We Can Never Come to a Point Where the Future Closes
When you were talking about the way that different Buddhist masters have been adding their own flavor to Buddha's teaching, I started wondering whether there will be anybody adding a new flavor to your pot. It looks almost impossible to add a new spice to something which already contains all the spices which can be found on this earth.
It seems almost impossible, but one can never predict about the future. The future remains open. What seems inconceivable today, may become conceivable tomorrow.
We can never come to a point where the future closes. That's the whole meaning of existence being eternal.
It may be very difficult because I am not confined to any particular path, to any particular philosophical viewpoint. I am vast enough to contain contradictions, and whatever has happened on the earth as far as the evolution of consciousness is concerned, I have made it part of my own vision of life.
So if you look backwards, everything else will seem a little poorer, even the greatest giants will seem limited. But you are looking to the past, you are not looking to the future – which is absolutely unpredictable.
Things will go on happening, new things will go on being added. And I am not a pond which is closed; I am more like a river, which goes on flowing, inviting every other river to join.
Whatever I have been giving you will remain uncontaminated, but it will be enriched more and more by the future evolution of man, because it is an open phenomenon.
I am not the last prophet, messiah or savior of a certain tradition.
I am the beginning, not the end, of a totally new approach to life and its problems, inviting everything conceivable, unconceivable, to be my guest.
So you are right. It seems very difficult, but existence is so vast and the possibilities so infinite that you can never say that the full stop has come. It never comes, not even a semicolon comes. Life knows no full stop, no semicolons; it simply goes on and on, and it will continue to add spices of which we are not even aware. And it is good.
It means that I am giving you something living, which will go on growing – even beyond us it will have its own growth. I am not giving you something dead, as was the convention of the old.
Mohammed says, "I am the last messenger of God. Now there will be no other messenger. And the Koran is the last message. After the Koran there will be no other holy book."
He is not aware that he cannot stop existence with his own death. Many prophets have come and gone.
They have added to the beauty of existence, but nobody should be so arrogant as to say, "I am the last."
The same is the situation with Mahavira. He is the last tirthankara of the Jainas. Now there is not going to be any other tirthankara, nothing can be added to his teachings, nothing can be taken away from his teachings.
But these people were not aware that they are making their vision into a dead thing with their own hands.
That's why Christians are so afraid in case science should discover anything which goes against the Bible, Mohammedans are so afraid in case anybody should say anything that goes beyond the Koran. But these are the enemies of progress, enemies of life.
I am not. I am just a friend, a humble beginning, a living reality with every day new excitement, new ecstasies, new spaces; and capable to absorb them all, not afraid of any progress. If anything is wrong, I am always ready to drop it, always to be on the side of truth.
There are two kinds of people: those who want the truth to be always on their side – these are the egoists, arrogant. And there is another type of person who always wants to be on the side of truth, whatever the cost; if he has to lose everything, he is ready, but he cannot stop being on the side of truth. These are the humble ones, these are the true holy people of the earth – and there have been very few.
I like to hear you speak on the meeting of inner man and outer woman. Is the inner man to be found in one of the realms of consciousness and if so, is there a way to provoke his presence so that I might recognize him in situations where I have previously been unaware?
The inner man or the inner woman is not to be found unless you reach to the highest peak; unless you come to the cosmic superconscious you will not be able to recognize it; only at that peak the dualities meet and you can feel the orgasmic experience of the meeting. Slowly, slowly you can become aware of two opposite polarities moving together in harmony, in a dance, but you will not come across it at all on the way, only at the end of the journey.
Looking for my chief characteristic – just looking for it – is proving a great device. It is as though I have always accepted that there are certain "undesirables" in my closet, which at different times I gather some degree of enthusiasm for getting rid of or witnessing more conscientiously. Setting about trying to pinpoint them during the last forty-eight hours, I have found that the actual process of opening the closet and flashing the torch around has, in itself, rendered those skeletons impotent in a way. It is certainly as if merely talking about those skeletons as problems, rather than looking at them, gives substance to something that actually has no life of its own. Osho, am I kidding myself, or is it really that easy?
It is that easy. Many of our problems are just there because we have never looked at them, never focused our eyes on them to figure out what it is.
It is like an ancient story. It was a full moon night and a thief had stolen much jewelry. And of course he was afraid. He was running, and suddenly he heard some steps following him.
It almost always happens – if you have ever tried running in the dark – you hear your own footsteps and you feel as if somebody is following you.
And when he looked, he found somebody actually was following him; it was his own shadow. But he was not in a situation to figure out who it was. His problem was somehow to escape out of its clutches. He ran faster, but he heard the follower also running faster. And he went on looking back and he found that it was just behind him. The poor fellow was tired, utterly tired, but could not get rid of his shadow. Exhausted, he fell under a tree where the moonlight did not go and he looked all around and he wondered where the other fellow had gone – just now he was behind him, so close.
Gathering courage, looking all around, he could not see him anywhere; but then he came out of the shadow of the tree and again he was behind him. But this time he could not be deceived, he turned around and looked at the fellow. It was no one. It was his own shadow.
Many of our problems – perhaps most of our problems – are because we have never looked at them face to face, never encountered them; and not looking at them is giving them energy, being afraid of them is giving them energy, always trying to avoid them is giving them energy – because you are accepting them. Your very acceptance is their existence. Other than your acceptance, they don't exist. So if you open your closets, and take your light, and look at the skeletons, you will find they are dead.
Skeletons cannot do anything, but almost everybody is afraid of skeletons. It is a strange situation. You are not afraid of living people who can do damage to you, who can even kill you – and they are all hiding a skeleton underneath just skin deep, and they are living people. But if you suddenly come across in a room a poor skeleton who has no life, you become so afraid. What can the skeleton do to you?
In my university I had a friend who was the son of a doctor, and the doctor was the head of the university hospital and also it was part of the medical college. And they had many skeletons for studying purposes. And one day I was saying to his son, "Your father at least must be the one man who is not afraid of skeletons." He said, "Certainly he's not afraid. The whole day he is telling the students about the skeletons, their parts."
And he had a good collection. He used to live in the compound of the hospital. So I said, "Then we have to check whether it is true or not." I asked the son, "Somehow you have to get the key of the room where the skeletons are and in the night we will bring one skeleton out. Just knock on the door, the father comes to open it and we will hide and the skeleton will be standing there and let us see what happens."
The son said, " You will get me into trouble."
I said, "You don't be worried. You simply escape as far as you can. And you can trust me, I will never mention your name if anything happens."
And you will not believe, the man who has been dealing with skeletons for years, when I knocked on his door, he said, "Who is there?"
I said, "Can't you recognize me?"
He opened the door.
I slipped to the side behind a tree; there was a very big bodhi tree there. And he saw the skeleton. And you should have seen the scene, just as if he lost all his nerve. He fell on the earth. And on top fell the skeleton.
His wife came, "What is happening?" Seeing the skeleton on her husband, she screamed and became unconscious.
And the neighbors woke up because of her scream, and everybody was coming there – but they were all standing far away, seeing the situation. The wife was lying flat, the husband was lying there, and the skeleton was on top of him. And I was hiding behind the tree. And I thought, "Now what to do?" We had not conceived of such a situation. I had just thought that he will freak out. But the situation had become so complex. And his son was looking from far away.
I called to him, "This is not the time to be afraid." Somehow he picked up the skeleton, left those two there – both were unconscious – and put the skeleton back in its place. And it took great effort to put it back because it had fallen, so one hand was going this way, one leg was going this way, and we were both trying to fix it.
Somehow we fixed it, by looking at the other skeletons, "You should behave exactly like the other skeletons."
Then we came back to take care of the doctor and his wife, sprinkling water on their faces, and telling them, "There is nobody. You unnecessarily got worried."
The doctor said, "I cannot believe that there is nobody. He was standing in front of me, and he is no one. He's skeleton number seventeen, I know him well; but how he dared to come here? And the door is locked, and I always check the lock because skeletons are skeletons, you can't trust them."
We said, "We have not seen anybody. We had just gone for a walk and we have just come in and we saw you lying down here as if somebody is on top of you and there is nobody. And your wife is on the floor flat. Do something to bring her to consciousness."
So he did whatever he could. Somehow she came to consciousness. And she asked, "Where is he – the skeleton?"
And the doctor said, "I cannot believe it, because number seventeen is an old skeleton and has never misbehaved, and suddenly it came and knocked on the door and even said, `Can't you recognize me?'" He said, "Now it will be very difficult for me to continue going into that room. I am going to change my department, no more skeletons."
I said, "You have unnecessarily hallucinated after a whole day working with the skeletons. You may have just seen an illusion – because we were coming, we did not see anybody coming or going, and the key is in your pocket."
So he saw. He said, "The key is in my pocket."
I said, "If you want, we can go and see where number seventeen is."
He said, "No, I won't allow you to go there. If he has gone out without even opening the door, he can do some harm to you. You need not bother. Tomorrow I am going to change my department."
He changed his department. The vice-chancellor tried hard, saying, "Skeletons don't come out, and you have had such a long experience with skeletons."
He said, "Whatever, but what happened last night, if it happens again I will die. And you have to think about my wife also. She is very delicate and she has had one heart attack already. And if these skeletons start coming in the middle of the night knocking on the door...!"
I have always been puzzled why people are so afraid of skeletons, because they are very poor people – with no life, they cannot do anything. But there seems to be some unconscious current, "We are also skeletons." Seeing a skeleton, you are seeing yourself without the skin.
And this will be your situation one day. Perhaps the skeleton reminds you of death, it reminds you of your reality which the skin goes on hiding. Otherwise skeletons are very innocent, they have never done any harm to anybody.
I used to sell skeletons from a Mohammedan graveyard because the medical college needed them and they gave a good price for a skeleton. And nobody was ready to bring a skeleton. I had made friends with the guard of the graveyard and arranged that we would split half and half, "Just you dig out some old fellow and I will take him in my car and deliver him to the medical college. "Once when I was taking a skeleton in my car, a policeman stopped the car – because I was going too fast. He wanted to see my driver's license. I said, "The fellow in the back seat has it." So he looked in the back seat. And he said, "Yes, I have seen it. Everything is okay. Go fast, as fast as you can. I can understand now why you are going so fast, but however fast you go he's sitting just behind you. You cannot escape. But please go." And many times when I bring those skeletons to the medical college, somebody will see – some professor or some servant. And they will simply just get frozen. Nobody ever asked for a lift in my car, because they knew that a skeleton sits in the back seat. Nobody ever asked. I used to ask professors, "Would you like to come?" "Not in your car." Such a fear, but it must have some roots. And I can see that the first thing is that it reminds you of yourself. This is going to be the situation. We are all simply well-covered skeletons. And this will be the situation when death comes. So it reminds you of death. So nobody opens the cupboards in their unconscious where they have many skeletons, of many kinds.
You yourself have put them there and now you are afraid of them. But the reality is that they are dead; just open the doors, bring light, clean your closets, clean your mind of all the dead luggage that you are filled with – it is making your life really miserable, a hell.
And nobody except you is responsible. In the first place, you hide things which you should not. It is good to give them expression and release them. So first you hide them, and just remain a hypocrite – that you are never angry, that you are never hateful, that you are never this, never that; but all that goes on collecting inside. But those are all dead things. They don't have any energy of their own, unless you give them energy. You have the source of energy. Whatever happens in your life needs your energy. If you cut the source of energy and... in other words that's what I call identification; if you don't identify with anything, it immediately becomes dead, it has no energy of its own.
And non-identification is the other side of watchfulness.
Love the beauty of watchfulness and its immense capacity to transform you. Simply watch whatever it is, and you will suddenly see that there is nothing but a dead skeleton, it cannot do anything to you. But you can give energy to it, you can project energy onto it. Then a skeleton which cannot do anything can even kill you, can give you a heart attack; just start escaping from it and you have given it reality, you have given it life.
Give life to things which are beautiful. Don't give life to ugly things. You don't have much time, much energy to waste. With such a small life, with such a small energy source, it is simply stupid to waste it in sadness, in anger, in hatred, in jealousy.
Use it in love, use it in some creative act, use it in friendship, use it in meditation; do something with it which takes you higher. And the higher you go, the more energy sources become available to you.
At the highest point of consciousness, you are almost a god. But that moment we don't allow to happen to us. We go on falling downwards into the darker and darker and darker spaces where we ourselves become almost living dead.
It is in your hands.
A while ago I realized that it is not situations but rather people that I can react to – because if someone I feel good about does something, it doesn't bother me, but if someone I don't like does the same thing, I may think, "what an awful thing to do."
Intellectually I have come to understand that the reason I don't like certain people is simply that they reflect certain characteristics in myself that I would rather not know about.
I was hoping that gradually, deep inside, I would come to accept this rather unpalatable fact, and that my judgments would miraculously disappear without me having to face anything unpleasant in myself. Unfortunately, so far this hasn't happened. I still react strongly to some people, and find it difficult sometimes even to remember to turn my energy into watching myself rather then judging. I have been comforting myself by saying, "nothing to do, just keep watching," but as my watching is so wishy-washy and this is taking so long, I was wondering if you could suggest some trick to help me – preferably a shortcut through the whole process.
There is no trick and there is no shortcut because watchfulness is the shortest way to enlightenment. And the question of tricks does not arise at all. No trick can help you. Tricks are good in playing cards and cheating people, but you cannot cheat existence, you cannot deceive life.
If you want to go a longer way, that can be found; because you can be shown some unnecessary, non-essential things and the path becomes longer.
Religions have done that. They have made the path very long, so that it cannot be achieved in one life, many lives are needed. It was a strategy of the priests to deceive people because if it is said that it can be achieved right now, then the question is why are you not achieving it, perhaps you don't want it, perhaps you want to wait a little, perhaps you want to finish some other jobs first, perhaps you think that enlightenment should be the last thing in life. And the trivia, the mundane things of life, keep you engaged.
But there may be a few people who may try and still will not get it. Then the priest will be in trouble because he himself is as far away as you are. To be a priest is just a profession for him, he is not a seeker. And you may start asking him, "Why is it not happening?" And he cannot really answer you relevantly because he does not know himself what it is, what can prevent it, what can help it.
So the easiest way for him is to say, "It is such a long way. It will happen but in several lives. So don't be in a hurry, it is not something that you can manage now. Go on working, go on praying; when the time is ripe in some life it will happen." This was just a shelter for the priest.
Watchfulness is the shortest way. It does not need lives to attain it. It needs not length of time but intensity of longing, the way you feel thirst; when you feel thirsty for truth – as if it is a question of life and death – you put your whole energy to this moment and the door is bound to open.
And remember never to think of tricks because you cannot get anywhere through tricks as far as reality is concerned.
The simple truth is that watchfulness is the shortest possible way. It cannot be made shorter.
What is expected of you in watchfulness... just try to see, nothing is expected. You already watch things, you know what watchfulness is. You watch a football match, you watch a movie, you watch the television. You know what watchfulness is, there is no need to tell you; just the same watchfulness has to be applied to the screen of the mind. Close your eyes and let your mind function as a screen of a movie or a television, and whatever passes on the mind you simply remain watchful, doing nothing, not even judging.
And this is the only miracle I know of, that as your watchfulness becomes more and more stable, the screen becomes empty. Soon the watcher is there but there is nothing to be watched, the screen is completely empty.
And when the watcher is left alone, it starts watching itself – because that is its nature, to watch.
And to watch oneself is the greatest happening in anyone's life. Everything else happens through it – blissfulness, silence, peace, ecstasy, and finally going beyond even all these experiences and just remaining in a pure isness.
Those who have attained that pure isness have fulfilled the mission of human life.
Osho, The Transmission of the Lamp, Talk #23
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