Aloneness is the Presence of Your Eternal Being – Osho

The deeper into myself, the more alone I feel. There is only nothingness. And sometimes, looking into your eyes, I get the same feeling of a vast emptiness. 

If it is natural—if being alone is basic, the very essence of my being—then how could the illusive idea of becoming one, of falling in love with somebody eternally, come into being in the first place? And why is it so painful to become aware that it is an illusion? Please clear my doubts.

You are the doubter and you are the doubt. There is no other doubt. First, when you say, “The deeper into myself, the more alone I feel,” if you have really been falling deeper you will feel aloneness but you will not feel “I am alone,” because then there are two things, I and aloneness. Then you are not alone. Then there is the experiencer and the experienced, the observer and the observed. Then you are not alone; the other is there—the experience is the other.

When you really fall deep into yourself, you will not find yourself; that is the whole thing to understand. It is only on the surface that the waves exist. If you go deeper into the ocean you will not find waves, or can you? How can you find waves in the depth? They exist only on the surface; they can exist only on the surface. They need winds to exist.

The ‘I’ can exist only on the surface because it needs thou, the wind of the thou to exist.

When you go deeper into yourself the winds are no longer there, thous are no longer there. How can there be ‘I’? I and thou exist in a pair, they are never divorced. Yes, you will find aloneness, but not I-ness. And aloneness is beautiful. Let me remind you again, the word alone means all one. That’s how it is constructed—all one. On the surface you are separate from all. In fact on the surface you are lonely because you are separate from the all. In the depth, when you have disappeared, there is no distinction between you and all. All is one, you are no longer, aloneness is.

You say, “The deeper I fall into myself the more alone I feel.” You must be imagining that you are falling deeper into yourself. The mind can go on playing games. It can play the game of being alone, it can play the game of being in prayer, it can play the game of being in meditation, but if ‘I’ remains then you can be certain it is a game, nothing real has happened. That’s why again the desire for the other will arise.

The ‘I’ cannot exist alone. It needs the other to support it, to feed it, to nourish it. It will bring you back to the other. That’s why when you are lonely you start thinking of your beloved, of your friend, of your mother, father, this and that, a thousand and one things.

You create imaginary ‘thous’. If a man is put in isolation for more than three weeks he starts talking to himself. He creates the whole dialogue. He himself is divided in two—I and thou. He becomes two so the game call be played. ‘I’ cannot exist separate from ‘thou’.

“The deeper I fall into myself, the more alone I feel.”

No, you must be feeling lonely. Never use these two words as synonymous. Loneliness is negative, aloneness is positive. Loneliness simply means you are missing the other. The other is absent; there is a gap in you. Aloneness means you are present; there is no gap in you. You are full of presence, you are utterly there. Loneliness is the absence of the other; aloneness is the presence of your eternal being.

You say “there is only nothingness.” No, if there is only nothingness then there is no problem. If there is only nothingness and nobody to know it, nobody to feel it, then there is no problem. Then from where comes the doubt? How can the doubter arise? No, you are there. That nothingness is bogus because you are there. How can it be nothingness? It is just your idea.

This used to happen in my family when I was a child. I was so lazy—I am still—I was so lazy, utterly lazy, that my family lost all hope with me. By and by they started forgetting about me, because I would never do anything. I would sit in the corner and just sit, either with closed eyes or with open eyes, but I was so absent to them that by and by they became oblivious to me.

Sometimes it would happen that my mother would need something from the market, vegetables or something, and I would be sitting in front of her and she would say, “Nobody seems to be present here.” She was just sitting in front of me and talking to me, “Nobody seems to be here. I want somebody to go and fetch vegetables from the market.” And I was sitting in front of her and she said, “Nobody is here.”

I was counted as nobody. Even if a stray dog would enter in the house I would allow it. I was sitting at the gate and the dog would enter and I would watch. And my mother would come rushing out and she would say, “nobody is here to prevent this dog” — and I was sitting there! By and by they had accepted that I was as if not. But that does not make much difference; I was there. I had seen the dog coming, I was hearing their words. I knew I could manage to go to the market-place and fetch vegetables for her. And I would laugh at the whole idea — that she went on saying that nobody was there.

That’s what is happening to you. You are there, and you say nothingness is. You are oblivious of yourself, you don’t take note of yourself, otherwise you are there. If you are not there, who is saying that nothingness is? Then there is nothingness when you are not there, then there is pure nothingness. In that purity is nirvana, enlightenment. That is the most valuable place to be, the most spacious place to be. It is the space everybody is searching for, because it is unlimited, infinite. And its purity is absolute. It is not polluted by anything; even you are not there. There is light and there is consciousness, but there is no ‘I’. ‘I’ is like ice, frozen consciousness. Consciousness is like melted ice, liquid, or, even better, even the water has evaporated, has become invisible.

And you say: “And why is it so painful to become aware that it is an illusion?”—the  other. It is painful because the ‘I’ starts dying. To recognize the other as the illusion, to recognize love as illusion, is very hard, because then the I starts dying. If you drop the ‘you’, the ‘I’ cannot exist. And you don’t know the beauty of dropping the ‘I’. And you ask: “If it is natural—if being alone is basic, the very essence of my being—then then how could the illusive idea of becoming one, of falling in love with somebody eternally, come into being in the first place?”

It came only because of that—because aloneness is basic, essential. The Hindu scriptures say that God was alone. Just think; just visualize God alone and alone and alone for eternity. He became fed up with his aloneness, it was monotonous. He wanted to have a little play. He created the other and started playing hide-and-seek.

When you are tired of the play, when you become fed up with the play, you become a Buddha again. You again drop your toys. They are created by you, the value is imagined by you; you have put the value on them. The moment you withdraw your value they disappear, you are again alone.

The Hindu concept is tremendously valuable, significant. It says God was alone, it became monotonous, and he created the world, the other, just to have a little chitchat with the other, to have a little dialogue. Then again and again one comes and feels tired and bored with the other, disappears into oneself, again reaches to one’s nothingness and becomes a god.

You are all gods who are deceiving themselves. It is your choice. The day you choose not to be this way you will be free. It is your dream. Because of aloneness, because aloneness is the essential quality of your being, the other has been created.

You just try it, go for a few weeks to the mountains and sit alone and you will feel very good. Everybody is tired of relationship and fed up and bored. Go to the mountains and sit silently and you will feel so beautiful, but after three or four days, five days, seven days, three weeks, you will start thinking of the other. Your woman again starts being attractive to you. You forget all the nastiness and all the nagging. You forget all that she has been doing to you, you completely forget all. She is again beautiful, she is again lovely, she is again fantastic, mm?—you put value again.

Then you have to come down from the mountains to the plains, and for two or three days with the woman things are going beautifully — a new honeymoon and after two or three days things become difficult again, and again you start thinking how to meditate, how to be silent. This is how you go on. Just watch your consciousness and its fluctuations and through it you will know the whole process of existence, because you are a miniature existence.

The pendulum of consciousness goes on swinging between meditation and love, between aloneness and togetherness. And because all the religions of the world up to now have been either of love or of meditation, they were fragmentary, they were not total. I am giving you the total religion. I am not choosing.

For example, Buddha had chosen meditation. He gives you the love for meditation, no other love. He teaches you only to be alone, absolutely alone and nothing else. It is good, it is tremendously good for people who are tired and fed up with the world.

He was tired and fed up with the world. He was a king, he was not a beggar. He was tired of women. His father had brought all the beautiful girls from the kingdom for him. He had one of the most beautiful harems. If you get all the beautiful women of the world in your house, how long will you be able to live there? Just think of it: one is more than enough. Now all the beautiful women of the kingdom were there. It must have been maddening. If he escaped, it is no wonder. All the pleasures were arranged for him, every kind of pleasure was arranged for him. If he became fed up, it is no wonder. He moved to the other pole. The other was too much. He escaped into the jungle, he became alone.

There are religions which are religions of meditation — Buddhism, Jainism. There are religions which are religions of love—Christianity, Mohammedanism. And this has to be understood. Jesus is a poor man, so is Mohammed. This can’t be accidental. Mahavira is a king, so is Buddha. The two kings have given to the world the religion of meditation, and the two poor people of the world have given the religion of love.

The poor cannot be fed up with the other. The poor has not had that much of the other.

The poor hankers for the other. The other may be the woman or money or power or prestige or God; it makes no difference — the other is needed.

Christianity and Islam are both religions of prayer, love—love for God, prayer for God.In Buddhism, in Jainism, there is no place for God at all because there is no place for the other. Aloneness is enough. In Jainism and in Buddhism there is no existence of anything like prayer, the word has not been heard; they know only of meditation. Christianity knows nothing of meditation. These are not accidental things; they show something about the founders.

I am giving you a total religion, a religion which allows both. When you are feeling tired with the other, move into meditation, swing into meditation. When you are feeling tired of aloneness, swing into love. Both are good. Both are contradictory, but through contradiction great joy arises. If you have only one you will not have that kind of richness. The one can give you silence or can give you great joy, but both can give you something infinitely precious, incomparable. Both together, they can give you a silent ecstasy, a peaceful joy. At the innermost core you remain utterly silent, and on the periphery, the dance. And when silence dances or silence sings, that is the richest, the peakest of peaks. Hence my insistence for both.

George Bernard Shaw once at a party was sitting alone at the edge of the room. His hostess came over to him and inquired solicitously, “Aren’t you enjoying yourself?”

Shaw replied, “That’s all I am enjoying.”

He has hit upon a great truth, a great insight is there: one’s self is all anyone can enjoy.

Life starts taking the quality of silence. But if you can enjoy only yourself and never the other then you will miss the other dimension. One should be capable of enjoying oneself and the other too. That’s what I call the whole man, the holy man.

-Osho

From The Diamond Sutra, Chapter Ten

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Feel First Your Own Feeling – Osho

This morning you spoke of the need to be responsible, to not lean on others, to be alone.

I see I have been taking sannyas as an excuse to avoid these things – Asking you all the time what to do, calling on your presence when I am sad and lonely, imagining you are with me, filling all the emptiness. I feel irresponsible and confused again about what sannyas is.

You will always feel confused if you lean on somebody else because then the understanding will not be yours, and understanding cannot be borrowed. So you can befool yourself a little while. Again and again the reality will erupt and you will feel confused. So the only way to avoid confusion is not-rationalization. The only way to avoid confusion is to stand on your own feet, to be alert, to be aware. Don’t postpone awareness. Whenever you start leaning on somebody, you are avoiding awareness — and you have been taught and conditioned for it from the very beginning. The parents, the peers, the society, the educationists, the politicians, they all go on trying to condition you in such a way that you always depend on others. Then you can be manipulated, then you can be dominated. Then you can be exploited and oppressed, then you can be reduced to being a slave. You lose your freedom.

This conditioning is there. When you come to me you come with that conditioning, of course; there is no other way. And immediately your mind starts functioning from your conditioning: you start leaning on me. But I am not going to allow you that. I will push you again and again, throw you again and again to yourself. Because I would like you to stand on your own understanding. Then it will be something of the permanent, then you will never be confused.

Confusion comes in…. I say something to you, you start believing in it — but it is not your vision, it is not your perception. Tomorrow in life something happens and you are in a difficulty. The difficulty arises because you have learned by rote — you have memorized me. Now you will try to respond through this borrowed understanding. Life changes every moment. My understanding of this moment will not be of any help to you the next moment. My understanding of this moment cannot be made a permanent reference. And if you take it verbally, intellectually, mentally, and you carry it with you, you will again and again be confused; because life will always sabotage your so-called understanding.

Life trusts only real understanding. Real means your own, authentic, that arises from you.

I am not here to give you knowledge, I am not here to give you theories. That’s what has been done for centuries, and man has remained as ignorant as ever. I am here to make you alert to the fact that hidden behind you, within you, is a source of light. Tap that source. Let that light bum bright within you. And then you have something alive. Then whatsoever problems come in life, you will not tackle them from your past knowledge. You will tackle them in the present. You will face them with your present understanding.

Whatsoever I say will always become past. The moment I have said, the moment you have heard, it has already gone into the past. And life goes on changing; it is a constant movement. It knows no stopping, it knows no rest. Again and again you will feel confused.

And with me also there is a problem. The next moment you will ask the same question, and I will never answer the same again. Because I respond. I don’t answer, I don’t remember my old answers — I respond. Your question is there, I am here, I respond again. And if you go on collecting my answers: not only confused, you will become mad. Because you will not find any harmony in them, any consistency in them. They are inconsistent. What can I do. Life is inconsistent. If I am to be true to life, I have to remain inconsistent in my statements. If I want to be true to my statements, then I betray life. And I would like to remain true to life. I can betray my past, but I cannot betray the present. I can go against my statements, but I cannot go against the present life, this moment.

So confusion will arise. Someday I will say something, and I will say something else some other day. If you compare, if you try to make a consistent whole out of my statements, you are going to be in trouble, in deep trouble. Don’t do that. You just listen to me. And don’t learn my answer; learn my response. Don’t be bothered with what I say. See the way I say it. See the way I respond to a situation, to a question. The answer is not important, but my alive response is.

And if you can learn the alive response, you become responsible. My meaning of the word “responsibility” is totally different from the dictionary meaning. In the dictionary responsibility seems something like a duty, a commitment, as if you are responsible to somebody else. The word is almost dirty. The mother goes on saying to the child, “You are responsible to me, remember.” The father goes on saying to the son, “You are responsible to me, remember.” The society goes on saying to the individuals, “You are responsible to us, to the society, remember.” And your so-called images of God, they also go on telling people, “You are responsible to us… to me.”

When I use the word “responsibility” I mean your aliveness, responding aliveness. You are not responsible to anybody else except your own being, this moment. You are responsible to be responsible. To respond with an open heart, with vulnerability. Not with closed fists but with open hands. Not hiding and holding something. Opening yourself completely, in deep trust with life. Not trying to be clever and cunning. Then you float with life moment to moment… your response will change because life is changing.

Sometimes it is hot and you cannot sit outside in the sun and you would need a shelter. Sometimes it is too cold and you cannot sit under the shelter and you would like to sit under the sun. But nobody is going to say to you that you look very inconsistent: “The other day you were sitting in the shelter, and now you are sitting under the sun? Be consistent! Choose! If you want to sit in the sun, then sit consistently in the sun.” You will laugh at this absurdity, but this is what people have expected of you in life.

Everything is changing around you. Don’t get fixed ideas; otherwise you will be confused. And don’t listen to what others say; listen to your own heart. I have heard:

What mankind had feared for generations finally happened: a nuclear reaction ran out of control and the entire globe exploded, killing every living thing in it.

Naturally, at the Pearly Gates there was terrible confusion, what with so many souls arriving at the same time, so St. Peter decided to try and sort out the grades by putting up various notices behind which the appropriate souls could form queues.

One sign read Bosses Only, and another read Men Who Were Under Their Wives’ Thumbs. Behind the Bosses Only sign was one solitary soul, whereas under the other sign was a queue stretching right to the Milky Way.

St. Peter, curious, said to the solitary soul, “How is it that you are the only one here?”

“I don’t know — the wife told me to stand here,” was the reply.

Sometimes it is the wife, sometimes it is the husband, sometimes it is the father, sometimes the mother — sometimes the guru. Somebody is telling you to stand here, and you don’t know why. Make sure why you are standing there.

Listen. It is a little complex. Even if you decide to follow somebody, listen to your heart, as to whether you want to follow. I am not saying don’t follow anybody, because if your heart says follow, then what will you do? But listen to the heart, feel your own feeling first because ultimately you are responsible to your heart. Everything else is secondary; you are primary. You are the center of your world.

If you choose to follow me or if you choose to be initiated by me, if you choose to surrender to me, feel first your own feeling. Otherwise you will again and again be confused, and again and again you will start thinking, “What am I doing here?” You will start thinking, “Why have I taken sannyas? Why?” Don’t take it because somebody else is saying to. Feel it. Then the confusion will never arise. Then it cannot arise; then there is no question of confusion.

Confusion is a wrong functioning. If you function from your center, confusion never arises. If you function from somebody else’s center, the confusion is bound to arise continuously — and people are functioning from others’ understandings, from advisers, experts. They are living through them. People have completely left their lives in others’ hands.

Feel it, wait for the feeling to arise. Be patient, don’t be in a hurry. And if you have felt your feeling well, then you will have a deep root, and that root will make you strong, and that root will not allow any confusion to settle around you.

-Osho

From Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, V.9, Chapter Two

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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.

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Aloneness, the Everest of Meditation – Osho

I am loving my aloneness. I am feeling fulfilled, nourished, fresh with new energy and ecstatic. However, there are days when I feel lonely. Then I get sad, unmeditative and even grumpy. Osho, can you talk about how to go through the transition period from loneliness to aloneness?

Nirvano, aloneness is the Everest of meditation, the highest sunlit peak. Once you start enjoying aloneness, there is no end to where your joy stops growing. It goes on growing, it goes on spreading; it seems as if the whole universe is full of joy and full of fragrance. Aloneness is the greatest achievement in life but certainly there is a painful period of transition.

Man ordinarily lives in loneliness. To avoid loneliness, he creates all kinds of relationships, friendships, organizations, political parties, religions and what not. But the basic thing is that he is very much afraid of being lonely. Loneliness is a black hole, a darkness, a frightening negative state almost like death … as if you are being swallowed by death itself. To avoid it, you run out and fall into anybody, just to hold somebody’s hand, to feel that you are not lonely.

I have seen people when they are walking in the night on a lonely street, they start singing songs. Nobody has ever heard that they are singers! And what suddenly transpires that they become singers? – and loudly. They are simply trying to forget that they are lonely. They are trying to drown themselves in their own voice.

Nothing hurts more than loneliness.

But the trouble is, any relationship that arises out of the fear of being lonely is not going to be a blissful experience, because the other is also joining you out of fear. You both call it love. You are both deceiving yourself and the other. It is simply fear and fear can never be the source of love. Only those love who are absolutely fearless; only those love, who are able to be alone, joyously, whose need for the other has disappeared, who are sufficient unto themselves.

The common psychology of man is of loneliness. He does everything to avoid it. But whatever you do, it is always there, just like your shadow. You may not look at it, but you know it is there. And once in a while you cannot resist the temptation either: you will look and you will find it always there. You cannot escape from your shadow. In the same way you cannot escape from your loneliness just by creating friendships, relationships, marriages, organizations – religious, political, social. They give you a little relief, but they don’t transform anything.

The day you decide that all these efforts are failures, that your loneliness has remained untouched by all your efforts, that is a great moment of understanding. Then only one thing remains: to see whether loneliness is such a thing that you should be afraid of, or if it is just your nature. Then rather than running out and away, you close your eyes and go in. Suddenly the night is over, and a new dawn … The loneliness transforms into aloneness.

Aloneness is your nature. You were born alone, you will die alone. And you are living alone without understanding it, without being fully aware of it. You misunderstand aloneness as loneliness; it is simply a misunderstanding.

You are sufficient unto yourself.

The transition period is a little painful and difficult because of old habits but it won’t be long. And the way to make it short, bearable, is to enjoy your aloneness more and more. Make it a point that when you are enjoying your aloneness, you are not miserly. Then sing and dance, then paint. Do whatsoever you always wanted to do, but you were so much involved in relationships that there was no time left.

Be creative, and the more creative you are, the more rejoicing, the more dancing, the more songful your aloneness becomes. Those periods of sadness, of grumpiness – old habits – will start falling like dead leaves falling from the trees. They also cling for a little while, but they have to fall.

You just have to make your aloneness more and more strong. So you don’t have to do anything with your sadness or your grumpiness, or your fear that the old habit may come back again. You have not to think about that at all. You have to pour your whole energy into the joy of being alone. You have only a certain amount of energy – either you can dance or you can be sad. If you dance half-heartedly, then you are saving energy for sadness. That’s why I insist: live every moment totally and so intensely that no energy is left to be invested in sadness, in misery, in anger; there is simply no energy left.

So the whole effort has to be very positive. Feed and nourish your aloneness with all that you have, pour your love, and you will be surprised that those gaps of sadness and grumpiness are not coming anymore because you don’t have any energy for them and you are no longer in a welcoming mood for them.

And if by chance you find some clouds of sadness coming, just watch. Don’t get identified with them. Remember only one thing: everything passes. So these clouds will also pass. Many times before they have been there and they have passed, so there is no question that this time they are not going to pass away. So why unnecessarily get disturbed? You just let them pass. You remain absolutely unidentified and watchful.

If these two things are remembered, your aloneness gets your total energy so that no energy is left for anything else. But if in the beginning you don’t understand what is total and you are holding something back, then some moments will come. For that, use a watchfulness, unidentified with the moment, as if it has nothing to do with you, as if it is somebody else’s sadness, somebody else’s grumpiness – none of my business. Keep a distance; don’t let them come closer and become one with you.

That’s what I mean when I say, don’t identify. Don’t say, “I am sad,” simply say, “A cloud of sadness is passing in front of me.” Don’t say, “I am angry,” simply say, “A cloud of anger is just at the corner going by.” And it will not leave even a trace on you; it will not even touch you. And once you have become aware that by not identifying you become free of everything, you have a secret key in your hands for freedom from any kind of emotion, any mood, any thought.

This will remind you that you have not been putting your total energy into your aloneness, something is left. So next time, when you are again feeling alone and the clouds have gone and the sky is clear, put in more energy. You never know how much you have. You will know only when you put it into action, when you make the potential actual – only then will you know. When the seed comes to blossom, only then will you know what was hiding in that seed. So many flowers – such a small seed – so much green foliage, such a beauty. But you know only when things become actual.

Much of your life remains unlived; it never becomes actual. That’s why very few people are able to blossom. They live at the minimum – and I teach you to live at the optimum.

[…]

Just enjoy everything. When you are alone, laugh. Tell a beautiful joke to yourself, sing. But remember that you have to nourish your aloneness so much that it becomes the most beautiful experience of your life; that no sadness can overtake you; that no past can ever possess you again; that no old habit can get you again into patterns that you know perfectly well are simply misery and suffering.

Two things: one, a totality in aloneness. And if in the beginning sometimes you have not been total and a cloud comes, remain unidentified, far away. Slowly, slowly no sadness comes, no suffering comes, no feeling of loneliness comes.

And that does not mean that you cannot relate with people. In fact, only a person who lives in a beautiful aloneness is capable of relating, because it is not his need. He is not a beggar; he is not asking you for anything – not even your company. He is a giver. Out of his abundance of joy and peace and silence and bliss he shares. Then love has a totally different aroma to it, then it is a sharing. And if both persons know the beauty of aloneness, then love reaches to its highest point, which has very rarely been possible. Then it touches the very stars of the sky.

You cannot even dream of the beauty of it and the benediction of it – because both are overflowing with joy, both are overflowing with laughter, both are ready to give and nobody is asking for anything. Both are ready to give freedom, both are ready to give unconditionally. This love becomes one of the most beautiful meditations, in which two persons melt and merge and become one.

Aloneness does not mean you cannot relate. It simply means you will have to relate in a totally new way, which will not create suffering and misery, which will not create conflict, which will not be an effort – directly or indirectly – to dominate the other, to enslave the other. Because it is not out of fear, it is pure life. Out of fear is only death; out of fearlessness grows everything that is beautiful.

Just a joke for Nirvano. In her aloneness she can think about it.

A priest, a backpacker and Ronald Reagan were flying in a plane. Suddenly the pilot ran in and said, “The plane is about to crash. There are only three parachutes and I am taking one.” And he jumped out. Ronald Reagan grabbed the next parachute and said, “I am the smartest man in America and America needs me.” Then he jumped too.

The priest turned to the backpacker and said, “I am an old man. You take this last parachute and jump.” The backpacker laughed and said, “Don’t worry Father, the smartest man in America just grabbed my backpack and jumped.”

-Osho

From The New Dawn, Chapter 27

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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.

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Inward Revolution – Osho

On man’s path of evolution is it possible that at some time in the future humanity as a whole can attain enlightenment? At what point of evolution is man today?

With man, the natural, automatic process of evolution ends. Man is the last product of unconscious evolution. With man, conscious evolution begins. Many things are to be taken into account.

First, unconscious evolution is mechanical and natural. It happens by itself. Through this type of evolution, consciousness evolves. But the moment consciousness comes into being; unconscious evolution stops because its purpose has been fulfilled. Unconscious evolution is needed only up to the point where the conscious comes into being. Man has become conscious. In a way, he has transcended nature. Now nature cannot do anything; the last product that was possible through natural evolution has come into being. Now man becomes free to decide whether to evolve or not to evolve.

Secondly, unconscious evolution is collective, but the moment evolution becomes conscious it becomes individual. No collective, automatic evolution proceeds further than mankind. From now on, evolution becomes an individual process. Consciousness creates individuality. Before consciousness evolves, there is no individuality. Only species exist, not individuality. When evolution is still unconscious, it is an automatic process; there is no uncertainty about it.

Things happen through the law of cause and effect. Existence is mechanical and certain. But with man, with consciousness, uncertainty comes into existence. Now, nothing is certain. Evolution may take place or it may not. The potential is there, but the choice will rest entirely with each individual.

That is why anxiety is a human phenomenon. Below man there is no anxiety because there is no choice. Everything happens as it must. There is no choice so there is no chooser, and in the absence of the chooser, anxiety is impossible. Who is to be anxious? Who is to be tense? With the possibility of choice, anxiety follows like a shadow. Everything has to be chosen now; everything is a conscious effort. You alone are responsible. If you fail, you fail. It is your responsibility.

If you succeed, you succeed. It is again your responsibility. And every choice is ultimate in a sense.

You cannot undo it, you cannot forget it, you cannot go back on it. Your choice becomes your destiny.

It will remain with you and be a part of you; you cannot deny it. But your choice is always a gamble.

Every choice is made in darkness because nothing is certain.

That is why man suffers from anxiety. He is anxious to his very roots. What torments him, to begin with, is: to be or not to be? to do or not to do? to do this or to do that? ”No choice” is not possible. If you do not choose, then you are choosing not to choose; it is a choice. So you are forced to choose; you are not free not to choose. Not choosing will have as much effect as any other choice.

The dignity, the beauty and the glory of man is this consciousness. But it is a burden also. The glory and the burden come simultaneously the minute you become conscious. Every step is a movement between the two. With man, choice and conscious individuality come into existence. You can evolve, but your evolution will be an individual endeavor. You may evolve to become a buddha or you may not. The choice is yours.

So there are two types of evolution: collective evolution and individual, conscious evolution. ‘Evolution’ implies unconscious, collective progress, so it would be better to use the word ‘revolution’ in talking about man. With man, revolution becomes possible.

Revolution, as I am using the word here, means a conscious, individual effort toward evolution. It is bringing individual responsibility to a peak. Only you are responsible for your own evolution.

Ordinarily, man tries to escape from his responsibility for his own evolution, from the responsibility of freedom of choice. There is a great fear of freedom. When you are a slave the responsibility for your life is never yours; someone else is responsible. So in a way, slavery is a very comfortable thing.

There is no burden. In this respect, slavery is a freedom: freedom from conscious choice. The moment you become completely free, you have to make your own choices. No one forces you to do anything; all alternatives are open to you. Then the struggle with the mind begins. So one becomes afraid of freedom.

Part of the appeal of ideologies such as communism and fascism is that they provide an escape from individual freedom and a shirking of individual responsibility. The burden of responsibility is taken away from the individual; the society becomes responsible. When something goes wrong, you can always point to the state, the organization. Man becomes just a part of the collective structure. But in denying individual freedom, fascism and communism also deny the possibility of human evolution. It is a falling back from the great possibility that revolution offers: the total transformation of human beings. When this happens, you destroy the possibility of achieving the ultimate. You fall back; you again become like animals.

To me, further evolution is possible only with individual responsibility. You alone are responsible! This responsibility is a great blessing in disguise. With this individual responsibility comes the struggle that ultimately leads to choiceless awareness.

The old pattern of unconscious evolution has ended for us. You can fall back into it, but you cannot remain in it. Your being will revolt. Man has become conscious; he has to remain conscious. There is no other way.

Philosophers like Aurobindo have great appeal for escapists. They say that collective evolution is possible. The divine will descend and everyone will become enlightened. But to me that is not possible. And even if it appears possible, it is not worthwhile. If you become enlightened without your own individual effort, then that enlightenment is not worth having. It will not give you the ecstasy that crowns the effort. It will just be taken for granted – like your eyes, your hands, your breathing system. These are great blessings, but no one really values them, cherishes them.

One day you can also be born with enlightenment, just as Aurobindo promises. It will be valueless.

You will have much, but because it has come to you without effort, without toil, it will mean nothing to you; its significance will be lost. Conscious effort is necessary. The achievement is not as significant as the effort itself. Effort gives it its meaning; struggle gives it its significance.

As I see it, enlightenment that comes collectively, unconsciously, as a gift from the divine, is not only impossible but also meaningless. You must struggle for enlightenment. Through struggle, you create the capacity to see and feel and hold on to the bliss that comes.

Unconscious evolution ends with man and conscious evolution – revolution – begins. But conscious evolution does not necessarily begin in any particular man. It begins only if you choose it to begin.

If you do not choose it – as most people do not – you will be in a very tense condition. And present-day humanity is like this: nowhere to go, nothing to be achieved. Nothing can be achieved now without conscious effort. You cannot go back to a state of unconsciousness. The door has closed; the bridge has been broken.

The conscious choice to evolve is a great adventure, the only adventure there is for a human being. The path is arduous; it is bound to be so. Errors are bound to be there, failures, because nothing is certain. This situation creates tension in the mind. You do not know where you are, you do not know where you are going. Your identity is lost. The situation may even reach such a point that you become suicidal.

Suicide is a human phenomenon; it comes with human choice. Animals cannot commit suicide, because to choose death consciously is impossible for them. Birth is unconscious, death is unconscious. But with man – ignorant man, unevolved man – one thing becomes possible: the ability to choose death. Your birth is not your choice. As far as your birth is concerned, you are in the hands of unconscious evolution. In fact, your birth is not a human happening at all. It is animal in nature, because it is not your choice. Only with choice does humanity begin. But you can choose your death – a decisive act. So suicide becomes a definite human act. And if you do not choose conscious evolution, there is every possibility that you may choose to commit suicide. You may not have the courage actively to commit suicide but you will go through a slow, prolonged process of suicide – lingering, waiting to die.

You cannot make anyone else responsible for your evolution. To accept this situation gives you strength. You are on your way to growing, to evolving. We create gods, or we take refuge in gurus, so that we will not have to be responsible for our own lives, for our own evolution. We try to place the responsibility somewhere else, away from us. If we are not able to accept some god or some guru, then we try to escape from responsibility through intoxicants or drugs, through anything that will make us unconscious. But these efforts to deny responsibility are absurd, juvenile, childish. They only postpone the problem; they are not solutions. You can postpone until death, but the problem still remains, and your new birth will continue in the same way.

Once you become aware that you alone are responsible, there is no escape through any type of unconsciousness. And you are foolish if you try to escape, because responsibility is a great opportunity for evolution. Out of the struggle that is created, something new may evolve. To become aware means to know that everything depends on you. Even your god depends on you, because he is created by your imagination.

Everything is ultimately a part of you, and you are responsible for it. There is no one to listen to your excuses; there are no courts of appeal, the whole responsibility is yours. You are alone, absolutely alone. This has to be understood very clearly. The moment a person becomes conscious, he becomes alone. The greater the consciousness, the greater the awareness that you are alone. So, do not escape from this fact through society, friends, associations, crowds. Do not escape from it! It is a great phenomenon; the whole process of evolution has been working toward this.

Consciousness has come to the point now where you know that you are alone. And only in aloneness can you attain enlightenment. I am not saying loneliness. The feeling of loneliness is the feeling that comes when one is escaping from aloneness, when one is not ready to accept it.

If you do not accept the fact of aloneness, then you will feel lonely. Then you will find some crowd or some means of intoxication in which to forget yourself. Loneliness will create its own magic of forgetfulness. If you can be alone even for a single moment, totally alone, the ego will die; the “I” will die. You will explode; you will be no more. The ego cannot remain alone. It can exist only in relation to others. Whenever you are alone, a miracle happens. The ego becomes weak. Now it cannot continue to exist for long. So if you can be courageous enough to be alone, you will gradually become egoless.

To be alone is a very conscious and deliberate act, more deliberate than suicide, because the ego cannot exist alone, but it can exist in suicide. Egoistic people are more prone to suicide. Suicide is always in relation to someone else; it is never an act of aloneness. In suicide, the ego will not suffer.

Rather, it will become more expressive. It will enter into a new birth with greater force. Through aloneness, the ego is shattered. It has nothing to relate to, so it cannot exist. So if you are ready to be alone, unwaveringly alone, neither escaping nor falling back, just accepting the fact of aloneness as it is – it becomes a great opportunity. Then you are just like a seed that has much potential in it. But remember, the seed must destroy itself for the plant to grow. Ego is a seed, a potentiality. If it is shattered, the divine is born. The divine is neither ”I” nor ”thou,” it is one. Through aloneness, you come to this oneness.

You can create false substitutes for this oneness. Hindus become one, Christians become one, Mohammedans become one; India is one, China is one. These are just substitutes for oneness. Oneness comes only through total aloneness.

A crowd can call itself one, but the oneness is always in opposition to something else. Since the crowd is with you, you are at ease. Now you are not responsible any more. You would not burn a mosque alone, you would not destroy a temple alone, but as part of a crowd you can do it, because now you are not individually responsible. Everyone is responsible, so no one in particular is responsible. There is no individual consciousness, only a group consciousness. You regress in a crowd and become like an animal.

The crowd is a false substitute for the feeling of oneness. One who is aware of the situation, aware of his responsibility as a human being, aware of the difficult, arduous task that comes with being human, does not choose any false substitutes. He lives with the facts as they are; he does not create any fictions. Your religions and your political ideologies are just fictions, creating an illusory feeling of oneness.

Oneness comes only when you become egoless, and the ego can die only when you are totally alone. When you are completely alone, you are not. That very moment is the moment of explosion.

You explode into the infinite. This, and only this, is evolution. I call it revolution because it is not unconscious. You may become egoless or you may not. It is up to you. To be alone is the only real revolution. Much courage is needed.

Only a Buddha is alone, only a Jesus or a Mahavir is alone. It is not that they left their families, left the world. It looks that way but it is not. They were not negatively leaving something. The act was positive; it was a movement toward aloneness. They were not leaving. They were in search of being totally alone. The whole search is for that moment of explosion when one is alone. In aloneness there is bliss. And only then is enlightenment achieved. We cannot be alone, others also cannot be alone, so we create groups, families, societies, nations. All nations, all families, all groups are made up of cowards, of those who are not courageous enough to be alone.

Real courage is the courage to be alone. It means a conscious realization of the fact that you are alone and you cannot be otherwise. You can either deceive yourself or you can live with this fact.

You can continue deceiving yourself for lives and lives, but you will just go on in a vicious circle. Only if you can live with this fact of aloneness is the circle broken and you come to the center. That center is the center of divineness, of the whole, the holy. I cannot conceive of a time when every human being will be able to achieve this as a birthright. It is impossible.

Consciousness is individual. Only unconsciousness is collective. Human beings have come to the point of consciousness where they have become individuals. There is no humanity as such; there are only individual human beings. Each human being must realize his own individuality and the responsibility for it. The first thing we must do is to accept aloneness as a basic fact and learn to live with it. We must not create any fictions. If you create fictions you will never be able to know the truth. Fictions are projected, created, cultivated truths that prevent you from knowing what is.

Live with the fact of your aloneness. If you can live with this fact, if there is no fiction between you and this fact, then the truth will be revealed to you. Every fact, if looked into deeply, reveals the truth.

So live with the fact of responsibility, with the fact that you are alone. If you can live with this fact, the explosion will happen. It is arduous, but it is the only way. Through difficulty, through accepting this truth, you reach the point of explosion. Only then is there bliss. If it is given to you ready-made, it loses its worth because you have not earned it. You do not have the capacity to feel the bliss. This capacity comes only from discipline.

If you can live with the fact of your responsibility for yourself, a discipline will automatically come to you. By being totally responsible for yourself, you cannot help but become disciplined. But this discipline is not something forced upon you from the outside. It comes from within. Because of the total responsibility you carry for yourself, each step you take is disciplined. You cannot utter even one word irresponsibly. If you are aware of your own aloneness, you will be aware of the anguish of others also. Then you will not be able to commit a single irresponsible act, because you will feel responsible not only for yourself but for others also. If you can live with the fact of your aloneness, you know that everyone is lonely. Then the son knows that the father is lonely; the wife knows that the husband is lonely; the husband knows that the wife is lonely. Once you know this, it is impossible not to be compassionate.

Living with facts is the only yoga, the only discipline. Once you are totally aware of the human situation, you become religious. You become a master of yourself. But the austerity that comes is not the austerity of an ascetic. It is not forced; it is not ugly. The austerity is aesthetic. You feel that it is the only thing possible, that you cannot do otherwise. Then you renounce things; you become non-possessive.

The urge to possess is the urge not to be alone. One cannot be alone, so he seeks company. But the company of other people is not reliable, so he seeks, instead, the company of things. To live with a wife is difficult; to live with a car is not so difficult. So ultimately, possessiveness turns toward things.

You may even try to change persons into things. You try to mold them in such a way that they lose their personalities, their individuality. A wife is a thing, not a person; a husband is a thing, not a person.

If you become aware of your aloneness, then you become aware of the aloneness of others also. Then you know that to try to possess another is trespassing. You never positively renounce. Renunciation becomes the negative shadow of your aloneness. You become non-possessive. Then you can be a lover, but not a husband, not a wife.

With this non-possessiveness comes compassion and austerity. Innocence comes to you. When you deny the facts of life, you cannot be innocent; you become cunning. You deceive yourself and others. But if you are courageous enough to live with the facts as they are, you become innocent.

This innocence is not cultivated. You are it: innocent.

To me, to be innocent is all that is to be achieved. Be innocent, and the divine is always blissfully flowing towards you. Innocence is the capacity to receive, to be part of the divine. Be innocent, and the guest is there. Become the host.

This innocence cannot be cultivated because cultivation is always a contrivance. It is calculated.

But innocence can never be calculated; it is impossible.

Innocence is religiousness. To be innocent is the peak of true realization. But true innocence comes only through a conscious revolution; it is not possible through any collective, unconscious evolution.

Man is alone. He is free to choose heaven or hell, life or death, the ecstasy of realization or the misery of our so-called life.

Sartre said somewhere: “Man is condemned to be free.” You may choose either heaven or hell. Freedom means the freedom to choose either. If you can choose only heaven, then it is not a choice; it is not freedom. Heaven without the choice of hell will be hell itself. Choice always means either/or. It does not mean you are free to choose good only. Then there would be no freedom. If you choose wrongly, freedom becomes a condemnation; but if you choose rightly, it becomes bliss. It depends on you whether your choice turns your freedom into condemnation or into bliss.

The choice is totally your responsibility.

If you are ready, then from within your depths a new dimension can begin: the dimension of revolution. Evolution has ended. Now a revolution is needed to open you up to what is beyond.

It is an individual revolution, an inward revolution.

-Osho

From The Psychology of the Esoteric, Chapter One