A hermit was meditating by a river when a young man interrupted him.

“Master, I wish to become your disciple,” said the man.

“Why?” replied the hermit.

The young man thought for a moment. “Because I want to find God.”

The master jumped up, grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, dragged him into the river, and plunged his head under water. After holding him there for a minute, with him kicking and struggling to free himself, the master finally pulled him up out of the river. The young man coughed up water and gasped to get his breath.

When he eventually quieted down, the master spoke. “Tell me, what did you want most of all when you were under water?”

“Air!” answered the man.

“Very well,” said the master. “Go home and come back to me when you want God as much as you just wanted air.”

Live Totally

It was not a question of becoming a disciple. It was a question of intensity. Man had not lived intensely so how can he find God?

So the master told him – Go home and come back to me when you want God as much as you just wanted air.

Live as intensely as possible. Burn your candle of life from both ends. Burn it so intensely that if it is finished in one second it is okay. At least you will have known what it is.

Only intensity penetrates. And if you can live an intense life you will have a different quality of death, because you will die intensely. As your life is, so will your death be. If you live dragging, you will die dragging. You will miss life, and you will miss death also.

Make life as intense as possible. Put everything at stake. Why be worried about the future? This moment is there. Bring your total existence into it! Live intensely, totally, wholly, and this moment will become a revelation.

This is the secret key: if you know life, you will know death. If you ask what death is, it means you have not lived – because deep down they are one. What is the secret of life? The secret of life is death. If you love, what is the secret of love? Death. If you meditate, what is the secret of meditation? Death. Whatsoever happens that is beautiful and intense always happens through death.

You die – you simply bring yourself totally in it and die to everything else. You become so intense that you are not there, because if you are there then the intensity cannot be total; then two are there. If you love and the lover is there, then love cannot be intense.

The problem is neither love nor meditation nor death; the problem is: how to move to the depth? Deepness is the question. If you move deeply in anything, life will be on the periphery and death will be in the centre.

Love so deeply, so totally, that the lover disappears. Then you are just an energy moving. Then you will know love, you will know life, you will know death.

These three words are very meaningful: love, life and death. Their secret is the same, and if you understand them there is no need to meditate. It is because you don’t understand them that meditation is needed.

The problem is neither love nor meditation nor death; the problem is: how to move to the depth? Deepness is the question. If you move deeply in anything, life will be on the periphery and death will be in the centre.

Learning from the story Air: Live Totally

Experience Learning

When we read or hear that Live Totally many of us will have this question – Is there a contradiction between living life totally, and at the same time witnessing it from outside?

First, witnessing is not doing.

When the mirror reflects you, do you think it does something? It is simply its nature to reflect. There is no action on its part. Even when you are not there it is reflecting. It may be reflecting simply the walls of the room, it may be reflecting anything that is in front of it.

Reflection is not an activity. So it is with witnessing – witnessing is not an activity.

If you think logically, the contradiction will arise. But if you do what I am saying, you can be totally into an act – your body will be in it, your mind will be in it, your heart will be in it, and that is your totality. But there is something beyond these three which is not counted as you, which is not you, which is part of the universal consciousness, which is the divine in you – and that is the mirror.

So when you are witnessing, your mirror is reflecting. You are totally in the act – your body, your mind, your heart – everything is in the act. But there is something more than these three things.

In the East we have called it simply by number. We have not given it a name for a certain reason.

We have called it the fourth, turiya. It is a number, it is not a name. We have not given it a name because any name will create some meaning in your mind, some ideas in your mind; a number cannot do that.

You consist of three elements: the body, the mind, the heart. The fourth is just a silent presence in you – it is not you. Don’t include it within the boundaries of you; it is beyond you. It is capable of reflecting you as totally in the act. And the action will not divide because it is not an action; it is witnessing, it is simply reflecting.

It is one thing to think about it; then immediately the logic, the reason will say that you are doing two things – you are walking and you are witnessing. That divides. But this is only logical reasoning.

Just try to walk silently, joyously – put everything into a morning walk. Your body is relishing the morning sun, the air; your mind is full of the rising life all around you; your heart is throbbing with excitement; the birds are singing and the sky is so colorful… You, be just the walk. And you will be surprised that there is someone witnessing which cannot say “I” – which is not your ego, which is the universal self.

Your body is different from mine, your mind is different from everybody else’s, your heart is different from everybody else’s. But in consciousness we are one continent – nobody is an island. That universal consciousness is always there. Either you are aware of it, then it makes your life a rejoicing, or you are unaware of it, then your life becomes just a dragging somehow towards death.

So there is no contradiction at all. But remember, there are many experiences. If you think about them you will find contradictions. If you experience them you will not find any contradiction.


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