||Question - Beloved
Master, What is the definition of a Pessimist?
Osho - Shivananda, a pessimist is an optimist who has become frustrated with his optimism. He hoped too much and failed, he dreamed too much and could not achieve anything substantial. The pessimist is an optimist standing on his head; they are not different fellows -- that's what I want to make clear to you. Unless you have been an optimist you can never be a pessimist. First you have to become an optimist.
And each child is brought up with great optimism. All parents think that they have great children. Ask any mother: she thinks she has the unique child; the most superior, rare, incomparable. Each mother brags about the child. Parents bring up children with great optimism that they are going to be Alexander the Greats or Jesus Christs or Gautam Buddhas.
But slowly slowly life proves just the contrary. Slowly slowly, the
child becomes aware of his ordinariness. He becomes aware that these
great dreams, that these great ambitions, cannot be fulfilled. And by
the time one is coming closer to forty, forty-two, pessimism starts
settling -- gloom, darkness....
And don't think that if you are sane even beyond forty-four... that does
not mean that you are very intelligent. It may only be that you are very
dull and it takes a long time for you to understand. It may only be that
you are very insensitive. It may only be that you are foolhardy, that
you don't listen to life, what life is saying, that you go on hoping.
First you used to count the roses, now you start counting the thorns. First you used to say, "How beautiful this roseflower and what a miracle! It grows amongst thousands of thorns." You were poetic, you had some aesthetic sense; you still believed that life is going to be a fulfillment.
But soon the day comes when the roses start fading away and you start counting the thorns, and you cannot believe in the roses anymore. You start saying, "It is impossible! The rose must be a dream, the rose must be MAYA, illusion, hallucination. How is it possible amongst thousands of thorns, how is a rose possible?" It looks contradictory, it looks illogical, it cannot happen in the nature of things. You start counting nights; before, you used to count days.
The optimist says, "There are two days, and between two days just a small night to rest." And the pessimist counts the nights; he says, "There are two long nights -- nightmares, ugly dreams, tortures -- and just a small day sandwiched between the two." Life is the same: you can count the days or you can count the nights. If you count the days you are an optimist, if you count the nights you are a pessimist, but there is really no difference.
The optimist can become a pessimist, the pessimist can become an optimist. They are not contraries; they are two points on the same spectrum. One has to go beyond both, Shivananda. A sannyasin has to go beyond both -- neither hope nor hopelessness. No need to count days, no need to count nights. Be a watcher! No need to count thorns, no need to count roses. Be a watcher....
I don't teach you optimism. In the West it is very fashionable nowadays; it is called "positive thinking." That is a new name for optimism; the old name has become a little too out of fashion, out-of-date. The new name is positive thinking. I don't teach you positive thinking, because positive thinking carries the negative in its wake.
I teach you transcendence -- neither positive nor negative. Be a
watcher: witness both. When there is day, witness the day, and when
there is night, witness the night -- and don't get identified with
either. You are neither the day nor the night; you are the
transcendental consciousness. Become more and more centered there in
True religion is not positive, nor is it negative. It is neither via
negativa nor via positiva; it is via transcendence.
Life needs both: thorns and roses, days and nights,
Source - Osho Book "The Dhammapada, Vol4"
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