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Question - Beloved Osho, How to Slow Down?

Osho - Anand Somen, life is not going anywhere; there is no goal to it, no destination. Life is non-purposive, it simply is. Unless this understanding penetrates your heart, you cannot slow down.

Slowing down is not a question of any how; it is not a question of technique, method. We reduce everything into a how. There is a great how-to-ism all over the world, and every person, particularly the modern contemporary mind, has become a how-to-er: how to do this, how to do that, how to grow rich, how to be successful, how to influence people and win friends, how to meditate, even how to love. The day is not far off when some stupid guy is going to ask how to breathe. It is not a question of how at all. Don't reduce life into technology. Life reduced into technology loses all flavor of joy.

I have come across a book; the name of the book is hilarious. The name is You Must Relax. Now the "must" is the problem, but it is there. It is because of the must that nobody is able to relax. Now another must on top of all other musts -- You Must Relax -- is going to create more tension in your life. Try to relax, and you will find out that you feel more tense than ever. Try harder and you will feel more tense and more tense.
Relaxation is not a consequence, is not a result of some activity; it is the glow of understanding.

This is the first thing I would like to relate to you: life is purposeless. It is very hard to accept it. And why is it so hard to accept that life is purposeless? It is hard because without purpose the ego cannot exist. It is hard to conceive that life has no goal because without any goal being there, there is no point in having a mind, in having an ego. The ego can exist only in a goal-oriented vision; the mind can exist only in the future. The purpose brings future in; the goal creates the space for thoughts to move, desires to arise. And then naturally there is hurry, because life is short. Today we are here and tomorrow we are gone -- maybe the next moment.

Life is very short. If there is a goal to be achieved, there is bound to be hurry. And there is bound to be worry, a constant worry "whether I am going to make it or not" -- a trembling heart, a shaking of the foundations. You will remain almost always in an inner earthquake, you will be always on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Have a goal, and sooner or later you will end up on the psychoanalyst's couch.

My vision is that of a goalless life. That is the vision of all the buddhas. Everything simply is, for no reason at all. Everything simply is utterly absurd. If this is understood, then where is the hurry, and for what? Then you start living moment to moment. Then this moment is given to you, a gracious gift from God or the whole or whatsoever you want to call it -- Tao, dhamma, logos. This moment is available to you: sing a song, live it in its totality. And don't try to sacrifice it for any other moment that is going to come in the future. Live it for its own sake.

They say art is for art's sake. It may be so, it may not be so -- I am not an artist. But I can say to you: Life is for life's sake. Each moment is utterly for its own sake. To sacrifice it for anything else is to be unintelligent. And once the habit of sacrificing settles, then this moment you will sacrifice for the next, and the next for the next, and so on, so forth -- this year for the next year, and this life for the next life! Then it is a simple logical process: once you have taken the first step, then the whole journey starts -- the journey that leads you into the wasteland, the journey that makes your life a desert, the journey that is self-destructive, suicidal.

Live in the moment for the sheer joy of living it. Then each moment has the quality of an orgasm. Yes, it is orgasmic. This is how my sannyasins have to live, with no should, with no ought, with no must, with no commandment. You are not here to be with me to become martyrs, you are here to be with me to enjoy life to its fullness. And the only way to live, love, enjoy, is to forget the future. It exists not.

And if you can forget the future, if you can see that it is not there, there is no point in constantly getting ready for it. The moment future is dropped, past becomes irrelevant on its own accord. We carry the past so that we can use it in the future. Otherwise who will carry the past? It is unnecessary. If there is no future, what is the point of carrying the knowledge that the past has given to you? It is a burden which will destroy the joy of the journey.

And let me remind you, it is a pure journey. Life is a pilgrimage to nowhere, from nowhere to nowhere. And between these two nowheres is the now-here. Nowhere consists of two words: now, here. Between these two nowheres is the now-here. It is not a question of following a certain technique to slow down, because if your basic approach towards life remains the same -- goal-oriented -- you may try to slow down, and you may even succeed in slowing down, but now you have started another tension in your life. You have to be constantly on guard so that you remain slow; you have to hold yourself continuously so that you remain slow.

You cannot have a free flow of your energies. You will be constantly afraid, because if you forget the technique, immediately the old habit will take possession of you. And the habit is there, because in fact the habit is rooted in the philosophy of your life. You have been taught to become achievers: Achieve something!

From the very first moment a child is born, we start feeding him poisons: ambition, achievement, success, richness, name, fame. We start poisoning his sources of being; we give great attention... twenty-five years are wasted in giving a poisonous education to children. It is one-third of life; it seems to be a wastage. And it is the most important one-third, because by the time a person is twenty-five he has already started declining in many ways. The highest peak of his sexuality is no longer there, it was nearabout when he was seventeen and a half; nearabout eighteen he had the highest sexual peak. By the time he is twenty-five he is already getting old.

Twenty-five years wasted in creating an achiever's mind.... And then there is competition, conflict. On each level of life, everywhere there is politics. Even in private intimate relationship there is politics: the husband trying to control the wife, the wife trying to control the husband, the children trying to control the parents, the parents trying to control the children. There is no intimacy left, because for the achieving mind intimacy is not possible. He only knows how to use the other; he cannot be respectful to the other. He is exploitative. His relationship with life is what Martin Buber calls the "I-it" relationship: everything is reduced into a commodity.

You love a woman: immediately you start reducing her into a commodity, reducing her into being a wife, and she is trying to reduce you from a man into a husband. To be a man is something beautiful, to be a woman is something divine, but to be a wife or to be a husband is simply ugly. Love is no more there, it is law. Intimacy is gone; now it is bargain, business. Now the poetry is dead. And both are in politics now: who dominates whom?

From the most intimate relationship to the most impersonal relationship, it is the same story. The story is that of I-it. That's why we have created an ugly world. And naturally, when there is so much competition and so many competitors, Somen, how can you slow down? If you slow down you will be a failure, if you slow down you will never be able to succeed, if you slow down you are lost! If you slow down you will be anonymous, you will not be able to leave your signature in the world. Who will you be if you slow down? Everybody else is not slowing down.

It is almost as if you are in an Olympic race and you ask me, "How to slow down?" If you slow down, you are a drop-out! Then you are no more in the Olympic race. And this whole life has been turned into an Olympic race. Everybody is racing, and everybody has to race to the optimum, because it is a question of life and death. Millions of enemies... we are living in a world where everybody is your enemy, because with whomsoever you are in competition, they are your enemies. They are destroying your possibilities of success, you are destroying their possibilities of success.

In this ambitious world, friendship cannot bloom, love is almost impossible, compassion cannot exist. We have created such an ugly mess, and the root is that we think that there is something to achieve.

There is no difference between a capitalist country or a communist country, it is the same philosophy. Communism is a by-product of capitalism, just as Christianity is a by-product of Judaism. There is not much difference; only words change. The game remains the same -- translated into another language, certainly, but the game is the same.
Power politics is as great in a communist country -- in fact there is more than there is in a capitalist country -- because we never change the foundation, we only go on whitewashing the walls. You can whitewash them, you can change the color; that is not going to make any real difference. And that's what we go on doing in our individual lives too.

One politician came to me and he wanted to learn how to meditate. I asked why. He said "Why? Meditation gives peace, silence, and I want to be silent, I want to be peaceful."
I asked him, "Do you really want to be silent and peaceful?"
He said, "Yes, that's why I have come from so long a distance."
"Then," I said, "the first thing you will have to understand is that the political mind can never be silent and can never be peaceful. You will have to choose. If you want really to enter into the world of meditation, you will have to get out of the world of politics. You cannot ride on two horses, and two horses which are going in diametrically opposite directions."

He said, "That is too much! In fact I had come to you because of my political work. There is so much tension in the mind, I cannot sleep in the night, I cannot rest, I toss and turn, and the whole day and the night too, the same political anxiety continues. I had come to you so that you can teach me a technique of meditation that can help me to relax and compete more efficiently in the world. I am not ready to pay that much for meditation. I want meditation to serve me in my political competition. Twenty years I have been in politics, and yet I have not become the chief minister of my state."

Now, this man cannot meditate. Meditation is not something that can grow in any soil. It needs a basic understanding; the change has to be very fundamental. It needs a new soil to grow in; it needs a new gestalt. A meditator naturally slows down with no effort. He does not practice it. A practiced thing is never true; it is artificial, arbitrary. Avoid practiced things -- at the most they can be actings, they are not true. And only truth liberates.

A meditator is naturally slow -- not because he is trying to be slow but just because there is nowhere to go. There is nothing to achieve, there is nothing to become, the becoming has ceased. When becoming ceases, being is. And being is slow, non-aggressive, unhurried. Then you can savor the taste of each moment with total presence, you can be present to the present; otherwise you are in such a hurry that it is impossible to have any look at that which is. Your eyes are focused on a faraway distant goal, a faraway distant star; you are looking there.

I have heard an ancient story, it happened in Greece. A great astrologer, the most famous of those days, fell into a well. Because in the night he was studying the stars, walking on the road he forgot that there was a well by the side and fell into it. The sound of his falling and his crying.... An old woman who lived in a hut by the side came out, helped him to get out of the well. He was very happy. He said, "You have saved my life! Do you know who I am? I am the royal astrologer. My fee is very great -- even kings have to wait for months to consult me -- but for you I will predict your future. You come tomorrow morning to my house, and I will not take any fee."
The old woman laughed and she said, "Forget all about it! You cannot see even two feet ahead -- how can you see my future?"

This is the situation of millions of people on this earth. They cannot see that which is, they are obsessed with that which should be. The greatest obsession that humanity suffers is of "that which should be." It is a kind of madness. The really healthy person has no concern with that which should be. His whole concern is the immediate, that which is. And you will be surprised: if you enter into the immediate, you will find the ultimate in it. If you move into that which is close by, you will find all the distant stars in it. If you move in the present moment, the whole eternity is in your hands. If you know your being, there is no question of becoming. All that you could have ever imagined to become you already are.

You are gods who have forgotten who they are. You are emperors who have fallen asleep and are dreaming that they have become beggars. Now beggars are trying to become emperors -- in dreams they are making great efforts to become emperors, and all that is needed is to wake up! And when I say wake up, where can you wake up? In the future? In the past? The past is no more, the future not yet -- where you can wake up? You can wake up only now, and you can wake up only here. This is the only moment there is, and this is the only reality there is, and this is the only reality that has always been and will always be.

Change your basic philosophy of that of an achiever. Relax into your being. Don't have any ideals, don't try to make something out of yourself, don't try to improve upon God. You are perfect as you are. With all your imperfections you are perfect. If you are imperfect, you are perfectly imperfect -- but perfection is there. Once this is understood, where is the hurry? Where is the worry? You have already slowed down. And then it is a morning walk with no destination, going nowhere. You can enjoy each tree and each sunray and each bird and each person that passes by.

Source - Osho Book "The Book of Wisdom"

Related Osho Discourses:
Osho - The buddha is your destiny, the fool is your reality
Osho on Spiritual Transformation by being total in Actions

Osho, What exactly do you mean by saying "Be still and Know"
Osho - What's the difference between a Madman and a Devotee?
Osho - Confrontation of Oneself in Aloneness is very fearful, very painful
Osho - If You choose to be Enlightened, You can be Enlightened Anywhere

Osho - Why am I not getting Enlightened soon? Why is there so much delay?

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