“…misery needs no talents, anybody can afford it. Happiness needs talents, genius, creativity. Only creative people are happy…
…Intelligence gives you the courage to be alone, and intelligence gives you the vision to be creative. A great urge, a great hunger arises to be creative. And only then, as a consequence, you can be happy, you can be blissful.” - Osho, The Book of Wisdom
Beloved Osho, what is this attachment to misery? And why is it so difficult to be happy?
Prem Darshan, misery has many things to give to you which happiness cannot give. In fact, happiness takes away many things from you. Happiness takes all that you have ever had, all that you have ever been; happiness destroys you. Misery nourishes your ego, and happiness is basically a state of egolessness. That is the problem, the very crux of the problem. That’s why people find it very difficult to be happy. That’s why millions of people in the world have to live in misery… have decided to live in misery. It gives you a very very crystallized ego. Miserable, you are. Happy, you are not. In misery, crystallization; in happiness you become diffused.
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If this is understood then things become very clear. Misery makes you special. Happiness is a universal phenomenon, there is nothing special about it. Trees are happy and animals are happy and birds are happy. The whole existence is happy, except man. Being miserable, man becomes very special, extraordinary.
Misery makes you capable of attracting people’s attention. Whenever you are miserable you are attended to, sympathized with, loved. Everybody starts taking care of you. Who wants to hurt a miserable person? Who is jealous of a miserable person? Who wants to be antagonistic to a miserable person? That would be too mean.
The miserable person is cared for, loved, attended to. There is great investment in misery. If the wife is not miserable the husband simply tends to forget her. If she is miserable the husband cannot afford to neglect her. If the husband is miserable the whole family, the wife, the children, are around him, worried about him; it gives great comfort. One feels one is not alone, one has a family, friends.
When you are ill, depressed, in misery, friends come to visit you, to solace you, to console you. When you are happy, the same friends become jealous of you. When you are really happy, you will find the whole world has turned against you.
Nobody likes a happy person, because the happy person hurts the egos of the others. The others start feeling, “So you have become happy and we are still crawling in darkness, misery and hell. How dare you be happy when we all are in such misery!”
And of course the world consists of miserable people, and nobody is courageous enough to let the whole world go against him; it is too dangerous, too risky. It is better to cling to misery, it keeps you a part of the crowd. Happy, and you are an individual; miserable, you are part of a crowd — Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian, Indian, Arabian, Japanese. Happy? Do you know what happiness is? Is it Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan? Happiness is simply happiness. One is transported into another world. One is no more part of the world the human mind has created, one is no more part of the past, of the ugly history. One is no more part of time at all. When you are really happy, blissful, time disappears, space disappears.
Albert Einstein has said that in the past scientists used to think that there were two realities — space and time. But he said that these two realities are not two — they are two faces of the same single reality. Hence he coined the word spaciotime, a single word. Time is nothing else but the fourth dimension of space. Einstein was not a mystic, otherwise he would have introduced the third reality also — the transcendental, neither space nor time. That too is there, I call it the witness. And once these three are there, you have the whole trinity. You have the whole concept of trimurti, three faces of God. Then you have all the four dimensions. The reality is four-dimensional: three dimensions of space, and the fourth dimension of time.
But there is something else, which cannot be called the fifth dimension, because it is not the fifth really, it is the whole, the transcendental. When you are blissful you start moving into the transcendental. It is not social, it is not traditional, it has nothing to do with human mind at all.
Your question is significant, Darshan: “What is this attachment to misery?”
There are reasons. Just look into your misery, watch, and you will be able to find what the reasons are. And then look into those moments when once in a while you allow yourself the joy of being in joy, and then see what differences are there. These will be the few things: when you are miserable you are a conformist. Society loves it, people respect you, you have great respectability, you can even become a saint; hence your saints are all miserable. The misery is written large on their faces, in their eyes.
Because they are miserable they are against all joy. They condemn all joy as hedonism; they condemn every possibility of joy as sin. They are miserable, and they would like to see the whole world miserable. In fact only in a miserable world can they be thought to be saints. In a happy world they would have to be hospitalized, mentally treated. They are pathological.
I have seen many saints, and I have been looking into the lives of your past saints. Ninety-nine out of a hundred of them are simply abnormal — neurotic or even psychotic. But they were respected — and they were respected for their misery, remember. The more misery they lived through, the more they were respected. There have been saints who would beat their body with a whip every day in the morning, and people would gather to see this great austerity, asceticism, penance. And the greatest was one who would have wounds all over his body — and these people were thought to be saints!
There have been saints who have destroyed their eyes, because it is because of the eyes that one becomes aware of beauty, and lust arises. And they were respected because they had destroyed their eyes. God had given them eyes to see the beauty of existence; they became blind by their own decision.
There have been saints who cut their genital organs. And they were respected very much, tremendously, for the simple reason that they had been self-destructive, violent with themselves. These people were psychologically ill. There have been saints who have been worshipped because they were capable of fasting for long periods, were experts in fasting. It is a certain expertise, you need a little training. Not much intelligence is needed; the training is very ordinary and any stupid person can go through it and learn it. You just have to be able to enjoy suffering — and only the ill person enjoys suffering. If you can remain for ten, twelve days on a fast, only the first four, five days are difficult. Then the body metabolism becomes attuned to not eating. In fact, it starts eating itself.
The body has a dual mechanism in it; for emergency purposes the body has a dual mechanism. You eat, you get energy from the outside, because every day you need a certain quantity of energy to live by. If you don’t do that, then the body has some stored energy for emergency times; that’s what fat is. Fat is emergency food, stored food. If a person is normal, healthy, he can live for three months without food; that much fat the body contains.
In the ancient days when the body was developing and man was coming down from the trees and was becoming a hunter, it was not possible every day to find food. Some days you would find it, some days you would not find. Man started gathering some storage inside; the body has learned this.
The more afraid you are of tomorrow, the more fat you will gather. That’s why women gather more fat. Down the ages they have been more afraid — they have been made more afraid by men. They gather more fat. And women are more capable of going on a fast than men. Women need more fat also because they will have to go through pregnancy, and eating becomes difficult in pregnancy. They will have to eat their own stored food. In fact to be on a fast is nothing but eating yourself, it is cannibalism. Reduced to the truth, a man who fasts is a cannibal; he eats himself. That’s why when you fast, every day one or two pounds of weight start to disappear. Where is it going? You are eating it; it is your need, everyday need. That much energy is used by your machine, by your body.
Great saints were doing long fasts, just torturing themselves. But it is not much of an intelligent thing. Just for a few days, the first week, it is difficult; the second week it is very easy; the third week it becomes difficult to eat. The fourth week you have completely forgotten. The body enjoys eating itself and feels less heavy, obviously, with no problems to digest. And the whole energy that is continuously being used in digestion becomes available to the head. You can think more, you can concentrate more, you can forget the body and its needs.
But these things simply created miserable people and a miserable society. Look into your misery and you will find certain fundamental things are there. One: it gives you respect. People feel more friendly towards you, more sympathetic. You will have more friends if you are miserable. This is a very strange world, something is fundamentally wrong with it. It should not be so, the happy person should have more friends. But become happy and people become jealous of you, they are no more friendly. They feel cheated; you have something that is not available to them. Why are you happy? So we have learned down the ages a subtle mechanism: to repress happiness and to express misery. It has become our second nature.
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My sannyasins have to drop this whole mechanism. You have to learn how to be happy, and you have to learn to respect happy people and you have to learn to pay more attention to happy people, remember. This is a great service to humanity. Don’t sympathize too much with people who are miserable. If somebody is miserable, help, but don’t sympathize. Don’t give him the idea that misery is something worthwhile. Let him know perfectly well that you are helping him, but “This is not out of respect, this is simply because you are miserable.” And you are not doing anything but trying to bring the man out of his misery, because misery is ugly. Let the person feel that the misery is ugly, that to be miserable is not something virtuous, that “You are not doing a great service to humanity.”
Be happy, respect happiness, and help people to understand that happiness is the goal of life — SATCHITANAND. The Eastern mystics have said God has three qualities. He is sat: he is truth, being. He is chit: consciousness, awareness. And, ultimately, the highest peak is anand: bliss. Wherever bliss is, God is. Whenever you see a blissful person, respect him, he is holy. And wherever you feel a gathering which is blissful, festive, think of it as a sacred place.
We have to learn a totally new language, only then this old rotten humanity can be changed. We have to learn the language of health, wholeness, happiness. It is going to be difficult because our investments are great.
Darshan, that is why it is so difficult to be happy and so easy to be miserable. One thing more: misery needs no talents, anybody can afford it. Happiness needs talents, genius, creativity. Only creative people are happy.
Let this sink deep in your heart: only creative people are happy. Happiness is a by-product of creativity. Create something, and you will be happy. Create a garden, let the garden bloom, and something will bloom in you. Create a painting, and something starts growing in you with the growing painting. As the painting comes to the finish, as you are giving the last touches to the painting, you will see you are no more the same person. You are giving the last touches to something that is very new in you.
Write a poem, sing a song, dance a dance, and see: you start becoming happy. That’s why in my commune creativity is going to be our prayer to God. This commune is not going to be of those sad, long faces who are not doing anything, just sitting under trees or in their huts, vegetating. This commune is going to be a commune of artists, painters, poets, sculptors, dancers, musicians — and so many things are there to be done!
God has only given you an opportunity to be creative: life is an opportunity to be creative. If you are creative you will be happy. Have you seen the joy in the eyes of a mother when the child starts growing in her womb? Have you seen the change that happens to the woman when she becomes pregnant? What is happening? Something is flowering in her, she is being creative, she is going to give birth to a new life. She is utterly happy, tremendously joyous, a song is in her heart.
When the child is born and the woman sees the child for the first time, see the depth of her eyes, the joy of her being. She has gone through much pain for this joy, but she has not gone into this pain for the pain’s sake. She has suffered, but her suffering is tremendously valuable; it is not ascetic, it is creative. She has suffered to create more joy.
When you want to climb to the highest peak of the mountains, it is arduous. And when you have reached the peak and you lie down, whispering with the clouds, looking at the sky, the joy that fills your heart — that joy always comes whenever you reach any peak of creativity.
It needs intelligence to be happy, and people are taught to remain unintelligent. The society does not want intelligence to flower. The society does not need intelligence; in fact it is very much afraid of intelligence. The society needs stupid people. Why? — because stupid people are manageable. Intelligent people are not necessarily obedient — they may obey, they may not obey. But the stupid person cannot disobey; he is always ready to be commanded. The stupid person needs somebody to command him, because he has no intelligence to live on his own. He wants somebody to direct him; he seeks and searches his own tyrants.
Politicians don’t want intelligence to happen in the world, priests don’t want intelligence to happen in the world, generals don’t want intelligence to happen in the world. Nobody really wants it. People want everybody to remain stupid, then everybody is obedient, conformist, never goes outside the fold, remains always part of the mob, is controllable, manipulatable, manageable.
The intelligent person is rebellious. Intelligence is rebellion. The intelligent person decides on his own whether to say no or yes. The intelligent person cannot be traditional, he cannot go on worshipping the past; there is nothing to worship in the past. The intelligent person wants to create a future, wants to live in the present. His living in the present is his way of creating the future.
The intelligent person does not cling to the dead past, does not carry corpses. Howsoever beautiful they have been, howsoever precious, he does not carry the corpses. He is finished with the past; it is gone, and it is gone forever.
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But the foolish person is traditional. He is ready to follow the priest, ready to follow any stupid politician, ready to follow any order — anybody with authority and he is ready to fall at his feet. Without intelligence there can be no happiness. Man can only be happy if he is intelligent, utterly intelligent. Meditation is a device to release your intelligence. The more meditative you become, the more intelligent you become. But remember, by intelligence I don’t mean intellectuality. Intellectuality is part of stupidity.
Intelligence is a totally different phenomenon, it has nothing to do with the head. Intelligence is something that comes from your very center. It wells up in you, and with it many things start growing in you. You become happy, you become creative, you become rebellious, you become adventurous, you start loving insecurity, you start moving into the unknown. You start living dangerously, because that is the only way to live.
To be a sannyasin means to decide that “I will live my life intelligently,” that “I will not be just an imitator,” that “I will live within my own being, I will not be directed and commanded from without,” that “I will risk all to be myself, but I will not be part of a mob psychology,” that “I will walk alone,” that “I will find my own path,” that “I will make my own path in the world of truth.” Just by walking into the unknown you create the path. The path is not already there; just by walking, you create it.
For stupid people there are superhighways where crowds move. And for centuries and centuries they have been moving — and going nowhere, going in circles. Then you have the comfort that you are with many people, you are not alone. Intelligence gives you the courage to be alone, and intelligence gives you the vision to be creative. A great urge, a great hunger arises to be creative. And only then, as a consequence, you can be happy, you can be blissful.”