Well, I hope you've all got your paper and pencils ready to take notes - of the silence.
*(chuckles)* You have to draw the energy of silence.
This is an unusual situation for me. My friend and translator here, Boaz, he said he would love to be giving this talk to you - but then he would talk about his work instead of mine *(chuckles)*, so I said, "No deal!" *(laughter)* It's an unusual situation, and one that I have to confess is not very attractive to me. I don't mean you people, I mean the situation, because I'm up here *(on the stage of a large auditorium)* - I have to be up here - and you're down there, and you're really... Well, I won't say you're just a sea of faces, there's a lot of colour here, but in this situation I can't really experience you so easily as living beings.
*(to Boaz, after his somewhat extended translation of the last paragraph)* Did I say all that? I'm doing better than I thought! *(laughter)*
I mean, I *do* talk a lot in my seminars - I give around a hundred and twenty talks a year - but then I talk out of the seminar. I rarely talk before the seminar begins - that's sometimes not so popular *(chuckles)* - I just get on with the work that I do, and then during the course of the seminar and at the end of the seminar, then I talk, but what I'm talking about is what people have been experiencing, and here I have to talk cold.* *So I'm hoping to spend at least half the time I have to talk to you telling you how difficult it is for me to talk to you. *(laughter)*
You see, I want to talk to you, or at least it seems that I *should* talk to you, about dimensions of reality that are different from the one that we live in normally. And in the seminars, people are given, and receive, an experience of other dimensions, so then talking about them or talking out of them to people who are in them gives a whole different rapport to talking about them than when we are all more or less in the ordinary level of reality. And because the situation is a little difficult for me, then it's not so easy for me myself to go into the state of being that I am more or less always in in my seminars. So I'm going to be talking about states of being from a distance. But maybe talking about them helps me, and maybe also you, to move in that direction.
So, the normal dimension in which we all function together is a level, let's say, of substance or things, where each thing is separate from every other thing. *(gesturing towards the contents of the little table beside him)* My clock, my spectacles, my napkin, my glass of water... The table, the floor, the chair. All these are independent of each other. And Boaz is there, and I'm here, and you are over there, and everybody is, in a way, sitting in their own space. But right alongside that reality of separateness there is another dimension. Well, whether it's alongside, or inside, or outside, or all around, or underneath, or over, I don't know, but here, anyway, and present for us all at any time, there's another dimension where that separation does not exist - where there seem to be no divisions, no borders, where everything is just connected and at some level everything unites and is one.
Now, I am sure there are many people in this auditorium who know about that place, and many people have their own way, maybe, of accessing that place. I only know the way that I know, but I'm sure there are many alternative ways of finding yourself present in such a universal space.
Of course, in order to access that realm it is necessary for the ordinary level that we function on to go quiet - to almost, in a way, temporarily withdraw from that level where all the energy is going in action and interaction in order that the energy can fall to this other, universal level. And I would imagine that through ordinary meditation, Zazen, Vipassana, sitting quietly on your own, letting the thoughts go quiet or finding a space outside the thoughts, you can access that level. But I'm not certain about that, because I never meditate. I sit quietly often - in my seminars sometimes I sit quietly for a long time, as people here who've been to my seminars know - but I am not meditating, or at least I'm not doing the act of meditation, so what I say about meditation may not really be valid. Many of you probably know more about that process of meditation than I do. But I've had great meditators in my seminars and seen them processing themselves in the seminars, and as a result of what I've seen I wonder if perhaps when you meditate and access that space I'm talking about, whether you just access that space within the space of your own being, whereas my experience of accessing that space, from the very beginning when it happened, was of that space accessing me - not moving down inside myself or changing the vibration within, going quieter and more still, beginning to vibrate more at the level of the universal energy and finding a deep place in myself and then maybe from there going out, but more accessing it, feeling it all around me, and being able, in a way, to adapt or adjust my own vibration to fit with it. And then when I'm in it, I feel I'm in the whole thing, so it's as if I am being meditated. That saves a lot of work. *(chuckles) *I am being meditated: I am simply taken by opening to something which comes which is all around and which seems to be willing to accept me. I find myself caught up in it and can relax and just allow it to be there, within and without.
And then, in my seminars, although I do many different things, of course, in a way the principle movement or activity going on - except it's a non-activity - is to send out, not my vibration, but the vibration of that universal space that I seem to be part of. To send that out to the other people who are present, and then because they are built the same way as all people are, and as I am, the possibility of vibrating at that level is in them, and so then what happens is a process of resonance. A certain vibration in this place here sets off the exact same vibration in other people to the extent that they are open to that, and then they begin to vibrate on the same level. That is resonance.
Now, one strange phenomenon in my life - maybe in yours, too - is that things that happened to me when I was young and which had a tremendous and significant effect upon me, did not show their significance to me until very much later in my life.
There is a book published called *Time Is An Illusion* which gives a whole series of these experiences I had as a young person. One of them - which is not significant to this talk, but I'll mention it anyway, because it's significant, I'm sure, to everybody anyway - was that when I was young, when I was about six, seven, eight, around that age, my family, which was composed of my mother and father and my older brother, we used to go on holiday every year to a seaside resort. That's how it was in those days - not to go to Spain, or Italy, or Mexico, or the Caribbean or whatever. We went to the coast, the English coast, and we used to go there every year and spend a couple of weeks there. And in the place where we used to go to there was a Punch and Judy show.
Well, my brother and I were very fond of this, so we used to go every afternoon to watch it. It's a puppet show, as you know, and in the English version of Punch and Judy, there's a husband, who is Punch, and the wife, who is Judy, and there's a dog who's called Toby. And Punch and Judy are fighting all the time. He's hitting her on the head with a hammer, and she's punching him back, and they're having a terrible time. They're always fighting. It's very real. *(chuckles)* And it's staged in a little box, like a sentry box, and the puppets are up here, and the audience is in front, seeing all this going on.
Anyway, one afternoon we were going there, and I lost my elder brother. I couldn't find my way to the Punch and Judy show, and I was wandering around in the park where it was, and suddenly I saw it. But I didn't see the Punch and Judy show, I saw the puppeteer. I came from behind, and I saw a man sitting on his knees like this, with his two hands up here, and this one was Punch, and this one was Judy: *bang! bang! bang!* And this seven year old little boy - the same age as my kid, Madi, here - said, "My god, they're both the same!"
Well, when I'm in the energy space, I say, "That's right - we're all the same." I can't say that as a seven year old kid that experience changed my life immediately, but it was inside me - I mean, I still went on fighting with my brother. *(chuckles)*
Now, another experience I had when I was young was when I was about fourteen, in school, in a music lesson. The music teacher was the most boring teacher in the school, so the music lesson was a good place to have a good sleep. *(laughter)*. But one day this guy came in, and instead of just sitting in his chair and saying, "Do this, do that," and then putting his feet up and going to sleep himself, he came in with six or seven tuning forks, and he put a tuning fork in a boy's pocket, and he put a tuning fork inside his desk, and one on the window sill, and another in a cupboard; in various places he put these tuning forks. And he didn't say anything, he just did this. So we were all a bit curious: "What's going on? Something's going on for a change!" And then he took a tuning fork, and he hit the tuning fork on his desk so it rang, and then all these other tuning forks started to go *boing! boing! boing!*
Well, Michael Barnett was sitting slumped in his desk like this, and when this happened - *tsssshhhh!* And my hair, which I had a lot of in those days, stood up on my head like this. *(laughter)* And I was sweating.
It took a long time before that also became significant in my life, but it's now very significant in my life.
Now, I talked about this other level - the level of universal energy where everything seems to be one. But it's not only that level that one can find. My experience is - as I interpret my experience, I should say; I can only say that, because I don't *know* - my interpretation of my experience is that not only is there a level of energy where everything is universal, but there's a level of energy where there is joy, and there is a level of energy where there is love, and there is another level of energy where there is a sense of union, and there's a level of energy where there's absolute peace. These are all actually levels of energy. So it's like what I was saying about meditating and finding the universal energy level inside yourself compared with accessing the universal energy level which is everywhere: in the same way, there are many ways we can find joy, and there are many ways we can find love, and there are many ways we can find stillness and silence, and peace, and oneness, but what I am saying is that if you change your energy to a certain vibration, you will feel joy, no matter what, because you are there where the vibration is the vibrational energy of joy.
So for me it's like changing the path or the exploration from looking on the level that we are already on to find things that we feel are possible to find and which will bring us beauty and a sense of joy at being alive, to just changing our vibratory level. By changing the vibration in different ways we simply access certain vibrational levels of energy which bring us immediately into these states of being which are so beautiful. And then you can remain in them for a very long time, because you're not actually doing anything except letting it happen, you're not actually making an attempt to reach some beautiful space inside yourself or some state of being. Once you access it and relax into it, then you are part of it and it will play through you. The joy will play through you, the love will play through you, and so on. Then you are a participant, but you don't really feel that you have got there yourself, that you have made it there and so you have to hold yourself there; you can relax, and as long as the waves are coming in and taking you with them, you will have these experiences. And if you access such a place and vibrate at that level, then you can also, of course, create a resonance with the people all around you. So it's like the path being like ripples going out and out this way, rather than like swimming in a certain direction to reach some goal.
And there's even a level of vibration which is pure pleasure...
Pleasure's a bit more difficult, because for that, the body needs to be there. I mean, for joy, for bliss, for love, in a way the body doesn't have to be so much there. Of course, those feelings rush through the body, but in a way they're not concentrated on the body, whereas pleasure is very much a bodily thing. So to be embraced by that vibration of pleasure, in my experience, doesn't happen so easily or so often as joy and love and peace, but when it does, it is very beautiful. Then every breath is a pleasure. You look out of the window and then every instant is not just bliss, but is a pleasure. There is a physical response - almost a kind of erotic thing. It has a kind of richness which the other kinds of experiences don't have in quite the same way.
And I think that all these levels of energy that I'm talking about are all around us all the time, but you have to kind of fall through a trapdoor to get there. And as long as we're moving in the way that we're used to and have always been moving, and everyone around us is moving, then we won't fall through the trapdoor, we'll just go straight over it. So I think you have to kind of withdraw yourself temporarily from the normal activity of life. And it may also be good to be with other people who are also exploring that, so that the resonance can happen. And then once you begin to access that level, and once you begin to connect with that level or to feel yourself as part of that level, then there's not any problem in also participating in life in a perfectly normal way.
Now, on the programme, this talk has been called *Where Angels Fly*. And when I'm in that kind of space, when I'm in some of these spaces I've been talking about, I sure feel like an angel. And with a name like Michael, I suppose I'm supposed to be where angels are. But you can still go through the door, even if your name is not Michael. *(chuckles)*
So there is a feeling in that place, not only of joy or love or oneness, it is not just a feeling that, "I personally have these beautiful feelings," it is a feeling that you're accessing a level of being which is possible for all human beings. And when you're in that place, then most of the people around you also look like angels. Whether that's because you see people with those eyes and so you see the angelic part of them, or whether in fact the power of the resonance is bringing those people into that space, or whether it's partly one and partly the other, I don't know.
Once, in Korea, there was a famous Zen master, and the king got to know about him and asked this Zen master to visit him two or three times a week. And the king used to enjoy these times and get a lot out of these meetings, of course, but then one day he thought, "Well, this guy, he's getting a bit familiar with me, and I think he's forgetting that I'm the king and he's just one of my subjects, so the next time he comes, I'm going to have to take him down a peg or two." So the next time the Zen master came, the king said to him, "You know, you're really a wise man, but when I look at you, you look to me like a pig." And then the Zen master says, "That's funny - when I look at you, I see a real, resplendent being. Real majesty." And the king says, "How can you say that? I have just insulted you, and now you reply in this way." And the Zen master says, "You didn't insult me at all. When you're a king, everybody looks like a king, and when you're a pig, everybody looks like a pig." *(laughter)*
So I don't know whether it's that when this space is there then everybody looks beautiful to me because maybe I am also in a beautiful place. It's maybe partly that, but also it's the resonance happening - the angelic place inside the other people is resonating and bringing those people to be centred in it. But what sometimes happens is that I can see from where I am sitting inside myself that these people are in an enlightened space, let's say - they are illuminated, they are full of light - but I can also see that they don't know that they're in it. They are in it, but their centre of gravity - that is to say their perspective, where they're looking out from, their outlook place - is still in the normal dimension. But the more that part of themselves that is connected with these wonderful dimensions is found and abided in or awakened, then the stronger it becomes and the more force it has on that person to pull them down, like a gravitation, to experience the fact that, "Yes, indeed, this is my experience of reality right now."
So that's the way that it goes in my life - to be able to be privileged to access certain very beautiful realms of reality, and to see if it's possible, through the processes of resonance and other methods that have come to me over the years, to get people to taste those possibilities within themselves and recognise that these too are potential realities for them to actually experience and even maybe one day to live in.
Well, I seem to have come to a stop now, so I'd like to pass the time over to the audience to see whether you have any comments, or questions, or statements, or things to share.
*Member of the audience: I have a question. You are talking about states of being, but a state of being comes and goes. But on the other hand, 'the'* *being never comes nor goes. So is what you are talking about somehow a transition space, something to learn, or just for help before one reaches what never changes?*
Well, I don't think there is such a thing as a being that is unchanging in us. I think that there are only states of being, that there's nothing unchanging in us whatsoever. I think we imagine there is, because it's a convenience, and we have to have some base from which to look at ourselves and our lives, but I think there is no such thing as a permanent state of being which is unchanging. Or, madam, if there is, it is not accessible to us. If there is an 'I', if there is somebody that is a unique individual, then what that is is not in the range of possibility to know or to experience.
What you are
is the only thing you are not,
and what you're not
is what you are.
They're some famous lines from a famous poet, but it's actually a teaching, too. What you are not is what you are, and what you are is the only thing you are not. Tricky! A terrible state of affairs. Shocking! You can't move after that. What do you do? "Anything I do is not me, and I don't know where the not-me is, so I can't let that in." So you become paralysed.
Until you need a piss. Then you have to go for a piss. Then you move, anyway.* (laughter)*
So I'm saying that we have to live this movie that we're in, but that's not who we really are, and who we really are we can never know.
I mean, there are many people who are searching for the truth, as I did for many years. But what I seemed to find when I looked for the truth was that the truth was always unravelling, and that there were deeper and deeper truths, and it seemed to me that you could never reach the end of that. But bliss, you can reach. Love, you can reach. Oneness and unity, union, you can reach. So I thought, "I'll settle for those."
*Another member of the audience:* *A few years ago I had an accident, and I had an out-of-the-body experience, and there I realised I am not my body. I could see my body, but I knew my body was not what I was. But then I could re-enter my body and still live with this realisation. And then I was going on a quest to find people who could share that realisation, and that took me some years, and I felt sometimes alienated. Even before that, for forty years I felt like I was from another planet, that I didn't belong - until I went to an Osho centre, and there for maybe the first time I felt at home, like entering a family. *
*I have read one of your books, and somehow you are describing states of being which I also somehow found, and each time I come to the Festival here in Baden-Baden, I join your talk, but I have never been to one of your longer seminars. But anyway, I just want to say I appreciate your work, because it seems to support me or confirm me.*
*I love you!*
There's some resonance going on here! *(laughter)*
It makes me shiver. *(chuckles)* That's nice. Nothing more to be said.
*Another member of the audience: That trapdoor you talked about where we should fall through, are there any helping tools, like a technique, or music or anything? I'm sure you are using some tools, but is there something we can take for our daily life which we can use?*
Well, anything you try to do to fall through the trapdoor is keeping you from falling through the trapdoor. *(chuckles)*
When I used to have *satoris*, when I first was really on the search - in Poona, for example, I had several - then it always happened out of the blue, this falling through the trapdoor. And it seemed to be literally like that, not just a metaphor. Suddenly I was somewhere down here, and everybody else was up there doing things, and I would be looking at them and saying, "What are you all up to?! What is going on? What kind of a game is this?!" This is how it felt. But it always happened out of the blue, just by itself - never in a group. Well, once in a group, but usually not in a group, not in meditation. Just at any moment, suddenly it would happen.
So anything you do, or even anything I do for somebody else, is a momentum which will take them over the trapdoor. When it happens, it's just an accident. So my approach when I'm working... I can't bring people to that accident, it's impossible - otherwise it wouldn't be an accident, would it? - so my approach is different. My approach is... *(pauses)*
The thing is that when you go through the trapdoor you fall into another dimension which is still part of yourself. So my Work is to awaken that dimension. If you awaken that dimension to such an extent that it takes over the person or the person begins to reside there, then they've gone through the trapdoor without going through the trapdoor, or they've gone to where the trapdoor leads without actually having to fall through the trapdoor, because they've arrived there in another way, by awakening that place. That's how it works.
*The audience member: It's probably better to experience it.*
What, the falling?
Yeah, it's very exciting. It's a real thrill when it happens. But, you know, the minute you say 'it's better', you're in trouble.
Let me tell you about a question I asked Bhagwan in my Poona days. "Dear Bhagwan, you're always telling us, 'Do not choose.' You're also telling us how blissful your life is and how much rubbish our lives are." I was being very insulting to him, really. "How not to prefer bliss to rubbish? That's why we're here! We see you looking pretty blissful, we feel our own rubbish - also there are nice times, but there's quite some rubbish - we're here to see if we can experience bliss in the way that you experience bliss. How to avoid preferring to be like you, rather than to be like we are right now?" And he said, "The moment you prefer bliss to rubbish, your bliss is already rubbish." *(laughter)*
So it's really thrilling to fall through the trapdoor, really the thrill of a lifetime, but if you prefer it to the other way I've mentioned, you'll never manage it. *(chuckles)*
This has always been the case. In Zen circles, and other circles, they're always talking about gradual enlightenment and sudden enlightenment. And gradual enlightenment is what you do step by step, through meditations, through your koans or whatever your master has given you, and by living in the community, the *sangha.* Slowly you move in, and suddenly - again rather similar to what I said - you waken up something inside you which is on another level altogether, and which brings you a lot of beauty and peace and ease in your living. Or you have a sudden experience, a blow-out experience, and you don't come back, and that's the sudden enlightenment. So that's the difference between the trapdoor and the other way. But if you sit around waiting for the quick way, of course, you're not going *any* way. *(chuckles)* So in a way you're more likely, I think, to have the quick way happen if you actually are working with the slow way.
But don't look over your shoulder waiting for it!
Ah, that's a nice way to finish. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Boaz, for your translation. And thank you all for coming.