Acceptance is Transcendence
Birthday of Scottish Psychiatrist R. D. Laing
7th October is the birthday of the renowned Scottish psychiatrist Ronald David Laing (R.D. Laing). He was greatly influenced by Jean Paul Sartre and Existential Philosophy. He was famously opposed to outdated methods of treating psychological disorders like chemical drugs and electric shocks. He believed that the root of the mental illness lies not in biological or psychic organs but in family and social set-up in which a person lives. He favoured treatment of psychological disorders through therapies and workshops that offer a cathartic experience. Laing argued that mental illness can be a transformative episode in one’s life and the person could return with great insights becoming wiser and more grounded.
Osho has spoken on Dr. R.D Laing in His discourses. Osho says R.D. Laing is certainly one of the most sensitive psychiatrists of the world.
Osho says that insanity and neurosis are the by-product of the inauthentic life-style the society imposes upon us. And no stupid person ever goes crazy. The people who go mad are those with high IQs, higher than an average person. Osho says A mad Nietzsche has a greater I.Q. than a Nixon. A mad Van Gogh has a higher I.Q. than Lenin, Mao, Stalin. A Picasso has greater intelligence than any Adolf Hitler. If everybody is allowed individuality, there will be no need for mental asylums. Mad people are victims of the society, of a repressive society. First the society forces sensitive people to go crazy and then forces them into hospitals or mental or onto the psychiatrist’s couch for years together — a sheer wastage of potential, and of the purest potential.
Osho explains how meditation can help a person more holistically and permanently than psychotherapy. Osho says if a person’s madness is because he is too sensitive, too alert and too aware of the misery in which people are living — and he himself is living; if he becomes aware of the meaninglessness of this whole life that we have created on this earth, he is bound to go berserk. It will be unbearable. Such a person cannot be helped by psychiatry or psychoanalysis. He can only be helped if something like meditation starts happening in their being.
IF ONE BEGINS TO FEEL THAT LIFE IS A PSYCHODRAMA, THEN ONE ALSO FEELS DETACHED AND LONELY. THUS, THE INTENSITY, SINCERITY AND DEPTH OF LIVING IS LOST. PLEASE SUGGEST WHAT TO DO IN THIS SITUATION. WHAT THEN IS THE RIGHT ATTITUDE TOWARD LIFE?”
“If one begins to feel that life is a psychodrama, then one also feels detached and lonely….” Then feel it! Why create a problem? If you feel detached and lonely, then feel it! But we go on creating problems. Whatsoever happens, we will create a problem out of it. Feel lonely and detached — And if you can be at ease with your loneliness, it will disappear. If you start doing something with it to transcend it, it will never disappear; it will remain there. Now a modern trend in psychology and psychoanalysis says that anything can disappear if you remain with it without creating any problems, and this has been one of the oldest teachings of tantra.
For the last ten or twelve years, in Japan, a small psychotherapeutic technique has been in use. Western psychoanalysts and psychiatrists have been studying it. It is a Zen therapy, and it is wonderful. If someone goes neurotic or psychotic, that man or woman is simply put into a lonely room and he or she is told, “Remain with yourself, whatsoever you are. Neurotic? Okay! Then be neurotic and live with it.” And the doctors do not interfere. Food is provided, needs will he fulfilled, attention will be given, but there is no interference. The patient has to live with himself, and within ten days he starts changing. Western psychoanalysis works for years, and basically nothing changes. What happens to this Zen patient? There is no interference from outside. There is just acceptance of the fact that “Okay, you are neurotic. Nothing can be done.” Zen says that one tree is small and another tree is very big, so okay: one is small, another is big, and nothing can be done. Once you accept a thing, you are already transcending it.
One of the most original psychiatrists of England, R. D. Laing, has now proposed that if we can leave a madman to himself, just paying loving attention to him, fulfilling his needs and not interfering with him, he will get over his madness within three or four weeks. His proposal is that no madness can last for more than ten days if it is not interfered with. If you interfere, then you prolong the process. What happens when you are not interfering in anything? You feel lonely, so feel lonely: it is how you are. But when you feel lonely you start doing something, and then you are divided. Then one part of you feels lonely and another part tries to change it. This is absurd. It is just pulling yourself up by your legs or the strings of your shoes — pulling yourself up to the sky. Absurd! You are lonely, so what can you do? There is no one else to do anything.
You are alone, so be lonely. This is your fate; this is how you are. What will happen if you accept it? If you accept it, your fragmentariness will disappear, you will become one, you will be whole — not divided. If you are depressed, so be depressed; don’t do anything. And what can you do? Whatsoever you do will be done out of depression, so it will create more confusion. You can pray to God, but you will pray so depressingly that you will even make God depressed through your prayers. Don’t do that violence. Your prayer is going to be a depressed prayer. You can meditate, but what will you do? The depression will be there. Because you are depressed, whatsoever you do the depression will follow. More confusion will be created, more frustration, because you cannot succeed. And when you cannot succeed you will feel more depressed, and this can go on ad infinitum. It is better to remain with the first depression than to create a second circle and then a third circle. Remain with the first; the original is beautiful. The second will be false, and the third will be a far-off echo. Don’t create these. The first is beautiful. You are depressed, so this is how existence is happening to you at this moment.
You are depressed, so remain with it. Wait and watch. You cannot be depressed for long because in this world nothing is permanent. This world is a flux. This world cannot change its basic law for you so that you remain depressed forever. Nothing is here forever; everything is moving and changing. Existence is a river; it cannot stop for you, just for you, so that you remain depressed forever. It is moving, it has already moved. If you look at your depression, you will feel that even your depression is not the same the next moment; it is different, it is changing. Just watch, remain with it and don’t do anything. This is how transformation happens through non-doing. This is what is meant by “effortless effort.” Feel depression, taste it deeply, live it. It is your fate. Then suddenly you will feel it has disappeared because the man who can accept even depression cannot be depressed. A man, a mind, who can accept even depression cannot remain depressed! Depression needs a non-accepting mind. “This is not good, that is not good; this should not be, that should not be; this must not be like this. “Everything is denied, rejected — not accepted. “No” is basic. Even happiness will be rejected by such a mind. Such a mind will find something to reject in happiness also…A non-accepting mind will “non-accept” anything, but if you can accept your loneliness, your depression, your sadness, you are transcending already. Acceptance is transcendence. You have taken the very ground away, and then the depression cannot stand there.
Try this: Whatsoever your state of mind, accept it and wait for when the state changes itself. You are not changing it; you can feel the beauty that comes when states change by themselves. You can know that it is just like the sun rising in the morning and then setting in the evening. Then again it will rise and again it will set, and it will go on. You need not do anything about it. If you can feel your states of mind changing by themselves, you can remain indifferent, you can remain away, miles away, as if the mind is going somewhere else. The sun is rising, setting; the depression is coming, the happiness is coming, going: but you are not in it. It goes and comes by itself; the states come and move.
“IF ONE BEGINS TO FEEL THAT LIFE IS A PSYCHODRAMA, THEN ONE ALSO FEELS DEPRESSED AND LONELY.”
So feel it! “THUS, THE INTENSITY, SINCERITY AND DEPTH OF LIVING IS LOST.” Let it be lost, because the sincerity and depth that can be lost was not real. It was pseudo, false, and it is better that the false thing is lost. How can a real depth be lost? The very definition of a “real depth” is that it cannot be lost, no matter what you do. If you can disturb a Buddha, then he is not a Buddha. Whatsoever you do, he remains undisturbed. That unconditional undisturbance is the buddha-nature. The real cannot be lost. The real is always unconditional.
If I love you and I say, “Don’t be angry; otherwise my love will be lost,” then the sooner such a love is lost, the better. If the love is real, whatsoever you do makes no difference; the love will remain. And only then does it have any worth. So if just by looking at the world as a psychodrama, as a drama, your intensity, your depth of living is lost, then it is not worth preserving. It was false. Why is it lost? Because it was really an act in a drama, and you were thinking that it was real so you felt it was deeper. Now you know it was just a drama. If it was just a drama and the sincerity is lost, the sincerity was false. You were thinking it was real, and it was not real. Just by looking at life as a drama, it disappeared. It is just as if a rope was there lying in a dark room and you felt that it was a snake, but there was no snake. Now you come with a lamp, and with the lamp the snake is lost and only the rope remains. If with the lamp the snake is lost, then it was never there.
If you look at life as a drama, that which is false will be lost and that which is real will, for the first time, appear in you. Wait! Let the false be lost, and wait! There will be a gap, an interval, before the false disappears and the real comes. There will be a gap. When false shadows will have disappeared completely and your eyes will not be filled by them, and your eyes will have become detached from the false shadows, you will be able to look at the real that was always there. But one has to wait.
“PLEASE SUGGEST WHAT TO DO IN THIS SITUATION.”
Nothing! Please don’t do anything. You have created a mess because of too much of your doing. You are such a good doer, you have confused everything around you — not only for yourself, but for others also. Be a non-doer; that will be compassion towards yourself. Be compassionate. Don’t do anything, because with a false mind, a confused mind, everything becomes more confused. With a confused mind, it is better to wait and not to do anything so that the confusion disappears. It will disappear; nothing is permanent in this world. You need only a deep patience. Don’t be in a hurry…Nothing remains the same. Just be patient: go again and again and again. Just a few moments, and the leaves will have gone and the dirt will have settled again and the water will be pure again… Nothing is permanent; life is a flux. Heraclitus has said that you cannot step twice in the same river. It is impossible to step twice in the same river because the river has flowed on; everything has changed. And not only has the river flowed on, you have also flowed on. You are also different; you are also a river flowing.
See this impermanency of everything. Don’t be in a hurry; don’t try to do anything. Just wait! Wait in a total non-doing. And if you can wait, the transformation will be there. This very waiting is a transformation.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Woodlands, Bombay.
Discourse series: Vigyan Bhairav Tantra Vol. 1 Chapter #38
Chapter title: Toward the authentic being
27 February 1973 pm in Woodlands, Bombay
Osho has spoken on notable scholars and philosophers Aristotle, Berkeley, Confucius, Descartes, Feuerbach, Hegel, Heidegger, Heraclitus, Huxley, Jaspers, Kant, Kierkegaard, Laing, Marx, Moore, Nietzsche, Plato, Pythagoras, Russell, Sartre, Socrates, Wittgenstein and many others in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Hidden Splendour
- The Divine Melody
- The New Dawn
- The Zen Manifesto: Freedom from Oneself
- This, This, A Thousand Times This: The Very Essence of Zen
- Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
- The Art of Dying
- Beyond Enlightenment
- Beyond Psychology
- Light on The Path
- The Discipline of Transcendence
- The Dhammapada