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

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The Centre is the Master

One friend asks how a person should find the internal centre that is mentioned by Lao Tzu and develop its hunger.

Sit with your eyes closed and think, “Where is the centre of my body?” We live through our body, but it is an unfortunate fact that we do not give any thought to the centre of our body. We are completely ignorant of the pivot on which the body functions. Many people believe the head to be the centre of all body functions because it is in the brain that all activities seem to take place.

The fact is, however, that the brain forms much later. When the child is conceived, there is no brain and yet life functions. But that which is formed later, cannot be the centre. People who are emotional, like most women, artists, poets, feel the centre to be the heart because whatever these people have known and experienced — love, beauty and the like — are things that have had a direct impact on their heart. That is why, when people talk of love, their hand inadvertently goes to their heart. So those who are emotional take the heart to be the centre of the body.

But the heart does not beat until the child takes its first breath. The child hears the mother’s heart beat within. Therefore, the sound “tick-tick” causes not only children but also adults to fall asleep. The sound of water dripping, or the ticking of a watch, induces sleep. Doctors say that the ticking of a clock is a very good tranquilizer. The heart in the embryo does not function like a heart and yet the child is alive.

Therefore, the heart also is not the centre. Lao Tzu says, “The navel is the centre and not the heart or the brain.” The child is joined to the mother by its navel. The first glimpse of life comes through the navel. This is scientifically correct.

So, search within. Lao Tzu says, “Keep searching within and bring your consciousness to the level of the navel centre. That is the first step of sadhana.” When the authentic centre and the centre of your understanding become one, you will become a united, integrated whole. When the centre of your mind, the centre of your consciousness and your authentic centre concentrate and converge into a single focus, you will find that your life has changed. You are now a new person altogether.

Lao Tzu’s disciples have, for ages, been carrying out a simple experiment to prove that you cannot grow unless you locate your centre within. The experiment is this. Take two small tanks of equal dimensions. Fill them with water. Insert an iron rod in the middle of one tank, leaving the other as it is. Put two identical fish and put one in each tank. Given the same conditions and the same diet, you will be surprised to find that the fish in the tank with the iron-rod in the centre develops quickly, whereas the growth of the fish in the other tank, which is without the central rod, is slower. The fish in the former tank swims around and around the rod, while the fish in the second tank has no centre. It swims here and there listlessly in the absence of a centre and is also more prone to illness.

This experiment has been religiously carried out by the followers of Lao Tzu for hundreds of years and it has always been found that the fish in the tank with the centre rod has always been well-developed and healthy, whereas the fish in the other tank was stunted in growth and unhealthy.

The followers of Lao Tzu maintain that a person who succeeds in locating his centre finds his consciousness revolving around and around this centre. It is only then that his consciousness begins to develop. Those who do not find their centres remain stunted and lifeless, like the fish in the second tank, because they have no centre, no base around which they can revolve and develop. They cannot find their direction: where they should go, what they should do. By revolving round the same circumference, the consciousness develops.

Lao Tzu says: “Your consciousness becomes concentrated when it discovers the navel centre. Then it begins to revolve around it.” Lao Tzu says: “When you walk, keep your attention on the navel. When you sit, keep your mind on the navel; when you get up, be aware of the navel. Do what you will, but let your consciousness always move around the navel.” Become a fish and go round and round the navel, and you will soon discover a new, powerful consciousness arising within you. The results are wondrous!

There are many experiments you carry out. You are sitting on a chair. Now, Lao Tzu says your way of sitting on the chair is wrong, therefore, you get tired. He says, “Do not sit on the chair.” This does not mean you are not actually to sit on the chair; that you should sit on the ground. Lao Tzu says, “Sit on the chair but do not put your weight on the chair. Put all your weight on the navel.”

You can carry out the experiment right away. It is only a matter of emphasis. When we put all our weight on the chair the emphasis is in the chair. The chair becomes the all in all. You are merely like a coat hanging on a peg. If the peg breaks, you fall down, like a coat which has no centre of its own and which depends on the peg for its centre. Lao Tzu says you will tire yourself this way because you are not acting like an animate, conscious being and are depending entirely on an inanimate object.

Lao Tzu says: “Sit on the chair but be fixed at your own centre at the navel.” Hang everything on the peg of the navel. Hours will go by and you will find no sign of fatigue. If a man begins to live by hanging his consciousness on the peg of the navel-centre, all mental-fatigue vanishes. A unique freshness pervades his mind, a serene calmness flows within him and he gains a self-confidence which only those who have found their centre attain.

So the first step in this sadhana is to find your centre and to continue your efforts till the consciousness reaches not only the navel but two inches below the navel. Then one should begin to keep this centre always in mind. When one breathes in, this centre should rise up; when one breathes out, this centre should go down. Then, a constant japa begins: the rising of the centre with the incoming breath and the falling of the centre with the outgoing breath. If this becomes a conscious act, it yields great results. This is very difficult of course in the beginning, because remembrance is the most difficult thing to do. Constant remembrance is even more difficult. You might say, “That is not such a difficult thing at all. I can recollect the name of a person even after six years!” This is not remembrance. This is recollection smriti.

Understand the difference. Recollection means you know something; you pass it on to your memory for recording. The memory stores this information and reproduces it on demand. Remembrance smaran means, constant, non-stop remembering. Try it a little: Observe the rising and falling of your abdomen as the breath comes and goes for just five minutes. After two seconds you will find that you have forgotten. You have started to do something else. Then you will be perturbed. You could not concentrate for even two seconds? The respiration was going on as usual; the abdomen also rose and fell accordingly, but you were not there. Then again bring back your remembrance.

If you strive continuously, your remembrance will increase — second by second. When you find that you can observe the breath constantly without a simple break for three minutes — and this short interval of three minutes will seem like three year — then you will find that you have begun to experience the centre correctly. Then you will feel the body to be separate from the centre.

This centre is the centre of energy. One who is united to this centre, reaches infinite exaltation because he is constantly receiving infinite energy. So, keep a constant remembrance of the navel centre and let your consciousness revolve around it constantly. That is the temple. Keep circling around this temple. Whatever the state within you — whether there is anger or hatred, jealousy or misery or happiness — whatever the state, your first duty is to return to the navel. Then do whatever you wish.

Someone gives you news of the death of a loved one. Go back to the navel. Then let the news go within you. “Then,” Lao Tzu says, “No one’s death will cause a blow to the mind.” You may not have observed, or perhaps you have or maybe you realised later on, recollecting the incident — that whenever you have been given news of great joy or sorrow, the first effect has always been on the navel. You are walking on the road, or cycling, or going in a car, and suddenly an accident occurs. The first impact is on the navel. It begins to tremble. Then, the whole body begins to tremble.

Lao Tzu says, “Whenever anything happens, go back first to the navel centre.” Your first work is remembrance of the navel. Then, do what you like. Then happiness will not make you mad with joy, and sorrow will fail to make you unhappy. Then your centre will stand apart from the happenings that take place on the periphery. Then you remain the witness only. Yoga says, “Practice the sadhana of witnessing.” Lao Tzu says. “Remember the navel centre constantly and the witness state will result by itself.”

You will step outside of birth and death the day you become conscious of your navel centre, because this centre arises before birth and is the only thing that remains after death, when all else is lost. So he who knows and recognizes his navel centre, knows that there is no birth for him nor death. He becomes beyond birth and death.

Keep constant remembrance. Seek the centre and keep incessant remembrance smaran. The first thing is to find the centre, second is to keep on remembering it, and third is to remember the frequent loss of the remembrance. “This is going to be rather difficult however. People come to me and say, “I try to keep my attention on the nabhi, the navel, but I cannot. What should I do?”

To this I say: Keep attention on the fact that you have lost attention. Make it a part of your meditation. Be attentive to inattention also: don’t let it pass unnoticed by you. Whenever you slip, be conscious of the slip and you will go back to remembrance, the current of meditation will join the mainstream again.

Now, the last thing. When the remembrance is complete and the centre becomes clear to you — when you experience the centre — then surrender everything to the centre. Say to the centre, “You alone are the master. Release me!” This surrender is easy.

Surrender is very difficult until the centre is experienced. People say, “Surrender to God,” but we have no knowledge of God. How is surrender to an unknown entity possible? And even if God is known, you still remain the owner of your surrender. If you feel sometime that God is not to your taste, you will withdraw your surrender. We are the givers and we are the withdrawers — what can God do? But the surrender that can be withdrawn is no surrender; in fact, it was never surrender.

Lao Tzu’s method is different. Lao Tzu says: “The day the centre is known and felt, you begin to understand and experience that the centre is the master that does not need your assistance. The breath comes and goes; sleep comes, then awakening; birth happens, then death. The current of life flows on from the centre, without your help.” Then the question of surrendering does not arise because surrender just happens.

So the third and last stage of sadhana is to experience the surrender to the centre. Then there is no way for the ego to save itself. In the state of such surrender a person reach s the highest attainment.

-Osho

From The Way of Tao, Vol. 2, Chapter 7

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Empty Yourself of Everything – Lao Tzu

Empty yourself of everything.

Let the mind become still.

The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.

They grow and flourish and then return to the source.

Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.

The way of nature is unchanging.

Knowing constancy is insight.

Not knowing constancy leads to disaster.

Knowing constancy, the mind is open.

With an open mind, you will be openhearted.

Being openhearted, you will act royally.

Being royal, you will attain the divine.

Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao.

Being at one with the Tao is eternal.

And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away.

 

-Lao Tzu

From Tao Te Ching

Translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English

A Slip of the Tongue

Woke up this morning and found my English slipping

Maybe it’s the result of all those years teaching it

Can’t find the distinction between god and happiness

Are love and meditation two words or one?

Not able to slip a sliver between the Tao and the Logos

Used to be a division between me and you, what happened?

Perhaps we’ll just rest here before the word

-purushottama

This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.