Osho speaks about the mirror meditation – pointed out to us by Marc with reference to the ‘Selfie’ craze
Your consciousness is flowing outward – this is a fact, there is nothing to believe in it. When you look at an object, your consciousness flows towards the object.
For example, you are looking at me. Then you forget yourself, you become focused on me. Then your energy flows towards me, then your eyes are arrowed towards me. This is extroversion. You see a flower and you are enchanted, and you become focused on the flower. You become oblivious of yourself, you are only attentive to the beauty of the flower.
This we know – every moment it is happening. A beautiful woman passes by and suddenly your energy starts following her. We know this outward flow of light. This is only half of the story. But each time the light flows out, you fall into the background, you become oblivious of yourself.
The light has to flow back so that you are both the subject and the object at the same time, simultaneously, so that you see yourself. Then self-knowledge is released. Ordinarily, we live only in this half way – half-alive, half-dead, that’s the situation. And slowly slowly light goes on flowing outward and never returns.
You become more and more empty inside, hollow. You become a black hole.
This is exactly what happens on a greater scale in the universe. Physicists have now discovered black holes. Taoists discovered black holes long before, but they were not concerned about the black holes there in the faraway space, they were concerned about the black holes inside you. A black hole is a state when all your energy is spent, exhausted, and you have become empty and you have forgotten completely how to go on nourishing this source of energy. Scientists say that sooner or later this sun will become a black hole, because continuous energy is being released but nothing is returning to it. It is an immense source of energy. For millions of years it has been giving light to the solar system. For millions of years trees have been growing, flowers flowering, man living, animals moving, birds flying, because of the sun’s energy. But the sun is becoming spent. Slowly slowly, one day it will collapse; there will be no more energy left. Suddenly all light will disappear, the last rays will disappear from it. Then it will be a black hole.
And that’s how many people live their life: they become black holes because of this constant extroversion. You see this, you see that, you are continuously seeing without ever returning the energy to the seer. In the day you see the world, in the night you see dreams, but you go on remaining constantly attached to objects. This is dissipating energy.
By the time a man is thirty he is almost finished; then he is a black hole. People die nearabout thirty, although they are buried nearabout seventy – that is another matter – but they die nearabout thirty. And I see a grain of truth in the hippie idea: don’t believe a man above thirty. There is a grain of truth in it, because it is very rare to find a man beyond thirty who is alive. People become black holes, spent, utterly exhausted. They go on dragging somehow; they live without being alive, as if just the momentum of the past helps them to remain alive.
It happens: if you love bicycling, you have to pedal the bicycle. But sometimes you can just stop pedalling and out of the momentum created by the past pedalling the bicycle goes on for a while without pedalling. And if it is a downward slope, it can go far. And after thirty or thirty-five it is a downward slope. Thirty-five is the peak; if seventy is the average age, then thirty-five is the peak. After thirty-five you are on a downward slope; you can go on rolling down without any energy .
The Taoist experience is that this energy that you spend in your extroversion can be more and more crystallized rather than spent if you learn the secret science of turning it backwards. It is possible; that is the whole science of all methods of concentration.
Just standing before a mirror some day, try one small experiment. You are looking at the mirror, your own face in the mirror, your own eyes in the mirror. This is extroversion: you are looking into the mirrored face – your own face, of course, but it is an object outside you. Then, for a moment, reverse the whole process. Start feeling that you are being looked at by the reflection in the mirror – not that you are looking at the reflection but the reflection is looking at you – and you will be in a very strange space. Just try it for a few minutes and you will be very alive, and something of immense power will start entering you. You may even become frightened because you have never known it; you have never seen the complete circle of energy.
And although it is not mentioned in Taoist scriptures this seems to me the most simple experiment anybody can do, and very easily. Just standing before the mirror in your bathroom, first look into the reflection: you are looking and the reflection is the object. Then change the whole situation, reverse the process. Start feeling that you are the reflection and the reflection is looking at you. And immediately you will see a change happening, a great energy moving towards you. In the beginning it may be frightening because you have never done it and you have never known it; it will look crazy. You may feel shaken, a trembling may arise in you, or you may feel disorientated, because your whole orientation up to now has been extroversion. Introversion has to be learned slowly slowly. But the circle is complete. And if you do it for a few days you will be surprised how much more alive you feel the whole day. Just a few minutes standing before the mirror and letting the energy come back to you so the circle is complete… And whenever the circle is complete there is a great silence. The incomplete circle creates restlessness. When the circle is complete it creates rest, it makes you centred. And to be centred is to be powerful – the power is yours. And this is just an experiment; then you can try it in many ways.
Looking at the rose flower, first look at the rose flower for a few moments, a few minutes, and then start the reverse process: the rose flower is looking at you. And you will be surprised how much energy the rose flower can give to you. And the same can be done with trees and the stars and with people. And the best way is to do it with the woman or man you love. Just look into each others eyes. First begin looking at the other and then start feeling the other returning the energy to you; the gift is coming back. You will feel replenished, you will feel showered, bathed, basked in a new kind of energy. You will come out of it rejuvenated, vitalized.
Osho, The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1, Ch 7 (excerpt)
Related article: ‘Selfie’ Word of the Year 2013
Photo credit Anubhasha