Meditate on death
Life is man’s project. We are our life’s creators. God has created man, but as freedom. So there is an essential freedom inside; now it is up to you to choose what you would like to happen to you in life and then you will see that it starts happening. One thing is linked with another, one thing leads to another, and slowly slowly you have taken a certain route; then all other alternatives are dropped.
When a child is born, all the alternatives are open; he is utterly free. He can be a musician, he can be a poet, he can be a wrestler, he can be a politician — he can be anything… an Adolf Hitler, a Gautam Buddha; anything is possible. But sooner or later choices start coming and he starts moving in a certain direction. Then that direction remains his world.
So always remember: whatsoever has happened to you, you have been the cause of it. Sometimes it hurts that you are the cause of all the misery that has happened to you; you feel sad. But there is no need to feel sad, because through it you come to an understanding, and then things need not happen the same way again to you. You can change, you can manage your life in a different way. You can live in a different way, you can be a different person, a totally different person!
And the second thing to be remembered: for whatsoever happens whether it hurts, gives pain, or whether it makes you happy — always feel thankful, because sometimes pain is needed for growth and pleasure is not needed. So whatsoever happens, make it an opportunity to grow. Use that opportunity as a jumping board for something higher.
A friend dies — there is pain, there is anguish and misery, but use that opportunity. Meditate on death. Everybody is going to die. So remember that death is always there; don’t forget it. Your friend’s death has reminded you of a very very significant phenomenon that death is there. Don’t arrange your life without taking note of death — that is the reminder in it. Maybe god has given you a message to get ready: the friend is gone, you will be gone one day, so prepare for death! One has to learn from death as much or even more than one has to learn from life, because life is small, death is vast. Life is a small affair, a seventy-year affair in which one-third will be gone in sleep, another one-third will be gone in earning bread and butter, another one-third in other stupidities…. Nothing much is left! It is not a big thing — it is a very small phenomenon; compared to death it is nothing. Death is eternity.
And we prepare for life — we send the children to the school and the college and the university — for twenty-five years. If they are going to live to seventy-five, we give one-third for preparation. What preparation do we make for death? And we are going on such a long journey. What provisions are there? How are we ready for it?
So when a friend dies, it is a reminder to now become aware — death is there, you cannot just forget it. And by forgetting, nothing is helped — it is bound to come! Don’t be like the ostrich. You can hide yourself from death but death is going to come; whether you hide or not makes no difference. In fact, if you don’t hide yourself you may be better able to face it, to live it. And those who have lived death have attained to the immortal, because the immortal can be known only through death. It is only in death that one comes to see that there is something inside which never dies.
So when a friend dies, meditate over death. Think about your own life, think about the priorities again — how you have been wasting your life. Rearrange it; give it a new style and a new shape in which death becomes a prominent thing. Let it be arranged around death, and then you have used the opportunity.
So even if sometimes you feel that things are not as they should be, use that opportunity. This is what I call the creative way of the sannyasin: using all kinds of possibilities and transforming their quality.
The Madman’s Guide to enlightenment, Chapter-26