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Difficulties on the Path of Meditation*

The Two Difficulties

There are only two difficulties on the path of meditation: one is the ego. You are continuously prepared by the society, by the family, by the school, by the church, by everybody around you, to be egoistic. Even modern psychology is based on strengthening the ego.

The ego

The whole idea of modem psychology, modem education, is that unless a person has a very strong ego he will not be able to struggle in life where there is so much competition that, if you are a humble man, anybody will push you aside; you will always remain backward. You need a very steely, strong ego to fight in this competitive world; then only can you become a success. In any field - it may be business, it may be politics, it may be any profession - you need a very assertive personality, and our whole society is geared to produce the assertive personality in the child. From the very beginning we start telling him, “Come first in your class”; when the child does come first in the class, everybody praises him. What are you doing? You are feeding his ego from the very beginning. You are giving him a certain ambition: “You can become the president of the country, you can become the prime minister of the country.” He starts the journey with these ideas, and his ego goes on becoming bigger and bigger as he succeeds.

In every way the ego is the greatest disease that can happen to man. If you succeed, your ego becomes big - that is a danger; because then you will have to remove a big rock which is blocking the path. Or if the ego is small, you have not been successful, you have proved to be a failure, then your ego will become a wound. Then it hurts, then it creates an inferiority complex - then too it creates a problem. You are always afraid to enter into anything, even meditation, because you know you are a failure, that you are going to fail - that has become your mind. Everywhere you have failed, and meditation is such a great thing... you cannot succeed.

If you enter into meditation with this idea - that failure is bound to be, that it is your destiny, that it is your fate - then of course you cannot succeed. So if the ego is big it prevents you. And if the ego is very small it becomes a wound which also prevents you. In each case the ego is one of the problems.


First the child becomes aware of ‘mine’, then of ‘me’, then of ‘you’, then of ‘I’. This is how it proceeds. This is precisely the procedure, exactly in this order. First he becomes aware of ‘mine’. Watch it, because this is your construction, the structure of your ego. First the child becomes aware of ‘mine’ - this toy is mine, this mother is mine. He starts possessing. The possessor enters first; possessiveness is very basic. Hence all the religions say: become non-possessive, because with possession hell starts.


Watch small children: very jealous, possessive, each child trying to snatch everything from everybody else and trying to protect his own toys. And you will see children who are very violent, almost indifferent to others’ needs. If a child is playing with his toy and another child comes you can see an Adolf Hitler, a Genghis Khan, a Nadir-shah. He will cling to his toy; he is ready to hit, he is ready to fight It is a question of territory, a question of domination.

Possessiveness enters first; that is the basic poison. And the child starts saying, ‘This is mine’.

Once the ‘mine’ enters then you are a competitor with everybody. Once the ‘mine’ enters, your life will now be a life of competition, struggle, conflict violence, aggression. The next step after ‘mine’ is ‘me’. When you have something to claim as yours, suddenly through that claim arises the idea that now you are the center of your possessions. The possessions become your territory, and through those possessions arises a new idea: ‘me’.

Once you are settled with ‘me’, you can see clearly that you have a boundary, and those who are outside the boundary are ‘you’. The other becomes clear; now things start falling apart.

The universe is one, it is a unity. Nothing is divided. Everything is connected with everything else; it is a tremendous connectedness.

You are connected with the earth, you are connected with the trees, you are connected with the stars; stars are connected with you, stars are connected with the trees, with the rivers, with the mountains. Everything is interconnected. Nothing is separate; nothing can be separate. Separation is not possible.

Each moment you are breathing - you breathe in, you breathe out - continuously there is a bridge with existence. You eat, existence enters into you; you defecate, it becomes manure - the apple on the tree will become part of your body tomorrow, and some part of your body will go and become manure, will become food for the tree... a continuous give-and-take. Not for a single moment does it stop. When it stops, you are dead.

What is death? - separation is death. To be in unity is to be alive, to be out of unity is to be dead. So the mere you think, “I am separate,” the less sensitive you will be, more dead, dragging, dull. The more you feel you are connected, the more this whole existence is part of you and you are part of this whole existence. Once you understand that we are members of each other, then suddenly the vision changes. Then these trees are not alien; they are continuously preparing food for you. When you breathe in, you take oxygen in, when you breathe out, you give carbon dioxide; the trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen - there is a continuous communion. We are in tune. The reality is a unity, and with the idea of ‘me’, ‘you’, we are falling out of reality. And once a wrong conception settles inside, your whole vision becomes upside down....

‘Me’, then ‘you’, and then as a reflection arises ‘I’. ‘I’ is the subtlest, the most crystallized form of the possessiveness. Once you have uttered ‘I’, you have committed sacrilege. Once you have said ‘I’, you are broken completely from existence - not really broken, otherwise you would die; but in your ideas you are completely broken from reality. Now you will be in a continuous fight with reality. You will be fighting your own roots. You will be fighting with yourself.

That’s why Buddha says: “Be a driftwood.” You can be a driftwood only if you have dropped the idea of ‘I’ - otherwise you cannot be a driftwood; struggle will persist. That’s why it becomes so difficult when you come to meditate. If I say to just sit silently, you cannot do that - such a simple thing. One would think it is the most simple thing; there should be no need to teach it. One should simply sit and be. But you cannot sit because the ‘I’ cannot allow you a moment of relaxation. Once a moment of relaxation is allowed, you will be able to see reality.


* - Excerpt from OSHO. Meditation: The First and Last Freedom


Updated on 07-11-2017

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