The Grass Grows by Itself.
Osho on witnessing and surrender
MY SURRENDER IS GOAL-ORIENTED. I’M SURRENDERING IN ORDER TO WIN FREEDOM, SO IT IS NOT REAL SURRENDER AT ALL. I’M WATCHING IT, BUT THE PROBLEM IS: IT IS ALWAYS ‘I’ WHO IS WATCHING. THEREFORE EVERY REALIZATION OUT OF THAT WATCHING IS A REINFORCEMENT OF THE EGO. I FEEL TRICKED BY MY EGO.
You have not understood what surrender is. The first thing to remember about surrender is: you cannot do it, it is not a doing. You can prevent it from happening, but you cannot manage for it to happen. Your power about surrender is only negative: you can prevent it, but you cannot bring it.
Surrender is not something that you can do. If you do it, it is not surrender, because the doer is there. Surrender is a great understanding that, “I am not.” Surrender is an insight that the ego exists not, that, “I am not separate.” Surrender is not an act but an understanding.
In the first place you are false, the separation is false. Not for a single moment can you exist separate from the universe. The tree cannot exist if uprooted from the earth. The tree cannot exist if the sun disappears tomorrow. The tree cannot exist if no water is coming to its roots. The tree cannot exist if it cannot breathe. The tree is rooted in all the five elements — what Buddhists call skandhas, the five groups we were talking about the other day. Avalokita… when Buddha came to the transcendental vision, when he passed through all the stages, when he passed through all the rungs of the ladder and came to the seventh — from there he looked down, looked back — what did he see? He saw only five heaps with nothing substantial in them, just emptiness, shunyata.
The tree cannot exist if these five elements are not constantly pouring energy into it. The tree is just a combination of these five elements. If the tree starts thinking, “I am,” then there is going to be misery for the tree. The tree will create a hell for itself. But trees are not so foolish, they don’t carry any mind. They are there, and if tomorrow they disappear, they simply disappear. They don’t cling; there is nobody to cling. The tree is constantly surrendered to existence. By surrendered it means it is never separate, it has not come to that stupid idea of the ego. And so are the birds, so are the mountains, so are the stars.
It is only man who has turned his great opportunity of being conscious into being self-conscious. Man has consciousness. If consciousness grows, it can bring you the greatest bliss possible. But if something goes wrong and consciousness turns sour and becomes self-consciousness, then it creates hell, then it creates misery. Both alternatives are always open; it is for you to choose.
The first thing to be understood about ego is that it exists not. Nobody exists in separation. You are as much one with the universe as I am, as Buddha is, as Jesus is. I know it, you don’t know it; the difference is only of recognition. The difference is not existential, not at all! So you have to look into this stupid idea of separation. Now if you start trying to surrender you are still carrying the idea of separation. Now you are thinking, “I will surrender, now I am going to surrender” — but you think you are. Looking into the very idea of separation, one day you find that you are not separate, so how can you surrender? There is nobody to surrender!
There has never been anybody to surrender! The surrenderer is not there, not at all — never found anywhere. If you go into yourself you will not find the surrenderer anywhere. In that moment is surrender. When the surrenderer is not found, in that moment is surrender.
You cannot do it. If you do it, it is a false thing. Out of falsity only falsity arises. You are false, so whatsoever you do will be false, more false. And one falsity leads to another, and so on and so forth. And the fundamental falsity is the ego, the idea, “I am separate.”
You ask: “My surrender is goal-oriented.” The ego is always goal-oriented. It is always greedy, it is always grabbing. It is always searching for more and more and more; it lives in the more. If you have money it wants to have more money; if you have a house it wants to have a bigger house; if you have a woman it wants to have a beautiful woman, but it always wants more. The ego is constantly hungry. It lives in the future and in the past. In the past it lives as a hoarder — “I have this and this and this.” It gets a great satisfaction: “I have got something” — power, prestige, money. It gives a kind of reality to it. It gives the notion that, “When I have these things, I must be there.” And it lives in the future with the idea of more. It lives as memory and as desire.
What is a goal? A desire: “I have to reach there, I have to be that, I have to attain.” The ego does not, cannot live in the present, because the present is real and the ego is false — they never meet. The past is false, it is no more. Once it was, but when it was present, ego was not there. Once it has disappeared, is no longer existential, ego starts grabbing it, accumulating it. It grabs and accumulates dead things. The ego is a graveyard: it collects corpses, dead bones. Or, it lives in the future. Again, the future is not yet — it is imagination, fantasy, dream. Ego can live with that too, very easily; falsities go together perfectly well, smoothly well.
Bring anything existential and the ego disappears. Hence the insistence of being in the present, being herenow. Just this moment…. If you are intelligent there is no need to think about what I am saying; you can simply see into it this very moment! Where is the ego? There is silence, and there is no past, and there is no future, only this moment… and this dog barking. This moment, and you are not. Let this moment be, and you are not. And there is immense silence, there is profound silence, within and without. And then there is no need to surrender because you know you are not. Knowing that you are not is surrender.
It is not a question of surrendering to me, it is not a question of surrendering to God. It is not a question of surrendering at all.
Surrendering is an insight, an understanding that, “I am not.” Seeing, “I am not, I am a nothingness, emptiness,” surrender grows. The flower of surrender grows on the tree of emptiness.
It cannot be goal-oriented. The ego is goal-oriented. The ego is hankering for the future. It can hanker even for the other life, it can hanker for heaven, it can hanker for nirvana. It doesn’t matter what it hankers for — hankering is what it is, desiring is what it is, projecting into the future is what it is.
See it! See into it! I’m not saying think about it. If you think about it you miss. Thinking again means past and future. Have a look into it — avalokita! — look into it. The English word look comes from the same root as avalokita. Look into it, and do it right now. Don’t say to yourself, “Okay, I will go home and do it.” The ego has entered, the goal has come, the future has entered. Whenever time enters you are falling into that falsity of separation. Let it be here, this very moment. And then you suddenly see you are, and you are not going anywhere, and you are not coming from anywhere. You have always been here.
Here is the only time, the only space. Now is the only existence. In that now, there is surrender.
“My surrender is goal-oriented,” you say; “I’m surrendering in order to win freedom.” But you are free! You have never been unfree. You are free, but again there is the same problem:
you want to be free, but you don’t understand that you can be free only when you are free from yourself — there is no other freedom. When you think about freedom, you think as if you will be there and free. You will not be there; there will be freedom. Freedom means freedom from the self, not freedom of the self. The moment the prison disappears the prisoner also disappears, because the prisoner is the prison! The moment you come out of the prison, you also are not. There is pure sky, pure space. That pure space is called nirvana, moksha, liberation.
Try to understand rather than trying to achieve.”I am surrendering in order to win freedom.”
Then you are using surrender as a means, and surrender is the goal, is the end unto itself. When I say surrender is the goal, I’m not saying that surrender has to be achieved somewhere in the future. I’m saying that surrender is not a means, it is an end unto itself. It is not that surrender brings freedom, surrender is freedom! They are synonymous, they mean the same thing. You are looking at the same thing from two different angles. “So it is not real surrender at all.” It is neither real nor unreal. It is not surrender at all. It is not even unreal.
“I am watching it, but the problem is it is always ‘I’ who is watching. Therefore every realization out of that watching is a reinforcement of the ego. I feel tricked by my ego.” Who is this ‘I’ you are talking about who feels tricked by the ego? It is the ego itself. The ego is such that it can divide itself into fragments, into parts, and then the game starts. You are the chaser and you are the chased. It is like a dog trying to catch hold of its own tail, and goes on jumping. And you look and you see the absurdity of it — but you see the absurdity, the dog cannot see it. The more he finds it is difficult to catch hold of the tail, the more he becomes crazy, the more he jumps. And the faster and the bigger the jump, the more the tail jumps faster and bigger also. And the dog cannot conceive what is happening: he’s such a great catcher of everything, and this ordinary tail, and he cannot catch hold of it?
This is what is happening to you. It is ‘I’ who is trying to catch, and who is the catcher and the caught both. See the ridiculousness of it, and in that very seeing be free of it.
There is not a thing to be done — not a thing, I say, because you are already that which you want to become. You are Buddhas, you have never been otherwise. Seeing is enough. And when you say that, “I am watching,” it is again the ‘I’. Watching, the ‘I’ will be created again, because watching again is an act, there is effort involved. You are watching — then who is watching? Relax. In relaxation — when there is nothing to be watched and nobody as a watcher, when you are not divided into a duality — there arises a different quality of witnessing. It is not a watching, it is just passive awareness; passive, I say — remember. It has nothing aggressive in it. Watching is very aggressive: effort is needed, you have to be tense. But be non-tense, relaxed. Just be there. In that consciousness when you are simply there, sitting doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.
That is the whole Buddhist approach: that anything that you do will create and enhance the doer — watching also, thinking also, surrendering also. Anything that you do will create the trap. Nothing is needed to be done on your part. Just be… and let things happen. Don’t try to manage, don’t try to manipulate. Let the breeze pass, let the sunrays come, let life dance, and let death come and have its dance into you too. This is my meaning of sannyas: it is not something that you do, but when you drop all doing and you see the absurdity of doing. Who are you to do? You are just a wave in this ocean. One day you are, another day you will disappear; the ocean continues. Why should you be so worried? You come, you disappear. Meanwhile, for this small interval, you become so worried and tense, and you take all the burdens on your shoulders, and you carry rocks on your heart — for no reason at all. You are free this very moment! I declare you enlightened in this very moment. But you don’t trust me. You say, “That’s right, Osho, but just tell us how to become enlightened.” That becoming, that achieving, that desiring, goes on jumping on every object that you can find. Sometimes it is money, sometimes it is God. Sometimes it is power, sometimes it is meditation — but any object, and you start grabbing it. Non-grabbing is the way to live the real life, the true life, non-grasping, non-possessing.
Let things happen, let life be a happening, and there is joy, there is rejoicing — because then there is no frustration, ever, because you had never expected anything in the first place. Whatsoever comes is good, is welcome. There is no failure, no success. That game of failure and success has been dropped. The sun comes in the morning and wakes you, and the moon comes in the evening and sings a lullaby and you go to sleep. Hunger comes and you eat, and so on and so forth. That’s what Zen masters mean when they say: When hungry, eat, when sleepy, sleep, and there is nothing else to do.
And I’m not teaching you inaction. I’m not saying don’t go and work, I’m not saying don’t earn your bread, I’m not saying renounce the world and depend on others and become exploiters; no, not at all. But don’t be a doer. Yes, when you are hungry you have to eat, and when you have to eat you have to earn the bread — but there is nobody doing it. It is hunger itself that is working; there is nobody else doing it. It is thirst itself that is taking you towards the well or towards the river. It is thirst itself moving; there is nobody who is thirsty. Drop nouns and pronouns in your life and let verbs live.
Buddha says: The truth is that when you see a dancer, there is no dancer but only a dance. When you see a river, there is no river but only rivering. When you see a tree, there is no tree but only treeing. When you see a smile, there is nobody who is smiling, there is only smile, smiling. When you see love, there is nobody who is a lover but only loving. Life is a process. But we are accustomed to thinking in terms of static nouns. That creates trouble. And there is nothing static — all is flux and flowing. Flow with this, flow with this river, and never be a doer. Even when you are doing don’t be a doer. There is doing but there is no doer. Once this insight settles in you there is nothing else.
Enlightenment is not something like a goal that has to be attained. It is the very ordinary life, this simple life that surrounds you. But when you are not struggling, this ordinary life becomes extraordinarily beautiful. Then trees are more green, then birds sing in richer tones, then everything that is happening around is precious… then ordinary pebbles are diamonds.Accept this simple, ordinary life. Just drop the doer. And when I say drop the doer, don’t become a dropper! Seeing into the reality of it, it disappears.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Heart Sutra
Chapter title: Surrender is Understanding
12 October 1977 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘Surrender, relaxation, understanding, consciousness, awareness, herenow’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Book of Wisdom
- Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1, 2
- The Supreme Doctrine
- The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol 1
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 2, 6, 9, 10
- Satyam Shivam Sundram
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
- Beyond Psychology
- From Death to Deathlessness
- The Invitation
- The Messiah, Vol 1, 2
- The Path of the Mystic
- The Transmission of the Lamp
- Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1, 2, 3
- Nirvana: The Last Nightmare