Chapter 9: The Pause between Two Notes
But Hillel agreed, and answered immediately: “Do not unto others as you would not have others do unto you. This is the whole Torah - the rest is commentary.”
Love is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary. And what is love? - do not do unto others that which you would not like to be done to you. This is the criterion of love: do unto others that which you would like to be done to you. Whatsoever you ask for yourself, allow that to others too. Whatsoever you don’t want to happen to you, don’t do it to others. Think of yourself as the very center of existence. In fact, don’t think of the other as the other: only you are. and in the other too, is the same life, the same song waiting to be uttered, the same urge to rise to the divine, the same seeking, the same inquiry, the same throbbing heart, the same agony, the same ecstasy.
This love is waiting in you. There is no necessity; it can wait and you can die. Birth is beyond you. You are already born - nobody had asked, your permission was not taken at all, you were not even asked where you wanted to be born and what you wanted to become. You always find yourself in the middle of life; you are already here. Birth is no choice for you.nor is death. One day suddenly death will come, without even giving you any warning. And not for a single moment will death wait. Birth happens, death happens - they are beyond you; you cannot do anything about them. Between birth and death there is only one thing you can do something about, and that is love.
These are the three great things of life: life, love, death. Life has already happened. Death is going to happen - it is a certainty. In a way, it has already happened with birth: you have already taken one step into the grave. The day you are born, half the journey is complete; the remaining half will take a little time.or a little more. With life, death has also penetrated you: now only one thing remains to be done that you can do, something that depends on you, and that is love. And because it depends on you, there is every possibility that you may miss it.
That is the agony of love: you can miss it. If you don’t do something, if you don’t become alert, if you don’t move towards it consciously, deliberately, you may miss it. There is every possibility that you may not be able to unfold it - hence the fear, the trembling, the anguish, the anxiety: will I be able to make it? will I be able to move into love? will I be able to flow into love? But side by side with this agony there is an ecstasy - that one is free.
It is because of freedom that the fear exists. If love was also predestined, as life and death are, then there would have been no fear, but then there would have been no ecstasy either - because ecstasy is possible only when you achieve something, when consciously you choose something, when deliberately you arrive somewhere, when it is your journey and you are not being dragged. That’s the beauty of love and that’s the danger too.