“While alive, he lived”
– Swami Anand Kul Bhushan
“While alive, he lived.” At first glance, it may seem that this small sentence says the same thing twice over. But it is not so as there is a great difference between being alive and really living. One is alive as long as one’s bodily functions are going on, while one is really living when one strives for impossible goals and takes great risks. Then one is living moment to moment as extra doses of adrenalin pump into the system as one gets very excited while thrills escalate.
No wonder many people, stuck with dull and routine jobs, go overboard during their weekends or holidays when they indulge in adventure or ‘extreme’ sports. These extreme sports have a high level of inherent danger and range from watersports such as rafting, kayaking or diving; mountaineering like ice or rock climbing, snowboarding; flying like bungee jumping, para gliding, hang gliding; or motor sports like racing, rallying or cross country driving, just to name a few popular ones. All those indulging in these sports are prepared to risk their lives to really live it up. This is living dangerously at the physical level. Those who are not prepared to take actual physical risks, play computer games for virtual risks and dangers; watch sports or go to the movies to enjoy others taking huge risks. This is living dangerously by proxy. One can live dangerously at the mental level as well by playing the stock market or straightforward gambling.
“If you are not living dangerously, you are not living at all,” says Osho. But what is this dangerous living he is talking about? The ultimate in dangerous living is when one starts on the spiritual path or rather the pathless path. It is like venturing into a city that is constantly changing. The houses keep moving, the roads keep shifting and there are no signposts. If one is moving in such a city, then one gets the feeling of being ‘alive’ or changing all the time. This is a game that has a beginning but no end. It has no victories, only losses and when one has lost it all — that is one’s ego — then one attains everything. Now this is really a crazy game and one has to stake everything on it.
Thus the ultimate extreme sport is go within yourself. When you enter your inner space, you encounter life at its peak and you also come face to face with death. First, it is the death of your ego and it is perhaps more painful than physical death. Finally, you encounter what you have suppressed all your life: death and you transcend it forever. These are the experiences of the enlightened masters who have travelled on this path and who are compassionate to share their experiences with others who have the urge to take this ultimate risk. But these masters are very few and far between down the centuries.
When Osho says, “Live dangerously”, he means not only taking physical risk but psychological risk and finally, spiritual risk. And that’s the only and the ultimate risk worth taking to be alive.