Osho on Fear of Spontaneity

Question : Beloved Master, Why does spontaneity create so much fear in me? Having no structure feels like a death. How can i turn this fear into a let-go, a welcome, a rejoicing?

Osho : Anand Anupam, perhaps you are not aware that you are again asking for another structure. I will read your question so that you can become conscious of what you are asking: “Why does spontaneity create so much fear in me?”

It creates fear in everybody, because spontaneity means you are taking the responsibility for your act, whatever it may be. If you rely on the conditionings you have been given by your parents, by your teachers, professors, priests, leaders, and instead of being spontaneous just act out of your past conditioning, there is no fear. Because you know you are not alone; you know your action is approved.

The fear arises when you find yourself alone and you are doing something which goes against the whole training. You know you are revolting; you are going against your parents, you are going against the whole heritage of humanity. The weight of the past is so big and huge, so Himalayan, and you seem to be such a small individual, afraid of going against it. You may be crushed.

In my childhood I loved having hair as long as possible. My father had a shop and the house together, and I used to move in and out through his shop. He felt very embarrassed because people asked him, “Whose girl is this?” Such long hair in India is allowed only to the girls, and naturally he felt embarrassed and angry that I was creating every day some trouble. Finally he became so angry that he took his scissors, caught hold of me and cut my hair.

I said, “You can cut my hair but remember, I am not going to leave it at that.”
He said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “You will see tomorrow.”

And I went just on the other side of the road, where all the hair-cutting salons were. I had a friend, an old opium addict. I loved the man, because sometimes he would cut half somebody’s mustache and say, “Wait, I have to go somewhere.” And he would be gone for hours, and the man would be caught because he could not leave with the half mustache. Sometimes people would ask him for a shave and he would shave their heads. And by the time they became aware, he had already done some work — now there is no point in preventing him. And he was such a nice man; he would say, “There is no need to worry — if you don’t like it, don’t pay me anything.”

I used to sit in his small salon discussing with him, because it was a joy. He used to come up with really original ideas. One day he told me, “If all the opium addicts of India are organized, we can take over the whole country.”
I said, “The idea is very good.”
He said, “But you will have to help, because these opium addicts don’t listen to anybody.”
I said, “I will try to contact first all the opium addicts in this town. Let us create one small organization here. If it succeeds in taking over the municipal corporation…”

So I went to him, because he was the only man who could have done this. In India a child’s head is completely shaved only if his father dies. So I told him, “I am tired of this long hair. You simply shave my head completely clean.”
For a moment he hesitated. He said, “Your father will be very angry, I am telling you!”
I said, “You don’t be worried. It is my responsibility. And you are the only man of guts; no other barber is going to cut my hair.”

So he said okay. He finished all my hair and I entered my father’s shop. Looking at me, immediately his customers asked, “What happened to this poor boy? His father has died?”
Now it was even more embarrassing for him to admit, “I am the father.”
He came to me inside the house and he said, “This is too much.”
I said, “I have warned you. Whenever I do anything I do it totally. From now onwards if you interfere with me, remember, I can move to the other extreme.”

People from the neighborhood started coming to inquire… and when they saw my father they said, “What is the matter? You are alive? And I have seen with my own eyes that your son is completely shaved.”
From my school, my teachers, my headmaster, seeing that my father must have died were very sorry. They told me, “We are going to your house to express our sadness and our mourning. Your father was a good man.”
I allowed them to go, and when they would see my father sitting there they were in such a strange situation — what to do? because it had never happened.

And my father would ask, “Why have you come? There must be some reason.”
They said, “There was… but your son is so strange that we were telling him, `He was a good man’ and he did not even tell us that you were still alive.” That was the last time he interfered with me. He knew perfectly well that it was going to be dangerous.

Spontaneity means you are acting in the moment — not reacting, but acting. That is the difference between those two words. When you react it comes from your past accumulation of knowledge, experience. But when you respond, it is a pure act out of your present consciousness — not from memory. These are two different sources within you. Memory is comfortable, because everybody will appreciate that you are doing the right thing because they also have the same memory. But if you act on your own, then you are taking a risk. It may not fit. Most probably it is not going to fit with the structure which has been created around you. Hence, fear arises.

But I would say to you, it is better to suffer fear rather than remain a slave of those who had no idea in what situations you are going to be. They have given you fixed ideas, answers to questions and they don’t know in what form the question is going to arise in your life.

Five thousand years ago, they wrote RIG VEDA, and Hindus are still following the structure. It is no longer relevant. But the same is the situation everywhere. Mohammed allowed Mohammedans to have four wives. It was perfectly right at that moment because in Arabia the proportion was exactly one man and four wives, because men were continuously being killed. They were continuously fighting; war was their life.

They would rape the woman, but they would not kill her. That was not according to their culture, to kill a woman. So there were four times more women than men and naturally it was creating a very difficult situation. If three women remained unmarried, there was going to be great prostitution, corruption of all kinds. To avoid the situation, Mohammed suggested that every man marries four women. It was perfectly right in Saudi Arabia fourteen hundred years ago, but they are doing the same in India even today.

Now India wants fewer people. It is already past the limit; it has never been so crowded in the whole of history. In 1947, when India became independent, the population was four hundred million, and just in forty years the population has gone to nine hundred million. By the end of this century it is going beyond one billion. For the first time India will have a greater population than China. But Mohammedans insist that it is their religion and the government cannot interfere with their religion.

It is difficult, because in India the proportion of men and women is almost equal. They go on raping women who are not Mohammedans; and once a woman, whether raped or not, has been kept in a Mohammedan house — Hindus are following another tradition five thousand years old — she has fallen, she is no longer acceptable. Neither her parents will allow her into the house nor her own husband. She has to become a Mohammedan or commit suicide.

And when Mohammedans go on marrying four women, naturally they produce four times more people than Hindus. Soon this country will have more Mohammedans than Hindus. Already, you will be surprised to know, India has the largest Mohammedan population in the whole world. There are Mohammedan countries — Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan — but no country has a greater Mohammedan population than India. And the reason is simple, because in those countries there are only Mohammedans and the proportion between men and women is equal. It is very difficult in a Mohammedan country to find four women. What will happen to the three other men whose wives you have taken? So it is only in India where they have a good pasture around to get more and more women and more and more children.

To respond to the situation that is facing you needs intelligence, not memory; needs awareness, not your past heritage. So even though it creates fear, which is natural, decide to be spontaneous in spite of all the fears. Soon those fears will disappear.

It is only a question of acting out of spontaneity more and more, and then you will see your individuality becoming more integrated, more solid, freer from all the chains that the past has put around you. The fear will disappear, but it will take a little time. If you listen to the fear you will never be able to gain your dignity as an individual.

Even trees have their individuality. Every animal has his own individuality. It is simply shameful that man has lost his individuality. So in spite of all your fears, take the risk. Be courageous and act according to your own consciousness. And soon you will see that whenever you act spontaneously you are right, because you are answering the situation directly.

But you are asking, “Having no structure feels like a death.” There is no harm. Die! Your life is not much more valuable. Rather than be a prisoner of all the dead, it is better to die spontaneously. At least you will have the dignity to say, “At one point I am at least free from the whole past and all the prisons of religion, nation, race, color.”

Then you are asking, “How can I turn this fear into a let-go?” Do you understand? “How” means again filling your memory with a new structure. But no structure can be spontaneous. You cannot know what is going to happen the next moment. You cannot conceive of what tomorrow is going to bring to you. So whatever structure you make, whatever homework you do, is going to be irrelevant to the situation.

I have never done any homework. In my schools, colleges, universities, I made it absolutely clear to all my teachers and professors, “Never ask for any homework from me.”
And they said, “But this is so strange, nobody has ever said such a thing.”

I said, “I don’t care whether anybody has said such a thing or not. One thing is certain: you can answer me, you can question me, you can do anything you want — I will be spontaneous, I will not be prepared.”

Homework is preparation; you have already prepared everything. In my final examinations of post-graduation, the professors who loved me very much were so afraid, because I was not preparing anything for the examination. I was still reading whatever I wanted to read in the library. It had no concern with the examination. I was asking questions in the classes and one professor had to say to me, “Now only one month is left, and you should not bring such questions which have no relevance to your examination.”
I said, “I am not here to be worried about an examination which is going to happen one month later. My concern is this moment, and this is my question.”

One of my professors was so concerned that he gave me one of the questionnaires, telling me, “I have made this so that you can at least be ready for these five questions. They are going to be asked because I am the composer of the paper.”
Without reading it, I threw it away and I said, “You should not insult me in this way. I want to live life unprepared. Whether I fail or succeed, it doesn’t matter.”

He used to come to my hostel room just fifteen minutes before the examination was going to commence. Everybody had gone into the examination hall. He would pick me in his car and tell me, “Unless you enter the examination hall, I cannot feel at ease. I am always afraid you may be sleeping, you may be discussing things which have nothing to do with the examination, you may be reading things.” And he used to say to the superintendent of the examination, “Don’t let him out before three hours.”

I used to answer those questions in one hour or one and a half hours. The superintendent would say, “I am sorry but I have promised your professor that I will not allow you to leave.”
I said, “It is up to you. If you don’t allow me to go out… has he told you that I cannot even sleep here?”
He said, “He has not said anything about sleep.”
I said, “That’s okay. You take this paper; I am finished with it. And for one and a half hours let me rest.”

When my professor came to know, he said, “It is very impossible to deal with you. I prevented you from going out but you managed to go out! And how can you answer those five questions in three hours? Others find that they have answered only four; somebody has answered only three.”

I said, “They are prepared people. They have done so much preparation that they want to impress the examiner with how much they are informed. I am absolutely uninformed. Sometimes I simply write one sentence as an answer and sometimes I ask another question because I cannot agree that the question is right. But I am absolutely free. I have no preparation.”

One professor had asked the question, “Can you define Indian philosophy?” And I simply answered him that “There is no such thing as Indian philosophy so the question of defining it does not arise. There is Western philosophy because the very word philosophy means a search for knowledge, a search for wisdom, a love for wisdom.” In India we don’t have any word which can be translated as philosophy….

The Indian word is darshan and its approach is totally different. It means an inquiry to see the truth. Darshan means seeing. It is not a question of thinking. A blind man can think about the light and can be a great philosopher, can propose hypotheses about light. In India there has never existed anything like philosophy. What has existed is seeing. We want to see the light, we don’t want to philosophize about it.
Just by coincidence that paper was sent to one very eccentric retired professor, Dr. Ranade of Allahabad.

Basically he belonged to Poona. And he gave me ninety-nine percent out of one hundred, with a note to the vice-chancellor saying that “I always wanted somebody to answer spontaneously, and I always wanted somebody to answer as sharply as possible.” He had never given a first class to anybody else in his whole life. With him, even to pass was a difficult job. But he wrote the note and he also wrote, “What I am writing you should show to the student. I loved his answers and I loved the way he made me aware that Western philosophy is one thing and there is no equivalent in India for it.”

He has written books on Indian philosophy and he said in his note, “I am too old now to change it, but your point is absolutely right. We don’t have anything similar to what has happened in the West.” It is because of this difference that Western philosophy has never come to meditation. It was always contemplation. And the Indian counterpart has never bothered about thinking, contemplation, concentration; its whole concern is meditation. In fact they are two such different directions that a single word cannot describe both.

My professor was amazed. He said, “I was thinking you were going to fail, you were so unprepared.”
I said, “Your whole idea is preparation and my whole idea is to be simply spontaneous.” I got the gold medal, topped the whole university, shocking everybody. And as I came out of the auditorium I threw that gold medal into the well. A professor was standing by my side. He said, “What are you doing?”

I said, “I have nothing to do with gold, and I don’t want to be appreciated as topping the whole university. I would love it if somebody appreciated that spontaneity has its own beauty, freshness. Whether it fails or succeeds is irrelevant.”

You should not ask, “How can I turn this fear into a let-go?” Because whatever I say to you will be your structure again.
Just be simple.
Whenever you find a situation, act!

Put the fear aside and rejoice in the spontaneous response. It is only a question of a few times and you will find the fear has disappeared. Because the spontaneous response gives you such a joy, such an opening of the heart, such freshness… as if you have just taken a shower. But don’t ask for any strategy — “How to be spontaneous” — because how simply means a structure.

Just be spontaneous. Don’t ask how. Try it. Without knowing, innocently, respond to a situation and you will learn out of it the great experience of let-go. And you will rejoice because you have attained your freedom from all kinds of fears.

In my childhood I had a friend whose father was a magician. They had a very good business — the business was that they had a few snakes. Being continually in their house, slowly I learned that ninety-seven percent of snakes don’t have any poison. Only three percent of snakes have poison, and only one percent, the cobra, is very dangerous. Once the cobra bites you it is very difficult to save you. Death is almost certain. But the snakes all look alike.

The father used to have non-poisonous snakes, and he would send his son — who was my friend, and I accompanied him many times — to somebody’s house. There we would leave two or three snakes around, and then the father would come with his special musical instrument that was used for snakes. He would announce, “If anybody has snakes in his house, I can catch them.” As he started playing on his instrument, the snakes that we had left around the house would start coming, and for that service the housekeeper had to pay. He would say, “It is very good of you — once in a while you should come back, because we were not aware that there were snakes in our garden.”

Knowing that there are snakes which don’t have any poison, I would enter into my class with a snake in my pocket. I would just leave it on the table of the teacher, and he would stand on his chair and shout, “Save me!” The other students are running out… who is going to save him except me? And I would tell him, “I will save you, but remember that I have saved your life. You should not be nasty with me. Promise?” And with that snake sitting on his table, you could have taken any kind of promise.

Finally it was reported to the principal that a strange thing was going on. But a principal is just the same as anybody else. When he called me, I went there with two snakes. And I left them on his table, and he stood on his chair, and everybody in the whole school was looking through the windows — what is happening? I said, “Now, do you have something to say to me?”

He said, “No. Just don’t bring these things in my office!”
I said, “I have not come on my own, you have called me. Now I cannot go without your promising me that you will not be nasty to me.”
He said, “This is strange… but I promise, I will not be nasty to you.”
I said, “That’s okay; then I can persuade the snakes.”

People have lived with such fear. Fear always seems to be around them — anything can create fear. And if the man had been a little spontaneous, he could have seen that if I can manage those snakes, certainly there must be some trick and there is no need to be afraid. But the very word snake is enough to trigger all the fears, of centuries of humanity, that you are carrying within you.

To my father it was reported, “Now your son is becoming more and more dangerous.” My father said, “I have promised him, just as you have promised, not to interfere. Otherwise he will start bringing those snakes in the house!”

What are your fears? What can you lose? The only thing that you can lose is your life. And that does not belong to you, that belongs to the universe. One day you are going to lose it, so what does it matter? In a week there are only seven days. Either you will lose your life on Monday or on Tuesday… so it is only a question of seven days. But I have never thought for a single moment that I have anything to lose. I don’t have anything to lose.

That has given me a tremendous freedom to act spontaneously, to act without any fear, to say whatever I want to say — to be against all the governments of the world, to be against all the religions of the world. And I don’t think that even a shadow of fear arises in my heart.

On the contrary, the more I hit these idiots the more I rejoice, because according to me they are criminals. According to me they are the greatest calamities that have happened to humanity. There is nothing to fear from these people. There is nothing to be afraid of in the ghosts who are lying in their graves. But everybody is injected with fear from the very beginning, so that his whole blood becomes full of fear. This fearfulness helps all these criminals to dominate you, to destroy you, not to let you live your life of love and blissfulness.

As far as my sannyasins are concerned, fear should not be at all a part of their being. The fear exists in the darker corners of your being — bring more light. Bring more consciousness, bring more awareness, and the fear will disappear.

A lady health inspector, after checking the sanitary conditions in Boccala’s Bakery, summons the proprietor.
“Listen,” she complains. “One of the bakers back there is throwing the dough against his bare chest to flatten it out for pizzas!”
“That’s-a not-a so bad-a,” says Boccala. “You should-a be here yesterday when he make-a the doughnuts!”

The newlywed Greek couple is in a deep embrace. While kissing and caressing her, he whispers, “My love, now I will put it where nobody else ever has!”
In a frightened voice she cries, “No, no! In my ears? Never!”

What is there to fear? There is everything to laugh and there is nothing to fear. Laughter has to be our sword to cut all these heads who have been torturing humanity for centuries.

Source : Osho Book “Om Mani Padme Hum”

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