Monday, September 15, 2008

Osho: "Courage" Part 11 - When the New Knocks On Your Door, Open It!

(Cover) Courage: The Joy of Living DangerouslyContinuing my notes on Osho's bookCourage: The Joy of Living Dangerously. In Part 10, we finished the lengthy first chapter, "What Is Courage?"

In the preceding 50 pages Osho has spoken at length on the question “What is courage?” He (or his editors) now follow that grand, sprawling chapter with these short 11 pages, focused like a laser beam on the single thought that

The new is a messenger from God, the new is a message from God... Listen to the new, go with the new.

That this requires courage is because of our natural caution, our natural affinity to rest in the known, familiar, the old. And why not? Osho warns us repeatedly, “One never knows where you will end with the new.”, “The new will bring difficulties.” And cautions us that, “To be new one needs to become disidentified with the ego."

But the old is a great trap, a veritable La Brea Tarpit of dinosaur hopes and dreams.

The old is familiar but miserable… Nobody can ever be satisfied with the old because whatsoever it is, you have known it. Once known it has become repetitive; once known it has become boring, monotonous.

And yet one does not easily escape the old because

You are enclosed in your past. You are almost in a kind of grave. You have become insensitive. Because of your cowardliness you have lost your sensitivity.

In contrast, we have the new.

To be sensitive means the new will be felt – and the thrill of the new, and the passion for the new and the adventure will arise and you will start moving into the unknown, not knowing where you are going.

The new, the messenger from God, is a risk, a threat to our very existence. No wonder we fear it and "hide in the old"! And yet it is our hope for transformation, resurrection and bliss. We must embrace the new, become new in order to grow. This is why "extraordinary courage is needed."

The new is so precious because it "comes from the beyond, … from God … from existence." And because it is our ticket out of misery.

Sure, it's not all smooth roads and gentle breezes: “Sometimes the new leads you into some ditch, still it is worth it, because only through errors one learns, and only through difficulties one grows.

And the new offers transformation: “If you reject it you remain a stone, closed and dead. If you receive it you become a flower.

Receiving the New

And how does one receive the new? I would have thought that it would be a simple matter of acting upon the opportunity. That may be so, but Osho qualifies it further and says one should “act without will or direction or impulse from your past… One has to start in a state of not knowing” and, in the innocent wonder of a child, explore the infinite possibilities.

Why is this necessary? Because “whatsoever you do will be of the old.” Contaminated as it were (this reminds me of Original Sin). In contrast, rather than "doing", Osho believes it possible to act in the moment without guidance from our past, acting meditatively, spontaneously, being decisive in the moment like an impulsive child!

Suddenly you will see you are each moment new. The old no more lingers, the old no more hangs around you like a cloud. You are like a dewdrop, fresh and young.

Osho proceeds now to one his most difficult points, that we should be free from “psychological memory.”

Memory is a dead thing. Memory is not truth and cannot ever be, because truth is always alive, truth is life; memory is a persistence of that which is no more. It is living in a ghost world, but it contains us, it is our prison. In fact it is us. Memory creates the knot, the complex called “I”, the ego.

Personally I cherish my memories, so it is hard to understand or accept what he means. Yes, these memories can indeed be a prison, but I don’t believe they have to be. Memories help bind together couples, families, societies.

His chief point here is that the “I”, the ego, is the center of fear. And the “I” is the reason why we don’t “accept the new with joy,” because it will mean its death. And why is that? Because “you are not the ego.” I am not the “I”.

Once you have seen that the ego is your past memory and nothing else, that you are not your memory, that memory is just like a biocomputer, that it is a machine, a mechanism, utilitarian, [then you can see that] you are consciousness, not memory. Memory is a content in consciousness. You are consciousness itself.

So the ego is just a mechanism, our tool. “Use it but don’t be used by it… And it is just such letting go, just that death of the ego, that makes a man alive. To die in the ego is to be born into being.

Accept Your Responsibility

So take up your courage and reject the casual, comfortable misery that you think is your home. Any coward can be miserable, says Osho. People love to be unhappy! But in the exercise of your courage you may find bliss.

And what of your misery and unhappiness? “Nobody is holding you there; it is you who has decided to remain in that prison of misery.” That means you must accept responsibility and stop blaming others. “If you are making yourself miserable, something can be done immediately.” It is within your power to change it.

A man really becomes a man when he accepts total responsibility – he is responsible for whatsoever he is. This is the first courage, the greatest courage… to divorce misery.


In spite of the fear, go with the new, and your life will become richer and richer and you will be able one day to release your imprisoned splendor.

A glorious hope! A beautiful vision. Is there any among us who does not want to release his or her "imprisoned splendor"?

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