Mind Is Full of Opposites


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Mind is full of opposites, and it’s tempting to focus on the good bits and suppress the bad, to think positively. But those negative ideas just keep popping back up no matter how hard we try to make ourselves feel better. Here Osho speaks about a third possibility.

“Mind covers consciousness. Just as a lake is covered by leaves, the mind is covered by thoughts, and thoughts to the contrary of thoughts, positive and negative both. Mind obscures your consciousness just as leaves cover a stream. Consciousness is covered by positive and negative thoughts about everything. One part of the mind says, ‘There is a God’ and the other part says, ‘There is no God.’ One part of the mind says, ‘Love everybody,’ and the other part says, ‘It is dangerous to love everybody. Keep yourself separate.’ One part says, ‘Give donations,’ and the other part says, ‘You can give donations, but before doing that get the money by picking other people’s pockets.’ Mind is full of opposites. Duality covers your consciousness just as the stream is covered by layers and layers of leaves.

“How to be free of this duality? If you choose one part of the mind and go on suppressing the other part, do you think you will become free of duality? No, whatever you choose will trap you because the opposite of what you choose will not be destroyed. It is like the two sides of a coin: one side is bound by the other. If you try to get rid of one side, the other side is also thrown out. You will be in difficulty. Your dilemma is that whatsoever you desire to save will be thrown out along with the unchosen, suppressed part.

“Just as both sides of a coin are bound to each other, the positive and negative aspects of everything are bound to each other. Love and hatred, anger and compassion, attachment and aversion – all are bound to each other. If someone says, ‘I am giving up all desires,’ he will outwardly seem to be giving up everything, but the desires will hide in some corner within, ready to pop out at some opportune moment. This is why the sages have devised a word that expresses a third possibility: veetrag. It means the condition of being beyond the duality of attachment and aversion. Attachment and aversion are two poles of the same thing, so the sage says that whosoever wants to go beyond duality should develop the attitude of the sky within – the spirit of being simply a witness.

“What is this attitude of the sky? A black cloud is floating in the sky and a white cloud is also floating in the sky. Both float in the sky, but the sky is not identified with either of them. The sky never says, ‘I am white’ or ‘I am black.’ The sun rises, shines its rays in the sky and everything becomes visible; night falls and everything is covered by darkness. The sky witnesses both conditions, knows both happenings, but just observes both. The sky does not say, ‘I am light’ or ‘I am darkness.’ Light and darkness come and go, but the sky remains unchanged, unaffected. Neither light nor darkness can destroy the sky. The attitude of the sky means remaining aloof from all duality – unbound, unattached, indifferent.

“Don’t be identified with either the positive or the negative; don’t be identified with pleasure or pain, with attachment or aversion. Just adopt the attitude of the sky toward both; just be a space. Let attachment come and go, let aversion also come and go. You should remain outside both – just space, emptiness, a witness.

“And this witnessing state is samadhi.

“Now let us adopt the attitude of the sky.”

Osho, Behind a Thousand Names, Talk #12