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 ninth story. It is about travelling back to your own heart in the time of the Coronavirus.
It was at the end of the first Corona wave during the first three months of lockdown in the first half of 2020. I had been working from home pretty much from the start and hardly spoken with anyone face-to-face except my partner, who was also working from home together with me. Restrictions meant that we were supposed to stay within the radius of our suburb. My work was already computer-based; now my entire work life was digital. I had expected that this would lead to a rather boring sense of being removed and detached from everything. But the opposite was the case: I worked harder, was more involved in my online interactions, easily on-edge, and second-guessed the actions and statements of others more intensely than usual. When some unexpected office politics changed the dynamics of my team, I found myself completely off-balance and flooded with emotions. I tried this and that technique to find a sense of calm, but to no avail. One day it came to such a point that I felt all I could do was to call out to my master, Osho. Listening through my tears the answer came: Pick a meditation from the Book of Secrets and do it while you work, every day. Following the instructions on the card deck, it soon became clear that I would be doing a heart meditation. My rational mind couldn’t believe it: A heart meditation? At work? Surely, I needed to work on being tougher and more strategic. But my inner voice told me to trust.
Blessed One, as senses are absorbed into the heart, reach the center of the lotus.
Pure poetry. In his commentary, Osho explains that this technique is for heart-oriented people. Was I a heart-person? I doubted it. Then I remembered that in my sannyas darshan Osho had told me exactly that. So, it was time to trust and go with it. My mind kept arguing and debating against it for many weeks to come. In the meantime, I decided to start small, take five minutes here and there during my work time and absorb senses into the heart. Which situations would be right for this? It wasn’t time to challenge myself but to allow my heart to guide me.
I was a bit apprehensive, but also curious to test it out for 3 days, as Osho advises. Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting. My heart told me to pick a simple every-day activity. Drinking a cup of tea became my heart meditation – the delicate flavour and the aroma of the tea, the warmth of the cup and its weight in my hands, the beautiful patterns on the cup, and absorbing them into my heart. A feeling of contentment arose when my attention was focused away from the screen, pointing inside. And this happened without any effort on my part. The first day gave me an additional surprise gift: When I went to the bathroom, I saw myself in the mirror – and for a few seconds I saw myself without my usual judgments.
After three days of doing the technique, I knew that it was creating a cushion of happiness in my heart. It made me slow down; it changed my focus from outward to inward. It brought back the fragrance of a time when I used to live in an Osho commune surrounded by people committed to the inner search. It was like a little honeymoon, then the mind came back with a vengeance. It told me to stop. It argued heatedly against it: My work would suffer. I needed to be more goal-oriented. Meditating like this was childish. It was unbelievable how many complaints it came up with, day after day. I had to admire its creativity – but stuck to my commitment. Over the following months, the meditation started to seep into my work life. At the beginning it had created a short break – a tea break – which gave me an island of peace. But soon life intervened with phone calls or sudden changes in my schedule. No matter what I did I was still feeling, touching, looking, listening. Absorbing the senses into my heart brought me back to the here and now. It made me move within. At the same time, I needed to be present to the world: respond to questions, follow instructions, and function effectively. Over the weeks I noticed a change. My listening become more unhurried; others appeared to feel more heard. The inward focus created a gap – a gap that allowed more space for humour and the humanness of my co-workers. And the sense of contentment in the heart just didn’t want to go away. Having this meditation in my life is like having a friend that calls me back to myself. The other day I stumbled across the following words by Osho and I would like to end my story with them. He talks about wanting his sannyasins to live for him, instead of dying for him. He explains that compared to life death is very easy:
But to live, year after year, in an insane world, needs great dedication and great love and great devotion. Your love should be so great that it can tolerate the whole insanity of the world; it is still worth living because of your dedication, because of your love. Your love creates a small, cozy corner in this insane world, a cozy corner of your own life which is sane. I teach you life, not death, because to me death does not exist at all.*
You can find Osho’s commentary about this meditation in chapter 11 of The Book of Secrets.
* Osho, Sermons in Stones, #23