Osho answers a question by Vasumati. Osho says, “When unhappiness comes one welcomes it, when happiness comes one welcomes it, knowing that they are partners in the same game.”

Osho in the garden

Beloved Osho, One of the essential laws of nature seems to be relationship, interdependence. I have watched two birds fly, intimate with each other and with the wind, so easy and without strife, in perfect harmony. What is the secret of this that seems so hard for human beings? Please Osho, say something about relationship.

Vasumati, the most fundamental thing to be remembered is that life is dialectical. It exists through duality, it is a rhythm between opposites. You cannot be happy forever, otherwise happiness will lose all meaning. You cannot be in harmony forever, otherwise you will become unaware of the harmony. Harmony has to be followed by discord again and again, and happiness has to be followed by unhappiness. Every pleasure has its own pain, and every pain has its own pleasure.

Unless one understands this duality of existence, one remains in unnecessary misery. Accept the total, with all its agonies and all its ecstasies. Don’t hanker for the impossible; don’t desire that there should be only ecstasy and no agony.

Ecstasy cannot exist alone, it needs a contrast. Agony becomes the blackboard, then ecstasy becomes very clear and loud, just as in the darkness of night the stars are so bright. The darker the night, the brighter are the stars. In the day they don’t disappear, they simply become invisible; you cannot see them because there is no contrast.

Think of a life without death, and it will be unendurable pain, an unendurable existence. It will be impossible to live without death. Death defines life, gives it a kind of intensity; because life is fleeting, each moment becomes precious. If life is eternal, then who cares? One can wait for tomorrow forever – then who will live now and here? Because tomorrow there is death, it forces you to live now and here. You have to plunge into the present moment, you have to go to its ultimate depth, because who knows, the next moment may come, may not come.

Seeing this rhythm, one is at ease, at ease with both. When unhappiness comes one welcomes it, when happiness comes one welcomes it, knowing that they are partners in the same game.

This is something which has to be continuously remembered. If it becomes a fundamental remembrance in you, your life will have a totally new flavor – the flavor of freedom, the flavor of unclingingness, the flavor of nonattachment. Whatsoever comes, you remain still, silent, accepting.

And the person who is capable of being still, silent, accepting of pain, frustration and misery, transforms the very quality of misery itself. To him, misery also becomes a treasure; to him, even pain gives a sharpness. To him, even darkness has its own beauty, depth, infinity. To him, even death is not the end but only a beginning of something unknown.

Vasumati, you say, “One of the essential laws of nature seems to be relationship, interdependence.”

They are not synonymous. Relationship is one thing, interdependence totally another. Relationship means you are separate; you are independent and so is the other, and you decide to relate. Relationship is not interdependence, it is a contract between two independent persons. Hence all relationships are false, because basically independence is false. Nobody is independent – and if you are not independent how can you relate? With whom can you relate?

Life is interdependence. Nobody is independent, not for a single moment can you exist alone. You need the whole existence to support you; each moment you are breathing it in and out. It is not relationship, it is utter interdependence. Remember, I am not saying it is dependence, because the idea of dependence again presumes that we are independent. If we are independent then dependence is possible. But both are impossible; it is interdependence.

What do you say? Are waves independent from the ocean or are they dependent on the ocean? Neither is true. They are the ocean, neither independent nor dependent. The ocean cannot exist without the waves, the waves cannot exist without the ocean. They are utterly one, it is a unity.

And so is our whole life. We are waves of a cosmic ocean of consciousness. That means love can have three dimensions. One is that of dependence; that’s what happens to the majority of people. The husband is dependent on the wife, the wife is dependent on the husband; they exploit each other, they dominate each other, they possess each other, they reduce each other to a commodity. In ninety-nine percent of cases, that’s what is happening in the world. That’s why love, which can open the gates of paradise, only opens the gates of hell.

The second possibility is love between two independent persons. That too happens once in a while. But that too brings misery, because there is constant conflict. No adjustment is possible; both are so independent and nobody is ready to compromise, to adjust with the other.

Poets, artists, thinkers, scientists, those who live in a kind of independence, at least in their minds, are impossible people to live with; they are eccentric people to live with. They give freedom to the other, but their freedom looks more like indifference than like freedom, looks more as if they don’t care, as if it doesn’t matter to them. They leave each other to their own spaces. Relationship seems to be only superficial; they are afraid to go deeper into each other, because they are more attached to their freedom than to love, and they don’t want to compromise.

And the third possibility is of interdependence. That happens very rarely, but whenever it happens a part of paradise falls on the earth. Two persons, neither independent nor dependent but in a tremendous synchronicity, as if breathing for each other, one soul in two bodies – whenever that happens, love has happened. Only call this love. The other two are not really love, they are just arrangements – social, psychological, biological, but arrangements. The third is something spiritual.

Vasumati, you also say, “I have watched two birds fly, intimate with each other and with the wind, so easy and without strife, in perfect harmony.”

Yes, it creates jealousy. But birds are not aware; they have no consciousness, they exist below consciousness. Their harmony looks like harmony to you, not to them. And their joy on the wing is your interpretation, not theirs. Remember it: it is your interpretation. They can’t interpret; they have not yet evolved that consciousness which can interpret, which can look back, which can look forward, which can observe and look into things. Their behavior is mechanical.

Man is a higher being, man has the capacity to be conscious. And with consciousness, trouble begins. The higher you move, the more dangerous becomes every step. If you fall, you will be falling from such heights that you will disappear somewhere in the valley. In the valley you can walk unconsciously, there is no fear. But when you are moving towards the top, reaching to the peak, you will have to be more and more conscious.

Man is very close to God, the closest. Hence the responsibility and the danger, the hazard, the adventure. You can fall. And what is the fall?

Because you are capable of being conscious, there are two possibilities. You can become self-conscious – that is the fall. If the self overpowers your consciousness, you have fallen. If consciousness does not allow the self to overpower it, if you simply are conscious and there is no self in it – a consciousness without a center, a consciousness without anybody being there to be conscious – then you are rising and rising and rising and the climax is not far away. Maybe a few steps more, and you will have arrived home. Then you will know what harmony is. And you will know the eternal harmony of existence, the silence that has never been broken; from the beginningless beginnings to the endless end, it continues the same. Then you will know the virgin purity of existence, which has never been polluted.

What can poor birds and animals know of it?

But I can understand, Vasumati, sometimes it creates great jealousy. Two birds on the wing in such harmony, in such love and intimacy, not only between themselves but with the wind, with the sun, with the rain, and man starts feeling, “Why can’t I be so happy? Why can’t I relate with such beauty? Why can’t I enjoy the wind and the rain and the sun so relaxedly?”

It is not because you are lower than the birds, it is because you are higher and much more is required of you. It is because you are higher that God’s criterion for you is higher too. Yes, a drunkard looks lost, without any anxiety, without any worry, and Buddha also looks without any worry and without any anxiety; Buddha also looks drunk. But do you think they exist on the same plane? The drunkard has fallen from consciousness, and the buddha has risen from the self.

Self-consciousness is human. If you fall from consciousness you will have a certain forgetfulness of anxiety. If you rise from the self you will not only have a forgetfulness of anxiety; anxieties simply evaporate, they exist no more.

You can become buddhas. Vasumati, you have the capacity, the potential, to become a buddha. The birds are poor. But man has fallen so low that he even starts feeling jealous of poor birds.

You ask, “What is the secret of this that seems so hard for human beings?”

The secret is consciousness. Consciousness brings freedom. Freedom does not mean only the freedom to do right; if that was the meaning of freedom, what kind of freedom would it be? If you are only free to do right, then you are not free. Freedom implies both the alternatives – to do right, to do wrong. Freedom implies the right to say yes or to say no.

And this is something subtle to be understood. Saying no feels more of a freedom than saying yes. And I am not philosophizing, it is a simple fact you can observe in yourself. Whenever you say no, you feel more free. Whenever you say yes, you don’t feel free, because yes means you have obeyed, yes means you have surrendered – where is the freedom? No means you are stubborn, keeping aloof; no means you have asserted yourself, no means you are ready to fight. No defines you more clearly than yes. Yes is vague, it is like a cloud. No is very solid and substantial, like a rock.

That’s why psychologists say that between seven and fourteen years of age each child starts learning to say no more and more. By saying no, he is getting out of the psychological womb of the mother. Even when there is no need to say no, he will say no. Even when to say yes is in his favor, he will say no.

There is much at stake; he has to learn to say no more and more. By the time he is fourteen, sexually mature, he will say the ultimate no to the mother; he will fall in love with a woman. That is his ultimate no to the mother, he is turning his back on the mother. He says, “I am finished with you, I have chosen my woman. I have become an individual, independent in my own right. I want to live my life, I want to do my own thing.”

And if the parents insist, “Have short hair,” he will have long hair. If the parents insist, “Have long hair,” he will have short hair. Just watch a little longer. When hippies become parents then they will see, their children will have short hair – because they will have to learn no.

If the parents insist, “Cleanliness is next to God,” the children will start living in every kind of dirt. They will be dirty. They won’t take a bath, they won’t clean themselves, they won’t use soap. And they will find rationalizations that soap is dangerous to the skin, that it is unnatural, that no animal ever uses soap. They can find as many rationalizations as possible, but deep down all those rationalizations are just cover-ups. The real thing is, they want to say no. And of course when you want to say no, you have to find reasons.

Hence, no gives you a sense of freedom; not only that, it also gives you a sense of intelligence. To say yes needs no intelligence. When you say yes, nobody asks you why. When you have already said yes, who bothers to ask you why? There is no need of any reasoning or argument, you have already said yes. When you say no, why is bound to be asked. It sharpens your intelligence, it gives you a definition, a style, freedom. Watch the psychology of the no.

It is so hard for human beings to be in harmony, because of consciousness. Consciousness gives freedom, freedom gives you the capacity to say no, and there is more possibility to say no than to say yes. And without yes, there is no harmony. Yes is harmony. But it takes time to grow up, to mature, to come to such a maturity where you can say yes and yet remain free, where you can say yes and yet remain unique, where you can say yes and yet not become a slave.

The freedom that is brought by no is a very childish freedom. It is good for seven-year-olds up to fourteen-year-olds. But if a person gets caught in it and his whole life becomes a no-saying, then he has stopped growing.

The ultimate growth is to say yes with such joy as a child says no. That is a second childhood. And the man who can say yes with tremendous freedom and joy, with no hesitation, with no strings attached, with no conditions – a pure and simple joy, a pure and simple yes – that man has become a sage. That man lives in harmony again. And his harmony is of a totally different dimension than the harmony of trees, animals and birds. They live in harmony because they cannot say no, and the sage lives in harmony because he does not say no. Between the two, the birds and the buddhas, are all human beings – un-grown-up, immature, childish, stuck somewhere, still trying to say no, to have some feeling of freedom.

I am not saying don’t learn to say no. I am saying learn to say no when it is time to say no, but don’t get stuck with it. Slowly slowly, see that there is a higher freedom that comes with yes, and a greater harmony. A peace that passeth understanding.

Osho, The Book of Wisdom, Ch 12, Q 1

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