“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up, it dies, and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.” – Osho
Osho was born Chandra Mohan Jain on December 11, 1931 in India. From the 1960s onwards, he was known as Acharya Ranjeesh. The term Acharya means religious guide or teacher. In the 1970s and 80s he was known as Bhagwan Shree Ranjeesh. Bhagwan is a term of respect for Buddhist priests, literally meaning “blessed.” Shree (also spelled “sri”) is also a title of respect, like “Mr.” in Western countries. From 1989, he asked to be called Osho, which means “self-taught Buddhist monk/teacher.”
Osho lived for a time in the United States, where he and his followers bought a ranch in Oregon and created their own ashram (spiritual community), which they named Ranjeeshhpuram. I remember this, because I was living in Oregon at the time. Unfortunately, his time in the U.S. was marred by conflict with Americans who lived nearby over land use, and with problems stemming from violations of immigration law. Like many spiritual teachers from the East, Ranjeesh refused to live the way people thought a master should live, and this tended to upset people. At one point, Ranjeesh owned up to 93 Rolls Royces, which earned him a great deal of criticism. (I have to interject, here, that it is extremely funny, when you think about it, that Americans, who – as a group – seem to value excessive material consumption, should criticize someone for owning too many cars. If his ownership of so many fancy cars was a statement about American materialism, his point was lost on the vast majority of the American public.) Osho was arrested for immigration violations, fined $400,000 (which he paid), and deported back to India, in 1985. It was later found out that his wife Sheela and her associates were the ones who committed other crimes which Osho had been blamed for. Osho died in Pune, India, on January 19, 1990.
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Back to the quote: It’s a good one that can be applied equally to people as well as things. To me, the quote says that it’s perfectly all right to enjoy physical things: money, cars, clothes, food, a nice house, etc., but our focus must be on enjoying these things without necessarily possessing them with the mindset of “this is mine and you cannot have it.” In terms of money, it means that you can enjoy spending money and it’s fine to have enough to live comfortably, but it’s useless to have to0 much of it. In terms of relationships, although there is a place for exclusive relationships such as marriage, we mustn’t try to control others or take away their freedom. We can enjoy being around people without expecting them to dance attendance on us.
Make a list of all the things you love. If you had to give any one of them up tomorrow, could you do so? Chances are, it might not be very pleasant, but you could probably manage it. Now think of people in your life. Could you do without any one of them? That’s a little harder, but we all live with that threat every day, if you think about it, because it is impossible to predict when a person will leave us, whether in death or for another reason. Having to do without someone who has left us is hard, and very sad, but ultimately, we know that life does go on, and it is unhealthy for us to mourn anyone so deeply that we cannot move forward in life.
Now, for all the people and things on your list, express your gratitude. Do them one by one, and take as much time as you need. It might take you a long time to get through your list, if it is long. Show your love for your possessions by taking good care of them. Show your love for the people in your life by letting them know how much you love and appreciate them. Do it now, and don’t wait. 🙂