Saturday, February 2, 2013

NWCU Book Talk ~ Osho ~ When the Shoe Fits

“When the shoe fits, the foot is forgotten.”

I could easily lead this discussion towards opinions of Osho, whether his philosophies were unique to him or uniquely retold, whether his life and lifestyle followed his own teachings and whether his popularity was more influenced by the era than his truths but I won't. Rather, I will focus on the book “When the Shoe Fits” and the parables transcribed between the covers.

In my opinion, this book is a tedious read with many redundancies. Most of Osho's work was transcribed by others after his death rather than by Osho himself. I admit finding many truths in the redundant lines and that in itself makes the book a worthwhile read.

Before going into Osho's teachings, the reader benefits from a rudimentary understanding of Chuang Tzu, an influential Chinese philosopher who lived around the 4th century BCE. He is credited with writing a work known by his name which expresses a skeptical philosophy, arguing that life is limited whereas knowledge to be gained is unlimited. Osho's teachings are firmly grounded in this philosophy.

The book, “When the Shoe Fits,” contains ten chapters of parables used to teach others how to live in a way that brings enlightenment. I have copied some of the passages here for examples and discussion.

On confidence:

Everybody keeps on repeating to himself: I am confident. Why? What are you hiding? If this confidence that you talk about is really there then there is no need to say anything about it. A really confident man is not even aware of it. This has to be understood – whenever something is false you are aware of it, self-conscious. When something is real, you simply forget it. Do you remember that you are breathing? If something goes wrong, yes. If it is hard and there is something wrong with your lungs and you have a cold or asthma, then you remember that you are breathing. But when everything goes okay, you are not conscious. WHEN THE SHOE FITS, THE FOOT IS FORGOTTEN. When you are really confident, confidence is forgotten.

On unresolved:

If there is anger and you fight, what will happen? Half of your being will be with the anger, and half with this idea of fight. It is as if both your hands are fighting each other. Who is going to win? You will be simply dissipating energy. No one is going to be victorious. You can fool yourself that you have now got your anger suppressed, now you are sitting on your anger, but then you will have to sit on it continuously, not even a single moment’s holiday is allowed. If you forget about it for a single moment, you will lose your whole victory. So people who have suppressed something are always sitting on those suppressed things and they are always afraid. They cannot relax. Why has relaxation become so difficult? Why can’t you sleep? Why can’t you relax? Why can’t you be in a let go? Because you have suppressed so many things.

On ego:

Ego is the deepest violence and if you want to strengthen the ego you have to go on fighting continuously. And the ego is very fragile; every moment it is on the verge of dying. And anybody can kill it, just a gesture can kill it, just a look. Somebody looks at you, and the ego is troubled. That man seems to be an enemy. A gesture of enmity and you feel a trembling because the ego is fragile. It is a false, artificial thing, it has to be maintained. That is why there is so much fear – and amidst this fear, this oceanic fear, you manage to create a few islands of bravery. Otherwise it would be too difficult.

Ego is a false phenomenon. It is the accumulation of others’ opinions, it is not a knowledge of the
self. This self, the so-called self which is really the ego, is nothing but the accumulation of reflections
and then there is always fear. Others may change their mind, you are always dependent on them.
If they say you are good you have to follow their rules to remain good, you have to follow them to
remain good in their eyes, because once they change their opinion you will no longer be good. You
have no direct approach to your being, it is via others. So you not only advertise, you magnify, you
falsify. You may have a little truth, a little beauty, but you magnify it and it becomes ridiculous.

On love:

The very wanting, the very desire to prove, means that you are not. A man who is really wise will never in any way be searching for opportunities to prove that he is wise. A fool is always in search of a way to prove that he is wise. A man who is really in love, who has become love, will not try to prove that he is in love. When you are not in love you try to prove in many, many ways that you are in love. You bring presents, you go on talking about love, but all your efforts say just the opposite.

If you really love a person you will not even mention the fact that you love them. What is the need? If the other cannot understand your love without words, the love is not worth anything. If you have to say it, it means that something is false.

Of Tao:

A man of Tao remains ordinary, absolutely ordinary. Nobody knows who he is, nobody knows what
he carries within him, what treasure. He never advertises, he never tries to display. But why do
we advertise? Because of the ego. You are not satisfied with yourself, you are satisfied only when
others appreciate you. You may have a valuable stone, but it is not enough; others must appreciate it. Others’ opinion is more valuable – not your being. You look into others’ eyes as if they are mirrors and if they appreciate you, applaud you, you feel good.

So if you want to prove something it shows that you are doubtful about it. You want to destroy your
doubt through others’ eyes, through their opinions. You are not really convinced of your beautiful
person, you would like others to say that you are beautiful.

As I read, I found it interesting that Osho taught that we need to return to our child. Most of us can remember things beginning at the age of four with perhaps a few memories prior to that age. We don't remember the earlier years not because the brain isn't capable of remembering but during those years we were free and wild. At about the age of four, we were being domesticated, given societal expectations and suddenly there were things that we had to remember. I think I would enjoy being a three-year-old again (potty-trained, of course.)

I'm Beth Winter and I hope you join us for the discussion of Osho's teachings at this New World Creative Union Facebook Event. All are welcome to participate and I am sure that the many teachings and viewpoints will spark some lively discussions. Thank you.


  1. Beth, it is funny, I had just read OSHO's book on Buddha a week before you posted the PDF. Timing seems to be moving synchronistically lately. "When the Shoe Fits" was in part a transformational read, the only thing that I questioned was how I would anchor myself to this plane, even for a few moments, if I had no desire or ego. I see both as tools that have their proper uses in this little endeavor we call life.

  2. Hi Beth. Sorry I did not attend the discussion. I found your selection here highly readable and highly agreeable! I wonder that in his comments on Love, Osho does not note that one possibility of having to prove/say "I love" is that love is not returned--when the subject/object of love is another person. Loving from a distance is not the same thing as deeply loving in the presence of a love, thought the happiness of presence can take many forms. (I'm sure hat this came up on air, but just wanted you to know another person reads your column.)