Relaxation: The Very Essence of Meditation

BELOVED OSHO,

REFERRING TO THE PRESENT SITUATION OF THE WORLD AND OF HUMANITY, THE FAMOUS PSYCHIATRIST, R.D. LAING, ASKS HIMSELF THE QUESTION: “WHAT TO DO WHEN WE DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO?” CAN YOU PLEASE ANSWER HIM AND ALL OF US?

Chidananda, R.D. Laing is certainly one of the most sensitive psychiatrists of the world. In fact, he was responsible for sending Chidananda’s mother, Pratiti, to me. She was Laing’s patient for twelve years, and because he could not cure her, he sent her here to me. And it is because of Pratiti’s coming here that Chidananda also came to the commune. The very fact that Laing accepted that what psychiatry cannot do, meditation can do, shows immense sensibility and understanding. What he is asking is “What to do when we don’t know what to do?” If he wants a really Eastern answer — and he is well-acquainted with the Western answers; they have all failed — the Eastern answer is in Basho’s haiku:

SITTING SILENTLY, DOING NOTHING,

THE SPRING COMES AND THE GRASS GROWS BY ITSELF.

R.D. Laing must have read this small haiku of Basho’s. There are moments in life when you don’t know what to do. But still you go on doing something as if all the answers need some kind of doing to find them, as if all the questions can be solved by doing. The whole of the East stands on a very different level. It says: the questions that cannot be solved by doing can only be solved by non-doing. Don’t go on searching for something else to do; there are questions which cannot be solved by any doing. In fact, every doing will make them more complicated. For example, if you are not falling asleep one night and you want to go to sleep, and you ask, “What to do?” and somebody suggests, “Do this mantra, do this chanting; count from one to a hundred and then backwards from a hundred to one,” all these efforts will keep you awake. They are not going to help you to fall asleep because doing them needs awareness, not sleep.

I would say to you, forget all about sleep. What is wrong in it? If you are not able to fall asleep, enjoy it. Lying down in your bed, doing nothing, the night comes and sleep follows. There are things which do not have to be done, which have to be allowed to happen. The West knows only one category of things: everything that has to be done. Unless you do it, how can it happen? But they are forgetting that there is a category which is not available to doing, which is available only to a state of relaxedness, of non-doing…

This is the time, certainly, to find the right answer for R.D. Laing’s question: “What to do when we don’t know what to do?” He is still asking, “What to do?” That is the Western conditioning of the mind. He should have asked, “What not to do when we don’t know what to do?”

Doing has failed. Now let us try non-doing — and non-doing is another name for relaxation, another name for meditation. Basho is absolutely right. The world has known great poets but perhaps none of them was a great meditator like Basho; hence his poetry is not just poetry, it is the very essence of his meditations. Each word contains immensities. So when I repeat Basho’s haiku, don’t just listen to the words. Try to feel the content of the words, not the container — the words are only containers.

SITTING SILENTLY, DOING NOTHING,

THE SPRING COMES AND THE GRASS GROWS BY ITSELF.

He has said everything about meditation, all the essential ingredients. It is not something that you have to do; it is something that happens. You have just to wait; it happens in its own time. When the spring comes, the grass grows by itself. And just sitting won’t do, because you can sit and your mind can go on wandering around the world. Hence, he has added: “Doing nothing” — neither with your body, nor with your mind. Just sitting like a stone statue of Gautam Buddha, and waiting for the spring…. There is no impatience: it always comes, and when it comes, the grass grows.

The world has come to a point… and it has been brought to this point by the Western attitude of action, and always action, and condemnation of inaction. Now the East can be of immense help.

Action is good, it is needful, but it is not all. Action can give you only the mundane things of life. If you want the higher values of life, then they are beyond the reach of your doing. You will have to learn to be silent and open, available, in a prayerful mood, trusting that existence will give it to you when you are ripe, that whenever your silence is complete, it will be filled with blessings. Flowers are going to shower on you. You just have to be absolutely a non-doer, a nobody, a nothingness.

The great values of life — love, truth, compassion, gratitude, prayer, God, everything — happen only in nothingness, in the heart which is absolutely silent and receptive.

But the West is too rooted in action. And there seems to be perhaps not enough time left for it to learn non-doing.

You will be surprised to know that India never invaded any country — and India was invaded by almost all the countries of the world. Whoever wanted to invade India, that was the easiest thing. It was not that there were no courageous people, that they were not warriors, but simply the idea of invading somebody else’s territory was so ugly…

The East has a totally different approach towards things. If the West learns something about the East, the most important thing will be that all that is great comes out of non-doing, non-aggressiveness — because every act is potentially aggressive. Only when you are in a state of non-doing are you non-aggressive. You are receptive, and in that receptivity, the whole existence pours all its treasures into you.

R.D. Laing’s question is perfectly significant. Chidananda, send my answer to him also. He has been reading my books; he knows me perfectly well. And he has influenced in the Western psychological field; he is perhaps the most influential and most original figure today. If he makes it a point, he can spread — rather than psychological, psychoanalytical, and psychiatric ideas — what the West needs: a deep understanding of meditation, of non-doing and of allowing existence to take its own course.

Source:

This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: The Hidden Splendor

Chapter #13

Chapter title: Truth is not divisible

18 March 1987 pm in Chuang Tzu Auditorium

References:

Osho has spoken on ‘relaxation, meditation, non doing, non aggressive, inaction, receptive’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Beyond Psychology
  2. The Hidden Splendor
  3. Satyam Shivam Sundram
  4. The Transmission of the Lamp
  5. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 3
  6. Light on the Path
  7. The Sun Rises in the Evening
  8. The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
  9. I Am the Gate
  10. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 1
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