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Lifespan of a Man – A Funny Spiritual Story by Osho

I have heard… God is making all the creatures of the earth and is giving out sex lives to each animal.

First he turns to the human. “I am giving you ten years of a good sex life,” says God.

The man’s face falls. “Is that all?” he asks.

“I only have so much to go around, fella,” says God. He then turns to the monkey and says, “I’m giving you twenty years of a good sex life.”

The monkey says, “Oh, I don’t really need that much. Ten years would be more than enough for me.”

The man, standing nearby, overhears this and says excitedly, “I will take it! I will take those extra ten years.”

“All right,” says God. “You got it.” He then turns to the lion. “I’m going to give you twenty years of good sex life.”

The lion replies, “You know, God, I really think I would be happier with just ten.”

The man starts hopping up and down. “I will take them! I will take the other ten years!”

“You can have them,” says God to the man.

He turns to the donkey and says, “Now, I am going to give you twenty years of a good sex life. Is that all right with you?”

“To tell you the truth,” says the donkey, “I would also be satisfied with just ten.” God gives the man the other ten years too.

Osho – “The Hidden Splendor”

What is the Meaning / Moral of the “Lifespan of a Man” Story?

In the heart of this whimsical tale lies a profound spiritual lesson: the value of contentment. Each creature, in its simplicity, teaches us a valuable truth about embracing what we are given without greed or envy. The man, eager for more than his allotted ten years, learns the hard way that grasping for excess often leads to dissatisfaction and imbalance in life. Contentment, therefore, becomes a gateway to inner peace and fulfillment.

Another spiritual moral woven into the fabric of this story is the principle of gratitude. While the man initially reacts with disappointment upon hearing his limited share of years, he later seizes the opportunity to gain more. Yet, in his quest for greater abundance, he fails to appreciate the gift already bestowed upon him. Gratitude opens the door to abundance, allowing us to recognize and cherish the blessings we already possess, rather than endlessly pursuing more.

The concept of divine timing emerges subtly in the exchanges between God and the creatures. Each animal expresses a different preference for the duration of their sex life, indicating a unique understanding of their needs and desires. God, in His wisdom, honors their individual requests, offering just what they require. This highlights the importance of trusting in the timing of our lives, knowing that what is meant for us will come to us at the perfect moment.

Simplicity and moderation are celebrated virtues in this tale, embodied by the monkey and the lion. Despite being offered more, they recognize the sufficiency of their allotted years and graciously decline the extra time. Their humility teaches us the beauty of embracing simplicity in our lives, resisting the temptation to constantly seek more and instead finding contentment in what is just enough.

The man's eagerness to acquire additional years serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of excessive desire and attachment. In his relentless pursuit of more, he overlooks the inherent value of the years he has been granted. This speaks to the Buddhist concept of attachment as the root of suffering, reminding us of the importance of cultivating detachment and letting go of our cravings for excess.

Ultimately, this story invites us to reflect on the nature of desire and fulfillment in our own lives. Are we content with what we have, or are we constantly striving for more? Do we recognize and appreciate the blessings already present in our lives, or do we overlook them in pursuit of greater abundance? By pondering these questions, we can cultivate a deeper awareness of our own desires and motivations, guiding us towards a path of greater peace and contentment.

Personal Reflection Questions

Spiritual stories are an opportunity to reflect on your own life. Here are 10 questions you can use to go deeper with the teachings in this story:

  1. Reflect on your initial reaction to the story. Did any particular character resonate with you, and if so, why? How might your own desires and expectations influence your interpretation of the narrative?
  2. Consider the role of God in the story as the distributor of “sex lives” to each animal. How does this portrayal of God challenge or affirm your beliefs about divine intervention and human desires?
  3. Explore the theme of contentment as depicted through the various animals' responses to God's allocation of years for a good sex life. How does each creature's attitude toward time and pleasure reflect broader attitudes toward fulfillment and satisfaction?
  4. Contemplate the significance of the man's eagerness to claim additional years of a good sex life. What does his behavior reveal about human nature and the pursuit of pleasure? How might his actions mirror our own desires for more than what is offered?
  5. Reflect on the concept of abundance versus scarcity as illustrated in the story. How do the characters' responses to God's offer reflect their perceptions of abundance and scarcity in their own lives? How might these perceptions influence their decisions?
  6. Consider the implications of God's willingness to accommodate the man's request for extra years. What does this suggest about divine grace and the nature of human desire? How might this portrayal of God's generosity challenge traditional notions of divine justice?
  7. Explore the theme of gratitude and appreciation as depicted through the man's reactions to God's offer of additional years. How does his response to the opportunity for more time reflect the importance of gratitude in experiencing life's blessings?
  8. Contemplate the significance of the donkey's humble acceptance of God's offer. What does the donkey's willingness to be satisfied with less reveal about the nature of contentment and fulfillment? How might this attitude inspire us to reevaluate our own desires and expectations?
  9. Reflect on the broader message of the story regarding the pursuit of pleasure and the acceptance of what is given. How might the story encourage us to reconsider our own attitudes toward desire, satisfaction, and fulfillment in life?
  10. Consider how the story's humorous tone and playful narrative style contribute to its deeper spiritual message. How does the use of humor and allegory invite readers to explore profound truths about human nature and the quest for fulfillment?