I HAVE ALWAYS WONDERED to what extend it is appropriate to desire something. It has always been admirable for me that one should put all kinds of his energies towards something, so that he should accomplish. This question came to me because of a certain contradiction in philosophy.
It seems on one hand that in the scheme of reality, we should take a more nihilistic (but not fatalistic) approach towards all things. That if all things are just illusion and construction, then nothing material ultimately matters (this only matters if we are to assume that there is more to reality than a physical existence). Logically speaking, it would lead towards our own ultimate happiness if we do not own any physical, mental, or emotional investments.
And on the other hand, it is a high achievement of the human potential to put many, most, or all things towards the end of one singe thing (which is ideally each individuals highest truth.) This philosophy begs for the opposite of the first.
So which is it? I think definitely that both philosophies must be lived by as an experiment to uncover ones highest truth. I cannot say which we are to live by. I do not know. What is your highest truth tested by? It seems that your highest truth must uncover your highest peace and surety.
I read this today.
“In life remember one thing: never desire anything so intensely as if it is a question of life or death. Be a little playful.”
Doesn’t this imply that you may desire things intensely enough that you should only desire the preservation of your life a little more? Yet, there have been many who have surely died in the name of their highest value. Have they been foolish? Is there even a right way or wrong way about this?
It makes very much sense that for those who have been so furious towards desiring a certain end that they have become entangled and deluded by their own passion. Whether or not the desire is a “good” or “bad” one, that may be up to interpretation, still it can easily lead to entanglement. Tested by life alone, we know that entanglement leads to intense emotion which often let us down. And they don’t let us down softly, no they don’t! They drop us from a high place until we land with an enormous crash. From this knowledge comes the most wise teachings from the East which say to “become desire-less.”
Yet, to not desire becomes a repression. Repression is not conducive to the human body and mind. In other words, to become without desires to ask something very non-human.
“Mind can be given energy in two ways: either by fighting with it or by indulging in it. One leads to repression, the other leads to identification, and both nourish the mind. The stream becomes bigger and bigger.”
Let’s assume this is true (and I trust that it is). With this information we see that there is a duality of mind. It is like there is juice in the mind. You cannot rid the mind of the juice. You may indulge or suppress, either way there is a fixed portion of juice in the mind, and it only manifests itself one way or the other. What are we to do with this dual-nature mind? There is indulgence and repression, forget about which way it should be, either thing has to happen. Is is to find the middle way? Is it transcendence of mind? What should we do with this mind?
Can I confide in you? My path has seen many twists and turns. Life goes up and down always, I have verified that as being true. My Dad has told me many times that life is full of peaks and valley. But I would eschew the valley and seek the peak. It is tiring! I have been conceded and deluded about many things, but this creation gave me one saving grace – which is resilience. Had it not been for resilience, I will be dead. And because of resilience, it came to me eventually that there was some part of this equation of life that was not flowing to a sustainable product of life. Have some faith boy, and that I did! I could wait for a long time as long as I was investigating in the meanwhile – what part of this equation did I make the wrong way? If I found it, that I could fix it, and that would be my top priority. I began to read from many different faiths, philosophies and traditions. Anything I could get my hands on, I would read with the most humble and open attitude.
I discovered this. There are no bibles or prophets who can tell you what it is! That would be to easy! And if it were easy enough to read your way to happiness, than there would not be a problem of people being unhappy to begin with. Not the wisest wise-men could tell it to you. But all of them can point you to it! They are all pointing the finger to which direction. Have the wisdom to see that. You must do the work from there to here! That has been my top priority. It has been to make a shift from the head to the heart. This is why I say it all. Now I will try to say it in words, in just the way that it has happened to me.
Yes there is a duality of life. The high and the low, the good the bad, the happiness and sadness. Now I have saved myself much energy in repressing the bad by doing this – I don’t repress it. Depression is there. Anger is there. Morbid bleakness is there. When it is there, you must be with it also! You must nurture it and take care of it when it is there. Not later! That would also be repression. And with a degree of sensitivity towards life, you will see that there is a beauty of its own in the valley. The sadness is there. It is gloomy and dark. The clouds are hanging low and the sun has been away for a while. And when you are there, you can feel it. You will shed a tear. Hopefully you will shed a few tears, and then you will see, it feels good to indulge in this gloominess that sits on your heart, all the while it is still gloom. It is bold. This feeling of depression has a distinct and heavy hue of darkness. Do not turn away!
Sometimes it sits so heavy on your heart that it feels like you will crack open! So crack open! The night is darkest just before the dawn. But anything only exists because of the other. If you turn away from the night, the dawn cannot be there for you. But the sun will always rise! How long will your night be? So turn yourself towards the night, and when the night is darkest, then you will crack open and soon the light will be seen glowing on the horizon. There, from a broken heart comes many things. There rises a fearlessness. Oh it feels good. Tears come again, but these ones were made differently. And if you allow this duality of things to happen naturally, then it seems to happen in shorter duration. And in a shorter duration, the experience is so intense. In three hours maybe you will climb from the lowest peak the the highest valley and see all the views in between. It happens so intensely, and then you will feel alive. You will feel the electricity of life that throbs in your chest! You cannot deny it, it is there in your heart! The pendulum swings very quickly or very slowly, but either way, it swings! I hope this process happens to you. I do wish ill health of mind or body to you. But for you I wish the grace the springs forth.
I think it happens the wrong way for the general population. There will be war and violence, hunger and famine. All these things can disappear with the right understanding.
Because more often it happens like this. Anger arises, and we go on smiling and using alternative coping mechanisms. Maybe we fool ourselves that because we are smiling that the ugly feeling is not there, or that it has left. Ten years go by, but the feeling has been boiling and stewing deep down inside until an insanity looms not far behind. You have been sitting on a mountain of emotion which has belonged to you for maybe your whole life, but you are unaware that it will erupt one day. You feel it coming, and because it is made of repression it become bigger and bigger.
Now suddenly, you have been holding onto a feeling of guilt or anger that is irrelevant to the present, yet you have carried the energy of emotion through all of these years. It explodes, and now your are socially incompatible because you have gone insane!
The life will go out of you this way. When you are this way, then you are already dead! Your heart goes on beating, but there is no life in you. There is no salt. There is no flavor. There is no color, and there is no texture. Life is dead already.
You will have to be revived, but thank God that revival is has always been in your own hands. It requires no outside agency. All the ingredients are in your pocket and they always have been.
“You should live to the maximum; only then do you come to know the tremendous beauty of existence. Only from that height do you become aware of the immense splendor, or the constant celebration that goes on and on. But you cannot live to the maximum; you are afraid because if you live so totally then all that you have repressed have come up.”
When the volcano explodes, then I think your life will be categorized in two ways only; pre-repression and post-repression. Life is never the same afterwards. When will it happen to you? Make it now! Make it this year. You must have the courage to live! The only great sin is the one you commit against your own life and that is to kill it! You must have the courage to turn your face towards the darkness of the night so that the pendulum can swing the other direction and for the sun to rise. You must know total annihilation first, and then you can know the greatness of the magnitude of life. Like I said, the life will throb in your chest so fiercely that to look a child in the face will make you cry. To see on old man begging on the street will make you cry. To see a flower turning its pedals towards the sun will make you cry. You will reintroduce yourself to this life and your own mother will say, “Is this the same child?” You will not even recognize your own being because it will be forever in a constant state of evolution. This is why Gurdjieff said, “A man is never the same for long. He seldom remains the same for even half and hour.” This much you should live!
All this I have written, and it is true to me now. Tomorrow, I don’t know – it may be irrelevant. But now as I write, this is my truth.
Quotes and excerpt pulled from talks by OSHO, at OSHO library