A flower that has never known the sun and a flower that has encountered the sun are not the same.
They cannot be. A flower that has never known the sunrise has never known the sun to rise within itself. It is dead; it is just a potentiality. It has never known its own spirit. But a flower that has seen the sun rise has also seen something arise within itself. It has known its own soul. Now the flower is not just a flower; it has known a deep, stirring innerness.
How can we create this innerness within ourselves? Buddha invented a method, one of the most powerful methods, for creating an inner sun of awareness. And not only for creating it: the method is such that it not only creates this inner awareness but simultaneously allows the awareness to penetrate to the very cells of the body, to the whole of one's being. The method that Buddha used is known as Anapana-sati Yoga - the yoga of incoming and outgoing breath awareness.
We are breathing, but it is unconscious breathing. Breath is prana, breath is the elan vital - the vitality, the very life - and yet it is unconscious; you are not aware of it. And if you had to be aware of breathing in order to breathe, you would die. Sooner or later you would forget: you cannot continuously remember anything.
Breathing is a link between our voluntary and our involuntary systems. We can control our breathing to a certain extent, we can even stop our breathing for a while, but we cannot stop it permanently. It goes on without us; it does not depend on us. Even if you are in a coma for months, you will go on breathing; it is an unconscious mechanism.
Buddha used breath as a vehicle to do two things simultaneously: one, to create consciousness, and another, to allow that consciousness to penetrate to the very cells of the body. He said, "Breathe consciously." This does not mean to do pranayama - yogic breathing; it is just to make breath an object of awareness, without changing it.
There is no need to change your breath. Leave it as it is, natural; do not change it. But when you breathe in, breathe consciously; let your consciousness move with the ingoing breath. And when the breath goes out, let your consciousness move out with it.
Move with the breath. Let your attention be with the breath; flow with it. Do not forget even a single breath. Buddha is reported to have said that if you can be aware of your breath for even a single hour, you are already enlightened. But not a single breath should be missed.
One hour is enough. It looks like such a small fragment of time, but it is not. When you are trying to be aware, an hour can seem like a millennium, because ordinarily you cannot be aware for more than five or six seconds. Only a very alert person can be aware for even that long. Most of us miss every second. You may start by being aware as the breath is going in, but no sooner has it gone in when you are somewhere else. Suddenly you remember that the breath is going out. It has already gone out, but you were somewhere else.
To be conscious of the breath means that no thoughts can be allowed, because thoughts will distract your attention. Buddha never says, "Stop thinking." He says, "Breathe consciously." Automatically, thinking will stop; you cannot both think and breathe consciously. When a thought comes into your mind, your attention is withdrawn from the breathing. A single thought and you have become unconscious of the breathing process.
Buddha used this technique. It is a simple one, but a very vital one. He would say to his bhikkhus, his monks, "Do whatsoever you are doing, but do not forget a simple thing: remember the incoming and the outgoing breath. Move with it, flow with it."
The more you try to do it, the more you endeavor to do it, the more conscious you will become. It is arduous, it is difficult, but once you can do it, you will have become a different person, a different being in a different world.
This works in another way, too. When you consciously breathe in and out, by and by you come to your center, because your breath touches the very center of your being. Every moment that the breath goes in, it touches the center of your being.
Physiologically you think that breath is just for the purification of the blood, that it is just a bodily function. But if you begin to be aware of your breath, by and by you will go deeper than physiology.
Then one day you will begin to feel your center, right near your navel.
This center can be felt only if you move with the breath continuously, because the nearer you reach to the center, the more difficult it will be to remain aware. You can start when the breath is going in. When it is just entering your nose, begin to be aware of it. The more inward it moves, the more difficult awareness will become. A thought will come, or some sound, or something will happen, and you will move away.
If you can go to the very center, for a brief moment breath stops and there is a gap. The breath goes in, the breath goes out: between the two there is a subtle gap. That gap is your center.
Only after practicing breath awareness for a long time - when you are finally able to remain with the breath, to be aware of the breath - will you become aware of the gap when there is no movement of breath; breath is neither coming in nor going out. In the subtle gap between breaths, you are at your center. So breath awareness was used by Buddha as a means of coming nearer and nearer to the center.
When you breathe out, remain conscious of the breath. Again there is a gap. There are two gaps:
one gap after the breath has come in and before it goes out again, and another gap after the breath has gone out and before it comes in again. This second gap is more difficult to be aware of.
Between the incoming breath and the outgoing breath is your center. But there is another center, the cosmic center. You may call it "god." In the gap between when the breath goes out and when it comes in is the cosmic center. These two centers are not two different things. First you will become aware of your inner center, and then you will become aware of the outer center. Ultimately, you will come to know that both these centers are one. Then "out" and "in" will lose their meaning.
Buddha says, "Move consciously with the breath and you will create a center of awareness within you." Once this center is created, awareness begins to move to your very cells, because every cell needs oxygen, every cell breathes, so to speak.
Now scientists say that even the earth breathes. When the whole universe is breathing in, it expands; when the whole universe breathes out, it contracts. In old Hindu mythological scriptures, puranas, it is said that creation is Brahma's one breath - incoming breath - and destruction, pralaya, the end of the world, will be the outgoing breath. One breath is one creation.
In a very miniature way, in a very atomic way, the same thing is happening in you. And when your awareness becomes one with breathing, breathing takes your awareness to your very cells. Then your whole body becomes the universe. Really, then you have no material body at all. You are just awareness.
TWENTY-ONE-DAY EXPERIMENT IN SILENCE AND SECLUSION
It is helpful to practice breath awareness for twenty-one days in total seclusion and silence. Then, much will happen.
During the twenty-one-day experiment, practice Dynamic Meditation once a day and constant awareness of breathing for twenty-four hours a day. Do not read, do not write, do not think, because all these acts are of the mental body; they are not concerned with the etheric body.
You can go for a walk. This helps because walking is part of the etheric body; all manual actions are concerned with the prana sharira, the etheric body. The physical body does these things, but it is for the etheric body. Everything concerned with the etheric body should be done, and everything concerned with another body must not be done. You can also have a bath once or twice a day; it is concerned with the etheric body.
When you go for a walk, just walk. Do not do anything else; just be concerned with your walking.
And while walking, keep your eyes half-closed. Half-closed eyes cannot see anything other than the path, and the path itself is so monotonous that it will not give you something new to think about.
You must remain in a monotonous world, just in one room, seeing the same floor. It must be so monotonous that you cannot think about it. Thinking needs stimuli; thinking needs new sensations.
If your sensory system is constantly bored, there will be nothing outside of you to think about.
During the first week you may feel less need of sleep. Do not be concerned about it. Because you are not thinking, because you are not doing many of the things that you ordinarily do, you will need less sleep. And if you are constantly aware of your breathing, so much energy will be generated in you, you will become so vital, that you will not feel sleepy. So if sleep comes it is alright; if it doesn't come it is alright. If you do not sleep it will not be harmful.
There are many reasons why awareness of breath will create more energy in you. First, when you watch the breathing, the breathing becomes rhythmic. It will follow its own rhythm. A harmony will be created and the whole of the being will become musical. This "rhythmic-ness," this rhythm, conserves energy.
Ordinarily our breathing is not rhythmic; it is haphazard. This causes an unnecessary leakage of energy. Rhythm, harmony, creates a storage of energy. And because you are constantly aware, breath awareness itself begins to take only a minimal amount of energy. You are not doing anything; it is a nondoing. You are just aware.
The moment you begin to do something, even to think, doing has come in. Now energy will be wasted. If you move your body, doing has come in; energy will be wasted. Twenty-four hours of constant awareness means a minimal wastage of energy, so energy is conserved; you become a storehouse of energy. This energy will be used in kundalini.
Ordinarily, so much energy is wasted during the day that there is not enough energy left to raise kundalini. Not much energy is needed in order for the energy to move downward, but to raise energy upward you need a great storage of energy. Only then can the gates open upward; otherwise not.
So those who have little energy left only have sex as an outlet for it.
We usually think of a sexual person as being very vital, but that is not so. A very vital person is not sexual, because when energy is overflowing it moves upward. Sexuality requires energy, but only a very small quantity of it. When there is very little energy it cannot move upward; then moving down, toward the sex center, is the only possibility.
Energy needs to move continually. It cannot be static; it must move. If it cannot move upward, it will move downward; there is no choice then. But if it can move upward, then the downward passage will eventually stop by itself. It is not that you will stop energy from being released through the sex center, but it will stop by itself because the energy is moving upward.
If you are constantly watching your breath, all doing stops and energy is conserved. But there is another point to be made, and that is that the very observation - the awareness, the alertness - also helps the life force to become more vital within you. It is as if someone is watching you. If someone is watching you, you become more vital; laziness disappears.
That is why leaders feel vital. The crowd is always there to observe, and the very observation makes them vital. The moment the crowd has forgotten them - no sooner are they forgotten than they are dead. The happiness of being a leader, of being a public man, a crowd-watched personality, is because of the feeling of vitality that comes through people's observation. The vitality does not come because of the observation itself, but because, with so many people observing you, you become more alert about yourself. And this alertness becomes vitality.
So when you become aware of your breathing, when you begin to observe yourself, the innermost source of vitality is touched. Therefore, if sleep is lost, do not become anxious about it. It is natural.
If there are upheavals in your mind - if things come to your mind which you have never thought about before - images, stories - then, too, do not become anxious; just watch them. So much that is in the unconscious is being released; before it is thrown out, it must come to the conscious mind.
If you suppress these things they will become unconscious again. On the other hand, if you are too concerned with them you will waste unnecessary energy. So just go on watching your breath, and at the periphery, in the background, go on watching indifferently everything that happens.
Just be indifferent to these things. Do not be concerned at all; just go on witnessing your breathing.
You will be witnessing your breathing, but on the periphery things will be happening. Thoughts will be there, vibrations will be there, but only on the periphery - not at the center. At the center you are just watching your breath.
So much will come to you: things that are absurd, illogical, unimaginable, inconceivable, fantastic, nightmarish. You must go on watching your breath. Let these things come and go; just be indifferent to them. It is as if you are going for a walk. The street is full of people. They pass by, but you are indifferent to them; you are not concerned with them. Then these images and fantasies will be released and, by the end of the first week, a new silence will come to you. The moment the unconscious is unburdened, there will be no more inner noise. Silence will come to you, a deep inner silence.
You may experience moments of depression. If a deep-rooted feeling of depression has been suppressed in the unconscious, it will come and overwhelm you. It will not be a thought, it will be a mood. Not only thoughts will be coming to you, but moods, too, will be coming. Sometimes you will feel exhilarated, sometimes you will feel depressed or bored, but be as indifferent to these moods as you are indifferent to thoughts. Let them come and go. They will go by themselves so do not be concerned with them. Moods, too, have been suppressed in the unconscious. During the twenty-one days of the experiment they will be released, and then you will experience something that you have never experienced before - something new, something unknown.
Each individual will experience something different. There are many possibilities, but whatever happens, don't be afraid; there is no need to be. Even if you feel that you are dying, no matter how strong that feeling is, no matter how sure you are of it, accept it. Thoughts, feelings, moods, will be so acute, so real. Just accept them. If you feel that death is coming, then welcome it - and go on watching your breath.
It is hard to be indifferent to feelings, but if you can be indifferent to your thoughts and moods, it will happen. You may feel as if death is coming: within a moment you will die - there is no other possibility. There is nothing you can do about it, so accept it, welcome it; and the moment you have welcomed it, you have become indifferent to it. If you fight it, you distort everything.
You may feel as if death is coming, or you may feel that you have become ill. You have not become ill. The feeling of being ill, or of dying, is just part of your unconscious that is being released. Many illnesses will be felt that were unknown a moment before. Be indifferent to any illness and go on doing what you are doing: go on watching your breath. The breath must be watched no matter what you are thinking, no matter what you are feeling, no matter what is happening.
After the first week you will begin to have some psychic experiences. The body may become very big or very small. Sometimes it will disappear, it will evaporate, and you will be bodiless. Do not be afraid. There will be moments when you cannot find where your body is - it is not - and moments when you will see your body lying or sitting at a distance away from you. Again, do not be afraid.
You may feel electrical shocks. Every time a new chakra is penetrated, there will be shocks and tremblings; the whole body will be in a turmoil. Do not resist; cooperate with these reactions. If you resist, you will be fighting against yourself. Shocks, trembling, a feeling of electricity, heat, cold - anything felt on your chakras you must cooperate with. You yourself have invited it, so do not resist it. If you resist it, your energies will be in conflict, so cooperate with any psychic experiences that you may have.
Sometimes you may not feel that you are breathing. It is not that breath has stopped, but that it has become so natural, so silent, so rhythmic, that it is not felt. We only feel disease. When you have a headache, you feel that you have a head, but when there is no headache you don't feel your head.
The head is there, but you cannot feel it. And in the same way, when our breathing is discordant, unnatural, we feel it, but when it has become natural it is not felt. It is not felt, but it is there.
As you continue to watch your breath, the breath will become more and more subtle. But awareness, too, will become more subtle, because you will be continuing to watch this subtle breath. And when there is no breath, you will be aware of this "no breathness," you will be aware of this harmony; then awareness will penetrate even more deeply. The more subtle the breath is, the more aware you will have to become so that you can be aware of it.
Go on being aware, and if you feel that there is no breath, then be aware of your "no breath." Do not try to breathe; just be aware of "no breathness." This will be a very blissful moment.
The more subtle the awareness, the more it goes into the etheric body. When you are watching your breath, first there is an awareness of your physical breath. You are aware of your physical body and the breathing mechanism. When the breath becomes subtle and harmonious, then you become aware of your etheric body. Then you may feel that now there is no breath, but the breath is still there. It may not be as much there as it was because your needs are not so great now, but it is still there.
You may have noticed that if you are in anger then you need more oxygen, and if you are not in anger you do not need so much. If you are in sexual passion you need more breath. So the quantity of breath will go down or up with your needs. If you are completely silent, then only a very small quantity of air will be enough - just enough to be alive.
Just be aware of this situation. You were aware of breathing; now be aware of a situation where no breath is felt. Whatever happens, be aware of it. Awareness must be there. If nothing is felt, then you must be aware of your no-feeling. Nothing is being felt, but awareness must be there.
Do not go to sleep now, because this is the very moment for which you were longing. If you go to sleep, you have wasted the time that has been spent bringing you to this point. Now be aware of what is happening. There is no breath; be aware of it. In total stillness the breath is almost nonexistent. Very little is needed, and only that much comes to you. The quantity has fallen much and the harmony has risen much, so you do not feel it.
If you go on watching your breath and being indifferent to everything that is happening, then the third week will be a week of complete nothingness. It will be as if everything has died, as if everything has gone into nonexistence, and only nothingness remains.
Do not stop the experiment before the twenty-one days are over. After the first week you may want to stop it. Your mind may say, "This is nonsense. Leave." Do not listen to it. Just tell yourself once and for all that for twenty-one days there is nowhere else to go.
After the third week you may not want to leave. If your mind is so blissful that you do not want to disturb it, if only nothingness, blissfulness is there - if you are just a vacuum - then you can prolong the experiment for two or three or four more days. But do not break it before the twenty-one days are over.
Anything that you want to make a note of you must do after you have come out of seclusion, not before that. Then if you want to, sit down for a day or two and write down everything. But within these twenty-one days, nothing should be written. Do not even try to remember anything. All that has happened will be there, and will be clearer because the mind is not trying to remember it.
You can forget a thing if you have tried to remember it, but you cannot forget a thing that you have not tried to remember. Then it comes to you totally. And if it is not coming, it means it is useless - so let it go.
Everything that is nonuseful remains with you. You try to remember much that is useless and do not understand that it is useless. But the mind works automatically: all that is worth remembering is always remembered. So do not try to remember anything; there is no need. You will remember whatever has happened to you. Whatever is worth remembering will be with you when the experiment is finished.
So go and begin it as soon as you can.
The unconscious is not really unconscious; rather, it is less conscious. So the difference between the conscious and the unconscious is a difference only of degree. They are not polar opposites; they are related, joined.
Because of our false system of logic we divide everything into polar opposites. Logic says either yes or no, either light or darkness; as far as logic goes there is nothing in between. But life is neither white nor black; rather, it is a great expanse of gray.
So when I say "conscious" and "unconscious," I do not mean that the two are in opposition to each other. For Freud, conscious is conscious and unconscious is unconscious - it is the difference between black and white, between yes and no, between life and death. But when I say "unconscious"
I mean "less conscious"; when I say "conscious" I mean "less unconscious"; they overlap each other.
How can we encounter the unconscious? As far as Freud is concerned the encounter is impossible.
If you had asked Freud how to encounter the unconscious he would have said, "It is nonsense; you cannot encounter it. And if you encounter it, it is conscious, because encountering is a conscious phenomenon." But if you ask me how to encounter the unconscious I will say, "There are ways to encounter it." For me, the first thing to be noted is that unconscious simply means "less conscious."
So if you grow more conscious, you can encounter it.
Secondly, conscious and unconscious are not fixed boundaries. They change every moment - just like the pupil of your eye. If there is more light, the pupil is narrowed; if there is less light, it widens.
It constantly creates an equilibrium with the light outside. And your consciousness is constantly changing in the same way. Really, to understand the phenomenon of consciousness by the analogy of the eye is very relevant, because consciousness is the inner eye, the eye of the soul. So, just like your eye, your consciousness is constantly expanding or shrinking.
For example, if you are angry you become more unconscious. Unconsciousness is now more widespread, and only a very small part of you remains conscious. Sometimes even that part is not there and you have become completely unconscious. On the other hand, in a sudden accident - if you are on the road and suddenly you feel that an accident is going to occur; you are on the verge of death - you become completely conscious, and there is no unconsciousness at all. Suddenly the whole mind is conscious. So this change is continuously taking place.
When I say conscious and unconscious, I do not mean that there are any fixed boundaries between the two. There are none; it is a fluctuating phenomenon. It depends on you whether you are less conscious or more conscious. You can create consciousness: you can train and discipline yourself for more consciousness or for less consciousness.
If you train yourself for less consciousness you will never be able to encounter the unconscious.
Really, you will become incapable of encountering it. When someone takes drugs or an intoxicant, he is training his mind to be totally unconscious. When you go to sleep, or if you are hypnotized or you hypnotize yourself, you lose consciousness. There are many ways, and many of the ways that help you to be more unconscious are even known as religious practices. Anything that creates boredom creates unconsciousness.
There are many methods to help you to encounter the unconscious. I will suggest a simple exercise that will help you to encounter it.
At night, before you go to bed, close the doors of your room and put a big mirror in front of you. The room must be completely dark. Then put a small flame by the side of the mirror in such a way that the flame is not directly reflected in the mirror. Just your face should be reflected in the mirror, not the flame.
Stare constantly into your own eyes in the mirror. Do not blink. This is a forty-minute experiment, and within two or three days you will be able to keep your eyes from blinking for the whole forty minutes. Even if tears come, let them come, but still do not blink and go on staring into the eyes.
Within two or three days you will become aware of a very strange phenomenon: your face will begin to take on new shapes. You may even be scared. The face in the mirror will begin to change; sometimes a very different face will be there - one which you have not known as yours. But all the faces that come to you belong to you. Now the subconscious mind is beginning to explode: these faces, these masks, are yours. And sometimes you may even see a face that belonged to you in a past life.
After one week of constant practice - staring for forty minutes every night - your face will be a constant flux. Many faces will be coming and going constantly. After three weeks you will not be able to remember which one is your face. You will not be able to remember your own face, because you have seen so many different faces coming and going.
If you continue, then one day, after three weeks or so, the strangest thing will happen: suddenly there will be no face in the mirror! The mirror will be vacant. You are staring into emptiness; there will be no face there at all.
This is the moment! Close your eyes and encounter the unconscious. When there is no face in the mirror, just close the eyes. This is the most significant moment: close the eyes, look inside, and you will face the unconscious. You will be naked, completely naked - as you are; all deceptions will fall.
This is your reality, but society has created so many layers in order that you will not be aware of it.
And once you know yourself in your nakedness, your total nakedness, you will begin to be a different person. Then you cannot deceive yourself; now you know what you are.
Unless you know what you are you can never be transformed. Only this naked reality can be transformed. And, really, just the will to transform it will effect the transformation.
As you are, you cannot transform yourself. You can change one false face to another false face - a thief can become a monk, a criminal can become a saint - but these are not really transformations.
Transformation means becoming that which you really are.
The moment you face the unconscious, encounter the unconscious, you are face to face with your reality, with your authentic being. The false societal being is not there: your name is not there, your form is not there, your face is not there. Only the naked reality of your nature is there, and with this naked reality transformation is possible.
This mirror-gazing technique is a very powerful method - very powerful - to know one's own abyss and to know one's own naked reality. And once you have known it, you have become the master of it. tratak When doing tratak you are to stare continuously, without blinking, for thirty to forty minutes. Your whole consciousness must come to the eyes; you must become the eyes. Forget everything; forget the rest of your body, just be the eyes and continually stare without blinking.
When the whole of your consciousness is centered in the eyes you will come to a peak of tension, a climax of tension. Your eyes are the most delicate part of you, that is why they can become more tense than any other part. And with tension in the eyes, the whole mind will be tense; the eyes are just doors to the mind. When you become the eyes and the eyes reach a peak of tension, the mind, too, reaches a climax of tension. When you fall down from that climax you fall effortlessly into the abyss of relaxation. Tratak creates one of the most tense peaks possible in the consciousness.
From that peak the opposite will happen spontaneously, relaxation will happen spontaneously.
When you are doing tratak, thinking will stop automatically. By and by your consciousness will become more centered in the eyes. You will just be aware; there will be no thinking. Eyes cannot think. When the whole consciousness is centered in the eyes, the mind has no energy left for thinking. There is no mind - only the eyes exist - so there is no thinking.
The moments when your eyes want to blink are the moments to watch out for. The mind is trying to get energy back to think; it is trying to divert consciousness away from the eyes and back to the mind. That is why constant staring, fixed staring, is needed. Even a single movement of the eyes gives energy to the mind, so do not move the eyes at all. Your gaze must remain absolutely fixed.
When you are staring with no movement of the eyes, the mind is also fixed; the mind moves with the eyes. Eyes are the doors: doors that belong to the inside mind and also to the outside world. If the eyes are totally fixed, the mind stops; it cannot move.
This technique begins from the eyes, because to begin from the mind is difficult. It is hard to control the mind but eyes are outer things, you can control them. So keep your gaze absolutely fixed, staring without blinking. When your eyes are still, your mind will become still.
You can use a mantra to still the mind, to make the mind totally silent. You go on repeating some name: Rama, Krishna or Jesus. The mantra can help to make you unoccupied with other words, but once the mind has become silent and still, then this name - Rama, Krishna, or Jesus - will become a hindrance. It becomes a replacement, a substitute. All other words are thrown away, but then this word continues in a crazy way. You become attached to it; you cannot drop it. It has become a habit, a deep occupation.
So begin with japa, mantra repitition, but then come to a state where japa is not needed and can be thrown. Use "Rama" to dispel all other words from the mind, but when all other words have been dispelled, do not retain this word. It is also a word, so throw it.
This throwing becomes difficult. One begins to feel guilty about discarding the mantra because it has helped so much. But now this help has become a hindrance. Throw it! Means must not become the end.
WHEN I MEDITATE I USUALLY REPEAT A MANTRA OR A NAMOKAR, BUT THE MIND REMAINS RESTLESS. HOW CAN ONE BEST OCCUPY ONE'S MIND WHILE MEDITATING?
The need to occupy time is the need of the nonmeditative mind, so you should first understand why you have this need. Why can't you be unoccupied, what is this need to be occupied constantly? Is it just an escape from yourself?
The moment you are unoccupied you have only yourself, you fall back on yourself. That is why you have to be occupied. This need to be occupied is just an escape, but this is a necessity for the nonmeditative mind.
The nonmeditative mind is constantly occupied with others. When others are not there, then what is to be done? You do not know how to be occupied by yourself. You are not even aware that you can live with yourself. You have always lived with others and others and others, so now, in meditation, when you are not with others and you are alone - though it is not really being alone - you begin to feel lonely. Loneliness is the absence of others; aloneness is the presence of oneself.
You begin to feel lonely, and you have to be filled with something. A namokar can do that; anything can do that. But unless you have a meditative mind, if you continue a namokar or any other repetition it is just a crutch and it has to be thrown.
If you are doing something of this sort, it is better to use a one-word mantra, such as rama or aum, than something long like a namokar. With one word you will feel less occupied than with many words, because with the changing of words, the mind also changes. With one word you will be bored, and boredom is good because then it is easy to drop the whole thing at some point. So rather than using a namokar, it is better to use one word, and if you can use a word that is meaningless it is still better, because even the meaning becomes a distraction.
When you have to throw something out, then you should be aware that you have to throw it. You must not be too attached to it. So use one word, one thing, something that is meaningless - for example, hoo. It has no meaning. Aum is basically the same, but it has begun to have meaning now because we have been associating it with something divine.
The sound should be meaningless, just a meaningless word. It must not convey anything, because the moment something is conveyed the mind is fed. The mind is fed not by words but by meanings.
So use some word like hoo; it is a meaningless sound.
And, really, hoo is more than a meaningless sound, because with hoo an inner tension is created.
With the sound hoo something is being thrown out. So use a word that is throwing something out, which is throwing you out, not one which is giving you something.
Use hoo. With hoo you will feel that something is being thrown out. Use the word when the breath is going out and then make the incoming breath the gap. Balance it: hoo, then the incoming breath as the gap... then again, hoo. The word should be meaningless; it should be a sound rather than a word. And emphasize the outgoing breath. The word, the sound, has to be thrown in the end, so it should not be taken with the ingoing breath.
This is very subtle. Just throw the sound out as if you are throwing out some excreta, as if you are throwing something out of you; then it cannot become food. Remember always, and remember deeply, that anything which goes in with the ingoing breath becomes food - anything, even a sound, becomes food - and everything which goes out with the outgoing breath is excreta. It is just thrown out. So with the ingoing breath, always be vacant, empty; then you are not giving the mind any new food.
The mind is taking in subtle foods even with sounds, words, and meanings - with everything.
Experiment with this. When you are feeling sexual, when you are in a sexual fantasy, use this hoo with the outgoing breath. Within moments you will feel beyond sex, because something is being thrown out, a very subtle thing is being thrown out. If you are angry then use this sound, and within seconds there will be no anger.
If you are feeling sexual and you use this same sound with the ingoing breath, you will feel more sexual. If you are feeling angry and you use this same hoo with the ingoing breath, you will feel more angry. Then you will become aware of how even a simple sound affects your mind, and how it affects it differently with the ingoing breath or the outgoing breath.
When you see someone beautiful, lovely, someone who is your beloved, and you want to touch her body, touch it with the outgoing breath and you will feel nothing; but touch her with the ingoing breath and you will feel a fascination. With the ingoing breath the touch becomes a food, but with the outgoing breath it is not a food at all. Take someone's hand in yours and only feel the hand with the ingoing breath. Let the outgoing breath be empty. Then you will know that touch is a food.
That is why a child who has been raised without a mother, or who has not been touched and fondled by his mother, is lacking something. He will never be able to love anyone if he has not been touched and fondled and cuddled by his mother, because that subtle touch is food for the child. It creates many things in him. If no one has touched him lovingly, he will not be able to love anyone, because he doesn't know what "food" is lacking, that some vital thing is lacking.
So I do not say not to touch a woman. I say, "Touch, but with the outgoing breath." And when the ingoing breath is coming, just be aware, be in the gap; do not feel the touch. Go on touching, but do not feel the touch.
Be aware of the sensation when the breath is going out and then you will be aware of the secret of breath - why it has been called prana, the vital force. Breath is the most vital thing. If you eat your meal with an emphasis on the outgoing breath, then no matter how good the food is it will not be a food for your body. Even if you eat very much, there will be no nutrition if your emphasis is on the outgoing breath. So eat with the ingoing breath and let there be a gap when the breath is going out.
Then, with a very small quantity of food, you can be more alive.
Remember this sound hoo with the outgoing breath. It destroys the restlessness of the mind. But this, too, is a crutch and soon, if you are doing meditation regularly, you will feel that there is no need for it. And not only is there no need, but it will become a disturbance, a positive disturbance.
To be unoccupied is one of the most beautiful things in the world, to be unoccupied is the greatest luxury. And if you can afford to be unoccupied, you will become an emperor. It is out of those moments when we are occupied that sometimes there will come a moment when we are unoccupied - totally unoccupied. It is not only unnecessary to go on being occupied all the time; in the end it becomes harmful.
It is madness to destroy an unoccupied state, because that is the very moment that you enter into timelessness. With occupation you can never transcend time, with occupation you can never transcend space. But if you are unoccupied, totally unoccupied - not even occupied with yourself, not even meditating: you just are - that is the moment that is the peak moment of spiritual existence, of bliss. That is satchitananda.
The first part of the word is sat. It means existence; you are just existing. Then you become conscious of this existence - not only conscious, you become consciousness, chit and existence both. Existence becomes consciousness... and bliss, ananda, follows.
It is not just a feeling; you become bliss, existence, and consciousness simultaneously. We use three words because we cannot express it in one word. You are all three simultaneously.
So look forward to the unoccupied moments. You can use crutches, such as a mantra, but do not be happy about it - and know that ultimately they must be thrown.
A TECHNIQUE OF VISUALIZATION
Mind itself means projection, so unless you transcend the mind, whatever you come to experience is projection. Mind is the projecting mechanism. If you experience any visions of light, of bliss, even of the divine, these are all projections. Unless you come to a total stopping of the mind you are not beyond projections; you are projecting. When mind ceases, only then are you beyond the danger.
When there is no experience, no visions, nothing objective - the consciousness remaining as a pure mirror with nothing reflected in it - only then are you beyond the danger of projections.
Projections are of two types. One type of projection will lead you to more and more projection. It is a positive projection; you can never go beyond it. The other type of projection is negative. It is a projection, but it helps you to go beyond projections.
In meditation you use the projecting faculty of the mind as a negative effort. Negative projections are good: it is just like one thorn being pulled out by another thorn or one poison being destroyed by another poison. But you must be constantly aware that the danger remains until everything ceases, even these negative projections, even these visions. If you are experiencing something, I will not say it is meditation; it is still contemplation, it is still a thought process. However subtle, it is still thinking. When only consciousness remains with no thought - just an unclouded, open sky - when you cannot say what "I" am experiencing, this much can be said: I am.
The famous maxim of Descartes, "Cogito ergo sum - I think; therefore, I am," in meditation becomes "Sum ergo sum - I am; therefore, I am." This "I am-ness" precedes all thinking; you are before you think. Thinking comes later on; your being precedes it, so being cannot be inferred from thinking.
You can be without thinking, but thinking cannot be without you, so thinking cannot be the basis upon which your existence can be proved.
Experiences, visions, anything felt objectively, is part of thinking. Meditation means total cessation of the mind, of thinking, but not of consciousness. If consciousness also ceases, you are not in meditation but in deep sleep; that is the difference between deep sleep and meditation.
In deep sleep projection also ceases. Thinking will not be there, but simultaneously, consciousness will also be absent. In meditation projections cease, thinking ceases, thoughts are no more there - just like in deep sleep - but there is consciousness. You are aware of this phenomenon: of total absence around you, of no objects around you. And when there are no objects to be known, felt and experienced, for the first time you begin to feel yourself. This is a nonobjective experience. It is not something that you experience; it is something you are.
So even if you feel the divine existence, it is a projection. These are negative projections. They help - they help, in a way, to transcend - but you must be aware that they are still projections, otherwise you will not go beyond them. That is why I say that if you feel you are encountering bliss you are still in the mind, because duality is there: the duality of the divine and the nondivine, the duality of bliss and nonbliss. When you really reach to the ultimate you cannot feel bliss, because nonbliss is impossible; you cannot feel the divine as divine because the nondivine is no more.
So remember this: mind is projection, and whatever you do with the mind is going to be a projection.
You cannot do anything with the mind. The only thing is how to negate the mind, how to drop it totally, how to be mindlessly conscious. That is meditation. Only then can you know, can you come to know, that which is other than projection.
Whatever you know is projected by you. The object is just a screen: you go on projecting your ideas, your mind, upon it. So any method of meditation begins with projection - with negative projection - and ends with nonprojection. That is the nature of all meditation techniques, because you have to begin with the mind.
Even if you are going toward a state of no mind, you have to begin with the mind. If I am to go out of this room, I have to start by going into the room; the first step must be taken in the room. This creates confusion. If I am just going in a circle in the room, then I am walking in the room. If I am going out of the room, then again I have to walk in the room - but in a different way. My eyes must be on the door and I must travel in a straight line, not in a circle.
Negative projection means walking straight out of the mind. But first, you have to take some steps within the mind.
For example, when I say "light," you have never really seen light. You have only seen lighted objects.
Have you ever seen light itself? No one has seen it; no one can see it. You see a lighted house, a lighted chair, a lighted person, but you have not seen light itself. Even when you see the sun you are not seeing light. You are seeing the light returned.
You cannot see light itself. When light strikes something, comes back, is reflected, only then do you see the lighted object and because you can see the lighted object, you say there is light. When you do not see the lighted object, you say it is dark.
You cannot see pure light, so in meditation I use it as a first step - as a negative projection. I tell you to begin to feel light without any object. Objects are dropped, there is just light. Begin to feel light without any objects.... One thing has been dropped, the object, and without the object you cannot continue to see light for a long time. Sooner or later the light will drop, because you have to be focused on some object.
Then I tell you to feel bliss. You have never felt bliss without any object; whatever you know as happiness, bliss, is concerned with something. You have never known any moment of bliss that is unconcerned with anything. You may love someone and then feel blissful, but that someone is the object. You feel blissful when you listen to some music, but then that music is the object. Have you ever felt a blissful moment without any object? Never! So when I say to feel blissful without any object, it seems to be an impossibility. If you try to feel blissful without any object, sooner or later the bliss will stop, because it cannot exist by itself.
Then I say to feel divine presence. I never say, "Feel God," because then God becomes an object.
Have you ever felt presence without someone being present there? It is always concerned with someone: if someone is there, then you begin to feel the presence.
I drop that someone totally. I simply say: feel the divine presence. This is a negative projection. It cannot continue for long because there is no ground to support it; sooner or later it will drop. First I drop objects, and then, by and by, projection itself will drop. That is the difference between positive and negative projection.
In positive projection the object is significant and the feeling follows, while in negative projection the feeling is important and the object is simply forgotten, as if I am taking the whole ground from under your feet. From within you, below you, from everywhere, the ground has been taken and you are left alone with your feeling. Now that feeling cannot exist; it will drop. If objects are not there, then the feelings that are directly connected to objects cannot continue any longer. For a while you can project them, then they will drop. And when they drop you alone remain there - in your total aloneness. That point is the point of meditation; from there meditation begins. Now you are out of the room.
So meditation has a beginning in the mind, but that is not real meditation. Begin in the mind, so that you can move toward meditation, and when mind ceases and you are beyond it, then real meditation begins. We have to begin with the mind because we are in the mind. Even to go beyond it, one has to use it. So use the mind negatively, never positively, and then you will achieve meditation.
If you use the mind positively, then you will only create more and more projections. So whatever is known as "positive thinking" is absolutely anti-meditative. Negative thinking is meditative; negation is the method for meditation. Go on negating to the point where nothing remains to be negated, and only the negator remains; then you are in your purity, and then you know what is. Everything that is known before that is just the mind's imaginings, dreamings, projections.
TO DIE CONSCIOUSLY
Meditation means surrender, total letting go. As soon as someone surrenders himself he finds himself in the hands of divinity. If we cling to ourselves we cannot be one with the almighty. When the waves disappear, they become the ocean itself.
Let us try some experiments in order to understand what is meant by meditation.
Sit in such a way that no one touches you. Close your eyes slowly, and keep your body loose. Relax completely so that there is no strain, no tension in the body at all.
Now imagine that a river is flowing very fast, with tremendous force and sound, between two mountains. Observe it and dive in... but do not swim. Let your body float without any movement.
Now you are moving with the river - just floating. There is nowhere to reach, no destination, so there is no question of swimming. Feel as if a dry leaf is floating effortlessly in the river. Experience it clearly so that you can know what is meant by "surrender," by "total letting go."
If you have understood how to float, now discover how to die and how to be dissolved completely.
Keep your eyes closed, let your body become loose and relax completely. Observe that a pyre is burning. There is a pile of woodsticks that have been set afire and the flames of the pyre seem to be reaching toward the sky. And remember one more thing: you are not just observing the burning pyre, you have been placed on it. All your friends and relatives are standing around.
It is better to experience this moment of death consciously, as one day or the other it is sure to come.
With the flames growing higher and higher, feel that your body is burning. Within a short while the fire will be put out by itself. People will disperse and the cemetery will be empty and silent again.
Feel it, and you will see that everything has become quiet and nothing but the ashes remains. You have dissolved completely. Remember this experience of being dissolved, because meditation is also a kind of death.
Keep your eyes closed now and relax completely. You do not have to do anything. There is no necessity to do anything: before you were, things were as they are, and they will be the same even after you die.
Now feel that whatever is happening is happening. Feel the "suchness" of it. It is so: it can only be this way; there is no other way possible, so why resist? By "suchness" is meant "no resistance."
There is no expectation that anything be other than what is. The grass is green, the sky is blue, the waves of the ocean roar, birds sing, crows are crowing.... There is no resistance from you because life is such. Suddenly a transformation takes place. What was normally considered to be a disturbance now seems to be amiable. You are not against anything; you are happy with everything as it is.
So the first thing you had to do was to float, rather than swim, in the ocean of existence. For one who is ready to float, the river itself takes him to the ocean. If we do not resist, life itself takes us to the divinity.
Secondly, you had to dissolve yourself, rather than save yourself, from death. What we want to save is sure to die, and what is going to be there eternally will be there without our effort. The one who is ready to die is able to open his doors to welcome the divinity, but if you keep your doors closed - because of the fear of death - you do so at the cost of not attaining divinity. Meditation is to die.
The last thing you had to experience was "suchness." Only an acceptance of both the flowers and the thorns can bring you peace. Peace, after all, is the fruit of total acceptance. Peace will come only to him who is ready to accept even the absence of peace.
So close your eyes, let your body be loose, and feel as if there is no life in the body. Feel as if your body is relaxing. Go on feeling this, and within a short time you will know that you are not the master of the body. Every cell, every nerve of the body will feel relaxed - as if the body does not exist.
Leave the body alone as if it is floating on the river. Let the river of life take you anywhere it wants to, and float upon it just like a dry leaf.
Now feel that your breath is gradually becoming quiet, silent. As your breathing becomes silent, you will feel that you are being dissolved. You will feel as if you are on the burning pyre, and you have been burnt completely. Not even ashes have remained.
Now feel the sound of the birds, the sun's rays, the waves of the ocean, and just be a witness to them - receptive and yet aware, watchful. The body is relaxed, breathing is silent, and you are in "suchness"; you are just a witness to all this.
Gradually you will feel a transformation within, and then suddenly something will become silent inside. The mind has become silent and empty. Feel this: be a witness to it, and experience it. The river has taken away your floating body, the pyre had burnt it, and you have been a witness to it. In this nothingness, a blissfulness enters which we call divinity.
Breathe slowly two or three times now, and with each breath you will feel freshness, peace and a blissful pleasure. Now open your eyes slowly and come back from meditation.
Try to do this experiment nightly before going to bed and go to sleep right afterward. Gradually, your sleep will turn into meditation.
ENTERING SLEEP CONSCIOUSLY
The moment you are dropping into sleep is the moment to encounter the unconscious. You have been sleeping every day, but you have not encountered sleep yet. You have not seen it: what it is, how is comes, how to drop into it. You have not known anything about it. You have been going into sleep every night and awakening from sleep every morning, but you have not felt the moment when sleep comes, you have not felt what happens. So try this experiment, and after three months, suddenly, one day, you will enter sleep knowingly.
Drop on your bed, close your eyes, and then remember - remember! - that sleep is coming and you are to remain awake when it comes. This exercise is very arduous. The first day it will not happen, the next day it will not happen, but if you persist every day, constantly remembering that sleep is coming and you are not to allow it to come without being aware of it - you must feel how sleep takes over, what it is - then one day sleep will be there and you will still be awake.
That very moment you become aware of your unconscious. And once you become aware of your unconscious, you will never be asleep again. Sleep will be there, but you will be awake; a center in you will go on knowing. All around you there will be sleep and the center will go on knowing.
When this center is knowing, dreams become impossible; and when dreams become impossible, daydreams also become impossible. Then you will be asleep in a different sense; a different quality happens because of the encounter.
WORDLESS COMMUNICATION WITH EXISTENCE
You are looking at a flower: look at the flower, feel the beauty of it, but do not use the word beauty, not even in the mind. Look at it: let it be absorbed in you, go deeply into it, but do not use words.
Feel the beauty of it, but do not say, "It is beautiful" - not even in the mind. Do not verbalize and gradually you will become capable of feeling the flower as beautiful without using the word. Really, it is not difficult; it is natural.
You feel first and then the word comes, but we are so habituated to words that there is no gap. The feeling is there, but you have not even felt it before suddenly a word comes. So create a gap: just feel the beauty of the flower, but do not use the word.
If you can disassociate words from feelings, you can disassociate feelings from existence. Then let the flower be there and you be there, as two presences, but do not allow the feeling to come in. Do not even feel now that the flower is beautiful. Let the flower be there and you be there, in a deep embrace, without any ripple of feeling. Then you will feel beauty without feeling; you will be the beauty of the flower. It will not be a feeling: you will be the flower. Then you have existentially felt something.