Whatever we say and mean by life is just a journey toward death. If you can understand that your whole life is just a journey and nothing else, then you are less interested in life and more interested in death. And once someone becomes more interested in death, he can go deep into the very depths of life; otherwise, he is just going to remain on the surface.
But we are not interested in death at all: rather, we escape the facts, we are continuously escaping the facts. Death is there, and every moment we are dying. Death is not something far away, it is here and now: we are dying. But while we are dying we go on being concerned about life. This concern with life, this over concern with life, is just an escape, just a fear. Death is there, deep inside – growing.
Change the emphasis, turn your attention around. If you become concerned with death, your life comes to be revealed to you for the first time, because the moment you become at ease with death you have gained a life that cannot die. The moment you have known death, you have known that life which is eternal.
Death is the door from the superficial life, the so-called life, the trivial. There is a door. If you pass through the door you reach another life – deeper, eternal, without death, deathless. So from so- called life, which is really nothing but dying, one has to pass through the door of death; only then does one achieve a life that is really existential and active – without death in it.
But one should pass this door very consciously. We have been dying so many times, but whenever someone dies he becomes unconscious; you are so afraid of death that the moment death comes to you, you become unconscious. You pass through the door in an unconscious state of mind. Then you are born again, and the whole nonsense begins again, and again you are not concerned with death.
One who is concerned with death rather than with life begins to pass the door consciously. This is what is meant by meditation: to pass the door of death consciously. To die consciously is meditation.
But you cannot wait for death; you need not, because death is always there: it is a door that exists inside you. It is not something that is going to happen in the future, it is not something outside of you that you have to reach, it is inside you, a door.
The moment you accept the fact of death and begin to feel it, to live it, to be aware of it, you begin to drop through the inner door. The door opens, and through the door of death you begin to have glimpses of an eternal life. Only through death can one have glimpses of eternal life; there is no other way. So really, all that is known as meditation is just a voluntary death, just a deepening inside, a drowning inside, a sinking inside; just a going away from the surface toward the depths.
Of course, the depths are dark. The moment you leave the surface you will feel you are dying, because you have identified the surface of life with yourself. It is not that the surface waves are just surface waves; you have become identified with them, you are the surface. So when you leave the surface, it is not only that you leave the surface; you leave yourself, your identity – the past, the mind, the memory. All that you were, you have to leave; that is why meditation appears to be a death. You are dying, and only if you are ready to die this voluntary death – to go deep beyond yourself, to leave the self and transcend the surface – do you come to the reality, which is eternal.
So for one who is ready to die, this very readiness becomes the transcendence; this very readiness is the religiousness. When we say someone is worldly, it means he is more concerned with life than with death. Rather, that he is absolutely concerned with life and not at all concerned with death. A worldly person is one to whom death comes in the end; and when it comes, he is unconscious.
A religious man is one who is dying every moment. Death is not in the end; it is the very process of life. A religious man is one who is more concerned with death than with life, because he feels that whatever is known as life is going to be taken away. It is being taken away; every moment you are losing it. Life is just like sand in an hourglass: every moment the sand is being lost, and you cannot do anything about it. The process is natural; nothing can be done, it is irreversible.
Time is something which cannot be retained, which cannot be prevented, which cannot be reversed.
It is one-dimensional: there is no going back. And ultimately the very process of time is death, because you are losing time, you are dying. One day all the sand is lost and you are empty – just an empty self with no time left. So you die.
Be more concerned with death – and time. It is right here and now, by the corner – present every moment. Once you begin to look for it, you become aware of it. It is here, you were just overlooking the fact; not even overlooking the fact, escaping it. So enter into death, jump into it. This is the arduousness of meditation, this is the austerity of it: one has to jump into death.
To go on loving life is a deep lust, and to be ready to die somehow looks unnatural. Of course, death is one of the most natural things, but it looks unnatural to be ready to die.
This is how the paradox, how the dialectics of existence works: if you are ready to die, this very readiness makes you undying; but if you are not ready to die, this very unreadiness, this overattachment and lust for living, makes you a dying phenomenon.
When we assume any attitude, we always reach the opposite. This is the deep dialectics of existence. The expected never comes; the longed-for is never achieved; the desire is never fulfilled.
The more you desire it, the more you lose it. Whatever the dimension may be, it makes no difference; the law remains the same. If you ask too much of anything, by the very asking you lose it.
If someone asks for love he will not get love, because the very asking makes him unlovely, ugly; the very fact of asking becomes the barrier. No one can love you if you are asking for love. No one can love you. You can be loved only when there is no asking; the very fact of not asking makes you beautiful, makes you relaxed.
It is just like when you close your fist and you lose the air that was in the open fist. In an open fist all the air is there, but the moment you close your fist, in the very closing you are losing the air. You may think that when you have closed your fist you will have possessed the air, but the moment you try to possess it you lose it. With an open fist all the air is there and you are the master. With a closed fist you are the loser: you have lost everything; you have no air in your hand at all.
And the more closed the fist, the less is the possibility of air being there. But this is how the mind works, this is the absurdity of the mind; if you feel that the air is not there, you close your fist even more. Logic says, “Close it better; you have lost all the air. You have lost it because you did not close your fist so well. You have not really closed your fist as you should; somewhere you are at fault. You have closed your fist wrong; that is why air has escaped. So close it more, close it more,”
and in the very closing you are losing. But this is how it happens.
If I love someone, I become possessive; I begin to close in. The more I close in, the more love is lost. The mind says, “Arrange to be even closer,” and it makes more arrangements, but somewhere there is a leakage. That is why love is being lost. The more I close in, the more I lose. Only with an open hand can love be possessed; only with an open hand, only with a nonclosing mind, can love become a flowering. And this happens with everything.
If you love life too much, you become closed; you become like a dead person even while you are alive. So a person who is filled with lust for life is a dead person; he is already dead, just a corpse.
The more he feels to be just a corpse, the more he yearns to be alive – but he does not know the dialectics. The very longing is poisonous. A person who does not long for life at all – a person like Buddha, with no lust for life – lives ardently. He flowers into aliveness perfectly, totally.
The day Buddha died someone said to him, “Now you are dying. We will be missing you so much, for ages and ages, for lives and lives.”
Buddha said, “But I died a long time ago. For forty years I have not been aware that I am alive. The day I achieved knowing, enlightenment, I died.”
But he was so alive! And he was really alive only after he “died.” The day he achieved inner enlightenment he died outwardly, but then he became very alive. Then he was so relaxed and so spontaneous. Then he was without fear – without fear of death.
Fear of death is the only fear. It may take any shape, but that is the basic fear. Once you are ready – once you have died – there is no fear. And only in a nonfearing existence can life come to its total flowering.
Even then, death comes; Buddha dies. But death happens only to us, not to him, because one who has passed death’s door has an eternal continuity, a timeless continuity.
So do not be concerned with life at all, not even your own life. And if you are not interested in life, then you cannot desire even death, because desire is life. If you become interested in, and desirous of, death, you are again desiring life – because you cannot desire death really. To desire death is an impossibility. How can you desire death? Desire itself means life.
So when I say, “Do not be interested in life too much,” I do not mean, “Be interested in death.” When I say, “Do not be interested in life,” then you become aware of a fact… which is death. But you cannot desire it; it is not a desire really.
When I talk about an open fist, it will be good to understand: you have to close your fist, but you do not have to open it. Opening is not an effort at all; you just do not close it, and it opens. Opening is not an effort; it is not something positive that has to be done. In fact, if you are making an effort to open your fist it will just be a closing in reverse. It may look like an opening, but it is simply the reverse of closing.
Real opening only means no closing – simply no closing; it is a negative phenomenon. If you are not closing your fist, then the fist is open. Now, even if it is closed it is open. The internal closing has dropped, so even if it is closed now – half-closed or whatever – it is open, because the internal closing is not there.