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Chapter 8: Collecting Seashells

Children cannot be used; they are purposeless - hence they are people. If you shake hands with a child, you shake hands with him. There are no gloves; they are nude and naked. But by the age of eight, almost always something closes in. The doors and windows close. And then for your whole life you will go on missing life, and whatsoever you do will be a duty, a drudgery, a drag. One has to do it somehow. It will not be a celebration.

I have heard:

Two friends met on a street. They had not seen each other for a long time. One asked the other, “Who are you working for nowadays?”

“The same company,” said the other, “the wife and the six kids.”

Even for your wife, for your children, you are not functioning out of love.a duty, a responsibility, a burden. They too are a company you are working for.

You would like to escape, but sanity does not allow you. You would like to escape, but you know - where would you go? You would like to escape, but you have lost the energy to escape. You would like to escape, but now you have become too habituated to the pattern. It would be difficult for you to live without this company. But life is slipping from your hands.

It happened once:

Two seedy individuals stopped on the street to watch a funeral procession pass. It was done in elaborate style, from the long, gleaming hearse, through the cars packed with flowers, to the impressive line of automobiles following.

Said one of the individuals, “It’s a rich guy. I’ve watched funerals like that before. There’s a solid mahogany casket, polished so you can see your face in it, with a satin lining and gold carved handles. They put it in a big mausoleum, with stone doors, statues, flowers, praying and singing.”

“Wow,” said the other, eyes shining, “now that’s what I call living.”

By and by your life becomes so deathlike that even death looks like living - if it is luxurious, comfortable, costly. Then even death can create a jealousy in you.

Your life is almost insignificant. You have not lived at all. You have learned a few tricks and you go on doing those tricks. And you know you are missing your life, but still you go on clinging with those tricks because those tricks have become your securities; you are afraid to lose them. You are afraid to lose the comfort that comes through dead habits.

You ask me how to live life fresh. Just become a child again - unlearn whatsoever you have learned. Drop verbalization. Listen to these birds with no word arising in you. Suddenly a wave of freshness passes through you; an energy arises in you which is not old.

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