Meditation is not an instant coffee

From Keerti's desk

People are hard pressed for time, in particular when it comes to devoting space to meditation, writes Keerti in this excerpt. Published in Happy Ho.



While facilitating Neo-Vipassana meditation retreats in the West, I get inquiries about the duration of such retreats. I reply that it would be a seven-day workshop. They become serious and say: Can you reduce the duration to 2 days, or just for the weekend?

In the West, they do not have time even though they are richer than the Indian participants who come to join in 7 to 10 days workshops, even 21 days of Osho Mystic Rose or 21 days Silence retreats. Seeing their situation in the West, I say OK, let’s have a weekend retreat, so that they have some taste of meditation, even if this short duration may not give them depth. I hope, later on, one day, they may realize the value of giving more time to this phenomenon that is meditation. Now they just want meditation also as instant coffee.

In one of his discourses on Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi, Osho says:

“People from the West come to me and they say, ‘This very evening we are leaving, so give us some key. How can we become silent? But we don’t have any time to stay – we must go.’ They are thinking in terms with which they have become acquainted – instant coffee – so they think there must be some instant meditation, a key I can hand over to them and it is finished. No, there is no key. It is a long effort, it is a deep patience. And the more you are in a hurry, the longer it will take. So remember this: if you are not in any hurry it may happen this very moment. When you are not in a hurry the quality of mind is there, silence is there.

There is an interesting story. Once it happened that two monks were traveling. They crossed a river in a boat, and the ferryman said to them, “Where are you going? If you are going to the city beyond this valley, go slowly.” But the old monk said, “If we go slowly we will never reach, because we have heard that the gates of that city are closed after sunset, and we have just one or two hours at the most, and it is a very long distance. If we go slowly we will never reach, and we will have to wait outside the city. And the outside of the city is dangerous – wild animals and everything – so we will have to make haste.”

The ferryman said, “Okay, but this is my experience: those who go slowly, reach.” The other monk listened to it. He was a young man and he thought, “I don’t know this part of the country, and this ferryman may be right, so it is better to follow his advice.” So he walked slowly, leisurely, as if not going anywhere, not in a hurry, just for a walk.

The old man hurried, started running. He had many scriptures on his back. Then he fell down: tired, carrying weight, old, and in such a hurry, so tense, he fell down. The man who was not in a hurry simply walked and reached. The ferryman was coming and he came near the old man. He was lying by the side of the road; his leg was broken and blood was oozing out. The ferryman said, “I told you that this has been always so: those who walk slowly reach, those who are in a hurry always manage to stumble somewhere or other. These parts are dangerous. The road is rough and you are an old man. And I had advised you, but you wouldn’t listen to me.”

I remember the celebrated author and journalist Khushwant Singh who used to say: “Meditation is a waste of time.” And he was right in one sense because in meditation one sits in idleness, doing nothing. When you are not doing anything, you are just sitting, you are wasting your life? And there is the same teaching in the West: Time is wealth. Osho differs: It is absolutely wrong, because wealth is created by scarcity, and time is not scarce. The whole economics depends on scarcity: if something is scarce it becomes valuable. Time is not scarce, it is there always. You cannot finish it; it will always be there – so time cannot be economic. It is not scarce; it cannot be wealth. But we go on teaching, ‘Time is wealth – don’t waste it. Once wasted it never comes again.’” [Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi]

This time-consciousness and too much concern about it is the root cause of all tension in our life. We need to slow down, relax and have enough time to reconnect with our own being. Don’t worry about time, give more value to your life, and rejuvenate!

Chaitanya KeertiChaitanya Keerti travels around the world to facilitate Osho meditation retreats. He is an editor of Osho World and the author of ‘Osho Fragrance’ and ‘The Alchemy of Zen’. – More articles by the same author on Osho News.

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