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Osho: The Secret of Life

The seagulls of Happiness

 

You can listen to Osho with Music: The seagulls of happiness

 

You can read the original text as pdf: A Man Who Loved Seagulls

 

You can listen to the original audio discourse:

Osho: Just like That #7: A Man Who Loved Seagulls side A (47:02, 13MB)

Osho: Just like That #7: A Man Who Loved Seagulls side B (26:18, 7.5MB)

 

Osho: Just like That #7: A Man Who Loved Seagulls

7th May 1975, Poona, India  EXTRACT

 

There was a man living by the seashore who loved seagulls.

Every morning he went down to the sea to roam with the seagulls.

More birds came to him than could be counted in hundreds.

 

His father said to him one day:

I hear the seagulls all come roaming with you

bring me some to play with.

 

Next day, when he went to the sea,

the seagulls danced above him and would not come down.

 

The greatest secret of life is --and remember it always --that life is a gift. You have not deserved it in the first place. It is not your right. It has been given to you, you have not earned it. Once you understand this, many things will become clear.

 

If life is a gift then all that belongs to life is going to be a gift. Happiness, love, meditation --all that is beautiful is going to be a gift from the holy, from the whole. You cannot deserve it in any way and you cannot force existence to make you happy, or to make you loving, or to make you meditative. That very effort is of the ego. That very effort creates misery. That very effort goes against you. That very effort has destroyed you --it is suicidal.

 

Why is it so? If life is a gift, all that belongs to and is intrinsic to life is going to be a gift. You can wait for it, you can be receptive to it, you can remain in a surrendered mood, waiting, patient, but you cannot demand, and you cannot force.

 

In life, only on the surface, in the marketplace, rights exist. As you move deeper, rights disappear. As you move deeper, gifts appear. This is one of the most basic things to remember always: you have not deserved life, and life is there! Absolutely undeserved, you are alive, with tremendous energy --alive!

 

How does it happen? And if life can happen without deserving it, without any right to it, why not happiness? Why not love? Why not ecstasy? They can all happen, but you have to understand the law. The law is: don't try directly. Happiness cannot be pursued. It can be persuaded. Persuasion is indirect. It is not an attack. You move, but not directly, because when you are direct you are aggressive. Nothing is as direct as violence. And nothing is as violent as directness.

 

God has infinite patience. He works with care, and in very indirect ways. He creates a baby, and takes nine months --he doesn't seem to have any efficiency experts around him. This has been going on for millions of years, and he has not learned anything; otherwise he could have managed to create better instruments so that a baby could be created within nine minutes. Why nine months? And from the very beginning he has been doing the same thing; he has not learned anything. He should ask the experts, particularly the efficiency experts. They will show him how to produce, how to produce on a mass scale, and not waste so much time --nine months per baby!

 

But it is not only with babies --with flowers also he takes infinite care; with birds, even with a blade of grass he takes infinite care and time. He is not in a hurry. In fact it seems he is not aware of time at all. He exists timelessly. If you want to be with him, don't be in a hurry; otherwise you will bypass him. He will be always loitering here and now, and you will always be going there and then. You will always be like an arrow, and he is not like an arrow.

 

And to be with God is to be happy, to be with God is to be alive, to be with God is to be in meditation.

 

But the whole training of man is how to do things fast. Speed in itself seems to be a value. It is not. In itself it can create only madness --and it has created madness.

 

Millions of people attain their targets: they wanted to be successful, they are successful --but unhappy. They wanted to be rich, they are rich --but unhappy. The richer they get, the unhappier they become, because now even the hope is lost. They were thinking that when they became rich they would be happy; now they are rich, and happiness --they cannot see any sign of it anywhere. Now, with unhappiness hopelessness also settles.

 

A poor man is never hopeless, a rich man always is. And if you find a rich man who is not yet hopeless it is certain he is not yet rich. Hopelessness is the symbol of being rich. A poor man can hope. Millions of things are there which he has not got. He can dream, he can hope that when these things are there he will have attained the target. Then everything will be okay, he will be happy.

 

In the very search you create unhappiness. When you don't search, happiness searches for you. When you search, you search alone and you will not find. Where will you seek? How will you search?

 

Mind can never be happy. Mind is your accumulated discontent. Mind is your accumulated unhappy past, the whole suffering that you have passed through: it is a wound in your being. And the mind tries to seek, to pursue, and you miss.

 

When you forget about happiness, suddenly you are happy. When you forget about contentment, suddenly it is there. It has always been there around you, but you were not there. You were thinking: Somewhere in the future a target has to be achieved, happiness earned, contentment practiced. You were in the future and happiness was just around you like the fragrance of a flower.

 

Yes, God is a loafer. He is always loitering somewhere around. And you have gone too far, seeking. Come back home! And just be. Don't bother about happiness. Life is there as a gift; happiness is also going to be there as a gift -- a gift from the whole, a holy gift.

 

When you are seeking too much you are closed; the very tension of seeking and searching closes you. When you are desiring too much, the very desire becomes such a tense state of affairs that happiness cannot penetrate you. Happiness penetrates you in the same way as sleep; contentment comes to you in the same way as sleep: when you are in a let-go, when you allow, when you simply wait, they come.

 

In fact, to say they come is not right: they are already there. In a let-go you can see them and feel them, because you are relaxed. In relaxation you become more sensitive --and happiness is the subtlest thing possible, the most subtle, the very cream of life, the essence. When you are relaxed in a total let-go, not doing anything, not going anywhere, not thinking of any goals, no target, not like an arrow but like a bow, relaxing, without tension --it is there.

 

For small matters, the world of the market, you can move like an arrow, because that is man-created. But for that which is not man-created, you cannot be like an arrow --you have to be like a relaxed bow. God is total relaxation.

 

Hence Patanjali says that perfect samadhi is like sleep, with only one difference --otherwise the quality is the same, the same flavor, the same taste --with just one difference: in sleep you are unconscious, in samadhi you are conscious. But the relaxation, the let-go, is the same. Everything untense, not going anywhere, not even a thought of going anywhere, just being here and now --suddenly everything starts happening.

 

You are not to do anything to be happy. In fact you have done too much to become unhappy. If you want to be unhappy, do too much. If you want to be happy, allow things, allow things to be. Rest, relax, and be in a let-go.

 

Let-go is the secret of life. Let-go is the secret of religion. Let-go is the greatest secret. When you are in a let-go many things, millions of things, start happening. They were already happening but you were never aware. You could not be aware; you were engaged somewhere else, you were occupied.

 

The birds go on singing. The trees go on flowering. The rivers go on flowing. The whole is continuously happening, and the whole is very psychedelic, very colorful, with infinite celebrations going on.

 

But you are so engaged, so occupied, so closed, with not even a single window open, no cross-ventilation in you. No sunrays can penetrate you, no breeze can blow through you, you are so solid, so closed, what Leibnitz called monads. You are monads. Monad means something without any windows, with no opening, with every possibility of opening closed. How can you be happy? So closed, how can you participate in the mysteries all around? How can you participate in the divine? You will have to come out. You will have to drop this enclosure, this imprisonment.

 

Where are you going? And you think that somewhere in the future there is some target to be achieved? Life is already here! Why wait for the future? Why postpone it for the future? Postponement is suicidal. Life is slow; that's why you cannot feel it. It is very slow, and you are insensitive; otherwise postponement is the only poison. You kill yourself by and by. You go on postponing --and you go on missing the life that is here and now.

 

For those who have attained to the here and now, the whole life starts showering flowers on them. Many things start happening which they never dreamed of.

When for the first time you are really relaxed in a meditative state, you cannot believe that life is so beautiful, so euphoric, such infinite bliss, such a sat-chit-anand; you cannot believe it! It is unbelievable.

 

When a Buddha reports, nobody believes. When a Jesus talks about his kingdom of God, nobody believes. Even those who follow, they also are not absolutely trusting.

 

When Jesus brings the news, the good news of the kingdom of God, nobody believes him. When Buddha talks about the infinite emptiness within, nobody believes him. We cannot believe! How can we believe unless we know? At least a glimpse is needed.

 

We live in such a suffering, hell; the news about the kingdom of God seems to be just a dream, a poetry maybe, but nothing more. Religion seems not more than literature: fictitious --great fiction, but nothing more. It has to be so, it is natural in a way, because you don't know where you are standing, what is happening all around you. You are so insensitive, closed....

 

Open the windows, break the doors open! And run out of this imprisonment, stand under the skies. Feel again! Thinking won't help. Thinking can go on and on inside you without opening a single window. Only feeling brings you out of yourself --and you are so afraid of feeling, so much at ease with thinking and so afraid of feeling, because feeling will bring you out. It will bring you again into the very current of life. You will be in the river, moving towards the ocean.

 

Feel more, think less, and by and by you will see that the more you can feel, the more relaxed you are. The more you can feel, the more you become aware of the secret of life --that you need not do anything about it, you just have to be available. Just available, I say, and everything comes to you.

 

Once the idea arises to catch hold, to cling, everything disappears. This is the meaning of this Sufi story.

 

There was a man living by the seashore who loved seagulls.

 

Love is the very center of all feelings, love is the soul of all feelings. All feelings hang on love. If you don't love, by and by all feelings will disappear. If you love, all feelings will be revived. And remember, I say all feelings: negative, positive, all. When you love, you start hating also --immediately. When you love, you start feeling anger also --immediately. When you love, you feel sad, you feel happy. When you love, all feelings are again back to life.

 

This is the trouble. That's why no society allows love; because if it were the case that with love only good feelings, feelings that society decides are good, came up, there would be no trouble. But with love, the trouble is that not only heaven starts flowering, but hell also. They are together, they are two aspects of the same coin. They cannot be separated --and there is no need to separate them, because a heaven without a hell would be poorer. A love without anger would be impotent. A love without sadness would be shallow.

 

Life is a polarity, and through polarities life becomes richer and richer and more and more complex. Life is not like ordinary Aristotelian logic, life is more like Hegelian dialectics: thesis, antithesis. Two polarities meet and fight, and a third phenomenon arises: synthesis. A greater harmony arises out of two polarities; then that greater harmony again becomes thesis, a new antithesis arises, then again a higher rung of the ladder of synthesis is reached.

 

This is how life moves. Life is Hegelian dialectics, it is not Aristotelian logic. It is not simple duality. It again and again reaches to oneness through duality --and that oneness again becomes a pole. It creates another pole; the movement starts. This is how life is trying to reach higher and higher pinnacles of being.

 

When you love you become happy, and you become sad also. These are the thesis and antithesis. Love is a harmony, the synthesis. Life moves through opposites, just like a river moves through two banks. You cannot conceive of a river with one bank. If you conceive of this, then all rivers disappear. If you try to ensure that one shore will be better, then rivers cannot exist.

 

That's what has happened to human consciousness. In the very beginning man decided against hate, against anger, against all negative poles, that they are not good. They are not good if they are alone, they are very bad. If a man is simply angry without love, he is mad. This anger is a disease. But if a man is angry because of love, a father angry with his child, with love, then anger has a beauty of its own.

 

No child will ever feel bad towards a parent who was angry with love. But a parent who was simply angry without love cannot be forgiven. The child may forget him, but he cannot forgive. Just anger, with no love? It is illness. It is poisonous. But if you are angry with love, the child understands. He understands your love. And in that bigger whole of love, the anger fits. It is just love in action, nothing else; and the child immediately feels it, and loves you more for it.

 

A husband angry without love is just ego, trying to possess, dominate. A husband angry with love is not ego trying to possess, but love, trying to help. Even if anger is needed, love is ready to be angry.

 

When love arises, all feelings erupt; a volcano explodes and man becomes afraid. So it is better, man decided, not to touch this volcano. Let it be there, hidden, because it brings negatives also. But those who know, they say don't be afraid of the negative. The negative is bound to be there with the positive, like a shadow is bound to be with you. If you want no shadow, you will have to kill yourself. Then only can the shadow disappear. But nothing is wrong in a shadow. If you are there, nothing is wrong. If love is there, nothing is wrong.

 

Somebody asked Saint Augustine, "Tell me in one sentence, in a simple sentence, the whole message of Christ, because I am an ignorant man, and I cannot understand the subtleties of theology. And I don't know much about morality, so don't give me complex disciplines I may not be able to follow. Give me a simple discipline, so simple that I can understand and follow."

It is said Saint Augustine closed his eyes and meditated, and then he said, "Then there is only one thing --love, and everything else will follow."

 

Love is the greatest morality, because it brings the feeling part of you up, and the thinking part goes down. Nothing is wrong with the thinking part, but it is playing the role of the master, which is wrong. Reason is good if it helps feeling. Feeling should be the master and reason should be the servant. Feeling should guide and reason should manage. But if reason becomes the master and feeling has to follow, you will be dead... because how can you be alive only with reason? Life is feeling. Trees can exist without reason, but they cannot exist without feeling.

 

Now even scientists are becoming more and more aware that trees feel, and feel tremendously. Stars, rocks, rivers --they cannot exist without feeling. Feeling is their very life. Birds, animals, the whole --exist with feeling. Except man. Man is upside down. The head has become the prominent thing, and head has been suppressing feeling.

 

And it has happened all over life in that way. Politicians rule, dominate; in fact, poets should be the guides, not politicians. But as it happens in the atomic individual, so it happens on a vaster scale in society. If feeling rules the individual, then poets will rule life, then poets will rule nations. The world will be totally different. If the head rules, if reason rules the individual, then politicians will rule the world, and the world is going to be constantly in trouble, constantly at war, in constant conflict.

 

It is good to feel, and if feeling surrounds you, then there is nothing wrong in thinking. If thinking follows feeling --beautiful; it helps. It is like a radar. It opens the way for the feeling to move on. It protects the feeling from dangers. It helps the feeling to know what is going to happen next, to plan a little. It is good! But good only as a servant.

 

If you love, you will have a deep affinity with existence. Trees will talk to you. Birds will start coming nearer to you. Animals will not be afraid of you -there is no need. Man creates fear because of his head. With his heart he is again one with the universe.

 

There was a man living by the seashore who loved seagulls.

Every morning he went down to the sea to roam with the seagulls.

More birds came to him than could be counted in hundreds.

 

Thousands of seagulls gathered around him. They jumped and hopped, and they flew and they danced, and they moved with him on the shore. The man was accepted by the seagulls, because feeling is everywhere accepted. That is the language of existence: feeling. Reason is the language of humanity, not of existence --a local phenomenon, not universal. Feeling is the language, the forgotten language. If you understand feeling, you understand the whole.

 

If you start really feeling, and your heart starts really throbbing with feeling, you can ask a tree, and a tree is always ready to reveal its secret. You can ask a bird, and the bird is ready to reveal its secret. You can ask existence, and existence is ready to reveal its heart. That heart is God, the kingdom of God, the ecstasy, the final liberation, moksha, nirvana; whatsoever you want to call it, you can call it.

 

 

More birds came to him than could be counted in hundreds.

 

He knew the language of feeling. It is love. Nobody is afraid of love, not even birds. And they can certainly feel more than you because they have no thinking apparatus, no disturbance of the mind.

 

It is said that when Buddha attained to enlightenment, trees flowered out of season. It may not be a fiction, it may be true. And one day we may be able to prove it scientifically, because if an earthworm, not related to a plant at all, of a totally different species, is thrown into hot water, and the death, the torture, the violence, is felt by the plant and the plant goes through a turmoil, a terrible turmoil, shaken to the very roots, then the other thing also seems possible.

 

Buddha attains to nirvana, he becomes enlightened. One life has reached the goal: it does not seem too fictitious that the trees around him suddenly flower out of season, in celebration. If pain can be felt, celebration can also be felt. Just a few steps more and science will be saying, "Yes, this is not a fiction." Life sometimes is stranger than fiction. It is.

 

His father said to him one day:

I hear the seagulls all come roaming with you bring me some to play with.

 

Now an idea had entered the head. The man was no longer the same. Love was not there. The heart was not functioning that day. A desire had entered. He had a target now. He had come to the seashore now with a business. He was no more a friend to the seagulls --he was going to catch them --he was the enemy.

 

Next day, when he went down to the sea,

the seagulls danced over him and would not come down.

 

The seagulls cannot understand what you are thinking in the mind but they can understand the vibes that you are creating around --and you are continuously creating vibes around you. You are a continuous broadcast of vibes, continuous. Whatsoever happens in your heart, it is just as if someone has thrown a stone in a lake: ripples arise, and they go on and on and on --they will go to the very end, to the very shore, all around. A feeling arises in you; immediately a stone has been thrown in the lake of your being. An idea arises in you --ripples arise. They go all around.

 

Those seagulls don't know exactly what the father has said to the son, because they don't understand the local language of man. They don't know what has really happened, but deep down they still know that this man is not the same. Somebody else has come, a stranger, not the old friend. Now he has come with an idea. The idea is not known, but throughout his whole body he is now not in a let-go. He has some idea to do, some plan, some desire. He is not the same relaxed man with whom seagulls could feel at home.

 

And this is the secret of the whole of life: not only seagulls but happiness, meditation, ecstasy --they all come to you when you are in a total let-go, in a deeply friendly mood, in a loving attitude towards existence. When you are at the heart, they come. When you are persuading them, and you think that happiness is something like a right, that you have to pursue it, suddenly the seagulls of happiness are not descending. They will dance above your head but they will never come down to play with you, to move with you, to jump and hop! No, they will never become one with you. They will not descend into your being.

 

Yes, happiness is a seagull. Meditation also is a seagull. Ecstasy is also a seagull. Existence understands only let-go. If you are in a let-go, you will attain. You will attain to whatsoever this existence can give you --and it can give you infinite blessings, infinite benediction. It can give you total satiety, contentment. You can become a Buddha.

 

Existence is ready to give, but you are not ready to take it, because you are thinking in terms of how to snatch it. Existence gives to you as gifts; you cannot snatch, you cannot conquer, you cannot achieve. You surrender, please. Please, be in a let-go.

 

All that is beautiful is like seagulls. Remember this: nothing can be done. The feast is already ready --you have been invited. You can enter from the front door. But you are foolish, you are trying to enter from the back door, and in existence there is no back door. You are trying to enter like a thief. The front door is open for you, and the host is waiting on the steps to receive you, and you are trying to enter from the back door like a thief.

 

Life has no back doors. You cannot steal life. You cannot be a thief. Life gives, and gives infinitely and gives unconditionally. You please be just in a let-go. Let the seagulls descend and play with you, and loiter with you on the seashore. Everything is ready. The feast, the host --everything is ready, just waiting for you to come in from the front door. Effort is not needed. Effort is the back door. Effortlessness is needed.

 

Let life happen, don't try to force it. Through doing, only worthless things are achieved; through no-doing --all that is beautiful, all that is sacred, all that is divine.

 

Enough for today.

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