Only The Present Is Existential


Beloved Osho,
In the face of the huge mystery of life, since the early ages humankind has consulted oracles. It’s very famous throughout history – like the oracle of Delphi.

People asked the advice of the stars to know about human destiny; witches or wise women used to read destiny in the tea leaves or even in tortoise shells. The book of changes and the Aleister Crowley tarot deck are often used nowadays.
We use your tarot deck as a meditation to help us to move from the head to the heart in our daily life. But it seems that all oracles are pointing now to the present.
Just the very fact of your existence in this moment of the universe helps to make simpler our destiny, showing only two alternatives: disappearing or not.
Osho, would you please comment on this subject?


There has been a great misunderstanding between life and time. Time is thought to consist of three tenses: past, present, future – which is wrong. Time consists only of past and future.

It is life which consists of the present.

So those who want to live, for them there is no other way than to live this moment. Only the present is existential. The past is simply a collection of memories, and the future is nothing but your imaginations, your dreams.

Reality is herenow.

If you are just here
in this moment,
there is no time.

Those who want just to think about life, about living, about love, for them past and future are perfectly beautiful, because they give them infinite scope. They can decorate their past, make it as beautiful as they like – although they never lived it, when it was present they were not there. These are just shadows, reflections. They were continuously running, and while running they have seen a few things. They think they have lived. In the past only death is the reality, not life. In the future also, only death is the reality, not life.

Those who have missed living in the past, automatically, to substitute for the gap, start dreaming about the future. Their future is only a projection out of the past. Whatever they have missed in the past, they are hoping for in the future; and between the two non-existences, is the small existent moment which is life.

For those who want to live, not to think about it; to love, not to think about it; to be, not to philosophize about it – there is no other alternative. Drink the present moment’s juices, squeeze it totally, because it is not going to come back again; once gone, it is gone forever.

But because of the misunderstanding which has been almost as old as man – and all the cultures have joined in it – they have made the present part of time. And the present has nothing to do with time.

If you are just here in this moment, there is no time. There is immense silence, stillness, no movement; nothing is passing, everything has come to a sudden stop.

The present gives you the opportunity to dive deep into the water of life, or to fly high into the sky of life. But on both sides there are dangers – past and future are the most dangerous words in human language. Between past and future, living in the present is almost like walking on a tightrope – on both sides there is danger.

But once you have tasted the juice of the present, you don’t care about dangers. Once you are in tune with life, then nothing matters.

And to me life is all there is.

You can call it ‘God’, but that is not a good name because religions have contaminated it. You can call it ‘existence’, which is beautiful. But what you call it is not of any consequence. The understanding should be clear that you have only one moment in your hands – the real moment. And again and again you will get that real moment. Either you live it or you leave it unlived.

Most of the people simply drag themselves from the cradle to the grave without living at all.

I have heard about a Sufi statement that a man, when he died, suddenly realized, “My God, I was alive.” But only death as a contrast made him aware, that for seventy years he had been alive, but life itself had not enriched him.

It is not the fault of life.

It is our misunderstanding.

My insistence for watchfulness will give you life without even thinking about it, because watchfulness can only be in the present. You can witness only the present.

Live totally and live intensely, so that each moment becomes golden, and your whole life becomes a series of golden moments. Such a person never dies, because he has the Midas touch – whatever he touches becomes golden.

When he touches death, death also becomes golden. He enjoys it as much as life – or perhaps more – because death is more condensed than life. Life is spread over seventy, eighty years. Death happens in a single moment. It is so condensed, that if you have lived your life rightly, you will be able to enter into the mystery of death. And the mystery of death is that it is only a cover.

Inside is your immortality, your eternal life.

Osho, The Transmission of the Lamp, Ch 30, Q 1

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