What is a Total Man? What is Meant by Self-Actualization?

A self-actualized person, a balanced, centered person, changes everything.

What is a Total Man? What is Meant by Self-Actualization?

"Look at a poet.

When he is in his poetic mood he looks like a buddha. He forgets himself completely. The ordinary man in the poet is as if he is no more there. So when a poet is in his mood, he has a peak – a partial peak. And sometimes poets have glimpses which are only possible with enlightened, buddhalike minds. A poet can speak like a buddha. For example, Kahlil Gibran speaks like a buddha but he is not a buddha. He is a poet–a great poet.

So if you see Kahlil Gibran through his poetry, he looks like a Buddha, Christ or Krishna.

But if you go and meet the man Kahlil Gibran, he is just ordinary. He talks about love so beautifully. But a buddha knows love with his total being. Kahlil Gibran knows love in his poetic flight. When he is on his poetic flight, he has glimpses of love–beautiful glimpses. He expresses them with rare insight. But if you go and see the real Kahlil Gibran, the man, you will feel a disparity. The poet and the man are far apart. The poet seems to be something which happens to the man sometimes, but this man is not the poet.

Poets feel as though they have become instruments of some other energy, some other force.

This feeling comes because really, their totality is not actualized–only a part of it is, a fragment.

When I say self-actualization, I do not mean that you should become a great poet. I mean that you should become a total man.

I do not say a great man because a great man is always partial. One moves and moves and moves in one direction, and in all other dimensions, all other directions, one remains the same–one becomes lopsided. I mean create a balance, be centered, be fulfilled as a man, not as a poet, not as an artist, but fulfilled as a man. What does it mean to be fulfilled as a man? A great man is a great man because of certain things he has done. Greatness is partial, fragmentary. That is why great men have to face more anguish than ordinary men.

What is a total man?

Firstly, a total man is centered. Whatsoever he is doing, he remains at the center. He remains centered in the navel.
Secondly, he is balanced.
Thirdly, if he is centered and balanced, many things will follow. He will always be at ease. He will receive death as he receives any other guest.

For such a man, nothing is trivial, nothing is great; everything becomes sacred, beautiful, holy–everything! Whatsoever he is doing, whatsoever, it is of ultimate concern–as if of ultimate concern.
Nothing is trivial. He will not say, this is trivial, this is great." Really, nothing is great, nor is anything small and trivial. The touch of the man is significant.
A self-actualized person, a balanced, centered person, changes everything. The very touch makes it great.

The self-actualized man is at ease.

Life and death are the same; bliss and misery are the same. Nothing disturbs him, nothing dislocates him from his home, from his centeredness. To such a man you cannot add anything. You cannot take anything out of him, you cannot add anything to him–he is fulfilled. His every breath is a fulfilled breath, silent, blissful. He has attained. He has attained to existence, to being; he has flowered as a total man." - Osho