Osho answers questions of seekers about meditation, its effects on the body and mind, about the four stages of meditation
Q 1: A friend asks: Does one attain to meditation through God’s grace?
It will be useful to understand this thing, because it has led to lots of misunderstandings and mistakes. A good number of people have thought that if meditation is attained through God’s grace then there is no need to do anything, and they did not do a thing. You are grievously mistaken if you mean by God’s grace that you don’t have to do anything.
Another misunderstanding that flows from it is that God’s grace is not equally available to everybody, that some persons receive more of it and others less. But in fact, no one is God’s chosen one; no one is his favorite. And if even God has his favorites then there is no hope for justice in the world. If you mean by God’s grace that God is kind to some and unkind to others then you are wholly mistaken.
But the statement that one attains to meditation through God’s grace is quite correct in another sense.
Really it is not the statement of those who have yet to attain to meditation. It is the statement of the enlightened ones – those who have attained to it. It is so because when it happens, when one comes to it, the efforts he had made seem to be utterly irrelevant. In the context of the attainment, which is so immense, the efforts look so petty that one simply can’t say that he came to it through them. When one comes to it he feels so overwhelmed with its immensity that he says, “How could it have happened through my efforts? What had I done to find it? What price had I paid? What had I staked on it? Did I have a thing that I could have offered? Nothing.” When God’s infinitely infinite bliss showers on anyone he just exclaims, “It is through thy compassion, O Lord, it is through thy grace, that I come to thee! Otherwise it was beyond me, impossibly beyond me.”
But remember that this is the statement of the blessed ones, the enlightened ones. If the unenlightened, the initiates cling to it they will be misled forever. Efforts are essential; one must make efforts.
The happening of meditation or enlightenment or whatsoever you call it is like opening the doors of a house in darkness to let in the sun. Although the sun has risen in the east, if we keep the doors of our house shut we will be always in the dark. And if we open the doors and wait, the sun will come in on his own. No other effort is needed to bring the sun in; we cannot put him or his light in a container and take it to our house. He comes on his own accord. The irony is that while our efforts cannot bring him, they can certainly keep him out, prevent him from coming. If we shut the doors or close our eyes, even the sun will be powerless to do anything. We can keep the sun out of our houses, we are capable of stopping the sun; but we are not capable of ushering him in. Only let the door open, and he will come in. And when the sun is in, we cannot say that we brought him in, we cannot take that credit. We can only say that it was his kindness that he came into our house. And we can only say that we were merciful to ourselves that we did not shut our doors.
Man can only be an opening, a door for God to come in. Our efforts only open the door; his coming depends on him, on his compassion. And his compassion is infinite, it is forever present at every doorstep. But what can he do if he finds many doors closed to him? God knocks at every door and goes back when he finds the doors shut. And we have closed our doors so firmly. So whenever he comes and knocks, we rationalize it, we explain it away in so many ways, and we remain content with it.
I would like to tell you a story that I love to tell. There is a great temple with a hundred priests to look after it. One night the chief priest went to bed and dreamed that God has sent word that he will visit their temple the next day. He did not believe it, because it is difficult to come across people who are more disbelieving than the priests. He did not believe his dream for another reason, too. People who trade in religion never come to believe in religion. They only exploit religion, which never becomes their faith, their truth. No one in the world is more faithless than one who turns faith into a means of exploitation. So the chief priest could not believe that God would really this temple.
The priest had never believed in such things, although he had been a priest for long years. He had worshipped God for long and he knew that God had never visited his temple even once. Each day he had offered food to God, and he knew that he had in reality offered it to himself. He had also prayed to God every day, but he knew well that his prayers were lost in the empty sky, because there was no one to hear them. So he thought that the message was not true, it was just a dream, and a dream rarely turns into a reality.
But then he was afraid, too, lest the dream should come true. At times what we call a dream turns into a reality and a reality as we know it proves to be a dream. Sometimes what we think to be a dream really becomes a reality. So the chief priest ultimately decided to inform his close colleagues about his last night’s dream. He said to the other priests, “Although it seems to be a joke, yet I should tell you about it. Last night I dreamed that God said that he would visit us today.” The other priests laughed and they said, “Are you mad that you believe in dreams? However, don’t tell others about it; otherwise they will take you to be crazy.” But the head priest said, “In case he should come, we should be prepared for it. There is no harm if he does not turn up, but if at all he comes, we will not be found wanting.”
So the whole temple and its premises were scrubbed, washed and cleaned thoroughly. It was decorated with flowers and flags and festoons. Lamps were lit and incense burned. Perfumes were sprayed and every kind of preparation made. The priests tired themselves out in the course of the day, but God did not turn up. Every now and then they looked up the road, they were disappointed, and they said, “Dream is a dream after all; God is not going to come. We were fools to believe so. It was good that we did not inform the people of the town; otherwise they would have simply laughed at us.”
By evening the priests gave up all hope, and they said, “Let us now eat the sumptuous food cooked for God. It has ever been so: what we offer to God is consumed by us in the end. No one is going to turn up. We were crazy enough to believe in a dream. The irony is that we knowingly made fools of ourselves. If others go mad, they can be excused, because they don’t know. But we know God never comes. Where is God? There is this idol in the temple; it is all there is to it. And it is our business, our profession to worship him.” And then they ate well and went to bed early as they were tired.
When it was midnight a chariot pulled up at the gate of the temple, and its sound was heard. One of the sleeping priests heard it and thought that it was God’s chariot. He shouted to others, “Listen friends and wake up. It seems he, whom we expected all day, has arrived at long last. The noise of the chariot is heard.” The other priests snubbed him saying, “Shut up, you crazy one. We have had enough of madness all through the day, now that it is night let us sleep well. It is not the sound of a chariot, but the rumblings of the clouds in the skies.” So they explained the thing away and returned to their beds.
Then the chariot halted at the gate, and someone climbed the steps of the temple and knocked at its door. And again one of the priests woke up from sleep and shouted to his associates, “It seems the guest has arrived whom we awaited the whole day long. He is knocking at the door.” The other priests berated him as they had done with the first. They said, “Are you not crazy? Won’t you allow us to sleep? It is just the dash of winds against the door and not a knock of a caller.” So they again rationalized and went back to their beds.
The next morning they woke up and walked to the gates of the temple. And they were astounded to see a few footprints on the steps of the temple. Surely enough someone had climbed them during the night. And then they noticed some marks of a chariot’s wheels on the road, and there was now no doubt at all that a chariot had arrived at the gate in the night. And strangely enough the footprints on the steps were absolutely uncommon and unknown. Now the priests burst into tears and fell down and began to roll on the ground where the chariot had halted. And soon the whole village was at the temple’s gates. Everybody in the crowd asked with bewilderment, “What is the matter?” The priests said, “Don’t ask what the matter is. God knocked at the door of our temple last night, but we rationalized everything. We are now damned. He knocked at the door and we thought that it was the flapping sound of the winds. His chariot came, and we thought that it was the rumble of thunder in the sky. The truth is that we did not understand anything. We only explained them away, because we wanted to enjoy our sleep.”
God knocks at every door. His grace visits every home. But our doors are shut. And even when we hear a knock we immediately rationalize it and explain it away.
In the old days they said that “A guest is God”. There is a slight mistake in this maxim. The truth is that God is the guest. God is waiting as a guest at our doorsteps, but the door is closed. His grace is equally available to all. Therefore don’t ask whether one attains through his grace; one attains through his grace alone. And as far as our efforts are concerned, they are a help in opening the door, in removing the hurdles from the way.
When he comes, he comes on his own accord.
Q 2: Another friend has asked: You have talked of four stages of meditation. Would you please explain them fully?
Firstly, you should know that the first three of them are merely steps to meditation, not meditation itself. The fourth one is meditation. The fourth is the door, while the other three are doorsteps. Steps don’t make for the door, they only lead to the door. The fourth stage is the door to meditation which is relaxation and rest, emptiness and void, surrender and cessation, dissolution and death, or whatsoever you call it. That is the door, and the first three steps take us to it.
And the fundamental principle behind the first three stages is one. If one is to relax, he will have to pass through a state of absolute tension; it is then that passage to relaxation becomes easy enough. If a man works throughout the daytime, he can sleep well in the night. The harder one works the deeper he sleeps. One can argue that since sleep is the opposite of work, how can he sleep who works hard? He should not be able to sleep, because labor and rest are so opposed to each other. Logically sleep should be available to one who rests the whole day in bed. But the truth is that he will not be able to sleep at night if he rests in the daytime.
That is why, as man’s life is becoming increasingly comfortable, his sleep has been disappearing from the world in the same measure. The more comforts and leisure we have, the less sleep we will have. And the irony is that we go on adding to our comforts in the hope that they will help us sleep undisturbed. But the contrary is the case. With the growth of civilization and leisure sleep will disappear, because hard work is a prerequisite of sleep. As one works so he sleeps. Similarly as one’s tension mounts and reaches its climax he easily slips into deep relaxation.
The first three steps seem to be completely contradictory to the fourth, which is meditation. One may ask, how can anyone relax after exerting so hard, after passing through peaks of tension and turmoil touching on madness? I say, only then he can relax. The truth is that relaxation follows tension as night follows day, as the valley follows the peak. The higher the peak the deeper the valley. The higher the hill you fall from, the deeper the canyon you enter. Don’t forget that every mountain has its valley. In fact there cannot be a mountain without a valley. As the mountain grows up it creates deep valleys all around it. That is how when your tension grows, side by side you are gathering energy to relax and rest. The higher the summit of tension the deeper the valley of rest. That is the reason I ask you to bring all your energy into it, to exert your best, to stake your all and not to withhold yourself even a little bit. That is how you will reach the height of tension and then descend into the bottomless pit of relaxation and rest. And it is in that moment of absolute rest that meditation happens.
The basic thing is that you should reach the peak of tension and then drop tension altogether. Many people come to me to ask if it is not possible to relax without going into tension. No, it is simply not possible. And even if it were possible it would be relaxation only in name. If you want to dive deep into the water it will be necessary to jump from a high jumping board. The higher the jumping board the deeper the dive. Look at these pine trees, they are about forty feet tall. To attain that height their roots had to sink forty feet deep inside the earth. The higher the trees rise, the deeper the roots go. The deeper the roots go, the higher the trees rise. Now this pine tree can ask, “What harm will it do if the roots are only six inches deep?” It will do no harm except that the tree itself will be only six inches tall. And if the roots don’t grow at all there is no chance for the tree to be.
Nietzsche wrote a maxim of great insight. He said that if one wants to reach the heights of heaven he will have to touch the very depths of hell. It is really a statement of great insight. If a man wants to reach the heights of heaven he will have to go to the depths of hell. That is why mediocre people are never able to reach the height of religion, while sinners often do. Because one who goes deep into sin can rise to the height of righteousness.
The technique of meditation is one of transformation through extremes. Every transformation takes place when the extreme point is reached. If a phenomenon reaches its extreme point the change happens. Have you watched the pendulum of a wall clock moving? If it moves to the left, it goes on moving to the left till it reaches the extremity of the left and then it swings back to the right. You may not have noticed that when the pendulum of the clock is moving to the left it is at the same time gathering momentum to move to the right. And it will move to the right to the same extent as it moves to the left. So is the case with the pendulum of your mind. If it is led to the extreme point of tension it will swing back from there and enter into the deepest core of relaxation. You cannot relax if you are not led into the maximum of tension.
Some people come to me with very strange questions. It seems that they are out to gather flowers without going into the trouble of planting a tree. It seems they want the harvest without sowing the seeds and caring for the crop.
One friend wants to know whether there would be any difficulty if he did not shake his body and allow it to tremble. There will be no difficulty. What difficulty is there if you don’t do anything at all? If he is so afraid of moving the body, what will he do when the inner energy begins to move? If he wants to restrain the body from shaking, what will he do when the kundalini begins to rise? No, he wants the inner to happen and yet he should look from the outside to be the civilized and cultured person that he thinks himself to be. He wants that he will stand like a statue of wax, and yet something should happen within him. He does not know that his statue of wax will melt and disappear into thin air once the inner energy rises. It will vanish, making room for something unknown.
Work hard so your tension reaches its peak and then only you can achieve peak relaxation. Then the rest will happen on its own. You have only to create tension; peace will come through God’s grace. You can only raise the storm of tension to its climax; then the storm will quieten down on its own and peace will prevail. There is no peace like the one that comes after a storm. The peace that follows a storm is a live peace, because it is born out of storm. And to come to this live peace it is essential, as I insist, that all the stages of meditation should be gone through, not one of them can be bypassed. So no one will come to me and ask if this or that stage can be dropped or if one can do without deep breathing, shaking or asking “Who am I?” No, the first three stages are meant to lead you from one extreme to the other in a very systematic and scientific manner.
It is for this reason that I insist that only when one stage reaches its climax can we change over to the next one. It is like changing gears while driving a car. If you are driving in the first gear, at first you bring it to full speed and then change over to the second gear. And as long as the speed in the second gear is low, you don’t put the car in the third gear. All changes take place at the climactic point. So is the case with the transformation of the mind; it happens at the climactic point, too.
You should understand fully the meaning of these three stages. The first stage comprises breathing, deep and fast breathing. Breathing will continue through the whole length of the three stages; it is carried over to the second and third as well. And breathing has to be both deep and fast. You have to breathe as deeply as you can, and you have to breathe also as fast as possible. And this rule of deep and fast breathing should govern both inhalation and exhalation. But why? What will breathing do?
Breathing is the most mysterious element in man’s life. It is through the medium of breath that the body is united with the soul. That is why we say that a man is alive as long as he breathes. With breath gone, life comes to an end.
Recently I happened to visit a home where a woman has been lying in a state of coma for nine months. And the physicians say that she will now never regain her consciousness, although she can live for another three years. The woman is being kept alive with the help of drugs and food which are just injected into her body in its state of coma. She is completely unconscious; for nine months she has not regained consciousness even once. I visited her family and told her mother that she was as good as dead. The old woman said, “No, as long as breathing lasts there is always hope. The doctors say there is no hope, but who knows? The doctors are not always correct. Who knows? She may regain consciousness, because she continues to breathe. There is breath; the bridge has not fallen yet. She can yet return to consciousness.”
Breath is the bridge that connects the soul with the body. When you breathe deep and fast, not only the body is shaken, even the fibers of the soul within are shaken. For instance, there is a bottle lying on your shelf for long. It is filled with some liquid and it has not been shaken for a long time. So it does not seem that the bottle and its contents are two separate things. Having been undisturbed for long the bottle and its contents seem to be one piece. Now you shake the bottle with force. Along with the bottle, its con tents too will be shaken. It is only then that separation between them becomes clear. Similarly when you breathe at its highest pitch you create a storm which not only shakes the body but also every fiber of the soul within. And it is in the moment of that trembling that you clearly feel that the body and soul are separate.
Now you come and ask, “What if I don’t breathe deeply? Will it harm?” It will do only this much harm – that you will never know that you are separate from your body. That is why a basic condition has been attached to the breathing, that you have to be a witness to it. You breathe deeply and you watch at the same time that a breath comes in and another goes out. When you observe the movements of incoming and outgoing breaths then you know that not only the body is separate, even the breath is separate from you. Then you know that you are only an observer separate from both body and breath. One’s separation from the body can be known through breathing alone, but separation from breath can be realized through witnessing breathing.
So two things, deep breathing and witnessing, make for the first stage, and they run through the second to the end – that is, the third stage.
I ask you to let go of the body in the second stage. Deep breathing will continue, and in addition to it you have to let go of the body. It has many implications, and
I am going to go into a few of them here.
Firstly, there are thousands of tensions stored in your body and you are not aware of them, although these are your collections. Civilization has made our lives so unnatural that even when you are angry with someone you keep smiling before him. Your body is not aware of your manners; it feels like strangling the person concerned. Your fists clench by themselves, but you wear a false smile and you don’t allow the fists to clench, you suppress them. Then the bodily nerves which had readied themselves for the clenched fists find themselves in a great difficulty. They simply fail to understand what it is all about. And a state of restlessness is created in the body. The fists should have clenched.
People who study and understand anger in depth say – and I say the same – that whenever you are so angry you do just one thing. Don’t wear a false smile, instead take your fists under the desk, if you have one before you, and clench and unclench them energetically for five minutes. And then you will laugh, and it will be a different laugh altogether.
The body does not know at all that man has become civilized. The body functions absolutely like a machine. But man has put great constraints on its workings; the body has been inhibited in every way. And it is because of these inhibitions that your body has become a storehouse of tensions; thousands of tensions are collected inside your body.
And too many tensions form complexes – knots of tensions.
So when I ask you to let go of the body and you do so, then these complexes that have been there since your childhood, begin to loosen up and dissolve. Their loosening up and dissolution is very necessary; otherwise you will never attain to bodilessness, you will never transcend the body and go beyond it. With the dissolution of the complexes your body will be come as light as a flower.
Perhaps you have heard of a name given to Mahavira, the Jain teerthankara. One of his names is Nirgrantha, which is unique. It literally means complexless – one without complexes. Nirgrantha is one whose all complexes have dissolved and disappeared, who is free from all inner knots, who is without any complexes, who has become absolutely simple and innocent.
When this web of complexes wants to be loose, to be free, you don’t allow it, you resist. Your civilization, your culture, your conditionings, your inhibitions, your being a woman or a man of position, your being this and that – all these things have such a strong hold on you that you don’t let go of your body.
Only this morning a woman came to me and said that she was afraid while meditating that someone’s hands might touch her body. Right now this poor woman must be sitting at a great distance from you all. But in spite of it if someone’s body rolls by and reaches her, she will be in a mess again. She wanted to know if she could sit apart. I told her, “Who knows, the gods in the heavens may send one to wherever you will go. It is good that someone comes to you. He will come to you wherever you will go. So don’t change your place. And what harm is there if someone touches your body?”
The way of women is such that even if God crosses their path they will shrink away from him lest he should touch their body. Their entire body is rid den with complexes. From childhood they are trained and conditioned in a way that they look upon their body as if it is a disease which they have to bear. They don’t live in the body; it is just a load they reluctantly carry with them. The body is like a cloak they carry, worrying all the time how to protect it, although there is nothing about it worth protecting. But such petty predilections inhibit us in a big way.
If a person is well educated, he may think… Only today, a gentleman told me that only emotional people, and not the intellectuals, go through such experiences. It is amazing that if a person passes a few grades he becomes an intellectual. If his mother dies, will he or will he not cry for her? Will he or will he not fall in love with someone, because he is an intellectual person? Now that he has done a few grades and secured a certificate from some university, he will think twice before kissing his beloved, because a few germs may be transferred from one to another. He will consult books and deliberate on the problem before he will decide whether or not he should allow his emotion to affect him. Our intellect has become a kind of disease; it does not have the fragrance that it should have. It could have been our glory, but it has turned out to be a disease.
So one thinks that because he is an intellectual person, such things cannot happen to him; they only happen to those who are emotionally inclined. Why? Is it wrong to be emotional? Whatsoever is significant in life comes through emotion, and not through intellect. Of course, problems of mathematics and account keeping and things like this are tackled by the intellect; but nothing of significance.
What is amazing is that even the discoveries of science, which is the greatest intellectual discipline, come through emotion and not through intellect. If someone asked Einstein how he discovered the theory of relativity he would say, “I don’t know, it just happened.” This is a very religious statement. If Mad am Curie was asked how she discovered radium she would say, “I cannot say how; it just came. It was beyond my power.” Any great scientist will say the same thing. He will say, “It hasn’t come through my search; it is something beyond me. It comes from the beyond. I am only an instrument, a medium.” This is precisely the language of religion.
Emotion has great depths, while intellect is shallow, superficial. Intellect is nothing more than utilitarian. It is like a pilot who goes ahead of the car of the governor when he is going places. Don’t take the pilot for the governor. Intellect is nothing more than the pilot who clears the road and controls traffic so the governor’s car can pass undisturbed. So the master comes behind the servant. Emotion is the master and intellect the servant. All that is significant and beautiful in life flows from emotion, from feeling. But there are people who take the pilot for the governor and bow down to him. They say, “We are intellectuals, we take the pilot to be the governor.” Let them say what they like; even the pilot is laughing up his sleeve.
Some people think it is the weaklings who shake and scream; the strong ones are those who find it difficult to go into it. They don’t know, they don’t know at all. It is otherwise; it only happens to the strong, while the weaklings stand aside. Because to be in a particular posture for one full hour is possible only for the very strong willed persons, not the weak ones. The weaklings breathe deeply for a minute or two, and then they give up. And it is they who say that it is for the weak, that it is a weakness. They cannot even breathe deeply for an hour; they cannot ask “Who am I?” for ten minutes. Please don’t harbor such illusions.
These are just rationalizations, intellectual ways of escaping from meditation. This is how we protect our ego and run away. So we say it only happens to the weak, while we are very strong people. This is an amazing statement. The truth is that everything that is great and significant in this world is achieved by the strong; the weaklings are good for nothing. And meditation? Meditation calls for the ultimate strength. The so called intellectual will say that only the weak people go through these experiences. And he himself could not do it because the person sitting next to him was crying; because of him he failed. But the man who was crying was not even conscious of it, he was not even aware if someone was watching him and thinking of him. He was completely involved in his own efforts. And involvement with perseverance is a thing of great strength; the weaklings cannot have it.
Therefore don’t try to protect your ego for nothing. And don’t say you are strong and strong willed and that you are intellectuals and the rest of it. Know this much – that you cannot do it – and don’t find excuses for not doing, and don’t embellish your weakness with good words. If you glorify your weakness, it will become a thing of endearment to you, and then you will miss meditation forever. Simply know that this does not happen to you. If it does not happen, it simply means that you are weak and you lack something. Try to find out and understand your weakness and remedy it. Don’t mistake your weakness for strength; don’t give it a good name.
A friend came and said that it all seemed hysterical, as if a few persons had attacks of hysteria. He does not know at all what is hidden in the Pacific of life. By calling it hysteria he is only guarding his ego. So he has come to a conclusion that those who shake and shriek are insane people. And he thinks he himself cannot go through such experiences because he is sane. But if he is right then Buddha was insane and so were Mahavira and Jesus and Socrates and Rumi and Mansoor. But it is far better to join the tribe of these blessed madmen than to remain with the so called sane people. And we are going to join them, because what these madmen have had, the sane ones can never have.
When energy rises with great intensity, it raises a veritable storm within you. It is not insanity. If it is so, we cannot be still and quiet again. And we do become still and quiet after completing these three stages, which means there is nothing hysterical about it. Ask a person in hysteria to relax, to be quiet; he cannot do so; it is simply not in his hands. But whatsoever is happening here is within our control; it happens because we help it to happen, because we cooperate with it. That is why the moment we with draw our cooperation it immediately comes to an end.
There is only one criterion to know sanity from insanity. He who is his own master is sane and he who is not his master is insane. Now this is a very interesting criterion. When I ask those here who are going through such experiences to relax and to be quiet, they immediately do so. But if I ask the so called sane people who are also here, to still and quieten their thoughts, they will say it is not possible to do so – howsoever they try, they cannot quieten their thoughts. So it is they who are insane, who are mad. What you cannot manage is insanity and what you can manage is sanity, is health.
When you will be able to turn your mind on and off at will, when you will say “No more”, and the mind will stop then and there, only then can you think that you are sane, that you are healthy. But the reality is just the contrary. You say “No more” and your mind says, “Say what you may, but I will do what I want to do, I will go where I want to go.” You are moving heaven and earth to quieten your thoughts, but they simply don’t listen, they go their own way. You are sitting in a temple singing hymns of praise to God and your mind is watching a movie in a cinema house at the same time. No, any amount of your bhajans and prayers cannot stop the mind from watching the movie. It does not give a dime for all your pleadings.
But man is very cunning. He hides his weaknesses behind beautiful words, and feels at ease by denigrating the goodness of others, by calling names. Beware of this. The best thing is not to think of that at all. Who is going through what is very difficult to know. Life is so mysterious that it is better not to think about others. It is enough if you can think and take care of yourself. Think out this much – whether you are insane, weak or strong – and only think about yourself. But we always do the contrary, we think about others. This is very wrong.
As I said, letting go of the body leads firstly to a catharsis of the repressed tensions and dissolution of the body blocks and complexes. And secondly, when the body moves by itself – you don’t operate it, rather it operates on its own momentum – then its separation from you, from the soul becomes clear. Because when you see that the body is now whirling, that it is now at a standstill, that the hands are shaking – not that you shake them, rather they shake on their own – then you know for the first time that your being and your body are different and separate. Then you will also know that it was not you, but your body that became youthful; and again it is not you, but the body that is going to grow old. And if this awareness deepens you will also know that you are not going to die; only the body will die.
When the body spins like a machine, you will know in depth, that the body is really separate from you. This you will know only when you absolutely let go of the body.
And in the third stage we ask: “Who am I?” Even as one knows that he is not the body, even as one knows that he is not the breath, one still does not know who he is. It is a negative knowing that one is not the body, that one is not the breath; it is not positive. What is positive knowing? It is to know who he is, which he has not known yet. So in the third stage we ask: “Who am I?” But who do we ask? We direct this question to ourselves, and to no one else. We are going to fully flood ourselves with this question “Who am I?” The day you will be absolutely filled with this question the answer will come, and it will come from within you. Because it can’t be that at your innermost level you don’t know who you are. If you are, you also know who you are.
But it is necessary to take the question to that innermost depth. For example, there is water within the earth, and we are thirsty here sitting on the surface of the earth. If we want to quench our thirst it will be necessary to dig a well thirty feet deep where water is available. If we have a question “Who am I?”, its answer is lying somewhere thirty feet deep in us. But there are many layers between us and that answer, and these layers have to be removed to reach the answer. So the question “Who am I?” works like a spade. The greater the speed and force with which we ask the question, the deeper we dig the well. But we fail to ask with that speed and force.
Many a time very strange things happen. A friend has been going through an extraordinary experience during the morning meditation for the last two days. And it is worth understanding. He asks the question with all his might, and he works hard. There is nothing lacking in his efforts. And he is also not wanting in his will. But, as I said, the mind has layers upon layers. He asks from the upper layer “Who am I?”, and he asks it with such force that he blurts out the question “Who am I?” several times. But in-between the repetition of this question, another question pops up: “What will it do? What will it do?” suggesting that this asking would not do a thing. Who is asking this second question? You ask “Who am I?” but then who is he who asks “What will it do?” It is another layer of your own mind which says, “This questioning is not going to work, you are uselessly asking it again and again; better keep quiet.”
So while one layer of our mind asks “Who am I?” another layer comes out with a retort, “This won’t work, better keep quiet.”
If your mind remains fragmented, you will not be able to go very deep. That is why I ask you to bring all your energy to asking “Who am I?” so that slowly slowly your entire mind gets involved in it and you ask with total mind “Who am I?” And when only the question will remain, nothing else but the question, it will sink in you like an arrow and the answer will come forth. Then the answer will not be late in coming even by a second.
The answer is within us.
Knowledge is within, but we have never invoked it, we have never provoked it, awakened it. It is ever prepared to wake up. These three stages are meant for this purpose. But these stages are like steps to the temple of meditation; they are on the outside of it. They take you up to the gate and leave you there. Entry through the gate happens in the fourth stage. But one who does not climb these three steps cannot hope to enter the fourth – the gate. So remember, it is essential that you invest all your energy in tomorrow’s meditation, since it will be the last day of the camp. Bring all your energy into these three stages. If you do so, the fourth stage will happen on its own. You will not have to do the fourth, it will happen.
Three you will do, the fourth will happen.
Q 3: A woman asks: With the attainment of the fourth will the first three stages drop off?
Then there is no question. If the fourth stage is attained, then there is no question. Then one will see for himself if anything need be done. If the need is felt he will continue doing it; otherwise it will drop. But even this thing cannot be said beforehand. It cannot be said beforehand, because if we raise this question before the fourth has actually been attained it means that we don’t want to do these three stages and so we are trying to escape them. You seem to be rather anxious to get rid of these, and that is why I am not going to say that they will drop. Because if I say it you will not go for them at all, you will drop them right now. They will drop, but it is a matter that should come after the fourth stage has been attained. It should not be raised before.
Our mind deceives us in many ways. When you ask this question you are not aware why you ask it. You ask it with a motive to get rid of these three stages. But if you get rid of these, know well that the fourth stage will never happen. But why this fear of these three stages?
The fear is there. And these stages are meant to wipe out this fear.
The fear is that the body can do anything, and there are things you don’t want it to do. But what can it do? You can dance, you can cry, you can shout, you can fall down. But what is the difficulty about it all? You breathe deeply in the first stage, and in the second you continue breathing and let go of the body. There should be no difficulty whatsoever in breathing deep and fast and letting go of the body. You don’t have to make any effort to dance; if you dance, it will impede deep breathing. But if dancing happens on its own, it is okay. Whatsoever happens, just let it.
Our difficulty is that either we do a thing or we resist it; we don’t allow anything to happen on its own. We are ready to do anything; we will either dance or prevent it. But we will not let go of anything, we will not allow it to happen spontaneously. Man’s whole civilization is suppressive. We have suppressed many things within us, and we are afraid of opening the Pandora’s box. We are really frightened; we seem to be sitting on a volcano. We are ridden with many many fears; it is not just a question of dancing. The fears are deep rooted.
We have repressed ourselves tremendously, and we also know what is likely to come out of the basements of our minds. The son had wanted to kill his father, and he is afraid that this thought might surface. The husband had thought of strangling his wife, although at the same moment he had said to her that he could not live without her even for a moment. This desire to kill his wife is repressed in his mind, and he fears it can erupt anytime.
Gurdjieff was a mystic and he was one of the most remarkable men of our times. Whenever a person went to him for spiritual guidance, the first thing that he would do was to make him drunk daily for fifteen days and study him in his drunken state. And unless he studied him in a state of drunkenness he would not initiate him into sadhana or spiritual discipline. He would make him drunk every day so that all his repressed neuroses were uncovered before him and he knew what type of a person he was and what he had repressed in his unconscious. Then only he would suggest the necessary sadhana – what he called Work – for him. If the person refused to drink with him for fifteen days, Gurdjieff would immediately ask him to go home. Perhaps no other Master in the world has used drink in this manner. But he was very intelligent and wise, and his understanding of men was very deep and valuable. Because we have repressed too much, there is no end to our repressions. And they are in calculable.
It is because of these repressions that we are afraid; we are afraid of their being exposed. We are afraid lest we should speak out something that we don’t want to say, that we don’t want others to know. Now if someone has committed theft, it is just possible that when he asks “Who am I?” he might blurt out that he is a thief, a crook, a black-marketeer. So he is afraid of asking the question “Who am I?” And even if he asks it he does it in a faint voice, because he knows that he is a thief. He is afraid and so he suppresses the question. He does not want persons sitting by his side to hear it if he blurts out that he is a thief. And he can blurt it out, there is not much difficulty about it. So there are good reasons for us to ask if these three stages can be dropped and if we can do without them.
But no, you will have to go through these stages. They may drop, but only after you have done them thoroughly. And whatsoever comes out from your inside should be allowed free passage; don’t impede it. Any amount of filth is hidden there; it will surface and cathart.
The masks that we wear are not our real faces; that is why we are so fear stricken. Now a person has heavily made up his face with cream, greasepaint and powder; he will be very afraid to drop his makeup. If he does so his real face, which is ugly and hideous, will show itself. And he is afraid that others will see his real face. He has taken great pains, standing before a big mirror, to give himself a face-lift. So he is frightened that if he gives it up his face may become so horrible that no further makeup will help him. He will say he can give up anything but not his facade, his makeup. He will try to save it at any cost. All our faces are made up and false; they are not real. And don’t think that people who don’t use cosmetics don’t make up their faces. There are all kinds of makeup, and some makeup is so subtle that it does not need cosmetics.
It is for this reason that you fear, that if you let go of yourself during meditation your mask may fall down exposing your real face, and that someone might see it.
But these fears are dangerous, and they will not allow you to go within. So they have to be dropped.
One last question.
Q 4: A friend asks: What is shaktipat or energy transmission? And is it possible that someone can transmit divine energy?
No one can do shaktipat, no one can transmit energy; but someone can be a vehicle for such transmission. It is true that no one can do it. And if somebody claims that he can do it, he is indulging in sheer deception. No one can do it, and yet in some moment transmission of energy can happen through someone. If that someone is totally empty and surrendered, shaktipat can happen in his presence. He can work as a conductor, as a catalytic agent, but not knowingly. Through him God’s infinite energy can enter into another person.
No one can be a catalytic agent knowingly, be cause the first condition to act as conductor is that you should not know it, that you have no ego. Ego disqualifies a person for being a medium for shaktipat. With ego one becomes a non conductor of energy; divine energy cannot flow through him. So if there is a person whose ego is completely wiped out, who is absolutely empty inside and is a total void, who is doing nothing for you, really who does not do a thing – then through his emptiness, through his void, which acts as a passage, God’s energy can certainly reach you. And its speed can be very fast. Remember this when you come here for tomorrow’s meditation.
With this I should also give you a couple of informations for tomorrow.
Shaktipat means that God’s energy has descended on you. It: can be possible in two ways. Either it arises from you and joins God’s energy or it flows from God and joins you. It is the same thing viewed from two sides; or these are two ways of seeing the same thing. For example, there is a tumbler half filled with water. Someone can say that it is half filled and another can say that it is half empty. And if they are philosophers they can argue it endlessly and come to no conclusion, because both statements are correct. Energy descends from above and it can ascend from below, too. And when the two energies meet, when your latent energy meets with the energy of infinity – the explosion happens.
This explosion is unpredictable; nor can it be said what this explosion does. And what happens after this explosion, this too cannot be said. Throughout history, those who have been blessed with this explosion of energy have been shouting from rooftops: “Come one, come all, and pass through this explosion and see for yourself what it is. Something has happened here which is simply inexpressible, utterly in describable.”
Shaktipat means the descent of energy from beyond. It can descend. In fact it descends every day. And this energy chooses for its vehicle a person who is empty in every way, who is utterly egoless. He alone turns into its catalytic agent, just a vehicle and nothing else. But even if a little trace of ego is there, even if he thinks that he can do it, he ceases to be the conduit. Then energy cannot flow from him.
Now bear in mind two informations for tomorrow’s meditation, both the morning and midday meditation. Tomorrow is the last day of the camp, and it is going to be full with possibilities. So you have to be filled with tremendous hope and trust when you do tomorrow’s meditation.
Firstly, all those who are having some kind of experiences here will do meditation standing. If anything has been happening to you, even if a little bit has been happening to your body, you will do well to stand up tomorrow and meditate. Because movements in a standing position can be the fastest and the most intense, too. In a standing position the flow of energy is at its highest.
Up to now I did not ask you to stand up because you were lacking in courage even for doing it sitting. Now if you do it standing, the impact of energy on you will be tremendous. As I said that you can burst into a dance, a mad dance, it can really happen when you do it while standing. Since tomorrow will be the last day, and some ten to twenty friends have achieved good depth in meditation, so they in particular will for sure stand up. I am not going to name them; they should do it on their own. And it has to be so right from the beginning of meditation. Of course, one can stand up anytime if he feels like doing so. And remember that you have to allow everything to happen unimpeded.
And a few words for the midday sessions of silent meditation.
When we sit here for silent meditation in the midday tomorrow there should be enough empty space near me. And when you will come to me one by one and sit by me, and when I place my hand on your head, then allow everything that happens to you at that moment. If you scream and your hands and feet tremble or you fall down or rise up, whatever it is, just leave it free, don’t resist at all. It will be like what we do in the morning meditation: Let go. So leave enough space near me.
And those who can muster courage will do the morning meditation all standing. Before I will arrive, you should take your positions and stand quietly. And stand erect without taking any support of, say, the tree near you. No support, whatsoever; stand on your own.
You wanted to know about shaktipat. This standing posture will make for a good situation for transmission of energy. A very conducive atmosphere has already come into being here and it can be fully utilized. And since it is going to be the last day of the camp, you should bring your whole will and energy into play tomorrow.
Q 5: Another friend asks: Just now you talked about the three stages. Can you explain what effects they have on the states of one’s body, heart, brain and mind?
Effects will be many.
A voice: Will they cause heart-failure?
It would be fine if the heart fails. Nothing like it. That is what is wanting. Let the heart fail. Howsoever you try to save it, it is going to fail some day. So why save it? Let it go. At least you will have the satisfaction that it failed while it was on its way to God. That is enough.
The friend wants to know what effects the three stages will have on us. They will have many effects. The practice of meditation, the meditation that I teach, will have any number of physiological results. Many physical diseases can disappear, longevity can increase and many chemical changes can take place in the body. Numerous glands of the body that are at the moment as good as dead, can be activated.
We have no idea what the psychologists now say, even the physiologists say, about anger. When one is angry, they say, a particular kind of poison is released in the body. But up to now they have not been able to know what it is that happens in the case of love. As in anger, a special kind of poison is released, so in love a special kind of nectar is released in the body. But because love is a rare phenomenon in our world, a loving man has yet to visit a scientist’s lab. That is why he has not been able to detect it. If meditation has its full impact, the body begins to secrete nectar or ambrosia which symbolizes immortality.
Meditation has really deep chemical effects on the body. Those who go deep into meditation begin to see extraordinary colors, smell uncommon perfumes and hear unheard of sounds. Extraordinary waves of light and sound begin to flow through them. These are all chemical effects of meditation. You will see such fantastic colors as you have never seen. In fact, the whole chemistry of the body undergoes a sea-change. The body begins to perceive, think and understand things in a different way altogether. All the electric circuits of the body change.
Just as a good deal happens at the level of the body, so also a great deal happens at the level of the mind, too. But these are matters of detail, and I will talk to the questioner about it separately.
The possibilities are really great.
Q 6: Another question: What is the effect of deep breathing on the brain, the heart, etc.?
As soon as you begin deep breathing, the proportion of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body will change. There is a particular amount of carbon and oxygen in our body; deep breathing will change its ratio. And as soon as this ratio changes, consequent changes take place in the whole body including the brain, the blood and the nervous system. Oxygen and carbon dioxide in particular proportions form the whole basis of our existence. And a change in their proportions changes everything. But that is a technical thing and the questioner can see me separately later on to discuss it, because everyone may not be interested in it.
Q 7: Another friend asks: Is this matter of meditation the same as autohypnosis?
This meditation agrees with autohypnosis to a large extent, but at the last point it parts company. It is largely linked with hypnosis; its first three stages, except the witnessing part of it, belong to hypnosis as such. The witnessing, which is needed throughout its practice, the awareness on the part of the meditator that breath is in and out, that the body is shaking and spinning, that he is a watcher on the hill – this witnessing has nothing to do with hypnosis. This is the difference. And the difference is fundamental, basic. But the rest of it is a process of hypnosis.
The process of hypnosis is very significant; linked with witnessing, it becomes meditation. But hypnosis separated from witnessing becomes unconsciousness. You will become unconscious, if you use hypnosis alone. And you will be awakened if you use witnessing with hypnosis. So the difference between the two is vast. But their ways are similar to a great extent; it is only at the end that they part with each other.
Some questions remain to be answered. I will take them up tomorrow evening.
Osho, In Search of the Miraculous, Vol. 1, Ch 61f97