Living thе Mystеry: Osho's 'Who Am I?'

Who am I?

By asking "Who am I?" as a meditation, you shed preconceived notions about yourself and begin to realize that life's essence lies in living the mystery, not solving it.

“Who am I ?” is not really a question; hence it can never be answered, neither by others nor by yourself. Then what is it? It is a koan. “Who am I?” is utterly absurd. By asking it, don’t hope that one day you will get the answer. If you go on asking, “Who am I? Who am I?” — if you make it a meditation, as Raman Maharshi used to say to his disciples…. He used to give only one simple meditation: just sit and repeat, first loudly, then not so loudly, then just in your throat; then even the throat is not to be used, just deep down in your heart let it resound: “Who am I? Who am I?” Go on asking….

And people used to think that if they follow the instructions rightly, one day suddenly they will know the answer. That is not true; you will never come to the answer. But by asking it, first all your answers that you had before, ideas about yourself, will disappear too.

“Who am I?” is like a thorn. It can pull out the thorn that is in your feet. You can use this thorn; you can use this thorn to pull out the thorn that is already hurting you in the foot. When both the thorns are out, you can throw both of them. You need not keep the second one because it has been such a blessing to you, it pulled out the first. You need not put it in the place of the first just out of reverence, gratitude.

” Who am I ? ” is just a subtle device; it is as absurd as Zen koans.

Nobody has ever known. Then what is the difference between a buddha and you? You also don’t know who you are, the buddha also does not know who he is — then what is the difference? He is not bothered by it. He laughs at it, he takes it for granted that life is a mystery. There is no question and there is no answer.

Life is not a question-answer game. It is not a puzzle to be solved, it is a mystery to be lived.

When you meditate on “Who am I ?” you will come across this point, and it will dissolve. And the deeper you will go… then deeper questions will come: first sociological, theological, then biological. You have a man’s body or a woman’s body: the question will arise, “Am I a man or a woman?” The consciousness is neither. The consciousness cannot be male or female. The consciousness is simply consciousness; it is just the capacity of being a witness. Soon you will pass that barrier too; you will forget that you are man or woman.

And so on, so forth. When all the old identities are dropped, nothing remains, only the question resounds in the silence: “Who am I?” The question cannot go on, on its own; it needs some answers, otherwise it cannot persist. A point comes when asking becomes absurd… the question also evaporates. That is the moment which is called self-knowing — ATMAGYAN. That is the moment when, without receiving any answer, you simply know, you feel, who you are.

Go on inquiring. A few dark clouds have disappeared from your being: feel grateful. There are many more; they all have to disappear. These are all dark clouds — Catholic, Protestant, Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan, Jaina, Buddhist, communist. These are all dark clouds — Indian, Chinese, Japanese, German, English. These are all dark clouds — white, black, man, woman, beautiful, ugly, intelligent, stupid. These are ALL dark clouds! Anything that you can become identified with is a dark cloud.

Let them all go. The beginning has happened. But don’t be in a hurry and don’t wait for any answer — there is none. When all questions and all answers have been left behind and you are alone, totally alone, absolutely silent, knowing nothing, no content, no object to know — that purity of consciousness, that pure sky of consciousness, that’s what you are.

Osho is known for his revolutionary contribution to the science of inner transformation, with an approach to meditation that acknowledges the accelerated pace of contemporary life.




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