How Can I Love Better

By Osho

“How can I love better?”

Love is enough unto itself. It needs no betterment. It is perfect as it is; it is not in any way meant to be more perfect. The very desire shows a misunderstanding about love and its nature. Can you have a perfect circle? All circles are perfect; if they are not perfect, they are not circles. Perfection is intrinsic to a circle and the same is the law about love. You cannot love less, and you cannot love more — because it is not a quantity. It is a quality, which is immeasurable.

Your very question shows that you have never tasted what love is, and you are trying to hide your lovelessness in the desire of knowing “how to love better.” No one who knows love can ask this question.

Love has to be understood, not as a biological infatuation — that is lust. That exists in all the animals; there is nothing special about it; it exists even in trees. It is nature’s way of reproduction. There is nothing spiritual in it and nothing especially human. So the first thing is to make a clear-cut distinction between lust and love. Lust is a blind passion; love is the fragrance of a silent, peaceful, meditative heart. Love has nothing to do with biology or chemistry or hormones.

Love is the flight of your consciousness to higher realms, beyond matter and beyond body. The moment you understand love as something transcendental, then love is no longer a fundamental question. The fundamental question is how to transcend the body, how to know something within you that is beyond — beyond all that is measurable. That is the meaning of the word matter. It comes from a Sanskrit root, matra, which means measurement; it means that which can be measured. The word meter comes from the same root. The fundamental question is how to go beyond the measurable and enter into the immeasurable. In other words, how to go beyond matter and open your eyes toward more consciousness. And there is no limit to consciousness—the more you become conscious, the more you realize how much more is possible ahead. As you reach one peak, another peak arises in front of you. It is an eternal pilgrimage.

Love is a by-product of a rising consciousness. It is just like the fragrance of a flower. Don’t search for it in the roots; it is not there. Your biology is your roots; your consciousness is your flowering. As you become more and more an open lotus of consciousness, you will be surprised—taken aback—with a tremendous experience, which can only be called love. You are so full of joy, so full of bliss, each fiber of your being is dancing with ecstasy. You are just like a rain cloud that wants to rain and shower.

The moment you are overflowing with bliss, a tremendous longing arises in you to share it. That sharing is love.

Love is not something that you can get from someone who has not attained to blissfulness — and this is the misery of the whole world. Everybody is asking to be loved, and pretending to love. You cannot love because you don’t know what consciousness is. You don’t know the satyam, the shivam, the sundram; you don’t know truth, you don’t know the experience of the divine, and you don’t know the fragrance of beauty. What have you got to give? You are so empty, you are so hollow … Nothing grows in your being, nothing is green. There are no flowers within you; your spring has not come yet.

(Editor’s note: Satyam = Sanskrit for ‘true, real, pure’, that which abides and exists beyond ‘maya’, illusion.)

Love is a by-product. When the spring comes and you suddenly start flowering, blossoming, and you release your potential fragrance sharing that fragrance, sharing that grace, sharing that beauty is love.

I don’t want to hurt you but I am helpless, I have to say the truth to you: You don’t know what love is. You can’t know because you have not yet gone deeper in your consciousness. You have not experienced yourself, you know nothing of who you are. In this blindness, in this ignorance, in this unconsciousness, love does not grow. This is a desert in which you are living. In this darkness, in this desert, there is no possibility of love blossoming.

First you have to be full of light, and full of delight — so full that you start overflowing. That overflowing energy is love. Then love is known as the greatest perfection in the world. It is never less, and never more.

But our very upbringing is so neurotic, so psychologically sick that it destroys all possibilities of inner growth. You are being taught from the very beginning to be a perfectionist, and then naturally you go on applying your perfectionist ideas to everything, even to love.

Just the other day I came across a statement: A perfectionist is a person who takes great pains, and gives even greater pains to others. And the outcome is just a miserable world!

Everybody is trying to be perfect. And the moment somebody starts trying to be perfect, he starts expecting everybody else to be perfect. He starts condemning people, he starts humiliating people. That’s what all your so-called saints have been doing down the ages. That’s what your religions have done to you — poisoned your being with an idea of perfection.

Because you cannot be perfect, you start feeling guilty, you lose respect for yourself. And the man who has lost respect for himself has lost all the dignity of being human. Your pride has been crushed, your humanity has been destroyed by beautiful words like perfection.

Man cannot be perfect. Yes, there is something that man can experience, but which is beyond the ordinary conception of man. Unless man also experiences something of the divine, he cannot know perfection.

Perfection is not something like a discipline; it is not something that you can practice. It is not something for which you have to go through rehearsals. But that is what is being taught to everybody, and the result is a world bill of hypocrites, who know perfectly well that they are hollow and empty, but they go on pretending all kinds of qualities that are nothing but empty words.

When you say to someone. “I love you” have you ever thought what you mean? Is it just biological infatuation between the two sexes? Then once you have satisfied your animal appetite, all so-called love will disappear. It was just a hunger and you have fulfilled your hunger and you are finished. The same woman who was looking the most beautiful in the world, the same man who was looking like Alexander the Great — you start thinking how to get rid of this fellow!

It will be very enlightening to understand this letter written by Paddy to his beloved Maureen:

My Darling Maureen,

I would climb the highest mountain for your sake, and swim the wildest sea. I would endure any hardships to spend a moment by your side.

Your ever-loving, Paddy.

P.S. I’ll be over to see you on Friday night if it is not raining.

The moment you say to someone “I love you,” you don’t know what you are saying. You don’t know that it is just lust hiding behind a beautiful word, love. It will disappear. It is very momentary.

Love is something eternal. It is the experience of the Buddhas, not the unconscious people the whole world is full of. Only very few people have known what love is, and these same people are the most awakened, the most enlightened, the highest peaks of human consciousness.

If you really want to know love, forget about love and remember meditation. If you want to bring roses into your garden, forget about roses and take care of the rosebush. Give nourishment to it, water it, take care that it gets the right amount of sun, water. If everything is taken care of, in the right tune the roses are destined to come. You cannot bring them earlier, you cannot force them to open up sooner. And you cannot ask a rose to be more perfect.

Have you ever seen a rose that is not perfect? What more do you want?’ Every rose in its uniqueness is perfect. Dancing in the wind, in the rain, … the sun … can’t you see the tremendous beauty, the absolute joy: A small ordinary rose radiates the hidden splendor of existence.

Love is a rose in your being. But prepare your being — dispel the darkness and the unconsciousness. Become more and more alert and aware, and love will come on its own accord, in its own time. You need not worry about it. And whenever it comes it is always perfect.

Love is a spiritual experience nothing to do with sexes and nothing to do with bodies, but something to do with the inner-most being. But you have not even entered into your own temple. You don’t know at all who you are, and you are trying to find out how to love better. First, be thyself; first, know thyself, and love will come as a reward. It is a reward from the beyond. It showers on you like flowers … fills your being. And it goes on showering on you, and it brings with it a tremendous longing to share.

In human language that sharing can only be indicated by the word love. It does not say much, but it indicates the right direction.

Love is a shadow of alertness, of consciousness. Be more conscious, and love will come as you become more conscious. It is a guest that comes, that comes inevitably to those who are ready and prepared to receive it. You are not even ready to recognize it! If love comes to your door, you will not recognize it. If love knocks on your doors, you may find a thousand and one excuses; you may think perhaps it is some strong wind, or some other excuse; you will not open the doors. And even if you open the doors you will not recognize love because you have never seen love before; how can you recognize it?

You can recognize only something that you know. When love comes for the first time and fills your being you are absolutely overwhelmed and mystified. You don’t know what is happening. You know your heart is dancing, you know you are surrounded by celestial music, you know fragrances that you have never known before. But it takes a little time to put all these experiences together and to remember that perhaps this is what love is. Slowly, slowly it sinks into your being.

Only mystics know love. Other than mystics there is no category of human beings that has ever experienced love. Love is absolutely the monopoly of the mystic. If you want to know love you will have to enter into the world of the mystic.

Jesus says “God is love.” He has been part of a mystery school, the Essenes, an ancient school of mystics. But perhaps he did not graduate from the mystery school, because what he is saying is just not right. God is not love, love is God — and the difference is tremendous; it is not just a change of words. The moment you say God is love you are simply saying that love is only an attribute of God. He is also wisdom, he is also compassion, he is also forgiveness, he can be millions of things besides love; love is only one of the attributes of God.

And in fact, even to make it a small attribute of God is very irrational and illogical, because if God is love then he cannot be “just.” If God is love then he cannot be cruel enough to throw sinners into eternal hell. If God is love then God cannot be the law. One great Sufi mystic, Omar Khayyam, shows more understanding than Jesus when he says, “I will go on just being myself. I am not going to take any notice of the priests and the preachers because I trust that God’s love is great enough; I cannot commit a sin that can be greater than his love. So why be worried? Our hands are small and our sins are small. Our reach is small; how can we commit sins which God’s love cannot forgive? If God is love then he cannot be present on the last judgment day to sort out the saints and throw the remaining millions and millions of people into hell for eternity.”

The teachings of the Essenes were just the opposite; Jesus quotes them wrongly. Perhaps he was not very deeply rooted in their teachings. Their teaching was, “Love is God.” That is such a tremendous difference. Now God becomes only an attribute of love; now God becomes only a quality of the tremendous experience of love. Now God is no longer a person but only an experience of those who have known love. Now God becomes secondary to love. And I say unto you, the Essenes were right. Love is the ultimate value, the final flowering. There is nothing beyond it; hence, you cannot perfect it.

In fact, before you attain to it you will have to disappear. When love will be there you will not be there.

A great Eastern mystic, Kabir, has a very significant statement — a statement that can be made only by one who has experienced, who has realized, who has entered the inner sanctum of ultimate reality. The statement is, “I had been searching for truth, but it is strange to say that as long as the searcher was there, truth was not found. And when the truth was found, I looked all around … I was absent. When the truth was found, the seeker was no more; and when the seeker was, truth was nowhere.”

Truth and the seeker cannot exist together. You and love cannot exist together. There is no coexistence possible: Either you or love, you can choose. If you are ready to disappear, melt and merge, leaving only a pure consciousness behind, love will blossom. You cannot perfect it because you will not be present. And it does not need perfection in the first place; it comes always as perfect.

But love is one of those words that everybody uses and nobody understands. Parents are telling their children, “We love you” — and they are the people who destroy their children. They are the people who give their children all kinds of prejudices, all kinds of dead superstitions. They are the people who burden their children with the whole load of rubbish that generations have been carrying and each generation goes on transferring it to another generation. The madness goes on … becoming mountainous.

Yet all parents think they love their children. If they really loved their children, they would not like their children to be their images, because they are just miserable and nothing else. What is their experience of life? Pure misery, suffering … life has been not a blessing to them, but a curse. And still they want their children to be just like themselves.

I was a guest in a family. I was sitting in their garden in the evening. The sun was setting and it was a beautiful, silent evening. The birds were returning back to the trees, and the small child of the family was sitting by my side. I just asked him, “Do you know who you are?” And children are clearer, more perceptive than the grownups, because the grownups are already spoiled, corrupted, polluted with all kinds of ideologies, religions. That small child looked at me and he said, “You are asking me a very difficult question.”

I said, “What is the difficulty in it?”

He said, “The difficulty is that I am the only child of my parents, and as long as I can remember, whenever some guests come, somebody says my eyes look like my father’s, somebody says my nose looks like my mother’s, somebody says my face looks like my uncle’s. So I don’t know who I am, because nobody says anything looks like me.”

But this is what is being done to every child. You don’t leave the child alone to experience himself, and you don’t leave the child to become himself. You go on loading on the child your own unfulfilled ambitions. Every parent wants his child to be his image.

But a child has a destiny of his own; if he becomes your image he will never become himself. And without becoming yourself, you will never feel contentment; you will never feel at ease with existence. You will always be in a condition of missing something.

Your parents love you, and they also tell you that you have to love them because they are your fathers, they are your mothers. It is a strange phenomenon and nobody seems to be aware of it. Just because you are a mother does not mean that the child has to love you. You have to be lovable; your being a mother is not enough. You may be a father, but that does not mean that automatically you become lovable. Just because you are a father does not create a tremendous feeling of love in the child. But it is expected … and the poor child does not know what to do. He starts pretending; that’s the only possible way. He starts smiling when there is no smile in his heart; he starts showing love, respect, gratitude and all are just false. He becomes an actor, a hypocrite from the very beginning, a politician.

We are all living in this world where parents, teachers, priests — everybody has corrupted you, displaced you, has taken away from yourself. My effort is to give your center back to you. I call this centering “meditation.” I want you simply to be yourself, with a great self-respect, with the dignity of knowing that existence needed you — and then you can start searching for yourself. First come to the center, and then start searching for who you are.

Knowing one’s original face is the beginning of a life of love, of a life of celebration. You will be able to give so much love — because it is not something that is exhaustible. It is immeasurable, it cannot be exhausted. And the more you give it, the more you become capable of giving it.

The greatest experience in life is when you simply give without any conditions, without any expectations of even a simple thank-you. On the contrary, a real, authentic love feels obliged to the person who has accepted his love. He could have rejected it.

When you start giving love with a deep sense of gratitude to all those who accept it, you will be surprised that you have become an emperor — no longer a beggar asking for love with a begging bowl, knocking on every door. And those people on whose doors you are knocking cannot give you love: they are themselves beggars. Beggars are asking each other for love and feeling frustrated, angry, because the love is not coming. But this is bound to happen. Love belongs to the world of emperors, not of beggars. And a man is an emperor when he is so full of love that he can give it without any conditions.

Then comes an even greater surprise: When you start giving your love to anybody, even to strangers, the question is not to whom you are giving it — the very joy of giving is so much that who cares who is on the receiving end? When this space comes into your being, you go on giving to each and everybody — not only to human beings but to animals, to the trees, to the faraway stars, because love is something that can be transferred even to the farthest star just by your loving look. Just by your touch, love can be transferred to a tree. Without saying a single word … it can be conveyed in absolute silence. It need not be said, it declares itself. It has its own ways of reaching into the very depths, into your being.

First be full of love, then the sharing happens. And then the great surprise . . . that as you give, you start receiving from unknown sources, from unknown corners, from unknown people, from trees, from rivers, from mountains. From all nooks and corners of existence love starts showering on you. The more you give, the more you get. Life becomes a sheer dance of love.

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