Misunderstandings about Meditation


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Everybody seems to be meditating these days – it seems anything can be called a meditation, and the benefits are almost fantastic.

We can all become super effective, improve our brains, beings and our work and our relationships improve incredibly and our creativity blossoms and … does that sound almost too good to be true? Perhaps it is. In his years and years of teaching meditation, Osho often uses an approach to start with the misunderstandings, with misconceptions we have, ideas we think are true and we take for granted. Once the misunderstandings are removed and clarified, it seems easier to be open for the new.

Misunderstandings about Meditation

“Even a meditation can be wrong. People have a wrong notion that all meditations are right. It is not so. Meditations can be wrong. For example, any meditation that leads you deep into concentration is wrong and it will not result in compassion. You will become more and more closed rather than becoming open. If you narrow down your consciousness, if you concentrate on something and you exclude the whole of existence and become one-pointed, it will create more and more tension in you. Hence the word attention: it means “a tension.” Concentration, the very sound of the word, gives you a feeling of tenseness.

“Concentration has its uses, but it is not meditation. In scientific work, in scientific research, in the science lab, you need concentration. You have to concentrate on one problem and exclude everything else – so much so that you become almost unmindful of the remaining world. The one problem that you are concentrating upon is your world. That’s why scientists become absentminded. People who concentrate too much always become absentminded because they don’t know how to remain open to the whole world.

“I was reading an anecdote:

‘I have brought a frog,’ said a scientist, a professor of zoology, beaming at his class, ‘fresh from the pond, in order that we might study its outer appearance and later dissect it.’

He carefully unwrapped the package he carried and inside was a neatly prepared ham sandwich. The good professor looked at it with astonishment.

‘Odd!’ he said, ‘I distinctly remember having eaten my lunch.’

“That goes on happening to scientists: they become one-pointed and the whole mind becomes narrow. Of course, a narrow mind has its use: it becomes more penetrating, it becomes like a sharp needle, it hits exactly the right point – but it misses the great life that surrounds you.

“A buddha is not a man of concentration, he is a man of awareness. He has not been trying to narrow down his consciousness; on the contrary, he has been trying to drop all barriers so that he becomes totally available to existence. Watch: existence is simultaneous. I am speaking here and the traffic noise is simultaneous, the train, the birds, the wind blowing through the trees; in this moment, the whole of existence converges. You listening to me, I speaking to you, and millions of things are going on – it is tremendously rich.

“Concentration makes you one-pointed at a very great cost: ninety-nine percent of life is discarded.…

Concentration makes you one-pointed at a very great cost: ninety-nine percent of life is discarded.

Let me tell you a few basic things. One, meditation is not concentration but relaxation. One simply relaxes. One simply relaxes into oneself. The more you relax, the more you feel yourself open, vulnerable. The more you relax, the less rigid you are; you become more flexible and suddenly existence starts penetrating you. You are no longer like a rock, you have openings. Relaxation means allowing yourself to fall into a state where you are not doing anything, because if you are doing something, tension will continue. It is a state of non-doing: you simply relax and enjoy the feeling of relaxation.

“Relax into yourself. Just close your eyes and listen to all that is happening all around – no need to feel anything as a distraction. The moment you feel it is a distraction, you are denying existence. This moment existence has come to you as a bird – don’t deny it. It has knocked at your door as a bird. The next moment it has come as a dog barking, or as a child crying and weeping, or as a madman laughing. Don’t deny it, don’t reject it, accept – because if you deny you will become tense. “All denials create tension. Accept. If you want to relax, acceptance is the way. Accept whatsoever is happening all around, let it become an organic whole. It is! You may know it, you may not know it, but everything is interrelated. These birds, these trees, this sky, this sun, this earth, you, me, all are related. It is an organic unity. If the sun disappears, the trees will disappear; if the trees disappear, the birds will disappear; if the birds and trees disappear, you cannot be here, you will disappear. It is an ecology: everything is deeply related with everything else.

“So don’t deny anything because the moment you deny, you are denying something in you. If you deny these singing birds, then something in you is denied.…

“And when I say watch, don’t try to watch; otherwise you will become tense again and you will start concentrating on the breath. Simply relax, remain relaxed, loose. And look – because what else can you do? You are there, nothing to be done, everything accepted, nothing to be denied, rejected, no struggle, no fight, no conflict, breathing going deep – what can you do? Simply watch.”

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“Introspection is thinking about yourself. Self-remembering is not thinking at all: it is becoming aware about yourself. The difference is subtle, but very great.

“Western psychology insists on introspection, and Eastern psychology insists on self-remembering. When you introspect, what do you do? For example, you are angry: you start thinking about anger – how it is caused. You start analyzing why it is caused. You start judging whether it is good or bad. You start rationalizing that you had been angry because the situation was such. You brood about the anger, you analyze the anger, but the focus of attention is on the anger, not on the self. Your whole consciousness is focused on the anger – you are watching, analyzing, associating, thinking about it, thinking how to avoid it, how to get rid of it, how not to do it again. This is a thinking process. You will judge it “bad” because it is destructive. You will take a vow: “I will never commit the same mistake again.” You will try to control this anger through will. That’s why Western psychology has become analytical; it is analysis, dissection.

“The Eastern emphasis is not on the anger. The Eastern emphasis is on the self. To be aware when you are angry, to be so aware… Not to think, because thinking is a sleeping thing. You can think while you are fast asleep; there is no need for awareness. In fact, you continuously think without being at all aware. The thinking goes on and on and on. Even when you are fast asleep at night, the thinking continues, the mind goes on continuing its inner chatter. It is a mechanical thing.

“Eastern psychology says, ‘Be aware. Don’t try to analyze anger, there is no need. Just look at it, but look with awareness. Don’t start thinking.’ In fact, if you start thinking then thinking will become a barrier to looking at anger. Then thinking will garb it. Then thinking will be like a cloud surrounding it; the clarity will be lost. Don’t think at all. Be in a state of no-thought, and look.

“When there is not even a ripple of thinking between you and the anger, the anger is faced, encountered. You don’t dissect it. You don’t bother to go to its source because the source is in the past. You don’t judge it because the moment you judge, thinking starts. You don’t take a vow that ‘I will not do it’ because that vow leads you into the future. In awareness you remain with the feeling of anger – exactly here-now. You are not interested in changing it, you are not interested in thinking about it – you are interested in looking at it directly, face-to-face, immediate. Then it is self-remembering.

“This is the beauty of it: if you can look at anger it disappears. It not only disappears in that moment; the very disappearance of it by your deep look gives you the key – there is no need to use will, there is no need to make any decision for the future, and there is no need to go to the original source from which it comes. It is unnecessary. You have the key now: look at anger, and the anger disappears. And this look is available forever. Whenever anger is there you can look; then this looking grows deeper.

“There are three stages of looking. First, when the anger has already happened and gone; as if you look at a tail disappearing – an elephant has gone; only the tail is there. When the anger was there, you were so deeply involved in it you could not really be aware. When the anger has almost disappeared, ninety-nine percent gone – only one percent, the last part of it is going, disappearing into the horizon – then you become aware. This is the first state of awareness – good, but not enough.

“The second state is when the elephant is there – not the tail – when the situation is ripe. You are really angry to the peak, boiling, burning – then you become aware.

“Then there is still a third stage: the anger has not yet come, is still coming – not the tail but the head. It is just entering your area of consciousness and you become aware, then the elephant never materializes. You killed the animal before it was born. That is birth control! The phenomenon has not happened; then it leaves no trace.”

Source: Meditation – The First and Last Freedom, by Osho

Source: Meditation – The First and Last Freedom, by Osho  Suggested Reading: Meditation – The First and Last Freedom, by Osho