Osho,
I find that the true moments of joy and peace in my life come when I am the witness. Witnessing seems to come easier when I make some effort for it, such as now, in Vipassana group. You talked recently about the futility of will, but for me, it seems some effort or will is needed for the growth of awareness. Would you please comment?

It is possible to create a certain awareness through effort and through will but it will not be the true awareness.

That which is created by you cannot be eternal. That which is forced by you, will immediately disappear the moment you drop the effort. You forget…and you cannot will twenty-four hours a day. Will needs tremendous energy; the effort will be very tiring.

And after the awareness that is created by will disappears, you will fall deep into unawareness, deeper than you were before. Will is an instrument for creating false things. You can create an ego through will power because ego is false. But you cannot create your being, it is already there. And so is the case with awareness: the authentic awareness is not created by you, it is discovered by you. And the discovery needs no effort on your part because you are the problem, your efforts are the hindrances.

You have to be absent – with all your will power, with all your efforts. You simply have to give way, and then there will be a totally different quality of awareness – spontaneous, joyous, relaxing, rejuvenating, and you can never be tired of it. It is simply your nature. Even in your sleep it will remain there, burning like a small candle in the darkness of sleep.

That which is created by will cannot be of the beyond, it can only be something below you. It is your creation – it cannot be bigger than you. And that which you are creating has a cause: your will, your effort. The moment the cause is removed, the flame of awareness will be gone. Your will was functioning like a fuel.

I will not support it. It is fake. And because you don’t know the authentic, you cannot make the distinction.

Please try to be in touch with the spontaneous – even a moment’s glimpse and you will see: the difference is so vast…. One is just manufactured by you, with all your weaknesses, with all your frailties, with all your unconsciousness – and the other comes from the beyond. The other is divine, and only the divine can liberate you. Only the divine can be your eternal peace, silence, blissfulness.

You are saying, “I find that the true moments of joy…” Have you ever known untrue moments of joy? Either joy is, or is not. Have you ever experienced untrue moments of joy? What do you mean by “true moments of joy”? Certainly, you are comparing with your moments of hypocrisy, when you try to appear to be happy, joyful, and you know you are not; your smile is just an exercise of the lips. The heart is not behind it; most probably it is just a way to hide your tears. You are afraid if you don’t start laughing, you may start crying; it is better to laugh so you are not exposed to others.

People try in every way to hide their misery, their pain, their anguish. Just go to a Lions Club or a Rotary Club and see people – everybody seems enlightened, and the same idiots, for twenty-four hours a day in life, are behaving as unconsciously as anybody else. But they are simply following a ritual. You are supposed to smile, you are supposed to look happy. Slowly, slowly, you simply become a supposition.

Mrs. Reagan boarded a train in Washington late one night and was escorted to an upper berth. Nancy climbed up, stretched out and tried to sleep. However, a man in the lower berth was snoring intolerably. His loud snores became so unbearable, the President’s wife leaned over and jabbed the man with her umbrella.

He awoke immediately, looked up at her and said. “It won’t do you no good, lady, I had a good look at you when you got on the train.”

People are showing one thing, thinking something else. Now when he was looking at Nancy, he was not showing what was going on in his mind.

We have become so pseudo, and to a pseudo personality, nothing of value can ever happen.

I would like you to remember that either you have moments of joy or you don’t have. There is no third alternative because the third alternative will be simply fake, untrue, dishonest. And once you become accustomed to the dishonest, to the insincere within yourself, then your darkness will start getting darker. Rather than moving towards light, you will be moving towards darker spaces of your being.

You are saying, “I find that the true moments of joy and peace in my life come when I am the witness.” You have never experienced the witness, because to experience the witness is to go beyond peace, is to go beyond joy, is to go beyond everything into absolute nothingness and silence. There is no experience.

Witnessing is not an experience. Witnessing is going beyond all experiences. Experiences are other than you; witnessing is your very being. Experiences are like clouds in the sky – sometimes very beautiful – white clouds, black clouds with silver lines shining through them, or rainbows passing through them, or at the time of sunrise or sunset, when the whole sky becomes psychedelic…. But the clouds are not the sky.

You are not your experiences. Your experiences are just clouds in the sky of your being. When all the clouds are gone and the empty space remains, you will know what witnessing means.

“Witnessing,” according to you, “seems to come easier when I make some effort for it, such as now in Vipassana group. You talked recently about futility of will, but for me, it seems some effort or will is needed for the growth of awareness.”

In a way you are right, because you don’t know the real awareness. So by effort, by will, you force yourself into some kind of alertness. This alertness is almost like when you come home and find your house is on fire: suddenly, you will find a great awareness in you which has never been there. But it is because the house is on fire; the shock is so much that it has made you a little awake, has brought you out of your sleep. But you cannot go on putting houses on fire just to be a little awake.

And this kind of awareness is very costly and very dangerous – costly, because it can deceive you and you can start feeling that you have become aware, and dangerous because it will take you away from the authentic experience.

Try to relax; don’t make any effort, because never in the history of man has anybody become awakened through effort or will. Those who have become aware have always become aware when they had dropped all their efforts and all their will. But man’s blindness knows no limits.

In the life of Gautam Buddha, who can be said to be the most well-known historical figure who reached to the highest peak of awareness…. But his followers around the world and in the East – except for India, the whole East is Buddhist; it is the third greatest religion in the world – still go on missing. I have been looking into hundreds of books from Korea, from China, from Japan, from Sri Lanka, from Burma, from Tibet – but I have not found a single mention of the most important thing that happened in Gautam Buddha’s life.

For six years, he made every effort. He brought his whole will power to becoming aware, he left no stone unturned. Naturally, this intensity of work, effort, this arduous journey, made him so tired and so frustrated…. Finally, one full moon night sitting by the side of a small river, Niranjana in Bihar, he decided, “I have renounced the world, I have renounced my kingdom. Today I renounce even my effort and my will – even the desire to find the truth. I am so tired, so utterly frustrated that this is my second renunciation.” He dropped all methods that he had been trying and after six years, for the first time he relaxed and had a good sleep, without a dream. Otherwise, his sleep had been full of nightmares, because on the one hand he had renounced everything and on the other hand, all efforts had led only to failure…or fake experiences.

In the morning, as the last star was disappearing in the sky, he opened his eyes and he could not believe: this is the space he has been looking for! As the star disappeared, his ego disappeared too. As the sky became utterly empty…the stars are gone, the moon is gone and the sun has not come yet – just in that gap, he also became just the same silence, uncluttered with anything. And this was what has been known down the ages as his enlightenment.

Buddhists around the world go on saying, go on writing that he found his enlightenment after six years of arduous effort. The reality is just the opposite. He found enlightenment after he renounced all his efforts.

It is true that you cannot renounce if you have not made any effort. So, you are in a good position: you are making effort and you are making use of your will power. But remember, all these will lead you to fake experiences. And when the time comes, don’t be a coward: renounce all these experiences of joy and peace and awareness, because they are produced by will and effort. Then is the real miracle, because your very being is eternally awake. It has never fallen asleep, but you have lost the track to reach to it.

Only in relaxation can you find your center of being. If you go on making effort and running after some goal, to achieve awareness, you will go farther and farther away from your reality. Just don’t do anything. At least for a few moments every day, simply be. The heart will be beating, the breathing will be going on – you are not doing anything, not even thinking. And in these moments, the whole sky opens up.

It is one of the greatest wonders that what we are seeking and searching for lives together is just present, eternally present within ourselves. But because of our efforts and because of our mind to achieve, we go on missing it.

Our life is a very stupid mess. And the same life can be a great splendor, but we won’t allow it. We go on doing something or other, and all our doings are disturbances. This is the greatest lesson in life to learn: that the ultimate phenomenon happens only when we are not doing anything, when we are almost absent, when we are just an open door and the sun rays come dancing in and the fresh breeze passes through us. Suddenly, the whole existence starts helping us to be our true self.

Witnessing is the quality of our true self. It is not a question of creating it, it is a discovery.

I have heard…God is making all the creatures of the earth and is giving out sex lives to each animal. First he turns to the human. “I am giving you ten years of a good sex life,” says God.

The man’s face falls. “Is that all?” he asks.

“I only have so much to go around, fella,” says God. He then turns to the monkey and says, “I’m giving you twenty years of a good sex life.”

The monkey says, “Oh, I don’t really need that much. Ten years would be more than enough for me.”

The man, standing nearby, overhears this and says excitedly, “I will take it! I will take those extra ten years.”

“All right,” says God. “You got it.” He then turns to the lion. “I’m going to give you twenty years of good sex life.”

The lion replies, “You know, God, I really think I would be happier with just ten.”

The man starts hopping up and down. “I will take them! I will take the other ten years!”

“You can have them,” says God to the man.

He turns to the donkey and says, “Now, I am going to give you twenty years of a good sex life. Is that all right with you?”

“To tell you the truth,” says the donkey, “I would also be satisfied with just ten.” God gives the man the other ten years too.

This story explains why a man has ten years of a good sex life, ten years of monkeying around, ten years of lying’ about it, and then ten years of making an ass out of himself.

We are not satisfied with anything, and we go on asking for more, and we go on making our life more of a confusion.

It is true in every dimension of life – even when you start meditating, you are the same man, with the same mind. Your whole life you have been creating false, pseudo, dishonest, inauthentic experiences. You know perfectly well that they are not true, but at least you can deceive others.

But you don’t know a simple law: if you can deceive many people, you will be deceived in turn. By their being deceived, you will start thinking there must be something in it; otherwise, so many people cannot be deceived. Start by telling a lie and by the evening – when your wife will tell it to you – it will have gone around the city. You know perfectly well: you started it in the morning. But if the whole city is agog about it, then perhaps there is something in it!

Such is the madness of man that he can believe even in his own lies, and can believe so totally that you cannot suspect.

One man played the role of Abraham Lincoln for one year continuously. One hundred years had passed since Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, and in his honor and in his memory, a whole year was devoted to celebrate it. A drama was prepared and all over America, a great search was made to find a man who could play the part of Abraham Lincoln. Strangely enough, they managed to find a man who looked like Abraham Lincoln – the same height, the same weight.

They trained him…because Abraham Lincoln used to stutter a little, so they trained him to stutter. One of Abraham Lincoln’s legs was a little longer than the other, so they put the poor fellow on a traction machine and pulled one leg a little longer so he started walking like Abraham Lincoln, with a walking-stick in his hand.

For one year, morning, afternoon, evening, three times a day, he was playing the role. And he was doing it so perfectly that people were amazed: it seemed as if Abraham Lincoln had come back. One year is a long time. He became more and more perfect, and when the year ended, he was awarded a first prize.

He came home, but he continued to stutter. His wife said, “Now, there is no need to stutter.”

He said, “No need? What do you mean by no need? Abraham Lincoln has to stutter.”

The wife said, “Whom are you trying to befool?”

First, they thought that he was just joking, but then the joke went on so long…he would walk like Abraham Lincoln, he will talk like Abraham Lincoln. He would behave as if he were the president. Finally, they thought, “He has gone crazy. He believes it. Three hundred sixty-five days, three times every day, going through the same role….”

At that very time, scientists had discovered the lie detector machine. You stand on the machine – you don’t know; it is hidden underneath the ground – and they ask you a few questions: a clock is hanging in front of you on the wall and they ask, “What time is it on the clock?” You cannot lie, you say, “It is ten o’clock” or “twelve o’clock.” And the machine goes on marking whether you are right or wrong. They go on asking a few more questions: “How many people are here?” Now, how can you lie? Four persons are there, so you say “four” and the machine makes the point again – “right.” So four or five questions are asked about which you cannot lie. And then they asked him, “Are you Abraham Lincoln?”

And he was tired. His family was after him, his friends were after him, he was being taken to this psychologist to that psychologist….

And finally he had decided to drop this idea, to just accept what these idiots are saying. Although he is Abraham Lincoln, what to do? If nobody is ready to believe it, how long can he argue with these people? So when they asked, “Are you Abraham Lincoln?” he said, “No.”

And the machine said, “He is lying!” Because deep in his heart, he knew perfectly well – and the machine functions according to the heart. When you lie, your heartbeat loses its symmetry. When you say something true, the heartbeat goes on in the same rhythm, but when you lie, just a little jerk – and the machine catches that jerk.

And the poor man was saying, “I am not Abraham Lincoln” and the machine is saying he is! When the result came out, the scientist said, “Now, there is no way. Unless he gets assassinated, he will not understand.”

Don’t believe in this joy and in this peace that you are feeling. And don’t think that it is witnessing. It is not.

I give you the criterion: in witnessing, there is nothing to witness. That is a simple criterion: as long as there is something to witness, witnessing has not come in.

When there is nothing to witness and only a pure awareness remains, just the mirror, not reflecting anything, you have found yourself. Of course this finding will radiate joy, but it will not be your experience. Others will experience it; to you, it will be just like breathing, just natural. You will be in constant ecstasy, but others will feel it. You will radiate a new presence, a new charisma, but others will feel it. To you, it will be just like you accept your body, you accept your eyes, you accept your hair, you accept your hands; there is nothing special about it.

The moment joy is no more anything special, the moment peace is no more anything to brag about, the moment ecstasy is just like breathing – you have arrived home.

From Osho, The Hidden Splendor, Chapter 24

http://www.osho.com/library/online-library-moments-awareness-effort-88ae317c-fce.aspx

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