Meditation: An Understanding
Osho on Meditation
IF I LOOK AT MY DEATH, OR YOUR DEATH, ONE THING I COULD NEVER FORGIVE MYSELF FOR IS TO MISS YOU. I USED TO THINK: IF LIFE HAS A PURPOSE, YOU ARE THE PURPOSE — AND IF THERE IS A DESTINY, YOU ARE MY DESTINY. NOW I SEE THINGS A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY. THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIFT MY LIFE CAN GIVE TO YOU IS NOT TO WORSHIP YOU OR HELP YOUR WORK ON THIS EARTH. IT IS NOT EVEN TO LOVE YOU. OUT OF YOUR COMPASSION, AS I UNDERSTAND IT, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIFT MY LIFE CAN GIVE TO YOU IS MY OWN ENLIGHTENMENT. PLEASE, OSHO, GIVE ME A TECHNIQUE TO PREPARE MY MEDITATION.
Raso, the way your understanding has been growing is perfectly the right way and the right direction. The only thing you should think of is enlightenment. Yes, that is the only gift you can give to me: your enlightenment. Everything else is trivia. So your conclusion has my absolute, categorical approval. Once you are committed, once you have decided wholeheartedly that enlightenment is the only purpose of being here in the world, of being alive, then a single pointed awareness — just like an arrow moving towards its target — begins in you.
You are asking for the right meditation.
Meditation is a beautiful word; hiding behind it is a very dangerous reality. The dangerous reality is: if you want to be deeply in meditation, you will have to pass through almost a death — the death of the old, the death of all that you used to be, a discontinuity with the past — and a rebirth.
The place where your meditation is going to descend is the place occupied by your mind and your past. So the first and primary work is to clean your interior being of all thoughts. There is no question of choosing to keep the good thoughts in and to throw the bad thoughts out. For a meditator, all thoughts are simply junk; there is no question of good and bad. They all occupy the space inside you, and because of their occupation, your inner being cannot become absolutely silent. So good thoughts are as bad as bad thoughts; don’t make any discrimination between them. Throw the baby out with the bath water!
Meditation needs absolute quiet, a silence so deep that nothing stirs within you. Once you understand exactly what meditation means, it is not difficult to attain it. It is our birthright; we are absolutely capable of having it. But you cannot have both: the mind and meditation. Mind is a disturbance. Mind is nothing but a normal madness. You have to go beyond the mind into a space where no thought has ever entered, where no imagination functions, where no dream arises, where you simply are — just a nobody. It is more an understanding than a discipline. It is not that you have to do much; on the contrary, you don’t have to do anything except clearly understand what meditation is. That very understanding will stop the functioning of the mind.
That understanding is almost like a master before whom the servants stop quarreling with each other, or even talking with each other; suddenly the master enters the house and there is silence. All the servants start being busy — at least looking like they are busy. Just a moment before, they were all quarreling and fighting and discussing, and nobody was doing anything.
Understanding what meditation is, is inviting the master in. Mind is a servant. The moment the master comes in with all its silence, with all its joy, suddenly the mind falls into absolute silence.
Once you have achieved a meditative space, enlightenment is only a question of time. You cannot force it. You have to be just a waiting, an intense waiting, with a great longing — almost like thirst, hunger, not a word …. It is like the experience of people who have sometimes got lost in a desert. At first, thirst is a word in their mind: “I am feeling thirsty and I am looking for water.” But as time goes on, and there is no sign of any oasis — and as far as the eyes can see, there is no possibility of finding water — the thirst goes on spreading all over the body.
From the mind, from just a word, `thirst’, it starts spreading to every cell and fiber of the body. Now it is no longer a word, it is an actual experience. Your every cell — and there are seven million cells in the body — is thirsty. Those cells don’t know words, they don’t know language, but they know that they need water; otherwise life is going to be finished.
In meditation, the longing becomes just a thirst for enlightenment and a patient awaiting, because it is such a great phenomenon and you are so tiny. Your hands cannot reach it; it is not within your reach. It will come and overwhelm you but you cannot do anything to bring it down to you. You are too small, your energies are too small. But whenever you are really waiting with patience and longing and passion, it comes. In the right moment, it comes. It has always come. You are asking what meditation will be helpful to you. Raso, all meditations … hundreds of techniques are available, but the essence of all those techniques is the same, just their forms differ. And
the essence is contained in the meditation vipassana. That is the meditation that has made more people in the world enlightened than any other, because it is the very essence. All other meditations have the same essence, but in different forms; something nonessential is also joined with them. But vipassana is pure essence.
You cannot drop anything out of it and you cannot add anything to improve it. Vipassana is such a simple thing that even a small child can do it. In fact, the smallest child can do it better than you, because he is not yet filled with the garbage of the mind; he is still clean and innocent.
Raso, I would suggest vipassana as the technique for you. Vipassana can be done in three ways — you can choose which one suits you the best. The first is: Awareness of your actions, your body, your mind, your heart. Walking, you should walk with awareness. Moving your hand, you should move with awareness, knowing perfectly that you are moving the hand. You can move it without any consciousness, like a mechanical thing. You are on a morning walk; you can go on walking without being aware of your feet. Be alert of the movements of your body. While eating, be alert of the movements that are needed for eating. Taking a shower, be alert of the coolness that is coming to you, the water falling on you and the tremendous joy of it …. Just be alert. It should not go on happening in an unconscious state.
And the same about your mind: whatever thought passes on the screen of your mind, just be a watcher. Whatever emotion passes on the screen of your heart, just remain a witness — don’t get involved, don’t get identified, don’t evaluate what is good, what is bad; that is not part of your meditation. Your meditation has to be choiceless awareness. You will be able one day even to see very subtle moods: how sadness settles in you just like the night is slowly, slowly settling around the world, how suddenly a small thing makes you joyous. Just be a witness. Don’t think, “I am sad.” Just know, “There is sadness around me, there is joy around me. I am confronting a certain emotion or a certain mood.” But you are always far away: a watcher on the hills, and everything else is going on in the valley. This is one of the ways vipassana can be done.
And for a woman, my feeling is that it is the easiest, because a woman is more alert of her body than a man. It is just her nature. She is more conscious of how she looks, she is more conscious of how she moves, she is more conscious of how she sits; she is always conscious of being graceful. And it is not only a conditioning; it is something natural and biological. Mothers who have experienced having at least two or three children, start feeling after a certain time whether they are carrying a boy or girl in their womb. The boy starts playing football; he starts kicking here and there, he starts making himself felt — he announces that he is here. The girl remains silent and relaxed; she does not play football, she does not kick, she does not announce. She remains as quiet as possible, as relaxed as possible. So it is not a question of conditioning, because even in the womb you can see the difference between the boy and the girl. The boy is hectic; he cannot sit in one place. He is all over the place. He wants to do everything, he wants to know everything. The girl behaves in a totally different way.
That’s why I say, Raso, it will be easier for you to take vipassana in this first form. The second form is breathing, becoming aware of breathing. As the breath goes in, your belly starts rising up, and as the breath goes out, your belly starts settling down again. So the second method is to be aware of the belly, its rising and falling. Just the very awareness of the belly rising and falling … And the belly is very close to the life sources because the child is joined with the mother’s life through the navel. Behind the navel is his life’s source. So when the belly rises up, it is really the life energy, the spring of life that is rising up and falling down with each breath. That too is not difficult, and perhaps may be even easier, because it is a single technique.
In the first, you have to be aware of the body, you have to be aware of the mind, you have to be aware of your emotions, moods. So it has three steps. The second sort has a single step: just the belly, moving up and down. And the result is the same. As you become more aware of the belly, the mind becomes silent, the heart becomes silent, the moods disappear. And the third is to be aware of the breath at the entrance, when the breath goes in through your nostrils. Feel it at that extreme — the other polarity from the belly — feel it from the nose. The breath going in gives a certain coolness to your nostrils. Then the breath going out … breath going in, breath going out ….
That too is possible. It is easier for men than for women. The woman is more aware of the belly. Most men don’t even breathe as deep as the belly. Their chest rises up and falls down, because a wrong kind of athletics prevails over the world. Certainly it gives a more beautiful form to the body if your chest is high and your belly is almost non-existent.
Man has chosen to breathe only up to the chest, so the chest becomes bigger and bigger and the belly shrinks down. That appears to him to be more athletic. Around the world, except in Japan, all athletes and teachers of athletes emphasize breathing by filling your lungs, expanding your chest, and pulling the belly in. The ideal is the lion whose chest is big and whose belly is very small. So be like a lion; that has become the rule of athletic gymnasts and the people who have been working with the body. Japan is the only exception, where they don’t care that the chest should be broad and the belly should be pulled in. It needs a certain discipline to pull the belly in; it is not natural. Japan has chosen the natural way; hence you will be surprised to see a Japanese statue of Buddha. That is the way you can immediately discriminate whether the statue is Indian or Japanese. The Indian statues of Gautam Buddha have a very athletic body: the belly is very small and the chest is very broad. But the Japanese Buddha is totally different; his chest is almost silent, because he breathes from the belly, but his belly is bigger. It doesn’t look very good because the idea prevalent in the world is the other way round, and it is so old. But breathing from the belly is more natural, more relaxed.
In the night it happens when you sleep: you don’t breathe from the chest, you breathe from the belly. That’s why the night is such a relaxed experience. After your sleep, in the morning you feel so fresh, so young, because the whole night you were breathing naturally … you were in Japan! These are the two points: if you are afraid that breathing from the belly and being attentive to its rising and falling will destroy your athletic form … men may be more interested in that athletic form. Then for them it is easier to watch near the nostrils where the breath enters. Watch, and when the breath goes out, watch. These are the three forms. Any one will do. And if you want to do two forms together, you can do two forms together; then the effort will become more intense. If you want to do all three forms together, you can do all three forms together. Then the process will be quicker. But it all depends on you, whatever feels easy.
Remember: easy is right.
As meditation becomes settled, mind silent, the ego will disappear. You will be there, but there will be no feeling of “I.” Then the doors are open. Just wait with a loving longing, with a welcome in the heart for that great moment, the greatest moment in anybody’s life — enlightenment. It comes … it certainly comes. It has never delayed for a single moment. Once you are in the right tuning, it suddenly explodes in you, transforms you. The old man is dead and the new man has arrived.
Big Chief Sitting Bull had been constipated for many moons. So he sent his favorite squaw to the medicine man for help. The medicine man gave the squaw three pills and told her to give them to the chief, and then report back to him the next morning.
The next morning the squaw came back with the message, “Big chief no shit.” So the medicine man told her to double the dose.
The next day, she came back with the message, “Big Chief no shit.” So again he told her to double the dose.
Again she came back with the same message. This went on for a week, and finally the medicine man told the squaw to give Sitting Bull the whole box.
The next morning, she came back with a very sad expression. “What is wrong, my child?” asked the medicine man. The little squaw looked at him with tears in her eyes and said, “Big Shit, no chief!”
One day it will happen to you, and that will be a great moment. That’s what I am calling the right moment.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The New Dawn
Chapter title: The only gift to me: your enlightenment
26 June 1987 am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Osho has spoken on ‘Meditation, enlightenment, silence, understanding, Vipassana, awareness, consciousness’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
- The Invitation
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
- Satyam Shivam Sundram
- Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
- The Great Zen Master Ta Hui
- The Zen Manifesto: Freedom From Oneself
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 9, 10
- Beyond Psychology
- From Death to Deathlessness
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 5, 6, 10
- The Transmission of the Lamp
- Philosophia Perennis, Vol 1, 2