Going From One Emergency Room To Another


Osho answers a question about death and the utter necessity to truly experience life so the conscious becomes more and more alive while the unconscious goes on dying.

Beloved Osho,
A year ago, on March 15th, I was visiting friends in Santa Fe. Early that morning, Mahamati and I were lying in the back of my van when it was struck from behind. Following the impact I couldn’t breathe. My neck and back were aflame with pain, and I panicked. My hand discovered my mala and the struggle dropped with the deep remembrance of sannyas, and I relaxed to be aware for death. Ironically, I began to get air, just a little, and told Mati not to freak out if I dropped the body, because I was still intact.

In the hospital emergency room, we both, simultaneously, felt your presence, and ecstatically laughed, to the dismay of the doctors and nurses. For seven weeks I was flat on my back, and my heart flowered as never before. The spine was fractured in two places, and this whole year I have been lazy – doing art, portraits of you, and a novel depicting my experiences with you. Beloved master, I am so grateful to find I can let go when death knocks on my door, and I feel so fortunate to look into your eyes once more. Thank you. Would you like to comment on my experience? Was it really you who came to the emergency room, or just our let-go to existence and life?


Atmo Shahid, my whole work – day in, day out – is going from one emergency room to another emergency room. I don’t have any other work. I have so many people in the world, and they are so expert in creating emergencies, that I am running like crazy. Why do you think I have told you now to drop the mala and orange clothes? Because it is getting too much! – running, without any rest.

But whatever happened to you has been of great value; this is the preparation every sannyasin is going through.

Life has to be a joy, a dance, a celebration. And when death comes, it has to be welcomed with silence, with serenity – wholeheartedly, not holding anything back. This is a way to kill death itself.

If you have lived joyously, you will be ready to welcome death too – invite her for a dance! Death is powerful only over people who have never lived, who don’t have the courage to relax peacefully in moments of death without any fear – because no accident, no disease, nothing can make even a dent in your consciousness; you are always intact.

Death is a fiction.
It is just
moving the house.

But the problem with people is, they live their whole lives unconsciously – in such misery, anguish, anxiety, that it is almost necessary for them to remain unconscious. They find new ways to be unconscious: drugs… anything that makes them unconscious. But then when death comes, they fall into a deep coma. The very fear of death, the very presence of death makes them absolutely unconscious, without any anesthesia.

Only for these people does death happen. Otherwise, death is a fiction. It is just moving the house; your old house has become such that renovating it is more troublesome than moving into a new house. The moment the body comes to a point when it is no longer functioning organically – when its inner structure is fractured, when things are not happening as they should happen, when mechanisms have run to their full capacity….

Each child brings with himself at birth, the genes which tell his whole history. And soon it may become possible – it is almost possible now – in the reports of the scientists, they say that they can read the program of the first cells that begin your life. At least they will be able to know the great events in your life: when you will become sexually mature, at what age; when you will become old, when death will strike your body just to make you free.

Death is in the service of life. Life never dies.

But in unconsciousness you go on doing things that you are not clearly aware of why you are doing. You go on moving because everybody else is moving, but you don’t know where you are moving and for what. You go on living because everybody else is living, but without any consciousness.

Why? Why should you wake up tomorrow morning and still go on breathing? Your whole past proves that it has been nothing but an exercise in futility, and you know perfectly well you will be repeating it as long as you are alive – unless by accident, you come across a man who is awake. And the awakened people have become so few, as centuries have passed, that it is almost improbable that you will come across an awakened person.

But only the awakened person can wake you up, shake you up; can give you a little consciousness of what you are doing: This is not life. This is only a slow death which will be completed in seventy or seventy-five years’ time. You are dying every day, every moment.

The great masses of the world only know slow death.

Only very few people who have become awakened have known the tremendous tidal wave of life.

The great masses
of the world only
know slow death.

Just as the unconscious goes on dying, the conscious goes on becoming more and more alive. The unconsciousness only grows old; the conscious grows up, becomes mature, reaches heights of consciousness. It is in its seed in everybody, but the problem is how to challenge the seed, how to call to the seed: “Don’t remain dormant!” Only the awakened person can create the presence in which your seed inside starts waking up.

It was a good experience, Shahid. You remained aware in the moment of death. Now don’t take it for granted. You have to be aware each moment in life.

Sometimes, particularly in accidents, people become aware because the accident is such a shock that the unconsciousness disappears. But if they survive, the unconsciousness again starts gathering around them like a dark cloud and they start living a life which is meaningless, imitative, not knowing why.

Goldstein got a job in the sports section of a large department store. On his first day there, the store manager overheard him with a customer: “Look,” said Goldstein, “these fish hooks are fifty cents each. But I can sell you three for a dollar.”

“I will buy them!” exclaimed the customer.

“Now, you have fish hooks but you need a fishing line. This excellent nylon line normally costs two dollars for a hundred yards but I can give you two hundred yards for three dollars,” said Goldstein.

“I will buy it!” exclaimed the customer.

“Now you have fish hooks and a line, but you need a rod. Here is a rod – normally costing one hundred dollars, but I can sell it to you for only seventy-five dollars,” said Goldstein.

“I will buy it!” exclaimed the customer.

“Now you have fish hooks, a line and a rod but you need a fishing boat. Here is a boat normally costing eight thousand dollars but it is yours for five thousand dollars.”

“I will buy it!” exclaimed the customer.

“Now you have fish hooks, a line, a rod, and a boat but you need a trailer to carry the boat on. Normally, this one costs two thousand dollars but it is yours for eighteen-hundred dollars.”

“I will buy it!” exclaimed the customer.

“Now,” said Goldstein, “you have fish hooks, a line, a rod, a boat and a trailer. All you need now is a car to pull your boat and trailer. Here is a car especially made for fishermen, designed to pull a boat and trailer – normally costing ten thousand dollars, but you can have it for eight thousand dollars.”

“I will buy it!” exclaimed the customer.

After the customer had left with all his purchases, the manager went up to Goldstein. “Goldstein,” he said. “I’ve been running this store for thirty years and never have I seen anyone making such an incredible sale. Starting with fifty-cent fish hooks and working up to a ten-thousand-dollar car!”

“What do you mean I started with fish hooks?” demanded Goldstein. “The man came in asking where he could buy tablets for his wife’s period, and I told him that what he needs right now is a weeks’ fishing holiday!”

This is your life…. Why are you doing things? Why are you buying things? How are you spending your life? You are not at all aware. You are just a sleepwalker, a somnambulist. Anybody can cheat you – the politicians are doing it, the priests are doing it, but in your unconsciousness it is absolutely natural. Only a conscious man cannot be exploited.

Only a conscious man really lives. And those who really live, die peacefully, silently, with a smile on their face. For these people who die with a smile on their face, there is no death – because deep down in their consciousness there is an absolute certainty that it is only the body that is being dropped. Life has continued always, and will continue always.

Osho, The Hidden Splendor, Ch 10, Q 3

Comments are closed.