Gayatri, Because you are not yet….
Your feeling is indicative of a truth: nobody is himself. Everybody is wearing a mask, everybody is pretending to be somebody else. Your smile is painted, your face is not yours. You are simply fulfilling others’ expectations. Your parents wanted you to be this way, that’s why you are this way. Your teachers wanted you to be like this, that’s why you are like this. Your society demands that you are of a certain type and you simply fulfill it. You are a slave, you are not your own being.
And so many demands have been made on you that you don’t have only one mask, you have many, because in twenty-four hours’ time you have to change many times. When you go to the office and you see the boss you have to wear a different mask — smiling, wagging your tail. And when you are facing your servant you have a totally different mask; now you expect him to smile and wag his tail. You take revenge; what the boss has done to you, you will do to your servant. He will go home and do the same to his wife, and the wife will do the same to the kid, and the kid will do the same to his toy… and this goes on and on. With the friend you have one mask, with the stranger another; with the wife one and with your girlfriend another.
And you have become so skillful that the masks slip and change of their own accord. It has become almost an automatic process, and very smooth. This is what your personality is.
Hence Gayatri, it is true that you don’t feel that you are your own self. This is the beginning of a great revolution in your life.
People think they are themselves. They are deceiving themselves or they are living in an illusion. This is good to know, that “I am not myself”, because this is the beginning. If you become very aware that you are not yourself then sooner or later you will have to drop all falsities. Then sooner or later you will have to assert your true being.
An Irishman went for a job at a building site. The foreman told him, “You can start at 7.30 a.m. on Monday morning.”
Paddy went back to his flat and told his mates, “You must get me up at 7.00 a.m. on Monday morning, because oi start me new job at 7.30 a.m. and oi mustn’t be late on the first morning.”
Monday morning arrived and before his mates woke him up, they painted his hands and his face black.
“Paddy, get up. It’s 7.00 a.m.” He woke up, had his breakfast and walked across the town to the building site. The foreman went over to him.
“Yes, what can I do for you?”
The Irishman said, “You gave me a job and told me to start this morning.”
“I’m sorry, sir, there must be some mistake. I’ve only got one man starting this morning, and he’s Irish.” The Irishman left the building site and walked home slowly; as he walked past a shop window, he turned and saw his face was black.
“By Jaasus, dave woke de wrong bloody man up!”
This is the situation. You are not yourself. You go on doing things — getting married, giving birth to children, bringing up children — and you are not yourself. You will do all the functions of your life and die — and you never lived, you never allowed yourself to live! Somebody else lived in your place, and somebody else will die. You came here and you didn’t use the opportunity of life. You simply passed through without being at all enriched by life, by love, by the thousand and one experiences that life consists of.
Now, Gayatri, if the feeling is arising that “I am not myself”, don’t be worried. This will create great worry in you; you will start feeling shaky. Don’t be worried! This is a blessing! You are not yourself: this is a truth that is dawning on you.
Don’t go on
Now start searching for who you are. You are not your faces. Now begin the search for the original face, the face that you had before you were born and the face that you will again have when you are dead. Between the two, birth and death, you have many faces which are not yours.
Now the time has come to get out of others’ expectations. Don’t go on fulfilling others’ expectations; that is a very subtle slavery. The mother wants you to do this, the father wants you to do that, the society wants this… and everybody wants, everybody is making demands on you. And nobody leaves you alone and nobody wants you to do the thing that you would like to do. Now the time has come: do your own thing — get out of all this bondage.
This is what sannyas is all about: a declaration of freedom, a declaration that “I am going to be myself whatsoever the cost and whatsoever the consequences.” And you will not be a loser, that I can promise you; you will not be a loser, you will be infinitely enriched. You are not here to fulfill others’ expectations, you are here to live your authentic life.
And the others who are expecting are not aware of what they are doing to you: they are simply expecting things which were expected from them. Their parents had expected certain things; they followed, they remained slaves. And they have given birth to you — now they are expecting the same things from you.
You are here
to live your
You will give birth to children. Remember, don’t enforce any expectation on them. Help them to be free, love them, but don’t give your ideas to them. Love them, but don’t give your religions to them. Love them, help them to become more aware so they can choose their religion, their idea, whatsoever they want to be. Help them to become strong, more conscious. Don’t give them any conscience, any character. Give them more consciousness, every opportunity to become more alert. And trust life, don’t be so afraid. And don’t prepare everything for them; otherwise they will never grow any backbone, they will remain spineless. Don’t protect them too much. Yes, protect them when there is danger, but not too much. Give them enough rope so they can learn to walk on their own feet. Leave them sometimes alone, don’t be constantly after them. Give them some space where they can feel themselves. Don’t overcrowd them, don’t impinge on them.
Get out of the interference of others. Yes, it will be difficult because others are not going to leave you so easily; nobody wants to leave his slave so easily. And they will talk about love, and they will say, “I love you, so you have to follow me.” Love never asks that; this is not love.
Love says, “Be a light unto yourself.” If it is true love it always gives you freedom. And it trusts that the inner life that you have, the inner light that you have, will lead you, will guide you. And even if you sometimes go astray it is good, because one learns only by trial and error; there is no other way. You cannot be protected from committing errors. If you are protected from committing errors you will never learn; you will always remain stupid, retarded — and that is the situation of millions of people in the world.
The average mental age of humanity is only twelve years. This is a very sad situation, it is very unfortunate. A seventy-year-old person, and the mental age of twelve? It can be just the other way too; the seventy-year-old person can have the mental age of seven hundred years too. That’s how it should be.
Somebody asked Emerson, “How old are you?” And he was sixty, but he said, “Three hundred and sixty years old.”
The questioner could not believe his ears. He said, “Please, repeat it again.”
And Emerson repeated it slowly. He said, “Three hundred and sixty, that is my actual age.”
And the man said, “Are you kidding? You don’t look more than sixty.”
Emerson said, “Chronologically I am sixty, but I have lived so much in these sixty years — six times more than people usually live — hence I count my age to be three hundred and sixty years.”
Don’t die a retarded person. And don’t sacrifice yourself for beautiful names: love, duty, service, society. Your first duty is towards your being. Fulfill that first, and then all else will be fulfilled.
My own observation is that a person who loves himself deeply becomes so blissful that his whole life becomes a prayer, a service, compassion. Only a blissful person can have compassion, and only a blissful person can have love. The person who goes on following others remaining so miserable deep down, so crippled — how can he love, how can he be compassionate? Yes, he can go through empty motions of love, duty, but that is not going to fulfill him or the person he is dutiful to. It is not going to fulfill anybody.
Look at the situation! The whole of humanity pretends to love, and still there is no love. You don’t feel the fragrance of love, you don’t see the joy of love. And everybody is a lover! If so many millions of people were loving the world would become a paradise. But it is not; it is a hell! And the reason is that nobody is courageous enough to be free from the expectations of others.
Be free, Gayatri! The time has come to be free. You need not hurt anybody. By being free I don’t mean being angry with others or fighting with others or reacting negatively. That again is not freedom. If you react, others will go on controlling you in a negative way.
For example, your mother has been teaching you that cleanliness is next to God, and now you want to be free — so uncleanliness becomes next to God. Your mother was teaching you every day to take a cold shower first thing in the morning; and now you have forgotten completely what it feels like to have a shower. For years you have not taken a bath! This is not freedom, this is reaction: your mother is still controlling you in a negative way. She is still dominant; you are fighting with her.
Freedom simply means that you start living intelligently on your own, neither according to your mother nor against her. If you are against her you can never be free. Don’t be against anybody and don’t be for anybody, simply live out of your own simple intelligence. Yes, many times you will commit errors; that’s perfectly okay because that’s how one learns. Many times you will go astray; that’s absolutely right. By going astray you will learn how to come back to the right track. And when you come back to the right track, what joy, what rejoicing, what celebration!
Don’t react, be rebellious. Reaction is not rebellion. Rebellion is not at all concerned with others, for or against. Rebellion is something that arises in you that is not concerned with others. And reaction does not arise in you; it is concerned with others; first you were obedient, now you are disobedient.
Don’t be obedient, don’t be disobedient — be intelligent! And soon you will be able to discover your own original face, and that is how one should be.
Osho, The Guest, Ch 2, Q 4