You Were Never on the Wheel

Photo: Anton Jankovoy

Osho (former Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) was 7 years when his grandfather died. He was very close to his grandfather and it was a big shock to find himself in a bullock car with the dying old man trying to reach the hospital. The grandfather was continuously repeating, “Stop the wheel, stop the wheel.”

Hindu’s and Buddhist’s call the life of ignorance for, “The wheel of Samsara.” It means an endless circle of birth and death. The grandfather believed that he had to stop the wheel to avoid rebirth.
Small teachings believe in that. Everywhere in spiritual circles people are working to stop the wheel. How can you stop something that does not really exist? If you try to stop it, the very effort to stop it will make the wheel roll on.
The wheel is just an appearance, like a dream. If you try to stop your dreaming it will just prolong the dreaming. Finding out what, or who, dreams the dream will break the spell. All great teachings are about breaking the spell.

That the life of identification with desires leads to a never-ending circle of rebirth and death is not new. You will also find the idea in the Greek Mythology. The story about Ixion on the wheel indicates the same basic insight. Zeus sentenced Ixion to rotate on a wheel through eternity because he was in love with Hera (the wife of Zeus.)  What is this wheel they talk about?
For most people waking up in the morning immediately starts an ongoing process of thoughts, emotions, and perceptions. That process continues throughout the whole day without any break. It only stops when one falls into dreamless sleep in the night, just to start again in the morning. Identification with this continued process of thinking and experiencing is the wheel.
The good news is that there never was an individual involved with this wheel, and, secondly, that there is really no wheel at all.
When we don’t know who we are, life is experienced as an ongoing succession of experiences that “I” – a separated individual in the world – is forced to endure. It is inevitable: “Birth is not my choice, death is not my choice, and in between birth and death I am forced to encounter enumerable experiences.” Some people believe that they have a choice and that they can choose these experiences, others believe that they are predestined to meet with certain experiences and not others and that there are no choices to be made. The former point of view is very western, the second typical for the East believing in the law of karma.

If you close your eyes for a moment you may notice that there is an ongoing process of thoughts and, out of ignorance, you will call them your thoughts. Is there really a “me” experiencing these thoughts? Have you ever considered the question? Is there really a “me” tied to this ongoing wheel of thoughts? Yes, it is painful, unbelievably painful… because it is not true!

When you question this supposed “me” that endures birth, life and finally death, you will suddenly experience a “subtle jump” in perspective! When there is a realization of “no-me”, the perspective is moved from the pain of being a separated onlooker, to being an unconditionally free consciousness reflecting the wheel. This is the first sense of awakening! As consciousness gets established in itself, when there is an abiding as consciousness, when identifications are broken, there is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and love, and the wheel is seen as empty of any reality.

With the realization of no “me” there is simultaneously a realization of the emptiness of the wheel. It is just an idea that seems real when we are identified with the ego-mind.


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