Madhuri reviews a meditation with words by Osho, voice and music by Gopal – and a few words by Gopal about his experience with this guided meditation.
Relaxing the Body-Mind
Words by Osho, from And Now and Here (Hindi translation), from a meditation camp where Osho guided people in meditation, speaking Hindi
Voice and music (Indian dilruba and zither) by Venu Gopal
Available directly from email@example.com
Note: Under the same title there has been a later version, spoken by Sudheer. The CD was included in the new edition of the book, And Here and Now; the translation of Osho’s text in the meditation is however slightly different.
Gopal’s stories (below), Some of my experiences with Relaxing the Body-Mind…
The depth of gratitude I have for this guided meditation is profound. Just looking at the CD as it sits in front of me now, makes me so happy. There’s a little picture of Gopal’s beautiful face with the black brows and the shy smile – he’s holding his dilruba, a stringed instrument from India. The background is a soft sea, like Corfu’s on a still day.
Why do I love this meditation so much?
It has saved my sanity – given me so many hours of peace and tranquillity – transcendently nourished my Tantra experiments – given me the great pleasure of sharing when I play it in groups. And it is a reliable resource for times of illness or stress.
Gopal told me he had long ago found the transcript of this guided meditation, in the book And Now and Here, Vol. 2 (translated from the Hindi) and felt called to use it in his hypnosis and meditation groups; and to make a recording. He used only Osho’s words (with the exception of one line at the end that Gopal inserted, giving people the choice to come back, or fall asleep). He made the recording spontaneously one day, in Japan, when a musician friend with a recording studio offered to help him. He had with him his dilruba and a small lap harp, and those are the instruments you hear in the meditation. It all happened in one take.
The resulting sound has a raw innocence, a simplicity and candour that is the very opposite of slick – it reminds me of the way a real Bluesman might have been recorded singing and picking his guitar on his front porch. It’s a whole different energy than an over-produced piece might have. The voice is sometimes hesitant, always tender, paced with natural calm. The gaps are long enough, the instrument plangent, distinct, speaking; even in its background role.
Most guided meditation tapes I’ve listened to work to a certain pattern: you’re instructed to relax your head, your neck, your back, etc; you might be asked to tense a muscle before relaxing it; you might be asked to visualize a golden bubble that carries you away to someplace magical, or the like.
This recording is completely different. The process simply takes you inwards – not through your body-parts but from the circumference to the centre instead. It is taking you into hara, really – remember the way Osho used to guide us to let our awareness fly like an arrow into a place in our belly, two inches below the navel? …And then we’d all fall down across our backjacks for a few minutes until he’d bring us back again? The words are not the same and the journey is much longer – 30 minutes – but this is what I mean: he’s taking us into the place of birth and death, the mystery behind the surface; and into the witness.
“Relax your body… Let your body be completely loose, as if there is no life in it…” And then: “Withdraw all the energy from the body. Take it inside… move within… just as a person moves inside his house.” Then, later: “We have let the body relax. We have let the breathing relax. Now feel that thoughts are relaxing also…”
And towards the end: “…The mind has become silent. Only a light of consciousness, awareness, remains within…”
Several times throughout, the words say frankly, “…as if you are dead.” And this is the stunning beauty of this tape – the fearless inclusion of death as a metaphor. Only an enlightened one would be able to do that – someone who knows what death is; and is not. (Gopal says that this meditation can be used to prepare people for death, in fact; he did this with his own father.) We are taken in, in, in – to the deathlike, the dark deep, silent. And left there… “Now rest in silence for 10 minutes.” And then brought out again – “Our session of meditation is now over. You may go to sleep now, or come back slowly…” And you come back, stretching and yawning, full of a sweet nothingness that is as replenishing as you could wish.
I first encountered this tape in the mid-90’s. A certain state of conflict in my psyche – I’d committed to leading a future training that my creative self felt finished with – and I was in a relationship I really wanted out of, but was perpetuating out of politeness – engendered a panic attack that ended up lasting a torturous three months. After many failed attempts at healing though various techniques I ended up having five wonderful days of NLP with Madita, and that did the trick: I discovered my “No,” and each No I said brought me more and more back into my body.
Once I was back in and unified, I needed to really plant this state in myself and integrate it. I did not want to spin off into hellish fragments again! So I spent three days at Out of Africa in a friend’s beautiful apartment, lying down and simply listening to this tape over and over and over again… the machine had a loop, so I didn’t even have to push any buttons. I could just lie there, coming home, coming home, coming home, hour after hour.
And it worked. I was pressed back into my own being, where I was supposed to be.
Years later, when I was in my room in Tilopa Pyramid, convalescing from brain surgery (India seems to bring out the drama in life), Gopal visited me one afternoon, bringing his dilruba. And he played it, just for me – this silent, sweet, beaming man, strumming and plucking a precise, seeing serenade to my particular aura and state. I felt the notes knowing me, addressing me, astutely touching where I most needed them. I have never forgotten this – what music can be. Gopal then spoke a few words to me – about trusting and affirming my individual way – and then he left… with my thanks flowing around him!
And later still when I was in a Tantra experiment with a beautiful man in Missouri we often listened to this during the relaxing stage of different meditations I’d devised. So lovely and deep!
Originally the recording was on a cassette and that’s how I played it for many years; I’d gotten it in the bookshop (and eventually bought many for gifts to take to the West.) It was at some point re-mastered and re-issued, but unfortunately one short run of it was at a higher speed – which I found disturbing – but those were quickly stopped and it went back to the slower version. I wrote to Gopal and asked if I could buy a CD from him as I couldn’t find it online. And that’s the one I have now – it’s the nice slow one.
The version available now is the original version that has been remastered for CD and mp3 download, and is a better sound quality than was on the cassette.
I love the gentle imperfections – like a shawl woven in the Himalayas with the occasional lump and bump in the weave – the human tentativeness – and yet the absolutely sure way the Master’s words lead us in, in, in.
This CD is something to keep and treasure, and use again and again.
Gopal shares his own experiences with the meditation – stories from group participants, friends and family members.
All these experiences touch my heart – the meditation has become even more precious for me over the years. Meeting Osho opened my heart to a vast vision… of being so much more than who I thought I was. A process started, an exploration of who I am and who I am not. This meditation helps me on that pathway to explore the depths within.
I have used the Relaxing Body-Mind meditation to help several people prepare for physical death, including my father. My father was a kind of genius engineer, who had invented many kinds of industrial machines. In his later years, he started to express an interest in inner experiences. Once he asked me about “out-of-body experiences” and wondered if it is possible to experience the body as separate from ourselves. He knew that Osho speaks about death and he wanted to know more about that. I shared what I could and gave him some talks by Osho. I encouraged him to explore for himself if its true that some part of us can witness the body-mind, that perhaps there is something deathless in us, a consciousness that can even observe our own physical death.
Because of his background, he knew very well how to observe the outer details of the machines he was inventing. I encouraged him to turn those observation skills inward. Then I gave him the recording of Relaxing the Body-Mind. He began this meditation, experimenting with turning the observing inward.
I remember quite well, when it was the time for his physical death. Our family gathered around him. By that time he could not speak but we knew he could hear us. We spoke to him, touched him, sang songs and I played his favorite guitar piece for him. Then he left very peacefully. There was a silence and a feeling of celebration. My feeling is that the loving energy around him and the meditation practice of witnessing the body-mind helped him to let go so easily.
“I have everything I need”
More stories: many years ago an older woman participated in the self hypnosis group. I saw her after the group sitting in a quiet place, and in her hand was the cassette tape of Relaxing the Body-Mind. We had practiced the meditation in the group and she knew it was more than just a relaxation. Osho brings in witnessing, that which is deathless.
I knew she was leaving Poona soon so I went to say good-bye. We chatted a little and then I said, “I hope to meet you here again.” She looked at me and paused a few moments. She said, “Gopal, I am old now, and I have an illness. I will not be coming here again. Osho is with me and I have this recording. I have everything I need.” There was silence and we had a heartfelt hug.
A young woman came to my group. I guided the participants with my voice for the Relaxing the Body-Mind meditation. Like most people she went very deep knowing it was Osho’s words guiding us. She took the cassette recording home with her. About a year later I met her again in Poona. She said her mother had been very much against her coming to India to learn about meditation. When she was home her mother overheard the music and voice and was attracted to the sounds. The mother asked if she could listen.
The daughter was surprised and was happy to explain the meditation – that her mother could lie down and be guided by the recording. She shared with me that her mother became so peaceful and relaxed. Afterward the mother said, “I feel so relaxed, as if I am coming back to an inner home. Now I understand why you want to go to Poona, you have my support.”
Popping out of the body
One last experience. This happened in Poona:
A friend asked me to visit him because he wanted some help preparing for death. When I went to see him he was with his partner. His approaching death was bringing up some anxiety in both of them. I brought up the topic quite lightly and said we could practice “popping out of the body,” and they laughed. I suggested that I guide them in the Relaxing the Body-Mind meditation.
Hearing that it was Osho’s words, they were very receptive, and they wanted to witness the body-mind, to have an experience before the physical death, of “that which never dies.” After explaining more about the meditation I said, “How about the two of you lie down and I will guide you, using Osho’s words?” They agreed and I could see they were both already feeling more relaxed.
Over the next couple of weeks we did this meditation a few times with me guiding them with Osho’s words. Soon I left Poona. On my last visit they joked again about the “popping out of the body” meditation. The earlier tensions had disappeared. They were relaxed and grateful for Osho’s meditation. While I was away I heard that he left the body very peacefully, perhaps in part because this beautiful meditation from Osho.
Meditating just before sleep
When I was traveling around the world teaching I would sometimes listen to this meditation before sleep. It helped me to relax, let go into a deeper timeless space within. Osho says that when you meditate just before sleep, something of that meditation continues as an undercurrent throughout the whole night. Next morning when you awake, something of meditation can continue.
Many people say they fall asleep during the relaxation-meditation. This is quite natural.
On a humorous note, some women have said to me: “Gopal, I sleep with you almost every night. I fall asleep before the end of the recording and I wonder how it ends.”
Osho suggests a good time to do the meditation is before going to sleep. It can also be done at any time, in a safe place that supports letting go and relaxing. Once familiar with the meditation, people can use their own words, similar to what Osho says, speaking softly or silently to themselves. Many people like the feeling of being guided with the recording, without doing anything, just letting Osho’s words take them inwards.