Discovering Life's Essence: From Innocence to Self-Realization

Life should be a search, not a desire

"Whenever you understand that you have missed life, the first principle to be brought back is innocence," writes Osho.

The first step in the art of living will be to create a demarcation line between ignorance and innocence. Innocence has to be supported, protected—because the child has brought with him the greatest treasure, the treasure that sages find after an arduous effort. Sages have said that they become children again, that they are reborn.

In India, the real Brahmin, the real knower, has called himself dwij, twice-born. Why twice-born? What happened to the first birth? What is the need for the second birth? And what is he going to gain in the second birth? In the second birth he is going to gain what was available in the first birth but the society, the parents, the people surrounding him crushed it, destroyed it.

Every child is being stuffed with knowledge. His simplicity has to be somehow removed because simplicity is not going to help him in this competitive world. His simplicity will look to the world as if he is a simpleton; his innocence will be exploited in every possible way. Afraid of the society, afraid of the world we have created ourselves, we try to make every child be clever, cunning, knowledgeable—to be in the category of the powerful, not in the category of the oppressed and the powerless. And once the child starts growing in the wrong direction, he goes on moving that way—his whole life moves in that direction.

Whenever you understand that you have missed life, the first principle to be brought back is innocence. Drop your knowledge, forget your scriptures, forget your religions, your theologies, your philosophies. Be born again, become innocent—and it is in your hands. Clean your mind of all that is not known by you, of all that is borrowed, all that has come from tradition, convention, all that has been given to you by others—parents, teachers, universities. Just get rid of it. Once again be simple, once again be a child. And this miracle is possible by meditation.

Meditation is simply a strange surgical method which cuts you away from all that is not yours and saves only that which is your authentic being. It burns everything else and leaves you standing naked, alone under the sun, in the wind. It is as if you are the first man who has descended onto earth—who knows nothing, who has to discover everything, who has to be a seeker, who has to go on a pilgrimage.

Life becomes richer as love grows, as friendliness grows.

The second principle is the pilgrimage. Life must be a seeking—not a desire, but a search; not an ambition to become this, to become that, a president of a country or a prime minister of a country, but a search to find out “Who am I?”

It is very strange that people who don’t know who they are, are trying to become somebody. They don’t even know who they are right now! They are unacquainted with their being—but they have a goal of becoming.

Becoming is the disease of the soul. Being is you. And to discover your being is the beginning of life. Then each moment is a new discovery, each moment brings a new joy; a new mystery opens its doors, a new love starts growing in you, new compassion that you have never felt before, a new sensitivity about beauty, about goodness.

You become so sensitive that even the smallest blade of grass takes on immense importance for you. Your sensitivity makes it clear to you that this small blade of grass is as important to existence as the biggest star; without this blade of grass, existence would be less than it is. And this small blade of grass is unique, it is irreplaceable, it has its own individuality. And this sensitivity will create new friendships for you—friendships with trees, with birds, with animals, with mountains, with rivers, with oceans, with stars. Life becomes richer as love grows, as friendliness grows.

As you become more sensitive, life becomes bigger. It is not a small pond, it becomes oceanic. It is not confined to you and your wife and your children—it is not confined at all. This whole existence becomes your family, and unless the whole existence is your family you have not known what life is—because no man is an island, we are all connected. We are a vast continent, joined in millions of ways. And if our hearts are not full of love for the whole, in the same proportion our life is cut short.

Meditation will bring you sensitivity, a great sense of belonging to the world. It is our world—the stars are ours, and we are not foreigners here. We belong intrinsically to existence. We are part of it, we are the heart of it. Secondly, meditation will bring you great silence—because all rubbish knowledge is gone. Thoughts that are part of the knowledge are gone too… an immense silence, and you are surprised: This silence is the only music there is. All music is an effort to bring this silence somehow into manifestation.

Excerpted from Beyond Enlightenment by Osho

Osho is known for his revolutionary contribution to the science of inner transformation, with an approach to meditation that acknowledges the accelerated pace of contemporary life.


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