The other day I heard you mention the idea of an academy for meditation, and an academy for bringing the body into one, organic whole. Could you say more about this, and how you see two such academies complementing each other?
It is one of the most complicated questions. It does not appear to be so because you are not aware that for centuries man has been told all kinds of life-negative things. Even to torture your body has been a spiritual discipline.
My idea of having an academy is for science to become for the first time intentional and not accidental. Up to now science has been accidental. People have stumbled upon some discoveries, inventions. Even discoveries were made for which they were not looking, but just groping in the dark with no sense of direction. And obviously the politicians of the world ― who liked more and more destructive power in their hands ― immediately got the idea to enslave scientists. Now every scientist is a slave to some nation, to some government and he functions only for purposes which are anti-life, destructive. The more destructive things he can find, the more he is praised by the governments, the more he is awarded.
My idea of an academy is of creative science which will consciously avoid anything that destroys life and will seek and search only for that which enhances life. This academy cannot be only of science because science is only a part of human reality. The academy has to be comprehensive, it has to be for creativity, for art, for consciousness; hence it will have three divisions, major divisions, not separated, but just for arbitrary purposes to be denominated as separate.
The most fundamental thing will be creating methods, techniques, ways of raising human consciousness, and certainly, this consciousness cannot be against the body; this consciousness is residing in the body. They cannot be seen as inimical to each other; in every way, they are supportive. I say something to you and my hand makes a gesture without me telling the hand. There is a deep synchronicity between me and my hand. You walk, you eat, you drink and all these things indicate that you are a body and consciousness as an organic whole. You cannot torture the body and raise your consciousness.
The body has to be loved ― you have to be a great friend.
It is your home, you have to clean it of all junk, and you have to remember that it is in your service continuously, day in, day out. Even when you are asleep, your body is continuously working for you digesting, changing your food into blood, taking out the dead cells from the body, bringing new oxygen, fresh oxygen into the body ― and you are fast asleep! It is doing everything for your survival, for your life, although you are so ungrateful that you have never even thanked your body. On the contrary, your religions have been teaching you to torture it: the body is your enemy and you have to get free from the body, its attachments.
I also know that you are more than the body and there is no need to have any attachment. But love is not an attachment, compassion is not an attachment. Love and compassion are absolutely needed for your body and its nourishment. And the better body you have, the more is the possibility for growing consciousness. It is an organic unity.
A totally new kind of education is needed in the world where fundamentally everybody is introduced into the silences of the heart ― in other words into meditation ― where everybody has to be prepared to be compassionate to one's own body. Because unless you are compassionate to your own body, you cannot be compassionate to any other body. It is a living organism, and it has done no harm to you. It has been continuously in service since you were conceived and will be till your death. It will do everything that you would like to do, even the impossible, and it will not be disobedient to you. It is inconceivable to create such a mechanism which is so obedient and so wise.
If you become aware of all the functions of your body, you will be surprised. You have never thought what your body has been doing. It is so miraculous, so mysterious. But you have never looked into it. You have never bothered to be acquainted with your own body and you pretend to love other people. You cannot, because those other people also appear to you as bodies. The body is the greatest mystery in the whole of existence. This mystery needs to be loved ― its mysteries, its functionings to be intimately inquired into.
The religions have unfortunately been absolutely against the body. But it gives a clue, a definite indication that if a man learns the wisdom of the body and the mystery of the body, he will never bother about the priest or about God. He will have found the most mysterious within himself, and within the mystery of the body is the very shrine of your consciousness.
Once you have become aware of your consciousness, of your being, there is no God above you. Only such a person can be respectful for other human beings, other living beings, because they all are as mysterious as he himself is, different expressions, varieties which make life richer. And once a man has found consciousness in himself, he has found the key to the ultimate.
Any education that does not teach you to love your body, does not teach you to be compassionate to your body, does not teach you how to enter into its mysteries, will not be able to teach you how to enter into your own consciousness. The body is the door ― the body is the stepping stone. And any education that does not touch the subject of your body and consciousness is not only absolutely incomplete, it is utterly harmful because it will go on being destructive.
It is only the flowering of consciousness within you that prevents you from destruction.
And that gives you a tremendous urge to create ― to create more beauty in the world, to create more comfort in the world. That's why I include art as the second part of the academy. Art is a conscious effort to create beauty, to discover beauty, to make your life more joyful, to teach you to dance, to celebrate. And the third part is a creative science.
Art can create beauty, science can discover objective truth, and consciousness can discover subjective reality. These three together can make any system of education complete. All else is secondary, may be useful for mundane purposes, but it is not useful for spiritual growth, it is not useful to bring you to the sources of joy, love, peace, silence. And a man who has not experienced the inner ecstasy has lived in vain unnecessarily. He vegetated, he dragged himself from the womb to the grave but he could not dance and he could not sing and he could not contribute anything to the world.
According to me a religious person is one who contributes to the world some beauty, some joy, some happiness, some celebration which was not there ― something new, something fresh, some more flowers. But religion has never been defined the way I am defining it.
All the ways religion has been defined have been proved absolutely ugly and wrong.
But they have not helped humanity to rise to the heights of joy and beauty and love. They have drowned the whole humanity in misery and suffering, they have not taught you freedom. On the contrary, they have enforced on you all kinds of slavery in the name of obedience. Obedience to whom? Obedience to the priests, obedience to those who have money, obedience to those who have power ― in short, obedience to all the vested interests. A small minority has been enslaving the whole humanity for centuries. Only a right education can transform this ugly and sick situation.
My idea of a World Academy of Creative Science, Art and Consciousness is really in other words my vision of a real religion. Man needs a better body, a healthier body. Man needs a more conscious, alert being. Man needs all kinds of comforts and luxuries that existence is ready to deliver.
Existence is ready to give you paradise herenow, but you go on postponing it ― it is always after death.
In Sri Lanka one great mystic was dying.... He was worshipped by thousands of people. They gathered around him. He opened his eyes: just a few more breaths would he take on the shore and he would be gone, and gone forever.
Everybody was eager to listen to his last words. The old man said, "I have been teaching you for my whole life about blissfulness, ecstasy, meditativeness. Now I am going to the other shore. I will not be available anymore. You have listened to me, but you have never practiced what I have been telling you. You have always been postponing. But now there is no point in postponing, I am going. Is anyone ready to go with me?"
There was a great pindrop silence. People looked at each other thinking that perhaps this man who had been a disciple for forty years.... He may be ready.... But he was looking at the others ― nobody was standing up.
Just from the very back a man raised his hand. The great mystic thought, "At least, one person is courageous enough."
But that man said, "Please let me make it clear to you why I am not standing up. I have only raised my hand. I want to know how to reach to the other shore, because today of course I am not ready. There are many things which are incomplete: a guest has come, my young son is getting married, and this day I cannot go ― and you say from the other shore, you cannot come back.
"Some day, one day certainly, I will come and meet you. If you can just explain to us once more ― although you have been explaining to us for your whole life ― just once more how to reach the other shore? But please keep in mind that I am not ready to go right now. I just want to refresh my memory so that when the right time comes...."
That right time never comes.
It is not a story only about that poor man, it is the story of millions of people, of almost all. They are all waiting for the right moment, the right constellation of stars.... They are consulting astrology, going to the palmist... inquiring in different ways what is going to happen tomorrow.
Tomorrow does not happen ― it never has happened. It is simply a stupid strategy of postponement. What happens is always today.
A right kind of education will teach people to live herenow, to create a paradise of this earth, not to wait for death to come, and not to be miserable till death stops your misery.
Let death find you dancing and joyous and loving. It is a strange experience that if a man can live his life as if he is already in paradise, death cannot take away anything from that man's experience.
My approach is to teach you that this is the paradise, there is no paradise anywhere else, and no preparation is needed to be happy. No discipline is needed to be loving; just a little alertness, just a little wakefulness, just a little understanding. And if education cannot give you this little understanding, it is not education.
My conception of a world academy means that the whole world should have the same education of meditation, of art, of creative science.
If we can create a sane educational system around the world, then the divisions of religion and the discrimination between white and black and nations, the ugly politics that exists because of them, and the stupid behavior of men preparing continuously for war....
Whenever I see a soldier I cannot believe that this man has a mind at all. Even animals don't become soldiers. But man seems to have only one interest: how to kill, how to kill more efficiently, how to go on refining instruments for killing.
A right education will teach you how to find your own song and how to learn the dance and not be shy; how to celebrate the small things of life and make this whole planet alive. It is only one, as far as we know, where people can love, where people can meditate, where people can become buddhas, where people like Socrates and Lao Tzu can exist.
We are most fortunate to be on this small planet. It is one of the smallest planets in the universe, but even the greatest stars, millions of times bigger than this earth, cannot claim a single Albert Einstein or a Jesus or a Yehudi Menuhin. It is strange that in this vast universe existence has been successful only on this small planet to create a little consciousness, a little life. Now it is in our hands to grow from this small beginning into the infinite heights which are our potential and which are our birthright.
Up to now education has not been in the right direction. It has been torturing people unnecessarily with history, with geography. If somebody is interested, these subjects should be available. If somebody is interested to know about Constantinople, then let him know. And if somebody is interested to know about Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, let him know. But there is no need to teach people compulsorily all the nonsense and garbage that has happened in the past. That is so stupid and so unbelievable. To teach people that there have been persons like Genghis Khan and Nadirshah and Tamerlane and Alexander the Great is to teach people about the wrong side of their being.
I have been fighting in the universities, "Why don't you teach about Socrates? Why don't you teach about Chuang Tzu? Why don't you teach about Bodhidharma...?" These are the right side of consciousness.
And teaching about the wrong kind of people gives you an idea that it is perfectly good if you are wrong. If you are going slowly to be a Genghis Khan it is perfectly right. You are not doing something new, man has always been doing this.
We have to sort out history, cut out all those wrong people and protect our children from being conditioned that man has been involved in nothing but war, fighting, competition, greed. We should teach our children not what has been but what can be ― not the past, but the future. Why waste so much time on teaching subjects which are of no significance in actual existential life and not give them a single direction about the art of love, the art of life, the meaning of existence, preparation for death with joy, silence and meditativeness. All that is essential is missing, and that which is non-essential and absolutely stupid is being forced.
They say history repeats. History does not repeat. It is our stupidity that we go on and on teaching the same thing to each generation. The poor children are conditioned to imitate the same great heroes who were really criminals, not heroes. Just a single man, Genghis Khan, killed forty million people. It is better to drop all information about these people from education. Give an education about the dance of a Shiva, the flute of Krishna. Teach them all that has been beautiful and good so that they become accustomed that all that is good is natural, and the bad is accidental ― that the bad does not happen, has never happened, and the good is absolutely normal.
To be a buddha is not something abnormal. It should be taught to every child that to be a buddha is a normal phenomenon. Anybody who is wise enough is going to become a buddha. You are going to become a buddha.
The greatest revolution has to happen in education and its systems; otherwise, man will go on repeating history.
Now time for silence and time for laughter....
Hymie Goldberg comes home from work one evening and Becky says, "Did you go to the store and pick up the snapshots, like I asked you? You probably did not! You never listen to me! You never remember anything! Oh! You did get them. Well, thank goodness for miracles. Let me see them! This shot is terrible and this one is even worse. My God! This one is horrible and this one is a disaster. In fact, this is the worst lot of photographs I have ever seen in my life. "You can't do anything right! You can't drive a car properly! You can't even change a fuse. You can't sing in tune, and as a photographer, you are the worst! "Just take a look at these pictures: in every one you took of me, I have my mouth open!"
A reformed prostitute is giving testimony on a street corner with the Salvation Army. She punctuates her talk by beating on a big drum.
"I used to be a sinner!" she shouts.
BOOM! goes the drum.
"I used to be a bad woman!" she cries.
"I used to drink!"
"I used to go wild on Saturday nights and raise hell!"
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
"And now what do I do on Saturday nights?" she cries.
"I stand on the street corner beating this fucking drum!"
Osho, Om Shantih Shantih Shantih, Talk #27