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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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…)

Watching the Mind – Osho

Posted in Osho, Spirituality by Neeraj on 05/25/2010

A discourse by Osho that will be interesting to anyone who has ever tried meditating.

P.S. Here is another post on Osho and meditation: On Meditation – Osho.

I HAVE BEEN THINKING ALL DAY OF A WAY TO ASK THE QUESTION: HOW TO STOP THINKING?

THINKING cannot be stopped. Not that it does not stop, but it cannot be stopped. It stops of its own accord. This distinction has to be understood, otherwise you can go mad chasing your mind. No-mind does not arise by stopping thinking. When the thinking is no more, no-mind is. The very effort to stop will create more anxiety, it will create conflict, it will make you split. You will be in a constant turmoil within. This is not going to help. And even if you succeed in stopping it forcibly for a few moments, it is not an achievement at all — because those few moments will be almost dead, they will not be alive. You may feel a sort of stillness, but not silence, because a forced stillness is not silence. Underneath it, deep in the unconscious, the repressed mind goes on working. So, there is no way to stop the mind. But the mind stops — that is certain. It stops of its own accord. So what to do? — your question is relevant. Watch — don’t try to stop. There is no need to do any action against the mind. In the first place, who will do it? It will be mind fighting mind itself. You will divide your mind into two; one that is trying to boss over — the top-dog — trying to kill the other part of itself, which is absurd. It is a foolish game. It can drive you crazy. Don’t try to stop the mind or the thinking — just watch it, allow it. Allow it total freedom. Let it run as fast as it wants. You don’t try in any way to control it. You just be a witness. It is beautiful! Mind is one of the most beautiful mechanisms. Science has not yet been able to create anything parallel to mind. Mind still remains the masterpiece — so complicated, so tremendously powerful, with so many potentialities. Watch it! Enjoy it! And don’t watch like an enemy, because if you look at the mind like an enemy, you cannot watch. You are already prejudiced; you are already against. You have already decided that something is wrong with the mind — you have already concluded. And whenever you look at somebody as an enemy you never look deep, you never look into the eyes. You avoid!

Watching the mind means: look at it with deep love, with deep respect, (more…)