They were twin brothers — John & Jack, born to a poor struggling couple. They had a very bitter childhood when their parents got separated and both brothers were left to live on their own miserably.
Many years passed. It so happened that John became a very successful lawyer in town, whereas Jack turned out to be a drunkard. People would find John getting out of his Cadillac, whereas Jack would be lying in a roadside gutter.
Relatives who knew both John and Jack always wondered about this difference in the state of the twin brothers. Some couldn’t control their curiosity, so they reached out to Jack, woke him up from his slumber and asked, “Jack, you and John are twin brothers. Look at him, he is a successful lawyer, well-respected; and you are a drunkard. What made you like this?” Jack grumbled, “It was my Dad. He was a drunkard. He would come home drunk, beat my mom, thrash John and me. I have seen him do this throughout my growing-up years, and hence I too became a drunkard.”
The relatives then met John to ask the same question. “Hey John, you and Jack are twin brothers. Look at him, he is a loser, a drunkard; and you are a successful lawyer. What made you like this?” John smiled and said, “It was my Dad. He was a drunkard. He would come home drunk, beat my mom, thrash Jack and me. I have seen him doing this throughout my growing-up years, and since then I had decided that I will never be like him.”
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“Man can look at life in two ways: either through a NO or through a YES. Either he can be negative in his approach or positive. These are the two easily available ways for the mind.
There is also a third way, but to achieve the third you have to go through arduous effort of becoming more and more aware. To the sleeping person, these two ways are ready-made, available from the very birth. The positive person lives through a kind of optimism. His optimism is shallow, but he is full of hopes. He counts only the roses on the rosebush; he does not look at the thorns, he ignores them. Sooner or later he is bound to be disappointed.
Every child begins with a positive attitude towards life. That is natural because if the child begins with a negative attitude he will not begin at all; he would have died in the mother’s womb. He waited for nine months, he passed through the birth canal, which is a painful process, suffocating. There must be deep down an unconscious hope; hence he is patiently waiting for the day when he can see the sun, see the light, be in the world. He is like a seed, very unconscious; he is not aware of it. But every child is born with great hopes, every child is an optimist; he looks through the positive. But life disappoints everyone.
LIFE IS VERY STRANGE, in a way: if you don’t get what you want, you are disappointed, naturally; but if you get what you want, then too you are disappointed. Disappointment seems to be the destiny. If you don’t get what you want, you suffer — you have failed. You have not been able to prove yourself, your mettle. Others have succeeded, you are a failure. You can’t respect yourself. And if you can’t respect yourself, you can’t respect life. It seems like a curse. You would like to return the ticket to God. If you meet him, your first question will be, “Why have you created me? For what? — for all these disappointments? Are you a sadist or something, creating so many people and then giving them so much misery?”
And the religious people say, “It is God’s play, his Leela.” What kind of play is this? God does not seem to be in his right senses. It seems as if he is enjoying the tortures. He seems to be more like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, than like Gautam Buddha, Mahavira, Jesus. These people don’t seem to be like God, because when all your hopes are turned into hopelessness, when all your desires are frustrated, when nothing comes out of your optimism, naturally you become sour, you become bitter, and pessimism is born.
Pessimism is nothing but the failure of optimistic attitudes. Then you start counting the thorns and ignoring the roses. Then you look always for the darker side. That is the philosophy of pessimism.
Optimism ends in pessimism. Every pessimist has been an optimist once — he is an ex-optimist. He hoped too much and because those hopes were not fulfilled he has become sour, angry, enraged. Now he cannot see the flowers and the stars. He can’t see anything beautiful; he goes on looking for the ugly. And when you look for the ugly you will find it at every step. Whatsoever you look for you are bound to find it, remember, because life consists of both — positivity and negativity — in the same quantity. Life cannot exist without the other; the other pole is a must.
But there is a third kind of person — I call that person the awakened, the enlightened — who looks at life in its totality, who is neither a pessimist nor an optimist, who simply accepts life as it is; who accepts the night, who accepts the day, who accepts the rose and the thorn, because he understands that life is out of necessity dual, dialectical. And in his awareness grows a synthesis between the polar opposites. The synthesis never grows on the outside, as Karl Marx says.
Synthesis is achieved only in the inner vision of an enlightened being. Synthesis is attained when you have attained the absolute silence. In that silence you are so clear, so transparent, that you can see through and through. Then you know that life needs both: day and night, birth and death. Then there is nothing wrong in death; it is perfectly useful, needed, inevitable. Then a deep acceptance arises in you. Buddha calls that acceptance, Tathata — suchness. Life is such.
You understand it and through that understanding you transcend it. Don’t be a pessimist and don’t be an optimist. Just watch, be a watcher and attain the ultimate synthesis where you become a third force rising higher and higher and seeing from above, a bird’s-eye view. Deep down everything is in conflict, but it is okay because you understand life cannot exist without it. It is not God’s fault. There is no God as a person who can be blamed for it. It is just the nature of things — TAO, dhamma — that life functions through duality. But consciousness can soar so high that it can transcend all duality and can reach to oneness.
The real meditator is neither pessimist nor optimist. He lives in a kind of suchness, in total “accept-ability.”
OSHO : The Dhammapada, Volume 9, Chapter 8, The Razor’s Edge, Chapter 22
लाई है किस मक़ाम पे ये ज़िंदगी मुझे
महसूस हो रही है ख़ुद अपनी कमी मुझे — – अली अहमद जलीली
laa.ī hai kis maqām pe ye zindagī mujhe
mahsūs ho rahī hai ḳhud apnī kamī mujhe — – ALI AHMAD JALILI
My life has brought me to such a state
I have started missing myself within me.