What Is the Taste of Being Here Now? Is Thinking Part of It?

The Sower, by Van Gogh at Arles, in 1888
The Sower, by Van Gogh at Arles, in 1888

If you have some aesthetic sense, then some aesthetic experience will give you the taste.

“Seeing a sunset, if you have the heart of a painter, the heart stops; you start missing beats. The sun is setting, just falling and falling and falling, and a moment more and it will be gone. And all that color in the clouds, all that sublime beauty!

“And the birds returning back to their homes, and the silence settling on the earth, and the trees getting ready to go to bed, and the whole of nature saying good-bye to the sun…. If you have an aesthetic heart, if you are a poet or a painter or a musician, if you know what beauty is, if you are affected by beauty, not so-so but tremendously, if beauty awes you – then you will know what herenow is.

“Or it happens sometimes listening to music.

There is nothing more meditational than music.

“Or if you can play some instrument yourself, then it is far better – because listening you remain on the periphery, playing you are at the center. If playing some instrument – playing a flute or sitar or guitar – and you are lost into it, absolutely lost into it, time stops, mind is no longer there, a buddha moment arrives, and you know what herenow is.

Or if you can dance – which seems to me the most profound experience.

“If you can dance and dance so deeply that the dancer disappears, only the dance remains, then again you will be herenow.

“I cannot define it, but I can indicate a few things. You will have to experience it. It is a taste. If you ask me how sugar tastes, how can I define it? I can say it is sweet, but that will not make much sense – it will be a tautology. You were asking what sweet is; I have simply substituted another word for it.

“If I say to be herenow means to be in the present, I am not saying anything – I am simply substituting another word for it. That’s what the dictionaries go on doing.

All dictionaries live on tautologies.

“And if you look in the dictionary you will be surprised: ask the philosopher or the philologist ‘What is mind?’ and he says ‘Not matter’; and then ask him ‘What is matter?’ and he says ‘Not mind.’ What is the point of it? You don’t know either. When it comes to defining matter, you use ‘the mind’ as if you know the mind, and you say ‘Not the mind’; and when it comes to defining the mind you start using ‘matter’ as if you know matter, and you say ‘Not matter’ – but you don’t know either. Now, how can two things themselves undefined, define each other? It is not possible.

“Ask the philologist who knows words and languages – what does he go on saying? You ask one word, he substitutes another word for it, but the real problem remains.

A Zen master was dying and the disciples had gathered.

“And his whole life he had been talking about herenow – that’s what masters have been doing down through the ages. The disciples asked again, ‘Master, you are leaving us and we will be left in darkness. Is there any last message so that we can cherish it and remember it forever? We will keep it as a sacred memory in our hearts.’
“The master opened his eyes. At that moment on the roof of his hut, a squirrel ran making noise – tit tit, teevee, tit tit – and the master raised his hand and said, ‘This is it!’ and died.

“What is he saying, ‘This is it’? He is simply indicating. He is simply saying there is nothing to say – there is much to see, but there is nothing to say.

“You ask, ‘Does thought form my part of it?’ No, thought cannot form part of it. It is asking, ‘Does darkness form part of light?’ Just like that.

“Darkness cannot form part of light. When light is present, darkness is absent; when light is absent, darkness is present – they never meet. So is the state of mind and herenow – they never meet.

Herenow means no-mind. No-mind means no thought.

And you know it! Many times it happens to you: there are moments, small, but they are there, when you suddenly see no thought stirring in you, no ripple arising – those are buddha moments. You just have to get more in tune with them, you just have to get deeper into them, you just have to change your emphasis.

“For example, you read a book. Naturally, you read the words printed on the paper; you don’t see the paper. The paper remains in the background. The words written with the black ink, they are the figure, and the white paper is the background. You may not even see the white paper while you are reading – although it is there. Without it, those words cannot exist; they exist because of it, against it, in contrast to it.

“It happened…

A psychologist did a small experiment.

“He fixed a big piece of white paper over the whole blackboard, and the students watched. Then he brought his pen and on that big sheet of white paper he made just a small dot, a black dot – just a small one, barely visible. The students had to look very, very closely, only then could they see it. And then he asked, ‘What do you see?’
“They all said, ‘A small dot.’
“And nobody had seen the white paper – nobody, not a single student out of the fifty, said, ‘We see a big white sheet of paper over the whole blackboard.’ Not a single student said that!
“They all said, ‘A black dot.’
“And he had simply asked, ‘What do you see?’

“What happened? Emphasis. Continuously reading, you emphasize the dots, the black marks on the paper; you don’t see the white paper. Just change the emphasis. Start looking at the white paper rather than at the black dot – and that brings great revolution.

When two thoughts are moving in you, between the two thoughts there is a gap, an interval, a pause.

“When two words move in you, between these two words there is a gap again. Just look more into the gaps; become negligent of the words – look at the gaps.

“Just standing on the road, try an experiment: you are standing on the road and cars are passing; maybe it is an international car rally and cars are passing. One car has gone, another car has gone, another car, but between two cars there are gaps – the road remains empty. Just change the emphasis. Just change the gestalt, as the Germans would like to say – change the gestalt, change the pattern.

“Start looking at one gap and then another gap. Rather than thinking one car has passed, another car has passed, another car has passed, start looking at the one gap that has passed, another gap, another gap – forget about the cars, start counting the gaps, how many gaps are passing. And you will be surprised – so many gaps are passing and you had never seen them before.

Just a change of emphasis: move from the figure to the background. Thoughts are figures, consciousness is the background.

“The mind consists of figures and no-mind is the background. Just start looking into the gaps. Fall in love with the intervals. Go deeper into them, search more into them – they have real secrets in them. The mystery is hidden there. It is not in the words that pass in your mind; those words are trivia, impressions from the outside. But see on what they pass, those ripples; look into that consciousness. And it is infinite. It is your being. “That consciousness is called no-mind.

“That is the meaning of the English expression ‘reading between the lines.’ Read between the lines and you will become a wise man. Read the lines and you will become an ugly scholar, a pundit, a parrot, a computer, a memory – a mind. Read between the lines and you will become a no-mind.

And no-mind is herenow.”


Excerpted from Osho, Walk without Feet, Fly without Wings, and Think without Mind, Talk #3 – How to Experience Herenow


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