Time means many things to many people. Some people carry the burden of time. The difference between a child and an adult, the difference between the exuberant life that the child is and the grave life that many adults have become, is essentially the burden of time. Time may become burdensome only because you do not know how to carry your memory. 2019, another year over – one may see it as another year to be carried on one’s back. But a year is just a measure of time, and the reality is years are peeling away. Another year gone by means one year less to carry. Shouldn’t that make you lighter? You can celebrate the coming year, or you can celebrate that one year is dead and gone; one year less to handle in your life.
I would like you to measure your life in terms of intensity of involvement. Has 2019 been a year of involvement with life? Or is it entanglement? This is all you have to measure, because essentially, life and death are the only two things you are concerned about. The rest is all incidental.
The English word ‘Death’ has become a very negative word. People think that it’s a horrible thing. You cannot embrace something that you think is horrible, isn’t it? You must change that context in your mind. You must understand the context of what death is. It is not anti-life. Life is happening only because of death. If you get the context right, then you can embrace both.
In the history of this planet or this creation, you are alive just for a brief amount of time. The rest of the time, you’re dead. So your life sentence is not long. It’s very, very brief compared to how long you will be dead. Only because you are dead for a long time, you are sparkling right now, and this sparkle is possible only because once again you will be dead for a very long time. The idea of “one versus the other” is a silly idea. Essentially, on all levels of life – whether it’s masculine and feminine, life and death, darkness and light, sound and silence – one cannot be without the other. They are complementary, not opposite to each other.
You are only briefly alive right now, but you want to embrace only this little brief time and not the rest – it doesn’t work like that, because this is all one. This is a living death. The important thing is to be here in such a way that you are experiencing both life and death all the time. This is what living death means. Your life is only valuable because you’ll be dead. If you would never die, would you pay any attention to this life? Only those who shall die, shall live.
If you get a chance, go and attend somebody’s funeral. In India, the culture is that if you see a dead body being taken for cremation or burial, you must walk at least three steps with the dead body, symbolically that “I'm with you.” This is respect for the dead, and as empathy for those who are living, who are close to that person.
Death is not a choice – it’s inevitable. It is by the will of the creation. Life is our choice. If you want to exercise this choice well, it is very important you take in all dimensions of life as one. If you accept only this sparkle and not accept what created you, what is basic to you, then you don’t have choices; you will become a compulsive force. You will live life also like death – in an inevitable manner, not in a conscious manner, not by choice. To exercise the choice well, you must become absolutely inclusive – as you embrace life, you also embrace death; you embrace everything. In Yoga, every breath is seen this way – inhalation is life, it is birth, and exhalation is death. Life and death happening in one breath all the time – this is the goal of Yoga. The meaning of Yoga is union – that life and death have become one in you. They are not two separate entities for you; you are a living death. When you are living death, the consequence is a fantastic life, because ignoring the soil, can a tree grow?
If you want to be really alive, alive in a way that you determine the very nature of your existence, then it’s important that you have to be a living death, that you have taken the entire life as a whole. If you separate them, you have no power to exercise the choice, because you have no platform to stand on. Without the platform of eternal death, a sparkle of life that you are right now is not possible.
Only by consciously embracing both, will you become alive in ways which are incredible, in ways which can make this life a spectacular existence, not because of what you do in the world, but simply because of the way you exist. The way you exist within yourself can become spectacular.
May the coming year, 2020, be a spectacular experience for all.