Osho - Yes, enlightenment is a selfish search
Question - Is not the search
for Enlightenment a Selfish Search?
Self is your centre, and to be selfish is the only way
there is to be. The more you try to be NOT SELFISH the more you become
eccentric. (The word eccentric is beautiful; it simply means offcentre.)
Then you are rooted no more in yourself, then you are grounded no more
in your being, and a man who is not grounded in his being lives a false
life, lives an artificial life. His whole life is more like a dream than
like a reality. And deep down you cannot help. Deep down you remain
selfish. At the most you become hypocrites. You try to be unselfish, but
that is an impossibility. Even in your effort to be unselfish you will
It happened, there was a case against Mulla Nasrudin
in the court and the judge asked: Did you sleep with this woman,
This is the situation. You say something and immediately your inner depth contradicts it. You become a contradiction. You become tense. Your life becomes a deep anguish, a suffering. I teach you to be totally selfish because I teach you that which is natural. But if you understand me well – which is difficult, you may misunderstand me – if you are really selfish then much flows out of your life which is absolutely unselfish. Because when a man is grounded in his own being he has so much to share, so much to give, there is no need to be altruistic.
If you are centred you ARE altruistic because you have overflowing love, overflowing being, you HAVE to share. You are just like a flower, so full of fragrance it goes on sharing it with the winds. You are like a pregnant being, you carry so much within you that you have to give, to share, and by sharing it grows more – but you share it from your centre.
So I am not saying that when you become selfish you are not unselfish then, no, just the opposite. When you try to be unselfish you remain, deep down, selfish. When you become totally selfish a tremendously beautiful unselfishness happens in your life. But you are not even conscious about it because if you are conscious it is false.
Things which are natural and healthy need no consciousness. Are you conscious of your breathing? Yes, sometimes, when something goes wrong, when something is ill, when the breathing is not as it should be – then you become alert, then you are alarmed, then you become conscious. Otherwise the breathing goes on day and night, twenty-four hours, whether you are asleep or awake, whether you are in love or in hate, whether you move or you sit, whatsoever you do the breathing continues. It does not depend on your being conscious of it – and it is fortunate that it doesn’t depend on your consciousness, otherwise you would have been already dead.
If you had to be careful about it, if you had to DO
it, it would have stopped long before.
You cannot be centred and you are trying to help others, to be of service to them. The only help that you can give, the first and the very basic thing, is to be centred and rooted within yourself. Yes, enlightenment is a selfish search. This is half of the answer I would like to give you.
Now the other half. Because enlightenment is a selfish search, the most selfish, incomparably selfish – that’s why you cannot attain enlightenment through search. The search will make you a beautiful person, wise, compassionate, in a thousand and one ways, but not enlightened.
So, for me there exist three types of persons; one,
the so called religious person, the moral, the
puritan, the so-called good, who goes on trying to be unselfish and
So the second part of the answer: You cannot attain to enlightenment through search. All search fails there, because until the seeker is lost enlightenment is not possible, and how can the seeker be lost if there is search? How can the seeker be lost if there is self?It is not possible. So what happens? How does a man become enlightened? He searches and searches, and there comes a moment when he realizes the total absurdity of searching for it; because you can search for something which is not already within you, you can search for something which is in the future, but how can you search for that which is already the case? Through searching you will miss it.
How can you search for the seeker himself? The seeker can search for everything except himself. Trying to search for himself is absurd. How can the seeker seek himself? For search a distance is needed between the seeker and the sought. When the distance is not there – and it is NOT THERe – the seeker is the sought. When this is realized... and this is realized after much search, remember – don’t drop searching, I am not sayingthat – this is realized after many failures, when all hope is lost.
This is realized only when you have searched in all the ways possible, when you have done all that you could, no stone has been left unturned, not even a single corner has been left unsearched, you have done all that can be done, nothing is left – then you simply sit; the search drops from you; no hope, no possibility of ever gaining this goal; in a moment of absolute frustration you drop the search – this is how it happened to Buddha, this is how it happened to me, this is how it always happens.
You make tremendous effort, that is needed! I’m not saying that right now you can drop the search, how can you drop it if you have not got it? Search hard. Make all the efforts you can, bring your total energy to it, but I am not saying that through it you will attain. Without it you will never attain, through it no one has ever attained. You will have to pass through it.
Go in, and then a moment comes when you come out freed from all search and seeking. Suddenly you turn inwards, because search is always outward: seeking, you always look somewhere else, seeking, you run all over the space, seeking you go in all directions – and there is within you something that is beyond all directions. You may call it the eleventh direction. There is within you something which need not be searched for but only realized. It happens in a single moment, not even in a single moment, in a split second – not even that; it doesn’t happen in time. Search stopped, seeker gone, suddenly it is there. It has always been there.
Source - Osho Book "Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 3"
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