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Your Answers Questioned: Explorations for Open Minds

Your Answers Questioned: Explorations for Open Minds

by Osho

The book you hold in your hands will ask you to take a good look (and maybe a new look) at the way you see the world. It will introduce you to ideas we might not think about every day (but maybe we should). What happens when the majority is wrong? Where do your ideals and convictions come from--are they yours alone or did someone give them to you? What purpose does


The book you hold in your hands will ask you to take a good look (and maybe a new look) at the way you see the world. It will introduce you to ideas we might not think about every day (but maybe we should). What happens when the majority is wrong? Where do your ideals and convictions come from--are they yours alone or did someone give them to you? What purpose does anger serve? Is there a difference between loneliness and aloneness? Where do love and lust meet? Can you love someone and love yourself too? What is jealousy? How can one truly forgive?

Your Answers Questioned is a collection of intriguing, humorous and surprising inquiries; each page will encourage you to consider the world in a different way, from a different angle, by gently pointing you in new and interesting directions. You never know. You just might find some new answers (and some new questions).

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St. Martin's Press
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The less people know, the more stubbornly they know it.

The intelligent person hesitates, ponders, wavers. The unintelligent never wavers, never hesitates. Where the wise will whisper, the fool simply declares from the housetops.

"The truth" is only a way of speaking; there is not something labeled "truth" such that one day you will find and open the box and see the contents and say, "Great! I have found the truth." There is no such box. Your existence is the truth, and when you are silent you are in truth. And if the silence is absolute then you are the ultimate truth.

But don't think of the truth as an object–it is not an object. It is not there, it is here.

Each day brings its own problems, its own challenges and each moment brings its own questions. And if you have ready-made answers in your head you will not be able even to listen to the question. You will be so full of your answer, you will be incapable of listening. You will not be available.

Many of our problems–perhaps most of our problems–are because we have never looked at them face-to-face, encountered them. And not looking at them is giving them energy. Being afraid of them is giving them energy, always trying to avoid them is giving them energy–because you are accepting that they are real. Your very acceptance is their existence. Other than your acceptance, they don't exist.

There has never been a person like you before, there is nobody else like you right now in the whole world, and there will never be anybody like you. Just see how much respect existence has paid to you. You are a masterpiece–unrepeatable, incomparable, utterly unique.

Stop judging yourself. Instead of judging, start accepting yourself with all the imperfections, all the frailties, all the mistakes, all the failures. Don't ask yourself to be perfect. That is simply asking for something impossible, and then you will feel frustrated. You are a human being, after all.

Don't be bothered about perfection. Replace the word "perfection" with "totality." Don't think in terms of having to be perfect, think in terms of having to be total. Totality will give you a different dimension.

There is a tremendous difference between perfection and totality. Perfection is a goal somewhere in the future, totality is an experience in the here and now. Totality is not a goal, it is a style of life.

The greatest calamity that can happen to a person is to become too serious and too practical. A little bit of craziness, a little bit of eccentricity, is all for the good.

Courage means going into the unknown in spite of all the fears. Courage does not mean fearlessness. Fearlessness happens if you go on being courageous and more courageous. That is the ultimate experience of courage–fearlessness. That is the fragrance of what happens when the courage has become absolute.

But in the beginning there is not much difference between the coward and the courageous person. The only difference is, the coward listens to his fears and follows them, and the courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead. The courageous person goes into the unknown in spite of all the fears.

Existence is not a problem to be solved, it is a mystery to be lived. And you should be perfectly aware what the difference is between a mystery and a problem.

A problem is something created by the mind; a mystery is something that is simply there, not created by the mind. A problem has an ugliness in it, like a disease. A mystery is beautiful. With a problem, immediately a fight arises. You have to solve it; something is wrong, you have to put it right; something is missing, you have to supply the missing link. With a mystery there is no question of that.

The moon rises in the night. ... It is not a problem, it is a mystery. You have to live with it. You have to dance with it, you have to sing with it, or you can just be silent with it. Something mysterious surrounds you.

You go on dreaming, imagining beautiful things for the coming days, for the future. And in moments when danger is imminent, then suddenly you become aware that there may be no future, no tomorrow, that this is the only moment you have. Times of disaster are very revealing. They don't bring anything new to the world; they simply make you aware of the world as it is. They wake you up. If you don't understand this, you can go mad; if you understand it, you can become awakened.

Put everything at stake. Be a gambler! Risk everything, because the next moment is not certain, so why bother? Why be concerned? Live dangerously, live joyously. Live without fear, live without guilt. Live without any fear of hell or any greed for heaven. Just live.



It is good to be curious because that is how one starts the journey of inquiry into existence; but if one simply remains curious, then there will be no intensity in it. One can move from one curiosity to another–one will become a driftwood–from one wave to another wave, never getting anchored anywhere.

Curiosity is good as a beginning, but then one has to become more passionate. One has to make life a quest, not only a curiosity.

And what do I mean when I say one has to make one's life a quest? Questions are many, a quest is one. When some question becomes so important to you that you are ready to sacrifice your life for it, then it is a quest. When some question has such importance, such significance that you can gamble, that you can stake all that you have, then it becomes a quest.

Death is secure, life is insecurity. One who really wants to live has to live in danger, in constant danger. One who wants to reach the peaks has to take the risk of getting lost. One who wants to climb the highest peaks has to take the risk of falling from somewhere, slipping down.

The society teaches you, "Choose the convenient, the comfortable; choose the well-trodden path where your forefathers and their forefathers and their forefathers, since Adam and Eve, have been walking. Choose the well-trodden path. That is a proof–so many millions of people have passed on it, you cannot go wrong."

But remember one thing: The crowd has never had the experience of truth. Truth has only happened to individuals.

Whenever there are alternatives, beware: Don't choose the convenient, the comfortable, the respectable, the socially acceptable, the honorable. Choose something that rings a bell in your heart. Choose something that you would like to do in spite of any consequences.

To commit mistakes is not wrong–commit as many mistakes as possible, because that is the way you will be learning more. But don't commit the same mistake again and again, because that makes you stupid.

You have to save yourself from so many well-intentioned people, do-gooders, who are constantly advising you to be this, to be that. Listen to them and thank them. They don't mean any harm–but harm is what happens. Just listen to your own heart. That is your only teacher. In the real journey of life, your own intuition is your only teacher.

There is something of immense importance about truth: Unless you find it, it never becomes truth to you.

If it is somebody else's truth and you borrow it, in that very borrowing it is no longer true–it has become a lie.

Whatever you are doing, whatever you are thinking, whatever you are deciding, remember one thing: Is it coming from you or is somebody else speaking? And you will be surprised to find the real voice; perhaps it is your mother–you will hear her speak again. Perhaps it is your father; it is not at all difficult to detect. It remains there, recorded in you exactly as it was given to you for the first time–the advice, the order, the discipline, the commandment.

Get rid of the voices that are within you, and soon you will be surprised to hear a still, small voice which you have never heard before; you cannot decide whose voice this is. No, it is not your mother's, it is not your father's, it is not your priest's, not your teacher's ... then a sudden recognition that it is your voice. That's why you are not able to find its identity, to whom it belongs.

Discover your voice.

Then follow it with no fear.

Wherever it leads, there is the goal of your life, there is your destiny. It is only there that you will find fulfillment, contentment.



Don't think of consequences; only cowards think of consequences.

Everybody is telling you to keep a low profile. Why? Such a small life, why keep a low profile?

Jump as high as you can.

Dance as madly as you can.

To be just like everybody else means to be part of all kinds of lies the society calls etiquette, manners. The reason is clear why people talk about truth and still remain in the world of lies. There is a longing in their hearts for the truth. They are ashamed of themselves for their being untrue, so they talk about truth but it is mere talk. To live according to it is too dangerous; they cannot risk it.

And the same is the case with freedom. Everybody wants freedom as far as talking is concerned, but nobody really is free and nobody really wants to be free, because freedom brings responsibility. It does not come alone.

The difference between ambition and longing is that ambition is goal-oriented, longing is source-oriented. Ambition means there is something to achieve "out there." It depends on a goal, there is a motive; hence you can be rational about it. You can figure out whether it is worth achieving or not. It is not a question of feeling, it has to be calculated. You have to move in a certain direction cautiously, because the world is very cunning and everybody is trying to achieve the same goal and there is competition. You have to be clever and cunning, very cautious. You have to be political, diplomatic.

Longing has no goal but it has a source. The heart is the source.

Vincent van Gogh would always paint his trees so big that they would go beyond the stars. The stars would be small, the sun and moon would be small, and the trees would be so huge. ... Somebody asked him, "Are you mad or something? Why do you go on painting such big trees? The farthest star is millions and millions of light-years away and your trees go on reaching beyond the stars! What nonsense is this?"

And van Gogh would laugh and he would say, "I know! But I know something more, too, of which you are not aware: The trees are the longings of the earth to transcend the stars. I am painting the longing, not the trees. I am more concerned with the source, not with the goal. It is irrelevant whether they reach the stars or not. I belong to the earth, I am part of it, and I understand the longing of the earth. This is the longing of the earth expressed through the trees–to go on reaching for the stars."

And for a longing, everything is possible. Nothing is impossible, because there is no question of reaching anywhere–it is just enjoying the source of longing itself.

Look deep into your heart. Listen to the still, small voice within. And remember one thing: Life is fulfilled only through longings, never through ambitions.

Life is basically insecure. That's its intrinsic quality; it cannot be changed. Death is secure, absolutely secure. The moment you choose security, unknowingly you have chosen death. The moment you choose life, unawares you have chosen insecurity.

With the secure, with the familiar you are bored; you start becoming dull. With the insecure, with the unknown, the uncharted, you feel ecstatic, beautiful, again a child–again those eyes of wonder, again that heart which can feel awe.

Who is afraid of death? I have never come across such a person. And almost every person I have come across is afraid of life.

Drop fear of life. ... Because either you can be afraid or you can live; it is up to you. And what is there to be afraid of? You can't lose anything. You have everything to gain.

Drop all fears and jump totally into life.

Be life-affirmative. Life is synonymous with god. You can drop the word "god"–life is god. Live with reverence, with great respect and gratitude. You have not earned this life, it has been a sheer gift from the beyond. Feel thankful and prayerful, and take as many bites of it as possible and chew it well and digest it well. And experience life in all possible ways–good/bad, bitter/sweet, dark/light, summer/winter. Experience all the dualities. Don't be afraid of experience, because the more experience you have, the more integrated you become.

It is only the unlived past which becomes your psychological burden. Let me repeat: The unlived past–those moments which you could have lived, but you have not lived, those love affairs which could have flowered, but you missed ... those songs which you could have sung, but you remained stuck to some stupid thing and missed the song–it is the unlived past which becomes your psychological burden, and it goes on becoming heavier every day.

That's why the old man becomes so irritable. It is not his fault. He does not know why he is so irritable–why everything and each thing irritates him, why he is constantly angry, why he cannot allow anybody to be happy, why he cannot see children dancing, singing, jumping, rejoicing, why he wants everybody to be quiet–what has happened to him?

It is a simple psychological phenomenon: his whole unlived life. When he sees a child start dancing his inner child hurts. His inner child was somehow prevented from dancing–perhaps by his parents, his elders, perhaps by himself because it was respected, honored. He was brought before the neighbors and introduced: "Look at this child, how quiet, calm, silent; no disturbance, no mischief." His ego was fulfilled. Anyway, he missed. Now he cannot bear it, he cannot tolerate this child. In fact it is his unlived childhood that starts hurting. It has left a wound.

And how many wounds are you carrying? Thousands of wounds are in line, because how much have you left unlived?

When you are meeting a friend–meet. Who knows? You may not be meeting again. Then you will repent. Then that unfulfilled past will haunt you, that you wanted to say something and you could not say it. There are people who want to say to somebody, "I love you," and they are waiting for years and have not said it. And the person one day may die, and then they will cry and weep and they will say, "I wanted to say to the person, 'I love you,' but I could not even say that."

Whatever you dream, take note of it. That dream indicates what you are missing in reality. A man who lives in reality–his dreams start disappearing. There is nothing for him to dream. By the time he goes to sleep he is finished with the work of the day. He is finished, he has no hangover that moves into dreams.

The fear of death is not the fear of death, it is a fear of remaining unfulfilled. You are going to die, and nothing, nothing at all could you experience through life–no maturity, no growth, no flowering.

Empty-handed you came, empty-handed you are going. This is the fear.



Avoid those pretenders who decide for you; take the reins in your own hands. You have to decide. In fact, in that very decisiveness, your soul is born. When others decide for you, your soul remains asleep and dull. When you start deciding on your own, a sharpness arises.

Truth is not democratic. It is not to be decided by votes what is true; otherwise we could never come to any truth, ever. People will vote for what is comfortable–and lies are very comfortable because you don't have to do anything about them, you just have to believe. Truth needs great effort, discovery, risk, and it needs you to walk alone on a path that nobody has traveled before.

The majority consists of fools, utter fools. Beware of the majority.If so many people are following something, that is enough proof that it is wrong. Truth happens to individuals, not to crowds.

Whenever you follow your potential, you always become the best. Whenever you go astray from the potential, you remain mediocre. The whole society consists of mediocre people for the simple reason that nobody is what he was destined to be–he is something else.

Man is born as a seed; he can become a flower, he may not. It all depends on you, what you do with yourself; it all depends on you whether you grow or you don't. It is your choice–and each moment the choice has to be faced; each moment you are on the crossroads.



Forget all about figuring out what it is. Rather, live it; rather, enjoy it! Don't analyze it, celebrate it.

Your mind is always asking, "Why? For what?" And anything that has no answer to the question, "For what?" slowly, slowly becomes of no value to you. That's how love has become valueless. What point is there in love? Where is it going to lead you? What is going to be the achievement out of it? Will you attain some utopia, some paradise?

Of course, love has no point in that way.

It is pointless.

What is the point of beauty? You see a sunset–you are stunned, it is so beautiful, but any idiot can ask the question, "What is the meaning of it?" and you will be without any answer. And if there is no meaning then why unnecessarily are you bragging about beauty?


Excerpted from "Your Answers Questioned"
by .
Copyright © 2003 Osho International Foundation.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Osho is one of the best known and most provocative spiritual teachers of our time. Beginning in the 1970s, he captured the attention of young people in the West who wanted to experience meditation and transformation. More than a decade after his death in 1990, the influence of his teachings continues to expand, reaching seekers of all ages in virtually every country of the world. Osho's works challenge readers to examine and break free of their conditioned belief systems and prejudices, which limit their capacity to enjoy life in all its richness.

Osho is one of the most provocative and inspiring spiritual teachers of the twentieth century. Known for his revolutionary contribution to the science of inner transformation, the influence of his teachings continues to grow, reaching seekers of all ages in virtually every country of the world. He is the author of many books, including Love, Freedom, Aloneness; The Book of Secrets; and Innocence, Knowledge, and Wonder.

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