First of all have a look at this existential question from a disciple of Osho. This question is existential in nature, means it is not mere a question but a problem of everyday human life.
So it needs a solution instead of an answer.
Q: Whenever in life I’ve had a bout of feeling miserable, a point always comes when I just laugh at myself, feel freedom return, and see that all I had done was to stop loving myself.
This insight in itself is perhaps not particularly profound but at the moment of its realization, I am always amazed to see how easily, for what, and for how long I am willing to forsake my own self-love.
Is this at the roots of most people’s suffering, or is it just my trip?
Osho: It is not just your trip. It is at the root of most people’s suffering—but not with the meaning you are giving to it.
It is not because you have stopped loving yourself that you fall in misery. It is that you have created a self that does not exist at all.
So sometimes this unreal self suffers misery in loving others, because out of unreality, love is not possible. And it is not on one side: Two unrealities trying to love each other … sooner or later this arrangement is going to fail.
When this arrangement fails, you fall upon yourself—there is nowhere else to go.
So you think, “I had forgotten to love myself.”
In a way it is a small relief: At least instead of two unrealities, now you have only one. But what will you do by loving yourself, and how long can you manage to keep loving yourself?
It is unreal; it won’t allow you to see it for a long time because that is dangerous: If you see it for a long time, this so-called self will disappear, and that will be a real freedom from misery.
Love will remain, unaddressed, to someone else or to yourself. (Even addressing love to self makes it unreal self)
Love will remain unaddressed because there is nobody to address, and when love is there, unaddressed, there is great bliss. (When you love because of outpouring is the only way to feel happy, when just giving is enough to feel blessed. It is like a flower spreading its fragrance unaddressed to anyone, then only it is real )
But this unreal self won’t allow you much time. Soon you will be falling in love with someone else again, because the unreal self needs the support of other unrealities.
So you go on changing the other, thinking that perhaps this woman, this man, will bring you the paradise you have always been longing for. But everybody brings hell—without fail!
And nobody is to be condemned for it, because they are doing exactly the same as you are doing: They are carrying an unreal self out of which nothing can grow. It cannot blossom. It is empty—decorated, but inside empty and hollow.
So when you see somebody from far away, he or she is appealing. As you come closer the appeal becomes less. When you meet, it is not a meeting but a clash.
And suddenly you see the other person is empty and you have been deceived, cheated, because the other person has nothing that had been promised.
The same is the other’s situation in relation to you.
All promises fail, and you become a burden to each other, a misery to each other, a sadness to each other, destructive to each other. You separate.
For a little while there is relief, but your inner unreality cannot leave you in this state for long; soon you will be searching for another woman, another man, and you will get into the same trap.
Only the faces are different; the inner reality is the same—empty. If you really want to get rid of misery and suffering then you will have to understand—you don’t have a self. Then it will be not just a small relief but a tremendous relief.
And if you don’t have a self, the need for the other disappears. (Refer to story of King Wu given here after a photo, if you wish to cut short this blog)
It was the need of the unreal self to go on being nourished by the other. You don’t need the other.
And listen carefully:
When you don’t need the other, you can love. And that love will not bring misery.
Going beyond needs, demands, desires, love becomes a very soft sharing, a great understanding.
When you understand yourself, that very day you have understood the whole of humanity. Then nobody can make you miserable. You know that they are suffering from an unreal self, and they are throwing their misery on anybody who is close by.
It was the need of the unreal self to go on being nourished by the other. You don’t need the other.
Your love will make you capable of helping the person you love to get rid of the self. I know only of one present.… Love can present you only with one thing: that you are not, that your self is just imaginary.
This realization between two persons suddenly makes them one, because two nothings cannot be two. Two somethings will be two, but two nothings cannot be two: Two nothings start melting and merging. They are bound to become one. (They both gets dissolved into love, their individuality vanishes and only Love remains forever)
Just try to see the self, and you will not find it.
Not finding it is of great importance.
I have told many times the story of Bodhidharma and his meeting with the Chinese emperor Wu—a very strange meeting, very fruitful.
Emperor Wu perhaps was at that time the greatest emperor in the world; he ruled all over China, Mongolia, Korea, and the whole of Asia, except India. He became convinced of the truth of Gautam Buddha’s teachings, but the people who had brought the message of Buddha were scholars. None of them were mystics.
Then the news came that Bodhidharma was coming, and there was a great thrill all over the land. Because Emperor Wu had become influenced by Gautam Buddha, that had made his whole empire influenced by the same teaching.
And now a real mystic, a buddha, was coming—it was such a great joy!
Emperor Wu had never before come to the boundaries where India and China meet to receive anyone. With great respect he welcomed Bodhidharma, and he asked, “I have been asking all the monks and the scholars who have been coming, but nobody has been of any help—I have tried everything. But how to get rid of this self? And Buddha says, ‘Unless you become a no-self, your misery cannot end.’”
He was sincere.
Bodhidharma looked into his eyes and said, “I will be staying by the side of the river near the mountain in the temple. Tomorrow morning, at four o’clock exactly, you come and I will finish this self forever. But remember, you are not to bring any arms with you, any guards with you; you have to come alone.”
Wu was a little worried—the man was strange! “How can he just destroy my self so quickly? It takes—it has been told by the scholars—lives and lives of meditation; then the self disappears. This man is weird! And he is wanting me to come to him in the darkness, early in the morning at four o’clock, alone, even without a sword, no guards, no other companion. This man seems to be strange—he could do anything. And what does he mean that he will kill the self forever? He can kill me, but how will he kill the self?”
The whole night he could not sleep. He changed his mind again and again—to go or not to go?
But there was something in the man’s eyes, and there was something in his voice, and there was some aura of authority when he said, “Just come at four o’clock sharp, and I will finish this self forever! You need not be worried about it.”
What he said seemed absurd, but the way he said it, and the way he looked were so authoritative: The man knows what he is saying. Finally, Wu had to decide to go. He decided to risk it: “At the most he can kill me—what else? And I have tried everything. I cannot attain this no-self, and without attaining this no-self there is no end to misery.”
He knocked on the temple door, and Bodhidharma said, “I knew you would come; I knew also that the whole night you would be changing your mind. But that does not matter—you have come. Now sit down in the lotus posture, close your eyes, and I am going to sit in front of you. The moment you find, inside, your self, catch hold of it so I can kill it. Just catch hold of it tightly and tell me that you have caught it, and I will kill it and it will be finished. It is a question of minutes.”
Wu was a little afraid. Bodhidharma looked like a madman—he is painted like a madman; he was not like that, but the paintings are symbolic.
That’s the impression he must have left on people. It was not his real face, but that must be the face that people were remembering.
He was sitting with his big staff in front of Wu, and he said to him, “Don’t miss a second. Just the moment you catch hold of it—search inside every nook and corner—open your eyes and then tell me that you have caught it, and I will finish it.”
Then there was silence. One hour passed, two hours passed, and the sun was rising, and Wu was a different man.
In those two hours he looked inside himself, in every nook and corner. He had to look—that man was sitting there; he could have hit him on his head with his staff. You could expect anything, whatever!
He was not a man of etiquette, manners; he was not part of Wu’s court, so Wu had to look intently, intensively.
And as he looked, he became relaxed, because it was nowhere. In looking for it, all thoughts disappeared. The search was so intense that his whole energy was involved in it; there was nothing left to think, and desire, and this, and that.
As the sun was rising Bodhidharma saw Wu’s face; he was not the same man—such silence, such depth. He had disappeared.
Bodhidharma shook him and told him, “Open your eyes—it is not there. I don’t have to kill it. I am a nonviolent man, I don’t kill anything! But this self does not exist. Because you never look at it, it goes on existing. It is in your not looking for it, in your unawareness, that it exists. Now it is gone.”
Two hours had passed, and Wu was immensely glad. He had never tasted such sweetness, such freshness, such newness, such beauty. And he was not.
Bodhidharma had fulfilled his promise. Emperor Wu bowed down, touched his feet, and said, “Please forgive me thinking that you are mad, thinking that you don’t know manners, thinking that you are weird, thinking that you can be dangerous. I have never seen a more compassionate man than you.… I am totally fulfilled. Now there is no question in me.”
Emperor Wu said that when he died, on his grave, the memorial, Bodhidharma’s statement should be engraved in gold for the people in centuries to come to know … “There was a man who looked mad, but who was capable of doing miracles. Without doing anything he helped me to be a non-self. And since then everything has changed. Everything is the same but I am not the same, and life has become just a pure song of silence.”
This really happened with me. After my separation with my partner, I felt great responsibility towards raising my two kids so that they become worldly wise and had to take care of my parents too, however not much is needed for them from my side but just a sense that someone is there for them is enough. They helped me in reducing my burden of raising kids by giving good education to kids by putting them into a reputed boarding school.
When I felt I am not able to do my part well, when kids are at home in their vacations, then I took voluntary retirement from my services to do it to my satisfaction as best.
When I decided to retire, my kids have already left to their boarding school. So after retirement in my home I was left totally alone. No wife, no kids, no parents (as they were living just 180km away, but not at my home), no job, no work in hand and that time my pension process too was in pipeline.
So I became like a mad whenever I think what I have done? Now there was no way to go backwards too. So I decided to read the Geeta, our scripture, again. I have already read it six times before just by reading one verse a day. Every time I read it, it showed me a path. So after my daily chores I dedicatedly started reading the Geeta and increased the meditation period in the evening too. I was already practicing awareness meditation too during brushing in the morning.
But this time I could not get much from the Geeta so I turned to original books of Vivekananda published by Harvard university that I have downloaded from internet archive. The I read books of Ramana and many more.
Finally I decided to again turn to books of Osho because I left reading his books for few years. In 1982 I came to know about Osho when a sannyasin came to my home with books of Osho. He came to take my father, a practicing surgeon in government job, with him to Pune. My father refused but I read those books and wanted to visit his Pune ashram. When I asked my friend to accompany me he advisedthat Osho hypnotises anyone who visit his ashram and it may be possible we could not come back. There were other rumours too that I heard from him. I was the elder son and all responsibilities related to market were on my shoulder including giving tiffins to my younger brother and sister at school in lunch time. So I gave up the idea and kept reading books and started applying suggestions given in his books in my real life.
Once I started reading and experimenting osho’s suggestions again in 2013 my journey started moving at great speed. I already had few faint glimpses of truth in 1995 and 2011, before retirement but that I could recognise as glimpses of truth after awakening only. After retirement i had another in 2014 and this time I was able to recognise it quickly. And finally I fell into blissful state in 2017.
So I can say that my mediation practice and its application in other acts of life have helped me in taking right decision in that tough times. My authentic life, doing work in hand with totality and serving others with great love helped me in doing meditation practice regularly. So these both habits laid strong foundation on which I started my journey alone inwards.
I was not searching for the self I like Wu, but I was just open and moved with don’t know approach. I was missing something badly in my life and it was the truth or reality behind all this drama. But the process to search the self or truth is same.
In later stages of spiritual journey, we need courage. It needs great trust on yourself. It needs moving in the dark without any weapon putting everything at stake like Wu. It needs intensity of search. It needs a strong foundation and don’t know approach that culminates into readiness to learn from anyone even a mad.
My suggestions as below, if you wish to know more.
Awareness Meditation is the way that worked for me and I tried it first during brushing my teeth in the morning after trying 8-10 meditations over period of 15 years! So there is no need to reinvent the circle for you. May be you too find it suitable otherwise with Dynamic meditation and/or Kundalini in the evening it is suitable for most of the people. There are 110 other meditation techniques discovered by Indian Mystic Gorakhnath about 500years before and further modified by Osho for contemporary people that one can experiment and the suitable one could be practiced in routine life.
My experiences may be of your help in taking only one step. Because everyone has to move forward alone, this is the nature of this journey.
In my life mindfulness or awareness meditation helped miraculously. Apart from that living a simple, authentic and totality in life is very helpful even when we are serving people around us with great love and care without discrimination.
Hi ….. I write my comments from my personal experiences of my inner journey. This post may include teachings of Mystics around the world which from my personal experience I found worth following even today. For more have a look at my linktree website for getting regular updates through social media lor subscribe to YouTube channel or listen to the podcasts etc.
For references of content on Osho, Copyright © OSHO International Foundation, An MP3 audio file of many discourses can be downloaded from Osho(dot)com or you can listen or watch most of his discourses @ OSHO International channel of YouTube where you can get subtitles in language of your choice or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library. Many of Osho’s books are available online at Amazon.
Osho International Online (OIO) provides facility to learn these Osho discovered Dynamic Meditations for new generation from your home, through Osho Meditation Day @€20.00 per person. You can learn Dynamic meditations from disciples of Osho. OIO rotate times through three timezones NY,Berlin and Mumbai.