Is it possible to meditate without any technique?
Deva Maturo, the question you have asked is certainly of great importance because meditation, as such, needs no technique at all. But techniques are needed to remove the obstacles in the way of meditation. So it has to be understood very clearly: meditation itself needs no techniques, it is a simple understanding, an alertness, an awareness. Neither alertness is a technique, nor is awareness a technique.
But on the way to being alert, there are so many obstacles. For centuries man has been gathering those obstacles – they need to be removed. Meditation itself cannot remove them; certain techniques are needed to remove them. So the work of the techniques is just to prepare the ground, is just to prepare the way, the passage. The techniques in themselves are not meditation. If you stop at the technique, you have missed the point.
Krishnamurti was insisting his whole life that there is no technique for meditation. And the total result was not that millions of people attained to meditation; the total result was that millions of people became convinced that no technique is needed for meditation. But they forgot all about what they were going to do with the obstructions, the hindrances. So they remained intellectually convinced that no technique is needed. I have met many followers of J. Krishnamurti, very intimate ones, and I have asked them, “No technique is needed – I agree absolutely. But has meditation happened to you or to anyone else who has been listening to J. Krishnamurti?”
Although what he is saying is essentially true, he is saying only the positive side of the experience. There is a negative side also. And for that negative side all kinds of techniques are needed – are absolutely needed – because unless the ground is well prepared, and all the weeds and wild roots are taken away from the ground, you cannot grow roses and other beautiful flowers. Roses are in no way concerned with those roots, with the wild plants that you have removed. But the removal of those weeds was absolutely necessary for the ground to be in a right situation where roses can blossom.
You are asking, “Is it possible to meditate without any technique?” It is not only possible, it is the only possibility. No technique is needed at all – as far as meditation is concerned. But what are you going to do with your mind? Your mind will create a thousand and one difficulties. Those techniques are needed to remove the mind from the way, to create a space in which the mind becomes quiet, silent, almost absent. Then meditation happens on its own accord. It is not a question of technique. You don’t have to do anything.
Meditation is something natural, something that is already hidden inside you and is trying to find its way to reach to the open sky, to the sun, to the air. But mind is surrounding it from all sides; all doors are closed, all windows are closed. The techniques are needed to open the windows, to open the doors. And immediately the whole sky is available to you, with all its stars, with all its beauty, with all its sunsets, with all its sunrises.
Just a small window was preventing you… just a small piece of straw can go into your eye and it will prevent you from seeing the vast sky because you cannot open your eyes. It is absolutely illogical that just a small piece of straw or sand can prevent you from seeing the great stars, the infinite sky. But in fact they can – they do.
Techniques are needed to remove those straws, those pieces of sand, from your eyes. And meditation is your nature, is your very potential. It is another name of alertness.
The young father, taking his baby for a walk in the pram in the park, seemed quite unperturbed by the wails emerging from the pram. “Easy now, Albert,” he said quietly. “Keep calm, there’s a good fellow.”
Another howl rang out. “Now, now, Albert,” murmured the father, “keep your temper.”
A young mother, passing by, remarked, “I must congratulate you. You certainly know how to speak to babies.” Then, patting the baby on the head, she cooed, “What is bothering you, Albert?”
“No, no,” cried the father. “His name is Johnnie; I am Albert.”
He was simply trying to keep himself alert: “Albert, don’t lose your temper.” He does not want to forget; otherwise he would like to throw this baby into the lake.
Meditation is simply awareness without any effort, an effortless alertness; it does not need any technique. But your mind is so full of thoughts, so full of dreams, so much of the past, so much of the future – it is not here-now, and awareness has to be here-now. The techniques are needed to help you to cut your roots from the past, to cut your dreams from the future, and to keep you in this moment as if only this moment exists. Then there is no need of any technique.
Hymie Goldberg was visiting his friend, Mr. Cohen, who was dying. “Do us a favor,” said Hymie Goldberg, “when you go to heaven could you find a way of letting me know whether they play baseball up there?” Mr. Cohen said he would certainly try to contact his old friend if at all possible.
Only a few days after Mr. Cohen died, Hymie Goldberg had a phone call. “Hello, Hymie,” said Mr. Cohen. “It is your old friend here.”
“Cohen? Is it really you?” asked Hymie.
“Sure,” answered his friend. ”I have some good news and some bad news. First, there sure is baseball in heaven. And the bad news is that you are pitching next Sunday.”
Life is a complicated affair. There is good news, and there is bad news. The good news is that there is no need of any technique; but the bad news is, without any technique you are not going to get it.
From The Rebel, Chapter 24
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