Trust and Doubt – The Pillars of Inquiry and Wisdom

Trust and Doubt

“I am not an infallible pope, I don’t have any divine authority to impose a belief on you; I hold no power, and I am not in any way programming you. I am simply trying to create a longing in you that is sleeping, dormant.

I am trying to wake it up so that you start inquiring.

“The people who say to you to believe and to have faith are the people who themselves do not believe and do not have faith. Because I know what I am saying to you is my experience, I can challenge you to doubt, to be skeptical, to try in every possible way to prove that it is wrong – because I know you cannot prove it wrong. The more you try to inquire, the more you will become convinced of the fact.

“I am not saying that you have to become convinced, I am saying you will become convinced. Even against your whole mind, in spite of all your doubting, skepticism, inquiry, when the truth comes as a revelation, all doubts, all disbeliefs, simply disappear like shadows.

You have brought light in, the shadows start disappearing; they never existed.

“So only the man who knows can have the guts to say to you, ‘Doubt me, question me.’

“There is one question that a sannyasin has asked: ‘Osho, before, you used to talk about the beautiful way of trust, love, the way of the heart. Now your emphasis seems to be more on reason, questioning, skepticism, intelligence. Has your work changed or is it a new phase of your work?’

No, it is not a new phase, it is just the other side of the first.

“I was teaching about trust because you had come from a world which knows nothing of trust. You had come from a world which has trained you intellectually and tried to deny you the existence of your own heart, to deny that feeling is also a way of knowing.

I was talking about trust so that I could open the new door of the heart.

“Without opening the door of the heart I cannot say to you, ‘Doubt, be skeptical’, because then I am sending you on a dangerous path which leads nowhere. It is a little complex but try to understand.

“A man who knows nothing about feeling, nothing about trust, who has never experienced anything like love – his heart has never jumped with joy, danced with joy in someone’s presence – can go on doubting, but he will not find the answer because his doubt will be very shallow. He will not trust his own doubt. His inquiry will be just so-so. He will not trust his own inquiry – he knows nothing of trust.

Inquiry will need trust because you will be going into the unknown.

“It will demand tremendous trust and courage because you are moving away from the conventional and the traditional; you are moving away from the crowd. You are going into the open sea, and you don’t know whether the other, further shore exists at all.

“I could not send you into such an inquiry without preparing you to have trust. It will look contradictory, but what can I do? – this is how life is. Only a man of great trust is capable of great doubt. A man of little trust can only doubt a little. A man of no trust can only pretend that he doubts. He cannot doubt. The depth comes through trust – and it is a risk.

Before I send you into the uncharted sea, I have to prepare you for this immense journey on which you will have to go alone – but I can lead you up to the boat.

“I was trying to teach you about the beauty of trust, the ecstasy of the way of the heart, so when you go into the open ocean of reality you will have courage enough to keep on going. Whatever happens, you will have trust enough in yourself.

“Just see it: how can you trust me if you don’t trust yourself? It is impossible. If you doubt yourself how can you trust me? It is you who are going to trust me, and you don’t trust yourself – how can you trust your trust?

“It is absolutely necessary that the heart should be opened before intellect can be transformed into intelligence. That’s the difference between intellect and intelligence.

Intelligence is intellect in tune with your heart. The heart knows how to trust; the intellect knows how to seek and search….

“In the hands of the heart the intellect becomes intelligent. It is a transformation, a total transformation of energy. Then a person does not become an intellectual, he simply becomes wise.

Wisdom comes through the meeting of the heart and the intellect.

“Once you have learned the art of creating a synchronicity between your heartbeats and the workings of your intellect, you have the whole secret in your hands, the master key to open all the mysteries.

“I could have taught you doubt, but that would have changed you into intellectuals. I would have defeated my purpose and I would have destroyed your life. And there is no contradiction in what I am doing.

First I had to teach you the way of the heart because I wanted you to understand that the heart is higher than your intellect.

“I had to deny the intellect completely so you forgot all the doubting and skepticism that you acquired from your schools, colleges, universities – which know nothing of the heart, which depend only on the intellect. They create the intelligentsia.

“Even their greatest intellectuals, like Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Heidegger, are poor, blind; they know nothing. They have immense knowledgeability, but they know nothing. They have not experienced anything at all, because experience is something that happens through the heart.

The intellect can take the heart into that space where experience happens.

“The intellect cannot experience it; the experiencer will be the heart, but the intellect can be a good vehicle. If the reins are in the hands of the heart, then the horse of intellect is of tremendous beauty. This is the harmony which creates a real, authentic seeker.

It was a problem for me: from where to begin? I had to begin somewhere; either I had to begin with doubt or I had to begin with trust. I contemplated and weighed both for years. You cannot teach both together; it will simply confuse people. The best is to teach one first and then the second. Even then it creates trouble: there is the question that these two things seem to be contradictory. They are not….

I have chosen trust as the first step.

And once you have felt the taste of trust then doubt is impotent.

“It cannot destroy your trust. It will destroy your beliefs, which are needed to be destroyed. It will destroy all that is not authentic – and that is needed to be destroyed. What it cannot destroy is trust. When doubt comes face to face with authentic trust, then doubt accepts the trust – its eyes, its way of feeling – as higher than it. It is so clear, there is no other possibility.

“Your doubt bows down to your trust, and a friendship happens in you. Your heart is the master, your intellect becomes the servant. And that’s what I mean by intelligence. It is intelligence which will ultimately become enlightenment.

So I started with trust because I wanted people who can take the risk of trusting, who are confident enough to take the risk. Trust is risky, doubt is not risky.

“Doubt is really trying to defend yourself; it is a defense measure so that you are not cheated, you are not exploited, so that somebody does not befool you, you don’t fall into the hands of a con man. Doubt simply prevents you from being cheated. But if you don’t have anything, and doubt goes on protecting you, what is the point of it all? It is like a man who goes on guarding his safe and knows perfectly well that there is nothing in it. Then what are you guarding? Have a good sleep, because there is nothing! What do you have that can be exploited?

“Yes, a man of trust has something: he has a throbbing, living, feeling heart. He has a treasure house. Now doubt can be put on guard.

First I tried to create the treasure in you; now I am telling you that you need a guard.

“You have something to lose, and you should be alert. There is no contradiction at all. Only for intellectuals will it seem that there is a contradiction; for intelligent people it will be immediately clear that there is a synchronicity. I may look mad – one day teaching you trust, another day starting to teach you about doubt – but my madness has a method in it. It is not just madness, but madness with a method….

“I have taught you trust and the way of the heart so that your heart is open, available; your eyes are there, available. Now I have to train your intellect.

Before I leave I have to complete my work. I have to train your intellect, sharpen it.

“I have to teach you doubt because doubt is not a simple thing. Doubt needs great courage because you will doubt everything possible. You will be surrounded by all kinds of doubts. All consoling beliefs will be taken away, beliefs which gave you a certain confidence, a certain stability, a certain feeling that you belong to a big tradition, a well-respected religion of holy scriptures, messiahs, representatives of God. You had all those things surrounding you. They gave you a cozy feeling that you are not alone.

I am trying to do just this: cut away everything that gives you a false, cozy feeling and that keeps you dozing all your life.

“Belief is the opium which all the religions have been giving you in good doses. I am trying to destroy your addiction to that opium. My whole effort is to leave you alone. Yes, you will feel fear, you will feel a certain trembling, you will feel all is lost; but this is just in the beginning. A little patience – it is a passing phase. Soon you will feel a tremendous energy arising in you which would never have arisen in the crowd, with its beliefs, because there was no need: you were spoon-fed, there was no need for you to think about your food on your own.

I am taking away every consolation, every comfort – I mean spiritually – so you are completely alone in your being.

“And then take the hypothesis: meditate, be silent, just watch yourself…. 

First I taught you about trust, the heart, feeling, love; and now I am teaching you about doubt, skepticism, reason, intellect, because I would like you to be a whole man.

“You can be completely satisfied with trusting, with the heart, but you will not be a whole man.

“I would not call Meera a whole person, I would not call Ramakrishna a whole person.

They are beautiful, but the intellect is missing; it is all heart. It is too much sugar, it creates diabetes.

I am diabetic. Too much of the heart, too much sweetness, and you suffer from diabetes – and I don’t want any of you to suffer from diabetes. Yes, just living by the heart you will have spiritual diabetes. Intellect is salty, spicy; it is not all sugar.

I would like you to enjoy the wholeness of your being, when your body, your heart, your intellect, all fall in tune. I have called that the new man – Zorba the Buddha.


Excerpted and abridged from:

Osho, From Personality to Individuality, Talk #13 – The New Man: Intellect in Harmony with the Heart

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