Osho - Witnessing is a Knack
Question: Beloved Osho, you
describe witnessing as a knack. Often, late at night, when I am
in a very relaxed state, witnessing happens. At other times,
though, it just seems to be mind watching mind watching mind.
Please comment on this knack.
Osho: The moment I say that
witnessing is a knack, it implies that there is no way to
explain it, no way to teach someone about it, no way to train
someone in it. That’s the whole meaning of the word ”knack.”
I can say things which are close enough, but they can never be
exact descriptions of the knack. It is not an art, not a craft
that can be explained in detail, step by step. But if it is
happening to you, there is no problem. You should know what it
is, you should know the taste of it.
The problem is arising because you must be trying to do it; not
allowing the knack to happen, but trying to make an art of it,
so that you can control it. Man wants to control everything; it
is part of his basic ego. The knack cannot be controlled. Either
you know it or you don’t know it.
You can play around it, and sometimes by chance you stumble upon
it: suddenly you have come to know it. That is the moment when
you have to be
aware in what situation it is happening. In the
night, when you are relaxed, you find it happening. That gives
you a clue that relaxation, not an effort to attain witnessing,
allows the knack to happen.
At other times when you are trying, making an effort, an
endeavor to get it, then it is mind watching mind watching mind.
It is always the mind. Mind cannot get the knack. Mind can learn
any art, any technique, any craft: a knack is beyond it. It is
not its language, it is not
its world. A knack is something beyond mind.
So you have to be clearly aware: the thing is happening to you,
the failure of the mind is happening to you. Whenever you are
trying, you watch – then you find that it is mind watching
another part of the mind. And then you find the one who has
found this is also another part of the mind.
And this can go on ad infinitum. Mind is capable of dividing
itself infinitely. But finally you will find only mind – you
will not come to meditation, you will not come to witnessing.
So your failure is helpful. It says, ”Don’t make the effort,
don’t try.” Your success indicates that it happens when you are
relaxed, when you are not trying. In relaxation, mind is no
The mind is going to be in sleep, it is ready to go into sleep;
it is not going into an effort because effort will keep you
awake. You cannot fall into sleep by effort.
Sleep and witnessing have something in common. You cannot make
the effort – one thing. Every effort is going to be a failure –
Unless you learn that every effort fails, you cannot get the
knack. But once in a while when your mind is getting ready to go
to sleep – inbetween, when you are still awake, and the mind is
relaxing to go into sleep – suddenly, witnessing happens. You
have got the knack!
Now don’t ask me what it is.
That may destroy even your night witnessing, because you may
start trying it. Just let it happen as it is happening in the
night. You can, at the most, create the same atmosphere whenever
you want it to happen, and wait. You cannot force it. One has to
learn a great lesson – that there are things beyond you which
you cannot force; you can only remain open, available, waiting,
and they come.
The moment you become tense to get hold of them, they slip away.
It is just like, in the open fist you have all the air possible.
With the closed fist all the air disappears. You may be thinking
that with a closed fist you are catching hold of the air. No, it
has slipped out. It
does not belong to the closed fist, it belongs only to the open
hand – and it is easily available.
You just have to see when it happens, what the surroundings are.
The surroundings mean you are going into sleep, you are tired of
the whole day’s work – you don’t want to work anymore. In the
gap, before the mind slips into sleep and you lose consciousness
– the mind is preparing, is getting ready to go into sleep, but
you are still awake – in that minute gap,
Now, you cannot try the knack. You can simply create the outer
In the day, anytime, let the mind go into relaxation. Don’t try
– as if you are going to create witnessing: you are simply
allowing mind to rest. And at a certain point, that same gap
will appear, and in the gap descends the witness.
This is the mystery of a knack – its strangeness and its
Source: “Light on the Path” - Osho
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