Talks on Fragments from Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching

On The Utility Of Not Being


We talk about the sufi meditation tradition  but we also have a few other web pages, the Sufi Meditation master and Sufis People are Sleeping or Are You Angry, Mr Sufi? OR generously, Sufi is a Feeling of the Heart explained by Osho. Or perhaps you like ZEN Zen Meditation Stories or Zen and the Stars or TAOISM KO HSUAN Stories of the Tao by Ko Hsuan and other Taoist Meditations. Or PATANJALI The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali One or The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Two or TANTRA Tantra and Tantric Meditations or even the Meditations of the Peace of the Guida Spiritual and now DON JUAN AND CARLOS CASTENADA The Teachings of Don Juan, and Don Juan, Castaneda and A Separate Reality AND  JESUS - WHEN JESUS WENT UNTO THE MOUNT OF OLIVES. AND Meditation Wisdom Jesus and the Selfish Competitive Ego AND JESUS - JESUS The Flute on Gods Lips and Meditation Jesus and The Conditioned   Mind  OR THE UPANISHADS This Direct Knowing Natchiketa with the Lord of Death, Yama From the Katha Upanishad AND The Kundalini Energy of Prana and Apana - None Can Transcend It and Lao Tsu's Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching one, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching two, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching three, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching four, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching five, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching six, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching seven, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching eight, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching nine, Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching ten

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On The Utility Of Not Being














 THE DEEPEST CORE of being is non-being. The foundation of isness is nothingness. And when I say nothingness I don't mean nothingness -- I only mean no-thingness.

 Form exists on the base of the formless. The form comes out of the formless just as waves come out of the sea, and then the form drops, dissolves into the formless again. The name arises out of the nameless, falls back, returns to the original source, becomes nameless again. Life arises out of death and moves to death again. The very basic thing to remember is that these opposites are not opposites, they are complementary. Death is not against life, nonexistence is not against existence, non-being is not against being. They are two polarities of the same phenomenon, which transcends all understanding.

 Sometimes it expresses itself as being and sometimes as non-being, but it is the same that expresses in both. This has to be understood as deeply as possible because your whole sadhana, the whole effort towards ultimate understanding, will depend on it. Unless you are ready to become non-being you will never become a real authentic being. It looks like a paradox.

 Jesus says to his disciples: Unless you lose yourself you will not gain yourself. If you cling to yourself you will be destroyed, if you don't cling you will be saved. He is saying that if you move into non-being, only then is the being saved.

 In India there exists a very old and very beautiful parable in the Upanishads.


 A great sage, Uddalaka, was asked by his son, Svetketu, "Father, who am I? What is it that exists in me? I try and try, I meditate and meditate, but I cannot find it."

 Svetketu was a small child but he raised a very very difficult question. Had somebody else asked the question, Uddalaka could have answered easily, but how to help a child to understand? And he was asking the greatest problem that exists.

 Uddalaka had to create a device. He said, "You go there, yonder, where you see the nigrot tree and you bring a fruit from it."

 The child ran; he brought a small fruit from the nigrot tree.

 The father said, "Now you cut it. What do you see inside it?"

 The child said, "Millions of small seeds."

 The father said, "Now you choose one seed and cut that seed. Now what do you see in it?"

 The child said, "Nothingness."

 The father said, "Out of that nothingness arises this big tree. In the seed just at the center exists nothingness. You cut it -- there is nothing, and out of that nothingness arises the being of this big tree. And the same is true with you, Svetketu." And one of the greatest sayings ever uttered by any human being was born: "TAT-TWAM-ASI, SVETKETU" -- "That art thou, thou art that, Svetketu."


 You are also that nothingness which exists just at the heart of the seed. Unless you find this non-being within you, you will not attain to authentic truth. Then you can move in theories, then you can philosophize, but you will not realize.


 The boy meditated on his nothingness and he became very silent. He contemplated, he enjoyed this nothingness, he felt it very deeply. But then again a question arose. After a few days he came to the father again, and he said: "I can feel, but things are still not very clear, they are vague, as if a mist surrounds everything. I can see that out of nothingness everything is born, but how does nothingness mix with thingness? How does isness mix with nothingness? How does being mix with non-being? They are paradoxical."

 The father was again in difficulty -- whenever children raise questions it is very difficult to answer them. Almost ninety-nine per cent of the answers that grownups give to children are false -- just face-saving devices. You deceive. But Uddalaka didn't want to deceive this child. And his curiosity was not only a curiosity, it was deep inquiry. He was really concerned. His body may have been that of a child but his soul was ancient. He must have struggled in the past, tried hard to penetrate into the mystery. He was not just curious -- he was authentically concerned. It was not just a vagrant question in the mind, it was very deep-rooted.

 The father said, "You go and bring a cup of water. "

 The boy fetched a cup of water.

 Then the father said, "Now you go and bring a little sugar."

 He brought the sugar, and the father said, "Mix them both."

 The sugar dissolved into the water, and the father said, "Now, can you separate the sugar from the water? "

 The boy said, "Now it is impossible. I cannot even see where the sugar has gone."

 The father said, "You try."

 The boy looked into it but he couldn't see any sugar; it had dissolved, it had become water.

 Then the father said, "You taste it." The boy tasted, it was sweet. And the father said, "Look, just like this. You may not be able to decide what is being and what is non-being; they are melting into each other just like water and sugar. You can taste and you can know that this water contains sugar. You may not be able to separate them right now -- in fact nobody can ever separate them because they are not separate. "


 Water and sugar can be separated -- that was just a device to make the child understand -- but non-being and being cannot be separated, life and death cannot be separated. It is impossible. They are not separate, how can you separate them? They always exist together. In fact to say that they exist together is not to say it rightly, because the very word "together" carries the concept of twoness. They are not two, they are one. They only appear two.

 From where have you come? Have you ever pondered over this very basic problem? -- from where have you come? Nothingness. Where are you moving, where are you going? Nothingness. From nothingness to nothingness... and just in between two nothingnesses arises being. The river of being flows between two banks of nothingnesses. Being is beautiful, but non-being is also beautiful. Life is good, but death is also good -- because life cannot exist without death. Ordinarily you think that death is against life, that it destroys. No, you are wrong. Without death life cannot exist for a single moment. It supports it. It is the very base. Because you can die, that's why you can live.

 Life and death are not two things but two wings -- two wings of the same phenomenon. Science has always thought that religion talks in paradoxes, is irrational, illogical. But just within the past few years in science, particularly in physics, a phenomenon has arisen which can be very helpful to understand this meeting of being and non-being. The phenomenon is called the black hole. Science has come somehow to feel that in space there exist a few spaces which are holes, black holes -- non-beings. In the beginning it was difficult to conceive of it but now, by and by the concept is becoming clearer and clearer -- because science also feels that everything exists with its opposite. How can existence exist without nonexistence? Life exists with death, love exists with hate, compassion with anger -- how can existence just exist without nonexistence being there, somehow involved in it? It has to be there. They searched, and now a man has got a Nobel prize for the discovery of the black holes. The black holes are non-existential holes in space where nothing exists, not even space. And they are very dangerous phenomena because if something goes into a black hole it simply disappears, because the black hole turns everything into nonexistence.

 The discovery of the black hole has solved many mysteries.


 Just a few years ago it happened in America: an airplane belonging to the army was flying in the sky. There was communication with the plane, then suddenly the communication stopped. Another plane was sent to search for the first plane: what had happened? Exactly after the same time gap, after half an hour, the second plane went out of communication.

 Now it was dangerous. So three more planes were sent together in the same direction to find the last two. Exactly after half an hour those three planes were also lost, communication was broken. And never has anything been heard about those five planes, what happened to them. They have left not a single trace behind. If they had fallen then they would have been found. They could not go on flying forever and ever... what happened? Now it is suspected that they suddenly came across a black hole; they simply entered into the black hole and disappeared.


 A black hole means the power of nonexistence, the power of non-being. If you are caught in it, everything simply disappears, not a trace is left behind, because matter becomes un-matter -- you un-materialize.

 You have heard the word "materialization"; you have heard about miracles, that there have been people who can materialize things out of nothing. But you have not heard the word "unmaterialization," that things can simply go into un-matter, simply disappear.

 It has happened many times. Once a ship carrying seven hundred people simply disappeared -- such a big ship! When it passed the last port everything was okay; it never reached the next port. And the distance was not very far, it was very short. If the ship had sunk, with seven hundred people on board someone must have survived. And if nobody survived, then the skeleton of the ship would have been found. But nothing has been found ever. It simply disappeared. It must have come across a floating black hole.

 That is happening every day, but when things happen every day you become oblivious of them. Suddenly a man dies. What has happened? He has entered the black hole. Just a minute before he was okay -- breathing, talking, alive, conscious -- and just a second afterwards nothing is left, just a deteriorating body. What has happened? Something has gone into nonexistence. Death is the black hole.

 Scientists say that stars are also born and die. They live millions of years, but that is not the question. They are born -- from where do they come? Right now many stars are being born. Just as many children are being born in maternity wards, many stars are being born. They are coming out of nothingness. No matter existed before; it was a vast space, then suddenly a nebula comes into being -- smoke arises out of nothingness. The smoke starts gathering, condensing, starts becoming more and more solid. It takes millions of years. Just as it takes nine months for a child to be born, it takes millions of years for nothingness to become condensed and become a star. Then for millions of years the star remains alive, then it dies. Then again it disperses by and by, becomes less and less solid, becomes vapor, smoke. For millions of years it remains on its deathbed and then one day the star has disappeared. The place where the star once was now will be a black hole; it has become non-existential. Now, if you come across this black hole you will be simply absorbed. When the black hole absorbs a whole star... such a vast phenomenon!

 Our sun is a mediocre star. It is sixty thousand times bigger than the earth. If our sun -- sixty thousand times bigger than the earth -- dies... and it will die one day. Scientists say that it seems nearabout four thousand years more it can be alive. Because it is already old, ill, has to be hospitalized -- but there exists no hospital for stars. It is dying. Four thousand years it will take, then one day it will be no more. First the light will disappear, then the matter will disappear, and then it will become a black hole. The space where once the sun was and now is no more will be a tremendous whirlpool of nothingness. If the earth is caught into it -- finished. In a single moment it will crush you -- nothingness to nothingness.

 And there are bigger stars, our star is a mediocre one. Millions of big suns exist in existence, many of them have died already. In space travel to go to the moon is nothing -- but once we get out of the solar system, then there will be trouble, because then your spaceship can come across any hole and you cannot know beforehand. Your ship can be simply absorbed and nothing will be heard of it ever again. These black holes are the other part of existence: they are nonexistence. And it has to be so, because existence has to be balanced by nonexistence.

 Lao Tzu believes in nonexistence tremendously. He is the first to bring the utility of nonexistence to its ultimate glory. Of course he didn't know about black holes, otherwise he would have talked about them. He was a simple man, living in a village, living the simple life of a peasant -- raw, simple, not very cultivated and civilized. He was against civilization, he was for nature. He has only simple similes: the wheel. He says the nave of the wheel, the hub of the wheel is empty, but the whole wheel depends on it.

 It is called the nave of the wheel -- why? Because it is just like the nave that exists in man. Just near your navel, the Japanese say there exists a point called hara. The hara is the black hole in your body. Japan has discovered, following Lao Tzu's idea, that somewhere in the body death must have a home. Death doesn't come from the outside, it is not an accident as people think. People say death is coming. No, death is not coming, death is growing within you; it is not that somewhere on life's path you meet death suddenly. If it were so, then methods could have been devised to avoid death, to deceive it, or not to go to that point where death waits for you, to bypass it or to send somebody else instead of you. There would be such a possibility if death were an outward phenomenon, happening to you from the outside. But death is carried within you like a seed. It comes into existence when you come into existence, in fact it existed even before you. You have come out of it.

 Death must have somewhere a point within your body. So the Japanese searched the body to find out where the black hole exists. It is just below the navel. Two inches below the navel exists the point of death. It is a very subtle point. You must have heard the word harakiri; the word comes from hara. hara means the black hole inside the body, and harakiri means suicide, to use that black hole.

 The Japanese have become very efficient in killing themselves; nobody can kill themselves as easily as the Japanese, because they have found the exact point of death. With a small knife, they simply penetrate the hara; not even a single drop of blood comes out. The suicide is bloodless, and no pain at all is felt, no suffering -- life just disappears. They have touched directly the black hole in the body, the point of death. If you cut your throat you will die, but there will be much suffering -- because from the throat to the hara there is much distance; that distance death will have to travel. So if somebody's head is cut off, the body remains alive for a few minutes; it goes on trembling and throbbing because you have not penetrated the hara directly. The Japanese can kill themselves so easily and so silently that when you see a man who has done harakiri, who has committed suicide, you will not see any sign of death on his face; his face will look as alive as ever. He has simply disappeared into the black hole with no struggle.

 That hara in the body is non-being. It is absence, it is a nothingness. And the whole of Taoist practice is to be alert to the hara. They have created a different type of breathing for it; they call it belly-breathing. You cannot find a more silent man than a Taoist who has been doing belly-breathing and has become attuned to it.

 You breathe from the chest. All over the world chest breathing, which is a shallow breathing, exists. Maybe it is because of the fear of death that you don't breathe from the belly, because when you breathe from the belly the breath goes deep down to the hara. Then you touch death. Afraid of death, you practice shallow breathing. Remember, whenever you are afraid your breathing will become shallow. Whenever fear takes you you will not be able to breathe deeply -- immediately the breathing becomes shallow. Every fear is basically a fear of death; you may not be consciously aware of it, but your body knows where death is: don't go that way. Your body is wise, wiser than your mind -- has to be, because mind is a very new comer. Body has existed longer than mind, has passed through millions of lives, mindless lives, and has accumulated much wisdom. Whenever you are afraid you stop breathing or you breathe very shallow, afraid to come nearer to death.

 Deep breathing absorbs death into life, deep breathing creates a bridge between life and death; the fear disappears. If you can breathe deep down through the belly, then fear will disappear completely. That's why the Japanese can commit suicide more easily than anybody else in the world. It looks like a game. They can commit suicide for such simple things that nobody can understand what the need was, because they know life and death are not separate, they are one. Death is also life -- the other aspect of the same coin. It is rest.

 If you breathe deeply you will feel rest flowing all over your body -- a relaxation, a non-tense state of affairs. Have you ever watched a small child breathing? He breathes from the belly. You can watch and you will see. That's how Lao Tzu wanted everybody to breathe. That is the Taoist yoga: just like a child, the belly goes up and down and the chest remains absolutely unaffected, as if the chest has nothing to do with breathing -- and it has nothing to do with breathing.

 But there are many problems: the fear of death -- you cannot breathe deeply, the hara is there. And, just near the hara is the life-point, which you call the sex center -- that too is a fear. If you breathe deeply then sex arises. So people who have become afraid of sex cannot breathe deeply. If you breathe deeply immediately you will feel that suppressed sex has become again alive, it starts flowing into your veins and into your blood. And of course it is as it should be: the center of life should be just near the center of death. hara, the center of death, and sex, the center of life are just so near, so close that they almost touch each other -- two aspects of the same coin. That's why in sex also people are afraid, because death starts throbbing with sex. A real sexual experience is also an experience of death: you die. That's why people are so afraid of sex, so afraid of women; I have not come across many people who are not afraid of women. Fear... woman has given you birth, she must be carrying your death also.

 Look at the Hindus' conception of Kali, Mother Kali. She is both life and death, the giver and taker. A beautiful woman, but black, black like death; a beautiful woman, but very dangerous -- so dangerous that she is dancing on the body of her own husband, almost killing him. Shiva is lying there and she is dancing on his body almost crushing him. And she wears a garland of skulls, and in one of her hands she has a cut head, freshly cut with blood dripping from it. In the West they cannot understand why a mother should be so dangerous, why a beautiful woman should be depicted in such a dangerous and terrible and horrible way. Hindus know better. They have penetrated the mystery of life better than anybody else. They know that sex and death are so close, so close that they are almost one. And when the sex center starts throbbing and spreading its waves over your body, the death center also starts throbbing. That's why orgasm has become just a word. You don't achieve orgasm in sex -- you cannot. Unless you accept death you cannot achieve orgasm, because orgasm means losing all control, orgasm means losing all mind, orgasm means the whole body throbs in ecstasy, every fiber and every cell of It. The whole body celebrates in an unknown bliss and the mind is no more the controller and the manipulator.

 Man can achieve only a local orgasm -- which is nothing but ejaculation, not an orgasm at all. Because if orgasm takes over then you are no more there -- you are possessed by life and death both. And fear takes over. For thousands of years women have not achieved orgasm. Even now in India, I don't see that even two per cent of women achieve orgasm. Only in the past few years has man become aware that women can also achieve orgasm -- it has been a suppressed thing, because if the woman achieves orgasm she will go so mad that she will become Kali. She will be so mad with ecstasy that she may start dancing on your chest and she will be no more in herself. She will be something else -- a natural force, a whirlwind, a storm. She will laugh and cry and nobody knows what will happen; the whole neighborhood will know that a woman has achieved orgasm.

 And sex is such a private affair -- we have made it such a hidden and secretive thing, in darkness. The partners don't even see each other, and the woman has been trained to remain absolutely passive, non-moving, because of the fear. Because once she knows the beauty of going completely mad, then she will be uncontrollable. It will be impossible for any man to satisfy any woman, because a woman can achieve multiple orgasms and a man can achieve only one. A woman can achieve within minutes at least six orgasms -- six to sixty. It will be impossible for any man to satisfy a woman, and she will go so mad because she is so natural -- it is better to suppress her.

 Sex has been suppressed as part of death. Only two things have been suppressed in the world, sex and death. And this has been my observation: that whenever a culture suppresses sex it does not suppress death so much, because there is no need -- the suppression of sex alone will do. Whenever a culture suppresses death it does not bother to suppress sex, there is no need -- the suppression of death alone will do. If you suppress one both are suppressed, because both are together -- and both have to be freed. Then you live tremendously, but you always live on the verge of death. You become a being, but you are always looking into the non-being. And that is the beauty of it, and the horror also. In fact, all natural, beautiful things are also terrible.

 God is not only beautiful, God is also terrible. He is not only a mystery, he is not only mysterium, he is also tremendum; he is not only life, he is also death. And once you suppress your own being or your nonbeing you drop the bridges; then you cannot reach the existence. Be like the existence, only then the bridge is there; then you are connected and joined with it.

 In the West, after Freud, they have allowed sex a little freedom, but now they have become more suppressive of death. In the West nobody talks about death -- as if it doesn't happen. Even professionals exist who work on the dead body so that it appears alive -- painted, colored. A woman dies; her face is painted, lipstick is used, beautiful clothes, a beautiful coffin, and she is carried as if she has gone into deep sleep, not death. This is the fear of death: you don't want to look into the face of it.

 Cemeteries are built outside of the town and you put beautiful marble stones on them; you decorate them. You decorate death so that you can avoid it, so that there is no need to encounter it -- and death is the very source of Life.

 Use life, use death also: that is the message. Use being, use non-being also. And don't be afraid of anything because nothing that is yours can be taken away; nothing that you have can be taken away. And that which you don't have, you don't have; it has already been taken away, you cannot carry it for long -- and if you carry it you simply carry a burden.

 Try to understand Lao Tzu's sayings. On the utility of not-being he says:






 A WHEEL MOVES because in the nave, in the center, there is emptiness. If there is no emptiness in the center the wheel cannot move. It moves on emptiness.











 This is how one can become total and whole, and to be whole is holy for Lao Tzu. There is no other holiness. It is not a cultivation of religious ritual, and it is not even a cultivation of morality. It has nothing to do with character. Holiness means a life that is whole, a life that has not denied anything, a life that knows no denial, a life that has not said no to anything, a life that accepts, accepts the opposites, a life that doesn't choose. A life that is choiceless is holy. Holy comes from the same root as whole. If you are whole you are holy, and if you are whole it means you are at the same time life and death also. You don't hide the fact of death and you don't try to hide your inner hollowness, emptiness. You don't try to fill it with rubbish. You enjoy the purity of emptiness also. Nothing is as pure as emptiness, nothing can be -- because whenever there is something, impurity enters. Only emptiness can be absolutely pure.

 But we are so afraid of emptiness. People come to me and say it is so difficult to be alone because one starts feeling one's emptiness. Then you seek friends, then you seek lovers, and the whole effort from the very beginning is doomed, because a man who is afraid of his emptiness cannot really love. He is afraid. Deep down there is fear. How can he love? When he moves and pretends that he is in love with somebody he is just trying to escape from himself, his own emptiness. He is trying to forget that somewhere inside there is emptiness and nothingness. He is trying to fill that emptiness by somebody's presence -- and the other is also doing the same.

 So almost ninety-nine per cent of the love affairs on this earth are false. Sooner or later you come to realize that they have been deceptive. Lovers come to realize that they have been deceived, fooled. But they think that the other has fooled them, they never think that they have also done the same thing to the other. And they don't understand the misery of human beings and their stupidity; if they understood their own stupidity, what they are doing, they would be able to feel compassion for all. When you cannot be alone, silent, it means you are afraid of your loneliness, you want to fill it by somebody. You pretend. The other is also doing the same with you, he cannot be alone. Two persons who cannot be alone are trying to be together; now this is going to be a miserable phenomenon, a hell.

 If you cannot love yourself in your loneliness, how can the other love you? How can you expect anybody to love you if you cannot love yourself? If you are so fed up with your loneliness, sooner or later the other will also be fed up with your loneliness. You cannot fill it, it is something that cannot be filled. It is something that exists as part of your being -- you cannot fill it, it has to remain empty. It will remain empty. All efforts fail to fill it.

 So the first thing is to get in tune with this emptiness, to allow it, to live it. Don't suppress and don't escape. Feel it, enjoy it -- and by and by you will understand the beauty of it. Once you understand the beauty of your loneliness it becomes aloneness. Then it is no more empty, then it is no more nothingness. Then it is a purity -- it is so pure that it is formless.

 Always remember the difference between aloneness and loneliness. Loneliness is like a wound. Loneliness means you are missing the other. Loneliness means you are thinking of the other constantly, you are hankering for the other constantly. The other is in your fantasy, in your mind, in your dreams. The other is not real, is imaginary, but the other is there and because it is not real you feel lonely. When you start feeling your aloneness, the other has dropped from your mind completely. It no more shadows your dreams, it no more touches your purity. You are happy with yourself, you are ecstatic with yourself, you are enjoying yourself. Now for the first time you are in tune with your being and with your non-being. You are whole.

 Now you can be in love. Now love can flow. But now love will be a sharing, not an escape. Now you can go and share your being -- and your non-being also. Now you can share your wholeness. Now you can allow anybody who is open to join your openness, now you can become partners in the eternal journey. This love will not be possessive, because you are ready to be alone anytime. In fact you are happy being alone, you are happy being together -- you don't choose. Both are good. Whatsoever the case you feel happy. Your happiness cannot be destroyed now; the other can enjoy it and share it but cannot destroy it.

 You can share and you can distribute it and you can give it to the whole world; you have so much of it that you can bless the whole world with it. And it goes on growing; the more you give the more you find it is there. Now you are not a miser; now your being is not constipated, you are not closed, not afraid. You can give, you can share, because you know your non-being also. Now you are not afraid of being a non-being. Now you know definitely that it is part of your being and the beauty of your being; it is your inner space where you can move, the inner shrine, the real temple. The temple exists in you.

 If you search your body it exists near the navel. That's why Hindus became navel-gazers. People laugh in the West; whenever somebody meditates they say, "Have you become a navel-gazer?" Hindus know in the body... the point of death that the Japanese call hara Hindus call the temple of the body. They close their eyes and they bring their consciousness to the temple of the body. Your body is a temple because it carries you. And from that temple you enter deeper, and then you find your non-being -- that is a greater temple of being. The body becomes the door and when you reach your inner shrine, surrounded by non-being, on the throne is the Divine. That is the center of non-being.
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 Just the other day somebody was asking how it was possible for the inner emptiness to have a center. Yes. It has only the center and no circumference -- center everywhere and circumference nowhere. This is illogical... because logic itself is illogical and irrelevant to life. Life has its own logic, and the basis of life's logic is that opposites are not opposites, they are complementaries.

 Emptiness has a center. You see a wheel -- in the center there is emptiness, the hub. The wheel is matter, the hub is non-matter. But when you move in, just the reverse is the case: in the hub is the being, and the wheel is of non-being. Non-being is just the aura or your being, the light of your being, the space of your being, the territory of your being. And it is beautiful because it is absolutely empty; it is pure because it is absolutely empty -- don't be afraid of it. In the beginning it looks like death; if you allow it, it becomes resurrection. After every inner death there is resurrection.

 That is the meaning of the story of resurrection in Jesus' life -- not that he was physically resurrected but that he passed through death, the cross, and he came to the innermost life. You have to pass the emptiness -- that is the cross. Everybody has to pass it. Nobody else can carry that cross for you, you have to carry your own cross. And unless you do, unless you pass the emptiness, you will not reach the innermost center. At that innermost center you are no more an individual, you have become God himself.

 Hindus say, aham brahmasmi; Hindus say, I am the God himself. This saying comes from those who have reached the innermost point, who have passed the non-being part and who have come to the shrine where God is and you are not. But you are trying to escape from it, you don't know how to use it. If you are empty and you have nothing to do you start doing something... anything. You put on the radio or the TV, you study the newspaper, you read a novel, you go to a hotel or you go to the club -- you do many things. You can do anything whatsoever, but you cannot do nothing. People have the idea that if you can't do something relevant, then do something irrelevant, but don't sit idle.

 Sit empty. Just sitting empty one comes to the greatest encounter of life -- one encounters one s own death. If you can pass that, if you can pass that dancing, happy, enjoying it, if you can be nourished even by emptiness, then nothing can destroy you -- you have attained to the eternal, the non-destructible, the deathless.

 That's why my insistence is always on a dancing meditation. It is not only an outward dance. The outward is nothing but a training for the inner. You dance outwardly, you go on dancing outwardly -- by and by an inner dance arises and then you can dance inwardly and move towards the innermost center, the very core of being. Remember -- death can be crossed only by dance, death can be won over only by a deep laughter. One can carry one's cross only happily, blissfully, ecstatically -- sad, serious, it will become such a burden. Your own emptiness will become such a burden that you will want to escape from it, you will come out and move into the world.

 Learn how to dance outwardly, just as a training, as a discipline, so that the inner dance becomes possible. It is a mood, a climate -- dance is a climate, it has nothing to do with any activity of dancing. It is a climate, an inner bubbling of bliss, an inner throbbing of bliss. Only on that boat can the part which is very very difficult for you to cross be crossed. Otherwise one escapes. The moment you face your inner emptiness you escape, you become scared to death. That's why so many people never think about themselves. They think of the whole world, they worry for the whole world, but they never think about themselves, because that point seems to be touching a wound inside. They are afraid.

 Don't be afraid. The existence of things is good; you can profit by it, but it is not enough. Unless you learn now to be served by emptiness also you have not learned the art, the total art. If you know only how to live, you know only half the art; if you know also how to die, then you know the whole art -- and the whole art will make you whole.

 Remember, until you die you cannot be reborn. As you are you have to pass through death. And you are clinging too much to life. That won't help -- death will come. But death comes in two ways. One way, the usual way it comes: you are clinging to life and it comes as the enemy; you fight with it, you resist it, you do everything that you can do to avoid it. But how can you avoid it? The day you were born death became certain; every birth carries the seed of death. In fact, in life nothing else is certain but that. Everything is at the most probable, but death is certain. It will happen. You can avoid it, you can postpone it a little, but that doesn't change the situation. It will happen. One way to face death is as the enemy, which is the way ninety-nine per cent of people face it -- and miss it. Because of their enmity they cannot use it, they cannot be profited by it, they cannot be served by death.

 There is another way: to accept death as a friend, to accept it as an innermost part of your being, to enjoy it, to welcome it, to be ready for it and when it comes to embrace it. Suddenly the quality of death changes. It is no more death, it becomes a door. It no longer destroys you; on the contrary, you are served by it. It leads you to the deathless.

 Die -- you will have to die. But die gracefully. I am not saying die like a stoic, I am not saying die like a very controlled man. No, I'm saying die gracefully, beautifully, as if a friend is coming, knocks at your door, and you are happy. And you embrace the friend and invite him in, and you have been waiting for him so long....

 If you can love death you become deathless; if you can understand non-being then your being becomes the very ground of being-hood, the very ground of God. If you can love non-being then nothing can destroy you, you have transcended time and space. Then you have become one with the total, and this is what holiness is -- to become whole is to be holy.



Osho Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 1 Chapter 7

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