Reaction to an action

Reaction to an action

I remember a tale:

One Sunday a poor farmer was leaving his house and at the gate he met a childhood friend who had come to see him.

The farmer said, “Welcome! But where have you been for so many years? Come in! Look, I have promised to see some friends and it would be difficult to postpone the visit, so please rest in my house. I will be back in an hour or so. I will return soon and we can have a long chat.”

The friend said, “Oh no, wouldn’t it be better if I were to come with you? Yet my clothes are very dirty. If you can just give me something fresh, I will change and come along with you.”

Sometime before, the king had given the farmer some valuable clothes and the farmer had been saving them for some grand occasion. Joyfully, he brought them out. His friend put on the precious coat, the turban, the dhoti and the beautiful shoes. He looked like the king himself. Looking at his friend, the farmer felt a bit jealous; in comparison he looked like a servant. He began to wonder if he had made a mistake, giving away his best outfit, and he began to feel inferior. Now everyone would look at his friend, he thought, and he would look like an attendant, like a servant.

He tried to calm his mind by thinking of himself as a good friend and as a man of God. He would think only of God and of noble things, he decided. “After all, of what importance is a fine coat or an expensive turban?” But the more he tried to reason with himself, the more the coat and the turban encroached on his mind.

On the way, although they were walking together, passers-by only looked at his friend; nobody noticed the farmer. He began to feel depressed. He chatted with his friend, but inside he was thinking about nothing else but that coat and turban!

They reached the house they were intending to visit and he introduced his friend: “This is my friend, a childhood friend. He is a very lovely man.” And suddenly he blurted, “And the clothes? They are mine!”

The friend was stunned. Their hosts were also surprised. He realized as well that the remark had been uncalled for, but then it was too late. He regretted his blunder and reproached himself inwardly.

Coming out of the house, he apologized to his friend.

The friend said, “I was thunderstruck. How could you say something like that?”

The farmer said, “Sorry. It was just my tongue. I made a mistake.”

But the tongue never lies. Words only pop out of one’s mouth if there is something on one’s mind; the tongue never makes a mistake. He said, “Forgive me. How such a thing was uttered, I do not know.” But he knew full well that the thought had surfaced from his mind.

They started for another friend’s house. Now he had firmly resolved not to say that the clothes were his; he had steeled his mind. By the time they had reached the gate he had reached an irrevocable decision that he would not say the clothes were his.

That poor man didn’t know that the more he resolved not to say anything, the more firmly rooted the inner awareness that the clothes belonged to him became. Moreover, when are such firm decisions made? When a man makes a firm resolution, like a vow of celibacy for example, it means that his sexuality is pushing desperately from inside. If a man resolves he will eat less or will fast from today on, it implies he has a deep desire to eat more. Such efforts inevitably result in inner conflict. We are what our weaknesses are. But we decide to curb them; we resolve to fight against them — and naturally, this becomes a source of subconscious conflict.

So, engaged in inner struggle, our farmer went into the house. He began very carefully: “He is my friend” — but he noticed that nobody was paying any attention to him; that everybody was looking at his friend and at his clothes with awe, and it struck him, “That is my coat! And my turban!” But he reminded himself again not to talk about the clothes. He was resolved. “Everybody has clothes of some kind or another, poor or rich. It is a trivial matter,” he explained to himself. But the clothes swung before his eyes like a pendulum, to and fro, to and fro.

He resumed the introduction: “He is my friend. A childhood friend. A very fine gentleman. And the clothes? Those are his, and not mine.”

The people were surprised. They had never before heard such an introduction: “The clothes are his and not mine”!

After they had left, he again apologized profusely. “A big blunder,” he admitted. Now he was confused about what to do and what not to do. “Clothes never had a hold on me like this before! Oh God, what has happened to me?”

What had happened to him? The poor fellow did not know that the technique he was using on himself is such that even if God himself tried it, the clothes would grab hold of him also!

The friend, now quite indignant, said he would not go any further with him. The farmer grabbed his arm and said, “Please don’t do that. I would be unhappy for the rest of my life, having shown such bad manners to a friend. I swear not to mention the clothes again. With my whole heart, I swear to God I will not mention the clothes any more.”

But one should always be wary of those who swear because there is something much deeper involved when one resolves something. A resolution is made by the surface mind, and the thing against which the resolution has been taken remains inside in the labyrinths of the subconscious mind. If the mind were divided into ten parts, it would only be one part, just the upper part, that was committed to the resolve; the remaining nine parts would be against it. The vow of celibacy is taken by one part of the mind, for example, while the rest of the mind is mad for sex — while the rest is crying out for that very thing that has been implanted in man by God. But for the moment, be that as it may.

They went to a third friend’s house. The farmer held himself back rigorously. Restrained people are very dangerous, because a live volcano exists inside them. Outwardly they are rigid and full of restraint, while their urge to let go is tightly harnessed inside.

Please remember, anything that is forced can neither be continuous nor complete because of the immense strain involved. You have to relax sometime; sometime you have to rest. How long can you clench your fist? Twenty-four hours? The tighter you clench it, the more it tires, and the more quickly it will open up. Work harder, expend some more energy, and you will tire even more quickly. There is always a reaction to an action, and it is always just as prompt. Your hand can remain open all the time, but it cannot remain clenched in a fist all the time. Anything that tires you cannot be a natural part of life. Whenever you force something, a period of rest is bound to follow.

And so, the more adept a saint is, the more dangerous he is. After twenty-four hours of restraint, following the rules of the scriptures, he will have to relax for at least an hour, and during this period there will be such an upsurge of suppressed sins he will find himself in the midst of hell.

So, the farmer held himself rigorously in check so as not to speak of the clothes. Imagine his condition. If you are even a little religious, you can imagine his state of mind. If you have ever been sworn in, or taken a vow, or restrained yourself for some religious cause, you will understand the pitiable state of his mind very well.

They went into the next house. The farmer was perspiring all over; he was exhausted. The friend was also worried.

The farmer was frozen with anxiety. Slowly and carefully he uttered each and every word, of the introduction: “Meet my friend. A very old friend, he is. A very nice man, he is.”

For a moment he faltered. A huge push came from inside. He knew he was washed up. He blurted aloud, “And the clothes? Pardon me, I won’t say anything about them, because I have sworn not to say anything at all about the clothes!”

What happened to this man has happened to the whole of mankind. Because of condemnation, sex has become an obsession, a disease, a perversion. It has become poisoned.

From an early age children are taught that sex is sin. A girl grows and a boy grows; adolescence comes and they are married — then a journey into passion commences in the set conviction that sex is sin. In India the girl is also told her husband is God. How can she revere as God someone who takes her in sin? The boy is told, “This is your wife, your partner, your mate.” The scriptures say that woman is the gate to hell, a well of sin, and now the boy feels he has a living demon as his life’s partner. The boy thinks, “Is this my better half — a hell-bound, sin-oriented better half?” How can any harmony happen in his life?

Traditional teachings have destroyed the marital life of the whole world. When married life is full of prejudice, full of poison, there is no possibility for love. If a husband and wife cannot love each other freely, basically and naturally, then who can love whom? But this disturbing situation can be rectified; this muddled love can be purified. This love can be elevated to such lofty heights that it will break all barriers, resolve all complexes and engulf husband and wife in pure and divine joy. This sublime love is possible. But if it is nipped in the bud, if it is stifled, if it is poisoned, what will grow out of it? How can it flower into a rose of supreme love?

-From Sex to Superconsciousness, OSho

Categorized: Insights

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