Question – What does it mean to live dangerously?
Osho : DANGEROUSLY? To live dangerously means to live. If you don’t live dangerously, you don’t live. Living flowers only in danger. Living never flowers in security; it flowers only in insecurity. If you start getting secure, you become a stagnant pool. Then your energy is no more moving. Then you are afraid, because one never knows how to go into the unknown.
And why take the risk? The known is more secure. Then you get obsessed with the familiar. You go on getting fed up with it, you are bored with it, you feel miserable in it, but still it seems familiar and comfortable. At least it is known. Unknown creates a trembling in you. The very idea of the unknown and you start feeling unsafe.
There are only two types of people in the world. People who want to live comfortably — they are seeking death. They want a comfortable grave. And people who want to live — they choose to live dangerously, because life thrives only when there is risk. Have you ever gone climbing the mountains? The higher the climb, the fresher you feel, the younger you feel.
The greater the danger of falling, the bigger the abyss by the side, the more alive you are… between life and death, when you are just hanging between life and death. Then there is no boredom, then there is no dust of the past, no desire for the future. Then the present moment is very sharp like a flame. It is enough. You live in the here and now.
Or surfing… or skiing… or gliding. Wherever there is a risk of losing life, there is tremendous joy. Because the risk of losing life makes you tremendously alive. Hence people are attracted to dangerous sports. People go climbing the mountains. Somebody asked Hillary, ‘Why did you try to climb Everest? Why?’ And Hillary said, ‘Because it is there — a constant challenge.’
It was risky, many people had died before. For almost sixty, seventy years, groups had been going, and it was almost a certain death. But still people were going. What was the attraction? Reaching higher, going farther away from the settled, the routine life, you again become wild, you again become part of the animal world. You again live like a tiger or a lion or like a river.
You again soar like a bird into the skies, farther and farther away. And each moment the security, the bank balance, the wife, the husband, the family, the society, the church, the respectability… all are fading away and away, distant and distant. You become alone. This is why people are so much interested in sports.
But that too is not real danger because you can become very very skilled. You can learn it, you can be trained for it. It is a very calculated risk — if you allow me the expression, calculated risk. You can train for mountaineering and you can take all precautions. Or driving, speed-driving. You can go a hundred miles per hour. It is dangerous, it is thrilling.
But you can become really skillful about it, and the danger is only for outsiders; for you it is not. And even if it is there, it is very marginal. And then, these risks are only physical risks, only the body is involved. When I say to you, live dangerously, I mean not only bodily risk, but psychological risk, and finally spiritual risk. Religion is spiritual risk.
It is going to such heights from where maybe there is no return. That is the meaning of Buddha’s term, anagamin — one who returns never. It is going to such a height of point of no return; then one is simply lost. One never comes back. When I say live dangerously, I mean don’t live the life of ordinary respectability — that you are a mayor in a town, or a member of the cooperation. This is not life.
Or you are a minister, or you have a good profession and are earning well and money goes on accumulating in the bank and everything is going perfectly well. When everything is going perfectly well, simply see it — you are dying and nothing is happening. People may respect you, and when you die a great procession will follow you. Good, that’s all.
And in the newspapers your pictures will be published and there will be editorials, and then people will forget about you. And you lived your whole life only for these things. Watch — one can miss one’s whole life for ordinary, mundane things. To be spiritual means to understand that these small things should not be given too much importance.
I am not saying that they are meaningless. I am saying that they are meaningful, but not as meaningful as you think. Money is needed. It is a need. But money is not the goal and cannot be the goal. A house is needed, certainly. It is a need. I am not an ascetic and I don’t want you to destroy your houses and escape to the Himalayas. The house is needed — but the house is needed for you. Don’t misunderstand it.
As I see people, the whole thing has gone topsy-turvy. They exist as if they are needed for the house. They go on working for the house. As if they are needed for the bank balance — they simply go on collecting money and then they die. And they had never lived. They had never a single moment of throbbing, streaming life.
They were just imprisoned in security, familiarity, respectability. Then if you feel bored, it is natural. People come to me and they say they feel very bored. They feel fed up, stuck. What to do? They think that just by repeating a mantra they will become again alive. It is not so easy. They will have to change their whole life pattern.
Love, but don’t think that tomorrow the woman will be available to you. Don’t expect. Don’t reduce the woman into a wife. Then you are living dangerously. Don’t reduce the man into a husband, because a husband is an ugly thing. Let your man be your man and your woman your woman. And don’t make your tomorrow predictable. Expect nothing and be ready for everything. That’s what I mean when I say live dangerously.
What do we do? We fall in love with a woman and immediately we start going to the court, or to the registry office, or to the church to get married. I’m not saying don’t get married. It is a formality. Good, satisfy the society. But deep in your mind never possess the woman. Never for a single moment say that ‘you belong to me’.
Because how can a person belong to you? And when you start possessing the woman, she will start possessing you. Then you both are no more in love. You are just crushing and killing each other, paralyzing each other. Love — but don’t let your love degrade into marriage. Work — work is needed — but don’t let work become your only life. Play should remain your life, your center of life.
Work should be as a means towards play. Work in the office and work in the factory and work in the shop, but just to have time, opportunity, to play. Don’t let your life be reduced into just a working routine. Because the goal of life is play. Play means doing something for its own sake. You come to me even to meditate, and you take meditation also as work.
You think something has to be done to achieve god. It is nonsense. Meditation cannot be done that way. You have to play, you have to take it as fun. You have not to be serious about it. You have to enjoy it. When you enjoy it, it develops. When you start taking it as work, as a duty to be done — because you have to do, you have to achieve moksha, nirvana, liberation — then again you have brought your foolish categories into the world of play.
Meditation is play, it is a leela. You enjoy it for its own sake. If you enjoy many more things for their own sake, you will be more alive. Of course, your life will always be in a risk, danger. But that’s how life has to be. Risk is part of it. In fact the better part of it is risk, the best part of it is risk. The most beautiful part of it is risk. It is every moment a risk.
You may not be aware. You breathe in, you breathe out. There is risk. Even breathing out, who knows whether the breath will come back or not? It is not certain, there is no guarantee. But there are a few people whose whole religion is security. Even if they talk about god, they talk about god as the supreme security.
If they think about god, they think only because they are afraid. If they go to pray and meditate, they are going just in order that they remain in the good books — in god’s good books. ‘If there is a god, he will know that I was a regular church-goer, a regular worshipper. I can claim.’ Even their prayer is just a means.
To live dangerously means to live life as if each moment is its own end. Each moment has its own intrinsic value. And you are not afraid. And you know death is there and you accept the fact that death is there, and you are not hiding against death. In fact, you go and encounter death. You enjoy those moments of encountering death — physically, psychologically, spiritually.
Enjoying those moments where you come directly in contact with death, where death becomes almost a reality, is what I mean when I say live dangerously. Love brings you face to face with death. Meditation brings you face to face with death. Coming to a master is coming to your own death. Facing somebody who has disappeared, is entering an abyss in which you can be lost, and you can become an anagamin.
Those who are courageous, they go headlong. They search all opportunities of danger. Their life philosophy is not that of insurance companies. Their life philosophy is that of a mountain climber, a glider, a surfer. And not only in the outside seas they surf; they surf in their innermost seas. And not only on the outside they climb Alps and Himalayas; they seek inner peaks. But remember one thing — never forget the art of risking, never never.
Always remain capable of risking. And wherever you can find an opportunity to risk, never miss it, and you will never be a loser. Risk is the only guarantee for being truly alive.