Question – What is your view of being successful in ordinary life? — i am afraid you are against success!
Osho – I AM NEITHER AGAINST ANYTHING NOR FOR ANYTHING. Whatsoever happens, happens. One need not choose — because with choice is misery. If you want to be successful then you will remain miserable. You may succeed, you may not succeed; but one thing is certain: you will remain miserable.
If you want to succeed, AND you succeed by chance, by coincidence, it is not going to fulfil you — because this is the way of the mind. Whatsoever you have got becomes meaningless, and the mind starts going ahead of you. It desires more and more and more — the mind is nothing but the desire for more. And this desire can never be fulfilled, because whatsoever you have got you can always imagine for more. And the distance between that ‘more’ and that which you have got will remain constant.
This is one of the most constant things in human experience: everything changes, but the distance between that which you have and that which you would like to have remains constant.
Albert Einstein says: The speed of time remains constant — that is the only constant. And Buddhas say: The speed of mind remains constant. And the truth is that mind and time are not two things — they are both the same; two names for the same thing.
So if you want to succeed, you may succeed, but you will not be content. And what is the meaning of a success if you are not content? And this, I say, is only coincidence that you may succeed; the greater possibility is that you will fail, because you are not chasing success alone — millions of people are chasing.
In a country of six hundred million people only one person can be the prime minister — and six hundred million people are wanting to be the president or the prime minister. So only one succeeds, and the WHOLE crowd fails. The greater possibility is that you will fail; mathematically that seems to be more certain than success.
If you fail you feel frustrated; your whole life seems to be a sheer wastage. If you succeed, you never succeed; if you fail, you fail — this is the whole game. You say that you suspect that I am against success — no, I am not. Because if you are against success, then again you have another idea of being successful; that is: how to drop this nonsense of being successful. Then you have another idea… again the distance, again the desire.
Now, this is what makes people monks, makes people move into monasteries. They are AGAINST success. They want to go out of the world where there is competition — they want to escape from it all so that there will be no provocation, no temptation; they can rest in themselves. And they try not to desire success — but this is a desire! Now they have an idea of spiritual success: how to succeed and become a Buddha, how to succeed and become a Christ, how to succeed and become a Mahavir. Again an idea, again the distance, again the desire — again the whole game starts.
I am not against success; that’s why I am in the world, otherwise I would have escaped. I am not for it, I am not against it. I say: Be a driftwood — whatsoever happens, let it happen. Don’t have a choice of your own. Whatsoever comes on your way, welcome it. Sometimes it is day, sometimes it is night; sometimes it is happiness, sometimes it is unhappiness — you be choiceless, you simply accept whatsoever is the case.
This is what I call the quality of a spiritual being. This is what I call religious consciousness. It is neither for nor against — because if you are for, you will be against; if you are against, you will be for. And when you are for something or against something you have divided existence into two. You have a choice, and choice is hell. To be choiceless is to be free of hell.
Let things be. You just go on moving, enjoying whatsoever becomes available. If success is there, enjoy it. If failure is there, enjoy it — because failure also brings a few enjoyments that no success can ever bring. Success also brings a few joys that no failure can ever bring. And a man who has no idea of his own is capable of enjoying everything, whatsoever happens. If he is healthy, he enjoys health; if he is ill, he rests on the bed and enjoys illness.
Have you ever enjoyed illness? If you have not enjoyed it you are missing a lot. Just lying down on the bed doing nothing, no worry of the world, and everybody caring about you, and you have suddenly become a monarch — everybody attentive, listening, loving. And you have nothing to do, not a single worry in the world. You simply rest. You listen to the birds, you listen to music, or you read a little, and doze into sleep. It is beautiful! It has its own beauty. But if you have an idea that you have to be always healthy, then you will be miserable. Misery comes because we choose. Bliss is when we don’t choose.
“What is your view of being successful in ordinary life?” My view is: If you can be ordinary, you are successful.
The patient was complaining to his friends: “After one year and three thousand dollars with that psychiatrist, he tells me I am cured. Some cure! A year ago I was Abraham Lincoln — now I’m a nobody.”
This is my idea of being successful: Be a nobody. There is no need for Abraham Lincolns, no need for Adolf Hitlers. Just be ordinary, nobody, and life will be a tremendous joy to you. Just be simple. Don’t create complexities around yourself. Don’t create demands. Whatsoever comes on its own, receive it as a gift, a grace of God, and enjoy and delight in it. And millions are the joys that are being showered on you, but because of your demanding mind you cannot see them. Your mind is in such a hurry to be successful, to be somebody special, that you miss all the glory that is just available.
To be ordinary is to be extraordinary. To be simple is to have come home. But it depends: the very word ‘ordinary’ and you start feeling a bitter taste — ordinary? you and ordinary? Maybe everybody else is ordinary but you are special. This madness, this neurosis exists in everybody’s mind.
The Arabs have a special joke for it. They say that when God creates man, He whispers something into each individual’s ear and He says: “I never made a man like you or a woman like you — you are simply special. All others are just ordinary.”
He goes on playing the joke and everybody comes into the world full of this bullshit — that “I am special. God Himself has said so, that I am unique.” You may not say so because you think these ordinary people will not be able to understand it; otherwise, why say? — there is no need to say. And why create trouble for yourself? You know, and you are absolutely certain about it.
And everybody is in the same boat: the joke has not been played only upon you. God goes on playing the same joke on everybody. Maybe He has stopped doing it and He has just fixed a computer which goes on repeating the same thing, a mechanical device.
It depends on you how you interpret. The word ‘ordinary’ is of tremendous significance — but it depends! If you understand…. These trees are ordinary. These birds are ordinary. The clouds are ordinary. The stars are ordinary. That’s why they are not neurotic. That’s why they don’t need any psychiatrist’s couch. They are healthy, they are full of juice and life. They are simply ordinary! No tree is mad enough to be competitive, and no bird is bothered at all who is the most powerful bird in the world — no bird is interested in that. He simply goes on doing HIS thing, and enjoys it. But it depends how you interpret.
A father takes his little boy for culture to the Metropolitan Opera. Out comes the conductor with his baton, and out comes the big diva, and she starts to sing an aria. As the conductor is waving his baton, the kid says, “Papa, why is that man hitting that woman?”
The father says, “He isn’t hitting her — that’s the conductor.”
“Well if he ain’t hitting her, why is she hollering?” asks the boy.
Whatsoever you see in life is your interpretation. To me, the word ‘ordinary’ is tremendously significant. If you listen to me, if you hear me, if you understand me, you would like just to be ordinary. And, to be ordinary there is no need to struggle for it. It is already there.
Then all struggle disappears, all conflict. You simply start enjoying life as it comes, as it unfolds. You enjoy the childhood, you enjoy the youth, you enjoy your old age — you enjoy your life and you also enjoy your death. You enjoy all the seasons round the year — and each season has its own beauty, and each season has something to give to you, some ecstasy of its own.
Source – Osho Book “The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol 3”