This is the secret: de-automatize. If we can de-automatize our activities, then the whole life becomes a meditation. Then any small thing, taking a shower, eating your food, talking to your friend, becomes meditation. Meditation is a quality; it can be brought to anything. It is not a specific act. People think that way, they think meditation is a specific act—when you sit facing to the east, you repeat certain mantras, you burn some incense, you do this and that at a particular time in a particular way with a particular gesture. Meditation has nothing to do with all those things. They are all ways to automatize it and meditation is against automatization. So if you can keep alert, any activity is meditation; any movement will help you immensely.
Running, Jogging and Swimming
It is natural and easy to keep alert while you are in movement. When you are just sitting silently, the natural thing is to just fall asleep. When you are lying on your bed it is very difficult to keep alert because the whole situation helps you to fall asleep. But in movement naturally you cannot fall asleep, you function in a more alert way. The only problem is that the movement can become mechanical. Learn to melt your body, mind and soul. Find ways where you can function as a unity. It happens many times to runners. You might not think of running as a meditation, but runners sometimes have felt a tremendous experience of meditation. And they were surprised, because they were not looking for it who thinks that a runner is going to experience God? But it has happened. And now, more and more, running is becoming a new kind of meditation. It can happen in running. If you have ever been a runner, if you have enjoyed running in the early morning when the air is fresh and young and the whole world is coming back from sleep, awakening—you were running and your body was functioning beautifully, the fresh air, the new world born again out of the darkness of the night, everything singing all around, you were feeling so alive…a moment comes when the runner disappears, and there is only running. The body, mind and soul start functioning together; suddenly an inner orgasm is released. Runners have sometimes come accidentally on the experience of the fourth, turiya, although they will miss it—they will think it was just because of running that they enjoyed the moment: that it was a beautiful day, the body was healthy and the world was beautiful, and it was just a certain mood. They will not take note of it—but if they do take note of it, my own observation is that a runner can come close to meditation more easily than anybody else. Jogging can be of immense help, swimming can be of immense help. All these things have to be transformed into meditations. Drop the old ideas of meditations—that just sitting underneath a tree in a yoga posture is meditation. That is only one of the ways, and it may be suitable for a few people but it is not suitable for all. For a small child it is not meditation, it is torture. For a young man who is alive and vibrant it is repression, it is not meditation. Start running in the morning on the road. Start with half a mile and then one mile and come eventually to at least three miles. While running use the whole body; don’t run as if you are in a straitjacket. Run like a small child, using the whole body—hands and feet—and run. Breathe deeply and from the belly. Then sit under a tree, rest, perspire and let the cool breeze come; feel peaceful. This will help very deeply. Sometimes just stand on the earth without shoes and feel the coolness, the softness, the warmth. Whatsoever the earth is ready to give in that moment, just feel it and let it flow through you. And allow your energy to flow into the earth. Be connected with the earth. If you are connected with the earth, you are connected with life. If you are connected with the earth, you are connected with your body. If you are connected with the earth, you will become very sensitive and centered and that’s what is needed. Never become an expert in running; remain an amateur so that alertness may be kept. If you feel sometimes that running has become automatic, drop it; try swimming. If that becomes automatic, then try dancing. The point to remember is that the movement is just a situation to create awareness. While it creates awareness it is good. If it stops creating awareness, then it is no more of any use; change to another movement where you will have to be alert again. Never allow any activity to become automatic.
Laughter brings some energy from your inner source to your surface. Energy starts flowing, follows laughter like a shadow. Have you watched it? When you really laugh, for those few moments you are in a deep meditative state. Thinking stops. It is impossible to laugh and think together. They are diametrically opposite: either you can laugh or you can think. If you really laugh, thinking stops. If you are still thinking, laughter will be just so-so, lagging behind. It will be a crippled laughter. When you really laugh, suddenly mind disappears. As far as I know, dancing and laughter are the best, natural, easily approachable doors. If you really dance, thinking stops. You go on and on, you whirl and whirl, and you become a whirlpool—all boundaries, all divisions are lost. You don’t even know where your body ends and where existence begins. You melt into existence and existence melts into you; there is an overlapping of boundaries. And if you are really dancing—not managing it but allowing it to manage you, allowing it to possess you—if you are possessed by dance, thinking stops. The same happens with laughter. If you are possessed by laughter, thinking stops. Laughter can be a beautiful introduction to a non-thinking state.
Instructions for Laughing Meditation
Every morning upon waking, before opening your eyes, stretch like a cat. Stretch every fiber of your body. After three or four minutes, with eyes still closed, begin to laugh. For five minutes just laugh. At first you will be doing it, but soon the sound of your attempt will cause genuine laughter. Lose yourself in laughter. It may take several days before it really happens, for we are so unaccustomed to the phenomenon. But before long it will be spontaneous and will change the whole nature of your day.
This is a cathartic technique, which encourages expressive body movements. It should be distinguished from the gentle Devavani Meditation.
First stage: 15 minutes
Either alone or in a group, close your eyes and begin to say nonsense sounds -gibberish. Allow yourself to express whatever needs to be expressed within
you. Throw everything out. The mind always thinks in terms of words. Gibberish helps to break this pattern of continual verbalization. Without suppressing any of your thoughts, you can throw them out—in gibberish. Likewise, let your body be expressive.
Second stage: 15 minutes
Then for fifteen minutes, lie down on your stomach and feel as if you are merging with the Earth. With each exhalation, feel yourself merging with the ground beneath you.
A man came to me. He had been suffering from chain-smoking for thirty years; he was ill and the doctors said, “You will never be healthy if you don’t stop smoking.” But he was a chronic smoker; he could not help it. He had tried —not that he had not tried—he had tried hard, and he had suffered much in trying, but only for one day or two days, and then again the urge would come so tremendously, it would simply take him away. Again he would fall into the same pattern. Because of this smoking he had lost all self-confidence: he knew he could not do a small thing; he could not stop smoking. He had become worthless in his own eyes; he thought himself just the most worthless person in the world. He had no respect for himself. He came to me. He said, “What can I do? How can I stop smoking?” I said, “Nobody can stop smoking. You have to understand. Smoking is not only a question of your decision now. It has entered into your world of habits; it has taken roots. Thirty years is a long time. It has taken roots in your body, in your chemistry; it has spread all over. It is not just a question of your head deciding; your head cannot do anything. The head is impotent; it can start things, but it cannot stop them so easily. Once you have started and once you have practiced so long, you are a great yogi—thirty years practicing smoking! It has become autonomous; you will have to de-automatize it.” He said, “What do you mean by ‘de-automatization’?” And that’s what meditation is all about: de-automatization.I said, “You do one thing: forget about stopping. There is no need either. For thirty years you have smoked and lived; of course it was a suffering but you have become accustomed to that too. And what does it matter if you die a few hours earlier than you would have died without smoking What are you going to do here? What have you done? So what is the point whether you die Monday or Tuesday or Sunday, this year, that year—what does it matter?” He said, “Yes, that is true, it doesn’t matter.” Then I said, “Forget about it; we are not going to stop it at all. Rather, we are going to understand it. So next time, you make it a meditation.” He said, “Meditation out of smoking?” I said, “Yes. If Zen people can make a meditation out of drinking tea and can make it a ceremony, why not? Smoking can be as beautiful a meditation.” He looked thrilled. He said, “What are you saying?” He became alive! He said, “Meditation? just tell me—I can’t wait!” I gave him the meditation. I said, “Do one thing. When you are taking the packet of cigarettes out of your pocket, move slowly. Enjoy it, there is no hurry. Be conscious, alert, aware; take it out slowly with full awareness. Then take the cigarette out of the packet with full awareness, slowly—not in the old hurried way, the unconscious way, mechanical way. Then start tapping the cigarette on your packet—but very alertly. Listen to the sound, just as Zen people do when the samovar starts singing and the tea starts boiling … and the aroma. Then smell the cigarette and the beauty of it….” He said, “What are you saying? The beauty?” “Yes, it is beautiful. Tobacco is as divine as anything. Smell it; it is God’s
smell.” He looked a little surprised. He said, “What! Are you joking?” No, I am not joking. Even when I joke, I don’t joke. I am very serious. “Then put it in your mouth, with full awareness, light it with full awareness. Enjoy every act, every small act, and divide it into as many acts as possible, so you can become more and more aware. “Then have the first puff: God in the form of smoke. Hindus say, ‘Annam Brahm’—‘Food is God’. Why not smoke? All is God. Fill your lungs deeply—
this is a pranayam. I am giving you the new yoga for the new age! Then release the smoke, relax, another puff—and go very slowly.
“If you can do it, you will be surprised; soon you will see the whole stupidity of it. Not because others have said that it is stupid, not because others have said that it is bad. You will see it. And the seeing will not just be intellectual. It will be from your total being; it will be a vision of your totality. And then one day, if it drops, it drops; if it continues, it continues. You need not worry about it.” After three months he came and he said, “But it dropped.” “Now,” I said, “try it on other things too.” This is the secret, the secret: de-automatize. Walking, walk slowly, watchfully. Looking, look watchfully, and you will see trees are greener than they have ever been and roses are rosier than they have ever been. Listen! Somebody is talking, gossiping: listen, listen attentively. When you are talking, talk attentively. Let your whole waking activity become de-automatized.