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goodbye & grief

Say goodbye without grief

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There was a man of wei, Tung-Men Wu, who did not grieve when his son died.

It is very difficult not to grieve when somebody you loved so much has died. It is possible only if you have known something of the essential. It is possible only if you have tasted something of the deathless. It is possible only if you have transcended the accidental. He did not grieve, he was not sad. He was not weeping or crying, he was not broken. He remained just the same as he was before.

The wife was disturbed. She said: “No one in the world loved his son as much as you did, why do you not grieve now he is dead?”

Ordinarily, this is our logic, that if you love a person too much you will grieve too much when he is gone. The logic is fallacious; the logic has a very deep flaw in it. In fact, if you have loved a person really, when he is gone he is gone; you will not grieve much. If you have not loved the person deeply, then you will grieve very much. Try to understand this.

Your father dies, or your mother dies. If you have loved him totally while he was alive, you will be able to say goodbye to him without any grief—because you loved him. That experience of love was total and fulfilling; nothing is left undone; nothing is hanging over your head. Whatsoever was possible has happened; now you can accept it. What more was possible? Even if he had been alive, what more would have been possible? The experience is complete.

Whenever an experience is complete, you are ready to say goodbye very easily. But if you have not loved your father as you always wanted to, you have not been respectful towards him as you always wanted to, you will feel guilty. Now the father is gone; now there is no way to fulfill your desire—now there is no way to show your respect, your love. Now there is no way, you will feel yourself hanging in the middle, in mid-air, in a limbo. You will not be at ease; you cannot say goodbye. You will cry and weep and you will be broken, and you will say that you are broken because your father is dead, but the real thing is something else.

It is just like a ripe fruit drops of its own accord. When it is ripe, it drops; when it is not ripe, it is difficult to drop.


You are broken because now the possibility to love him, to respect him, is gone. Now there is no possibility—the doors are closed and you have missed an opportunity. The son will cry more if he has not really loved his father. If he has loved his father he will be able to accept the fact—love is very accepting and very understanding.

Once an experience is complete, you can get out of it very easily—you can just slip out of it as the snake slips out of his old skin. If you love a woman and you have been constantly quarrelling with her, and it never became a deep satisfaction, and she dies… now she will haunt you, her ghost will haunt you for your whole life. You could not do something that was possible, but now it is no longer possible. Now, something incomplete will always be there in the heart, hurting; it will become a wound.

This is the understanding of all the sages, that while you are loving a person, if you love him totally there is going to be no misery. Of course, one feels a little sad but it is not grief; one misses a little but one is capable of remaining centered, one is not distracted.

If you are in love, love totally, so nothing remains hanging. Otherwise, that hanging, incomplete experience, that unlived experience, will haunt you. These unlived experiences go on piling up and they become heavy burdens.

And the problem is that now there is no way. You cannot complete them because the person has disappeared. You cannot drop them because incomplete experiences cannot be dropped. It is just like a ripe fruit drops of its own accord. When it is ripe, it drops; when it is not ripe, it is difficult to drop. Whenever an experience is complete, it is a ripe fruit—it drops of its own accord. It leaves no scar behind, no wound.

Excerpted from A Sudden Clash of Thunder 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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