Self-Improvement is a Way to Hell
8 May 1976 pm in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
[A sannyasin said that she did not have much time left over in her daily life for enjoyment... Osho suggested that she make it a point each morning to do a forty minute meditation which involves simply sitting and looking.... ] You can sit anywhere, but whatsoever you are looking at should not be too exciting. For example things should not be moving too much. They become a distraction. You can watch the trees that is not a problem because they are not moving and the scene remains constant. You can watch the sky or just sit in the corner watching the wall. The second thing is, don't look at anything in particular... just emptiness because the eyes are there and one has to look at something, but you are not looking at anything in particular. Don't focus or concentrate on anything... just a diffuse image. That relaxes very much. And the third thing, relax your breathing. Don't do it, let it happen. Let it be natural and that will relax even more. The fourth thing is, let your body remain as immobile as possible. First find a good posture you can sit on a pillow or mattress or whatsoever you feel, but once you settle, remain immobile, because if the body does not move, the mind automatically falls silent. In a moving body, the mind also continues to move, because body-mind are not two things. They are one... it is one energy. In the beginning it will seem a little difficult but after a few days you will enjoy it tremendously. You will see, by and by, layer upon layer of the mind starting to drop. A moment comes when you are simply there and no mind.
Much is going to happen. [A sannyasin, present tonight with her six-year-old sannyasin son, said that she was aware that she was continually creating problems but that she did not know how to let go of it. Osho said she seemed to be worrying about worrying and that let-go didn't mean no problems, but going with the problems if they arose. He said God must have some purpose in having her create problems, and that each problem helps growth and imparts something to one's being. He said all shoulds should be dropped, and that she should accept that she was creating problems without needing to be concerned with why.... ] There is no need to improve yourself. All self-improvement is a way to hell. All efforts to make something, somebody out of yourself, something of an ideal, are going to create more and more madness. Ideals are the base of all madness, and the whole humanity is neurotic because of too many ideals. Animals are not neurotic because they don't have any ideals. Trees are not neurotic because they don't have any ideals. They are not trying to become somebody else. They are simply enjoying whatsoever they are. So you are you. But somewhere deep down you want to become a Buddha or a Jesus, and then you go round in a circle which will be non-ending. Just see the point of it you are you. And the whole, or God, wants you to be you. That's why He has created you, otherwise He would have created you a better model. He wanted you to be here at this moment. He did not want Jesus to be here in place of you. And He knows better. The whole always knows better than the part. So just accept yourself. If you can accept yourself, you have learned the greatest secret of life, and then everything comes on its own. Just be yourself. There is no need to pull yourself up. There is no need to be a different height other than you are already. There is no need to have another face. Simply be as you are, and in deep acceptance of it, flowering happens and you go on becoming more and more yourself. This is what I call let-go. Let-go is not an effort that you can do. It is an understanding that I am I and others are others, and that it is pointless to try to become somebody else other than who I am. That creates a tension in the mind; that creates worry. Once you drop the idea of becoming somebody, there is no tension. Suddenly all tension disappears. You are here, luminous, in this moment. And there is nothing else to do than to celebrate and enjoy. So all people who are in some way trying to improve themselves and are reading foolish people like Vincent Peale and Dale Carnegie, are basically neurotic. A healthy person simply accepts. He's more like an animal, like a tree, like a mountain, than the so-called human being. He simply says, 'Here I am... this is the way I am.' He does not hide there is nothing to hide. He does not try to pull himself in some other direction. He simply floats. That is what let-go is. It is an understanding, not an effort. If problems are coming, they must be needed. Let them come!
[The Hypnotherapy group is present at darshan. Osho recently talked about how hypnotherapy works, saying: Hypnotherapy touches the fourth body, the body of consciousness. It simply puts a suggestion into your mind. Call it animal magnetism, mesmerism, or whatsoever you like, but it works through the power of thought, not the power of matter. If your consciousness accepts a certain idea, it starts functioning. Hypnotherapy has a great future. It is going to become the future medicine because if just by changing your thought pattern your mind can be changed, through your mind the vital body, and through the vital body your gross body, then why bother with poisons, gross medicine? Why not work it through thought-power? A group participant says: I ran into a tension that I didn 't even know I had, and it really helped me. Thank you. Osho recommends he does the Aum group.] ... then do Aum. It is just the opposite. It is good to swing from one polarity to the other so that you can feel how liquid you can be. In the Aum marathon the emphasis is to be on allowing it, rather than doing it. To the western mind doing comes very easy. Allowing comes with difficulty because we have been trained to do things. Even things which cannot be done, we have been taught to do. Love your mother as if love is something that one can do. Respect the priest as if respect is something that can be done. Children learn by and by how to pretend. They cannot respect because respect is something which happens, if it happens. If in the close vicinity of some person it arises, it arises. If love happens, it happens; there is no way to bring it in. But if the child is forced continuously to do, then he starts pretending. He pretends that he is respecting, and then his whole being goes pseudo. There are people who go on pretending for their whole life and they have completely forgotten that they are pretending. It has been so long that they have become completely oblivious. The whole emphasis is of allowing things to happen to you. So the basic effort is not positive but negative. The basic effort is not to debar them, not to prevent them by any effort. Just remain receptive and open. Wherever the energy is moving, you go with it, unafraid, fearless. The greater is the venture, the greater is the pay-off. The more you go with the energy wherever it leads, the more you become capable of coming back home, thrilled with new energy, because for the first time the constant pressure of doing, dissolves. And you start floating not even swimming. You start floating in the stream and the stream takes you over, and takes you to the farthest sea. You simply go with it. No effort is needed of your own. [A sannyasin says she is very confused. She has been trying to let-go and accepting her problems but: then I did the Encounter group and everything got muddled up.] I cannot see how things can get muddled up. You must be having some idea of how things should be, so you always judge according to that idea.
For example if I have a certain idea that this chair (Osho indicates the armchair he always sits on) has to be here and then don't find it here but in that corner, everything is muddled up. If I have a certain idea of how things should be and they are not that way, then things are muddled up. In fact your idea is the problem. If you have fixed ideas, life is going to create much confusion for you because life never believes in your ideas. It goes on muddling things. It goes on meddling with people. It goes on playing tricks. It is not like a drawingroom in which you fix your furniture and it remains the same. Life is not a drawingroom. It is a very wild phenomenon. So if you have a certain idea that this should be like this, then you are asking for trouble. Your should is creating the trouble. Never say that life is creating trouble or that anybody else is creating trouble. It is your should. Drop the should and then there is no problem. Once you don't ask how life should be, whatsoever it is is perfectly beautiful because you don't have any criterion to judge it against. Encounter muddled you because you have certain ideas about what should happen... expectations. And if life is not moving that way, something is wrong. Nothing is going wrong! Life is going on its own, on,!y you have some fixed ideas. So drop those fixed ideas. Life is never going to follow you... you have to follow life. So if it is muddled, be muddled. What can you do? And God is very chaotic. He is not an engineer or an architect, a scientist or a mathematician. He is a dreamer, and in a world of dreams, everything is muddled up. Your boyfriend suddenly becomes a horse.... In a dream you never argue and never say 'What has happened? Just a moment before you were my boyfriend and now you have become a horse!' You never say anything. In a dream, you accept. Not even a suspicion about what is happening arises because in a dream you don't carry your idea. Even that is perfect a boyfriend turning into a horse. Perfectly good! Accept it. But while you are awake it will be impossible for you to see that your boyfriend is turning into a horse. And boyfriends many times turn into horses (laughter). The face may remain the same but the energy becomes different. Then you feel confused. I have never really come across any person who is confused. Rather I come across people who have fixed ideas. The more fixed the idea, the more confusion there will be. If you want to be non-confused, drop the idea; not that confusion will change, but it will not look like confusion at all. It is your interpretation. It is just life, alive. This is the trick of the mind that it will say, 'Drop all this confusion! Settle down to some unconfused state. What has happened?' I am saying just the opposite. If there is confusion, find out what is giving you the idea of confusion, and drop it. Confusion is perfectly okay. Nothing is wrong in it. Life is not like a railroad just trains moving on the same track, shunting here and there, but always on the same track. Life is not like that. Logic is like that, like a railroad, trains always moving on the same track. Life is more riverlike. It moves and
creates its own path and then it changes also. It moves through whims. Life is whimsical, romantic, not mathematical and that's why it is beautiful. Just think if there is nothing like confusion and everything is mathematically exact, and life is like a railway timetable, you will simply be bored to death. What will you do? Just look in the time-table and everything is known! Allow the wildness of life to be there, and if by and by you have to drop something, drop your fixed ideas. Then you will be able to enjoy confusion more. And it will not be confusing... it will be creative chaos. A man needs a creative chaos in the heart to give birth to dancing stars. There is no other way. So just reconsider it, mm? [A sannyasin says: Sometimes I realise that I think my relationship with you is not... that it is just imagination.] But have you known any relationship which was not imagination? [The sannyasin answers: I guess not.] That's a very good realisation. All relationship is imagination because whenever you are going out of yourself, you go only through the door of imagination. There is no other door. The friend, the enemy, both are your imagination. When you stop imagination completely, you are alone, absolutely alone. That's my whole effort here to make you so alone and so contented with yourself that there is no need to relate, and if you want to relate you enjoy it just like a game. It is a game of imagination nothing is wrong in it. There is no need to be afraid of it. You can enjoy it. You can be very creative about it. Once you understand that life and all of its relationships are imagination you don't go against life, but your understanding helps you to make your life relationship more rich. Now you know that relationships are imagination, why not put more imagination into them? Why not enjoy them as deeply as possible? When the flower is nothing but your imagination, why not create a beautiful flower? Why settle for an ordinary flower? Let the flower be of emeralds and diamonds. Whatsoever you imagine, let it be that. Imagination is not a sin, it is a capacity. It is a bridge. Just as you cross a river and you make a bridge between this shore and that, so imagination functions between two persons. Two beings project a bridge call it love, call it trust but it is imagination. Imagination is the only creative faculty in man, so whatsoever is creative is going to be imagination. Enjoy it and make it more and more beautiful. By and by you will come to a point where you don't depend on relationships. You share. If you ha e something, you share with people, but you are contended as you are. All love is imagination, But remember when I use the word imagination, I don't use it in the condemnatory sense that it is ordinarily used. Imagination is the divine faculty of man. In fact in
India, we say that the world is God's imagination. Right! God is dreaming you sitting there. God is dreaming me talking to you. We are part in the divine mind of the whole. He is imagining. Hindus say that God has a twenty-four hour day, like us, but his hours are very very long... millions of years. He is awake for twelve hours and then the world disappears. The day of God is the end of the world. For twelve hours He sleeps and then the world appears because He starts dreaming, and dreaming fantastic dreams of stars and sun and moon and people and heaven and hell. When He is asleep He projects His dreams and this is the creation. When in the morning He awakes, the dream disappears. This is de-creation. In English there is no word for it. When He wakes up, we disappear. Hindus call it pralaya. Everything disappears and He goes to sleep again and starts dreaming and the whole world appears. So imagination is the divine faculty enjoy it. You have come to a good insight. [The sannyasin adds: I find that most of my problems and most of my complaints about life, come because I had to leave the quiet warm place I used to have inside myself where I could go and could understand myself.] Everybody has to leave that place because that is the only way to reclaim it. If you had lived in the same place you would not have known it. To know something, one has to lose it. Everybody goes astray from his inner world, the inner space, and then by and by one feels starved, hungry for it. An appetite arises, a thirst is felt. The call comes from the innermost self to come back home and one starts travelling. That's what sannyas is. It is going to the warm inner space that you left some day. You will not be gaining something new. You will be gaining something that was always there, but still it will be a gain because now for the first time, you will see what it is. The last time you were in that space, you were oblivious of it. One cannot be aware of something if one has not left it. So that was good... everything is good. Going astray is also good. To sin is also good because that is the only way to become a saint. [A sannyasin says: Sometimes I'm so confused. I ask myself if I need sannyas or perhaps a friend or a girlfriend or such things.] But sannyasin is not against girlfriends. You can have girlfriends and sannyas too! My sannyas is bigger than girlfriends. It is not worried about them at all. You can have girlfriends one, two, or as many as you feel...(laughter) and still you remain a sannyasin. My sannyas is very bold... it is not cowardly. [The sannyasin adds: Sometimes I don't like the orange clothes and the mala... ] Then you have a cowardly concept of sannyas. What can I do? You have a wrong notion about sannyas. You think sannyas is something life-negating, that sannyas is something against love. You don't understand my concept of sannyas.
It is a very revolutionary concept. It is life-accepting. It is not a renunciation... it is a celebration. But if you feel difficulty, and if you think that it is impossible for you to be both a sannyasin and a lover, I will take sannyas back because I will not put my sannyas against anybody's love never. Drop sannyas and be a lover. But it is you who is doing it; I am not insisting for it. I am saying that my sannyas is inclusive, very inclusive; it includes everything. But if you feel some guilt, that is your problem. Sannyas is not the problem, but guilt. If you have some guilty feelings, if you think that love is something dirty, how can you love while you are in an ochre robe? While you are a sannyasin? How can you love? Such a dirty thing! then you have very wrong notions about love. You will never be able to love because how can one move deeply in a dirty thing? You are going to be doomed. Love is one of the most pure things in the world... the holiest of holies. I don't see that there is any problem... no problem at all. Find a girlfriend, and if you cannot, seek my help! [Another group participant says: I am dreaming most of the time. But I don't know if that dreaming is connected with reality, or if perhaps it too is just part of imagination and dreaming.] Dream is as real as any other reality. Dream is part of reality. We always create a dichotomy in our minds of good and bad, the real and unreal, of God and devil. We continuously create a dichotomy, and then of course we are caught in it, and it becomes a dilemma. Dream is part of reality as much as reality is part of dream. They are not two separate things. So don't create unnecessary problems... accept. It is good. Dream good dreams, and dream with more alertness, more awareness. Have a little more watchfulness and then you will be able to enjoy both. You can enjoy the whole movie of the mind. So many beautiful pictures move on the screen and you can just watch. No movie can be so dramatic or so intriguing but you have to become a spectator also. And this is a great art because in the dream you are everything: the actor, the story writer, the playback singer, the projector, the hall, the audience, the screen, the projected film. You are everything and you are doing all sorts of things alone. So just one thing has to be remembered to be a witness to all that is happening to you and enjoy it. A great drama is being enacted within you. Don't try to fight or to be against it; don't condemn it as being a dream. If you don't condemn, by and by the dream will start disappearing. One day comes when the witness is left alone, all dreaming gone, all actors disappear, the projector and the film and the screen, and the theatre; everything gone. One is simply sitting alone in tremendous silence, in a great nowhereness, in nothingness.... Don't long for it, otherwise it will not come! Just try to understand the dreams. Watch them, witness; don't fight and then that day will come on its own. If you hope for it, you have already lost your witnessing....
Then just enjoy whatsoever is happening right now. The group has been good!