Meditation: Jumping out of the Mind
Birthday of German psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst Fritz Perls
Born on 8 July 1893, Fritz Perls was a German psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, primarily known for his theory of Gestalt therapy. This therapy aimed to teach people innate self-awareness pertaining to their environment in order to externalize reasonable reactions and behavior. Perls drew inspiration for Gestalt therapy from various sources. He was trained in traditional psychoanalysis and was influenced by the ideas of existentialism and phenomenology. His psychology did not align with Sigmund Freud and he was ambitiously against Freud’s theories in developing his own.
Perls served in WWI and later returned to the practice of medicine at the Berlin Institute of Psychoanalysis. He eventually moved to Manhattan and published the book “Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality” in collaboration with two intellectuals. He also founded the New York Institute for Gestalt Therapy and was affiliated with the Esalen Institute in California. Perls’ application of ‘here and now’ in his therapy encouraged a plethora of creative and healthy solutions for his patients.
Osho talks about Perls, “At least if you remember that it was all wrong… and I say ALL wrong. Don’t try to decide that a few things were good. I insist: either ALL things are wrong or ALL things are right. There is no other way. It is not possible that a foolish man can do a few things that are right. And the vice versa is also not possible that a wise man can do a few things that are wrong. A wise man does ALL right and a fool goes on doing ALL wrong. But the fool would like to choose at least a few things right, the fool would say,’Yes, I have done many things wrong, but not all.’ Then those things that he saves and says were right, will become the centre for his ego again. So be totally frustrated with your past.
Fritz Perls used to say that all therapy is nothing but skillful frustration. The great therapist is one who goes on frustrating you skillfully — that’s what I am doing here. I have to show you that whatsoever you have been doing was wrong, because only that understanding can save you. Once you recognise that the whole past was wrong, you simply drop it, you don’t bother to choose. There is nothing to choose. It all came out of your unawareness and it was all wrong. Your hatred was wrong, your love also; your anger was wrong, your compassion also. If you seek deep down you will always find wrong reasons for your compassion and wrong reasons for your love. A foolish man is foolish and whatsoever he does is foolish.
So it will have to be remembered continuously, it should become a constant remembrance — what Buddha used to call mindfulness. One should remain mindful so it is not repeated again. Because only mindfulness will protect and you will not be able to repeat your past again — otherwise the mind tends to repeat it.”
YOU OFTEN TALKED ABOUT PSYCHOANALYSIS AND RELATED THERAPIES. WOULD YOU PLEASE COMMENT ON MORE RECENT DEVELOPMENTS LIKE FRITZ PERLS’ GESTALT THERAPY AND — THE LATEST FASHION — VOICE DIALOGUE? CAN THESE THERAPIES HELP A PERSON WHO IS ALREADY MEDITATING TO SEE HIMSELF AND HIS GAMES MORE CLEARLY?
Tilo, in the first place psychotherapies like Fritz Perls’ Gestalt therapy and others are already old; they are not new. The only new thing which is the latest fashion is Voice Dialogue — but they are all just mind games. They cannot contribute anything to a man who is already meditating — no psychotherapy has the quality of meditation, because no psychotherapy has produced a single enlightened being. Their founders were not enlightened and the enlightened beings in the East never bothered about any psychotherapy. They have not even bothered about psychology or mind itself, because for them the question was not to solve the problems of the mind, for them the question was how to get out of the mind which is easier. Then the problems all are finished, because once you are out of the mind, the mind has no nourishment to go on creating problems; otherwise it is an unending process. You get psychoanalyzed, whether old or new fashions it doesn’t matter; they are just variations of the same theme. Your mind feels a little fresh and good after a psychological session, because you have unburdened yourself. A little understanding of mind also comes — that keeps you normal.
In fact, all psychotherapies are in the service of the establishment; their function is not to let people go abnormal. Somebody is going outside the herd and the norms of the herd and doing things which it is not supposed that you should do…! They may be harmless but the society cannot tolerate such people. They have to be brought to the normal, to the average standard. The psychotherapist’s work is to clean your mind. It is a kind of lubricating your mechanism — it functions a little better and you start becoming a little more understanding about the functionings of the mind, although that does not make any revolutionary change. And it is possible you may solve one problem, but you have not removed the cause.
Mind itself is the problem. So you can remove one problem, mind will create another problem… It is just like pruning the trees: you prune one leaf and just out of self-respect and dignity the tree will grow three leaves in the place where there used to be one.
That’s why gardeners go on pruning; that gives trees more foliage, more leaves.
The same is the situation with the mind: you can remove one problem by understanding it — and it is costly — but the mind is still there which has created the problem,
and psychoanalysis does not go beyond the boundaries of the mind. The mind will create a new problem, more complicated than the one that you have solved. Naturally, because the mind understands you can solve that kind of problem, it creates something new, more complicated, more foliage.
Meditation is a totally different thing than psychoanalysis or any therapies which are confined to the mind. It is simply a jumping out of the mind: You have your problems — I’m going home.
Because mind is a parasite it does not have its own existence. It needs you inside in it, so it can go on eating you, your head. Once you jump out of it, the mind is just a graveyard. All those problems that were too big, drop, they simply drop dead. Meditation is a totally different dimension: you simply watch the mind and in watching you come out of it. And slowly, mind with all its problems disappears; otherwise the mind is going to create strange problems.
The other day in England a court released a murderer. It is a very strange case, and it may give impetus to many people to murder. The murderer was in the second world war fighting in Japan. And he pleaded in the court that in the night he dreamt that the Japanese were chasing him, and they were just about to get hold of him. He became so frightened and he wanted to survive, so he caught hold of the neck of one Japanese and killed him by pressing on his neck. And as the Japanese was killed, he awoke from the dream and the Japanese was no one but his wife. The court was in a difficulty what to do, because he had not done it consciously, in awareness. Now to punish him does not seem right, even in a traditional England, where anything new takes years to be accepted. When the whole world will accept it then England will try! The judge must have been a man of great understanding, but he has also opened a door of dangers. Now anybody can kill his wife and say, “What can I do? Japanese were following…” It is a precedent that you have released one man, acquitted completely from committing any crime. Now you are able to commit crime. You just have to pretend that you are asleep, and there is no way for the court to find out whether you were really asleep and the Japanese were really following you in your dream. The poor woman was fast asleep, he jumped up and killed her — and perhaps he is right… But now there will be cases which will not be right. Perhaps what he is saying is true; he has been in the war in Japan and that may have come as a dream from his unconscious; and out of fear, to protect himself, he started fighting with the Japanese. And there was nobody else in the room except the wife close to him just on the bed, so he jumped, caught hold of the Japanese…
Mind is your only problem. All other problems are just offshoots of the mind. Meditation cuts the mind from the very roots. And all these therapies — Gestalt and Voice Dialogue and Fritz Perls — we can use them for those who have not yet entered into meditation just to have a little understanding of the mind so they can find the door from where to get out.
We are using all kinds of therapies which are helpful, but not for the meditators. They are only helpful in the beginning when you have not yet become accustomed to meditation. Once you are meditative you don’t need any therapy, no therapy is helpful then. But in the beginning, it can be helpful, and particularly for the Western sannyasins. I don’t suggest it much for Eastern people that they should do therapy groups.
For example, Japanese have been found not to understand that in an encounter group if people are fighting it is just playful fighting. They really start fighting and they can become dangerous; they can kill somebody.
Different cultures… Japanese have been writing letters to me saying that in the therapies they are telling us that you hate your mother, your father — and it is absolutely wrong! We will kill the therapist! Japan has a totally different culture. The very idea that you hate your mother — and the person will commit hara-kiri. He will kill himself because it is so shameful. I have come to know such stories of hara-kiri that you cannot believe. One famous historical case happened three hundred years ago. A very well-known master of martial arts forgot, when he went to meet the emperor, to bow down. In Japan you have to bow down even to your enemy when you go to fight. Both bow down to each other because one never knows who will be left alive. At this moment enmity and friendship don’t matter. At this moment when one person is never going to be seen again and will not even be able to ask for forgiveness, they give respect. And it is authentic, it is not formal. Going to the emperor and forgetting to bow down… And he forgot because he was a great master and thousands of people who were learning under him were all bowing down to him. So he had become accustomed to people bowing down to him, and then he would respond by the same gesture. It was such bad manners that when he was made aware that he had committed a great crime because he had not bowed down to the emperor, he committed suicide.
That is the routine process. There is no other way except that to show that you really feel repentant. It is not so easy as in the West where you can just say, “I’m sorry” — that is very formal and very easy. Japanese take things very seriously. The only way you can say, “I’m sorry” is by hara-kiri — one feels so ashamed of himself that he cannot allow himself to live anymore. The more strange thing is that his three hundred intimate disciples committed hara-kiri because their master had behaved in a shameful way. They were not at all concerned, but because their master has fallen in grace, how can they stand in the world with grace and dignity? Three hundred disciples committed hara-kiri. This is a historical fact, and this kind of thing has been happening in Japan for centuries.
So one sannyasin has written to me, “The therapist goes on insisting, `You must hate your mother…’ Either I will kill the therapist or I will kill myself if he is right. Because I don’t see that I have ever hated my mother.” And in fact the situation is different. In Japan almost one-third of the girls don’t marry; they remain with their mother. In the rest of the world the situation is different. And what psychoanalysis has found does not apply to the Japanese. It applies only to the Western mind and its upbringing. Sigmund Freud is right only about the Western mind and its tradition. When he says that every girl hates her mother because she loves the father, the whole thing is based on their understanding of sex, that one loves the opposite sex. So girls love the fathers, the boys love the mother. But the girls cannot express their love, particularly they cannot be sexually related with the father, and the mother is related sexually. So they become jealous of the mother — the mother is their enemy. The boys become enemies of the father and because of that the boy cannot make love to the mother.
The Japanese cannot even think of this; even Indians cannot think of this — just a totally different upbringing. Indians cannot believe what kind of nonsense this is. And for the Japanese things are very difficult. If you insist and you convince him that he hates his mother or he hates his father — and the whole psychoanalysis depends on these kinds of things: who you hate, why you hate… And they go on digging deeper and they prove to the person that from very childhood there has been a jealousy and that is creating all the problems. “Why can’t you love your wife?” — the psychoanalyst will come to the conclusion that you wanted to love your mother — and your wife is not your mother — and the wife does not love you because she wanted to love her father and you are not her father. So you are bound to fight continuously. You have fallen in love with the girl because something in her resembles your mother. And the girl has fallen in love for the same reason: something in you resembles her father.So you have married your mother; she has married her father. This is psychoanalysis. And because neither she is behaving like your mother nor you are behaving like her father, problems arise.
But to say to a Japanese, “You have married your mother,” is simply out of the question. To say to an Indian, “You have been secretly loving your mother and you wanted a sexual relationship with her…”; he cannot even think…”Are you in your senses or…” In India the tradition is that the son loves his mother almost like a goddess. He loves his father and respects his father next to God. And
the difficult thing is that even the people in the East who are teaching or who are in the profession of psychoanalysis, as professors or as practitioners, they have all learned from the West and they don’t understand that the East has a totally different orientation. And Sigmund Freud or Jung or Adler or Assagioli or Fritz Perls have no idea. Not even in their dreams have they thought that people can be different from the Western people. In the East psychoanalysis is not of much help. For the Westerners, I like them to go through groups just to clean the mind. With a clean mind, to enter into meditation is easier. But if you don’t enter meditation and you simply depend on cleaning the mind, then you will be cleaning the mind for your whole life and you will not go anywhere else.
Because of its different orientation the East should find seats in the universities for meditation, not for psychoanalysis.
One of the great Indian psychologists who was the head of the department in the Hindu university of Varanasi belonged to a village near my village; and moreover, he was father-in-law to one of my friends who had studied with me. He was one of the most respected professors of psychology, but he was condemned by everybody because people, thinking that he would be able to help them with their mind problems, would go for psychoanalysis, and psychoanalysis brings… They would ask, “Whom do you hate?” And the Indian would find himself at a loss because everything comes down to sex — and the Indian cannot accept that idea. It is not the same orientation as in the West. This man’s name was Laljiram Shukla. And because his son-in-law was my friend, the son-in-law was continuously telling him that he must meet me at least once. He was an old man. I was just out of the university. He invited me to come to Varanasi because his son-in-law was continually praising me. It became a psychological problem for the psychologist that the son-in-law was more interested in me, and not interested in him and was continually praising me. It became a challenge to him. I was not aware what the situation was. When he invited me I thought perhaps it was because of my friend; he may have talked about me, so I went. I was a guest in his house, and I immediately became aware of a certain tension.
I asked my friend, “What is the matter?”
He said, “The problem is that I have been talking about you not knowing that he was feeling very offended. But he never showed it, and now, because you are here — and many other professors have become interested; all his students, nearabout twenty postgraduates, they are all coming in the morning to meet you — he is feeling very much wounded.”
So in the morning he exploded. He started arguing with me, and because I told him, “All your education is from the West; all that you are talking is simply nonsense in the East — what do you know about meditation? All your knowledge is about the mind, and that too of a certain mind, the Western mind. You are betraying the East by teaching people all kinds of nonsense, which does not make any actual impact on them, because that is not their problem. I have never seen anybody, I have looked in so many people’s minds… In the East nobody is jealous of the father, nobody wants to make love to the mother, but without these things the psychoanalyst will say, `If you want to be cured you will have to cooperate.'”
And I argued with him — I had to because he was so angry with me that I could not understand why he had invited me. And because he could not answer, I asked him directly, “I ask you, have you ever in your childhood wanted to make love to your mother? Have you ever thought in your childhood to kill your father because he was your competitor for the same sex object, the mother?”
He cooled down, and he said, “Never. I never thought about these things.”
I said, “What are you doing now? Imposing on people ideas which are not their problems, are you helping them or destroying their integrity? You are telling them that their problems are things which are not their problems.”
In the East for centuries the problem has been how to get beyond the mind — the only problem, the single problem. But for the Western mind, because it has developed in a different way, it has never thought about transcending mind.
I have looked into Jewish sources, into Christian sources; there is not a single statement in the whole history of the West where somebody has made an effort to go beyond the mind.
They have used the mind to pray, they have used the mind to believe in God; they have used the mind to become religious, virtuous, but they have never even thought that there is a possibility of going beyond the mind. In the East that has been the only, single search. The whole genius of the East has been working for one thing, no other problems: how to go beyond the mind. Because if you can solve your problems wholesale just by going beyond, then why go for retail solving of problems. The mind will go on creating; it is a very creative force. You solve one problem, another problem arises.
You solve that problem, another problem arises.
It is a good business for the psychoanalyst, because he knows you are never going to be cured. You are not going to be cured of the mind; he cures your specific problems. Your mind is there, the source. He never cuts the roots, he only cuts leaves, branches at the most, but they go on growing again — the roots are there. Meditation is cutting the very roots of problems. I repeat: the mind is the only problem, and unless you go beyond the mind, you will never go beyond problems.
It is strange that even today, the Western psychologists have not even pondered over the fact that the East has created so many enlightened people. None of them has bothered about the analysis of the mind. Just as in the Western literature — religious, philosophical, theological — there is no idea of going beyond the mind, in the same way in the Eastern philosophical literature there is nowhere any mention that psychoanalysis or psychology is of any importance. The West has lived with the mind and the East has lived beyond the mind, so their problems don’t seem to be the same…
The East has never bothered about the mind, has not even taken any note of it, has ignored it. From Patanjali to Gautam Buddha, to Shankara, to Ramakrishna, to J. Krishnamurti — the whole tradition does not bother about the mind. The mind is mentioned only for one purpose: how to transcend it. Hundreds of methods have been found which can help you to transcend the mind, and once you are beyond the mind all its problems look as if they are somebody else’s problems. You attain to a state of a watcher on the hills, and all the problems are in the valleys. And they don’t have any impact on you; you have gone beyond them.
The West has remained utterly mind centered. In the West the only thing they have thought about is matter and mind. And matter is the reality and mind is only a by-product; beyond mind there is nothing. In the East matter is illusory, mind is a by-product of all your illusions, projections, dreams. Your reality is beyond matter and mind, both.
So we divide reality in the East into three parts: matter, the outermost; the soul, the innermost; the mind is in between the two. Matter has a relative reality; it is not absolutely real, just relatively real. The mind is absolutely unreal, and the soul is absolutely real. This is a totally different categorization of humanity. In the West the categories are simple: matter is real, mind is just a by-product, and there is nothing beyond mind.
So remember, Tilo, if you are meditating then nothing else is needed. If you are not meditating, then these psychotherapies may be helpful as a stepping-stone for meditation…
Meditation has only one meaning, and that is going beyond the mind and becoming a witness. In your witnessing is the miracle — the whole mystery of life.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Invitation
Chapter title: You have your problem — I’m going home
3 September 1987 am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Osho has spoken on notable Psychologists and philosophers like Adler, Jung, Sigmund Freud, Assagioli, Wilhelm Reich, Aristotle, Berkeley, Confucius, Descartes, Feuerbach, Hegel, Heidegger, Heraclitus, Huxley, Jaspers, Kant, Kierkegaard, Laing, Marx, Moore, Nietzsche, Plato, Pythagoras, Russell, Sartre, Socrates, Wittgenstein and many others in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Hidden Splendour
- The Wild Geese and the Water
- This, This, A Thousand Times This: The Very Essence of Zen
- Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
- Beyond Enlightenment
- Beyond Psychology
- Dang Dang Doko Dang
- The Discipline of Transcendence
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
- From Bondage to Freedom
- From Darkness to Light
- From Ignorance to Innocence
- The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
- From Personality to Individuality
- I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4
- Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1