Chapter 6: The Art of Living
Once you are afraid of death you are bound to be afraid of life. That’s why I am talking about this Hasidic approach. The whole approach consists of methods, ways and means of how to die - the art of dying is the art of living also. Dying as an ego is being born as a non-ego; dying as a part is being born as a whole; dying as man is a basic step toward being born as a god.
But death is difficult, very difficult. Have you watched it? Except man, no animal can commit suicide. It is not possible for any animal even to think about committing suicide. Have you thought about it? Have you heard of any tree committing suicide, any animal committing suicide? No, only man, man’s intelligence, can make it possible that a man can commit suicide.
And I am not talking about ordinary suicide - because that is not really suicide, you simply change the body - I am talking of the ultimate suicide. Once you die the way I am teaching you to die, you will never be born again in life. You will disappear into the cosmos, you will not have any form anymore, you will become the formless.
I have heard:
The man was charged with trespassing on the farmer’s property and shooting quail. The Counsel for Defense tried to confuse the farmer.
“Now,” he asked, “are you prepared to swear that this man shot your quail?”
“I didn’t say he shot them,” was the reply. “I said I suspected him of doing it.”
“Ah, now we are coming to it. What made you suspect this man?”
“Well,” replied the farmer, “firstly, I caught him on my land with a shotgun. Secondly, I heard a gun go off and saw some quail fall. Thirdly, I found four quail in his pocket, and you can’t tell me them birds just flew in there and committed suicide.”
Only man is capable of committing suicide. That is the glory of man. Only man can be capable enough to think that life is not worth living, only man is capable enough to reflect that this life is simply futile. Ordinarily when people commit suicide, they don’t do it because they have understood life’s futility, they do it only because they have understood this life’s futility - and they are hoping that in another life somewhere else things will be better.
The spiritual suicide means that a man has come to understand that not only this life is futile, but life as such is futile. Then he starts thinking of how to get rid of being born again and again, how to get rid of getting into the tunnel of the body and of being confined and encaged; then he starts thinking of how to remain absolutely free without any form. This is what moksha is, this is what liberation is - or you can call it salvation.