You don’t know how to live in the present, how can your past be real?

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Osho states, “The past is gone – you are no longer a child, or you are no longer a young man. The past is gone. Let the gone be gone.”

Osho

A question is asked in discourse:

Oh, the religion! The adoration of the past! The beauty and sentimentality of the past!

Since I was a little child, I have always felt like thinking about the past and getting a feeling of sweet pain, that the past is gone, and crying sweet and warm tears and really enjoying the whole thing very much – this whole thing called nostalgia. Sometimes I really love my past. Having a past to play with, I feel blessed. Am I a fool?

So I hear you and agree with you, intellectual, that the past is nonexistential and unreal, but I seem to feel different about it. What is going on?

If nostalgia is just a trick of the ego, which it must be, then why does it come as a good warm feeling?

How can the devil be sweet?

Or how can my feelings be unreal?

Or if my feelings are unreal, what is left?

The one question is not one question; it is seven questions. So we will have to be surgical. Excuse me. We will have to cut this question into seven parts. […]

The past is gone – you are no longer a child, or you are no longer a young man. The past is gone. Let the gone be gone. That’s what Jesus says when he says, “Let the dead bury their dead.” Let the gone be gone, and look at that which is.

And now one thing to be remembered. A person who is so obsessed with the past, his past is not reliable either. Because, for example, today, right now, I am talking to you. This is the present. Tomorrow it will have become the past and then you will think about it – Osho talking to you and how beautiful it was. Look at the foolishness of it. One doctor used to come here, and he would continuously take notes. I asked him, “What do you go on doing?” He said, “I take notes because you say such beautiful things, I would like to remember them later on.” “But when I am talking right now, then you are taking notes. Your notes are not reliable, because you don’t hear me: you are concerned with the notes too much. Your concern with the notes simply says you are too concerned with changing the present into the past, and then you will enjoy.”

Yes, there are people…. There is a certain category of people called the ‘tourists’. It is a sort of neurosis. They go to the Himalayas. They don’t look at the Himalayas – they are continuously clicking their cameras and looking at the guidebook and listening to the guide. The Himalayas are not a concern at all. And if you ask them they will say, “Yes, back at home, resting in our armchairs, we will look at the album.”

Don’t be a tourist. ‘Tourist’ is a certain sort of neurosis. When you are facing the Himalayas, tell the guide to keep quiet, because whatsoever he says is meaningless. The Himalayas are there, you are facing Gourishankar; let everybody keep quiet. Look at it, face it, encounter it. It is tremendously beautiful. Don’t bring your camera in; the camera will falsify it. And the camera can give only one aspect; just a small window will open. The whole of the Himalayas was available in its totality, and you missed that. And you will look back home – with nostalgia – at how beautiful were the Himalayas. And you were never there! You were with your camera and you were listening to the guide and you were looking at the guidebook and the map – and you were never there. Maybe when you were in the Himalayas you were thinking about your home – with nostalgia!

I cannot trust you that you had a real past. Your past is gone, and even that past cannot be very real. Because you don’t know how to live in the present, how can your past be real? Not even as a memory is it worth trusting. First live in the present – let the present have its total impact on you – then your past will have something, a true memory. Otherwise your memory is not reliable. You may be imagining it; you may be dreaming about it.

While I am talking to you, be here with me. When you are in Poona, be in Poona. Otherwise there are people: when they are in Poona they think of Philadelphia, and when they are in Philadelphia they will think of Poona. They go on falsifying everything.

“If nostalgia is just a trick of the ego, which it must be, then why does it come as a good warm feeling?” Because you don’t know how to be warm here-now. Because you don’t know how to be loving here-now. You are cold and frozen here-now, so you seek warmth in memories. You are tremendously poor. I feel sorry for you.

“How can the devil be sweet?” The devil is always sweet. God is sometimes bitter too, but the devil is always sweet. He has to be sweet; otherwise how will he deceive you? He cannot afford to be bitter. He has to always buttress you.

“How can my feelings be unreal?” I am not saying that your feelings are unreal. I am saying feelings exist in the present. In fact the word ‘feel’ has no past tense. I don’t know about language and the grammarians, but I say to you, the word ‘feel’ has no past tense – cannot have. ‘Feel’ means ‘feel here-now’. Thinking is always past; thinking has no present tense. You cannot think here-now. The moment you think, you are lost, you have lost track of the present. Feeling is always of the present; thinking, always of the past.

You try it. And I am stating a fact. You try it. If you think, you always think of that which is gone or that which has not come yet; both nonexistential. Thinking is nonexistential. Feeling is existential. If you love a person, and you feel the love, you feel here-now. How can you have the feeling of yesterday? You will THINK that you felt yesterday; you cannot FEEL it. And to think that you felt is not feeling; it is thinking. It is a deception.

And, “If my feelings are unreal, what is left?” I am not saying your feelings are unreal. I am saying you are unreal. And when you are not left, God is. God knows only the present; God has no past and no future. God always is. You cannot make a sentence “God WAS”; it will be meaningless. You cannot say “God WILL BE”; that too will be meaningless. God is always is; God is isness, the absolute present.

When you are not there… And you are nothing but your past. What are you? Just a collection of the past. Drop your past, and you are not. The ego is nothing but a collective name for your whole past; and when you don’t live in the past, you start living egolessly. Then moment to moment you go on dying to the past, you go on renouncing the past, and each moment you are fresh, young, virgin. And in that virginity is God.

The soldier returned home unexpectedly on a fast leave. A few minutes later he was in bed with his wife when the janitor knocked on the door.

“My God,” he screamed, jumping out of bed, “it is your husband!”

“Don’t be silly,” said his wife. “My husband is in Germany.”

Get it? They both forgot the present. The soldier has come on a fast leave and immediately gets into bed with the wife, and the janitor knocks on the door. Of course he must have become afraid, as he must have been becoming afraid in other people’s houses with other people’s wives, and he suddenly jumps off the bed, and he says, “My God, it is your husband!” And he is the husband! “Don’t be silly,” says his wife. “My husband is in Germany.” She must be sleeping with others. And both are in the past. People are so unaware of the present. People are not in the present at all. That’s how they are missing God. God is the present, and you are not in the present. To be present – in the present – is to be in meditation. That’s all meditation is about. To be present is to be prayerful.

Osho, Ecstasy – The Forgotten Language, Ch 10, Q 3 (excerpt)

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