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You spoke on the no-problem, the non-existence of our problems. I was brought up in a repressive Catholic family and spent twenty-one years in an equally crazy education system. Are you saying that all the coats of armor, all the conditionings and repressions do not exist and can be dropped immediately? What about the imprints left on the brain and on the musculature of the body?
This is a very significant question. The question is significant because it shows two different approaches concerning the inner reality of man.
The Western approach is to think about the problem, to find the causes of the problem, to go into the history of the problem, into the past of the problem, to uproot the problem from the very beginning, to uncondition the mind, or to recondition the mind, to recondition the body, to take out all those imprints that have been left on the brain. This is the Western approach. Psychoanalysis goes into the memory; it works there. It goes into your childhood, into your past; it moves backwards. It finds out from where the problem has arisen. Maybe fifty years ago, when you were a child, the problem arose in your relationship with your mother; then psychoanalysis will go back.
Fifty years of history! It is a very long, dragging affair. And even then it doesn’t help much because there are millions of problems. It is not only a question of one problem. You can go into one problem’s history; you can look into your autobiography and find the causes and maybe you can eliminate one problem, but there are millions of problems. If you start going into each problem to solve one life’s problems you will need millions of lives. This is absurd!
Now, the same psychoanalytical approach has gone into the body: Rolfing, bio-energetics, and other methods are there which try to eliminate imprints on the body, in the musculature. Again, you have to go into the history of the body. But one thing is certain about both approaches, which are on the same logical pattern, that the problem comes from the past, so somehow it has to be tackled in the past.
The East has a totally different outlook. First, it says no problem is serious. The moment you say no problem is serious, the problem is almost ninety-nine percent dead. Your whole vision changes about it. The second thing the East says is: the problem is there because you are identified with it. It has nothing to do with the past, nothing to do with its history. You are identified with it; that is the real thing. And that is the key to solve all problems.
For example: you are an angry person. If you go to the psychoanalyst, he will say, “Go into the past: how did this anger arise? In what situations did it become more and more conditioned and imprinted on your mind? We will have to wash out all those imprints; we will have to wipe them off. We will have to clean your past completely.”
If you go to an Eastern mystic, he will say, “You think that you are anger, you feel identified with the anger. That is where things are going wrong. Next time anger happens, just be a watcher, just be a witness. Don’t get identified with the anger. Don’t say,’ I am anger.’ Don’t say,’ I am angry.’ Just see it happening as if it is happening on a TV screen. Look at yourself as if you are looking at somebody else.
“You are pure consciousness. When the cloud of anger comes around you just watch it and remain alert so that you don’t get identified. The whole thing is how not to become identified with the problem. Once you have learnt it...and then there is no question of ‘so many problems’ because the key, the same key will open all the locks. It is so with anger, it is so with greed, it is so with sex: it is so with everything else that the mind is capable of.
The questioner has asked: “You spoke in several recent discourses on the no-problem, the non-existence of our problems. Having been brought up in a repressive Catholic family...”
You can, right now, become a non–Catholic. Now! I say. You will not have to go back and undo whatsoever your parents and your society and the priest and the church have done. That will be a sheer wastage of precious present time. In the first place it has destroyed many years; now, again, it will be destroying your present moments. You can simply drop out of it just as a snake slips out of the old skin.
“Are you saying that all the coats of armor, all the conditionings and repressions do not exist and can be dropped immediately?” No, they exist. But they exist either in the body or in the brain; they don’t exist in your consciousness, because the consciousness cannot be conditioned. Consciousness remains free. Freedom is its innermost quality, freedom is its nature. In fact, even asking it, you are showing that freedom.
When you say “twenty-one years in a crazy educational system”; when you say “I was brought up in a repressive Catholic family”.... In this moment you are not identified. You can look: so many years of Catholic repression, so many years of a certain education. In this moment when you are looking at it, this consciousness is no longer Catholic; otherwise, who would be aware? If you had really become Catholic, then who would be aware? Then there would be no possibility of becoming aware.
If you can say “twenty-one years in an equally crazy educational system,” one thing is certain: you are not yet crazy. The system has failed; it didn’t work. You are not crazy, hence you can see the whole system as crazy. A madman cannot see that he is mad. Only a sane person can see that this is madness. To see madness as madness, sanity is needed. Those twenty-one years of crazy system have failed; all that repressive conditioning has failed. It cannot really succeed. It succeeds only in the proportion that you get identified with it. Any moment you can stand aloof...it is there, I am not saying it is not there: but it is no more part of your consciousness.
This is the beauty of consciousness: consciousness can slip out of anything. There is no barrier to it, no boundary to it. Just a moment before you were an Englishman; understanding the nonsense of nationalism, a second later you are no longer an Englishman. I am not saying that your white skin will change; it will remain white, but you are no longer identified with the whiteness; you are no longer against the black. You see the stupidity of it. I am not saying that just by seeing that you are no longer an Englishman you will forget the English language, no. It will still be there in your memory, but your consciousness has slipped out, your consciousness is standing on a hillock looking at the valley. Now, the Englishman is dead in the valley and you are standing on the hills, far away, unattached, untouched.
The whole Eastern methodology can be reduced to one word: witnessing. The whole Western methodology can be reduced to one thing: analyzing. Analyzing, you go round and round. Witnessing, you simply get out of the circle.
The Eastern approach is to become mindful of the sky. The Western approach makes you more and more alert to the clouds, and helps you a little, but it doesn’t make you aware of your innermost core. The circumference, yes; you become a little more aware of the circumference, but not aware of the center. And the circumference is a cyclone. You have to find the center of the cyclone. And that happens only through witnessing.
Witnessing will not change your conditioning. Witnessing will not change your body musculature. But witnessing will simply give you an experience that you are beyond all musculature, all conditioning. In that moment of beyondness, in that moment of transcendence, no problem exists – not for you. And now it is up to you. The body will still carry the musculature and the mind will still carry the conditioning. Now it is up to you: if sometimes you are hankering for the problem, you can get into the bodymind and have the problem and enjoy it. If you don’t want to have it, you can remain out. The problem will remain as an imprint in the bodymind phenomenon, but you will be aloof and away from it.
That’s how a Buddha functions. You also use memory; a Buddha also uses memory but he is not identified with it. He uses memory as a mechanism.
So your question is right: problems will exist, but they will exist only in the seed form in the body and the mind. How can you change your past? You have been a Catholic in the past; if for forty years you have been a Catholic, how can you change those forty years and not be a Catholic? No. Those forty years will remain as a period of being Catholic. But you can slip out of it. Now you know that that was just identification. Those forty years cannot be destroyed, and there is no need to destroy them. If you are the master of the house, there is no need. You can use even those forty years in a certain way, in a creative way. Even that crazy education can be used in a creative way.
“What about all the imprints left on the brain, on the musculature of the body?”
They will be there, but as a seed: potentially there. If you feel too lonely and you want problems, you can have them. If you feel too miserable without misery, you can have them. They will remain always available, but there is no need to have them, there is no necessity to have them. It will be your choice.