Beyond Indolence and Distraction
MASTER LU-TSU SAID: THE TWO MISTAKES OF INDOLENCE AND DISTRACTION MUST BE COMBATED BY QUIET WORK THAT IS CARRIED ON DAILY WITHOUT INTERRUPTION; THEN SUCCESS WILL CERTAINLY BE ACHIEVED. IF ONE IS NOT SEATED IN MEDITATION, ONE WILL OFTEN BE DISTRACTED WITHOUT NOTICING IT. TO BECOME CONSCIOUS OF THE DISTRACTION IS THE MECHANISM BY WHICH TO DO AWAY WITH DISTRACTION.
INDOLENCE OF WHICH MAN IS CONSCIOUS, AND INDOLENCE OF WHICH MAN IS UNCONSCIOUS, ARE A THOUSAND MILES APART. UNCONSCIOUS INDOLENCE IS REAL INDOLENCE; CONSCIOUS INDOLENCE IS NOT COMPLETE INDOLENCE, BECAUSE THERE IS STILL SOME CLARITY IN IT. DISTRACTION COMES FROM LETTING THE MIND WANDER ABOUT; INDOLENCE COMES FROM THE MIND 'S NOT YET BEING PURE. DISTRACTION IS MUCH EASIER TO CORRECT THAN INDOLENCE. IT IS AS IN SICKNESS: IF ONE FEELS PAINS AND IRRITATIONS, ONE CAN HELP THEM WITH REMEDIES, BUT INDOLENCE IS LIKE A DISEASE THAT IS ATTENDED BY LACK OF REALIZATION. DISTRACTION CAN BE COUNTERACTED, CONFUSION CAN BE STRAIGHTENED OUT, BUT INDOLENCE AND LETHARGY ARE HEAVY AND DARK. DISTRACTION AND CONFUSION AT LEAST HAVE A PLACE, BUT IN INDOLENCE AND LETHARGY THE ANIMA ALONE IS ACTIVE. IN DISTRACTION THE ANIMUS IS STILL PRESENT, BUT IN INDOLENCE PURE DARKNESS RULES. IF ONE BECOMES SLEEPY DURING MEDITATION, THAT IS AN EFFECT OF INDOLENCE. ONLY BREATHING SERVES TO OVERCOME INDOLENCE. ALTHOUGH THE BREATH THAT FLOWS IN AND OUT THROUGH THE NOSE IS NOT THE TRUE BREATH, THE FLOWING IN AND OUT OF THE TRUE BREATH TAKES PLACE IN CONNECTION WITH IT.
WHILE SITTING, ONE MUST THEREFORE ALWAYS KEEP THE HEART QUIET AND THE ENERGY CONCENTRATED. HOW CAN THE HEART BE MADE QUIET? BY THE BREATH. ONLY THE HEART MUST BE CONSCIOUS OF THE FLOWING IN AND OUT OF THE BREATH; IT MUST NOT BE HEARD WITH THE EARS. IF IT IS NOT HEARD, THEN THE BREATHING IS LIGHT; IF LIGHT, IT IS PURE. IF IT CAN BE HEARD, THEN THE BREATH-ENERGY IS ROUGH; IF ROUGH, THEN IT IS TROUBLED; IF IT IS TROUBLED, THEN INDOLENCE AND LETHARGY DEVELOP AND ONE WANTS TO SLEEP. THAT IS SELF-EVIDENT.
HOW TO USE THE HEART CORRECTLY DURING BREATHING MUST BE UNDERSTOOD. IT IS A USE WITHOUT USE. ONE SHOULD ONLY LET THE LIGHT FALL QUITE GENTLY ON THE HEARING. THIS SENTENCE CONTAINS A SECRET MEANING. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LET THE LIGHT FALL? IT IS THE SPONTANEOUS RADIATION OF THE LIGHT OF THE EYES.
THE EYE LOOKS INWARD ONLY AND NOT OUTWARD. TO SENSE BRIGHTNESS WITHOUT LOOKING OUTWARD MEANS TO LOOK INWARD; IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH AN ACTUAL LOOKING WITHIN. WHAT DOES HEARING MEAN? IT IS THE SPONTANEOUS HEARING OF THE LIGHT OF THE EAR. THE EAR LISTENS INWARDLY ONLY AND DOES NOT LISTEN TO WHAT IS OUTSIDE. TO SENSE BRIGHTNESS WITHOUT LISTENING TO WHAT IS OUTSIDE IS TO LISTEN INWARDLY; IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ACTUALLY LISTENING TO WHAT IS WITHIN. IN THIS SORT OF HEARING, ONE HEARS ONLY THAT THERE IS NO SOUND; IN THIS KIND OF SETTING, ONE SEES ONLY THAT NO SHAPE IS THERE. IF THE EYE IS NOT LOOKING OUTWARD AND THE EAR IS NOT HARKENING OUTWARD, THEY CLOSE THEMSELVES AND ARE INCLINED TO SINK INWARD. ONLY WHEN ONE LOOKS AND HARKENS INWARD DOES THE ORGAN NOT GO OUTWARD NOR SINK INWARD. IN THIS WAY INDOLENCE AND LETHARGY ARE DONE AWAY WITH. THAT IS THE UNION OF THE SEED AND THE LIGHT OF THE SUN AND THE MOON.
IF, AS A RESULT OF INDOLENCE, ONE BECOMES SLEEPY, ONE SHOULD STAND UP AND WALK ABOUT. WHEN THE MIND HAS BECOME CLEAR ONE SHOULD SIT DOWN AGAIN. IN THE COURSE OF TIME THERE WILL BE SUCCESS WITHOUT ONE'S BECOMING INDOLENT AND FALLING ASLEEP.
ONE HOT AFTERNOON an owl was sitting in a tree and a swan flew up and sat there too.
'Phew, it is hot, Brother Owl,' he said. 'The sun is bright and I am all hot and sweaty.'
'What!' said the owl. 'What, what are you talking about? Sun? Hot? When darkness gathers it gets hot. What is this sun you are talking about? Are you mad or something? What are you trying to tell me? There is no such thing as the sun. There has never been. What is this light that gets hot? We have never heard about it. It gets hot when darkness gathers? Are you trying to make a fool of me?
And I'm not alone in saying so. All our scriptures also say so.'
The swan was flabbergasted by all this. 'How can I explain it to this blind old owl?' he thought.
'Look, Brother, I can see with my eyes. It is the middle of the day and the sun is shining brightly and it is very hot. You are saying that it is dark? How can I explain it to you?'
'Let us go then,' said the owl. 'There is a big tree over there where there are lots of owls and great scholars too. We will ask them about it - they know all about the scriptures, and a few of them are very learned. Come on! We will see if you are making a fool of me.'
They flew over and there were many many blind owls there. 'This swan has turned up,' the owl said, 'and he says that it is the middle of the day and the sun is beating down and that there is light everywhere and that's why it is hot. What do you people say?'
'What is all this?' they cried. 'Our fathers and their fathers and their fathers, in fact, nobody in the whole history of our community has ever seen a sun, so there is no such thing as a sun. How can it be there? He is having you on. Don't listen to him. He is either mad or a very fraudulent fellow. He is trying to corrupt our religion. We have always lived in darkness and we have always worshipped darkness. It is the very foundation of our way of life. He will destroy our way of life. That is the sort of person he is. If you want, we will take a majority vote on it.'
One owl got up and said, 'What is the truth? Does darkness exist or does light?'
'Darkness, and darkness alone,' they all cried in unison. 'Why then has it got so hot?'
'Because it is so dark,' they cried. 'Heat is a function of darkness.'
'Don't let him stay here,' they all cried again. 'He will spoil our religion, our tradition, our very cherished past. Drive him away immediately! He is either totally blind or utterly mad.'
This small parable contains a few truths of immense value.
First: truth cannot be transferred - there is no way to transfer it. My truth is my truth; I can talk about it to you, but talking about it is not transferring it to you. Listening to it is not understanding it. You will have to open your own eyes.
The function of a real Master is not to tell you that God exists but to help you to open your eyes, to open the windows of your soul so that you can see, so that you can realize the meaning of the word 'God' in your own bones, in your own blood, in your very marrow. I cannot see for you through my eyes and I cannot walk for you with my legs and I cannot fly for you with my wings. You will have to live your life and you will have to die your death.
This is one of the most fundamental things to be always remembered; otherwise one becomes burdened with borrowed knowledge which is not knowledge at all but a pseudo coin: it looks like knowledge, hence it can deceive you.
And that's what has happened to humanity. Humanity is living under the curse of borrowed knowledge. People go on reciting the Bible, the Koran, the Gita like parrots - blind old owls reciting the Koran, the Gita, the Bible. But this is not their own experience, their own experience is just the opposite. Their own experience simply denies the truth of the Gita and the Bible and the Vedas and the Dhammapada. Their own experience simply says that 'Buddha is mad,' that 'Jesus is deceiving us,' that 'Socrates may be very clever, but beware of him, don't listen to him; he will destroy our religion.'
Man has created a religion with his blind eyes, and not one but many religions, because blind eyes cannot see the One, blind eyes can only believe in the many. Hence there are so many religions - nearabout three hundred religions on this small earth - and each religion proclaiming that 'My truth is the only truth,' that 'My God is the only God,' that 'All other Gods are false,' that 'All other truths are fabrications,' that 'All other paths only lead into wastelands - only my path is the path to paradise.'
These three hundred religions are continuously fighting with each other. None of them is aware, none of them has seen, none of them has looked into reality face to face. They have believed.
These religions are not religions but traditions. They have heard - they have heard down the ages - and they have believed, because to believe is cheap, to explore is risky. To repeat like a parrot is comfortable, to go into the adventure of discovery is to risk your life. It is dangerous. Exploration is dangerous; belief - convenient, consoling. You need not go anywhere, it is given to you ready-made; but it is second-hand.
And miserable is the man who lives with a second-hand God, because God can only be first-hand.
The experience has to be authentically yours; nobody else's experience can become the foundation of a true life. Buddha may have seen, but to become a Buddhist is not going to help. Buddha was not a Buddhist - certainly not. Jesus may have looked, encountered, realized, but to become a Christian is utter stupidity. Unless you become a Christ you will never know God.
The really religious person avoids traditions, the really religious person avoids second-hand gods, avoids beliefs, keeps him-self open, available for the truth to happen. Certainly he works - it is only he who does work - the believer never works upon himself. There is no need for the believer to work upon himself. The explorer, the inquirer, the seeker of truth works hard upon himself because there are many things which have to be dropped, many impurities which have to be dropped, many hindrances and blocks which have to be dissolved. The eyes have to be opened and the ears have to be unplugged and the heart has to be made to feel. One has to fall in rhythm with the existence.
When you are utterly in rhythm with existence your eyes are open, and then, for the first time, you see.
And that seeing is transformation, that seeing changes you, root and all. That seeing becomes a new vision, a new life, a new gestalt. You are no more confined then by your body, no more confined by your mind, no more confined by anything whatever. You are unconfined, infinite, eternal. And to feel this eternity flowing in you is to know God. To see this infinity extending into the eternal past and into the eternal future is to see God. To feel godliness inside your own being is to know God.
This can't be second-hand.
When I see a Christian or a Hindu or a Jaina or a Mohammedan, I see second-hand people. You would not want to purchase second-hand shoes from the market and you would not want to purchase second-hand clothes used by others from the market. But for your soul you purchase second-hand beliefs, second-hand shoes, second-hand clothes, dirty, ugly, used, rotten? And you think you are beautifying your life? You are insulting your very soul, you are dehumanizing yourself. To become a Christian or to become a Buddhist is to dehumanize yourself.
The search has to be alone, the search has to be authentically individual. Truth cannot be decided by the vote of the majority because truth is utterly individual and private. It is not an objective phenomenon. You can see my body - it is an objective phenomenon; whether my body exists or not can be decided easily by others. But whether I am enlightened or not cannot be decided by anybody else - certainly not by any majority vote.
A Buddha is a Buddha not because people have voted for him and given their majority vote that he is a Buddha, he is a Buddha by his own sheer declaration; except for himself there is no witness. It is utterly private, it is so interior that nobody else can penetrate it.
Truth cannot be decided by a majority vote. But that's how people decide. That's why religions are so interested in increasing their numbers, because if they have more people, certainly they have more truth. Christians can claim more truth than Jainas because they have a big crowd behind them. If there is a voting then Christians will win and Jainas will be defeated. But it is not a question of voting. Even if a thousand owls vote that it is dark and there is no sun and light has never existed, even then the lie remains a lie. A single swan is enough to declare that it is day.
Truth is not a question of democratic decision; it has nothing to do with the crowd. Catholics are against birth control, Mohammedans are against birth control, for a simple reason, for a political reason. The reason is that if birth control is allowed, their population will start decreasing. And that is their only strength. They want to increase their population so that one day they can prove to the world: 'Look, if we have so many people on our side, it must be that truth is on our side.'
I would like to remind you of a famous statement of George Bernard Shaw. Somebody was arguing with him and the man said, 'But so many people believe in what I am saying. How can so many people be wrong?'
And Bernard Shaw retorted, 'If so many people believe in it then it must be wrong, because how can so many people be right?'
See the point of it: how can so many people be in the right? The crowd is blind, the crowd is not enlightened. Truth has always been in the minority. When Buddha arises he is alone, when Jesus walks in Jerusalem he is alone, when Socrates fights he is alone. Of course, when a few seekers gather together around Socrates, a school arises, but that school is a minority. And to be with Socrates needs courage, needs guts, because he is not there to console you. He will take all your consolations away, he will shatter all your illusions, because that is the only way to bring you to truth.
He will force you to open your eyes; he will not sing a lullaby to help you to go to sleep. He will shout from the house tops to wake you up. He will shock you, he will hit you.
Just the other day Pradeepa came to see me. She was crying - naturally, I had shocked her tremendously. She would not have ever dreamed that one day, out of nowhere, I would just hit her exactly on the head with a hammer. And she was also disturbed because she has been a cause of creating nausea in me - she feels for me, she loves me, as you all love me. She was crying for all these reasons.
But I have to tell you, and her in particular, that you should feel grateful whenever I hit you hard, because I will hit you hard only when you are worthy of it. I will not hit just anybody, I will hit only when somebody is really growing. The more you will be growing the more demands will be made on you.
I have not told everybody to drop non-vegetarian food, but I have told Pradeepa in a very shocking way to drop it. Her consciousness is growing; now this has become a hindrance. People who are not soaring high - they can carry as much of a burden as they like; but those who are starting to soar high - they have to drop all unnecessary luggage. The more pure your energy becomes, the more you will have to be careful about it, because something precious can be lost. And it is very difficult to create that precious energy, it is very easy to lose it. Those who don't have anything to lose - they need not worry, they can go on doing all kinds of stupid things. Their whole being is in tune with those stupidities.
This has to be remembered by you all: that as you will be growing I will be making more and more demands on you.
There is a beautiful story...
India has known a great painter, one of the greatest of all - Nandalal Bose, a genius. He was a disciple of another genius, Avanindranath Tagore. Avanindranath Tagore was an uncle of Rabindranath Tagore. Rabindranath and Avanindranath were sitting together one day, sipping tea early in the morning, chit-chatting, and Nandalal came with a painting of Krishna. Rabindranath has written in his memoirs: 'I have never seen such a beautiful painting of Krishna - so alive that it looked as if he was just going to come out of the painting any moment - any moment his flute would start singing a song. I was dazed.'
Avanindranath looked at the painting, threw the painting out of his house and told Nandalal, 'Is this the way one paints Krishna? Even poor painters in Bengal do far better.'
Rabindranath was very shocked. Rabindranath knew his uncle's paintings too, because he also had been painting Krishna his whole life, and he was absolutely certain that no painting of his uncle's could be compared with Nandalal's painting. Nandalal's painting was far superior.
But he kept quiet. It was not right for him to interfere between the Master and the disciple. Nandalal touched the feet of Avanindranath, went out, and for three years disappeared.
Many times Rabindranath asked Avanindranath, 'What have you done to this poor man? - his painting was superb!'
And Avanindranath cried and he said, 'You are right. His painting is superb. I have never been able to do such a beautiful thing.'
And when Nandalal left, Avanindranath took the painting inside and always had it in his room.
'Then why,' Rabindranath asked, 'did you behave in such a rude way?'
And Avanindranath said, 'But I expect much more from him. It is not a question of him doing a beautiful painting - this is just the beginning. He has a much greater potential. I am going to make many more demands on him.
And for three years Nandalal went around the villages of Bengal, because the Master had said, 'Even village painters do far better paintings of Krishna.' So he learned from village painters, ordinary poor painters. For three years he moved around in Bengal - the whole province. And then one day he appeared, touched the feet of the Master, and said, 'You were right. I have learned a lot. You did well to throw my painting out.'
Avanindranath hugged him and said, 'I was waiting. I am getting old, and I was getting frightened whether you would be coming back or not. I am happy. Your painting was beautiful, but I see much more potential in you.'
Whenever I see a much greater potential in you I will hit you hard, because that is the only reason you are here with me and I am here with you. I have to provoke you to your very depths so that all that is dormant in you can start rising, can start soaring high. And you don't know your potential... I know. So whenever I make demands feel grateful.
You will be surprised to know that in Zen monasteries whenever the Master hits somebody's head with his staff, the person who is hit bows down seven times and touches the Master's feet to thank him. And disciples wait for that moment when they will be hit, for that blissful moment to come when the Master will take so much trouble as to hit their head with his staff. They dream about it, they pray, they hope that some day that blissful moment will come.
Remember, this is an alchemical academy. You are not here just to be entertained but to be transformed. And transformation is painful, because much that is old has to be dropped. And that old stuff is not like clothes you can easily drop - it has become your skin. When your skin is peeled it hurts. But this is the only way to bring you to your senses, this is the only way to destroy your shock-absorbers, this is the only way to destroy the armour that surrounds you and keeps you in bondage. Slowly slowly your own energy will start rising, your eyes will open, your ears will be able to hear. Then God is first-hand. And always keep in mind that only a first-hand experience of God is a true experience. It is not decided by the majority, it is not decided by tradition, it is not decided by anything other than your own energy encounter with God.
It was perfectly alright for the owls to think that the swan was mad. That's how people have always been thinking: Buddha is mad, Mohammed is mad, Zarathustra is mad, because how can they believe what they cannot see?
It is perfectly alright for the owls to throw the swan out, to drive him away. They became afraid, shaken. If this swan is allowed to live in the tree he is going to disrupt their tradition, he is going to destroy their way of life. They have always lived in darkness and they have always believed in darkness. Darkness is their God, all their rituals have arisen out of darkness. Their priests praise darkness, their learned people write great treatises on darkness. Their whole philosophy is centred on the basic theme of darkness. In their philosophy there is no place for sun and light and day. Now this mad swan comes up and is trying to infiltrate, smuggle, some alien ideas into their world. Their whole structure will collapse.
That's why Jesus is crucified, that's why people are so much against me. I am trying to give you a new gestalt, a new pattern, a new way of life, a new approach to reality. I am trying to open a new door to existence. Naturally, those who have very much invested in the old patterns of life will be angry, will be madly angry. They would like to drive me out of their world - that's exactly what they are trying to do. It is all natural, it is all simple. Once you understand it, you start laughing about it.
How do you go on believing in God? Why? How do you manage to believe in the soul, and why?
The same reason: 'Our fathers and their fathers and their fathers, in fact the whole of our community has never seen a sun, so there is no such thing as a sun. He is having you on. Don't listen to him.
He will corrupt om religion.' You have heard your father say to you, 'God is, and God is a Christian,' or 'God is a Hindu'; and they had heard it from their fathers and so on and so forth. Rumours, gossip. Neither your father has known nor have you known. Gather courage to drop all that which is not YOUR knowledge.
This is the first requirement for being a sannyasin - and this is the first requirement for going into the inquiry after truth scientifically: drop all prejudices, drop all A PRIORI conceptions. Start from the beginning, from the very beginning, from ABC, as if you are Adam and Eve and there has been no tradition before you and there has been no scripture before you.
D.H. Lawrence once said - and I perfectly agree with him - 'If all the scriptures of the world are destroyed, man may become religious.' If whole traditions are simply dissolved, then only is there some hope; otherwise who bothers to inquire? When the tradition can supply you so easily and you have not to pay anything at all, why bother? Others have known, you can simply believe. But to know is one thing, to believe is just the opposite.
To believe means to go on living in darkness. To know means to be transformed, transmuted, transplanted into another vision - luminous, eternal.
These sutras are not to be believed, they have to be experimented with. These sutras are simple clues to working it out within your own being. Unless you work on them you will go on missing the point. You have to start looking at your own body as a great spiritual lab and you have to look upon your life as a great adventure into reality. And you have to be very alert, watchful, to see what is happening within and without.
These sutras are keys. If you really try to work upon your being, you will be surprised: that you are emperors - having great treasures, inexhaustible treasures in your being - and yet behaving like beggars.
Master Lu-tsu said: THE TWO MISTAKES OF INDOLENCE AND DISTRACTION MUST BE COMBATED BY QUIET WORK THAT IS CARRIED ON DAILY WITHOUT INTERRUPTION; THEN SUCCESS WILL CERTAINLY BE ACHIEVED.
Success is a by-product; one need not think about it. And if you think about it, you will not get it - that is a condition. Don't think about success, because if you start thinking about success you become divided. Then you are not totally in the work; your real mind is in the future: 'How to succeed?' You have already started dreaming how you will be when you have succeeded, how you will be when you have become a Buddha - what beauties, what benedictions, what blessings will be yours. Your mind has started playing the game of greed, ambition, ego. Never think of success. Success is a natural by-product.
If you work really sincerely upon yourself, success will follow you just as your shadow follows you.
Success has not to be the goal. That's why Lu-tsu says, 'Work quietly, silently, un-troubled by any idea of success or failure.'
And remember, if you think too much of success you will constantly be thinking of failure too. They come together, they come in one package. Success and failure cannot be divided from each other.
If you think of success, somewhere deep down there will be a fear also. Who knows whether you are going to make it or not? You may fail. Success takes you into the future, gives you a greed game, an ego projection, ambition, and the fear also gives you a shaking, a trembling - you may fail. The possibility of failure makes you waver. And with this wavering, with this greed, with this ambition, your work will not be quiet. Your work will become a turmoil; you will be working here and looking there. You will be walking on this road and looking somewhere faraway in the sky.
I have heard about a Greek astrologer who was studying stars, and one night, a very starry night, he fell into a well. Because he was watching the stars and moving about - and he was so concerned with the stars that he forgot where he was - he moved closer and closer to a well and fell into it.
Some woman, an old woman who used to live nearby, rushed up, hearing the sound. She looked inside the well, brought a rope, and pulled the great astrologer out. The astrologer was very thankful.
He said to the old woman, 'You don't know me but I am the royal astrologer, specially appointed by the king. My fee is very large - only very rich people can afford to enquire about their future. But you have saved my life. You can come tomorrow to me and I will show you: I will read your hand, I will look into your birth-chart and I will interpret your stars, and your whole future will be plainly clear to you.'
The old woman started laughing. She said, 'Forget all about it. You cannot see even one step ahead, that there is a well, how can you predict my future? All bullshit!'
Don't look ahead too much, otherwise you will miss the immediate step. Success comes, Lu-tsu says, of its own accord. Leave it to itself. This existence is a very rewarding existence, nothing goes unrewarded.
That is the whole Indian philosophy of karma: nothing goes unrewarded or punished. If you do something wrong, punishment follows like a shadow. If you do something right, rewards are on the way. You need not bother about them, you need not think at all, not even an iota of your consciousness need be involved with them; they come - their coming is automatic.
When you move on the road do you look again and again for your shadow - whether it is following you or not? And if somebody looks back again and again to see whether the shadow is following or not, you will think that he is mad. The shadow follows; it is inevitable. So if your work is in the right direction, with the right effort, with the totality of your being, the reward follows automatically.
And what is the work? The first thing:
THE TWO MISTAKES OF INDOLENCE AND DISTRACTION MUST BE COMBATED...
Indolence means laziness, lethargy; it is because of the feminine part in you. The feminine part is lazy, lethargic, because it is passive. And the other is distraction; it is because of the masculine part in you. The masculine part is always restless, active. It wants to do a thousand and one things simultaneously.
A character of Camus' says, 'I want all the women of the world. I cannot be satisfied by one or by a few or even by many. I want all the women of the world.' This is the extreme male attitude. The woman is satisfied by one, the man is not even satisfied by many. Contentment is natural to the woman, discontent is natural to the man.
Both have positive and negative polarities. If the woman allows her passivity to become negative, it will create lethargy. That's why women have not created much in the world, or very little - you don't find great women painters and poets and scientists. And it is not only because man has not allowed them. Even if freedom comes - which it has - and woman is liberated, this lethargy is part of her being. She is not very interested in doing, her interest is more in being. And this interest can be a great blessing too, or a curse; it depends. If this restfulness becomes meditative, if this restfulness really becomes contentment with existence, harmony with existence, it will be a blessing.
But usually, out of a hundred, in ninety-nine percent of cases it becomes lethargy.
We don't know how to use our blessings. Then blessings become bitter and prove curses.
And the male mind is restless. There also a blessing is possible: he can be very creative. But it has not been so. Rather than being creative he has become destructive; the blessing has turned into a curse. Man's restlessness has made him very anxious, full of anxiety, tension. His whole mind is constantly boiling, he is always on the verge of madness. Somehow he goes on managing to contain himself, but deep inside him there is a crowd ready to burst forth. Any small excuse, and the man can go mad.
Because of this restlessness man has lost his beauty, his grace. Woman is graceful, beautiful. Just watch a woman, the way she walks, the way she sits - there is elegance. Her being has a subtle silence, a restfulness; you can feel it in her vibe. In a house where there is no woman you will see chaos. You can immediately know whether the house is lived in by a bachelor: you will see chaos, all the things are topsy-turvy, nothing is in its right place. You can immediately know whether a woman is part of the house or not, because everything is in harmony, in its place. There is a grace, a kind of exquisite climate, a very subtle climate of love, of culture, a musical quality to the house. When man lives alone there is a neurotic quality to the house.
Both of these are beautiful if used rightly. Then the feminine part gives you grace and the male part gives you creativity. And when grace and creativity meet, you are whole.
But that rarely happens - in a Buddha, in a Meera, in a Teresa, in a Jesus, in a Magdalene - very rarely. Ordinarily, just the opposite happens: the wrong sides meet. Man's restlessness, neurosis, and woman's lethargy - these two things meet, and then you see the ugliest phenomenon possible.
And, let me remind you again: when I am talking about men and women I am not using biological terminology. Each man has a woman within as well as a man within, and each woman has a man within as well as a woman within. Man is not just man and woman is not just woman. They are both, both are both. Their being is bisexual. Maybe one is predominant, that's why one is man: the male part is predominant - the animus is in the conscious and the anima is deep in the unconscious - then you are a man. Or if you are a woman that means that the anima is in the conscious, the feminine part is predominant, and the male part, the animus, is in the unconscious. But both are always present together.Just as electricity cannot be without two poles, positive and negative, no being can be without two poles. Man and woman, yin and yang, positive/negative, Shiva/ Shakti - you can find your own names for them.
These two mistakes have to be combated. Quiet work is needed to be CARRIED ON DAILY WITHOUT INTERUPTION; THEN SUCCESS WILL CERTAINLY BE ACHIEVED. And what is that quiet work? This is the quiet work:
IF ONE IS NOT SEATED IN MEDITATION, ONE WILL OFTEN BE DISTRACTED WITHOUT NOTICING IT.
And you must have observed it. Thousands have reported it to me, because thousands have been meditating around me and it is an accepted experience of all meditators that when a person starts meditating he suddenly becomes aware of a strange phenomenon: his mind has never before been so restless as it becomes when he meditates. That is very puzzling in the beginning, because one hopes that through meditation the mind will become quiet. And this is just the opposite that is happening: the mind becomes more restless, you see more thoughts coming than in your ordinary day-to-day life. Working in your shop, in the office, in the factory, thoughts don't bother you so much; but when you sit in a temple or in a mosque or a church to meditate for a few minutes, suddenly a great crowd of thoughts comes, surrounds you, starts pulling you to this side and to that. A maddening experience, and puzzling, because the meditator was hoping to become quiet and silent - and this is just the reverse that is happening. Why does it happen? The reason is this: you have always been with all these thoughts; even when you are occupied in your shop, in your factory, in your office, these thoughts have always been there. But you were so occupied that you didn't notice them, that's all. What is new is not the crowd of thoughts - thoughts don't know where you are sitting, in a church, in a temple, in a meditation hall, they don't know - all that is happening is that when you are sitting in meditation you are not occupied with anything on the outside so your whole mind becomes aware of all that is always clamouring within you.
It is not because of meditation that more thoughts are coming to you, through meditation you become aware of their presence - they have always been there; you just notice them more.
IF ONE IS NOT SEATED IN MEDITATION, ONE WILL OFTEN BE DISTRACTED WITHOUT NOTICING IT. TO BECOME CONSCIOUS OF THE DISTRACTION IS THE MECHANISM BY WHICH TO DO AWAY WITH DISTRACTION.
Hence it is insisted on that you sit in meditation at least one or two hours every day so that you become unoccupied, completely unoccupied, with the outer engagements and your full observation is focused on your inner world. In the beginning you will see you have opened a Pandora's box.
In the beginning you will see you have entered into a madhouse, and you will want to escape and become engaged again.
Avoid that temptation. To avoid this temptation is a must, otherwise you will never be able to meditate. Many tricks have been found to avoid the inner turmoil. Transcendental Meditation is a technique not of meditation but of avoiding facing your inner reality. A mantra is given to you and you are told to repeat the mantra. That helps - not to meditate but to remain occupied. You go on repeating, 'Ram, Ram, Ram...' or 'Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola...'. You go on repeating something - any word will do, your own name will do, any absurd sound will do. You go on repeating.
By repeating it you are occupied, and through that occupation you are avoiding your inner turmoil.
This is not different: you were occupied in your office, you were occupied with the film, seeing the movie, you were occupied listening to the radio, you were occupied reading the newspaper; now you are occupied with this mantra. This is neither meditation nor transcendence.
Real meditation means: don't avoid the inner mad-house, enter into it, face it, encounter it, be watchful, because it is through watchfulness that you will overcome it. It is because of avoiding it that it has been growing on and on. You have avoided enough! Now there is no need to take the help of a mantra, no help is needed; just sit silently.
Zen is the purest of meditations. Just sit silently, doing nothing. The most difficult meditation is to sit silently, doing nothing. People ask me, 'Please give us some support. If you give us some mantra it will be helpful, because just sitting silently doing nothing is very difficult, most arduous.' A thousand and one things arise in oneself: the body starts driving you crazy, the head starts itching, suddenly you feel ants crawling upon your body, and then you see there is no ant, it is just the body playing tricks; the body is trying to give you some support to be engaged. The body wants to change the posture, the legs go to sleep - the body is simply making things available to you so that you can become occupied.
Avoid all occupation. For a few moments just be unoccupied and just see whatsoever is happening inside. And you will be surprised, you WILL be surprised, because one day, just by looking and looking and looking, thoughts start disappearing.
'Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.'
This is the purest form of meditation, this is transcendental meditation. But nobody can call it transcendental meditation because Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has made it a trademark. TM is now a trademark! Nobody has ever done business in such a way. You can be sued in a court if you call your meditation Transcendental Meditation. It is patented. Look at the whole ridiculousness of it:
meditation has become a thing, like a commodity to be sold in the market-place.
This has been happening again and again. The so-called Indian gurus who go to America - they never succeed in changing anybody, but America succeeds in changing them. They all become businessmen, they all start learning American ways. They never change anybody; they cannot. If they were able to change anybody they would not have gone anywhere - those who want to be changed would have come to them; there would have been no need for them to go anywhere. When somebody is thirsty he starts searching for water. The well need not go to the thirsty - the well never goes - the thirsty come to the well. And if you see a well on wheels, beware!
TO BECOME CONSCIOUS OF THE DISTRACTION IS THE MECHANISM BY WHICH TO DO AWAY WITH DISTRACTION.
A tremendously pregnant sentence. The only way to get rid of distraction is to become aware of it, to watch it, to silently be aware of it, to see what mind is doing with you - continuously distracting you. Just watch it. Many times you will forget, because mind is cunning, very clever, very diplomatic; it knows all the strategies of the politicians. Mind is essentially a politician; it will try all its magic charms on you.
Whatsoever you have been repressing it will bring. If you have been repressing sex, when you start meditation, immediately you will see APSARAS descending from heaven. The mind says, 'Look!
What are you doing wasting your time? Beautiful women are being sent by the god Indra, and what are you doing?' And if you have been repressing sex then your mind will use sex as a bait for you. If you have been repressing ambition your mind will start imagining that you have become the president or the prime minister and you will start falling into that trap. If you have been deprived of food up to now and you have been fasting, the mind will create such beautiful, delicious dishes for you. The aroma, the smell of the food... and you are distracted.
Hence one of my insistences for my sannyasins is: don't repress, otherwise you will never be able to meditate. If you repress, then in meditation you will have to encounter your repression.
And whatsoever you have repressed becomes powerful, immensely powerful; it takes roots in your unconscious.
Do you think the old stories of Indian seers - old people they were, all old and almost dead, shrunken, just bones, skeletons, because they were fasting and living in forests... And, suddenly, one day they see Urvasi, the most beautiful dance-girl of the god Indra, dancing around them. What does Urvasi see in these skeletons? How does she become interested in these skeletons, and for what? The stories say that the god Indra sends them to tempt. That is all nonsense! There is no god Indra and there is nobody functioning as a tempter. There is no devil, no satan; the only devil is your repressed mind. These are the people who have been repressing their sexuality, and they have repressed so much that when they relax in meditation all that repression starts surfacing: it takes beautiful forms.
Repress anything and you will see. Just do a three-day fast and you will come to know what I am telling you. Just a three-day fast, and all your dreams will become full of food. And there is every possibility that one day in your sleep you will simply start moving, sleepwalking, towards the fridge.
Your whole mind will become food-obsessed.
Hence, I say don't repress. All the therapies available in this ashram are just to help you to vomit the repressions that the society has forced on you. Once those repressions are vomited, thrown out of your system, once those toxins are taken out of your system, meditation becomes such an easy, simple thing - just like a feather falling slowly towards the earth or a dead leaf falling from the tree, slowly slowly... Meditation is a very simple phenomenon - it has to be because it is your spontaneity; you are going towards your nature. Movement towards nature has to be easy, movement away from nature has to be difficult. Meditation is not difficult, but between your mind and your being there are a thousand and one repressions which distract Lu-tsu is right: just watch those distractions, be alert. If you are distracted and you forget meditation, don't be worried. The moment you remember that you have been distracted, again go back, again cool down, again make the heart quiet, again start breathing silently. Don't feel guilty that you have been distracted, because that will be another distraction. That's why I say mind is cunning. First it distracts you, and then one moment you see... what are you doing? You were meditating, and you have gone to Vrindavan and you are eating and... what are you doing? You drag yourself. Now you start feeling guilty. This is not good.
Now feeling guilty is another distraction, now guilt makes you feel miserable - misery in another distraction. One distraction leads into another. Don't feel guilty, don't feel angry. The moment you find yourself caught red-handed, simply go back with no complaint. It is natural. For millions of lives you have been repressing, it is only natural that the mind distracts. Take it for granted and move back, bring yourself again to your centre, again and again and again. And slowly slowly the time at the centre will become greater and greater, and distractions will be fewer and fewer. And, one day, suddenly it happens: you are at the centre and there is no distraction.
This is success. And why is this called success? - because this is the point where you know that you are a god, that you have never been anybody else, that you had fallen in a dream and dreamed that you had become a beggar.
INDOLENCE OF WHICH MAN IS CONSCIOUS, AND INDOLENCE OF WHICH MAN IS UNCONSCIOUS, ARE A THOUSAND MILES APART. UNCONSCIOUS INDOLENCE IS REAL INDOLENCE; CONSCIOUS INDOLENCE IS NOT COMPLETE INDOLENCE, BECAUSE THERE IS STILL SOME CLARITY IN IT.
If you are lazy be consciously lazy. Know that you are lazy. Watch your laziness. Just as you watch distraction, watch your laziness. At least watching is not lazy, watching is not laziness, so something- is there which is not lazy. Being attentive of your inattentions, one thing in you is still attentive, so you are not completely inattentive. And all hope hangs on that small spot of no laziness, of no distraction. That small spot is like a seed. It looks small but if time, patience, is given to it, it will become a big tree with great foliage. And one day the Golden Flower will arrive.
DISTRACTION COMES FROM LETTING THE MIND WANDER ABOUT; INDOLENCE COMES FROM THE MIND'S NOT YET BEING PURE. DISTRACTION IS MUCH EASIER TO CORRECT THAN INDOLENCE. IT IS AS IN SICKNESS: IF ONE FEELS PAINS AND IRRITATIONS, ONE CAN HELP THEM WITH REMEDIES, BUT INDOLENCE IS LIKE A DISEASE THAT IS ATTENDED BY LACK OF REALIZATION.
Distraction is easier to tackle because distraction is outward. Indolence is more difficult because it is inward. Distraction is male, indolence is female. Distraction by its very activity creates tensions which become unbearable, and you can become aware of it easily. But indolence is very silent, dark; it makes no noise, it is simply there. It is very difficult to become aware of it. First one has to become aware of distractions. When all distractions disappear, then one becomes aware of indolence. Then the whole energy is available to look inwards, then you see it there, holding you like a rock, inactive, uncreative. Then watch it.
And remember, watching is the only key. Observation is meditation - there is nothing more to meditation; it is another name for being aware. And the miracle is that when you become aware of something, utterly aware, it disappears. It remains only if you are unaware. Your unawareness is a food for distraction, for indolence. Your awareness means they are no longer being fed, they start starving. Sooner or later they wither away of their own accord.
DISTRACTION CAN BE COUNTERACTED, CONFUSION CAN BE STRAIGHTENED OUT, BUT INDOLENCE AND LETHARGY ARE HEAVY AND DARK. DISTRACTION AND CONFUSION AT LEAST HAVE A PLACE, BUT IN INDOLENCE AND LETHARGY THE ANIMA ALONE IS ACTIVE. IN DISTRACTION THE ANIMUS IS STILL PRESENT, BUT IN INDOLENCE PURE DARKNESS RULES. IF ONE BECOMES SLEEPY DURING MEDITATION, THAT IS AN EFFECT OF INDOLENCE. ONLY BREATHING SERVES TO OVERCOME INDOLENCE. ALTHOUGH THE BREATH THAT FLOWS IN AND OUT THROUGH THE NOSE IS NOT THE TRUE BREATH, THE FLOWING IN AND OUT OF THE TRUE BREATH TAKES PLACE IN CONNECTION WITH IT.
If you feel very sleepy while meditating then start watching your breath and sleep will disappear.
That's why many Buddhist monks who do Vipassana start suffering from insomnia. I have come across many people who were suffering from insomnia because they were practising Vipassana and they were not aware of it. If you watch your breath, it destroys your sleep.
So to my sannyasins I say: never practise Vipassana for more than two or three hours a day; and those three hours should be between sunrise and sunset, never after sunset. If you practise Vipassana in the night you will disturb your sleep, and to disturb sleep is to disturb your whole body mechanism.
One monk from Ceylon was brought to me. For three years he had not been able to sleep. A sincere-monk... that was his problem. Thinking that Vipassana was so great, he was practising it day in, day out. Even when he was in bed feeling that no sleep was coming he would practise Vipassana. Now if you practise Vipassana in bed, it is impossible for sleep to come. Sleep never comes to a person who is becoming very alert of the breath. You can try it - if you need insomnia you can try it. To watch the breath is the best way to destroy sleepiness in you, because breath is life and sleep is death; they are antagonistic to each other.
The child starts his life by breathing. The first act of life is breathing, and the last act of life will be to let the breath out and never breathe again. The first act is inhalation and the last act is exhalation.
When there is no breathing we say this man is dead.
Remember it: sleep needs that you forget all about your breath. Sleep is a small death, a tiny death - and a beautiful death, because it gives you rest, relaxation, and tomorrow morning you will come out of the death chamber fresh, younger, rejuvenated.
Watch your breath when you feel sleepy in meditation. And never do such meditations in the night.
And the second thing of great importance which the sutra says is: This breath that we take in and out is not true breath, this is just the vehicle of the true breath.
What is true breath? In India we call it PRANA. This breath is just the horse; the rider is invisible.
This breath is just the horse of the rider called PRANA, vitality, or what Henri Bergson used to call ELAN VITAL. It is invisible.
When you take breath in you are not only taking air in, you are taking life in. Without air life will disappear. Life exists through air; it is the invisible part of air. Breath is like the flower and life is like the fragrance that surrounds it. When you breathe there is a double process going on.
Hence Yoga became very much interested in PRANAYAMA. PRANAYAMA means expansion of breath. The deeper your breath goes, the more deeply you become alive; the better your breath, the longer you will be able to live. Yoga became very interested in the secret. The elixir is in the system of breathing. One can live very long. Yogis have lived the longest.
I am not telling you to live long, because you can live a long but stupid life. Length is not the question at all; intensity, depth, is the question. I am not interested in long life. What is the point? If you are stupid it is better to die sooner.
Genghis Khan once asked a great wise man, 'What do you say - should one live long? Should one do something to live long? Is life a blessing or not?'
The wise man said, 'Sir, it depends. For example, if you live long that will be very bad. If you die soon that will be a great blessing. If you sleep twenty-four hours a day that will be really great, because there will be less trouble in the world.'
But Yoga became very interested in long life, as if that in itself were a goal. And that's where Yoga got lost: it became more and more physiological - its concern became focused on something unimportant.
But the secret is there - it is in the breath. Breath is a vehicle of two energies: one is the visible air, the tangible air that contains oxygen; and somewhere around the oxygen is ELAN VITAL, PRANA - that makes you more and more deeply alive, aflame with life.
So, whenever you feel sleepy, just watch your breath and sleep will disappear. And because of breath more life will enter in you; your indolence will disappear.
WHILE SITTING, ONE MUST THEREFORE ALWAYS KEEP THE HEART QUIET AND THE ENERGY CONCENTRATED. HOW CAN THE HEART BE MADE QUIET? BY THE BREATH.
Again, BY THE BREATH. Breath has functioned as one of the greatest of techniques.
ONLY THE HEART MUST BE CONSCIOUS OF THE FLOWING IN AND OUT OF THE BREATH...
Just watch the breath coming in, the breath going out. In that very watchfulness your sleep will disappear, your indolence will disappear, and you will feel centred.
Breath can be watched at two points: either at the tip of the nose where the air touches on first entering your body, or at the last centre, at the navel centre, where the breath goes and makes your belly move up and down. These are the two centres which you can watch.
Just the other day somebody asked, 'Osho, watching the tip of the nose is good, but what about Jewish noses?' In fact, only Jews have noses, others only believe they have. If you have a Jewish nose then watch the tip of the nose where the air enters in. AJewish nose is immensely helpful in such meditations. Feel happy that you have a Jewish nose. And at least fifty percent of people here have Jewish noses, because fifty percent of people here are Jews.
Reading the question I was really surprised because then I became very concerned about Master Lu-tsu and his Chinese people to whom he was giving these methods. They don't have any noses at all! It must have been really difficult for them to watch the tip of the nose. What tip?
ONLY THE HEART MUST BE CONSCIOUS OF THE FLOWING IN AND OUT OF THE BREATH; IT MUST NOT BE HEARD WITH THE EARS. IF IT IS NOT HEARD, THEN THE BREATHING IS LIGHT; IF LIGHT, IT IS PURE. IF IT CAN BE HEARD, THEN THE BREATH-ENERGY IS ROUGH; IF ROUGH, THEN IT IS TROUBLED; IF IT IS TROUBLED, THEN INDOLENCE AND LETHARGY DEVELOP AND ONE WANTS TO SLEEP. THAT IS SELF-EVIDENT.
HOW TO USE THE HEART CORRECTLY DURING BREATHING MUST BE UNDERSTOOD. IT IS A USE WITHOUT USE.
Effort without effort, practising without practising, a pathless path, a gateless gate - these are the expressions of Tao and Zen. You have to do something without effort, without strain.
So the Master says:
IT IS A USE WITHOUT USE. ONE SHOULD ONLY LET THE LIGHT FALL QUITE GENTLY ON THE HEARING.
You are to be in a let-go.
That is the difference between Yoga and Tao: Yoga is the path of will and Tao is the path of surrender.
Yoga says: Breathe in this way, take this much breath deep inside, hold it there for this long, then exhale deeply, then hold it out for that long - make a certain pattern through will. Tao says: Let it happen.
ONE SHOULD ONLY LET THE LIGHT FALL QUITE GENTLY ON THE HEARING - just as you are listening to me.
My words are falling on your ears. You need not jump upon them, you need not drag them in - there is no need. You simply remain attentive, silent, available, open.
THIS SENTENCE CONTAINS A SECRET MEANING. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LET THE LIGHT FALL? IT IS THE SPONTANEOUS RADIATION OF THE LIGHT OF THE EYES. THE EYE LOOKS INWARD ONLY AND NOT OUTWARD. TO SENSE BRIGHTNESS WITHOUT LOOKING OUTWARD MEANS TO LOOK INWARD...
Whenever you are in a kind of let-go you will feel a great light inside you. That happens automatically in a let-go. When you are surrendered to existence you will feel very very bright inside - a great light inside and a great delight outside. It happens naturally. And when you feel that brightness inside this is what is meant by looking in.
TO SENSE BRIGHTNESS WITHOUT LOOKING OUTWARD MEANS TO LOOK INWARD; IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH AN ACTUAL LOOKING WITHIN. WHAT DOES HEARING MEAN? IT IS THE SPONTANEOUS HEARING OF THE LIGHT OF THE EAR. THE EAR LISTENS INWARDLY ONLY AND DOES NOT LISTEN TO WHAT IS OUTSIDE. TO SENSE BRIGHTNESS WITHOUT LISTENING TO WHAT IS OUTSIDE IS TO LISTEN INWARDLY...
When you start feeling a light behind your eyes and within your ears, deep inside you, a source of your own, then you are settled, centred, then the heart is quiet. And then you are in the world and yet beyond it. This is transcendence.
... IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ACTUALLY LISTENING TO WHAT IS WITHIN. IN THIS SORT OF HEARING, ONE HEARS ONLY THAT THERE IS NO SOUND; IN THIS KIND OF SEEING, ONE SEES ONLY THAT NO SHAPE IS THERE.
You will not see any shape, you will not hear any sound within, you will see only a silent light - a soundless sound, a formless light. Hence God is defined as soundless sound, formless form.
IF THE EYE IS NOT LOOKING OUTWARD AND THE EAR IS NOT HARKENING OUTWARD, THEY CLOSE THEMSELVES AND ARE INCLINED TO SINK INWARD. ONLY WHEN ONE LOOKS AND HARKENS INWARD DOES THE ORGAN NOT GO OUTWARD NOR SINK INWARD. IN THIS WAY INDOLENCE AND LETHARGY ARE DONE AWAY WITH. THAT IS THE UNION OF THE SEED AND THE LIGHT OF THE SUN AND MOON.
If your hearing is inward, your seeing is inward - and that means you are feeling light without form, sound without sound, a silent music inside - your inner man and inner woman have met. This is the union, the total orgasm, UNIO MYSTICA.
IF, AS A RESULT OF INDOLENCE, ONE BECOMES SLEEPY, ONE SHOULD STAND UP AND WALK ABOUT. WHEN THE MIND HAS BECOME CLEAR ONE SHOULD SIT DOWN AGAIN. IN THE COURSE OF TIME THERE WILL BE SUCCESS WITHOUT ONE'S BECOMING INDOLENT AND FALLING ASLEEP.
These sutras have to be practised. Without practice, make efforts to enter into the secrets of these sutras. Without strain, learn to surrender and be in a let-go.