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Question - Beloved Osho, Why can I remember the useless things for years, but not the essential ones? I forget the essential almost immediately.

Osho - Veerendra, you are fortunate -- fortunate in the sense that at least you hear the essential. People don't hear at all, so there is no question of forgetting. People only hear the nonessential. Mind feeds on the nonessential, the useless, trivia.
The essential is a beautiful word, it comes from essence. The essential feeds your essence, hence it is called essential. The nonessential only decorates your surface; the nonessential remains on the circumference, it never reaches to the center of your being. Only the essential reaches to the center.

But your circumference is thick, it does not allow the essential to reach to the center; it hinders. It is a strategy of the mind, because if your being becomes more powerful, the mind loses its grip on you. There is a great conflict between the circumference and the center: who is going to dominate whom? The circumference is dominating. The circumference only allows that which nourishes it, and does not allow that which nourishes the essence -- and everything has to pass through the circumference.

Scientists say that only two percent is allowed to reach to the core; ninety-eight percent is prevented from reaching. That's why you have poor souls -- rich minds and poor souls, knowledgeable minds but foolish souls. You don't have wisdom. Unless you start doing something deliberately about it, this is going to remain so. Mind loves the nonessential; it is always hungry for gossip. Something utterly useless, and it listens so attentively.

Osho on remembering non-essential things

I have heard about a priest. He was giving a discourse to his congregation, and almost everybody was fast asleep -- that's what people do in churches, temples. In fact, people who suffer from sleeplessness, they go to the churches, to the temples. If everything fails, tranquilizers don't work any more, just go to a religious discourse -- it never fails, it immediately succeeds.

So almost everybody was asleep. And that was not the problem, because the priest knew, it was his whole life's experience. But a few people were there who were snoring too, and that was a great disturbance. So out from nowhere, unconnected with the discourse, he started telling a story.

He said, "Once it happened I was passing through a desert. There was nobody, just I was there with my donkey, and suddenly the donkey started speaking to me!"
Everybody was fully awake. Everybody! Not a single person was asleep. And then he dropped the story then and there, started his discourse again. One man stood up and said, "But what happened? What did the donkey say?"
The priest said, "You are so much interested in what the donkey said, you all became fully awake. But you are not interested in what I am saying."

Muza Dai Boo, an Arab merchant, was in the marketplace one day when he felt terrible cramps. He just couldn't control himself, and let out a long loud fart.
People stared at him from all sides. Mortally embarrassed, he ran back to his house, packed his few belongings and journeyed far away. For years he traveled from town to town, but always avoided his home town.

At last, an old and weary man, he decided to return. He had grown a long beard and his face had aged enough so that he was sure he would not be recognized. His heart longed for the old familiar streets.
Once in town, he went directly to the marketplace. There, to his surprise, he saw the street had been paved. He turned to the man nearest him and said, "My friend, how smooth this street is! When, by the grace of Allah, was it so neatly paved?"
"Oh, that," said the man. "That was done three years, four months and two days after Muza Dai Boo farted in the marketplace."

People never forget the stupid things of life. Muza Dai Boo they have forgotten, nobody recognizes him -- but that has become something historical.

Veerendra, it is so with everybody's mind, it is nothing special to you.
You say: "Why can I remember only the useless things and for years, but not the essential ones?"

The essential ones are against your mind. The mind is continuously afraid of allowing any truth to enter you. It finds a thousand and one ways to avoid the truth, because the truth is going to shatter it. It allows only that which is supportive. And because mind itself is rubbish, it collects rubbish, and very joyously.

What Buddha has said will be forgotten. Buddha used to repeat each statement three times. Once somebody asked, "Why do you repeat three times?"
He said, "Because I know, the first time you don't hear at all. The second time you hear, but you hear something else that I have not said. The third time I hope that you hear that which is said, exactly that which is said."

It is very difficult to read Buddhist scriptures, because each statement repeated three times becomes very tiring. So now they have invented a device: they write the statement and they make three stars, so you know three times... no need to read three times.

If somebody came to Buddha to surrender, he had to surrender three times. He had to say, "buddham sharanam gachchhami, sangham sharanam gachchhami, dhammam sharanam gachchhami" -- three times. Why? Buddha is reported to have said, "The first time you may have said it but may not have meant it. The second time you may have meant it, but may not have meant that which I mean by it. The third time I hope that you are exactly doing what is expected."

It is not a formal thing to say, "buddham sharanam gachchhami, I go to the feet of the Buddha." If it is formal it is meaningless. If you are simply repeating it because others are repeating it, it is useless. And people are imitators.

Once it happened, I was staying in a house and I told the friend with whom I was staying that people are imitators.
He said, "All?"
I said, "All."
He said, "Then give me a demonstration."
I said, "You wait."
I told him, "When the next person comes to see me, the moment he enters, you touch my feet, put a hundred-rupee note at my feet."

And it happened: when the next people came to see me -- three people came to see me together -- he immediately touched my feet and left a hundred-rupee note there, and all three touched my feet and left hundred-rupee notes immediately!
I said, "What do you say now? And these are the people who have been coming to see me for years, and not even a single paisa -- and suddenly hundred-rupee notes!"
I asked them, "Why did you do this?"
They said, "Why? -- because we thought maybe this is what we have to do. If it is being done, then it must be done."

People are imitators. In temples and mosques, in churches, you will find them bowing down. Somebody is bowing down to a cross -- why? Can you really answer why you go on bowing down to the cross? -- because your parents have been doing it. And ask the parents, Why? -- because their parents have been doing it, and so on and so forth. People simply imitate. Imitation is easy, it remains on the surface. It is not a commitment, commitment goes to the heart.

You will have to be very conscious, you will have to learn two things. One: the moment you see something nonessential is there, don't pay any attention to it, bypass it. There is no need even to look at it, there is no need to read it.

If you start reading only the essential, our cities will become far more beautiful because boards and advertisements on the walls will disappear. They are there because you go on reading them. And the same thing: "Livva little hot, sippa Gold Spot." Whenever you pass, again you read it: "Livva little hot...." It is unconscious! And if you read it too many times -- "Livva little hot, sippa Gold Spot" -- one day you will sippa Gold Spot! How long can you avoid it?

The whole advertising depends on your foolishness. Just constant repetition. That's why the latest thing is not to have fixed lights for advertisements; they go on, off. "Livva little hot..." you have read once, the light goes off. It comes again: "Livva little hot..." again you have to read it! If it remains constant you will read it only once and you will go home. But if it changes while you are passing, it changes four or five times, then four or five times you have to read it.

The whole science of advertising depends on your foolishness. Just go on repeating, and people start purchasing. Anything can be sold. In the old days the economists used to say that this is a fundamental law; it is no more. What they used to think a fundamental law was: wherever there is demand, there is supply. Now it is just vice versa: wherever there is supply, there is demand. First supply anything -- just create a hypnotic atmosphere about it, and anything repeated too many times becomes a hypnosis.

Beware of the nonessential. Nobody can force you, if you are aware, to cling to the nonessential. And if you don't cling to the nonessential, if you don't gather the nonessential, passages will be available from the circumference to the center, and the essential can go in.

That's why it happens to many sannyasins.... Just now Haridas has said that he used to go outside the ashram; now it is becoming more and more difficult to go outside. Why is it becoming more and more difficult to go outside? Nobody is prevented from going outside, but it becomes difficult on its own, because you see so much nonsense -- and you have to see it, because it is there; you have to listen to it.

Once you have started living in the essential, slowly slowly many things that you used to do before -- going to the movies, reading the novels, seeing the tv, listening to the radio, gossiping with people -- start disappearing. And the energy that is involved in them becomes available for the essential.

Buddha has said that the sannyasin should not look more than four feet ahead while he is walking on the road -- just four feet ahead. Why? So that you need not see all that is going on around. It is beautiful, it is significant. Listen to that which will help your soul to grow. Read that which will provoke aspirations for God. See that which will give you a new vision, new eyes, clarity. Life is short, energy is limited. Don't be foolish, don't go on wasting it on the nonessential. But you have to be conscious, only then the nonessential can be dropped. And the first thing is to drop the nonessential; only then the second thing is possible -- to get attuned with the essential. Seeing the false as the false is the beginning of seeing the true as the true.

Source - Osho Book "The Book of Wisdom"

Related Osho Discourses:
Osho - Why do I make mountains out of molehills?
Osho - Imitation will make you very stupid, unintelligent
Osho on Intelligence - Intelligence is one of the qualities of your Being

Osho on Intelligence and Meditation, Meditation means the Purest Intelligence
Osho on Maturity, Using your intelligence totally, means the beginning of Maturity
Osho on Misery - What is this attachment to misery? And why is it so difficult to be happy?

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