An article by Anando published in the italian Osho Times
Here are two Osho insights about ‘problems’, which changed my life
We create our problems by wanting things, or people, to be different
Have you ever stopped to think that we create our own problems by the simple strategy of wanting things to be different to how they actually are?
We want other people to be different (especially our partners!), we want situations to be different, we want ourselves to be different. And they, and we, can't be other than what we are. It is like wanting the weather to be different. But the weather is what it is. We can accept it and enjoy however it is, or we can complain about it and make ourselves feel miserable. But anyway, it is not going to change the weather, is it? And yet this is what we are doing every time we have a complaint about something (which, let’s be honest, is quite often). We may as well be bashing our heads against a wall.
The other thing we never consider, is that it is actually disrespectful to want to change things, especially others. In a subtle, unconscious way, we are saying we know better than the other what is good for them, and this naturally creates a wall of resistance. In a relationship, it is like taking on the role of a parent and diminishing the other into the role of a child. Is it any wonder we get negative reactions from the other, even though we are convinced we are acting in the best intentions?
And in fact, if we are really honest, our intentions are always in our own interest. If we really respected the other, we would accept them as they are, we would dignify them by letting them decide how to live their own lives, even if it doesn’t fit with our ideas. Even if they are on a path of self-destruction, it is their decision. This is my understanding from Osho of what real love is.
And anyway, what right, what business, do we have to assume we can interfere in someone else’s life? And it is the same with ourselves – wanting ourself to be different is like saying to existence that we know better. And this creates such a tension in us. As Osho explains, it is like saying to Picasso that one of his paintings is wrong – the nose should be different, the shape of the body, the colour of the eyes, etc.
We are all unique - we are all unrepeatable, incomparable masterpieces of existence. If existence has so much respect for us, who are we to question ourselves? But of course we do it all the time. And that is how we make our lives miserable.
Acceptance, as I understand it from Osho, is not resignation. It is enjoying, celebrating ourselves and others as the utterly unique, and imperfect, beings that we are. And that is the basis of much of my work. It has often been said that the issues we group leaders choose to work with are in fact our very own issues. For sure, that is the case with me. Forget about self love – my self acceptance was so low at one point in my life that I was suicidal – I could no longer see the point of getting up each morning. I now wake up with a huge ‘thank you’ to existence – and what made the difference is Osho.
In answer to a question of mine, Osho once said, ‘The only difference between me and you is, you don't say okay to yourself and I have said an absolute okay to myself - that is the only difference. You are continuously trying to improve yourself, and I am not trying to improve myself. I have said: Incompletion is the way life is. You are trying to become perfect and I have accepted my imperfections. That is the only difference. So I don't have any problems. When you accept your imperfection, from where can the problem come? When whatsoever happens you say "It is okay," then from where can the problem come? When you accept limitations, then from where can the problem come? The problem arises out of your non-acceptance. You cannot accept the way you are, hence the problem. I have accepted the way I am, and that very moment all problems disappeared. That very moment all worries disappeared. Not that I became perfect, but I started enjoying my imperfections’.
Problems only exist in the mind
Osho says, ‘Situations are there, problems are your interpretations of situations….
Situations are existential, problems exist only in your psychology.’
It looks good on paper, but what does it actually mean?
From the moment I decided to test this concept, it changed my whole attitude towards my ‘problems’. I confess it was not easy for me to sit down and examine the things that my mind was continually chewing on. My mind much preferred to run on and on with all its fears and worries. But the interesting thing was that, once I managed to crystallize the issue – to pin down what was really going on, and what was the worst thing that could go wrong – suddenly it was no more a problem. There was simply, just as Osho says, a situation to be dealt with.
However, the mind is incredibly persistent. It needs ‘problems’ to chew on, and the more complicated, the better. In fact, the mind can make a problem out of anything, can’t it? It is really ingenious. So you dissolve one, and immediately the mind starts searching for another.
When I realize I am in the middle of a major mind-fuck, the trick I learned from Osho is to say, ‘This is the mind’. Just like that, without any judgment, condemnation or fight. This simple statement of fact never fails to bring me instantly into the present moment, with a deep and relaxing inhalation. Then I realize I have the choice – I can go on being absorbed in the ‘problem’, unconsciously getting involved with all the fears and projections my mind is creating, or I can have a very direct and clear look at the facts of the situation. What is the actual ‘problem’? Is it real? Would it necessarily be a problem for anyone else, or is it just a problem for my ego? And the beauty of being honest with yourself, and looking clearly and directly, is that the answer is always there in the situation itself.
In my experience, it takes courage to question and look at a problem from a different perspective, it is much easier to stay in an unconscious complaint about it. It also takes courage to accept the reality of a situation and its inherent solution – it is usually not what the ego wants to see and hear.
And, we are very attached to our problems – in a way they are part of our identity. Who would we be without our problems? But the rewards of dropping this unconscious identification are immediate. The deep inner relaxation that comes with acceptance and understanding brings space and new eyes to see everything afresh. To see that life is simple and easy when you go with the flow, when you stop fighting for things to be different from what they are.