In search of the miraculous
WHEN RABBI BIRNHAM 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. In the modern world 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.
Thus have I heard a very beautiful story:-
Some years ago a successful American had a serious identity crisis. He sought help from the psychiatrists, life-coaches, priests and the most renown orators in the West 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 ascetic who lived in a mysterious and most inaccessible region of the Himalayas. Only that ascetic, 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 ascetic. 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 ascetic 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 ascetic, who was indeed venerable, in fact well over one hundred years old. The ascetic 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 ascetic. ‘I need to know the meaning of life,’ said the man.
To this the ascetic replied, without hesitation, “Life,” he said, “is a river without an 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 ascetic was bewildered, shocked at the man’s vast removal from understanding of the meaning of the holy life and proper renunciation. He became very angry and he said, “You mean it is not?”
Nobody can give you the meaning of your life – you have to discover it first before even any Guru can of help. 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 with totality will the mystery be revealed to you.
The first thing a wise man would tell anyone for free is: Don’t seek it anywhere else. Don’t seek it in anyone, don’t seek it in scriptures, don’t seek it in clever explanations — they all explain away just for sake of it, 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 one becomes. 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 ones knows what life is he/she 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 we think of death as the enemy it simply shows that we 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 constitute of complementariness. 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