Image by Sasin Tipchai
The following question was posed to Osho: "For my whole life, friendliness has been a shield for me to protect myself from others. Sitting with you in discourse and feeling your overwhelming love, layers of this shield are dropping away, more and more, and I feel a space in which I am enough unto myself. Out of this space, a more open and less fearful connection happens. And yet, I often watch myself not being totally authentic and real. Why is this so difficult?"
We Are Not Robots or Machines
One of the problems that every human being has to face is the world in which he is born. His being and the intentions of the world don't go together. The world wants him to be a slave, to be used by those who are in power. And naturally he resents it. He wants to be himself. The world does not allow anybody to be what he is by nature supposed to be.
The world tries to mold every person into a commodity: useful, efficient, obedient - never rebellious, never asserting itself, never declaring its own individuality, but always being subservient, almost like a robot. The world does not want you to be human beings. It wants you to be efficient machines. The more efficient you are, the more respectable, the more honored.
And this is what creates the problem. No individual is born here to be a machine. It is a humiliation, a degradation; it is taking away his pride and dignity, destroying him as a spiritual being and reducing him into a mechanical entity.
Hence every child, from the very beginning, as he becomes aware of the intentions of the society, of the parents, of the family, of the educational system, of the nation, of the religion - as he becomes aware, he starts closing himself. He starts becoming defensive, just out of fear, because he has to encounter a tremendous force. And he is so small and so fragile, so vulnerable, so helpless, so dependent on the same people against whom he has to protect himself.
Good Intentions -- Missing Consciousness
And the problem becomes more complicated because the people he has to protect himself against are the people who think that they love him. And perhaps they are not lying. Their intentions are good but their consciousness is missing, they are fast asleep. They don't know that they are being puppets in the hands of a blind force called the society, the establishment - all the vested interests are together.
The child faces a dilemma. He has to fight against those whom he loves, and he thinks they love him too. But it is strange that the people who love him don't love him as he is. They say to him, "We will love you, we do love you, but only if you follow the way we are following, if you follow the religion we are following, if you become obedient the way we are obedient."
If you become part of this vast mechanism, in which you are going to live your whole life... fighting against it is simply meaningless, you will he crushed. It is wiser just to surrender and just to learn to say yes, whether you want to or not. Repress your no. In all conditions, in all situations, you are expected to be a yea-sayer. The no is prohibited. The no is the original sin. Disobedience is the original sin - and then the society takes revenge with a great vengeance.
Being Yourself Gives Meaning to Life
This creates great fear in the child. His whole being wants to assert its potentiality. He wants to be himself because other than that he cannot see any meaning in life. Other than that, he will never be happy, joyous, fulfilled, contented. He will never feel at ease, he will always be in a split. A part, the most intrinsic part of his being, will always feel hungry, thirsty, unfulfilled, incomplete.
But the forces are too big and to fight against them is too risky. Naturally every child, slowly slowly, starts learning to defend himself, to protect himself. He closes all the doors of his being. He does not expose himself to anybody, he simply starts pretending. He starts being an actor. He acts according to the orders given to him. Doubts arise in him, he represses them. His nature wants to assert itself, he represses it. His intelligence wants to say, "This is not right, what are you doing?" - he drops being intelligent. It is safer to be retarded, it is safer to be unintelligent.
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Opening Yourself Like Flower Petals
Anything that brings you in conflict with the vested interests is dangerous. And to open yourself, even to people who are very close, is risky. Such is the worldly teaching. That's why everybody has become closed. Nobody opens one's petals fearlessly like a flower, dancing in the wind, and in the rain, and in the sun... so fragile but without any fear.
We are all living with closed petals, afraid that if we open up we will become vulnerable. So everybody is using shields of all kinds - even a thing like friendliness you say you have been using as a shield. It will look contradictory, because friendliness means openness to each other, sharing each other's secrets, sharing each other's hearts.
But it is not only the case with you. Everybody is living in such contradictions. People are using friendliness as a shield, love as a shield, prayer as a shield. When they want to cry they cannot cry, they smile, because a smile functions as a shield. When they don't feel like crying they cry, because tears can function in certain situation as a shield.
Be What You Are, Not What Others Expect
This whole society has been created around a certain idea that is basically hypocritical. Here you have to be what others expect you to be, not what you are. That's why everything has become false, phony. Even in friendliness you are keeping a distance. Only so far do you allow anybody to come close.
People like Adolf Hitler...it is known that he never allowed anybody to put their hands on his shoulders. That much intimacy people like Adolf Hitler would not allow at all. They would like people to be far away; a distance that can allow them to pretend things. Perhaps, if somebody is very close, he may look behind your mask. Or he may recognize that it is not your face; it is the mask, your face is behind it.
Dropping All Masks, All Pretensions
Everybody in the world in which we have been living has been untrue and unauthentic. My vision of a sannyasin (seeker) is of a rebel, of a man who is in search of his original self, of his original face. A man who is ready to drop all masks, all pretensions, all hypocrisies, and show to the world what he, in reality, is. Whether he is loved or condemned, respected, honored or dishonored, crowned or crucified, does not matter; because to be yourself is the greatest blessing in existence. Even if you are crucified, you will be crucified fulfilled and immensely contented.
Just remember Jesus' last words on the the cross. He prayed to God, "Father, forgive these people who are crucifying me, because they know not what they are doing." He is not angry, he is not complaining. On the contrary, he is praying for them, that they should be forgiven. What a great dignity, what a man. A man of truth, a man of sincerity, a man who knows love and who knows compassion, and who understands that people are blind, unconscious, asleep, spiritually asleep. What they are doing is almost in their sleep.
Being an initiate into sannyas (seeking) simply means the beginning of dropping all your masks. And that's what is gradually happening to you. You are feeling a new space... "Out of this space a more open and less fearful connection happens. And yet, I often watch myself not being totally authentic and real."
Recognizing What Is False
Don't be impatient. You have been conditioned for so long, for so many years - your whole life - now unconditioning will also take a little time. You have been burdened with all kinds of false, pseudo ideas. It will take a little time to drop them, to recognize that they are false and they are pseudo. In fact, once you recognize something as false, it is not difficult to drop it. The moment you recognize the false as false, it falls by itself.
The very recognition is enough. Your connection is broken, your identity is lost. And once the false disappears, the real is there in all its newness, in all its beauty. Because sincerity is beauty, honesty is beauty, truthfulness is beauty.
Being Yourself is Beautiful
Just being yourself is being beautiful.
And to me there is no other religion than this. Just a little patience... what you have gathered in your sleep of many, many years - even if you wake up, the dust of dreams that you have gathered will take a little time to fall away. But your awareness, your understanding and your courage that you are determined and committed to find yourself, will dissolve all false faces that have been given to you by people.
They are also unconscious - your parents, your teachers - don't be angry with them. They are also victims like you. Their fathers, their teachers, their priests, have corrupted their minds; and your parents and your teachers have corrupted you. All that you can do is: don't corrupt the younger children. Your children are your brothers and your sisters. Anybody whom you can influence, don't influence in a way that he becomes false; help the person to be himself. What has been done in unconsciousness to you, you should not do to others - because you are becoming a little conscious, and each day the consciousness will grow.
It needs nourishment, support; and being here with me and with all these fellow travelers, you can get immense support and nourishment. The whole atmosphere is to bring your authentic self out of all the clouds that have been covering you. But a little patience is certainly necessary.
What You Were Taught is Wrong
You have never thought that what you are being taught by your parents - who love you - by your teachers, by your priests, could be wrong. But it has been wrong; it has created a whole wrong world. It has been wrong every inch. And the proofs are spread all over history: all the wars, all the crimes, all the rapes....
Millions of people have been murdered, butchered, burned alive in the name of religion, in the name of God, in the name of freedom, in the name of democracy, in the name of communism - beautiful names. But what has happened behind those beautiful names is so ugly that one day man is going to look at history as if it were the history of insanity, not of a sane humanity.
Sannyas (seeking) is an effort to at least make yourself sane and help others towards sanity. And the first step is, never pretend. Whatever the consequence, be true. Howsoever easy the hypocrisy may be, it is dangerous. It is dangerous because it is going to destroy your very spirituality, your very humanity. It is not worth it. It is better that everything should be taken away, but your dignity and your pride as a human being, as a spiritual being, should be left. That is more than enough to feel blissful and grateful towards existence.
by Osho (this book is now out of print).
About The Author
Osho is one of the best-known and most provocative spiritual teachers of the 20th century. Beginning in the 1970s he captured the attention of young people from the West who wanted to experience meditation and transformation. Even since his death in 1990, the influence of his teachings continues to expand, reaching seekers of all ages in virtually every country of the world. For more information, visit https://www.osho.com/