St. Peter returned to the new arrival waiting impatiently outside the gates. “I can’t find your name,” he reported. “Would you please spell it for me?” The man did so, and St. Peter left to check his reservation lists again. In a few moments he returned, “Say, you are not due for ten years. Who is your doctor?”
If I cut your head off, then St. Peter will ask you, “You are not due for many lives. Who is your guru?”
It cannot be done by another. It is not something that can be done from the outside. In fact you also cannot do it. You have to grow into it. It is not something that you can do or force, it comes through deeper understanding.
The dropping of the head is one of the most difficult things because you are identified with the head. You are the head! Your thoughts, your ideologies, your religion, your politics, your scriptures, your knowledge, your identity – everything is in your head. How can you drop it? Just think of dropping the head – then who are you? Without the head you are nobody.
You have to grow into understanding. When you can grow a new head above this head, only then can you drop this head. That’s the whole effort of meditation – to help you grow a new head, a new head which does not need thoughts, does not need ideologies; which is pure awareness and enough unto itself; which needs no external influence to live; which lives from its own innermost core. When you have grown a new head, the old will be dropped very easily. It will drop on its own accord.
If I force anything upon you, you will resist it, you will become afraid, you will be scared. And nobody wants to die. It is a great art to be learned.
I have heard:
It was the day of the hanging, and as Mulla Nasruddin was led to the foot of the steps of the scaffold, he suddenly stopped and refused to walk another step.
“Let us go,” the guard said impatiently. “What is the matter?”
“Somehow,” said Nasruddin, “those steps look mighty rickety. They just don’t look safe enough to walk up.”
He is going to be hanged, but those steps look ‘mighty rickety’ – not safe enough to walk on! Even at the moment of death a person goes on clinging – to the very end. Nobody wants to die, and unless you learn to die you will never be able to live, you will never be able to know what life is. A person who is able to die is a person who is able to live, because life and death are two aspects of the same coin. You can choose both or you can drop both, but they both come together in one parcel, they are not different things.