If Only We Are Brave Enough to Be It
“When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it”
This is how Amanda Gorman ended her beautiful poem, so elegantly delivered at the recent Presidential inauguration in Washington. For many it was the highlight of the whole event. In a very touching follow-up interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, she explained how she had struggled with articulating certain letters words from an early age. It turns out Anderson Cooper also had a speech problem as a child, stuttering, just like Joe Biden. She explained, “I am proud to be in the speech difficulty club with you and President Biden.”
It turns out there are 70 million people in the world who stutter. And if Biden’s experience is anything to go by, they suffer “anger, rage, humiliation” because of the cruelty of people who mock them — as so often happens when people express their prejudice against anyone who isn’t “normal.” Osho has, as always, a totally unique understanding of so many of our issues, including stuttering. His answer to this questioner may be helpful for some of those 70 million, at least.
I am a homosexual Catholic and badly suffer from stuttering. Can you help me out of my mess?
“The first thing you should get out of is your Catholicism; that is the real mess. Homosexuality is not such a big problem; it is not a problem at all, in fact. It is part of the human freedom. There is nothing wrong if two persons choose a certain style of sexual relationship; it should be nobody’s business. But the priests and the politicians are poking their noses into everything! They create guilt in you — absolutely unnecessary.
“If two men are in love, what is wrong in it? What harm are they doing to anybody? In fact, they look happier than the heterosexuals; that’s why they are called “gay.” This is strange: I never see lesbians looking gay — they look sad, they look very serious — but homosexuals always look very gay, very sweet, real honeys.
“I have been wondering what the matter is, why are lesbians not so happy? Maybe they cannot enjoy nagging, which has been an eternal joy for women. In fact, without their nagging I don’t think anybody would ever have become religious. All your saints are the by-product of nagging. All your saints should be immensely grateful to women: they have driven their mates to be spiritual! There was no possibility left for them in the world.
They had to escape to the monasteries. They say they are going in search of God; in fact, they are simply going away from the wife. They are cowards.
“Lesbians don’t look very happy. Something is missing, and that something seems to be that they cannot torture each other. They understand each other perfectly well, and because they understand each other very well there is no mystery left.
“Men live in the head, women live in the heart. The heart can rejoice only when there is something very mysterious, something like a koan — the goose in the bottle. Neither does the bottle have to be broken nor the goose killed, and it has to be taken out too. The heart enjoys the mysterious. The head is not interested in the mysterious; it is interested in the act of puzzling, of riddling. Any riddle, any puzzle, interests the head. The approach of the head is logical
“To men, women are mysterious; to connect with the woman a man must come to his heart, and he lives in his head.
“Hence the woman always remains a problem. He cannot understand her; he cannot explain what is happening; he cannot explain it away either. He has to live with a mystery, and that is a constant pain in his neck; it is beyond his grasp.
“But with two men things are simple: both are logical. They understand the language, they understand logic; they understand mathematics, calculation. At the most a man is just a new question to be solved — not a mystery to be lived but a question to be solved; a problem which can be solved, which is not impossible to solve. That keeps two men interested, keeps them intrigued. Hence I see homosexuals looking gay. Lesbians looking very sad.
“One more thing happens: homosexuals become more feminine and they start having a certain beauty, a certain “niceness” about them, a certain roundness, a grace. The lesbian becomes more manly; she starts losing her feminine grace; she becomes masculine, aggressive, hard. Hence, if you were a woman it would have been a problem, and I would have helped you to come out of it. But you are a man. Why bother? Why make much out of a simple thing? If you are enjoying a relationship with a man, enjoy it!
The Christian God himself seems to be homosexual — the whole trinity consists of three men. How they are managing it nobody knows — not a single woman!
“Only the Holy Ghost is a little suspect; maybe the Holy Ghost is bisexual? Ghosts can do any kind of thing! Otherwise the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost — what kind of trinity is this? It is very homosexual! They have not allowed a single woman to be in it, just to keep out of trouble. One woman would have destroyed the whole trinity; it would have become a real triangle!
“Homosexuality is not a problem. We should start looking at real problems and should not be concerned about unreal problems. There are real problems to be solved. It is a trick of the human mind — to create unreal problems so that you become occupied with them while real problems go on growing. This is an old strategy: politicians, priests, so-called religious leaders go on giving you pseudo problems to solve so that you become occupied with the pseudo.
“The problem in itself is meaningless; the problem is not a problem at all, but how much fuss has gone on down the ages about homosexuality! There are countries where people are still killed for homosexual acts, murdered, sentenced to jail for their whole lives. Strange world! This is a twentieth-century world? Homosexuality is not a problem at all; there are thousands of real problems to be solved. But man has to be kept engaged with toys.
“My effort is to withdraw all your attention from toys so that you can focus on the real problems of life; and if you focus on the real problems of life they can be solved.
I don’t see how homosexuality becomes a problem. How does it become a problem? Why should it be of concern to anybody?
“A love affair is two individuals’ private concern; it is their intimacy, it is not a social phenomenon.
“In fact, it will help the world population if more people turn homosexual. It will be good, very good for the world: less people will be born, the earth will be less burdened; there will be less poverty. Of course, less orphans and less Mother Teresas! There will be less need for contraceptives, birth control methods, sterilization, and of course the whole business of the Polack Pope will go out of his hands. That is his whole business! For one year continuously he has been talking against contraceptives, against birth control, sterilization, abortion. Homosexuality can solve all these problems simply!
“So I don’t see that there is much of a problem in it. The only problem is your Catholicism.
“Rodney, the eldest son of a respectable Boston family, announced to his shocked father that he intended to live openly with his swishy boyfriend on Beacon Hill.
“’Damn it, Rodney,’ the parent responded, ‘our family came over with John Winthrop, and we have never had a scandal such as this.’
“’I can’t help it, father, I love him.”
“’But for God’s sake, son, he’s a Catholic!’”
That is the true problem! Come out of your Catholicism. And when I say come out of your Catholicism, I mean come out of all kinds of stupid ideologies — Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian.
“Come out of ideologies and start living life as if you are Adam and Eve, the first man on the earth, the first woman on the earth. Start afresh, from scratch.
“As far as your stuttering is concerned, what is wrong with it? It may just be because you have made such a problem out of homosexuality that you are stuttering. Stuttering — I have watched it in many people — comes in a state of stress, tension.
“When I was a student in the university, my neighbor…a young man, a beautiful man, healthy, in every way intelligent. I had never seen him stuttering. Once his father visited him, and he immediately started stuttering in front of his father. I could not believe what was happening. The moment the father left he was perfectly okay. I asked him about it.
“He said, ‘This is a problem. When I go back home, I cannot avoid stuttering in front of my father and mother. It happens… the more I try to avoid it the more it happens. Even when my father’s letter comes and I start reading it, I suddenly feel a trembling. I cannot read my father’s letter without stuttering. Otherwise I am perfectly okay.’
“So I said to him, ‘So it is not a question of stuttering; there is some stress, some tension. Your father is heavy to you, and you regress back to your childhood, back to your old fears, and those fears start overcoming your intelligence.’
I said to him, ‘Do one thing: next time your father comes, try to stutter with every word!
“He said, ‘How is that going to help?’
“I said, ‘Try it. Don’t try not to stutter; on the contrary try to stutter. Make every effort that not a single word should come out without stuttering!’
“He said, ‘What are you suggesting? I have been doing just the opposite and have failed utterly. Your method seems to be such that it is bound to create more troubles for me!’
“I said, ‘Give it a try.’
“The father came, and I was there, and he tried it — and he could not stutter!
“There are a few things which happen only if you are trying; there are a few things which happen only if you don’t try. The very effort comes out of fear and if fear is the cause then the effort cannot help.
Hypnotherapists call it ‘the law of reverse effect.’
“If you are learning to ride a bicycle you may be on a sixty-foot-wide road, absolutely empty, nobody on the road, and then you see a milestone by the side of the road, and suddenly your cycle starts moving toward that milestone for no reason at all. You start feeling afraid; you try to avoid the milestone. Now, on a sixty-foot-wide road even a blind man has only a rare chance of hitting the milestone, but you will try hard, and the more you try the more you will become focused.
“Now the whole road disappears, there is only that milestone standing there like Hanumanji, the monkey god, giggling at you, making faces at you, attracting you like a magnetic force. You are doing everything to avoid it, but you are going…you know you are going. It is unavoidable! The more unavoidable you feel it is, the more energy you put into it. You become tense. The whole world has shrunk to Hanumanji…and the crash!
“This is one of the fundamental laws of life. Homosexuality may seem to be the cause, but it is not homosexuality really; it is your attitude toward it, your approach to it. You are making a problem out of it; then there will be trouble.
My suggestion is: stutter beautifully — make stuttering songs! You will enjoy, others will enjoy, and that’s what we are here for.
“’Have faith and ye shall be healed!’ intoned the evangelist at the revival meeting. A woman on crutches and a man came forward. The evangelist asked, “’What is your name, my good woman?’
“’I’m Mrs. Smith,’ she answered, ‘and I haven’t been able to walk without crutches for twenty years.’
“’Well, Mrs. Smith,’ he said, ‘go behind that screen and pray.’
‘Turning to the man, he asked, ‘What is your name?’
“’My name ith Thamuelth,’ he answered, ‘and I have alwayth thpoken with a lithp.’
“’Alright, Mr. Samuels,’ the evangelist said, ‘go behind that screen with Mrs. Smith and pray.’
“After several minutes had passed, the revivalist announced, ‘I think the time has come. Witness these miracles. Mrs. Smith, throw your left crutch over the screen.’ The audience gasped as it sailed over. ‘Mrs. Smith, throw your right crutch over the screen.’ The crowd cheered as the second crutch appeared.
“Encouraged, the evangelist commanded, ‘Mr. Samuels, say something in a loud, clear voice, so we can all hear you.’
“Samuels answered, ‘Mithuth Sthmith jutht fell on her ath!’
“So what is wrong with it? It is a far greater miracle! So don’t be worried about unnecessary things.
Stutter joyously, enjoy it, and there is a possibility that you may stop stuttering — beware of it!
“If you don’t want to stop it, then don’t listen to me, you just go on trying not to stutter.
“My suggestion is stutter, and don’t be a miser. Fill the whole place with stuttering! Whomsoever you meet, stutter — don’t miss an opportunity. Even the words that you can speak well, don’t speak well, stutter! And you may be surprised that once you relax, once you start enjoying, once the tension is dropped, stuttering may disappear. If it disappears, good; if it does not disappear there is no harm in it. It is innocent!
“Take life as easily as possible. But people don’t understand me. I say to them, ‘Life is a mystery. It is not to be solved but to be lived.’ And somebody has asked me, ‘Osho, when you said that, I heard, “Life is a misery, not to be solved but to be lived.”‘ That is up to you. To me it is a mystery, not to be solved but to be lived, but you can hear it as ‘misery.’
Don’t make unnecessary problems for yourself, so that your whole energy can become focused on the essential problem. And the essential problem is only one: Know thyself.”
Excerpted from Osho, The Goose Is Out, Talk # 3 — No Peaks, No Valleys
You can read this talk and see all the available formats here