Man can be considered in three ways: in terms of the normal, the abnormal and the supernormal.
Western psychology is basically concerned with the abnormal, the pathological, with the man who has fallen down from the normal, who has fallen down from the norm. Eastern psychology, tantra and yoga, consider man from the standpoint of the supernormal – of the one who has gone beyond the norm. Both are abnormal. One who is pathological is abnormal because he is not healthy, and one who is supernormal is abnormal because he is MORE healthy than any normal human being. The difference is of negative and positive.
Western psychology developed as part of psychotherapy. Freud, Jung, Adler and other psychologists were treating the abnormal man, the man who is mentally ill. Because of this the whole Western attitude towards man has become erroneous. Freud was studying pathological cases. Of course, no healthy man would go to him – only those who were mentally ill. They were studied by him, and because of that study he thought that now he understood man. Pathological men are not really men, they are ill, and anything based on a study of them is bound to be deeply erroneous and harmful. This has proved harmful because man is looked at from a pathological standpoint. If a particular state of mind is chosen and that state is ill, pathological, then the whole image of man becomes disease-based. Because of this attitude, the whole Western society has fallen down – because the ill man is the base, the perverted has become the foundation.
And if you study only the abnormal, you cannot conceive of any possibility of supernormal beings. A buddha is impossible for Freud, not conceivable. He must be fictitious, mythological. A buddha cannot be a reality. Freud has only come in contact with ill men who are not even normal, and whatsoever he says about normal man is based on the study of abnormal man. It is just like a physician who is doing a study. No healthy man will go to him, there is no need. Only unhealthy people will go. By studying so many unhealthy people, he creates a picture in his mind of man, but that picture cannot be of man. It cannot be because man is not only illnesses. And if you base your concept of man on illnesses, the whole society will suffer.
Eastern psychology, particularly tantra and yoga, also has a concept of man, but that concept is based on the study of the supernormal – Buddha, Patanjali, Shankara, Nagarjuna, Kabir, Nanak – on persons who have reached to the peak of human potentiality and possibility. The lowest has not been considered, only the highest. If you consider the highest your mind becomes an opening; you can grow because now you know higher reaches are possible. If you consider the lowest, no growth is possible. There is no challenge. If you are normal you feel happy. It is enough that you are not perverted, that you are not in a mental asylum. You can feel good, but there is no challenge.
But if you seek the supernormal, the highest possibility that you can become, if someone has become that possibility, if that possibility has become actual in someone, then a possibility for growth opens. You can grow. A challenge comes to you, and you need not be satisfied with yourself. Higher reaches are possible and they are calling you. This must be understood deeply. Only then will the psychology of tantra be conceivable. Whatsoever you are is not the end. You are just in the middle. You can fall down, you can rise up. Your growth has not finished. You are not the end product; you are just a passage. Something is constantly growing in you.
Tantra conceives of and bases its whole technique on this possibility of growth. And remember, unless you become that which you can become, you will not be fulfilled. You MUST become that which you can become – it is a must! Otherwise you will be frustrated, you will feel meaningless, you will feel that there is no purpose in life. You can carry on, but there can be no joy in it. And you may succeed in many other things, but you will fail with yourself. And this is happening. Someone becomes very rich and everyone thinks that now he has succeeded. Everyone except himself thinks that he has succeeded. He knows his failure. Wealth is there, but he has failed. You are a great man, a leader, a politician. Everyone thinks that they have succeeded, but they have failed. This world is strange: you succeed in everyone’s eyes except your own.
People come to me daily. They say they have everything, but now what? They are failures, but where have they failed? As far as outward things are concerned they have not failed, so why do they feel this failure? Their inner potentiality has remained potent. They have not flowered. They have not achieved what Maslow calls ”self-actualization.” They are failures – inner failures, and ultimately, what others say is meaningless. What you feel is meaningful. If you feel that you are a failure, others may think that you are a Napoleon or an Alexander the Great, but it makes no difference. Rather, it depresses you more. Everyone thinks that you are a success, and now you cannot say that you are not – but you know you are not. You cannot deceive yourself. As far as self-actualization is concerned you cannot deceive. Sooner or later you will have to call upon yourself and look deeply into yourself at what has happened. The life is wasted. You have given up an opportunity and gathered things which mean nothing.
Self-actualization refers to the highest peak of your growth, where you can feel a deep content, where you can say, ”This is my destiny, this is for what I was meant, this is why I am here on earth.” Tantra is concerned with that self-actualization – with how to help you grow more. And remember, tantra is concerned with you, not with ideals. Tantra is not concerned with ideals; it is concerned with you as you are and as you can become. The difference is great. All teachings are concerned with ideals. They say become like Buddha, become like Jesus, become like this or that. They have ideals, and you have to become like those ideals. Tantra has no ideal for you. Your unknown ideal is hidden within you; it cannot be given to you. You are not to become Buddha, there is no need. One Buddha is enough, and no repetition is of any value. Existence is always unique, it never repeats; repetition is boredom. Existence is always new, eternally new, so even a Buddha is not repeated – such a beautiful phenomenon left unrepeated.
So tantra never says be like this or that; there is no ideal. Tantra never talks about ideals; hence, the name ”tantra.” Tantra talks about techniques – never about ideals. It talks of HOW you can become; it never says what. It exists because of that how. Tantra means technique; the very word tantra means technique. It is concerned with ”how” you can become, it is not concerned with what. That ”what” will be supplied by your growth. Just use the technique, and by and by your inner potentiality will become actual. The uncharted possibility will become opened, and as it opens you will realize what it is. And no one can say what it is. Unless you become it, no one can predict what you can become.
Zen monks say to remember and be alert. If you meet Buddha in your meditation, kill him immediately; don’t allow him to stand there. Zen monks are Buddha’s followers, and yet they say kill Buddha immediately if you meet him in your meditation, because the personality, the ideal of Buddha may become so hypnotizing that you may forget yourself, and if you forget yourself you have missed the path. Buddha is not the ideal; you are the ideal, your unknown future. That has to be discovered.
Tantra gives you techniques of discovery. The treasure is within you. If you are imitating someone else, you will become phoney, you will not be real. A mechanical device will be there all around you, and your reality, your real voice, will be lost. So don’t be phoney, be real.
Tantra believes in you and says that you are the ideal, so don’t imitate anyone. Imitation will create a pseudo personality around you. You can go on moving with that pseudo personality thinking it is yourself, but it is not.
You have no fixed future. You have multi possibilities; you can grow in many ways. But the only thing
that will give you ultimate contentment is that you grow – that you grow in such a way that every
growth produces further growth.
[Osho - Vigyan Bahairava Tantra]