Suppose, for example, that a wealthy man mistakenly hires a master thief of the greatest skill and cunning to guard his house. After watching his granaries, treasures, and the rest of his fortune dwindle by the day, he orders the thief to seize several suspicious servants and to interrogate them around the clock until they confess. Family members are worried sick. Relations between husband and wife are severely strained. Yet their fortune goes on mysteriously shrinking. And it all happens because of the mistake the man had made in the beginning, in employing and placing his complete trust in a thief.
The lesson to be learned from this is that the very attempts to banish birth and death from your mind are, in themselves, a sure sign that birth and death is in full progress.
From The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin, translated by Norman Waddell, page 36