When The Shoe Fits is a transcription of a lecture given by Osho in 1974, based on the teachings of the ancient Taoist Chuang Tzu. Osho is one of the more famous modern Taoists who achieved cult-like status among his followers. To remove suffering, he advises men to not achieve and just allow life to happen to you. This advice exists on an opposite plane when compared to what is taught within Western culture.
And whatsoever you achieve through will always remain a burden to you; it will always be a conflict, an inner tension, and you can lose it at any moment. It has to be maintained continuously – and maintaining it takes energy, maintaining it finally dissipates you. Only that which is attained through effortlessness will never be a burden to you, and only that which is not a burden can be eternal. Only that which is not in any way unnatural can remain with you forever and forever.
When you gain something through effort, you experience a feeling of pleasure, and then must continually work so that both the gain and pleasure are maintained. If you do not maintain it, you will lose the gain and experience suffering in an equal and opposite way to the pleasure received.
If I earn $1,000,000, I will experience pleasure, but if I lose it, I will experience an equal amount of opposite suffering. Even if I don’t lose the money, trying to hold onto it will cause anxiety because of the sizable fear I’ll have of losing it in the future. If I go to the gym to get big muscles, I will be happy with how I look, but if I lose those muscles, I will mentally suffer whenever I look in the mirror and see a decline in my appearance. Any campaign of effort has suffering built in, because it is difficult, if not impossible, to maintain a gain for the entirety of your life.
Every child is born in Tao, then we cripple him with society, civilization, culture, morality, religion… we cripple him from every side. Then he lives, but he is not alive.
Osho argues that if a human wasn’t born in society, but raised among animals in the forest, he would have no suffering if his survival needs were met. Because he would not have any human being to compare himself to, he would have no need to compete, no need to gain power, no need to prove himself to others, and so he would exist in harmony with nature.
Allow nature! And don’t give any goal to nature. Who are you to create goals and purposes? You are just a tiny part, an atomic cell. Who are you to force the whole to move according to you?
Look at nature, everything is so perfect. Can you improve upon a rose? Can you improve on nature in any way? Only man has gone wrong somewhere. If the rose is beautiful without any effort on its part, why not man? What is wrong with man?
Because you exist in an ignorant, flawed state, any goal you create is almost sure to create suffering since it is from a place of society instead of nature. You simply do not have the awareness or knowledge to create goals that are in harmony with your true nature, and what you may describe as “success” is—upon achievement—the beginning of a cycle of frustration or suffering.
Meditation will only help you to understand. It will not lead you to the truth, it will only destroy the mind, so that whenever there is truth, you can see it.
Osho believes that the Buddhist ashram style of meditation is an unnatural behavior that goes against the Tao, because it attempts to put man in a blank state of “no mind.” Osho does not believe in the asceticism of the Buddhists, and sees them on the opposite extreme of the hedonists. Both sides have lost balance with the Tao.
You need a compass because you are not confident of life; you need moralities, precepts, principles, Bibles, Korans, Gitas to direct you because you are not confident of the inner force. That is your life…. So many precepts to be followed, so many principles to be managed – so many moral concepts. You have so many things imposed on you that your inner life cannot be spontaneous.
People want to be told how to live. They want an instruction booklet as if they were assembling furniture from Ikea. Scriptures are dead books—they weren’t written for your environment or your situation, and must be squeezed into modern life in some way (often after being maliciously interpreted), but that still does not eliminate suffering if you follow it. Osho believes that there is no need for rigid morality if the Tao is followed, but since balance with the Tao is subjective, I see a situation where Tao alone can’t prevent us from sliding into a situation of degeneracy like we have in the modern West.
Don’t be against anything. Why? Because whenever you are against anything it means that deep down you are for it, otherwise why be against it? A man who is not angry deep down will not be against anger. Why should he be? A man who is not greedy deep down will not be against greed. Why should he be against it? There is no problem for him, it is not a choice, he has not made any distinction. Remember, it is always greedy persons who are against greed, sexual persons who are against sex, angry persons who are against anger, violent persons who are against violence. Then what do they do? They create an opposite goal.
If a man becomes emotionally engaged against a cause, it’s a certainty that that cause is a part of him in some way, and his emotion is a sign of either an inner guilt or deep love that his ego refuses to consciously accept. The most violent members of society today are leftist protesters who tell you they are against violence. The most sexually degenerate people of today are those who say they stand against rape. I have stated my hate for feminists in the past, and criticized their loose sexual morals, while I myself engaged in loose sexual morality with feminist-minded women. That which you hate exists within you. That which you’re apathetic about does not.
You always choose the difficult because the difficult gives you a challenge and challenge gives you the ego. Difficult is right for you; easy is never right. Because with the easy there is no conquering, the ego cannot feel fulfilled. The more difficult a task, the more the ego feels exhilarated, ecstatic. It has to be done – Everest has to be conquered, the moon has to be conquered.
The difficult attracts. The more difficult it is, the more it attracts you. It becomes more valuable because through it, if you conquer, you will achieve a greater ego. Even if you fail, you will achieve a greater ego because you at least tried, while others have not tried at all.
I have given advice to men in the past stating that if they’re faced with two options, they should do the harder one because they’ll become stronger and achieve more than if they had succeeded with the easier task. Osho has me pegged in that my strategy is one of ego satisfaction, of putting in harder effort to achieve something greater. From the standpoint of Western materialism, my advice will yield more “gain.”
With nonstop messages in the West of achievement and accomplishment that make doing the easy task be seen as “lazy,” it’s hard not to see that the entirety of the West is built upon an ego proposition, which is great for society in terms of the heights it achieves, but poor for the individual who suffers because of it.
If you win a war and kill millions of people you make history. If you just brush your teeth in the morning how can you make history? And EASY IS RIGHT! You take a bath, and you sing a little song, how can you make history? You eat your food and you silently go to sleep without any dreams. How can you make history? No! History takes no notice of persons who are easy and natural. History takes notice of people who are mad, obsessed with something, who create trouble in some way or the other. And difficult is wrong, easy is right; be easy and don’t try to be in history. Leave it for fools and mad people, you just stay out of it. Because you cannot have both.
Either you can have life, or you can be remembered in history. If you have life, you will be just an easy and simple man, doing simple and small things, and enjoying them. You will not create any trouble for anybody, nobody will take any notice of you; you will exist as if you never existed. That is what easy is – existing as if you are not existing, existing as if you are not, not in anyone’s way.
I want my work to leave a legacy so I slave over my computer every day, typing up a storm, like I’ve typed this review, and life quickly passes me by. I will have my legacy, but at what cost? What have I missed?
Doing anything, if you feel easy doing it, it is right. If you feel uneasy doing it, something is wrong. If you are tense, it means you are living an uneasy life. If you cannot sleep, cannot relax, cannot let go, it shows you are living an uneasy life – you are after difficult things, impossible things.
If I were to take his advice, I would work just the minimum to satisfy my material needs, and then relax for most of the day. I’d go for walks, do a basic level of exercise that doesn’t involve having big muscles, cook simple meals, and seek out pleasant company. Instead, I have a schedule set out for me before I wake up, meaning my day is dead before I even open my eyes. I have strategies to maximize the amount of work I do. I have exercises for my right wrist which is experiencing chronic pain due to excess computer use. I have special stretches for my lower back to combat the effects of sitting all day in front of a screen. I sacrifice my body for work and excess material gain.
Nature is vast, and all man created laws are narrow. They are like funnels – the more you move into them the narrower they become, and a moment comes of cul-de-sac, you cannot move anywhere, and the tunnel becomes your grave. That is how everyone is stuck.
…laws and regulations cannot protect you, they only give you a feeling of protection. But nothing protects. The laws cannot make you secure, they only give a feeling of security which is false. Death ultimately comes and shatters all your securities. You will stay trembling, fear-filled, unless you come back to the source – the inner tower of the spirit.
Following scriptures, rules, and laws is the same as following the dictates of men before you, and what they have decided is the proper life for you to live.
Fulfillment comes through nature – not through society. You carry your destiny within yourself but it is an unconscious thing. Follow it. Nobody else will know that you have reached but you will be aware. You may not get a Nobel prize because it has never been awarded to a fulfilled person. Nobody fulfilled has yet received a Nobel prize, no Buddha, no Jesus, and it won’t happen in the future either, because the Nobel prize is given to somebody who has obeyed society very sincerely, and who has achieved society’s aims – not his own. Look at the Nobel prize-winners and you will not find sadder men than those. Most of them commit suicide, and this is not accidental, it has deep meaning in it. Most of them feel unfulfilled. Prizes cannot fulfill you. Allow the conscious nature, don’t force it consciously.
Society has awards in the form of money and material trophies to keep you playing the game, but winning the game is Pyrrhic, because the moment after you victory, once the cheering crowd disappears, you’re disappointed that you feel no different than before.
Be sincere to your inner nature and help others to be sincere to their inner nature. This is what I call a religious man. A religious man is one who is sincere to his inner nature and helps others to be sincere to their inner nature. You are here to fulfill your destiny, and others are here to fulfill theirs. Don’t expect anything from them, otherwise you will turn them into liars. Don’t expect anything from anybody, and don’t fulfill others’ expectations of you.
The only way to get anywhere in society is to network, build alliances, and curry favor. Scratch this man’s back and maybe he’ll scratch yours in the future. Pretend to be nice to that man so maybe he won’t criticize you to others. At what point do we turn into actors, sacrificing who we are, for future gain that is not even necessary?
Whenever others appreciate you – beware, you are moving on a dangerous path. Sooner or later they will punish you. When people talk about your success – beware, now failure is not far off. When they put you on the throne, escape, because sooner or later they will throw you off. But you are so foolish and stupid, that you never see the fact that somebody else was there on the throne before you. They put him there, and now, for you, they have thrown him off. Now they are garlanding and welcoming you, but sooner or later they will find another showman and they will throw you out. This happens to everybody who lives through public opinion. Don’t ask for any success in the outside world and you will not have any failure. Don’t ask people to respect you, then there will be no insult.
But then how will I get fame? How will I get riches? How will I feel validated that I “made it”? Most people fear the ordinary life as much as they fear falling from a high position, because they crave the adoration of the masses that allows their ego to feel that they are a somebody instead of a nobody.
Nothing is lacking and nothing is missing. You are perfect as far as there is any possibility of perfection.
It is difficult for you to think that at this very moment you are gods, but I ask you – what is lacking? What is missing? You are alive, breathing, conscious – what else do you need?
If you say, ’If those conditions are fulfilled then I will be blissful’, then these conditions are never going to be fulfilled. And, secondly, even if these conditions are fulfilled, by that time you will have lost the very capacity to celebrate and enjoy. And moreover, when these conditions are fulfilled – if ever, because they cannot be fulfilled – your mind will create further ideals.
Something is always wrong with us. We’re close to an ideal but still far off. More work must be done; if we can only have this thing, or that thing, everything will be perfect, life will be complete, but imagine a carrot at the end of branch, and just after you leap up and grab the carrot, a bigger carrot suddenly appears, and the branch is moved ever so higher so that you have to work harder to get it.
The whole is vast, you are just an atomic cell. The ocean is vast, you are just a drop in it. The whole ocean is salty, and you are trying to be sweet. It is impossible!
When you fight with the world, you fight with yourself, because you are a part of the world, a part of the whole. Everything in this world influences you in direct proportion to how you influence it, and so what you fight against is certainly already a part of you, because the part can not be separated from the whole. You are not distinct or unaffected from what you see around you.
If you fight, then the enemy impresses you, and remember… even friends don’t have such an impact as enemies have. If you fight with someone continuously, you will be influenced by them, because you will have to use the same techniques to fight them. Ultimately, enemies become similar.
If a general wins a war, the man who he most respects will be the general of the opposing side, because he is barely different from him. The uniforms are different, but the man is the same. They’re supposed to hate each other, but instead a mutual admiration is developed.
…when you are ready to fight at every moment, you are a coward. Fight is a cover-up. You want to prove that you are a brave man. The very wanting, the very desire to prove, means that you are not. A man who is really wise will never in any way be searching for opportunities to prove that he is wise. A fool is always in search of a way to prove that he is wise. A man who is really in love, who has become love, will not try to prove that he is in love.
When you think you are confident of your strength, remember well, you are hiding something from yourself. What do you mean when you say: I am confident? If you are really confident the word is meaningless. You are not confident, you are pretending. And not only to others, you are repeating to yourself: I am confident. You are creating an auto-hypnosis. If you repeat it long enough you may start feeling it but that feeling will have no inner energy in it.
To prove that I am good with women, I had to sleep with many of them, but the very fact that I needed this proof is only proof of the struggle I had with them. And then finally I did become good with women, I could sleep with them consistently enough, and then the need for proof disappeared. I become dissatisfied with my behavior and stopped. To find what out what a man is, look at what he doesn’t try to prove. To find out what he isn’t, look at what he is trying to prove.
Treat all that is beautiful, good and true, just like a seed. Give it some soil, a hidden place in the heart, don’t display it. But just the opposite is done by everybody: whatsoever is wrong, you hide it, you don’t want it to be known by others. Whatsoever is ugly you hide and whatsoever is beautiful, even if it is not, you try to advertise it, you magnify it, you display it.
What is a first date but a grotesque display of acting? The woman shows her fleeting and transitory beauty, enhanced by makeup, clothing, and special effects, along with a politeness that will be the peak of you experience from her, and the man packs in his best jokes, statements, moves, and stories into a clown performance that he hopes is enough to get into her pants. Two actors pretend to be someone they aren’t, and fall for what isn’t.
So if you want to prove something it shows that you are doubtful about it. You want to destroy your doubt through others’ eyes, through their opinions. You are not really convinced of your beautiful person, you would like others to say that you are beautiful.
This piece of advice is often done in the reverse, where any positive quality must be immediately displayed, and once it is praised and talked about, the magic and beauty of it is lost, and now you race to find another trait to display to garner the same amount of praise, until you run out of displays and the audience becomes bored and moves onto someone else.
You may go on thinking yourself a beautiful person but nobody thinks that way about you because everybody is concerned with his own beauty, not with yours. And if anybody nods and says, ’Yes, you are beautiful’, he or she is just waiting for you to nod about his or her beauty. It is a mutual bargain: You fulfill my ego, I fulfill yours. I know well that you are not beautiful, you know well that I am not beautiful, but I fulfill your ego, so you fulfill mine.
If you are an exhibitionist then you will remain a commodity, a thing. You can never become a person, because ’person’ is hidden deep in the recesses of being. It is the deepest possibility in the whole of existence.
The most insecure people in the world are actresses and models. Their entire conception of self is based on external validation, not inner contentment or understanding. Once that validation dries up, and it always does, they are as unsure of themselves, and begin mutilating themselves with plastic surgeries to regain the praise they lost.
You see a musician and you want to be a musician; you see an actor and you want to be an actor; you see a doctor and you want to be a doctor. You want to be everything except yourself – and that is all that you can be, nothing else. Nothing else is possible, and nobody else is like you, so nobody can become your ideal.
Western philosophy teaches you that you’re a thing-becoming, not a thing that has already become. There are many parts of you that are wrong and you need to learn, strive, work, and exist in constant want to become the final thing that should instantly give you everlasting fulfillment, but this is a lie, and the goal you treasure is a dead-end because nothing external of you will give you fulfillment. You are already the thing-become.
It is good to try to understand leaders of men because they are the great monkeys. And you think you are following them? Basically, deep down, they are following you. A leader is always a follower of his own followers because he always has to look where you are going, what you are doing. He must know beforehand where the wind is blowing so that he can be just ahead.
There are many ways to crucify a man, crucifixion is only one. You can also put him on the throne, then too he is crucified, and in a subtler way; very non violently you kill him. Whenever you start respecting a person you have started killing him, because now he has to pay; he has to look at you – what to do, what not to do.
A leader is a victim to his own followers, because his status can immediately be revoked if his followers feel that it is in their best interest to follow someone else. The leader’s talent is that he knows what his followers want before they themselves know. He comes up with a slogan that touches them deeply in their hearts, and the followers cry out in pleasure that they have found their leader, when merely they have found someone who is holding a mirror up to themselves.
A man of Tao moves absolutely without identity. Why? Because if you show talent then people cannot forgive you. People can forgive fools, but they cannot forgive wise men. That is why Jesus was crucified, Socrates was poisoned. You feel so utterly inferior before a Jesus or a Socrates, how can you forgive them! It is natural, you will make a concerted attack. You will all make a concerted attack to kill that man. Then you will feel that a burden has been thrown.
One of the easiest ways to be liked by others is not to step on their egos. Allow them to think of you as an inferior man, a simple man, and they will not strike you down. The second you assert your superiority over them by showing virtue or talent, resentment is built, and they will wait for their opportunity to hurt you, to prove that they are not inferior to you.
And a man who has not known his innermost being is always like a thing, always on display in the window of a shop; always waiting for somebody to come and use him with all his certificates, distinctions, talents; always crying: Come and use me, make me a thing. I am a most valuable thing, you will never get any thing better than me. Come and use me!
To be useful is to be enslaved by those who find you useful. They have expectations of you to continue being useful, and so your life becomes a mission of ensuring you are always useful, always a somebody in the eyes of others, but being this somebody is an illusion, because one day you will no longer be useful, and all the validation and attention will be removed. The illusion of your superiority will be shattered as you watch a new man receiving the admiration that you once had.
In the spiritual world no footprints are left. It is just like the sky: a bird flies – no footprints are left, nobody can follow. Just take a delight in me, be happy with me and you will absorb. And that will become a light within you and that will show you the path. But don’t copy, don’t believe or disbelieve, don’t be head-oriented. Don’t be a monkey – be a man.
You can know yourself only in total freedom – and rules are prisons. They are prisons because no-one else can make rules for you; he may have discovered the truth through these rules, but they were for him. Nature differs – they helped him but they will not help you; on the contrary, they will hinder you.
There is fear of being your own man, because you may fail, embarrass yourself, be hated, be seen as inferior. So men look to other men for guidance and instruction to help assure their success, but the only result is they become a copy of a copy, a man who mimics another man’s life for material gain and ego gratification.
If you are a little understanding, give others around you freedom to be themselves and don’t allow anybody to interfere with your freedom. Don’t make anybody a slave to you and don’t become a slave to anybody.
We rarely accept people for who they are. The second we meet a girl, we think about how she can be improved. The second we bond with another man, we think of how he can be made more useful to us to achieve our goals. We meet people and do calculations in our head about how we can extract from them, benefit from them, and they are doing the same. Friendships and relationships become mere business arrangements.
The first thing to understand is not to take life as a question. Once you take it as a question you will be in trouble; you will have already moved on a wrong path – it will be a cul-de-sac. Somewhere, in some theory, you will be stuck. Everybody is stuck somewhere in a theory, and then it is very difficult to drop the theory. You cling to it because the question scares you – at least a theory is some consolation, at least you feel that you know.
…life will not wait for you and your theories, it is moving fast. Soon death will happen and you will die with your theories in your hand; and they won’t help, they are just dead ashes.
The first thing you do once you notice things in life is to construct a theory based on your patterns. Not only does your theory aid in your ego’s need to feel superior, since you will share this theory to anyone who will listen, but it’s also an attempt to alleviate the anxiety of living in a world where anything can go wrong at a moment’s notice. You hope your theory will predict the future with some accuracy to keep your safe, but no theory has withstood the test of time. They all have flaws, they all have failed, and yet man will not stop at trying to construct the ultimate theory, the theory of everything, to feel that he has figured it out and is immune to the spontaneous nature of life.
Buddha has said that when you find an old man as happy as a youth, there is something there – bow down to him, listen and learn from him. In India, it was the tradition that whenever we found an old man happy, dancing, we would make him a master.
It is very easy to be happy when you are in your prime. You’re at your peak health, beauty, and physical fitness. Everything is new, with a world of experiences before you, and the daily stimulation of novelty and discovery ensures you won’t get bored. But to be happy when you are old, when the river has dried up, that is something special. When your health is gone, your beauty is gone, your phallus no longer works, your muscles are atrophying, your back is crooked, your prostate is the size of an orange, and when people all around you see you as a burden, waiting impatiently for you to die; if you can be happy at that time then there must be true fulfillment within. Show me a happy old man, a man who has been tossed aside by the generations that have preceded him. He is someone I want to learn from.
That which is caused cannot be forever; that which is uncaused can be forever. Remember that always whenever you are happy; remember… is it something uncaused or caused? If it is caused then it is better to be sad, because it is going to be taken away. It is already on the way, it has already left you – sooner or later you will realise it has gone.
Anything that makes you happy, once removed, will then cause you suffering, and if it is caused by something, it will certainly be removed. If you are ever thinking that having a person or situation in your life will bring you happiness, you are generating the energy for the suffering caused by its removal. Nothing in the material world can give fulfillment, because they will all be taken away from you. If there is something caused that makes you happy, I hope for your sake it is something simple that is hard to take away—a hot cup of tea, a breath of crisp cold air, being alone with your thoughts, a good night’s sleep, or a pleasant conversation with someone you trust.
You cannot find the answer in the past because nothing is the same today. You cannot find the answer in the past because the answer is not the thing, it always dies with the man who has discovered it. But ghosts go on haunting. Your Vedas, Korans, Bibles, Gitas, they are ghosts. They are not realities now, they are long dead.
Whenever you are too engaged with the past you are engaged with dirt, with graves, you are a gravedigger. You live in a cemetery, you are no longer a part of the living phenomenon that life is.
If the great men of the past were alive today, would they still share the same advice and knowledge that they left? Would they have the same teachings, in spite of a different environment? It’s unlikely. They were men of their times, and so we go on learning about the past and how to live in that man’s time, instead of looking with our own eyes in the present.
Needs can be fulfilled, but desires cannot be. Desire is a need gone mad. Needs are simple, they come from nature; desires are very complex, they don’t come from nature. They are created by the mind. Needs are moment to moment, they are created out of life itself. Desires are not moment to moment, they are always for the future. They are not created by life itself, they are projected by the mind. Desires are projections, they are not really needs. This is the first thing to be understood, and the deeper you understand, the better. What is desire? It is movement of the mind into the future.
Most suffering in the West comes from trying to satisfy desires. The second you satisfy one, and grab the carrot from the end of the stick, the bigger carrot immediately appears. Forever you work at grabbing what’s at the end of the stick, but always you feel a lack. Once you have satisfied your material needs, and reach basic comfort, you are now free to find your path, to explore life, but most people instead immediately ensnare themselves to a new desire, and keep themselves stuck in its pursuit until they die.
Needs are beautiful; desires are ugly. Needs are bodily; desires are psychological. But look at your so-called saints and sages: they always condemn your needs and always help your desires to be projected. They say: What are you doing? Just eating? Sleeping? Wasting your life? Try to reach heaven! Heaven is the ultimate desire. Paradise is waiting for you, and you are wasting your life on ordinary things – just vegetating. Stand up and run, because there is not much time left! Reach! Knock at the door of heaven! Reach God! But don’t stand there!
I’ve shamed men in the exact same way, particularly in my essay Thoughts On Being An Excellent Man, where I package Western ideas of ego gratification in a pompous display of telling men to essentially be like me in order to be “excellent.” Your ego will have you believing that you are the most superior man in the world if you let it, better than billions of people. Who am I to tell other men what greatness or excellence in manhood is? I can only teach what I’ve learned about being a man, without value judgements, and no more.
Life is dangerous, but that is the beauty of it – it is insecure, because insecurity is the very nature of movement, aliveness, vitality. The more dead you are, the more secure. When you are in your grave there will be no danger. What can happen to you anymore? Nothing! Nobody can harm you when you are dead. But when you are alive, you are vulnerable, you can be harmed. But I tell you, that is the beauty of life.
Most of what we do in life is an attempt to remove all insecurities, spontaneities, and anxieties—to make life a dead thing that will never harm or surprise us. By living safe routines, we succeed instead at deadening life while the anxieties never go away, because merely by trying to address them, you give them power over you. Kill one anxiety and another will appear, just like with desire, and so we live in cage as if we were a scared chicken, imposing artificial limits and rules just to avoid the dangers of life.
Life is insecure! Let this truth penetrate deeper and deeper in you. Let it become a seed deep in your heart – life is insecure. It is its nature and nothing can be done about it – all that you do will be poisonous. You can only kill. And the more secure you feel, the more dead you will be. Look at people who are really secure with wealth, prestige, castles around them – you can see they are
dead. Just see their faces, the eyes look as if they are made of stone.
The most fearful people in the world are the rich. They have elaborate security systems, bunkers, panic rooms. You don’t build a bunker unless you fear for your life, unless you believe catastrophe is around the corner. You don’t lobby the government for power unless you deep down fear another man coming to take away your wealth or the poor masses putting your head on the chopping block. You hire professionals to guard that wealth, a team of lawyers to protect it, and are more fearful than a homeless man who has nothing to lose, who knows that no one can take anything away from him.
Insecurity is the nature of Tao. Don’t make securities – otherwise you are cutting yourself off from nature, from Tao. And the more secure you are, the further away you will be. Move into the unknown and let the unknown have its own way.
This quote remains me of Jesus feeding bread to the multitude:
When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.
And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me.
And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children. Matthew 14:13-21
Don’t be afraid. God, Jesus, nature, Tao, or whatever great force you believe in, will provide for your needs. As a creation of this Earth, you were given the ability to attain your bread, and as evidence of that, I bet that you have never gone a full day without food. You will endure until you must die, like all other creatures must, and your being, soul, spirit, and molecular composition transforms into a different energy or state that allows the entire cycle to continue existing as it has.
You love thinking because thinking can become instrumental in achieving something: you can become a great thinker, or, through thinking, you can become a great leader. Through sleeping have you ever heard of anybody becoming a great leader? They all condemn sleep, they all condemn laziness. They all condemn people who simply enjoy life and are not too active – they call them hobos or bums, vagabonds, and condemn them. But have you ever observed the fact that the world has never suffered from any lazy man? Because no lazy man can become a Hitler, no lazy man can become a Nixon, no lazy man can become a Mao, a Ghengis Khan, a Napoleon. No lazy man can become active. Action has brought all the wars. Action is the most mischievous thing in the world. But still we go on saying that action is needed – because everybody is ambitious.
If you are plugged into the rat race, into the Western mentality, you will react with anger to Osho’s teachings. You will say, “But look at India, where people defecate on the streets!” You will exclaim, “Look at Africa and the laziness that one can witness!” You will yell, “But we are the most advanced civilization in the world!” And you would be correct in that the West does not have sewage problems, and its technology and skyscrapers are a sight to behold, but at what cost to the individual? What has the individual man in the West had to endure to have such splendid material marvels, to have clean streets? What is going on in the homes on those streets, in the minds of those who have to live in this splendor?
We arrive at the conflict between individual fulfillment and societal magnificence. What’s good for the individual may not be good for society, and what’s good for society may cause suffering to the individual. I agree we must have standards within a society to prevent it from succumbing to every degenerate cause under the sun, but it’s a danger to place it above that of the individual.
Osho’s words help me check myself during the times I’m blindly carrying on in life, stacking my plate full of multiple projects, aching to make a difference in the world to mold it into my imagined image of righteousness. He helps me realize that my ego is a parasite that steers me onto paths that serve me little or no benefit, that all my needs are already achieved and I can stop and enjoy life for what it is instead of creating tension, conflicts, and distractions that put me on a path to misery.
I see Tao as a logical extension of Stoicism, because while the latter insinuates that are you a thing-becoming, Tao argues that you have already become. If you do get value out of Stoicism, I believe you will enjoy this book by Osho.
Read More: “When The Shoe Fits” on Amazon