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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol. 3
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Chapter 8: The Great Doubt

One: it is a death. Second: all that you know about your mind, all that you know about yourself, all that you are identified with, has been given to you by the society. It is borrowed. Your identity is borrowed. You don’t know who you are; you only know what others say that you are. In silence, all those opinions will disappear. In silence you will come naked, without any clothes, to your utter loneliness. I call it utter because there is no why to change it. You can go on playing games of being together with people, but deep down you remain alone. Aloneness is something which cannot be corrupted, it is our very nature.

You can create many illusions around yourself, and you can create safeties and securities, bank balance and love affairs and friendships and families - I’m not against them. All is good if you know that it is a game. Play it as well as you can, but never be befooled by it. Underneath you remain alone. That aloneness is not changed by your relationships - not even love changes your aloneness.

So when you are silent, your whole world disappears. Not only do you disappear, your whole world disappears. Your whole world consists of words, opinions, ideas, thoughts. Your whole world consists of language.

Christians are right when they say, “In the beginning is the Word.” In the end, too, is the word. The day the word ends, you have entered again into the source. Language is social; mind is a social product. You are not social: you are individual. And all our security is with society. So the moment you are silent, you start feeling great insecurity arising. You don’t know even who you are; you start trembling - a great nervousness.

In Zen they call it “The Great Doubt.” It comes to everybody when they reach closer to satori: a great moment of doubt - because the old is disappearing and the new you cannot even see. All that you have believed in is no more valid, and nothing is yet clear as to what is going to substitute it. You are left in limbo. In that trembling, anguish, anxiety, great doubt, you would like to go back; you would like to cling to the shore that you have left.

But there is no way to go back! Once you have come to the moment of Great Doubt, there is no way to go back. You can only go ahead. Remember this basic dictum of human growth. growth of consciousness: that there is no way ever to go back. Whatsoever you have known, you have known as there is no way to make it unknown again. Wherever you have arrived you have arrived; you cannot escape from it. The only way goes ahead.

All growth points are points of no return. So you can be troubled, you can remain in anguish, you can go crazy, but there is no way to go back. The master is needed at the moment of the Great Doubt, because there you will be very helpless. You will become again like a small child, helpless.

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