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What Is Meditation?

(Osho explains the basic steps that lead to the ultimate state of meditative awareness)


When you are not doing anything at all - bodily, mentally, on no level - when all activity has ceased and you simply are, just being, that′s what meditation is. You cannot do it, you cannot practice it; you have only to understand it.
Whenever you can find time for just being, drop all doing. Thinking is also doing, concentration is also doing, contemplation is also doing. Even if for a single moment you are not doing anything and you are just at your center, utterly relaxed - that is meditation. And once you have got the knack of it, you can remain in that state as long as you want; finally you can remain in that state for twenty-four hours a day.

Once you have become aware of the way your being can remain undisturbed, then slowly you can start doing things, keeping alert that your being is not stirred. That is the second part of meditation. First, learning how just to be, and then learning little actions: cleaning the floor, taking a shower, but keeping yourself centered. Then you can do complicated things.

For example, I am speaking to you, but my meditation is not disturbed. I can go on speaking, but at my very center there is not even a ripple; it is just silent, utterly silent.

So meditation is not against action.
It is not that you have to escape from life.
It simply teaches you a new way of life:
You become the center of the cyclone.
Your life goes on, it goes on really more intensely,
with more joy, with more clarity, more vision, more creativity,
yet you are aloof, just a watcher on the hills,
simply seeing all that is happening around you.
You are not the doer, you are the watcher.

That′s the whole secret of meditation, that you become the watcher. Doing continues on its own level, there is no problem: chopping wood, drawing water from the well. You can do all small and big things; only one thing is not allowed and that is, your centering should not be lost.
That awareness, that watchfulness, should remain absolutely unclouded, undisturbed.

(Osho in From Misery to Enlightenment #2)

The first step in awareness is to be very watchful of your body. Slowly slowly one becomes alert about each gesture, each movement. And as you become aware, a miracle starts happening: many things that you used to do before simply disappear, your body becomes more relaxed, your body becomes more attuned, a deep peace starts prevailing even in your body, a subtle music pulsates in your body.

Then start becoming aware of your thoughts; the same has to be done with the thoughts. They are more subtle than the body and of course, more dangerous too.
And when you become aware of your thoughts, you will be surprised at what goes on inside you. If you write down whatsoever is going on at any moment, you are in for a great surprise. You will not believe ′This is what is going on inside me.′ Just for ten minutes go on writing. Close the doors, lock the doors and the windows so nobody can come in, so you can be totally honest, and keep a fire so you can throw it in the fire! (laughter), so nobody will know except you. And then be truly honest, go on writing whatsoever is going on inside the mind. Don′t interpret it, don′t change it, don′t edit it. Just put it on the paper as naked as it is, exactly as it is.

And after ten minutes you read it - you will see a mad mind inside! We are not aware that this whole madness goes on running like an undercurrent. It affects everything that is significant in your life. It affects whatsoever you are doing; it affects whatsoever you are not doing, it affects everything. And the sum total of it is going to be your life! So this madman has to be changed. And the miracle of awareness is that you need not do anything except to become aware.
The very phenomenon of watching it, changes it. Slowly slowly the madman disappears, slowly slowly the thoughts start falling into a certain pattern: their chaos is no more, they become more of a cosmos; and then again, a deeper peace prevails. And when your body and your mind are at peace you will see that they are attuned to each other too, there is a bridge. Now they are not running in different directions, they are not riding on different horses. For the first time there is accord and that accord helps immensely to work on the third step - that is, becoming aware of your feelings, emotions, moods. That is the subtlest layer and the most difficult, but if you can be aware of the thoughts then it is just one step more. A little more intense awareness is reeded as you start reflecting your moods, your emotions, your feelings.

Once you are aware of all these three, they all become joined into one phenomenon. And when all these three are one, functioning together, perfectly, humming; together, you can feel the music of all three - they have become an orchestra. Then the fourth happens, which you cannot do - it happens of its own accord. It is a gift from the whole. It is a reward, for those who have done these three.

And the fourth is the ultimate awareness that makes one awakened. One becomes aware of one′s awareness - that is the fourth. That makes one a Buddha, the awakened. And only in that awakening one comes to know what bliss is. The body knows pleasure, the mind knows happiness, the heart knows joy, the fourth knows bliss. Bliss is the goal of sannyas and awareness is the path towards it.

(Osho - The Old Pond... Plop #22 (darshan diary)