The Goose is Out
A koan is a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment.
This talk on 'The Goose is Out' is from a discourse given by Zen Master Osho on 21 April 1986 in Uruguay. Published as Beyond Psychology Chapter #19 ‘Step aside, let the mind pass’.
Links are for the two 10 minute audio's followed by the text as Osho uses words just to create silent gaps! The words are secondary; the silences between those words are primary. "This is simply a device to give you a glimpse of meditation. And once you know that it is possible for you, you have travelled far in the direction of your own being."
"The basic thing to be understood is that you are not the mind. If you get identified with the beautiful part, then it is impossible to disidentify yourself from the ugly part; they are two sides of the same coin. You can have it whole, or you can throw it whole, but you cannot divide it.
And the whole anxiety of man is he wants to choose that which looks beautiful, bright; he wants to choose all the silver linings, leaving the dark cloud behind. But he does not know that silver linings cannot exist without the dark cloud. The dark cloud is the background, absolutely necessary for silver linings to show. Choosing is anxiety. Choosing is creating trouble for yourself.
Being choiceless means: the mind is there and it has a dark side and it has a bright side -- so what? What it has to do with you? Why should you be worried about it? The moment you are not choosing, all worry disappears and a great acceptance arises, this is how the mind has to be, this is the nature of the mind -- and it is not your problem, because you are not the mind. If you were the mind, there would have been no problem at all. Then who would choose and who would think of transcending? And who would try to accept and understand acceptance? You are separate, totally separate. You are only a witness and nothing else.
An observer who gets identified with anything that he finds pleasant -- and forgets that the unpleasant is coming just behind it as a shadow. You are not troubled by the pleasant side -- you rejoice in it. The trouble comes when the polar opposite asserts -- then you are torn apart.
But you started the whole trouble. Falling from being just a witness, you became identified. The biblical story of the fall is just a fiction. But this is the real fall -- the fall from being a witness into getting identified with something and losing your witnessing. Just try once in a while: Let the mind be whatever it is. Remember, you are not it. And you are going to have a great surprise. The less you are identified, the mind starts becoming less powerful, because its power comes from your identification; it sucks your blood. But when you start standing aloof and away, the mind starts shrinking.
The day you are completely unidentified with the mind, even for a single moment, there is the revelation: mind simply dies; it is no more there. Where it was so full, where it was so continuously -- day in, day out, waking, sleeping, it was there -- suddenly it is not there. You look all around and it is emptiness, it is nothingness.
And with the mind disappears the self. Then there is only a certain quality of awareness, with no "I" in it. You can call it, at the most, something similar to "am-ness," but not "Iness." To be even more exact, it is "is-ness" because even in am-ness some shadow of the "I" is still there. The moment you know it’s is-ness, it has become universal. With the disappearance of the mind disappears the self. And so many things disappear which were so important to you, so troublesome to you. That you were trying to solve them and they were becoming more and more complicated; everything was a problem, an anxiety, and there seemed to be no way out."
I remind you of the story The Goose is Out."
"It is concerned with the mind and your isness. The master tells the disciple to meditate on a koan: A small goose is put into a bottle, fed and nourished. The goose goes on becoming bigger and bigger and bigger, and fills the whole bottle. Now it is too big; it cannot come out of the bottle's mouth -- the mouth is too small. And the koan is that you have to bring the goose out without destroying the bottle, without killing the goose.
Now it is mind-boggling. What can you do? The goose is too big; you cannot take it out unless you break the bottle, but that is not allowed. Or you can bring it out by killing it; then you don't care whether it comes out alive or dead. That is not allowed either.
Day in, day out, the disciple meditates, finds no way, thinks this way and that way -- but in fact there is no way. Tired, utterly exhausted, a sudden revelation... suddenly he understands that the master cannot be interested in the bottle and the goose; they must represent something else. The bottle is the mind, you are the goose... and with witnessing, it is possible. Without being in the mind, you can become identified with it so much that you start feeling you are in it!
He runs to the master to say that the goose is out. And the master says, "You have understood it. Now keep it out. It has never been in." If you go on struggling with the goose and the bottle, there is no way for you to solve it. It is the realization that, "It must represent something else; otherwise the master cannot give it to me. And what can it be?" -- because the whole function between the master and the disciple, the whole business is about the mind and awareness.
Awareness is the goose which is not in the bottle of the mind. But you are believing that it is in it and asking everyone how to get it out. And there are idiots who will help you, with techniques, to get out of it. I call them idiots because they have not understood the thing at all. The goose is out, has never been in, so the question of bringing it out does not arise.
Mind is just a procession of thoughts passing in front of you on the screen of the brain. You are an observer. But you start getting identified with beautiful things -- those are bribes. And once you get caught in the beautiful things you are also caught in the ugly things, because mind cannot exist without duality.
Awareness cannot exist with duality, and mind cannot exist without duality. Awareness is non-dual, and mind is dual. So just watch. I don't teach you any solutions. I teach you the solution:
Just get back a little and watch.
Create a distance between you and your mind. Whether it is good, beautiful, delicious, something that you would like to enjoy closely, or it is ugly -- remain as far away as possible.
You get identified with anything. People get identified with persons and then they create misery for themselves. They get identified with things, then they get miserable if that thing is missing.
Identification is the root cause of your misery. And every identification is identification with the mind. Just step aside, let the mind pass. And soon you will be able to see that there is no problem at all -- the goose is out. You don't have to break the bottle, you don't have to kill the goose either."
तस्यैते कथिता ह्यर्थाः प्रकाशन्ते महात्मनः ॥ २३ ॥