Why Fly From a Golden Cage?


Reason why young professionals leave jobs and riches

We become so comfortable in our cages with gold bars, glittering diamonds and luxury fittings that we do not want to fly away from them even if the door is open because we are scared, we fear the unknown. In fear, we think, we cannot afford to take risks.

Yet some do spread their wings and fly into the unknown and do what they really want to do in life – before it is all over…

Even after they decide to fly into freedom, they have doubts. Deep inside they wonder what pushed them so powerfully to almost force them to leave it all with no way to return. In these moments of weakness, they think about their comfort zone, the people they know well, the hefty incomes, enjoyable perks, professional respect and social status.

But then there is the call of their soul, their ethical principles, and their urge to move on because they can see the purposeless end of this unlimited compromise with their true inner being. So do they all fly away?

Yes, some do for various reasons. The media constantly carries reports of young professionals chucking in their cushy jobs with bright prospects to go back to the rural areas and do something worthwhile for the poor or the environment while others decide to walk the spiritual path. These people have a bright career ahead, arrived at a plateau or have climbed their peak and take a sudden, illogical decision to fly away before compulsory retirement, to do what they really want to do before their energy and life ebbs away.

More than ever today, people face this decision – what with the mad rat race, the information overload, the digital communities and keeping up with Joneses or Joshis. Many computer professionals, MBAs from top business schools and senior executives chuck it all when everything is going great for them. Is it worth it?

“Misery arises when one tries to be somebody else, because misery is nothing but being false, imitative, pseudo, phony. Bliss is a shadow of being authentic, true, sincerely your own self. And whenever one sticks to being one’s own self, in that very sticking integration arises; one becomes crystallised. In the world there are a thousand and one ways to pull you out of your centre.

“It is in the society’s interest that nobody should be his own self, because that type of person is dangerous; they are rebellious people. They cannot be easily manipulated; they are not easily obedient. They are not conformist, they are not orthodox; they live according to their own conscience. If something is right they will obey it. If something is not right they would rather die but they would not like to obey it.

“And the society needs slaves, psychological slaves, and spiritual slaves. Political slavery has disappeared from the world, but psychological slavery has not disappeared; in fact it has become more deeply rooted. Man is a slave inside. His freedom is only on the outside, on the periphery. You are given enough rope to feel that you are free, that’s all, but you are tethered, in a bondage.

“That bondage is so psychological and so subtle that one never becomes aware of it. It can be reduced to a single principle: the society teaches you to be imitative. It creates a false self in you. It says ‘Be like Jesus, be like Buddha’; it never says to you ‘Be yourself.’ It always gives you an ideal to follow, and whenever you follow an ideal you are going against yourself. You are imposing something like a mask. You are creating a personality.

“Slowly, slowly the personality becomes a hard crust and the individuality is lost. And that individuality is your real soul. That is nijo, your own self, and it is suffocated. It wants to get out of the personality. Personality is a cage, an imprisonment. And hence there is misery, because the soul is imprisoned. The bird in the cage cannot be happy even if the cage is made of gold. What does it matter to the bird whether the cage is made of gold and studded with diamonds and is very precious? It may matter to the person to whom the cage belongs, but to the bud it is just his death. He cannot open his wings again in the sky, he cannot move. He is free no more.

“This is the situation of every human being: the personality is a golden cage – the Christian personality, the Hindu personality, the Buddhist personality. These are cages, beautiful cages, very decorated, down the ages polished, and decorated. They have become immensely valuable, but the one who is inside is constantly suffering and dying.

“Sannyas means a declaration of freedom, a declaration that ‘I will be only my own self, whatsoever it is. I will seek and search my own reality – I will not become an imitator.’ This declaration is sannyas, because only through this can one arrive at freedom, can one attain to the skies. And it is possible, because that psychological cage is maintained by yourself: you are the prisoner and you are the gaoler and you are the cage. The whole drama is played by you, hence it is not difficult to come out. If there were somebody else who had the keys then it would not be so easy to come out.

“You are your own prisoner and your own gaoler. Once you understand this, the personality can simply be dropped as one drops one’s clothes. And to be nakedly individual, to be nakedly one’s own self, is utter bliss!”

Osho, The Sacred Yes, Ch 19 (excerpt)

Text by Kul Bhushan – first published in Osho World News

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