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Love is not what is ordinarily understood by the word. The ordinary love is just a masquerade; something else is hiding behind it. The real love is a totally different phenomenon. The ordinary love is a demand, the real love is a sharing. It knows nothing of demand; it knows the joy of giving.
The ordinary love pretends too much. The real love is nonpretentious; it simply is. The ordinary love becomes almost sickening, syrupy, drippy, what you call "lovey-dovey." It is sickening, it is nauseating. The real love is a nourishment, it strengthens your soul. The ordinary love only feeds your ego—not the real you but the unreal you. The unreal always feeds the unreal, remember; and the real feeds the real.
Become a servant of real love—and that means becoming a servant of love in its ultimate purity. Give, share whatsoever you have, share and enjoy sharing. Don't do it as if it is a duty—then the whole joy is gone. And don't feel that you are obliging the other, never, not even for a single moment. Love never obliges. On the contrary, when somebody receives your love, you feel obliged. Love is thankful that it has been received.
Love never waits to be rewarded, even to be thanked. If the thankfulness comes from the other side, love is always surprised—it is a pleasant surprise, because there was no expectation.
You cannot frustrate real love, because there is no expectation in the first place. And you cannot fulfill unreal love because it is sorooted in expectation that whatsoever is done always falls short. Its expectation is too great, nobody can fulfill it. So the unreal love always brings frustration, and the real love always brings fulfillment.
And when I say, "Become a servant of love," I am not saying to become a servant of somebody whom you love, no, not at all. I am not saying to become a servant of a lover. I am saying become a servant of love. The pure idea of love should be worshipped. Your lover is only one of the forms of that pure idea, and the whole existence contains nothing but millions of forms of that pure idea. The flower is one idea, one form, the moon another, your lover still another ... your child, your mother, your father, they are all forms, all waves in the ocean of love. But never become a servant of a lover. Remember always that your lover is only one tiny expression.
Serve love through the lover, so that you never become attached to the lover. And when one is not attached to the lover, love reaches its highest peaks. The moment one is attached, one starts falling low. Attachment is a kind of gravitation—unattachment is grace. Unreal love is another name for attachment; real love is very detached.
Unreal love shows so much concern—it is always concerned. Real love is considerate but has no concern. If you really love a man you will be considerate of his true need but you will not show unnecessary concern for his foolish, stupid fantasies. You will take every care of his needs, but you are not there to fulfill his fictitious desires. You will not fulfill anything that is really going to harm him. For example, you will not fulfill his ego, although his ego will be demanding. The person who is too concerned, attached, will fulfill the ego demands—that means you are poisoning your beloved. Consideration means you will see that this is not a real need but an ego need; you will not fulfill it.
Love knows compassion but no concern. Sometimes it is hard, because sometimes it is needed to be hard. Sometimes it is very aloof. If it helps to be aloof, it is aloof. Sometimes it is very cold; if it is needed to be cold then it is cold. Whatever the need, love is considerate—but not concerned. It will not fulfill any unreal need; it will not fulfill any poisonous idea in the other.
Search into, meditate on love, experiment. Love is the greatest experiment in life, and those who live without experimenting with love energy will never know what life is. They will only remain on the surface without going into the depth of it.
My teaching is love-oriented. I can drop the word God very easily—there is no problem—but I cannot drop the word love. If I have to choose between the words love and God, I will choose love; I will forget all about God, because those who know love are bound to know God. But it is not vice versa: Those who think about God and philosophize about God may never know about love—and will never know about God, either.
Real and Unreal—The First Step
Love yourself and watch—today, tomorrow, always.
We begin with one of the most profound teachings of Gautama the Buddha:
Just the opposite has been taught to you by all the traditions of the world—all the civilizations, all the cultures, all the churches. They say: Love others, don't love yourself. And there is a certain cunning strategy behind their teaching.
Love is the nourishment for the soul. Just as food is to the body, so love is to the soul. Without food the body is weak, without love the soul is weak. And no state, no church, no vested interest has ever wanted people to have strong souls, because a person with spiritual energy is bound to be rebellious.
Love makes you rebellious, revolutionary. Love gives you wings to soar high. Love gives you insight into things, so that nobody can deceive you, exploit you, oppress you. And the priests and the politicians survive only on your blood; they survive only on exploitation.
All the priests and politicians are parasites. To make you spiritually weak they have found a sure method, one hundred percent guaranteed, and that is to teach you not to love yourself. Because if a man cannot love himself he cannot love anybody else, either. The teaching is very tricky—they say, "Love others" ... because they know that if you cannot love yourself you cannot love at all. But they go on saying, "Love others, love humanity, love God. Love nature, love your wife, your husband, your children, your parents." But don't love yourself—because to love oneself is selfish according to them. They condemn self-love as they condemn nothing else.
And they have made their teaching look very logical. They say, "If you love yourself you will become an egoist; if you love yourself you will become narcissistic." It is not true.
A man who loves himself finds that there is no ego in him. It is by loving others without loving yourself, trying to love others, that the ego arises. The missionaries, the social reformers, the social servants have the greatest egos in the world—naturally, because they think themselves to be superior human beings. They are not ordinary—ordinary people love themselves. They love others, they love great ideals, they love God.
And all their love is false, because all their love is without any roots.
A man who loves himself takes the first step toward real love. It is like throwing a pebble into a silent lake: The first, circular ripples will arise around the pebble, very close to the pebble—naturally, where else can they arise? And then they will go on spreading; they will reach the farthest shore. If you stop those ripples arising close to the pebble, there will be no other ripples at all. Then you cannot hope to create ripples reaching to the farthest shores; it is impossible.
And the priests and the politicians became aware of the phenomenon: Stop people loving themselves and you have destroyed their capacity to love. Now whatsoever they think is love will be only pseudo. It may be duty, but not love—and duty is a four-letter dirty word. Parents are fulfilling their duties toward their children and then in return, children will fulfill their duties toward their parents. The wife is dutiful toward her husband and the husband is dutiful toward his wife. Where is love?
Love knows nothing of duty. Duty is a burden, a formality. Love is a joy, a sharing; love is informal. The lover never feels that he has done enough; the lover always feels that more was possible. The lover never feels, "I have obliged the other." On the contrary, he feels, "Because my love has been received, I am obliged. The other has obliged me by receiving my gift, by not rejecting it."
The man of duty thinks, "I am higher, spiritual, extraordinary. Look how I serve people!" These servants of the people are the most pseudo people in the world, and the most mischievous, too. If we can get rid of the public servants, humanity will be unburdened, will feel very light, will be able to dance again, sing again.
But for centuries your roots have been cut, poisoned. You have been made afraid of ever being in love with yourself—which is the first step of love, and the first experience. A man who loves himself respects himself. And a man who loves and respects himself respects others, too, because he knows: "Just as I am, so are others. Just as I enjoy love, respect, dignity, so do others." He becomes aware that we are not different as far as the fundamentals are concerned; we are one. We are under the same law. Buddha says we live under the same eternal law—aes dhammo sanantano. In the details we may be a little bit different from each other—that brings variety, that is beautiful—but in the foundations we are part of one nature.
The man who loves himself enjoys the love so much, becomes so blissful, that the love starts overflowing, it starts reaching others. It has to reach! If you live love, you have to share it. You cannot go on loving yourself forever, because one thing will become absolutely clear to you: that if loving one person, yourself, is so tremendously ecstatic and beautiful, how much more ecstasy is waiting for you if you start sharing your love with many, many people!
Slowly the ripples start reaching farther and farther. You love other people, then you start loving animals, birds, trees, rocks. You can fill the whole universe with your love. A single person is enough to fill the whole universe with love, just as a single pebble can fill the whole lake with ripples—a small pebble.
Only a Buddha can say Love yourself. No priest, no politician can agree with it, because this is destroying their whole edifice, their whole structure of exploitation. If a man is not allowed to love himself, his spirit, his soul, becomes weaker and weaker every day. His body may grow but he has no inner growth because he has no inner nourishment. He remains a body almost without a soul or with only a potentiality, a possibility, of a soul. The soul remains a seed—and it will remain a seed if you cannot find the right soil of love for it. And you will not find it if you follow the stupid idea, "Don't love yourself."
I also teach you to love yourself first. It has nothing to do with ego. In fact, love is such a light that the darkness of the ego cannot exist in it at all. If you love others, if your love is focused on others, you will live in darkness. Turn your light toward yourself first, become a light unto yourself first. Let the light dispel your inner darkness, your inner weakness. Let love make you a tremendous power, a spiritual force.
And once your soul is powerful, you know you are not going to die, you are immortal, you are eternal. Love gives you the first insight into eternity. Love is the only experience that transcends time—that's why lovers are not afraid of death. Love knows no death. A single moment of love is more than a whole eternity.
But love has to begin from the very beginning. Love has to start with this first step:
Don't condemn yourself. You have been condemned so much, and you have accepted all that condemnation. Now you go on doing harm to yourself. Nobody thinks himself worthy enough, nobody thinks himself a beautiful creation of God, nobody thinks that he is needed at all. These are poisonous ideas, but you have been poisoned. You have been poisoned with your mother's milk—and this has been your whole past. Humanity has lived under a dark, dark cloud of self-condemnation. If you condemn yourself, how can you grow? How can you ever become mature? And if you condemn yourself, how can you worship existence? If you cannot worship existence within you, you will become incapable of worshipping existence in others; it will be impossible.
You can become part of the whole only if you have great respect for the God that resides within you. You are a host, God is your guest. By loving yourself you will know this: that God has chosen you to be a vehicle. In choosing you to be a vehicle he has already respected you, loved you. In creating you he has shown his love for you. He has not made you accidentally; he has made you with a certain destiny, with a certain potential, with a certain glory that you have to attain. Yes, God has created man in his own image. Man has to become a God. Unless man becomes a God there is going to be no fulfillment, no contentment.
But how can you become a God? Your priests say that you are a sinner. Your priests say that you are doomed, that you are bound to go to hell. And they make you very much afraid of loving yourself. This is their trick, to cut the very root of love. And they are very cunning people. The most cunning profession in the world is that of the priest. Then he says, "Love others." Now it is going to be plastic, synthetic, a pretension, a performance.
They say, "Love humanity, your mother country, your motherland, life, existence, God." Big words, but utterly meaningless. Have you ever come across humanity? You always come across human beings—and you have condemned the first human being that you came across, that is you.
You have not respected yourself, not loved yourself. Now your whole life will be wasted in condemning others. That's why people are such great fault-finders. They find fault with themselves—how can they avoid finding the same faults in others? In fact, they will find them and they will magnify them, they will make them as big as possible. That seems to be the only way out; somehow, to save face, you have to do it. That's why there is so much criticism and such a lack of love.
I say this is one of the most profound sutras of Buddha, and only an awakened person can give you such an insight.
He says, Love yourself ... This can become the foundation of a radical transformation. Don't be afraid of loving yourself. Love totally, and you will be surprised: The day you can get rid of all self-condemnation, self-disrespect—the day you can get rid of the idea of original sin, the day you can think of yourself as worthy and loved by existence—will be a day of great blessing. From that day onward you will start seeing people in their true light, and you will have compassion. And it will not be a cultivated compassion; it will be a natural, spontaneous flow.
And a person who loves himself can easily become meditative, because meditation means being with yourself. If you hate yourself—as you do, as you have been told to do, and you have been following it religiously—if you hate yourself, how can you be with yourself? And meditation is nothing but enjoying your beautiful aloneness. Celebrating yourself; that's what meditation is all about.
Meditation is not a relationship; the other is not needed at all, one is enough unto oneself. One is bathed in one's own glory, bathed in one's own light. One is simply joyous because one is alive, because one is.
The greatest miracle in the world is that you are, that I am. To be is the greatest miracle—and meditation opens the doors of this great miracle. But only a man who loves himself can meditate; otherwise you are always escaping from yourself, avoiding yourself. Who wants to look at an ugly face, and who wants to penetrate into an ugly being? Who wants to go deep into one's own mud, into one's own darkness? Who wants to enter into the hell that you think you are? You want to keep this whole thing covered up with beautiful flowers and you want always to escape from yourself.
Hence people are continuously seeking company. They can't be with themselves; they want to be with others. People are seeking any type of company; if they can avoid the company of themselves, anything will do. They will sit in a movie house for three hours watching something utterly stupid. They will read a detective novel for hours, wasting their time. They will read the same newspaper again and again just to keep themselves engaged. They will play cards and chess just to kill time—as if they have too much time!
We don't have too much time. We don't have time enough to grow, to be, to rejoice.
But this is one of the basic problems created by a wrong upbringing: you avoid yourself. People are sitting in front of their TVs glued to their chairs, for four, five, even six hours. The average American is watching TV five hours per day, and this disease is going to spread all over the world. And what are you seeing? And what are you getting? Burning your eyes ...
But this has always been so; even if the TV was not there, there are other things. The problem is the same: how to avoid oneself because one feels so ugly. And who has made you so ugly?—your so-called religious people, your popes, your shankaracharyas. They are responsible for distorting your faces—and they have succeeded; they have made everybody ugly.
Each child is born beautiful and then we start distorting his beauty, crippling him in many ways, paralyzing him in many ways, distorting his proportion, making him unbalanced. Sooner or later he becomes so disgusted with himself that he is ready to be with anybody. He may go to a prostitute just to avoid himself.
Love yourself, says Buddha. And this can transform the whole world. It can destroy the whole ugly past. It can herald a new age, it can be the beginning of a new humanity.
Hence my insistence on love—but love begins with you yourself, then it can go on spreading. It goes on spreading of its own accord; you need not do anything to spread it.
Excerpted from Love, Freedom and Aloneness: A New Vision Of Relating by . Copyright © 2001 by Osho International Foundation. Excerpted by permission.
|PART ONE: LOVE|
|Chapter One: Lovey-Dovey||3|
|Chapter Two: Real and Unreal—The First Step||6|
|Chapter Three: The Virtues of Selfishness||17|
|Chapter Four: Attached to Nothing||21|
|* Will you please speak about the difference between a|
|healthy love of oneself and egoistic pride?||28|
|* Why is love so painful?||32|
|* How is it that the inscription on the Greek temple of|
|Delphi says "Know Thyself" and not "Love||37|
|* How can I love better?||43|
|PART TWO: FROM RELATIONSHIP TO RELATING|
|Chapter Five: The Honeymoon that Never Ends||55|
|Chapter Six: From Lust to Love to Loving||59|
|Chapter Seven: Let There Be Spaces||63|
|Chapter Eight: The Koan of Relationship||68|
|* How can I know that a woman has fallen inlove in|
|reality, and not playing games?||71|
|* If the jealousies, the possessiveness, the attachment,|
|the needs and expectations and desires and illusions||77|
|* What is the difference between liking and loving, to|
|like and to love? And also, what is the difference||81|
|* There are many people I love but Idon't feel committed|
|to. How can I predict if I will love them tomorrow?||83|
|* Even if sometimes lovelike feelings arise in my heart,|
|immediately I start feeling this is not love, it is my||87|
|* In the East, it has been stressed that one should stay|
|with a person, one person, in a love relationship. In the||89|
|* Lately, I have begun to realize how even my lover is a|
|stranger to me. Still, there is an intense longing to||94|
|PART THREE: FREEDOM|
|Chapter Nine: Tabula Rasa||103|
|Chapter Ten: The Fundamental Slavery||109|
|Chapter Eleven: Beware of the Popes||121|
|Chapter Twelve: Is There Life After Sex?||128|
|Chapter Thirteen: It Takes a Village||137|
|* You said that love can make you free||But ordinarily we|
|see that love becomes attachment, and instead of freeing||148|
|* My boyfriend feels less and less like making love, and|
|this makes me upset and frustrated, even to the point||153|
|* My sex life has become very quiet lately—not that|
|I don't want sex or that I am not courageous enough to||155|
|* How can I know if detachment or indifference is growing|
|* In your vision of a model society, would there be one|
|large commune or a series of communes? What would be||162|
|PART FOUR: ALONENESS|
|Chapter Fourteen: Aloneness Is Your Nature||171|
|Chapter Fifteen: Strangers to Ourselves||178|
|Chapter Sixteen: Solitary and Elect||180|
|Chapter Seventeen: The Lion and the Sheep||195|
|* Never belonged, never been on the "inside,"|
|never felt "at one" with another. Why such a||201|
|* Why does my sadness feel more real than my happiness? I|
|want so much to be real and authentic, not to wear any||204|
|* As I move deeper into meditation and looking into who I|
|really am, I am having trouble maintaining any||210|
|Caveat: Two Women and a Monk||213|
|Epilogue: Embracing the Paradox||233|
Posted December 1, 2005
This book was profoundly eye-opening for me. It challenged everything I thought was true about relationships based on my own experience and my past observations. I now better understand how a lot of culturally imposed ideals have negatively affected how I relate to others, particularly in positions of great attachement. I have shown this book to many others, who have either borrowed it or bought their own after reading just a few pages, and I will reference this book continually for help in the future.
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Posted May 10, 2004
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