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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol. 2
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Chapter 4: Slipping Lazily into Divinity

There is only one life and that is in this moment. If this moment is condemned in any way, by any method, your life is being destroyed. That’s why there are millions of people on the earth but very few are alive. Ideals have poisoned their life. And the idealists are the great poisoners.

I am not an idealist, I believe in the real. And in fact you need not believe in the real; it is so. Belief is needed only for the ideal. For the real, what belief is needed? The sun rises - you don’t say, “I believe in the sunrise.” And the birds are singing - you don’t say, “I believe in the birds.” You believe in God because you can’t see God, because God is not a reality. I don’t believe in God, because for me God is as much a reality as the sunrise and these birds singing and these flowers and these trees and these people, you.

I don’t believe in God. Belief presupposes that you don’t know; belief presupposes ignorance. The very word “belief” makes one thing certain - that it is not real. I am all for reality. That’s what I mean when I say I believe in the real. I don’t put any ideal in contrast with reality.

Down the ages, the ideal has been the most subtle trick to manipulate man - because the ideal creates guilt. You continuously think you are not coming up to the mark - you are falling short, you are below the level, you are not as you should be. And this becomes a rock on your heart. It cripples you, it paralyzes you. It does not allow you to move in freedom, it does not allow you to dance.

How can you celebrate life when there are so many ideals everywhere? And everywhere you feel limited - those limitations are created by the ideals. Whatsoever you do is never perfect. So whatsoever you do, it never makes you happy. In fact, whenever you do something it makes you unhappy - again you have proved your imperfection. Again you failed, again there is guilt, again there is condemnation, again you hate yourself. Each act brings more hatred, each act brings more and more self condemnation, rejection.

And if you don’t love yourself, you are virtually dead - worse than being dead! If you don’t love yourself, nobody is going to love you. How can anybody love you if you don’t love yourself?

And the idealist cannot love himself; he is very hard, he is a masochist. And when a person is a masochist, when a person goes on torturing himself in the name of ideals - “I should be like this”.and he is not, so he tortures himself. And he goes on pulling himself towards this impossible ideal. And all those ideals are impossible - their very nature is such, they cannot be fulfilled. That is the whole trick; if they can be fulfilled, they won’t be ideals.

The ideal is by inner necessity unfulfillable; it is not possible to achieve it. Hence, it remains a dangling carrot in front of your eyes. And the donkey goes on moving.and the carrot goes on dangling. It is illusory. It is like the horizon far away - you go on moving, but you never reach; the horizon also goes on moving.

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