The moment you accept yourself you become open, you become vulnerable, you become receptive. The moment you accept yourself there is no need for any future because there is no need to improve upon anything. Then all is good, then all is good as it is. In that very experience life starts taking a new colour, a new music arises.
If you accept yourself, that is the beginning of accepting all. If you reject yourself you are basically rejecting the universe; if you reject yourself you are rejecting existence. If you accept yourself you have accepted existence; then there is nothing else to do but to enjoy, to celebrate. There is no complaint left, there is no grudge; you feel good. Then life is good and death is good, then joy is good and sadness is good, then to be with your beloved is good and to be alone is good. Then whatsoever happens is good because it happens out of the whole.
But you have been conditioned for centuries not to accept yourself. All the cultures of the world have been poisoning the human mind because they all depend on one thing: Improve yourself. They all create anxiety in you - anxiety is the tense state between that which you are and that which you should be. People are bound to remain anxious if there is a "should" in life. If there is an ideal that has to be fulfilled, how can you be at ease? How can you be at home? It is impossible to live anything totally because the mind is hankering for the future. And that future never comes - it cannot come. By the very nature of your desire it is impossible. When it comes you will start imagining other things, you will start desiring other things. You can always imagine a better state of affairs. And you can always remain in anxiety, tense, worried-that's how humanity has been living for centuries.
Only rarely, once in a while, has a man escaped out of the trap.
That man is called a Buddha. a Christ. The awakened man is one who has slipped out of the trap of society, who has seen that this is just absurdity. You cannot improve yourself. And I am not saying that improvement does not happen, remember – but you cannot improve yourself. When you stop improving yourself, life improves you. In that relaxation, in that acceptance, life starts caressing you, life starts flowing through you. And when you don't have any grudge, any complaint, you bloom, you flower.
So I would like to say to you: Accept yourself as you are. And that is the most difficult thing in the world because it goes against your training, your education, your culture. From the very beginning you have been told how you should be. Nobody has ever told you that you are good as you are; they have all put programs in your mind. You have been programmed by parents, by priests, politicians, teachers - you have been programmed for only one thing: Just go on improving upon yourself. Wherever you are, go on rushing for something else. Never rest. Work unto death.
My teaching is simple: Don't postpone life. Don't wait for tomorrow, it never comes. Live it today!
Jesus says to his disciples "Look at the lilies in the field. They toil not, they weave not, they spin not - yet even Solomon was not so beautiful as these poor lily flowers." What is the beauty of the poor flower? It is in utter acceptance. It has no program in its being to improve. It is here now - dancing in the wind, taking a sunbath, talking to the clouds, falling asleep in the afternoon warmth, flirting with the butterflies ... enjoying, being, loving, being loved.
And the whole existence starts pouring its energy into you when you are open. Then the trees are greener than they look to you now, then the sun is sunnier than it looks to you now; then everything becomes psychedelic, becomes colorful. Otherwise everything is drab and dull and gray.
Accept yourself - that is prayer. Accept yourself - that IS gratitude.
Relax into your being-this is the way God wanted you to be. In no other way did he want you to be; otherwise he would have made you somebody else. He has made you you and nobody else. Trying to improve upon yourself is basically trying to improve upon God, which is just stupid, and you will get madder and madder in trying that. You will not arrive anywhere, you will have simply missed a great opportunity.
Let this be your colour: acceptance.
Let this be your characteristic: acceptance, utter acceptance. And then you will be surprised: Life is always ready to shower its gifts on you. Life is not a Miser, existence always gives abundantly - but we cannot receive it because we don't feel that we are worthy to receive it.
That's why people cling to miseries - they suit their programming. People go on punishing themselves in a thousand and one subtle ways. Why? Because that fits with the program. If you are not as you should be, you have to punish yourself, you have to create misery for yourself. That's why people feel good when they are miserable.
Let me say it: People feel happy when they are miserable; they become very, very uneasy when they are happy. This is my observation of thousands and thousands of people: When they are miserable, everything is as it should be. They accept it - it fits with their conditioning, with their mind. They know how horrible they are, they know that they are sinners.
You have been told that you are born in sin. What stupidity! What nonsense! Man is not born in sin, man is born in innocence. There has never been any original sin, there has only been original innocence. Each child is born in innocence. We make him feel guilty; we start saying, "This should not be. You should be like this." And the child is natural and innocent. We punish him for being natural and innocent, and we reward him for being artificial and cunning. We reward him for being phony-all our rewards are for phony people. If somebody is innocent, we don't give any reward; we don't have any regard for him, we don't have any respect for him. The innocent is condemned, the innocent is thought to be almost synonymous with the criminal. The innocent is thought to be foolish, the cunning is thought to be intelligent. The phony is accepted - the phony fits with the phony society.
Then your whole life will be nothing but an effort to create more and more punishments for yourself. And whatsoever you do is wrong, so you have to punish yourself for every joy. Even when joy comes in spite of yourself - mind you, when joy comes in spite of yourself, when sometimes God simply bumps into you and you cannot avoid him - immediately you start punishing yourself. Something has gone wrong - how can this happen to a horrible person like you?
Just the other night a man asked me, "You talk, Osho, about love, you talk of offering your love. But what have I got to give to anybody? What have I got to offer to my beloved?"
This is the secret idea of everybody: "I have nothing." What do you not have? But nobody has told you that you have all the beauties of all the f1owers, because mall is the greatest flower on this earth, the most evolved being. No bird can sing the song that you can sing-the birds' songs are just noises, although they are still beautiful because they come out of innocence. You can sing far better songs, of greater significance, of much more meaning. But you ask, "What have I got?"
The trees are green, beautiful, the stars are beautiful and the rivers are beautiful-but have you ever seen anything more beautiful than a human eye? Have you ever come across anything more beautiful than human eyes? On the whole earth there is nothing more delicate than the human eyes - no rose can compete, no lotus can compete. And what depth! But you want to know, "What have I got to offer in love?" You must have lived a self-condemning life; you must have been putting yourself down, burdening yourself with guilt.
In fact, when somebody loves you, you are a little bit surprised.
"What-me? A person loves me?" The idea arises in your mind: "Because he does not know me, that's why. If he comes to know me, if he comes to see through me, he will never love me." So lovers start hiding themselves from each other. They keep many things private, they don't open their secrets because they are afraid that the moment they open their heart, the love is bound to disappear - because they cannot love themselves, how can they conceive of anybody else loving them?
Love starts with self-love. Don't be selfish but be self-full; they are two different things. Don't be a Narcissus, don't be obsessed with yourself. But a natural self-love is a must, a basic phenomenon. Only then out of it can you love somebody else.
Accept yourself - love yourself: you are God's creation. God's signature is on you, and you are special - unique. Nobody else has ever been like you, and nobody else will ever be like you - you are simply unique, incomparable. Accept this, love this, celebrate this - and in that very celebration you will start seeing the uniqueness of the others, the incomparable beauty of the others. Love is possible only when there is a deep acceptance of oneself, the other, the world. Acceptance creates the milieu in which love grows, the soil in which love blooms.