Osho on Pain and Pleasure

Question – “I have so much pain inside, what can I do?”

Osho: Pain and pleasure are intrinsic parts of life. People are so much afraid of pain that they repress pain, they avoid any situation that brings pain, they go on dodging pain. And finally they stumble upon the fact that if you really want to avoid pain you will have to avoid pleasure. That’s why your monks avoid pleasure — they are afraid of pleasure. In fact they are simply avoiding all possibilities of pain.

They know that if you avoid pleasure then naturally great pain is not possible; it comes only as a shadow of pleasure. Then you walk on the plain ground — you never move on the peaks and you never fall into the valleys. But then you are living dead, then you are not alive.

Life exists between this polarity. This tension between pain and pleasure makes you capable of creating great music; music exists only in this tension. Destroy the polarity and you will be dull, you will be stale, you will be dusty — you won’t have any meaning and you will never know what splendor is. You will have missed life. The man who wants to know life and live life has to accept and embrace death. They come together, they are two aspects of a single phenomenon.

That’s why growth is painful. You have to go into all those pains that you have been avoiding. It hurts. You have to go through all those wounds that somehow you have managed not to look at. But the deeper you go into pain, the deeper is your capacity to go into pleasure. If you can go into pain to the uttermost limit, you will be able to touch heaven. To be free of pain the pain has to be accepted, inevitably and naturally.

Pain is pain — a simple painful fact. Suffering however is only and always the refusal of pain, the claim that life should not be painful. It is the rejection of a fact, the denial of life and of the nature of things. Death is the mind that minds dying. Where there is no fear of death, who is there to die? Man is unique among creatures in his knowledge of death and in his laughter. Wonderfully then, he can even make of death a new thing: he can die laughing.

It is only man who knows laughter; no other animal laughs. It is only man who knows death; no other animal knows death — animals simply die, they are not conscious of the phenomenon of death. Man is aware of two things which no animal is: one is laughter, another is death. Then a new synthesis is possible.

It is only man who can die laughing — he can join the consciousness of death and the capacity to laugh. And if you can die laughing, only then will you give a valid proof that you must have lived laughing.

conclusion, the concluding remark. How you have lived will be shown by your death, how you die. Can you die laughing? Then you were a grown-up person. If you die crying, weeping, clinging, then you were a child. You were not grown-up, you were immature. If you die crying, weeping, clinging to life, that simply shows you have been avoiding death and you have been avoiding all pains, all kinds of pains.

Growth is facing the reality, encountering the fact, whatsoever it is. And let me repeat: Pain is simply pain; there is no suffering in it. Suffering comes from your desire that the pain should not be there, that there is something wrong in pain. Watch, witness, and you will be surprised. You have a headache: the pain is there but suffering is not there. Suffering is a secondary phenomenon, pain is primary.

The headache is there, the pain is there; it is simply a fact. There is no judgment about it — you don’t call it good or bad, you don’t give it any value; it is just a fact. The rose is a fact, so is the thorn. The day is a fact, so is the night. The head is a fact, so is the headache. You simply take note of it. Buddha taught his disciples that when you have a headache simply say twice “Headache, headache.” Take note. But don’t evaluate, don’t say, “Why? Why has this headache happened to me? It should not happen to me.”

The moment you say, “It should not,” you bring suffering in. Now suffering is created by you, not by the headache. Suffering is your antagonistic interpretation, suffering is your denial of the fact. And the moment you say, “It should not be,” you have started avoiding it, you have started turning yourself away from it.

You would like to be occupied in something so that you can forget it. You turn the radio or the tell on or you go to the club or you start reading or you go and start working in the garden — you divert yourself, you distract yourself.

Now that pain has not been witnessed; you have simply distracted yourself. That pain will be absorbed by the system. Let this key be very deeply understood: If you can itness your headache without taking any antagonistic attitude, without avoiding it, without escaping from it; if you can just be there, meditatively there — “Headache, headache” — if you can just simply see it, the headache will go in its time.

I am not saying that it will go miraculously, that just by your seeing it will go. It will go in its time. But it will not be absorbed by your system, it will not poison your system. It will be there, you will take note of it, and it will be gone. It will be released. When you witness a certain thing in yourself it cannot enter into your system. It always enters when you avoid it, when you escape from it. When you become absent then it enters into your system.

Only when you are absent can a pain become part of your being — if you are present your very presence prevents it from becoming part of your being. And if you can go on seeing your pains you will not be accumulating them. You have not teen taught the right clue, so you go on avoiding. Then you accumulate so much pain, you are afraid to face it, you are afraid to accept it. Growth becomes painful — it is because of wrong conditioning. Otherwise growth is not painful, growth is utterly pleasant.

Source: from Osho book “The Revolution”

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