He is the Breath Inside the Breath – Osho

Kabir says, ‘Student, tell me, what is God?

He is the breath inside the breath.’

Whenever you ask about God you ask as if God is there like a problem to be encountered. You ask as if you are standing outside God and speculating, observing Him. You ask as if God is an object. God is not an object, God is your subjectivity. God is not there outside, God is your interiority, your innerness. That is the meaning when Kabir says:

He is the breath inside the breath. 

Watch your breath and you will come to know what he means – you will see one thing which cannot be seen unless you watch your breath. Buddha made it a great technique for meditation, watching the breath, because through watching it you will come to know the breath inside the breath.

The word ’breath’ means life. In Sanskrit the word for breath is prana: prana means life. In Hebrew the word for breath means spirit. In all the languages of the world, breath is thought to be synonymous with life or spirit or soul. But breath is not the real soul – you will come to this experience only when you watch.

Try a small experiment: sitting silently, just start watching your breath. The easiest way to watch is from the entrance of the nose. When the breath comes in, feel the touch of the breath at the entrance of the nose – watch it there. The touch will be easier to watch, breath will be too subtle; in the beginning just watch the touch. The breath goes in, and you feel it going in: watch it. And then follow it, go with it. You will find there comes a point where it stops. Just somewhere near your navel it stops – for a tiny, tiny moment, for a pal, it stops. Then it moves outwards again; then follow it – again feel the touch, the breath going out of the nose. Follow it, go with it outside – again you will come to a point, the breath stops for a very tiny moment. Then again the cycle starts.

Inhalation, gap, exhalation, gap, inhalation, gap. That gap is the most mysterious phenomenon inside you. When the breath comes in and stops and there is no movement, that is the point where one can meet God. Or when the breath goes out and stops and there is no movement.

Remember, you are not to stop it; it stops on its own. If you stop it you will miss the whole point, because the doer will come in and witnessing will disappear. You are not to do anything about it. You are not to change the breath pattern, you are neither to inhale nor to exhale. It is not like pranayama of yoga, where you start manipulating the breath; it is not that. You don’t touch the breath at all – you allow its naturalness, its natural flow. When it goes out you follow it, when it comes in you follow it.

And soon you will become aware that there are two gaps. In those two gaps is the door. And in those two gaps you will understand, you will see, that breath itself is not life – maybe a food for life, just like other foods, but not life itself. Because when the breathing stops you are there, perfectly there – you are perfectly conscious, utterly conscious. And the breath has stopped, breathing is no more there, and you are there.

And once you continue this watching of the breath – what Buddha calls vipassana or anapanasati you – if you go on watching it, watching it, watching it, slowly, slowly you will see the gap is increasing and becoming bigger. Finally it happens that for minutes together the gap remains. One breath goes in, and the gap… and for minutes the breath does not go out. All has stopped. The world has stopped, time has stopped, thinking has stopped. Because when the breath stops, thinking is not possible. And when the breath stops for minutes together, thinking is impossible, absolutely impossible – because the thought process needs continuous oxygen, and your thought process and your breathing are very deeply related.

When you are angry your breath has a different rhythm, when you are sexually stimulated you have a different breath rhythm, when you are silent a different breath rhythm again. When you are happy a different breath rhythm, when you are sad a different rhythm again. Your breathing goes on changing with the moods of the mind. The vice versa is also true – when the breath changes, the moods of the mind change. And when breath stops, mind stops.

In that stopping of the mind the whole world stops – because the mind is the world. And in that stopping you come to know for the first time what is the breath inside the breath: life inside life. That experience is liberating. That experience makes you alert of God – and God is not a person but the experience of life itself.

-OSHO

From The Revolution, Chapter Three

The Revolution

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt He is the Breath Inside the Breath.

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Whenever In-Breath and Out-Breath Fuse – Osho

Whenever in-breath and out-breath fuse, at this instant touch the energy-less, energy-filled center.

We are divided into the center and the periphery. The body is the periphery; we know the body, we know the periphery. We know the circumference, but we do not know where the center is. When the out-breath fuses with the in-breath, when they become one, when you cannot say whether it is the out-breath or the in-breath… when it is difficult to demarcate and define whether the breath is going out or coming in, when the breath has penetrated in and starts moving out, there is a moment of fusion. It is neither going out nor moving in. The breath is static. When it is moving out it is dynamic; when it is coming in it is dynamic. When it is neither, when it is silent, non-moving, you are near to the center. The fusion point of the in and outgoing breath is your center.

Look at it in this way: when the breath goes in, where does it go? It goes to your center, it touches your center. When it goes out, from where does it go out? It moves from your center. Your center has to be touched. That is why Taoist mystics and Zen mystics say that the head is not the center; the navel is your center. The breath goes to the navel, then it moves out. It goes to the center.

As I said, it is a bridge between you and your body. You know the body, but you do not know where your center is. The breath is constantly going to the center and moving out, but we are not taking enough breath. Thus, ordinarily it does not really go to the center – now, at least, it is not going to the center. That is why everyone feels “off-center.” In the whole modern world, those who can think at all feel they are missing their center.

Look at a child sleeping, observe his breath. The breath goes in; the abdomen comes up. The chest remains unaffected. That is why children have no chests, only abdomens – very dynamic abdomens. The breath goes in and the abdomen comes up; the breath goes out and the abdomen goes down… the abdomen moves. Children are in their center, at their center. That is why they are so happy, so bliss-filled, so energy-filled, never tired – overflowing, and always in the present moment with no past, no future.

A child can be angry. When he is angry, he is totally angry; he becomes the anger. Then his anger is also a beautiful thing. When one is totally angry, anger has a beauty of its own, because totality always has beauty.

You cannot be angry and beautiful; you will become ugly, because partiality is always ugly. And not only with anger. When you love you are ugly because you are again partial, fragmentary; you are not total. Look at your face when you are loving someone, making love. Make love before a mirror and look at your face – it will be ugly, animal-like. In love also your face becomes ugly. Why? Love is also a conflict, you are withholding something. You are giving very miserly. Even in your love you are not total; you do not give completely, wholly.

A child even in anger and violence is total. His face becomes radiant and beautiful; he is here and now. His anger is not something concerned with the past or something concerned with the future, he is not calculating, he is just angry. The child is at his center. When you are at your center you are always total. Whatsoever you do will be a total act; good or bad, it will be total. When you are fragmentary, when you are off-center, your every act is bound to be a fragment of yourself. Your totality is not responding, just a part, and the part is going against the whole – -that creates ugliness.

We all were children. Why is it that as we grow our breathing becomes shallow? It never goes to the abdomen; it never touches the navel. If it could go down more and more it would become less and less shallow, but it just touches the chest and goes out. It never goes to the center. You are afraid of the center, because if you go to the center you will become total. If you want to be fragmentary, this is the mechanism to be fragmentary.

You love – if you breathe from the center, you will flow in it totally. You are afraid. You are afraid to be so vulnerable, so open to someone, to anyone. You may call him your lover, you may call her your beloved, but you are afraid. The other is there. If you are totally vulnerable, open, you do not know what is going to happen. Then YOU ARE completely, in another sense. You are afraid to be so completely given to someone. You cannot breathe; you cannot take a deep breath. You cannot relax your breathing so that it goes to the center – because the moment breathing goes to the center your act becomes total.

Because you are afraid of being total, you breathe shallowly. You breathe just at the minimum, not at the maximum. That is why life seems so lifeless. If you are breathing at the minimum, life will become lifeless; you are living at the minimum, not at the maximum. You can live at the maximum – then life is an overflowing. But then there will be difficulty. You cannot be a husband; you cannot be a wife, if life is overflowing. Everything will become difficult.

If life is overflowing, love will be overflowing. Then you cannot stick to one. Then you will be flowing all over; all dimensions will be filled by you. And then the mind feels danger, so it is better not to be alive. The more you are dead, the more you are secure. The more you are dead, the more everything is in control. You can control; then you remain the master. You feel that you are the master because you can control. You can control your anger, you can control your love, you can control everything. But this controlling is possible only at the minimum level of your energy.

Everyone must have felt at some time or other that there are moments when he suddenly changes from the minimum level to the maximum. You go out to a hill station. Suddenly you are out of the city and the prison of it. You feel free. The sky is vast, and the forest is green, and the height touches the clouds. Suddenly you take a deep breath. You may not have observed it.

Now if you go to a hill station, observe. It is not really the hill station that makes the change. It is your breathing. You take a deep breath. You say, “Ah! Ah!” You touch the center, you become total for a moment, and everything is bliss. That bliss is not coming from the hill station, that bliss is coming from your center – you have touched it suddenly.

You were afraid in the city. Everywhere there were others present and you were controlling. You could not scream, you could not laugh. What a misfortune! You could not sing on the street and dance. You were afraid – a policeman was somewhere around the corner, or the priest or the judge or the politician or the moralist. Someone was just around the corner, so you could not just dance in the street.

Bertrand Russell has said somewhere, “I love civilization, but we have achieved civilization at a very great cost.” You cannot dance in the streets, but you go to a hill station and suddenly you can dance.You are alone with the sky, and the sky is not an imprisonment. It is just opening, opening and opening – vast, infinite. Suddenly you take a breath deeply; it touches the center and the bliss. But it is not so for long. Within an hour or two, the hill station will disappear. You may be there, but the hill station will disappear.

Your worries will come back. You will begin to think to make a call to the city, to write a letter to your wife, or you will begin to think that since after three days you are going back you should make arrangements. You have just reached and you are making arrangements to leave. You are back.

That breath was not from you really; it suddenly happened. Because of the change of situation the gear changed. You were in a new situation, you could not breathe in the old way, so for a moment a new breath came in. It touched the center, and you felt the bliss.

Shiva says you are every moment touching the center, or if you are not touching you CAN touch it. Take deep, slow breaths. Touch the center; do not breathe from the chest – that is a trick. Civilization, education, morality, they have created shallow breathing. It will be good to go deep into the center, because otherwise you cannot take deep breaths.

Unless humanity becomes non-suppressive toward sex, man cannot breathe really. If the breath goes deep down to the abdomen, it gives energy to the sex center. It touches the sex center; it massages the sex center from within. The sex center becomes more active, more alive. Civilization is afraid of sex. We do not allow our children to touch their sex centers, their sex organs. We say, “Stop! Don’t touch!”

Look at a child when he first touches his sex center, and then say “Stop!” and then observe his breathing. When you say “Stop! Don’t touch your sex center!” the breath will become shallow immediately – because it is not only his hand which is touching the sex center, deep down the breath is touching it. And if the breath goes on touching it, it is difficult to stop the hand. If the hand stops, then basically it is necessary, required, that the breath should not touch, should not go deep. It must remain shallow.

We are afraid of sex. The lower part of the body is not only lower physically, it has become lower as a value. It is condemned as “lower.” So do not go deep, just remain shallow. It is unfortunate that we can only breathe downwards. If some preachers were allowed, they would change the whole mechanism. They would only allow you to breathe upward into the head. Then you would absolutely not feel sex.

If we are to create a sexless humanity, then we will have to change the breathing system. The breath must go into the head, to the sahasrar – the seventh center in the head – then come back to the mouth. This should be the passage: from the mouth to the sahasrar. It must not go deep down because down is dangerous. The deeper you go, the nearer you reach to the deeper layers of biology. You reach to the center, and that center is just near the sex center – just near. It has to be, because sex is life.

Look at it in this way: breath is life from above downwards; sex is life from just the other corner – from down upwards. Sex energy is flowing and breath energy is flowing. The breath passage is in the upper body and the sex passage is in the lower body. When they meet they create life; when they meet they create biology, bio-energy. So if you are afraid of sex, create a distance between the two, do not allow them to meet. So really, civilized man is a castrated man; that is why we do not know about breath, and this sutra will be difficult to understand.

Shiva says, Whenever in-breath and out-breath fuse, at this instant touch the energy-less, energy-filled center. He uses very contradictory terms: “energy-less, energy-filled.” It is energy-less because your bodies, your minds, cannot give any energy to it. Your body energy is not there, your mind energy is not there, so it is energy-less as far as you know your identity. But it is energy-filled because it has the cosmic source of energy, not because of your body energy.

Your body energy is just fuel energy. It is nothing but petrol. You eat something, you drink something– it creates energy. It is just giving fuel to the body. Stop eating and drinking and your body will fall dead. Not just now, it will take three months at least, because you have reservoirs of petrol.

You have accumulated much energy; it can run for at least three months without going to any petrol station. It can run; it has a reservoir. For an emergency, any emergency, you may need it.

This is “fuel” energy. The center is not getting any fuel energy. That is why Shiva says it is energy-less. It is not dependent on your eating and drinking. It is connected with the cosmic source; it is cosmic energy. That is why he says energy-less, energy-filled center. The moment you can feel the center from where breath goes out or comes in, the very point where the breaths fuse – that center – if you become aware of it, then enlightenment.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Chapter Three

The Book of Secrets

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you can find all of Shiva’s 112 Meditation Techniques.

Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt Whenever In-Breath and Out-Breath Fuse.

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

 

Three Steps of Vipassana – Osho

How to become more aware?

Pankaj, by becoming more aware, one BECOMES more aware. There is no other method to it. It is a simple process. Whatsoever you are doing, do it with such consciousness as if it is a question of life and death; as if a sword is hanging over you.

There is an ancient story in India:

A great sage sent his chief disciple to the court of King Janak to learn something which was missing in the young man.

The young man said, “If you can’t teach me, how can this man, this Janak, teach it to me? You are a great sage, he is only a king. What does he know about meditation and awareness?”

The great sage said, “You simply follow my instructions. Go to him, bow down to him; don’t be egoistic, thinking that you are a sannyasin and he is only an ordinary householder. He lives in the world, he is worldly and you are spiritual. Forget all about it. I’m sending you to him to learn something; so for this moment, he is your master. And I know, I have tried here, but you cannot understand — because you need a different context to understand it. And the court of Janak and his palace will give you the right context. You simply go, bow down to him. For these few days, he will represent me.”

Very reluctantly, the young man went. He was a Brahmin of high caste, and what was this Janak? He was rich, he had a great kingdom, but what could he teach a Brahmin? Brahmins always think that they can teach people. And Janak was not a Brahmin, he was a Kshatriya, the warrior race in India. They are thought to be second to Brahmins; the brahmins are the first, the foremost, the highest caste. To bow down to this man? This has never been done. A Brahmin bowing down to a Kshatriya is against the Indian mind.

But the master had said it so it had to be done. Reluctantly he went, and reluctantly he bowed down. And when he bowed down, he was really feeling very angry with his master, because the situation in which he had to bow down to Janak was so ugly in his eyes.

A beautiful woman was dancing in the court and people were drinking wine. And Janak was sitting in this group. The young man had such condemnation, but still he bowed down. Janak laughed and said, “You need not bow down to me when you are carrying such condemnation in you. And don’t be so prejudiced before you have experienced me. Your master knows me well, that’s why he has sent you here. He has sent you to learn something, but this is not the way to learn.”

The young man said, “I don’t care. He has sent me, I have come. But by the morning I will go back, because I can’t see that I can learn anything here. In fact, if I learn anything from you, my whole life will be wasted. I have not come to learn drinking wine and seeing a beautiful woman dance and all this indulgence.”

Janak still smiled and he said, “You can go in the morning. But since you have come and you are so tired… at least rest for the night, and in the morning you can go. And who knows — the night may become the context of the learning for which your master has sent you to me.”

Now, this was very mysterious. How could the night teach him anything? But okay, he had to be here for the night, so don’t make much fuss about it. He remained. The king arranged for him to have the most beautiful room in the palace, the most luxurious. He went with the young man, took every care about his food, his sleep and when he had gone to bed, Janak left.

But the young man could not sleep the whole night, because as he looked up, he could see a naked sword hanging with a thin thread just above his head. Now, it was so dangerous that at any moment the sword could fall and kill the young man. So he remained awake the whole night, watchful, so he could avoid the catastrophe if it was going to happen.

In the morning, the king asked, “Was the bed comfortable, the room comfortable?”

The young man said, “Comfortable? Everything was comfortable — but what about the sword? And why did you play such a trick? It was so cruel! I was tired, I had come on foot from the faraway ashram of my master in the forest, and you played such a cruel joke. What kind of thing is this, to hang a naked sword with so thin a thread that I was afraid that a small breeze… and I am gone, and I am finished. And I have not come here to commit suicide.”

The king said, “I want to ask only one thing: you were so tired, you could have fallen asleep very easily, but you could not fall asleep. What happened? The danger was great, it was a question of life and death. Hence you were aware, alert. This is my teaching too. You can go, or if you want, you can stay a few more days to watch me.

“Although I was sitting there in the court, where a beautiful woman was dancing, I was alert to the naked sword above my head. It is invisible; its name is death. I was not looking at the young woman. Just as you could not enjoy the luxury of the room, I was not drinking wine. I was just aware of death which could come any moment. I am constantly aware of death. Hence, I live in the palace and yet I am a hermit. Your master knows me, understands me. He understands my understanding too. That’s why he has sent you here. If you live here for a few days, you can watch on your own.”

You asked me, Pankaj, how to become more aware. Become more aware of the precariousness of life. Death can happen any moment. The next moment, it may knock on your door. You can remain unaware if you think you are going to live forever. How can you live unaware if death is always close by? Impossible! If life is momentary, a soap bubble — just a pin prick and it is gone forever — how can you remain unaware?

Bring awareness to each act. Walking on the road, walk fully alert; eating, eat with awareness. Whatsoever you are doing, don’t let the past and the future interfere. Be in the present. That’s what awareness is all about. Taking a shower, just take the shower. Don’t let the mind go far away, into the past, into the future. Don’t allow the mind these faraway excursions, these journeys. Taking a shower, just take the shower.

Bokuju, a great Zen master, was asked, “What is your fundamental teaching? What is your fundamental practice? How did you become enlightened?”

He said, “My teaching is simple: When hungry, eat; when sleepy, sleep.”

The man was puzzled. He said, “I have never heard of such a practice. I am asking about the fundamental practice and you are talking about ‘When hungry, eat and when sleepy, sleep.’ What kind of teaching is this?”

Bokuju said, “That I don’t know, but that’s how I became enlightened, and that’s how many of my disciples are becoming enlightened. You can go and ask them.”

But the man said, “That’s what we all do. Hungry, we eat. Sleepy, we sleep.”

Bokuju said, “No, there is a difference and a great difference. When I am eating, I am simply eating and doing nothing else. When you are eating, you are doing a thousand and one things in your head — except eating; you are doing everything else. Eating is done mechanically. When you are sleeping, are you really asleep? How can you be asleep when you are dreaming? Dreaming so many dreams, the whole night; waves upon waves of dreams go on coming. Only for a few minutes, here and there, dreaming stops and you fall into deep sleep; otherwise, dreaming continues. Dreaming is a sleep distraction: you are distracted by a thousand and one things. But you are not asleep. You are not doing one thing only.”

To be aware, Pankaj, one needs to do one thing at a time. And do it with full awareness, watchfulness.

A progressive kindergarten teacher wanted her charges to learn about life through firsthand experiences. So after much red tape, she was able to persuade her superiors to let her take the class of all boys to a horse racing track to learn about the pitfalls of gambling.

After they had been there a while, several of the children asked to go to the boys’ room. She escorted them there under the guidance of a track employee who guarded the door for them. She saw to it that the boys had no problems and in some cases had to help them unbutton their trousers. As she moved helpfully down the line, she suddenly saw something that made her do a double take. “Are you only five years old?” she gasped.

The object of her contentions replied, “What do you mean, lady? I am riding Dandy Charger in the third race.”

People go on doing things almost in a sleep. Just become a little more alert. Do whatsoever you are doing, but bring the quality of consciousness to your actions — there is no other method. And you can bring that quality to small things and that is helpful. Sitting, just watch your breathing. The breath goes in, watch; the breath goes out, watch. Just go on watching your breathing. And it is of great help because if you watch your breathing, thinking stops.

This is something to be understood. Either you can think or you can watch your breathing. You can’t do both together. Breathing and thinking are such processes that only one can exist in you — in awareness. In unawareness, both can continue: you can go on breathing and you can go on thinking. But if you become aware, either you can think or you can breathe; and when you breathe with awareness, thinking disappears. Your whole consciousness becomes focused on breathing. And breathing is such a simple process: you need not do it, it is already happening. You can just bring your consciousness to it.

Buddha became enlightened through this simple method. He calls it vipassana, insight. Breathing brings great insight and when you are aware of breathing, the whole thought process simply comes to a stop — and great stillness arises. After watching your breathing, it will be easy to watch your thinking directly, because breathing is a little gross.

Thinking is more subtle. Thoughts have no weight, they are weightless; they can’t be measured, they are immeasurable. That’s why the materialists cannot accept them. Matter means measure — that which can be measured is matter. So thought is not matter because it cannot be measured. It is, and yet it cannot be measured; hence it is an epiphenomenon. The materialist says, “It is only a by-product, a side effect, a shadow phenomenon” — just as you walk in the sun, a shadow follows you. But the shadow is nothing. You walk in life and thinking arises, but it is only a shadow. If you watch this shadow, this epiphenomenon, these thoughts and the processes of thought… it is going to be a more subtle phenomenon because it is not as gross as breathing.

But first, learn the process of awareness through breathing and then move to thinking. And you will be surprised: the more you watch your thinking… again, either you can watch or you can think. Both cannot be done simultaneously. If you watch, thinking disappears.

If thinking appears, watching disappears. When you have become alert enough to watch your thoughts and let them disappear through watching, then move to feeling — which is even more subtle. And these are the three steps of vipassana. First breathing, second thinking, third feeling. And when all these three have disappeared, what is left is your being.

To know it is to know all. To conquer it is to conquer all.

-Osho

From The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Volume Six, Chapter 6

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Buddha’s Way was Vipassana – Osho

Buddha’s way was VIPASSANA — vipassana means witnessing. And he found one of the greatest devices ever: the device of watching your breath, just watching your breath. Breathing is such a simple and natural phenomenon and it is there twenty-four hours a day. You need not make any effort. If you repeat a mantra then you will have to make an effort, you will have to force yourself. If you say, “Ram, Ram, Ram,” you will have to continuously strain yourself. And you are bound to forget many times. Moreover, the word ‘Ram’ is again something of the mind, and anything of the mind can never lead you beyond the mind.

Buddha discovered a totally different angle: just watch your breath — the breath coming in, the breath going out. There are four points to be watched. Sitting silently just start seeing the breath, feeling the breath. The breath going in is the first point. Then for a moment when the breath is in it stops — a very small moment it is — for a split second it stops; that is the second point to watch. Then the breath turns and goes out; this is the third point to watch. Then again when the breath is completely out, for a split second it stops; that is the fourth point to watch. Then the breath starts coming in again… this is the circle of breath.

If you can watch all these four points you will be surprised, amazed at the miracle of such a simple process — because mind is not involved. Watching is not a quality of the mind; watching is the quality of the soul, of consciousness; watching is not a mental process at all. When you watch, the mind stops, ceases to be. Yes, in the beginning many times you will forget and the mind will come in and start playing its old games. But whenever you remember that you had forgotten, there is no need to feel repentant, guilty — just go back to watching, again and again go back to watching your breath. Slowly, slowly, less and less mind interferes.

And when you can watch your breath for forty-eight minutes as a continuum, you will become enlightened. You will be surprised — just forty-eight minutes — because you will think that it is not very difficult… just forty-eight minutes! It is very difficult. Forty-eight seconds and you will have fallen victim to the mind many times. Try it with a watch in front of you; in the beginning you cannot be watchful for sixty seconds. In just sixty seconds, that is one minute, you will fall asleep many times, you will forget all about watching — the watch and the watching will both be forgotten. Some idea will take you far, far away; then suddenly you will realize… you will look at the watch and ten seconds have passed. For ten seconds you were not watching. But slowly, slowly — it is a knack; it is not a practice, it is a knack – slowly, slowly you imbibe it, because those few moments when you are watchful are of such exquisite beauty, of such tremendous joy, of such incredible ecstasy, that once you have tasted those few moments you would like to come back again and again — not for any other motive, just for the sheer joy of being there, present to the breath.

Remember, it is not the same process as is done in yoga. In yoga the process is called pranayam; it is a totally different process, in fact just the opposite of what Buddha calls vipassana. In pranayam you take deep breaths, you fill your chest with more and more air, more and more oxygen; then you empty your chest as totally as possible of all carbon dioxide. It is a physical exercise — good for the body but it has nothing to do with vipassana. In vipassana you are not to change the rhythm of your natural breath, you are not to take long, deep breaths, you are not to exhale in any way differently than you ordinarily do. Let it be absolutely normal and natural. Your whole consciousness has to be on one point; watching.

And if you can watch your breath then you can start watching other things too. Walking you can watch that you are walking, eating you can watch that you are eating, and ultimately, finally, you can watch that you are sleeping. The day you can watch that you are sleeping you are transported into another world. The body goes on sleeping and inside a light goes on burning brightly. Your watchfulness remains undisturbed, then twenty-four hours a day there is an undercurrent of watching. You go on doing things… for the outside world nothing has changed, but for you everything has changed.

-Osho

From The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Volume 5, Chapter One.

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt Buddha’s Way was Vipassana.

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Anapana-sati Yoga – Osho

A flower that has never known the sun and a flower that has encountered the sun are not the same. They cannot be. A flower that has never known the sunrise has never known the sun to rise within itself. It is dead; it is just a potentiality. It has never known its own spirit. But a flower that has seen the sun rise has also seen something arise within itself. It has known its own soul. Now the flower is not just a flower; it has known a deep, stirring innerness.

How can we create this innerness within ourselves? Buddha invented a method, one of the most powerful methods, for creating an inner sun of awareness. And not only for creating it: the method is such that it not only creates this inner awareness but simultaneously allows the awareness to penetrate to the very cells of the body, to the whole of one’s being. The method that Buddha used is known as Anapana-sati Yoga – the yoga of incoming and outgoing breath awareness.

We are breathing, but it is unconscious breathing. Breath is prana, breath is the élan vital – the vitality, the very life – and yet it is unconscious; you are not aware of it. And if you had to be aware of breathing in order to breathe, you would die. Sooner or later you would forget: you cannot continuously remember anything.

Breathing is a link between our voluntary and our involuntary systems. We can control our breathing to a certain extent, we can even stop our breathing for a while, but we cannot stop it permanently. It goes on without us; it does not depend on us. Even if you are in a coma for months, you will go on breathing; it is an unconscious mechanism.

Buddha used breath as a vehicle to do two things simultaneously: one, to create consciousness, and another, to allow that consciousness to penetrate to the very cells of the body. He said, “Breathe consciously.” This does not mean to do pranayama – yogic breathing; it is just to make breath an object of awareness, without changing it.

There is no need to change your breath. Leave it as it is, natural; do not change it. But when you breathe in, breathe consciously; let your consciousness move with the ingoing breath. And when the breath goes out, let your consciousness move out with it.

Move with the breath. Let your attention be with the breath; flow with it. Do not forget even a single breath. Buddha is reported to have said that if you can be aware of your breath for even a single hour, you are already enlightened. But not a single breath should be missed.

One hour is enough. It looks like such a small fragment of time, but it is not. When you are trying to be aware, an hour can seem like a millennium, because ordinarily you cannot be aware for more than five or six seconds. Only a very alert person can be aware for even that long. Most of us miss every second. You may start by being aware as the breath is going in, but no sooner has it gone in when you are somewhere else. Suddenly you remember that the breath is going out. It has already gone out, but you were somewhere else.

To be conscious of the breath means that no thoughts can be allowed, because thoughts will distract your attention. Buddha never says, “Stop thinking.” He says, “Breathe consciously.” Automatically, thinking will stop; you cannot both think and breathe consciously. When a thought comes into your mind, your attention is withdrawn from the breathing. A single thought and you have become unconscious of the breathing process.

Buddha used this technique. It is a simple one, but a very vital one. He would say to his bhikkhus, his monks, “Do whatsoever you are doing, but do not forget a simple thing: remember the incoming and the outgoing breath. Move with it, flow with it.”

The more you try to do it, the more you endeavor to do it, the more conscious you will become. It is arduous, it is difficult, but once you can do it, you will have become a different person, a different being in a different world.

This works in another way, too. When you consciously breathe in and out, by and by you come to your center, because your breath touches the very center of your being. Every moment that the breath goes in, it touches the center of your being.

Physiologically you think that breath is just for the purification of the blood, that it is just a bodily function. But if you begin to be aware of your breath, by and by you will go deeper than physiology. Then one day you will begin to feel your center, right near your navel.

This center can be felt only if you move with the breath continuously, because the nearer you reach to the center, the more difficult it will be to remain aware. You can start when the breath is going in. When it is just entering your nose, begin to be aware of it. The more inward it moves, the more difficult awareness will become. A thought will come, or some sound, or something will happen, and you will move away.

If you can go to the very center, for a brief moment breath stops and there is a gap. The breath goes in, the breath goes out: between the two there is a subtle gap. That gap is your center.

Only after practicing breath awareness for a long time – when you are finally able to remain with the breath, to be aware of the breath – will you become aware of the gap when there is no movement of breath; breath is neither coming in nor going out. In the subtle gap between breaths, you are at your center. So breath awareness was used by Buddha as a means of coming nearer and nearer to the center.

When you breathe out, remain conscious of the breath. Again there is a gap. There are two gaps: one gap after the breath has come in and before it goes out again, and another gap after the breath has gone out and before it comes in again. This second gap is more difficult to be aware of.

Between the incoming breath and the outgoing breath is your center. But there is another center, the cosmic center. You may call it “god.” In the gap between when the breath goes out and when it comes in is the cosmic center. These two centers are not two different things. First you will become aware of your inner center, and then you will become aware of the outer center. Ultimately, you will come to know that both these centers are one. Then “out” and “in” will lose their meaning.

Buddha says, “Move consciously with the breath and you will create a center of awareness within you.” Once this center is created, awareness begins to move to your very cells, because every cell needs oxygen, every cell breathes, so to speak.

Now scientists say that even the earth breathes. When the whole universe is breathing in, it expands; when the whole universe breathes out, it contracts. In old Hindu mythological scriptures, puranas, it is said that creation is Brahma’s one breath – incoming breath – and destruction, pralaya, the end of the world, will be the outgoing breath. One breath is one creation.

In a very miniature way, in a very atomic way, the same thing is happening in you. And when your awareness becomes one with breathing, breathing takes your awareness to your very cells. Then your whole body becomes the universe. Really, then you have no material body at all. You are just awareness.

-Osho

From Meditation: The Art of Ecstasy, Appendix

Breath is the Bridge – Osho

Truth is always here. It is already the case. It is not something to be achieved in the future. YOU are the truth just here and now, so it is not something which is to be created or something which is to be devised or something which is to be sought. Understand this very clearly; then these techniques will be easy to understand and also to do.

Mind is a mechanism of desiring. Mind is always in desire, always seeking something, asking for something. Always the object is in the future; mind is not concerned with the present at all. In this very moment the mind cannot move – there is no space. The mind needs the future in order to move. It can move either in the past or in the future. It cannot move in the present; there is no space. The truth is in the present, and mind is always in the future or in the past, so there is no meeting between mind and truth.

When the mind is seeking worldly objects it is not so difficult, the problem is not absurd; it can be solved. But when the mind starts seeking the truth the very effort becomes nonsense, because the truth is here and now and the mind is always then and there. There is no meeting. So understand the first thing: you cannot seek truth. You can find it, but you cannot seek it. The very seeking is the hindrance.

The moment you start seeking you have moved away from the present, away from yourself, because YOU are always in the present. The seeker is always in the present and the seeking is in the future, you are not going to meet whatsoever you are seeking. Lao Tzu says, “Seek not; otherwise you will miss. Seek not and find. Don’t seek and find.”

All these techniques of Shiva’s are simply turning the mind from the future or the past to the present.  That which you are seeking is already there, it is the case already. The mind has to be turned from seeking to non-seeking. It is difficult. If you think about it intellectually it is very difficult. How to turn the mind from seeking to non-seeking? – Because then the mind makes non-seeking itself the object! Then the mind says, “Don’t seek.” Then the mind says, “I should not seek.” Then the mind says, “Now non-seeking is my object. Now I desire the state of desirelessness.” The seeking has entered again, the desire has come again through the back door. That is why there are people who are seeking worldly objects, and there are people who think they are seeking non-worldly objects.

All objects are worldly because “seeking” is the world.

So you cannot seek anything non-worldly. The moment you seek, it becomes the world. If you are seeking God, your God is part of the world. If you are seeking MOKSHA – liberation – NIRVANA, your liberation is part of the world, your liberation is not something that transcends the world, because seeking is the world, desiring is the world. So you cannot desire nirvana, you cannot desire non-desire. If you try to understand intellectually, it will become a puzzle.

Shiva says nothing about it; he immediately proceeds to give techniques. They are non-intellectual.  He doesn’t say to Devi, “The truth is here. Don’t seek it and you will find it.” He immediately gives techniques. Those techniques are non-intellectual. Do them, and the mind turns. The turning is just a consequence, just a by-product – not an object. The turning is just a by-product.

If you do a technique, your mind will turn from its journey into the future or the past. Suddenly you will find yourself in the present. That is why Buddha has given techniques, Lao Tzu has given techniques, Krishna has given techniques. But they always introduce their techniques with intellectual concepts. Only Shiva is different. He immediately gives techniques, and no intellectual understanding, no intellectual introduction, because he knows that the mind is tricky, the most cunning thing possible. It can turn anything into a problem. Non-seeking will become the problem.

There are people who come to me who ask how not to desire. They are desiring non-desire. Somebody has told them, or they have read somewhere, or they have heard spiritual gossip, that if you do not desire you will reach bliss, if you do not desire you will be free, if you do not desire there will be no suffering. Now their minds hanker to attain that state where there is no suffering, so they ask how not to desire. Their minds are playing tricks. They are still desiring, it is only that now the object has changed. They were desiring money, they were desiring fame, they were desiring prestige, they were desiring power. Now they are desiring non-desire. Only the object has changed, and they remain the same and their desiring remains the same. But now the desire has become more deceptive.

Because of this, Shiva proceeds immediately with no introduction whatsoever. He immediately starts talking about techniques. Those techniques, if followed, suddenly turn your mind: it comes to the present. And when the mind comes to the present it stops, it is no more. You cannot be a mind in the present, that is impossible. Just now, if you are here and now, how can you be a mind?

Thoughts cease because they cannot move. The present has no space in which to move; you cannot think. If you are in this very moment, how can you move? Mind stops, you attain to no-mind.

So the real thing is how to be here and now. You can try, but effort may prove futile – because if you make it a point to be in the present, then this point has moved into the future. When you ask how to be in the present, again you are asking about the future. This moment is passing in the inquiry, “How to be present? How to be here and now?” This present moment is passing in the inquiry, and your mind will begin to weave and create dreams in the future: some day you will be in a state of mind where there is no movement, no motive, no seeking, and then there will be bliss – so how to be in the present?

Shiva doesn’t say anything about it, he simply gives a technique. You do it, and suddenly you find you are here and now. And your being here and now is the truth, and your being here and now is the freedom, and your being here and now is the nirvana.

The first nine techniques are concerned with breathing. So let us understand something about breathing, and then we will proceed to the techniques. We are breathing continuously from the moment of birth to the moment of death. Everything changes between these two points. Everything changes, nothing remains the same, only breathing is a constant thing between birth and death.

The child will become a youth; the youth will become old. He will be diseased, his body will become ugly, ill, everything will change. He will be happy, unhappy, in suffering; everything will go on changing. But whatsoever happens between these two points, one must breathe. Whether happy or unhappy, young or old, successful or unsuccessful – whatsoever you are, it is irrelevant – one thing is certain: between these two points of birth and death you must breathe. Breathing will be a continuous flow; no gap is possible. If even for a single moment you forget to breathe, you will be no more. That is why YOU are not required to breathe, because then it would be difficult. Someone might forget to breathe for a single moment, and then nothing could be done.

So, really, YOU are not breathing, because YOU are not needed. You are fast asleep, and breathing goes on; you are unconscious, and breathing goes on; you are in a deep coma, and breathing goes on. YOU are not required; breathing is something which goes on in spite of you.

It is one of the constant factors in your personality – that is the first thing. It is something which is very essential and basic to life – that is the second thing. You cannot be alive without breath.

So breath and life have become synonymous. Breathing is the mechanism of life, and life is deeply related with breathing. That is why in India we call it PRANA. We have given one word for both – PRANA means the vitality, the aliveness. Your life is your breath.

Thirdly, your breath is a bridge between you and your body. Constantly, breath is bridging you to your body, connecting you, relating you to your body. Not only is the breath a bridge to your body, it is also a bridge between you and the universe. The body is just the universe which has come to you, which is nearer to you.

Your body is part of the universe. Everything in the body is part of the universe – every particle, every cell. It is the nearest approach to the universe. Breath is the bridge. If the bridge is broken, you are no more in the body. If the bridge is broken, you are no more in the universe. You move into some unknown dimension; then you cannot be found in space and time. So, thirdly, breath is also the bridge between you, and space and time.

Breath, therefore, becomes very significant – the most significant thing. So the first nine techniques are concerned with breath. If you can do something with the breath, you will suddenly turn to the present. If you can do something with breath, you will attain to the source of life. If you can do something with breath, you can transcend time and space. If you can do something with breath, you will be in the world and also beyond it.

Breath has two points. One is where it touches the body and the universe, and another is where it touches you and that which transcends the universe. We know only one part of the breath. When it moves into the universe, into the body, we know it. But it is always moving from the body to the “no-body,” from the “no-body” to the body. We do not know the other point. If you become aware of the other point, the other part of the bridge, the other pole of the bridge, suddenly you will be transformed, transplanted into a different dimension.

But remember, what Shiva is going to say is not yoga, it is tantra. Yoga also works on breath, but the work of yoga and tantra is basically different. Yoga tries to systematize breathing. If you systematize your breathing your health will improve. If you systematize your breathing, if you know the secrets of breathing, your life will become longer; you will be more healthy and you will live longer. You will be more strong, more filled with energy, more vital, alive, young, fresh.

But tantra is not concerned with that. Tantra is concerned not with any systematization of breath, but with using breath just as a technique to turn inward. One has not to practice a particular style of breathing, a particular system of breathing or a particular rhythm of breathing – no! One has to take breathing as it is. One has just to become aware of certain points in the breathing.

There are certain points, but we are not aware of them. We have been breathing and we will go on breathing – we are born breathing and we will die breathing – but we are not aware of certain points.

And this is strange. Man is searching, probing deep into space. Man is going to the moon; man is trying to reach farther, from earth into space, and man has not yet learned the nearest part of his life. There are certain points in breathing which you have never observed, and those points are the doors – the nearest doors to you from where you can enter into a different world, into a different being, into a different consciousness. But they are very subtle.

To observe a moon is not very difficult. Even to reach the moon is not very difficult; it is a gross journey. You need mechanization, you need technology, you need accumulated information, and then you can reach it. Breathing is the nearest thing to you, and the nearer a thing is, the more difficult it is to perceive it. The nearer it is, the more difficult; the more obvious it is, the more difficult.

It is so near to you that again there is no space between you and your breathing. Or, there is such a small space that you will need a very minute observation, only then will you become aware of certain points. These points are the basis of these techniques.

-Osho

From Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, Chapter Three

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

 

Osho on “Who am I?”

Would you please talk about the sadhana based on holding as much as possible to the “I” thought or the sense “I AM” and on asking oneself the questions, “Who am I?” or “From where does the ‘I’ arise?” In what way does this approach to meditation differ from that of watching the gaps between one’s in-breath and out-breath? Does it make any difference whether one witnesses the breath focusing on the heart center or on the lower belly center?

It is an ancient method of meditation, but full of dangers. Unless you are alert, the greater possibility is that you will be led astray by the method rather than to the right goal. The method is simple—concentrating yourself on the concept of I, closing your eyes and inquiring, “Who am I?”

The greatest problem is that when you ask “Who am I”… who is going to answer you? Most probably the answer will come from your tradition, from your scriptures, from your conditioning. You have heard that “I am not the body, I am not the mind. I am the soul, I am the ultimate, Brahma, I am God” — all these kinds of thoughts you have heard before.

You will ask a few times, “Who am I? Who am I?”—And then you will say, “I am ultimate, BRAHMA.” And this is not a discovery, this is simply stupid. If you want to go rightly into the method, then the question has not to be verbally asked. “Who am I?” has not to be repeated verbally. Because as long as it remains a verbal question, you will supply a verbal answer from the head. You have to drop the verbal question. It has to remain just a vague idea, just like a thirst. Not that “I am thirsty,”—can you see the difference? When you are thirsty, you feel the thirst. And if you are in a desert, you feel the thirst in every fiber of your body. You don’t say, “I am thirsty, I am thirsty.” It is no longer a linguistic question, it is existential.

If “Who am I?” is an existential question, if you are not asking it in language but instead the feeling of the question is settling inside your center, then there is no need for any answer. Then it is none of the mind’s business. The mind will not hear that which is non-verbal, and the mind will not answer that which is non-verbal.

All your scriptures are in the mind, all your knowledge is gathered there.

Now you are entering an innocent space. You will not get the answer. You will get the feel, you will get the taste, you will get the smell. As you go deeper, you will be filled more with the feeling of being, of immortality, blissfulness, silence… a tremendous benediction.

But there is no answer like, “I am this, I am that.” All that is from the scriptures. This feeling is from you, and this feeling has a truth about it. It is a perfectly valid method.

One of the great masters of this century, Raman Maharshi, used only this method for his disciples: “Who am I?” But I have come across hundreds of his disciples—they are nowhere near the ultimate experience. And the reason is because they know the answer already.

I have asked them, “Do you know the answer?”

They said, “We know the answer.”

I said, “If you know the answer, then why are you asking? And your asking cannot go on very long—do it two or three times and the answer comes. The answer was already there, before the question.” So it is just a mind game. If you want to play it, you can play it. But if you really want to go into it as it was meant by Raman Maharshi, and by all the ancient seers, it is a nonverbal thirst.

Not knowing oneself hurts, it is a wound. Not knowing oneself makes the whole of life meaningless. You may know everything, only you do not know yourself—and that would be the first thing to know. So if you can avoid the danger of falling into a verbal question, it is perfectly good, you can go ahead.

You have also asked about witnessing, watching the breath and where one should watch. Anywhere—because the question is not where you are watching, the question is that you are watching. The emphasis is on watching, watchfulness. All those points are just excuses. You can watch the breath at the tip of the nose where the breath goes in, you can watch it while it is going in, you can watch it when it returns—you can watch it anywhere. You can watch thoughts moving inside. The whole point is not to get lost in what you are watching, as if that is important. That is not important. The important thing is that you are watchful, that you have not forgotten to watch, that you are watching… watching… watching.

And slowly, slowly, as the watcher becomes more and more solid, stable, unwavering, a transformation happens. The things that you were watching disappear. For the first time, the watcher itself becomes the watched; the observer itself becomes the observed. You have come home.

-Osho

From Beyond Enlightenment, Chapter Nine  

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.