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Osho on Work as Worship & Spaced Out

Question: Beloved Master, can you say something about single-pointedness, being total, spacing out,work, and worship?

Osho: There has always been a confusion in people’s minds about single-mindedness – in other words, concentration – and meditation. They think both are the same.

The reality is just the opposite. When you are single-minded, you are one dimensional. Your
mind becomes narrower and narrower and narrower, and remains focused on one point. This is concentration.

If you are learning shooting, the art of archery, and things like that, it will be helpful.
There is a story in ancient Indian scriptures. The great master archer, Dronacharya, asked his disciples to shoot their arrows at a bird sitting on a tree. They were all ready with their bows and arrows, and he said, ”Before you shoot, I want to ask a question, and each one has to answer.”

He asked the first one. The question was, ”What are you seeing?”

He said, ”I am seeing everything: the tree, the sky, other trees, the birds flying.” He went on asking the same question to the other disciples. One disciple said, ”I can see only the tree on which the bird is sitting.”

He was far better, but the other one was even closer. He said, ”I can only see the bird.”

The master has said that you have to make the target the bird’s right eye.

The other said, ”I can see both the bird’s eyes.”

Arjuna was the only one who said, ”I don’t see anything except the right eye.”

This is one-pointedness. Arjuna became his master’s most important disciple, a great archer.
So one-pointedness is needed in many things, but it is not meditation. It is putting your mind together in one narrow dimension – linear, just in a line. In science it is useful, but it is not meditation.

Meditation is a state of no-mind. Meditation means the mind has stopped. Just you are, pure consciousness, simple awareness; all the dimensions are available to you. So it is just the opposite of concentration. You are asking what it means to space out. You all know it. When you are doing something and you are not there, that is spacing out. It is against concentration. It is against meditation. It is just a wandering mind.

If you are chopping wood and thinking of a film star, you are spaced out. And it is dangerous: you may chop one of your legs. You are not where you are supposed to be. Even in such sacred moments when you are making love to your beloved, you are not there. The woman is there, but her mind is also far away. So two bodies are going through a gymnastics. Of course it is not productive of any contentment. You both come out of it frustrated, cheated. Something went wrong.

The man immediately turns to the other side, pulls over the blanket, and goes to sleep. The woman cries, weeps, because such a moment... and nothing comes out of it. The whole day she has been waiting, that her lover will be coming; but when he was making love, she was thinking of Muhammad Ali the Great. So whenever two persons are making love, there is at least a crowd. The man is thinking of Marilyn Monroe, the woman is thinking of Muhammad Ali, and these pictures in the mind go on changing. And on the margin they are trying to make love.

Why unnecessarily harass each other? If this is the situation in love, what will be the situation in other things? Spacing out is unhealthy. If you want to think of Muhammad Ali, you can sit silently and think of Muhammad Ali. At least it will be one-pointedness. But people are doing many things at a time, and they think that this is some achievement. Just in front of my house in India, was one woman I used to see every day. She had a small child.

So the child was put in a rocking chair, and she would be sitting in front of the child, and she would go on pushing the rocking chair with her leg, because the child cannot manage that. So the chair would go on rocking, and the child would remain silent. And she was continuously making something for the child, because the winter was coming: a sweater, socks, a hat. So with her hands she was engaged with the sweater, and with her eyes she was always reading the newspaper. A multipurpose woman!

And I don’t think this was all; this was outside so you could see. What was going on in her head nobody knows, because when she can manage three things simultaneously outside, in the mind she can manage three hundred things. These people go on missing the moment – its purity, its life, its joy – because they are not there. And they will never be anywhere if this becomes their habit – which has become the habit of the whole humanity. And you ask me what is work and worship.

Work is when you space out. You do the work, but you are not totally there. If you are totally there, it is worship. Then the work is not only work; then the work takes a new flavor: of silence, of meditativeness, of joy – just the wind passing by, the sunrays falling on you, you chopping wood, and the perspiration coming to your forehead. And all is in utter silence; you are simply chopping wood. You are not going anywhere; you are here.

One of the emperors of Japan had gone to see a great Zen master, Nan Yin. He asked Nan Yin, ”What have you learned that makes you a great master, known all over the country?”

Nan Yin said, ”Very simple: when I chop wood, I simply chop wood; and when I carry the water from the well, I simply carry the water from the well.”

The emperor said, ”I had come to listen to something spiritual. What nonsense are you talking? Chopping wood, you simply chop wood? Everybody does it; what is special in it? Carrying water from the well, you carry the water from the well? I have come a long distance, and I am your country’s emperor. You should at least give me some spiritual advice.”

Nan Yin said, ”That was my spiritual advice, and I want to make it clear to you that everybody is not doing that. It took me years to chop wood without any thoughts: to just be there, chopping.”And it is tremendously beautiful: the sound in the valley, the chips of the wood flying all over, the wind blowing through the trees, their song, their music. And I am utterly silent, just chopping wood.

Carrying water from the well is the same. ”My whole day is the same. I have given you, in short, my basic approach of life. Be where you are. Don’t let mind go away.”

Work immediately becomes worship – if you have understood Nan Yin’s statement. Things are not complex, things are very simple. You just have to be a little alert and watch what is happening within you: whether it is single-mindedness, whether it is spacing out, whether it is work, whether it is worship. Just watch. And your goal should be that everything becomes worship: walking, or sitting, or even doing nothing. If you are there, absolutely there – nothing is moving in your mind, all movement has stopped – then your whole life is worship. Then your whole life is meditation.

Christians go to the church on Sunday. Their religion is Sunday religion. One hour there, listening to the same boring sermon – but they have to listen to it, because they are afraid of falling in hell. This boring sermon is okay; for a few years you listen to it, and you will go to heaven. But they don’t know that in heaven you will have all the saints for eternity giving you the same sermon. They will bore you so much, because the time is so long. And Sunday is not Sunday there; it is every day, the whole day, and for eternity.

And suicide is not possible in paradise – at least I have not come across any incident that any saint has been able to commit suicide – although everybody who is there must be thinking of it. But it does not happen in heaven. They will be wanting to come back to the earth. It is not allowed. They may be thinking that it would have been better to be in hell, because in hell there are all the colorful people: all poets, painters, singers, dancers, actors, actresses. All the colorful people, juicy people, are in hell.

And people who are just dry bones are in heaven. They are not allowed to visit hell even for the long weekend. Once you enter heaven there is no exit. Other religions are in the morning – ten minutes, twenty minutes – chanting mantras, and thinking that this is all. I have consideredly given you red clothes, a mala with a locket of a madman, to remind you – even in sleep – that your whole life has to become religious; it is not a question of a few minutes, a few hours.

And for me, there is no other paradise. You have to create it here and now. You have to learn how to create paradise. Meditation is the technology. Changing work into worship is the secret. So wherever you are, it doesn’t matter. If after death there is heaven and hell, then of course you will all be in hell with me, because hell needs my people immensely. And there are so many intelligent people; in fact, all intelligent people are there. We can create a really big commune. And the people who are in hell have been misfits in the world.

But we are a commune of misfits, so nobody can be a misfit with us. We are all misfits, and nobody takes note of it. In fact, we respect the misfit person because he has some individuality. The person who simply fits like a cog in the wheel is not worth.... Let him go to heaven. Perhaps he may serve as a cog in some wheel. If there is any heaven and hell, if we end up by chance in heaven – accidents happen – we are going to do the same. We are going to initiate those poor saints into sannyas, and teach them Dynamic Meditation. And they will rejoice immensely, because for centuries they have been sitting there, simply playing on the harp, ”Alleluia, alleluia!”

I have heard about a porter in Munich, a German guy, addicted to beer. By mistake – that’s why I say accidents happen – by mistake, somebody else was to die but the angels of death took the poor porter, because he was lying in the other man’s house who was going to die, completely drunk.

It was just a mistake. In such a state he could not find his house, so wherever it happened, he fell down there. The man of the house was not at home, so the angels took that man.

When he opened his eyes he could not believe where he was. He was handed a harp.
He said, ”What are you doing? I am a porter, I don’t play the harp.”

They said, ”Here you will have to play the harp for eternity and sing, ’Alleluia!’ You sit on one of the clouds. Just look at what the other saints are doing.”

But the man said, ”I am not a saint! I am just a porter in the Munich station. And what about my beer?”

The angels said, ”Don’t mention such things here. These things are not available. All that you have to do is rejoice and play.”

For a few minutes he tried. He said, ”What nonsense! I was living such a beautiful life in Munich, earning well as a porter in the station. And then every evening going to the pub, meeting the friends, drinking – it was such a joy. And where have I landed? I am not a saint at all; I never even went to the church.”

He was very angry after a few hours. ”This is too much. Just in a few hours I am getting so angry, and it is a question of eternity. Something has to be done!”

He became angry. And a porter is, after all a porter, he is not a professor. His language is not of the cultured, high society. So he would sing, ”Alleluia, alleluia,” and in between he would say, ”Fuck you all!” – and start again, ”Alleluia, alleluia.”

The other saints saw that this man was doing really badly. Between ”Alleluia, alleluia,” he says something which is not mentionable.

They went to God and said, ”This man is saying things which have never been said.”

God said, ”I know. The trouble is you have brought a wrong man. He is not the saint I have sent you to bring. He is a porter in Munich, and naturally he is getting angry. And when he gets angry he will say things like that. You take him back and leave him in Munich so that he can enjoy his life. He is not meant for heaven.”

The man was brought down. He was immensely happy. Immediately he went to the pub and he said, ”Alleluia! Now bring as much beer as you can.” He said, ”My God! I had entered into such a bad space. Perhaps I was too drunk and dreamt....

”Only one thing helped me. And everybody condemned me – ’Don’t use that word’ – but only that word helped me. Alleluia did not do anything! Playing on the harp I got tired, but the moment I said to the saints, ’Fuck you all!’ they all disappeared from their clouds.”

So if by chance we end up in heaven, remember the word. Don’t forget it! And when so many people on the harps sing that beautiful word... we are going to change heaven into real heaven.

You just have to know the secret – and I have told you the secret.


Source: “From Bondage to Freedom” - Osho

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