God is not attained by a process of addition to anything in the soul, but by a process of subtraction.
We’re guilty, no time to enjoy life. We’re overworked, go, go, go. If you really enjoy life and the simple pleasures of the senses, you’d be amazed. You’d develop that extraordinary discipline of the animal. An animal will never overeat. Left in its natural habitat, it will never be overweight. It will never drink or eat anything that is not good for its health. You never find an animal smoking. It always exercises as much as it needs. Watch your cat, see how it springs into action, look at the suppleness of its limbs and the aliveness of its body. We’ve lost that. We’re lost in our minds, in our ideas and ideals and so on, and its always go, go, go. And we’ve got an inner self-conflict which animals don’t have. And we’re always condemning ourselves and making ourselves feel guilty.
Nourish yourself on wholesome food, good wholesome food. I’m not talking about actual food, I’m talking about sunsets, about nature, about a good movie, about a good book, about enjoyable work, about good company, and hopefully you will break your addictions to those other feelings.
Lots of people gain the world and lose their soul. Lots of people live empty, soulless lives because they’re feeding themselves on popularity, appreciation, and praise, on “I’m OK, you’re OK” on “look at me, attend to me, support me, value me, on being the boss, on having power, on winning the race”. Do you feed yourself on that? If you do, you’re dead. You’ve lost your soul. Feed yourself on other, more nourishing material. Then you’ll see the transformation.
Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox.
Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. They are having a nightmare.
People don’t really want to grow up, to change, to be happy, or to be cured. What they want is relief — a cure is painful.
We are afraid of losing control of the life that we are so precariously holding together. To wake up, the thing you need most is the readiness to learn something new.
It’s not that we fear the unknown. You cannot fear something that you do not know. What you really fear is the loss of the known.
An awakened person is somebody who no longer marches to the drums of society, a person who dances to the tune of the music that springs up from within.
Every great idea starts out as a blasphemy.
Every new idea, every great idea, when it first began was in a minority of one. That Jesus Christ—minority of one. The Buddha—minority of one. Everybody was saying something different from what he was saying.
Jesus proclaimed the good news yet he was rejected. Not because it was good, but because it was new. We hate the new. We don’t want new things, particularly when they’re disturbing, particularly when they involve change.
The highest knowledge of God is to know God as unknowable.
It’s not a question of imitating Christ, it’s a question of becoming what Jesus was. It’s a question of becoming Christ, becoming aware, understanding what’s going on within you.
We need to be redeemed again. We need to put off the old man, the old nature, the conditioned self, and return to the state of the child but without being a child.
This is what is ultimate in our human knowledge of God, to know that we do not know. Our great tragedy is that we know too much. We think we know, that is our tragedy; so we never discover.
Beliefs and filters
All I can do for you is challenge your beliefs and the belief system that makes you unhappy. All I can do for you is help you to unlearn.
Most of what we feel and think we conjure up for ourselves in our heads.
Life has no meaning. Meaning is something that makes sense to the mind. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.
We are constantly getting feedback from reality. But we are filtering things out through our conditioning, culture, and programming. The way we were taught to see things and to experience them.
Even our language can be a filter. There is so much filtering going on that sometimes you won’t see things that are there.
Agreement and disagreement have to do with words and concepts and theories. They don’t have anything to do with truth. Truth is never expressed in words. Truth is sighted suddenly, as a result of a certain attitude.
Are you listening, as most people do, in order to confirm what you already think? That’s faith. Not belief, but faith. Your beliefs give you a lot of security, but faith is insecurity.
No judgment, no commentary, no attitude: one simply observes, one studies, one watches, without the desire to change what is.
We’re always busy fixing things we don’t even understand. It never strikes us that things don’t need to be fixed. They need to be understood. If you understood them, they’d change.
Do you want to change the world? How about beginning with yourself? Through observation, understanding. With no interference or judgment on your part. Because what you judge you cannot understand.
We see people and things not as they are, but as we are. That is why when two people look at something or someone, you get two different reactions.
If you let yourself feel good when people tell you that you’re OK, you are preparing yourself to feel bad when they tell you you’re not. As long as you live to fulfill other people’s expectations, you better watch what you wear, how you comb your hair, whether your shoes are polished — in short, whether you live up to every damned expectation of theirs. Do you call that human?
Part of waking up is saying “no” to people, to live your life as you see fit. That is not selfish. The selfish thing is to demand that someone else live their life as you see fit.
Cut out all the OK stuff and the not-OK stuff; cut out all the judgments and simply observe, watch, see through it.
- When you renounce something, you’re tied to it.
- When you fight something, you’re empowering it.
Understand its true value and you won’t need to renounce it; it will just drop from your hands.
It’s like when you throw black paint in the air; the air remains uncontaminated. You never color the air black.
Most people don’t live aware lives. They live mechanical lives, mechanical thoughts — generally somebody else’s — mechanical emotions, mechanical actions, mechanical reactions.
In the life of a priest, fifty years’ experience is one year’ experience repeated fifty times.
If the eye is unobstructed, it results in sight; if the ear is unobstructed, the result is hearing; if the nose is unobstructed, the result is a sense of smell; if the mouth is unobstructed, the result is a sense of taste; if the mind is unobstructed, the result is wisdom.
Wisdom occurs when you drop barriers you have erected through your concepts and conditioning. Wisdom is not something acquired; wisdom is not experience; wisdom is not applying yesterday’s illusions to today’s problems.
Our conditioning, our concepts, our categories, our prejudices, our projections, the labels that we have drawn from our cultures and our past experiences, it all prevents us from seeing.
Be aware of what you’re saying, be aware of what you’re doing, be aware of what you’re thinking, be aware of how you’re acting. Be aware of where you’re coming from, what your motives are. The unaware life is not worth living.
It was so cold that if the thermometer had been an inch longer, we would have frozen to death.
—— Marc Twain
We do freeze to death on words. It’s not the cold outside that matters, but the thermometer. It’s not reality that matters, but what you’re saying to yourself about it.
Information is not insight, analysis is not awareness, knowledge is not awareness.
“It’s the ‘Aha’ experience that counts.” Merely analyzing gives no help; it just gives information. But if you could produce the “Aha” experience, that’s insight. That is change.
The root of evil is within you. As you begin to understand this, you stop making demands on yourself, you stop having expectations of yourself, you stop pushing yourself and you understand.
Making sense of the “I”
“I” is neither great nor small. “I” is neither successful nor a failure. These things come and go. These things depend on your conditioning, the criteria society establishes, even the mood of the person who happens to be talking to you. It has nothing to do with “I.”
Practice self-observation: watch everything in you and around you as far as possible and watch it as if it were happening to someone else.
You feel pretty strongly about certain things, and you think it is you who are feeling strongly about them, but are you really? It’s going to take a lot of awareness for you to understand that perhaps this thing you call “I” is simply a conglomeration of your past experiences, of your conditioning and programming.
Am I my thoughts, the thoughts that I am thinking? No. Thoughts come and go; I am not my thoughts.
Am I my body? They tell us that millions of cells in our body are changed or are renewed every minute, so that by the end of seven years we don’t have a single living cell in our body that was there seven years before. Cells come and go. Cells arise and die. But “I” seems to persist. So am I my body? Evidently not.
The body is part of “I,” but a changing part. It keeps moving, it keeps changing. We have the same name for it but it constantly changes. Just as we have the same name for Niagara Falls, but Niagara Falls is constituted by water that is constantly changing. We use the same name for an ever-changing reality.
You’ve got “I” observing “me.” This is an interesting phenomenon that has never ceased to cause wonder to philosophers, mystics, scientists, and psychologists.
When we look at a person, we really don’t see that person. What we’re seeing is something that we fixed in our mind. We get an impression, hold on to that impression, and we keep looking at a person through that impression. If you understand that, you will understand the loveliness and beauty of being aware of everything around you.
When we talk about self-worth, we are really talking about how we are reflected in the mirrors of other people’s minds. One understands one’s personal worth when he no longer identifies or defines one’s self in terms of these transient things.
There is yet another illusion, that is it important to be respectable, to be important. Many say we have a natural urge to be loved and appreciated, to belong. That’s false. Drop this illusion and you will find happiness. We have a natural urge to be free, a natural urge to love, but not to be loved.
We spend so much of our lives reacting to labels. We identify the labels with the “I.” When you’re caught up in labels, what value do these labels have, as far as the “I” is concerned? Could we say that “I” is none of the labels we attach to it? Labels belong to “me.” What constantly changes is “me.”
Relating happiness to excitement or thrills is what causes the depression. You’re just preparing the way for your next depression. That’s not happiness, that’s addiction.
Reality is not problematic. Problems exist only in the human mind, the stupid, sleeping human mind.
Lots of people have negative feelings they’re not aware of. Lots of people are depressed and they’re not aware they are depressed.
We spend all our time and energy trying to change external circumstances. But we don’t have to change anything. Negative feelings are in you, not in reality. No person on earth has the power to make you unhappy. There is no event on earth that has the power to disturb you or hurt you.
It’s like imagining that you change your handwriting by changing your pen. Or that you change your capacity to think by changing your hat. That doesn’t change you really, but most people spend all their energies trying to rearrange their exterior world to suit their tastes.
- (a) identify the negative feelings in you
- (b) understand that they are in you, not in the world, not in external reality;
- (c) do not see them as an essential part of “I”; these things come and go;
- (d) understand that when you change, everything changes.
You don’t change yourself; it’s not me changing me. Change takes place through you, in you.
The reason you suffer from your depression and your anxieties is that you identify with them. You say, “I’m depressed.” But that is false. You are just experiencing a depression right now.
You are not your depression. That is but a strange kind of trick of the mind, a strange kind of illusion. You have deluded yourself into thinking — though you are not aware of it — that you are your depression, that you are your anxiety, that you are your joy or the thrills that you have.
So when you step out of yourself and observe “me,” you no longer identify with “me.” Suffering exists in “me,” so when you identify “I” with “me,” suffering begins.
When you’re living for nothing, you’ve got all your skills, you’ve got all your energy, you’re relaxed, you don’t care, it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose.
You’re never so centered on yourself as when you’re depressed. Suffering, pain, misery and depression tie you to the self. On the other hand, you’re never so ready to forget yourself as when you are happy. Happiness releases you from self.
Step outside of yourself and look at that depression, don’t identify with it. You don’t do a thing to make it go away; you are perfectly willing to go on with your life while it passes through you and disappears.
You can be happy in your anxiety. You can be happy in your depression. But you can’t have the wrong notion of happiness.
It will pass. Everything passes, everything.
Your depressions and your thrills have nothing to do with happiness. Those are the swings of the pendulum. If you seek kicks or thrills, get ready for depression. Do you want your drug? Get ready for the hangover. One end of the pendulum swings to the other.
If you want anything too badly, you’re in big trouble. You can be happy right now. There’s only one reason why you’re not experiencing bliss at this present moment, and it’s because you’re focusing on what you don’t have.
We are ready to be happy provided we have this, that, and the other thing. This is really to say to our friend, to our God or to anyone, “You are my happiness. If I don’t get you, I refuse to be happy.”
You don’t need to belong to anybody or anything or any group. You don’t need to be in love. What you need is to be free. What you need is to love. That’s your nature. But you want to be desired. You want to be applauded, to be attractive. You don’t need this. You can be blissfully happy without it.
Your Society is not going to be happy to hear this, because you become terrifying when you open your eyes and understand this. How do you control a person like this? He doesn’t need you; he’s not threatened by your criticism; he doesn’t care what you think of him or what you say about him. He’s cut all those strings; he’s not a puppet any longer.
True, uninterrupted happiness is uncaused. You cannot make me happy. You are not my happiness. To acquire happiness you don’t have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Because we have it already.
Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings.
What are we saluting? I salute humanity, not a flag with an army around it.
We are crazy. The only reason we’re not locked up in an institution is that there are so many of us. We’re living on crazy ideas about love, about relationships, about happiness, about joy, about everything. We’re crazy to the point, I’ve come to believe, that if everybody agrees on something, you can be sure it’s wrong.
American says he or she is making a living, it isn’t a living they’re making. They have much more than they need to live. Come to my country and you’ll see that. But try to convince the average American of this. They’ve been brainwashed; they’ve been programmed. So they work and strive to get the desired object that will make them happy.
In India, many poor people are starting to get transistor radios, which are quite a luxury. Until everyone started getting transistors, they were perfectly happy without one. That’s the way it is with you. Until somebody told you you wouldn’t be happy unless you were loved, you were perfectly happy. You can become happy not being loved, not being desired by or attractive to someone. You become happy by contact with reality. That’s what brings happiness, a moment-by-moment contact with reality. That’s where you’ll find God; that’s where you’ll find happiness.
You and I were trained to be dissatisfied with ourselves. We’re always dissatisfied, we’re always discontented, we’re always pushing. Go on, put out more effort, more and more effort. But there’s always that conflict inside; there’s very little understanding.
We were given a taste of various drug addictions: approval, attention, success, making it to the top, prestige, getting your name in the paper, power, being the boss. We were given a taste of things like being the captain of the team, leading the band… Having a taste for these drugs, we became addicted and began to dread losing them.
So you became cravenly dependent on others and you lost your freedom. Others now have the power to make you happy or miserable. You crave your drugs, but as much as you hate the suffering that this involves, you find yourself completely helpless.
Most people in affluent countries have lost their capacity for enjoyment. They’ve got to have more and more expensive gadgets; they can’t enjoy the simple things of life.
Who determines what it means to be a success? This stupid society. The main preoccupation of society is to keep society sick! They are loony, they’re crazy. You became president of the lunatic asylum and you’re proud of it even though it means nothing. Having a lot of money or being president of a corporation has nothing to do with being a success in life.
Success in a political circle might be considered failure in some other circles. These are conventions. But we treat them like realities. When we were young, we were programmed to unhappiness. They taught us that in order to be happy you need money, success, a beautiful or handsome partner in life, a good job, friendship, spirituality, God—you name it. Unless you get these things, you’re not going to be happy, we were told. Now, that is what I call an attachment.
An attachment is a belief that without something you are not going to be happy.
Until I get this object (money, friendship, anything) I’m not going to be happy; I’ve got to strive to get it and then when I’ve got it, I’ve got to strive to keep it. I get a temporary thrill. Oh, I’m so thrilled, I’ve got it!.
But how long does that last? A few minutes, a few days at the most. When you get your new car, how long does the thrill last? Until your next attachment is threatened!
We’re too distracted with this attachment. Temporarily, the world rearranges itself to suit our attachment, so we say, “Yeah, great! My team won!” But hang on; it’ll change; you’ll be depressed tomorrow.
You didn’t really need it to be happy, did you? That should have taught you, but we never learn. We’re programmed; we’re conditioned. How liberating it is not to depend emotionally on anything. If you could get one second’s experience of that, you’d be breaking through your prison and getting a glimpse of the sky.
Don’t look down your nose at the alcoholics and the drug addicts: maybe you’re just as addicted as they are. Learn to be alone, with nowhere to rest your head, to leave everyone free and be free yourself, to be special to no one and love everyone — because love does that. It shines on good and bad alike.
You need to break out of this prison, this programming, this conditioning, these false beliefs, these fantasies; you need to break out into reality.
Reality is lovely; it is an absolute delight. Eternal life is now. We’re surrounded by it, like the fish in the ocean, but we have no notion about it at all.
The one who would be constant in happiness must frequently change.
Pleasant experiences make life delightful, but they don’t lead to growth. What leads to growth is painful experiences. Suffering points up an area in you where you have not yet grown, where you need to grow and be transformed and change.
Do not suppress desire, because then you would become lifeless. Desire in the healthy sense of the word is energy, and the more energy we have, the better. Understand desire instead. Don’t seek to fulfill desire so much as to understand desire.
The beauty of an action comes not from its having become a habit but from its sensitivity, consciousness, clarity of perception, and accuracy of response.
Wakefulness, happiness — call it what you wish — is the state of non-delusion, where you see things not as you are but as they are, insofar as this is possible for a human being. To drop illusions, to see things, to see reality.
Desire breeds anxiety and sooner or later it brings its hangover. You have somehow said to yourself that the existence and well-being of ‘I’ is tied up with this desire.
There’s nothing that can be said, really, about love. We can only speak of non-love. We can only speak of addictions. But of love itself nothing may be said explicitly.
Anytime you have a negative feeling toward anyone, you’re living in an illusion. There’s something seriously wrong with you. You’re not seeing reality. Something inside of you has to change. He is not to blame. The world’s all right. The one who has to change is you.
We always want someone else to change so that we will feel good. But even if your wife changes or your husband changes, you’re just as vulnerable as before; you’re just as idiotic as before; you’re just as asleep as before.
When true love enters, you no longer like or even dislike people in the ordinary sense of the word. You see them clearly and you respond accurately. So you have to be aware of your prejudices, your likes, your dislikes, your attractions. They’re all there, they come from your conditioning.
You are never in love with anyone, you’re in love with your prejudiced idea of that person.
“Falling in love” has nothing to do with love at all. It isn’t love, it’s desire, burning desire. You want, with all your heart, to be told that you’re attractive to her. That gives you a tremendous sensation. Meanwhile, everybody else is saying, “What the hell does he see in her?” But it’s his conditioning — he’s not seeing. They say that love is blind. Believe me, there’s nothing so clear-sighted as true love, nothing.
It’s been there all along, staring us in the face in the scriptures, though we never cared to see it because we were so drowned in what our culture calls love with its love songs and poems — that isn’t love at all, that’s the opposite of love.
Addiction, attachments, clinging, craving, and desire are blind. But not true love. Don’t call them love.
If you wish to love, you must learn to see again. And if you wish to see, you must learn to give up your drug. It’s as simple as that. Give up your dependency. Tear away the tentacles of society that have enveloped and suffocated your being.
Think of a life in which you depend on no one emotionally, so that no one has the power to make you happy or miserable anymore. You refuse to need any particular person or to be special to anyone or to call anyone your own.
We seek to cure our loneliness through emotional dependence on people, through gregariousness and noise. That is no cure. Get back to things, get back to nature, go up in the mountains. Then you will know that your heart has brought you to the vast desert of solitude, there is no one there at your side, absolutely no one.
You must drop it all. When your illusions drop, you’re in touch with reality at last, and believe me, you will never again be lonely, never again. Loneliness is not cured by human company. Loneliness is cured by contact with reality.
Think of the loneliness that is yours. Human company will only serve as a distraction. There’s an emptiness inside, and when the emptiness surfaces, you run away: turn on the television, turn on the radio, read a book, search for human company, seek entertainment, seek distraction. Everybody does that. It’s big business nowadays, an organized industry to distract us and entertain us.
Unless you hate your father and mother, brothers and sisters, unless you renounce and give up everything you possess, you cannot be my disciple.
How can you love people when you need people? You can only use them. If I need you to make me happy, I’ve got to use you, I’ve got to manipulate you, I’ve got to find ways and means of winning you. I cannot let you be free. I can only love people when I have emptied my life of people.
Grief is a sign that I made my happiness depend on this thing or person. We’re so accustomed to hear the opposite of this that what I say sounds inhuman. To depend on another psychologically — to depend on another emotionally, means to depend on another human being for my happiness.
Perfect love casts out fear. Where there is love there are no demands, no expectations, no dependency. I do not demand that you make me happy; my happiness does not lie in you. If you were to leave me, I will not feel sorry for myself; I enjoy your company immensely, but I do not cling.
The lovely thing about Jesus was that he was so at home with sinners, because he understood that he wasn’t one bit better than they were.
We differ from others — from criminals, for example — only in what we do or don’t do, not in what we are.
There are three types of selfishness.
- First, when I do something, or rather, when I give myself the pleasure of pleasing myself.
- Second, when I give myself the pleasure of pleasing others. Don’t take pride in that. Don’t think you’re a great person. You’re a very ordinary person, but you’ve got refined tastes.
- Third, which is the worst: when you do something good so that you won’t get a bad feeling. It doesn’t give you a good feeling to do it; it gives you a bad feeling to do it. You hate it.
Expect the worst, you’re dealing with selfish people. They’re not nice. They’re as bad as you are. They’re asleep like you. And what do you think they are going to seek? Their own self-interest, exactly like you.
We love to hurt people, especially some people. We love it. And when someone else is doing the hurting we rejoice in it. But we don’t want to do the hurting ourselves because we’ll get hurt, others will have a bad opinion of us. They won’t like us, they’ll talk against us and we don’t like that.
Ignorance and fear, ignorance caused by fear, that’s where all the evil comes from, that’s where your violence comes from.
We live in a flash of light; evening comes and it is night forever.
It’s only a flash and we waste it. We waste it with our anxiety, our worries, our concerns, our burdens.
The way to really live is to die. The passport to living is to imagine yourself in your grave.
Imagine you’re lying flat and you’re dead. Now look at your problems from that viewpoint. Changes everything, doesn’t it?
You’re not living until it doesn’t matter a tinker’s damn to you whether you live or die. At that point you live. When you’re ready to lose your life, you live it. But if you’re protecting your life, you’re dead.
People mistakenly think that living is keeping the body alive. So love the thought of death, love it. Go back to it again and again.
It’s precisely the ones who don’t know what to do with this life who are all hot and bothered about what they are going to do with another life. The awakened is not bothered about it; you don’t care. You are not interested, period.
Eternal means timeless — no time. The human mind cannot understand that. The human mind can understand time and can deny time. What is timeless is beyond our comprehension.