The mind doesn’t stop. You stop!


Anando writes, “That was… a wonderful breakthrough. I stopped struggling and started enjoying watching my crazy mind, and then quite unexpectedly I started falling into silent gaps.”

Painting by Shivananda 2020
When I was first invited to try meditation, I was utterly ignorant about it. I had a vague idea that it was something to do with sitting in a rather torturous position and doing unnatural things with your breathing. (OK, it was the early seventies when ‘meditation’ was definitely considered something weird and exotic.)

I didn’t have a clue what it was supposed to do for you, and in fact it seemed a lot easier just to take drugs for a weird and exotic effect. But I was pretty desperate at the time (I was on major stress overload in my work and feeling massively under-supported in my marriage), so I thought why not give it a try.

My first experiences were with Dynamic Meditation in a London basement. It was done naked, with blindfolds – I guess this was an aberration of the London meditation leader, because I have never heard of that happening anywhere else.* I came every evening straight from my executive publishing job, so I felt a bit schizophrenic taking off my business suit and hopping up and down shouting ‘hoo’, stark naked.

I used to get very angry – I didn’t realise it was my own repressed emotions coming up – and I think I probably wouldn’t have returned after the first experience if I hadn’t already paid for a 2-week course of Dynamic. So I kept going, and very quickly I started to see the changes in my life. To my surprise (I was a lawyer and successful business woman, so was quite sceptical) I felt more grounded, less split inside, and definitely less neurotic. I quit my job and my husband, and started a whole new life. I have never looked back. And I can truly say that each year seems more and more incredible.

The beginning was certainly frustrating – it was easier to take off my clothes than take off my mind. I used to think that everyone else had a silent mind when they were meditating – just me, my mind seemed to be going even faster. I tried so many ways to stop it forcibly – like visualising erasing the words, or pulling down blinds over the words – but nothing helped and I felt rather hopeless about ever achieving a silent mind. Then I heard Osho say (they played an Osho discourse every evening after the meditation) that the mind doesn’t stop – by its nature it can’t stop – but you can step outside it and take some distance from it, as if you were watching a movie, or a stream of traffic on a distant road. It is a question of not being identified with the thoughts. Just letting them pass by without getting involved in them, as if they were someone else’s thoughts.

That was a great insight, a wonderful breakthrough. I stopped struggling and started enjoying watching my crazy mind, and then quite unexpectedly I started falling into silent gaps. What an experience – something beyond anything I had ever experienced on acid. And thus began an amazing exploration that is still continuing. An exploration in which different meditation techniques give me different experiences – experiences that I could never have dreamed about when I started. Experiences which have changed my life, especially my perceptions – not just of myself, but of others, of nature, and of the world. Experiences which change the quality of how I live my life, day to day.

First published in the Italian Osho Times –

Featured image by Shivananda (detail)
* Note by Osho News (7.12.2020): During meditations camps in the early seventies Osho had suggested meditators to strip off their clothes while doing Dynamic Meditation. This was then abandoned. It now comes to light that Osho had suggested to some centre leaders to continue this practice in the West, while other centres never heard of it or adopted it.


Anando is a group facilitator and writer.

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