At the start of sneezing, during fright, in anxiety, above a chasm, flying in battle, in extreme curiosity, at the beginning of hunger, at the end of hunger, be uninterruptedly aware.
It looks so simple: at the start of sneezing, during fright, in anxiety or before hunger or after hunger, be uninterruptedly aware.
Many things have to be understood. Very simple acts like sneezing can be used as devices, because howsoever simple they look, they are very complex, and the inner mechanism is a very delicate thing. Whenever you feel that a sneeze is coming become alert, and the sneeze may not come at all. It may simply disappear, because a sneeze is a non-voluntary thing – unconscious, non-voluntary.
You cannot sneeze voluntarily; you cannot “will” it. How can you? How helpless man is! You cannot “will” a single sneeze. Howsoever you may try, you cannot bring it out. A single sneeze – such a small thing, but you cannot will it. It is non-voluntary; volition is not needed. It does not happen because of your mind; it is because of your total organism, your total body.
And the second thing: when you become alert, when the sneeze is coming – you cannot bring it, but when it is coming – if you become alert, it may not come, because you are bringing something new to the process: the alertness. It may disappear, but when the sneeze disappears and you are alert, there is a third thing. First, a sneeze is non-voluntary. You bring in a new thing – alertness. When the alertness comes, the sneeze may not come. If really you are alert, it will not; it may not happen at all. Then a third thing happens. The energy that was going to be released through a sneeze, where does it move? It moves to your alertness. Suddenly there is a flash, a lightning. You become more alert. The energy, that was going to be thrown by the sneeze moves into alertness. Suddenly you become more alert.
In that flash, in that lightning, even enlightenment is possible. That is why I say that these matters are so simple, they look absurd. Their promise seems to be too much. Just through sneezing, how can one become enlightened? But sneezing is not just sneezing; you are totally involved in it.
Whatsoever you do or whatsoever happens to you is a total involvement. Observe again: whenever a sneeze happens, you are totally in it with the whole body, the whole mind. It is not just your nose in which the sneeze is happening; every fiber, every cell of your body is involved in it. A subtle trembling, a subtle wavering goes all over the body, and with it the whole body becomes concentrated. And when the sneeze has happened, the whole body relaxes. But it is difficult to bring alertness to it. If you bring alertness to it, it will not happen, and if it happens you can know that the alertness was not there. That is why you should be alert.
At the start of sneezing…, because if it has started, nothing can be done. The arrow has gone; you cannot change it now. The mechanism has started. The energy is on its way to being released, it cannot be stopped. Can you stop a sneeze in the middle? How can you stop it in the middle? By the time you are ready, it has already happened. You cannot stop it in the middle.
Just at the beginning, become alert. The moment you feel the sensation that it is coming, become alert. Close your eyes and be meditative. Bring your total consciousness to the focus just where you are feeling the sensation of an oncoming sneeze. Just at the beginning, remain alert. The sneeze will disappear, and the energy will be transformed into more alertness. And because in the sneeze the whole body is involved, the whole mechanism is involved – it is a release mechanism and you are alert at this moment – there will be no mind, there will be no thought, no meditation.
In a sneeze, thinking stops. That is why so many people like snuff. It unburdens them, their minds feel more relaxed because for a moment thinking stops. Snuff gives them a glimpse of no-thinking. Through snuff, when the sneeze comes, they are not minds, they become bodies. The head disappears for a single moment, but it feels good.
If you become habituated to snuff, it is very difficult to leave it. It is more penetrating a habit than smoking; smoking is nothing before it. It penetrates more deeply, because smoking is conscious and sneezing is unconscious. To leave snuff is more difficult than to leave smoking. And smoking can be changed, substitutes can be found – but there is no substitute for snuff, because, really, sneezing is a very unique phenomenon in the body.
The only other thing that can be compared and which has been compared is the sex act. Those who think in terms of physiology, they say that the sex act is just sneezing through the sex organ – and the similarity is there. It is not one hundred percent right because much more is involved in sex, greater things are involved in it. But in the beginning, just in the beginning, the similarity is there.
Something is thrown out from the nose and you feel relieved, and something is thrown out from the sex organ and you feel relieved. And both are non-voluntary. You cannot move into sex with will. If you try, you will be a failure – particularly men, because man’s sex organ has to do something. It is active. You cannot “will” its act, and if you try, then the more you try, the more it will be impossible.
It can happen, but you cannot make it happen. Because of this, in the West sex has become a problem. This half century in the West sex knowledge has developed, and everyone has become so conscious about it that the sex act is becoming more and more impossible.
If you are alert, sex will be impossible. If a man is alert while making love, the more he is alert, the more it will be difficult. He will not be able to get an erection. It cannot be willed, and if you will it you will lose it. The same method, the same technique, can be used in sex. Just in the beginning, when you feel the sensation of an erection just coming to you but it has not yet come, you just feel the vibration, become alert. The vibration will be lost, and the same energy will move into alertness.
Tantra has used this. It has tried in many ways. A beautiful naked woman will be there just as an object for meditation, and the seeker, the meditator, will sit before the nude woman meditating on her body, her form, her proportions, just waiting for the first sensation in his sex center. The moment the sensation is there, he will close his eyes. He will forget the woman. He will close his eyes, and he will become alert of the sensation. Then sex energy is being transformed into alertness.
He is allowed to meditate on the nude woman only up to the point when the sensation is felt. When he has to close his eyes and move to his own sensation and become alert there, the same as is done in sneezing. And why does this flash happen? Because mind is not there. The basic thing is that if the mind is not there and you are alert, you will have satori, you will have the first glimpse of samadhi.
Thought is the barrier. So if thought disappears in any way, the thing will happen. But thought must disappear; only then is alertness there. Thought can disappear even in sleep; thought can disappear when you go unconscious; thought can disappear when you take some drug. Thought disappears, but then there is no alertness to be aware of the phenomenon that is hidden behind thought. So I define meditation as thoughtless consciousness. You can become thoughtless and unconscious; then there is no meaning. You can be conscious with thought; you are already that.
Bring these two things together – consciousness and thoughtlessness. When they meet, meditation happens, meditation is born. And you can try with very small things because nothing is really small. Even a sneeze is a cosmic phenomenon. In existence, nothing is great and nothing is small. Even a minute atom can destroy the whole world, and even a sneeze, a very atomic phenomenon, can transform you.
So don’t see things as small or big. There is nothing small and nothing big. If you have the penetrating eye, then very small things are vital. Between atoms universes are hidden, and between the universe and an atom you cannot say which is great and which is small. Even a single atom is a universe in itself, and the greatest universe is nothing but atoms. So don’t think in terms of great and small. Just try. Don’t say, “What can happen in a sneeze? I have been sneezing the whole life, and nothing has happened.”
From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #41
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Also see Follow the Sneeze IN
Osho’s Book of Secrets Meditations
All 112 of Shiva’s meditation techniques (Vigyan Bhairava Tantra)
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2 thoughts on “At the Start of Sneezing be Uninterruptedly Aware – Osho”
“So I define meditation as thoughtless consciousness. You can become thoughtless and unconscious; then there is no meaning. You can be conscious with thought; you are already that.
Bring these two things together – consciousness and thoughtlessness. When they meet, meditation happens, meditation is born.” All is said.