A sannyasin comes to Osho with the plea:
“I have so much pain inside, what can I do?”
Osho responds by detailing the nature of pain, physical and emotional, and giving pointers on how it is possible to transcend it.
Pain and pleasure are intrinsic parts of life. People are so much afraid of pain that they repress pain, they avoid any situation that brings pain, they go on dodging pain. And finally they stumble upon the fact that if you really want to avoid pain you will have to avoid pleasure. That’s why your monks avoid pleasure—they are afraid of pleasure. In fact they are simply avoiding all possibilities of pain. They know that if you avoid pleasure then naturally great pain is not possible; it comes only as a shadow of pleasure. Then you walk on the plain ground—you never move on the peaks and you never fall into the valleys. But then you are living dead, then you are not alive.
Pain & pleasure
Life exists between this polarity. This tension between pain and pleasure makes you capable of creating great music; music exists only in this tension. Destroy the polarity and you will be dull, you will be stale, you will be dusty—you won’t have any meaning and you will never know what splendour is. You will have missed life. The man who wants to know life and live life has to accept and embrace death. They come together, they are two aspects of a single phenomenon.
That’s why growth is painful. You have to go into all those pains that you have been avoiding. It hurts. You have to go through all those wounds that somehow you have managed not to look at. But the deeper you go into pain, the deeper is your capacity to go into pleasure. If you can go into pain to the uttermost limit, you will be able to touch heaven. To be free of pain the pain has to be accepted, inevitably and naturally.
Pain is pain—a simple painful fact. Suffering however is only and always the refusal of pain, the claim that life should not be painful. It is the rejection of a fact, the denial of life and of the nature of things. Death is the mind that minds dying. Where there is no fear of death, who is there to die? Man is unique among creatures in his knowledge of death and in his laughter. Wonderfully then, he can even make of death a new thing: he can die laughing.
It is only man who knows laughter; no other animal laughs. It is only man who knows death; no other animal knows death—animals simply die, they are not conscious of the phenomenon of death. Man is aware of two things which no animal is: one is laughter, another is death. Then a new synthesis is possible.
It is only man who can die laughing—he can join the consciousness of death and the capacity to laugh. And if you can die laughing, only then will you give a valid proof to all that you must have lived laughing.
How you have lived will be shown by your death, how you die. Can you die laughing? Then you were a grown-up person. If you die crying, weeping, clinging, then you were a child. You were not grown-up, you were immature. If you die crying, weeping, clinging to life, that simply shows you have been avoiding death and you have been avoiding all pains, all kinds of pains.
Growth is facing the reality, encountering the fact, whatsoever it is. And let me repeat: pain is simply pain; there is no suffering in it. Suffering comes from your desire that the pain should not be there, that there is something wrong in pain. Watch, witness, and you will be surprised. You have a headache: the pain is there but suffering is not there.
Suffering is a secondary phenomenon, pain is primary. The headache is there, the pain is there; it is simply a fact. There is no judgment about it—you don’t call it good or bad, you don’t give it any value; it is just a fact. The rose is a fact, so is the thorn. The day is a fact, so is the night. The head is a fact, so is the headache. You simply take note of it. Buddha taught his disciples that when you have a headache simply say twice: “Headache, headache.” Take note. But don’t evaluate, don’t say: “Why? Why has this headache happened to me? It should not happen to me.”
The moment you say: “It should not,” you bring suffering in. Now suffering is created by you, not by the headache. Suffering is your antagonistic interpretation, your denial of fact. And the moment you say: “It should not be,” you have started avoiding it, you have started turning yourself away from it. You would like to be occupied in something so that you can forget it. You turn the radio or the TV on or you go to the club or you start reading or you go and start working in the garden—you divert yourself, you distract yourself.
Be a witness
Now, that pain has not been witnessed; you have simply distracted yourself. That pain will be absorbed by the system. Let this key be deeply understood: if you can witness your headache without antagonism, without avoiding it, without escaping from it; if you can just be there, meditatively there—“headache, headache”—if you can just simply see it, the headache will go in its time.
I am not saying that it will go miraculously, that just by your seeing it will go. It will go in its time. But it will not be absorbed by your system; it will not poison your system. It will be there, you will take note of it, and it will be gone. It will be released. When you witness a certain thing in yourself it cannot enter into your system. It always enters when you avoid it, when you escape from it. When you become absent then it enters into your system.
Only when you are absent can a pain become part of your being—if you are present your very presence prevents it from becoming part of your being. And if you can go on seeing your pains you will not be accumulating them. You have not been taught the right clue, so you go on avoiding. Then you accumulate so much pain, you are afraid to face it, you are afraid to accept it. If growth becomes painful—it is because of wrong conditioning. Otherwise growth is not painful, growth is utterly pleasant.
(Excerpted from The Revolution, Chapter 6)
Osho describes a meditation technique that will help not only deal with pain but also use pain as an entry point into a deeper contemplative state.
Meditation: Concentrate on a pain in your body.
Inspiration: Pierce some part of your nectar-filled form with a pin, and gently enter the piercing and attain to the inner purity.
Technique: This meditation is done by yourself. You won’t need privacy. It will not be obvious that you are meditating. Do the technique anywhere suitable. Emphasis is on touch.
Practice: This sutra says: pierce some part of your nectar-filled form… Your body is not just a body, it is filled with you, and that you is the nectar. Pierce your body. When you are piercing your body, you are not pierced, only the body is pierced. But you feel the pierce as if you have been pierced; that is why you feel pain.
If you can become aware that only the body is pierced, that you are not pierced, instead of pain you will feel bliss. There is no need to do it with a pin. Many things happen every day; you can use those situations for meditation. Or you can create a situation.
Some pain is there in your body. Do one thing: forget the whole body, just concentrate on the part of the body which is painful. And then a strange thing will be noted. When you concentrate on the part of the body which is painful, you see that part is shrinking. First you feel that the pain, the ache, is in your whole leg. When you concentrate, then you feel it is not in the whole leg. It was exaggerated—it is just at the knee.
Concentrate more, and you will feel it is not on the whole knee but just on a pinpoint. Concentrate more on the pinpoint; forget the whole body. Just close your eyes and go on concentrating in order to find where the pain is. It will go on shrinking; the area will become smaller and smaller. Then a moment will come when it will be just a pinpoint. Go on staring at the pinpoint, and suddenly the pinpoint will disappear and you will be filled with bliss. Instead of pain you will be filled with bliss.
Why does this happen? Because you and your body are two, they are not one. The one who is concentrating is you. The concentration is being done on the body—that is the object. When you concentrate, the gap is broadened; the identification is broken. Just to have concentration you move inside, away from the body. To bring the spot of pain into perspective, you have to move away. That moving away creates the gap. And when you are concentrating on the pain, you forget the identification, you forget that, “I am feeling pain”. Now you are the observer and the pain is somewhere else.
You are observing the pain, not feeling the pain. This change from feeling to observation creates the gap. And when the gap is bigger, suddenly you forget the body completely; you are aware only of consciousness.
You can try this technique also: pierce some part of your nectar-filled body with a pin, and gently enter the piercing. If there is pain, then first you will have to concentrate on the whole area; then by and by it will come to a pinpoint.
But there is no need to wait. You can use a pin… So find a sensitive spot where you can feel even a slight touch. Then pierce the pin and enter the piercing. That is the thing; that is meditation. And gently enter the piercing. As the pin moves inside, into your skin, and you feel the pain, you also enter. Do not feel that the pain is entering you; do not feel the pain, do not be identified with it. Enter with the pin. Pierce with the pin.
Close your eyes; observe the pain. As the pain is piercing in, you also pierce yourself. And with the pin piercing you, your mind will become easily concentrated. Use that point of pain, of intense pain, and observe it. That is what is meant by gently entering the piercing. And attain to the inner purity.
If you can enter observing, unidentified, aloof, standing far away, not feeling that the pain is piercing you, but observing that the pin is piercing the body and you are an observer, you will attain to the inner purity; the inner innocence will be revealed to you. For the first time you will become aware that you are not the body. And once you know that you are not the body your life is changed completely, because your whole life is around the body….
Once you know you are not the body, your whole world disappears. You cannot support it any more. A different world arises which is around the soul—a world of compassion, of love, of beauty, of truth, of goodness, of innocence. The centre is shifted, and it is not in the body now. It is in the consciousness. Enough for today.
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