You have recently said that most of humanity is vegetating, not living. Please explain to us the art of living so that death may become also a celebration.
Man is born to achieve life, but it all depends on him.
He can miss it. He can go on breathing, he can go on eating, he can go on growing old, he can go on moving towards the grave -- but this is not life. This is gradual death from the cradle to the grave, a seventy-year-long gradual death.
And because millions of people around you are dying in this gradual, slow death, you also start imitating them. Children learn everything from those who are around them, and we are surrounded by the dead.
So first we have to understand what I mean by `life'.
It must not be simply growing old.
It must be growing up.
And these are two different things.
Growing old, any animal is capable of. Growing up is the prerogative of human beings.
Only a few claim the right.
Growing up means moving every moment deeper into the principle of life; it means going farther away from death -- not towards death. The deeper you go into life, the more you understand the immortality within you. You are going away from death; a moment comes when you can see that death is nothing but changing clothes, or changing houses, changing forms -- nothing dies, nothing can die.
Death is the greatest illusion there is.
For growing up, just watch a tree. As the tree grows up, its roots are growing down, deeper. There is a balance: the higher the tree goes, the deeper the roots will go. You cannot have a tree one hundred and fifty feet high with small roots; they could not support such a huge tree.
In life, growing up means growing deep within yourself -- that's where your roots are.
To me, the first principle of life is meditation. Everything else comes second. And childhood is the best time. As you grow older, it means you are coming closer to death, and it becomes more and more difficult to go into meditation.
Meditation means going into your immortality, going into your eternity, going into your godliness.
And the child is the most qualified person because he is still unburdened by knowledge, unburdened by religion, unburdened by education, unburdened by all kinds of rubbish. He is innocent.
But unfortunately his innocence is being condemned as ignorance. Ignorance and innocence have a similarity, but they are not the same. Ignorance is also a state of not knowing, just as innocence is. But there is a great difference too, which has been overlooked by the whole of humanity up to now. Innocence is not knowledgeable -- but it is not desirous of being knowledgeable either. It is utterly content, fulfilled.
A small child has no ambitions, he has no desires. He is so absorbed in the moment -- a bird on the wing catches his eye so totally; just a butterfly, its beautiful colors, and he is enchanted; the rainbow in the sky... and he cannot conceive that there can be anything more significant, richer than this rainbow. And the night full of stars, stars beyond stars....
Innocence is rich, it is full, it is pure.
Meditation is simply a strange surgical method which cuts you away from all that is not yours and saves only that which is your authentic being. It burns everything else and leaves you standing naked, alone under the sun, in the wind. It is as if you are the first man who has descended onto earth -- who knows nothing, who has to discover everything, who has to be a seeker, who has to go on a pilgrimage.
The second principle is the pilgrimage.
Life must be a seeking -- not a desire, but a search; not an ambition to become this, to become that, a president of a country or a prime minister of a country, but a search to find out "Who am I?"
It is very strange that people who don't know who they are, are trying to become somebody. They don't even know who they are right now! They are unacquainted with their being -- but they have a goal of becoming.
Becoming is the disease of the soul.
Being is you.
And to discover your being is the beginning of life. Then each moment is a new discovery, each moment brings a new joy; a new mystery opens its doors, a new love starts growing in you, a new compassion that you have never felt before, a new sensitivity about beauty, about goodness.
You become so sensitive that even the smallest blade of grass takes on an immense importance for you. Your sensitivity makes it clear to you that this small blade of grass is as important to existence as the biggest star; without this blade of grass, existence would be less than it is. And this small blade of grass is unique, it is irreplaceable, it has its own individuality.
And this sensitivity will create new friendships for you -- friendships with trees, with birds, with animals, with mountains, with rivers, with oceans, with stars. Life becomes richer as love grows, as friendliness grows.
Secondly, meditation will bring you a great silence -- because all rubbish knowledge is gone. Thoughts that are part of the knowledge are gone too... an immense silence, and you are surprised:
This silence is the only music there is.
All music is an effort to bring this silence somehow into manifestation.
Life should be a continuous celebration, a festival of lights the whole year round. Only then you can grow up, you can blossom.
Transform small things into celebration.
For example, in Japan they have the tea ceremony. In every Zen monastery and in every person's house who can afford it, they have a small temple for drinking tea. Now, tea is no longer an ordinary, profane thing; they have transformed it into a celebration. The temple for drinking tea is made in a certain way -- in a beautiful garden, with a beautiful pond; swans in the pond, flowers all around... guests come and they have to leave their shoes outside. It is a temple.
And as you enter the temple, you cannot speak; you have to leave your thinking and thoughts and speech outside with your shoes. You sit down in a meditative posture. And the host, the lady who prepares tea for you -- her movements are so graceful, as if she is dancing, moving around preparing tea, putting cups and saucers before you as if you are gods. With such respect... she will bow down, and you will receive it with the same respect.
The tea is prepared in a special samovar which makes beautiful sounds, a music of its own. And it is part of the tea ceremony that everybody should listen first to the music of the tea. So everybody is silent, listening... birds chirping outside in the garden, and the samovar... the tea is creating its own song. A peace surrounds....
When the tea is ready and it is poured into everybody's cup, you are not just to drink it the way people are doing everywhere. First you will smell the aroma of the tea. You will sip the tea as if it has come from the beyond, you will take time -- there is no hurry.
Somebody may start playing on the flute or on the sitar.
An ordinary thing -- just tea -- and they have made it a beautiful religious festival, and everybody comes out of it nourished, fresh, feeling younger, feeling juicier.
And what can be done with tea can be done with everything
I say to you life is not a jail, it is not a punishment. It is a reward, and it is given only to those who have earned it, who deserve it. Now it is your right to enjoy; it will be a sin if you DON'T enjoy.
It will be against existence if you don't beautify it, if you leave it just as you have found it. No, leave it a little happier, a little more beautiful, a little more fragrant.
From: Osho, Beyond Enlightenment
available as selected osho talk on CD
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