Osho on workaholic society

Osho – The idea of ”the work” has been imposed on you for centuries, that you are here for a certain ”work” to do. Naturally, people wanted you not to be just lazy and enjoy. They wanted ”work” because your work is going to create wealth, your work is going to create Alexanders, your work is going to create wars. Everything depends on you. So every culture, without exception, has been from the very beginning imposing the idea on the child that ”you have a certain work, a certain purpose to fulfill in this life.”

It appealed to people, although it was absolutely absurd. What work are trees doing, and what work are birds doing? And what work are the sun and the moon and the stars doing? Except man, nobody is so insane to think that you have a certain great work to complete. This is how they have created the achieving mind.

And for thousands of years you agreed with the idea because it was very ego-fulfilling. If you are not here to do any special work, then you are accidental. You may be here, you may not be here, it doesn’t matter. That hurts the ego. The ego wants you to be indispensable to existence, that without your work, existence will not be complete.

The same teaching was given to me by my parents, by my teachers, that ”you have to do some work in your life; otherwise your life is just the life of a vagabond, a bum.” I said, ”Perhaps that is the work I am here for, to be a vagabond! Anyway, a few people are needed to be vagabonds…”

The teacher who was telling me about the work said, ”It is very difficult to discuss with you.” And I said to him, ”This is a very psychological trap to enslave people into some work by giving nourishment to their ego, to say that by fulfilling this work you will have fulfilled your destiny.”

I said to the teacher, ”I don’t have any destiny, because I cannot conceive that existence has any destiny. What destiny could existence have? When the work of existence is complete, that will mean an absolute death, because nothing more is there to be done. Everything has been done, so drop the curtain.” I said, ”I cannot see any purpose in the flowers, any purpose in the trees, any purpose in the oceans, any purpose in the stars…”

Existence is not a work, it is a celebration – a sheer dance of energy which will go on and on forever in different forms, but cannot disappear. The energy is eternal. And I said to the teacher, ”Never again mention work to me. Celebration is okay, but work? It is destroying the whole beauty of life. And I am in tune with existence, not in tune with you. You can go on doing your work. What work are you doing? Just being a geography teacher. I cannot conceive why existence needs a geography teacher. The whole geography is of the existence; what is the need of a teacher?”

It is a very wrong conditioning that has created a workaholic society, which condemns people who are not participating. Yes, there are needs: you need food, you need clothes, you need some shelter. Naturally, you will have to do something to create these small things. But this is not the destiny of existence that you created a house, that you produced a few children, that you are fighting with your wife. I cannot see that against the vast panorama of existence, your small stupidities are fulfilling any destiny.

I want it to be emphatically understood by my people: we don’t have any work here. We have to join in the celebration of existence. Those small needs are only survival measures. Don’t brag about how big a bank balance you have; existence has no need of it. Don’t brag about how great a politician you are, a prime minister or a president; existence simply knows nothing about you. Existence is more in tune with these small birds who for no reason start singing, out of sheer energy.

I want to destroy the achieving mind.
That is your disease.
I want you to relax and enjoy.

Just do a few things which are needful, or manage somebody else to do them for you. It all depends on your intelligence. I have never done anything, but I have a strange insight into people who will do things for me. And they do! And my needs are fulfilled and their doing gives them immense joy. It is not easy to be chosen by me, I am a very fussy person. I simply make you happy by your doing something for me. And I don’t think… If I could manage it for more than half a century, a few years more I will manage. In fact, I don’t do anything as far as management is concerned; that too is done by others. I am simply enjoying.

I am not a messenger to tell you that you have to do this and you have to do that. I don’t have any discipline for you except freedom. I don’t have any commandments; they have all destroyed the dignity of man. I want to give you the dignity of the trees and the dignity of the birds and the dignity of the oceans and the dignity of the Himalayan peaks; the dignity of the stars. But they are all in celebration – dancing, rejoicing, overflowing with energy. Nobody is working except human beings.

I want to transform even your small work that you do. Make it more aesthetic, make it more creative. Make it a great joy, because it is your life. It is going to give you food, it is going to give you clothes; so whatever you do, it is not work, it is simply to remain as long as possible in this body and celebrate existence.

I have loved only one American in my life, and that man is Walt Whitman. And the reason I loved him is one of his small poems. The title of the poem explains everything. The title of the poem is ”I Celebrate Myself”. Only when you can say, ”I celebrate myself” – then your work is transformed into celebration and your life becomes a non-achieving, non-ambitious journey of beauty.

Source – Osho Book “Om Mani Padme Hum”

6 thoughts on “Osho on workaholic society – The idea of ‘the work’ has been imposed on you”
  1. The sad thing is that most of us kill ourselves trying to please,so others can become richer.
    The need for greed feeds the rich and starves the poor.
    We are like little ants constantly striving to keep the Queen ant satisfied.

  2. messianicdruid: did you not fully read the article? not once did this man say that there was nothing being done by the things that exist to keep them existing in their form. a tree was born a tree from the seed. It eats and drinks as we do to get bigger, last longer. All he is saying is there is no need to be insanely driven by work that makes you unhappy, unbalanced, and displeased with any single part of your life. It’s not simply changing the definition of work. It’s changing your character into a joyous one that doesn’t have work in his or her vocabulary. Simply things you will do, and things you will not. To no longer be trapped by a thought that you MUST do something in order for you to be living the correct way. There is no MUST! There is ALWAYS a choice! No matter what entity tells you otherwise, be it your parents, government, peers, children, there is always another way.

  3. The higher up the food you chain you go,stress will tag along for the ride.
    Work hard till you drop,someone else will gladly take your place.
    A higher standard of living may give you a better burial plot.

  4. so hw do u explin, tigers get their food, y do u think dogs have to look for food??? isnt that work that they r doing. or let me ask, r u the sun or the moom or the very earth??

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