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  • sandeep kumar verma

Stop!


Philosia (दर्शन)

Credit : Oshoworld

George Gurdjieff developed ‘Stop’ method that we used to play in our childhood. Anyone of the group who is part of this play during school time or outside just needs to shout ‘STOP!’ and everyone is the group has to remain standstill till next instruction of ‘relax’ or ‘at ease’. This was a meditation technique is known to me very recently.

Osho replying to a question in Unio Mystica Volume -1, Chapter 4-A petal of exceeding beauty.

Question 3

WHY DO THE SUFIS SAY THAT MAN IS A MACHINE?

Man is a machine, that’s why. Man as he is is utterly unconscious. He is nothing but his habits, the sum total of his habits. Man is a robot. Man is not yet man: unless consciousness enters into your being, you will remain a machine.

That’s why the Sufis say man is a machine. It is from the Sufis that Gurdjieff introduced the idea to the West that man is a machine. It is very rarely that you are conscious. In your whole seventy years’ life, if you live the ordinary so-called life – healthy and whole within and without, with no pain of growth, with no pain within you of a growing pearl of exceeding beauty – then you will not know even seven moments of awareness in your whole life.

And even if you know those seven moments or less, they will be only accidental. (Sufis believe that every person attains to ‘no-mind state’ or ‘moments of awe’ or ‘aha moments’ state seven times or less so that journey inward could begin to get more such moments) For example, you may know a moment of awareness if somebody suddenly comes and puts a revolver on your heart. In that moment, your thinking, your habitual thinking, stops. For a moment you become aware, because it is so dangerous, you cannot remain ordinarily asleep.

In some dangerous situation you become aware. Otherwise you remain fast asleep. You are perfectly skillful at doing your things mechanically.

Just stand by the side of the road and watch people, and you will be able to see that they are all walking in their sleep. All are sleep-walkers, somnambulists. And so are you.

Two bums were arrested and charged with a murder that had been committed in the neighborhood. The jury found them guilty and the judge sentenced them to hang by their necks until dead and God have mercy on their souls.

The two bore up pretty well until the morning of the day set for the execution arrived. As they were being prepared for the gallows, one turned to the other and said, ”Dam’ me if I ain’t about off my nut. I can’t get my thoughts together. Why, I don’t even know what the day of the week is.”

”This is a Monday,” said the other bum.

”Monday? My Gawd! What a rotten way to start the week!”

Just watch yourself. Even to the very point of death, people go on repeating old habitual patterns. Now there is going to be no week; the morning has come when they are to be hanged. But just the old habit – somebody says it is Monday, and you say, ”Monday? My God! What a rotten way to start the week!”

Man reacts.

That’s why the Sufis say man is a machine. Unless you start responding, unless you become responsible… Reaction comes out of the past, responses comes out of the present moment. Response is spontaneous, reaction is just old habit.

Just watch yourself. Your woman says something to you: then whatsoever you say, watch, ponder over it.

Is it just a reaction? And you will be surprised: ninety-nine percent of your acts are not acts, because they are not responses, they are just mechanical. Just mechanical.

It has been happening again and again: you say the same thing and your woman reacts the same way, and then you react, and it ends in the same thing again and again. You know it, she knows it, everything is predictable.

I have heard:

”Pop,” said a boy of then, ”how do wars get started?”

”Well, son,” began Pop, ”let’s say America quarreled with England…”

”America’s not quarreling with England,” interrupted Mother.

”Who said she was?” said Pop, visibly irritated. ”I merely was giving the boy a hypothetical instance.”

”Ridiculous!” snorted Mother. ”You’ll put all sorts of wrong ideas in his head.”

”Ridiculous, nothing!” countered Pop. ”If he listens to you he’ll never have any ideas at all in his head.”

Just as the dish-throwing stage approached, the son spoke up again. ”Thanks Mom, thanks Pop. I’ll never have to ask how wars get started again.”

Just watch yourself. The things that you are doing, you have done so many times. The ways you react, you have been reacting always. In the same situation you always do the same thing.

You are feeling nervous and you take out your cigarette and you start smoking. It is a reaction; whenever you have felt nervous you have done it.

You are a machine. It is just a built-in program in you now: you feel nervous, your hand goes into the pocket, the packet comes out. It is almost like a machine doing things.

You take the cigarette out, you put the cigarette in your mouth, you light the cigarette, and this is all going on mechanically. This has been done millions of times, and you are doing it again.

And each time you do this it is strengthened; the machine becomes more mechanical, the machine becomes more skillful. The more you do it, the less awareness is needed to do it.

This is why the Sufis say man functions as a machine. Unless you start destroying these mechanical habits… Sufis have many methods to destroy them.

For example, they teach many devices. They say: Do something just contrary to what you have always done.

Try it. You come home, you are afraid, you are as late as ever, and the wife will be there ready to quarrel with you. And you are planning how to answer, what to say – that there was too much work in the office, and this and that.

And she knows all that you are planning, and she knows what you are going to say if she asks why you are late. And you know if you say that you are late because there was too much work she is not going to believe it either.

She has never believed it. She may have already checked; she may have phoned the office, she may have already enquired where you are.

But, still, this is just a pattern.

The Sufis say: Today go home and behave totally differently. The wife asks you, ”Where have you been?” And you say, ”I was with a woman making love.”

And then see what happens. She will be shocked! She will not know what to say, she will not even have any way to find words to express it.

For a moment she will be completely lost, because no reaction, no old pattern, is applicable.

Or maybe, if she has become too much of a machine, she will say, ”I don’t believe you!” – just as she has never believed you. ”You must be joking!”

Every day you come home…

I have heard about a psychoanalyst who was telling his patient – must have been giving him a Sufi device – ”Today when you go home…” because the patient was complaining again and again. ”I am always afraid of going home. My wife looks so miserable, so sad, always in despair, that my heart starts sinking. I want to escape from the home.”

The psychologist said, ”Maybe you are the cause of it. Do something: today take flowers and ice cream and sweets for the woman, and when she opens the door hug her, give her a good kiss. And then immediately start helping her: clean the table and the pots and the floor. Do something absolutely new that you have never done before.”

The idea was appealing and the man tried it. He went home. The moment the wife opened the door and saw flowers and ice cream and sweets, and this beaming man who had never been laughing hugged her, she could not believe what was happening!

She was in an utter shock, she could not believe her eyes: maybe this is somebody else! She had to look again.

And then when he kissed her and immediately just started cleaning the table and went to the sink and started washing the pots, the woman started crying.

When he came out he said, ”Why are you crying?” She said, ”Have you gone mad?

I always suspected one day or other you would go mad. Now it has happened. Why don’t you go and see a psychiatrist?”

Sufis have such devices.

They say: Act totally differently, and not only will others be surprised, YOU will be surprised. And just in small things.

For example, when you are nervous you walk fast. Don’t walk fast, go very slow and see.

You will be surprised that it doesn’t fit, that your whole mechanical mind immediately says, ”What are you doing? You have never done this!” And if you walk slowly you will be surprised: nervousness disappears, because you have brought in something new.

These are the methods of vipassana and zazen.

If you go deep into them the fundamentals are the same. When you are doing vipassana walking, you have to walk more slowly than you have ever walked before, so slowly that it is absolutely new. The whole feeling is new, and the reactive mind cannot function. It cannot function because it has no program for it; it simply stops functioning.

That’s why in vipassana you feel so silent watching the breath. You have always breathed but you have never watched it; this is something new.

When you sit silently and just watch you breath – coming in, going out, coming in, going out – the mind feels puzzled: what are you doing?

Because you have never done it. It is so new that the mind cannot supply an immediate reaction to it. Hence it falls silent.

The fundamental is the same.

Whether Sufi or Buddhist or Hindu or Mohammedan is not the question. If you go deep into meditation’s fundamentals then the essential thing is one: how to de-automatize you.

Gurdjieff used to do very bizarre things to his disciples. Somebody would come who had always been a vegetarian, and he would say, ”Eat meat.” Now, it is the same fundamental – this man is just a little too much of himself, a little eccentric.

He would say, ”Eat meat.” Now, watch a vegetarian eating meat. The whole body wants to throw it out and he wants to vomit, and the whole mind is puzzled and disturbed and he starts perspiring, because the mind has no way to cope with it.

That’s what Gurdjieff wanted to see, how you would react to a new situation.

To the man who had never taken any alcohol Gurdjieff would say, ”Drink. Drink as much as you can.”

And to the man who had been drinking alcohol Gurdjieff would say, ”Stop for one month. Completely stop.”

He wanted to create some situation which is so new for the mind that the mind simply falls silent; it has no answer for it, no ready-made answer for it.

The mind functions in a parrot-like way.

That’s why Zen masters will hit the disciple sometimes.

That is again the same fundamental. Now, when you go to a master you don’t expect a buddha to hit you, or do you? When you go to Buddha you go with expectations that he will be compassionate and loving, that he will shower love and put his hand on your head.

And this buddha gives you a hit – takes his staff and hits you hard on the head.

Now, it is so shocking: a buddha, hitting you? For a moment the mind stops; it has no idea what to do, it does not function.

And that nonfunctioning is the beginning. Sometimes a person has become enlightened just because the master did something absurd.

People have expectations, people live through expectations. They don’t know that masters don’t fit with any kind of expectations.

India was accustomed to Krishna and Rama and people like that. Then came Mahavira, he stood naked. You cannot think of Krishna standing naked; he was always wearing beautiful clothes, as beautiful as possible. He was one of the most beautiful persons ever; he used to wear ornaments made of gold and diamonds.

And then suddenly there is Mahavira. What did Mahavira mean by being naked? He shocked the whole country: he helped many people because of that shock.

Each master has to decide how to shock.

Now, in India they have not known a man like me for centuries. So whatsoever I do, whatsoever I say, is a shock. The whole country goes into shock; a great shiver runs through the spine of the whole country. I really enjoy it, because they cannot think….

I have just received a letter saying, ”We always thought that you were above politics. Then why have you started speaking on politics?”

(Here I wish to add that he may have got a letter about ‘Sex’ instead of politics but to give it a milder tone he used word politics. Since he was given bad name as Sexguru. Here a master has freedom to give a harsher tone or milder tone during his talks.)