Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Myth of Self-Improvement

Human beings are the only species on the planet to go on trying to improve themselves, to change themselves. Everyone else seems happy with who they are and how they are. So why do we humans do it? Is it wrong to want to be a better person?
“First, all efforts to improve yourself are bound to fail because the one who is making the effort is the problem: the ego. The ego is constantly making efforts to improve: have more money, have a bigger house, have a bigger car, have a more beautiful woman, or a husband, have this, have that. That is ego. You understand it.
“But then the ego plays another game too: it says, ‘Become more peaceful, become more loving, attain to meditation, become a siddha, be like a buddha.’ This again is the same game in another direction. The same ego that was trying to decorate itself with outer things now wants to try and decorate itself with inner things.
“So the first thing: if you are trying to improve yourself, you are doomed to fail. Once you understand that the ego is the problem, and it is the ego's greed that wants to improve and become this and that – the very idea of becoming is a projection of the ego – revolution comes. And that revolution is nothing that you have to do; that revolution comes through understanding the ways of the ego. Once you have understood that it was the ego that was after money, after power, prestige, politics and the same ego is now playing inner games of meditation, enlightenment, and all that nonsense – once you recognize it is the same ego, in that very recognition a laughter arises in you. You start feeling the ridiculousness of it.”

It’s exhausting! Even after everything I’ve done – reading all sorts of books, attending courses, chanting mantras, listening to life coaches – still I’m the same person, what to say of enlightenment!
“I want you to drop all games – worldly games, spiritual games, games that the whole of humanity has played up to now. These games keep you retarded. These games hinder you from growing into consciousness, into your own ultimate flowering. I want to cut away all this rubbish that prevents you.
“I want to leave you alone, absolutely alone, so that you cannot take anybody's help, so you cannot cling to any prophet, so that you cannot think that Gautam Buddha is going to save you. Left alone – utterly alone – you are bound to find your innermost center.
“There is no way, nowhere to go, no advisor, no teacher, no master. It seems hard, it seems harsh, but I am doing it because I love you, and the people who have not done it have not loved you at all. They loved themselves and they loved to have a big crowd around themselves – the bigger the crowd, the more they feel nourished in their egos.
“That's why I called even enlightenment the last game. The sooner you drop it, the better. Why not just simply be? Why unnecessarily hurry here and there? You are what existence wants you to be. Just relax.”

Osho


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