Sitting silently in our increasingly busy world can be a challenge, and often tiredness is all we can manage while attempting it, or we’re so bothered by thoughts that we just give up. Trying to be silent does not work. That’s where the active meditations devised by Osho come in – total activity leading to passivity.
“Don’t try to be passive because effort belongs to activity. Nobody can try to be passive. Then what to do? – be totally active, and then passivity comes. It follows like a shadow, it has to come. Think perfectly and then no-thinking comes. You cannot drop thinking. Nothing can be dropped which is incomplete, only the perfect can be dropped. In fact, the perfect drops itself automatically.
“Be active. The activity itself creates the situation in which passivity happens. If you have been active the whole day, totally active whatsoever you were doing – digging a hole in the garden or working in a factory or in a shop or teaching in a school. Whatsoever you are doing, do it totally, and when the evening comes and the sun sets you will have a passivity descending upon you. That passivity is beautiful, it is as beautiful as activity. Nothing to choose! Both are beautiful and both are needed.
“Don’t try to be passive. How can you try to be passive? You can sit like a buddha, but that passivity will just be skin deep. Deep down you will be in a turmoil, you will be boiling, a volcano – you can erupt at any moment. You can force the body to sit silently – how will you force the being? The being goes on and on and on. That’s why you cannot stop thinking. People sit in zazen for years, twenty years, twenty-five years, sitting for six hours, continuously just trying to make the mind silent, and it goes on working, goes on working, goes on working.
“Hence my emphasis on active meditations. That’s a balance. First, be active so totally that passivity follows automatically. When you have been active and the whole energy has moved, you would like to rest. If you have not been active, how can rest follow?
“Logic will say something absolutely different. Logic will say, ‘Practice rest the whole day, so in the night you can rest beautifully.’
Mulla Nasruddin went to his doctor. Coughing, he entered. The doctor said, ‘Still coughing? But it seems better.’
Nasruddin said, ‘It has to, because the whole night I practiced it.’
“If the whole day you practice rest, don’t expect any sleep in the night. Practicing rest will not bring more rest; practicing rest will bring activity. Then lying on your bed you will think, and move from this side to that. You will be doing exercises the whole night. And if you force your body then the mind will have to substitute, then the mind will go on in nightmares.
“No, a wise man balances, and he knows life balances itself. If you do one – but totally, so nothing is left, the whole energy has enjoyed activity – then rest is automatic, then rest follows. And when you enjoy rest then activity follows, because when you rest you gain energy, you become rejuvenated. Then the whole body is filled, flooded with energy. Now, again you have to share it, and in activity you have to release it. Again you will be filled.
“It is just like clouds: they have to rain, again they will be filled – the ocean is there to fill them. They have to rain, again they will be filled. The river has to pour itself into the ocean, it will be filled again. The more it pours, the more it will be filled.”
Excerpt from: OSHO: Hsin Hsin Ming: The Zen Understanding of Mind and Consciousness