What does it mean exactly? It simply means that in life there are always alternatives. You are always at a crossroads, always and always. Each moment is a crossroads, and you have to choose where you are going, what is going to be your path; each moment you have to choose. Each moment is decisive because you are discarding many ways and choosing one.
Now, if you choose the comfortable, the convenient, then you will never be able to live intensely. The comfortable, the convenient, the conventional, which the society approves, means that you are ready to become a psychological slave. That’s why all this convenience… The society will give you everything, if you give your freedom to it. It will give you respectability, it will give you great posts in the hierarchy, in the bureaucracy – but you have to drop one thing: your freedom, your individuality. You have to become a number in the crowd. The crowd hates the person who is not part of it. The crowd becomes very tense seeing a stranger amongst it, because the stranger becomes a question mark.
You have been living a certain life, a certain style, a certain religion, a certain politics. You have been following the way of the mob, and you were very comfortable, cozy, because those surrounding you were all people just like you. What you were doing, they were doing. Everybody else was doing the same; that gave the feeling that you were doing the right thing. So many people could not be wrong. And in gratitude that you are following them, they give you respectability, honour. Your ego is fulfilled. Life is convenient, but it is flat. You live horizontally – a very thin slice of life, just like a slice of bread cut very thin. In a linear way you live.
To live dangerously means to live vertically.
Each moment then has a depth and a height. It touches the highest star and the deepest bottom. It knows nothing of the horizontal line. But then you are a stranger in the crowd, then you are behaving differently from everybody else. And this creates an unease in people, for the simple reason that they are not enjoying their life, they have not lived their life, they have not taken the responsibility to live it, they have not risked anything to have it – but because everybody else was also like them, the question was not arising.
But this stranger comes who lives in a different way, behaves in a different way, and suddenly something is stirred in them. Their repressed life, which is like a spring, forcibly repressed, suddenly starts stirring, starts creating questions that this way too is possible. And this man seems to be having a different shine to his eyes, a different joy around him. He walks, sits, stands, not like everybody else. Something is unique about him. But the most impressive thing about him is he seems to be utterly contented, blissful – as if he has arrived.
Living dangerously means whenever there are alternatives, beware: don’t choose the convenient, the comfortable, the respectable, the socially acceptable, the honourable. Choose something that rings a bell in your heart. Choose something that you would like to do in spite of any consequences. Then whatever happens is welcome. You will never regret.
Living dangerously means: don’t put stupid conditions between you and life – comfort, convenience, respectability. Drop all these things, and allow life to happen to you, and go with it without bothering whether you are on the highway or not, without bothering where you are going to end.
From ‘Living Dangerously‘, © 2011 by Osho, published by Watkins.