Insecurity: The Very Nature of Life
LATELY, I HAVE BEEN FEELING VERY INSECURE, AND I SEE HOW MUCH I DISLIKE THAT SPACE OF NOT KNOWING. AND THEN I TRY ALL KINDS OF STUPID THINGS TO CONTROL THE SITUATION. I FEEL AS IF IT IS SUCH AN IMPRISONMENT, AND AT THE SAME TIME, I HAVE A DEEP FEELING IN ME THAT KNOWS THAT THIS IS HOW LIFE IS, AND I SHOULD ACCEPT IT. I FIND IT VERY DIFFICULT TO WATCH MYSELF, AND THE INSECURITY COMES UP EVEN MORE. COULD YOU PLEASE COMMENT?
Anubhasha, we are trained in wrong ways; otherwise, security is something to be afraid of, and insecurity is something to be rejoiced.
What exactly is insecurity? It means tomorrow is not going to repeat today. It means tomorrow you may not even be alive. It means that one has to live each moment as if it is the last moment.
A life of security will be simply boring. It will be like seeing the same movie again and again and again — knowing every detail of what is going to happen. You can enjoy a movie only once. If you are an idiot, then it is another matter….
Insecurity is the very fabric of life. If you don’t understand insecurity, you can never understand life. Seasons will change; climates will change; the fall will come, the spring will come. Everything will go on changing, nothing can be taken for granted; this is insecurity. You want everything to be certain, permanent.
But have you ever thought what will be the outcome of it if everything is permanent? You eat the same food every day, you say the same things every day, you listen to the same things every day. And there is no death even to demolish this tragic living — you are living in a nightmare. Insecurity keeps people fresh, alive, adventurous — knowing that things can be changed. Even without their changing them, they are going to be changed. So there is great scope for change, for transformation.
An ancient saying is, “The authentic man is one whom the sunrise never finds where the sunset leaves him”; or, “where the sunrise leaves him, the sunset never finds him there.” He is always on the move, he is a flow … he is not a dirty pond going nowhere. But the whole training of our minds is such that we are made afraid of insecurity, and our whole life we are trying for safety. Financially, politically, religiously — in every dimension we want to be secure. But security means death, a living death. It means tomorrow will be simply a repetition of today, and today is a repetition of yesterday. Are you living? Is there a dance in your life? Are you moving, growing, risking, taking the challenges of dangerous paths? In the acceptance of the danger, in the acceptance that anything can happen any moment, life comes to its best, to its fullest.
Your question is, Anubhasha, “Lately, I have been feeling very insecure, and I see how much I dislike that space of not knowing.” You are completely upside down; you will have to change your posture. Insecurity is not a space that has to be disliked, it is a space that has to be loved and cherished, celebrated … because tomorrow will bring new news. And because of the fear of insecurity, you are also fearing not knowing; and not knowing is the highest peak of consciousness. But certainly you must be afraid of peaks because you can fall from there; you prefer the plain, asphalt road — no danger of falling from there. You would like to be at the lowest point in consciousness, because from there you cannot fall. Millions of people have decided to live at the minimum out of the simple fear that from the maximum you can fall. It is safer to live at the minimum; it is even safer not to live at all. Nobody has ever heard that dead people are insecure; graveyards are the most secure places. Once you enter your grave, there is no fear: even death cannot do anything to you — one cannot die twice.
Man has been trying to create false props for security, knowing perfectly well that they all fall down, but still he goes on piling up props around him. Time does not care about your props, nor does life care about your props. In fact, it is compassionate of nature that whatever you do, you remain insecure. You can have a bank balance, you can have a big insurance — but these are just strategies to befool yourself. What insurance can there be against death? What insurance can there be against the constantly changing flux of life? You cannot prevent it: it is a mountain river flowing fast, dropping from high mountains into waterfalls, moving into valleys towards the ocean where it will disappear completely. The idea of safety has created the idea of accumulating knowledge — nothing should be left unknown because the unknown creates insecurity. If it is known, you feel safe…This is the situation of the scholars: they are afraid of their not knowing; they go on piling up scriptures over their not knowing, covering it up with thick layers of knowledge. But underneath they are as ignorant as ever.
Ignorance has not to be covered, but transformed into innocence. Ignorance has not to become knowledgeability, ignorance has to become a feeling of the mysterious and the miraculous in existence. This is the way of a religious man. The scholarly man is never religious — cannot be. Your whole approach, Anubhasha, is categorically wrong — not in part, but absolutely. You have to understand that insecurity is the very nature of life; there is no way to avoid it. And when there is no way to avoid it, the only wise way is to enjoy it. When it is impossible to avoid it, why go on hitting your head against the wall? Then it is better to transform insecurity into a beautiful experience. In fact, it is that. Man can never demystify existence, he can never become all-knowing. The desire to become all-knowing is dangerous. In this ambition of becoming all-knowing so that you can be safe, the possibility is that you may collect much information. And in collecting information, you will forget one basic thing: that you have to go through a transformation. Information is not going to help you at all — you need a transformation of your consciousness. By transformation, you will not become a knower, you will become more and more a mystic.
Each and every thing in life, from the smallest grass leaf to the biggest star … it is all mysterious. Neither holy scriptures have any answers for it, nor science has any answers for it, although they both go on proposing hypotheses. Religion tries to propose a hypothesis of God: that he created the world. This is really pitiable; it has nothing to do with authentic religiousness, it is a childish effort to forget your ignorance. Nobody has witnessed any God creating the world. By the very nature of the fact, nobody can be a witness; otherwise the world is already there, somebody is there to witness it…Gautam Buddha seems to be more logical, Mahavira seems to be more logical; they don’t believe in the creation at all. They have simply denied that the world has ever been created: it has always been there, and it will always be there, changing its forms.
You cannot conceive a point when the world was not, and then suddenly it was there. It is not logic, it is magic: a moment before there was nothing and a moment after, there was everything. God seems to be a street magician! But the street magician knows only tricks. Out of an empty cap, he brings birds — but they are hidden in the empty cap. He creates the illusion that the cap is empty, but it is not empty.
Gautam Buddha is right when he says, “The very idea of the creation of the world is foolish. It will lead to more stupid answers and questions.” But why do people want to know such things? There must be a psychological need, and a universal psychological need. This is the need: safety. Knowing that God created the world, you feel at ease. Strange, I have never felt any unease about whether God created the world or not. Who cares? In what way am I related to that creation? It does not affect me this way or that. I am ready to accept the mystery of life, and I am against all those people — whether religious scholars or scientific researchers — who are going to satisfy your fear of insecurity by giving you hypotheses. Even science could not control its temptation and accept the mysteriousness of existence, that we don’t know. Not even a single scientist has been so courageous as to say, “We don’t know.” In fact, the whole project of science is such that slowly, slowly our area of knowledge is growing, and the area of our ignorance is decreasing. Logically it can be inferred that one day, somewhere in the future — it may take millions of years — a point will come when everything will be known; the whole area will be covered by knowledge, and there will be nothing left to be known anymore.
I cannot agree with this. Yes, science tries to know things, but that does not demystify them. It simply pushes the mystery back a little. You split the atom — soon you will be able to split the sperm — and then you say that the atom consists of electrons, protons, and neutrons, and you think you have provided the knowledge. But the question is, why does the atom consist of electrons, protons, and neutrons? The mystery is not dissolved, it has become more subtle.
The man of understanding will accept that insecurity is the very fabric of life, and that not knowing is the counterpart of the miraculous and the mysterious existence. We know nothing. All that we know is very superficial, and all that we know goes on changing…Science is an effort to demystify existence in every way. And that’s what theology has been doing before science — trying to demystify everything. God created the world — that makes you safe. God is the father — that makes you secure; he will take care of you. Everything is decided by God; of course, it cannot be against you. God is compassionate…
And now science has taken over from theology, on a more pragmatic basis, and is doing the same thing: just giving you a false idea that you need not worry, science knows all. The very word `science’ means knowing. But
I want to insist again and again to you: neither theology, nor science, nor philosophy — no effort of man can demystify existence. You need to be courageous to accept the insecurity — not only accept, but rejoice in it. You have to rejoice in the mystery of existence: the trees, the oceans, the mountains, the stars … everything is mysterious. From the smallest pebble on the beach to the whole universe, everything is so mysterious that there is no possibility of knowing it. Not knowing is the way of the mystic. Insecurity is the way of the mystic. And to be a sannyasin is to be on the path of the mystic.
Anubhasha, if you change your basic standpoint — which is wrong, utterly wrong — then your whole problem disappears. And then you are capable of dancing amidst all insecurity; you are capable of loving and laughing amidst all not knowing. Not knowing is nothing but innocence, and insecurity is nothing but a constantly changing panorama, always fresh and new. Nothing is repeated in existence. You must have heard the saying, “History repeats itself.” History repeats itself because history has consisted up to now of stupid human beings. Existence is so intelligent: it never repeats itself; it never creates another Jesus, another Moses, another Buddha, another Chuang Tzu, another Socrates. It simply never repeats. Its creativity is tremendous, inexhaustible. Yes, the history of man repeats itself, because the life of man is a routine. If you look at your life … you go on repeating it. Slowly, slowly the repetition becomes your efficiency: you become almost a robot, you lose your consciousness. Consciousness is needed only if each moment is new, because you have to respond to a new situation. Old answers won’t do.
It is a great blessing that life is insecure, love is insecure, and fundamentally we are in a state of not knowing. We can be childlike — running after butterflies, collecting seashells on the beach, or colored stones, as if they are diamonds, and enjoy all of them.
In my childhood, I used to have as many pockets as possible. My tailor used to be very angry with me. He said, “You will spoil my credit; nobody will come to me for their clothes to be made. What kind of dress is this? — with four pockets in front, pockets even on the arms, pockets on the pants … not just two, four.” He said, “You are mad, and you are driving me mad.”
I said, “I need all these pockets because I love the river, and I find so many beautiful stones that all these pockets fall short.”
Whenever I would come home with my pockets full of stones, I would even go to bed with all the stones. Everybody was angry … “What do you think these stones are? Diamonds, or emeralds, or rubies?”
I said, “I don’t know, but they are immensely beautiful and I cannot sleep without my treasure; it feels good that they are close to me.”
Not knowing is nothing but innocence. These two things are very foundational: insecurity and not knowing. If you can relax in these two, you are a sage, you are awakened. If you go against these two, you are going against your own enlightenment, against your own possibility of being a sage.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The New Dawn
Chapter title: What has god been doing for eternity?
21 June 1987 am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Osho has spoken on ‘insecurity, not knowing, transformation, innocence, acceptance, rejoicing’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Beyond Enlightenment
- The Guest
- Theologia Mystica
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
- The Osho Upanishad
- The Rebel
- Sat Chit Anand
- Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet
- Beyond Enlightenment
- Hsin Hsin Ming: The Book of Nothing
- The Invitation
- Om Mani Padme Hum
- Tantra: The Supreme Understanding