Memory is one of the functions of mind which is divided into two parts.
One part is called the conscious mind and the other the unconscious, and curiously enough the conscious and the unconscious have a hand in the way one’s memory functions. We use the conscious mind in our workaday world – it serves us twenty-four hours of the day. The unconscious mind is used sparingly; it is used whenever we need it. The conscious is the lighted part of the mind, while the unconscious is submerged in the dark. The memory I was speaking about is lying hidden in the unconscious mind, whose conscious part is trying to remember it. The conscious part of the mind is fighting with its unconscious part, and so long as this fight continues you cannot recall a thing. Remembering is possible only when the fight stops and the two conflicting parts of the mind are put together. Then that which was standing on the doorstep of the unconscious, which made you certain that you knew it, emerges into the conscious and you have it.
Remembering the divine, or what we call self remembering goes even deeper than the unconscious. It is not buried in the unconscious; it is beyond it. There is yet another part of the mind which is called the collective unconscious.
Let us try to understand it in another way. As I said, the conscious is the superficial part of the mind which is lighted, and below it lies the unconscious buried in the dark. Then below the unconscious lies the collective unconscious, and at the bottom lies the cosmic unconscious – which is the mind of the entire universe, which is the total mind, the universal mind. Remembrance of God or self-remembering happens at the level of the cosmic mind, which is the ultimate in consciousness. God or self is known when we become completely integrated – not only with our unconscious and collective minds, but also with the cosmic consciousness, which is of the highest. To be in contact with the cosmic mind is what we call the contact high.
Just below the collective unconscious
lies the world of the cosmic unconscious.
You arrive there via the collective unconscious;
and once you are connected
with the cosmic unconscious
your awareness undergoes a complete mutation.
Then you cease to feel that you are a part of the whole,
rather you know that you and the whole are one –
you are not a part of the total but you are totality itself.
I will explain it in yet another way. When you meditate here at the camp and go deep into meditation, you first come in contact with your individual unconscious mind. Then some of you begin to scream and cry and some others dance and whirl and sing. All these activities arise from your individual unconscious. And by the end of the first stage of this meditation you cease to be individuals; you all become a collectivity. Now you are not individual entities separate from each other, you are a collective whole. This is the moment when you go deep in meditation and touch those levels of the mind which are part of the collective mind. Then you don’t feel that you are dancing – it feels that dance is going on and you are just a part of it. Then it does not seem that you are laughing; it seems the cosmic laughter is happening and you are just a participant in it. Then you don’t feel that you are, it feels that only existence is and everything in existence is dancing: stars are dancing, mountains are dancing, birds are dancing, every particle under the sun is dancing. Then your dance becomes a small but integral part of the universal dance. This experience is coming from your contact with the collective unconscious.
It is our own forgetfulness,
which covers the truth.
Just below the collective unconscious lies the world of the cosmic unconscious. You arrive there via the collective unconscious; and once you are connected with the cosmic unconscious your awareness undergoes a complete mutation. Then you cease to feel that you are a part of the whole, rather you know that you and the whole are one – you are not a part of the total but you are totality itself. And then you suddenly remember who you are; this remembrance shoots up like an arrow from the depths of the cosmic unconscious and fills your conscious mind. Then you also know, and know simultaneously, that this awareness – that you are the brahman, the ultimate, the supreme is nothing new – it has always been with you, buried deep in your cosmic unconscious.
I divided the process of remembering into four parts just to make it easier for you to understand. Krishna would never consent to this division, nor do I. In fact remembering, or consciousness, is nowhere fragmented; it is an integrated whole. The conscious and the unconscious are extensions of the same intelligence which is one and indivisible.
In our innermost depth we are aware that we are God, we are divine. We do not have to become divine, we have only to discover our divinity. It is really a matter of recognition. The seer of the Upanishad says in his prayer “O Sun, please uncover the truth that is covered with gold.” It simply means that truth is veiled and it has to be unveiled. Divinity is not to be achieved, but unveiled and recognized. What is it that veils it?
It is our own forgetfulness, our unconsciousness which covers the truth.
In fact, we make do with a very tiny part of our mind, a major part of it remains unused. It is like a person owns a big palace but lives in its porch. And he has become so accustomed to the porch that he has forgotten altogether that he owns a large palace which is just behind. Really there can be no porch without a house, the porch is only the entrance to the house. But we have forgotten the large house that our mind is, and we spend our whole life in the porch – our conscious mind is nothing more than a porch. It is not that the conscious ever gets completely disconnected from the larger mind, but we never enter and explore it so we get psychologically isolated from it. But deep down we know it is there.
Entry into the depths of the unconscious does not take place in stages; it always happens in a leap. Of course we can discuss and understand the unconscious in terms of parts.
Those who follow the path of spiritual discipline do so piece by piece. Krishna’s path, however, does not accept discipline. He says over and over again that we are already divine, but since we have forgotten it we have only to remember it again. That is why the Upanishads repeatedly say it is just a matter of remembering. We have to remember who we are. It is not that we have lost our godliness, we have only forgotten it. It is not that godliness is our future, which we have to become. It is sheer forgetfulness.
And that makes a great difference, because spiritual discipline believes that we have lost something which we have to regain. Or it thinks we have to become something which we are not. Or it is presumed that we have to use discipline to get rid of many wrong things that we have acquired through wrong living. But in the process of remembering we have neither to regain something nor to become something, we have only to remember that which we have forgotten. We are what we are, and it is divine. Nothing has to be added or subtracted. Only a screen of forgetfulness, oblivion, divides us from our real being, our divinity.
Osho, Krishna: The Man and his Philosophy, Ch 14, Q 1 (excerpt)