Friday, April 16, 2010

Work, Play and Meditation

Here is something beautiful from Osho’s discourses on Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, the book of 112 meditation techniques.



This technique is based on the dimension of play. That has to be understood. If you are inactive, it is good to fall into deep emptiness, into the inner abyss. But you cannot be empty the whole day and you cannot be passive the whole day. You will have to do something. Activity is a basic requirement, otherwise you cannot be alive. Life means activity. So you can be inactive for a few hours, but for twenty-four hours you will have to be active. And meditation should be something which becomes your style of life, it should not be a fragment. Otherwise you will gain it and lose it.

If you are inactive one hour then for twenty-three hours you will be active. The active forces will be more, and they will destroy whatsoever you attain in your inactivity. The active forces will destroy it.

And the next day you will again do the same: for twenty-three hours you will accumulate the doer and in one hour you will have to drop it. It will be difficult. So your mind must change its attitude about work and activity. Hence the technique.

Work should be considered as play, not as work. Work should be considered as play, just a game. You should not be serious about it; you should be just like children playing. It is meaningless, nothing is to be achieved; just the very activity is enjoyed. You can feel the distinction if you play sometimes.

When you work it is different: you are serious, burdened, responsible, worried, anxious, because the result, the end-result, is the motive. The work itself is not worth enjoying. The real thing is just in the future, in the result. In play there is no result, really. The very process is blissful. And you are not worried, it is not a serious thing. Even if you look serious, it is just pretending. In play you enjoy the very process; in work the process is not being enjoyed – the goal, the end, is important. The process has to be tolerated anyhow. It has to be done because the end has to be achieved. If you could achieve the end without this, you would drop activity and jump to the end.

But in play you would not do that. If you could achieve the end without playing, then the end would be futile. It has meaning only through the process. For example, two football teams are on the playing-ground. Just by throwing a coin they can decide who will win and who will be defeated. Why go through so much effort, unnecessarily exerting yourself? The thing can be decided very easily just by tossing a coin. The end will be there. One team can win, another can be defeated. Why work for it? But then there will be no meaning, no significance. The end is not meaningful, the very process is the meaning. Even if no one wins and no one is defeated the game was worth it. The activity in itself is enjoyed.

This dimension of play has to be applied to your whole life: whatsoever you are doing, be there in that activity so totally that the end is irrelevant. It may come, it has to come, but it is not on your mind. You are playing, you are enjoying.

That’s what Krishna means when he tells Arjuna to leave the future in the hands of the Divine. The result of your activity is in the hands of the Divine, you simply do. This simply doing becomes a play. That’s what Arjuna finds difficult to understand, because he says that if it is just play, then why kill, why fight? He understands what work is but he cannot understand what play is.

And Krishna’s whole life is just a play. You cannot find such a non-serious man anywhere. His whole life is just a play, a game, a drama. He is enjoying everything but he is not serious about it. He is enjoying it intensely but he is not worried about the result. What happens is irrelevant.

It is difficult for Arjuna to understand Krishna because he calculates, he thinks in terms of the end result.

He says in the beginning of the Gita,”This whole thing seems to be absurd. On both sides my friends and my relatives are standing to fight. Whosoever wins, it will be a loss, because my family, my relatives, my friends, will be destroyed. Even if I win, it will not be worth anything because to whom am I going to show my victory? Victories are meaningful because friends, relatives, family will enjoy them. But there will be no one, the victory will be just over dead bodies. Who will appreciate it? Who will say, ‘Arjuna, you have done a great deed’? So whether I am victorious or I am defeated, it seems absurd. The whole thing is nonsense.” He wants to renounce. He is deadly serious. And anyone who calculates will be that deadly serious.

The setting of the Gita is unique: war is the most serious affair. You cannot be playful about it, because lives are involved, millions of lives are involved – you cannot be playful. And Krishna insists that even there you have to be playful. You don’t think about what will happen in the end, you just be here and now. You just be a warrior playing. Don’t get worried about the result because the result is in the hands of the Divine. And it is not even the point if the result is in the hands of the Divine or not. The point is that it should not be in your hands. You should not carry it. If you carry it then your life cannot become meditative.


Your mind goes on playing infinitely: the whole thing is just like a dream in an empty room. While meditating, one has to look at the mind just frolicking, just like children playing, jumping out of overflowing energy, that’s all. Thoughts jumping, frolicking, just a play – don’t be serious about them. Even if a bad thought is there, don’t feel guilty. Or, if there is a very great thought, a very good thought – that you want to serve humanity and transform the whole world; and you want to bring heaven onto earth – don’t get too much ego through it, don’t feel that you have become great. This is just a frolicking mind. Sometimes it goes down, sometimes it comes up – it is just overflowing energy, taking many shapes and forms. Mind is just an overflowing spring, nothing else.

Be playful, Shiva says, Gracious one, play. The attitude of the player means he is enjoying the activity, it is good in itself. No profit motive is involved; he is not calculative. Just look at a businessman. Whatsoever he is doing, he is calculating about the profit, what he is going to attain out of it. A customer comes. The customer is not a person, he is just a means. What can be profited out of him? How can he be exploited? Deep down he is calculating what is to be said, what is to be done. Everything is calculated just to manipulate, just to exploit. He is not concerned with this person, he is not concerned with the deal, he is not concerned with anything – he is concerned only with the future, the profit.

Look at the East: in the villages still, a businessman is not just a profit-maker, and the customer has not come just to purchase something. They enjoy it. I remember my old grandfather. He was a cloth merchant and I and my whole family was puzzled because he enjoyed it so much. For hours together it was a game with the customers. If something was worth ten rupees, he would ask fifty rupees for it, and he knew this was absurd. And his customers knew it too, they knew that it must be near about ten rupees, and they will start from two rupees. Then a long haggling would follow – hours together. My father and my uncles would get angry. ”What is going on? Why don’t you simply say what the price is?” But he had his own customers. When they came, they would ask, “Where is Dada, where is grandfather? Because with him it is a game, a play. Whether we lose one rupee or two, whether it is more or less, that is not the point!”

They enjoyed it. The very activity in itself was something worth pursuing. Two persons were communicating through it. Two persons were playing a game and both knew it was a game – because of course a fixed price was possible.

In the West now they have fixed prices because people are more calculating and more profit motivated.

They cannot conceive of wasting time. Why waste time? The thing can be settled within minutes. There is no need. You can just write the exact price. Why fight for hours together? But then the game is lost and the whole thing becomes a routine. Even machines can do it. The businessman is not needed; the customer is not needed.

I have heard about a psychoanalyst who was such a busy man and who had so many patients that it was difficult to have personal contact with everyone. So he would feed his tape-recorder for a particular patient and the tape-recorder would say whatsoever that psychoanalyst wanted to say to the patient.

Once it happened that it was the appointed time of a patient who was a very rich man. The psychoanalyst was entering a hotel. Suddenly he saw the patient sitting there. So he asked,”What are you doing here? It was your time with me.” The patient said,”I am so busy that I have fed my words to my own tape-recorder. Both the tape-recorders are talking to each other. Whatsoever you have to say to me, my tape-recorder has recorded, and whatsoever I have to say to you, your tape-recorder has recorded it from my tape-recorder. This same time, and we are both free.”

If you are too calculating then persons disappear, and more and more mechanization comes in.

Even now in villages in India the haggling goes on. It is a game and worth enjoying. You are playing.

It is a match between two intelligences, and two persons come in deep contact. But it is not timesaving.

Games can never be time-saving. And in games you don’t worry about the time. You are carefree, and whatsoever is going on, you enjoy it right in that moment. Being playful is one of the deepest bases of all meditative processes. But we are businesslike; we are trained for it. So even when we meditate, we are looking for the end, for the result. And whatsoever happens, you will be unsatisfied.

People come to me and they say,”Yes, meditation is growing, progressing. I’m feeling more happy, a little more silent, at east, but nothing else is happening.” What nothing else? I know that people like this are bound to come some day and say,”Yes, I am feeling nirvana, but nothing else is happening.

I am blissful, but nothing else is happening.” What nothing else? He is looking for some profit and unless some very visible profit comes into his hands, something which he can deposit in a bank, he cannot be satisfied. Silence and happiness are so vague, you cannot possess them, you cannot show them to anyone.

Every day it happens that people come to me and they say that they are sad. They are expecting something which should not be expected even in businesses – and they are expecting in their meditations. The business mind comes into meditation with the whole training of business – what profit can be made out of it?

The businessman is not playful. And if you are not playful, you cannot be meditative. Be more and more playful. Waste time in play. Just playing with children will do. Even if there is no one, you can jump and dance alone in the room and be playful. Enjoy. But your mind will go on insisting,”What are you doing, wasting time? You can earn something out of this time. You can do something, and you are just jumping, singing, and dancing. What are you doing? Have you gone mad?” Try it. Snatch whatsoever time you can get out of your business, and be playful. Whatsoever. You can paint, you can play on a sitar, anything you like – but be playful. Look for no profit out of it, see no future in it, just the present. And then, then you can be playful inside also. Then you can jump on your thoughts, play with them, throw them here and there, dance with them, but not be serious about them.

Many people are just unconscious as far as their mind is concerned. Whatsoever happens in their mind, they are unconscious about it; they are drifting in it without knowing where the mind leads them. If you can be aware of any track of the mind you will be puzzled at what is happening. Mind moves through associations. A dog barks on the street. The bark comes to your head – and now you have started. You may move to the very end of the world through this barking of the dog. You may remember some friend who had a dog. Then this dog is dropped and that friend has come into the mind and he had a young wife and the wife was beautiful... and now you are moving. You can go to the very end of this world and you will never remember that just a dog played a trick on you; it just barked, and put you on the track, and you started to move.

You will feel very awkward at what scientists say about this. They say that this track is fixed in your mind. If the same dog in the same situation barks again, you will follow this track again: the friend, the dog, the wife – the beautiful wife – you will go the same way again.

Now they have tried many experiments with electrodes in the human brain. They touch a particular spot in the brain and then a particular memory is released. Suddenly you see that you are five years old, playing in a garden, running after a butterfly. Then the whole sequence is there: you feel pleasant, everything is nice, the air, the garden, the smell, everything comes alive. It is not simply memory, you relive it. Then the electrode is pulled out and the memory stops. If the electrode again touches the same spot, again the same memory comes again. It is just as if you are remembering something mechanical. And it always starts from a certain beginning and ends at a particular end; and then starts from the beginning... just as you record something on a tape-recorder. Your brain has millions of memories, millions of cells recording, and it is all mechanical.

These experiments on the human brain are very strange and very revealing. Memories can be revived again and again, again and again. One experimenter tried three hundred times and the memory was the same – it was recorded. The person on whom the experiment was done became aware and he felt that it was very, very weird because he was not the master, he could not do anything. When the electrode touched the place, the memory started and he had to see it. During three hundred times he by and by became a witness. He started seeing the memory but then he became aware that he was different and this memory was different. This experiment can be helpful, very helpful, for meditators, because when you know your mind is nothing but a mechanical recording around you, you are separate.

This mind can be touched. Now scientists say that sooner or later we will cut all the centers which give you anguish, anxiety, because again and again the same thing is touched and the whole thing has to be relived.

I have been trying many experiments with many disciples. Do the same thing and they move in the same vicious circle, again and again, again and again – unless they become a witness that this is a mechanical thing. You are aware that if you say the same thing to your wife each week, the same thing, she will react. After seven days, when she has forgotten, say the same thing: she will react.

Then record – the reaction is going to be the same. You know, your wife knows, a pattern becomes fixed – and it goes on. Even a dog can start your pattern just by barking. Something is touched, an electrode has entered. You have started on a journey.

If you are playful in life then you can be playful inside with the mind also. Then be as if you are watching something on a TV screen: you are not involved, you are just a spectator, an onlooker.

Look, and enjoy it. Don’t say good, don’t say bad, don’t condemn, don’t appreciate, because these are serious things. If a naked woman comes onto your screen, don’t say that this is bad, that some devil is playing a trick on you. No devil is there to play a trick upon you. Look at it as if it is just on the screen, a film screen. And be playful about it: say to the lady,”Wait”. Don’t try to push her out because the more you push her out, the more she will come in – ladies are difficult. And don’t follow her. If you follow then you will be in trouble. Don’t follow, don’t fight – this is the rule. Just look and be playful. Just say “hello” or ”good morning”. Just look and don’t be disturbed at all. Let the lady wait. She will go by herself, as she came: she moves on her own. She is not related to you, she is just something in the memory. Struck by some situation she came there, just a picture. Be playful with it. If you can be playful with your mind it will drop very soon, because mind can be there only if you are serious. Seriousness is the link, the bridge.



Excerpted from The Book of Secrets, by Osho.

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