Play the Fool

You go on playing something which is not really there – you do something else, just the opposite. You may be angry, but you smile. You may be hurt, but you smile. You may be boiling within, but you smile. You may want to scream, but you go on singing. You may want to do something else, but it is not feasible, it is not practical, it is not the ‘right’ thing to do.

And that’s what has happened. In the Greek drama they had only one mask. You have many. Masks upon masks, like layers of an onion. If you put one mask away there is another, if you put that away there is another. And you can go on digging and digging and you will be surprised how many faces you are carrying. How many! For lives you have been collecting them. And they are all useful, because you have to change many times.

– Osho

Tread carefully from here, dear reader.  I’m no longer going to sugar-coat things.  Mostly because I’m out of weed, and patience.

In one of his rare interviews, Marlon Brando is on the Dick Cavett show where of course Dick has got to congratulate him, what a great actor this and that, and Brando says.. well, we’re all great actors.  We’re all playing this game every moment – putting on a show, pretending this or that, maneuvering or holding back or whatever it is – we’re so used to it we’ve forgotten we’re even doing it.  All to avoid the honesty and vulnerability of what we’re really thinking and feeling at any moment.

The purpose of meditation is the death of this actor, let no one tell you otherwise.  Look at this world, the monotony the fakeness the denial – all these silly games and masks we put on.  What other honest response can there be, than death.  Get me out of it, I’m not interested.  And in that perfect renunciation, that total one pointed surrender.. the explosion.  The quantum leap.  If you really mean it, you will meet your god, meet your maker.  Interesting phrase huh.. we know god is death.  But death of what? 

The mind has to be forced to the limit, ground into the unspeakable agony, the incalculable boredom of facing our own utter insignificance.  And I don’t mean physical death, but the severity of that word in the typical human awareness is the only thing strong enough to put things into action, to light the fire underneath us.  To force you to look at yourself.  You, looking at yourself.  But we try to keep one foot in and one foot out, play both worlds.  Dip our feet in to danger but keep one hand on the life jacket.  No no, that won’t do.  Genuine abidance in the now is a perfect, perennial death.  It is a free fall with no landing.  Nothing to hold on to, everything is at risk at every moment. Again and again. 

We cling to the mind though, to safety.  We do not quite believe in, or cannot accept this miracle, the perfect harmony of this life, despite all evidence to the contrary.  Just look!  You were born out of nowhere, where did it all come from?  The singing of the bird in the early morning, wind bustling through the trees, waves crashing.. doesn’t it take your breath away?  How can it be?  And there is no question, no doubt to any of it, some perfect certainty despite all of our own internal resistance.  Nature could give a fuck about that, it plows forward, emptying an apocalypse into every moment for all eternity.  The power, the energy of it all.. its too much for the mind to bear.  So, toss the mind out, its of no use here.  Trust in yourself the same way all of existence does.   

This is the mechanism and practice of meditation. Our minds (and therefore our words and actions) are contoured around the filtering system of this actor with all its different masks, the ego and default mode network. When we sit and watch this machine in motion, we are tempted and pulled again and again into these familiar patterns, these habitual behaviors and analyses designed to keep us “safe”. But at the grievous cost of our very authenticity, that which makes us human to begin with.

The challenge and the danger of the meditative life is to ignore these beckoning calls to safety, the refusal to embrace fear and the creature comforts offered as consolation for a life of inert phoniness. And no great drama or effort has to be made out of the practice, it is simply a recognition of what is happening and the will to say no to it. The thoughts, the masks, will drop away on their own from disuse, and our original face will be revealed once more.

It has nothing to do with effort. Just turn away, look between the thoughts, rather than at the thoughts. When you happen to walk in a crowd, you do not fight every man you meet, you just find your way between. When you fight, you invite a fight. But when you do not resist, you meet no resistance. When you refuse to play the game, you are out of it.

– Nisargadatta

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