Habits: An upside down view

All habits are bad. Uproot them all!

woman looking at the world upside downAny habit that becomes a force, a dominating force over you, is a sin. One should live more in freedom. One should be able to do things not according to habits, but according to the situations.

There's no good habit as such

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 more the deciding factor. The response is not coming out of awareness but out of a pattern—structure—that you have learned in the past.

Victims of habit

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.

One of the richest men in the world was the Nizam of Hyderabad. His collection of diamonds was the greatest in the world because he owned the diamond mines of Golconda, which have provided the greatest diamonds to the world. The Kohinoor comes from Golconda. It was once in the Nizam's possession.

But he was one of the most miserly men in the world. He used a single cap for 30 years. It was stinking, but he wouldn't change it. He continued to wear the same coat for almost his whole life and he would not give it to be washed because they might destroy it.

He was so miserly—you cannot imagine—that he would collect half-smoked cigarettes from the guests' ashtrays and then smoke them. The richest man in the world smoking cigarette butts smoked by others! The first thing he would do whenever a guest left was to search in the ashtrays and collect the ends of the cigarettes. When he died, his greatest diamond was found in his dirty shoes. He was hiding it in his shoe! Even when one is dying one is moving in old habits, following old patterns.

Getting to the cause

You have not tried to be conscious of it; without trying to be conscious you have tried to drop it. It is not possible. It will come back, because your mind is the same; its needs are the same, its problems are the same, its anxieties, tensions are the same, its anguish is the same. And when those anxieties arise, what will you do? Immediately, mechanically, you will start searching for the cigarettes.

You may have decided again and again, and again and again you have failed—not because smoking is such a great phenomenon that you cannot get out of it, but because you are trying from the wrong end.

Rather than becoming aware of the whole situation—why you smoke in the first place—rather than becoming aware of the process of smoking, you are simply trying to drop it. It is like pruning the leaves of a tree without cutting the roots.

And my whole concern here is to cut the roots, not to prune the tree. By pruning the leaves and the branches the tree will become thicker, the foliage will become thicker. You will not destroy the tree; you will be helping it, in fact. If you really want to get out of it you will have to look deeper, not into the symptoms but the roots.

Excerpted from "Ah! This"; Courtesy: Osho International Foundation/www.osho.com

Meditate to de-programme the mind

woman meditatingOsho was once asked, "Is there any state of mind, which has never been programmed at all? Or are there any techniques to de-condition our brain?"

Osho's answer.

There has never been any consciousness which has not been programmed. In the very upbringing comes the programming. Even if the child is brought up not by you but by wolves in the wild, the wolves will programme the child.

Just a few years ago, a 12-year-old child was found who had been brought up by the wolves in the forest in north India. He could not stand even on his two feet. He ran like a wolf; even the best runner could not manage to keep pace with him. He had been programmed by the wolves.

Conditioning is unavoidable

The problem is, you have to bring the child up, and somebody has to take care, and whoever is going to take care is going to, knowingly or unknowingly, condition the mind of the child. It is not a question that you have to programme consciously. But how the child will learn the language... it is a programme. That's why every language is called the mother tongue, because the child never finds the father speaking in the presence of the mother. Naturally, he is conditioned by the mother.

There is no possibility of anybody being brought up un-programmed.

Deleting all programming

And you are asking, "Are there any techniques to de-condition our brain?" There are techniques to de-condition, but that is re-programming. You can call it de-conditioning, but in fact, what are you doing? You are putting B in place of A. The only possibility is meditation; that's why meditation should not be called a technique. It is simply relaxing into your own inner world, alone—without a guide, without scriptures—and becoming so silent that not a single ripple of thought remains. That's the only way of cancelling all programming.

Rising above all programmes

Meditation is the only way—not the technique—in which you can find your self-nature, your Buddha-nature in its purity, in its virginity, untouched by anybody.

Except meditation, either you will be a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Christian or a Jew—some kind of programme will be there. Only the meditator rises above all programmes, becomes a simple, innocent consciousness on which nothing is written. But this gives such clarity of vision, such intensity of perception, such great joy of being that one becomes, for the first time, part of the eternal dance of existence. Those who are programmed by anybody... Christian or Communist, Mohammedan or Hindu, it does not matter who programmes you; he destroys your purity.

Any doctrine, any effort of teaching about things, which are not your experience is going to spoil your purity. For 10 thousand years there has been only one way; its name is meditation.

Excerpted from The Heart Sutra;Courtesy: Osho International Foundation;www.osho.com

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