Q: Why should people suppress the sublime? What is so threatening about paradise?
A: There is much that is threatening about paradise. People are very much afraid of happiness. You will be surprised because ordinarily you always say, “I am hankering for happiness. I want all that is possible in life.” But my own observation is – and it is not mine alone. It is the observation of all the observers, of all the ages. I have been working with thousands of people, but this observation becomes stronger every day: people cling to misery, they don’t want to be happy.
In fact, nobody is hindering them from being happy. They can be happy right now, nothing is missing, but they cling to misery. They talk about happiness. Because they are miserable, they naturally talk about happiness. The more miserable they are, the more they talk about happiness, the more they seek and search, the more noise they create, “I want happiness. I want happiness.” But they don’t drop the misery they are carrying and unless they drop it, they cannot become happy.
You cannot become happy with a miserable mind.
Happiness is not somewhere waiting for you. Happiness is just the absence of misery, that’s all. Once you stop creating misery, you are happy. Happiness is man’s nature. You need not worry about happiness at all. It is already there, it is in your heart. You just have to stop being unhappy, you have to stop the mechanism functioning which creates unhappiness. But nobody seems to be ready for that. People say, “I want happiness.”
It is as if you go on saying, “I want health” and go on clinging to your disease, you don’t allow the disease to go. If the doctor prescribes medicine, you throw away the medicine; you never follow any prescription. You never go for a morning walk, you never go swimming, you never go running on the beach, you never do any exercise. You go on eating obsessively, you go on destroying your health. Again and again you go on asking where to find health, but you don’t change the mechanism that creates unhealth. Health is not something to be attained somewhere, it is not an object. Health is a totally different way of living. The way you are living creates disease, the way you are living creates misery.
For example, people come to me and they say they would like to be happy, but they cannot drop their jealousy. If you can’t drop your jealousy, love will never grow – the weeds of jealousy will destroy the rose of love. And when love does not grow, you will not be happy. Because who can be happy without love growing? Unless that rose blooms in you, unless that fragrance is released, you cannot be happy.
Now people want happiness – but just by wanting, you cannot get it. Wanting is not enough.
You will have to see into the phenomenon of your misery, how you create it – how in the first place you became miserable, how you go on becoming miserable every day – what is your technique?
Because happiness is a natural phenomenon – if somebody is happy there is no skill in it, if somebody is happy it needs no expertise to be happy.
Animals are happy, trees are happy, birds are happy. The whole existence is happy, except man. Only man is so clever as to create unhappiness — nobody else seems to be so skillful. So when you are happy it is simple, it is innocent, it is nothing to brag about. But when you are unhappy you are doing great things to yourself; you are doing something REALLY hard.
Listen to my statement: To be miserable needs great expertise, to be miserable needs great cleverness and cunningness. To be miserable needs hard arduous work. To be miserable is very difficult – how people manage is almost a miracle.
To be happy is very simple. Look into the eyes of a cow. Look, the dog goes on resting. Look at a cat, the way she purrs. Everything seems to be happy and there is no problem about it! Except man.
So the first thing to be understood: people are afraid of happiness. Why? There is a subtle thing to be remembered: in misery you ARE – that’s why you cling to misery.
In happiness you disappear – that’s why you are afraid of happiness.
In happiness the ego cannot exist. The ego is unnatural, the ego is artificial, the ego is not really there, it is only a belief. When you are miserable, all the misery and all the artificiality of the misery becomes a prop to the ego. The ego can exist with the misery – things go perfectly okay, they are in tune. If misery disappears all props disappear, and the palace of ego starts falling down.
In happiness, nobody has an ego. Have you not watched it? Because I think, sometimes… Those moments are rare, but they are still there – sometimes when you are happy have you not watched? How utterly you are not there when you are happy. Listening to music sometimes, a window opens and you are happy. In that moment you are not – music is, you are not. Dancing, a moment comes like a breeze, and you are soaked with something unknown… A benediction showers on you. Dance is, the dancer is no more.
Sometimes in the mountains, or sometimes on the beach just taking a sunbath, you disappear. Those moments of your absence are the moments of happiness, bliss, of ecstasy. It is not that you are there, and you are happy, no.
Nobody can be both happy and be. Happiness is, then you are not – you never meet happiness. You can be very, very well with unhappiness, misery. Misery and you can exist together — in fact you cannot exist separately. Hence people go on clinging with misery. People really hanker for hell.
George Bernard Shaw is reported to have said, ‘If I am going to be second in the queue into heaven then I don’t want to go to heaven. If I can be the first man in hell then I will choose hell – but I would like to be the first man.’ Hell is okay, acceptable; but to be second to anybody is not acceptable. And it is not only George Bernard Shaw that is saying it – this is the desire of all human beings.
You are ready to go into hell, hell is okay – if you can exist as an ego. In heaven you cannot exist as an ego.
WHY SHOULD PEOPLE SUPPRESS THE SUBLIME?
Because with the sublime you disappear. (…)
My whole effort here is to make you alert to see how misery exists. It exists with your support, with your co-operation; it cannot exist alone. You exist with its support, it exists with your support – it is a conspiracy between the ego and the misery.
Have you not watched it? People talk more about their misery than they talk about their happiness. In fact they don’t talk about their happiness. People go on talking and boring each other about their misery, their diseases, this and that.
I have heard about a woman who went to a doctor, and the doctor said, ‘What is wrong with you?’ She said, ‘Don’t bother about what is wrong – just do some operation. ‘The doctor said, ‘But what do you mean? For what? Have you gone mad?’ She said, ‘Anything will do – remove my tonsils, or remove my appendix, anything will do. But I am tired of listening to other people’s stories about their operations. Whenever I meet a woman, she goes on talking about how her tonsils have been removed, and I have to listen to the whole story. Somebody’s appendix has been removed… and the whole story. And I have nothing to talk about. Remove anything whatsoever, let me also have something to talk about.’
People talk about their miseries and feel very good. Because the more they have miseries, the more they are: They exaggerate their miseries. You can see it in yourself – when you talk about your misery you exaggerate it, you make it look bigger, you magnify it.
I had one woman colleague when I was a professor in a university. And she used to bore me about her illnesses and operations and…. One day I phoned her husband – her husband was a very famous advocate – and I told him, ‘Your wife has tortured me like anything. Wherever she finds me she immediately starts – and just out of politeness I have to listen to all this nonsense.’
The husband laughed. He said, ‘That’s why I am feeling a little bit relieved – so she is doing it to you! But don’t believe her! If she says ‘cancer’ just think that she must be having a headache or something, not… don’t believe her! I myself used to believe her, in the beginning.’
She exaggerates so much. But why do people exaggerate their misery? The bigger the misery, the bigger they are. So many troubles they are facing, so many challenges – they are fighting a great war. They exaggerate the enemy because only by the exaggeration of the enemy do they become greater. And then they conquer the enemy.
If it is just an ordinary headache and you conquer it, what is the point? If it is cancer and you conquer it, then you have done SOMETHING, something like a miracle.
Watch, and stop these mechanisms functioning. Never talk about your misery – it is not worth talking about, it is only worth dropping. Never pay too much attention to your misery, because if you pay attention you are feeding it. Attention is food – if you give attention to anything it becomes stronger.
Never feed your misery by paying it attention. Just remain aloof, unconcerned. Even if it is there it’s okay, remain unconcerned. And by and by, you will be surprised — the big misery starts becoming smaller, smaller, smaller… one day suddenly it has disappeared. You were helping it to be there by giving it attention.
Remember, attention is really food, nourishment. Now there are scientific experimentations proving the fact that attention is food. You pay attention to anything, and it grows. Now they say even trees grow faster if the gardener pays attention. If the gardener pays special attention to one tree, other trees will not grow as fast as that one tree will grow.
You can experiment yourself – it is not a big problem, you need not have a big lab for it. You just choose ten plants of the same size and pay attention to one. Give water to everybody, give manure to everybody – but pay attention to one. Sometimes caress that plant, hug it, kiss it, pay attention to it. Sit by its side, talk to it, sing a song to it. And you will be surprised – scientists have been surprised – that plant grows faster. Within months it will be double the size of all other plants. They have been neglected – not that you have been neglecting by not watering them; everything was the same. Just one thing was missing: attention was not paid.
When you love a woman she becomes more beautiful. When a woman loves you, you become more graceful, suddenly all your awkwardness is gone. You become more clean – you take a bath every day, you brush your teeth more carefully, now you are worried if you perspire too much.
You change overnight if a woman falls in love with you. What happens? She pays attention to you, you become important. Now those two eyes are waiting for you – you have to satisfy those two eyes, their happiness depends on you. You are not just irrelevant in this world, you are needed. You are a must here — without you the world won’t be the same. Suddenly, a significance, a glory, arises around you; you are surrounded by an aura. You can see in a man whether he is in love or not. Just by watching him you can see whether he’s in love or not. When a man is not in love he becomes lethargic. His feet lose dance, he becomes dull, there is no joy, he is not bubbling. He no more has any wings, his wings are clipped.
But when a man is in love, suddenly he has wings. Again dreams, again poetry, arise. There is not a single man or woman on the earth who has not become poetic when she or he was in love. In fact the people who are called poets are people who are in love continuously. Their object of love may be anything – maybe nature, maybe God, maybe a woman, maybe just humanity – but the people who are known as poets are the people who are continuously in love. Hence, they remain poetic. Otherwise everybody is poetic — you just lose track of love, and the poetry is lost.
Attention is food, very subtle food. Remember it: Don’t pay attention to the negative, don’t pay attention to your misery.
Don’t talk about it, don’t magnify it – you are destroying yourself, it is self-destructive. Neglect it, and neglected it dies. Be indifferent to it. Indifference is poison – if you want to destroy it, train yourself into more indifference towards it.
Be more concerned with happiness, pay more attention to happiness. Small happinesses should be given all attention – small moments, but you should focus your whole energy into them, you should pour yourself utterly into them. And they will grow, and they will spread all over your life.
Paradise is not something geographical, it is not somewhere THERE – paradise is a way of life, just as hell is a way of life. Hell is here, and paradise is here. And sometimes it is possible that you may be in hell and the person sitting by your side may be in heaven. So heaven and hell are not so apart. They are psychological states, ways of life, and it is up to you.
– Osho – Maturity –