Question – Our Beloved Master, could you talk about the difference between a workaholic and someone who is total in their work?
Osho – Maneesha, the difference is very great. The workaholic is not total in his work. The workaholic is addicted to work, he cannot sit silently. He has to do something; whether it is needed or not, that is not the question.
Now in Japan they are trying more and more for robots to work in the factories, because the robot can work twenty-four hours a day, with no strikes, no trouble with the labor unions, not constantly asking for a raise in the wages, no holidays. Robots are not religious anyway! But the workers are absolutely against it — and the government is only asking them to take one day off in seven.
In Japan, even on Sunday people work — there is no holiday as such — and people are resisting the government, there is great turmoil. They are not ready to take one holiday per week. They will be paid for it, what is the problem? They are addicted. They say, “What will we do at home? No, we don’t want such trouble. At home there will be fighting with the wife, with the children — and we are addicted to work.
“We will open the bonnet of the car, although everything is alright, and we will destroy the car by trying to refine the engine. We will open the television set and destroy it. We have already done it! Sometimes when a national holiday comes, we have done it — destroyed our old grandfather clocks, and they were working perfectly well, but something had to be done!”
These are workaholics — addicted to work just as people are addicted to drugs. Work is their drug. It keeps them engaged. It keeps them away from their worries, it keeps them away from their tensions. It keeps them just like any drug: it drowns your worries, tensions, anxieties, sufferings, Christianity, God, sin, hell — everything is drowned. A miserable person suddenly starts laughing, enjoying.
You just go in a pub and see. A pub is a far more joyous place than a church. Everybody is laughing, enjoying, fighting, punching each other’s noses, and when they get back home … it is late in the night, they are staggering, falling on the road.
One man came home and he was trembling so much, so drunk he could not manage to open the lock, because the key and the lock … The key was in one hand, the lock was in the other hand, and there was no meeting, no dialogue!
Finally, the policeman on the street saw the poor fellow, so he came. He said, “Can I help you?”
The drunk said, “Yes, just hold the house steady. There seems to be such a great earthquake!”
They have forgotten everything … the world and its troubles and the third world war. But you can use anything as a drug — just become addicted.
A few people are just chewing gum. You take their gum and see how miserable they become! Immediately they start thinking, “Life is useless. There is no meaning in life. Where is my chewing gum?”
The chewing gum keeps them engaged, and that’s how cigarettes keep them engaged. That’s how people go on gossiping with each other. That keeps them engaged. Nobody bothers whether it is true or false, that is not the point. The question is: How to keep engaged and away from yourself?
So the workaholics are against meditation. Every addiction is going to prevent you from becoming a meditator. All addictions have to be dropped. But to be total in your work is a totally different thing. To be total in your work is not addiction, it is a kind of meditation. When you are totally in your work, your work has a possibility of perfection, you will have a joy arising out of a perfect work.
If you can be perfect and total in work, you can be total in no-work — just sitting silently, totally silent. You know how to be total. You can close your eyes and you can be totally in. You know the secret of being total. So to be total in work is helpful in meditation. The workaholic cannot meditate, he cannot sit silently even for a few minutes. He will fidget, he will change his position, he will do something or other — look into this pocket or that pocket, and he knows that there is nothing in those pockets. He will take out his glasses, clean them, put them away, and he knows they are clean.
I have been traveling for twenty years around this country, continuously, on the train, on the plane, and I have seen people opening their suitcases, looking into them, closing the suitcase — as if there was something to see. They are just at a loss what to do. They will open the window of the train, close the window, they will lie down, close their eyes, open their eyes.
I used to tell people in trains … In India, if you are going from Bombay to Calcutta it will take forty-eight hours. I would enter into my air-conditioned coupe — mostly I was alone, but once in a while there was somebody else, because the coupe can have two persons — and I would immediately tell my name, my father’s name, my grandfather’s name, from where I come, without being asked. They would be shocked. I would say, “I am finishing my whole autobiography so that you need not ask anything.”
And then I would sit and that man would look very strange …. He would say, “What kind of man …?”
I would tell him, “Now keep quiet, I have told the whole autobiography, there is nothing more!” And I would sit and look at him — forty-eight hours — and whenever he would start opening his mouth I would say … Then he would start doing things. He would read the same newspaper again from the very beginning, the name of the newspaper, to the very end, the publishers, the editors — and once in a while he would look at me.
It happened many times that he would call the conductor and say, “I want to change from this compartment.”
The conductor would say, “Why? You have a very good companion. I know him because he is continuously traveling. He is a nice man. You be here.”
He would say, “It is not a question of a nice or a good man. He is too nice — but please put me into some other compartment where there are people to talk to! This man is dangerous. He goes on staring at me without blinking, and I become afraid. I have taken three showers since the morning just for no reason at all. Just to avoid him I go into the bathroom; then I say, `It is better to take a shower. At least a few minutes will be passed.'”
But forty-eight hours … and he would start seeing his insanity, that he is unnecessarily opening the window, closing the window, unnecessarily lying down, turning this side, that side — and I am watching! Then he would sit down, then he would go on the upper berth. I would keep my hand up, so that he could see my hand, because I could not say it: “I am here! You go on doing all your insanities!”
These are the workaholics.
But a man who is total in his work is not a workaholic. He can be total — in anything, he will be total. He will be total while he is sleeping, he will be total while he is going for a walk. He will be just a walker, nothing else — no other thoughts, no other dreams, no other imaginations. Sleeping, he will simply sleep; eating, he will simply eat. You don’t do that. You are eating and your mind is doing hundreds of trips ….
I have been seeing — in every bed there are never two people, but a great crowd. The husband is making love to his wife but he is thinking of Sophia Loren; the wife is not making love to her husband, she is making love to Muhammad Ali. In every bed you will find such a crowd! Nobody is total in any act, not even in love. So be total in everything that you do or do not do. Be total — then your whole life becomes a meditation.
Source- Osho Book “Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons”