Osho on Joy
WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO ENJOY?
Rani, it is difficult to enjoy because you will have to disappear.
Joy is possible if you are not. You and joy cannot coexist: when joy is there you are absent, when you are there joy is absent. They are like light and darkness — they can’t exist together in the same place. Hence, to enjoy is difficult; it is not easy because to die is difficult, to die is not easy. And only those who know how to die moment-to-moment know how to enjoy. The more capable you are of dying the deeper will be your joy. Intense will be the flame of it, and great will be the flowering of it.
It is also difficult to enjoy, Rani, because you have so many investments in remaining miserable. Unless you see it, you can go on trying to enjoy, but you will never enjoy. Those investments in misery have to be dropped. And from their very childhood everybody learns that misery pays. If you are miserable the parents are more loving. If you are ill the parents are more caring. If you are happy, healthy, nobody cares, you don’t get attention. And attention is food for the ego. Without the attention the ego cannot live; it is its very breath. Just as the body needs oxygen, the ego needs attention. Whenever you are healthy, happy, the parents don’t pay any attention to you; there is no need. But when you are ill, miserable, crying, weeping, the whole family becomes attentive to your needs, as if you have created a kind of emergency. They drop all their work: the mother runs from the kitchen, the father drops his newspaper, and everybody is focused on you. It gives you great ego-fulfilment.
And slowly slowly you learn the way of the ego: remain miserable and people will pay attention to you, remain miserable and they will sympathize with you. And whenever you are enjoying nobody sympathizes with you. That’s why people pay so much respect to ascetic people. Somebody is fasting and people say, ‘Look, what a great saint!’ He is simply being miserable. If you are feasting, nobody is going to sympathize with you, but fast, and people sympathize. If you are in love with a woman, who is going to sympathize with you? On the contrary, people will be jealous. You are a competitor. They wanted the same woman themselves. You are an enemy.
Renounce sex, become celibate, move to a cave, and people will come from faraway places to pay their respects: ‘Here is a great ascetic!’ And you are simply being miserable. But misery pays: misery can make you a MAHATMA. That has been the whole history of humanity: misery has always paid, you have respected miserable people. And if the misery is self-inflicted, of course, you gain more respect; it is voluntary.
Mahatma Gandhi became such a great name in the world because he was voluntarily miserable, inflicting misery upon himself How can you not be attentive to him? If he had been enjoying and living a total life, a whole and healthy life, you would have been jealous, you would have been antagonistic.
See these tricks and strategies of the mind and you will be able to drop them. Don’t ask for attention, otherwise you will remain miserable. Attention can only be given when you are miserable; that is part of a natural mechanism. It happens in your body, too. If you have a headache, your attention moves to the head; you forget the whole body. If you have a pain in the leg, then the whole attention moves towards the leg, you forget the whole body; then the leg becomes very important. It is good that legs and heads and hands are not politicians, otherwise they would constantly be in pain, they would remain constantly in pain. It is good that they don’t have any egos. If the leg had some kind of ego, then the leg would continuously create trouble, because only when there is trouble do you pay attention: you massage the leg, you take care of it.
This is the inner mechanism, too: attention goes to the part which is in pain. And this is the mechanism of the family, of the society, of the world at large. Once you have learned the trick it becomes unconscious, it becomes autonomous; you simply go on using the trick. The husband comes home and the wife immediately starts being miserable. This I have watched. I used to stay in many families when I was travelling around this country. The wife is laughing and is happy, and suddenly the husband comes — and I am watching — and her face changes. Not that she is doing it, no; it is not needed to be done anymore, it is automatic. Seeing the husband coming, seeing the key move in the hole, suddenly an automatic change happens in her, her face becomes miserable because the husband will only pay attention to her if she is in misery, otherwise not.
This mechanism has to be made conscious. Watch out for it, otherwise it will destroy all possibilities of joy in life. It has destroyed — millions of people live in misery and hell because they hanker for attention.
It is stupid to hanker for attention; it does not give you anything, it only strengthens the ego, which is not you. It is not your essence, it is only your personality, your pseudo self. It goes on nourishing the pseudo self, and the essential self goes on starving.
The essential self need not have any attention. The essential self can live without any attention because it is not dependent on anybody else. And the essential self is capable of rejoicing in its aloneness. It does not even need the other, so what to say about attention? It does not even need the other. Its real bliss is inner, it does not come from the outside, it does not depend on any condition; it is unconditional. It is a spontaneous, inner, intrinsic phenomenon.
Watch and see how you are profiting from misery, and then you will know why it is so difficult to enjoy. Stop these investments in misery, and the joy will flow again. We are born with joy. Joy is our very being. It does not need anything to be joyous. One can simply be joyous sitting by oneself. Joy is natural, misery is unnatural. But misery is profitable, and joy is purposeless — it will not bring you any profit. So one has to decide. If you want to be joyous, you have to be a nobody.
This is the decision. If you want to be joyous, you will have to be a nobody because you will not get any attention. On the contrary, people will feel jealous, people will be antagonistic to you, people will not like you. People will like you only if you are in misery, then they will sympathize. In sympathy your ego is fulfilled and their ego is fulfilled. Whenever they sympathize with somebody, they are higher and you are lower. They have the upper hand. They are enjoying the trip of sympathy. Sympathy is violent. They are seeing the fact that you are miserable and they are not. They are in a position to sympathize, and you are in a position to be sympathized with. Their ego is fulfilled and your ego is fulfilled because ‘Look,’ you say to yourself, ‘how important you are. Everybody is sympathizing with you.’
So ego fulfils from both sides. It is profitable. Nobody loses. When you are joyous, rejoicing, dancing, singing, just being happy for no reason at all, your ego will disappear because it will not get attention. And others will not feel good because you are not giving them an opportunity to fulfill their egos. That’s the reason why people were against Jesus and against Buddha, and why they are against me. They would like me also to be fasting, living under a tree like a beggar, then they would be very happy. They would come in thousands, they would worship me. But if I live in my own way — and my way is the way of the feast, my way is the way of festivity — then they are shocked. They are perfectly happy if somebody leaves the palace and becomes a beggar. They are perfectly happy — they love the man. But if a beggar moves into the palace, they will all be against him. They will not like the idea at all.
Just watch. You also do such things. If a man is lying on a bed of thorns, immediately you prostrate yourself as if he were doing something great, as if he were bringing some bliss to humanity. He is just being a masochist, but you love, you respect him. Your respect seems to be morbid. Your respect seems to be ill, sick. And because of your respect he is lying there on the thorns: he wants your attention and this is the most simple way to get your attention and your respect. His ego is fulfilled. He is ready to lie down on those thorns and suffer. This thing is happening on a smaller scale or a bigger scale everywhere. Beware of it; it is a very ancient trap. And then you can enjoy, there is nothing else but to enjoy. If you are ready to become a nobody, if you are not in need of others’ attention, there is no problem at all. You can enjoy, small things you can enjoy. Very small things can give you the greatest joy possible.
Just see Jesus with his friends, eating, drinking… People could not tolerate it. They would have loved him if he had been an ascetic; but he was not. One day he came into a town and Mary Magdalene came to see this man for the first time. And she fell in love with this man. This man was worth loving. How can you avoid it? How can you manage not to fall in love with such a man? She brought very precious perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet, and washed Jesus’ feet with that precious perfume. And she was crying with joy. And Judas said to Jesus, ‘This is wrong. You should have prevented the woman. The perfume was very precious. It could have been sold. It could have fed a few poor people in the town.’ Now with whom are you going to agree? — with Judas or with Jesus? If you are honest you will agree with Judas. If you are honest with yourself you will agree with Judas. He seems to be the beginning of socialism, communism, Gandhism. He seems to be very logically right. He was the most intellectual disciple of Jesus, the only educated disciple of Jesus, and his logic is flawless.
But what did Jesus say? Jesus said something absurd. He said, ‘You can feed the poor when I am gone. The poor will always be there, you need not worry. But while I am here, rejoice.’ Do you agree with Jesus? If you agree, you can be joyous. If you don’t agree, you are going to remain miserable. ‘But look!’ your head will say, ‘Judas seems to be right.’ Jesus seems to be utterly absurd. What is he saying? ‘The poor will always be there, but right now you are with the bridegroom. Enjoy! Celebrate! ‘ This is celebration. Now if the people were against Jesus it seems to be absolutely fitting with our so-called intellect. Jesus says, ‘I cannot prevent the woman because she is in such joy. I cannot destroy her joy. Look at her tears, look at her being. She is in such a festive mood. This is just symbolic. This pouring of the precious perfume on my feet is just symbolic that she is utterly happy. She is celebrating. I cannot stop anybody from celebrating.’ Then, if you agree with Jesus, you can be joyous. So it depends on you, Rani, whether you agree with Judas or you agree with Jesus.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
Chapter title: Born with Joy
16 August 1978 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘joy, aloneness, celebration, love, blissful, natural, spontaneous’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
- From Death to Deathlessness
- The Hidden Splendor
- The Razor’s Edge
- Sat Chit Anand
- The Tantra Vision
- Sufis: The People of the Path
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra
- Zen: The Special Transmission
- The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty
- The Invitation
- The New Dawn
- The Beloved
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
- Tantra: The Supreme Understanding