You say, “I am a convinced Christian” or “I am a convinced Hindu” – that is not the meaning, not the Sufi meaning. Sufis say conviction only means that which arises from your innermost core, not from the outside. For example, everybody searches for happiness – that is a conviction. It is natural. Nobody has told you to seek and search for happiness, it is intrinsic to you; everybody is seeking and searching for it. Nobody has told you that happiness would be possible. In fact, many philosophers are saying that happiness is not possible. Freud says that happiness is not possible. Nietzsche says that happiness is impossible – it has never happened and it cant happen. It cant happen in the very nature of things; it is impossible. But still, who bothers about Nietzsche and Freud? People go on searching. Even Nietzsche went on searching, and even Freud went on searching. In his philosophical moments he knew it was not possible, but there were non-philosophical moments too, when he was a human being and not a psychoanalyst, not the founder of psychoanalysis but just a human being – a father, a husband, a lover, a friend. Then he started searching for happiness, and he knew it was not possible. But that knowing remains superficial.
Conviction is that which is in-built. The bird making a nest in the tree is CONVINCED of something which he has no knowledge of. He has never made any nest before, he has never given birth to any children before – this is for the first time – and he has never been to any school to learn how to make a nest either. Nobody has told, nobody has taught, and suddenly a conviction arises. The moment the bird is pregnant a conviction arises from some unknown depth that a nest has to be built – not so much in the head, but in the very fibers of his being. He starts moving, arranging things. A thousand and one things have to be arranged, and by the time the children come the nest will be ready. He has no idea of the children, what type of children, no idea of the nest, but it happens. This is conviction in the Sufi sense of the word.
Sufis use words in their own way. They twist and turn the language. They make it fit into their own vision. And my feeling is that their use of the word conviction is exactly as it should be.
Is there not a conviction somewhere deep down in your being that this earth is not your home, that you have to find your home, that here, somehow, you are a stranger, that the love that you are living is somehow superficial – there is much more that must be your destiny – that the life that you are living is not the life that you were meant to live? This conviction is there; hence the search, hence the adventure, hence one goes on looking here and there, in this direction and that direction. Somewhere there must be a way to find your destiny fulfilled.
Who has told you that this is not your home? Who has told you that there is more to life? Who has told you that there is some life which goes beyond death? Nobody has returned from the dead, nobody has said “I have survived.” No Buddha, no Mahavir, no Krishna has returned from the dead, but there is a subtle conviction, an unshakeable conviction, that somehow you will go on living. This body will be gone, this life will be gone, but life will continue, life with a capital L.
Osho, The Wisdom of the Sands, Vol 1, Ch 1 (excerpt)