Relaxation has always been one of the most valuable states of being for me. “Watchfulness” seems to be possible only then, or at least so much easier. Beloved Master, would you like to comment on how “relaxation” is connected to “awareness”?
Sadhan, they are not only connected with each other, they are almost two sides of the same coin. You cannot separate them. Either you can begin with awareness, and then you will find yourself relaxing… What is your tension? Your identification with all kinds of thoughts, fears, death, bankruptcy, the dollar going down… all kinds of fears are there. These are your tensions, and they affect your body also. Your body also becomes tense, because body and mind are not two separate entities. Body-mind is a single system, so when the mind becomes tense, the body becomes tense.
You can start with awareness; then awareness takes you away from the mind and the identifications with the mind. Naturally, the body starts relaxing. You are no more attached, and tensions cannot exist in the light of awareness.
You can start from the other end also. Just relax… let all tensions drop… and as you relax you will be surprised that a certain awareness is arising in you. They are inseparable. But to start from awareness is easier; to start with relaxation is a little difficult, because even the effort to relax creates a certain tension.
There is an American book – and if you want to discover all kinds of stupid books, America is the place. The moment I saw the title of the book, I could not believe it. The title is, You Must Relax. Now if the ‘must’ is there, how can you relax? The must will make you tense; the very word immediately creates tension. ‘Must’ comes like a commandment from God. Perhaps the person who is writing the book knows nothing about relaxation and knows nothing about the complexities of relaxation.
Hence, in the East we have never started meditation from relaxation; we have started meditation from awareness. Then relaxation comes on its own accord, you don’t have to bring it. If you have to bring it there will be a certain tension. It should come on its own; then only will it be pure relaxation.
And it comes….
If you want to, you can try from relaxation, but not according to American advisors, but in the sense of experience of the inner world. America is the most childish place on the earth. Europe is a little older – but the East has lived for thousands of years in the search for its inner self.
America is only three hundred years old – in the life of a nation three hundred years are nothing – hence, America is the greatest danger to the world. Nuclear weapons in the hands of children… Russia will behave more rationally; it is an old and ancient land and has all the experiences of a long history. In America there is no history. Everybody knows his father’s name, forefather’s name and that’s all. There your family tree ends.
In India it is very difficult. One of the scholars of this very city, Lokmanya Tilak, proved – and his proof has not yet been disproved by any argument by other scholars. Now almost the whole century has passed, but his evidence is such that it cannot be disproved.
The Western scholars used to argue that Rigveda, the most ancient book in the world, is five thousand years old. There was a difficulty because according to Christianity God created the world four thousand and four years before Jesus Christ, so now it is only six thousand years old. Now they have to put everything, fit everything into six thousand years; beyond that they cannot go. Going beyond means going against Christianity, against The Bible, against Jesus Christ, and it is too risky.
Lokmanya Tilak proved with intrinsic logic that in Rigveda there is a description of a certain constellation of stars about which astronomers are absolutely certain that it happened ninety thousand years ago. There is no way to describe it unless these people had been the observers of that constellation, and it has not happened since then.
Lokmanya Tilak proved that Rigveda may not be older, but it is certainly ninety thousand years old. And one thing brings another thing in. In Rigveda, the founder of Jainism, Adinatha, is mentioned with great respect. That means that if Hinduism is ninety thousand years old, Jainism must be even older, because nobody talks with such respect about contemporaries – particularly contemporaries who are not willing to agree with you.
Adinatha did not agree on any point with Hinduism; that makes it certain that he was not a contemporary. Perhaps by the time Rigveda was written, he had been dead for a thousand years. People have a certain tendency to be respectful about the dead, and the longer they are dead, the more respectful they become. So I am giving you a recipe: if you want to become respectable, be dead, and everybody will be respectful to you.
Have you watched? – When somebody dies, nobody speaks anything against him. It is simply etiquette and mannerism.
In one small town a man died. The tradition is that before a man is lowered down into his grave somebody should say some good things about him. Everybody looked at each other – but because he was such a rascal they could not find single word. He had tortured almost everybody in the town; he was such a harassment that everybody was deep down very happy that finally he had died: “Now we can relax a little.” So nobody was ready to say something good about the man, because everybody knew that people would laugh if they said something good.
Finally one man stood up and said, “Compared to his other four brothers he was an angel. His other four brothers are still alive; you should not forget that fact.” And it was true; those other four brothers were even more nasty, more dangerous. But he managed to say something good about the man – that compared to the four brothers he was an angel.
Rigveda mentioning Adinatha with deep respect can mean only one thing, that Adinatha was dead long before. About contemporaries, it is very difficult, it hurts your ego… and particularly for those who are not in agreement with you. Not only that, but their arguments are far superior to yours and you cannot even answer them. Then it becomes very difficult to respect them, and condemnation comes on them from all sides. But Rigveda has a whole passage devoted just to making Adinatha almost a god, with not a single word of criticism.
On this point Jainism can be said to be even older than ninety thousand years. Now, these people have history. America is just a baby – or not even a baby, just in pregnancy. Compared to ninety thousand years… maybe it has just been conceived. It is dangerous to give these people nuclear weapons.
There are political, religious, sociological, economical problems, all torturing you. To begin with relaxation is difficult; hence, in the East we have never started from relaxation. But if you want to, I have a certain idea how you should start. I have been working with my Western sannyasins and I have become aware of the fact that they don’t belong to the East and they don’t know the Eastern current of consciousness; they are coming from a different tradition which has never known any awareness.
For the Western sannyasins especially, I have created meditations like dynamic meditation. While I was taking camps of meditators I used a gibberish meditation and the kundalini meditation. If you want to start from relaxation, then these meditations have to be done first. They will take out all tensions from your mind and body, and then relaxation is very easy. You don’t know how much you are holding in, and that that is the cause of tension.
When I was allowing gibberish meditation in the camps in the mountains… It is difficult to allow it here because the neighbors start going mad. They start phoning the police and the commissioner, saying, “Our whole life is being destroyed!” They don’t know that if they would participate in their own houses, their lives would come out of the insanity in which they are living. But they are not even aware of their insanity.
The gibberish meditation was that everybody was allowed to say loudly whatever comes into his mind. And it was such a joy to hear what people were saying, irrelevant, absurd – because I was the only witness. People were doing all kinds of things, and the only condition was that you should not touch anybody else. You could do whatever you wanted…. Somebody was standing on his head, somebody had thrown off his clothes and become naked, running all around – for the whole hour.
One man used to sit every day in front me – he must have been a broker or something – and as the meditation would begin, first he would smile, just at the idea of what he was going to do. Then he would take up his phone, “Hello, hello…” From the his corner of his eyes he would go on looking at me. I would avoid looking at him so as not to disturb his meditation. He was selling his shares, purchasing – the whole hour he was on the phone.
Everybody was doing the strange things that they were holding back. When the meditation would end there were ten minutes for relaxation and you could see that in those ten minutes people fell down – not with any effort, but because they were utterly tired. All the rubbish had been thrown out, so they had a certain cleanliness, and they relaxed. Thousands of people… and you could not even think that there were a thousand people.
People used to come to me and say, “Prolong those ten minutes, because in our whole life we have never seen such relaxation, such joy. We had never thought we would ever understand what awareness is, but we felt it was coming.”
So if you want to start with relaxation, first you have to go through a cathartic process. Dynamic meditation, latihan, kundalini or gibberish. You may not know from where this word gibberish comes; it comes from a Sufi mystic whose name was Jabbar – and that was his only meditation. Whoever would come, he would say, “Sit down and start” – and people knew what he meant. He never talked, he never gave any discourses; he simply taught people gibberish.
For example, once in a while he would give people a demonstration. For half an hour he would talk all kinds of nonsense in nobody knows what language. It was not a language; he would go on teaching people just whatever came to his mind. That was his only teaching – and to those who had understood it he would simply say, “Sit down and start.”
But Jabbar helped many people to become utterly silent. How long you can go on? – the mind becomes empty. Slowly, slowly a deep nothingness… and in that nothingness a flame of awareness. It is always present, surrounded by your gibberish. The gibberish has to be taken out; that is your poison.
The same is true about the body. Your body has tensions. Just start making any movements that the body wants to make. You should not manipulate it. If it wants to dance, it wants to jog, it wants to run, it wants to roll down on the ground, you should not do it, you should simply allow it. Tell the body, “You are free, do whatever you want” – and you will be surprised, “My God. All these things the body wanted to do but I was holding back, and that was the tension.”
So there are two kinds of tension, the body tensions and the mind tensions. Both have to be released before you can start relaxation, which will bring you to awareness.
But beginning from awareness is far easier, and particularly for those who can understand the process of awareness, which is very simple. The whole day you are using it about things – cars, in the traffic – even in the Poona traffic you survive! It is absolutely mad.
Just a few days ago I read about Athens. Athens is even worse than Poona. The government made a special seven day competition for the taxi drivers and they had put golden trophies for those who were the best at following traffic rules, the second and the third. But in the whole of Athens they could not find a single person. The police were getting worried; the days were almost finished, and the last day they wanted to find anyhow three – they may not be perfect, but those prizes had to be distributed.
One man they found was following the traffic rules exactly, so they were very happy. They rushed towards him with the trophy, but seeing the police coming towards him the man went against a red light. Who wants to get unnecessarily into trouble? The police were shouting, “Wait!” – but he did not listen, he was immediately gone, against the light. They tried with two other people, but nobody would stop, seeing the police. So after seven days’ effort, those three prizes are still sitting in the headquarters of the police, and Athens is going on as rejoicingly as ever.
You can have a little taste in Poona, but still you survive because you remain alert, aware. Perhaps the worst traffic situation is in Italy. That’s why I was telling you the other day that the people who sell cars have come to the conclusion that if the man first tries to look at the engine of the car he is a German. If the man first looks at the beautiful lines and curves of the car he is French. But if the man first looks at the horn, whether it works or not, he is an Italian – because the real thing is the horn, otherwise you cannot survive.
You are using awareness without being aware of it, but only about outside things. It is the same awareness that has to be used for the inside traffic. When you close your eyes there is a traffic of thoughts, emotions, dreams, imaginations; all kinds of things start flashing by.
What you have been doing in the outside world, do exactly the same with the inside world and you will become a witness. And once tasted, the joy of being a witness is so great, so other-worldly that you would like to go more and more in. Whenever you find time you would like to go more and more in.
It is not a question of any posture; it is not a question of any temple, of any church or synagogue.
Sitting in a public bus or in a railway train, when you have nothing to do just close your eyes. It will save your eyes being tired from looking outside, and it will give you time enough to watch yourself. Those moments will become moments of the most beautiful experiences. And slowly, slowly, as awareness grows your whole personality starts changing. From unawareness to awareness is the greatest quantum leap.
Hymie Goldberg was on holiday in Ireland, driving his new Mercedes. He came to a small farm where the road went right through a large puddle. Paddy was standing next to it, so Hymie leaned out and asked if the puddle was shallow.
Paddy said, “Yes,” so Hymie drove on, only to have his car sink slowly out of sight.
Spluttering with rage and dripping wet, Hymie shouted at Paddy, “You idiot! Why the hell did you tell me it was shallow enough to drive through?”
Paddy scratched his head and said, “I don’t understand it. The water only came half way up my ducks.”
Just learn to be aware in all situations. Make a point of using every situation for awareness.
A man rushed into the Pig and Whistle pub in great agitation.
“Does anyone own a great big black cat with a white collar?” he said in a nervous voice. There was no reply.
“Well, does anyone know of a large black cat with a white collar?” asked the man again, raising his voice above the general noise of the bar. But still there was no answer.
“Oh dear!” muttered the man, “I think I’ve just run over the priest.”
The difference between a politician and an English lady…
When a politician says yes, he means maybe. When he says maybe, he means no. If he says no, he’s no politician.
When an English lady says no, she means maybe. When she says maybe, she means yes. If she says yes, she’s no lady.
From Satyam Shivam Sundram, Chapter 25
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