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Avoiding Crisis Means Avoiding Life

16/11/2016 4:06 AM IST | Updated 19/11/2016 9:35 AM IST
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Crisis is the very air in which our being thrives.

Man is always in crisis. Man is crisis ... constant. It is not accidental, it is essential. Man's very being consists of crisis, hence the anxiety, the tension, the anguish. Man is the only animal who grows, who moves, who becomes. Man is the only animal who is not born complete, who is born like a process. Man is open. His being consists in becoming. That is the crisis.

Man cannot take himself for granted, otherwise man stagnates and vegetates. Life remains only when you are moving from one place to another place. Life is that movement between two places. You can't be alive at one place — that's the difference between a dead thing and an alive phenomenon. A dead thing remains in one place; it is static. The alive thing moves — not only moves, leaps, jumps. The dead thing remains always in the known. The alive phenomenon goes on moving from the known towards the unknown, from the familiar towards the unfamiliar. This is the crisis. Man is the most alive.

People call their stagnancy safety, security. Safety and security are just rationalisations for remaining stagnant.

You have to go on moving. The movement creates problems because the movement means you have to go on dying to that which you know. You have to go on dying to the past, which is familiar, which is comfortable, which is cosy. You have lived it, you have become skilful at it, you have learned much about it. Now there is no danger in it. It fits with you, you fit with it. But man has to move, man has to go on the adventure. You are a man only when you go continuously on that adventure — from the known to the unknown.

The mind clings to the past because the mind is the past. But your being wants to go beyond the past. Your being wants to explore. Your being has an intrinsic discontent. I call it divine discontent. Whatsoever you have, you are finished with it; whatsoever you are, you are finished with it; you want to have that which you don't have, and you want to be that which you are not. Man gropes in the dark for a richer being, for more being, for a new being.

It is not right to say that man is born one day and dies another. Man is constantly dying and constantly being born. Each moment is a death and a birth. In man death and birth are not opposites, but like two wings of a bird, complementary, helping each other. Death simply helps birth to happen. Death goes on cleansing the ground so the past can cease and the future can be. Death is in the service of birth. In fact, to call them two is not right. It is one process looked at from two different angles.

It is like a gate — from one side it is an entrance, from the other side it is an exit. It is like breathing — the same breath going inwards is called inhalation, and the same breath going outwards is called exhalation. Death is exhalation, birth is inhalation. Birth is entrance, death is exit. But it is the same life-energy, the same wave.

You can remain secure and safe with the past. You can avoid the crisis; that's what millions of people have decided. But then they remain mediocre.

Man has to die each moment and has to be ready to be reborn again and again and again. Between this constant death and birth is life. Between these two is the gap which is life. Between the past and the future is life — in that small interval called present. It has no duration. It is simply there ... atomic. Between the past, the long past, and the long future, exists a gap. Only those who go on constantly dying and constantly getting reborn know that gap, because they pass through that gap again and again. Each time you are ready to pass through that gap, you will find a crisis.

The crisis is that the mind wants to cling to the known and the familiar, naturally. The mind is efficient with it. Somehow it has learned it, and the learning has been arduous. And now suddenly you move. All that learning is lost, it will never again be relevant. In no other situation will it have any meaning. It can only have meaning with the situation in which you have lived. "Cling to it," the mind says.

The being cannot be contained by the mind. The being is infinite, and the mind is a very, very small hole. The being is like the sky, it cannot be contained. The being wants to go to the farthest corner of existence. The being is an adventure. The being wants to risk — this is the crisis. And each person has to face this crisis.

There are two alternatives: out of fear you stop dying to the past and you become stuck, stagnant. People call their stagnancy safety, security. Safety and security are just rationalisations for remaining stagnant. These people become pools instead of rivers. They go on shrinking, they never know the joy of flow. Joy is just a by-product of flow. When the river moves there is joy, there is dance, there is song. When your life flows from one space into another space, there is joy — the thrill of the new.

The only real problem is: how to go on continuously dying to the past? How to go on remaining courageous enough to take new life every moment?

You can remain secure and safe with the past. You can avoid the crisis; that's what millions of people have decided. But then they remain mediocre. They only age, they don't grow. They are stuck. Their life becomes a wasteland and they never come to see the ocean. Only when you see the ocean and you enter into the ocean do you know what bliss is.

Man has to go on leaving the past, man has to go on searching. Man has to feed, nourish his search. But man has invented many, many things to avoid it; man has invented many philosophies. Philosophy is a distraction. It never poses the real problem before you. It poses many problems to avoid the problem. It constantly creates newer and newer problems, and goes into those problems and finds solutions, and out of each solution it brings many more problems, and it goes on and on. It is a distraction. It does not help you to face the real problem.

The only real problem is: how to go on continuously dying to the past? How to go on remaining courageous enough to take new life every moment? How to go on being born?

Excerpted from The Wisdom of the Sands, Osho. This article was originally published in The OSHO Times.

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