Introduction to the Path of Yoga, Part II - "Yoga is the Cessation of Mind"

(by Osho)

1.2: "Yoga is the cessation of mind."

What is mind? Ordinarily we think that it is something inside the head. Patanjali doesn't agree. Mind is just an activity. You are walking and then you sit down. While you are sitting, no one can ask, "Where have you put your walking? Where has the walking gone?" You will laugh and say, "Walking is not something substantial. It is just activity." Mind is also activity, but because of the word "mind", it appears that something substantial is there. It is better to call it "minding" -- just like walking. Mind means "minding," mind means thinking. It is an activity.

Again and again I have been quoting Bodhidharma . . . . He went to China and saw the emperor. The emperor said, "My mind is very uneasy, very disturbed. You are a great sage. Tell me what I should do to put my mind at peace." Bodhidharma said, "First, bring your mind to me." The emperor said, "What do you mean? You talk nonsense. When I am here my mind is here, and it is not something which can be somewhere else. It is in me." Bodhidharma said, "Okay. So, the mind is within you. Now close your eyes and find out where it is. When you find out where it is, then show me. I will put it at peace." So the emperor closed his eyes and looked and looked. The more he looked, the more he became aware that there is no mind, that mind is an activity. The moment he realized that, the absurdity of his quest became exposed to him: "If it is not something, nothing can be done about it. If it is an activity, then don't do the activity; that's all. If it is like walking, don't walk." He opened his eyes. He bowed down to Bodhidharma and said, "There is no mind to be found." Bodhidharma said, "Then I have put it at peace."

The very looking is anti-mind, because a look is not a thinking. And if you look intensely, your whole energy becomes a look.

Yoga is the cessation of mind. This is Patanjali's definition: when there is no mind, you are in Yoga; when there is mind, you are not in Yoga. So you may do all the postures but if the mind goes on functioning, if you go on thinking, you are not in Yoga. The basic thing to be understood is: when the activity of thinking is not there. . . then you are there. When thoughts have disappeared -- they are just like clouds -- when they have disappeared, your being, just like the sky, is uncovered. It has always been there -- only covered with clouds, covered with thoughts.

Now in the West there is much appeal for Zen -- a Japanese method of Yoga. The whole training of Zen is how to be, simply, without thinking. Try it! When I say try it, it will look contradictory, because if you try, the very trying, the effort, is coming from the mind. You can sit in a posture and you can try some chanting, a mantra, or you can just try to sit silently, not to think. But then "not to think" becomes the thinking. Then you go on saying, "I am not to think, stop thinking". But, this is all thinking.

When Patanjali says no-mind, cessation of mind, he means complete cessation. He will not allow you to make a mantra. He will say, "Simply stop!" But you will ask, "How? How can you simply stop?" The mind continues. Even if you sit, the mind continues. Patanjali says, "Then just look. Let mind do whatever it is doing. You just look. You don't interfere. You just be a witness. You just be an onlooker, not concerned -- as if the mind doesn't belong to you, as if it is not your business, not your concern. Just look and let the mind flow." If you don't cooperate, if you just look, unconcerned -- Buddha's word is upeksha, indifference, equanimity: looking without any concern -- the mind will flow for a while and it will stop by itself. When the momentum is lost, when the energy has flowed, the mind will stop. When the mind stops, you are in Yoga. You have attained the discipline.

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