Make your retirement meaningful

Understanding oneself and engaging in meditation play a crucial role in overcoming the fear of death, thus making retirement years more purposeful and satisfying.

Most probably all the diseases of old people are deep down rooted in death. Usually people say that such and such a person died because of such and such a sickness. But I think it would be more appropriate to say that such and such person is sick because of death. What happens is that the idea of death makes a person vulnerable to all kinds of diseases. As soon as someone feels he is moving toward death, the doors to all kinds of diseases open and he starts to catch them. Even if a healthy person comes to know for sure that he is going to die the next day, he will fall sick. Everything was all right, all the reports were normal: the X-ray was normal, the blood pressure was within normal limits, the pulse was all right, the stethoscope conveyed that everything was perfect. But if a person becomes completely convinced he is going to die the next day, you will see that he will start to catch a variety of diseases. He will catch as many diseases in twenty-four hours as it would normally be difficult to catch in twenty-four lifetimes.

What happens to him? He opens himself up to all kinds of diseases. He stops resisting. Since he is certain of his death, he moves away from the consciousness within that has acted as a wall, forming a barrier against disease. Then he is ready for his death and diseases start to come. That is why people die soon after retirement.

Anybody who wants to retire should understand this before retiring. They will die as much as five or six years earlier. Someone who would have died at the age of seventy will die when he is only sixty-five; someone who would have died at the age of eighty will die when he is seventy-five. The ten or fifteen years of his retirement will be spent preparing for death. He will not accomplish anything else because he knows that now he is of no use in life. There is no work for him, and no one will greet him on the road.

It was different when he was in the office. After retirement, no one will even look at him because they will have to greet someone else. Everything works with economics. New people will come in the office, so people will have to greet them. They cannot afford to go on greeting the old man as well. They will forget him.

When is man’s consciousness healthy from within? When he first begins to feel his inner consciousness. Usually we do not feel the inner; all we feel is the body – the hand, the leg, the head, the heart. We do not feel who we are inside. Our whole awareness is focused on the house and not on the dweller of the house.

It is a very dangerous situation because if that house begins to fall apart later on, the man will think he is falling apart, and that itself will become his sickness. But if he comes to know he is separate from the house – he is only residing in it, and even if the house collapses he will still remain – it will make a big difference, a basic difference. Then the fear of death will fade away.

Without meditation, the fear of death will never disappear. The first meaning of meditation is awareness of oneself. As long as you are conscious, your consciousness is always an awareness of something, it is never the awareness of itself. That is why when you are sitting alone you start to feel sleepy because there is nothing to do. If you read the paper or listen to the radio, you feel a little alert. If you are left alone in a dark room, you will feel sleepy because since you cannot see anything, you do not require your consciousness. If you cannot see anything, what can you do except sleep? There does not seem to be any other solution. If you are alone, in darkness, no one to talk to, nothing to think about, sleep will envelop you. There is no other way.

Remember that sleep and meditation are alike in one sense, and different in another. Sleep means you are alone but you are in slumber. Meditation means you are alone but awake. That is the only difference.

Abridged from Into the Void/Osho Times International/ Osho International Foundation/




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