Life: An Inner Discovery

Osho on Life


THE DISTINCTIOIN IS VERY SUBTLE, but it is the same distinction as there is between the mind and the heart, as there is between logic and love, or even more appropriate, as there is between prose and and poetry. A destination is a very clear-cut thing; direction is very intuitive. A destination is something outside you, more like a thing. A direction is an inner feeling; not an object, but your very subjectivity. You can feel direction, you cannot know it. You can know the destination, you cannot feel it. Destination is in the future. Once decided, you start manipulating your life towards it, steering your life towards it.

How can you decide the future? Who are you to decide the unknown? How is it possible to fix the future? Future is that which is not known yet. Future is open possibility. By fixing a destination your future is no more a future, because it is no more open. Now you have chosen one alternative out of many, because when all the alternatives were open it was future. Now all alternatives have been dropped; only one alternative has been chosen. It is no longer future, it is your past. The past decides when you decide a destination. Your experience of the past, your knowledge of the past decides. You kill future. Then you go on repeating your own past — maybe a little modified, a little changed here and there according to your comfort, convenience; repainted, renovated — but still it comes out of the past. This is the way one loses track of future: by deciding a destination one loses track of future. One becomes dead. One starts functioning like a mechanism.

Direction is something alive, in the moment. It knows nothing of the future, it knows nothing of the past, but it throbs, pulsates here and now. And out of this pulsating moment, the next moment is created. Not by any decision on your part — but just because you live this moment and you live it so totally, and you love this moment so wholly, out of this wholeness the next moment is born. It is going to have a direction. That direction is not given by you, it is not imposed by you; it is spontaneous. That’s what the Bauls call SAHAJA MANUSH, the spontaneous man. The spontaneous man is the way to the real man, to the essential man, to the God within.

You cannot decide direction, you can only live this moment that is available to you. By living it, direction arises. If you dance, the next moment is going to be of a deeper dance. Not that you decide but you simply dance this moment. You have created a direction: you are not manipulating it. The next moment will be more full of dancing, and still more will be following.

Destination is fixed by the mind; direction is earned by living. Destination is logical: one wants to be a doctor, one wants to be an engineer, one wants to be a scientist or one wants to be a politician, one wants to be a rich man, famous man — these are destinations. Direction? — one simply lives the moment in deep trust that life will decide. One lives this moment so totally that out of this totality a freshness is born. Out of this totality the past dissolves and the future starts taking shape. But this shape is not given by you, this shape is earned by you.

One Zen master, Rinzai, was dying; he was on the death-bed. Somebody asked, “Master, people will ask after you are gone, what was your essential teaching? You have said many things, you have talked about many things — it will be difficult for us to condense it. Before you leave, please, you yourself condense it into a single sentence, so we will treasure it. And whenever people who have not known you desire, we can give them your essential teaching.” Dying, Rinzai opened his eyes, gave a great Zen shout, a lion’s roar! They were all shocked! They couldn’t believe that this dying man could have so much energy, and they were not expecting it. The man was unpredictable; he had always been so. But even with this unpredictable man they were not in any way expecting that dying, at the last moment, he would give such a lion’s roar. And when they were shocked — and of course their minds stopped, they were surprised, taken aback — Rinzai said, “This is it!” closed his eyes, and died. This is it….

This moment, this silent moment, this moment uncorrupted by thought, this silence that was surrounding, this surprise, this last lion’s roar over death; this is it. Yes, direction comes out of living this moment. It is not something that you manage and plan. It happens, it is very subtle, and you will never be certain about it. You can only feel it. That’s why I say it is more like poetry, not like prose; more like love, not like logic; more like art than like science. Wake, and that’s its beauty; hesitant, as hesitant as a dewdrop on a grass leaf, slipping, not knowing where, not knowing why; in the morning sun, just slipping on a leaf of grass.

Direction is very subtle, delicate, fragile. That’s why everybody has chosen destination. Society tries to fix a destination for you. Parents, teachers, culture, religion, government: they all try to give you a fixed pattern of life. They don’t want you to be free, left alone, moving into the unknown. But that’s how they have created boredom. If you know your future beforehand, it is already boring. If you know that you are going to be this, it is already boring…

Future should be a direction, not a destination. It should be more like NIRVANA. The word Buddha uses means: all that you know will not be there. That’s his definition of nirvana: all that you know will not be there, all that you have experienced will not be there, all that you are will not be there — SOMETHING TOTALLY NEW, something that you cannot understand because you don’t have the language to understand it, you don’t have the experience to understand it. Something absolutely new; it cannot be talked about. NIRVANA is a direction.

FIRDAUS, paradise, Christian and Mohammedan, are destinations, very clear-cut.

The mediocre mind demands clear-cut goals because he is so insecure — he cannot trust his own awareness, and he cannot trust life. The mediocre mind is very afraid of discovery, and discovery is the greatest secret in life.

To be ready to be surprised, to be always ready to be surprised means that one is innocent, trying to discover. And life is such that you can go on discovering. The more you discover it, the more you come to know that much more is still left. It is a non-ending process. Direction is a non-ending process. Remember, it is a process, movement; destination is a dead thing.

Destination belongs to the ego; direction belongs to life, to being. To move in the world of direction one needs tremendous trust, because one is moving in insecurity, one is moving in darkness. But the darkness has a thrill in it: without any map, without any guide you are moving into the unknown. Each step is a discovery, and it is not only a discovery of the outside world. Simultaneously, something is discovered in you also. A discoverer not only discovers things. As he goes on discovering more and more unknown worlds, he goes on discovering himself also, simultaneously. Each discovery is an inner discovery also. The more you know, the more you know about the knower. The more you love, the more you know about the lover.

I am not going to give you a destination. I can only give you a direction — awake, throbbing with life; and unknown, always surprising, unpredictable. I’m not going to give you a map. I can give you only a great passion to discover. Yes, a map is not needed; great passion, great desire to discover is needed. Then I leave you alone. Then you go on your own. Move into the vast, into the infinite, and by and by, learn to trust it.

Leave yourself in the hands of life, because life is God.

When Jesus says, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done,” he’s saying this…a great trust. Even if God brings death, there is nothing to be afraid of. It is He who is bringing death, so there must be a reason in it, there must be a hidden secret in it, there must be a teaching in it. He’s opening a door.

The man who trusts, the man who is religious is thrilled even at the gate of death — he can give a lion’s roar. Even dying — because he knows nothing dies — at the very moment of death he can say, “This is it!” Because each moment, this is it. It may be life, it may be death; it may be success, it may be failure; it may be happiness, it may be unhappiness. Each moment…this is it. This is what I call the real prayer. And then you will have direction. You need not worry about it, you need not fix it; you can move with trust.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: The Beloved, Vol 1
Chapter title: Direction is a non-ending process
26 June 1976 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on life, spontaneity, love, trust’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Buddha: The Emptiness of the Heart
  2. The Hidden Splendor
  3. The New Dawn
  4. Philosophia Ultima
  5. Rinzai: Master of the Irrational
  6. The Tantra Vision, Vol 1, 2
  7. Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol 1, 2
  8. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
  9. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1, 2, 3
  10. From Death to Deathlessness
  11. The Messiah, Vol 1, 2
  12. Sermons in Stones
  13. The Secret
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