The first question:
FOR SOME YEARS I HAVE BEEN KEEPING A JOURNAL TO RECORD MY IDEAS, THOUGHTS, FEELINGS, SPACES. LATELY, THOUGH, I OPEN THE BOOK AND JUST STARE AT THE BLANK PAGE OR DRAW LITTLE PICTURES. MUCH SEEMS TO BE HAPPENING YET NOTHING SEEMS TO BE HAPPENING. THE WORDS JUST DON'T SEEM TO COME THE WAY THEY USED TO....
One should be happy, one should feel blessed, if instead of words silence starts coming to you.
These are the gaps, the intervals. So don't be worried about the words that are not coming that used to come. Something else tremendously valuable is coming to you. You have not yet recognized it.
Pure space is coming to you. Empty space is coming to you. Nothingness is coming to you, and only out of this nothingness does God appear. Only out of this nothingness is truth encountered.
Forget about the words. Just wait! Look at the blank page - a blank page has much more in it than any written page can ever have.
There is a Sufi book, The Book of the Books. It is completely empty. Nothing is written in it. If you purchase it, you will feel cheated. But that book really is the book of the books. If you read it, you will read the ultimate in it. It is indicative. It is simply a gesture: become as empty as the book.
So when the blank page is before you, don't draw even pictures, because that will keep you occupied and you will miss the great nothingness that is coming closer to you. Mind gets afraid, and in fear the mind starts doing anything just to keep itself occupied.
Make it a meditation. Keep the blank before you and watch, and become as blank as the page.
Let two blanknesses meet, and in that encounter you will be lost and something of the beyond will penetrate in you. You will never be the same again, because you will have tasted something which is deathless. You will have tasted something of the formless, of the unknown, of the inexpressible, of the eternally elusive.
The mind goes on growing words. Those words occupy you. They fill you and they don't give any space for something else to enter in you. The words block you. Your flow, then, is not spontaneous, not natural. Then there are too many rocks around you. Words exist like rocks around you.
If it is happening, then much is happening: rocks are there no more, and the now is getting in tune with the divine. Only nothingness can be in tune with the divine. So please don't even draw pictures, because that is again a trick of the mind. The mind is unable to bring words; something else will do - drawing pictures will do. Just look at the blank page. Even better will be to sit facing the wall and look at the blank wall.
That's what Bodhidharma was doing for nine years. He became enlightened just facing the wall.
That was his mantra and meditation. That was all that he did. It is not doing at all. He did nothing; he simply sat facing the wall. Just think! - for nine years, if you sit facing the wall, you will become as blank as the wall. By and by thoughts will not be coming, they will not be chasing you. By and by they will find some other host. You are too indifferent towards them.
Blankness is tremendously valuable, but we have been trained to be always full of words. So when this starts happening, one becomes a little scared. You start feeling as if nothing is happening. Yes, in a totally different sense, nothing is happening, because nothing is the greatest happening there is. Use this great opportunity that has come to you. It is what meditation is all about: to be empty.
But in the West - and for the modern mind wherever it is, in the West or in the East - somehow a deep association has been conditioned that emptiness is something negative. Not only that, but a condemnation is also there in being empty. People think that to be empty is to become a workshop for the devil. It is not so. To be full of words is to be a workshop for the devil. To be empty is to become a workshop for God - because God can function only when you are not.
When you are so much absent that you are not in any way an interference, that you don't come in between God and you, that you are not a disturbance in any way, you are so silent as if you are not - immediately God starts functioning in you. The moment you stop functioning, God starts functioning.
So don't be afraid. Love this empty space. It is not negative. It is the most positive thing in the world, the most absolutely positive thing in the world - because out of nothingness everything arises, and into nothingness everything disappears again. This whole universe arises out of nothingness and disappears into nothingness again. Nothingness is the source and the seed, the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega.
Remember this, so whenever you are coming close to nothingness, feel happy and dance and celebrate so that it can become more and more available to you. The more you welcome it, the more of it will be coming to you. Welcome it, feel delighted - you have been blessed.
The second question:
IN ALMOST EVERY LECTURE I HAVE THE TENDENCY TO GO TO SLEEP.
WHEN THAT HAPPENS, I WAKE UP WITH A SHOCK, OR RATHER IN A SHOCK, WHICH GOES THROUGH MY WHOLE BODY. IS THIS THE WHIP?
Not yet! Just the shadow of the whip. But it is still something: the shadow of the whip. If you are a man of understanding, the whip will not be needed; its shadow will do. If you are not a man of understanding, then sooner or later the whip itself will be needed.
Buddha has said that there is one type of man for whom just the shadow of the whip is enough. Just like very, very intelligent horses: just the shadow of the whip is enough. Then there is a second type:
the sight of the whip is needed, the shadow won't do - the mediocre mind. Then there is a third type, lower, for which even the sight of the whip won't do - unless you use the whip.... And there is a fourth type also, the lowest; lower than that is nobody. Even hitting him with the whip, whipping him, is not going to help. These four types are four stages of sleep.
It is natural to fall asleep while listening to me. That is a way of the mind to avoid me. Something is happening here which is going to destroy your mind. The whole effort is how to demolish your mind so that you can become new again, so that you can be reborn; how to help you to die so that resurrection becomes possible. Only out of your death will life flame up, will life come to you.
The mind feels it! It is dangerous to listen to me. The mind creates many sorts of excuses to be absent. Sometimes it goes on thinking, listening only on the periphery. Sometimes it goes on arguing - whether what I am saying is right or wrong, agrees with you or doesn't agree with you.
Then too one is missing. Or, if you stay long enough with me, then arguing will stop; then by and by the mind will start falling into sleep. That is the last trick; then there is no need to listen!
But one thing is good: that you have become aware that you fall asleep. There are many who fall asleep and don't know. And the shock that comes to you is good. Use it! If you use it, by and by sleep will disappear. Sleep is a trick to create a barrier between me and you. If logic does not work, then sleep works.
And whatsoever I am saying to you is in a way the same truth again and again. So the mind can say to you: What is the need to listen? You can have a little rest. The mind can say: These things have been said many times before. But I am saying these things again and again to you because you have not heard yet.
Somebody asked Buddha, "Why do you go on repeating the same things again and again?"
He said, "Because of you!"
If you hear me then there is no point in repetition, but you don't hear me even when I repeat them a thousand and one times.
The mind can create the idea that you can sleep, you can rest. The mind can even say to you that this is very meditative, that you fall in sleep and everything becomes silent. Sleep is not wrong, but there is a time to sleep. If you are sleeping here then one thing is certain: when you are sleeping you are not sleeping.
There is a time to sleep and there is a time to be awake. And there is a time to be working, and there is a time to be lazy and not working. Your life should move in an order, in an inner order. Sleep in the night as deeply as possible so that in the morning you can become as much awake as possible.
If you have slept well in the night, you will be awake in the morning. If you have not slept well, then you will feel sleepy. In the morning to feel sleepy is bad, because that simply shows your energy is not functioning rightly, that your energy is not functioning in a healthy way.
Think again about your night and your sleep in the night - it must be disturbed by dreams. Some disturbance must be there so that in the morning you are not fresh; in the morning you are feeling tired. Either your sleep is not complete in the night, or you may be sleeping too much. That too is dangerous. Six, seven hours sleep is enough. If you sleep more than that, then sleep is not paying; on the contrary, it starts making you lazy.
The function of sleep is to make you alert, energetic, alive. But if you sleep more than needed, then it is just as if you eat too much; then the food becomes poison. There is a quantity which is needed for the body; more than that becomes a load on the body. It is destructive then, it is not life-giving.
There is a quantity of sleep that is needed. More than that, then you feel lazy, then the wheel moves in the wrong direction.
Everybody has to find the right quantity of sleep and food for himself. That should be a basic for any seeker, because much will depend on it. So either you are not sleeping enough or you are sleeping too much. Hence, in the morning you feel lazy or sleepy. And while you are listening to me, keep alert, keep yourself as much aware as possible - because even in that awareness, if you miss what I am saying, nothing is missed, because at least awareness will be practiced. And basically awareness is the goal.
And this is just a decision: if you want to be aware, alert, you can be. One just has to say to the body and the mind, definitively: I want to be aware and alert.
Start being the master of your own self. Give rest to the body, but don't become a slave. Listen to the body's needs, but remain capable, remain in control, remain a master. Otherwise the body has a lethargy in it, and the mind has a repetitive, mechanical quality in it. Then it can become just an everyday habit. You come to listen to me, you sit, and the body and mind start moving towards sleep. Break it! Come out of it.
The third question:
FOR ME THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MEDITATION IS TO SIT IN A CORNER AND WATCH THE CHILDREN PLAYING AROUND THE ASHRAM. BUT I'M IN TROUBLE: IS THIS A MEDITATION AT ALL?
Watching is meditation. What you watch is irrelevant. You can watch the trees, you can watch the river, you can watch the clouds, you can watch children playing around. Watching is meditation.
What you watch is not the point; the object is not the point. The quality of observation, the quality of being aware and alert - that's what meditation is.
So perfectly good! Children are beautiful - pure energy dancing around, pure energy running around. Delight in it and watch it. I don't see why you are feeling yourself in trouble. The mind goes on creating trouble. Whatsoever you do, the mind goes on creating trouble.
Now the mind says: Is this meditation at all?
Remember one thing: meditation means awareness. Whatsoever you do with awareness is meditation. Action is not the question, but the quality that you bring to your action. Walking can be a meditation if you walk alertly. Sitting can be a meditation if you sit alertly. Listening to the birds can be a meditation if you listen with awareness. Just listening to the inner noise of your mind can be a meditation if you remain alert and watchful. The whole point is: one should not move in sleep.
Then whatsoever you do is meditation - and don't be worried about it!
The mind constantly creates some anxiety. Many times people come to me. They say they are feeling very good, very high - but is this real? Now the mind is creating a new trouble: Is this real?
The mind has never asked this before. When you have a headache, do you ask: Is this real? You trust in misery too much. A headache is necessarily real, but if you go high and you feel a peak of bliss, the mind starts creating a subtle anxiety: Is this real? You may be in a delusion, hallucination, imagination. You may be seeing a dream. Or if you cannot find anything else, then: Osho must have hypnotized you. You must be in hypnosis.
You cannot believe that you can be blissful, that you can be happy. Because of this tendency of the mind, the mind clings to the miserable. Mind is always seeking and searching for hell, because it can exist only in misery; in bliss it disappears. Only in misery does it have throbbing life; only in misery does its business go well. Whenever you are happy it is not needed; when you are blissful, who needs mind? - you have already gone beyond it. The mind feels left behind, neglected, it starts nagging you. It says: Where are you going? Are you hypnotized? What illusions are you seeing?
These are all dreams!
Because of this tendency, millions of people have come to a meditative point some time or other in their life but they miss the door. The door comes but they cannot believe in it. Meditation is as natural a phenomenon as love. It happens to everybody! It is part of your being, but you cannot believe in it. Even if it happens, you somehow overlook it. Or even if you feel that something is happening, you cannot say to others that something is happening because you are afraid others will think that you have gone mad. Your own mind goes on saying that this is not possible; this is too good to be true. So you forget about it.
Remember again: in your childhood, or later on when you were young, there must have been a few moments. It is impossible that those moments were not there; they have been there in everybody's life. Just try to recollect again and you will remember there have been moments when something was opening, but you closed it, afraid.
Sometimes, sitting on a silent night, looking at the stars - and something was going to happen and you shrank; apprehensive, frightened, you started doing something else. It was too good to be true. You missed an opportunity. Sometimes, in deep love, just sitting by the side of your beloved, something started happening; you were moving in some unknown direction. You became scared, you pulled yourself back to earth.
Sometimes, for no reason at all, just swimming in the river, or running around in the hot sun, or just relaxing on the beach and listening to the wild roar of the ocean, something started happening inside you, some inner alchemical change, as if your body was creating LSD. Something inside...
and you were moving in a totally unknown dimension - as if you had wings and you could fly. You became afraid, you started clinging to the earth.
It has happened many times when people come to be initiated into sannyas. Sometimes, if I see very perceptive people, very receptive, and I touch their head, immediately they become scared. Just a few days ago the daughter of Ashok Kumar, one of the very famous film actors, took sannyas. The moment I touched her head she started crying, "Stop, Osho! Stop! Stop!" And her whole body was shaking. She started clinging to the earth. A door was very, very close. Something tremendously valuable could have happened, but she became afraid.
Many times in each person's life, such moments come; but those moments are not aggressive, they cannot force anything against you. If you are ready you can move, drift into them, slip into them, float with them, to the farthest end of existence. If you are afraid you cling to your shore, and you miss the boat. The boat cannot wait for you.
So don't be disturbed by the mind. Watching children playing around is a beautiful meditation - because watching is meditation. But remember, don't think about it. If children are dancing, running around, playing, shrieking, jumping, jogging, don't start thinking - just watch. Watch without any thought. Be aware, but don't think. Remain alert - just seeing, a pure seeing, a clarity, but don't start thinking about it; otherwise you have already moved away. Watching children, you can remember your own child back home. Then you have missed, then you are not watching these children. Some memories are floating in your mind. A film starts moving; then you are in a daydream. Simply watch!
The fourth question:
THE ULTIMATE SEARCH IS INDIVIDUAL, BUT CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE INTEGRAL PART OF THE BELOVED IN TANTRA AND THE SEARCH FOR OUR INNER SELF?
A very intricate, complex thing has to be understood:
If you are not in love, you are lonely.
If you are in love, really in love, you become alone.
Loneliness is sadness; aloneness is not sadness. Loneliness is a feeling of incompleteness. You need someone and the needed one is not available. Loneliness is darkness, with no light in it. A dark house, waiting and waiting for someone to come and kindle the light.
Aloneness is not loneliness. Aloneness means the feeling that you are complete. Nobody is needed, you are enough. And this happens in love. Lovers become alone - through love you touch your inner completeness. Love makes you complete. Lovers share each other, but that is not their need, that is their overflowing energy.
Two persons who have been feeling lonely can make a contract, can come together. They are not lovers, remember. They remain lonely. Now, because of the presence of the other, they don't feel the loneliness - that's all. They somehow deceive themselves. Their love is nothing but a deception to deceive oneself: I am not lonely - somebody else is there. Because two lonely persons are meeting, their loneliness basically is doubled, or even multiplied. That's what happens ordinarily.
You feel lonely when you are alone, and when you are in relationship you feel miserable. This is an everyday observation. When people are lonely they feel lonely, and they are in a deep search for somebody to be related to. When they are related to somebody, then misery starts; then they feel it was better to be lonely - this is too much. What happens?
Two lonely persons meet - that means two gloomy, sad, miserable persons meet. The misery is multiplied. How can two uglinesses become beautiful? How can two lonelinesses coming together become completion, totality? Not possible. They exploit each other, they somehow try to deceive themselves through the other. But that deception doesn't go far. By the time the honeymoon is finished, the marriage is also finished. It is very temporary. It is just an illusion.
Real love is not a search to go against loneliness. Real love is to transform loneliness into aloneness.
To help the other - if you love the person, you help him to be alone. You don't fill him or her. You don't try to complete the other in some way by your presence. You help the other to be alone, to be so full out of her or his own being that you will not be a need.
When the person is totally free, then out of that freedom sharing is possible. Then he gives much, but not as a need; he gives much, but not as a bargain. He gives much because he has much. He gives because he enjoys giving.
Lovers are alone, and a real lover never destroys your aloneness. He will always be totally respectful about the aloneness of the other. It is sacred. He will not interfere in it, he will not spoil that space.
But ordinarily, lovers, so-called lovers, are very much afraid of the other and the other's aloneness, independence; they are very much afraid - because they think if the other is independent then they will not be needed, then they will be discarded. So the woman goes on trying... that the husband should remain dependent, always in need, so that she can remain valuable. And the husband goes on trying in every way so that the woman always remains in need, so that he remains valuable. This
is a bargain and there is continuous conflict, struggle. The struggle is that everybody needs his freedom.
Love allows freedom; not only allows, but strengthens freedom. And anything that destroys freedom is not love. It must be something else. Love and freedom go together, they are two wings of the same bird. Whenever you see that your love is going against your freedom, then you are doing something else in the name of love.
Let this be your criterion: freedom is the criterion; love gives you freedom, makes you free, liberates you. And once you are totally yourself, you feel grateful to the person who has helped you. That gratefulness is almost religious. You feel in the other person something divine. He has made you free, or she has made you free, and love has not become a possessiveness.
When love deteriorates it becomes possessiveness, jealousy, struggle for power, politics, domination, manipulation - a thousand and one things, all ugly. When love soars high, to the purest sky, it is freedom, total freedom. It is moksha - it is absolute freedom.
Now the question: "The ultimate search is individual, but can you explain the integral part of the beloved in Tantra and the search for our inner self?"
Tantra is purest love. Tantra is the methodology of purifying love of all its poisons. If you are in love, the love I am talking about, your very love will help the other to be integrated. Your very love will become a cementing force for the other. In your love the other will come together, because your love will give freedom; and under the shade of your love, under the protection of your love, the other will start growing.
All growth needs love - but unconditional love. If love has conditions then growth cannot be total, because those conditions will come in the way. Love unconditionally. Don't ask anything in return.
Much comes on its own - that's another thing. Don't be a beggar. In love be an emperor. Just give it and see what happens... a thousandfold it comes back. But one has to learn it. Otherwise one remains a miser; one gives a little and waits for much to come back, and your waiting, your expectation, destroys the whole beauty of it.
When you are waiting and expecting, the other feels that you are manipulating. He may say it or not, but he feels you are manipulating. And wherever you feel manipulation, one wants to rebel against it - because it is against the inner need of the soul, because any demand from the outside disintegrates you. Any demand from the outside divides you. Any demand from the outside is a crime against you, because your freedom is polluted. Then you are no more sacred. You are no more the end - you are being used as a means. And the greatest immoral act in the world is to use somebody as a means.
Each being is an end unto himself. Love treats you as an end unto yourself. You are not to be dragged into any expectations. Tantra is the highest form of love. Tantra is the science, the yoga of love.
So a few things to be remembered. One: love, but not as a need - as a sharing. Love, but don't expect - give. Love, but remember your love should not become an imprisonment for the other.
Love, but be very careful; you are moving on sacred ground. You are going into the highest, the purest and holiest temple. Be alert! Drop all impurities outside the temple. When you love a person, love the person as if the person is a god, not less than that. Never love a woman as a woman and never love a man as a man, because if you love a man as a man your love is going to be very, very ordinary. Your love is not going to be more than lust. If you love a woman as a woman, your love is not going to soar very high. Love a woman as a goddess, then love becomes worship.
In Tantra, the man who is going to make love to the woman has to worship her for months as a goddess. He has to visualize in the woman the mother-goddess. When the visualization has become total, when no lust arises, when seeing the woman sitting naked before him he simply feels thrilled with a divine energy, no lust arises, the very form of the woman becomes divine, and all thoughts stop and only reverence is felt - then he is allowed to make love.
It looks a little absurd and paradoxical. When there is no need to make love, then he is allowed to make love. When the woman has become a goddess, then he is allowed to make love - because now love can soar high, love can become a climax, a crescendo. Now it will not be of the earth, it will not be of this world; it will not be of two bodies, it will be of two beings. It will be a meeting of two existences. Two souls will meet, merge and mingle, and both will come out of it tremendously alone.
Aloneness means purity. Aloneness means that you are just yourself and nobody else. Aloneness means that you are pure gold; just gold and nothing else... just you. Love makes you alone.
Loneliness will disappear, but aloneness will arise.
Loneliness is a state when you are ill with yourself, bored with yourself, tired of yourself, and you want to go somewhere and to forget yourself into somebody else. Aloneness is when you are thrilled just by your being. You are blissful just by being yourself. You need not go anywhere. Need has disappeared. You are enough unto yourself. But now, a new thing arises in your being. You have so much that you cannot contain it. You have to share, you have to give. And whosoever accepts your gift, you will feel grateful towards him that he accepted. He could have rejected it.
Lovers feel grateful that their love has been accepted. They feel thankful, because they were so full of energy and they needed someone to pour that energy into. When a flower blooms and releases its fragrance to the winds it feels grateful to the winds - the fragrance was growing more and more heavy on it. It was becoming almost a burden. It was just as if a woman is pregnant and nine months have passed and the child is not being born, is delaying. Now she is so much burdened; she wants to share the child with the world. That is the meaning of birth.
Up to now she has been carrying the child in herself. It was nobody else's but her own. But now it is too much; she cannot contain it. It has to be shared; the child has to be shared with the world.
The mother has to drop her miserliness. Once the child is out of the womb, it is no more only of the mother; by and by it will go away, and far away. It will become part of the great world. The same happens when a cloud comes full of rain water ready to shower, and when it showers, rains, the cloud feels unburdened and happy and grateful to the thirsty earth because it accepted.
There are two types of love. One: love when you are feeling lonely - as a need, you go to the other.
Then love when are not feeling lonely, but alone. In the first case you go to get something; in the second case you go to give something. A giver is an emperor.
Remember, Tantra is not ordinary love. It has nothing to do with lust. It is the greatest transformation of lust into love. The ultimate search is individual - but love makes you individual. If it doesn't make you individual, if it tries to make you a slave, then it is not love - it is hate pretending love. Pretending to be love, it is hidden hatred just managing somehow; managing somehow and pretending that it is love.
Love of this type kills, destroys the individuality. It makes you less of an individual. It pulls you down. You are not enhanced, you don't become graceful. You are being pulled into the mud. And everybody starts feeling that he is settling with something dirty. Love should give you freedom - never settle for less. Love should make you a white cloud, completely free, a wanderer in the sky of freedom, with no roots attached anywhere. Love is not an attachment; lust is.
Meditation and love are the two ways to attain to that individuality I am talking about. Both are very, very deeply related together. In fact they are both aspects of the same coin: love and meditation.
If you meditate, sooner or later you will come upon love. If you meditate deeply, sooner or later you will start feeling a tremendous love arising in you that you have never known before - a new quality to your being, a new door opening. You have become a new flame and you want to share now.
If you love deeply, by and by you will become aware that your love is becoming more and more meditative. A subtle quality of silence is entering in you. Thoughts are disappearing, gaps appearing - silences. You are touching your own depth.
Love makes you meditative if it is on the right lines.
Meditation makes you loving if it is on the right lines.
And there are only two types of people in the world, basically: those who will find their meditation through love, and those who will find their love through meditation.
For those who will find their meditation through love, it is Tantra; that is their science. For those who will find love through their meditation, for them it is Yoga; that is their science.
Tantra and Yoga, these are the only two ways - basically, very foundational. But both can go wrong if you don't understand well. And the criterion is - listen - if you meditate and it doesn't become love, know well you have gone wrong somewhere. And you will find ninety-nine yogis out of a hundred have gone wrong. The more they enter into their meditation, the more they become against love.
They become, in fact, afraid of love. They start thinking of love as a distraction. Then their meditation is not real meditation. A meditation out of which love does not arise is not meditation at all. It is an escape, not a growth. It is as if a seed has become afraid of becoming a plant and blossoming in flowers, and has become afraid of releasing its fragrance to the winds - a seed has become a miser.
You will find this type of yogi all over India. Their meditation has not come to bloom. Their meditation got constipated somewhere on the way. They are stuck. You will not find grace on their faces, and you will not find intelligence in their eyes. You will see around them a certain climate of dullness and stupidity. You will not find them alert, aware, alive. A certain deadness... because if you are alive you have to become loving. To avoid love they avoid life.
And these people will always be escaping towards the Himalayas, anywhere where they can remain without others. Their aloneness will not be aloneness, it will be a loneliness - you can read it on their faces. They are not happy being alone. On their faces you will see a certain type of martyrdom - which is foolishness! - as if they have been sacrificing. Ego you will find there; humbleness, no - because whenever humbleness comes, love comes. If the ego becomes too strong, then love can be destroyed completely. Ego is the opposite of love.
Yoga is in the hands of the wrong people. And the same happened with Tantra. In the name of Tantra, people started just fulfilling their lust and sex and their perversions. It never became meditative. It became a subtle rationalization of lust, sex and passion. It became a trick; you can hide behind it. For all sorts of perversions, Tantra became a blanket to hide behind.
So remember this. Man is very cunning. He has destroyed Yoga, he has destroyed Tantra. Remain alert! Both are good, both are tremendously beneficial, but the criterion to remember is that if you are doing one rightly, the other is to follow as a shadow. If the other is not following, then you are wrong somewhere.
Move back, start again. Go into your mind, analyze your mind. Somewhere you have tricked yourself.
And it is not difficult - because you can deceive others, but you cannot deceive yourself. That is impossible. If you just go within and watch, you will come to know where you have been deceiving.
Nobody can deceive himself; it is impossible. How can you deceive yourself?
The fifth question:
BELOVED OSHO, HOW FAR CAN ONE RELY ON ONE'S 'INNER VOICE'?
The first thing: the inner voice is not a voice, it is silence. It says nothing. It shows something, but it says nothing. It gestures towards something, but it says nothing. The inner voice is not a voice. If you are still hearing some voice, it is not inner. 'Inner voice' is a misnomer, it is not the right word.
Only silence is inner. All voices are from the outside.
For example: you are going to steal something and you say the 'inner voice' says: Don't steal! - this is sin! This is not the inner voice - just your conditioning: you have just been taught not to steal.
This is society speaking through you. It appears to be from within, but it is not. If you had been brought up in some other way and you were not taught that stealing was bad, or you were taught that stealing was good, then this inner voice would not have been there - and you know it.
If you have been brought up in a family which is vegetarian, then the moment you see non-veg food, some inner voice says: Don't eat it - it is sin! But if you have been brought up in a non-vegetarian family, then there is no problem. You simply cannot believe how inner voices say to other people:
Don't eat it! It depends on what you have been taught.
This is not an inner voice, this is just your social conscience. Society has to create an inner arrangement in you because the outer arrangement is not enough. The police are there but it is not enough - the police can be deceived. The courts are there but it is not enough, because you
can be more clever than the courts. The outer arrangement is not enough; some inner arrangement is needed.
So society teaches you that stealing is bad; this is good, that is bad. It goes on teaching, continuously repeating it; it enters into your being, it becomes part of your inner world. So when you go to steal, suddenly somebody inside says: No! And you think the inner voice or God has spoken. No, nothing of the sort. This is just society speaking in you.
Then what is the inner voice? You are going to steal, and suddenly you become silent and you cannot steal. Suddenly you are frozen. A gap arises. Your energy stops. Not that somebody says:
Don't steal! No voice is there - just inner silence. But you are in the grip of the inner silence.
It happened: A great Buddhist monk, a mystic, Nagarjuna, was passing through a village. The emperor of the country was a follower of Nagarjuna, and he had given him a gold begging bowl with diamonds studded around it. It was very costly, and Nagarjuna was a naked fakir. When he was passing, a thief could not believe it: a naked man with such a tremendously valuable thing! So the thief followed him.
Nagarjuna was staying outside the town in an old ruined monastery. There were not even doors, so the thief was very happy. He said, "Now he will rest, or at least in the night he will rest, go to sleep.
I can take it, there is no trouble." So he was hiding behind a wall.
Nagarjuna looked out and he said, "You had better come in and take this begging bowl so that I can sleep at ease. You will take it anyhow, so why not give it? I think it is better to give it to you. I would not like to make you a thief - this is a gift!"
The man came in but he could not believe it. And in spite of himself he touched the feet of Nagarjuna.
Nagarjuna said, "Now you can go, because I have nothing else. You be at ease and leave me at ease."
But the thief said, "Just one thing: I would also like to be so unattached to things as you are. You have made me feel very poor. Is there any way that some day I can also attain to such a peak of consciousness?"
Nagarjuna said, "Yes, there is a way."
The thief said, "But one thing let me say first: don't tell me to stop stealing. Because whenever I go - and I go to mystics and saints and I am a famous thief around here, so they all know - they immediately say, 'First you stop stealing,' and that I cannot do. I have tried but that I cannot do, so please don't make that condition. Whatsoever else you say I will do."
Nagarjuna said, "Then you could not have yet met a mystic or a saint. You must have been meeting ex-thieves; otherwise, why should one bother about your being a thief? Be a thief! - that is your business, that is not my worry. Just one thing I would like to tell you, and that is: Go, do whatsoever you feel, but be aware, alert. Don't do anything unconsciously, mechanically, robot-like."
The thief said, "This is perfectly okay. I will try it."
Nagarjuna said, "I will wait fifteen days in this monastery; you can come and report."
On the tenth day the thief came running, perspiring, and he said, "You are a tricky fellow! For ten days continuously I have been trying. When I go - and this has been something of a miracle: never in my life have I been so unsuccessful - I enter the houses, I open their treasures, and then I remember you and I watch, and when I become aware, I become so silent that I cannot move. My hands won't move! When I am unconscious my hands move - but then I have promised you. I become conscious again - I cannot take the thing with me. I have to leave it. For ten days continuously! So please, tell me something else."
Nagarjuna said, "That is the only thing. Now it is up to you to choose: you can drop awareness and remain a thief, or you can have awareness and let the thief be dropped. That is for you to choose.
I am not saying that you should stop stealing. You go on stealing; if you can do it with awareness, then I am not worried."
The thief said, "That is impossible; I have tried for ten days. If I am aware, then I cannot steal. If I steal, then I am not aware." And the thief said, "Really, you have got me - and I cannot leave this awareness now, I have tasted it. Nothing is worth it now, nothing is more valuable now."
Nagarjuna said, "Then don't bother me any more. Go and teach the same thing to other thieves!"
The inner voice is not a voice, it is an energy phenomenon. You are gripped in awareness, in silence.
And in that silence, whatsoever you do is right; whatsoever is not right you cannot do.
So I don't tell you not to do this, and do that. I simply tell you what Nagarjuna told the thief: Just be aware!
If you are not aware, then you will have to choose. If you are not aware, then there is always a choice of alternatives - to do this or to do that - and one is always puzzled. If awareness is there, there is no alternative. Awareness is choiceless. It simply allows you to do that which is right; it does not allow you to do that which is not right. There is no question of your choice. So don't ask how far one can rely on one's inner voice.
The first thing: the inner voice is not a voice - it is silence. The second thing: you need not be worried about relying on "how far." Just remain in that inner space of silence, total science. Virtue is a by-product, it is not a discipline. It follows awareness like a shadow, a consequence.
The sixth question:
I AM AWARE OF MY NEED FOR APPROVAL AND ACCEPTANCE FROM OTHERS.
I DON'T WANT TO BE DRIVEN BY THIS NEED. HOW DOES IT RESOLVE?
One has to see the foolishness of it. It is not a question of resolving it. One has to see the ridiculousness of it, then it falls. It is not resolved. Diseases are not to be resolved; they fall away.
Just try to see the foolishness of it.
I will tell you a few anecdotes.
A woman, newly arrived to live in a spacious mansion, met the woman she knew lived in a cottage at the edge of her estate.
"Welcome to our little community," greeted the cottage dweller.
The new resident, drawing herself up haughtily, replied, "Please do not address me. I never speak to an inferior."
"Oh," replied the cottage dweller sweetly, "and where in the world did you ever meet one?"
Everybody is an egoist. It is difficult to see that you are in the same boat. You can see all others in the same boat. Just see it - that everybody in deep ignorance remains an egoist, goes on thinking in terms of the ego. Nobody is there in the world to fulfill your ego; everybody is trying to fulfill his own. Who has time to fulfill your ego? And if sometimes somebody fulfills your ego, he must be fulfilling it as a means to fulfill his own.
Basically, everybody is interested in himself. As you are interested in yourself, others are interested in themselves. Just become aware of this.
Everybody is trying to compete; and in this competition, and in this egoistic, ambitious race, one is destroying all that is beautiful. One is destroying a beautiful life that could have flowered and become a pinnacle of existence - Buddha-like, Jesus-like, Krishna-like. But everybody is asking others, begging: Approve of me! Say something that gives me a good feeling about myself. Hence, flattery works. Hence, anybody can deceive you just by flattering you.
And people go on doing things which they never wanted to do, but they go on doing them because that is the only way they can get the approval of others. Everybody is distracted from his destiny because others are looking, and they have a fixed idea as to how to approve of you.
It happened in a town:
The new bride had returned to the small town after her runaway marriage. "I suppose my elopement was a nine days' wonder around here," she commented to the village's lone policeman.
"It would have been," he replied, "only the Smiths' dog went mad the same night."
People go on wasting their time and life and energy. There is no need! In fact, as you are, you are perfect. Nothing is to be added to you. God never creates anybody imperfect. How can he create anybody imperfect?
You have heard religious people teaching you: God created the world. And they go on teaching you:
You are created by God in his own image. And still they go on teaching you: Become perfect!
This is simple absurdity. God created you in his own image, and still you need perfection? Then God must be imperfect. How, out of God, can imperfection come? Creation carries his signature.
You also go on carrying his signature. Drop this begging!
Somebody is asking for money, somebody is asking for bread, somebody is asking for approval. All are beggars. Don't ask. In asking you will miss much that is already available to you. Look rather than asking. Look within yourself and the emperor of emperors is there. Start enjoying it, start living it!
The famous college athlete had just returned from the Olympics with a chestful of medals when he fell ill.
At the hospital the doctor took his temperature, shook his head doubtfully, and said, "You're running a temperature of a hundred and five."
"Oh, yeah?" answered the athlete weakly. Then, suddenly interested, he asked, "Hey, doc, what's the world record?"
Drop all this nonsense! You are already approved of, otherwise you could not have been here. God has accepted you, given birth to you. If van Gogh paints, whatsoever painting he creates is already approved of - otherwise he would not have created it in the first place. If Picasso paints something, in the very painting, the painting is approved of. The painter has put his heart into it. Just go deeper into your own being - God has put all the treasures that you need there. He has approved of you, accepted you. He is happy that you are!
But you don't look there. You are asking from others like a beggar: Approve of me! - and they are also beggars just like you. Beggars asking beggars. Even if they approve of you a little, they will wait for you to approve of them. It is going to be a bargain. And just think of it: they don't have anything to give to you when they themselves are begging; and what can you give to them when you yourself are begging? Just a little alertness and one drops all begging. And with that, ambition drops, ego drops. One starts living.
Dance, while you are alive. Breathe blissfully while you are alive. Sing while you are alive. Love, meditate, while you are alive. And once you change, you shift your consciousness, your focus of consciousness, from the outside to the inside, you feel tremendously happy and blessed. Just to feel "I exist" is such a blessing that nothing else is needed. "I exist!" - all the dance, all the song, all blessings, are included in it. "I exist!" - God is included in it.
Don't make your God a beggar. Be a God! Recognize your godliness and then there is nothing to achieve. One has simply to start, one has to start to live. Live like a god: that's my message to you.
I don't say: Become a god. I say: You are! Start living! You are - recognize it! You are - remember it! You are - just become mindful of it.
There is nothing to be achieved. Life is not an achievement, it is a gift. It has already been given, for what are you waiting? The door is open, and the host has already invited you. Come in!
Enough for today.