Have you ever meditated before?
If you have, you probably began by “repeating a mantra” or “focusing on your breath”.
While these meditation practices are commonly taught in the western world, it’s not “true meditation”, according to spiritual guru Osho.
In fact, he says that these practices are affecting our ability to achieve true peace and enlightenment.
Why we’re getting meditation wrong
Many people approached Osho and ask him how to meditate. However, he says you don’t need to ask this question. Here’s why:
“When people come to me and they ask, ‘How to meditate?’ I tell them, ‘There is no need to ask how to meditate, just ask how to remain unoccupied. Meditation happens spontaneously. Just ask how to remain unoccupied, that’s all. That’s the whole trick of meditation – how to remain unoccupied. Then you cannot do anything. The meditation will flower.”
Osho says that by making meditation a “doing” activity (like focusing on the breath), you are finding another excuse to simply remain “outside yourself”:
“When you are not doing anything the energy moves towards the center, it settles down towards the center. When you are doing something the energy moves out. Doing is a way of moving out. Non-doing is a way of moving in. Occupation is an escape. You can read the Bible, you can make it an occupation. There is no difference between religious occupation and secular occupation: all occupations are occupations, and they help you to cling outside your being. They are excuses to remain outside…
“Man is ignorant and blind, and he wants to remain ignorant and blind, because to come inwards looks like entering a chaos. And it is so; inside you have created a chaos. You have to encounter it and go through it. Courage is needed – courage to be oneself, and courage to move inwards. I have not come across a greater courage than that – the courage to be meditative.”
So, what is “true” meditation?
According to Osho, true meditation is simply doing nothing, accepting yourself, and being in relaxed state of consciousness:
“Meditation is just being delighted in your own presence; meditation is a delight in your own being. It is very simple – a totally relaxed state of consciousness where you are not doing anything. The moment doing enters you become tense; anxiety enters immediately. How to do? What to do? How to succeed? How not to fail? You have already moved into the future.
“If you are contemplating, what can you contemplate? How can you contemplate the unknown? How can you contemplate the unknowable? You can contemplate only the known. You can chew it again and again, but it is the known. If you know something about Jesus, you can think again and again; if you know something about Krishna, you can think again and again. You can go on modifying, changing, decorating – but it is not going to lead you towards the unknown. And “God” is the unknown.
“Meditation is just to be, not doing anything – no action, no thought, no emotion. You just are. And it is a sheer delight. From where does this delight come when you are not doing anything? It comes from nowhere, or, it comes from everywhere. It is uncaused, because the existence is made of the stuff called joy. It needs no cause, no reason. If you are unhappy you have a reason to be unhappy; if you are happy you are simply happy – there is no reason for it. Your mind tries to find a reason because it cannot believe in the uncaused, because it cannot control the uncaused – with the uncaused the mind simply becomes impotent. So the mind goes on finding some reason or other. But I would like to tell you that whenever you are happy, you are happy for no reason at all, whenever you are unhappy, you have some reason to be unhappy – because happiness is just the stuff you are made of. It is your very being, it is your innermost core. Joy is your innermost core.”
So, how are we supposed to “meditate?”
Osho says that to practice meditation, you need to practice being a “watcher” of the mind:
“Watch your mind. Don’t do anything – no repetition of mantra, no repetition of the name of god – just watch whatever the mind is doing. Don’t disturb it, don’t prevent it, don’t repress it; don’t do anything at all on your part. You just be a watcher, and the miracle of watching is meditation. As you watch, slowly mind becomes empty of thoughts; but you are not falling asleep, you are becoming more alert, more aware.
“As the mind becomes completely empty, your whole energy becomes aflame of awakening. This flame is the result of meditation. So you can say meditation is another name of watching, witnessing, observing – without any judgment, without any evaluation. Just by watching, you immediately get out of the mind.”
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