Question – Beloved Osho, Would you talk some more on the Art of How to be Fully Alive?
Osho – Prem Rudra, the art of living fully, totally, and intensely is not something arduous or difficult, but it has been made almost impossible. It is so simple and so obvious that there is no need to learn it.
One is born with an intuitive feeling, intrinsic in life itself. The trees know it, the birds know it, the animals know it. Only man is unfortunate. Man is the highest peak of life, and he wants to know the art of living. There has been a continual conditioning against life. That is the basic cause why the art is needed.
All the religions of the world which have dominated humanity for centuries are anti-life. Their very fundamental is that this life is a punishment. According to Christianity, you are born in sin because Adam and Eve disobeyed God. One cannot believe how long you can stretch fictions. Even if Adam and Eve disobeyed God, I don’t see any relationship with you or with me. And secondly, disobedience is not necessarily a sin.
Sometimes it may be the most virtuous thing to do. But all cultures, all societies, want obedience. That is another name of slavery, spiritual imprisonment. What wrong had Adam and Eve done because they had eaten the fruit of knowledge? Is wisdom a sin? Is ignorance a virtue? And God had forbidden them to eat from two trees; one was of wisdom and the other was of eternal life. Who is committing the sin, Adam and Eve, or God? Neither is wisdom wrong, nor is the longing for eternal life wrong; they are absolutely natural. The prohibition is wrong, and their disobedience is absolutely right. They were the first revolutionaries of the world, the first human beings with some dignity.
It is because of their disobedience that all civilization, science, art, everything else has become possible. If they had not disobeyed, we would have been still naked in the Garden of Eden chewing grass — even chewing gum would not have been possible.
It is not only Christianity; other religions find other reasons to condemn life. Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism all say you are suffering, you are miserable, and you cannot get out of it because it is a punishment for your evil acts of the past life. Now, what has been done in the past life cannot be undone; you have to suffer it. This misery, this suffering, this anguish has been created by yourself, and all that you can do is patiently suffer so that in the future life you are rewarded. A strange argument!
If you do something wrong in this life, you should be punished in this life. In fact, cause and effect are always together. You just put your hand into fire — do you think you will be burnt in your coming life? You will be burnt here-now. Every act either has its own reward or has its own punishment. This distance of lives is a cunning idea to make you accept life at the minimum, and all these religions teach you to renounce life.
The people who renounce life become saints; they are worshiped. The people who live fully, totally — nobody worships them; nobody even appreciates them. They are, on the contrary, condemned. Our whole upbringing is such that it goes against pleasure, against joy, against the sense of humor, against rejoicing in small things of life — singing a song or dancing or playing your flute. Nobody is going to call you a saint because you play the flute so beautifully — except me.
I will call you a saint if you dance so totally that you disappear in the dance and only the dancing remains; the dancer is completely merged, melted and has become dance. If you play the flute so totally that you completely forget yourself, only the song remains, and you are not the singer but only a listener, then the flute is on the lips of God. If you love, it is condemned.
It has been told by all the religions that love is animalistic. Although I have been watching animals, I have never seen any love in any species of animals. Love is absolutely human. Animals may indulge in sex, but have you watched animals while they are indulging in sex? You will not see any joy. You will find them absolutely British. Such hangdogs, as if they are going through a misery. And in fact they are going through a misery. It is a biological necessity, and they feel it — that they are being forced to do something by some unknown force in which they are not interested.
That’s why, except man, no animal makes love all the year round. Only when their mating season comes, when biology compels them: “Now you have to do it… under” enforcement, as if somebody is standing with a gun and ordering you, “Make love!” Just watch the animals, their eyes — they are not feeling any joy.
Talking about love as animalistic is such nonsense. Animals don’t know what love is. Even millions of human beings don’t know what love is. Love needs, as a base, a certain centering, a certain grounding in your own being, because unless you are centered in your being you will not know all the treasures that you are carrying within yourself. Love is only one of those treasures. There are even greater things — there is truth, there is ecstasy, and there is the experience of the divine. Unless one is deep in meditation he cannot love, and he cannot live.
You are asking me, Rudra, about the art of being fully alive. Start with meditation so that you can know the source of your life, and you can be at the source of your life… and it is an amazing experience. Suddenly you become aware that you have so much, such an abundance that if you want, you can love the whole world. You can fill the whole world with your love.
In your small body there is the seed that can create millions of flowers, that contains all the fragrance possible. The art of life begins with meditation. And by meditation I mean silence of the mind, silence of the heart, reaching to the very center of your being and finding the treasure that is your reality. Once you have known it, you can radiate love, you can radiate life, you can radiate creativity. Your words will become poetic, your gestures will have grace; even your silence will have a song to it. Even if you are sitting unmoving, you will be in a dance. Each breath coming in, going out, will be a joy, each heartbeat so precious because it is the heart beat of the universe itself — you are part of it.
To know yourself as part of existence… and you will start living fully, without any fear of religions and the priests and all the anti-life teachings which want you to be, rather than rejoicing, renouncing life, escaping from life. Once you are free of your conditionings — and meditation is almost like fire which burns all the rubbish that the past has given you as heritage — you are born anew. And you will not need any art to learn. It will arise spontaneously within your being.
Right now there are so many hindrances, so many barriers. You have been poisoned for so long, and you have been taught so many wrong things, that it has become almost a dragging. Rather than being a dance, life has become a dragging from the cradle to the grave. People go on living because, what else to do? They don’t commit suicide because if life is so miserable, how can they hope death is going to be better?
So rather than focusing on the art of living, focus on where your life arises, in the very roots from where it gets its juice. Go deep within yourself searching for the roots of your life, and suddenly you will come across what mystics have called enlightenment, awakening, or the experience of the divine. After that experience you are a totally different person.
Then each act will have your totality behind it.
Then you will not be schizophrenic. Then you will not hold anything back. If you are dancing, then you are dance. If you are singing, then you are song. If you are loving, then you are love. If you are listening, then you are just ears and everything else has disappeared. Then each moment becomes so full, and this fullness goes on expanding.
Otherwise, people are somehow making themselves satisfied with the minimum, consoling themselves with “Blessed are the poor. Blessed are the meek.” Nobody needs to be poor and nobody needs to be meek. Life gives you so much that you are capable of being an emperor. To be an emperor you don’t need an empire; to be an emperor is just an authentic and total way of life. Otherwise your emperors are also beggars. They are not living, they are in the same boat in which you are; inside they are as hollow as you are. You are asking for more, they are asking for more.
I am reminded of an ancient Sufi story: A great emperor had gone for a walk in his garden early in the morning, and suddenly he found himself encountered by a beggar who was waiting in the garden, knowing that every day before sunrise he comes. Otherwise who is going to give an appointment with the emperor to a beggar? And he always comes alone, so there is no problem. The emperor said, “What do you want?”
The beggar said, “This is my begging bowl and I want it to be filled. And this is my condition: if you cannot fill it… and I am not asking with what — gold, silver, diamonds, or stones or mud — I am not saying anything about with what. My condition is that it should be filled completely. If you accept my condition, then only, try; otherwise I can go.”
It was a great challenge to the emperor. He said, “What do you think? — I cannot fill your begging bowl?” He immediately called his prime minister and told him, “Fill his begging bowl with the most precious diamonds.”
The beggar said, “Once again I say to you, beggar to beggar, that there is still time, I can go.” The emperor said, “What do you mean by, ‘beggar to beggar’?”
He said, “You will understand it a little later on. Just let your prime minister come.”
And he came with a bucket full of diamonds and poured all the diamonds in the small begging bowl. The emperor and the prime minister both could not believe… as the diamonds fell in the begging bowl, they disappeared. The begging bowl remained empty — as empty as it was before. But the emperor was a man of great pride. He said, “Even if my whole treasury has to be poured, this beggar has to be defeated. I have defeated emperors; I cannot allow this beggar to defeat me. And he has already called me ‘beggar to beggar.'”
As the sun was rising, the rumor went around the capital that the emperor was in great difficulty. His treasure was being swallowed by the begging bowl. Crowds gathered; nobody could believe it. But the emperor was stubborn. Diamonds and rubies and emeralds and sapphires disappeared, then gold, then silver. By the evening the emperor said, “You were right. Now I am as much a beggar as you are.” The beggar said, “That’s why I was saying, ‘You will understand.'”
The emperor said, “You have deceived me. This is not a begging bowl and you are not a beggar. You seem to be a magician!”
The beggar said, “No, I am not a magician, I am simply a beggar. But this begging bowl is really magical. And I will tell you the secret, beggar to beggar.
“I found this — just come close and have a look. This is the skull of a man. I have polished it, made it clean. I found it in the cemetery. I am so poor that I cannot buy a begging bowl from the market, so I said, ‘This is perfectly good.’ I washed it, cleaned it, polished it, but because it is the skull of a man, it is never satisfied, it is always asking for more. There is not much mystery in it. Your skull is doing the same. Everybody’s head is doing the same, ‘More!'”
In asking for more you go on missing that which you have. A meditator neither bothers about the past that is gone, nor bothers about the future that has not come yet. He is focused in the present, and whatever he has, he enjoys it to its full. He squeezes the juice of the present moment to its maximum. Naturally, his life is not the life of a beggar. He is never asking for more, although he is living at the maximum with totality and intensity. Otherwise, you have to be satisfied. That’s what your religions teach you — to be satisfied with little.
Satisfaction and contentment have been raised to great values. They are simply opium to the people so that you can at least tolerate the suffering that surrounds you and the misery in which you are drowning continuously.
A man is playing golf, and he hits his ball into the woods. He goes to retrieve it and comes upon a witch stirring a large cauldron of brew. “What is in there?” he asks.
“This is a magic brew,” the witch cackles. “If you drink this, you will play the best golf in the world. Nobody will be able to beat you.”
“Give it to me,” says the man. “I want to drink it!”
“Wait a minute!” she warns. “You will also have the worst sex life in the world.”
The man pauses to consider and then says, “Okay give me the brew.” The man drinks it down, goes back to his friends, wins the game and becomes the champion of the club. He goes on to play tournaments and becomes the best golfer in the country.
A year later he is playing at the same course and he decides to go to see if the witch is still there. He goes into the woods and finds her in the same place. He asks her, “Do you remember me?”
“Ah, yes, I remember you,” she says, “tell me something, how is your golf game?”
“You were absolutely right,” he says. “I win all the time. I am the best golfer in the country!”
She cackles and then says, “So how has your sex life been?”
“Not bad,” he replies.
“Not bad?” she says, surprised. “Tell me, how many times did you have sex in the last year?”
“Three… maybe four,” says the man.
“Three… four?” says the witch. “And you call that ‘not bad’?”
“Well, no,” he says, “not for a Catholic priest with a very small congregation.”
So one thing, Rudra, don’t be a Catholic priest! If you want to live life fully, don’t be part of any organized religion and don’t be dominated by the dead. Live according to your own light. Find your own light within and live according to it without any fear. It is our existence, we are part of it, and whatever existence wants us to be, it has given us potentially. Use it! Actualize it! Never hold back, and never be miserly in living, in loving, in sharing, in singing, in dancing, in anything that you are doing or not doing.
If you are sitting silently, then be totally silent. If somebody wants to learn the art of living, he will have to forget all religious scriptures, all doctrines which teach nothing but anti-life attitudes, which are in the service of death, not in the service of life. I want my people, the first people in the world, to have a life-affirmative religiousness.
Source – Osho Book “The Razor’s Edge”