Question – Will you please speak about the difference between a healthy love of oneself and egoistical pride?
Osho – Aikagro, there is a great difference between the two, although they both look very alike. The healthy love of oneself is a great religious value. The person who does not love himself will not be able to love anybody else, ever. The first ripple of love has to rise in your heart. If it has not risen for yourself it cannot rise for anybody else, because everybody else is farther away from you.
It is like throwing a stone in the silent lake — the first ripples will arise around the stone and then they will go on spreading to the further shores. The first ripple of love has to be around yourself. One has to love one’s body, one has to love one’s soul, one has to love one’s totality.
And this is natural; otherwise you would not be able to survive at all. And it is beautiful because it beautifies you. The person who loves himself becomes graceful, elegant. The person who loves himself is bound to become more silent, more meditative more prayerful than the person who does not love himself.
If you don’t love your house you will not clean it; if you don’t love your house you will not paint it; if you don’t love you will not surround it with a beautiful garden with a lotus pond. If you love yourself you will create a garden around yourself. You will try to grow your potential, you will try to bring out all that is in you to be expressed. If you love, you will go on showering yourself, you will go on nourishing yourself.
And if you love yourself you will be surprised: others will love you. Nobody loves a person who does not love himself. If you cannot even love yourself, who else is going to take the trouble? And the person who does not love himself cannot remain neutral. Remember, in life there is no neutrality.
The man who does not love himself hates, will have to hate — life knows no neutrality. Life is always a choice. If you don’t love that does not mean that you can simply remain in that not loving state. No, you will hate.
And the person who hates himself becomes destructive. And the person who hates himself will hate everybody else — he will be so angry and violent and continuously in rage. The person who hates himself, how can he hope that others will love him? His whole life will be destroyed. To love oneself is a great religious value.
I teach you self-love. But remember, self-love does not mean egotistical pride, not at all. In fact it means just the opposite. The person who loves himself finds there is no self in him. Love always melts the self: that is one of the alchemical secrets to be learned, understood, experienced. Love always melts the self. Whenever you love, the self disappears. You love a woman and at least in the few moments when there is real love for the woman, there is no self in you, no ego.
Ego and love cannot exist together. They are like light and darkness: when light comes, darkness disappears. If you love yourself you will be surprised — self-love means the self disappears. In self-love there is no self ever found. That is the paradox: self-love is utterly selfless. It is not selfish — because whenever there is light there is no darkness, and whenever there is love there is no self.
Love melts the frozen self. The self is like an ice cube, love is like the morning sun. The warmth of love… and the self starts melting. The more you love yourself the less you will find of the self in you, and then it becomes a great meditation, a great leap into God.
And you know it! You may not know it as far as self-love is concerned, because you have not loved yourself. But you have loved other people; glimpses of it must have happened to you. There must have been rare moments when for a moment suddenly you were not there and only love was there, only love energy flowing, from no center, from nowhere to nowhere. When two lovers are sitting together there are two nothingnesses sitting together, two zeros sitting together — and that is the beauty of love, that it makes you utterly empty of the self.
Remember again: just the other day I was saying, empty yourself in hugs, in kisses, in love, in embraces. Empty yourself! Pour yourself into love so that in your inner-world space is created — because God can enter only when there is space in you to contain him.
And great space will be needed, because you are inviting the greatest guest. You are inviting the whole existence into you. You will need infinite nothingness in you. Love is the best way to become nothing. So remember, egoistical pride, Aikagro, is never love for oneself. Egoistical pride is just the opposite. The person who has not been able to love himself becomes egoistic. Egoistical pride is what psychoanalysts call the narcissistic pattern of life, narcissism.
You must have heard the parable of Narcissus: he had fallen in love with himself. Looking into a silent pool of water, he fell in love with his own reflection.
Now see the difference: the man who loves himself does not love his reflection, he simply loves himself. No mirror is needed; he knows himself from inwards. Don’t you know yourself, that you are? Do you need a proof that you are? Do you need a mirror to prove that you exist? If there were no mirror, would you become suspicious of your existence?
Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection — not with himself. That is not true self-love. He fell in love with the reflection; the reflection is the other. He had become two, he had become divided. Narcissus was split. He was in a kind of schizophrenia. He had become two — the lover and the loved. He had become his own object of love — and that’s what happens to so many people who think they are in love.
When you fall in love with a woman, watch, be alert — it may be nothing but narcissism, and the woman’s face, and her eyes, and her words, may be simply functioning as a silent lake in which you are seeing your reflection.
My own observation is this: that out of a hundred loves, ninety-nine are narcissistic. People don’t love the woman that is there. They love the appreciation that the woman is giving to them, the attention that the woman is giving to them, the flattery that the woman is showering on the man.
Two lovers were sitting on the sea beach, and it was a fullmoon night, and great waves were arising in the sea — it was a tide time. And the lover said loudly to the sea, “Now, roll into great waves! Roll, rise into great waves!” And the great waves started rising, and the great waves started rolling towards the beach.
And the woman came closer to the lover, hugged him, kissed him and said, “I knew it before, that you are a miracle! Even the ocean follows your orders! ”
This is what goes on happening. The woman flatters the man, the man flatters the woman — it is a mutual flattery. The woman says, “There is nobody as beautiful as you are. You are a miracle! You are the greatest that God has ever made. Even Alexander the Great was nothing compared to you.” And you are puffed up, and your chest becomes doubled, and your head starts swelling — although there is nothing but straw, but it starts swelling. And you say to the woman, “You are the greatest creation of God. Even Cleopatra was nothing compared to you. I can’t believe that God will ever be able to improve upon you. There will never again be another woman so beautiful. ”
This is what you call love! This is narcissism. The man becomes the silent pool and reflects the woman, and the woman becomes the silent pool and reflects the man; in fact not only reflects the truth, but decorates it, in a thousand and one ways makes it look more and more beautiful. This is what people call love. This is not; this is mutual ego-satisfaction. The real love knows nothing of the ego. The real love starts first as self-love.
Naturally, you have this body, this being, you are rooted in it — enjoy it, cherish it, celebrate it! And there is no question of pride or ego because you are not comparing yourself with anybody. Ego comes only with comparison. Self-love knows no comparison — you are you, that’s all. You are not saying that somebody else is inferior to you; you are not comparing at all. Whenever comparison comes, know well it is not love; it is a trick somewhere, a subtle strategy of the ego.
Ego lives through comparison. When you say to a woman, “I love you,” it is one thing; when you say to a woman, “Cleopatra was nothing compared to you,” it is another, totally another, just the opposite. Why bring Cleopatra in? Can’t you love this woman without bringing Cleopatra in? Cleopatra is brought in to puff the ego. Love this man — why bring in Alexander the Great?
Love knows no comparison, love simply loves without comparing. So Aikagro, whenever there is comparison, remember, it is egoistical pride. It is narcissism. And whenever there is no comparison, remember, it is love, whether of oneself or the other. In real love there is no division. The lovers melt into each other. In egoistical love there is great division, the division of the lover and the loved. In real love there is no relationship. Let me repeat it: in real love there is no relationship, because there are not two persons to be related to. In real love there is only love, a flowering, a fragrance, a melting, a merging. Only in egoistic love are there two persons, the lover and the loved. And whenever there is the lover and the loved, love disappears. Whenever there is love, the lover and the beloved, both disappear into love.
Love is such a great phenomenon; you cannot survive in it. Real love is always in the present. Egoistical love is always either in the past or in the future. In real love there is a passionate coolness. It will look paradoxical, but all greater realities of life are paradoxical; hence I call it passionate coolness: there is warmth, but there is no heat in it. Warmth certainly is there, but there is also coolness in it, a very collected, calm, cool state. Love makes one less feverish. But if it is not real love but egoistical love, then there is great heat. Then the passion is there like fever, there is no coolness at all.
If you can remember these things you will have the criterion for judging. But one has to start with oneself, there is no other way. One has to start from where one is. Love yourself, love immensely, and in that very love your pride, your ego and all that nonsense, will disappear. And when it has disappeared your love will start reaching to other people. And it will not be a relationship but a sharing. And it will not be an object/subject relationship but a melting, a togetherness. It will not be feverish, it will be a cool passion. It will be warm and cool together. It will give you the first taste of the paradoxicalness of life.
Source – Osho Book “The Search”