From Sneeze to Superconsciousness

Healing & Meditation

Madhuri reminds us of a mini-meditation we heard from Osho.


Do you remember how Osho said that the energy of a sneeze could get one enlightened? He also likened common garden-variety orgasm to a sneeze… rather disparagingly.

So what is the difference between these two sneezes? One pops your karmic cork; the other spits energy out so that it’s lost forever?

And what is a sneeze, anyway? My trusty Webster’s says, “To drive air forcibly and audibly out of the mouth and nose by a spasmodic and involuntary action.” Hmmm… “involuntary…” It sounds as if a sneeze, like an orgasm, is governed by forces beyond our control. So everywhere we go, people are affably and helplessly ah-chooing into their surroundings – into the air of buses, trains, planes, and automobiles; onto others’ shoulders, backs, and even in their faces, if it all happens too fast.

Bacteria, never known to be slouches, have of course learnt to hitch-hike with joyful aplomb upon these explosions. A sneeze will broadcast a zillion of them, like pollen, 12 feet from the sneezer. Now, you might not care about this; if you are a Brit, you will look at me like I’m a nutter if I even comment on it. We all live in a bacterial soup, right? What’s the point in quarreling?

If you were my little bitty baby and I was a new Mum, I might find your sneeze adorable! I might want to frame it and hang it on the wall! But you’re not and I’m not and the sneeze is not… in fact, we each have wildly divergent bacterial populations, completely unlike each other; otherwise we could not even catch things – we’d all have them already. But for me it’s not just that… it’s the unaesthetic-ness of the deal. Ugh! Drops of snot (Webster’s: “Mucus from or in the nose: a vulgar usage… Slang – a low or mean fellow. {OE gesnot}) high-jumping like athletes everywhere! Invasion! What right do you have to colonize me with your DNA if I’ve not requested it? It’s a sort of rape! It’s icky!

But, you might cry, “I can’t help it!” Or, “But surely you sneeze too?” And, “But when people sneeze, other people say, ‘Gesundheit!’ ‘To your good health!’ So surely it is a socially-accepted activity?” Of course it is… but so is murdering chickens, bitching at your mate, indoctrinating your defenseless child into a religion… the list goes on and on.
And if, like me, you don’t appreciate being sneezed on, you are in good company. As so many of us remember, we were not allowed to cough or sneeze in Osho’s presence – not even once; not at all. Anyone who expelled air forcefully from mouth and nose was quietly escorted out of the auditorium, to sit outside with the mozzies and the sickies.

But I’m actually not writing this to rant against boorish air-expulsers – though I’m glad I get to do that along the way. Rather, I’m writing with a joyful mission to share a groovy Yogic trick – a neat little energetic mini-meditation-widget – so that any-and-everyone – meditators most especially – can turn a sneeze into a superconscious moment; free of charge, and without suppression or discomfort of any sort. It’ll make you feel like the coolest little adept this side of Tibet.

As I said, this method is not a suppression. You are not going to hold your nose and force the air into your ear canals, thus possibly damaging them. That’s not what this is about at all. No, we’re talking chakras here, and two other concepts so vital to the seeker: Non-doing and Awareness.

This is heavy-duty Yogic mojo, bro. We’re talking a moment of pure light-bliss and not-knowing, a bit of psychedelic hoo-ha in the middle of your daily scuttling-about.

So, how does it work?

Simple. There you are in a bus and you feel a sneeze coming on.

This is the important moment! This is it! That very moment when you first catch the tickle! Now, sometimes it happens very very fast; and I can hear people protesting that it always happens so fast there is no hope of catching that moment. I would only invite you to look again – the moment is fast, true; but very often you can, if you are alert, catch the first tickle wherever in your body it might be – and my experience is, it could be felt in the arms as well as the nose; in the ribs, the diaphragm. (If you really can’t catch it then please, sneeze into the crook of your own elbow. Much better than on passers-by.)

Immediately close your eyes, for you will need your full awareness now! Do not make an effort – instead, go into the most still, passive, present space you can. And watch that tickle with all you’ve got, while simultaneously watching the top of your head!

That’s it – that’s the whole trick. Watch the sneeze-sensation whilst also being present to the top of your head! But do this immediately, don’t wait for a split-second! Just put all your attention on those two places at the same time! But don’t be tense – just be as still as a fisherman by a trout-steam – watch, note precisely the sensations, and be in two places at once. (That two-places-at-once confuses the mind and allows the usual mechanism to be disabled. It also creates a bridge, a highway, between the two locations.)

There will be a moment of hesitation all over the body; a gap. Just stay present to the two locations!

Then – suddenly, the whole energy of the sneeze will rush to the top of your head! And go out!

There will be no noise at all – the whole thing is gone, out your crown.

And you sit there like a fool, happy and still, with your mind gone and a big empty exploded thought-balloon where the top of your head was. You might have a big grin on your face.

And then you feel really, really good and strange and groovy for a while.

Until you shake yourself and get on with your day. And nobody around you has any idea.

Just at the beginning, become alert. The moment you feel the sensation that it is coming, become alert. Close your eyes and be meditative. Bring your total consciousness to the focus just where you are feeling the sensation of an oncoming sneeze. Just at the beginning, remain alert. The sneeze will disappear, and the energy will be transformed into more alertness. And because in the sneeze the whole body is involved, the whole mechanism is involved — it is a release mechanism and you are alert at this moment — there will be no mind, there will be no thought, no meditation.”

Osho, The Book of Secrets

Article by Madhuri

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