Again I feel this fear inside me: the fear of connecting with you really deeply; the fear of falling apart, and then not being able to function anymore in this world; the fear of being helpless and absolutely vulnerable.
What to do?
iren, fear arises in many situations. Deep down it is always there, but not active. It is inactive, so that you don’t become aware of it. But fear is the very foundation of unconscious life. All your actions arise out of it. You want money, you want power, you want prestige. What are all your ambitions, except to cover up your deep hidden fear? Perhaps money may be a security, perhaps power may make you more protected, secure, safe. Your respectability, in society, your religion, God... all these are by-products of fear.
Why do you believe in God? You have not seen him, you don’t have any evidence that any such thing exists anywhere. But you know that without God you will not be able to repress your fear. Your fear needs God. It is a fear-oriented hypothesis.
Your fear needs a father figure to protect you in dangerous situations, to help you when you need the help, to become a light in your darkness, to support you when you feel you are falling into an abysmal abyss. God is your concentrated fear.
And there are lesser gods. Money is a lesser god – more visible, hence more people cling to money. But they don’t want to take any chances, so they go on donating to the church, just to keep a bank balance in God’s bank. And they go on clinging to the money, because in life it seems money gives a certain security. At least tomorrow is certain. You will have food, you will have the house, you will have your wife, you will have your husband, you will have your children.
Our whole life seems to be circling around the centre of fear. It is present 24 hours, but we become aware of it only in certain situations: either you start feeling the presence of death, perhaps you have seen somebody dying, perhaps you have seen somebody very old on the road and it has reminded you about the next step... That fellow is going to step in a grave soon, but how far are you? You are also in the same queue. Maybe a little longer distance, but sooner or later – and the queue is becoming shorter every moment. You are coming to the window.
Anything may trigger the idea of death in you – just a dry leaf falling from the tree is enough to remind you of death. Just a few days before it was so green and so young, so beautiful. It used to dance in the morning sun. What has happened?
A dying leaf falling from the tree was the cause of Lao Tzu’s enlightenment. Because seeing the dry leaf falling, he accepted his death so totally that there was no question of any fear. If this is how life functions, then there is no question of fear. Have you ever thought about it – that death is the only certainty in life?
Love can also make you aware of fear, because love is also a kind of death. Your ego has to die, only then is love possible. It is a very partial death, but still something close to death. hence people talk about love, but are very afraid of love. They talk about love because they feel very lonely. That loneliness creates fear.
Man is really in great trouble. The old proverb is right which says, “Life is not just a bed of roses.” It is not. Such great dilemmas! Loneliness creates fear. Out of that fear you want to be in love, to be intimate with someone so that your loneliness disappears. But as you come closer to somebody... Again, another fear – that you may be lost.
So man is split. Half of him wants to love, half of him pulls back – don’t go any further, you are too close, there is danger. Your fear is, Niren, that if you come in deeper communion with me, you will fall apart. Naturally, no one wants to fall apart. And a great fear arises.
But there is a strong magnetic pull also, because deep down you know that whatever can fall apart is not you. And whatever can fall apart is going to fall apart sooner or later. How long can you hold it? It is not your authentic reality. It is just all false personality, which needs continuous holding. Not even for a moment can you leave it alone, otherwise it will fall apart.
You are saying, Niren, you are afraid that you will fall apart. And I guarantee: you will fall apart! So what is the fear? Do it once – once and for all! Then there will be no fear. Fall apart and let us see what falls apart. Not your legs, not your hands nor your eyes... Nothing that is really yours is going to fall apart, only your false notions about you. Your personality, your ego, your knowledgeability, these are the things which are going to fall apart. But they are not worth holding.
Once they are gone you will have a far more beautiful space available to you. Don’t cling to the things which don’t have any authentic reality. And the authentic reality need not be supported by you. It is there, it is not going to fall apart. Only the false can disappear, only your shadow – not you.
But why should you be afraid if your shadow disappears? Your shadow is not you. Your shadow has nothing to do with you. It has no reality, it has no existence, it has no meaning in your life. But you have become identified too much with your shadows. I have read Aesop’s Fables more deeply than the greatest holy scriptures of the world, because Aesop’s Fables have more significance and more meaning and tremendous psychological truths, which your holy scriptures are completely missing.
One of the parables in Aesop is: a fox gets up early in the morning as the sun is rising. She comes out of the cave looking for some breakfast. But then as she comes out, she looks at her shadow. In the early morning sun the shadow is very long. She says, “My God! I am this big! Even a camel will not be enough for breakfast.” She starts searching for a camel – it will be even better if she can get an elephant.
But time passes and she does not come across any elephant, any camel, and it is getting hot, and in fact the time for breakfast has passed. It is time for lunch and she is feeling really hungry. The sun has come just above her head. She looks another time at her shadow. It has shrunken completely, it is just under her. She says, “My God, I have never thought that hunger can do that much. I have shrunken. I used to be so long – just in the morning – so huge and just missing one breakfast... Now even if I can get a rat, that will do – even for lunch.”
Just a small parable written for children, but if even an old man can understand it... It has a tremendous psychological truth. We are all living identified with our shadows and the fear that the shadow may disappear. It is better not to come too close to someone who can make your shadow disappear, who can make you aware of what is false in you and what is not false; because the moment you become aware about the false, it falls apart.
But my suggestion to you, Niren, is: rather than trembling your whole life about the false, being afraid about its death, it is better once and for all to get it finished.
Why are you so afraid that you cannot function anymore in the world if you come closer to me? All these people are closer to me and they are all functioning perfectly well, better than anybody else. And then you ask me, “What to do?” First thing, just fall apart. Come closer, become good for nothing, and just see how existence takes care of you. A little trust.
Love dispels fear just as light dispels darkness. If even for a moment you have been in love with someone, fear disappears and thinking stops. With fear thinking continues. The more you are afraid, the more you have to think.
When you are alone you are afraid. Remember, the fear does not come from ghosts. When you are alone the fear comes from your aloneness. But we go on hiding that cause, because to see that cause is to be transformed by seeing it. When you are moving in a forest alone you are not really afraid of ghosts or thieves or robbers, because they are more in the crowd. What would they be doing in the forest? - all their victims are available here.
When you are alone in the room and it is dark, you are not afraid of ghosts; ghosts are just projections. You are really afraid of your aloneness - that is the ghost. Suddenly you have to face yourself, suddenly you have to see your utter emptiness and aloneness and no way to relate. You have been shouting and shouting and nobody hears. You have been groping in the dark and you never come across a hand to hold you. You have been in this cold aloneness - nobody hugs you, nobody is there to hug you. Nobody is there to warm you.
This is the fear, the anguish of man. If love is not possible then one is alone. Hence love has to be made possible, it has to be created - even if it is pseudo, it has to be created. One has to go on loving, because otherwise it will be impossible to live.
And whenever a society comes across the fact that love is false, then two things become possible: either people start committing suicide, or people start becoming sannyasins. And both are the same. Suicide is an ordinary effort just to destroy yourself: if you are not there then nobody will be alone. But that doesn't work; you are soon in another body. That has never worked.
Sannyas is the ultimate suicide. If one is alone, then one is alone. It has to be accepted, it has not to be avoided: if one is alone, so what? If that is the fact, then that is the fact - then one has to go into it. Sannyas means encountering one's aloneness, going into it. Going into it in spite of all the fear. Dying into it. If death happens through it, it is okay, but one is not going to shirk from the truth. If aloneness is truth, then one accepts and goes into it. That's the meaning of sannyas. And one really commits suicide. One disappears.
If you have fear, you have fear- why make a problem out of it? You know that you have fear, just as you have two hands. Fear is there: accept it, note it. What will happen? Suddenly you will feel it has disappeared. And this is the inner alchemy -- a problem disappears if you accept it, and a problem grows more and more complex if you create any conflict with it. It is there and nothing can be done about it. And when I say nothing can be done about it, don't think that I am talking about pessimism to you, in fact I am giving you the key to solve it.
If a child is afraid in the dark, we say, "Don't be afraid, be brave." Why? The child is innocent- naturally he feels fear in the dark. You force him: "Be brave." So he also forces, then he becomes tense. Then he endures the darkness but now tense; now, his whole being is ready to tremble and he suppresses it. This suppressed trembling will follow him his whole life. It was good to tremble in the darkness, nothing was wrong. It was good to cry and run, nothing was wrong. The child would have come out of darkness more experienced, more knowing. And he would have realized, if he passed through darkness trembling and crying and weeping, that there was nothing to fear. Suppressed, you never experience the thing in its totality, you never gain anything out of it. Wisdom comes through suffering and wisdom comes through acceptance. Whatsoever the case, be at ease with it.
Question - Beloved Osho, How best to deal with fear? It affects me variously... From a vague uneasiness or knotted stomach to a dizzying panic, as if the world is ending. Where does it come from? Where does it go?
Osho - It is the same question that I was just answering. All your fears are by-products of identification. You love a woman and with the love, in the same parcel comes fear: she may leave you -- she has already left somebody and come with you. There is a precedent; perhaps she will do the same to you. There is fear, you feel knots in the stomach. You are too much attached.
You cannot get a simple fact: you have come alone in the world; you have been here yesterday also, without this woman, perfectly well, without any knots in the stomach. And tomorrow if this woman goes... what is the need of the knots? You know how to be without her, and you will be able to be without her.
The fear that things may change tomorrow... Somebody may die, you may go bankrupt, your job may be taken away. There are a thousand and one things which may change. You are burdened with fears and fears, and none of them are valid -- because yesterday also you were full of all these fears, unnecessarily. Things may have changed, but you are still alive. And man has an immense capacity to adjust himself in any situation.
They say that only man and cockroaches have this immense capacity of adjustment. That's why wherever you find man you will find cockroaches, and wherever you find cockroaches you will find man. They go together, they have a similarity. Even in faraway places like the North Pole or the South Pole... When man traveled to those places he suddenly found that he had brought cockroaches with him, and they were perfectly healthy and living and reproducing.
If you just look around the earth you can see -- man lives in thousands of different climates, geographical situations, political situations, sociological situations, religious situations, but he manages to live. And he has lived for centuries... things go on changing, he goes on adjusting himself.
There is nothing to fear. Even if the world ends, so what? You will be ending with it. Do you think you will be standing on an island and the whole world will end, leaving you alone? Don't be worried. At least you will have a few cockroaches with you!
What is the problem if the world ends? It has been asked to me many times. But what is the problem? -- if it ends, it ends. It does not create any problem because we will not be here; we will be ending with it, and there will be no one to worry about. It will be really the greatest freedom from fear.
The world ending means every problem ending, every disturbance ending, every knot in your stomach ending. I don't see the problem. But I know that everybody is full of fear.
But the question is the same: the fear is part of the mind. The mind is a coward, and has to be a coward because it doesn't have any substance -- it is empty and hollow, and it is afraid of everything. And basically it is afraid that one day you may become aware. That will be really the end of the world!
Not the end of the world but your becoming aware, your coming to a state of meditation where mind has to disappear -- that is its basic fear. Because of that fear it keeps people away from meditation, makes them enemies of people like me who are trying to spread something of meditation, some way of awareness and witnessing. They become antagonistic to me -- not without any reason; their fear is well-founded.
They may not be aware of it, but their mind is really afraid to come close to anything that can create more awareness. That will be the beginning of the end of the mind. That will be the death of the mind.
But for you there is no fear. The death of the mind will be your rebirth, your beginning to really live. You should be happy, you should rejoice in the death of the mind, because nothing can be a greater freedom. Nothing else can give you wings to fly into the sky; nothing else can make the whole sky yours.
Mind is a prison. Awareness is getting out of the prison -- or realizing it has never been in the prison; it was just thinking that it was in the prison. All fears disappear.
I am also living in the same world, but I have never felt for a single moment any fear because nothing can be taken away from me. I can be killed -- but I will be seeing it happening, so what is being killed is not me, is not my awareness.
The greatest discovery in life, the most precious treasure, is of awareness. Without it you are bound to be in darkness, full of fears. And you will go on creating new fears -- there is no end to it. You will live in fear, you will die in fear, and you will never be able to taste something of freedom. And it was all the time your potential; any moment you could have claimed it, but you never claimed it. It is your responsibility.-----------------
Fear is natural; guilt is a creation of the priests. Guilt is man-made. Fear is in-built, and it is very essential. Without fear you will not be able to survive at all. Fear is normal. It is because of fear that you will not put your hand in the fire. If the child has no fear there is no possibility that he will ever survive. His fear is a life-protective measure.
Fear is intelligence – so when you see a snake crossing the path, you jump out of the way. It is not cowardly, it is simply intelligent. But there are two possibilities. Fear can become abnormal, it can become pathological.
Fear can become abnormal, then it is pathology. And because of this possibility, priests have used it, politicians have used it. All kinds of oppressors have used it. They make it pathological, and then it becomes very simple to exploit you. The priest makes you afraid of hell. Just look in the scriptures -- with what joy they depict all the tortures, with really great relish.
The priests became aware very early that the fear instinct in man can be exploited. He can be made so much afraid that he will fall at the feet of the priests and will tell them, "Save us! Only you can save us." And out of fear people have been following the priests, and all kinds of stupidities, superstitions.
It is fear that creates guilt – but not fear itself. Fear creates guilt via the priests and politicians. The priests and the politicians create in you pathology, a trembling. And, naturally, man is so delicate and so fragile, he becomes afraid.
Man can be forced to do anything – just to save himself. And because the pathology that the priests have created in you is unnatural, your nature rebels against it, and once in a while you do something which goes against it – you do something natural – then guilt arises.
Guilt means you have an unnatural idea in your mind about how life should be, what should be done, and then one day you find yourself following nature and you do the natural thing. You go against the ideology. Because you go against the ideology, guilt arises, you are ashamed. You feel yourself very inferior, unworthy.