1-How to Live Life
This is a story of a Greek General. There was a court conspiracy so the King was somehow against him. On that day it was the General's birthday. He was celebrating it with his friends. Suddenly, in the afternoon, the King's messenger came and said to the General, "Excuse me, it is hard to tell you, but the king has decided that this evening, by six o'clock, you are to be hanged. So be ready by 6 O'clock."
Friends were there; music was there. All were drinking, eating and dancing. It was General's birthday. This message changed the whole atmosphere. They became sad. But the General said, "Do not be sad, because this is going to be the last part of my life. So let us complete the dance we were dancing and let us complete the feast we were having. I have no possibility now that I would live, so we cannot complete it in the future, so we will have to finish everything before 6 O'clock. And do not send me off in this sad atmosphere, otherwise my mind will long again and again for all this, and the stopped music and the halted festivity will become a burden on my mind. So let us complete it. Now is no time to stop it."
Although his friends did not want it to continue, but just because of him, they danced, but it was difficult for them to continue. He alone danced more vigorously; he alone became more festive. But the whole group was simply mot there. His wife was also weeping, but he continued to dance, he continued to talk with his friends. And he was so happy that the messenger went back to the King and he said, "That man is strange. He heard the message, but he is not sad. He has taken it in a very different way - absolutely inconceivable. He is laughing, dancing and festive and he says that because those moments are his last and there is no future now, he cannot waste them: he must live them."
Hearing this the King got very surprised, he himself came to see what was happening there. Everyone was sad, weeping. Only the General was dancing, drinking, singing. The King asked, "What are you doing? You are going to be hanged in a few hours and you are dancing, drinking and singing instead of being sad?" The General said, "This has been my life principle - to be aware of death continuously, and because of this principle I have lived every moment of my life as much as was possible. But, of course, you have made it so clear today. I am grateful because until now I was only thinking that death is possible any moment. Somewhere, lurking behind, the thought was there that it was not going to be just the next moment. The future was there, but you dropped my future completely for me. This evening is the last evening of my life. Life now is so short, I cannot postpone it."
The King was so happy to hear his plea that he became a disciple to his General. He said, "I am your disciple, please teach me! This is the alchemy. This is how life should be lived; this is the art. So I am not going to hang you, but be my teacher. Teach me how to live in the moment."
Created by Sushma Gupta on May 27, 2001
Modified on 09/30/13