My Belly has Become My Best Friend – Osho

Eleven years ago, when I first sat in front of you, I was so overwhelmed by your energy, by your love, by you, that I could do nothing but cry and bow down to your feet in silent expression; and yet I felt very much understood by you. At that time you told me to keep my energy inside and bring it to my hara. Since then this suggestion stays with me, and my belly has become my best friend, and the place below my navel a mirror of my feelings. In all this time tears and laughter of joy and gratitude for being able to spend this life with you have kept back most of my words. My beloved master, I feel that behind this small suggestion of yours lies more than I can imagine Would you please say something more about the hara, and guide me further?

Deva Radhika, hara is the center from where a life leaves the body. It is the center of death. The word hara is Japanese; that’s why in Japan, suicide is called hara-kiri. The center is just two inches below the navel. It is very important, and almost everybody in the world has felt it. But only in Japan have they gone deeper into its implications. Even the people in India, who had worked tremendously hard on centers, had not considered the hara. The reason for their missing it was because they had never considered death to be of any significance. Your soul never dies, so why bother about a center that functions only as a door for energies to get out, and to enter into another body? They worked from sex, which is the life center. They have worked on seven centers, but the hara is not even mentioned in any Indian scriptures.

The people who worked hardest on the centers for thousands of years have not mentioned the hara, and this cannot be just a coincidence. The reason was that they never took death seriously. These seven centers are life centers, and each center is of a higher life. The seventh is the highest center of life, when you are almost a god.

The hara is very close to the sex center. If you don’t rise towards higher centers, towards the seventh center which is in your head, and if you remain for your whole life at the sex center, then just by the side of the sex center is the hara, and when then life will end, the hara will be the center from where your life will move out of the body.

Why have I told Radhika this? She was very energetic, but not aware of any higher centers; her whole energy was at the sex center, and she was overflowing. Energy overflowing at the sex center is dangerous, because it can start releasing from the hara.

And if it starts releasing from the hara, then to take it upwards becomes more difficult. So I had told her to keep her energy in, and not to be so expressive: Hold it in! I simply wanted the hara center, which was opening and which could have been very dangerous, to be completely closed.

She followed it, and she has become a totally different person. Now when I see her, I cannot believe the expressiveness that I had seen at first. Now she is more centered, and her energy is moving in the right direction of the higher centers. It is almost at the fourth center, which is the center of love and which is a very balancing center. There are three centers below it, and three centers above it.

Once a person is at the center of love, there is very rarely a possibility for him to fall back down, because he has tasted something of the heights. Now valleys will be very dark, ugly; he has seen sunlit peaks, not very high, but still high; now his whole desire will be….

And that is the trouble with all lovers: they want more love, because they don’t understand that the real desire is not for more love, but for something more than love.

Their language ends with love; they don’t know any way that is higher than love, and love does not satisfy. On the contrary, the more you love the more thirsty you become.

At the fourth center of love, one feels a tremendous satisfaction only when energy starts moving to the fifth center. The fifth center is in your throat, and the sixth center is your third eye. The seventh center, the sahastrara, is on the top of your head. All these centers have different expressions and different experiences.

When love moves to the fifth center then whatever talents you have, any creative dimension, is possible for you. This is the center of creativity. It is not only for songs, not only for music; it is for all creativity.

Hindu mythology has a beautiful story. It is a myth, but the story is beautiful, and particularly for explaining to you the fifth center. Indian mythology says that there is a constant struggle between evil forces and good forces. They both discovered that if they made a certain search in the ocean they could find nectar, and that whoever drank it would become immortal. So they all tried to find it.

But as life balances everywhere, there too…. Before they found the nectar they found poison which was hiding the nectar underneath it. Nobody was ready to test it; even the very sight of it created sickness. One of them thought that the first hippie of the world, perhaps might be willing — he was the god Shiva. So they asked Shiva, “You test it.” He said, “Okay.”

He not only tested it, he drank it all, and it was pure poison. He kept it just in his neck, at the fifth center. The fifth center is the creative center. It became completely poisoned, and Shiva became the god of destruction. So Hindus have three gods: Brahma who creates the world, Vishnu who sustains the world, and Shiva who destroys the world. His destructiveness came from his creative center being poisoned. And the poison was so great that it cannot be a small destruction; he can only destroy the whole of existence.

When Vishnu is tired of maintaining it, Shiva destroys it. By that time Brahma has forgotten — millions of years have passed since he created the world; he again starts creating it — just an old routine! Brahma is the creator god, but in the whole of India there is only one temple devoted to Brahma, because who cares about him? He has done his work; it is futile to say anything to him. Vishnu has millions of temples, because he is the sustainer god. Krishna and Rama are all incarnations of Vishnu.

But nobody can compete with Shiva. Shiva has more shrines to him than anybody else.

He is a hippie, so he does not need very great temples or anything — just anywhere, under any tree. Just put a round stone, oval shape, and he does not ask much — a few leaves, not even flowers. A few leaves you can drop there, a few drops of water on his head, just to keep him cool… so people have created devices; they just hang a small pot on top of his head with a small drip, drip, drip. It keeps him cool, so he does not get annoyed with anybody and destroy the world.

Everybody is afraid of him, so naturally he has many more worshipers, many more temples, and many more shrines. In every small village you will find at least a dozen Shiva shrines, because they cost nothing; any poor man can afford it. And he has to be concerned about it because Shiva can destroy. Keep him satisfied! And he does not ask much; just keep his head cool. Flowers are costly, but any two leaves and his worship is finished.

Shiva became the destroyer of the world because his fifth center had accumulated the whole poison of existence in it. It is our creative center, that’s why lovers have a certain tendency to creativity. When you fall in love, you suddenly feel like creating something—it is very close. If you are guided rightly, your love can become your great creative act.

It can make you a poet, it can make you a painter, it can make you a dancer, it can make you reach to the stars in any dimension.

The sixth center which we call the third eye is between the two eyes. This gives you a clarity, a vision of all your past lives, and of all the future possibilities. Once your energy has reached your third eye, then you are so close to enlightenment that something of enlightenment starts showing. It radiates from the man of the third eye, and he starts feeling a pull towards the seventh center.

Because of these seven centers, India never bothered about hara. Hara is not in the line; it is just by the side of the sex center. The sex center is the life center, and hara is the death center. Too much excitement, too much un-centeredness, too much throwing your energy all over the place is dangerous, because it takes your energy towards the hara. And once the route is created, it becomes more difficult to move it upwards. Hara is equally parallel to the sex center, so the energy can move very easily.

It was a great discovery by the Japanese: they found that there was no need to cut your head off, or shoot your brains out to kill — they are all unnecessarily painful; just a small knife forced exactly at the hara center, and without any pain, life disappears. Just make the center open and life disappears, as if the flower opens and the fragrance disappears.

The hara should be kept closed. That’s why, Radhika, I had told you to be more centered, to keep your feelings inside, and to bring it to your hara. “Since then this suggestion stays with me, and my belly has become my best friend, and the place below my navel a mirror of my feelings.”

If you can keep your hara consciously controlling your energies, it does not allow them to go out. You start feeling a tremendous gravity, a stability, a centeredness, which is a basic necessity for the energy to move upwards.

You are asking, “I feel that behind this small suggestion of yours lies more than I can imagine.” Certainly, there is much more….

A Pole is walking down the street, and passes a hardware store advertising the sale of a chain saw that is capable of cutting seven hundred trees in seven hours. The Pole thinks that it is a great deal and decides to buy one.

The next day he comes back with the saw, and complains to the salesman, “The thing did not come close to chopping down the seven hundred trees that the ad said it would.”

“Well,” said the salesman, “let us test it out back.” Finding a log, the salesman pulls the starter cord, and the saw makes a great roaring sound.

“What is that noise?” asked the Pole.

So he must have been cutting by hand and it was an electric saw!

Radhika, your hara center has so much energy that, if it is rightly directed, enlightenment is not a faraway place.

So these two are my suggestions: keep yourself as much centered as possible. Don’t get moved by small things — somebody is angry, somebody insults you, and you think about it for hours. Your whole night is disturbed because somebody said something…. If the hara can hold more energy, then naturally that much more energy starts rising upwards.

There is only a certain capacity in the hara, and every energy that moves upwards moves through the hara; but the hara should just be closed.

So one thing is that the hara should be closed. The second thing is that you should always work for higher centers. For example, if you feel angry too often you should meditate more on anger, so that anger disappears and its energy becomes compassion. If you are a man who hates everything, then you should concentrate on hate; meditate on hate, and the same energy becomes love.

Go on moving upwards, think always of higher ladders, so that you can reach to the highest point of your being. And there should be no leakage from the hara center. India has been too concerned about sex for the same reason: sex can also take your energy outside. It takes… but at least sex is the center of life. Even if it takes energy out, it will bring energy somewhere else, life will go on flowing.

But hara is a death center. Energy should not be allowed through the hara. A person whose energy starts through hara you can very easily detect. For example, there are people with whom you will feel suffocated, with whom you will feel as if they are sucking your energy. You will find that, after they are gone, you feel at ease and relaxed, although they were not doing anything wrong to you.

You will find just the opposite kind of people also, whose meeting you makes you joyful, healthier. If you were sad, your sadness disappears; if you were angry, your anger disappears. These are the people whose energy is moving to higher centers. Their energy affects your energy. We are affecting each other continually. And the man who is conscious, chooses friends and company which raises his energy higher.

One point is very clear. There are people who suck you, avoid them! It is better to be clear about it, say goodbye to them. There is no need to suffer, because they are dangerous; they can open your hara too. Their hara is open, that’s why they create such a sucking feeling in you.

Psychology has not taken note of it yet, but it is of great importance that psychologically sick people should not be put together. And that is what is being done all over the world.

Psychologically sick people are put into psychiatric institutes together. They are already psychologically sick, and you are putting them in a company which will drag their energy even lower.

Even the doctors who work with psychologically sick people have given enough indication of it. More psychoanalysts commit suicide than any other profession, more psychoanalysts go mad than any other profession. And every psychoanalyst once in a while needs to be treated by some other psychoanalyst. What happens to these poor people? Surrounded by psychologically sick people, they are continually sucked, and they don’t have any idea how to close their haras.

There are methods, techniques to close the hara, just as there are methods for meditation, to move the energy upwards. The best and simplest method is: try to remain as centered in your life as possible. People cannot even sit silently, they will be changing their position. They cannot lie down silently, the whole night they will be turning and tossing. This is just unrest, a deep restlessness in their souls.

One should learn restfulness. And in these small things, the hara stays closed. Particularly psychologists should be trained. Also, psychologically sick people should not be put together.

In the East, particularly in Japan in Zen monasteries, where they have become aware of the hara center, there are no psychologists as such. But in Zen monasteries there are small cottages, far away from the main campus where Zen people live, but in the same forest or in the same mountain area. And if somebody who is psychologically sick is brought to them, he is given a cabin there and he is told to relax, rest, enjoy, move around in the forest — but not to talk. Anyway there is nobody to talk to! Only once a day a man comes to give food; he is not allowed to talk to that man either, and even if he talks, the man will not answer. So his whole energy is completely controlled. He cannot even talk; he cannot meet anybody.

You will be surprised to know that what psychoanalysis cannot do in years is done in three weeks. In three weeks’ time the person is as healthy as normal people are. And nothing has been done — no technique, nothing. He has just been left alone so he cannot talk. He has been left alone so he can rest and be himself. He is not expected to fulfill somebody else’s expectations.

Radhika, you have done well. Just continue whatever you are doing, accumulating your energy in yourself. The accumulation of energy automatically makes it go higher. And as it reaches higher you will feel more peaceful, more loving, more joyful, more sharing, more compassionate, more creative.

The day is not far away when you will feel full of light, and the feeling of coming back home.

-Osho

From The Golden Future, Chapter Three

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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Hara, the Third Eye and Zen – Osho

I heard you say that the center of our Buddhahood is at the hara  point inside the body. Is there also a sleeping buddha energy in our hearts and in the third eye? 

Do we all have the same potential of remembering, each one with his or her unique expression of creativity? 

Please comment. 

The hara center is the source of all your energy. It can grow just like a tree grows from the roots into different branches.

According to a different calculation of Patanjali, the energy can be divided into seven centers, but the original source remains the hara. From the hara it can go up.

The seventh center is in the head, and the sixth center is what you call the third eye. The fifth center is in our throat, and the fourth center is exactly in the middle: the heart. Below the heart there are three centers, above the heart there are three centers. But all these seven centers grow like a tree from the original source of the hara. That’s why, in Japanese, suicide is called hara-kiri. People don’t cut their throats, they don’t cut their heads. They simply pierce a small knife into the hara center – just exactly two inches below the navel – and the person dies. And you will not know at all that somebody has committed suicide. Just the energy is released from the body, the source is opened.

I am trying to take you to the very original source. From there, it is up to you to bring your energy into any center you want.

Between the first center, the hara, and the seventh center in the head, the energy can move just like the energy moves into different branches of a tree – from the roots to the uppermost flowering. The hara is the source. When it blossoms, it reaches suddenly to the seventh center, piercing your heart, your throat, and at the seventh center it blossoms as a lotus. Man is also a flowering tree.

These are different ways of looking at things. Patanjali’s yoga is one of the ways; Zen is a totally different approach. To me, Zen seems to be more scientific, while Patanjali seems to be more intellectual and philosophical. Zen begins from the very source.

The buddha is not lying anywhere else other than in the hara; he is not lying in the heart. The energy can be brought to the heart, then the expression will be love. The energy can be brought to the third eye, then you will be able to see things which are not ordinarily visible – auras of people, auras of things, a certain kind of X-ray energy that goes deeper into things. If the same energy moves into the seventh center, according to Patanjali, samadhi is attained – you become enlightened.

But these are different calculations. Rather than talking about samadhi, I would rather encourage you to enter into the source of energy from where everything is going to happen. I don’t like to talk about the flowers much, because that talk will remain simply conceptual. My approach is more pragmatic.

I want you to experience your sleeping energy. And the moment you reach there, it awakens. It sleeps only if you are not there. If your awareness reaches to the source, it wakes up, and in its waking is the Buddhahood. In its waking you become for the first time part of existence: no ego, no self, a pure nothingness.

People are afraid of the word ‘nothingness’. In the second question that fear is clear.

The second question is:

Though you have infused the sutras with life and humor, for me, Zen remains the stark beauty of the desert, and I long for something else.

Why can’t I drop the idea that my way is not via emptiness, but fullness? I still carry this longing for some kind of union, a melting outwards rather than dissolving into nothingness inside.

With whom are you going to melt outside? You don’t know even who you are. And who has told you that Zen is a “stark beauty of the desert”? Zen is perhaps the most beautiful path, full of flowers, songs, joy and laughter.

But the idea of nothingness creates a certain fear of dissolving into a desert. It is just your mind that makes the difference between emptiness and fullness. In realizing either, you will be realizing the other too, because they are two aspects of one thing, of one phenomenon which can either be called nothingness, or can be called fullness.

Zen has chosen rightly to call it nothingness, because fullness can give you misunderstandings. The moment you think of fullness you start imagining. The moment you think of melting into someone outside, immediately a God, a paradise, a heaven, and all kinds of imaginations arise. And those imaginations will prevent you from going anywhere.

I am not helping your imagination at all. I am trying to uproot your imagination in every possible way. I want to leave you without images, in utter silence, in nothingness, because that is the only way to attain fullness.

When the dewdrop disappears in the ocean, it is not that it becomes nothing. Yes, it becomes nothing but it also becomes the ocean. In its disappearing as a dewdrop, on the other side it is also becoming the whole ocean. So the fullness and nothingness are not two things, only two concepts of the mind, but in reality, only two ways of saying one thing. Emptiness, or nothingness, is better because it does not allow any imagination to arise.

Fullness is dangerous. If rightly used there is no problem. Fullness will also dissolve God, and paradise, and heaven and hell, and incarnation. But mind is capable of using the idea of fullness in a way that it cannot use the word ‘nothingness’. To prevent the mind from using the word ‘fullness’ and preventing you from realizing the reality, from Gautam Buddha onwards the word ‘nothingness’ has been chosen. But nothingness is not absence; nothingness is not dead. Nothingness is fullness, but so full that you cannot define it, and you cannot make a limit or a boundary to it.

Unbounded fullness and nothingness, in experience, mean exactly the same. But for the beginner, the word ‘fullness’ is dangerous – and everybody is a beginner.

Begin with something which is less capable of taking you astray from reality. Fullness can be used only by a master who knows that nothingness and fullness are synonymous. But for the beginner it is dangerous, because for him fullness means something opposed to nothingness. If ‘fullness’ is synonymous with ‘nothingness’, then there is no problem. Then the desert becomes the ocean, then there is only beauty and song and dance.

Nothingness gives the idea to the mind that everything will be lost. You will be lost, but the truth is, the moment everything is lost, including you, you have gained the whole universe – all the stars within you, and the vast universe inside your heart. It is not losing anything, so don’t be worried about nothing.

The questioner goes on:

Is this just my refusal to grow up? Am I fooling myself? Are we all to embrace the Zen Manifesto no matter what ‘type’ we feel we are?

There is no question of type. All types are just superficial. At the innermost core there is only one existence. The Zen Manifesto is not for a particular type, it is for all – for men and for women, and for black and white, and for Hindu and Mohammedan, and for Christian and Buddhist. It does not matter what kind of conditioning you have been brought up in, Zen is simply a technique of entering into your veryness. The entrance is so deep that nothing remains, and all is found.

Gurdjieff has written a book, All and Nothing. I would like to withdraw the word ‘and’, because all is nothing; there is no question of ‘and’. Whatever type you are – introvert, extrovert – it does not matter, you are all part of the same existence. And when you relax into existence, all your differences disappear; only oneness remains. You can call that oneness whatever you like, but basically it is nothingness. You can give it any color; you can call it by any name, but don’t start calling it by another name from the beginning, because that can take you astray. Somebody may think that he can call it God, then he will start worshipping a God which is man manufactured.

For the beginner, nothing is the most secure path to avoid the mind playing games. Nothing is beyond the reaches of the mind, so it cannot play games with it. But anything else you name it, mind is capable of playing games with it.

The whole effort of meditation is not to allow the mind to play games. It has been playing games for centuries. One has to come to the point of seeing all the games of the mind: all the gods, all the messiahs, all the prophets, all the religions, all the philosophies.

Existence is available to a silent being, not to the learned, not to the well informed, not to the scholar. It is available to the innocent, and meditation is a way of becoming innocent again. Getting back your childhood, being reborn, knowing nothing, a silence, a joy, a blissfulness arises which is indestructible, which is eternal.

-Osho

From The Zen Manifesto: Freedom from Oneself, Chapter Seven

The Zen Manifesto

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.

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Anapana-sati Yoga – Osho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Osho

From Meditation: The Art of Ecstasy, Appendix