The Invitation 14

Fourteenth Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - The Invitation by Osho.
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I realized that it is easier to become silent while listening to you than in any other meditation. When you stop talking everything seems to stop for a moment and I get a glimpse of what meditation can be! These are the most precious moments for me! Osho, why is it easier to become silent in your presence?
The question you have raised is significant not only to you, but to many more who are not fortunate enough to be in my presence, but who will be reading these words or listening or seeing this on the video screen all over the world.
The question arises almost for everyone, that the way I talk is a little strange. No speaker in the world talks like me – technically it is wrong; it takes almost double the time! But those speakers have a different purpose – my purpose is absolutely different from theirs. They speak because they are prepared for it; they are simply repeating something that they have rehearsed. Secondly, they are speaking to impose a certain ideology, a certain idea on you. Thirdly, to them speaking is an art – they go on refining it.
As far as I am concerned, I am not what they call a speaker or an orator. It is not an art to me or a technique; technically I go on becoming worse every day! But our purposes are totally different. I don’t want to impress you in order to manipulate you. I don’t speak for any goal to be achieved through convincing you. I don’t speak to convert you into a Christian, into a Hindu or a Mohammedan, into a theist or an atheist – these are not my concerns.
My speaking is really one of my devices for meditation. Speaking has never been used this way: I speak not to give you a message, but to stop your mind functioning.
I speak nothing prepared – I don’t know myself what is going to be the next word; hence I never commit any mistake. One commits a mistake if one is prepared. I never forget anything, because one forgets if one has been remembering it. So I speak with a freedom that perhaps nobody has ever spoken with.
I am not concerned whether I am consistent, because that is not the purpose. A man who wants to convince you and manipulate you through his speaking has to be consistent, has to be logical, has to be rational, to overpower your reason. He wants to dominate through words.
One of the very famous books of Dale Carnegie is about speaking and influencing people as an art – it has been sold second only to The Holy Bible – but I will fail his examinations. He used to run a course in America to train missionaries, to train professors, and to train orators. I will fail on all counts. First, I have no motivation to convert you; I have no desire anywhere to impress you. And I don’t remember what I have said yesterday, so I cannot bother about being consistent – that is too much worry. I can easily contradict myself, because I am not trying to have a communication with your intellectual, rational mind.
My purpose is so unique – I am using words just to create silent gaps. The words are not important so I can say anything contradictory, anything absurd, anything unrelated, because my purpose is just to create gaps. The words are secondary; the silences between those words are primary. This is simply a device to give you a glimpse of meditation. And once you know that it is possible for you, you have traveled far in the direction of your own being.
Most of the people in the world don’t think that it is possible for mind to be silent. Because they don’t think it is possible, they don’t try. How to give people a taste of meditation was my basic reason to speak, so I can go on speaking eternally – it does not matter what I am saying. All that matters is that I give you a few chances to be silent, which you find difficult on your own in the beginning.
I cannot force you to be silent, but I can create a device in which spontaneously you are bound to be silent. I am speaking, and in the middle of a sentence, when you were expecting another word to follow, nothing follows but a silent gap. And your mind was looking to listen, and waiting for something to follow, and does not want to miss it – naturally it becomes silent. What can the poor mind do? If it was well known at what points I will be silent, if it was declared to you that on such and such points I will be silent, then you could manage to think – you would not be silent. Then you know: “This is the point where he is going to be silent, now I can have a little chit-chat with myself.” But because it comes absolutely suddenly…. I don’t know myself why at certain points I stop.
Anything like this, in any orator in the world, will be condemned, because an orator stopping again and again means he is not well prepared, he has not done the homework. It means that his memory is not reliable, that he cannot find, sometimes, what word to use. But because it is not oratory, I am not concerned about the people who will be condemning me – I am concerned with you.
And it is not only here, but far away…anywhere in the world where people will be listening to the video or to the audio, they will come to the same silence. My success is not to convince you, my success is to give you a real taste so that you can become confident that meditation is not a fiction, that the state of no-mind is not just a philosophical idea, that it is a reality; that you are capable of it, and that it does not need any special qualifications.
You may be a sinner, you may be a saint – it does not matter. If the sinner can become silent, he will attain to the same consciousness as the saint.
Existence is not so miserly as religions have been teaching you. Existence is not like the KGB or CBI – watching everybody to see what you are doing, whether you are going to the movie with your own wife or with somebody else’s wife. Existence is not interested at all. The problem of whether the wife is yours or not is just a man-created problem. In existence, there is nothing like marriage. Whether you are stealing money, taking it out from somebody’s safe or from your own, existence does not and cannot make the difference. You are taking out the money from the safe – that is a fact – but to whom the safe belongs, that is absolutely of no concern to existence.
Once George Bernard Shaw was asked, “Can a man live his life so lazily, just keeping his hands in his pockets and enjoying?” George Bernard Shaw said, “Yes, just the pocket should be somebody else’s!”
Keeping your hands in your own pockets, you cannot survive! And the fact is that almost everybody has his hand in somebody else’s pocket. And that fellow may have his hand in somebody else’s pocket, so he cannot stop you because by stopping you, he will be stopped. So he has to accept it, and if he has his hands in a richer pocket, he does not care about you. Go on doing whatsoever you are doing, just don’t create a disturbance.
Existence has no morality as such – it is amoral. For existence there is nothing wrong and nothing right. Only one thing is right – your being alert and conscious. Then you are blissful.
It is very strange that no religion has defined “right” as being blissful, or defined “virtue” as being blissful. And they were in a difficulty to define it exactly as I am defining it because their concern was that in the world, the people they think are sinners look happier than the people they think are saints – the saints look absolutely unhappy. And if they say that blissfulness is the criterion, whether you are right in tune with existence or not, this will destroy their whole superstructure. The saints will look like sinners and the sinners will look like saints.
But this is my criterion because I don’t care about the scriptures, I don’t care about the prophets, I don’t care about the past – that was their business and their problem. I have my own eyes to see, why should I depend on anybody else’s eyes? And I have my own consciousness to be aware, why should I be dependent on Gautam Buddha, or Bodhidharma, or Jesus Christ? They were not dependent on me. Obviously, there is no spoken or unspoken agreement. They lived their lives according to their own understanding and insight; I am to live my life according to my understanding and my insight.
My effort here to speak to you is to give you a chance to see that you are as capable of becoming a no-mind as any Gautam Buddha – that it is not a special quality given to a few people, that it is not a talent. Everybody cannot be a painter, and everybody cannot be a poet – those are talents. Everybody cannot be a genius – those are given qualities from birth. But everybody can be enlightened – that is the only thing about which communism is right. And strangely enough, that is the only thing communism denies.
Enlightenment is the only thing, the only experience where everybody is equal – equally capable. And it does not depend on your acts, it does not depend on your prayers, it does not depend on whether you believe in God or not. It depends only on one thing and that is a little taste, and suddenly you become confident that you are capable of it. My speaking is just to give you confidence. So I can tell a story, I can tell a joke – absolutely unrelated!
Every intellectual will condemn me, saying, “What kind of speech is this?” But he has not understood my purpose; it is not a speech, it is not a lecture. It is simply a device to bring confidence to you and to your heart that you can be silent. The more you become confident, the more you will be able. Without my speaking you will start finding devices yourself. For example, you can go on listening to the birds, and they suddenly stop, and they suddenly start. Listen…there is no reason why this crow should make noises and then stop – it is just giving you a chance…. You can find them, once you know – even in the marketplace where there is so much noise, everything is going on, crazy.
Just the other day I came to know that in Greece the government was very much worried about the taxi drivers because they were not following any rules, any regulations of traffic. Their taxis were going anywhere they wanted, against the red light! Finally they decided to specially train the taxi drivers for a week, and they announced three big awards to the perfect taxi driver.
For first place, they could not find anyone; the police were searching for someone to give the prize to, but they could not find anyone. In fact, the moment they found one taxi driver who was behaving exactly the way he should on the road – the moment they tried to stop him to give him the first prize, he became afraid seeing the police, and he ran against the red light and spoiled the whole game! He did not think that they would give a prize; he must have thought that he was bound for trouble – he did not care. Just in front of the police, just a moment before he was going to be the first award winner he ran against the light.
In seven days’ time they could not find anyone. They could not find a taxi driver to give him the prize, because the moment the taxi driver saw the police standing there, he became even more crazy. The seven days’ experience showed that the police and its presence had been making taxi drivers more nervous, and they were getting the whole traffic into a mess.
I don’t follow any rules. I have read books; for example, I mentioned Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends And Influence People, but my whole life I have been doing just the opposite: how to influence people and create enemies. And I have been successful in that!
Your question is, “I realize that it is easier to become silent while listening to you.” The reason is that you are attentive; your mind is still because you want to listen to me. When I stop, your mind cannot start quickly, and before it starts, I start again! I am watching you! I give you only this much gap, so you cannot start your taxi again; otherwise you will run against the red light, and create more chaos.
So my speaking is not oratory; it is not a doctrine that I am preaching to you. It is simply an arbitrary device to give you a taste of what silence is, and to make you confident that it is not a talent – that it does not belong to any specially-qualified people, that it does not belong to long austerities, that it does not belong to those who call themselves virtuous. It belongs to all, without any conditions; you just have to become aware of it. And that’s my whole purpose in speaking to you.
Once you are certain that you can be silent, then your whole focus will change. It is not a question of discipline, it is not a question of being prayerful, it is not a question of believing in God and all kinds of nonsense. It is a question of feeling your own possibility, and once you have known the possibility and become confident about it, the whole religion in your vision will have a different color.
It is a question of silence and consciousness and blissfulness – it has nothing to do with sins and virtues and confessions. Existence does not bother about your sins – what sin can you commit? What punishment should be given to poor human beings? Religions have been giving, for small things, eternal hell. One has to be a little just also.
Bertrand Russell has counted all the sins that he has committed, and all the sins that he has thought to commit but he has not committed, and all the sins that he has committed in his dreams. He has given the whole list and has asked the Christian theologians…and he has remained unanswered for more than half a century. Now he is dead; fifty years he waited for the answer. He was asking, “These are all that can be counted as sins: these things I have committed, these things I have only thought, these things I have only dreamt. How much punishment can be given to me on these grounds? The strictest judge cannot give me four and a half years of jail, and Christianity is going to throw me into eternal hellfire!”
To be punished for eternity you need another eternity to commit sins; otherwise it will not be just. In his book, Why I Am Not A Christian – he was born a Christian, but as he became aware of the stupidness of the whole Christian theology, he wrote the book – he has asked these questions but none of his questions have been answered. The only answer was that his book was banned by the pope. It was put on the pope’s blacklist, which is published every year for the Catholics, saying that “You should not read these books.”
I am fortunate, my books are also on the list. In the Middle Ages the pope used to burn these books; now it is difficult. But he can at least prevent Catholics, at least old Catholics who are afraid of death and who are coming close to it. It is difficult for him to burn the books; it is difficult for him to prevent even the new Catholic generation. In fact, just by his order that this book should not be read, it becomes more attractive.
The only answer that Bertrand Russell got was that his book was put on the blacklist and his name was put on the blacklist: “This book certainly, and any other book by this man should not be read by Catholics because he can disturb your belief. He is an agent of the devil” – this is the answer.
He has asked very pertinent questions. He says that on the one hand, Jesus says, “Love your enemies”; he goes even to the point of saying, “Love your neighbors”…which is of course more difficult, because enemies are far away but the neighbors are always sitting on your back.
But Jesus himself threw the moneychangers out single-handedly. He was so enraged that he turned their tables and he threw them out of the temple of the Jews. What authority did he have? And what happened to the love? His authority was only his imagination saying, “I am the son of God and you are spoiling the place of my father by making business here.” And those people were really helpful. Poor people could get money on interest from the temple, and the temple was taking less interest than any other moneylenders outside. It was really to protect the poor from the moneylenders.
And the temple needed some money to run. It was a big temple, hundreds of rabbis; it was the very center of their Jewish life. Throwing those people out of the temple just on the idea, on the assumption, for which he has no proof, that he is the son of God. And he behaved with such anger, such arrogance. Bertrand Russell wants to know – what happened to his preachings?
Jesus comes hungry with his followers to a village, and the villagers are against them; they refuse, they don’t give them shelter. Hungry and tired, he comes across a tree and he curses the tree because there are no fruits on it. It was not the season. What can the poor tree do? And the trees are not expected to fulfill your demands. His cursing the tree shows that he was a very angry man, blindly angry. And Bertrand Russell has classified all these things, and asked for the answers, but nobody has answered a single point.
My own understanding and experience is that the idea of sin, the idea of virtue, the idea of reward, the idea of punishment, heaven and hell, are simply ideas to exploit you, to keep you under control. It is a psychological bondage, because I don’t see any point….
My own experience is that if you can be silent, and if you can transcend mind and your consciousness can grow, it does not matter what you are doing; your actions are not counted at all, only your consciousness.
Actions are very small things, but up to now all the religions have been counting your actions, not your consciousness. They have been training you how to act rightly, and what has to be avoided. But nobody was saying that unless your consciousness rises you will not be authentically religious.
And it was a surprise to me that as you become silent, as you become conscious, more alert, your actions start changing – but not vice versa. You can change your actions, but that will not make you more conscious. You become more conscious, and your actions will change – that’s absolutely simple and scientific. You were doing something stupid; as you become more alert and more conscious, you cannot do it.
It is not a question of reward or punishment. It is simply your consciousness, your silence, your peace, which makes you look so far away and so deep into everything that you do. You cannot do harm to anybody; you cannot be violent, you cannot be angry, you cannot be greedy, you cannot be ambitious. Your consciousness has given you so much blissfulness…what can greed give you except anxieties? What can ambition give you? – just a continuous struggle to reach high on some ladder.
One very successful man, perhaps the richest man of that time, was asked, “What have you learned from your life, because from poverty you have become the richest man in the world?” He said, “What have I learned? I have learned only one thing – climbing the ladder. That is my only experience. I have reached to the highest rung of the ladder, and now I look stupid! Where else to go?”
As your consciousness becomes more settled, all your life patterns change. What religions have called sin will disappear from your life, and what they have called virtue will automatically flow from your being, from your actions. But they have been doing just vice versa: first change the acts…It is as if you are in a dark house, and you are stumbling over furniture and over things, and you are told that unless you stop stumbling, light is not possible.
What I am saying is, bring light in and stumbling will disappear, because when there is light why should you stumble over things? Every time you stumble, every time you hit your head on the wall, it hurts. It is a punishment in itself – a wrong act is a punishment in itself; there is nobody recording your acts. And every beautiful action is a reward unto itself. But first bring light in your life.
Meditation is an effort to bring light and to bring joy and to bring silence and to bring blissfulness, and out of this beautiful world of meditation it is impossible for you to do anything wrong.
So I have changed it completely. Religions were insisting on action; my insistence is on consciousness, and consciousness can grow only in silence. Silence is the right soil for consciousness. When you are noisy you cannot be very alert and conscious. When you are conscious and alert, you cannot be noisy – they cannot co-exist.
So my speaking, my talking should not be categorized with any other kind of oratory; it is a device for meditation to bring confidence in you which has been taken away by religions. Instead of confidence, they have given you guilt which pulls you down and keeps you sad. Once you become confident that great things are available to you, you will not feel inferior, you will not feel guilty – you will feel blessed. You will feel that existence has prepared you to be one of the peaks of consciousness. But you have not been going accordingly; you have been following the priests who have destroyed your dignity and your pride.
You say, “I realized that it is easier to become silent while listening to you than in any other meditation,” because in those other meditations you are alone. It will take a little time to gain confidence – that’s why I am speaking morning and evening, almost for thirty years continuously. Perhaps two or three times in these thirty years, I have stopped because I was not feeling well; otherwise I have continued to speak.
Every morning and evening I want to give you the confidence that you are losing in your meditations. When you are meditating, of course it is you who are meditating; your mind goes on with its old habit. And many people who have not been given the confidence have turned back. They try meditation for a few days and it becomes a failure and a sadness that it doesn’t happen. And they start thinking, “Perhaps my evil acts of the past life” – which the religions have forced in your mind – “or perhaps my belief in God is not total; something is wrong with me.”
I want you to be absolutely certain that nothing is wrong with anybody; all wrongs have been fed into you.
Religions have not been helpful in creating a better humanity. They have only destroyed all that was beautiful in man; they have stopped its growth, they have cut the very roots. Man has remained a pygmy in the world of consciousness.
I have changed the whole focus. I don’t say to you that you have to do this, you have not to do that, that this is sin and this is virtue. I say only, simply be alert and conscious and silent and blissful, and everything else will follow. Alone, it will take a little time for you. As your confidence becomes more and more solid, then alone also you will be able to be silent.
With me, to be silent is easier because of one other reason – I am silent; even while I am speaking I am silent. My innermost being is not involved at all. What I am saying to you is not a disturbance or a burden or a tension to me; I am as relaxed as one can be. Speaking or not speaking does not make any difference to me.
Naturally, this kind of state is infectious. Seeing me, being here in my presence, looking into my eyes…even watching my hands, you can feel that they are the gestures of a silent man. Slowly, slowly you become infected, contagious; moreover, around a silent man there is a certain energy field created.
You can try one beautiful experiment: just put some sand on a plate and then when somebody is playing music, put your plate with the sand on top of it. You will be surprised to see that every sound makes a change in the pattern of the sand on the plate. It goes on changing with every sound. Classical music will put all the sand in a very silent, very harmonious state; it will create a pattern of harmony. The same sand, the same plate and any stupid kind of modern music – from jazz to the skinheads – and you will be surprised that your sand is in a chaos. It loses all harmony, it loses all peacefulness, and patterns are created which show immediately to anybody disharmony, discord.
A man of silence moves with a certain field of energy around him, and if you are receptive, his vibe starts touching your heart.
Have you noticed? A husband and wife, if they have really been in love, non-possessive, non-jealous – and if they have helped each other to remain individuals and they have deep respect for each other – living a long life, for fifty years together, you will be surprised to know…it is a well-known fact noticed down the ages that they start looking almost the same. Their voices, their eyes, their faces, their gestures…they become so harmonious with each other.
Certainly, between a master and disciple the phenomenon is a millionfold greater, because there is no conflict at all. And particularly with a man like me – I am not in any way forcing you to be disciples, and I will not prevent anybody from leaving me. I welcome you when you are here; if you leave, my welcome remains the same. My love does not change. You can go away, you can even betray me, but my love remains the same. There is no contract between me and you; you are here out of your freedom, any moment you can go. I am here out of my freedom; you don’t bind me.
In this state of freedom the master and disciple can come closest, and naturally energy flows from the higher to the lower. It is just like water coming from a mountaintop towards the valley.
Lao Tzu has actually called his philosophy of life “the watercourse way.” When the master and disciple are so deeply in tune, because they are not in any bondage, both are meeting out of their freedom – and an authentic master never thinks himself higher than the disciple, although the authentic disciple can conceive of the master as higher than anything – energy flows slowly to the depths of your being. Meditation becomes almost a by-product; silence happens on its own accord. Your heart itself starts dancing with the master.
I was reading a statement of Walt Whitman, the only American I have any respect for. He says, “I celebrate myself, and sing myself.” I agree on this point – every master celebrates himself and sings himself. Anybody who is interested joins the dance. And slowly, slowly there is no master, no disciple, but only the dance, only the celebration.
But this is only half of the statement; the other half I don’t agree with. That’s where he shows his Christian roots: “And what I assume, you shall assume.” That disturbs the whole thing. Again it has come to the same point – “What I believe you should believe, what I assume you should assume.” Then there comes a subtle domination. No, on that point I cannot agree.
I would have loved to agree with everything that Walt Whitman says, but I cannot go against reality. It is enough – “I celebrate myself and sing myself” – and if you rejoice in it, you join. It is not a question that you have to assume what I assume, that you have to believe what I believe, that you have in any way to be dependent on me. You are participating because you love the dance, you are participating because you love to celebrate; you are participating because for the first time you have come across a man who takes life as a celebration not as a burden or a punishment.
It is enough that you enjoy the song of the master. Your enjoyment will bring you closer. It is enough that you enjoy the dance; it will make you dance. It is enough that you love the celebration, the very idea that life is celebration. And then slowly, slowly there is a melting and a merging. A time comes when it is difficult to find who is the master and who is the disciple.
Masters and disciples, if they have lived long enough in tune with each other, become almost alike – without any effort of trying to become alike, because that would be forced and that would be false and that would be hypocrisy. Just dancing together, sitting together, being silent together, a merging is bound to happen.
You say, “When you stop talking, everything seems to stop for a moment and I get a glimpse of what meditation can be.” You have forgotten to note one thing. What you have noted is right, that you get a glimpse of what meditation can be. You have forgotten to note that you are capable of having such silent moments, that you see that meditation is not something impossible, that it is not only for any exceptional category of people, that it is available to everybody. You have pointed out one thing absolutely correctly, but you have forgotten to see that you are also capable of being silent, which is very important to remember.
Because I cannot go on speaking the whole day to keep you in meditative moments, I want you to become responsible. Accepting that you are capable of being silent will help you when you are meditating alone. Knowing your capacity…and one comes to know one’s capacity only when one experiences it. There is no other way.
You are saying, “These are the most precious moments for me. Osho, why is it easier to become silent in your presence?” In my presence you forget your own ego, you forget yourself. The emphasis should be not on me, the emphasis should be on you, on the fact that in my presence you love me, you respect me, you trust me, so you put aside your defense measures – your ego is your defense measure.
Pay more attention to it, to why you become silent. Don’t make me wholly responsible for your silence, because that will create a difficulty for you. Alone, what are you going to do? Then it becomes a kind of addiction, and I don’t want you to be addicted to me. I don’t want to be a drug to you.
The so-called masters and teachers of the religions of the whole world – I have come across almost all kinds and all categories of teachers – want their disciples to be addicted to them, to be dependent on them. That is their power trip. I don’t have any power trip. I love you, whether you are with me or not with me.
I want you to be independent and confident that you can attain these precious moments on your own.
If you can attain them with me, there is no reason why you cannot attain them without me, because I am not the cause. You have to understand what is happening: listening to me, you put your mind aside. Listening to the ocean, or listening to the thundering of the clouds, or listening to the rain falling heavily, just put your ego aside, because there is no need…The ocean is not going to attack you, the rain is not going to attack you, the trees are not going to attack you – there is no need of any defense. To be vulnerable to life as such, to existence as such, you will be getting these moments continuously – soon it will become your very life.
If you ask me, I have almost forgotten the taste of misery; and because I have forgotten the taste of misery and suffering and anxiety, I have also slowly been forgetting the taste of joy, blissfulness, ecstasy – they have become natural. Just as a healthy man does not feel continuously that he is healthy, only sick people become interested in health. The moment that you have become healthy…coming out of your sickness, you will feel health but when it becomes your natural experience of every day, every moment, you don’t have any contrast of sickness to compare it with.
You don’t know your head unless you have a headache – have you observed it? Do you become aware of your head? You become aware of your head only when you have a headache. A headache gives you the idea – people who have not experienced headaches, don’t know what it is to have a healthy head without any headaches.
All our experiences depend on their opposites. If you cannot taste the bitter, you cannot taste anything sweet either – they go together. If you cannot see darkness, you cannot see light. And if you are continuously in one state, you start forgetting about it.
That’s what I call going beyond enlightenment – the day you start forgetting that you are enlightened, the day it becomes just the natural course of your life, ordinary, nothing special. The way you breathe, the way your heart beats, the way your blood runs in the body, enlightenment also becomes part of your being. You forget all about it.
When you ask the question, I am reminded that yes, there is an experience called enlightenment. But when I am sitting alone I never remember that I am enlightened, that would be crazy! It has become such a natural, ordinary experience.
First go beyond mind. Then go beyond enlightenment too. Don’t get stuck anywhere until you are simply an ordinary part of the existence, with the trees, with the birds, with the animals, with the rivers, with the mountains. You feel a deep harmony – no superiority, no inferiority.
Gautam Buddha had some glimpses of going beyond enlightenment. He mentioned it, that there is a possibility of going beyond enlightenment. He did not say that he had gone beyond it, but he recognizes the fact that there should be a state when you forget all about enlightenment. You have been so healthy, you have forgotten all about health; only then have you come home. Finally even enlightenment is a barrier – the last barrier.
Now a joke for you, not related to anything! I am grateful to you that you allow me to say anything that I want; you don’t object….

Grandpa Goldstein got drunk one night and no one could find him. They looked everywhere – behind the barn, in the hay shed, but no Grandpa. Finally, Bernie heard the pigs snorting and went to check. There was Grandpa Goldstein lying in the mud with an old sow, stroking her belly.
“Gee, honey,” Bernie heard him mutter, “I have been sleeping with you for forty-nine years and this is the first time I have noticed your nightgown has two rows of buttons!”

…I think this much meditation for this morning will do!

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