Osho on Difficulty in
Meditation for Western people
Osho, is it really possible to grow and flower in the harsh
environment of the West?
Osho: It is certainly difficult in
the harsh environment of the West to grow into meditation. But
it is not impossible. It is certainly arduous, because the whole
surrounding is against meditation. Everything is mind-oriented
and meditation is a state of no-mind. The whole education, the
culture, the society, the people, they are all believers that
there is nothing beyond mind. Mind is their whole world.
And meditation simply denies mind and wants to go beyond it. So
I can understand, it is difficult. But even in the West you can
find silent moments when society cannot interfere. In your own
room, in the middle of the night, when everybody has fallen
asleep, when the noises of city life have disappeared, you can
find the East just in your bedroom. When you have some time,
weekends, holidays, you can move to some solitary place, you can
go to a forest. Don't go where everybody else is going, just
avoid those places.
And you can always find.... The West is not as populated as the
East. Here it is very difficult to find a place where people are
not. I have heard a story about the first astronaut. When he
landed on the moon, he found a few Indians sitting in a corner,
smoking beedies. He said, "My God, how did you manage it? You
don't have enough technology, particularly space technology, you
don't have anything at all, how did you manage to reach, and not
only one person, a whole group?"
They said, "It is very simple, there is no need of any
technology. We just stood upon each other's shoulders and went
on standing. Finally we reached the moon." It is so crowded in
the East, it is very difficult to find...but the West is not so
crowded. You can still find very silent, very peaceful places
which have not been spoiled by the society, which is
mind-oriented. Trees don't get educated in your universities,
nor have the mountains heard anything about the Vatican. Just
take a small boat onto the ocean, and you are out of the West.
You don't have to go far away, just on a river or the ocean.
Just stop your boat there and the sunrise will be as fresh as it
has ever been, West or East does not matter. And the starry
night above will be as young and as beautiful and as unpolluted
as it has always been from eternity. So you just have to be a
little alert to find moments, spaces where you can relax, where
you can meditate. I'm not telling you to meditate sitting in a
That is possible when you have known meditation and you have
passed on that path many times, then it doesn't matter whether
it is London or New York. Anywhere you can slip inside yourself.
And your inner being does not belong to the East or to the West;
it is transcendental to all dualities. But the problem certainly
is there and the only way to solve it is, when you can manage to
come here, be here. Then forget the West completely and don't
waste your time on anything else. Put your whole energy into
Once you are centered in your being, once you know the inner
path, then wherever you are you can manage to go to the center
without any difficulty. Even when you are dying, it will not
make any difference. You may be sick, it will not make any
difference. A strange thing happened with one great English
philosopher, C.E.M. Joad. He was always against George Gurdjieff.
And in modern times Gurdjieff was the only man, very authentic,
who has taken the message of inner crystallization from the East
to the West.
Many others have gone to the West: most of them are just
hocus-pocus; they have gone to the West just to earn money. Now
all over the West there are Indian monks, Japanese monks,
Tibetan monks, but these are not authentic people. Their only
desire is to exploit the gullibility of Western humanity.
Because the West has developed its mind to such an extent, you
cannot defeat it intellectually. You cannot defeat it in wars,
but it has forgotten its inner world completely, so completely
that any idiot can exploit it, saying they will show the way.
The West has become lopsided. The intellect has gone very far
and the heart has remained very small, untrained, uneducated. So
when somebody comes and brings a message about the heart, the
West has no way to understand whether the man is phony or
authentic. As far as I know, nobody has made such a tremendous
effort as George Gurdjieff to bring the Eastern methods of
self-realization to the West.
But even a man like C.E.M. Joad, a great philosopher, who has
written many beautiful books on philosophy, laughed whenever
George Gurdjieff's name was mentioned: "That man is just a
cheat, a fraud. There is nothing inside, no center. What
crystallization? He is just using these words and cheating
But C.E.M. Joad fell sick and death was coming close, and the
doctor said, "You are not going to live more than six weeks. So
whatever you want to do, do!"
At that moment he realized, "Perhaps there may be something
inside: I had been denying it only intellectually, I don't
really know. And I have been laughing at that man Gurdjieff, but
my laughter was insensitive. I have not understood him at all, I
have never gone to him and he was teaching in London itself."
Finally he asked a friend, "Can you bring George Gurdjieff to my
place? At least I can ask his forgiveness for making a fool of
him without understanding him or his message. I have been
criticizing him without understanding him."
Some friend brought Gurdjieff and Gurdjieff sat by the side of
the bed of C.E.M. Joad. Joad said, "Please forgive me. I may not
have another chance to see you again because my death is coming
Gurdjieff said, "Forget about all that. It is death that has
inspired you to call me. It is death that has made you waver
about your whole life-long stand that mind is all. But it is
good! There is enough time. Six weeks will do. Even six minutes
are enough. And a man of your caliber can even manage in six
seconds. Just close your eyes -- I am sitting here by your side
-- and watch your mind. Don't do anything else, simply watch."
When death is so close, one is ready to do anything. If death
had not been so close, Joad would have argued that except mind
there is nobody who is going to watch, but there was no time to
argue. It was better to experiment with what this man is saying
-- there can be no harm. He was amazed when he started watching
the mind. He forgot about Gurdjieff, he forgot about his death,
he forgot by and by all the thoughts, and there was an immense
silence in the room surrounding him. It took almost three hours.
When Gurdjieff woke him up, he told him, "I am immensely happy,
watching your face changing deeper into silence, watching your
eyes, that they have become unmoving." You can see even from the
outside, the eyelids, whether eyes are moving or not. If there
are thoughts inside or dreams or anything, your eyes will be
moving. If thoughts stop, dreams stop; if there is nothing on
the screen of the mind, the eyes stop.
So Gurdjieff was watching, sitting there, as Joad's eyes stopped
moving and his body was almost relaxed, as if there was no fear
of death, and his face started changing with his inner
experience. As the witnessing grows, the face starts having a
certain grace, a certain beauty.
Gurdjieff said, "You have done it. Now these six weeks are
enough. You continue. And you have twenty-four hours every day.
While you are awake, lying down -- you have been told to rest
which is good -- use this opportunity that has been provided by
death and you will die a very crystallized being. You are
intelligent enough to understand the situation, that before
death comes, you have to know something in you which is
There were tears of gratitude in C.E.M. Joad's eyes. He didn't
say a single word, but those tears said everything, his
gratitude, his apology. And those six weeks were the most
important in his life. His last statement to his friends was, "I
had never thought that it would be Gurdjieff finally who would
help me on my new journey, who would help me to know something
that is immortal and eternal."
So wherever you are, just go on meditating. And it is just a
question of a little intelligence to find a silent corner, a
silent space. Once in a while move into the forest, to the
ocean, to the mountains, and just meditate. The West cannot
prevent you. If you cannot come here then you have to find
something there. But whenever you are here, devote your total
time to meditation.
All I would like you to do is to become so centered that you
know the path very well. Become so acquainted with it, that even
in the crowd of any Western city you can manage to go inwards.
Nobody can prevent you.
One day, while decorating the bathroom, Hymie Goldberg repaints
the toilet seat, but forgets to tell Becky about it. So when she
uses the toilet, she gets stuck to it. She sits there screaming
and crying until Hymie comes and unscrews the seat. He helps
Becky to the bed and lies her face down.
Calling the family physician, Hymie does not tell him what has
happened, but explains that there is no way that Becky can come
to his office. Reluctantly the doctor agrees to call by on his
way home. When he arrives, Hymie shows him into the bedroom,
where Becky gets up on her hands and knees to display her
"Well, Doctor," says Hymie, "what do you think?"
Stroking his chin, the doctor replies, "I think it is lovely,
but why such a cheap frame?"
So whenever in the West enjoy all kinds of stupidities that are
going around. There are so many idiots in the West. Forty-three
percent of people in America believe in flying saucers. Never
before has there been such a great crowd of idiots in the world.
Millions of people believe in crystals. It seems humanity is on
the verge of absolute insanity.
So enjoy. When you are in the West enjoy all kinds of
foolishnesses that are going around in the name of New Age. And
while you are here, meditate, so that you can get in contact
with yourself. That is the only religion there is. All else is
simply exploitation of people who have lost grip of themselves,
of life, who have forgotten how to approach their own being. And
they have become vulnerable to exploitation by any kind of
And there are so many people doing all kinds of things that it
seems soon there will be no possibility for any authentic
religious movement. All these fake and fraudulent people are
destroying possibilities for any authentic movement. So while
you are there enjoy all the games that are being played in the
name of spirituality.
Here things are absolutely simple. Except witnessing, I don't
teach anything else. So just witness your mind and the
meditation will be happening. And once you have got in tune with
your being, you know the way, you know the how. Then it does not
matter where you are. Alone or in the crowd, in the silences of
the forest or in the noises of a marketplace, it is all the
same. You can simply close your eyes and disappear inwards.
Source: from book "Sat-Chit-Anand" by Osho
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