Radiant One, this experience may dawn between two breaths. After breath comes in (down) and just before turning up (out)—The Beneficence.
That is the technique:
Radiant One, this experience may dawn between two breaths.
After breath comes in – that is, down – and just before turning out – that is, going up – The Beneficence. Be aware between these two points, and the happening. When your breath comes in, observe. For a single moment, or a thousandth part of a moment, there is no breathing – before it turns up, before it turns outward. One breath comes in; then there is a certain point and breathing stops. Then the breathing goes out. When the breath goes out, then again for a single moment, or a part of a moment, breathing stops. Then breathing comes in.
Before the breath is turning in or turning out, there is a moment when you are not breathing. In that moment the happening is possible, because when you are not breathing you are not in the world. Understand this: when you are not breathing you are dead; you ARE still, but dead. But the moment is of such a short duration that you never observe it.
For tantra, each outgoing breath is a death and each new breath is a rebirth. Breath coming in is rebirth; breath going out is death. The outgoing breath is synonymous with death; the incoming breath is synonymous with life. So with each breath you are dying and being reborn. The gap between the two is of a very short duration, but keen, sincere observation and attention will make you feel the gap. If you can feel the gap, Shiva says, The Beneficence. Then nothing else is needed. You are blessed, you have known; the thing has happened.
You are not to train the breath. Leave it just as it is. Why such a simple technique? It looks so simple. Such a simple technique to know the truth? To know the truth means to know that which is neither born nor dies, to know that eternal element which is always. You can know the breath going out, you can know the breath coming in, but you never know the gap between the two.
Try it. Suddenly you will get the point – and you can get it; it is already there. Nothing is to be added to you or to your structure, it is already there. Everything is already there except a certain awareness. So how to do this? First, become aware of the breath coming in. Watch it. Forget everything, just watch breath coming in – the very passage.
When the breath touches your nostrils, feel it there. Then let the breath move in. Move with the breath fully consciously. When you are going down, down, down with the breath, do not miss the breath. Do not go ahead and do not follow behind, just go with it. Remember this: do not go ahead, do not follow it like a shadow; be simultaneous with it.
Breath and consciousness should become one. The breath goes in – you go in. Only then will it be possible to get the point which is between two breaths. It will not be easy. Move in with the breath, then move out with the breath: in-out, in-out.
Buddha tried particularly to use this method, so this method has become a Buddhist method. In Buddhist terminology it is known as Anapanasati Yoga. And Buddha’s enlightenment was based on this technique – only this.
All the religions of the world, all the seers of the world, have reached through some technique or other, and all those techniques will be in these one hundred and twelve techniques. This first one is a Buddhist technique. It has become known in the world as a Buddhist technique because Buddha attained his enlightenment through this technique.
Buddha said, “Be aware of your breath as it is coming in, going out – coming in, going out.” He never mentions the gap because there is no need. Buddha thought and felt that if you become concerned with the gap, the gap between two breaths, that concern may disturb your awareness. So he simply said, “Be aware. When the breath is going in move with it, and when the breath is going out move with it. Do simply this: going in, going out, with the breath.” He never says anything about the latter part of the technique.
The reason is that Buddha was talking with very ordinary men, and even that might create a desire to attain the interval. That desire to attain the interval will become a barrier to awareness, because if you are desiring to get to the interval you will move ahead. Breath will be coming in, and you will move ahead because you are interested in the gap which is going to be in the future. Buddha never mentions it, so Buddha’s technique is just half.
But the other half follows automatically. If you go on practicing breath consciousness, breath awareness, suddenly, one day, without knowing, you will come to the interval. Because as your awareness will become keen and deep and intense, as your awareness will become bracketed – the whole world is bracketed out; only your breath coming in or going out is your world, the whole arena for your consciousness – suddenly you are bound to feel the gap in which there is no breath. When you are moving with breath minutely, when there is no breath, how can you remain unaware?
You will suddenly become aware that there is no breath, and the moment will come when you will feel that the breath is neither going out nor coming in. The breath has stopped completely. In that stopping, The Beneficence.
This one technique is enough for millions. The whole of Asia tried and lived with this technique for centuries. Tibet, China, Japan, Burma, Thailand, Ceylon – the whole of Asia except India has tried this technique. Only one technique and thousands and thousands have attained enlightenment through it. And this is only the first technique.
But unfortunately, because the technique became associated with Buddha’s name, Hindus have been trying to avoid it. Because it became more and more known as a Buddhist method, Hindus have completely forgotten it. And not only that, they have also tried to avoid it for another reason.
Because this technique is the first technique mentioned by Shiva, many Buddhists have claimed that this book, Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, is a Buddhist book, not a Hindu book.
It is neither Hindu nor Buddhist – a technique is just a technique. Buddha used it, but it was there already to be used. Buddha became a buddha, an enlightened one, because of the technique. The technique preceded Buddha; the technique was already there. Try it. It is one of the most simple techniques – simple compared to other techniques; I am not saying simple for you. Other techniques will be more difficult. That is why it is mentioned as the first technique.
The second technique – all these nine techniques are concerned with breath.
As breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves from up to down – Through both these turns, realize.
It is the same, but with a slight difference. The emphasis is now not on the gap, but on the turning. The outgoing and ingoing breath make a circle. Remember, these are not two parallel lines. We always think of them as two parallel lines – breath going in and breath going out. Do you think that these are two parallel lines? They are not. Breath going in is half the circle; breath going out is the other half of the circle.
So understand this: first, breathing in and out creates a circle. They are not parallel lines, because parallel lines never meet anywhere. Secondly, the breath coming in and the breath going out are not two breaths, they are one breath. The same breath which comes in, goes out, so it must have a turn inside. It must turn somewhere. There must be a point where the incoming breath becomes outgoing.
Why put such emphasis upon turning? Because, Shiva says, as breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves from up to down – Through both these turns, realize. Very simple, but he says: realize the turns and you will realize the self.
Why the turn? If you know driving you know about gears. Each time you change the gear, you have to pass through the neutral gear, which is not a gear at all. From the first gear you move to the second or from the second to the third, but always you have to move through the neutral gear.
That neutral gear is a turning point. In that turning point the first gear becomes the second and the second becomes the third. When your breath goes in and turns out, it passes through the neutral gear; otherwise it cannot turn out. It passes through the neutral territory. In that neutral territory you are neither a body nor a soul, neither physical nor mental, because the physical is a gear of your being and the mental is another gear of your being. You go on moving from gear to gear, but you must have a neutral gear where you are neither body nor mind. In that neutral gear you simply are: you are simply an existence – pure, simple, unembodied, with no mind.
That is why there is the emphasis on the turn. Man is a machine – a large, very complicated machine. You have many gears in your body, many gears in your mind. You are not aware of your great mechanism, but you are a great machine. And it is good that you are not aware; otherwise you could go mad. The body is such a great machine that scientists say if we had to create a factory parallel to the human body, it would require four square miles of land, and the noise would be such that one hundred square miles of land would be disturbed by it.
The body is a great mechanical device – the greatest. You have millions and millions of cells and each cell is alive. So you are a big city of seventy million cells; there are seventy million citizens inside you, and the whole city is running very silently, smoothly. Every moment the mechanism is working. It is very complicated. These techniques will be related at many points with the mechanism of your body and the mechanism of your mind. But always the emphasis will be on those points where suddenly you are not part of the mechanism – remember this. Suddenly you are not part of the mechanism. There are moments when you change gears.
For example, in the night when you drop into sleep you change gears, because during the day you need a different mechanism for a waking consciousness – a different part of the mind functions. Then you drop into sleep, and that part becomes non-functioning. Another part of the mind begins to function, and there is a gap, an interval, a turning. A gear is changed. In the morning when you are again getting up, the gear is changed. You are silently sitting, and suddenly someone says something and you get angry – you move into a different gear. That is why everything changes.
If you get angry, your breathing will suddenly change. Your breathing will become irritated, chaotic. A trembling will get into your breathing; you will feel suffocated. Your whole body would like to do something, shatter something, only then can the suffocation disappear. Your breathing will change; your blood will take a different rhythm, a different movement. Different chemicals will have to be released in the body, the whole glandular system will have to change. You become a different man when you are angry.
A car is standing… you start it. Do not put it in any gear, let it be in neutral. It will go on pulling, vibrating, trembling, but it cannot move; it will get hot. That is why, when you are angry and you cannot do something, you will get hot. The mechanism is ready to run and do something and you are not doing – you will get hot. You are a mechanism, but, of course, not only a mechanism. You are more, but the “more” has to be found. When you get into a gear, everything changes inside. When you change the gear, there is a turning.
As breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves from up to down – Through both these turns, realize.
Be aware at the turn. But it is a very short turn; very minute observation will be needed. And we are just without any observing capacity; we cannot observe anything. If I say to you, “Observe this flower; observe this flower which I give to you,” you cannot observe it. For a single moment you will see it, and then you will begin to think of something else. It may be about the flower, but it will not be the flower. You may think about the flower, about how beautiful it is – then you have moved. Now the flower is no more in your observation, your field has changed. You may say that it is red, it is blue, it is white… then you have moved. Observation means remaining with no word, with no verbalization, with no bubbling inside – just remaining with. If you can remain with a flower for three minutes, completely, with no movement of the mind, the thing will happen – the beneficence. You will realize.
But we are not at all observers. We are not aware, we are not alert; we cannot pay attention to anything. We just go on jumping. This is part of our heritage, our monkey heritage. Our mind is just the growth of the monkey mind, so the monkey moves on. He goes on jumping from here to there. The monkey cannot sit still. That is why Buddha insisted so much on just sitting without any movement, because then the monkey mind is not allowed to go on its way.
In Japan they have a particular type of meditation which they call Zazen. The word ‘zazen’ in Japan means just sitting, doing nothing. No movement is allowed. One is just sitting like a statue – dead, not moving at all. But there is no need to sit like a statue for years together. If you can observe the turn of your breath without any movement of the mind, you will enter. You will enter into yourself or into the beyond within.
Why are these turnings so important? They are important because on turning, the breath leaves you to move in a different direction. It was with you when it was coming in; it will be with you again when it goes out. But at the turning point it is not with you and you are not with it. In that moment the breath is different from you and you are different from it: if breathing is life, then you are dead; if breathing is your body, then you are no-body; if breathing is your mind, then you are no-mind… in that moment.
I wonder whether you have observed it or not: if you stop your breath, the mind stops suddenly. If you stop your breath just now, your mind will stop suddenly; the mind cannot function. A sudden stoppage of breath and the mind stops. Why? Because they are disjoined. Only a moving breath is joined with the mind, with the body; a non-moving breath is disjoined. Then you are in the neutral gear. The car is running, the power is on, the car is making a noise – it is ready to go forward – but it is not in gear, so the body of the car and the mechanism of the car are not joined. The car is divided into two. It is ready to move, but the moving mechanism is not joined with it.
The same happens when breath takes a turn. You are not joined with it. In that moment you can easily become aware of who you are. What is this being? What is it to be? Who is inside this house of the body? Who is the master? Am I just the house or is there some master also? Am I just the mechanism or does something else also penetrate this mechanism? In that turning gap, Shiva says, realize. He says just be aware of the turning, and you become a realized soul.
From The Book of Secrets, Chapter Three
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Here you can find all of Shiva’s 112 Meditation Techniques.
Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt Between Two Breaths.