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01 December 2018

Experiences with The Book of Secrets

Darkness meditation

Experiences with The Book of Secrets

Take one method and play with it for at least 3 days. If it gives you a certain feeling of affinity, if it gives you a certain feeling of well-being, if it gives you a certain feeling that this is for you, then be serious about it.

Osho, The Book of Secrets, Ch 1

With these words, Osho encourages us to explore the 112 meditation techniques from The Book of Secrets. I’ve talked with people, who travelled the path with one of the meditations for a longer period of time. Here is the first story. There will be more to follow.

When I was in my thirties, there was a time when I did darkness meditation every day for about two months. Why did I pick darkness meditation? Actually, I had wanted to do Vipassana. Osho had been praising Vipassana in discourse, and after years of doing mainly active meditations, I thought it was about time I got serious about silent sitting i.e. commit to a 1 hour sitting per day. But I couldn’t do it! My restlessness didn’t allow me to sit longer than 10 or 15 minutes at the most. Still my inner voice insisted that it was the right time for a quiet technique. And it also told me that it had to be easy.

Then I remembered the darkness meditation, which we had done in some groups in Pune. Growing up in a remote village with no artificial lights at night, darkness was something I had friendly feelings for, a feeling of affinity. Getting the practical side of it sorted was surprisingly easy. I lived in a shared flat, which had a second guest toilet without windows at the end of a dark corridor. Hardly anyone used it, so I claimed it for myself. It just needed a good deep clean and a few blankets and pillows to be comfortable. The bells of a nearby church functioned as a timekeeper. My flatmates were supportive and my boyfriend was on a lengthy overseas trip.

I followed the structure I had learned in Pune: 45 minutes looking into darkness, followed by 15 minutes of lying down and feeling close to your mother. To make the second part easier for me, I avoided thinking of my biological mother and replaced it with nature or the universal mother. Sitting in complete darkness with eyes open turned out to be unexpectedly relaxing. Maybe it also took away any comparison to other meditators seemingly doing things better than me…

It was easy and enjoyable for me from day 1. In fact, it had such a soothing effect on me that I felt happy and contented for hours afterwards. The only challenge I can recall was the feeling of guilt – guilt for having this secret abode that filled my days with joyful anticipation and unexplained wellbeing. I remember asking myself, could it really be that simple? Luckily, I had heard Osho talking about ‘the easy is right’ for so many times that even my restless, critical mind came to admit that there could be something to it.

Two months passed and then change came knocking on my doors. The boyfriend returned, something shifted in my job situation – and suddenly it was much harder to maintain my meditation schedule. I said goodbye to my abode of darkness. A few weeks later I tried Vipassana again. To my surprise, I could sit easily for more than half an hour and enjoy it.

You can find Osho’s commentary about darkness meditation in chapter 51 of The Book of Secrets.

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