Enjoying Life and Having Fun

Malika, the loving woman that I share my life with, and I were visiting India, in April of 1976. It was my first taste of what I call object poverty. Malika, on the other hand, had been to other impoverished and third world countries and had seen such poverty. I, however, grew up in an upper middle class, urban, northwestern community. Poverty was not a common sight in my neighborhood. The most impoverished thing that I had ever experienced was kids playing baseball in the alleys.

I had quite a surprise in store for me. I was amazed, to say the least, when I saw the streets of Pune, India. They were lined with masses of people begging, sleeping on the streets, under bridges or wherever they could. The streets became their homes and bathrooms. I thought, “What a miserable life these people must be living.”

How I was judging these people! They were simply not meeting my standard of living.

Two very beautiful events quickly set me straight. One occurred each morning and evening. Just before I went to sleep, and soon after I woke up, I would look out our hotel window. There, across the street below me was a small family cluster. I believe the family consisted of a wife, husband, grandfather, grandmother and two very young children.

This family fascinated me. It didn’t appear that poverty was overwhelming them or made them into derelicts. These people took care of that little corner of the street as if it were their own private dwelling. They would clean the area, pick up any debris and do what they could for their little home. Even though they had almost nothing, and what they had was old and in poor condition, the women and men would spend a great deal of time cleaning, grooming, and taking great pride in their home as well as their personal appearance. They cared for their elderly and young with equal enthusiasm. By early morning, the family would no longer be on the corner. You wouldn’t know anyone was living there.

Each evening this family would return to their little home. Once again, they would take extreme pains to make sure their clothing and bedding were neatly laid out, that their family was taken care of and that they were well situated in their home. Each day this process would be repeated. I could only guess what was going on with them, but it was my impression that they weren’t that much different from me. They ate, slept, played, argued, loved, dreamed and had the same basic feelings, just like I have. It was mind-boggling. Their environment was different, and of course, there were cultural differences, but their basic family behaviors appeared to be very similar to mine.

The second major event that changed my view of the world involved two beggar children who used to plant themselves very near our hotel. They couldn’t have been any older than six and nine. They were skinny, wore worn out clothes and in general appeared to be very needy. Each morning, as Malika and I left our hotel, they would rush up to us and begin begging. Sometimes I would give them some money, and at other times, I wouldn’t. What I did do almost on a daily basis was joke and play with them. Even though they didn’t speak English, and I didn’t speak Hindi, we understood each other and had a great time laughing and playing.

One day, as the children ran up to me, I held out my hand and asked them for five paise, which was the equivalent of a few pennies to me, but much more in their currency. For these children, this was a lot of money. Yet, without any even the slightest hesitation, the oldest child handed me five paise. What a gift from their heart! It touched me deeply. They were totally in the moment, not stopping to think whether they needed it. They gave to me without expecting anything in return. What a powerful experience!

The lessons I learned were quite simple. It does not matter how much you have, nor does it matter where you are, or even who you think you are, happiness is not found in things, but in yourself. You can be rich or poor; it doesn’t matter. Nothing can take you away from you. When you accept you for who you are, accept others for who they are, accept the universe for what it is, all of a sudden, you are at peace with all that was, is and will be. Then, enjoying life and having fun becomes your way of life. You do not have to desire or seek it. It just is. It is your birthright.

Money, objects, things and possessions can only bring temporary satisfaction and enjoyment. Soon, you begin to be weary of them. Each time you tire of one, you must immediately seek out another, and then another. It is a never-ending search for happiness. The only problem is that the search takes you on a journey that can never end in total satisfaction, enjoyment, joy or lasting bliss. It can only be temporal, not everlasting. When you buy a new dress, how long before you are tired of it? When you buy a new car, how long before you start looking at newer cars? When you buy a new computer, how long before you are looking at the latest models?

You are not born looking for things, possessions or money to make you happy. The search for enjoyment and fun comes from your mind, which is a product of your culture and society. Your mind is constantly seeking new and exciting things. You need these things to stimulate your mind. Without new things, your mind begins to get bored and stagnate. It wants, and wants, and wants. It is similar to a donkey pulling a cart chasing after a carrot that is hanging in front of it. The donkey keeps going after that elusive carrot. Yet, once it eats the carrot, it must immediately begin seeking a new one. The process is repeated day in and day out. You are always seeking the carrot, that which is outside yourself.

The only way to find permanent enjoyment and fun is by looking inside you. You must recognize when your mind seeking power and control over you. Let go of your mind and truly recognize the you within the illusion of who you think you are. You are not your mind. You are your being. Once your mind of desire is silenced, once your mind of expectations has been shut down, once all your mind trips are no longer having power and controlling you, you will be able to know what it means to enjoy the fun and blissfulness of this moment. You will experience it without having to pursue it.

Drop your mind, drop your ego, and you will experience the joy of this moment in its totality. As Osho, my master, once related to me, nature is always loving, always gentle and always caring; and if you are having a problem, it is because you are fighting with nature. Nature never fights with you. Your fighting and your desires create the need to seek happiness outside yourself, instead of going inside where the blissfulness of your true being awaits you. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is within.”

Once you stop the fight, you allow that which is to be. This does not mean you become inactive or apathetic. It means that whatever you are doing in this moment, you are doing totally. It means that you may move in any direction you choose, but you are not obsessed with the outcome. Instead, you are totally enjoying the process. It means that whatever you are doing becomes your purpose and joy in life. Only when you become the receptive energy that is within, can you truly enjoy life and have fun. Only the will you experience the joy of NOW.

An Osho Sufi song expresses the total absurdity of the mind. Read the lyrics and rejoice in NOW.

Walk With Wings and Fly With Feet

Ooh-eee, life’s a play.

Whatever comes along, it’s okay.

Walk with wings and fly with feet.

Drop your mind in total defeat.

Nothing makes sense.

Only nothing makes sense.

And we ain’t going nowhere!

(Osho Sufi Music)

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