkeys will disappear.”

The man said, “Just… I have come for that. I don’t want any miracles, I don’t want any secrets. Just please help me to get rid of these monkeys because they are sitting all over the place, and if I open my shop tomorrow they will be sitting all over the shop. I am a poor businessman. I got into the wrong business; this is not my business. You do your business but please, if you can help me….”

The saint said, “There is no problem. If you drop the idea of miracles those monkeys will disappear. They are the guardians of the miracles.”

If you try even for five minutes to stop thinking, more thoughts will rush in than ever – simply to show you that you are not the master. So first one has to get the mastery, and the way to become the master is not to say to the thoughts, “Stop.” The way to become the master is to watch the whole thought process.

If the man had simply watched the monkeys, had allowed them to giggle, had allowed them to do whatsoever they were doing; if he had been simply a witness, those monkeys would have gone – seeing that this man seemed to be absolutely indifferent, not interested at all.

Your thoughts have to understand one thing: that you are not interested in them. The moment you have made this point you have attained a tremendous victory. Just watch. Don’t say anything to the thoughts. Don’t judge. Don’t condemn. Don’t tell them to move. Let them do whatsoever they are doing, any gymnastics let them do; you simply watch, enjoy. It is just a beautiful film. And you will be surprised: just watching, a moment comes when thoughts are not there, there is nothing to watch.

This is the door I have been calling nothingness, emptiness.

From this door enters your real being, the master.

And that master is absolutely positive; in its hands everything turns into gold.

If Albert Einstein had been a meditator, the same mind would have produced atomic energy not to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki but to help the whole of humanity to raise its standard of living. Without meditation the mind is negative, it is bound to be in the service of death. With meditation the master is there, and the master is absolute positiveness. In its hands the same mind, the same energy, becomes creative, constructive, life affirmative.

So you cannot do anything directly with the mind. You will have to take a little roundabout way; first you have to bring the master in. The master is missing, and for centuries the servant has been thinking he is the master. Just let the master come in, and the servant immediately understands. Just the presence of the master and the servant falls at the feet of the master and waits for any order, for anything the master wants to be done – he is ready.

The mind is a tremendously powerful instrument. No computer is as powerful as man’s mind – cannot be, because it is made by man’s mind. Nothing can be, because they are all made by man’s mind. A single man’s mind has such immense capacity: in a small skull, such a small brain can contain all the information contained in all the libraries of the earth, and that information is not a small amount.

Just one library, the British library, has so many books that if we put those books in a line side by side they will go three times around the earth. And a bigger library exists in Moscow, a similar library exists in Harvard; and there are similar libraries in all the big universities of the world. But a single human mind can contain all the information contained in all these libraries. Scientists are agreed that we may not be able to make a computer comparable to the human mind which can be put in such a small space.

But the result of this immense gift to man has not been beneficial – because the master is absent and the servant is running the show. The result is wars, violence, murders, rape. Man is living in a nightmare, and the only way out is to bring the master in. It is there, you just have to get hold of it. And watchfulness is the key: just watch the mind. The moment there is no thoughts, immediately you will be able to see yourself – not as mind, but as something beyond, something transcendental to mind.

And once you are attuned with the transcendental then the mind is in your hands. It can be immensely creative. It can make this very earth paradise. There is no need for any paradise to be searched for above in the clouds, just as there is no need to search for any hell – because hell we have created already. We are living in it.

I have heard that a great politician died. Naturally, he was afraid that he would be taken to hell. He knew his whole life: it was absolutely criminal and nothing else. It is impossible without crimes to succeed in getting political power. In going higher on the ladder of power, you have to crush, kill, destroy – you have to do everything. But if you succeed then you are forgiven, nobody remembers that you have done anything wrong. And he was a successful politician. But as he was dying he was afraid; he remembered his whole past, and he was certain that “I am going to hell. Now nothing can help. Those political tricks will not be helpful here.”

But when he opened his eyes he was in front of heaven. He could not believe it. He asked the angels who had brought him there, “There seems to be some mistake, some bureaucratic mistake. This is heaven and you have brought me here?”

“This is, certainly. And there is no mistake, you have earned it.”

The man said, “What are you talking about? I have done everything wrong that can be done.”

They said, “We know, but your whole life you lived in hell, and now to send you to hell again will not be justified. Moreover, our hell will look very old-fashioned. You have been living in a very ultramodern hell, and we don’t want to feel ashamed. Our hell is very ancient, our methods of torture are very ancient, and you have refined everything so well that in fact you will laugh – ‘Is this hell?’ So the only way… even God was puzzled. You are three days late. You must have died three days ago, but it took three days for God to make the decision about where to take you. Finally we decided, ‘It is better to take him to heaven, because hell he has lived enough.’”

People still go on thinking that hell is somewhere down underneath the earth – and you are living in it, this is the beauty – and heaven is somewhere above.

You can change this hell into heaven if your mind can be under the guidance of the master, of your self nature. And it is a simple process….

But don’t try directly with the mind; otherwise you will be getting into trouble. One can even get into insanity. If you try to put your mind energy into creative directions – you are not capable even of stopping it for one moment and you are trying to put it into a creative dimension – you will go crazy. You will have a nervous breakdown.

Don’t touch the mind. First just find out where the master is. It is a complicated mechanism. Let the master be there, and the mind functions as a servant so perfectly.

In the East we have done this. Gautam Buddha could have become Albert Einstein without any difficulty; he has a far greater genius. But his whole life was concerned with transforming people, with awareness, with compassion, with love, with blissfulness.

Osho

from Osho Upanishad, Chapter Four

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Witnessing and the Heart – Osho

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Would you please speak a little on witnessing and the heart. Can they be experienced simultaneously?

Witnessing and the heart are one and the same thing. Witnessing is not of the mind. Mind can never be a witness. When you start witnessing, mind becomes the witnessed not the witness. It is the observed not the observer. You see your thoughts moving, your desires, your fantasies, your memories, your dreams, just as you see things moving on the screen of a film. But you are not identified with them. That non-identification is what is meant by witnessing. Then who is the witness? Mind is being seen then who is the seer? It is the heart.

So heart and witnessing are not two things. If you witness you will be centered in the heart, or if you are centered in the heart you will become the witness. These are two processes to reach to the same goal. The lover, the devotee never thinks of witnessing. He simply tries to reach to the heart, to the source of his being. Once he has reached the heart, witnessing comes on its own accord. The meditator never thinks of love and the heart. He starts by witnessing, but once witnessing is there the heart opens. Because there is no other place from where to witness.

The path of the meditator and the path of the devotee are different but they culminate into one experience. At the ultimate point they reach to the same peak. You can choose the path but you cannot choose the goal. Because there are not two goals, there is only one goal. Of course, if you have followed the path of a devotee, you will not talk of witnessing when you have arrived. You will talk of love. If you have followed the path of meditation you will not talk of love when you have arrived. You will talk of witnessing. But the difference is only of words, language, expression. But that which is expressed is the one and the same reality.

-Osho

From The Fish in the Sea is not Thirsty, Chapter Two

Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt Witnessing and the Heart.

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now. Now you can download the entire audio discourse series from Amazon.com as seen here.