Osho on Simplicity

Question – Dear Master, What is Simplicity?

Osho – Colin Doyle, simplicity is to live without ideals. Ideals create complexity; ideals create division in you and hence complexity. The moment you are interested in becoming somebody else you become complex. To be contented with yourself as you are is simplicity. The future brings complexity; when you are utterly in the present you are simple.

Simplicity does not mean to live a life of poverty. That is utterly stupid because the person who imposes a life of poverty on himself is not simple at all. He is a hypocrite. The need to impose poverty means, deep down, he hankers for the diametrically opposite; otherwise why should there be any need to impose it? You impose a certain character upon yourself because you are just the opposite of it.

The angry person wants to become compassionate; the violent person wants to become non-violent. If you are non-violent you will not try to become non-violent. For what? The person who imposes poverty upon himself is simply trying to live out a life according to others, not according to his own innermost core, not according to his own spontaneity. And to live according to others is never to be simple.

To live according to others means to live a life of imitation. It will be a plastic life: you will be one thing on the surface and just the opposite of it in your depths. And only the depths matter, the surface never matters. You will be a saint on the surface and a sinner deep down. And that’s what is going to be decisive about you because God is only in contact with your depth, not with your surface.

The surface is in contact with the society, the existence is in contact with the depth. The existence only knows what you are, it never knows what you are pretending. The existence never knows about your actings. You may be pretending to be a great saint, a mahatma, but existence will never know about it, because it never knows about anything false. Anything false happens out of existence. It knows only the real, the real you.

Simplicity means to be just yourself, whosoever you are, in tremendous acceptance, with no goal, with no ideal. All ideals are crap – scrap all of them. It needs guts to be simple. It needs guts because you will be in constant rebellion. It needs guts because you will never be adjusted to the so-called, rotten society that exists around you. You will constantly be an outsider. But you will be simple, and simplicity has beauty. You will be utterly in harmony with yourself. There will be no conflict within you, there will be no split within you. The ideal brings the split. The bigger the ideal, the bigger is goin g to be the split. The ideal means somewhere in the future one day, maybe in this life or another life, you will be a great saint.

Meanwhile you are a sinner. It helps you to go on hoping; it helps you to go on believing in the surface, that tomorrow everything will be okay, that tomorrow you will be as you should be. The today can be tolerated. You can ignore it, you need not note it, you need not take any notice of it. The real thing is going to be tomorrow.

But the tomorrow never comes. It is always today… it is always today. And the person who lives in ideals goes on missing reality because reality is now, here. To be now and to be here is to be simple: to be like trees, herenow, to be like clouds, herenow, to be like birds, herenow – to be like Buddhas, herenow. The ideal needs the future. Simplicity is not an ideal. People have made an ideal out of simplicity too; such is human stupidity.

Simplicity can never be an ideal, because no ideal can create simplicity. It is the ideal which poisons you and makes you complex, divides you, makes two persons in you – the one that you are and the one that you would like to be. Now there is going to be a constant war, a civil war. And when you are fighting with yourself – the violent person trying to be non-violent, the ugly person trying to be beautiful, and so on, so forth – when you are constantly trying, endeavoring to be something else that you are not, your energy is dissipated in that conflict, your energy goes on leaking. And energy is delight. And to have energy is to be alive, to be fresh, to be young.

Look at people’s faces, how dull they appear. Look into their eyes, their eyes have lost all luster and all depth. Feel their presence and you will not feel any radiance, you will not feel any energy streaming from them. On the contrary you will feel as if they are sucking you. Rather then overflowing with energy they have become black holes: they suck you, they exploit your energy. Being with them you will become poorer. That’s why when you go into a crowd and come back you feel tired, weary, you feel exhausted, you need rest. Why? Why after being in a crowd do you feel as if you have lost something? You certainly lose something, because the crowd consists of black holes. And the more unintelligent the crowd is, the more of a mob it is, the more you will feel exhausted.

That’s why when you are alone, sitting silently, not with anybody – in a tremendous celibate state, just alone – one becomes replenished, rejuvenated. That’s why meditation makes you younger, makes you livelier. You start sharing something with existence. Your energy is frozen no more; it starts flowing. You are in a kind of dance, as stars are. A song arises in you.

But in the crowd you always lose. In meditation you always gain. Why? What happens in meditation? In meditation you become simple: the future is your concern no more. That’s what meditation is all about: dropping the concern with past and future, being herenow. Only this moment exists. And whenever it happens, whenever only this moment exists – watching a sunrise, or looking at a white cloud floating in the sky, or just being with a tree, silently communing, or observing a bird on the wing – whenever you forget all about past and future and the present moment takes possession of you, when you are utterly possessed by this moment, you will feel rejuvenated. Why? The split disappears, the split created by the ideals. You are one in that moment, integrated; you are all together.

Simplicity is not an ideal; you cannot impose simplicity on yourself. That’s why I never say that people like Mahatma Gandhi are simple. They are not, they cannot be. Simplicity is their ideal, they are trying to attain it. Simplicity is a goal far away in the future, distant, and they are striving, they are straining, they are in great effort. How can you create simplicity out of effort? Simplicity simply means that which is. Out of effort you are trying to improve upon existence.

Existence is perfect as it is, it needs no improvement. The so-called saints go on constantly improving upon themselves – drop this, drop that, repress this, impose that, this is not good, that is good…. Continuous effort, and in this very effort they are lost.

Simplicity is a state of effortlessness;it is humbleness – not the humbleness created against arrogance, not humbleness created against the ego, not humbleness opposite to the proud mind. No, humbleness is not opposite to pride. Humbleness is simply absence of pride. Try to see the point. If your humbleness is against your pride, if you have strived to drop your pride, your ego, your arrogance, then what you have done is only repression. Now you will become proud about your humbleness; now you will start bragging, how humble you are. This is what happens. Just see the so-called humble people – they are constantly broadcasting that they are humble.

The really humble people will not know that they are humble; how can they then brag about it? How can the humble person know that he is humble? The humble person is a person no more. The humble person is in a state of fana: the humble person has dissolved. Now he is only a presence. Humbleness is a presence, not a characteristic of personality, not a trait, but just a presence. Others will feel it, but you will not be able to feel it yourself. So is the case with simplicity.

Simplicity simply means living moment to moment spontaneously, not according to some philosophy, not according to Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, not according to any philosophy. Whenever you live according to a philosophy you have betrayed yourself, you are an enemy to yourself. Simplicity means to be in a deep friendship with oneself, to live your life with no idea interfering.

It needs guts, certainly, because you will be living constantly in insecurity. The man who lives with ideals is secure. He is predictable; that is his security. He knows what he is going to do tomorrow. He knows, if a certain situation arises, this is the way he will react to it. He is always certain. The man who is simple knows nothing about tomorrow, knows nothing about the next moment, because he is not going to act out of his past. He will respond out of his present awareness.

The simple person has no ”character”, only the complex person has character. Good or bad, that is not the point. There are good characters and bad characters, but both are complex. The simple person is characterless, he is neither good nor bad, but he has a beauty which no good people, no bad people can ever have. And the good and the bad are not very different; they are aspects of the same coin. The good person is bad behind it and the bad person is good behind it.

You will be surprised to know that saints always dream that they are committing sins. If you look into the dreams of your so-called saints you will be very much surprised. What kinds of dreams do they go on seeing? That is their suppressed mind that bubbles up, surfaces into their dreams. Sinners always dream that they have become saints. Sinners have the most beautiful dreams, because they have been committing sins their whole life. They are tired of all those things. Now the denied part starts speaking to them in their dreams.

In dreams the denied part speaks to you, your unconscious speaks to you: the unconscious is the denied part. Remember, if you are good in your conscious, if you have cultivated good characteristics in your conscious, you will be bad: all that you have denied will become your unconscious, and vice versa.

The simple person has no conscious, no unconscious; he has no division. He is simply aware. His whole house is full of light. His whole being knows only one thing, awareness. He has not denied anything, hence he has not created the unconscious. This is something to be understood.

Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung and Alfred Adler and others think that the conscious and unconscious are something natural. They are not. The unconscious is a by-product of civilization. The more a person is civilized, the bigger an unconscious he has, because civilization means repression. Repression means you are denying a few parts of your being from coming into light, you are pushing them into darkness, you are throwing them into your basement so that you never come across them.

People have thrown their sex, their anger, their violence into the basement and they have locked the doors. But violence, sex and anger and things like that cannot be locked up. They are like ghosts. They can pass through the walls, there is no way to prevent them. If you succeed in preventing them in your daytime, they will come in the night – they will haunt you in your dreams.

It is because of the unconscious that people dream. The more civilized a person, the more he dreams. Go to the aboriginals, the natural people – a few are still in existence – and you will be again surprised to know that they don’t dream much, very rarely, once in a while. Years pass and they never report any dreaming. They simply sleep, without dreams, because they have not repressed anything. They have been living naturally. The simple person will not have the unconscious, the simple person will not have dreams, but the
complex person will have dreams.

Mahatma Gandhi said that although he had succeeded in attaining celibacy as far as the waking consciousness is concerned, in dreams sexual imagery still floated into his being. To the very end he was having sexual dreams, and he was very much puzzled. He was puzzled because he was absolutely mis-educated about the whole phenomenon. He was thinking that he had done whatsoever one can do to be celibate. And he had done it; there is no question about his sincerity as far as his efforts are concerned, he was very sincere. He had done all that is said by the tradition, and he had failed.

In Mahatma Gandhi’s failure the whole tradition has failed – the tradition of repression, the tradition of denying, the tradition of life negation, the tradition of imposing ideals. All has failed in his experiment, because in the night whenever he would sleep, the unconscious would start speaking and the denied parts would start playing in his mind. All that he had denied would surface.

That’s what happens to you. If you have a fast one day, in the night you will have a feast in your dreams. In the dreams Deeksha is bound to invite you for a special treat! The fast creates the feast in the dream. And the people who are feasting in the day may start thinking of fasting; they always think about it.

It is only rich countries which become interested in fasting. Now only America is interested in fasting, dieting, and all things like that. A poor country cannot think of fasting. A poor country is always fasting, always dieting, always under nourished. Only rich people think of fasting. In India, Jainas are the richest community; their religion consists of fasting. Mohammedans are the poorest, their religion consists of feasting. When a poor man celebrates a religious day he gives a feast. When a rich man celebrates his religious day he fasts.

You can see the logic in it. We go on compensating. The dream is compensatory, it compensates your waking life. The simple man will not dream, the simple man will not have any unconscious. The simple man will be simple. He will live moment to moment with no idea how to live; he will not have any philosophy of life. He will trust in his intelligence. What is the need of having a philosophy? Why should one have a philosophy? – so that it can guide you. It means if you are stupid you need a philosophy of life so that it can guide you. If you are intelligent you don’t need any philosophy of life. Intelligence is enough unto itself, a light unto itself.

A blind man asks for guidance: ”Where is the door? In what direction should I move? Where is the turn?” Only the blind man prepares himself before he takes any move. The man who has eyes simply moves because he can see. When the door comes he will know and when the turn comes he will know. He can trust in his eyes. And that is the case with the inner world too. Trust in your intelligence, don’t trust in philosophies of life; otherwise you will remain stupid. The major part of humanity has remained unintelligent because it has trusted in philosophies of life – Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan.

Again, something of very great importance to be remembered: each child is born intelligent. Intelligence is not something that a few have and a few don’t have. Intelligence is the fragrance of life itself. Life has it – if you are alive you are intelligent – but then if you never trust in it it starts slowly, slowly disappearing from your life. If you don’t use your legs you will lose the capacity to run. If you don’t use your eyes for three years and you remain with a blindfold you will become blind. You can keep your senses alive only if you go on continuously using them.

Intelligence is a natural phenomenon; every child is born intelligent. Very few people live intelligently, and very few people die intelligently. Ninety-nine point nine percent of people remain stupid their whole life – and they were not unintelligent in the beginning. So what happens? They never use their intelligence. When they are small children they trust their parents and their guidance. In a better world the parents, if they really love their children, will teach them to trust their own intelligence. In a better world the parents will help the children to be independent as soon as possible, to be on their own.

Then, they have to trust the teachers in the school; then the professors in the college and in the university. By the time one third of their life is gone, they come out of the university utterly stupid. One third of their life they have been taught to trust somebody else: that’s how their intelligence has been prevented from functioning.

Look at small children, how intelligent they are, how alive, how fresh, how tremendously ready to learn. And look at older people, dull, insipid, not ready to learn a thing, clinging to all that they know, clinging to the known, never ready to go in any adventure.

In a better world children will be thrown upon themselves as fast as possible; the whole effort of the parents should be to make the child use his intelligence. And the whole effort, if education is right – if it is education and not MISeducation – will be to throw the child again and again to his own intelligence, so that he can function, so that he can use his intelligence. He may not be so efficient in the beginning, that is true – the teacher may have the right answer, and if the student has to work out his own answer the answer may not be so right – but that is not the point at all. The answer may not be so right, it may not correspond to the answers given in the books, but it will be intelligent. And that is the real crux of the matter.

A teacher told his students, ”Make some pictures, paint something about Jesus, ” and the children painted. The teacher had been talking about Jesus; it was a Christian Sunday school. One child painted one aeroplane. It was a very haphazard effort, it only looked like an aeroplane; and four windows were on the aeroplane. The teacher was intrigued. He said, ”Who are these people looking from the windows?” The child said, ”One is God the Father, the other is Jesus Christ the Son, and the third is the Holy Ghost.” Certainly the teacher was even more curious. ”And who is this fourth?” – because three are okay, but who is this fourth? And the child said, ”He is Pontius the Pilot.”

The question may not be answered rightly – that is not the point – but look at the intelligence. Now the teacher would have never found it on his own, that ”Who is the fourth?” Only a child can have such an intelligence, so fresh. Who bothers about your trinity! Just see the child and his intelligence.

Watch children and you will be constantly surprised. But we just start destroying their intelligence because we are too concerned about the right answer – not the intelligent answer, but the right answer. That is a wrong concern. Let the answer be intelligent, let the answer be a little bit original, let the answer be the child’s own. Don’t be bothered about the right, don’t be in such a hurry; the right will come on its own. Let the child search for it, let him stumble upon it on his own. Why are we in such a hurry?

We simply drop the child’s growth of intelligence; we supply the right answer. lust think: the whole process is that the child is never allowed to find the answer himself. We give him the answer. When the answer is given from the outside, intelligence need not grow, because intelligence only grows when it has to find the answer itself.

But we are so obsessed with the idea of the right. No wrong should ever be committed. Why not? And the person who never commits any wrong never grows. Growth needs that you should go astray sometimes, that you should start playing around, fooling around, that you should find original things – they may be wrong; and you should come to the right by your own efforts, by your own growth; then there is intelligence. To be simple means to be intelligent. Simplicity is intelligence, living without ideals, without guides, without maps, just living moment to moment without any security.

Our concern with the right and our fear of the wrong is nothing but our fear of the insecure. The right makes us secure, the wrong makes us insecure, but life is insecurity. There is no security anywhere. You may have a bank balance, but the bank can go bankrupt any day. You may have the security of having a husband or a wife, but the wife can leave you any moment, she can fall in love; or the husband may die.

Life is insecure. The security is only an illusion that we create around ourselves, a cozy illusion. And because of this cozy illusion we kill our intelligence. The man who wants to live simply will have to live in insecurity, will have to accept the fact that nothing is secure and certain, that we are on an unknown journey, that nobody can be certain where we are going and nobody can be certain from where we are coming.

In fact, except for the stupid people nobody has illusions of certainty. The more intelligent you are, the more uncertain you are. The more intelligent you are, the more hesitant – because life is vast. Life is immense, immeasurable, mysterious. How can you be certain? Living in uncertainty, living in insecurity, is simplicity. And that’s what I mean by sannyas: a life of insecurity, a life without ideals, without character, a life not rooted in the past, not motivated by the future; a life utterly herenow.

Source – Osho Book “The Secret”

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