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Osho on Love is must for Spiritual Growth

Question: Why is Love so Essential for Spiritual Growth?
Love and awareness is the highest form of polarity – just like man/woman, life/death, darkness/light, summer/winter, outer/ inner, yin/yang, the body and the soul, the creation and the creator. Love and awareness is the highest form of polarity, the last polarity, at which transcendence happens.

Love needs two. It is a relationship, it is outgoing, it is energy moving outwards. There is an object: the beloved. The object becomes more important than yourself. Your joy is in the object. If your beloved is happy, you are happy; you become part of the object. There is a kind of dependence, and the other is needed. Without the other you will feel lonely. Awareness is just being with yourself in utter aloneness, just being alert. It is not a relationship, the other is not needed at all. It is not outgoing, it is ingoing.

Love is the movement of the light out of your being. Awareness is the reverse movement, the backward movement of the light to the source again, returning to the source. This is what Jesus calls repentance – not in the sense of repentance, but in the sense of returning to the source. Patanjali calls it PRATYAHARA, coming back home, Mahavir calls it PRATIKRAMAN, coming back to oneself; the circle is complete.
The Secret of the Golden Flower is based, totally based, on this backward movement of your energy. But the backward movement is possible only if you have moved forward. You have to go into love, you have to relate in order to come to yourself. It looks paradoxical. The child has to get lost into the world to become a child again. The innocence has to go into all the turmoil of cunningness and calculation to become really innocent again. A child is innocent, but his innocence is that of ignorance. A saint is also innocent, but his innocence is not of ignorance but of experience, of ripeness, of maturity. He is again innocent, but that again has great importance – he cannot be distracted from his innocence anymore.
The child is bound to get distracted: every Adam has to leave the Garden of Eden, the world of innocence. Every Adam has to go into the world, into the mud of it, because only there will you mature, will you ripen. Only there will you learn, only there will you see in contrast the beauty of innocence, will you understand the splendour of innocence. The day you have learned the beauty of innocence, you have become aware of it, you will have come back home.

The Adam cannot become Christ if he does not leave paradise; he will remain a child. Adam means outward movement, Christ means inward movement. Adam means love, Christ means awareness. The circle is complete. The difference between Adam and Christ is only that of direction. Adam is going extrovertedly, and the same person, when he turns back and becomes introverted, is Christ. Adam is the potential Christ, Christ is the actualized Adam.

Love is very essential. You have to lose yourself to gain yourself. Love is the only possibility of losing yourself totally. When you are lost totally, then you will be able to remember what you have done. It is like a fish which has always lived in the ocean. It will never become aware of the ocean and the benediction of it. It has to be caught in a net, a fisherman has to come to take it out, throw it on the shore. Only on the shore, in the hot sun, will it remember for the first time. Although it lived for years in the ocean, it was oblivious, completely oblivious, of the ocean. Now the thirst, the heat, makes it mindful of the ocean. A great longing arises to go back to the ocean. It makes every effort to jump back into the ocean.

That is the state of a seeker: thirsty to be back at the original source. And if this fish can enter the ocean again... can’t you imagine the celebration! And the fish has lived in the ocean forever but there was no celebration. Now there is the possibility of celebration. Now it will feel so delighted, so blessed.

Love is a must for spiritual growth. And, moreover, love functions as a mirror. It is very difficult to know yourself unless you have looked at your face in the eyes of someone who loves you. Just as you have to look into the mirror to see your physical face, you have to look in the mirror of love to see your spiritual face. Love is a spiritual mirror. It nourishes you, it integrates you, it makes you ready for the inner journey, it reminds you of your original face. In moments of deep love there are glimpses of the original face, although those glimpses are coming as reflections. Just as on a full moon night you see the moon reflected in the lake, in the silent lake, so love functions as a lake.
The moon reflected in the lake is the beginning of the search for the real moon. If you have never seen the moon reflected in the lake you may never search for the real moon. You will go again and again into the lake to search for the moon because in the beginning you will think, ’This is where the real moon is, somewhere deep down at the bottom of the lake.’ You will dive again and again and you will come up empty-handed; you will not find the moon there. Then one day it will dawn on you that maybe this moon is just a reflection. That is a great insight.

Then you can look upwards. Then where is the moon if this is a reflection? If it is a reflection you have to look in the opposite direction. The reflection was there, deep in the lake – the real must be somewhere above the lake. For the first time you look upwards and the journey has started. Love gives you glimpses of meditation, reflections of the moon in the lake – although they are reflections, not true. So love can never satisfy you. In fact, love will make you more and more dissatisfied, discontented. Love will make you more and more aware of what is possible, but it will not deliver the goods. It will frustrate you; and only in deep frustration – the possibility of turning back to your own being.

Only lovers know the joy of meditation. Those who have never loved and have never been frustrated in love, those who have never dived into the lake of love in search of the moon and are never frustrated, will never look up to the real moon in the sky; they will never become aware of it. The person who loves is bound to become religious sooner or later. But the person who does not love – the politician, for example, who cannot love any person, he loves only power – will never become religious. Or the person who is obsessed with money, who loves only money, who knows only one love – love of money, will never become religious. It will be very difficult for him for so many reasons. Money can be possessed; you can have money and you can possess it.
It is easy to possess money, it is difficult to possess a beloved – impossible, in fact. You will try to possess, but how can you possess a living person? The living person will resist in every way, will fight to the last. Nobody wants to lose their freedom. Love is not as valuable as freedom is. Love is a great value, but not higher than freedom. So one would like to be loving, but one would not like to be imprisoned by love. Hence, sooner or later you become frustrated. You try to possess, and the more you try to possess, the more impossible love becomes and the more the other starts going away from you. The less you possess, the closer you feel to the other. If you don’t possess at all, if there is freedom flowing between the lovers, there is great love.

Firstly, the effort to possess a person is bound to fail: in that frustration you will be thrown back on yourself. Secondly, if you have learned not to possess the person, if you have learned that freedom is a higher value than love, a far more superior value than love, then sooner or later you will see: freedom will bring you to yourself, freedom will become your awareness, meditation. Freedom is another aspect of meditation. Either start with freedom and you will become aware, or start with awareness and you will become free. They go together. Love is a kind of subtle bondage – they go together – but it is an essential experience, very essential for maturity.

There is a beautiful definition of realness through love in Margery William’s beautiful book  The Velveteen Rabbit. ’What is REAL?’ asked the Rabbit one day. ’Does it mean having that buzz inside of you, and a stick-out handle?’ ’REAL isn’t how you were made,’ said the Skin Horse. ’It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become REAL. ’Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit. ’Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ’When you are REAL, you don’t mind being hurt.’

’Does it happen all at once like being wound up,’ he asked, ’or bit by bit?’
’It doesn’t happen all at once.’ said the Skin Horse. ’You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are REAL, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are REAL, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand... Once you are REAL, you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.’

Love makes you real; otherwise you remain just a fantasy, a dream, with no substance in it. Love gives you substance, love gives you integrity, loves makes you centered. But it is only half of the journey; the other half has to be completed in meditation, in awareness. But love prepares you for the other half. Love is the beginning half and awareness is the ending half. Between these two you attain to God. Between love and awareness, between these two banks, the river of being flows. Don’t avoid love. Go through it, with all its pains. Yes, it hurts, but if you are in love it doesn’t matter.

In fact, all those hurts strengthen you. Sometimes it really hurts badly, terribly, but all those wounds are necessary to provoke you, to challenge you, to make you less sleepy. All those dangerous situations are necessary to make you alert. Love prepares the ground, and in the soil of love the seed of meditation can grow – and only in the soil of love. So those who escape from the world out of fear will never attain to meditation. They can sit in the Himalayan caves for lives together, they will not attain to meditation. It is not possible – they have not earned it. First it has to be earned in the world; first they have to prepare the soil. And it is only love that prepares the soil.

Hence my insistence for my sannyasins not to renounce the world. Be in it, take its challenge, accept its dangers, its hurts, wounds. Go through it. Don’t avoid it, don’t try to find a short-cut because there is none. It is a struggle, it is arduous, it is an uphill task, but that is how one reaches the peak. And the joy will be more, far more, than if you were dropped on the peak by a helicopter, because you will have reached there ungrown; you will not be able to enjoy it. Just think of the difference... You try hard to reach Everest. It is so dangerous – every possibility of dying on the way, every possibility of never reaching to the peak; hazardous, dangerous; death waiting for you at each step; so many traps and so many possibilities of being defeated rather than being successful.
Out of one hundred possibilities there is only one possibility that you may reach. But the closer you come to the peak, the higher the joy rises in you. Your spirit soars high. You earn it; it is not free. And the more you have paid for it, the more you will enjoy it. Then think: you can be dropped from a helicopter on the top. You will stand on the top and you will just look silly, stupid – what are you doing here? Within five minutes you will be finished, you will say, ’So I have seen it! There is nothing much here!’

The journey creates the goal. The goal is not sitting there at the end of the journey, the journey creates it at each step. The journey is the goal. The journey and the goal are not separate, they are not two things. The end and the means are not two things. The end is spread over all the way; all the means contain the end in them.

So never miss any opportunity of living, of being alive, of being responsible, of being committed, of getting involved. Don’t be a coward. Face life, encounter it. And then slowly slowly something inside you will crystallize. Yes, it takes time. The Skin Horse is right: ’Generally, by the time you are REAL, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are REAL, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand... Once you are REAL, you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.’ It is forever. But one has to earn it. Let me repeat it: in life you cannot get anything free. And if you do get it, it is useless. You have to pay, and the more you pay for it the more you will get out of it.

If you can risk your whole life in love, great will be your attainment. Love will send you back to yourself; it will give you a few reflections of meditation. The first glimpses of meditation happen in love. And then a great desire arises in you to attain to those glimpses, not only as glimpses but as states, so that you can live in those states forever and forever. Love gives you the taste of meditation.
A loving orgasmic experience is the first experience of SAMADHI, of ecstasy. It will make you more thirsty. Now you will know what is possible and now you cannot be satisfied with the mundane. The sacred has penetrated you, the sacred has reached your heart. God has touched your heart, you have felt that touch. Now you would like to live in that moment forever, you would like that moment to become your whole life. It does become – and unless it becomes man remains discontented. Love on the one hand will give you great joy and on the other hand will give you a thirst for eternal joy.

Source: “The Secret of Secrets, Volume 1” - Osho

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