Witnessing is the Beginning, No-Mind is the Fulfillment –
How does watching lead to no-mind? I am more and more able to watch my body, my thoughts and feelings and this feels beautiful. But moments of no thoughts are few and far between. When I hear you saying “Meditation is witnessing,” I feel I understand. But when you talk about no-mind, it doesn’t sound easy at all. Would you please comment?
Meditation covers a very long pilgrimage. When I say “meditation is witnessing”, it is the beginning of meditation. And when I say “meditation is no-mind,” it is the completion of the pilgrimage. Witnessing is the beginning, and no-mind is the fulfillment. Witnessing is the method to reach the no-mind. Naturally you will feel witnessing is easier. It is close to you.
But witnessing is only like seeds, and then is the long waiting period; not only waiting, but trusting that this seed is going to sprout, that it is going to become a bush; that one day the spring will come and the bush will have flowers. No-mind is the last stage of flowering.
Sowing the seed is of course very easy; it is within your hands. But bringing the flowers is beyond you. You can prepare the whole ground, but the flowers will come on their own accord; you cannot manage to force them to come. The spring is beyond your reach – but if your preparation is perfect, spring comes; that is absolutely guaranteed.
It is perfectly good, the way you are moving. Witnessing is the path and you are starting to feel once in a while a thoughtless moment. These are glimpses of no-mind… but just for a moment.
Remember one fundamental law: that which can exist just for a moment can also become eternal. You are given not two moments together, but always one moment. And if you can transform one moment into a thoughtless state, you are learning the secret. Then there is no hindrance, no reason why you cannot change the second moment, which will also come alone, with the same potential and the same capacity.
If you know the secret, you have the master key which can open every moment into a glimpse of no-mind. No-mind is the final stage, when mind disappears forever and the thoughtless gap becomes your intrinsic reality. If these few glimpses are coming, they show you are on the right path and you are using the right method.
But don’t be impatient. Existence needs immense patience. The ultimate mysteries are opened only to those who have immense patience.
I am reminded…
In old Tibet it was customary, respectful, that every family should contribute to the great experiment of expanding consciousness. So the first child of each family was given to the monasteries to be trained in meditation. Perhaps no country has done such a vast experiment in consciousness.
The destruction of Tibet at the hands of communist China is one of the greatest calamities that could have happened to humanity. It is not only a question of a small country, it is a question of a great experiment that was going on for centuries in Tibet.
The first child was given to the monasteries when he was very small, five or at the most six years old. But Tibet knew that children can learn witnessing better than grown ups. The grown-ups are already utterly spoiled. The child is innocent and yet the slate of his mind is empty; to teach him emptiness is absolutely easy.
But the entrance of a child into a monastery was very difficult, particularly for a small child. I am reminded of one incident… I am telling you only one; there would have been hundreds of incidents like it. It is bound to be so.
A small child, six years old, is leaving. His mother is crying, because life in a monastery for a small child is going to be so arduous. The father tells the child, “Don’t look back. It is a question of our family’s respectability. Not even once has a child in the whole history of our family ever looked back. Whatever is the test to be given for entrance into the monastery – even if your life is at risk, don’t look back. Don’t think of me or your mother and her tears.
“We are sending you for the ultimate experiment in human consciousness with great joy, although the separation is painful. But we know you will pass through all the tests; you are our blood, and of course you will keep the dignity of your family.”
The small child rides on the horse with a servant riding on another horse. A tremendous desire arises in him when the road turns, just to have a look again back to the family house, its garden.
The father must be standing there, the mother must be crying… but he remembers that the father has said, “Don’t look back.”
And he does not look back. With tears in his eyes, he turns with the road. Now he cannot see his house anymore and one never knows how long it will take – perhaps years and years – until he will be able to see his father and mother and his family again.
He reaches the monastery. At the gate of the monastery the abbot meets him, receives him gracefully, as if he is a grownup, bows down to him as he bows down to the abbot. And the abbot says, “Your first test will be to sit outside the gate with closed eyes, unmoving, unless you are called in.”
The small child sits at the gate, outside the gate with closed eyes. Hours pass… and he cannot even move. There are flies sitting in his face, but he cannot remove them. It is a question of the dignity that the abbot has shown to him. He does not think any more like a child; so respected, he has to fulfill his family’s longing, the abbot’s expectations.
The whole day passes, and even other monks in the monastery start feeling sorry for the child.
Hungry, thirsty… he is simply waiting. They start feeling that the child is small, but has great courage and guts.
Finally, by the time the sun is setting, the whole day has passed; the abbot comes and takes the child in. He says, “You have passed the first test, but there are many more peaks ahead. I respect your patience, being such a small child. You remained unmoving; you did not open your eyes. You did not lose courage; you trusted that whenever the time is right you will be called in.”
And then years of training in witnessing. The child was only allowed to see his parents again after perhaps ten years, twenty years had elapsed. But the criterion was that until he experiences no-mind, he cannot be allowed to see his parents, his family. Once he achieves no-mind, then he can move back into the world. Now there is no problem.
Once a man is in a state of no-mind, nothing can distract him from his being. There is no power bigger than the power of no-mind. No harm can be done to such a person. No attachment, no greed, no jealousy, no anger, nothing can arise in him. No-mind is absolutely a pure sky without any clouds.
Anubuddha, you say “How does watching lead to no-mind?”
There is an intrinsic law: thoughts don’t have their own life. They are parasites; they live on your identifying with them. When you say, “I am angry,” you are pouring life energy into anger, because you are getting identified with anger.
But when you say, “I am watching anger flashing on the screen of the mind within me” you are not anymore giving any life, any juice, any energy to anger. You will be able to see that because you are not identified, the anger is absolutely impotent, has no impact on you, does not change you, does not affect you. It is absolutely hollow and dead. It will pass on and it will leave the sky clean and the screen of the mind empty.
Slowly, slowly you start getting out of your thoughts. That’s the whole process of witnessing and watching. In other words – George Gurdjieff used to call it non-identification – you are no more identifying with your thoughts. You are simply standing aloof and away – indifferent, as if they might be anybody’s thoughts. You have broken your connections with them. Only then can you watch them.
Watching needs a certain distance. If you are identified, there is no distance, they are too close. It is as if you are putting the mirror too close to your eyes: you cannot see your face. A certain distance is needed; only then can you see your face in the mirror.
If thoughts are too close to you, you cannot watch. You become impressed and colored by your thoughts: anger makes you angry, greed makes you greedy, lust makes you lustful, because there is no distance at all. They are so close that you are bound to think that you and your thoughts are one.
Watching destroys this oneness and creates a separation. The more you watch, the bigger is the distance. The bigger the distance, the less energy your thoughts are getting from you. And they don’t have any other source of energy. Soon they start dying, disappearing. In these disappearing moments you will have the first glimpses of no-mind.
That is what you are experiencing. You say, “I am more and more able to watch my body, my thoughts and feelings, and this feels beautiful.” This is just the beginning. Even the beginning is immensely beautiful – just to be on the right path, even without taking a single step, will give you immense joy for no reason at all.
And once you start moving on the right path, your blissfulness, your beautiful experiences are going to become more and more deep, more and more wide, with new nuances, with new flowers, with new fragrances.
You say, “But moments of no thoughts are few and far between.” It is a great achievement, because people don’t know even a single gap. Their thoughts are always in a rush hour, thoughts upon thoughts, bumper-to-bumper, the line continues, whether you are awake or asleep. What you call your dreams are nothing but thoughts in the form of pictures…because the unconscious mind does not know alphabetical languages. There is no school, no training institute which teaches the unconscious language.
The unconscious is very primitive; it is just like a small child. Have you looked at the books of your small children? If you want to teach the child, you have to make a big picture first. So you will see, in children’s’ books, pictures, colorful pictures with very little writing. The child is more interested in the pictures. He is primitive; he understands the language of pictures.
Slowly, slowly you make the pictures and the language associated – whenever he sees the mango he knows, “It is a mango.” And he starts learning that underneath the picture of the mango there is a certain word describing it. His interest is in the mango, but the word ’mango’ slowly becomes associated. As the child grows, pictures will become smaller and language will become more. By the time he enters the university, pictures will have disappeared from the book; only language will remain.
By the way, it reminds me to tell you that television has taken humanity back into a primitive stage, because people are again looking at pictures. There is a danger in the future – it is already apparent that people have stopped reading great literature. Who bothers to read, when you can see the film on the TV? This is a dangerous phenomenon, because there are things which cannot be reproduced in pictures. Great literature can be only partially reproduced in pictures. The danger is that people will start forgetting the language and its beauty and its magic, and they will again become primitives, watching the television.
Now the average American is watching television for seven and a half hours every day. This is going to destroy something which we have achieved with great difficulty. Now, this man who is watching television for seven and half hours per day…you cannot expect him to read Shakespeare, Kalidas, Rabindranath Tagore, Herman Hesse, Martin Buber or Jean Paul Sartre.
The greater the literature, the less is the possibility of putting it into pictures.
Pictures are colorful, exciting, easy, but they are no comparison to language. The future has to be protected from many things. Computers can destroy can destroy people’s memory systems, because there will be no need – you can keep a small computer the size of a cigarette packet in your pocket. It contains everything that you will ever need to know. Now there is no need to have your own memory; just push a button and the computer is ready to give you any information you need.
The computer can destroy the whole memory system of humanity that has been developed for centuries with great difficulty. Television can take away all great literature, and the possibility of people like Shelley or Byron being born again in the world. These are great inventions, but nobody has looked at the implications. They will reduce the whole of humanity into a retardedness.
Anubuddha, what you are feeling is a great indication that you are on the right path. It is always a question for the seeker whether he is moving in the right direction or not. There is no security, no insurance, no guarantee. All the dimensions are open; how are you going to choose the right one?
These are the ways and the criteria of how one has to choose. If you move on any path, any methodology and it brings joy to you, more sensitivity, more watchfulness and gives a feeling of immense well-being – this is the only criterion that you are going on the right path. If you become more miserable, more angry, more egoist, more greedy, more lustful – those are the indications you are moving on a wrong path.
On the right path your blissfulness is going to grow more and more every day, and your experiences of beautiful feelings will become tremendously psychedelic, more colorful – colors that you have never seen in the world, fragrances that you have never experienced in the world. Then you can walk on the path without any fear that you can go wrong.
These inner experiences will keep you always on the right path. Just remember that if they are growing, that means you are moving. Now you have only a few moments of thoughtlessness… It is not a simple attainment; it is a great achievement, because people in their whole lives know not even a single moment when there is no thought.
These gaps will grow.
As you will become more and more centered, more and more watchful, these gaps will start growing bigger. And the day is not far away – if you go on moving without looking back, without going astray – if you keep going straight, the day is not far away when you will feel for the first time that the gaps have become so big that hours pass and not even a single thought arises. Now you are having bigger experiences of no-mind.
The ultimate achievement is when twenty-four hours a day you are surrounded with no-mind.
That does not mean that you cannot use your mind; that is a fallacy propounded by those who know nothing about no-mind. No-mind does not mean that you cannot use the mind; it simply means that the mind cannot use you.
No-mind does not mean that the mind is destroyed. No-mind simply means that the mind is put aside. You can bring it into action any moment you need to communicate with the world. It will be your servant. Right now it is your master. Even when you are sitting alone it goes on, yakkety-yak, yakkety-yak – and you cannot do anything, you are so utterly helpless.
No-mind simply means that the mind has been put in its right place. As a servant, it is a great instrument; as a master, it is very unfortunate. It is dangerous. It will destroy your whole life.
Mind is only a medium for when you want to communicate with others. But when you are alone, there is no need of the mind. So whenever you want to use it, you can use it.
And remember one thing more: when the mind remains silent for hours, it becomes fresh, young, more creative, more sensitive, rejuvenated through rest.
Ordinary people’s minds start somewhere around three or four years of age, and then they go on continuing for seventy years, eighty years without any holiday. Naturally they cannot be very creative. They are utterly tired – and tired with rubbish. Millions of people in the world live without any creativity. Creativity is one of the greatest blissful experiences. But their minds are so tired… they are not in a state of overflowing energy.
The man of no-mind keeps the mind in rest, full of energy, immensely sensitive, ready to jump into action the moment it is ordered. It is not a coincidence that the people who have experienced no-mind, their words start having a magic of their own. When they use their mind, it has a charisma, it has a magnetic force. It has tremendous spontaneity and the freshness of the dewdrops in the early morning before the sun rises. And the mind is nature’s most evolved medium of expression and creativity.
So the man of meditation – or in other words, the man of no-mind – changes even his prose into poetry. Without any effort, his words become so full of authority that they don’t need any arguments.
They become their own arguments. The force that they carry becomes a self-evident truth. There is no need for any other support from logic or from scriptures. The words of a man of no-mind have an intrinsic certainty about them. If you are ready to receive and listen, you will feel it in your heart: The self-evident truth.
Look down the ages: Gautam Buddha has never been contradicted by any of his disciples; neither has Mahavira, nor Moses, nor Jesus. There was something in their very words, in their very presence that convinced you. Without any effort of converting you, you are converted. None of the great masters have been missionaries; they have never tried to convert anyone, but they have converted millions.
It is a miracle – but the miracle consists of a rested mind, of a mind which is always full of energy and is used only once in a while.
When I speak to you, I have to use the mind. When I am sitting in my room almost the whole day, I forget all about the mind. I am just a pure silence… and meanwhile the mind is resting. When I speak to you, those are the only moments when I use the mind. When I am alone, I am utterly alone, and there is no need to use the mind.
Anubuddha, you say, “When I hear you say ’Meditation is witnessing,’ I feel I understand. But when you talk about no-mind, it doesn’t sound easy at all.”
How can it sound easy? – Because it is your future possibility. Meditation you have started; it may be in the beginning stages, but you have a certain experience of it that makes you understand me. But if you can understand meditation, don’t be worried at all.
Meditation surely leads to no-mind, just as every river moves towards the ocean without any maps, without any guides. Every river without exception finally reaches to the ocean. Every meditation, without exception finally reaches to the state of no-mind.
But naturally, when the Ganges is in the Himalayas wandering in the mountains and in the valleys, it has no idea what the ocean is, cannot conceive of the existence of the ocean – but it is moving towards the ocean, because water has the intrinsic capacity of always finding the lowest place. And the oceans are the lowest place… so rivers are born on the peaks of the Himalayas and start moving immediately towards lower spaces, and finally they are bound to find the ocean.
Just the reverse is the process of meditation: it moves upwards to higher peaks, and the ultimate peak is no-mind. No-mind is a simple word, but it exactly means enlightenment, liberation, freedom from all bondage, experience of deathlessness and immortality.
Those are big words and I don’t want you to be frightened, so I use a simple word, no-mind. You know the mind… you can conceive of a state when this mind will be non-functioning.
Once this mind is non-functioning, you become part of the mind of the cosmos, the universal mind. When you are part of the universal mind your individual mind functions as a beautiful servant. It has recognized the master, and it brings news from the universal mind to those who are still chained by the individual mind.
When I am speaking to you, it is in fact the universe using me. My words are not my words; they belong to the universal truth. That is their power, that is their charisma, that is their magic.
Discourse in Chuang Tzu Auditorium, Osho Commune International
Pune, India November, 1987
Taken form Satyam Shivam Sundram, Chapter 7.