Wings of Meditation: Freedom and Love

Man’s greatest longing is for freedom. Man IS a longing for freedom. Freedom is the very essential core of human consciousness: love is its circumference and freedom is its center. These two fulfilled, life has no regret. And they both are fulfilled together, never separately.

People have tried to fulfill love without freedom. Then love brings more and more misery, more and more bondage. Then love is not what one has expected it to be, it turns out just the opposite. It shatters all hopes, it destroys all expectations and life becomes a wasteland — a groping in darkness and never finding the door. Love without freedom naturally tends to be possessive.

And the moment possessiveness enters in, you start creating bondage for others and bondage for yourself — because you cannot possess somebody without being possessed by him. You cannot make somebody a slave without becoming a slave yourself. Whatsoever you do to others is done to you. This is the basic principle to be understood, that love without freedom never brings fulfillment.

And there have been people who have tried the other extreme, freedom without love. These are the monks, the escapists, the people who renounced the world. Afraid of love, afraid of love because it brings bondage, they renounce all the situations where love can flow, grow, can happen, is possible. They escape into loneliness. Their loneliness never becomes aloneness, it remains loneliness. And

loneliness is a negative state; it is utterly empty, it is sad. One can be a solitary, but that does not bring solitude. Solitariness is just physical aloneness, solitude is spiritual aloneness.

If you are just lonely… and you will be if you have renounced the world. If you have escaped from the world out of fear you will be lonely, the world will haunt you, and all kinds of desires will surround you. You will suffer millions of nightmares, because whatsoever you have renounced cannot be dropped so easily. Renunciation is repression and nothing else. And the more you repress a thing, the more you need to repress it. And the more you go on repressing it, the more powerful it becomes. It will erupt in your dreams, it will erupt in your hallucinations. People living in the monasteries start hallucinating, people going to the Himalayan caves sooner or later are no more in contact with reality. They start creating a reality of their own — a private reality, a fictitious reality…

On the one hand is the person, the worldly person, who has tried to find love without freedom and has failed. His life is nothing but a long, long slavery to many many people, to many many things. He is chained, body, mind, soul; he is not free to have even a slight movement. That is one failure; the majority of humanity is caught in that extreme. A few escape from the world: seeing the misery, they start searching for the other extreme — freedom, moksha, nirvana. But they become neurotic, psychotic, they start living in their own dreams. Loneliness is so much that one has to create something to be with. Both these extreme efforts have failed. Hence humanity stands on a crossroads. Where to go? The past has utterly failed. All the efforts that we have done in the past proved wrong, led to cul-de-sacs. Now where to go, what to do? Atisha has an important message to deliver to you. That is the message of all the buddhas, of all the enlightened people of the world. They say: Love and freedom are not separate things, you cannot choose. Either you will have to have both, or you will have to drop both. But you cannot choose, you cannot have one.

Love is the circumference, freedom is the center. One has to grow in such delicate balance, to where love and freedom can bloom together.

And they can, because in a few rare individuals it has happened. And if it has happened to only a single individual in the whole history, it can happen to every human being.

It is your potential, your birthright. Meditation is the balance. Meditation is the bird with two wings: freedom and love. My effort here in this buddhafield is to give you both the wings together: be loving and be free, be loving and be nonpossessive. Be free but don’t become cold; remain warm, warm with love. Your freedom and your love have to grow hand in hand, in deep embrace, in a kind of dance, helping each other. And then the total man is born, who lives in the world and is not of the world at all.

Then the man is born in whom extremes meet and merge and become complementaries; then the man is rich.

Just to love without freedom is to be impoverished, or just to be free without love is to live in loneliness, sadness, darkness. Freedom is needed for love to grow, love is needed so that freedom can be nourished. My sannyasin has to remember constantly not to choose between these two. Both have to be absorbed together, digested together. Love has to become your circumference, your action, and freedom has to become your being, your center, your soul.

The first sutra:


Freedom can be of three types, and those three types have to be understood well. The first is freedom from, the second is freedom for, and the third is just freedom — neither from nor for. The first, freedom from, is a reaction. It is past-oriented; you are fighting against the past, you want to get rid of it, you are obsessed with it. Psychoanalysis tries to give you this freedom, freedom from — from the past traumas, childhood wounds. Primal therapy is based basically on the past. You have to go backwards to free yourself from the past, you have to reach to the first primal scream, then you will be free. So freedom means — for primal therapy, for psychoanalysis and for other therapies — that the past has to be dropped. You have to fight with it, you have to somehow manage to disentangle yourself from the past; then you will be free. As far as this freedom is concerned, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud are not opposed to each other; they both agree. Karl Marx says one has to become free from the past, all past social structures, economic structures. His approach is political, Freud’s approach is psychological, but both are rooted in the idea of freedom from…

The second idea is freedom for; it is future-oriented. The first is political, the second is more poetic, visionary, utopian. Many people have tried that too, but that too is not possible, because future-oriented you can’t live in the present — and you have to live in the present. You don’t live in the past, you don’t live in the future, you have to live in the present. Visionaries only imagine. Beautiful utopias they have imagined, but those utopias never become reality, cannot become reality. If you react to the past, you are determined by the past. If you forget the past and look at the future, you are still driven by the past, you just are not aware of it. Looking at the future you dream beautiful dreams, but they can’t change reality. The reality remains the same; dreams are very ineffective, impotent. The first, freedom from, is a reaction. The second, freedom for, is revolution. The third, just freedom, is rebellion. It is present-oriented. The first is political, the second is poetic, the third is mystic, religious.

What do I mean when I say “just freedom”? Neither for nor against, no past, no future, just being herenow, just living moment to moment with no ideology, with no utopia. The real sannyasin, the real mystic, is not against the past, is not for the future. He is so utterly absorbed by the present that he has no time, no energy, for the past and the future. This is how the rebel is born. The rebel is the most beautiful phenomenon in the world. Buddha is a rebel, so is Jesus; Atisha is a rebel, so is Kabir. These are rebels. You will misunderstand them if you think of them as if they were revolutionaries; they were not. Neither were they reactionaries. Their orientation is totally different, their orientation is now, here. They don’t live for any ideal, and they don’t live against any ideal. They don’t have any ideas; no ideology exists in the consciousness. The sheer purity of this moment… they live it, they enjoy it, they sing it, they dance it. And when the next moment comes, they live the next moment with the same joy, with the same cheerfulness. They move moment to moment, they don’t plan ahead.

That’s why in the East, where mystics have been a great force, nothing like communism has happened. The idea is Western, the idea cannot be conceived to have happened in the Eastern consciousness. And nothing like future utopias — More’s Utopia or other utopias, there are so many utopian socialists — nothing like that has happened either. But something totally different has happened: a Buddha, an Atisha — individuals living moment to moment in such sheer joy that their joy is contagious. Whosoever comes in contact with them is overwhelmed, starts looking at reality with new eyes. They give you a new insight into the herenow. This is “just freedom.” Meditate over it…The East has not created anything like communism, and it has not created anything like psychoanalysis, for a certain reason. The reason is that the mystic is not trying to be free from the past, the mystic is not trying to be free for something in the future. The mystic’s effort for freedom, what he calls moksha, total freedom, has nothing to do with that which is no more, and has nothing to do with that which is not yet. His whole concern is this moment, this small crystal-clear moment.

And to be in this moment is to be in meditation. To be utterly in this moment is to be in meditation.

And when meditation happens you will see two wings growing in you: one will be of love — Atisha calls it compassion — another will be of freedom. And they will both start growing together. This brings fulfillment. Then there is no grudge, no regret.

Atisha is right; he says:

NOW, EVEN WHEN I DIE, I’LL HAVE NO REGRET. Life has been a fulfillment. I have known its mysteries. I have loved, I have lived in freedom, I have known all that was needed to be contented. I am utterly fulfilled. Life has been fruitful. Life has not been a wastage, it has been a constant enrichment, and I have bloomed and the lotus has opened. To die with your inner lotus fully in bloom, to die in love, in freedom, is the proof that one has known life, is the proof that one has really lived. All others only go through empty gestures; they are not living.


How to find this freedom? How to find this essential core of your being? It happens in meditation. Atisha calls meditation “awareness.” And awareness has to be developed; it is only a seed in you, it can become a tree. And two things he suggests will be helpful: one is examination and the other is investigation. Examination means, never allow anything to pass your mind without observing it minutely. Socrates is reported to have said that a life is worthless if you have not lived it through examination. An unexamined life is a worthless life. Examination is the first step: becoming alert to what passes through your mind. And there is constant traffic — so many thoughts, so many desires, so many dreams are passing by. You have to be watchful; you have to examine each and everything that passes through the mind. Not a single thought should pass unawares, because that means you were asleep. Become more and more observant.

And the second step is investigation. First observe, examine, and then start looking into the roots. Why does a certain thing happen again and again? You become angry again and again: examination will simply show you that anger comes and goes. Investigation will show you the roots of anger, from where it comes — because it may be, it is almost always so, that anger is only a symptom of something else which is hidden. It may be your ego that feels hurt and you become angry, but the ego keeps itself hiding underground. It is like roots of the trees: you see the foliage but you don’t see the roots.

By examination you will see the tree, by investigation you will see the roots. And it is only by seeing the roots that a transformation is possible. Bring the roots to the light and the tree starts dying. If you can find the root of your anger, you will be surprised that the anger starts disappearing. If you can find the root of your sadness you will be again surprised.

First examine what is constantly there in your mind, what is being repeated again and again. You don’t have many thoughts. If you examine minutely you will see that you have only a few thoughts repeated again and again — maybe in new forms, new colors, new garments, new masks, but you have only a very few thoughts. And if you go into it minutely you will be surprised: you have one basic thought. Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples, “First find out your main characteristic.” And each person has a main characteristic — it may be greed, it may be anger, it may be sex, jealousy, it may be something else. Find out which is the main characteristic, which is the center around which all your thoughts and moods move. If you can find the center, you have found the root. And the miracle is that once the root is found you need not cut it, it is cut in the very finding of it. This is the inner secret of transformation.

Watch: again and again you become sad. Suddenly out of nowhere… everything was going good, and something clicks and you become sad. And again it is gone, and by the evening it is back, and so on, so forth. Why does this happen? First examine, then investigate.

By examination and investigation, the quality called awareness will be born in you. Once awareness is there you have the sword which can cut all the roots of all the diseases. And once awareness is born, slowly slowly you are getting out of the past and out of the future and you are entering the present. You are becoming more present to the present. You are attaining to a kind of presence which was never there; you are becoming luminous. And in this presence, when you can feel the moment passing by, all your senses will become so pure, so sensitive, so sensuous, so alert and alive, that the whole life will take a new intensity.

You will attain to a great zestfulness. The world will be the same, and yet not the same: the trees will look greener, the roses rosier, the people more alive, more beautiful — the same world, and the pebbles on the shore start looking like diamonds and emeralds.

When awareness is very very deep-rooted, when you are present to the present, you attain to a psychedelic vision of life. That’s why mystics talk of so much beauty, and you don’t find it. Mystics talk of immense celebration going on, and you don’t see any celebration anywhere. Mystics talk of great music, but you don’t hear any music. And the mystics are right — a great music is passing by, but you are deaf. Great beauty is all around, but you are blind. The whole existence is celebrating this very moment, as much as it was celebrating when Atisha was alive. Existence is celebration.


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

Discourse Series: The Book of Wisdom

Chapter #25

Chapter title: We are Ancient Pilgrims

7 March 1979 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘meditation, love, freedom, awareness, aloneness, compassionin many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Beyond Psychology
  2. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  3. From Bondage to Freedom
  4. From Death to Deathlessness
  5. The Messiah, Vol 1, 2
  6. Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance
  7. Beyond Enlightenment
  8. The Golden Future
  9. The Path of Love
  10. The Razor’s Edge
  11. Sermons in Stones
  12. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
  13. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1, 2
  14. The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty
  15. The New Dawn
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