The Vital Balance – Osho

Dr. Henrotte:

There is a problem with people like me, in our civilization and especially in our profession. We make too much use of our intelligence, so much so, that we tend to view life through the intellect only, thus negating all other means of doing so. This tends to make life boring and dull and robs it of its lustre.

Acharya Rajneesh:

No one can use his intellect too much. It is such a great force, with so much potentiality that you cannot use it too much. Not only too much, we never even use it totally – never. Ordinarily, we do not use more than 10 to 15% of the total potentiality. Another thing, when you do intellectual work, it does not necessarily mean you are using your intelligence. Intellectual work too, is mechanical. It does not require any intelligence at all! Once you get the know-how, no intelligence is required at all. Then the mind works just like a computer.

The real problem is, not the use of too much of intelligence, but the non-use of emotion. Emotion is completely discarded in our civilization and the balance is lost. Our whole civilization is anti-emotional. So a lopsided personality develops. If emotion is also used then there is no imbalance. An emotion-intellect balance must be maintained in the proper ratio; otherwise, the whole personality gets diseased. It is just like using your one leg only. You may keep on using it but you reach nowhere. You will simply tire yourself. The other leg must be used. Emotion and intellect are two legs – they are like two wings. When we use only one wing, the only outcome will be frustration and then the Bliss that comes by using both the wings, simultaneously, in balance and in harmony is never attained.

So do not fear to use intellect. Only when intelligence is used, then you touch the depths. You are stimulated in your potentiality. Intellectual work is merely superficial. No depth is touched, nothing is challenged. That gives rise to boredom. That creates lustreless work – work without enjoyment. Enjoyment always comes – when your individuality is challenged and you have to prove yourself or when you have to respond to a challenge, intelligence or emotion when challenged create their own bliss.

A person becomes schizophrenic if only one part of his personality is working and the other is dead. Then even the part that is working will not be really working well due to overwork. It cannot work because personality is a totality, it is not divided – it has no division at all. Actually the whole personality is a flowing energy. When energy is used logically, it becomes intelligence and when used, not logically but emotionally, it becomes the heart. These are not two separate things but the same energy is challenged through different channels.

When there is no heart but only intellect, then you can never relax. For relaxation means the same energy working in a different channel. Relaxation is never no-work. It is work in another dimension, so that the dimension which is already overtaxed relaxes. So a person, who follows an intellectual pursuit continuously, never relaxes. He has not diverted his energy to other dimensions, thus causing the mind to go on working unnecessarily in one direction only. This creates boredom. The thoughts just come and go and energy is diffused, wasted. You cannot enjoy it. On the contrary, you will be disappointed and disgusted with this unnecessary burden. However, the mind or the intellect is not at fault, because an alternate dimension has not been provided. The energy is veritably ruined, and it keeps circling round and round, as no other door is open to it. Energy can never be stagnant. Energy means – that which is not stagnant – that which is always flowing. So relaxation does not mean energy-stagnant or energy asleep. Relaxation scientifically means energy in another channel, another dimension, in another room.

Even if the room is different but not the very opposite, the mind will not relax. You work on a scientific problem, and then you can relax by reading a novel. The work is different. As to deal with a scientific problem is to be active – a very masculine trait – to read a novel is to be passive – an absolutely feminine trait. The work is different, and although the mind is used, all the same you will be at ease, as another and opposite pole of the mind is used. You are not solving anything, you are not active. You are just a receptor – receiving something. The dimension is the same, only emotion – the opposite polarity is brought into use. Similarly when we love, the intellect does not come into play at all. Rather, quite the opposite; the irrational part of your personality comes into action.

Intelligence must be balanced by love. But ordinarily this balance is not found anywhere. If someone is loving and he is not intelligent this too becomes a case of boredom. Even love becomes a tension if it is a twenty-four hour business. It will create its own boredom. Once the challenge is lost, the enjoyment too will be lost. The ‘play’ will be lost and it will become – just work. The same happens with the intellectual. These two parts, two polarities of the human individuality must be in balance.  Only then the integrated and individuated being is born.  Otherwise, it is the same disease; whether from the part of emotion, or from the part of the intellect.

The East became warped with the heart. Now the West has tried the other polarity. Both have achieved disastrous results. There is rebellion in the West’s new generation against intellect, against reason. The whole mind of the new generation is leaning towards the irrational. Nature takes its own revenge – always. Nature is very revengeful. It never pardons, it never forgets. If some part of it remains suppressed or unfulfilled, it will have its revenge. So the irrational in the West is taking its revenge. In the East, the rational has got the appeal, the scientific has got the appeal and communism has got the appeal. Religion has lost – it no longer appeals to the East, as reason has been all along suppressed.

So to me, neither a human being nor a human culture can be healthy without an inner balance between the rational and the irrational. I do not take these two as two different parts; I take them as the two poles existing in the same energy. All energy exists between two opposite poles. Otherwise, it can never exist. Energy requires an inner tension to create itself – to be. It could be the negative and the positive, as in electricity. It could be one pole and another, as in magnetism. It could be the male and the female, as in biology. Energy cannot exist in one pole. The other – the opposite is needed to challenge, to stimulate, to create the necessary tension. But in the human society, the other is always suppressed – either the intellect or the emotion. Therefore, the total culture has not come into existence yet. There has only been civilization either of the intellect or of the emotion. Culture as such is yet unborn. Culture means the polarities functioning simultaneously.

So always balance one by the other. The more the other is put to use, the more the one for which it proves to be a relaxation brightens, is illumined. So the mind must be capable of changing poles, just as easily as waking and sleeping. One must be able to close one dimension and open another. When this happens, life is no longer dull. It becomes bliss. Unfortunately we become addicted to one polarity. Why this addiction to one?

We become addicted to one, because the one which is in use, and for which we are trained, is easier to do. You can do it without any conscious effort. Consciousness is not required. When you change the pole, when you change the total perspective, you become an amateur. Then you are not an expert in this realm. You are not trained in it. So, you try to escape from it. Then in the realm in which you are proficient you tend to overdo. This over-doing is the problem. One must not be an expert all the twenty-four hours! One must also do something in which one is ‘no-one’. One must also do something about which one knows nothing. One must be a child, sometimes playing, immature, unknowing and ignorant; and that will be a help to the expert part of the mind.

So every genius has the child in him. No genius can exist without the child in him. And the child is the source of all his energy. He can, in moments, be a novice. He can, in moments, be totally ignorant. He can touch realms of which he knows nothing. A mathematician turning to poetry is never the loser. He comes back to his mathematics with a purer mind, with new experiences unknown to the mathematical realms.

All that has been invented and discovered has never been done by the professional. It is always the outsider, because he comes with the mind of a child. Only a child is inventive – never an old man, for he is an expert! But he cannot invent. He will go on repeating the same thing – doing it, and over-doing it. He will make it more perfect but never new. So a professional cannot contribute anything new to knowledge. He knows too much. He cannot touch anything which is new. So persons who know, who are professionals, are always orthodox. They are never revolutionaries. They cannot be. Their very being is heavy. They cannot see the new. They are always oblivious of the new.

So whenever it happens that a scientist turns to poetry; or a poet turns to mathematics, or a businessman turns to painting; or a painter comes to be a sannyasin, then something new is born. And to give birth to something new is blissful. Otherwise, your every work will be dull and boring.

Man cannot work like a machine. He cannot just go on producing the same things mechanically, repeating the same routine endlessly. If he goes on doing this, he will be completely dead, long before he dies. He will only know that he has been alive when death comes. In a mechanical routine, there is every danger of the human machines being replaced by `machine-humans’. These human machines can be replaced because whatsoever they can do, can be more efficiently done by a mechanical device. One can never be at ease if one has just turned into a mechanical device.

Society does not need individuality, it needs efficiency. So the more a person becomes a person, the less useful he becomes to the society – and more dangerous. So the whole pattern of our civilization, and in fact of all civilizations that have existed in this world, is to turn the human being into an automaton. Then he is obedient, efficient, and, not dangerous! Otherwise, a mind which is inventive, inquiring, searching for the new, seeking the new and always trying to give birth to something unknown is bound to create disturbances. The establishments cannot be at ease with him. So they begin to kill individuality as soon as a child is born. Before he is seven they kill his individuality completely. If by chance they are not successful in doing this, then only a person becomes his own individual self. But this is rare.

Every type of social institution is a means to kill the individual and convert him into a machine. All our universities are factories to kill the spontaneous – to kill the spark, to kill the spirit and change man into a machine. Then the society feels at ease with him. He can be relied upon. He knows what he can do, what he will do. He can be predicted. Man becomes predictable as soon as he be-comes a machine. We can predict a husband, a wife, a doctor, a lawyer, a scientist. We know who they are and how they will react. We can be at ease with them.

But with a person who is living, spontaneous, it is impossible to be at ease. Because we do not know what he will do! He is unpredictable; and unpredictability is always a source of insecurity. A wife will not be at ease with a husband who is unpredictable. The moment he is unpredictable, he is unmanageable. He cannot be managed, he cannot be manipulated. No one is at ease with an unpredictable person. Not even a father with an unpredictable son. And only the unpredictable can feel happiness – can feel life, no one else. Life itself is unpredictable, unmanageable. Life as such is from moment to moment – towards the unknown. It is an opening into the unknown – nothing more, nothing else.

So if you are open, just like life itself, then you necessarily live in all your dimensions – the physical, the intellectual, the emotional and the spiritual. Then you live totally. Then there is no bifurcation, no division. Your energy flows as if from one room to the other, and then to another. There is no barrier to your energy. It is not pulled from anywhere. It is a flowing river. You have just to switch on to any realm. You are always fresh and relaxed. And, whenever you return to your particular field of work, you approach it with newness, a freshness that comes only from relaxing in the opposite fields.

So the problem as I see it is not excessive intellectual work, but too little or no work in the other dimensions – specifically the emotional. Reason is balanced by emotion. If you can do an exercise in logic but cannot weep, then you are bound to be in trouble. If you can only argue and not laugh, you are inviting trouble. But whenever a person appears, whose life is like a flowing river, it is difficult to understand him, because he cannot be categorized.

There is a Zen story. A famous monk died, he was a great teacher. He was well known, however, because of his chief disciple. Thousands of people came to pay homage to this monk. To their amazement, they found the chief disciple weeping. They were at a loss to understand him. An unattached person should not weep, especially he, who had always said that the spirit never dies! One comes and asks, “Why do you weep?” The monk replied, “I cannot live with the ‘Why’ always. There are moments when there is no ‘why’. I am weeping and that is all.” They still insisted, “You always say that the soul is immortal. Then why do you weep?” He replied, “I still maintain that the soul is immortal. But that does not check me from weeping”! This sounds illogical – ‘the soul is immortal so one must not weep’. But the monk says, “The soul itself is weeping and I cannot do anything about it. I have never done anything myself. Whatsoever comes to me, I am with it. Tears are coming and I am one with them.” This attitude cannot be categorized.

We can understand someone weeping if he believes the soul to be mortal. If one believes the soul to be immortal and does not weep, that too is understandable. It is alright. The soul is immortal, for whom to weep? No one has died; but this man says that the soul is immortal and yet he weeps. There is no ‘why’. The tears just flow. They ask, “Then do you weep for the body?” The Monk says, “Yes, it must be for the body that I weep. The body too was beautiful and it will never be seen again. I weep for the body.” “But you are a spiritualist,” they say. And so the arguments go on. They accuse him of confusing them. “I myself am confused – Life is such. The soul is important but so also are the tears! Such is Life – so contradictory! It exists in contradictions. I myself am confused. But I am at ease with my confusions. I am at ease with my contradictions. So I am not tense. See my tears! See me weeping, I am at ease; I am relaxed. I am blissful.”

The other part must not be denied. The more you use reasons, the more you must use the irrational to balance it. The moment it is balanced, you become weightless. You feel free. The weight of one is set off by the weight of the other. The balance is achieved. You are free. Otherwise you will feel the burden, the weight, more till a moment comes when there is only burden and you are no more! You will feel only the burden; that is the only reality you will be conscious of. This burden will be so much with you always that you cannot conceive, what it is to be without it.

No one is without burden. But burden can be balanced by another burden – from the opposite pole. When the two burdens are balanced, there is no burden. Thus a mind which has no burden is not a mind without burden. Rather, it is a mind with balanced burdens. So I am in favour of reason and ‘no-reason’ at the same time and I advise a perpetual balance between the two. As soon as the burden is felt, you should know that the balance is lost. You must set about to restore it, by adding the necessary weight, wherever it is required. If the intellect is heavy, do something irrational – meditate. Meditation is not reason. It is irrational. So when someone asks me to explain meditation, I am at a loss! Simply because you cannot understand meditation. You can do it and know it. It is not at all concerned with logic, reason, arguments and understanding.

There are people who have been studying meditation all their lives, and still not understood it. They cannot. Krishnamurti talks about understanding it and makes understanding equivalent to meditation, as if meditation is something to be understood! Rather, understanding must be balanced by meditation. It is the opposite pole. So, once you try not to understand meditation you can do it. If one goes on trying to understand meditation, there is less possibility of practising it. And because understanding is intellectual, there are people who say they understand Krishnamurti perfectly. Intellectually we understand him. And even though he says intellectual understanding will not do, he still equates understanding with meditation. If intellectual understanding will not do, then I say a non-intellectual JUMP will do. There is no understanding which is not intellectual. Whenever you go into meditation, it is less like understanding and more like feeling. It is felt. It is never understood.

Philosophy and science are intellectual processes. Religion and art are non-intellectual processes. Philosophy must be balanced by religion and science must be balanced by art. Otherwise, a topsy-turvy, lopsided world is created in which everyone is diseased. I have not come across a single individual who is at ease. Something or the other is always disturbing him. It does not matter what! All that matters is that he is disturbed. Everyone is disturbed. Then there must be something in our very conception of a human being which has gone wrong. In the very structure of our society something has gone wrong. Therefore, persons who are diseased in the mind are only symptomatic.

There is a very surprising fact. In the 30’s, all the mental patients who visited the psychoanalysts were basically disturbed by violence. Then came the Second World War. The same thing happened in the early 19th century and this was followed by the First World War. So as I see it, the mental patients are the forerunners of us all. They herald that which is to come. In a way they are more sensitive. They perceive things beforehand.

The same happens with the artist. Everything that is to happen first happens in poetry, painting, music, etc. If we look deep in the art of Picasso we will find the indication of a diseased civilization. In his painting ‘Guernica’, or for that matter in any of his other works, he never portrays a human figure as it is. He never paints all his parts together, nor in the right context. The head will be in one place and the neck somewhere else. The eyes are under the head. Such is his painting – schizophrenic, schizoid! He is an extra sensitive person who sees the shape of things to come, the plight of the human being in time to come.

A society basically philosophic only, will be lacking in religion. A society basically scientific only, will be lacking in aesthetic art. Art will become ugly. Thus the whole Western art has become ugly. Rather, the grotesque and the absurd has become the criterion. Ugliness is appreciated as greatness in art. The uglier a painting, the more distorted, the better it is appreciated. There should be no harmony, no rhythm, no music – everything should be deranged and decayed like the present human mind.

These are indications and symptoms. They are symbolic expressions. The other part of the human mind is taking revenge. It is demanding attention. When a society becomes less and less religious, religion takes its revenge. It will become ugly, ritualistic. Priesthood will come up, religion will go down. The Church will come up. The Church is religion turned ugly. The priest is the revenge of the prophet. The prophet has no place, so the priest comes in. He fills the vacuum.

We have not yet even conceived a total culture, a total personality, a total mind. The totality is the sum total of both the opposite polarities. Therefore, a totally consistent personality is an imperfect and partial personality, and is in a way on the path to madness. This is dangerous. The part that has been denied expression, denied attention, because of a consistent mind, will take its revenge. The irrational will become aggressive. It will come with a revengeful force and shatter all reason.

You must not only understand, but also feel this. This is not difficult to understand intellectually. The problem comes only with the question of feeling. You must also feel it. This can only be possible when you do something irrational. Just jump and dance for an hour and see how relaxed and refreshed you feel – and how bright! The mind gets purified because the irrational is satisfied. Now reason can work freely without any enemy behind. There is now a freedom in its working. Thus give an opportunity to both sides of the mind to express freely.

Always balance the two. Live in these two complementary compartments. They are not contradictory. They look so, because we have been living only in one and become fixed in it.

When you dream, you do not feel the contradiction, the inconsistency of the dream. You see a friend approaching. Suddenly he turns into something else. But you take this as a fact in the dream. You feel no inconsistency, no contradiction. You do not ask how man can change into an animal. This is because a dream has no logic. Dream has still to know its Aristotle. In a dream you cannot say that, if A is A, then he cannot be B. If A is A, he cannot be ‘not-A’. In a dream, A can be ‘not-A’ and ‘not-A’ can be A. No logic is taken into account, nor is any contradiction imposed. So there are realms totally lacking in logic. All the same they are part of you. Rather, you are part of them, for they are greater.

If this balance is achieved between the rational and the irrational, boredom vanishes. There is moment to moment bliss. Then every moment comes with bliss of its own. Otherwise, life becomes a burden. But life is not responsible for this. We alone are responsible, for the choice lies with us.

Dr. Henrotte:

If one tries to balance oneself, he will not fit into a category. Then he will be rejected by society. He will become redundant.

Acharya Rajneesh:

It is better to be rejected by society than to be rejected by life!

-Osho

From an interview with Acharya Rajneesh by Dr. Jean Georges Henrotte, on Jan 6th, 1971, Bombay, India published in The Vital Balance

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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