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Osho on Pain and identification with Pain

Question: Can you please talk about pain and our identification with it?
Osho: The witnessing self is never felt. We always feel some identity; we always feel some identification. And the witnessing consciousness is the reality. So why does this happen? And how does this happen? You are in pain -- what is really happening inside? Analyze the whole phenomenon: the pain is there, and there is this consciousness that pain is there. These are the two points: the pain is there, and there is this consciousness that the pain is there. But there is no gap, and somehow: "I am in pain" -- this feeling happens -- "I am in pain."

And not only this -- sooner or later: "I am the pain" begins, happens, starts to be the feeling. "I am pain; I am in pain; I am aware of the pain" -- these are three different, very different states. The rishi says: "I am aware of the pain." This much can be allowed, because then you transcend pain. The awareness transcends -- you are different from the pain, and there is a deep separation.

Really, there has never been any relation; the relation begins to appear only because of the nearness, because of the intimate nearness of your consciousness and all that happens around. Consciousness is so near when you are in pain -- it is just there by the side, very near. It has to be; otherwise, the pain cannot be cured. It has to be just near to feel it, to know it, to be aware about it. But because of this nearness, you become identified, and one. This is a safety measure again; this is a security measure, a natural security.

When there is pain you must be near; when there is pain your consciousness must go in a rush towards the pain -- to feel it, to do something about it. You are on the street and suddenly you feel a snake there -- then your whole consciousness just becomes a jump. No moment can be lost, not even in thinking what to do. There is no gap between being aware and the action. You must be very near; only then this can happen. When your body is suffering pain, disease, illness, you must be near; otherwise, life cannot survive.

If you are far off and the pain is not felt, then you will die. The pain must be felt immediately -- there should be no gap. The message must be received immediately, and your consciousness must go to the spot to do something. That's why nearness is a necessity. But because of this necessity, the other phenomenon happens: so near, you become one; so near, you begin to feel: "This is me -- this pain, this pleasure." Because of nearness there is identification: you become anger, you become love, you become pain, you become happiness.

The rishi says that there are two ways to disassociate yourself from these false identities. You are not what you have been thinking, feeling, imagining, projecting; what you are is simply the fact of being aware. Whatsoever happens, you remain just the awareness. You are awareness -- that identity cannot be broken, that identity cannot be negated. All else can be negated and thrown; awareness remains the ultimate substratum, the ultimate base. You cannot deny it, you cannot negate it, you cannot disassociate yourself from it.

So this is the process: That which cannot be thrown, that which cannot be made separate from you, is you; that which can be separated, you are not. The pain is there; a moment later it may not be there -- but you will be. Happiness has come, and it will go; it has been, and it will not be -- but you will be. The body is young, then the body becomes old. All else comes and goes -- guests come and go -- but the host remains the same. So the Zen mystics say: Do not be lost in the crowd of the guests. Remember your host-ness. That host-ness is awareness.

That host-ness is the witnessing consciousness. What is the basic element that remains always the same in you? Only be that, and disidentify yourself from all that comes and goes. But we become identified with the guest. Really the host is so occupied with the guest, he forgets.

Mulla Nasruddin has given a party for some friends and some strangers. The party is very boring, and half the night is just lost and it goes on. So one stranger, not knowing that Mulla is the host, says to him: "I have never seen such a party, such nonsense. It seems never-ending, and I am so bored that I would like to leave."

Mulla says: "You have said what I was going to say to you. I myself have never seen such a boring and nonsense party before, but I was not so courageous as you are. I was also thinking to leave it and just run away." So they both run.

Then, in the street Mulla remembers and says: "Something has gone wrong, because now I remember: I am the host! So please excuse me, I have to go back."

This is happening to us all. The host is lost, the host is forgotten every moment. The host is your witnessing self. Pain comes and pleasure follows; there is happiness, and there is misery. And each moment, whatsoever comes you are identified with it, you become the guest.

Remember the host. When the guest is there, remember the host. And there are so many types of guests: pleasurable, painful; guests you would like, guests you would not like to be your guests; guests you would like to live with, guests you would like to avoid -- but all guests. Remember the host. Constantly remember the host. Be centered in the host. Remain in your host-ness; then there is a separation.

Then there is a gap, an interval -- the bridge is broken. The moment this bridge is broken, the phenomenon of renunciation happens. Then you are in it, and not of it. Then you are there in the guest, and still a host. You need not escape from the guest - there is no need.

Source: from book "From Medication to Meditation" by Osho

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