Love, Freedom, Aloneness - Critical summary review - Osho

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Love, Freedom, Aloneness - critical summary review

Love, Freedom, Aloneness Critical summary review Start your free trial
Spirituality & Mindfulness

This microbook is a summary/original review based on the book: Love, Freedom, Aloneness: The Koan of Relationships

Available for: Read online, read in our mobile apps for iPhone/Android and send in PDF/EPUB/MOBI to Amazon Kindle.

ISBN: 978-0312291624

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Critical summary review

The question about the meaning of love is one of the most frequently asked in the history of philosophy. In ‘’Love, Freedom, Aloneness,’’ one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century gives his perspective on this topic. He teaches us how to free ourselves from the trivialities of physical love, and become servants of spiritual love that brings us closer to our true self. So, get ready to hear Osho’s unconventional views of common topics!

Love yourself

    Did you know that the word ‘love’ is derived from the Sanskrit word lobha, which means greed? Osho believes it is not a coincidence that the English word love has this origin. ‘’Lobha becomes love as far as inner alchemy is concerned,’’ he says. If we think of love as a biological urge that depends on chemistry and hormones, we can put an equal sign between these two words. 

    However, the love that does not come from your body, but your innermost being, is an antithesis of greed because it exists through unconditional sharing. Osho calls it ‘’real love.’’ When you are a servant of real love, you share it with joy without thinking of getting anything in return. ‘’Love is thankful that it has been received,’’ Osho emphasizes. 

    Unfortunately, very few people have known real love because all cultures and religions worldwide teach us we should love others and not ourselves. However, when we don’t love ourselves, we are prone to manipulation and exploitation. Without love, our souls are weak since they lack nourishment. ‘’And no state, no church, no vested interest has ever wanted people to have strong souls, because a person with spiritual energy is bound to be rebellious,’’ Osho writes. 

The main argument of politicians and priests who assure us we ought to love only others is that love for ourselves leads to narcissism. Nevertheless, Osho says the ego arises when we are trying to love others without loving ourselves. In that case, even love for others is false because it has no roots.

    What happens when you throw a pebble into a silent lake? The first ripples arise close around it, and then they go on spreading. If you stop those ripples initially, they will not reach the farthest shores. The same occurs if you tell people not to love themselves—their love cannot go to others either. Therefore, you should let your love for yourself be the light that dispels your weaknesses, allowing you to shed that light on the people, animals, and nature around you. 

Love relates, but it is not a relationship

    People often identify love with relationships. Osho says this is wrong since, unlike love, relationships are finite and closed. They often make people stay together even when they are unhappy because they offer comfort and convenience. 

    Love cannot be a relationship, but only relating, because it never ends. It exists independently from relationships. As Osho puts it, ‘’Lovers end, love continues.’’ Why do people refuse to relate and opt for relationships? The reason is simple—people love predictability and certainty over the insecurity of relating. Why do people start thinking of marriage when they are in love? Why do they want to confine love with the law? According to Osho, the law denotes the absence of love— it obliges couples to stay together when love disappears. 

    For Osho, utopia is a society of meditative people that refuse to constrain their intimacy and therefore, choose relating over relationships. He emphasizes that, as long as it comes from the heart, the commitment doesn't need to have any form. 

    If you enjoy intimacy with someone, you are curious to explore it more. In a relationship, though, people often take each other for granted. Each of us is a mystery, so to believe you know someone completely is insulting and disrespectful. With each day, we become different from yesterday, so you can never say that you actually know someone. Therefore, Osho advises us to, ‘’Relate again, start again, don’t take it for granted.’’

    When you are relating, you are continuously trying to get to know another person and see the many facets of their personality. You are trying to discover their inner thoughts and feelings, and by that, you are finding out new things about you, too. ‘’Lovers become mirrors to each other, and then love becomes a meditation.’’

    So, don’t put boundaries on love. Use each day to find new ways of loving and being with each other, and love will become a constant adventure for you.

Reclaim your freedom to love

    What do you do when you want to yoke a bull to a cart? You castrate him to destroy his sex energy. If you compare an ox with a bull, you will find it is weaker and more easily dominated. An ox is a slave, while a bull is powerful. If he sees a cow passing by, he won’t listen to your commands but move to it, throwing both you and the cart. Because of its free sexual energy, he is, unlike an ox, uncontrollable. 

    Osho says people are manipulated the same way as oxen since politicians and priests have curtailed their sexual energy. He says, ‘’Sex repression, tabooing sex, is the very foundation of human slavery. Man cannot be free unless sex is free.’’ People cannot develop into healthy individuals if they are sexually deprived. By condemning sex before marriage, priests do just that. Sexual energy is at its peak near the age of 18 when women have the greatest orgasms, and men are most potent. When you force girls and boys not to make love then, their powers decline until they get married at the age of 24 or 25 and, consequently, they are never able to love totally or teach their children to do so either. 

    When people's sexual energy is confined, they start despising the present and longing for some other life where they will be free. Osho says this mindset is wrong. We should always live in the present, trying to create paradise here and now. ‘’This life is the only life,’’ he says. ‘’The other life is hidden in this life! It is not against it, it is not away from it; it is in it. Go into it—this is it!’’

    Our alienation is a consequence of sexual repression priests and politicians encourage. As a result, we do not just refrain from expressing love to our partners, but also our friends and family. For instance, we don't hold hands or hug in public with our same-sex friends because we are afraid others might think we are homosexuals. We even shake hands in a hurry because we feel that a long touch might be misinterpreted.

    So, remember—‘’Sex is the root of almost all your problems.’’ If we abandon the notion that sex is wrong and reclaim our freedom to love, Osho says life won’t be our problem anymore.

Transcending sex

    At a certain age, usually, somewhere near 14, sex becomes extremely important to you. In Osho’s words, ‘’You think sex, you sing sex, you walk sex—everything becomes sexual.‘’ This happens, with no exception to every individual because we exist as sexual beings, and nothing is wrong with it. You wouldn’t be here if your parents’ sexual energies had not met and merged into each other. ‘’Life exists through sex; sex is its medium,’’ Osho emphasizes.

    At the age of 42 or near, Osho says, ‘’Floodgates of sexual energy close,’’ and one becomes calmer, as sex is no longer the focus. You probably wonder why people over 42 continue to have sex. They do so because they did not use their sexual energy to the fullest by then. Whenever you do something halfheartedly, it lingers longer. Here is a simple example: if you are sitting at your table and eating, the hunger remains whenever you eat with no enthusiasm. The same goes for sex. If you were not totally in it in moments of delight, the energy accumulates for later. If you fulfill your sexual needs on time, your body feels perfectly quiet, balanced, and tranquil around the age of 42. For this reason, Osho calls this period ‘’the age of meditation.’’ 

When sexual energy dries out, you are no longer trying to lose yourself in the other—you are capable of  ‘’losing yourself in yourself.’’ Before you reach this state, you grow and mature through other people. In the meditation age, as you have learned much about yourself, your need for others disappears, and you can be tremendously happy alone. Only then are you ready to transcend sex and get to a ‘’higher sex.’’ Unlike ordinary sex, which is about meeting two bodies, higher sex is about the union of your inner energies, and therefore, the whole experience is not physical, but spiritual.

Are you a lion in the flock of sheep?

Do you know the ancient story about the lion and sheep? The lioness was pregnant and gave birth while jumping from one hillock to another. Her cub fell near the flock of sheep, and naturally, he started living and behaving like them. He had no idea he was a lion. One day, an old lion came near the flock and saw the young lion among sheep. He started chasing the young lion that was running away with the scared sheep. When he finally caught him, the young lion was crying and begging the old lion to let him go. But, the old lion dragged him to the lake and made him look at his reflection in it. The moment the young lion saw himself, the whole valley echoed his roar. He had never roared before because he thought he was a sheep. The young lion then told the old one, “Forgive me, I had completely forgotten who I am. And I am immensely grateful to you that you helped me to remember.”

Much like the lion from the story, we are surrounded by other people from the moment we are born. Therefore, our whole life we depend on the sense of belonging to some group because it gives us comfort and security. You always know who you are in a crowd that very much determines your whole identity—your name, profession, political and religious preferences, and so on. But think for a moment who you are when you are not among people. Your name or occupation does not say anything about your true identity and consciousness. Who are you?

To find an answer to this question, you need to learn how to be alone, because only in aloneness do you discover your true self. Being alone does not necessarily mean living somewhere in the mountains, far from people. We can be alone wherever we are if we are close to our authentic self. Osho says, aloneness means ‘’dropping your personality, which is a gift to you from the crowd.’’

Unless you separate from the crowd and reach the state of aloneness, you will not be able to love authentically, to relate. Remember—to spread love, you first need to learn to love yourself, and how can you love yourself if you don’t know who you are? 

Final Notes

    Every aspect of our lives represents a symbiosis of opposite forces. As verses from The Tao Te Ching say, ‘’Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty, only because there is ugliness.’’ Love is an ideal example of life’s duality. It arises from aloneness and yet craves company. It unites two souls in one body, giving each one uniqueness and individuality. One can never know love without embracing its paradoxes. 

12min Tip

‘’Reclaim your freedom to love,’’ Osho says. ‘’Reclaim your freedom to be and then life is no longer a problem. It is a mystery, it is an ecstasy, it is a benediction.’’

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Who wrote the book?

Osho, formerly known as Rajneesh or Chandra Mohan Janin, was an Indian mystic and the founder of the Rajneesh movement. He was viewed as a controversial new religious movement leader during his lifetime, a... (Read more)

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