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Life, Love, Laughter
Celebrating Your Existence
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2009 Osho International Foundation, Switzerland, www.osho.com/copyrights
All rights reserved.
NO BEGINNING, NO END
People ask me, "Why is this life so mysterious?" How am I supposed to know? It is so! It is simply a fact, I am not talking about theories. I'm not saying that it is my theory that life is mysterious — then you could ask why. It is simply so. The trees are green. You ask why. The trees are green because they are green. There is no question of why.
If you can ask why and the question can be answered, then life will not be a mystery. If the why can be answered, then life cannot be a mystery. Life is a mystery because no "why" is relevant.
I have heard:
Mulla Nasruddin was saying to one of his disciples that life is like a woman. I was surprised, so I listened attentively to what he was saying.
He was saying, "The man who says he understands women is bragging. The man who thinks he understands them is gullible. The man who pretends to understand them is ambiguous. The man who wants to understand them is wistful. On the other hand, the man who does not say he understands them, does not think he understands them, does not pretend to understand them, does not even want to understand them — he understands them!"
And that's how life is also. Life is a woman. Try to understand life and you will become a mess. Forget all about understanding. Just live it and you will understand it. The understanding is not going to be intellectual, theoretical; the understanding is going to be total. The understanding is not going to be verbal; it is going to be nonverbal. That is the meaning when we say life is a mystery. It can be lived but it cannot be solved.
You can know what it is, but you cannot say what it is. That is the meaning of mystery. When we say that life is a mystery, we are saying that life is not a problem. A problem can be solved. A mystery is that which cannot be solved. Insolubility is unbuilt. And it is good that life cannot be solved, otherwise what would you do then? Just think of it. If life is not a mystery and somebody comes and explains it to you — then what will you do? There will be nothing left except to commit suicide. Even that will look meaningless.
Life is a mystery; the more you know it, the more beautiful it is. A moment comes when suddenly you start living it, you start flowing with it. An orgasmic relationship evolves between you and life, but you cannot figure out what it is. That's the beauty of it, that's its infinite depth.
And, yes, there is no beginning and no end. How can there be any beginning to life and any end to life? Beginning will mean that something came out of nothing, and end will mean that something was there and went into nothing. That will be an even bigger mystery. When we say life has no beginning we simply say it has always been there. How can there be a beginning? Can you mark a line and say that at this moment life started, as Christian theologians used to say? Just four thousand years before Jesus Christ, they say, life started on a certain Monday. Of course, it must have been in the morning. But how can you call it Monday if there was no Sunday before it? And how can you call it morning if there was no night before it? Just think of it.
No, you cannot make a mark — that is foolish. It is not possible to mark a line because even to mark a line something is needed. Something is needed to precede it, otherwise demarcation is not possible. You can mark a line if there are two things, but if there is only one thing how can you mark a line? The fence around your house is possible because there is a neighbor. If there is no neighbor, nothing beyond your fence, the fence cannot exist. Just think of it. If there is absolutely nothing beyond your fence, your fence will fall down into nothing. How can it exist? Something is needed beyond the fence to hold it.
If on a certain Monday life started, a Sunday is needed to precede it. Otherwise the Monday will fall, topple down and disappear. And in the same way there is no possibility of any end. Life is, life simply is. It has been, it will be. It is eternity.
And don't start thinking about it. Otherwise you will be missing it, because all the time that you waste in thinking about it is simply waste. Use that time, use that space, use that energy to live it.CHAPTER 2
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
A story from the Hasids:
When Rabbi Bunam lay dying, his wife burst into tears.
He said, "What are you crying for? My whole life was only that I might learn how to die."
Life is in living. It is not a thing, it is a process. There is no way to attain to life except by living it, except by being alive, by flowing, streaming with it. If you are seeking the meaning of life in some dogma, in some philosophy, in some theology, that is the sure way to miss life and meaning both.
Life is not somewhere waiting for you, it is happening in you. It is not in the future as a goal to be arrived at, it is herenow, this very moment — in your breathing, circulating in your blood, beating in your heart. Whatsoever you are is your life, and if you start seeking meaning somewhere else, you will miss it. Man has done that for centuries.
Concepts have become very important, explanations have become very important — and the real has been completely forgotten. We don't look to that which is already here, we want rationalizations.
I have heard a very beautiful story.
Some years ago a successful American had a serious identity crisis. He sought help from psychiatrists but nothing came of it, for there were none who could tell him the meaning of life — which is what he wanted to know. By and by he learned of a venerable and incredibly wise guru who lived in a mysterious and most inaccessible region of the Himalayas. Only that guru, he came to believe, would tell him what life meant and what his role in it ought to be. So he sold all his worldly possessions and began his search for the all-knowing guru. He spent eight years wandering from village to village throughout the Himalayas in an effort to find him. And then one day he chanced upon a shepherd who told him where the guru lived and how to reach the place.
It took him almost a year to find him, but he eventually did. There he came upon his guru, who was indeed venerable, in fact well over one hundred years old. The guru consented to help him, especially when he learned of all the sacrifices the man had made towards this end.
"What can I do for you, my son?" asked the guru.
"I need to know the meaning of life," said the man.
To this the guru replied, without hesitation, "Life," he said, "is a river without end."
"A river without end?" said the man in a startled surprise. "After coming all this way to find you, all you have to tell me is that life is a river without end?"
The guru was shaken, shocked. He became very angry and he said, "You mean it is not?"
Nobody can give you the meaning of your life. It is your life, the meaning has also to be yours. Himalayas won't help. Nobody except you can come upon it. It is your life and it is only accessible to you. Only in living will the mystery be revealed to you.
The first thing I would like to tell you is, don't seek it anywhere else. Don't seek it in me, don't seek it in scriptures, don't seek it in clever explanations — they all explain away, they don't explain. They simply stuff your empty mind, they don't make you aware of what is. And the more the mind is stuffed with dead knowledge, the more dull and stupid you become. Knowledge makes people stupid; it dulls their sensitivity. It stuffs them, it becomes a weight on them, it strengthens their ego but it does not give light and it does not show them the way. It is not possible.
Life is already there bubbling within you. It can be contacted only there. The temple is not outside, you are the shrine of it. So the first thing to remember if you want to know what life is, is: never seek it without, never try to find out from somebody else. The meaning cannot be transferred that way. The greatest masters have never said anything about life — they have always thrown you back upon yourself.
The second thing to remember is: once you know what life is you will know what death is. Death is also part of the same process. Ordinarily we think death comes at the end, ordinarily we think death is against life, ordinarily we think death is the enemy, but death is not the enemy. And if you think of death as the enemy, it simply shows that you have not been able to know what life is.
Death and life are two polarities of the same energy, of the same phenomenon — the tide and the ebb, the day and the night, the summer and the winter. They are not separate and not opposites, not contraries; they are complementaries. Death is not the end of life; in fact, it is a completion of one life, the crescendo of one life, the climax, the finale. And once you know your life and its process, then you understand what death is.
Death is an organic, integral part of life, and it is very friendly to life. Without it life cannot exist. Life exists because of death; death gives the background. Death is, in fact, a process of renewal. And death happens each moment. The moment you breathe in and the moment you breathe out, both happen. Breathing in, life happens; breathing out, death happens. That's why when a child is born the first thing he does is breathe in, then life starts. And when an old man is dying, the last thing he does is breathe out, then life departs. Breathing out is death, breathing in is life — they are like two wheels of a bullock cart. You live by breathing in as much as you live by breathing out. The breathing out is part of breathing in. You cannot breathe in if you stop breathing out. You cannot live if you stop dying. The man who has understood what his life is allows death to happen; he welcomes it. He dies each moment and each moment he is resurrected. His cross and his resurrection are continually happening as a process. He dies to the past each moment and he is born again and again into the future.
If you look into life you will be able to know what death is. If you understand what death is, only then are you able to understand what life is. They are organic. Ordinarily, out of fear, we have created a division. We think that life is good and death is bad. We think that life has to be desired and death is to be avoided. We think somehow we have to protect ourselves against death. This absurd idea creates endless miseries in our lives, because a person who protects himself against death becomes incapable of living. He is the person who is afraid of exhaling, then he cannot inhale and he is stuck. Then he simply drags; his life is no longer a flow, his life is no longer a river.
If you really want to live you have to be ready to die. Who is afraid of death in you? Is life afraid of death? It is not possible. How can life be afraid of its own integral process? Something else is afraid in you. The ego is afraid in you. Life and death are not opposites; ego and death are opposites. Life and death are not opposites; ego and life are opposites. Ego is against both life and death. The ego is afraid to live and the ego is afraid to die. It is afraid to live because each effort, each step towards life, brings death closer.
If you live you are coming closer to dying. The ego is afraid to die, hence it is afraid to live also. The ego simply drags.
There are many people who are neither alive nor dead. This is worse than anything. A man who is fully alive is full of death also. That is the meaning of Jesus on the cross. Jesus carrying his own cross has not really been understood. And he says to his disciples, "You will have to carry your own cross." The meaning of Jesus carrying his own cross is very simple, nothing but this: everybody has to carry his death continuously, everybody has to die each moment, everybody has to be on the cross because that is the only way to live fully, totally.
Whenever you come to a total moment of aliveness, suddenly you will see death there also. In love it happens. In love, life comes to a climax — hence people are afraid of love.
I have been continuously surprised by people who come to me and say they are afraid of love. What is the fear of love? It is because when you really love somebody your ego starts slipping and melting. You cannot love with the ego; the ego becomes a barrier. And when you want to drop the barrier the ego says, "This is going to be a death. Beware!"
The death of the ego is not your death. The death of the ego is really your possibility of life. The ego is just a dead crust around you, it has to be broken and thrown away. It comes into being naturally — just as when a traveler passes, dust collects on his clothes, on his body, and he has to take a bath to get rid of the dust.
As we move in time, dust of experiences, of knowledge, of lived life, of past, collects. That dust becomes our ego. Accumulated, it becomes a crust around you which has to be broken and thrown away. One has to take a bath continuously — every day, in fact every moment, so that this crust never becomes a prison. The ego is afraid to love because in love, life comes to a peak. But whenever there is a peak of life there is also a peak of death — they go together.
In love you die and you are reborn. The same happens when you come to meditate or to pray, or when you come to a master to surrender. The ego creates all sorts of difficulties, rationalizations not tosurrender: "Think about it, brood about it, be clever about it." When you come to a master, again the ego becomes suspicious, doubtful, creates anxiety, because again you are coming to life, to a flame where death will also be as much alive as life.
Let it be remembered that death and life both become aflame together, they are never separate. If you are very, very minimally alive, at the minimum, then you can see death and life as being separate. The closer you come to the peak, the closer they start coming. At the very apex they meet and become one. In love, in meditation, in trust, in prayer, wherever life becomes total, death is there. Without death, life cannot become total.
But the ego always thinks in divisions, in dualities; it divides everything. Existence is indivisible; it cannot be divided. You were a child, then you became young. Can you demarcate the line when you became young? Can you demarcate the point in time where suddenly you were no longer a child and you had become young? One day you become old. Can you demarcate the line when you become old?
Processes cannot be demarcated. Exactly the same happens when you are born. Can you demarcate when you are born? When life really starts? Does it start when the child starts breathing — the doctor spanks the child and the child starts breathing? Is life born then? Or is it when the child got into the womb, when the mother became pregnant, when the child was conceived? Does life start then? Or even before that? When does life start exactly?
It is a process of no ending and no beginning. It never starts. When is a person dead? Is a person dead when the breathing stops? Many yogis have now proved on scientific grounds that they can stop breathing and they are still alive and they can come back. So the stopping of the breathing cannot be the end. Where does life end?
It never ends anywhere, it never begins anywhere. We are involved in eternity. We have been here since the very beginning — if there was any beginning — and we are going to be here to the very end, if there is going to be any end. In fact, there cannot be any beginning and there cannot be any end. We are life — even if forms change, bodies change, minds change. What we call life is just an identification with a certain body, with a certain mind, with a certain attitude, and what we call death is nothing but getting out of that form, out of that body, out of that concept.
You change houses. If you get too identified with one house, then changing the house will be very painful. You will think that you are dying because the old house was what you were — that was your identity. But this doesn't happen, because you know that you are only changing the house, you remain the same. Those who have looked within themselves, those who have found who they are, come to know an eternal, nonending process. Life is a process, timeless, beyond time. Death is part of it.
Death is a continuous revival: a help to life to resurrect again and again, a help to life to get rid of old forms, to get rid of dilapidated buildings, to get rid of old confining structures so that again you can flow and you can again become fresh and young, and you can again become virgin.
I have heard ...
A man was browsing through an antique shop near Mount Vernon and ran across a rather ancient-looking axe.
"That's a mighty old axe you have there," he said to the shop owner.
"Yes," said the man, "it once belonged to George Washington."
"Really?" said the customer. "It certainly stood up well."
"Of course," said the antique dealer, "it has had three new handles and two new heads."
Excerpted from Life, Love, Laughter by Osho. Copyright © 2009 Osho International Foundation, Switzerland, www.osho.com/copyrights. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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