Drop the idea of safety and security

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Beloved Osho,
From birth onwards, time seemed to me to go faster and faster. But since we left America, just over two months ago, it feels to me like whole lifetimes have passed. Osho, what have you done to time?

Osho in Kathmandu

I have not done anything to time! – but you have realized a certain quality of time. When you are in a certain stable situation, you will feel the movement of time differently, on two counts. One is that when you are in that false, permanent state, time will go slower, that is your feeling. But when that state is no more, remembering it, you will be surprised that it looks as if time went fast.

And when you are in a state of moment-to-moment living, time may feel just the opposite of the first: it will look as if it is going so fast that you cannot believe it. But looking backwards, it will look as if lives of time have passed – and perhaps only months have passed. This is part of the relativity theory of Albert Einstein, and I feel that he has come very close to the truth.

I have not done anything to time; just the situation from being in a commune which looked stable – everything unchanging, tomorrow was certain, it will be just like today – the time moved slowly. But looking backwards you will be surprised at those four and a half years, just how long they were.

And when the commune is dispersed and there is no home, each moment has got a tremendous reality, because the next moment nobody knows what is going to happen. So you start living in the moment, and when you live in the moment, it is big, it is deep. Moment to moment it will look as if you are living a long time, but looking backwards you will be surprised that you have been in this position only for two or three months.

What has happened? When you feel a kind of permanent state, you don’t go deep into the moment. You just touch the surface and move on to another.

When you are living moment to moment, you have to go deep into the moment, live it totally, squeeze the whole juice of it, because the other moment may not be there – this may be the last moment. In this way you make time a tremendously deep phenomenon, but when you look backwards, you will not think that it was a long time.

Albert Einstein was asked again and again about his theory of relativity, and he used to give this example: If you are sitting on a hot stove, time seems to be too long; and when you are sitting with your girlfriend, time seems to be too short. The whole night has passed and you wonder – how quickly! Time is the same – just our attitudes, our experiences change the perspective.

And being homeless is a great experience of freedom, of no boundaries, of no shelter, of no security. The home is, on one hand, a cozy place, secure, safe; but on the other hand, it is a kind of imprisonment. And you have to make so many compromises to be in the home, with the wife, with the children, with the parents – everything. You are not free; you have compromised on so many things, you cannot feel that you are yourself.

Homeless, you are yourself: no compromise, no security. And in fact life is insecure – that’s a reality. It is not safe – that’s a reality. Whatever you do is not going to help you.

I am reminded of a story…

A king was very worried about security and safety. He made a special palace with only one door so nobody could enter. And at the door there were guards: guards upon guards. There were seven lines of guards, so nobody from among the guards could do anything.

One of the neighboring kings heard of this; he came to see. He loved the house, and when they were departing, the visiting king said, “I would also like to make such a palace – this is really safe, secure.” At that moment a beggar sitting by the side of the street started laughing.

Both kings asked, “Why are you laughing?”

He said, “It is a long story, but to cut it short I will tell you the most essential part of it. I was also a king once, I was also worried about safety and security. Then I lost my kingdom and I lost my home, and since then I have been a beggar, and I am not worried about security or safety. By being a beggar, I found what I was missing in being a king.

“And thirdly, I have a suggestion for you. Your palace is beautiful – I have been watching it being built; you have made every possible effort to make it absolutely safe – just one thing is wrong with it.”

The owner of the palace asked, “What is that?”

The beggar said, “You do one thing: you go in and tell your people to remove the door, and make a wall. Then you will be absolutely secure, one hundred percent… because these seven lines of guards are not one hundred percent sure.”

The king said, “You seem to be mad! If I enclose myself only with walls – no way to go out, no way to come in – it will become just a grave.”

The beggar said, “That’s what you have made it – a grave with a door, nothing much. Just look at me: there is no grave. And I am happy that I lost my kingdom and I lost everything that I had, because it was hiding my moment-to-moment reality from me.”

Life is unsafe, insecure – you can die any moment – so why be worried about it? All that you need is to live as totally as possible while you are living.

There are people on the earth – gypsies. That is a strange group that never makes a home. It is always on the move, lives only in tents, and absolutely free. Whenever it wants to change the city, it starts moving its tents, bullock carts.

In my village many gypsies used to pass, and I had asked many of them… You may be surprised that gypsies are Indians; eighty percent of their language is Hindi, so it was not difficult to talk with them. They became known as gypsies because first they went to Egypt, and from Egypt they spread into Europe. From ‘Egypt’ they got the name ‘gypsies’.

I used to ask them, “Why don’t you stay in one place? What is the point of troubling yourself by continuously moving?”

They all laughed and they all said, “You don’t know the beauty of movement. When the river is flowing, it is alive. But a tank is dead – it is stable. The river does not know where it is going – that is its surprise… moment to moment the new. Why get caught up with the old?”

All the governments have been trying to provide them with houses so they can stay in one place, so there is no need for this constant movement. But they are not willing. It seems that, in this movement, they have known a certain beauty, a certain freedom.

And I was surprised: they are the most strong people. Their women are so strong, you cannot believe it. All their business is done by their women – their women will sell things on the market. And if you even ask the price of a knife, you get into trouble!

The gypsy will say, “Five rupees.” Naturally, you have to give some offer. You say, “Two rupees.” She says, “Okay, take the knife.” And if you don’t give her the money, she will take hold of your hand – and the gypsy woman is so strong that even a man will not be able to get rid of her.

And they are so beautiful! I have seen so many women, but no comparison with gypsy women. They are beautiful, they are strong; and the men are beautiful, they are strong. Perhaps their continuous wandering, facing new difficulties, new challenges, has created a certain stamina which people living in houses in one place – being a clerk in the office – have lost. These gypsies don’t want to lose it, and they can see the difference.

Losing the home… it is a beautiful experience to be homeless, because all the animals are homeless, all that exists is homeless. Only man has created out of his cunning mind some safety measures, which don’t help – they simply make him weak, they make him ugly. He is in constant paranoia; and to get rid of that paranoia brings a new upsurge of energy.

So I am in favor of going around the world, moving, so you forget the whole idea of a home. You start having the freedom of a homeless person, and you drop the idea of safety and security… because they don’t exist: they are just fictions.

Osho, Light on the Path, Ch 21, Q 4

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