Man is asleep – man lives in a deep slumber

Osho A-Z

Osho speaking on ‘Asleep’: “Zen is an effort to become alert and awake…”

man falling asleep

The most fundamental religious truth is that man is asleep — not physically, but metaphysically; not apparently, but deep down. Man lives in a deep slumber. He works, he moves, he thinks, he imagines, he dreams, but the sleep continues as a basic substratum to his life. Rare are the moments when you feel really awake, very rare; they can be counted on the fingers. If in seventy years’ life you had only seven moments of awakening, that, too, will be too much.

Man lives like a robot: mechanically efficient, but with no awareness. Hence the whole problem! There are so many problems man has to face, but they are all by-products of his sleep.

So the first thing to be understood is what this sleep consists in — because Zen is an effort to become alert and awake. All religion is nothing but that: an effort to become more conscious, an effort to become more aware, an effort to bring more alertness, more attentiveness to your life.

All the religions of the world, in one way or other, emphasize that the sleep consists in deep identification or in attachment.

Man’s life has two layers to it: one is that of the essential, and another is that of the accidental. The essential is never born, never dies. The accidental is born, lives and dies.

The essential is eternal, timeless; the accidental is just accidental. We become too much attached to the accidental and we tend to forget the essential.

A man becomes too much attached to money — money is accidental. It has nothing to do with essential life. A man becomes too much attached to his house or to his car, or to his wife, or to her husband, to children, to relationship. Relationship is accidental; it has nothing essential in it. It is not your real being. And in this century, the twentieth century, the problem has become too deep.

There are people who call the twentieth century ‘the accidental century’ — they are right. People are living too much identified with the non-essential: money, power, prestige, respectability. You will have to leave all that behind when you go. Even an Alexander has to go empty-handed.

I have heard:

A great mystic died. When he reached Paradise, he asked God, “Why was Jesus not born in the twentieth century?”

The Lord God started laughing and said, “Impossible! Impossible! Where would the twentieth century people ever find three wise men or a virgin?”

[…] All private goals are against the goal of the universe itself. All private goals are against the goal of the Whole. All private goals are neurotic. The essential man comes to know, to feel, that ‘I am not separate from the Whole and there is no need to seek and search for any destiny on my own. Things are happening, the world is moving — call it God — He is doing things. They are happening of their own accord. There is no need for me to make any struggle, any effort; there is no need for me to fight for anything. I can relax and be.’ The essential man is not a doer.

The accidental man is a doer. The accidental man is, of course, then in anxiety, tension, stress, anguish, continuously sitting on a volcano — it can erupt any moment, because he lives in a world of uncertainty and believes as if it is certain. This creates tension in his being: he knows deep down that nothing is certain. A rich man has everything that he can have, and yet he knows deep down that he has nothing. That’s what makes a rich man even poorer than a poor man.

Osho, A Sudden Clash of Thunder, Ch 3

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