Warning: contains adult language, sexual references, impure thoughts, unconventional viewpoints and many of the other sensations that make the experience of being human so much damn fun.
Warning 2: I have been reading a lot of Osho’s teachings lately.
Warning 3: if you don’t know who Osho was, let me sum it up with the words of a new friend / teacher of mine who studied with Osho. “I was looking for a respectable Guru, instead I got Osho.”
Sometimes I sit down to write and nothing comes out. Most of the time it starts as a seed. Something that I experienced, like the billions of other experiences, but the difference being it doesn’t go away. Instead it implants and grows until it sprouts … or in this case festers until it bursts.
The other day a friend of mine came to see me.
He had recently ended his relationship with his girlfriend. It was one of those relationships that made no sense to anyone but him. One of those relationships that was so dysfunctional that the absurdness of it all made it addictive. The kind where no matter how much the shit hits the fan you turn the fan on faster and faster until you have shit spraying all over the walls. Until the walls are totally covered in shit, and everyone tells you there is shit all over the walls, but somehow amidst the shit all you see is an image of an angel in white flowing robes. You know the relationship I’m talking about, right? Yeah, we all do.
So one day my friend had had enough shit, came to his senses and ended the relationship. Only problem was his heart hadn’t caught up with his senses and he was in serious pain. Pain isn’t a strong enough word, he was in withdrawals, like a heroin addict he was craving a little more chaos to spin around in the fans and dirty his life.
So a couple weeks into this process he couldn’t sleep, he couldn’t eat, he couldn’t think straight let alone exercise, meditate, or drink a green juice. So he did what anyone in his circumstances is inclined to do … he sat on the floor listening to Adele, feeling miserable and eating hot flaming Cheetos.
And then he came to see me. Because everyone knows I’ve been there.
When he arrived I knew what was up. Not because I possess any special sensory ability, but because (I’m sorry to keep using this word) he looked like all that shit from the fan had fallen right on top of him.
He started to tell me the story. All the neurotic details. You know how this story goes. Begging me, subliminally, to tell him to call her. Until he finally got to the end of the story and said, “What I really need is to go out, find a woman, and get laid.” And then he looked at me with a look of embarrassment, relief, and guilt like the time my son admitted to me that he hadn’t brushed his teeth in a month.
I looked at him. Without a word. I just looked.
So he continued, “But I know I’m not supposed to do that ….”
Then another look that said, “right?” and “pretty please can I?” and “that would be really bad … or good … UGGGGHHHH.”
Lemme stop right here and say this is what had been festering in me. I’m going to call it spiritual superiority. The concept perpetuated by the inauthentic words that don’t match the lives of “spiritual leaders” and the insanely high expectations of those of us who put those leaders on pedestals. This idea that the path to enlightenment is paved with stones of purity, levitation, and angelic peaceful bliss with none of the human experiences that actually make the path what it is … a journey of experience and growth.
That has been, for me, the lesson of Osho. A man of brilliant wisdom and amazing consciousness that deeply touches me today, years after his passing, through the Internet. And yet he was human. He appeared to get carried away, he indulged in excess, he had 99 Rolls Royces, and he said things so far outside the bounds of respectability … AND … I think that is his true teaching. That all of that together — the spiritual seeking, the quiet connection with the divine, the human desires, wanting and having a fancy car or 99 – all of it, is the path. And without it, there is no path, there is no lesson … there is no enlightenment.
Because it easy to say I don’t care about money … until the rent is due and you don’t have any.
It’s holy and special to talk in tongues that no one but you and God understand … until you have to ask another human for help.
And it’s a cool concept to practice unattachment … until your wife has cancer and you realize how much you love and need her in your life.
And that’s the beautiful paradox of it all. We all want to get to the peaceful mediation without the experiences that provoke the growth that leads us there. So we make the experiences wrong. We judge ourselves and others and we imagine that the leaders who write the books and teach the classes never walked through the fire. But they did and continue to, even as they teach. And so do we. That is the path.
So I said to my friend, “Who says you are not supposed to?”
Now his look changed. For a moment he snapped out of his misery and became perplexed. “Well it’s not right ….”
And again I repeated the question, “Not right for who?” (Or is it whom?)
More perplexed look, but now a glimmer of hope that he might actually be able to do it!
“Well, it’s not spiritual ….”
And once again I replied, “Why not?”
And he thought. And I know what he was thinking, because like I said I’ve been there … a few times. Cue the chuckles from my friends. He was thinking, “I’m supposed sit in the pain, I am supposed to meditate, take deep breaths, walk on the beach, find kindness in the faces of all the strangers, enjoy a green juice, and realize the impermanence of the situation and from that understand that true love exists in me.” Or something like that.
I didn’t tell my friend what to do. I had no authority to do that. I just smiled at him, I gave him a hug, and I told him we were all on the same path, with the same hopes, dreams, worries, and humanity. Then I told him my favorite words in life, “I love you for who you are, not what you do.”
I won’t divulge any of the private secrets of what my friend did that night. What happens on the path stays on the path. But let’s just say my friend woke up the next morning with a smile on his face … in fact every cell in his body was smiling. The misery was a little less intense. The withdrawals subsided. And so he got out of bed, he stretched into his body. With the pressure released, he sat quietly for a bit in the joy of the moment. He took a few gloriously deep breaths, put on his tennis shoes, and went for a walk on the beach. He smiled and said hi as people walked by, noticing the kindness in their faces; he stopped at the juice bar and had a green juice. He smiled realizing the impermanence of the pain from the break up and he pondered the essence of love.
And that’s the fucking paradox…
Big hugs of love,