Chapter 1: Know How to Live
Death is an organic, integral part of life, and it is very friendly to life. Without it life cannot exist. Life exists because of death; death gives the background. Death is, in fact, a process of renewal. And death also happens each moment, as life happens, because the renewal is needed each moment. The moment you breathe in and the moment you breathe out, both happen. Breathing in, life happens; breathing out, death happens. That’s why when a child is born the first thing he does is breathe in, then life starts. And when an old man is dying, the last thing he does is breathe out, then life departs. Breathing out is death, breathing in is life - and both are like two wheels of a bullock cart. You live by breathing in as much as you live by breathing out. The breathing out is part of breathing in. You cannot breathe in if you stop breathing out. You cannot live if you stop dying. The man who has understood what his life is allows death to happen; he welcomes it. He dies each moment and each moment he is resurrected. His cross and his resurrection are continuously happening as a process. He dies to the past each moment and he is born again and again into the future.
If you look into life you will be able to know what death is. If you understand what death is, only then are you able to understand what life is. They are organic. Ordinarily, out of fear, we have created a division. We think that life is good and death is bad. We think that life has to be desired and death is to be avoided. We think somehow we have to protect ourselves against death. This absurd idea creates endless miseries in our lives, because a person who protects himself against death becomes incapable of living. He is the person who is afraid of exhaling, then he cannot inhale; then he is stuck. Then he simply drags; his life is no longer a flow, his life is no more a river.
If you really want to live you have to be ready to die. Who is afraid of death in you? Is life afraid of death? It is not possible. How can life be afraid of its own integral process? Something else is afraid in you. The ego is afraid in you. Life and death are not opposites; ego and death are opposites. Life and death are not opposites; ego and life are opposites. Ego is against both life and death. The ego is afraid to live and the ego is afraid to die. It is afraid to live because each effort, each step towards life, brings death closer.
If you live you are coming closer to dying. The ego is afraid to die, hence it is afraid to live also. The ego simply drags.
There are many people who are neither alive nor dead. This is worse than anything. A man who is fully alive is full of death also. That is the meaning of Jesus on the cross. Jesus carrying his own cross has not really been understood. And he says to his disciples, “You will have to carry your own cross.” The meaning of Jesus carrying his own cross is very simple, nothing but this: everybody has to carry his death continuously, everybody has to die each moment, everybody has to be on the cross because that is the only way to live fully, totally.
Whenever you come to a total moment of aliveness, suddenly you will see death there also. In love it happens. In love, life comes to a climax - hence people are afraid of love.
I have been continually surprised by people who come to me and say they are afraid of love. What is the fear of love? - because when you really love somebody your ego starts slipping and melting. You cannot love with the ego; the ego becomes a barrier. And when you would like to drop the barrier the ego says, “This is going to be a death. Beware!”
The death of the ego is not your death. The death of the ego is really your possibility of life. The ego is just a dead crust around you, it has to be broken and thrown away. It comes into being naturally - just as when a traveler passes the dust collects on his clothes, on his body, and he has to take a bath to get rid of the dust.