Life, if rightly lived, if really lived, is never afraid of death. If you have lived your life, you will welcome death. It will come like a rest, like a great sleep. If you have peaked, c1imaxed in your life, then death is a beautiful rest, a benediction. But if you have not lived, then of course death creates fear. If you have not lived, then certainly death is going to take time from your hands, all future opportunities to live. In the past you have not lived, and there is going to be no future: fear arises. Fear arises not because of death but because of unlived life.
And because of the fear of death, old age also gives fear, because that is the first step of death. Otherwise old age is also beautiful. It is a ripening of your being, maturity, growth.
If you live moment to moment, to all the challenges that life gives, and you use all the opportunities that life opens, and if you dare to adventure into the unknown to which life calls and invites you, then old age is a maturity. Otherwise old age is a disease.
Unfortunately, many people simply age, they become old, without any maturity corresponding to it. Then old age is a burden. You have aged in the body, but your consciousness has remained juvenile. You have aged in your body, but you have not matured in your inner life. The inner light is missing, and death is coming close every day; of course you will tremble and you will be afraid and there will arise great anguish in you.
Those who live rightly, they accept old age with a deep welcome, because old age simply says that now they are coming to flower, that they are coming to a fruition, that now they will be able to share whatsoever they have attained.
Ordinarily, old age is ugly because it is simply looked at as a disease. Your organism has not matured, has only become more and more ill, weakened, impotent. Otherwise old age is the most beautiful time of life. All the foolishness of childhood gone, all the fever and passion of young age gone... a serenity arises, a silence, a meditation, a samadhi.
Old age is tremendously beautiful, and it should be so because the whole of life moves towards it. It should be the peak. How can the peak be in the beginning? How can the peak be in the middle? But if you think your childhood is your peak, as many people think, then of course your whole life will be a suffering because you have attained your peak - now everything will be declining, coming down. If you think young age is the peak, as many people think, then of course after thirty-five you will become sad, depressed, because every day you will be losing and losing and losing and gaining nothing. The energy will be lost, you will weaken, diseases will enter into your being, and death will start knocking at the door. The home will disappear, and the hospital will appear. How can you be happy?
No, but in the East we have never thought that childhood or youth is the peak. The peak waits for the very end. And if life flows rightly, by and by you reach higher and higher peaks. Death is the ultimate peak that life attains, the crescendo.
But the real question is: why are we missing life? Why are we aging and not maturing? Somewhere something has gone wrong, somewhere you have been put on a wrong track - somewhere you have agreed to be put on a wrong track.
That agreement has to be broken; that contract has to be burned. That's what I call sannyas: an understanding that up to now I have lived in a wrong way - I have compromised, not lived, really.
When you were small children you compromised. You sold your being. For nothing.
What you have gained is simply nothing, just rubbish. For small things you have lost your soul. You have agreed to be somebody else other than yourself; that is where you missed your path. The mother wanted you to become somebody, the father wanted you to become somebody, the society wanted you to become somebody; and you agreed. By and by you decided not to be yourself And since then you have been pretending to be somebody else.
You cannot mature because that somebody else cannot mature. It is false. If I wear a mask, the mask cannot mature. It is dead. My face can mature, but not my mask. And only your mask goes on aging. Behind the mask, hiding, you are not growing. You can grow only if you accept yourself - that you are going to be yourself, nobody else.
The rosebush has agreed to become an elephant; the elephant has agreed to become a rosebush. The eagle is worried, almost consulting a psychiatrist, because she wants to become the dog; and the dog is hospitalized because he wants to fly like an eagle. This is what has happened to humanity. The greatest calamity is to agree to be somebody else, then you can never mature.
You can never mature like somebody else. You can only mature like you. The "shoulds" have to be dropped, and you have to drop too much concern about what people say. What is their opinion? Who are they? You are here to be yourself. You are not here to fulfill somebody else's expectations; and everybody is trying that. The father may be dead, and you are trying to fulfill a promise you have given to him. And he was trying to fulfill a promise to his own father, and so on and so forth it goes. The foolishness goes on from the very beginning.
Try to understand and take courage, and take your life in your own hands. Suddenly you will see an upsurge of energy. The moment you decide, "I am going to be myself and nobody else. Whatsoever the cost, but I am going to be myself," that very moment you will see a great change. You will feel vital. You will feel energy streaming in you, pulsating.
Unless that happens, you will be afraid of old age, because how can you avoid seeing the fact that you are wasting time and not living & old age is coming and then you will not be able to live? How can you avoid seeing the fact that death is waiting there and every day it comes closer and closer and closer, and you have not lived yet? You are bound to be in deep anguish.
So if you ask me what to do, I will suggest the basic thing. And it is always a question of basics. Never be bothered by secondary things, because you can change them, but nothing will change. Change the basic.
For example, what is secondary. "Why am I always afraid of being old? Show me the way how I can get rid of it." The very question is out of fear. You want to "get rid of it," not to understand, so of course you are going to become a victim of somebody or some ideology which can help you to get rid of it. I cannot help you to get rid of it. In fact that is the problem. I would like you to understand and change your life. It is not a question of getting rid of the problem; it is a question of getting rid of your mask, of your false persona - the way you have been trying to be and which is not a true way. You are not authentic. You are not sincere towards yourself; you have been betraying your being.
So if you ask - there are priests and philosophers and demagogues - if you go and ask them how to get rid of it, they will say, "The soul never ages. Don't be worried. Just remember that you are the soul. It is the body; you are not the body." They have consoled you. Maybe for a moment you feel good, but this is not going to help, this is not going to change you. Again tomorrow, out of the influence of the priest, you will be in the same boat.
And the beauty is that you never look at the priest: he himself is afraid. You never look at the philosopher: he himself is afraid.
I have heard:
The new vicar had been overworking and examination revealed that his lungs were gravely affected. The doctor told him that a long rest was absolutely essential. The vicar protested and said he could not possibly afford to leave his work.
"Well," said the doctor, "you have the choice of Switzerland or heaven."
The vicar walked the room for some time and then said, "You win, Switzerland it is."
When it is a question of life and death, even the priest, the philosopher, people you go to ask - they have also not lived. More possibility is there that they have not lived even as much as you have lived; otherwise they could not be priests. To become a priest they have completely denied their life. To become monks, sadhus, mahatmas, they have completely denied their being and they have accepted whatsoever the society wanted them to be. They have agreed totally to it. They have disagreed with themselves, their own life energy, and they have agreed with false, foolish things - appreciation, respectability.
And you go and ask them. They are themselves trembling. Deep down they are themselves afraid. They and their disciples are all in the same boat.
I have heard:
The Pope lay gravely ill in the Vatican, and a message was issued that a special announcement would be made by the Cardinal from the balcony of St. Peter's.
When the day came, the famous square was packed with the faithful. The aged Cardinal spoke in quavering tones, "His Holiness can only be saved by a heart transplant, and I am appealing to all you good Catholics gathered here today for a donor."
He held up a feather and continued, "I shall drop this feather among you, and on whomsoever it falls, that person is the one chosen by Holy Providence to save the Holy Father's life."
With that he dropped the feather... and all that could be heard were twenty thousand devout Roman Catholics gently puffing & blowing upwards.
Everybody is afraid. If the Holy Father wants to survive, why should these poor Catholics become donors?
I am not going to give you any consolation. I am not going to say to you, "The soul is eternal. Don't be worried, you never die. Only the body dies." I know that is true, but that truth one has to earn the hard way. You cannot learn by somebody else's assertion and statement about it. It is not a statement; it is an experience. I know it is so, but it is absolutely meaningless for you. You have not known what life is. How can you know what eternity is? You have not been able even to live in time. How can you be able to live in eternity?
One becomes aware of the deathless when one has become capable of accepting death. Through the door of death, the deathless reveals itself. Death is a way of the deathless to reveal itself to you... but in fear you close your eyes and you become unconscious.
No, I am not going to give you a method, a theory to get rid of it. It is symptomatic. It is good that it goes on indicating to you that you are living a false life. That's why the fear is there. Just take the hint, and don't try to change the symptom; rather try to change the basic cause.
From the very beginning every child has been misinformed, and misinformed, has been misdirected, misguided. Not knowingly, because the parents are also in the same trap; they also have been misguided. For example, if a child is too energetic, the family feels uncomfortable, because a too energetic child is a revolution in the home. Nothing is safe, nothing at all is safe. The energetic child will destroy everything. He has to be stopped.
His energy has to be blocked, his life has to be diminished. He has to be condemned, punished, and only rewarded when he behaves. And what do you expect? You expect him to be almost an old man - not doing any harm to anything that you think is very precious. Just to save a clock you destroy the child. Or to save your crockery you destroy the child. Or to save your furniture; otherwise it will be scratched from this end to that.
You destroy a newly arrived being, a gift from God. You go on scratching the being of the child just to save the furniture from being scratched.
By and by the child is forced to follow you because he is helpless. He depends on you; his survival depends on you. Just to survive, he accepts to be dead. Just to survive, because you give him food and milk and care. Where will he go if you are so much against him? By and by he goes on selling his being to you. Whatsoever you say, by and by he accepts. Your rewards and your punishments are the way you misguide him.
By and by he trusts you more than his own inner voice because he knows his inner voice always leads him into trouble. His inner voice has always proved to bring punishment, so punishment and his inner voice become associated. And whenever he does not listen to the inner voice and simply follows you blindly, he is rewarded. Whenever he is himself he is punished; whenever he is not himself he is rewarded. The logic is clear.
By and by you distract him from his own life. By and by he forgets what his inner voice is. If you don't hear it for a long time, you cannot hear it.
Close your eyes any moment: you will hear the voice of your father, your mother, your peers, teachers, and you will never hear your own inner voice. Many people come to me and they say, "You talk about the inner voice; we never hear it." There is a crowd. When Jesus says, "Hate your father and mother," he is not actually saying to hate your father and mother. He is saying hate the father and the mother which have become consciences within you. Hate, because that is the most ugly agreement you have made - a suicidal contract. Hate, destroy those voices, so that your voice can be freed and liberated, so that you can feel who you are and what you want to be.
In the beginning, of course, you will feel completely lost. That's what happens in meditation. Many people say, "We had come to find a path. On the contrary, meditations have made it feel like being completely lost." It's a good indication. It shows that the grip of others is loosening. That's why you feel lost, because those voices of the others were giving you guidance, and you had started to believe in them. You have believed in them for so long that they have become your guides. Now, when you meditate, those voices are destructured. You are freed from the trap. Again you become a child, and you don't know where to go. Because all the guides have disappeared. The voice of the father is not there, the voice of the mother is not there, the teacher is not there, the school is not there; suddenly you are alone. One starts feeling scared - "Where are my guides? Where are people who were always leading me to the right path?"
In fact nobody can lead you to the right path, because all leading is going to be wrong.
No leader can be the right leader, because leading as such is wrong. Whomsoever you allow to lead will do some harm to you because he will start doing something, forcing something, giving you a structure; and you have to live an unstructured life, a life free of all structure and character, free of all frames, references, contacts - free in this moment from the past.
So all guides are misguides, and when they disappear, and you have believed in them for so long, suddenly you feel empty, surrounded by emptiness and all paths gone. Where to go?
This period is a revolutionary period in the life of a being. One has to pass through it with courage. If you can remain in it, unafraid, soon you will start hearing your inner voice which has been repressed so long. Soon you will start learning its language, because you have forgotten the very language. You know only the language that has been taught to you.
And this language, the inner language, is not verbal. It is of feelings. And all societies are against feelings; because a feeling is such an alive thing, it is dangerous. A thought is dead; it is not dangerous. So every society has forced you into the head, pushed you from all over your body into the head.
You live only in the head. If your head is cut off and suddenly you come across your body without a head, you will not be able to recognize it. Only faces are recognized.
Your whole body has shrunken, has lost luster, softness, fluidity. It is almost a dead thing, like a wooden leg. You use it, functionally it goes on, but no life exists in it. Your whole life has gone into the head. Hung up there, you are afraid of death because the only place that you can live, the only space in which you can live, has to be all over your body. Your life has to spread and stream all over your body. It has to become a river, a flow.
A small child starts playing with his genital organs. Immediately the parents are worried - - "Stop it!" The worry comes from their own repressions - because they were also stopped. Suddenly they become anxious, an anxiety arises in them, because they have been taught certain things, that this is bad. They were never allowed to touch their own genital organs. How can the child be allowed? They force the child, they punish the child, not to touch the genital organs.
What can the child do? He cannot understand why the genital organs are bad. They are as much a part of him as are his hands, his nose, his toes; he can touch every place in the body, but not the genital organs. And if he is punished again and again, of course he starts forcing his energy back from the genital organs. It should not stream there because if it streams there he wants to play with them. And it is pleasant, and nothing is wrong, the child cannot see what is wrong in it. In fact that is the most pleasant part in the body.
But the parents are afraid, and the child can see their faces and their eyes: suddenly - they were normal human beings - the moment he touches his genital organs, they have become abnormal, almost mad. Something changes in them so drastically that the child also becomes afraid - "There must be something wrong." The something wrong is in the mind of the parents, not in the body of the child, but what can the child do?
Just to avoid this situation, this embarrassing situation, one of the most beautiful phenomena has been repressed so deeply that women have not felt ogasm. In India still women don't know what ogasm is. They have never heard about it; in fact they know that sexual pleasure is of the man, not of the woman. This is absurd because God is not a male chauvinist and he is not in favor of men and against women. He has given to all, equally? but girls have been prohibited more than boys because the society is male dominated. So they say, "Boys are boys; even if you prevent them they are going to do something or other." But girls, they have to be paradigms of culture, morality, purity, virginity. They are not allowed to touch their genital organs at all. So how is it possible later on to achieve ogasm, because the energy does not move that way?
And because the energy does not move that way, a thousand and one problems arise.
Women become hysterical. Men become too obsessed with sex. Women become almost sad and depressed because they cannot enjoy the sexual experience; they become almost anti. And man becomes too interested in sex because all experiences leave something out. Man goes on feeling he is missing something, missing something, so have more sexual experience - have it with many more women. That is not the problem. You will go on missing with one, you will go on missing with many. The problem is within you: your energy is not flowing through the genital organs.
And this way, the whole energy by and by is forced into the head, because head is appreciated. We have the expression "the head clerk," "the head superintendent," "the headmaster" - all "heads." "Hands" are used for laborers. "Heads" are superior beings - "heads" of states. "Hands?" - just a manual worker, worthless. In India "heads" are brahmins, and the poor sudras are not even hands, legs, feet. In Hindu scriptures it is said that God created brahmins as heads and sudras as feet and kshatriyas, warriors, as hands, arms, strength, and businessmen, vaishyas, as the belly. But brahmins are heads.
The whole world has become brahmin. That is the problem - everybody living in the head, and the whole body has shrunken. Just stand before a mirror some time and see what has happened to your whole body. Your face looks very alive, red with life, but your chest? - shrunken. Your belly? - almost mechanical, goes on functioning in a mechanical way. Your whole body....
If people stand naked, just watching their bodies, you can see what types of work they are doing in their life. If they are workers, their hands will be alive, muscular. If they are just head people - eggheads, professors, vice-chancellors, and that sort of rubbish - then you will see their heads, very shiny, red. If they are postmen and policemen their legs will be very strong. But you will never find a fun body, a whole body, because nobody is living as a total organic unity.One should live as a total organic unity. The whole body should be reclaimed. Because through the feet you are in touch with the earth - you are grounded - if you lose your legs and their strength and they become dead limbs, you are no longer rooted in the earth.
You are like a tree whose roots have become dead or rotten, weak; then the tree cannot live long, and cannot live healthy, fully, wholly. Yom feet need to be rooted in the earth; they are your roots.
Sometime try a small experiment. Just naked, stand somewhere - on the beach, near the river, just naked in the sun - and start jumping jogging, and feel your energies flowing through your feet, through your legs to the earth. Jog and feel your energies going through your legs into the earth. Then after a few minutes of jogging, just stand silently, rooted to the earth, and just feel a communion of your feet with the earth. Suddenly you will feel very, very rooted, grounded, solid. You will see the earth communicates, you will see your feet communicate - a dialogue arises between the earth and you.
This grounding has been lost. People have become uprooted; they are no longer grounded. And then they cannot live. Because life belongs to the whole organism, not only to the head.
They are doing a few experiments in a few scientific labs in the West where a few heads have been kept alive. The head of a monkey is cut from the body, and the head is attached to mechanical devices which function as the body. The head goes on thinking, dreaming.
The head is not affected by it, not at all.
This is what has happened. Not only in some labs in the West, it has happened to every human being. Your whole body has become just a mechanical thing; only your head is alive. That's why so many dreams, so much thinking, so much traffic in the head. People come and say, "How to stop it?" The problem is not how to stop it. The problem is how to disperse it into the whole body. Of course it is crowded too much because the whole energy is there - and it is not meant to carry that much energy, so you go crazy, you go cuckoo.
Insanity is a disease produced by our culture; it is a cultural disease. There have existed on earth a few cultures, primitive, where madmen were not known at all, where insanity has not existed at all. And you can watch it: even now, in societies which are not economically very prosperous, educationally where the calamity of universal education has not happened yet, where people are still not just in their heads but in other parts also - - maybe fragmentary, but still somewhere a pool of energy, in the feet, a pool of energy in the belly - maybe not connected, disconnected pools, but still somewhere energy is dispersed, spread all over, well distributed - insanity rarely happens. The more a society becomes head-oriented, the more insanity there is.
It is as if in a 110-Volt wire you are trying to force a 1,000-volt current - everything will go berserk. The head needs small energy to function well. Too much energy in the head, then it continues working, it knows no end, because how to dissipate that energy? It goes on thinking and thinking and thinking, and dreaming and dreaming - day and night, year in, year out it goes on and on - for seventy years. Just think. Only this much is your life.
Then of course one becomes afraid of old age. The time is passing. Of course one becomes naturally afraid of death. Death is coming any moment and you have been just revolving in the head. Nowhere else have you moved, the whole territory of life has remained untouched.
Live, move all over the body. Accept it with deep love. Almost fall in love with your body. It is a divine gift, a temple where God has decided to reside? Then there will be no fear of old age; you will start maturing. Your experiences will mature you. Then old age will not be like a disease. It will be a beautiful phenomenon. The whole life is a preparation for it. How can it be a disease? The whole life you move towards it. It is a crescendo, the last song and dance you are going to do.
And never wait for any miracle. You will have to do something. The mind says something or other will happen and everything will be okay. It is not going to happen that way. Miracles don't happen. Let me tell you one story.
Abe had both his legs broken in an accident. The bones mended and Abe sued the responsible company for damages, alleging that he was permanently crippled and would have to remain in a wheelchair all his life. The insurance company employed surgeons to assess the situation. They reported that the bones had healed perfectly, that Cohen was well able to walk and that he was simply malingering. However, when it came to court the judge took pity on the boy in the wheelchair and awarded him ten thousand pounds damages. Abe was later wheeled up to the head office, to collect his cheque.
"Mr. Cohen," said the Manager, "don't think that you will get away with this. We know that you are malingering. And let me tell you that we are going to keep a huge dossier on you. We are going to watch you night and day. We are going to photograph you, and if we produce evidence that you can walk, not only will you have to repay the damages but you will also be up for a perjury charge."
"Mr. Manager, I am permanently crippled in this wheelchair."
"Very well, here is the cheque for ten thousand pounds. What do you intend to do with it?"
'Well, Mr. Manager, me and my wife, we have always wanted to travel So we are starting out at the top of Norway and going through Scandinavia (he motioned down with his fingers for effect), then Switzerland, Italy, Greece - and I don't care that your agents and spies are following after me; I am crippled in my wheelchair - naturally we are going to Israel, then Persia and India and across to Japan (he motioned for effect) and then Philippines - and I am still in my wheelchair so I don't care about your spies that are following me, and with their cameras - and from there we are going all across Australia and then to South America and all the way up to Mexico (he motions the route) and America - and remember that I am still crippled in my wheelchair, so what is the use of your spies with their cameras? - and Canada. And from there we go across to France where we are going to visit a place called Lourdes, and there you will see a miracle!"
But in actual life, miracles don't happen. There is no Lourdes for you. If you are crippled you have to do something - because it is you who have crippled yourself, by accepting something which is absolutely foolish.
But I know you had to accept it. To survive, you decided to remain dead. To survive, you sold your being. But now there is no need to continue in that stupid thing. You can come out of it.
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