Osho: Allow Silence to Grow
It is a very simple thing. People go on talking, ninety-nine percent, unnecessarily. One percent perhaps may be necessary but that can be written. Just keep a notebook with yourself and watch your mind for, why you want to say something? Is it necessary? Is it going to serve any purpose? Or it is just the fear of silence that makes you talk?
The fear of being alone that makes you talk? Because that is the only communication you feel with somebody. If two persons are sitting silently, they may be sitting very close but they are as far away as they can be.
In silence the distance is infinite, because there is no link that joins them. Even strangers cannot sit for a few minutes silently. Immediately they start asking about the other, where he is going, what is his name.
Now, it is none of their business. While I was traveling, it was everyday trouble, because I was always traveling in an air-conditioned coupe so only two persons were there, I and somebody else.
And I was continuously talking, and I wanted at least in the train to be left alone.
But the other person was boiling. So I will enter the compartment and I will just put my finger on my mouth and say to the person, “Just wait.” “And then I will tell him my name, my father’s name, my father’s father’s name, how many brothers I have, what education, what profession, where I am coming from, where I am going to. I will say it without his asking.
He will look at me aghast, afraid that, “What is the matter? I have not asked, not even your name, and you are telling your father’s name, father’s father’s name, great-grandfather’s name, how many children your father has, how many brothers he has, how many sisters he has, who is married, who is not married. But I don’t… Why you are telling all these things to me?”
I said, “I am just finishing the whole thing quickly. Otherwise, twenty-four hours we are going to be here in this compartment together. By and by you are going to ask all these things. If anything is left, you’ll tell me, I want to finish it quickly because after that no more talking. Have you any questions?”
And he will automatically say, “I don’t have any questions. In the first… I have not asked the first question either!” I said, “Knowing man, I just answered, in case. If it does not relate to you, forget about it. Forgive me. But here we finish.”
And then it was worth seeing the scene. I will be sitting and the man was tossing and turning, opening his suitcase, taking the book out, putting the book back, putting the light on, off, calling the servant for a glass of water, going to the bathroom again and again.
And I was simply watching, just looking him doing all these things. And finally he will get too angry because I am watching him, and he is doing stupid things. He knows that he is being stupid and I am simply just watching and enjoying. He will say that, “You have made one condition: not to speak. I will not speak, but you have to also follow one condition. Don’t go on watching me, because that makes me crazy.”
I said, “Okay, that’s not a difficulty. I will keep my eyes closed. But once in a while can I open or not? Because once in a while I may need to go to the bathroom. Have I to go with closed eyes?”
So I will keep my eyes closed, and once in a while I will open. And that was enough to trigger his anger and… And before he called the conductor I would go out and tell the conductor that, “Soon that passenger will call you to change his room. Remember, no room is vacant. All are full. Because I don’t want to go again through the same process. Somehow I have trained him.” And all the conductors knew me because I was constantly on the train.
They said, “We know how you train people. In twenty-four hours they must be losing at least four, five pounds weight. And by the time they get out of the train, they must be thinking they are getting out of imprisonment or something. You destroy their whole journey and you don’t do anything, as far as we know.”
And it was bound to happen soon that he will call the conductor, that, “I want to change.” The conductor will say that, “That is impossible. All the seats are booked.” And I will tell the person that, “If that seat is uncomfortable to you, you can come on my seat. I can come on your seat. What is the need of the conductor? We can change seats just in this cabin.”
He said, “You please keep quiet. I don’t want to talk with you myself. You are the whole cause of my trouble.” I said, “I have not done anything.” He said, “That is the most troublesome part of it, that you have not done anything and you have created such a craziness in me. I have never felt so crazy.” I said, “The only thing is that you want is to talk. You do one thing that will help immensely, and I am not joking. When you go to the bathroom, have a good talk.”
He said, “You please don’t give me any suggestions of that kind. You want the whole compartment people knowing that I am mad, talking to myself in the bathroom.” I said, “No, I was just giving you a clue, because when it becomes too much for me: I do it myself.”
And next time when he went into the bathroom he was doing it, and when he came back he was smiling at me and he said, “You are right. It works. It feels light. Although I was afraid in the beginning, I started very slowly, whispering, but then I went on, almost started shouting and forgot completely about the people. And when I came out there were at least ten people gathered. They were all listening what I was saying. I have never delivered a speech before ten people. But I am feeling so light. Let them think I am mad. They don’t know me, I don’t know them. Who cares?”
I said, “That’s why I was saying to you that, ‘You listen to my ideas. They will always help you.’
So you just do one thing whenever you feel like talking. Watch whether it is of any use or just something like an inner itching, an irritation. Then it is better to write it down and keep it with yourself. Just writing it will help. It will be released.
Soon you will see that all unnecessary things that you feel like talking have disappeared.”
Perhaps there are few things which are necessary to talk, and you can write on a paper and give to the person. He can answer on the same paper. And you can work with hundreds of people without a single word uttered. And this will give you many things: a great understanding why you want to talk. It is not something useful, it is simply an insane urge to unburden you. But you are burdening the other person whom you are saying things, because he is listening and soon he will be saying the same things to somebody else.
I used to live in one place and my neighbor was a very old-fashioned theist, and was very respected by the people, almost like a saint. And I used to argue with him.
My aunt used to live with me, and she will say that, “Why do you harass that old man?” I said, “You don’t know. Whatever I say, he is bound to say to others.” She said, “What? You are saying things against his whole ideology!” I said, “That does not matter. But once you put something into somebody’s ear, it does not get out from the other ear. It gets out from the tongue. There is no other way.
“People have a wrong notion that you get from one ear, it gets out from the other ear. Impossible. There is no passage.”
And one day my aunt told me that, “You were right because this morning I heard him. He was telling his neighbor exactly the same thing yesterday he was arguing against with you. He was giving your argument, and with great joy, because the neighbor could not answer him.”
I said, “Now you understand. Whatever I say to him, the whole day he is doing nothing else than talking to people. Soon he will become my “His Master’s Voice” gramophone record. Whether he thinks he is against me or for me does not matter. Once I put things into his computer, they are going to come out one way or other.”
So when you say something to somebody to unburden, you are unburdening yourself but you are burdening the other person, which is not good. And as your silence will grow, you will be surprised.
Just as you can burden people with your words, you can hold their hand in silence and you can unburden them with your silence. It works the same way, and that is therapeutic. Then just the presence of somebody, if he is really silent, will be unburdening to you. Just feeling his silence, his presence, and you will feel so much burden, so many tensions, anxieties, have simply dropped.
Thirdly, if one becomes attuned with silence, accustomed to remaining silent, then whatever he says has a profound meaning because it is something condensed. It is out of silence. And whenever a word comes out of silence it has tremendous weight, authority, conviction. It has a life, it is not a dead word. And that can be felt very easily.
Then you are speaking from your very being. The mind is being used only as a mechanism, but the message is coming from deeper down. And it will reach to the other person exactly to the same depth as it has come from you. All that is needed on the other person’s side is openness, receptivity.
So, in a commune particularly, where everybody is making all his effort to be open, to be receptive, it is good to be silent. It is beneficial to be silent. It is a blessing to the whole commune to be silent. That does not mean that you cannot speak. I am not saying that, “Repress, don’t speak.” I am saying, “Allow silence to grow, slowly. And whenever there is need to speak something, speak. But let it come out of your silence. And then see the difference. Then it comes like an arrow which goes directly to the other person’s very heart.” Silence makes one really a poet. Each word spoken out of silence is poetry, is music.