Chapter 27: The Contemplation of Emptiness
People live like sleepwalkers. They remain drunk - they don’t know what they are doing, they don’t know why they are doing, they don’t know from where they come, they don’t know to where they are going. They are simply like driftwood, at the mercy of the winds. Their lives are accidental. Remember that word accidental.
Millions of people live only accidental lives, and unless you take hold of your life and start changing it from the accidental to the existential, there is going to be no transformation.
That’s what sannyas is all about: an effort to change the accidental into the existential, an effort to change the unconscious life into a conscious life, the effort to wake up. And then life is learning, and so is death. Then one goes on learning. Then each moment, each situation, comes as a gift. Yes, even suffering is a gift from God, but only for those who know how to learn, how to receive the gift. Ordinarily even blessings are not gifts for you because you don’t know how to receive them, you don’t know how to absorb them. Your life is lived in a robot-like way.
I have heard..
A man came home very late in the night. The excuse that he gave to his wife for coming home too late was this..
In fact, the poor man had imbibed a bit too freely, but told his angry wife that he had taken the wrong bus.
His wife said, “That’s easy to understand considering the shape you are in, but how did you know you were on the wrong bus?”
The husband said, “Well, it seemed strange when I stood on one corner for a couple of hours, but what finally convinced me was the fact that people kept coming in and ordering hamburgers and coffee.”
It was not even a bus!
The life that you are living is not even a life. It can’t be. How can it be life if there is no light in you? How can it be life if there is no love in you? How can it be life if you function mechanically? Only with consciousness does life arrive - not by birth but by consciousness. Only a meditator starts beginning to live. Others are befooling themselves, they are not really living. They may be doing a thousand and one things - they go on doing, to the very end they go on doing. Accumulating wealth, achieving power, fulfilling this ambition and that, they go on and on. But still, the total, the sum total of their lives is nil.
Interviewing the sixty-year-old rodeo champion in Austin, Texas, the New York newspaperman remarked, “You are really an extraordinary man to be a rodeo champion at your age.”
“Shucks,” said the cowboy, “I am not nearly the man my Pa is. He is still place-kicking for a football team and he is eighty-six.”
“Amazing!” gasped the journalist. “I’d like to meet your father.”