People come to me and they ask, ‘What is the meaning of life’ As if meaning is there somewhere sold in the market. As if meaning is a commodity. Meaning has to be CREATED. There is no meaning in life. Meaning is not a given thing, it has to be created. It has to become your inner work. Then there is meaning — and there IS GREAT meaning. Love and meditate and you will attain to meaning. And you will attain to life, and abundant life.
This is the way to be ready: exert yourself sincerely — not seriously but sincerely. There are people who are always doing things halfheartedly; lukewarm is their life. They never achieve anything because they are always holding back. They never move into anything totally, intensely. They are always standing on the bank and thinking of the farther shore. Or even if sometimes they try, they are riding on two horses; in case the one fails, the other will always be there. They are riding in two boats. Their life is so divided that whatsoever they do they always do with a dividedness. And any flowering of consciousness is possible only when there is an organic unity in you.
The religious person is ordinary, very ordinary. He lives a very simple, unpretentious life with no claim to extra-ordinariness. But that’s what makes him extraordinary.
Life should be lived naturally, life should be lived according to the laws of nature — not according to the laws of Manu, not according to the ascetics, not according to the saints, but according to the Dhamma. Ais dhammo sanantano, Buddha says: This is the eternal law. We have to find the eternal law in things, how the whole universe runs in a harmony, how there is such tremendous order. It is not a chaos, it is a cosmos. Man has also to become a cosmos, and it is possible only through love.
I agree with the Zen people: the small things of life have to be transformed by your inner transformation. This I call the religious quality; everything becomes sacred. Taking a bath, making love, eating food, going to sleep — everything becomes sacred, because wherever you look is God and whatsoever you do you do WITH God.
It is said the first thing that Zarathustra did in his life was to laugh the moment he was born. Now children are not supposed to laugh when they are born, they are supposed to cry! Zarathustra laughed, and that laughter remained like an undercurrent his whole life. He is the most life-affirmative Buddha ever. He loved life so deeply that for him there was no God other than life.
LIFE is basically insecure. That’s its intrinsic quality; it cannot be changed. Death is secure, absolutely secure. The moment you choose security, unknowingly you have chosen death. The moment you choose life, unawares you have chosen insecurity.
The American way of life depends on ambition, and my new man has to be utterly ambitionless. America’s whole approach is: things should be bettered, everything should be made better. It does not matter where it is going to lead, but things have to be better, better and better. They are obsessed with the idea of bettering things. You have to have more speed, better machines, better technology, better railroads, better roads — everything better! Of course, in the same way, you need a better man. It fits with the whole American style of life.
The new man will have a totally different vision of life. He will live in a more loving way, because to him love is richness. He will know that money cannot buy love or joy. He will know that money is utilitarian; it is not the goal of life.
This is the way people are — just living in a thick cloud of unconsciousness. Their life is not that of light but of darkness, and out of this darkness, confusion, smoke, what can you expect? They are bound to do something foolish, something wrong.
Man goes on arguing about great things, but goes on living in a totally different way. His thoughts are very great; his life is very.immature. In fact, he creates all those great thoughts to cover up his immaturity.
My approach is totally different. I declare to you that you are perfectly right, that nothing is wrong with you, that you are not to follow somebody else, that you are not to imitate anybody else, that you have to love yourself, trust yourself, that you have to live a life of freedom, a life of rebellion, a life of exploration.
My own experience is this: that life has to be used in its totality, in all its dimensions. Yes, even the darker ones, they have their own share to contribute to the richness of life. Whenever you make a division that “this is good and this is bad,” that “this should be and this should not be,” you are creating trouble for yourself. Life is one organic unity. When it is night, sleep; when it is day, wake up. Don’t hanker for the night in the day; don’t hanker for the day in the night.
Individuality makes your life significant. It makes your life a beautiful song, but the song is no more yours, the song is God’s. Individuality is divine. You are simply a hollow bamboo: you become a flute on the lips of God or on the lips of the whole existence. Then whatsoever the whole wants, you allow it; you remain in a let-go.
Life is insecurity and nothing is wrong in it. In fact, life cannot be otherwise. Death is secure, life is insecure. Marriage is secure, love is insecure. Marriage is dead, love is alive. The more alive you are the more your life remains in insecurity, because the livelier person will be exploring the unknown, he will be adventurous. It is life’s nature, its law, its very intrinsic soul. But the priest has exploited it. He has given you consolations, securities, insurances, not only for this life but for future lives too. He says, “Don’t be worried. If you follow a certain code of conduct, if you cultivate a certain character, if you follow the commandments given in the scriptures, then you need not be afraid. Then God is going to reward you. You will be punished only if you go against the convention, against the tradition.”
I am not teaching you a religion which is life-negative. I am teaching a religion which is absolutely life-affirmative. Life is God.