Osho: I remember the fateful day of March 21, 1953. For many lifetimes I worked — working on myself, fighting, doing everything that could be done — and nothing was happening.
Now I understand why nothing was happening. The very effort was the barrier, the very staircase itself was the hindrance, the very impulse to search was the obstacle. It doesn't mean you can get to the realization without searching. Search is necessary, but then comes a time when the search must be left aside. The boat is needed to cross the river, but then there comes a time when you have to get out of the boat and forget everything about it and leave it behind. Effort is necessary, without effort nothing is possible. And also, just with effort, nothing is possible.
Just before March 21, 1953, seven days before, I stopped working on myself. There comes a time when you see all the futility of the effort. You've done the best you can and nothing happens. You have done everything humanly possible. Then what else can you do? In utter helplessness, you give up any search. And the day the search ceased, the day I was no longer looking for something, the day I wasn't waiting for something to happen, it started to happen. A new energy has emerged – out of nowhere.
It didn't come from a specific source. It came from nowhere and everywhere. It was in the trees and in the rocks and in the sky and in the sun and in the air – it was everywhere. I had searched for it so intensely, and I thought it was very far away. And she was next to me, so close. Just because I was looking for her, I had become incapable of seeing the neighbor. The search is always by what is distant, the search is always by what is distant – and it was not at a distance. I had acquired the ability to look in the distance and had lost the ability to look nearby. The eyes had become focused on the distances, on the horizon, and had lost the ability to see what is just one step away, at what surrounds you.
The day the effort ceased, I also stopped. Because you can't exist effortlessly, and you can't exist without desire, and you can't exist without striving. The phenomenon of the ego, of the self, is not a thing, it is a process. It is not a substance that sits there inside you; you have to create it every moment. It's just like pedaling a bike. If you pedal at her, she walks and walks, if you don't pedal at her, she stops. Maybe it's still going a little bit because of the inertia, but the moment you stop pedaling, in fact the bike starts to stop. He no longer has energy, he no longer has the power to go anywhere. It will fall and collapse.
The ego exists because we continue to pedal to desires, because we continue to strive to achieve something, because we continue to take it forward. This is the very phenomenon of the ego – to take it forward, to jump into the future, to jump into tomorrow. The leap into non-existential creates the ego. Because it arises from the non-existential, it is like a mirage. It consists only of desire and nothing else. It just consists of thirst and nothing else.
The ego is not in the present, it is in the future. If you are in the future, then the ego seems to be very substantial. If you are in the present, the ego is a mirage, it begins to disappear. The day I stopped looking for... and it is not fair to say that I stopped looking, it would be better to say "the day the search ceased." Let me repeat: it is better to say that it is the day when the search ceased. Because if I stop it, then I'm there again. Now to stop becomes my effort, now to stop becomes my desire, and the desire continues to exist in a very subtle way.
You can't stop wanting; you can only understand it. It is in this very understanding that it is its termination. Remember, no one can stop wanting, and reality only occurs when the desire ceases. So that's the dilemma. What to do? The desire is there, and the Buddhas continue to say that the desire must be stopped, and they continue to say in the next sentence that you cannot stop the desire. So what to do? You put people in a dilemma. They are in desire, for sure. You say it has to be stopped – ok. And then you say it can't be stopped. What to do then?
Desire must be understood. You can understand it, you can see its very uselessness. A direct perception is necessary, an immediate penetration is required. Look inside the desire, you simply see what it is and you will see its falsehood, you will see that it is non-existential. And the desire falls and something falls inside you at the same time.
Desire and ego exist hand-in-hand, they coordinate. The ego cannot exist without desire, desire cannot exist without ego. Desire is the ego projected outwardly, the ego is the desire projected within. They are together, two aspects of the same phenomenon. On the day when the fact of wanting ceased, I felt very helpless and hopeless. No hope because there was no future. Nothing to hope for because all hope has proven futile, it leads nowhere. Go in a circle. He keeps rattling in front of you, he continues to create new mirages, he continues to call you, "Come on, run fast, you'll get there." But no matter how fast you run, you'll never get there.
That's why the Buddha calls it a mirage. It's like the horizon you see around the sun. It appears but it's not there. If you go towards him he continues to run away from you. The faster you run, the faster it moves away. The slower you go, the slower it moves away. But one thing's for sure – the distance between you and the horizon remains absolutely the same. Even by a single inch you can not reduce the distance between you and the horizon.
You can't reduce the distance between yourself and your hope. Hope is the horizon. You try to bridge the gap between yourself and the horizon through hope, through a projected desire. The desire is a bridge, an imaginary bridge – because the horizon does not exist, so you can not make a bridge to it, you can only dream of the deck. You can't unite with what's non-existential.
The day the desire ceased, the day I looked into it and understood that it was simply useless, I was helpless and hopeless. But it was at that very moment that something started to happen. That thing that I had worked on for many lifetimes started to happen and it hadn't happened. In your hopeless state lies the only hope, and in your wishless state lies your only fulfillment, and in your immense helplessness, suddenly existence begins to help you.
She waits. When he sees that you're working on your own, he doesn't meddle. Waiting. She can wait infinitely, because for her there is no rush. It is eternity. The moment you are no longer on your own, the moment you are left aside, the moment you disappear, the whole existence rushes towards you, it enters you. And for the first time things are starting to happen.
For seven days I lived in a very helpless and hopeless state, but at the same time, something was coming to the surface. When I say hopelessly, I do not mean what you mean by the phrase "hopeless." I simply mean that there was no hope in me. Hope was absent. I'm not saying I was hopeless and sad. I was actually happy, I was quiet, calm and gathered and centered. Hopeless, but in a whole new sense. There was no hope, so how could the hopeless state be there? Both were gone.
The hopeless state was absolute and total. The hope had disappeared and with her, her counterparty, the hopelessness, had also disappeared. It was a totally new experience – to be hopeless. It wasn't a negative state. I had to use words – but it wasn't a negative state. It was absolutely positive. It wasn't just an absence, it was felt a presence. Something was pouring out into me, flooding me.
And when I say I was helpless, I don't mean the word meaning in the dictionary. I'm saying I was just selfless, that's what I mean when I say helpless. I recognized that I'm not, so I can't depend on myself, I can't stand on my feet — there was nothing underneath. I was in an abyss... bottomless abyss. But there was no fear because there was nothing to protect. There was no fear because there was no one to fear.
Those seven days meant a huge transformation, a total transformation. And on the last day, the presence of a whole new energy, a new light and a new delight, became so intense that it was almost unbearable – as if we were exploding, as if we were going crazy with happiness. The new generation in the West has the right word for that – I was drunk with happiness, I was taken away.
It was impossible to understand anything of that, of what was happening. It was a very absurd, meaningless world – difficult to grasp, difficult to put into categories, difficult to use words, languages, explanations. All the scriptures appeared to me to be dead, and all the words that were used for this experience seemed very pale, anemic. What I felt was so vivid. It was like a tide of ecstasy.
The whole day was strange, humbling, and it was a destructive experience. The past disappeared, as if it never belonged to me, as if I had read about it somewhere, as if I had dreamed about it, as if it was the story of someone else I had heard and someone was telling me. I was becoming free of my past, I was uprooted from my history, I was losing my autobiography. I became a non-being, what buddha calls anatta. Borders disappeared, distinctions disappeared.
The mind disappeared; it was millions of miles away. It was difficult to catch her, she was going further and further, and there was no impulse to keep her close. I was just indifferent to her. It was in the ruleă. There was no incentive to stay tied to the past. By the evening, it had become so difficult to bear — it hurt, it was painful. It was like when a woman goes into labor when a child has to be born, and the woman suffers terrible pains – the torments of creation.
I used to go to bed in those days around twelve, one at night, but that day it was impossible to stay awake. My eyes were closing, it was difficult to keep them open. Something was imminent, something was going to happen. It was difficult to say what — it may have been my death — but there was no fear whatsoever. I was ready for it. Those seven days were so beautiful that I was ready to die, there was no need for anything else. They had been so ecstatic, extraordinarily ecstatic, I was so pleased that if death came, it was welcome.
But something was going to happen—something like death, something very drastic, something that would be either a death or a new birth, a crucifixion, or a resurrection—but something of extraordinary importance was just around the corner. And it was impossible to keep my eyes open. I was sedated. I went to bed around eight o'clock. It wasn't like a sleep. Now I understand what Patanjali refers to when he says that sleep and samadhi are similar. With one difference – that in samadhi you are completely awake and asleep too. Falling asleep and awake together, the whole body relaxed, every cell of the body completely relaxed, everything functioning relaxed, and yet a light of consciousness burns inside you... clear, smoke-free.
Stay alert and yet relaxed, relaxed but fully awake. Your body is in the deepest possible sleep and your consciousness is on its peak. The peak of consciousness and the valley of the body meet. I went to bed. It was a very strange sleep. My body was asleep, I was awake. It was so strange – as if you were broken in two directions, two dimensions; as if polarity had become completely concentrated, as if we were both polarities together... the positive and the negative met, sleep and consciousness met, death and life met.
This is when you can say, "the creator and creation come together." It was weird. For the first time it shocks you to the roots, shakes your foundations. You can never be the same after that experience; it brings you a new vision in your life, a new quality. Around twelve o'clock, my eyes suddenly opened—I didn't open them. Sleep had been interrupted by something else. I felt a great presence around me in the room. It was a very small room. I felt a life pulsing around me, a great vibration – almost like a typhoon, a great storm of light, joy, ecstasy. I was drowning in it.
It was so amazingly real that everything around me became surreal. The walls of the room became unreal, the house became surreal, my own body became unreal. It was all surreal because now it was reality for the first time. That is why, when the Buddha and Shankara say that the world is maya, a mirage, it is difficult to understand. Because we only know this world, we have no comparison term. This is the only reality we know. What are these people talking about – that's maya, illusion? That's the only reality.
If you do not get to know the real real, their words cannot be understood, their words remain theoretical. They seem to be hypotheses. Perhaps this man proposes a philosophy – "The world is unreal"." When Berkeley, in the West, said that the world was surreal, he was going with one of his friends, a very logical man; the friend was almost a skeptic. He took a stone off the road and hit Berkeley's leg hard. Berkeley screamed, the blood began to flow, and the skeptic said, "Now the world is unreal? Are you saying it's the world is surreal? – then why did you scream? Is this stone surreal? – then why did you scream? So why do you tie your leg and why do you show so much pain and restlessness on your face? Do you stop that? It's all surreal."
Now, this kind of man cannot understand what the Buddha refers to when he says that the world is a mirage. He does not refer to the fact that you can go through the wall. He doesn't say that – that you can eat stones and that there will be no difference if you eat bread or stones. He doesn't say that.
He says there is a reality. Once you get to know it, this so-called reality simply fades, simply becomes surreal. With the vision of a higher reality, the comparison appears, not otherwise. In the dream, the dream is real. You dream every night. The dream is one of the most important activities you do constantly. If you live sixty years, twenty years you will sleep and almost ten you will dream. Ten years of a lifetime – nothing to do for so long. Ten years of continuous dreaming – just think about it. And every night... and every morning you say it was surreal, and again, at night when you dream, the dream becomes real.
In a dream it is so difficult to remember that it is a dream. But in the morning it's so easy. What's going on? You are the same person. In the dream there is only one reality. How to compare? How do you say it's surreal? Compared to what? It's the only reality. Everything is as surreal as anything else, so there is no comparison term. In the morning, when you open your eyes, another reality is there. Now, you can say that everything was surreal. Compared to this reality, the dream becomes surreal.
There is an awakening – compared to that reality of that awakening, all this reality becomes unreal. That night, for the first time I understood the meaning of the word Maya. It doesn't mean I didn't know about it before, it doesn't mean I wasn't aware of the meaning of the word. When you're aware , you're also aware of its meaning – but I had never understood it before. How can you understand without having the experience?
That night, another reality opened its door, another dimension became available. Suddenly, it was there, the other reality, the different reality, what is really real, or how you want to call it – tell him God, tell him truth, tell him dhamma, call him Tao or whatever you want. It was nameless. But it was there – so opaque, so transparent, and yet so solid that you could touch it. He almost suffocated me in that room. It was too much and I was not yet able to absorb it.
A deep impulse arose in me to get out of the room, to go under the open sky – it was suffocating me. It was too much! It's going to kill me! If I had stayed a few extra moments, it would have suffocated me – that's what it seemed like. I quickly got out of the room, walked out onto the street. A great impulse was there only to be under the open sky, with the stars, with the trees, with the earth... to be with nature. And as soon as I got out, the feeling of being suffocated disappeared. It was too small a place for such a big phenomenon. Even the sky is a small place for such a large phenomenon. It is bigger than the sky.
For the first time I was not alone, for the first time I was no longer an individual, for the first time the drop reached and fell into the ocean. Now the whole ocean was mine, I was the ocean. There was no limitation. Immense power sprang up, as if I could do anything. I wasn't there, just the power was there.
I arrived at the garden where I used to go every day. The garden was closed at night. It was too late, it was almost one at night. Gardeners slept log. I had to enter the garden like a thief, I had to climb the gate. But something was pulling me towards the garden. It wasn't in my power to prevent that. I was just floating.
That's what I mean when I say over and over again, "float with the river, don't push the river." I was relaxed, I was in an abandonment. I wasn't there. "Something" was there, god tells him — God was there. I'd like to call it "Something," because God is too human a word and has become too dirty since too much use, it's become too polluted by so many people. Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans, priests and politicians – they have all corrupted the beauty of this word. So let me call it "Something." The "something" was there and I was just worn... carried by the tide wave.
The moment I entered the garden, everything became bright, it was everywhere – the blessing, the state of grace. I could see the trees for the first time—their greens, their lives, their sap flowing. The whole garden slept, the trees slept. But I could see the whole living garden, even the blades of grass were so beautiful. I looked around. One tree was extraordinarily bright – the Maulshree tree. He drew me in, dragged me towards him. I hadn't chosen him, God himself had chosen him. I went to the tree, I stood under the tree. Standing there, things began to settle down. The whole universe has become a blessing.
It's difficult to say how long I've been in that state. When I got back home it was four in the morning, so I must have been there, after the clock, at least three hours – but it was an infinity. It had nothing to do with measurable time. It had been above time. Those three hours became all eternity, eternity without end. Time did not exist, there was no passage of time; it was the immaculate reality — uncorrupted, untouched, immeasurable.
And that day, something happened that continued – not as a continuity – but continued like an underground current. Not as a permanence – every moment happened again and again. It was a miracle every moment. That night... and since that night, I have never been in the body again. I'm floating around him. I became extraordinarily strong and at the same time very fragile. I have become very powerful, but that power is not of the power of a Muhammad Ali.
That power is not the power of a stone, that power is the power of a rose flower—so fragile in its power... so fragile, so sensitive, so delicate. The stone will be there, the flower can leave at any time, but still the flower is stronger than the stone, because it is more alive. Or the power of a drop of dew shining on a trickle of grass; in the morning sun – so beautiful, so precious, and yet it can slip at any moment. So unparalleled in her grace, but a slight breeze can come and the drop of dew can slip and get lost forever.
Buddhas have a power that is not of this world. Their power is entirely of love. Like a rose or a drop of dew. Their power is very fragile, vulnerable. Their power is the power of life not death. Their power is not the power that kills; it is the power that creates. Their power is not that of violence, of aggression, their power is that of compassion. But I've never been in the body again, just floating around the body. And that's why I say it was a huge miracle. Every moment I'm surprised I'm still here, I shouldn't be.
I should have left at any time, but I'm still here. Every morning I open my eyes and say, "So again, am I still here?" Because it seems almost impossible. The miracle was a continuity. Just yesterday someone asked a question: "Osho, you have become so fragile and delicate and sensitive to the smells from hair oils and shampoos that it seems that we will not be able to see you again unless we all bald." By the way, there's nothing wrong with being bald – baldness is beautiful. Just as "black is beautiful", and "baldness is beautiful." But it is true and you have to pay attention to it.
I am fragile, delicate, sensitive. This is my strength. If you throw a stone into a flower, nothing will happen to the stone, the flower will go away. But still, you can not say that the stone is stronger than the flower. The flower will go away because she was alive. And the stone – nothing will happen to her because she is dead. The flower will go away because the flower does not have the power to destroy. The flower will simply disappear and leave room for the stone. The stone has a power to destroy because the stone is dead.
Remember, since that day I have never really been in the body; only a delicate thread unites me with the body. And I'm constantly surprised that somehow the whole wants me here, because I'm no longer here out of my own strength, I'm no longer here out of my own volition. It has to be the will of the whole thing to keep me here, to let me linger a little longer on this shore. Maybe the whole wants to share something with you, through me.
From that day on, the world is surreal. Another world has revealed itself. When I say that the world is surreal I don't mean that these trees are unreal. These trees are absolutely real – but the way you see these trees is surreal. These trees are not unreal in themselves – they exist in God, they exist in absolute reality – but as you see them, in fact you do not see them at all; you see something else, a mirage.
You create your own dream world around you and until you wake up, you will continue to dream. The world is surreal because the world you know is the world of your dreams. When dreams cease and you simply meet the world that is there, this is the real world. There are no two things, God and the world. God is the world, if you have eyes, clear eyes, without dreams, without any kind of dust of dreams, without any kind of fog of sleep; if you have clear eyes, clarity, sensitivity, there is only God.
Then, somewhere God is a green tree, and elsewhere God is a bright star, and somewhere else God is a cuckoo, and somewhere else God is a flower, and somewhere else a child and somewhere else a river – then only God is. The moment you begin to see, only God is. But now, whatever you see is not the truth, it's a projected lie. This is the meaning of a mirage. And once you see, even for a single disparate moment, if you can see, if you can allow yourself to see, you will find a huge blessing all around you – in the clouds, in the sun, on the earth.
This is a wonderful world. But I'm not talking about your world, I'm talking about my world. Your world is very ugly, your world is the world created by a self, your world is a projected one. Use the real world as a screen and project your own ideas onto it. When I say that the world is real, the world is extraordinarily beautiful, the world is infinitely bright, the world is light and delight, it is a celebration, I am talking about my world – or your world if you give up dreams.
When you give up on your dreams you see the same world that any Buddha has ever seen. When you dream, you dream only for yourself. Have you noticed? – that dreams are private. You can't even share them with your lover or girlfriend. You can't invite your wife into your dream — or your husband, or your friend. You can't say, "Now, please come tonight in my dream. I'd like to see the dream together." It's not possible. The dream is something private, therefore it is illusory, it does not have an objective reality.
God is something universal. Once you get out of your private dreams, it's there. It was always there. Once your eyes are clear, a sudden illumination – suddenly you are flooded with beauty, greatness and grace. That's the goal, that's destiny. Let me repeat. Without effort you will never reach, without effort no one has ever arrived. You will need a great deal of effort, and only then comes a time when the effort becomes useless. But it becomes useless only when you have reached its very peak, never before. When you have reached the very pinnacle of your effort – all you could do, you did – then suddenly there is no need to do anything. You give up the effort.
But no one can give up on him in the middle, one can only give up on him at the extreme end. So, go all the way to the extreme end if you want to give it up. That's why I insist constantly: make as much effort as you can, put all your energy and all your heart in it, so that one day you can see – now the effort does not take me anywhere. And that day you will not be the one who will give up the effort, he gives up on himself. And when he gives up on himself, meditation happens.
Meditation is not a result of your efforts, meditation is an accident. When your efforts stop, suddenly the meditation is there... her blessing, her grace, her glory. It's just like a presence... bright, surrounding you and surrounding everything. It fills the whole earth and the whole sky.
That meditation cannot be created by human effort. Human effort is too limited. That grace is so infinite. You can't manipulate it. It can only happen when you are in an extraordinary dedication. When you're not there, only then can it happen. When you're a non-self – no desire, you don't go anywhere – when you're just here and now, without doing anything specific, just being, it happens. And it comes in waves and the waves become like a tide. It comes like a storm and takes you and takes you into a completely new reality.
But first you have to do everything you can to do, and then you have to learn non-action. The action of non-action is the greatest action, and the effort of lack of effort is the greatest effort. Your meditation, which you create by singing a mantra or sitting silently and quietly and forcing yourself, is a very mediocre meditation. It's created by you, it can't be bigger than you. It is made in the house, and the one who made it is always greater than what is done. You did it sitting, forcing a yoga posture, singing "Rama, Rama, Rama" or something else – "Blah,Blah,Blah" – whatever. You forced the mind to become quiet.
It's a forced silence. It's not that silence that comes when you're not there. It's not that silence that comes when you're almost non-existential. It's not that bliss that descends upon you like a dove. It is said that when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, in the Jordan River, God descended upon him, or the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove. Yes, that's exactly what it is. When you are not there, peace descends upon you... fluttering from the wings like a dove... get into your heart and dwell there, forever.
You are your non-action, you are the barrier. Meditation is when the meditator is not. When the mind ceases with all its activities – seeing that they are useless – then the unknown penetrates you, overwhelms you. The mind must cease for God to be. Knowledge must cease for living to be. You have to disappear, you have to get away with it. You need to become empty, only then can you be full.
That night I became naked and became full. I became non-existential and became existence. That night I died and was reborn. But the one who was reborn has nothing to do with what he died, it is something discontinuous. On the surface there seems to be continuity but there is discontinuity. He who died died died completely; none of it remained.
Believe me, none of it remained, not even a shadow. He died completely, totally. It doesn't mean that they are just a modified, transformed version, a changed, transformed form of the old one. No, there was no continuity. On that day of March 21, the person who had lived for many, many lifetimes, for millennia, simply died. Another being, absolutely new, not at all related to the old one, began to exist.
Religion only gives you a total death. Maybe that's why the whole day before this phenomenon I felt a kind of urgency like death, as if I was about to die – and I really died. I have known many other deaths, but they were nothing compared to this, they were partial deaths. Sometimes the body died, other times a part of the mind died, other times a part of the ego died, but as for the person, it remained. Renovated many times, decorated many times, changed little by little, here and there, but it remained, the continuity remained. That night, the death was total. It was an encounter with death and with God at the same time.
Osho: The Discipline of Transcendence, Volume 2, Chapter 11. (The discipline of transcendence)
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