Meditation and ecology


Anando’s insight: when at peace with herself she is also in harmony with everything around her


For me, ecology means being in harmony – with myself.

I realize that sounds selfish, but my experience is that when I am in harmony with myself – when I feel at peace and easy with myself – then I am automatically in harmony with everything around me, whether it is other people or nature. And when I am in that space, I have also noticed that it is impossible for me to do anything harmful – to myself, to others or to the environment.

It sounds rather simplistic, but it is my actual experience. Of course it is not as easy as it sounds, because it is not easy to be at peace with ourselves. I loved hearing Osho speak about these things, his words were such a revelation for me, but it was some time before I started to actually experience for myself, in my own life, the truth of what he was saying.

I used to live in fight – fighting myself, fighting others, fighting the world. Not always overtly, but I usually felt in some kind of struggle. I was always trying to improve myself, trying to be better than others, trying to get recognition and respect, trying to earn love. I used to judge myself and compare myself to others, usually in a negative way, until eventually I realized it not only cuts my energy but also creates walls between myself and others.

If you are trying to reach the top, you automatically treat others as your competitors. And that creates a feeling of hostility, even if it is very subtle. One day I was shocked to realize how suspicious I was of people – that I saw people first as potential threats or critics rather than as potential friends. That is a pretty miserable way to live if you think about it, but in my subsequent work with others I have seen that it is how many of us live, often without being aware of it.

Osho says that the seed of enmity in us is very developed, starting from the fear we feel when we are thrust out of the womb into bright lights and a sharp slap on the bum. And then our whole way of life, starting from the pressure we feel from our families, from the school, from our peers and the media, all of it makes us competitive and distrustful. And keeps us in a constant tension. And that is how our minds like it – they love tension, problems. It is as if our minds feed on the negative – have you ever noticed how we prefer to watch or read bad news than good news? Our minds do not like to be peaceful and happy. If there isn’t a problem, or if a problem has been solved, our minds will immediately create another one – they can make a problem out of anything, cant they?

Even if we are enjoying ourselves, our minds often make us feel guilty, or tell us that if we are happy now we will pay for it later. Now, isn’t that absurd? But that is the way our minds work. And because we let our minds run our life – because we are so identified with our minds – it is very difficult to relax and feel easy and peaceful.

In fact the only way I know how to rest easy in contentment is to take some distance from my mind, to put it on a back burner; and the only way I know how to do that is meditation. Meditation, as I learned from Osho, creates a relaxation – it helps us to move from the head to the heart, or from the left brain to the right brain if you like, and that automatically brings a feeling of calm and peace.

And from the place that meditation takes us to, it is possible to actually have the mind-blowing (literally) experience that we are all just different expressions of the energy of existence – we are all unique and we all have our own part to play in this theatre of life, so no need to try and play anyone else’s’ role. From that space also it is easy to feel the inter-connection we have with nature – to feel part of the whole if you like. When we realize how dependant we all are on each other and the environment, it brings a tremendous respect and appreciation. And a humbleness that is very relaxing, because you realize you are not alone. As Osho says, it is the mind that likes us to think we are separate, like waves on the ocean, separate and isolated from other waves. But the heart knows that underneath we are all part of the same ocean.

I discovered for myself that in the deep relaxation that came with this understanding, I stopped being competitive. I stopped fighting and started flowing. I started enjoying myself as I am, imperfect and all. And I started enjoying others. I noticed that as I accepted and respected myself more, I accepted and respected people and nature more. It was as if a feeling of harmony arose, and in that harmony everything was OK as it was – myself, other people, situations… everything was as it was, and it suddenly seemed pointless to go on fighting for things (and myself) to be different. Not that I became resigned, but I started enjoying all the eccentricities of life. I started appreciating the uniqueness of everything, and with that appreciation and wonder I found it is it is impossible to harm anything.

Of course, I am not always in that state, and when I am on automatic pilot, back in my old unconscious ways, I can feel the seeds of destructiveness ready to burst out at the slightest provocation. At least now I can be aware of it and of how it harms me even more than anyone or anything else, so I make an effort to watch it, rather than act on it. But it makes me realize how powerful the unconscious is. So for me it’s no surprise the world is in the mess it is. If people don’t have the tools to break free from their unconscious, they are trapped in vicious and destructive circles.

Article by Anando, previously published in the Italian Osho Times
Illustration by Punchstock

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