Question – How to start the journey? What does it exactly mean to transcend sex?
Osho – THE JOURNEY HAS ALREADY STARTED; you are in the journey. This has to be recognized. Unconsciously, you are inthe journey: that’s why it feels as if you have to start it. Recognize it, become conscious about it; the very recognition becomes the beginning. The moment you recognize that you are always moving going somewhere-knowingly, unknowingly, willingly, unwillingly-but you are going…some great force is constantly working within you: God is evolving. He is constantly creating something within you, so it is not how to start it. The right question will be, how to recognize it. It is there, but recognition is not there.
For example, trees die, but they don’t know; birds and animals die, but they don’t know. Only man knows that he has to die. That knowledge is also very cloudy, not clear — and the same is so with life. The birds are alive, but they don’t know that they are alive — because how can you know life if you don’t know death? How can you know that you are alive if you don’t know that you are going to die? Both recognitions come together. They are alive, but they don’t recognize that they are alive. Man recognizes, a little, that he is going to die, but that recognition remains very cloudy, hidden in deep smoke.
And the same is true about life: you are alive, but you don’t know exactly what being alive means. That too is cloudy, not clear. When I say recognition, I mean becoming alert to what this life energy is, that is already on the way. To become aware of one’s own being is the beginning of the journey. To come to a point where you are so absolutely alert that not even a fragment of darkness exists around you is the end of the journey. But in fact, the journey never starts and never ends. You will continue even after that, but then the journey will have a totally different meaning, a totally different quality to it — it will be sheer delight. Right now it is near misery.
“How to start the journey?” — become more alert about your actions, about your relationships, about your movements. Whatsoever you do — even an ordinary thing like walking on the street — try to become alert, try to take steps with full awareness. Buddha used to say to his disciples, “When you take a step with the right foot, remember, now this is the right foot; when you take a step with the left, remember, now this is the left. When you breathe in, remember, “Now I am breathing in”; when you breathe out, remember, “Now I am breathing out.” Not that you have to verbalize it. Not that you have to say in words “I am breathing in”, but just becoming alert that now the breath is going in. I am saying it to you so I have to use words, but when you are becoming alert you need not use words because words are like smoke. Don’t use words — just feel the breath going in and filling your lungs then being emptied. Just watch, and soon you will come to a recognition, a great recognition. that it is not simply breathing that goes in and out, it is life itself. Each breath in is life infusing its energy into you. Each breath out is a short death. With each breath, you die and you are reborn. Each breath is a crucifixion and a resurrection.
And when you watch it, you will come to know a beautiful feeling of trust. When you breathe out, there is no certainty that you wiil ever be able to breathe in again. What is the certainty? Who has guaranteed it? Who CAN guarantee that you will be able to breathe in again? But somehow, a deep trust; you know that “I will breathe again”. Otherwise breathing would become impossible. If you become so afraid that, “Who knows if I let my breath out, and if I go through this small death, what is the certainty that I will be able to breathe in again? If I can’t breathe, then it is better not to breathe out”, then you will die immediately. If you stop breathing out, you will die. But a deep trust exists — that trust is part of life. Nobody has taught you.
When a child starts walking for the first time, tremendous trust exists in him that he will be able to walk. Nobody has taught him. He has just seen other people walk, that’s all. But how can he come to a conclusion that “I will be able to walk”? He is so tiny. People are so big, giants compared to him, and he knows that whenever he stands he falls down — but still he tries. Trust is in-built. It is in your every cell of life. He tries, many times he will fall; he will try again and again and again. And one day, trust wins over and he starts walking.
If you watch your breath you will become aware of a deep layer of trust, a subtle trust in life — no doubt, no hesitation. If you walk, and walk alert, by and by you will become aware that you are not walking, you are ‘being walked by’. That’s a very subtle feeling: that life is moving through you, not that you are moving. When you feel hungry, if you are aware you will see life is feeling hungry within you, not you.
Becoming more alert will make you conscious of the fact that there is only one thing you have got that you can call yours and that is witnessing. Everything else belongs to the universe; only witnessing belongs to you. But when you become aware of witnessing, even the idea of being I is dissolved. That too does not belong to you. That was part of darkness, part of the clouds that had gathered around you. In the clear light, when the sky is open and the clouds have disappeared and the sun is bright, there is no possibility of any idea of being I. Then simply witnessing is; nothing belongs to you. That witnessing is the goal of the journey.
How to start the journey? — start becoming more and more a witness. Whatsoever you do, do it with deep alertness; then even small things become sacred. Then cooking or cleaning become sacred; they become worship. It is not a question of what you are doing, the question is how you are doing it. You can clean the floor like a robot, a mechanical thing; you have to clean it, so you clean it. Then you miss something beautiful. Then you waste those moments in only cleaning the floor. Cleaning the floor could have been a great experience; you missed it. The floor is cleaned but something that could have happened within you has not happened. If you were aware, not only the floor but YOU would have felt a deep cleansing. Clean the floor full of awareness, luminous with awareness. Work or sit or walk, but one thing has to be a continuous thread: make more and more moments of your life luminous with awareness. Let the candle of awareness burn in each moment, in each act. The cumulative effect is what enlightenment is. The cumulative effect, all the moments together, all small candles together, become a great source of light.
And the second part of the question is: “WHAT DOES IT EXACTLY MEAN TO TRANSCEND SEX?”
Sex is a subtle subject, delicate, because centuries of exploitation, corruption, centuries of perverted ideas, conditioning, are associated with the word ‘sex’. The word is very loaded. It is one of the most loaded words in existence. You say ‘God’; it seems empty. You say ‘sex’; it seems too loaded. A thousand and one things arise in the mind: fear, perversion, attraction, a tremendous desire, and a tremendous anti-desire also. They all arise together. Sex — the very word creates confusion, a chaos. It is as if somebody has thrown a rock in a silent pool; millions of ripples arise — just the word ‘sex’! Humanity has lived under very wrong ideas.
So the first thing: why do you ask how to transcend sex? Why do you want in the first place to transcend sex? You are using a beautiful word, ‘transcend’, but out of a hundred, ninety-nine are the possibilities that you mean, ‘How to repress sex?’
A person who has understood that sex has to be transcended is not even worried about transcending it, because transcendence comes through experience. You cannot manage it. It is not something that you have to do. You simply pass through many experiences, and those experiences make you more and more mature.
Have you watched that at a certain age, sex becomes important? Not that you make it important. It is not something that you make happen; it happens. At the age of fourteen, somewhere near there, suddenly the energy is flooded with sex. It happens as if the flood-gates have been opened in you. Subtle sources of energy which were not yet open have become open, and your whole energy becomes sexual, colored with sex. You think sex, you sing sex, you walk sex — everything becomes sexual. Every act is colored. This happens; you have not done anything about it. It is natural; transcendence is also natural. If sex is lived totally, with no condemnation, with no idea of getting rid of it, then at the age of forty-two — just as at the age of fourteen sex gets opened and the whole energy becomes sexual, at the age of forty-two or near about — those flood-gates close again. And that too is as natural as sex becoming alive; it starts disappearing.
Sex is transcended not by any effort on your part. If you make any effort that will be repressive, because it has nothing to do with you. It is in-built in your body, in your biology. You are born as sexual beings; nothing is wrong in it. That is the only way to be born. To be human is to be sexual. When you were conceived, your mother and your father were not praying, they were not listening to a priest’s sermon. They were not in the church, they were making love. Even to think that your mother and father were making love when you were conceived seems to be difficult. They were making love; their sexual energies were meeting and merging into each other. Then you were conceived; in a deep sexual act you were conceived. The first cell was a sex cell, and then out of that cell other cells have arisen. But each cell remains sexual, basically. Your whole body is sexual, made of sex cells. Now they are millions.
Remember it: you exist as a sexual being. Once you accept it, the conflict that has been created down through the centuries dissolves. Once you accept it deeply, with no ideas in between, when sex is thought of as simply natural, you live it. You don’t ask me how to transcend eating, you don’t ask me how to transcend breathing — because no religion has taught you to transcend breathing, that’s why. Otherwise, you would be asking, “How to transcend breathing?” You breathe! You are a breathing animal; you are a sexual animal also. But there is a difference. Fourteen years of your life, in the beginning, are almost non-sexual, or at the most, just rudimentary sexual play which is not really sexual — just preparing, rehearsing, that’s all. At the age of fourteen, suddenly the energy is ripe.
Watch…a child is born — immediately, within three seconds the child has to breathe, otherwise he will die. Then breathing is to remain the whole of his life, because it has come at the first step of life. It cannot be transcended. Maybe before you die then, just three seconds before, it will stop, but not before it. Always remember: both ends of life, the beginning and end, are exactly similar, symmetrical. The child is born, he starts breathing in three seconds. When the child is old and dying, the moment he stops breathing, within three seconds he will be dead.
Sex enters at a very late stage: for fourteen years the child has lived without sex. And if the society is not too repressed and hence obsessed with sex, a child can live completely oblivious to the fact that sex, or that anything like sex, exists. The child can remain absolutely innocent. That innocence is also not possible, because people are so repressed. When repression happens, then side by side, obsession also happens.
So priests go on repressing; and there are anti-priests, Hefners and others — they go on creating more and more pornography. So on one side there are priests who go on repressing, and then there are others, anti-priests, who go on making sexuality more and more glamorous. They both exist together — aspects of the same coin. When churches disappear, only then Playboy magazines will disappear, not before it. They are partners in the business. They look enemies, but don’t be deceived by that. They talk against each other, but that’s how things work.
I have heard about two men who were out of business, had gone broke, so they decided for a business, a very simple business. They started journeying, touring from one town to another town. First one would enter, and in the night he would throw coal tar on people’s windows and doors. After two or three days the other would come to clean. He would advise that he could clean any coal tar, or anything that had gone wrong, and he would clean the windows. In that time the other would be doing half of the business in another town. This way, they started earning much money. This is what is happening between the church and Hugh Hefners and people who are continuously creating pornography.
I have heard…. Pretty Miss Keneen sat in the confessional. “Father,” she said, “I want to confess that I let my boyfriend kiss me.”
“Is that all you did?” asked the priest, very interested.
“Well, no. I let him put his hand on my leg too.”
“And then what?”
“And then I let him pull down my panties.”
“And then, and then…?”
“And then me mother walked into the room.”
“Oh shit,” sighed the priest.
It is together; they are partners in a conspiracy. Whenever you are too repressed, you start finding a perverse interest. A perverted interest is the problem, not sex. Now this priest is neurotic. Sex is not the problem, but this man is in trouble.
Sisters Margaret Alice and Francis Catherine were out walking along a side-street. Suddenly they were grabbed by two men, dragged into a dark alley, and raped. “Father, forgive them,” said Sister Margaret Alice, “for they know not what they do.”
“Shut up!” cried Sister Catherine,” this one does.”
This is bound to be so. So never carry a single idea against sex in your mind, otherwise you will never be able to transcend it. People who transcend sex are people who accept it very naturally. It is difficult, I know, because you are born in a society which is neurotic about sex. Either this way or that, but it is neurotic all the same. It is very difficult to get out of this neurosis, but if you are a little alert, you can get out of it. So the real thing is not how to transcend sex, but how to transcend this perverted ideology of the society: this fear of sex, this repression of sex, this obsession with sex.
Sex is beautiful. Sex in itself is a natural rhythmic phenomenon. It happens when the child is ready to be conceived, and it is good that it happens — otherwise life would not exist. Life exists through sex; sex is its medium. If you understand life, if you love life, you will know sex is sacred, holy. Then you live it, then you delight in it; and as naturally as it has come it goes, on its own accord. By the age of forty-two, or somewhere near there, sex starts disappearing as naturally as it had come into being. But it doesn’t happen that way.
You will be surprised when I say near about forty two. You know people who are seventy, eighty, and yet they have not gone beyond. You know ‘dirty old people’. They are victims of the society. Because they could not be natural, it is a hangover — because they repressed when they should have enjoyed and delighted. In those moments of delight they were not totally in it. They were not orgasmic, they were half-hearted.
So whenever you are half-hearted in anything, it lingers longer. If you are sitting at your table and eating, and if you eat only half-heartedly and your hunger remains, then you will continue to think about food the whole day. You can try fasting and you will see: you will continuously think about food. But if you have eaten well — and when I say eaten well, I don’t mean only that you have stuffed your stomach. Then it is not necessarily so that you have eaten well. You could have stuffed yourself, but eating well is an art. It is not just stuffing. It is great art: to taste the food, to smell the food, to touch the food, to chew the food, to digest the food, and to digest it as divine. It is divine; it is God’s gift.
Hindus say, ANAM BRAHMA: food is divine. So with deep respect you eat, and while eating you forget everything, because it is prayer. It is existential prayer. You are eating God, and God is going to give you nourishment. It is a gift to be accepted with deep love and gratitude. And you don’t stuff the body, because stuffing the body is being anti-body. It is the other pole. There are people who are obsessed with fasting, and there are people who are obsessed with stuffing themselves. Both are wrong because in both the ways the body loses balance.
A real lover of the body eats only to the point where body feels perfectly quiet, balanced, tranquil; where body feels to be neither leaning to the left nor to the right, but just in the middle. It is an art to understand the language of the body, to understand the language of your stomach, to understand what is needed, to give only that which is needed, and to give that in an artistic way, in an aesthetic way.
Animals eat, man eats. Then what is the difference? Man makes a great aesthetic experience out of eating. What is the point of having a beautiful dining table? What is the point of having candles burning there? What is the point of incense? What is the point of asking friends to come and participate? It is to make it an art, not just stuffing. But these are outward signs of the art; the inward signs are to understand the language of your body: to listen to it, to be sensitive to its needs. And then you eat, and then the whole day you will not remember food at all. Only when the body is hungry again will the remembrance come. Then it is natural.
With sex the same happens. If you have no anti-attitude about it, you take it as a natural, divine gift, with great gratitude. You enjoy it; with prayer you enjoy it. Tantra says that before you make love to a woman or to a man, first pray — because it is going to be a divine meeting of energies. God will surround you. Wherever two lovers are, there is God. Wherever two lovers’ energies are meeting and mingling, there is life, alive, at its best; God surrounds you. Churches are empty; love-chambers are full of God. If you have tasted love the way Tantra says to taste it, if you have known love the way Tao says to know it, then by the time you reach forty-two, love starts disappearing on its own accord. And you say goodbye to it with deep gratitude, because you are fulfilled. It has been delightful, it has been a blessing; you say good-bye to it.
And forty-two is the age for meditation, the right age. Sex disappears; that overflowing energy is no more there. One becomes more tranquil. Passion has gone, compassion arises. Now there is no more fever; one is not interested in the other. With sex disappearing, the other is no more the focus. One starts returning towards one’s own source — the return journey starts.
Sex is transcended not by your effort. It happens if you have lived it totally. So my suggestion is, drop all anti-attitudes, anti-life attitudes and accept the facticity: sex is, so who are you to drop it? And who is trying to drop it? — it is just the ego. Remember, sex creates the greatest problem for the ego.
So there are two types of people: very egoistic people are always against sex; humble people are never against sex. But who listens to humble people? In fact, humble people don’t go preaching, only egoists. Why is there a conflict between sex and ego? — because sex is something in your life where you cannot be egoistic, where the other becomes more important than you. Your woman, your man, becomes more important than you. In every other case, you remain the most important. In a love relationship the other becomes very, very important, tremendously important. You become a satellite and the other becomes the nucleus; and the same is happening for the other: you become the nucleus and he becomes a satellite. It is a reciprocal surrender. Both are surrendering to the God of love, and both become humble.
Sex is the only energy that gives you hints that there is something which you cannot control. Money you can control, politics you can control, the market you can control, knowledge you can control, science you can control, morality you can control. Somewhere, sex brings in a totally different world: you cannot control it. And the ego is the great controller. It is happy if it can control; it is unhappy if it cannot control. So there starts a conflict between ego and sex. Remember, it is a losing battle. The ego cannot win it because ego is just superficial. Sex is very deep-rooted. Sex is your life; ego is just your mind, your head. Sex has roots all over you; ego has roots only in your ideas — very superficial, just in the head.
So who is trying to transcend sex? — the head is trying to transcend sex. If you are too much in the head then you want to transcend sex, because sex brings you down to the guts. It does not allow you to remain hanging in the head. Everything else you can manage from there; sex you cannot manage from there. You cannot make love with your heads. You have to come down, you have to descend from your heights, you have to come closer to earth. Sex is humiliating to the ego, so egoist people are against, always against sex. They go on finding ways and means to transcend it. They can never transcend it. They can, at the most, become perverted. Their whole effort from the very beginning is doomed to failure.
I have heard…. A boss was interviewing applicants to replace his private secretary who was resigning because of expectant motherhood. The boss’s right-hand man sat with him as he looked the applicants over.
The first girl was a beautiful buxom blond. She turned out to be intelligent, and had excellent secretarial skills. The second was a dark-haired beauty who was even more intelligent and proficient than the first. The third one was cross-eyed, had buck teeth, and weighed one hundred and ninety pounds. After interviewing all three candidates, the boss informed his associate that he was hiring the third applicant.
“But why?” asked the astonished employee.
“Well,” boomed the boss, “in the first place, she looks very intelligent to me! In the second place, it is none of your damned business, and in the third place, she is my wife’s sister.”
So you may pretend that you have won over sex, but an undercurrent…. You may rationalize, you may find reasons, you may pretend, you may create a very hard shell around you, but deep down the real reason, the reality, wi]l stand untouched: “She is my wife’s sister” — that is the real reason. “She looks intelligent”; that is just a rationalization. “And it is none of your damned business”; that too is getting annoyed and irritated — because the person is afraid that the other is poking his nose and may find the real cause. But the real cause will explode; you cannot hide it, it is not possible.
So you can try to control sex, but an undercurrent of sexuality will run and it will show itself in many ways. Out of all your rationalizations, it will again and again raise its head. I will not suggest that you make any effort to transcend it. What I suggest is just the contrary: forget about transcending it.
Move into it as deeply as you can. While the energy is there, move as deeply as you can, love as deeply as you can, and make an art of it. It is not just to be done. That is the whole meaning of Tantra: making an art of lovemaking. There are subtle nuances which only people who enter with a great aesthetic sense will be able to know. Otherwise, you can make love for your whole life and still remain unsatisfied — because you don’t know that satisfaction is something very aesthetic. It is like a subtle music arising in your soul. If through sex you fall into harmony, if through love you become non-tense and relaxed, if love is not just throwing energy because you don’t know what to do with it, if it is not just a relief but a relaxation, if you relax into your woman and your woman relaxes into you, if for a few seconds, for a few moments or a few hours you forget who you are and you are completely lost in oblivion, you will come out of it purer, more innocent, more virgin. And you will have a different type of being — at ease, centered, rooted.
If this happens, one day suddenly you will see that the flood has gone and it has left you very, very rich. You will not be sorry that it has gone. You will be thankful, because now richer worlds open. When sex leaves you, the doors of meditation open. When sex leaves you, then you are not trying to lose yourself in the other. You become capable of losing yourself in yourself.
Now another world of orgasm, inner orgasm, of being with oneself, arises. But that arises only through being with the other; one grows, matures through the other. Then a moment comes when you can be alone, tremendously happy. There is no need for any other. The need has disappeared but you have learned much through it — you have learned much about yourself. The other became the mirror, and you have not broken the mirror. You have learned so much about yourself. Now there is no need to look into the mirror. You can close your eyes and you can see your face there. But that face you would not be able to see if there had been no mirror from the very beginning.
Let your woman be your mirror; let your man be your mirror. Look into her eyes and see your face; move into her to know yourself. Then one day the mirror will not be needed. But you will not be against the mirror; you will be so grateful to it — how can you be against it? You will be so thankful — how can you be against it? Then, transcendence.
Transcendence is not repression. Transcendence is a natural outgrowing — you grow above, you go beyond — just as a seed breaks and a sprout starts rising above the ground. When sex disappears, the seed disappears. In sex, you were able to give birth to somebody else, a child. When sex disappears, the whole energy starts giving birth to yourself. This is what Hindus have called DWIJA, the twice-born. One birth has been given to you by your parents, the other birth is waiting. It has to be given to you by yourself. You have to father and mother yourself. Then your whole energy is turning in — it becomes an inner circle.
Right now it will be difficult for you to make an inner circle. It will be easier to connect it with another pole — a woman or a man — and then the circle becomes complete. Then you can enjoy the blessings of the circle. But by and by you will be able to make the inner circle, because inside you also you are man and woman, woman and man. Nobody is just man and nobody is just woman — because you come from man and woman’s communion. Both have participated; your mother has given something to you, you father has given something to you. Fifty-fifty, they have contributed to you. Both are there. There is a possibility that both can meet inside you. Again your father and mother can love inside you. Then your reality will be born. Once they met when your body was born; now if they can meet inside you, your soul will be born. That’s what transcendence of sex is: it is a higher sex.
Let me tell you this: when you transcend sex, you reach to a higher sex. Ordinary sex is gross, higher sex is not gross at all. Ordinary sex is outward-moving, higher sex is inward-moving. In ordinary sex, two bodies meet, and the meeting happens on the outside. In higher sex, your own inner energies meet. It is not physical, it is spiritual — it is Tantra. Tantra is transcendence. If you don’t understand this and you go on fighting with sex….
The question has been asked by Prageeta. I know she is passing through some critical moments in her mind. She would like to be independent, but it is too early. She would like not to be bothered by anybody else, but it is too early, and it is too egoistic. Right now transcendence is not possible, repression is possible. And if you repress now, in your old age you will repent — because then things become very messed up. Each thing has its own right time. Each thing has to be done in its moment. While young, don’t be afraid of love. If you are afraid of love while young, in old age you will become obsessed; and then it will be difficult to move deeply in love, and the mind will be obsessed.
This is my understanding: that people, if they have lived rightly, lovingly, naturally, then by the forty-second year they start transcending sex. If they have not lived naturally and they have been fighting with sex, then forty two becomes their most dangerous time — because by the time they are forty-two their energies are declining. When you are young you can repress something because you are very energetic. Look at the irony of the fact: a young man can repress sexuality very easily because he has energy to repress it. He can just put it down and sit upon it. When the energies are going, declining, then sex will assert itself and you will not be able to control it.
I have heard an anecdote: Stein, aged sixty-five, visited the office of his son, Dr. Stein, and asked for something that would increase his sexual potential. The M.D. gave his father a shot, and then refused to accept a fee. Nevertheless, Stein insisted on giving him ten dollars. A week later Stein was back for another injection, and this time handed his son twenty dollars.
“But Pop, shots are only ten dollars.”
“Take it!” said Stein, “the extra ten is from Momma.”
That will continue…so before you become a poppa or a momma, please be finished with it. Don’t wait for old age, because then things go ugly. Then everything goes out of season.
Source – Osho Book “The Beloved, Vol 1”