“Why Growth is Painful” – OSHO


Growth is painful because you have been avoiding a thousand and one pains in your life. By avoiding you cannot destroy them — they go on accumulating. You go on swallowing your pains; they remain in your system. That’s why growth is painful — when you start growing, when you decide to grow, you have to face all the pains that you have repressed. You cannot just bypass them.

You have been brought up in a wrong way. Unfortunately, until now, not a single society has existed on the earth which has not been repressive of pain. All societies depend on repression. Two things they repress: one is pain, another is pleasure. And they repress pleasure also because of pain. Their reasoning is that if you are not too happy you will never become too unhappy; if joy is destroyed you will never be deep in pain. To avoid pain they avoid pleasure. To avoid death they avoid life.

And the logic has something in it. Both grow together — if you want to have a life of ecstasy you will have to accept many agonies. If you want the peaks of the Himalayas then you will also have the valleys. But nothing is wrong with the valleys; your approach just has to be different. You can enjoy both — the peak is beautiful, so is the valley. And there are moments when one should enjoy the peak and there are moments when one should relax in the valley.

The peak is sunlit, it is in a dialogue with the sky. The valley is dark, but whenever you want to relax you have to move into the darkness of the valley. If you want to have peaks you will need to grow roots into the valley — the deeper your roots go, the higher your tree will grow. The tree cannot grow without roots and the roots have to move deep into the soil.

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.

I have heard: A man came to a Zen master and asked ‘How shall we avoid heat and cold?’

Metaphorically, he is asking ‘How should we avoid pleasure and pain?’ That is the Zen way of talking about pleasure and pain: heat and cold. ‘How shall we avoid heat and cold?’

The master answered ‘Be hot, be cold.’

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?


[The Revolution Chapter 6 – The Birth of the New]

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