Osho on insomnia

I like Osho. I have learned a certain way of looking at things from Osho. He has said things I would have never considered: he could see those and I could not.

I don't agree with a lot of what Osho says, but that doesn't say his stuff is not good... it is good stuff... I don't think it can make a difference... It leaves you to deal with the hard stuff alone, and you won't do it. Too bad... 🙁

Insomnia is not a disease. Insomnia is a certain way of life.

Man is made by nature to work hard for at least eight hours. Unless he works hard for eight hours he does not earn the right to have a deep sleep. And as a society grows richer, people are not working hard. There is no need; others can work for them. The whole day they are doing small things which they enjoy doing, but it is not hard work like that of a stone cutter or a woodcutter. The body is made so that after eight hours of hard work it naturally needs to fall into sleep to rejuvenate its energy. But it seems difficult...you have earned enough money and still you are chopping wood for eight hours? Then for what have you earned all that money? It seems stupid. You could have chopped wood even without becoming a millionaire.

So if fifty million people in America are suffering from insomnia, that simply means these are the people who are not earning the right to sleep. They are not working to create the situation in which sleep happens. You cannot find fifty million people in a poor country...you cannot find five people.

It has been known for centuries that beggars sleep better than emperors. Laborers, manual laborers sleep better than intellectuals. The poor sleep better than the rich, because they have to work hard to earn their bread and butter, but side by side they are also earning the right to have a beautiful sleep.

Insomnia is not a disease, it is the richest way of life. In fact what is happening is: the whole day you are resting; then in the night you are tossing and turning in the bed. That is the only exercise left for you, and you don’t want to do even that exercise. Toss and turn as much as you can. If the whole day is of resting then the night cannot be of sleep. You have already rested.

If the people who are suffering from insomnia really want to get rid of it they should not think of it as a disease. Visiting a doctor is meaningless. They should start working in their garden, doing some hard work, and forget all about sleep; it will come. It always comes, you don’t have to bring it.

These are the difficulties. Nature never intended that a few people should have all the riches in the world and most of the people should be poor. Looking at the intentions of nature, it seems it wanted everybody to work. It never wanted these classes of the poor and the rich; it wanted a classless society where everybody is working.

It is possible the work may be different. If you have been painting the whole day, that will also bring sleep. Or you have to create artificial exercises – go to the gym, run for miles, jog. Many idiots are doing it. A futile exercise – why jog when you can chop wood? Why jog when your garden is being looked after by somebody else who sleeps perfectly? You pay him for the work, and he sleeps perfectly well.

You jog, and nobody pays you and you find it difficult to sleep. How much can you jog? How much can you run? And a man who has not slept the whole night does not feel like running in the morning, because the whole night he has been struggling to find a little bit of sleep. Tired of tossing and turning, in the morning he finds a little bit of sleep – and that is the time suggested that he should run and he should jog!

Insomnia should not be counted among diseases. People should be made aware that you are not following the natural course that the body needs. Then you can do small things...swimming, tennis – but it will not be a real substitute for hard labor for eight hours. Man basically was a hunter – and not with machine guns, just with arrows – running after deer. It was not every day that he would get his food. The whole day he would run and follow the animals and would not be able to catch one, and he would come home empty-handed but utterly tired.

Your body is still asking you to do that. You can choose in what way you want to do it; then insomnia will disappear of its own accord.

Those fifty million insomnia sufferers do not need any compassion from anybody. They have to be told directly and straightforwardly, “Your way of life is wrong. Change it; otherwise suffer.” And it will bring a great revolution if fifty million people start working eight hours a day. They don’t need it for their food, for their clothing, for their shelter, but they can work for those who need food, who need medicine, who need other necessities of life.

If fifty million people turn out to work hard eight hours per day in the service of the poor, it will change the whole climate of the society. The very idea of fighting, of struggle between classes, will disappear – because there will be no classes.

And this is going to become a bigger problem every day because machines are replacing man in every field. Machines are more efficient, more obedient, can work twenty-four hours without any rest, seven days a week...no holiday, no religious holiday, because they are neither Jews nor Christians nor Hindus.

Machines don’t ask for anything, not even for a coffee break. And one machine can work in place of a hundred people or a thousand people, so soon the whole world is going to be in a trouble: insomnia is going to be one of the biggest troubles in the coming days because when the machine takes over, the man is free. He will be paid for his unemployment, and paid enough so that he does not ask for employment. He will have enough money.

So what can he do? He can play cards, chess, drink alcohol, have a fight – and suffer insomnia. Insomnia is going to be a worldwide phenomena. What is happening to fifty million people in America will be happening to almost every person whose work is taken from him. When people retire they start suffering from insomnia, and they had never suffered before.

So I don’t believe that it is a disease. Don’t categorize it as the third most prevalent disease. It is not of the category of diseases; it is our wrong way of life.

There may be a few people, a very few people, for whom it may be a disease – for example, the intellectuals whose minds are continuously working and get into the habit of working. Then in the night when they want to sleep the mind goes on working, and that’s enough for insomnia. And they have no control over the mind to stop it. They may shout; the mind doesn’t care about it.

The mind, while you are resting in bed, goes on unwinding itself, because in the day there were many sidelines of thoughts which have been left incomplete; they have to be completed. Mind is a perfectionist. It wants to do everything perfectly, so whatever has remained incomplete it is trying to complete. And it has no need of sleep. It is the body that needs sleep. If the body has not worked and has not earned any sleep, and the mind has been functioning too much and going so fast that it has become habituated to it, this type of man may even work with the body and still suffer insomnia. Then it will be a disease. Then he needs the medicine I call meditation, so that his mind can relax and allow the body to go into sleep.

But these people who cannot sleep are really suffering badly because in their life there is nothing – no meaning, all hypocrisy. “Socializing” they call it. And then in the night they cannot even sleep. The day is useless, the night is useless. They have lost all touch with life. They should be helped.

There should be more meditation centers specially for people who are suffering from insomnia. Meditation will help them to relax. And when they come to meditate then they should be told, “Alone meditation will not do; it is half of the work. Half you have to do – that is hard physical exercise.” And I think people are in such a suffering without sleep that they will be able to do anything that is suggested.

And hard work has a beauty of its own. Chopping wood and perspiring and a cool breeze comes...and there is such a beautiful feeling in the body, which a person who is not working hard cannot even understand. The poor man also has his luxuries. Only he knows about them.
Osho, The Path of the Mystic, Talk #44

Will a Buddha always be Misunderstood?

Osho, is it absolutely inevitable that a buddha will always be misunderstood?Yes, it is absolutely inevitable. It can?t be otherwise. A Buddha is bound to be misunderstood. If a Buddha is not misunderstood then he is not a Buddha at all. Why is it so? - because the Buddha lives in a state which is beyond mind, and we live in minds. To translate something from the beyond to the mind is the most impossible thing in the world. It can?t be done, although every Buddha has tried to do it. That too is inevitable; no Buddha can avoid it.

The Buddha has to say the unsayable, he has to express the inexpressible, he has to define the indefinable. He has to do this absurd act, because the moment he reaches beyond the mind great compassion arises. He can see people stumbling in the dark, he can see people suffering unnecessarily - creating their own nightmares, creating their own hell and drowning in their own created hells. How can he avoid feeling compassion?

And the moment compassion arises he wants to communicate to them that this is your own doing, that you can get out of it; that there is a way out of it, that there is a state beyond it; that life is not what you think it is - your thinking about life is just like the thinking of a blind man about light. The blind man can go on thinking about light, but he will never be able to come to a true conclusion. His conclusions may be very logical, but still they will miss the experience. Light is an experience; you don?t need logic for it - what you need is eyes.

Buddha has eyes - and eyes are attained only when you have gone beyond the mind, when you have become a witness of the mind, when you have attained to a higher state than psychology; when you know that you are not your thoughts, not your body, when you know that you are only knowing - the energy that reflects, the energy that is capable of seeing: that you are pure seeing.

Once Buddha was asked, "Who are you?" He was such a beautiful man and the Buddhahood had conferred such grace on him, that many times he was asked, Who are you?" He looked like an emperor or a god who had come from heaven, and he lived like a beggar! Again and again he was asked, "Who are you?" And the man who was asking was a great scholar.

He said, "Are you from the world of gods? Are you a god?"

Buddha said, "No."

"Then are you a Gandharva?"

Gandharvas are the musicians of the gods. Buddha had such music around him - the music of silence, the sound of no sound, one hand clapping - that it was natural to ask him, "Are you a Gandharva, a celestial musician?"

Buddha said, "No."

And the man went on asking. There are many categories in Hindu mythology from Gods to man. Then finally he asked, "Are you a great king, a Chakravartin, one who rules over the whole world?"

And Buddha said, "No."

Annoyed, the scholar asked, "Are you a man, or not even that?"

Buddha said. ?Don?t be annoyed, but what can I do? I have to state the truth as it is. I am not a man either."

Now the scholar was very very angry, enraged. He said, "Then are you an animal?"

Buddha said, "No, not an animal, not a tree, not a rock."

"Then who are you?" the man asked.

Buddha said, "I am awareness, just pure awareness, just a mirror reflecting all that is."

When this moment arrives, great compassion happens. Buddha has said that those who know are bound to feel compassion for those who don?t know. They start trying to help. And the first thing that has to be done is to communicate to people who are blind that eyes are possible, that you are not really blind but only keeping your eyes closed. You can open your eyes. You are not born blind, you have only been taught to remain blind.Your society teaches you to be blind because the society needs blind people. They are good slaves because they are always dependent on the leaders, politicians, pundits, priests. They are very convenient people, they never create any trouble. They are never rebels. They are obedient, always ready to submit to any kind of nonsense, to any stupid politician, to any stupid priest.

And in fact, who else wants to be a politician except stupid people, and who wants to be a priest except stupid people? These are the dimensions for the mediocre, for the inferior. Those who are suffering from an inferiority complex, they become politicians - just to prove that they are not inferior, to the world and to themselves.

The society, the establishment, wants you to be blind. From the very beginning it teaches every child: "You are blind"; it conditions every child: "You are blind." Your whole educational system is nothing but a conspiracy against every child - to keep you blind. It does not teach you meditation, because meditation is the art of opening your eyes.

When somebody arrives at awareness he naturally feels great compassion. All around he sees that people who have eyes - who have inbuilt capacities to see the truth, who are from their very birth capable of becoming Buddhas, enlightened ones, awakened ones - are suffering. And the whole suffering is ridiculous! It need not be so.

Compassion happens and compassion starts communicating. But communication is difficult, impossible.

Buddha speaks from the hilltop and you live in the dark valleys where light never reaches. He talks in words of light; by the time they reach you their meaning changes. By the time your mind catches hold of them it colors them in its own color.

It is not only so about Buddhas - even ordinary communication seems to be impossible. The husband cannot communicate with his wife, the parents cannot communicate with their children, the teachers cannot communicate with their students. What to say about Buddhas? People who exist on the same level, even they cannot communicate, because words are tricky things. You say one thing, but the moment it reaches the other person then it is in his power how to interpret it.

The Queen was traveling in England?s back country when she saw a man, his wife, and a flock of children.

Impressed, the Queen asked, "Are all of these your children?"

"Yes, Your Highness," answered the man.

"How many children do you have?" asked the English sovereign.

"Sixteen," was the reply.

"Sixteen children," repeated Her Highness. "We should give you a knighthood."

"He has one," piped up the lady, "but he won?t wear it.

Or, if you have missed, another story for you:

Thor, the Germanic god of thunder, was feeling restless so he decided to have a weekend fling. Taking a handful of jewels from the Valhalla petty cash department he slipped down to earth, got himself an elegant disco suit and a few gold chains, and began hitting the Saturday night dance bars.

After a big night on the town he finally took home the most beautiful woman he had seen and spent the rest of the night and morning satisfying his heroic libido. When he got out of bed and began dressing, he realized that the exhausted girl on the bed lacked his godly sexual stamina. By way of explanation, he leaned down over her and whispered, "Honey, I think you should know - I am Thor."

Wide-eyed, the girl exclaimed, ?Thor! You big thon-of-a-bitch, I can?t even stand up!"

Ordinary communication, very mundane communication, even in the marketplace, is difficult. And a Buddha wants to communicate to you something which he has found in a state of no-mind, which he has found when all thoughts disappear, which he has found when even he himself is no more - when the ego evaporates, when there is utter silence, absolute peace, the sky is without clouds.

Now how to bring this infinite experience into words? No word is adequate enough - hence the misunderstanding.

Yes, Madira, it is absolutely inevitable that a Buddha will always be misunderstood. Only those few people can understand a Buddha who are disciples and devotees.

By disciple is meant one who has put aside all his prejudices, one who has put aside all his thoughts, and is ready to listen - not to his own mind and his mind?s interpretations, but to the words of Buddha; who is not in a state of argument with the Buddha, who is not inside thinking about what Buddha is saying, who listens to a Buddha as you listen to classical music, who listens to a Buddha as you listen to the sound of running water, who listens to Buddha as you listen to the wind passing through the pine trees or the cuckoo calling from the distance. That is the state of a disciple, or if you rise a little higher and become a devotee...

A devotee is one who has not only dropped his mind but has brought his heart in, who listens from the heart - not from logic but from love. The disciple is on the way to being a devotee. The disciple is the beginning of being a devotee, and the devotee is the fulfillment of being a disciple.

Only these few people understand a Buddha. And in understanding a Buddha they are transformed, transported into another world - the world of liberation, nirvana, light, love, benediction.

(Osho - Be Still and Know #2)

Author: Sophie Benshitta Maven

award winning architect, magazine publisher, transformational and spiritual coach and teacher, self declared Avatar

1 thought on “Osho on insomnia”

  1. A lot of stuff to think about in this article. I’ve been pondering about many of the same things for awhile now. .

    For a few years I have been observing my self and some of my clients and I have noticed that the more we stay inside and the more electronics we use the less sleep we get. I’ve noticed that eating late, watching movies late, answering phone calls at night, worrying, and staying pass mid-night disturbs my sleep. I’ve been working on avoiding all those and have been sleeping good. Earthing, being in nature and working outside makes me sleep without dreams. Very deep sleep.

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