Sadhana writes about Atisha’s Heart Meditation in The Asian Age on June 3, 2015.
When you see the images of thousands of people devastated by earthquake or floods your heart goes out to them and you want to do something to lessen their grief. But looking at the enormity of their disaster you feel your help is so small — not even a drop in the ocean. People often wonder how can meditation help in this kind of catastrophe.
Logically it may be difficult to understand but there is another reality of life which is not visible to the conscious mind — the reality of the heart in which humans are all connected together. The vast ocean of the collective unconscious connects human beings to each other at a deeper level. We are not as separate as we appear to be. Hence, the enlightened masters talk about oneness and one world. As we are plugged into the same life energy, we can help each other if we sincerely wish to.
There is an ancient meditation called the “Heart Meditation” originally devised by Atisha, the great Tibetan mystic and elaborated upon by Osho. This meditation contends that one can absorb the miseries of the world into the heart riding the in-breath, transform it into joy and happiness and give it back to the world with the out-breath. This sounds oversimplified for sure but that is the magic of the heart: it is simple and extraordinary.
The positive thinkers ask you to breathe in joy and happiness and breathe out misery and pain. It means you are adding your misery to the already existing mass of misery in the world. Secondly, there should be joy in your heart in the first place or else how would you give it to the world? It is like lending money when you have gone bankrupt.
Osho says, “The positive thinkers don’t know about the miraculous transformative power of the heart. The moment you take all the sufferings of the world inside you, sufferings cease to exist. The heart immediately transforms the energy. The heart is a transforming force: drink in misery, and it is transformed into blissfulness. Then pour it out. And when you breathe out, breathe out all the joy that you have, all the blissfulness that you have. This is the method of compassion: drink in all the suffering and pour out all the blessings. Once you have learned that your heart can do this magic, you will like to do it again and again.”(1)
Once you experience how pain and suffering can be transformed into joy through the breath and heart, you may like to apply this method silently whenever people or events around you become unbearable.
Instead of being disturbed by them breathe in the negativity and breathe out your peace. You have found the trick of being in the world and not belonging to it.
Amrit Sadhana is in the management team of Osho International Meditation Resort, Pune. She facilitates meditation workshops around the country and abroad.
(1) Osho from The Book of Wisdom, Ch 1
Illustration by Osho News