Death is always close by. It is almost like your shadow. You may be aware, you may not be aware, but it follows you from the first moment of your life to the very last moment. Death is a process just as life is a process, and they are almost together, like two wheels of a bullock cart. Life cannot exist without death; neither can death exist without life.
Our minds have an insane desire: we want only life and not death. We don’t look at the existential truth, we always cling to our own insane desire. Any desire that goes against nature is insane. And this desire is in almost every living creature, not only human beings. Even the trees are afraid of death, but trees can be forgiven. They are not conscious beings, they are only unconscious — fast asleep.
But you are a little bit awake: you can sense the presence of death. Hence the possibility opens for a deeper understanding, that life and death are all together, two extremes of one energy. Life is the active force and death is the inactive force. Life is the positive electricity and death is the negative electricity, but they cannot be separated.
Life is an opportunity. Death is the end of the rope. If you understand death your life will become intense and total. But instead of understanding death, you become overwhelmed by it. Hence the heart starts trembling with fear. And fear is not going to help at all, fear is going to cloud your mind even more. Out of fear, there has never been any understanding.
So whenever you feel fear, it is a tremendous opportunity to understand that life is momentary, it is ephemeral, it is made of the same stuff as dreams are made of. How real the dream looks when you are asleep — in fact, more real than your experiences when you are awake. You may have never thought about it, but while you are awake you can doubt: “Perhaps what I am seeing may be just a dream.” I may be a dream, you may be a dream, this whole communion may be happening just as a dream. Soon you will be awake and you will find, “My God! It was just a dream.”
There is a possibility when you are awake to suspect, to doubt the reality that surrounds you. But when you are asleep, you cannot even doubt the existence of the dream. It is so real, it is more real than reality. Have you ever doubted any dream, thinking that perhaps what you are seeing is a dream? The moment you doubt, you are awake, and the dream is immediately finished. The dream can remain there only if you are totally asleep, so deep that no doubt, no suspicion, can arise in you.
But to those who have understood both life and death as nothing but two aspects of one reality, the dream and the so-called reality of your waking consciousness are not basically different. Just as in the morning you wake up and the dream life is finished, one day in death you wake up into another reality and all that was real up to then — for seventy years — becomes just a dream. Not even a trace of it is left anywhere in your consciousness.
Death is a constant reminder that, “I can come any moment. Be prepared.” And what is the preparation? The preparation is: live life so totally, so intensely, be so aflame with it that when death comes there is no complaint, there is no grudge. You are absolutely ready because you have lived life so totally, you have known all its mysteries — there is no point in living anymore. Death has come exactly at the right time, when you may have thought to die yourself. I call that death perfect which comes at the moment when you yourself may have thought, “It is enough.”
Death comes and you understand that life has been lived totally, so now there is no point to go on breathing and go on waking and sleeping unnecessarily — because nothing new is going to happen. Now everything is past and there is no future. In such a moment, death is a welcome guest. And unless you are ready to welcome death, know well that you have missed life. Those who feel sadness and fear about death are the people who have missed the train. But in our unconsciousness, we are all continuously missing the train. The train is moving every moment, just in front of you, but somehow you go on missing.