Patiently Impatient – Osho

Paltudas says “Every art takes place in its own time, so why get impatient? No matter how much you water it, the tree comes into fruition in its own time.” Osho, please say something about impatience on the spiritual path. Is impatience an essential part of human growth? Please comment.

It is true that everything takes place in its own time – but it is only half true.

Paltudas says, “Every art takes place in its own time, so why get impatient? No matter how much you water it, the tree comes into fruition in its own time.” But that does not mean that you need not water the tree; that does not mean that you have not to sow the seeds. The seeds have also to be sown in time – only then will the fruits come in their own time.

What Paltudas is saying is only half of the whole thing. From the seed to the fruit is a long journey, and great patience is needed on the part of the gardener. But the patience must not become laziness, because the difference is very delicate and very fine. The patience should remain, in its heart of hearts, very impatient – knowing perfectly well that when the spring comes, flowers will come. That does not mean you have to forget longing, desiring, for the spring to come; praying, waiting, for the spring to come. Wait – but your waiting should not be   dullness on your part.

The guest will come – and one never knows when the guest will come; but wait like a lover, with doors open, eyes fixed on the road… as if the next moment is going to be the meeting with the guest, with the friend.

On the spiritual path, things which ordinarily appear contradictory become complementary. Be impatiently patient, or be patiently impatient; but both have to be together. If you choose one, there is danger. Patience alone is going to become laziness; impatience alone is going to become unnecessary anguish, anxiety. They both are needed, balanced; so impatience keeps you longing, waiting, and patience keeps you from becoming tense, from creating anxiety. Both have their parts to fulfill on the spiritual path.

And it is not only so about this contradiction; about many other contradictions the same is true. One has to be both together, in deep harmony. What do you think this is about – the gardener? Paltudas has forgotten completely that the real question is about the seed, not about the gardener, because the gardener is going to remain the same; there is going to be no growth, spiritual or unspiritual.

The growth is going to happen to the seed, and if the seed is too patient it will die; it will lose the very longing to live, the zest for living.

Long months have to pass before the rains will come. If it becomes too patient, it will die before even being born. It needs a certain impatience on the part of the seed – a tremendous desire to grow, to blossom, to come to fruition.

But even if there is tremendous desire and longing for growth, it will happen in its own time. Your longing cannot arrange that the spring comes a little sooner, but it can keep you awake – so that when the spring comes, you are not fast asleep and dead.

The seed has to continue to dream, desire… has to remain discontent as it is, because this is not its destiny, it is only a potential – otherwise it is empty. Everything is going to happen in the future, so it has to be alert, hopeful, aware of the unknown, listening to the footsteps of the spring coming.

And on the other hand it has to be patient, because there is nothing it can do to bring the rains or to bring the spring – they will come in their own time.

So if the seed can keep a balance between patience and impatience, it will remain alive, and it will also not go mad. Too much impatience can make you insane, and too much patience can make you one of the living dead. Both are needed in the right proportions: a deep harmony between the contradictions, so they are transformed into complementaries.

On the spiritual path a deep harmony is needed with every step – a little imbalance and you will be lost. And that’s what your religions have been teaching you: they have been teaching you imbalance, not balance. They have been telling you to choose between two contradictions.

I say unto you: Never choose.

Remain choiceless. Both are yours. Use them – and use them in such a way that they both create a beautiful music in your heart. It looks very strange to say, but nothing can be done about the mysteries of life.

I can only say – even if I appear to be very contradictory – be patiently impatient, or be impatiently patient – but be both.

-Osho

From The Rebellious Spirit, Chapter Seven

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Osho's mulshree tree

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

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