Therapist: A Hollow Bamboo

Birthday of Austrian Psychotherapist Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler, born in 1870 in Vienna, Austria, was a renowned psychotherapist and psychiatrist who made significant contributions to the field of psychology in the early 20th century. Alder was initially a colleague of Sigmund Freud and helped establish psychoanalysis. He looked at the individual as a whole, which is why he referred to his approach as individual psychology. Adler eventually split from Freud’s psychoanalytic circle but went on to have a tremendous impact on the development of psychotherapy. He also had an important influence on many other great thinkers, including Abraham Maslow and Albert Ellis.

One of Adler’s influential concepts is the inferiority complex, which suggests that feelings of inferiority, often rooted in early childhood experiences, significantly impact our actions and aspirations throughout our lives. This belief drove Adler to explore how individuals strive for superiority, not in a sense of dominating others, but rather in their pursuit of personal growth and meaningful lives. In his holistic approach to therapy, Adler stressed the importance of understanding the interconnectedness of an individual’s physical, emotional, and social well-being. He viewed the therapist as a collaborator who works alongside the individual to gain a deeper understanding of their life experiences and provide support for personal growth.

In 1912 he formed the Society for Individual Psychology, which stressed the importance of taking a broad and responsive view of the human personality, rather than adherence to the strict scientific principles of the Freudians. He died in 1937, while on a lecture tour of Scotland, and his name is bracketed with those of Freud and Jung as one of the three great fathers of modern psychotherapy.

Osho talking about Freud and Adler says, “Freud’s own disciple, Adler, went away from him just because Adler said that sex can be a part of repression, but that is not all. His own idea was that ambition, will to power, is far more important, and that a major part of your dreams concerns will to power. For example, you dream that you have become a bird and you are flying. To Sigmund Freud it will symbolize only that you want the same sexual freedom as the birds and the animals, nothing else. But to Adler it will mean that flying upwards means you are ambitious, you want to become the prime minister.



The people who have been proposing for thousands of years that they are the mediums of God — in other religions of “gods” — or of those masters who are no more in the body, are becoming vehicles to them, mediums to them. The possibility is there. If you have loved me, even when I am not in the body there can be still a contact. For love it makes no difference. But the whole thing depends on the medium — his purity, his silence, the absolute stillness of his mind. The silence has to be so great that it is as if he is no longer present — only silence is there. He has become just a hollow bamboo…

My sannyasins working around the world in therapy groups have felt that sometimes they are open to me, available to me, and sometimes they are closed. It is human nature, ups and downs; they are not enlightened yet. Sometimes they see the eternal snows, far away in the Himalayas; but they are far away and just once in a while, when there are not clouds and the sun is shining, you can see them. But you are not there. When a sannyasin is closed, his first work should be not on the group participants, his first work should be upon himself. He has to open, he has to be available to me. This is simply an excuse — because if he is open to me, he is open to the whole existence. The moment you open your door, immediately the fragrance of the flowers enters without making any noise. The sun rays enter. A cool breeze comes in. You have opened the door to the whole universe.

To be available to the master is just an excuse. You will be afraid to be open to the whole universe — it will be too much. The master convinces you that there is no need to open all the doors and all the windows: “You just open a small window — a special window for me.” But once you open even a small window, the whole sky enters in. And the joy, the peace, the beauty that you feel will make you open all the windows and all the doors. My therapists have been seeing the difference in their work. When they are open and available they can see and feel so decisively, so indubitably, that something from beyond is pouring through them. They have just become a hollow bamboo, playing the song, allowing the song to flow. The song is not of the flute. The greatness of the flute is that it does not hinder the song in any way but helps it, allows it to reach into the world.

There is no question of channeling — although I have given you my number. It is a difficult number. Zero is my number and unless you are zero, you cannot find it. You have to be zero to be in tune with me. But then you will see a tremendous change in the quality of your work. You can do miracles to the participants. If you are closed, you may be able to conduct a group because you know the technical side…. Do you know the difference between the scientist and the technician? The technician is not a scientist, and the scientist is not a technician. The scientist discovers the hidden treasures of existence and also discovers the techniques and methods to use those treasures. The technician is only concerned with the technique. He is not a discoverer, but he knows exactly what has to be done. There will be a great difference of quality but it may not be felt by the people who have never known anything higher.

A therapist who is not in deep meditation, is not open, is not merging into the universe, will not be able to become a real help to the participants. Perhaps a consolation… perhaps those participants will feel the euphoria for a few days and then it will fade out. Then again they need another group. They become addicts. Group addicts are in the same category as drug addicts. The group has not helped them to be free and independent; the group has made them slaves. Now they will be continuously searching — this group, that group. But no group is going to give them an insight into themselves because the therapists themselves are not in a situation where all problems are solved, all questions dissolved, where they are simply relishing each breath. They have their problems just like you have.

It happened….

One of the great psychologists, one of the founders of the movement of psychology, Alfred Adler — he is one of the trinity: Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung and Alfred Adler, these are the three pillars. He was talking to his students and a very embarrassing situation arose. One statement he made, that “My experience…” and it was a lifelong experience of the thousands of patients he had studied. He said, “My experience with people is that it is not just an accident that a person becomes a teacher in a school. He wants domination. He is not strong enough to become a terrorist, but he can become a teacher and can torture thirty small boys and girls.”

It seems there is some truth in what he is saying. Everybody chooses a particular profession; there must be a psychology behind it. It has been found in many surveys that the people who study medicine are the people who are most afraid of death. Your doctors are more afraid of death than anybody else. They have come to medicine in search, unconsciously, of finding a way that leads beyond death. It is not a deliberate decision but if they are hypnotized and asked, the answer comes clear: they are afraid of death and they have joined the profession out of that fear…

Adler was saying that politicians are all suffering from an inferiority complex. They feel inferior for any stupid reason. For example, Lenin, the man who created the Soviet revolution and the Soviet Union was very much worried and concerned and always was conscious of the fact that his legs were small. His upper body was bigger and his lower body was very small. His legs could not reach to the floor. Sitting on the chair, his legs were just dangling there and he was trying to hide them in every possible way so that nobody would see them hanging there in the air. That was Lenin’s problem. That created the Russian revolution. That made him the greatest revolutionary in the world. That made him the greatest, most powerful man on one-sixth of the land of the earth — the Soviet Union is one-sixth of the land of the whole earth. It is almost two continents. It starts in Europe and it ends in Asia, it covers the whole of Europe and Asia.

All politicians are in search of power. It is a will to power. But why? You must be feeling somehow powerless. You want to prove to yourself and to the world that you are not powerless because you know that if you don’t do anything, you will suffer your whole life from inferiority and everybody else will look at you as inferior. This situation has to be changed. In this way, Adler was going to describe every profession possible, and what is the psychological reason behind it. Just then, a student stood up and asked, “What about the psychologists? Is there something loose in their heads? Why does anybody choose psychology? According to the philosophy you have expounded there must be something wrong with his mind, and I agree totally with it.”

Adler was very much shocked — that meant he was mentally retarded, sick, something was wrong in his mind. He never mentioned that theory again! He mentioned it only once in his whole life. That is rare, because the theory is very significant and very true. Why does a man want to be a therapist? Has he done his own therapy? Is he finished with his homework? If not, then what right has he got to interfere in other people’s lives, their minds, their unconscious, their superconscious? He has only read these words, and he is trying these words on poor people — poor because they are being treated as guinea pigs, poor because they have paid two hundred and fifty dollars to be treated as a guinea pig!

And there is a human tendency which is not taken note of…. When somebody pays two hundred and fifty dollars for a therapy session, if he says after the session, “Nothing happened,” then everybody will say, “You are an idiot! They cheated you — two hundred and fifty dollars gone. And we have been telling you that you were hanging around wrong people, but you never listened.” Now two hundred and fifty dollars are gone, the whole week is destroyed, and to be treated by people as an idiot… this can be avoided. They come out and before they get out of the therapy premises, they start smiling. They start walking as they have never done before, so light! Now, let the people ask.

And people will say, “We were wrong, something has happened. Look at that man — singing a song, unafraid of the world. He has never been like that. It is worth two hundred and fifty dollars.” And when they ask him, he tells them what great things have happened, great experiences. This way he saves face. This is an old phenomenon, and the psychology is simple…

And the therapist has to remind people continually that he is not the master. The moment the therapist starts playing the role of the master, then he is going to do much harm to people. I have known hundreds of therapists. They have the same problems as you have, perhaps more, and they are trying to help you. They are drowning and they are trying to save somebody who is drowning — perhaps drowning together is better than drowning alone. The therapist knows nothing beyond mind. His only work is to bring people to a normal, peaceful mind. This is not a great achievement but you will make the person able to function in life in a normal way. The madman is nothing but one who is behaving abnormally. The therapist simply pulls down the abnormal man to the normal state. His whole work is confined within the mind. He cannot be a master and if he wants his therapy to be of significance, he has to function as a vehicle, as a channel to a master he loves. Then therapy goes through a transformation. Then you are not just trying to work out how these people should be brought to normality; that is only a preparation. You have prepared the ground, but don’t think you have prepared a garden. After preparing the ground you will need seeds, plants and much care and much love to make a beautiful garden.

A man can be normally mad — that’s what the whole of humanity is. A man can be abnormally mad — psychoanalysts, psychologists, psychiatrists are trying to somehow bring him back.

And the third category is the man who has gone beyond mind. The function of the master is to take you beyond the mind. The therapist can be helpful, he can prepare the ground, he can take out the weeds, but that does not mean that he becomes a master, that does not mean he becomes a gardener. That is a totally different affair. Therapy in itself can be used as a step, but if you know only therapy and nothing more beyond it, that which was going to become a step, becomes a block. It is the same stone. Either you use it as a stepping stone or it becomes a block preventing you from moving further, higher, closer to your sources.

Right now, all over the world there are many therapists. But my therapist is unique in the sense that he is not only working according to the findings of psychology — he is working according to the findings of Yoga, of Tantra, of Sufism, of Zen, of Tao, of Hassidism. He’s a spiritual guide. But for that, knowledge acquired only from books will not help. You will have to go through a transformation. And the participants in your groups can also be helpful to you, just as you can be helpful to them; because their problems are your problems, your problems are their problems. And remember one thing: it is easier to solve somebody else’s problem because you are not involved. You are detached, you can see more clearly because you are not in the mess. You can help that man to come out and you can learn something for yourself because many times, you will be in the same situation. I allowed therapists in my communes to work on the participants and to work on themselves. The real work is upon yourself. Only when you have a light within you, you may be able to share it with others.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse Series: Sermons in Stones Chapter #9

Chapter title: Mind as a Master is a disaster

8 December 1986 pm in


Osho has spoken on notable Psychologists and philosophers like Adler, Jung, Sigmund Freud, Assaguoli, 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:

  1. The Hidden Splendour
  2. The New Dawn
  3. This, This, A Thousand Times This: The Very Essence of Zen
  4. Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
  5. Beyond Enlightenment
  6. Beyond Psychology
  7. Light on The Path
  8. The Discipline of Transcendence
  9. The Dhammapada
  10. From Bondage to Freedom
  11. From Darkness to Light
  12. From Ignorance to Innocence
  13. The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
  14. From Personality to Individuality
  15. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
  16. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4
  17. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1
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