That’s what has been happening down the ages. That is the way of autohypnosis. John Lilly is absolutely wrong. “What the mind believes,” he says, “is true….” It is not. It only appears true.
And he says “… or it becomes true.” It never becomes true by being believed, but it starts appearing true. Yes, for the believer it becomes true, although it is not true, because belief begins in ignorance. Belief cannot create truth; truth is already the case.
Remember the first preliminary of Atisha: truth is. You need not believe in it for it to be. Your belief or your disbelief is not going to make any difference to the truth. Truth is truth, whether you believe or you disbelieve.
But if you believe in something it starts appearing as true to you at least. That’s what the meaning of belief is: belief means to believe in something as true – you know that you don’t know, you know that the truth is unknown to you, but in your ignorance you start believing, because belief is cheap.
To discover truth is arduous, it needs a long pilgrimage. It needs a great emptying of the mind, it needs a great cleansing of the heart. It needs a certain innocence, a rebirth: you have to become a child again.
Only very few people have ever dared to discover truth. And it is risky, because it may not console you; it has no obligation to console you. It is risky: it may shatter all that you have known before, and you will have to rearrange your whole life. It is dangerous: it may destroy all your illusions, it may shatter all your dreams. It is really going through fire; it is going to burn you as you are, it is going to kill you as you are. And who knows what will happen later on?
How can the seed know that by dying in the soil it will become a great tree? It will not be there to witness the happening. How can the seed know that one day, if it dies, there will be great foliage, green leaves, great branches, and flowers and fruits? How can the seed know? The seed will not be there. The seed has to disappear before it can happen. The seed has never met the tree. The seed has to disappear and die.
Only very few people have that much courage. It really needs guts to discover truth. You will die as yourself. You will certainly be born, but how can you be convinced of it? What guarantee is there? There is no guarantee.
Hence, unless you are with a master who has died and is reborn, who has crucified himself and is resurrected – unless you come across a man like Christ or Buddha or Atisha – you will not be able to gather enough courage.
Seeing Atisha, something may start stirring in your heart, a chord may be touched, something may be triggered, a synchronicity. The presence of somebody who has arrived may create a great longing in you, may become the birth of an intense passionate search for truth.
Belief cannot give you the truth, it only pretends. It is cheap, it is a plastic flower. You need not take all the trouble of growing a rosebush, you can simply go to the market and purchase plastic flowers – and they are more lasting too, in fact they are almost eternal. Once in a while you can wash them, and they are fresh again. They will not deceive you, but at least they can deceive the neighbors, and that is the point. You will know all along that they are plastic flowers. How can you forget it? You have purchased them! The neighbors may be deceived, but how can you be deceived?
And I don’t think that even the neighbors are deceived, because they have also purchased plastic flowers. They know they are deceiving you, they know you are deceiving them. Everybody is perfectly aware that everybody else is deceiving. “But this is how life is,” people say. Nobody is really deceived. People just pretend to be deceived. You pretend that you have real flowers, others pretend that they are deceived. Just watch, observe, and what I am saying will be experienced by you. It is a simple fact; I am not talking philosophy, just stating facts.
What John Lilly says is utter nonsense. He says, “What the mind believes is true.” It is never true, because belief has nothing to do with truth. You can believe that this is night but just by your believing, this is not going to become night. But you can believe, and you can close your eyes and for you it is night – but only for you, remember, not in truth. You are living in a kind of hallucination.
There is this danger in belief: it makes you feel that you know the truth. And because it makes you feel that you know the truth, this becomes the greatest barrier in the search. Believe or disbelieve and you are blocked – because disbelief is also nothing but belief in a negative form.
The Catholic believes in God, the communist believes in no God: both are believers. Go to Kaaba or go to the Comintern, go to Kailash or to the Kremlin, it is all the same. The believer believes it is so, the nonbeliever believes it is not so. And because both have already settled without taking the trouble to go and discover it, the deeper is their belief, the stronger is their belief, the greater is the barrier. They will never go on a pilgrimage, there is no point. They will live surrounded by their own illusion, self-created, self-sustained; it may be consoling, but it is not liberating. Millions of people are wasting their lives in belief and disbelief.
The inquiry into truth begins only when you drop all believing. You say, “I would like to encounter the truth on my own. I will not believe in Christ and I will not believe in Buddha. I would like to become a christ or a buddha myself, I would like to be a light unto myself.”
Why should one be a Christian? It is ugly. Be a christ if you can be, but don’t be a Christian. Be a buddha if you have any respect for yourself, but don’t be a Buddhist. The Buddhist believes. Buddha knows.
When you can know, when knowing is possible, why settle for believing? But again, the society would like you to believe, because believers are good people, obedient, law-abiding. They follow all formalities and etiquette, they are never trouble-makers. They simply follow the crowd, whichever crowd they happen to be in; they simply go with the crowd. They are not real men, they are sheep. Humanity has not yet arrived.
Somebody once said to George Bernard Shaw, “What do you think about civilization?”
He said, “It is a good idea. Somebody should try it.”
It has not yet been tried. Humanity is still arriving; we are still groping between animality and humanity. We are in limbo: man has to be born, man has to be given birth to; we have to prepare the ground for man to appear.
And the most significant thing that will help that man to come will be if we can drop believing – if we can drop being Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans, Jainas, Buddhists, communists. If you can drop believing, immediately your energy will take a new turn: it will start inquiring. And to inquire is beautiful. Your life will become a pilgrimage to truth, and in that very pilgrimage you grow.
Growth is a by-product of the inquiry into truth. Believers never grow, they remain childish. And remember, to be childlike and to be childish are poles apart, they are not the same thing. It is beautiful to be childlike. The man of trust is childlike and the man of belief is childish. To be childlike is the ultimate in growth; that is the very culmination – consciousness has come to the ultimate peak. To be childlike means to be a sage, and to be childish means to be just un-grownup.
The average mental age of human beings on the earth today is not more than twelve years. When for the first time this was discovered, it was such a shock. Nobody had ever thought about it; it was just by accident that it became known. In the First World War, for the first time in human history, the people who were candidates, who wanted to enter the army, were examined. Their mental age was inquired into, their IQ was determined. This was a great revelation – that they were not more than twelve years; the average age was just twelve years.
This is childishness. The body goes on growing, and the mind has stopped at the age of twelve. What kind of humanity have we created on this earth? Why does the mind stop at twelve? Because by the time one is twelve, one has gathered all kinds of beliefs; one is already a believer, one already “knows” what truth is. One is a Christian, another is a communist; one believes in God, one does not believe in God; one believes in The Bible and the other believes in Das Kapital; one believes in the Bhagavad Gita, another believes in the Red Book of Mao Zedong.
We have drilled concepts and ideologies into the innocent minds of poor children. They are already becoming knowers. Do you know – by the age of seven, a child already knows fifty percent of all that he will ever know. And by the time he is fourteen he has almost arrived; now there is nowhere to go, he has only to vegetate. Now he will exist as a cabbage. If he goes to college then, as they say, he may become a cauliflower. A cabbage with a college education is a cauliflower. But there is not much difference, just labels change. The cabbage becomes an M.A., a Ph.D., this and that, and just to show respect we call it a cauliflower. But the mental age is twelve.
The real man grows to the very end. Even while he is dying, he is growing. Even the last moment of his life will still be an inquiry, a search, a learning. He will still be inquiring – now inquiring into death. He will be fascinated: death is such an unknown phenomenon, such a mystery, far more mysterious than life itself – how can an intelligent man be afraid? If in life he has not been afraid to go into the uncharted and the unknown, at the moment of death he will be thrilled, ecstatic. Now the last moment has come: he will be entering into the darkness, the dark tunnel of death. This is the greatest adventure one can ever go on; he will be learning.
A real man never believes; he learns. A real man never becomes knowledgeable; he always remains open, open to truth. And he always remembers that “It is not that truth has to adjust to me, but just vice versa: I have to adjust to truth.” The believer tries to adjust truth to himself, the seeker adjusts himself to truth. Remember the difference; the difference is tremendous. One who believes, he says, “Truth should be like this, this is my belief.”
Just think of a Christian…. If God appears not like Jesus Christ but like Krishna, not on the cross but with a flute and girlfriends dancing around him, the Christian will close his eyes; he will say, “This is not my cup of tea.” Girlfriends? Can you think of Jesus with girlfriends? The cross and girlfriends can’t go together. Jesus hanging on the cross and girlfriends dancing around? It won’t fit, it will be very bizarre. He was waiting for Christ to appear, and instead of Christ this guy, Krishna, appears: he seems to be debauched. And the flute? The world is suffering and people are hungry and they need bread – and this man is playing on the flute? He seems to be utterly uncompassionate, he seems to be indulgent. The Christian cannot believe in Krishna: if God appears as Krishna, then the Christian will say, “This is not God.”
And the same will be the case with the Hindu who was waiting for Krishna: if Christ appears, that will not be his idea of God – so sad, such a long face, so gloomy, with such suffering on his face.
Christians say Jesus never laughed. I don’t think they are right, and I don’t think they are representing the real Christ, but that’s what they have managed to propagate. The Hindu cannot accept the revelation; he must think this is some kind of nightmare. Jesus will not appeal to him.
The believer cannot even trust his own experience. Even if truth is revealed, he will reject it, unless it fits with him. He is more important than truth itself: truth has an obligation to fit with him. He is the criterion, he is the decisive factor. This kind of man can never know truth; he is already prejudiced, poisoned.
The man who wants to know truth has to be capable of dropping all concepts about truth. Everything about truth has to be dropped. Only then can you know truth. Know well: to know about truth is not to know truth. Whatsoever you know may be utter nonsense; there is every possibility that it is utter nonsense. In fact people can be conditioned to believe any kind of nonsense; they can be convinced.
Once I went to address a conference of theosophists. Now, theosophists are people who will believe any bullshit – ANY! The more shitty it is, the more believable. So I just played a joke on them. I simply invented something; I invented a society called “Sitnalta.” They were all dozing, they became alert. “Sitnalta?” I made the word by just reading “Atlantis” backwards. And then I told them, “This knowledge comes from Atlantis, the continent that disappeared in the Atlantic ocean.”
And then I talked about it: “There are really not seven chakras but seventeen. That great ancient esoteric knowledge is lost, but a society of enlightened masters still exists, and it still works. It is a very very esoteric society, very few people are allowed to have any contact with it; its knowledge is kept utterly secret.”
And I talked all kinds of nonsense that I could manage. And then the president of the society said, “I have heard about this society.” Now it was my turn to be surprised. And about whatsoever I had said, he said that it was the first time that the knowledge of this secret society had been revealed so exactly.
And then letters started coming to me. One man even wrote saying, “I thank you very much for introducing this inner esoteric circle to the theosophists, because I am a member of the society, and I can vouch that whatsoever you have said is absolutely true.”
There are people like these who are just waiting to believe in anything, because the more nonsensical a belief is, the more important it appears to be. The more absurd it is, the more believable – because if something is logical, then there is no question of believing in it.
You don’t believe in the sun, you don’t believe in the moon. You don’t believe in the theory of relativity: either you understand it or you don’t understand it; there is no question of belief. You don’t believe in gravitation; there is no need. Nobody believes in a scientific theory – it is logical. Belief is needed only when something illogical, something utterly absurd, is propounded.
Tertullian said, “I believe in God because it is absurd: Credo Quia Absurdum, my creed is the absurd.”
All beliefs are absurd. If a belief is very logical, it will not create belief in you. So people go on inventing things.
Man is basically a coward, he does not want to inquire. And he does not want to say “I don’t know” either.
Now, that president of the theosophical society who said, “I have heard about this society” – he cannot say that he does not know, he does not have even that much courage. To accept one’s ignorance needs courage. To accept that you don’t know is the beginning of real knowledge. You go on believing, because there are holes in your life which have to be filled, and belief is easily available.
There are three hundred religions on the earth. One truth, and three hundred religions? One God, and three hundred religions? One existence, and three hundred religions? And I am not talking about sects – because each religion has dozens of sects, and then there are sub-sects of sects, and it goes on and on. If you count all the sects and all the sub-sects, then there will be three thousand or even more.
How can so many beliefs, contradictory to each other, go on? People have a certain need – the need not to appear ignorant. How to fulfill this need? Gather a few beliefs. And the more absurd the belief is, the more knowledgeable you appear, because nobody else knows about it.
There are people who believe in a hollow earth, and that inside the earth there is a civilization. Now, if somebody says so you cannot deny it; you cannot accept it, but at least you have to listen attentively. And that serves a purpose: everybody wants to be listened to attentively. And one thing is certain, this man knows more than you. You don’t know whether the earth is hollow or not; this man knows. And who knows? He may be right. He can gather a thousand and one proofs; he can argue for it, he can propound it in such a way that you at least have to be silent if you don’t agree.
Believers and believers and believers – but where is truth? There are so many believers, but where is truth? If John Lilly is right, then the world would be full of truth, you would come across it everywhere. Everybody would have truth, because everybody is a believer. No, it is all nonsense.
He says, “What the mind believes is true or becomes true.” No. What the mind believes is never true, because truth needs no belief. Belief is a barrier to truth. And what the mind believes never becomes true, because truth is not becoming, truth is being; it is already the case. You have to see it – or you can go on avoiding seeing it, but it is there. Nothing has to be added to it, it is eternally there.
And the best way to avoid truth is to believe. Then you need not look at it. Your eyes become full of belief; belief functions as dust on the eyes. You become closed into yourself, the belief becomes a prison around you. Belief closes you: then you are living within yourself in a windowless existence, and you can go on believing whatsoever you want to believe. But remember, it is belief, and belief is a lie.
Let me say that even when the truth is told to you, don’t believe in it! Explore, inquire, search, experiment, experience: don’t believe in it. Even when truth is conveyed to you, if you believe in it, you turn it into a lie. A truth believed is a lie, belief turns truth into a lie.
Believe in Buddha and you believe in a lie. Believe in Christ and you believe in a lie. Don’t believe in Christ, don’t believe in Buddha, don’t believe in me. What I say, listen to it attentively, intelligently; experiment, experience. And when you have experienced, will you need to believe in it? There will be no doubt left, so what will be the point of belief? Belief is a way of repressing doubt: you doubt, hence you need belief.
The rock of belief represses the spring of doubt.
When you know, you know! You know it is so; there is no doubt left. Your experience has expelled all darkness and all doubt. Truth is: you are full of it. Truth never creates belief.
How to attain to truth? By dropping all kinds of beliefs. And remember, I am saying all kinds – belief in me is included. Experience me, come along with me, let me share what I have seen, but don’t believe, don’t be in a hurry. Don’t say, “Now what is the point? Now Osho has seen it, all that is left for me is to believe it.”
What I have seen cannot become your experience unless you see it. And it is the experience of truth that delivers you from ignorance, from bondage, from misery. It is not the belief that delivers you, it is truth.
Jesus says, “Truth liberates.” But how to attain to truth? It is not a question of belief, but a question of meditativeness. And what is meditation? Meditation is emptying your mind completely of all belief, ideology, concept, thought. Only in an empty mind, when there is no dust left on the mirror, truth reflects. That reflection is a benediction.