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. The blog post below is part of a series of chats with people, who travelled the path with one of the meditations for a longer period of time. Here is the sixth story. It is about finding meditation through feeling and imagination.
Consider your essence as light rays rising from center to center up the vertebrae, and so rises “livingness” in you. I would have never chosen this meditation on my own. I would have regarded it as “airy-fairy”, maybe suitable for esoteric types. But me, a practical, grounded person with decades of experience as a registered nurse in Australian hospitals? Never. So, how did I end up doing and learning to love this meditation? I participated in meditation trainings run by Shunyo. One exercise in part 2 of the training was to develop a meditation from The Book of Secrets to share with others. We picked the meditations by pulling a card each – face down. And I ended up with a surprise.
In the beginning, I felt really unsure about this technique. But the more I played and experimented with it, the more I found that it suited me. I have an affinity with light, and also with feeling and imagination – the main tools for this technique. I learned in the meditation trainings to develop my sensitivity in simple daily activities like eating, or taking a shower, or feeling the coolness and texture of the bed sheet at night. In fact, it was easy for me to imagine and feel the warmth of the light rays moving from center to center up the spine. First I thought of using the seven chakras from yoga, but then I trusted the simplicity of just using five, as Osho suggests.
The format I developed for this meditation goes like this: I start with 10 minutes sitting with closed eyes and listening to gentle music. Listening is a natural way for me to start meditating. It works for me. Then I take another 10 minutes to tune into my body from the feet up. I also put my hand on my heart and feel the movement of the breath. I feel the warmth and the weight of my hand. As someone, who used to be disconnected from her own body, I find this important. It also fits to Osho’s emphasis on feeling. He says that the feeling center must be functioning in order for this technique to be helpful.
I do the visualization standing and give it as much time as it needs – usually somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes. The visualization of light rays rising up through the centers has to be complete and happen without interruption – Osho is very strong about this: Never leave it in the middle! An incomplete process can be harmful. I’ve tried it lying down and sitting, but standing supports it better. It is about rising up, about being in the vertical. At the end, I just sit silently for another 10 minutes. The meditation gave me a feeling of lightness and relaxation. Osho says that your spine will be “younger”. And there is something to it. I do feel lighter, more flexible and generally better afterwards – a little more agile, more fluid. And I am 70 years old, and certainly not skinny.
I did this technique for six to seven months every day. Actually, I never felt that I “did” this meditation. For me it was a creative process, an ongoing experiment that I loved and looked forward to every day. I tried to get it right for me – the music, the timing, the stages. And my age helped me too to stay committed, because time has become precious. My mind, however, was my biggest obstacle: I doubted what was happening during the meditation. Was it my imagination, or was it a preconceived idea of what should be happening? On days when the feeling of warmth didn’t happen, I felt like a failure. And what about sensations in different centers? Did I get that right?
Finally, I relaxed with it all. Doing the meditation – even though imperfectly according to my mind – I relaxed. It was as if Osho said to me, “Maitri, this is not serious!” Having a questioning mind was also okay. In the meantime I enjoyed going deeper, feeling energized – feeling that “livingness”. Once I had found my way, I slipped into the technique easily. It was a real joy of discovery, learning to take things easily and looking at life with childlike wonder. Feeling that mysterious happiness from within.
You can find Osho’s commentary on this meditation in chapter 47 of The Book of Secrets. In chapter 48, Osho answers a question about imagination and feeling.