Loose Change

Reaction to Osho’s Quote on Love and Aloneness

Posted in Musings, Osho, Spirituality by Neeraj on 07/28/2010

I came across this quote on the Osho International Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/osho.international):

No-Thought for the Day : But the real love is not an escape from loneliness, the real love is an overflowing aloneness. One is so happy in being alone that one would like to share — happiness always wants to share. It is too much, it cannot be contained; like the flower cannot contain its fragrance, it has to be released. OSHO

My reaction:

Not to flog semantics but Osho should perhaps have used the word ‘compassion’ instead of ‘love’ in this quote. The reason being that most of us (especially if you don’t know much about Osho) associate the word ‘love’ in daily usage with romantic love. However, in truth, romantic love is a very specialized, insular form of compassion — it is compassion that you only feel for one person. The ‘love’ that Osho is talking about is much broader and all-encompassing.

Also, Osho should have mentioned: even if you are overflowing with happiness because you have reached your core, it cannot be shared with just about anyone: you would be ready to give it, but the other person wouldn’t be ready to receive it. The happiness that arises from this kind of ‘love’ can only be appreciated by another who has also experienced his/her aloneness. At best, sharing this happiness can only inspire someone who is ready to make this journey; however, only after they have discovered their own aloneness can they truly appreciate the quality of this happiness. On the other hand, normal people who go into relationships from a need of dependence wouldn’t even understand this kind of ‘love’. They’d perceive it as ‘aloofness’ at best or ‘selfishness’ at worst.

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‘Intelligence’ and our Future

Posted in Musings by Neeraj on 07/23/2010

I was standing at the window listening to the rain as it fell on the tarp of the garage below. The trees swayed gently in the slight breeze and the sweet smell of newly-moistened soil wafted up through the damp air. It was hard not to think of how beautiful the Earth was.

That reminded me — I was watching an old Russian science-fiction movie called Solaris last night and I remembered a scene in the movie where the scientists, aboard a research station on a distant planet, hang strips of paper on the air-conditioning vents because the rustling of the paper reminded them of leaves rustling in the wind back on Earth. It’s funny how much we don’t appreciate the things that we take so much for granted. Looking at all the bits and pieces of plastic and rubbish strewn about below the window where I stood, only served to reinforce the thought. We are a remarkably gifted and, at the same time, a surprisingly obtuse species.
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Perhaps it has to do with the way our brains have evolved. We can think intuitively only on a local or a small scale, and even then we are mostly apathetic about things that don’t directly concern us or our immediate circle of loved ones. For instance, how many of us can conceive of a light year in the same way as we can think of a yard? How many of us can think of a million years the same way as of a lifetime? How many of us can think about the environment in the same way as we think of our home? It seems that our brains are just not built to function on grandiose scales. This makes sense because all through evolution, we have been struggling with problems that are limited in scope: how to jump to the next branch, where to find the best prey, when to plant the crops, how to fight the neighboring tribe, how to woo the girl next door — all local problems that we have solved with great aplomb. The only problem is that the problems that we now face — war, pollution, disease etc — are ones that cannot be solved (or even understood) at local scales. It’s as if mankind’s growth has been very unidimensional, very unbalanced. We have learned enough to make changes at a planetary scale but we have not learned what those changes imply. It’s as if we’ve learned how to shoot a gun but we don’t know what putting a bullet in someone will do. How do we make the transition from a parochial to a global outlook? Do we even have the time to make it?

Judging from the past, I think that given sufficient time, humanity can make this transition. One good reason is that intelligence is bootstrapping by nature. For instance, why are we the only intelligent (in the everyday sense of the word) species in the world? So many animals and insects have lifetimes that are a fraction of ours. One human generation could see thousand upon thousands of insect generations. They’ve had so many more chances to make that quantum  leap to sentience. Why didn’t they? The simple answer is that they didn’t need to. Given an environment, evolution only strives for reproductive success. It does not measure ‘progress’ or ‘advancement’ in human terms. But if humans were not gifted with a special environment withheld from other organisms, why were we the only species to make the jump? The answer lies in what intelligence enables us to do. It allows us to change our environment, in turn presenting us with new problems to solve: a powerful incentive for further cerebral development. So, intelligence begets intelligence.

This is the path that we have followed, and we are now standing at a critical crossroads in our evolutionary journey. The problems that we now face may be a blessing in disguise — our chance to progress to the next level of consciousness, to a more sublime level of intelligence, a deeper understanding of our place. The commensurate trade-off could be that we may not have as much time to crack this particular nut as we had to tackle problems in the past. Will we make the right choices? Only time will tell…

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Quotes to Live by – Osho

Posted in Musings, Osho, Spirituality by Neeraj on 06/02/2010

Here are some of Osho’s quotes I’ve come across when reading his various books. Some of these make sense at the first glance; others need a great deal of thought in order to to be truly appreciated. However, all are equally meaningful and equally profound — even when stripped of the context they were found in. And, all are equally relevant to our daily lives.

Every time I read one of these quotes, it gives me a deeper appreciation of existence. May they enrich your life too…

P.S. I’ve put in my own commentary in brackets.

Sannyas

Never commit the same mistake again and again, that’s true—invent new mistakes every day. Be creative. Risk in new ways. And that’s what sannyas is all about: to be risky, to live dangerously, to live without security and safety. To be tremendously in love with life is what sannyas is.

Resolution means totality, commitment, involvement, a quantum leap into something, into something which is not yet clearly known. Taking a risk is resolution. But the mind is a coward. It avoids risks; it seeks security, safety. Resolution is one of the ways to go beyond misery, schizophrenia.

We have been taught to condemn ourselves; we have been taught that we are worthless. We have been told in a thousand and one ways that we are dirt and that has become part of our conditioning. The first step in sannyas is: Respect yourself, because if you don’t respect yourself you cannot respect anybody else in the world. Not even God can be respected, because even God comes number two. Love yourself. If you can’t love yourself you cannot love anybody else.

[Sannyas is not wearing maroon robes, or clutching rosary beads. Sannyas is not dancing in public or doing Kundalini meditation. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that these are not part of it. Yes they are, but only as tools. Sannyas is an attitude. It is not defined by external appearance or external actions. It is much more subtle. I believe this is one reason why Osho said he identified most with Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu was so unassuming a person, with such a mundane and commonplace appearance, that 99.99% of humanity would miss his spark, his true beauty. Only someone equally special could spot his treasure — communion can only be among equals; everything else is dialogue. Sannyas is equally intangible. Only if you are very observant, very aware, and willing to go beyond external appearances can you identify a true sannyasin. And once you have this ability, you can also be one. But you must be willing to let go of your beliefs and conditioning in order to grow anew. Sannyas is not for the complacent or weak of heart. It is as much a destructive act as it is a constructive one, and it is always an irreversible process.]

Life

Life itself is rooted in freedom. We are not machines, we are not preprogramed. We are utter (more…)

Leonardo da Vinci and the value of procrastination

Posted in Musings by Neeraj on 05/27/2010
Are you a habitual procrastinator? Do you find yourself routinely putting off important activities that need to be urgently finished simply because you find working on one particular thing too limiting and you can think up a dozen things that you’d rather be working on? Well, you’re not alone, and what’s more, you’re in distinguished company. The March 2009 edition of the ClassicalPursuits newsletter carried an interesting piece on Leonardo da Vinci’s habit of procrastination: How to Procastinate Like Leonardo da Vinci. The article was interesting because it challenged the common perception of procrastination as being a wasteful activity better avoided by anyone aiming to make best use of his/her time. In reality however, the article argues, procrastination may have its own benefits and  Leonardo da Vinci’s life gives us ample clues that this is indeed so.

In the course of his life, da Vinci — quintessential renaissance man and arguably the most gifted polymath of all time — chronicled hundreds of ideas in his notebooks. Is is clear even from the fraction of notebooks that have survived to this day that da Vinci’s ideas ran a vast gamut of the human experience, ranging from painting, sculpture, geometry, anatomical studies, to the design of military tanks and flying machines. However, da Vinci was  seldom able to complete (to his own satisfaction) the projects that he started. Even his most celebrated work of art, the Mona Lisa, was still in his possession when he died (apparently, he had still not finished it to his liking). The mainstream view contends that this lack of follow-through is attributable solely to da Vinci’s “fault” of procrastination. In my opinion, however, it is hard to say whether this “fault” should take all the blame. For instance, da Vinci was known to be an incorrigible perfectionist, always striving to match his work to its conceptualization in his head. This may explain why he finished very few of his projects because he would keep tinkering and fiddling with his works even when they looked perfect to others. Of course, procrastination may explain why he started so few projects in the first place. For example, all the compulsive note-taking may have been da Vinci’s way of avoiding working on any one specific idea in reality.

Does this mean that procrastination is altogether bad? It’s a hard question (more…)

From the horse’s mouth: How to work with INTPs

Posted in Musings by Neeraj on 05/23/2010

I’m an INTP and I’ve often felt that the rest of the world doesn’t really “get” how to interact with us. In this post, I’ll explain my thoughts on how to approach and deal with an average INTP person. Since, the post title may be a little misleading, I’d like to clarify that this post is not specifically about dealing with INTPs in your workplace (although you could very well apply these principles there too!).

First off, for those who are not fans of personality tests or  who do not know about MBTI personality types, INTP is one of the 16 personality types in the Myers-Briggs personality classification system (wikipedia). MBTI type indicators were developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katherine Briggs and was derived from C. J. Jung’s theory on psychological types early in the 20th century. Here is a brief description of how the system works:

The identification and description of the 16 distinctive personality types that result from the interactions among thepreferences.”

Excerpted with permission from the MBTI® Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®

Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).

Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).

Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).

Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).

Your Personality Type: When you decide on your preference in each category, you have your own personality type, which can be expressed as a code with four letters.

Source.

INTPs are one of the rarest personality types (by some estimates, they make up only 1% of the entire population). It is important to understand exactly what makes an INTP ‘tick.’ This page is a good start (and so is this one, for those who prefer shorter descriptions). INTPs are usually described asThinkers, which is to say they live mostly in their heads. INTPs view the world around them with a great deal of logical detachment. In addition, they are fiercely independent, consciously striving to be different from other people. INTPs also detest facades and greatly value frankness, both in demeanor and in conversation. This means that they do not much go for small talk or social niceties that are valued by ‘normal’ people with more extroverted personalities. Because these personality traits often make them seem cold, aloof, and uninterested (more…)