The Natural Mind by Khabira
(This article first appeared In Viha Connection (http://www.oshoviha.org) and is republished with permission.)
Two years ago, I started studying psychology at the university again. I start with that statement because studying again is such a radical change for me. As a sannyasin, I used to think that the mind should not be nourished, not be used, that intellect and academics are stupid and misleading. I had started studying psychology at the university in 1977 when I was 17, and stopped it to go to Pune in 1978. Now, at the age of 50, I am back at it. What happened?
After going through years of commune experience, therapy, and meditation, I am starting to use the mind extensively again. I remember Osho saying to use the mind, but not be used by it. I seem to have forgotten the first part of the sentence for many years. Now, having become a naturopath and training in psychology, I know that any parts of the body-mind that are not used atrophy; they shrink and degenerate. When you do not use your muscles, they shrink, and soon they will not be able to carry you any more. The same goes for the mind: Pathways of nerves and junctions between nerve cells (synapses) that are not used degenerate, and soon will not be able to carry information any longer.
What is so bad about a mind that does not function very well? Well, in order to live an intelligent life, we need to plan, evaluate, and figure things out. And we’d better be able to do it well, otherwise we can easily mess up things. Also, mind does not get less through not using it; it just gets more stupid. Looking back, I see quite a few stupid things that I have done because of being stuck in what I now perceive as sannyas conditioning. The mind can get conditioned with anything. As long as we are not fully aware or enlightened, we have to be very watchful of what kind of stuff is put in the mind. And it does not matter whether it is stuff from the society or stuff from the sannyas community.
And sannyas conditioning is so much harder to detect because we are much more identified with it, thinking this is the way to Truth. The sannyas community creates a group mind of its own. Here is how Jack Kornfield describes this:
Unfortunately, the spiritual world can become as confining and narrow-minded as the rest of the culture; it seems that almost every religious community has its unconscious “group think”, its “in-group” behavior. (After the Ecstasy, the Laundry)
If having a mind is natural and it needs to be used, the only thing that can be done is disidentification. The need to disidentify from the mind, rather than not use it, got even clearer for me after I read the book Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) by Hayes, Strosahl, and Wilson. In modern psychology, the need for awareness, which is called mindfulness, and acceptance is being recognized more and more. I used to think that whatever goes on in the West about meditation is only second class, not first class like what we did in Pune, but I am finding that this is not true. It is getting clearer to me how natural it is to have a mind, and that the natural function of the mind is planning and evaluating. This is why evolution has created a mind in human beings.
With evaluating, there is also judgment. I have been fighting against judgment for many years, thinking it is bad and should not be done. Now I am coming to a very different conclusion, that judgment is one of the things the mind does naturally, and will always do. My job is to disidentify, not take it seriously, and be clear and honest about it, rather than trying to reshuffle the furniture in the mind. If I try to reshuffle, things just get messed up even more. In my relationship, I am finding that disidentification works. Sometimes I may yell at my boyfriend, “You are an arrogant asshole!”, and he may yell back at me, “And you are a whining wimp!” And then we just laugh at each other, enjoying the strong energy that is dancing between us. He may even be right, I may be a whining wimp sometimes – so what?
Another advantage of using the mind extensively is that after exercising the mind for a few hours, the mind gets really tired and meditation comes more easily. Maybe this is some kind of Dynamic Meditation for old age? Rather than catharting through the body first, we can cathart through the mind before going into silence.
For anybody who after reading my article now says “but Osho has said …”, here are two quotes of Osho:
“I do not have any teaching. My life is that of a rebel. I do not have a doctrine, a philosophy, a theology to teach you. I have only my own experience of rebellion to share, to infect you with rebelliousness. And when you are a rebel you will not be a copy of me; you will be an unique phenomenon in yourself.”
Osho, The Rebellious Spirit #11
“And then you say, “I like your teaching.” Have you ever thought what is my teaching? The question of liking or not liking does not arise — there is no teaching at all! Neither is there a teaching nor is there a teacher. I am not preaching a certain doctrine to you, a certain system of beliefs, a philosophy or theology. I am not a teacher and I don’t have any teaching, because I don’t have any belief: no God, no heaven, no hell. Just this universe, which is not a belief — which is your experience, my experience, everybody’s experience.”
Osho, Om Mani Padme Hum #29”