Excerpt from The White Lotus – Chapter 8: Utterly Luminous
I give up. I’m reaching nowhere. I came here full of hope and joy, but I now realize that it is all meaningless. Before, you touched me to tears, but they were tears of ecstasy, relief, the ones that flow when one listens to beautiful music. Now, even my love for you hurts. My tears give no relief. I can not get in touch with my inner core. I can not separate my ego from my real self, and even while I write to you, doubts come up to whether this is self pity or I am on a mind trip. Do I want your attention?
There is nowhere to go, nowhere to reach.
Because you have come with an expectation, you are creating your misery. Your expectation is the cause of your frustration. It is always so: expect, and you create a hell around yourself. Sooner or later the seeds of expectation bring a whole jungle of misery around you.
You say: “I give up.”
If you really mean it then the work is done. If you are not just saying it then you have arrived home. It is in giving up that one comes home, but it has to be an existential giving up. You are writing it, you are saying it, but you don’t mean it, because if you really meant it then there would be no need to be in such grief and pain. If you have given up then from where can misery come to you? The very root is cut.
To give up is to be a sannyasin. To give up is the most fundamental thing that can ever happen to you. It simply means that now there is no more desiring, no more dreaming: “I am finished with it, I have seen through and through, and it is all meaningless.” Because you are not ready yet to accept the meaninglessness of your desires and dreams, you are in a self-torture manufactured by your own mind.
You say: “I came here full of hope….”
Whosoever comes here with hope is bound to feel hopeless sooner or later. Hope cannot lead you anywhere else – hope is already moving towards hopelessness. Hope is like a small river moving to the ocean of hopelessness – it will reach the ocean sooner or later.
Yes, when you are far away from me you can hope: you can go on dreaming, you can fantasize – beautiful dreams, occult fantasies, esoteric nonsense – because you are totally free. But when you come close to me it becomes more and more impossible to dream, because the whole work is against dreaming.
I want you to wake up – and waking up is a painful process because it will destroy all your hopes, it will destroy all that you have cherished and thought very beautiful. Waking up is destructive in the sense that it will destroy your unconsciousness.
And you all live in unconsciousness: unconsciousness has been your way of life for many lives; it has become your second nature. In fact, it has covered your nature so deeply that you don’t know that there is another nature to you, that this is not your nature, that the way you are is not the natural way – not the way of Dharma, Tao, religion. Unconsciousness is deep, and the whole work here consists of bringing you to consciousness. It will destroy all kinds of desires, hopes, fantasies, ’future’.
It is a difficult task for me to destroy your dreams, because sometimes they are so sweet, so cute. It is difficult to take away your unconscious habits from you. It is not like taking your clothes away, it is like peeling your skin – it hurts.
The first thing to recognize is that coming out of unconsciousness into consciousness after many many lives is a painful process. Growth is painful.
We are in the grip of our old habits, patterns, structures, strategies.
I understand where exactly your trouble is. You have a gestalt: it has penetrated in the body, it has gone deep in the mind – it has even reached your very essence, your very core. Now, uprooting it all, shaking you, shocking you into awareness, is a hard task. It is not only painful for you, it is painful for me too.
It is like snatching away toys from a child. He will cry and he will weep and he will implore you to give his toys back. But one day or other those toys have to be taken away, otherwise when will he be able to live in the real world? How long can he be allowed to fantasize?
Small children don’t know the difference between reality and dreaming. That’s why when they wake up in the morning sometimes they start crying ”Where are my toys?” They were dreaming about toys; they want them back. They don’t know that now they are awake those dreams have disappeared. That’s what has happened to you.
… but the unconscious mind goes on saying, doing… being unconscious.
It is really something tremendously significant that is happening to you, but you will only be able to understand it later on. When you will reach a little farther away from your dreams and have a better perspective, you will be able to feel grateful. But right now there may be anger and rage.
That happens to almost every sannyasin who comes here with expectations and hopes – and who does not come with expectations and hopes?
You say: “I give up.” Please, give up! That’s exactly what is to be done. But you are not doing it, you are simply saying it – maybe in unconscious utterance, maybe in desperation, but not in understanding. Yes, one can give up in desperation, but then wounds are left, scars are left. When you give up with understanding, seeing the futility of it all, there is tremendous peace.
You say: “I am reaching nowhere.”
My effort is to bring you now, here, and you are trying to reach somewhere else. I am not trying to help you to reach somewhere – you are already all over the place except now and here. My function is to pull you back to your present moment, to the real – howsoever difficult it is to come back home, howsoever much you have become accustomed to wandering. But you have to be brought back home, because only then there can be blissfulness, benediction, freedom – what Bodhidharma would call nirvana: cessation of the ego and the birth of the soul.
You say: “I am reaching nowhere. I came here full of hope and joy….”
That hope was false – all hopes are false. To hope simply means to postpone. To hope means your present is ugly and you want to avoid it for some beautiful future. To hope means you don’t want to see the present, you want to remain occupied with the future. The tomorrow is more important to you than the today and the next moment more important than this moment. Either you escape into the past or you escape into the future – and the reality consists only of the present.
Yes, I can understand: you must have come full of hope. But that is your problem – what can I do about it? You have come to a wrong person. I cannot give you more hope, because hope is poison. I would like to take all possibilities of hope away from you.
And remember: when all possibilities of hope are taken away from you, when the whole poison is taken out of your system, you don’t feel hopeless. You simply feel freed from both hope and hopelessness – because hopelessness can exist only as a shadow of hope; it can’t exist without hope. Your shadow can’t exist without you; you are needed there. Hopelessness is just the shadow of hope.
Drop the hope, and see a miracle happening – hopelessness also disappears. And when there is neither hope nor hopelessness, great freedom arises in you. You are out of the prison of desire.
You say: “I came here full of hope and joy.”
That joy was just an idea – an idea that something is going to happen, that your hope is going to be fulfilled, that now you have found the right master. This is what you always wanted to do: to find the man who can fulfill all your hopes. Now you have found him, hence the joy; the joy was a by-product of hope. If hope itself is false, how can the joy which is a by-product of it be real? It was not real joy, it was a false phenomenon, because now that the hope is disappearing, the joy is disappearing.
And you say: “… but I now realize that it’s all meaningless.”
Yes, it is all meaningless. The hope and the joy that hope creates, the fantasies and the joy that the idea of their fulfillment creates – it is all meaningless. Not that there is no meaning in life, but meaning is revealed to you only when you have stopped all these meaningless activities. When all these activities disappear, meaning appears. These activities are preventing your meaningfulness. And when that meaning appears in your being it is inexpressible, it is absolutely incommunicable, but it transforms your whole being: it makes you luminous.
It is said of Moses that when he saw God on the mountain his face became so luminous, so full of light, so shining, that he had to cover it, he had to veil it. He came to his people with a veil over his face. They were surprised. They said, “Why are you covering your face?”
He said, “Because it has become so luminous, so full of light, and I don’t want to look holier than others.” This is real sainthood! “I don’t want to prove myself superior to others, and my face is so full of light that if I move among you without a veil everybody is bound to feel that I have become the chosen one, that God has descended into me, that my heart has been touched and transformed.”
It is a beautiful story, of tremendous significance. That’s how the really holy people have always lived: in a veiled way. They live as ordinary human beings, that is the meaning of the story. Not that they really cover their faces – there is no need; that is not the way to hide yourself. If you move with a covered face you will attract more attention. People may not look at your shining face, because who cares about other faces and others’ faces?
Everybody is preoccupied with his own face – people stand before mirrors for hours. Who cares about others? Who has the time? And if they see the light they may find a thousand and one ways to explain why it is so. They may even think: This man is ill, diseased, something has gone wrong with his chemistry. Maybe his body electricity is leaking out or something – short-circuited or something.
But if you move with a veiled face, everybody is bound to be attracted towards you. Mohammedan women attract more attention than anybody else. The veil becomes a provocation, an invitation: one wants to uncover the face and see what is there. A great curiosity arises.
So the story does not relate anything factual – I don’t think Moses would have done such a stupid thing – but it has a significant meaning. It is a metaphor. It simply says that the really holy person lives in such an ordinary way that nobody will become aware of his holiness unless they come very close to him, unless they become almost part of his being.
He eats like you – that’s why Jesus eats like you, drinks wine, mixes with ordinary people. He just remains ordinary, in no way does he pretend. The really holy man is unselfconscious about his holiness, that is the meaning.
But I have read one philosopher who thinks otherwise. Philosophers are strange people; they can find loopholes where none exist. They are only concerned with finding loopholes. I have come across one analysis of this metaphor.
The philosopher says that Moses was hiding his face not because he did not want to prove his holiness to people but because he was afraid that sooner or later the light would fade away and then where would his holiness be? So it was better for him to keep his face hidden so that nobody would ever come to know that the light had faded away.
Now you see the tricky mind, the cunning mind! The cunning mind always destroys; it is always destructive. Now a beautiful metaphor is turned into an ugly thing. Now Moses looks cunning, afraid, scared of the people – because the light will fade away and when people see that the light has faded they will think, “Now Moses is no longer our prophet, our leader.” Afraid of the future, he keeps his face covered so that he can go on deceiving people.
There are people who will find thorns in the roses and there are people who will find roses in the thorns. Belong to the second category if you ever want to know the real meaningfulness of your life, the grandeur, the glory, the beauty of your being.
Don’t be so concerned with your hopes. Existence does not oblige anybody, it never fulfills anybody’s hopes; it goes on in its own way. You have to become attuned to it. Don’t have any private goals, and you will have tremendous contentment. Don’t struggle for private ambitions and egoistic ideas – there is no need to prove anything, there is no need to be anything – you are already that. Nothing is lacking and nothing is missing.
You say: “Before, you touched me to tears, but they were tears of ecstasy, relief, the ones that flow when one listens to beautiful music.”
I am still speaking the same words, it is the same music, but your interpretation has changed. Then, you were interpreting my words through your hopes; there was a curtain between me and you. Now, I am trying to pull away that curtain so that you can see me as I am and I can see you as you are.
The disciple and the master have to be utterly nude to each other, naked beings.
You say: “Now, even my love for you hurts.”
Real love always hurts because it transforms. The love that you felt before was your imagination. Now something real is happening. It was your love, you had not known my love. It was your projection. Now I am here, present; I will destroy all your projections.
I have to bring you down to earth. I am a very down-to-earth man, I am very pragmatic. I can’t help your great ideals and dreams, they are all stupid – the greater they are, the more stupid they are. I will destroy all your old-fashioned ecstasies and tears and emotionality and sentimentality.
Remember, to be sensitive does not mean to be sentimental. To be sensitive does not mean to be touchy. You must have been very touchy, moved by anything – but you were moved by your own ideas, I was not part of it.
Please don’t blame me for your joy, for your ecstasy, for your hope, for those great tears that were coming to you listening to my music. Don’t blame me for them. I am not responsible for them at all, but I am certainly responsible for the love that is hurting you now.
If you are courageous enough and you can absorb the hurt, the pain, the agony of transformation, you will feel grateful later on. Only later on you can feel grateful; right now it will be rough going.
“I cannot get in touch with my inner core.”
Don’t be worried about the inner core. Let me destroy your outer core and you will be in touch with your inner core; there is no problem about it. The first thing is to destroy the hard crust that has grown around you, and it is hurting.
You would like to remain as you are and be in touch with your inner core; that is not possible. I am helpless, I cannot help you that way. I have to dismantle the whole house – I don’t believe in renovation. First the whole house, the whole rotten ruin has to be destroyed and removed.
But people love old, rotten things so much. They give them beautiful names – antiques. I am not a lover of antiques, not at all. I love the new, the fresh, the young.
I have heard:
There was an old church, so old that people stopped coming – they were afraid it might fall down any moment. The priest was against making a new church.
Priests are always against the new, they are always for the old – the older the better, because with the old they are safe, with the dead they are safe. They are priests of death not of life.
And the board of trustees was against it, too. They were all elderly people, the elder brothers of the community. But when everybody stopped coming and even the priest was afraid to enter…. Just a little bit of strong wind and the whole building would shake. It was so rotten that it was a miracle that it was standing at all.
Finally they had to call a meeting of the trustees. They met – not inside the church but far away from the church – and they decided a few things.
The first resolution was: The old church has to be demolished. “Unfortunately, we are helpless – and it has to be done, God forgive us.”
The second proposal was: The new church will be built exactly on the old spot and exactly like the old church.
And the third proposal was: The material of the old church – the bricks, the doors, the windows, everything – has to be used in the new church. Nothing new has to be used in the new church; it will be new in name only. Everything from the old church has to be used and the new church has to be made out of the old; nothing new has to be added.
And the fourth proposal was: Unless the new is ready we will not demolish the old.
This is how the stupid human mind goes on working. This is how your mind works. This is how mind as such works.
Don’t be worried about the inner core. It is there; whether you know it or not it is there. You can’t be without an inner core, and you can’t know it unless the outer core is demolished. The bird cannot come out of the egg unless the egg is demolished, broken. Once the egg is broken the bird can be free. The bird can have the whole sky. It can be on its wings. Be a little patient.
You came just a few days ago. Just a few days ago you became a sannyasin. Don’t be in such a hurry. Don’t be so American!
A Frenchwoman was talking to an American woman. The Frenchwoman said, “The Frenchmen know how to love. First they kiss your forehead, then they kiss your cheeks, then they kiss your earlobes, then they kiss your neck, then they kiss your back….”
The American woman said, “Wait! By that time the American is back from his honeymoon!”
Don’t be so American. Wait. Go slowly. Kiss the forehead and the eyes and the cheek…. Be a little French about it! What is the hurry?
There are a few things which cannot be done in a hurry. Neither love can be done in a hurry nor prayer. Neither meditation can be done in a hurry nor self-transformation. These are very very silent, slow processes. And the more patient you are, the faster they happen. The less patient you are, the longer they take.
Through sharing this piece from The White Lotus we feel that there are no words needed from our part. We hope you enjoy reading and we are happy to share Osho’s words with you.
From heart to heart,