Life is not theatre, life is not literature…

Life is constantly changing. Only one thing is unchanging: that is your witnessing capacity. You can see the anger flash by, you can see the compassion flash by; but the mirror before which they flash remains always unaffected—and that is your transcendence

woman appreciating natureTheatre is just entertainment, and who needs entertainment? The people who are in despair. For a few hours they can forget their despair and become identified with the theatre.

Who needs literature? A man who is really living, his life is poetry itself. A man who is really loving, his life itself is literature.

You will be surprised to know that the people who have written poetry about love are the people who have never known love. Writing poetry about love is a substitute. But writing about food will not help a hungry person; and only hungry people think of food.

When you are well fed, you don’t think of food. When you are thirsty, you think of water. But when you are not thirsty, it will be simply insane to go on thinking about water. It is impossible.

The people who have created great literature lived in tremendous tragedy; for example, Dostoyevsky [Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 19th century Russian novelist], who is perhaps the best novelist the world has yet produced. But he himself was utterly sad, suicidal, always in misery, always in despair.

This man could not live his life, but one has to do something; he projected everything in his literature, which he had not been able to live. Listening to his literature, reading his literature you will think, “What a great man!” But if you happen to meet him, you will feel great pity for him.

Kahlil Gibran must be recognised as one of the best writers of this age. Just read his books: The Prophet, The Garden Of The Prophet, Jesus The Son Of Man, and you will be thrilled, what kind of a man he is! He talks like the old prophets—the same language, the same sharpness, the same meaningfulness. But he himself lived just in an opposite way.

In The Prophet he talks about love, and perhaps he has written the best lines about love, but in his own life there was no love, only anger. About anger he does not write; there is no need, he has enough of it. Love is missing; he writes about love.

The people who have known Kahlil Gibran were surprised—how did he manage to create such great books like The Prophet? The man was almost insane in many ways.

He would throw things around; he would break things when he was angry; that was his daily practice. And after that he would write The Prophet. That was a substitute. Theatre and literature are not life.

Life itself depends on polar opposites. But it is better not to call them polar opposites, because really they are complementaries. They look like polar opposites: the night and the day, life and death—they look like polar opposites, but it is not true.

There are animals that can see only in the night. They have better eyes than you have, and they don’t even need glasses. For them, there is no darkness in the night.

In fact, their darkness starts with the sunrise, because their eyes are so delicate that they can see only in darkness. As the sun rises they cannot open their eyes; the sun is too much. So for the owl, your day is his night, your night is his day.

This can give you the idea of complementariness. Darkness simply means less light. And when you say less light, immediately the opposite polarity disappears. And light simply means less darkness. Light and darkness are one energy.

It is just like cold and hot. They are not polar opposites. The same thermometer can show you, this is cold, how much cold; this is hot, how hot. The difference is of degrees, not of opposition. They are one phenomenon, absolutely joined together.

Coldness and hotness are just degrees of the same phenomenon. There is only one thing beyond the polar opposites, and that’s what I call enlightenment. Otherwise everything has its polar opposite.

Enlightenment has no polar opposite. You may feel the question arising in you, “Then what about unenlightenment?” That is not a reality; it is only an absence of enlightenment. And anybody who can be unenlightened has the capacity to become enlightened. It is good that you can be unenlightened; otherwise, there would be no way to become enlightened.

Unenlightenment is simply an absence. Your potential has not grown, has not blossomed, has not released its fragrance—that’s all. You have remained just a closed seed; your possibilities have remained possibilities. You never allowed them to become actualities, realisations.

But there is no such thing as unenlightenment—only in language. Otherwise everybody has reached different degrees of enlightenment. Somebody may be just a seed; that is a degree, the lowest degree. Somebody may be a sprout, somebody may have grown into a big tree. Somebody may have come to flower, to fruition.

If you want to transcend the polar opposites of life, first you have to understand that they are not polar opposites but complementaries. Second, you have to understand there is certainly something, which is beyond duality. But to go beyond duality, you have to become a witness of all that passes, moves, in your being: despair, ecstasy, a feeling of well-being or sickness, feeling love or hate.

Simply be a witness, don’t get identified with anything that passes in your mind. Remember, everything passes, only the witness remains. So why unnecessarily get identified and in trouble?

Today you were sad, but you could not keep yourself separate. You could have said, “It is perfectly good. Let sadness pass. It is a cloud; soon the cloud will pass and there will be sunlight.” But don’t get identified with the sunlight either, because there are clouds coming again.

Life is constantly changing. Only one thing is unchanging: that is your witnessing capacity. You can see the anger flash by, you can see the compassion flash by; but the mirror before which they flash remains always unaffected—and that is your transcendence. And that’s what I call meditativeness.

Meditate on every state of mind so you can achieve the witness. Meditation is the way of detaching your witness from moods, which go on passing.

Excerpted from: From Death To Deathlessness/Courtesy: Osho International Foundation/


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