Osho on Meditation and Trademark
IF ONE IS NOT SEATED IN MEDITATION, ONE WILL OFTEN BE DISTRACTED WITHOUT NOTICING IT.
And you must have observed it. Thousands have reported it to me, because thousands have been meditating around me and
it is an accepted experience of all meditators that when a person starts meditating he suddenly becomes aware of a strange phenomenon: his mind has never before been so restless as it becomes when he meditates. That is very puzzling in the beginning, because one hopes that through meditation the mind will become quiet. And this is just the opposite that is happening: the mind becomes more restless, you see more thoughts coming than in your ordinary day-to-day life.
Working in your shop, in the office, in the factory, thoughts don’t bother you so much; but when you sit in a temple or in a mosque or a church to meditate for a few minutes, suddenly a great crowd of thoughts comes, surrounds you, starts pulling you to this side and to that.
A maddening experience, and puzzling, because the meditator was hoping to become quiet and silent — and this is just the reverse that is happening. Why does it happen? The reason is this: you have always been with all these thoughts; even when you are occupied in your shop, in your factory, in your office, these thoughts have always been there. But you were so occupied that you didn’t notice them, that’s all. What is new is not the crowd of thoughts — thoughts don’t know where you are sitting, in a church, in a temple, in a meditation hall, they don’t know — all that is happening is that when you are sitting in meditation you are not occupied with anything on the outside so your whole mind becomes aware of all that is always clamouring within you.
It is not because of meditation that more thoughts are coming to you, through meditation you become aware of their presence — they have always been there; you just notice them more.
IF ONE IS NOT SEATED IN MEDITATION, ONE WILL OFTEN BE DISTRACTED WITHOUT NOTICING IT. TO BECOME CONSCIOUS OF THE DISTRACTION IS THE MECHANISM BY WHICH TO DO AWAY WITH DISTRACTION.
Hence it is insisted on that you sit in meditation at least one or two hours every day so that you become unoccupied, completely unoccupied, with the outer engagements and your full observation is focused on your inner world. In the beginning you will see you have opened a Pandora’s box. In the beginning you will see you have entered into a madhouse, and you will want to escape and become engaged again. Avoid that temptation. To avoid this temptation is a must, otherwise you will never be able to meditate.
Many tricks have been found to avoid the inner turmoil. Transcendental Meditation is a technique not of meditation but of avoiding facing your inner reality. A mantra is given to you and you are told to repeat the mantra. That helps — not to meditate but to remain occupied. You go on repeating, ‘Ram, Ram, Ram…’ or ‘Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola…’. You go on repeating something — any word will do, your own name will do, any absurd sound will do. You go on repeating. By repeating it you are occupied, and through that occupation you are avoiding your inner turmoil. This is not different: you were occupied in your office, you were occupied with the film, seeing the movie, you were occupied listening to the radio, you were occupied reading the newspaper; now you are occupied with this mantra. This is neither meditation nor transcendence.
Real meditation means: don’t avoid the inner mad-house, enter into it, face it, encounter it, be watchful, because it is through watchfulness that you will overcome it. It is because of avoiding it that it has been growing on and on. You have avoided enough! Now there is no need to take the help of a mantra, no help is needed; just sit silently. Zen is the purest of meditations. Just sit silently, doing nothing. The most difficult meditation is to sit silently, doing nothing.
People ask me, ‘Please give us some support. If you give us some mantra it will be helpful, because just sitting silently doing nothing is very difficult, most arduous.’ A thousand and one things arise in oneself: the body starts driving you crazy, the head starts itching, suddenly you feel ants crawling upon your body, and then you see there is no ant, it is just the body playing tricks; the body is trying to give you some support to be engaged. The body wants to change the posture, the legs go to sleep — the body is simply making things available to you so that you can become occupied.
Avoid all occupation. For a few moments just be unoccupied and just see whatsoever is happening inside. And you will be surprised, you WILL be surprised, because one day, just by looking and looking and looking, thoughts start disappearing. ‘Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.’ This is the purest form of meditation, this is transcendental meditation. But nobody can call it transcendental meditation because Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has made it a trademark. TM is now a trademark! Nobody has ever done business in such a way. You can be sued in a court if you call your meditation Transcendental Meditation. It is patented. Look at the whole ridiculousness of it: meditation has become a thing, like a commodity to be sold in the market-place.
This has been happening again and again. The so-called Indian gurus who go to America — they never succeed in changing anybody, but America succeeds in changing them. They all become businessmen, they all start learning American ways. They never change anybody; they cannot. If they were able to change anybody they would not have gone anywhere — those who want to be changed would have come to them; there would have been no need for them to go anywhere. When somebody is thirsty he starts searching for water. The well need not go to the thirsty — the well never goes — the thirsty come to the well. And if you see a well on wheels, beware!
TO BECOME CONSCIOUS OF THE DISTRACTION IS THE MECHANISM BY WHICH TO DO AWAY WITH DISTRACTION.
A tremendously pregnant sentence. The only way to get rid of distraction is to become aware of it, to watch it, to silently be aware of it, to see what mind is doing with you — continuously distracting you. Just watch it. Many times you will forget, because mind is cunning, very clever, very diplomatic; it knows all the strategies of the politicians. Mind is essentially a politician; it will try all its magic charms on you. Whatsoever you have been repressing it will bring. If you have been repressing sex, when you start meditation, immediately you will see APSARAS descending from heaven. The mind says, ‘Look! What are you doing wasting your time? Beautiful women are being sent by the god Indra, and what are you doing?’ And if you have been repressing sex then your mind will use sex as a bait for you. If you have been repressing ambition your mind will start imagining that you have become the president or the prime minister and you will start falling into that trap. If you have been deprived of food up to now and you have been fasting, the mind will create such beautiful, delicious dishes for you. The aroma, the smell of the food… and you are distracted.
one of my insistences for my sannyasins is: don’t repress, otherwise you will never be able to meditate. If you repress, then in meditation you will have to encounter your repression. And whatsoever you have repressed becomes powerful, immensely powerful; it takes roots in your unconscious.
Do you think the old stories of Indian seers — old people they were, all old and almost dead, shrunken, just bones, skeletons, because they were fasting and living in forests… And, suddenly, one day they see Urvasi, the most beautiful dance-girl of the god Indra, dancing around them. What does Urvasi see in these skeletons? How does she become interested in these skeletons, and for what? The stories say that the god Indra sends them to tempt. That is all nonsense! There is no god Indra and there is nobody functioning as a tempter. There is no devil, no satan; the only devil is your repressed mind. These are the people who have been repressing their sexuality, and they have repressed so much that when they relax in meditation all that repression starts surfacing: it takes beautiful forms.
Repress anything and you will see. Just do a three-day fast and you will come to know what I am telling you. Just a three-day fast, and all your dreams will become full of food. And there is every possibility that one day in your sleep you will simply start moving, sleepwalking, towards the fridge. Your whole mind will become food-obsessed. Hence, I say don’t repress. All the therapies available in this ashram are just to help you to vomit the repressions that the society has forced on you. Once those repressions are vomited, thrown out of your system, once those toxins are taken out of your system, meditation becomes such an easy, simple thing — just like a feather falling slowly towards the earth or a dead leaf falling from the tree, slowly slowly…
Meditation is a very simple phenomenon — it has to be because it is your spontaneity; you are going towards your nature. Movement towards nature has to be easy, movement away from nature has to be difficult. Meditation is not difficult, but between your mind and your being there are a thousand and one repressions which distract.
Lu-tsu is right: just watch those distractions, be alert. If you are distracted and you forget meditation, don’t be worried. The moment you remember that you have been distracted, again go back, again cool down, again make the heart quiet, again start breathing silently. Don’t feel guilty that you have been distracted, because that will be another distraction. That’s why I say mind is cunning. First it distracts you, and then one moment you see… what are you doing? You were meditating, and you have gone to Vrindavan and you are eating and… what are you doing? You drag yourself. Now you start feeling guilty. This is not good.
Now feeling guilty is another distraction, now guilt makes you feel miserable — misery in another distraction. One distraction leads into another. Don’t feel guilty, don’t feel angry. The moment you find yourself caught red-handed, simply go back with no complaint. It is natural. For millions of lives you have been repressing, it is only natural that the mind distracts. Take it for granted and move back, bring yourself again to your centre, again and again and again. And slowly slowly the time at the centre will become greater and greater, and distractions will be fewer and fewer. And, one day, suddenly it happens: you are at the centre and there is no distraction. This is success. And why is this called success? — because this is the point where you know that you are a god, that you have never been anybody else, that you had fallen in a dream and dreamed that you had become a beggar.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
Chapter title: Beyond Indolence and Distraction
25 August 1978 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘Meditation, transcendental, watchfulness, awareness’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
- The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
- From Bondage to Freedom
- The Invitation
- The New Dawn
- Satyam Shivam Sundram
- The Heart Sutra
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
- Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1, 2, 3
- Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol 1, 2
- The Art of Dying
- I Am That
- The Path of the Mystic