What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I do this? I’m so bad at it. My mind is a scattered mess. I can’t meditate! How can these other people do it?!
Everyone who has ever tried meditating has had thoughts like these running through their head. It happens all the time, and usually leads to the inevitable “I’m just not cut out for this.”
We have this idea about what meditation must be like. We think that as soon as we start meditating, we must be free of thought, utterly focused with complete inner peace.
But meditation isn’t like that.
And according to Zen Master Osho, our thoughts about mindfulness and meditation are hurting us more than helping.
Osho Explains Why You Think You Can’t Meditate Properly
Many people come to Osho and ask him how can they achieve a “peaceful state of mind”. But Osho says that this just isn’t possible:
“People come to me and they ask, “How to attain a peaceful mind?” I say to them, “There exists nothing like that: peaceful mind. Never heard of it.”Mind is never peaceful; no-mind is peace. Mind itself can never be peaceful, silent. The very nature of the mind is to be tense, to be in confusion. Mind can never be clear, it cannot have clarity, because mind is by nature confusion, cloudiness. Clarity is possible without mind, peace is possible without mind; silence is possible without mind, so never try to attain a silent mind. If you do, from the very beginning you are moving in an impossible dimension.”
The problem, according to Osho, is that we think we are the mind. In truth, the mind is simply a tool. Once we realize that we aren’t the mind, we’ll have more opportunity to experience real inner peace.
“But there is one problem, because you think you are the mind. So how can you drop it? So you feel you can drop everything, change everything, repaint, redecorate, rearrange, but how can you drop yourself. That is the root of all trouble.
You are not the mind, you are beyond mind. You have become identified, that’s true, but you are not the mind…
When all identity with the mind is dropped, when you are a watcher on the hills and the mind is left deep down in the darkness of the valleys, when you are on the sunlit peaks, just a pure witness, seeing, watching, but not getting identified with anything – good or bad, sinner or saint, this or that – in that witnessing all questions dissolve. The mind melts, evaporates. You are left as a pure being, just a pure existence – a breathing, a beating of the heart, utterly in the moment, no past, no future, hence no present either.”
You are not the mind – but how do you actually practice that?
While the key to inner peace is to realize that you aren’t the mind, how do you actually do it in meditation?
Osho says that instead of struggling against the mind by trying to forcibly calm it, we instead need to become an observer of the mind:
“Just like someone sitting by the side of a river watching the river flow by, sit by the side of your mind and watch….Or the way someone watches the rainy sky and the moving clouds, you just watch the clouds of thoughts moving in the sky of your mind…Don’t do anything, don’t interfere, don’t stop them in any way. Don’t repress in any way. If there is a thought coming don’t stop it, if it is not coming don’t try to force it to come. You are simply to be an observer….”
“In that simple observation you will see and experience that your thoughts and you are separate – because you can see that the one who is watching the thoughts is separate from the the thoughts, different from them. And you become aware of this, a strange peace will envelop you because you will not have any more worries. You can be in the midst of all kinds of worries but the worries will not be yours….”
“And if you become aware that you are not your thoughts, the life of these thoughts will begin to grow weaker, they will begin to become more and more lifeless. The power of your thoughts lies in the fact that you think they are yours. When you are arguing with someone you say, “My thought is”. No thought is yours. All thoughts are different from you, separate from you. You just be a witness to them.”
If you would like to learn meditation techniques to practice being an observer of the mind, check out these articles: