“People go on doing things almost in a sleep. Just become a little more alert. Do whatsoever you are doing, but bring the quality of consciousness to your actions — there is no other method. And you can bring that quality to small things and that is helpful. Sitting, just watch your breathing. The breath goes in, watch; the breath goes out, watch. Just go on watching your breathing. And it is of great help because if you watch your breathing, thinking stops.
This is something to be understood. Either you can think or you can watch your breathing. You can’t do both together. Breathing and thinking are such processes that only one can exist in you – in awareness. In unawareness, both can continue: you can go on breathing and you can go on thinking.
But if you become aware, either you can think or you can breathe; and when you breathe with awareness, thinking disappears. Your whole consciousness becomes focused on breathing. And breathing is such a simple process: you need not do it, it is already happening. You can just bring your consciousness to it.
Buddha became enlightened through this simple method. He calls it vipassana, insight. Breathing brings great insight and when you are aware of breathing, the whole thought process simply comes to a stop — and great stillness arises. After watching your breathing, it will be easy to watch your thinking directly, because breathing is a little gross.
Thinking is more subtle. Thoughts have no weight, they are weightless; they can’t be measured, they are immeasurable. That’s why the materialists cannot accept them. Matter means measure — that which can be measured is matter. So thought is not matter because it cannot be measured. It is, and yet it cannot be measured; hence it is an epiphenomenon.
The materialist says, “It is only a by-product, a side effect, a shadow phenomenon” — just as you walk in the sun, a shadow follows you. But the shadow is nothing. You walk in life and thinking arises, but it is only a shadow. If you watch this shadow, this epiphenomenon, these thoughts and the processes of thought… it is going to be a more subtle phenomenon because it is not as gross as breathing.
But first, learn the process of awareness through breathing and then move to thinking. And you will be surprised: the more you watch your thinking… again, either you can watch or you can think. Both cannot be done simultaneously. If you watch, thinking disappears.
If thinking appears, watching disappears. When you have become alert enough to watch your thoughts and let them disappear through watching, then move to feeling — which is even more subtle. And these are the three steps of vipassana. First breathing, second thinking, third feeling. And when all these three have disappeared, what is left is your being. To know it is to know all. To conquer it is to conquer all.”
Source: Osho “The Dhammapada, Vol 6”
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