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Chapter 21: Vagabonds of the Soul

Millions of people are living a life of poverty - and I don’t necessarily mean the outer poverty. I know rich people, and they are so poor that sometimes even beggars are richer than them. I know rich people who can afford everything but have never experimented with anything, who are simply vegetating comfortably, who are simply dying, slowly, slowly - comfortably but not living: no intensity, no flair, no flame, no fire, just a cold life. Comfortably they will live and comfortably they will die - but in fact they never lived.

And one who has never lived, how can he die?

Death is the ultimate mystery. That gift is given only to those who have lived really intensely, who have burned their torch of life from both the ends together. Then it happens sometimes that in a single moment of intensity the whole life is revealed. In a single moment of total intensity, the whole eternity opens its doors to you, you are welcomed by existence.

Godliness is not found by praying on your knees; godliness is not found in the temples and churches. Godliness is found in intense living - a life of depth, depth and totality, and a death also of depth and totality. Live totally and die totally, and godliness is yours and truth is yours.

The second sutra:

Always meditate on specific objects.

First thing: by meditation Atisha never means concentration, remember. Concentration and meditation are polar opposites. Concentration narrows down your mind; it is focusing on one point. It includes only something and excludes everything else. Meditation is all-inclusive, it excludes nothing. It is not narrowing down of the mind, it is expansion of consciousness. Concentration is of the mind, meditation is of consciousness. Concentration is mind, meditation is no-mind. Concentration is a tension: you will be tired of it sooner or later. You cannot concentrate for a long time, it is effort. But one can be meditative twenty-four hours, because it is relaxation.

So remember, Atisha says: Always meditate - he means always relax - on specific objects. What does he mean by specific objects? - sadness, anger, greed, lust: the negatives; love, beauty, joy, freedom: the positives.

Begin with the negative, because you are living in the negative. When sad, meditate on it. Don’t be in a hurry to get rid of it, don’t be in a hurry to get occupied somewhere else, so that you can forget it. That will be missing an opportunity, because sadness has its own depth, sadness has its own beauty, sadness has its own taste. Live it, relax into it, be it - and without any effort to escape, without any effort to get occupied somewhere else. Let it be there, enjoy! It is a flowering of your being. Sadness too is a flowering of your being.

And you will be surprised: if you can meditate on sadness, sadness will reveal its secrets to you - and they are of tremendous value. And sadness, once it has revealed its secrets to you, will disappear. Its work is done, its message delivered. And when sadness disappears, joy arises.

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