Nobody is what he was meant by existence to be. The society, the culture, the religion, the education that have all been conspiring against innocent children. They have all the powers-the child is helpless and dependent, so whatsoever they want to take out of him, they manage to do it. They don’t allow any child to grow to his natural destiny. Their every effort is to make human beings into utilities. Who knows, if a child is left on his own to grow, whether he will be of any use to the vested interests or not? The society is not prepared to take the risk. It grabs the child and starts molding him into something that is needed by the society.

In a certain sense, it kills the soul of the child and gives him a false identity so that he never misses his soul, his being. The false identity is a substitute. But that substitute is useful only in the same crowd which has given it to you. The moment you are alone, the false starts falling apart and the repressed real starts expressing itself. Hence the fear of being lonely.

Nobody wants to be lonely. Everybody wants to belong to a crowd-not only one crowd, but many crowds. A person belongs to a religious crowd, a political party, a Rotary Club…and there are many other small groups to belong to. One wants to be supported twenty-four hours a day because the false, without support, cannot stand. The moment one is alone, one starts feeling a strange craziness. For so many years you believed yourself to be somebody, and then suddenly in a moment of loneliness you start feeling you are not that. It creates fear: then who are you?

And years of suppression…it will take some time for the real to express itself. The gap between the two has been called by the mystics, “the dark night of the soul”-a very appropriate expression. You are no more the false, and you are not yet the real. You are in a limbo, you don’t know who you are.

Particularly in the West, the problem is even more complicated because they have not developed any methodology to discover the real as son as possible, so that the dark night of the soul can be shortened. The West knows nothing as far as meditation is concerned. And meditation is only a name for being alone, silent, waiting for the real to assert itself. It is not an act, it is a silent relaxation-because whatever you “do” will come out of your false personality…all your doing, for so many years, has come out of it. It is an old habit.

Habits die hard. So many years of living in a false personality imposed by people whom you loved, whom you respected…and they are not intentionally doing anything bad to you. Their intentions were good, just their awareness was nil. They were not conscious people-your parents, your teachers, your priests, your politicians-they were not conscious people, they were unconscious-your parents, your teachers, your priests, your politicians-they were not conscious people, they were unconscious. And even a good intention in the hands of an unconscious person turns out to be poisonous.

So whenever you are alone, a deep fear-because suddenly the false starts disappearing. And the real will take a little time, you have lost it so many years ago. You will have to give some consideration to the fact that so many years’ gap has to be bridged.

In fear-that “I am losing myself, my senses, my sanity, my mind, everything”…because the self that has been given to you by others consists of all these things-it looks like you will go insane. You immediately start doing something just to keep yourself engaged. If there are no people, at least there is some action, so the false remains engaged and does not start disappearing.

Hence people find it the most difficult on holidays. For five days they work, hoping that on the weekend they are going to relax. But the weekend is the worst time in the whole world-more accidents happen on the weekend, more people commit suicide, more murders, more stealing, more rape. Strange…and these people were engaged for five days and there was no problem. But the weekend suddenly gives them a choice, either to be engaged in something or to relax-but relaxing is fearsome; the false personality disappears. Keep engaged, do anything stupid. People are running toward the beaches, bumper to bumper, miles-long traffic. And if you ask them where they are going, they are “getting away fro the crowd”-and the whole crowd is going with them! They are going to find a solitary, silent space-all of them.

In fact, if they had remained hoe it would have been more solitary and silent-because all the idiots have gone in search of a solitary place. And they are rushing like mad, because two days will be finished soon, they have to reach-don’t ask where!

On the beaches, you see…they are so crowded, not even marketplaces are so crowded. And strangely enough, people are feeling very much at ease, taking a sunbath. Ten thousand people feeling very much at ease, taking a sunbath. Ten thousand people on a small beach taking a sunbath, relaxing. The same person on the same beach alone will not be able to relax. But he knows thousands of other people are relaxing all around hi. The same people were in the offices, the same people were in the streets, the same people were in the marketplace, now the same people are on the beach.

The crowd is an essential for the false self to exist. The moment it is lonely, you start freaking out. This is where one should understand a little bit of meditation.

Don’t be worried, because that which can disappear is worth disappearing. It is meaningless to cling to it-it is not yours, it is not you.

You are the one when the false has gone and the fresh, the innocent, the unpolluted being will arise in its place. Nobody else can answer your question “Who am I?”-you will know it.

All meditative techniques are a help to destroy the false. They don’t’ give you the real-the real cannot be given. That which can be given cannot be real. The real you have got already; just the false has to be taken away.

In a different way it can be said: a Master takes away things from you which you don’t really have, and he gives you that which you really have.

Meditation is just a courage to be silent and alone. Slowly, slowly you start feeing a new quality to yourself, a new aliveness, a new beauty, a new intelligence-which is not borrowed from anybody, which is growing within you. It has roots in your existence. And if you are not a coward, it will come to fruition, to flowering.

Only the brave, the courageous, the people who have guts, can be religious. Not the churchgoers-these are the cowards. Not the Hindus, not the Mohammedans, not the Christians-they are against searching. The same crowd, they are trying to make their false identity more consolidated.

You were born, you have come into the world with life, with consciousness, with tremendous sensitivity. Just look at a small child-look at his eyes, the freshness. All that has been covered by a false personality.

And one does not know anything about tomorrow.

Don’t die before realizing your authentic being.

Only those few people are authentic who have lived with authentic being and who have died with authentic being-because they know that life is eternal, and death is fiction.

—Osho