Chapter 23: Nothing but a Dead Skeleton
Looking for my chief characteristic - just looking for it - is proving a great device. It is as though I have always accepted that there are certain “undesirables” in my closet, which at different times I gather some degree of enthusiasm for getting rid of or witnessing more conscientiously.
Setting about trying to pinpoint them during the last forty-eight hours, I have found that the actual process of opening the closet and flashing the torch around has, in itself, rendered those skeletons impotent in a way. It is certainly as if merely talking about those skeletons as problems, rather than looking at them, gives substance to something that actually has no life of its own.
Osho, am I kidding myself, or is it really that easy?
It is that easy. Many of our problems are just there because we have never looked at them, never focused our eyes on them to figure out what it is.
It is like an ancient story. It was a full moon night and a thief had stolen much jewelry. And of course he was afraid. He was running, and suddenly he heard some steps following him.
It almost always happens - if you have ever tried running in the dark - you hear your own footsteps and you feel as if somebody is following you.
And when he looked, he found somebody actually was following him; it was his own shadow. But he was not in a situation to figure out who it was. His problem was somehow to escape out of its clutches. He ran faster, but he heard the follower also running faster. And he went on looking back and he found that it was just behind him. The poor fellow was tired, utterly tired, but could not get rid of his shadow. Exhausted, he fell under a tree where the moonlight did not go and he looked all around and he wondered where the other fellow had gone - just now he was behind him, so close.
Gathering courage, looking all around, he could not see him anywhere; but then he came out of the shadow of the tree and again he was behind him. But this time he could not be deceived, he turned around and looked at the fellow. It was no one. It was his own shadow.
Many of our problems - perhaps most of our problems - are because we have never looked at them face to face, never encountered them; and not looking at them is giving them energy, being afraid of them is giving them energy, always trying to avoid them is giving them energy - because you are accepting them. Your very acceptance is their existence. Other than your acceptance, they don’t exist.
So if you open your closets, and take your light, and look at the skeletons, you will find they are dead.
Skeletons cannot do anything, but almost everybody is afraid of skeletons. It is a strange situation. You are not afraid of living people who can do damage to you, who can even kill you - and they are all hiding a skeleton underneath just skin deep, and they are living people. But if you suddenly come across in a room a poor skeleton who has no life, you become so afraid. What can the skeleton do to you?
In my university I had a friend who was the son of a doctor, and the doctor was the head of the university hospital and also it was part of the medical college.
And they had many skeletons for studying purposes.
And one day I was saying to his son, “Your father at least must be the one man who is not afraid of skeletons.”