Osho on how to Stop Thinking
Question: I have
Thinking all day of a way to ask the Question: How to
Osho: THINKING cannot be
stopped. Not that it does not stop, but it cannot be
stopped. It stops of its own accord. This distinction
has to be understood, otherwise you can go mad chasing
your mind. No-mind does not arise by stopping thinking.
When the thinking is no more, no-mind is. The very
effort to stop will create more anxiety, it will create
conflict, it will make you split. You will be in a
constant turmoil within. This is not going to help.
And even if you succeed in stopping it forcibly for a
few moments, it is not an achievement at all -- because
those few moments will be almost dead, they will not be
alive. You may feel a sort of stillness, but not
silence, because a forced stillness is not silence.
Underneath it, deep in the unconscious, the repressed
mind goes on working.
So, there is no way to stop the mind. But the mind stops
-- that is certain. It stops of its own accord.
So what to do? -- your question is relevant. Watch --
don't try to stop. There is no need to do any action
against the mind. In the first place, who will do it? It
will be mind fighting mind itself. You will divide your
mind into two; one that is trying to boss over -- the
top-dog -- trying to kill the other part of itself,
which is absurd. It is a foolish game. It can drive you
crazy. Don't try to stop the mind or the thinking --
just watch it, allow it. Allow it total freedom. Let it
run as fast as it wants. You don't try in any way to
control it. You just be a witness. It is beautiful!
Mind is one of the most beautiful mechanisms. Science
has not yet been able to create anything parallel to
mind. Mind still remains the masterpiece -- so
complicated, so tremendously powerful, with so many
potentialities. Watch it! Enjoy it! And don't watch like
an enemy, because if you look at the mind like an enemy,
you cannot watch. You are already prejudiced; you are
already against. You have already decided that something
is wrong with the mind -- you have already concluded.
And whenever you look at somebody as an enemy you never
look deep, you never look into the eyes. You avoid!
Watching the mind means: look at it with deep love, with
deep respect, reverence -- it is God's gift to you!
Nothing is wrong in mind itself. Nothing is wrong in
thinking itself. It is a beautiful process as other
processes are. Clouds moving in the sky are beautiful --
why not thoughts moving into the inner sky? Flowers
coming to the trees are beautiful -- why not thoughts
flowering into your being.
The river running to the ocean is beautiful -- why not
this stream of thoughts running somewhere to an unknown
destiny? is it not beautiful? Look with deep reverence.
Don't be a fighter -- be a lover. Watch! -- the subtle
nuances of the mind; the sudden turns, the beautiful
turns; the sudden jumps and leaps; the games that mind
goes on playing; the dreams that it weaves -- the
imagination, the memory; the thousand and one
projections that it creates. Watch! Standing there,
aloof, distant, not involved, by and by you will start
The deeper your watchfulness becomes, the deeper your
awareness becomes, and gaps start arising, intervals.
One thought goes and another has not come, and there is
a gap. One cloud has passed, another is coming and there
is a gap. In those gaps, for the first time you will
have glimpses of no-mind, you will have the taste of
no-mind. Call it taste of Zen, or Tao, or Yoga. In those
small intervals, suddenly the sky is clear and the sun
is shining. Suddenly the world is full of mystery
because all barriers are dropped. The screen on your
eyes is no more there.
You see clearly, you see penetratingly. The whole
existence becomes transparent. In the beginning, these
will be just rare moments, few and far in between. But
they will give you glimpses of what
samadhi is. Small
pools of silence -- they will come and they will
disappear. But now you know that you are on the right
track -- you start watching again. When a thought
passes, you watch it; when an interval passes, you watch
it. Clouds are also beautiful; sunshine also is
beautiful. Now you are not a chooser.
Now you don't have a fixed mind: you don't say, "I would
like only the intervals." That is stupid -- because once
you become attached to wanting only the intervals, you
have decided again against thinking. And then those
intervals will disappear. They happen only when you are
very distant, aloof. They happen, they cannot be
brought. They happen, you cannot force them to happen.
They are spontaneous happenings. Go on watching. Let
thoughts come and go -- wherever they want to go.
Nothing is wrong! Don't try to manipulate and don't try
Let thoughts move in total
freedom. And then bigger intervals will be coming. You
will be blessed with small
minutes will pass and no thought will be there; there
will be no traffic -- a total silence, undisturbed. When
the bigger gaps come, you will not only have clarity to
see into the world -- with the bigger gaps you will have
a new clarity arising -- you will be able to see into
the inner world. With the first gaps you will see into
the world: trees will be more green than they look right
You will be surrounded by an infinite music -- the music
of the spheres. You will be suddenly in the presence of
God -- ineffable, mysterious. Touching you although you
can not grasp it. Within your reach and yet beyond. With
the bigger gaps, the same will happen inside. God will
not only be outside, you will be suddenly surprised --
He is inside also. He is not only in the seen; He is in
the seer also -- within and without. By and by... But
don't get attached to that either. Attachment is the
food for the mind to continue.
witnessing is the way to stop it without
any effort to stop it. And when you start enjoying those
blissful moments, your capacity to retain them for
longer periods arises. Finally, eventually, one day, you
become master. Then when you want to think, you think;
if thought is needed, you use it; if thought is not
needed, you allow it to rest. Not that mind is simply no
more there: mind is there, but you can use it or not use
it. Now it is your decision. Just like legs: if you want
to run you use them; if you don't want to run you simply
rest -- legs are there.
In the same way, mind is always there. When I am talking
to you I am using the mind -- there is no other way to
talk. When I am answering your question I am using the
mind -- there is no other way. I have to respond and
relate, and mind is a beautiful mechanism. When I am not
talking to you and I am alone, there is no mind --
because it is a medium to relate through. Sitting alone
it is not needed. You have not given it a rest; hence,
the mind becomes mediocre. Continuously used, tired, it
goes on and on and on. Day it works; night it works.
In the day you think; in the night you dream. Day in,
day out, it goes on working. If you live for seventy or
eighty years it will be continuously working. Look at
the delicacy and the endurability of the mind -- so
delicate! In a small head all the libraries of the world
can be contained; all that has ever been written can be
contained in one single mind. Tremendous is the capacity
of the mind -- and in such a small space! and not making
If scientists some day become capable of creating a
parallel computer to mind... computers are there, but
they are not yet minds. They are still mechanisms, they
have no organic unity; they don't have any center yet.
If some day it becomes possible... and it is possible
that scientists may some day be able to create minds --
then you will know how much space that computer will
take, and how much noise it will make. Mind is making
almost no noise; goes on working silently. And such a
servant! -- for seventy, eighty years.
And then, too, when you are dying your body may be old
but your mind remains young. Its capacity remains yet
the same. Sometimes, if you have used it rightly, it
even increases with your age! -- because the more you
know, the more you understand, the more you have
experienced and lived, the more capable your mind
becomes. When you die, everything in your body is ready
to die -- except the mind. That's why in the East we say
mind leaves the body and enters another womb, because it
is not yet ready to die. The rebirth is of the mind.
Once you have attained the state of samadhi, no-mind,
then there will be no rebirth. Then you will simply die.
And with your dying, everything will be dissolved --
your body, your mind... only your witnessing soul will
remain. That is beyond time and space. Then you become
one with existence; then you are no more separate from
it. The separation comes from the mind. But there is no
way to stop it forcibly -- don't be violent. Move
lovingly, with a deep reverence -- and it will start
happening of its own accord. You just watch. And don't
be in a hurry.
The modern mind is in much hurry. It wants instant
methods for stopping the mind. Hence, drugs have appeal.
Mm? -- you can force the mind to stop by using
chemicals, drugs, but again you are being violent with
the mechanism. It is not good. It is destructive. In
this way you are not going to become a master. You may
be able to stop the mind through the drugs, but then
drugs will become your master -- you are not going to
become the master. You have simply changed your bosses,
and you have changed for the worse.
Now the drugs will hold power over you, they will
possess you; without them you will be nowhere.
Meditation is not an effort against the mind. It is a
way of understanding the mind. It is a very loving way
of witnessing the mind -- but, of course, one has to be
very patient. This mind that you are carrying in your
head has arisen over centuries, millennia. Your small
mind carries the whole experience of humanity -- and not
only of humanity: of animals, of birds, of plants, of
rocks. You have passed through all those experiences.
All that has happened up to now has happened in you
also. In a very small nutshell, you carry the whole
experience of existence. That's what your mind is. In
fact, to say it is yours is not right: it is collective;
it belongs to us all. Modern psychology has been
approaching it, particularly Jungian analysis has been
approaching it, and they have started feeling something
like a collective unconscious. Your mind is not yours --
it belongs to us all. Our bodies are very separate; our
minds are not so separate.
Our bodies are clear-cutly separate; our minds overlap
-- and our souls are one. Bodies separate, minds
overlapping, and souls are one. I don't have a different
soul and you don't have a different soul. At the very
center of existence we meet and are one. That's what God
is: the meeting-point of all. Between the God and the
world -- 'the world' means the bodies -- is mind. Mind
is a bridge: a bridge between the body and the soul,
between the world and God. Don't try to destroy it! Many
have tried to destroy it through Yoga. That is a misuse
Many have tried to destroy it through body posture,
breathing -- that too brings subtle chemical changes
inside. For example: if you stand on your head in
shirshasan -- in the headstand -- you can destroy the
mind very easily. Because when the blood rushes too
much, like a flood, into the head -- when you stand on
your head that's what you are trying to do.... The mind
mechanism is very delicate; you are flooding it with
blood. The delicate tissues will die. That's why you
never come across a very intelligent yogi -- no.
Yogis are, more or less, stupid. Their bodies are
healthy -- that's true -- strong, but their minds are
just dead. You will not see the glimmer of intelligence.
You will see a very robust body, animallike, but somehow
the human has disappeared. Standing on your head, you
are forcing your blood into the head through
gravitation. The head needs blood, but in a very, very
small quantity; and very slowly, not floodlike. Against
gravitation, very little blood reaches to the head. And
that, too, in a very silent way.
If too much blood is reaching into the head it is
destructive. Yoga has been used to kill the mind;
breathing can be used to kill the mind. There are
rhythms of breath, subtle vibrations of breath, which
can be very, very drastic to the delicate mind. The mind
can be destroyed through them. These are old tricks. Now
the latest tricks are supplied by science: LSD,
marijuana, and others. More and more sophisticated drugs
will be available sooner or later.
I am not in favour of stopping the mind. I am in favour
of watching it.
It stops of its own accord -- and then it is beautiful
When something happens without any violence it has a
beauty of its own, it has a natural growth. You can
force a flower and open it by force; you can pull the
petals of a bud and open it by force -- but you have
destroyed the beauty of the flower. Now it is almost
dead. It cannot stand your violence. The petals will be
hanging loose, limp, dying. When the bud opens by its
own energy, when it opens of its own accord, then those
petals are alive.
The mind is your flowering -- don't force it in any way.
I am against all force and against all violence, and
particularly violence that is directed towards yourself.
Just watch -- in deep prayer, love, reverence. And see
what happens! Miracles happen of their own accord. There
is no need to pull and push. You ask: How to stop
thinking? I say: Just watch, be alert. And drop this
idea of stopping, otherwise it will stop the natural
transformation of the mind. Drop this idea of stopping!
Who are you to stop? At the most, enjoy.
And nothing is wrong -- even if immoral thoughts,
so-called immoral thoughts, pass through your mind, let
them pass; nothing is wrong. You remain detached. No
harm is being done. It is just fiction; you are seeing
an inner movie. Allow it its own way and it will lead
you, by and by, to the state of no-mind. Watching
ultimately culminates in no-mind. No-mind is not against
mind: no-mind is beyond mind. No-mind does not come by
killing and destroying the mind: no-mind comes when you
have understood the mind so totally that thinking is no
longer needed -- your understanding has replaced it.
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