Thoughtlessness: Consciousness without Content
Ignatius of Loyola, venerated as Saint Ignatius of Loyola, was a Spanish Basque Catholic priest and theologian, who together with Peter Faber and Francis Xavier founded the religious order called the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and became its first Superior General at Paris in 1541.
Ignatius was noted as an inspiring spiritual director. He recorded his method in a celebrated treatise called the Spiritual Exercises, a simple set of meditations, prayers, and other mental exercises, first published in 1548. It is known as “Ignatian spirituality“. Ignatius was beatified in 1609 and canonized, receiving the title of Saint, on 12 March 1622. His feast day is celebrated on 31 July.
The Master Lu-tsu says
only fifteen minutes in twenty-four hours will do. If you can sit silently for fifteen minutes, concentrated in the third eye, that will be enough to change your whole future. You will not need to be born into the body again. You will not need to be thrown into the world again. You have learned the lesson, you have become worthy of moving without the body and the limitation of the body. Your soul will be free, unentangled, without any bondage. And then there will be no death, no birth. You will be an eternal flowering of light in this infinite existence. Only fifteen minutes? Yes, only fifteen minutes can do the miracle. But people are not even ready to give fifteen minutes to quietness, to silence.
I have heard…
When Ignatius Loyola heard the news that an unfriendly man had been elected Pope, he was asked what he would do if the new head of the Church should order the Society of Jesus dissolved, the work in which Loyola had invested his whole life. He replied, ‘Fifteen minutes in prayer and all will be the same.’ An immensely significant reply.
An unfriendly Pope had come into power and there was every possibility that Loyola’s whole work would be dissolved. He had created a small society of mystics. The work was esoteric, and Christianity has always been against esoteric work, has always been afraid of the mystics because these are the dangerous people. They bring truth to the world, and once they bring truth to the world, people are no longer interested in rituals, impotent rituals. Who cares about the Church then? So Christianity has consistently been destroying all mystic schools so that nobody can go outside the Church, so that nobody can have any other door to reach God, so that everybody has to come to the priest. Whenever the desire to seek and search for God arises, no alternatives are to be left. Because of this stupid idea, Christianity destroyed religion in the whole world, because there are different people and they need different types of schools, and they need different types of techniques. And those who are really sincere in their search have to find esoteric groups. They cannot become part of the formal religion — that is not enough for them; it is very lukewarm, it is very superficial.
In the West, real religion had to go underground because of the Church. People have to create many false facades to hide behind. Alchemy was one of the facades. The real work was something else: the alchemist was trying to create around himself the idea that he was working to transform baser metal into gold. This was allowed. The Church was very happy. If you are trying to turn baser metal into gold, it is perfectly okay, you can do it. If you succeed, the Church will have more gold, that’s all; there was no fear about it. But this was just a facade, it was not real alchemy; it was just on the outside. Behind the curtain the real work was totally different: it was transforming the lower being into the higher being. It was exactly the secret of the Golden Flower: how to transform your sexuality, the baser metal, into spirituality, the gold.
But unnecessary trouble had to be taken, they had to make arrangements on the outside such that the society remained convinced that their work was something to do with gold. And everybody is interested in gold. The Church is very interested in gold, not in God.
Loyola was a great mystic. He had created the Society of Jesus. And a very antagonistic Pope was in power. Somebody said to him, ‘What will you do? What will happen now? The Society can be dissolved by the order of the Pope.’ Loyola said, ‘Fifteen minutes in prayer, and all will be the same. It will just take me fifteen minutes to go deep into meditation, that’s all. Because whenever I am there, nothing matters. Nothing matters at all.’
Master Lu-tsu says: Just fifteen minutes…
… BY IT YOU CAN DO AWAY WITH THE TEN THOUSAND AEONS AND A THOUSAND BIRTHS. ALL METHODS END IN QUIETNESS.
Remember it. Whatsoever the method, the goal is the same: quietness, utter silence inside, thoughtlessness, only consciousness without any content.
THIS MARVELLOUS MAGIC CANNOT BE FATHOMED.
It is an unfathomable depth. When thoughts disappear and you are simply silent, then the silence is a bottomless abyss; it cannot be fathomed. The Pacific Ocean can be fathomed — it has a five-mile depth; but the Pacific Ocean inside you cannot be fathomed — it is infinite. You can go on digging and digging and diving deeper and deeper and you will not come to fathom it, you will not come to the bottom of it at all.
Only thoughts can be measured, thoughtlessness is immeasurable. Hence, thoughtlessness is another name for God.
But remember, thoughtlessness should not be a kind of sleep, because that is very ordinary. It happens every day: deep in sleep, when dreams disappear, you fall into that abyss. That’s why deep sleep is so rejuvenating, so refreshing. In the morning you feel alive again, new, reborn. But that is unconscious.
Patanjali has said deep sleep and SAMADHI are very similar, with only one difference: in sleep you are unconscious, in SAMADHI you are conscious. But you go to the same space, the same unfathomable, magical space within you, where there is no thought, no desire, no vibration in your mind, all is quiet. All methods lead to it — Yoga, Tantra, Tao, Hassidism, Sufism — all methods lead to it from different angles; they have been devised for different people.
BUT WHEN THE PRACTICE IS STARTED, ONE MUST PRESS ON FROM THE OBVIOUS TO THE PROFOUND, FROM THE COARSE TO THE FINE.
In the beginning great effort is needed. One MUST press on from the obvious to the profound. What is obvious? — the obvious is your continuous process of thought. And what is profound? — just a state of no-thought. What is gross? — all contents of the mind are gross. And what is subtle? — a state of no-content is subtle. One must go pressing on. In the beginning, great effort will be needed. In the beginning, you have to be utterly committed to the work, only then does the blissful moment arise when meditation becomes effortless.
First, meditation has to be masculine energy. Only then, in the end, can it become feminine energy. That’s why my insistence is on dynamic methods in the beginning. Bring all your effort to the maximum. Put all that you have at stake, don’t hold anything back, and then, one day, you will be able to relax without effort.
Just by closing your eyes you will be able to reach the third eye.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse name: The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
Chapter title: Riding on a Miracle
19 August 1978 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on Mystics like Dadu, Daya, Farid, Gurdjieff, J. Krishnamurti, Kabir, Lalla, Magdalen, Mallibai, Meera, Nanak, Patanjali, Rabiya, Raman Maharishi, Rumi, Sahajo, Sai Baba, Saraha, Socrates, Teresa, Tilopa, Valmiki, Zarathustra, St. Francis and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses: