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Ambition Is The Source Of All Misery

It’s synonymous with discontent.

09/05/2017 9:03 AM IST | Updated 09/05/2017 1:19 PM IST
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The makeover craze is a great example of ambition—trying to change yourself into a better model, a different version. And if you can't make it this time, you can imagine another chance in your next life.

Here's what Osho has to say on ambition.

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"Ambition is the source of all misery.

What is ambition? A wants to be B, the poor want to be rich, the ugly want to be beautiful. Everyone longs to be something, someone else, something other than what he is. No one is content with himself. That's what ambition is.

Whatsoever you are, you are. Accept it, don't desire otherwise. This is what non-ambition means. Non-ambitiousness is basic to all spiritual transformation...

Whatsoever you are, you are not content with it. That is ambition. Then you are bound to be in misery, because you cannot be anything else. You can only be yourself, nothing else is possible. All else is just futile, harmful, dangerous. You can waste your life, your existence.

Whatsoever you are, you are. Accept it, don't desire otherwise. This is what non-ambition means. Non-ambitiousness is basic to all spiritual transformation, because once you accept yourself many things start happening.

The first thing. If you accept yourself totally, the first thing that happens to you is a non-tense life. There is no tension. You don't want to be anything else, there is nowhere to go. Then you can be here and now. Then, there is no comparison. Then, you are unique, yourself. Then, you are not thinking in terms of others.

Then, there is no future. Ambition needs future, ambition needs space to grow. Ambition cannot grow here and now, there is no space. The moment is so small, so atomic. Ambition needs the future; the greater the ambition, the greater the future that is needed.

If your ambition is so great that it cannot be fulfilled in this life, then you will create an afterlife. You will create heaven, you will create moksha, you will create the concept of rebirth. I am not saying that there is no rebirth. I am saying that you believe in rebirth, not because it is there—you believe in it because your ambitions are so great that they cannot be fulfilled in one lifetime. Your belief in rebirth, reincarnation, is not because it is a fact. It is because of ambition and desire. Reincarnation may be a fact, but for you it is just a fiction. For you it is just more future, more space to move in.

Don't desire, and the future disappears. And when there is no future how can you be tense? How?

Remember, you cannot be ambitious in the present moment, impossible! There is no space. The present moment is so atomic, so small, that you cannot move in it. You can be in it, but you cannot desire in it. It is long enough to be, but it is not long enough for desiring. To desire, you need future, time. Really, time exists because of desire.

For the trees here, there is no time. For the birds singing here, there is no time. For the stars and for the sun and for the earth, there is no time. Time exists because of human desire. If humanity was not on this earth there would be no time: there would be no past and no future.

So don't think that the past, the future and the present are parts of time, they are not. The past and the future are parts of a desiring mind. Time consists only of the present, the here-now. Time consists only of eternal moments, the eternal moment. Your desire creates the future. Your memory creates the past. They are parts of your mind. Don't desire, and the future disappears. And when there is no future how can you be tense? How?

There is no possibility of being tense if there is no future. And if there is no past—if you know that it is simply memory, the dust collected on the way—how can there be any anxiety? With the past, anxiety enters. With the future, plans, imaginations, projections, tensions exist. With the past dropped, the future not opened, you are here, now. No anxiety, no tension, no anguish.

[W]hen you accept yourself as you are, the transformation sets in. You start growing, but the dimension differs. Then the dimension is not in the future, the dimension is in the eternal.

Non-ambition means accepting yourself as you are. That doesn't mean that there is no possibility of growth. No, on the contrary, when you accept yourself as you are, the transformation sets in. You start growing, but the dimension differs. Then the dimension is not in the future, the dimension is in the eternal.

Know well this distinction. You can move in two ways: if you move into the future, you are moving into the mind—a fiction, a dream world. If you don't move into the future, then a different dimension becomes open for you. From this very moment you are moving into the eternal.

The eternal is hidden in the moment.

If you can be here right now, in the moment, you have entered the eternal. If you go on thinking of the future and the past, you are moving in the temporal. The temporal is the world, and the eternal is nirvana."

Excerpted from Osho, The New Alchemy

This article originally appeared in the OSHO Times.

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