What is the aim of life? Is there any point in living?
Life has no aim than itself, because life is another name for God himself. Everything else in the world can have an aim, can be a means to an end, but at least one thing you have to leave as the end of all but the means of none.
You can call it existence.
You can call it God.
You can call it life.
These are different names of a single reality.
God is the name given to life by the theologians and it has a danger in it because it can be refuted; it can be argued against. Almost half of the earth does not believe in any God. Not only the communists, but the Buddhists, the Jainas and there are thousands of free thinkers who are atheists. The name “God” is not very defensible because it is given by man and there is no evidence, no proof, no argument for it. It remains more or less an empty word. It means whatever you want it to mean.
“Existence” is better. All the great thinkers of this century are existentialists. They have dropped the word “God” completely. Existence in itself is enough for them.
But to me, just as “God” is one extreme, so is “existence” another extreme, because in the word “existence” there is no indication that it may be alive – it may be dead. There is no indication that it is intelligent – there may be no intelligence. There is no indication that it is conscious – it may not have any consciousness.
Hence, my choice is “life”. Life contains everything that is needed; moreover, it needs no proof. You are life. You are the proof. You are the argument. You cannot dany life; hence in the whole history of man, there has not been a single thinker who has denied life.
Millions have denied God, but how can you deny life? It is beating in your heart, it is in your breathing, it is showing in your eyes. It is expressing in your love. It is celebrating in a thousand and one ways – in the trees, in the birds, in the mountains, in the rivers.
Life is the aim of everything. Hence, life cannot have an aim other than itself. To say it in the other words: life’s aim is intrinsic. It has it within itself to grow, to expand, to celebrate, to dance, to love, to enjoy – these are all aspects of life.
To me, God is not someone who created the world. God is someone that you create when you live totally, intensely – with all your heart, not holding anything back. When your life becomes simply a moment-to-moment joy, a moment-to-moment dance, when your life is nothing but a festival of lights… every moment is so precious because once it gone, it is gone forever.
Each individual is so unique that you cannot make a superhighway on which everybody has to travel to find the aim of life. On the contrary, everybody has to find his life without following the crowd, but following his own inner voice; without moving in a mob, but following a small footpath. That too is not created by anybody else. You create it as your walk.
Life’s aim is life itself – more life, deeper life, higher life, but life always. There is nothing higher than life.
You asked “Is there any point in living?”
I am afraid that if I say there is no point in living, you will think that means you have to commit suicide, because if there is no point in living, then what else to do? Commit suicide! I am not saying commit suicide, because in commiting suicide also there is no point.
Living: live, and live totally.
Dying: die, and die totally.
And in that totality you will find significance.
You are the meaning, the significance, and living itself is intrinsically complete.
Life needs nothing else to be added to it.
All that life needs is that you live it to its totality.
If you live only partially, then you will not feel the thrill of being alive.
It is like any mechanism when just a part is functioning… For example in a clock: if only the second hand is working but neither the hour hand nor the minute hand moves – only the second hand goes on moving – what purpose will it serve? There will be movement, a certain part is working, but unless the whole works and works in harmony, there cannot be a song out of it.
And this is the situation: everybody is living partially, a small part. So you make a noise but you can’t create a song. You move your hands and legs but no dance happens. The dance, the song, the significance comes into existence immediately once your whole functions in harmony, in accord. Then you don’t ask such questions as: Is there any point in living? – you know.
Living itself is the point. There is no other point.
Each moment your being is changing, and if you get involved totally in anything then you will see the change happening in you – each moment a new being, and a new world, and a new experience. Everything suddenly becomes so full of newness that you never see the same thing again.
Then naturally, life becomes a continuous mystery, a continuous surprise.
On each step a new world opens up, of tremendous meaning, of incredible ecstasy.
When death comes, death too is not seen as something separate from life. It is part of life, not an end of life. It is just like other happenings: love had happened, birth had happened. You were a child, and then childhood disappeared; you became a young man, and then the young man disappeared; you became an old man, and then the old man disappeared – how many things have been happening! Why don’t you allow death also happen just like other incidents?
And actually the person who has lived moment to moment lives death too, and finds that all the moments of life can be put on one side and the one moment of death can be put on the other side, and still it weighs more. In every way it weighs more because it is the whole life condensed; and something more added to it, which was never available to you. A new door opening, with the whole life condensed: a new dimension opening.
Osho, From the book:
- From Ignorance to Innocence’
- ‘The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol6’