There is no difference between being oneself and being egoless. The difference is only in the expression. If you see it from the negative standpoint, egolessness will be the expression because ego disappears.
If you see it from the positive standpoint then being oneself will be the expression.
They are just two ways of saying the same thing, but they are not two things so there is no distinction.
And always remember that every experience can be expressed in two ways and they appear so different that it seems as if there are two things. And great thinkers have been quarreling about it, great philosophies have arisen out of the insistence that these are two things.
For example, Mahavira prefers to express it in the positive way, being oneself. Gautam Buddha prefers the negative way, egolessness. Both have their merits and demerits.
When you say "being oneself" there is a danger that you may mistake your ego for your being. Being oneself may become your egoistic standpoint. That is dangerous.
On the other hand, describing the experience as egolessness has no challenge in it, no excitement in it. It is emptiness, nothingness, negativity. Very few people will be attracted towards the negative.
The negative expression may close the doors for them. But the negative way has a beauty in that it will not allow in any way - from the front door or from the back door - the possibility of the ego.
So for the ignorant people, it is better to describe it as egolessness because they are accustomed to their ignorance.
But for those who know, being oneself does not mean ego; being oneself means egolessness, but it is only for those who know.
My own approach is that egolessness is the way to reach the experience of being oneself. So they don't appear two, and both are combined, and the merits of both are together.
He was not enlightened, and whatever he was doing was a subtle way of repression. You do it by looking at a pornographic magazine - that looks ugly. He was doing it looking at his own wife, who was a beautiful woman. That doesn't seem to be ugly, but it is living pornography.
And Ramakrishna was not enlightened at that point, and he became more and more repressed.
That repression was coming into his mad dances before the god, singing for hours - that was simply expressing energy that he had been repressing.
He became enlightened only in the end when he came in contact with a master. The name of the master was Totapuri. After that he never worshipped his wife in her naked form, after that he never worshipped even the mother goddess of the temple in which he was the priest, after that he became a totally different man - all worshipping, all singing, all dancing disappeared. He became utterly silent, peaceful, but tremendously radiant, playful, blissful.
The meeting with the master changed his whole life.
The followers of Ramakrishna don't give much space in their books, in their biographies of Ramakrishna, to the meeting of Totapuri and Ramakrishna - because after that, Ramakrishna was such a different man that the ordinary religious man will not find any appeal in him. He finds great appeal in the old Ramakrishna - in his devotional songs and dances and rituals before the goddess, and his whole life of a devotee.
Ramakrishna was fortunate to find a master, but he was not fortunate enough to find disciples.
And the meeting with the master happened in the very last days of his life.
So the followers of Ramakrishna go on thinking about the old Ramakrishna who was unenlightened; and the disciples who started the Ramakrishna mission, they also talk about the long life of Ramakrishna, his teachings, his devotion. But nobody mentions that the real Ramakrishna was born after Totapuri's meeting, in fact they want to avoid that fact.
I have been in contact with his disciples. They feel a little embarrassed that Ramakrishna had to be a disciple to a master, that only then he became enlightened. They simply don't want that part. They would like Ramakrishna himself to be the origin, the source of a new tradition - the Ramakrishna order.
And in Bengal there a thousands of sannyasins who belong to the Ramakrishna order, and there are many more who are not monks but who are deeply devoted to Ramakrishna - but they are all concerned with the WRONG Ramakrishna. And whenever I said this they were very much shocked.
In the beginning they used to call me to speak at their conferences, and when I started focusing on this point they stopped inviting me - because I was destroying their whole joy. They were not people who wanted to sit silently doing nothing, and the spring comes and the grass grows by itself. They wanted chanting, ritual, dancing, an image of God, a belief in God.
And Ramakrishna, before he became enlightened, had believed in all these things; but before he died he dropped everything. That small period is the only important period in his life.
But that is very empty, utterly silent. It is only for those who are seekers of silence, serenity, truth.
I know, and you know too, what your question is. I know the answer. You also know the answer. But my answer will only become a belief in you. I would rather like to help you to find the answer within yourself - that will be authentic.
You want to know who you are. This is the basic question everybody wants to know.
And the barrier is not big. The barrier is not great. You have just not tried what I have been continually telling you to try - watch your thoughts whenever you have time, or whenever you are doing something then watch the doing, watch the doer.
The whole point is that your capacity to watch should increase. You will become more and more a clear watcher, and the thoughts will disappear.
Thoughts are very poor. They don't have their own life. You give them life because you don't watch them. If you watch them, they start disappearing - because the life of thoughts is your identifying with them. You think, "These are my thoughts." They are not your thoughts, not a single thought is yours. Only watchfulness is yours. All thoughts come to you from outside.
If you simply remain watchful, just as they come they will go, and slowly, slowly they will come less and less. They don't like to come uninvited. They don't like to come when you don't welcome them.
And when your whole energy is centered in watching, there is no energy left for thoughts to move on the screen of your mind, they simply stop.
And the moment thoughts are not there, the answer is. That answer will not come in words, the answer will come as an experience.
The behavior of a monkey is the behavior of a frantic mind jumping from here to there, from this branch to that branch, never stable, never able to sit silently even for a few moments, always doing something, always going somewhere, continuous in activity - meaningless or meaningful, relevant or irrelevant.
Charles Darwin's theory may be right or wrong; most probably it is wrong - because for thousands of years we have been seeing no monkey come down from the trees and start walking like a man.
And why did only a small bunch of monkeys change into man and the remaining monkeys stay as monkeys for millions of years? Did it not dawn in their minds that their cousins , their brothers, their sisters, their in-laws have progressed so much and they are still hanging in the trees?
That's why I say most probably Darwin's theory is not right, not factually right; but psychologically it seems to have some validity.
Man's mind is a monkey. If you watch your mind you can see. It is never quiet. The most difficult thing for it is not to do anything.
But a few men have managed to get out of this monkey mind and have been able to remain inactive as long as they wanted.
In the East for centuries all the mystics have agreed on one point: that if the mind can remain silent for forty-eight minutes non-stop you are free of its grip. Then you can eat as many bananas as you want! You will not go bananas. But for forty-eight seconds the mind cannot remain still, what to say about forty-eight minutes!
And this is the whole work of a spiritual seeker, to change the monkey mind and bring it into a state of stillness. Perhaps that is the last stage of evolution.
There are stones which have life, though it is very dormant - because they grow. Then there are trees which have life - and recent research says they have sensitivity too. Then there are animals of thousands of species. They have a certain kind of intelligence also. And then man is there. He has more intelligence than anybody else in the known world.
If he can use this intelligence to help the monkey to be still, to relax, then the supermind comes into being and you have a clarity that was never before, a clarity that makes you aware of yourself and aware of existence that surrounds you, and fills you with tremendous gratitude.
Otherwise, Darwin may not be factually right but psychologically he is right. Looking at man, anybody could have predicted that somehow he is related to the monkeys.
When I used to travel in India for many years continually I was almost always on the train, on the plane, in the car, just traveling, moving. The train was the only place for me to rest. Once I got out of the train there was no possibility of rest - five, six meetings per day, colleges, universities, conferences, friends, journalists, press conferences. It was impossible. The only place for me to rest was the railway train. After twenty years continually traveling I could not sleep because the whole noise of the train and its wheels and the people coming and going and railway stations and hawkers and people shouting and all that - was missing. You will be surprised to know that I had to record it on a tape recorder, so when I go to bed they will put on the tape recorder and just listening to it I will go into a perfect sleep. Then they will remove the tape recorder. Otherwise it was difficult, I will toss and turn. Twenty years is a long time, and it became such a habit.
Mostly I was in an air-conditioned coupe for only two people, and because I was so tired I had no desire to talk to the other person or to answer his questions.
One day in Amritsar I entered the train. And the man was looking out of the window. Thousands of people had come to see me off. So he was getting very curious. As I went in, he touched my feet. I said, "Just sit down. You are too curious. This is my name. This is my father's name. I have so many brothers, so many sisters, one sister has died. My father has so many brothers, so many sisters, both his sisters have died. My grandfather..."
He said, "But I am not asking these things."
I said, "You will ask. Rather than wasting time, I am simply giving you all information possible so that after that just forgive me, forget me, and let me rest, don't ask anything. I give you five minutes, you can ask me anything you want."
He said, "I don't want. You are a strange person. I have never seen such a person. I have not said anything. You give me your name, your brothers, your sisters, your father, your uncle, your aunts, their children, your grandfather."
I said, "So you are satisfied?"
He said, "I am satisfied, perfectly satisfied."
So I said, "That's okay. Now I am going to rest. No questions any more."
But that man was boiling. These were not the questions he was interested in. He wanted to know what these people had come for, and what is my teaching; but now he has said that he was perfectly satisfied and we had settled that there would be no more questions.
And I rested and looked at him and I could see his trouble. He will open his box, look into it and close it and put it back; open a book, look into it and then put it down again - just to do something.
He will go into the bathroom, and just come out. And I knew that he was not doing anything - even in the bathroom he was unnecessarily going in and coming out. And I simply sat there watching him, and that made him more mad because he knew that I am seeing him and whatever he is doing is stupid, there is no need for it. Again he is opening his suitcase for no reason. He will start reading the newspaper he had read from the morning - and it was evening. He must have been reading a morning newspaper the whole day, and again he will see and close it and put it aside because he has read it.
Finally he said, "Call the servant and ask where the conductor is. I want to change this room."
The servant said, "But what is the trouble in this room? You will not find such a silent room anywhere."
He said, "That is the trouble. This man has completely silenced me. I cannot speak in words. And it is driving me crazy; I am going into the bathroom and there I have nothing to do, and I come back again, and open the suitcase, but I don't have any reason to open it. And this man is strange.
He is simply sitting there and looking at me. If he was not looking, it would be okay; but just with his watching and my stupid behavior, I simply want to go into some other room." He said, "Let the conductor come."
The conductor came and he said, "What is the trouble? - because rooms are full; we can ask somebody to exchange the place."
I said, "There is no problem. I can exchange. I can sit on his seat, he can sit on my seat."
The conductor said, "So simple. The solution is right now here. Why are you worried? Just change the seat."
He said, "You don't understand anything. This man is the trouble, and it will not make any difference, from that seat he will create trouble."
The conductor said, "This man has been traveling for years, and I know him. He has not created trouble for anyone."
He said, "How to explain? He is not doing anything. He has simply stopped asking anything, and without asking, without a little chit-chat, a little conversation, I am getting crazy. And his watching is driving me nuts, and now this - he will be sitting on my seat, I will be sitting on his seat - this makes no difference."
The conductor said, "This is beyond me. I don't understand." He asked me, "Do you understand?"
I said, "I don't understand, because this man is a very good man and he has not done any nuisance.
He simply does a few innocent things - opens his suitcase, closes his suitcase, for no reason. But it is his suitcase, he can open it as many times as he wants, I am not going to prevent. I know he is opening it uselessly, but it is his suitcase. He goes to the bathroom; there is no problem for me, he can go as many times as he wants. He can read the same newspaper as many times as he wants.
He can open the book and close the book. He can do all these exercises that he is doing. I have no objection. Why is he so much worried?"
But the man simply packed all his luggage and got out and said to the conductor, "You have to find me some place; otherwise I can go even to the first class, no need for air conditioning, because to live with this man for twenty-four hours" - the journey was twenty-four hours - "I will not be reaching home alive; my heart is beating so fast. And this is true - that he has not done anything except tell me his name, his father's name...."
The conductor said, "But this is harmless. He was simply introducing."
But he wouldn't enter the room. He escaped. He said, "Wherever I can get into the train I will, but I cannot enter into his room."
I said, "That is very good. That is all I wanted. Now I can rest. And don't send anybody else in this room because the same will happen."
The conductor said, "This is.... You have not done anything and this man is out of the compartment, and he has paid for the air-conditioned class."
Man is very frantic, he just goes on doing something or other - arranging the furniture again and again in the room, putting things from here and there even though they are not needed that way - but he cannot simply sit silently. And that is the only thing to learn, just not being on the tree does not make any difference.
Only a man in deep meditation goes beyond monkeyhood, for the first time becomes really human.
TEN YEARS AGO WHEN I FIRST STRUGGLED THROUGH DYNAMIC, IT WAS SO OUTRAGEOUS THAT I EXPECTED IMMEDIATE RESULTS IN THE FORM OF AMAZING, PSYCHEDELIC, SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES. I HAD ALMOST GIVEN UP AND WAS ABOUT TO ASK FOR MY MONEY BACK ON THE THIRD DAY, WHEN LO AND BEHOLD, STARS EXPLODED BEFORE MY EYES! "MY GOD, IT REALLY WORKS," I THOUGHT, AND WONDERED IF I NEED BOTHER TO FINISH THE TEN-DAY COURSE, OR IF THAT WAS IT. WHEN I REMOVED MY BLINDFOLD, I REALIZED THAT THIS - MY FIRST AND LAST GREAT SPIRITUAL HAPPENING - WAS SIMPLY THE RESULT OF A TOO-TIGHT ELASTIC ON MY BLINDFOLD. I HAVE ONLY NOW REALIZED THAT SOMEWHERE BETWEEN THEN AND NOW I HAVE STOPPED EXPECTING THE UNIVERSE TO EXPLODE OVER MY HEAD AT ANY MINUTE. IT IS SO EXQUISITE JUST TO SIT AT YOUR FEET, AND MELT AND SOAR... VERY, VERY QUIETLY. IS THIS JUST A SYMPTOM OF MIDDLE AGE?
No, it is not a symptom of middle age. It is a symptom of maturity, a symptom of deep understanding.
Spirituality is not something exotic, some outrageous experience, some psychedelic explosion of colors and stars.
Spirituality is a very innocent state of consciousness where nothing happens, just time comes to a standstill, all desires are gone, there is no longing, no ambition. This very moment becomes all.
And this is not a symptom of middle age.
The word 'middle age' is derogatory.
On the spiritual path nobody ever comes across it. On the contrary, one becomes a child - reborn, simple, trusting, eyes full of wonder. Every small thing - flowers, butterflies, birds - is a mystery.
You are surrounded with the miraculous in your pure innocence and joy. It is not excitement. It is a very silent and peaceful joy. It is not feverish. There is a dance in it, but it is invisible. You can feel it deep at the very center of your being, but there is no movement.
So what is happening now is the right thing, just allow it - don't condemn it by calling it middle age.
It is the return of your childhood. You are being born again, it is a rebirth.
Naturally. Who else would do it? If somebody else had done it then your head would not have hit and the black hole would not have gone. Your bed may have broken, you may have fallen on the floor, but you would have been in an even bigger black hole. If the black hole is gone, then it must be me - there is no doubt about it.
Avesh, if one is happy with oneself, centered, there is no need to go anywhere because you cannot find any place better than your own inner being. All the restaurants, the movie houses, the casinos, are visited by very poor people, who have lost contact with themselves. They don't know that they have a space within themselves which is the most beautiful and the most delicious.
Certainly anybody looking at me will think that this must be a boring life. I can live in my room for lives. I don't see any point of going anywhere - because what you are seeking I have found, and I have found it within myself. And you will go on seeking everywhere in the world and you will not find it.
To you, certainly it will seem that if you were to live in one room you will feel bored; but as far as I am concerned, even the idea of going out has not arisen in me. I simply enjoy myself so deeply and so greatly that I cannot conceive that there can be any place which can make me more than what I am.
I have been around the world. I have been in millions of houses and hotels and... but it doesn't matter, I am always myself wherever I am. And because I am blissful wherever I am, the place becomes blissful for me.
In Crete one Greek journalist was asking me - because he had seen me in Poona, he had seen me in Oregon, and now he was interviewing me in Crete - "Osho, how do you manage always to find a paradise?"
I said, "It is not a question of finding a paradise. It is a question of carrying it within yourself so wherever you are it is there. And if you don't have it within you, you cannot find it anywhere else.
There is only one place where it exists and it is within you. It has no concern with houses, no concern with places. And if you get bored, that simply means you were hoping to find it here and you have not found it so you are bored, so you are thinking to go somewhere else to find it. There you don't find it so you again get bored, and life starts becoming more and more boring. As you become older it becomes sheer boredom because slowly you start realizing that paradise does not exist anywhere. And the miracle is: all this time you have been carrying it within yourself. You can go to the moon, but you will not go within yourself; you cannot believe it, 'Within me and paradise?
"You have been conditioned to hate yourself, to condemn yourself, to reject yourself. 'Within me?
So from the outset, rejection. You never go in.
Just give it a little try. I am not preventing you... if you have found your paradise, still you can go to the restaurants, there is no harm; still you can go to the movie houses, still you can go to the casinos, there is no harm. But you will not feel bored anywhere.
In America in the jail, every jailer in five jails continually, sooner or later was puzzled that I was taking things with such ease. And they asked me, "You don't seem to be disturbed. It seems clearly that the government wants to humiliate you but you are not humiliated, you are perfectly enjoying it."
I said, "It does not matter. I am myself wherever I am - in jail or in a palace. I don't change. My inner space remains the same. Nobody can humiliate me. Nobody can make me miserable."
In fact, just the reverse happened. When I left the first jail - where I lived the longest - there were tears in the eyes of the jailer. And he said, "We will miss you. I would like you to remain with us. You have changed the whole flavor of the jail."
I was in the hospital section, and most of the time I was sitting in the nurse's room or the doctor's room. And all the authorities of the jail were coming and asking questions. And the head nurse told me, "This has never happened. These big people, great authorities, they never come. Once in a month for a visit they come for two minutes. And now six times a day the jailer comes, the doctor comes, everybody comes, everybody has their spiritual problems, and you have made it a school."
One nurse was very much interested because she had done an M.A. in philosophy, and she said, "This is my first chance to talk with someone who will understand my problems. I cannot talk to anybody in this jail. After doing my M.A. I joined and became a nurse here. I can neither say what I know, nor can I say what my questions are. You are the first person." She will not even take her off-days, she will continue to come.
And they were so happy that for three days continuously I have been with them... they will always remember. And they were cutting my photos from newspapers and taking my signature and the date to keep as a memory.
But I said, "Do you do this with other prisoners?"
They said, "We cannot conceive of you as a prisoner. We can only conceive of you as our guest."
The question is not where you are. The question is whether you know yourself or not. If you know, then every place is paradise. If you don't know, then every place is hell and sooner or later boredom is bound to arise.
So by changing places you cannot escape boredom, it will follow you like a shadow. It is by changing your consciousness that you can get rid of all possibility of boredom.
It is your question that reminded me that yes, for two months I have not been out. I had not even thought about it. I simply come to see you and rejoice with you, and then go and remain in my room - just myself. I don't have to open boxes and open books. The monkey is dead.
Certainly. Let them have it. We have nothing to hide. They can come and be here and enjoy, but poor people! - they feel embarrassed to come so they bug.
So whenever you are phoning just put in a few spiritual things for the buggers!
It is a very difficult question. Geeta understood it. It is something else, because hot masters have never been there. It is a totally new experience. Hot lovers have always been there, but hot lovers get cold very soon. You cannot depend on them.
But a hot master is a hot master.
In fact I have to keep myself continuously air conditioned!