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Beyond habits

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I cannot drop the habit of chain-smoking. I have tried hard, but I have always failed. Is it a sin to smoke?

Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill! Religious people are very skilful in doing that. Now, what are you really doing when you are smoking? Just taking some smoke inside your lungs and letting it out. It is a kind of pranayama…filthy, dirty, but still a pranayama! You are doing yoga, in a stupid way. It is not a sin. It may be foolish, but it is not a sin, certainly.

There is only one sin and that is unawareness, and only one virtue and that is awareness.

Do whatsoever you are doing, but remain a witness to it, and immediately the quality of your doing is transformed.

I will not tell you not to smoke; that you have tried. You must have been told by many so-called saints not to smoke: “Because if you smoke you will fall into hell.” God is not so stupid as your saints are. Throwing somebody into hell just because he was smoking cigarettes will be absolutely unnecessary.

Smoking is unhealthy, unhygienic, but not a sin. It becomes a sin only if you are doing it unconsciously. It is not smoking that makes it a sin but unconsciousness.

Let me emphasise the fact. You can do your prayer every day unconsciously; then your prayer is a sin. You can become addicted to your prayer. If you miss the prayer one day, the whole day you will feel something is wrong, something is missing…some gap. It is the same with smoking or with drinking; there is no difference in it. Your prayer has become a mechanical habit; it has become a master over you. It bosses you; you are just a servant, a slave to it. If you don’t do it, it forces you to do it.

 

The more you are surrounded by habits, the more you are closed to life. You are not open, you don’t have windows.


So, it is not a question of smoking. You may be doing your transcendental meditation every day regularly, and it may be just the same. If the quality of unconsciousness is there, if mechanicalness is there, if it has become a fixed routine, if it has become a habit and you are a victim of the habit and you cannot put it aside, you are no longer a master of yourself, then it is a sin. But, its being a sin comes out of your unconsciousness, not out of the act itself.

No act is virtuous, no act is a sin. What consciousness is behind the act—everything depends on that.

Life is continuously changing—it is a flux—and habits are stagnant. The more you are surrounded by habits, the more you are closed to life. You are not open, you don’t have windows. You don’t have any communication with life; you go on repeating your habits. They don’t fit; they are not the right response to the situation, to the moment. They are always lagging behind, they are always falling short. That’s the failure of your life.

So, remember: I am against all kinds of habits. Good or bad is not the point. There is no good habit as such, there is no bad habit as such. Habits are all bad because habit means something unconscious has become a dominating factor in your life, has become decisive. You are no longer the deciding factor. The response is not coming out of awareness but out of a pattern, structure, that you have learned in the past.

I have seen many rich people living very poor lives. Before they became rich their habits became settled—and their habits became settled when they were poor. That’s why you find so much miserliness in rich people; it comes from the habits that became ingrained in them when they were poor.

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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