Chapter 10: Life Is Not Short, Life Is Eternal
The Western man has been living under a very wrong conception: It has created so much tension in people’s minds that they can never be at ease anywhere; they are always on the go, and they are always worried that one never knows when the end is coming. Before the end they want to do everything. But the result is just the opposite; they cannot even manage to do a few things gracefully, beautifully, perfectly.
Their life is so much overshadowed by death that they cannot live joyously. Everything that brings joy seems to be a wastage of time. They cannot just sit silently for an hour, because their mind is saying to them, “Why are you wasting the hour? You could have done this, you could have done that.”
It is because of this conception of one life that the idea of meditation never arose in the West. Meditation needs a very relaxed mind, with no hurry, with no worry, with nowhere to go.just enjoying moment to moment, whatever comes.
In the East, meditation was bound to be discovered, just because of the idea of life’s eternity - you can relax. You can relax without any fear, you can enjoy and play your flute, you can dance and sing your song, you can enjoy the sunrise and the sunset. You can enjoy your whole life. Not only that, you can enjoy even dying, because death too is a great experience, perhaps the greatest experience in life. It is a crescendo.
In the Western concept, death is the end of life. In the Eastern concept, death is only a beautiful incident in the long procession of life; there will be many, many deaths. Each death is a climax of your life, before another life begins - another form, another label, another consciousness. You are not ending, you are simply changing the house.
I am reminded of Mulla Nasruddin. A thief entered into his house; Mulla was sleeping, not really, just with closed eyes, in between opening them and seeing what the thief is doing. But he did not believe in interfering in people’s work. The thief was not interfering with his sleep, why should he interfere with his profession? Let him do it.
The thief was a little concerned that this man seemed to be strange. As he was carrying everything out of the house, sometimes something fell from his hands and there was noise, but Mulla remained completely asleep. A suspicion arose in the thief’s mind that this type of sleep is possible only if a man is awake: “What a strange man that he does not say anything; I’m just emptying his whole house!.” All the furniture went out, all the pillows went out, everything that was in the house went out.
And when the thief was collecting everything, binding them to carry home, he suddenly felt, “Somebody is following me.” He looked back, it was the same man who was asleep. He said, “Why are you following me?”
Mulla said, “No, I’m not following you; we are changing the house. You have taken everything. Now what am I going to do in this house? So I am also coming.”
This at-easeness is the Eastern way; even with death the East has followed the idea.just changing the house.
The thief was worried; he said, “Forgive me, take your things.”