People often complain, “I don’t have time for meditation.” It is true that they don’t have time for something that will not give them money. There are others who complain that they have so much time that they don’t know what to do with it.
They have no money problem – the only problem is time. So much time! They watch television, read newspapers, go to clubs and the race course to see the horses run, or they play cards or chess. But in spite of all these occupations, they feel bored.
Time or no time is not the real issue. The issue is to understand whether we really need time for meditation or not. For the man of understanding, meditation is a lifestyle, not separate from life. It is the way of living or one can call it, the art of living. Or if you are of a scientific temperament, you can call it the science of living.
There is another appropriate word: knack. Yes, meditation is knack. You can call it in modern psychological term: gestalt. Change your gestalt and you can be in meditation.
Meditation is just like breathing, you don’t need any separate time to breathe, otherwise, you will die, if, for a single moment you forget to breathe. You are walking, you are sitting, all the activities are going on and you are breathing as well. You don’t need separate time to breathe. You don’t tell your wife or friend, “Hang on, let me have a break and go out to breathe.” That would sound ridiculous. You know it that breathing is going on without your being aware about it.
Similarly, meditation can be as natural as breathing. It can go on all day long, non-stop. Meditation is nothing but awareness, a witnessing consciousness. Bring awareness to everything you do – walking, talking, eating, sitting and sleeping. Let the arrow of your awareness come towards yourself. You are standing in a crowded bus and you are lost in your thoughts about what you will do when you reach home. And there are others in the bus with similar thoughts. And they step on each other’s toes and get into unnecessary fights. It is because nobody is really there, where he should be.
This happens on a wider scale too. The river of our life keeps on flowing in all such small and big activities without our awareness. Lack of awareness is the real cause of all our miseries.
The man of meditation will change this. He will first become aware of his unawareness. He will witness that he is acting mechanically. He will start becoming aware in all his acts – big or small. Many things that bring misery in life because of lack of awareness will automatically disappear.
We always do things in unawareness and repent later – that I should not have done this, I should not have said this. But repentance or feeling sorry doesn’t solve anything. That works almost like a chain: we act unconsciously and then out of habit, we repent. This is a vicious circle, which creates bondage.
The fire of awareness burns all this bondage and sets us free from the chain reaction. Meditation is freedom. Freedom to act consciously. Consciousness knows no misery. It is joy.
In “Yoga: The Science of Soul,” Osho explains one method of meditation for busy people: Wherever you are, remember yourself, that you are. This consciousness that you are should become a continuity. Not your name, your caste, your nationality – those are futile things, absolutely useless. Just remember that: I am. This must not be forgotten. Walking, sitting, eating, talking, remember that: I am.
It will be difficult, very arduous. In the beginning you will keep forgetting: there will be only single moments when you feel illuminated, then it is lost. But don’t get miserable; even single moments are much. Go on, whenever you can remember again, catch hold of the thread. When you forget, don’t worry – remember again, and by and by the gaps will lessen, the intervals will start dropping, a continuity will arise.
And whenever your consciousness becomes continuous, you need not use the mind. Then there is no planning, then you act out of your consciousness, not out of your mind. Then there is no need for any apology, no need to give any explanation. Then you are whatsoever you are; there is nothing to hide. You cannot do anything else. You can only be in a state of continuous remembrance. Through this remembrance, this mindfulness, comes the authentic religion, comes the authentic morality.
This is what Hindus call self remembrance, what the Buddha called right-mindfulness, what Gurdjieff called self-remembering, what Krishnamurti calls awareness. This is the most substantial part of meditation, to remember that: I am.
You need not repeat it in the mind, “I am walking.” If you repeat it, that is not remembrance. You have to be non-verbally aware that “I am walking, I am eating, I am talking, I am listening.” Whatsoever you do, the “I” inside should not be forgotten; it should remain.
It is not self-consciousness. It is consciousness of the self. Self consciousness is ego. Consciousness of the self is asmita purity, just being aware that “I am.”
Ordinarily, your consciousness is arrowed towards the object. You look at me: your whole consciousness is moving towards me like an arrow. But you are arrowed towards me. Self remembering means you must have a double-arrow one side of it showing to me, another side showing to you. A double-arrow is self-remembrance.
This self-remembrance leads to a more fulfilled and content life and if one continues practicing for at least three months, it may become a natural lifestyle. And when this happens, you need not bother to remember it. Forget the method and flow with your spirit. You are it. You are Sat, Chit, Anand Truth, Consciousness and Bliss.
Osho, the enlightened master, concludes that unless you know yourself and you are yourself, your life has not blossomed, it has not flowered—you have not fulfilled your destiny. He says, “And the revelation of this truth to you is only possible if your chit, your consciousness, rises to its ultimate flowering. It is consciousness that is going to discover the truth. Hence, meditation is emphasized. Meditation will not give you the truth, it will give you more and more consciousness, and finally, consciousness gives you two things: on one hand, truth, and on the other hand, a tremendous bliss. You become almost like a bird with two wings. Truth is your one wing; bliss is your other wing. And you are pure consciousness.”
Swami Chaitanya Keerti, editor of Osho World monthly magazine and founding editor of Osho Times International, is the author of three books on Osho –Allah to Zen; The Osho Way: In Romance with Life; and Osho Fragrance. The director and spokesperson of Osho World Foundation, Swami Chaitanya Keerti regularly contributes articles on meditation to several newspapers and magazines and travels extensively to conduct meditation sessions.