A Meditation Before Sleep – Osho

When you go to sleep tonight and every night following, before going to sleep put off the light, sit on your bed, close your eyes and exhale deeply through the mouth with the sound ‘O’ – Ooooo. Go on exhaling with the sound ‘O’, as deeply as possible. Your stomach goes in, the air moves out, and you go on creating the sound ‘O’. Remember, I am not saying aum, I am saying simply ‘O’. It will become aum automatically. You need not make it, then it is false. You simply create the sound ‘O’. When it becomes more harmonious and you are enjoying it, suddenly you will become aware it has become aum. But don’t force it to become aum, then it is false. When it becomes spontaneously aum then it is something vibrating from within. And this sound aum is the deepest sound, the most harmonious, the most basic.

When it happens and you enjoy and you flow in its music, your whole body and your brain relax. With the sound aum you will go on relaxing and your sleep will have a different quality, altogether different. And your sleep has to be changed, only then can you become more alert and aware. So we will start by changing the sleep.

In the night put the light off, sit on the bed, exhale deeply through the mouth with the sound ‘O’. When you have exhaled completely and you feel that now no more exhalation is possible, the whole breath has gone out, stop for a single moment. Don’t inhale, don’t exhale – just stop. In that stop you are the divine. In that stop you are not doing anything, not even breathing. In that stop you are in the ocean.

Just remain in the stop for a single moment and be a witness – just look at what is happening. Be aware where you are: witness the whole situation that is there in that single stopped moment. Time is no more there, because time moves with breaths; breathing is the process of time. Because you breathe you feel the time moving. When you don’t breathe you are just like a dead man. Time has stopped, there is no process anywhere, everything has stopped… as if the whole existence has stopped with you. In that stopping you can become aware of the deepest source of your being and energy. So for a single moment stop. Then inhale through the nose, but don’t make any effort to inhale.

Remember, make all the effort to exhale, but don’t make any effort to inhale; just let the body inhale.

You simply relax your hold and let the body take the inhalation. You don’t do anything. That too is beautiful and works wonders. You have exhaled, stopped for a moment, then you allow the body to inhale. You don’t make any effort to inhale; you simply watch the body taking the inhalation.

And when you watch the body taking the inhalation you will feel a deep silence surrounding you, because then you know your effort is not needed for life. Life breathes itself. It moves by itself of its own cause. It is a river; you unnecessarily go on pushing it. You will see that the body is taking the inhalation. Your effort is not needed, your ego is not needed – you are not needed. You simply become a watcher, you simply see the body taking the inhalation. Deep silence will be felt.

When the body has taken a full inhalation, stop for a single moment again. Again watch.

These two moments are totally different. When you have exhaled completely and stopped, that stopping is just like death. When you have inhaled totally and then stopped, that stopping is the climax of life. Remember, inhalation is equivalent to life, exhalation equivalent to death.

That’s why the first thing a child does when born is to inhale, and the last thing the same child will do when old, dying, will be to exhale. On this earth, the first thing you did while entering life was inhalation, and the last thing you will do will be exhalation. No one can die inhaling. When you die you have to exhale, you die with exhalation. And no one can be born with exhalation, you have to start by inhalation.

Those who know, and those who have watched their inner life process deeply, they say – and you will come to feel it yourself – that with every inhalation you are born again and with every exhalation you die. So death is not something in the end, and birth is not something in the beginning; every moment there is birth and death, every moment you die and are born again. And if you die beautifully you are born again more beautifully, if you die totally you are born totally.

So exhale as totally as possible; that will give you a death moment. That’s beautiful, because a death moment is the most silent, the most peaceful – that is nirvana. Then let the body inhale to the full, and then stop. That moment is a life moment: the climax of energy, power, bio-energy at its peak. Feel it, and feel both. That’s why I say stop twice: when you have exhaled, then; and when you have inhaled, then – so you can feel both life and death, so you can watch both life and death.

Once you know this is life, this is death, you have transcended both. The witness is neither death nor life. The witness is never born and never dies; only the body, the mechanism. You become the third. These two moments are very significant. This very night you have to do this meditation, for twenty minutes you go on doing this and then fall down and go to sleep.

-Osho

From Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi, Chapter One

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 Viha Osho Book Distributors.

The Deceptions of the Mind – Osho

If I try this method of being aware of my breathing, If I pay attention to my breathing, then I cannot do anything else, the whole attention goes to it. And if I am to do anything else then I cannot be aware of my breathing.

This will happen, so in the beginning choose a particular period in the morning, or in the evening, or at any time. For one hour just do the exercise; do not do anything else. Just do the exercise. Once you become attuned to it, then it will not be a problem. You can walk on the street and you can be aware.

Between ‘awareness’ and ‘attention’ there is a difference. When you pay attention to anything it is exclusive; you have to withdraw your attention from everywhere else. So it is a tension really. That is why it is called attention. You pay attention to one thing at the cost of everything else. If you pay attention to your breathing, you cannot pay attention to your walking or to your driving. Do not try it while you are driving because you cannot pay attention to both.

Attention means one thing exclusively. Awareness is a very different thing; it is not exclusive. It is not paying attention, it is being attentive; it is just being conscious. You are conscious when you are inclusively conscious. Your breathing is in your consciousness. You are walking and someone is passing, and you are also conscious of him. Someone is making noise on the road, some train passes by, some airplane flies by – everything is included. Awareness is inclusive, attention exclusive. But in the beginning, it will be attention.

So first try in selected periods. For one hour just be attentive to your breathing. By and by you will be able to change your attention into awareness. Then do simple things – for example, walking, walk attentively with full awareness of walking and also of breathing. Do not create any opposition between the two actions of walking and breathing. Be a watcher of both. It is not difficult. Look! For example, I can pay attention to one face here. If I pay attention to one face, all the faces will not be here for me. If I pay my attention to one face, then all the rest are bracketed out. If I pay attention only to the nose on that face, then the whole face, the remaining face, is bracketed out. I can go on narrowing down my attention to a single point.

The reverse is also possible. I pay attention to the whole face; then eyes and nose and everything are there. Then I have made my focus wider. I look at you not as individuals, but as a group. Then the whole group is in my attention. If I take you as different from the noise that is going on the street, then I am bracketing out the street. But I can look at you and the street as one whole. Then I can be aware of both you and the street. I can be aware of the whole cosmos. It depends on your focus – on its becoming greater and greater. But first start from attention and remember that you have to grow into awareness. So choose a small period. The morning is good because you are fresh, energies are vital, everything is rising; you are more alive in the morning.

Physiologists say that not only are you more alive, but your height is a little more in the morning than in the evening. If you are six feet tall, then in the morning you are six feet and one half inch and in the evening you go back to six feet. Half an inch is lost because your spine settles down when it is tired. So in the morning you are fresh, young, alive with energy.

Do this: do not make meditation the last thing on your schedule. Make it the first. Then when you feel that now it is not an effort, when you can sit for an hour together completely immersed in breathing – aware, attentive – when you only know this, that you have achieved attention of breathing without any effort; when you are relaxed and enjoying it without any forcing, then you have attained it.

Then add something else – for example, walking. Remember both; then go on adding things. After a certain period you will be capable of being aware of your breath continuously, even in sleep. And unless you are aware even in sleep you will not be able to know the depth. But this comes, by and by this comes.

One has to be patient and one has to start rightly. Know this, because the cunning mind will always try to give you a wrong start. Then you can leave it after two or three days and say, “This is hopeless.” The mind will give you a wrong start. So always remember to begin rightly, because rightly begun means half done. But we start wrongly.

You know very well that attention is a difficult thing. This is because you are totally asleep. So, if you start being attentive to breathing while you are doing something else, you cannot do it. And you are not going to leave the task, you will leave the effort of being attentive to breathing.

So do not create unnecessary problems for yourself. In twenty-four hours you can find a small corner. Forty minutes will do… so do the technique there. But the mind will give many excuses. The mind will say, “Where is the time? There is already too much work to be done. Where is the time?” Or the mind will say, “It is not possible now, so postpone it. Sometime in the future when things are better, then you will do it.” Beware of what your mind says to you. Do not be too trusting of the mind. And we are never doubtful. We can doubt everyone but we never doubt our own minds.

Even those who talk so much of skepticism, of doubt, of reason, even they never doubt their own minds. And your mind has brought you to the state you are in. If you are in a hell, your mind has brought you to this hell, and you never doubt this guide. You can doubt any teacher, any master, but you never doubt your mind. With unflinching faith, you move with your mind as the guru. And your mind has brought you to the mess, to the misery that you are. If you are going to doubt anything, doubt first your own mind. And whenever your mind says something, think twice.

Is it true that you do not have any time? Really? You do not have any time to meditate – to give one hour to meditation? Think twice. Ask again and again to the mind, “Is this the case, that I do not have any time?”

I don’t see it. I have not seen a man who does not have more than enough time. I go on seeing people who are playing cards, and they say, “We are killing time.” They are going to the movies and they say, “What to do?” They are killing time, gossiping, reading the same newspaper again and again, talking about the same things they have been talking about for their whole lives, and they say, “We don’t have any time.” For unnecessary things they have enough time. Why?

With an unnecessary thing mind is not in any danger. The moment you think of meditation, mind becomes alert. Now you are moving in a dangerous dimension, because meditation means the death of the mind. If you move into meditation, sooner or later your mind will have to dissolve, retire completely. The mind becomes alert and it begins to say many things to you: “Where is the time? And even if there is time, then more important things are to be done. First postpone it until later. You can meditate at any time. Money is more important. Gather money first, then meditate at your leisure. How can you meditate without money? So pay attention to money, then meditate later on.”

Meditation can be postponed easily, you feel, because it is not concerned with your immediate survival. Bread cannot be postponed – you will die. Money cannot be postponed – it is needed for your basic necessities. Meditation can be postponed; you can survive without it. Really, you can survive without it easily.

The moment you go deep in meditation, you will not survive on this earth at least – you will disappear. From the circle of this life, this wheel, you will disappear. Meditation is like death, so the mind becomes afraid. Meditation is like love, so the mind becomes afraid. “Postpone,” it says, and you can go on postponing ad infinitum. Your mind is always saying things like this. And do not think I am talking about others. I am talking particularly about you.

I have come across many intelligent people who go on saying very unintelligent things about meditation. One man came from Delhi; he is a big government official. He came only for the purpose of learning meditation here. He had come from Delhi, and he stayed seven days here. I told him to go to the morning meditation class on Chowpatty beach in Bombay, but he said, “But that is difficult. I cannot get up so early.” And he will never think over what his mind has told him. Is this so difficult? Now you will know: the exercise can be simple, but your mind is not so simple. The mind says, “How can I get up in the morning at six o’clock?”

I was in a big city, and the collector of that city came to meet me at eleven o’clock at night. I was just going to my bed, and he came and said, “No! It is urgent. I am very disturbed. It is a question of life and death,” he told me. “So please give me at least half an hour. Teach me meditation; otherwise I might commit suicide. I am very much disturbed, and I am so frustrated that something must happen in my inner world. My outer world is lost completely.”

I told him, “Come in the morning at five o’clock.” He said, “That is not possible.” It is a question of life and death, but he cannot get up at five o’clock. He said, “That is not possible. I never get up so early.”

“Okay,” I told him, “Then come at ten.”

He said, “That will also be difficult because by ten-thirty I am to be present at my office.”

He cannot take one day’s leave, and it is a question of life and death. So I told him, ”Is it a question of your life and death or my life and death? Whose?” And he was not an unintelligent man, he was intelligent enough. These tricks were very intelligent.

So do not think that your mind is not playing the same tricks. It is very intelligent, and because you think it is your mind you never doubt it. It is not yours; it is just a social product. It is not yours! It has been given to you, it has been forced upon you. You have been taught and conditioned in a certain way. From the very childhood your mind has been created by others – parents, society, teachers. The past is creating your mind, influencing your mind. The dead past is forcing itself upon the living continuously. The teachers are just the agents – agents of the dead against the living. They go on forcing things upon your mind. But the mind is so intimate with you, the gap is so small, that you become identified with it.

You say, “I am a Hindu.” Think again, reconsider it. You are not a Hindu. You have been given a Hindu mind. You were born just a simple, innocent being – not a Hindu, not a Mohammedan. But you were given a Mohammedan mind, a Hindu mind. You were forced, encaged, imprisoned in a particular condition, and then life goes on adding to this mind and this mind becomes heavy – heavy on you. You cannot do anything; the mind starts forcing its own way upon you. Your experiences are being added to the mind. Constantly, your past is conditioning your every present moment. If I say something to you, you are not going to think about it in a fresh way, in an open way. Your old mind, your past will come in between, will begin to talk and chatter for or against.

Remember, your mind is not yours, your body is not yours; it comes from your parents. Your mind is also not yours; it also comes from your parents. Who are you?

Either one is identified with the body or with the mind. You think you are young, you think you are old, you think you are a Hindu, you think you are a Jain, you are a Parsi. You are not! You were born as a pure consciousness. These are all imprisonments. These techniques which look so simple to you will not be so simple, because this mind will create constantly many, many complexities and problems.

Just a few days before, a man came to me and he said, “I am trying your method of meditation, but tell me, in what scripture is it given? If you can convince me that it is given in my religious scripture, then it will be easier for me to do.” But why will it be easier for him to do if it is written in a scripture? Because then the mind will not create a problem. The mind will say, “Okay! This belongs to us, so do it.” If it is not written in any scripture then the mind will say, “What are you doing?” The mind goes against it.

I said to the man, “You have been doing this method for three months. How are you feeling?” He said, “Wonderful. I am feeling very wonderful. But tell me… give some authority from the scriptures.” His own feeling is not an authority at all. He says, “I am feeling wonderful. I have become more silent, more peaceful, more loving. I am feeling wonderful.” But his own experience is not the authority. The mind asks for an authority from the past.

I told him, “It is not written anywhere in your scriptures. Rather, many things which are against this technique are written.” His face became sad. And then he said, “Then it will be difficult for me to do it and to continue it.”

Why is his own experience not of any value?

The past – the conditioning, the mind – is constantly molding you and destroying your present. So remember, and be aware. Be skeptical and doubting about your mind. Do not trust it. If you can attain to this maturity of not trusting your mind, only then will these techniques be really simple, helpful, functioning. They will work miracles – they can work miracles.

These techniques, these methods cannot be understood intellectually at all. I am trying the impossible, but then why am I trying? If they cannot be understood intellectually, then why am I talking to you? They cannot be understood intellectually, but there is no other way to make you aware of certain techniques which can change your life totally. You can understand only intellect, and this is a problem. You cannot understand anything else; you can understand only the intellect. And these techniques cannot be understood intellectually, so how to communicate?

Either you should become capable of understanding without intellect being brought in, or some method should be found so that these techniques can be made intellectually understandable. The second is not possible, but the first is possible. 

You will have to start intellectually, but do not cling to it. When I say “Do,” try doing. If something begins to happen within you, then you will be capable of throwing your intellect aside and reaching toward me directly without the intellect, without any effort, without the meditator. But start doing something. We can go on talking for years and years, your mind can be stuffed with many things, but that is not going to help. Rather, it may harm you because you will begin to know many things. And if you know many things you will become confused. It is not good to know many things. It is good to know a little and to practice it. A single technique can be helpful; something done is always helpful. What is the difficulty in doing it?

Deep down somewhere there is fear. The fear is that if you do it, it may be that something stops happening – that is the fear. It may look paradoxical, but I have been meeting so many – so many persons – who think they want to change. They say they need meditation; they ask for a deep transformation, but deep down they are also afraid. They are dual – double; they have two minds. They go on asking about what to do, never doing it. Why then do they go on asking? Just to deceive themselves that they are really interested in transforming themselves. That is why they are asking.

This gives a facade, an appearance that they are really, sincerely interested in changing themselves. That is why they are asking, going to this guru and that, finding, trying, but they never do anything. Deep down they are afraid.

Eric Fromm has written a book, Fear of Freedom. The title seems contradictory. Everyone thinks that they like freedom; everyone thinks that they are endeavoring for freedom – in this world and in “that world” also. “We want moksha – liberation – we want to be freed from all limitations, from all slaveries. We want to be totally free,” they say. But Eric Fromm says that man is afraid of freedom. We want it, we go on saying that we want it, we go on convincing ourselves that we want it, but deep down we are afraid of freedom. We do not want it! Why? Why this duality?

Freedom creates fear, and meditation is the deepest freedom possible. You are not freed only from outward limitations, you are freed from inner slavery – the very mind, the base of slavery. You are freed from the whole past. The moment you have no mind, the past has disappeared. You have transcended history; now there is no society, no religion, no scripture, no tradition, because they all have their abode in the mind. Now there is no past, no future, because past and future are part of the mind, the memory and the imagination.

Then you are here and now in the present. Now there is not going to be any future. There will be now and now and now – eternal now. Then you are freed completely; you transcend all tradition, all history, body, mind, everything. One becomes free of the fearful. Such freedom? Then where will you be? In such freedom, can you exist? In such freedom, in such vastness, can you have your small “I” – your ego? Can you say “I am?”

You can say, “I am in bondage,” because you can know your boundary. When there is no bondage there is no boundary. You become just a state, nothing more… absolute nothingness, emptiness. That creates fear, so one goes on talking about meditation, about how to do it, and one goes on without doing it.

All the questions arise out of this fear. Feel this fear. If you know it, it will disappear. If you do not know it, it will continue. Are you ready to die in the spiritual sense? Are you ready to be not?

Whenever anyone came to Buddha he would say, “This is the basic truth – that you are not. And because you are not you cannot die, you cannot be born; and because you are not you cannot be in suffering, in bondage. Are you ready to accept this?” Buddha would ask, “Are you ready to accept this? If you are not ready to accept this, then do not try meditation now. First try to find out whether you really are or you are not. Meditate on this first: is there any self? Is there any substance within or are you just a combination?”

If you manage to find out, you will find that your body is a combination. Something has come from your mother, something has come from your father, and all else has come from food. This is your body. In this body you are not, there is no self. Contemplate on the mind: something has come from here, something from there. Mind has nothing that is original. It is just accumulation.

Find out if there is any self in the mind. If you move deep, you will find that your identity is just like an onion. You peel off one layer and another layer comes up; you peel off another layer and still another layer comes up. You go on peeling layers off, and ultimately you come to a nothingness. With all the layers thrown off, there is nothing inside. Body and mind are like onions. When you have peeled off both body and mind, then you come to encounter a nothingness, an abyss, a bottomless void. Buddha called it shunya.

To encounter this shunya, to encounter this void, creates fear. That fear is there. That is why we never do meditation. We talk about it, but we never do anything about it. That fear is there. You know deep down that there is a void, but you cannot escape this fear. Whatsoever you do, the fear will remain unless you encounter it. That is the only way. Once you encounter your nothingness, once you know that within you are just like a space, shunya, then there will be no fear. Then there cannot be any fear, because this shunya, this void, cannot be destroyed. This void is not going to die. That which was going to die is no more; it was nothing but the layers of an onion.

That is why many times in deep meditation, when one comes nearer to this nothingness, one becomes afraid and starts trembling. One feels that one is going to die, one wants to escape from this nothingness back to the world. And many go back; then they never turn within again. As I see it, every one of you have tried in some life or other some meditative technique. You have been near to the nothingness, and then fear gripped you and you escaped. And deep in your past memories, that memory is there; that becomes the hindrance. Whenever you again think of trying meditation, that past memory deep down in your unconscious mind again disturbs you and says, “Go on thinking; do not do it. You have done it once.”

It is difficult to find a man – and I have looked into many – who has not tried meditation once or twice in some life. The memory is there, but you are not conscious of it, you are not aware of where the memory is. It is there. Whenever you begin to do something that becomes a barrier, this and that begin to stop you in many ways. So, if you are really interested in meditation, find out about your own fear of it. Be sincere about it: are you afraid? If you are afraid, then first something has to be done about your fear, not about meditation.

Buddha used to try many devices. Sometimes someone would say to him, “I am afraid of trying meditation.” And this is a must: the master must be told that you are afraid. You cannot deceive the master… and there is no need – it is deceiving yourself. So whenever someone would say, “I am afraid of meditation,” Buddha would say, “You are fulfilling the first requirement.” If you say yourself that you are afraid of meditation, then something becomes possible. Then something can be done because you have uncovered a deep thing. So what is the fear? Meditate on it. Go and dig out where it comes from, what the source is.

All fear is basically death-oriented. Whatsoever its form, mode, whatsoever its shape, name, all fear is death-oriented. If you move deep, you will find that you are afraid of death.

If someone came to Buddha and said, “I am afraid of death, I have found this out,” Buddha would say, “Then go to the burning ghat, go to the cemetery, and meditate on a funeral pyre. People are dying daily – they will be burned. Just remain there at the marghat – cemetery – and meditate on the burning pyre. When their family members have gone, you remain there. Just look into the fire, at the burning body. When everything is becoming smoke, you just look at it deeply. Do not think, just meditate on it for three months, six months, nine months.

“When it becomes a certainty to you that death cannot be escaped, when it becomes absolutely certain that death is the way of life, that death is implied in life, that death is going to be, that there is no way out and you are already in it, only then come to me.”

After meditating on death, after seeing every day, night and day, dead bodies being burned, dissolved into ashes – just a smoke remains and then disappears – after meditating for months together, a certainty will arise: the certainty that death is inevitable. It is the only certainty really. The only thing certain in life is death. Everything else is uncertain: it may be or it may not be. But you cannot say that it may be or it may not be for death. It is; it is going to be. It has already occurred. The moment you entered life, you entered death. Now nothing can be done about it.

When death is certain there is no fear. Fear is always with things which can be changed. If death is to be, fear disappears. If you can change, if you can do something about death, then fear will remain. If nothing can be done, if you are already in it, then it is absolutely certain that fear will disappear. When fear of death had disappeared, Buddha would allow you to meditate. He would say, “Now you can meditate.”

So you also go deep into your mind. And listening to these techniques will be helpful only when your inner barriers are broken, when inner fears disappear and you are certain that death is the reality. So if you die in meditation there is no fear – death is certain. Even if death occurs in meditation, there is no fear. Only then can you move – and then you can move at rocket speed because the barriers are not there.

It is not distance that takes time, but the barriers. You can move this very moment if there is no barrier. You are already there but for the barrier. It is a hurdle race, and you go on putting up more and more hurdles. You feel good when you cross a hurdle; you feel good that now you have crossed the hurdle. And the idiocy of it, the foolishness of it, is that the hurdle was placed there by you in the first place. It was never there. You go on putting up hurdles, then jumping over them, then feeling good; then you go on putting up more hurdles, then jumping. You move in a circle and never, never reach to the center.

Mind creates hurdles because mind is afraid. It will give you many explanations as to why you are not doing meditation. Do not believe it. Go deep, find out the basic cause. Why does a person go on talking about food and yet never eat? What is the problem? The man seems mad!

Another man goes on talking about love and never loves, another man goes on talking about something else and never does anything about it. This talking becomes obsessive; it becomes a compulsion. One goes on, one sees talking as a doing. By talking you feel that you are doing something, so you feel at ease. You are doing something – at least talking, at least reading, at least listening. This is not doing. This is deceptive; do not fall into the deception.

I will be talking here about these one hundred and twelve methods not to feed your mind, not to make you more knowledgeable, not to make you more informed. I am not trying to make you a pundit. I am talking here in order to give you a certain technique which can change your life. So whichever method appeals to you, do not start talking about it – do it! Be silent about it and do it. Your mind will raise many questions. Just inquire deeply first before asking me. Inquire deeply first whether those questions are really significant or if your mind is just deceiving you.

Do, then ask. Then your questions become practical. And I know which question has been asked through doing and which question has been asked just through curiosity, just through intellect. So by and by I will not answer your intellectual questions at all. Do something – then your questions become significant. These questions which say, “This exercise is a very simple one,” are not asked after doing. This is not so simple. In the end I must repeat again: You are already the truth.

Only a certain awakening is needed.

You are not to go anywhere else. You are to go into yourself, and the going is possible this very moment. If you can put aside your mind, you enter here and now.

These techniques are for putting your mind aside. These techniques are not really for meditation; they are for putting the mind aside. Once the mind is not there, you are!

I think this is enough for today, or even more than enough.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #4

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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

As Breath Turns from Down to Up – Osho

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 downThrough 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 downThrough 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.

Shiva says,

As breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves from up to downThrough 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.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #3

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt As Breath Turns from Down to Up.

Osho’s Book of Secrets Meditations

All 112 of Shiva’s meditation techniques (Vigyan Bhairava Tantra)

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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

When In Worldly Activity – Osho

When in worldly activity, keep attentive between the two breaths, and so practicing, in a few days, be born anew.

When in worldly activity, keep attentive between the two breaths… Forget breaths – keep attentive in between. One breath has come: before it returns, before it is exhaled out, there is the gap, the interval. One breath has gone out; before it is taken in again, the gap. In worldly activity, keep attentive between the two breaths, and so practicing, in a few days, be born anew. But this has to be done continuously. This sixth technique has to be done continuously. That is why this is mentioned: When in worldly activity.. Whatsoever you are doing, keep your attention in the gap between the two breaths. But it must be practiced while in activity.

We have discussed one technique that is just similar. Now there is only this difference that this has to be practiced while in worldly activity. Do not practice it in isolation. This practice is to be done while you are doing something else. You are eating – go on eating and be attentive of the gap. You are walking – go on walking and be attentive of the gap. You are going to sleep – lie down, let sleep come, but you go on being attentive of the gap. Why in activity? Because activity distracts the mind, activity calls for your attention again and again. Do not be distracted, be fixed at the gap. And do not stop activity, let the activity continue. You will have two layers of existence – doing and being.

We have two layers of existence: the world of doing and the world of being; the circumference and the center. Go on working on the periphery, on the circumference; do not stop it. But go on working attentively on the center also. What will happen? Your activity will become an acting, as if you are playing a part.

You are playing a part – for example, in a drama. You have become Ram or you have become Christ. You go on acting as Christ or as Ram, and still you remain yourself. In the center, you know who you are; on the periphery you go on acting as Ram, Christ or anyone. You know you are not Ram – you are acting. You know who you are. Your attention is centered in you; your activity continues on the circumference.

If this method is practiced, your whole life will become a long drama. You will be an actor playing roles, but constantly centered in the gap. If you forget the gap then you are not playing roles, you have become the role. Then it is not a drama; you have mistaken it as life. That is what we have done. Everyone thinks he is living life. It is not life, it is just a role – a part which has been given to you by the society, by the circumstances, by the culture, by the tradition, the country, the situation.

You have been given a role and you are playing it; you have become identified with it. To break that identification there is this technique.

Krishna has many names. Krishna is one of the greatest actors. He is constantly centered in himself and playing – playing many roles, many games, but absolutely non serious. Seriousness comes from identification. If you really become Ram in the drama then there are bound to be problems. Those problems will come out of your seriousness. When Sita is stolen you may get a heart attack, and the whole play will have to be stopped. If you really become Ram a heart attack is certain… even heart failure.

But you are just an actor. Sita is stolen, but nothing is stolen. You will go back to your home and you will sleep peacefully. Not even in a dream will you feel that Sita is stolen. When really Sita was stolen, Ram himself was weeping, crying and asking the trees, “Where has my Sita gone? Who has taken her?” But this is the point to understand. If Ram is really weeping and asking the trees, he has become identified. He is no more Ram; he is no more a divine person.

This is the point to remember, that for Ram his real life also was just a part. You have seen other actors playing Ram, but Ram himself was just playing a part – on a greater stage, of course.

India has a very beautiful story about it. I think that the story is unique; nowhere else in any part of the world does such a thing exist. It is said that Valmiki wrote the Ramayana before Ram was born, and then Ram had to follow. So really, the first act of Ram was also just a drama. The story was written before Ram was born and then Ram had to follow, so what can he do? When a man like Valmiki writes the story, Ram has to follow. So everything was fixed in a way. Sita was to be stolen and the war had to be fought.

If you can understand this, then you can understand the theory of destiny, bhagya – fate. It has a very deep meaning. And the meaning is, if you take it that everything is fixed for you, your life becomes a drama. If you are playing the role of Ram in the drama you cannot change it, everything is fixed, even your dialogue. If you say something to Sita it is just repeating something that is fixed.

You cannot change it if life is taken as fixed.

For example, you are going to die on a particular day – it is fixed. When you will be dying you will be weeping, but it is fixed. And such and such persons will be around you – it is fixed. If everything is fixed, everything becomes a drama. If everything is fixed, it means you are just to enact it. You are not asked to live it, you are just asked to enact it.

This technique, the sixth technique, is just to make yourself a psychodrama – just a play. You are focused in the gap between two breaths and life moves on, on the periphery. If your attention is at the center, then your attention is not really on the periphery – that is just “sub-attention”; it just happens somewhere near your attention. You can feel it, you can know it, but it is not significant. It is as if it is not happening to you. I will repeat this: if you practice this sixth technique, your whole life will be as if it is not happening to you, as if it is happening to someone else.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #5

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt When in Worldly Activity.

Osho’s Book of Secrets Meditations

All 112 of Shiva’s meditation techniques (Vigyan Bhairava Tantra)

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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

With Utmost Devotion – Osho

With utmost devotion, center on the two junctions of breath and know the knower. There is a slight difference in the techniques – slight modifications. But though the differences are slight in the techniques, for you they may be great.

A single word makes a great difference. With utmost devotion, center on the two junctions of breath. The incoming breath has one junction where it turns, the outgoing breath has another junction where it turns. With these two turnings – and we have discussed these turnings – a slight difference is made: that is, slight in the technique, but for the seeker it may be great. Only one condition is added – With utmost devotion – and the whole technique becomes different.

In the first form of it there was no question of devotion, just a scientific technique. You do it, and it works. But there are persons who cannot do such dry, scientific techniques. Those who are heart oriented, those who belong to the world of devotion, for them a slight difference has been made: With utmost devotion, center on the two junctions of breath and know the knower.

If you are not of the scientific bent, of the scientific attitude, if you are not a scientific mind, then try this: With utmost devotion – with faith, love, trust center on the two junctions of breath and know the knower. How to do this? How? You can have devotion about someone: about Krishna, about Christ you can have devotion. But how can you have devotion about yourself, about this junction of breathing? The phenomenon seems absolutely non-devotional. But that depends….

Tantra says that the body is the temple. Your body is the temple of the divine, the abode of the divine, so do not treat your body as an object. It is sacred, it is holy. And while you are taking a breath in, it is not only you who is taking the breath, it is the divine within you. You are eating, you are moving or walking… look at it in this way: it is not you, but the divine moving in you. Then the whole thing becomes absolutely devotional.

It is said about many saints that they love their bodies. They treat their bodies as if their bodies belong to their beloveds. You can treat your body in this way or you can treat it just like a mechanism – that again is an attitude. You can treat it with guilt, sin; you can treat it as something dirty; you can treat it as something miraculous, as a miracle; you can treat it as the abode of the divine. It depends on you. If you can treat your body as a temple, then this technique will be helpful – With utmost devotion

Try it. While you are eating, try it. Do not think that you are eating. Think that it is the divine in you who is eating, and look at the change. You are eating the same thing, you are the same, but immediately everything becomes different. You are giving the food to the divine. You are taking a bath – a very ordinary, trivial thing – but change the attitude: feel that you are giving a bath to the divine in you. Then this technique will be easy: With utmost devotion, center on the two junctions of breath and know the knower.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #5

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you listen to the discourse excerpt With Utmost Devotion.

Osho’s Book of Secrets Meditations

All 112 of Shiva’s meditation techniques (Vigyan Bhairava Tantra)

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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

An Inquiry in Being

Ordinarily we exist in what we might call the outer body. Our identification is through the senses which include the mind. We think of ourselves as others see us. We picture a body and face that we have met in the mirror. Because others have varying opinions of our ‘person’ality our identity is somewhat confused. Sometimes we think of ourselves as kind and generous, other times we are mean spirited. Some people perceive us as direct while still others as arrogant. Some people see us as passive and other people see a weakling.

It is not that one perception is truer than another but rather that our real being resides on a deeper level than the personality. We know that our personality has been shaped in large part by our family, school, religious upbringing, social conditionings and the interactions with the personality type that we were born with.

At some point an inner longing to know ourselves on this deeper level arises and this is the fuel to propel us on our quest. This inner longing wants to know itself. It wants to discover what is real and what is not. And so the conscious journey begins. We look into psychology, we look into Yoga, we explore religion, we are pulled by the path of love or alternatively we discover meditation.

We can call meditation the conscious movement into the center. Meditation begins with an act of will. It begins with a desire to know oneself. In order to know oneself we begin with mindfulness. We begin by bringing attention to each and every act we do. We observe ourselves eating. We eat with awareness. We witness the hand moving towards the plate. We watch the food coming towards our mouth. We pay attention to the tasting and then the chewing. We take note of how the food makes us feel. This attention to our acts can be extended to any of our activities when we remember and allow the time to do so.

Through this process, we are reclaiming our energy, our attention, which normally is being projected out into the world. It is because of this scatteredness of our energy that we have no sense of ourselves. There is no energy at home. We have scattered our energy by chasing dreams. When we begin the journey with mindfulness we start reclaiming that dispersed energy. Now we have begun to reel in our attention, to bring home our awareness. We have begun the conscious journey home.

With this gathered energy we can begin to direct the attention inwards. We enter the inner body. We feel our selves from the inside. It is a more subtle form of sensing. It is not through the senses but behind sensing. It is a sensing in wholeness. It is undivided. We begin to sense a center to our being. We feel an inner flame.

With the help of meditation we practice techniques that are designed to move us from the periphery into the center. These techniques are simply tools to help us make the jump out of the identification with our body-mind into the inner being, into the inner body.

So let us now in this moment direct our attention to our interiority. Let us feel the sense of being in our interiority. Let us find that which is referred to when we say I. What is I pointing towards. When we point to ourselves do we point to our head, no we point to our heart. Let us feel from the inside that reference point, feel our center.

Following the breath is helpful in moving us towards our center. The breath is a link from the outer to the inner because it moves in both worlds. Watching the breath, following the movement of the breath brings our attention and starts focusing it inwardly. We simply observe the breathing. We are not interested in changing the pattern of breath but instead are interested in the observing itself. We want to strengthen the observer and the breath is always available.

We feel our center and resting in this interior space we watch the breath. Incoming and outgoing. Incoming and outgoing. All the while our sense of well-being is increasing because our energy is resting at home. It is self nourishing. It is self healing. It is being in love. It is not love for something or someone; it is love, being in love.

We notice that with this following our attention inwards there is a feeling of energy moving down from the head and into the body cavity, into the torso. We may feel ourselves centered in the heart area or even in the belly but we do notice a movement out of the head. It is through the brain that we project our attention outwards, through the senses including the mind, so when we redirect that energy on to its return journey we feel that the energy moves back out of the head and down into the heart.

It is important to note that we are retracing the steps of the unconscious outer journey that we have made. We made that outer journey perhaps looking for ourselves or perhaps just in the spirit of exploration but then we got distracted. We are now making the same journey but in the opposite direction. This means that at least unconsciously we know the way. We have already traveled the route.

It is in our interiority that we gather our attention. We feel ourselves. We experience Being. It is not the same kind of sensing as when we sense an object in the outer body it is a more diffused sensing mixed with a knowingness. This we can call Being. We know that we are and feel that we are.

It is with this gathered energy, this increased awareness that we are able to begin to witness all that passes before us. Up until this point we had no being with which to observe. We had no one to witness. Now this attention has created the witness. It is because we have moved beyond or below the outer body that we are fully able to be a witness to it. We are now able to observe the workings of the body-mind because we have moved into the inner body. From this vantage point we are able to witness its comings and goings. We are able to watch consciousness emptying itself. It is from here that we allow our unconscious to see the light of day and dissolve into freedom.

Once we come to a knowingness of our being, we come to an individuality, we know ourselves as something quite apart from the outer body-mind. Then the real self-inquiry begins. It is from here that we see that the inner body, the Being is also an object in our awareness and let-go into no-body, no-self.

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

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, Discourse #3

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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All 112 of Shiva’s meditation techniques (Vigyan Bhairava Tantra)

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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

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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.

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