Osho speaks on Sammasati and ‘right- mindfulness’ in response to the question that if it is not a goal to be attained or something to practise, what exactly is ‘right-mindfulness.’
‘Right-mindfulness’ is a strange word. First: there is no mind in it – hence it is called ‘right-mindfulness.’ Secondly, there is nothing right and wrong in it – hence it is called right-mindfulness. This is a Buddhist way of saying things.
It can’t be a goal because when there is a goal there is desire; when there is desire you are unhappy, discontented. When there is desire, there is anxiety – whether you will be able to make it or not. Will it be possible or not? Right-mindfulness is not a goal, cannot be a goal – because when all desires disappear and all goals disappear and you are here now… that is the moment of right-mindfulness.
Why is it called ‘right’? It is called right be-cause it knows no division between right and wrong. Nothing is wrong! and nothing is right. All judgments have disappeared. One is utterly innocent. You have no opinion. You don’t carry a philosophy in the mind. You are simply a mirror! When you come before the mirror, the mirror does not say, ‘You are beautiful; you are ugly’ – it simply reflects. It reflects without condemnation, without appreciation – it reflects choicelessly. It just reflects.
When your consciousness has become a mirror and simply reflects whatsoever is the case, it is right-mindfulness. That mirror-like quality….
To live in the mind is wrong. To live without mind is right, because without mind, the consciousness exists in its purity, mirror-like – it simply reflects. It says nothing! It has no interpretation.
And why is it called mindfulness? This is the translation of a Buddhist term sammasati. Samma means right – the translation is not very correct, cannot be. ‘Samma’ is a very strange word, very significant, has many meanings; ‘right’ is only one of its meanings. Samma is the root from where samadhi arises; the word ‘samadhi ‘comes from samma.
Samma means many things. One: tranquillity, silence, equanimity, balance, undisturbedness, undistractedness, centeredness, groundedness – they are all aspects of samma. ‘Right’ is a very poor translation of samma.
And sati – sammasati. Sati can mean mindfulness, can mean remembrance, can mean reflection, can mean recollectedness, can mean presence. All those meanings are involved in it. Mindfulness is only one of the meanings. It is a very potential and pregnant word – sammasati.
When you are utterly present in the presence, when you don’t have any past and don’t have any future… when this cuckoo calling, this train passing, this dog barking, is all… when this is all and there is no that, when the word ‘here’ is your whole reality and there is no there, when now contains all time and there is no then – then you are in the state of sammasati.
That’s what I go on calling ‘here now’ – that is sammasati. Then you are utterly present, absolutely present. When all the parts of your being are here, when you are totally at home, nothing is missing, when you are integratedly here, then it is right-mindfulness. Right-mindfulness is a state of no-mind, no-thought! And remember: it is also a state of no-feeling – otherwise, you may think it is a state of feeling. No, it is not – because feeling again creates ripples and the surface of the lake is disturbed, and again the moon is not reflected as it is. Neither thought disturbs you, nor feeling.
Never out of practise has anything real happened. Beware of this. The real happens only through understanding, not through practise.
And what is the difference? Understanding will say: Remain where situations arise; remain where challenges surround you. Be there where provocations and temptations exist. Test yourself there. Go into situations!
The intellectual young man was telling off his girlfriend. ‘Jane,’ he remonstrated, ‘I don’t think you are the girl for me. My interests are in art, literature and in music. You are only concerned with sports, with gambling and with common activities that are altogether alien to me. In fact, to be blunt about it – you are downright uncouth!.’
‘Uncouth!’ she exploded. Me? What are you talking about? Uncouth? Didn’t I go along with you to them operas, them concerts, them lectures, and all that sort of shit?’
That’s what will happen. You can go on practising, but deep down you know that you are repressing, that you are rejecting, that you are denying some essential parts of your being.
Right-mindfulness is the flavour of understanding, not the outcome of practise. Right-mindfulness is the fragrance – the fragrance of seeing into things deeply, the fragrance of insight.
(Osho: Walk Without Feet, Fly Without Wings and Think Without Mind)