Osho: What is meditation?

Meditation is not an Indian method; it is not simply a technique. You cannot learn it. It is a growth: a growth of your total living, out of your total living. Meditation is not something that can be added to you as you are. It can come to you only through a basic transformation, a mutation. It is a flowering, a growth. Growth is always out of the total; it is not an addition. You must grow toward meditation.

This total flowering of the personality must be understood correctly. Otherwise one can play games with oneself, one can occupy oneself with mental tricks. And there are so many tricks! Not only can you be fooled by them, not only will you not gain anything, but in a real sense you will be harmed. The very attitude that there is some trick to meditation – to conceive of meditation in terms of method – is basically wrong. And when one begins to play with mental tricks, the very quality of the mind begins to deteriorate.

As mind exists, it is not meditative. The total mind must change before meditation can happen. Then what is the mind as it now exists? How does it function?

The mind is always verbalizing. You can know words, you can know language, you can know the conceptual structure of thinking, but that is not thinking. On the contrary, it is an escape from thinking. You see a flower and you verbalize it; you see a man crossing the street and you verbalize it. The mind can transform every existential thing into words. Then the words become a barrier, an imprisonment. This constant transformation of things into words, of existence into words, is the obstacle to a meditative mind.

So the first requirement toward a meditative mind is to be aware of your constant verbalizing and to be able to stop it. Just see things; do not verbalize. Be aware of their presence, but do not change them into words. Let things be, without language; let persons be, without language; let situations be, without language. It is not impossible; it is natural. It is the situation as it now exists that is artificial, but we have become so habituated to it, it has become so mechanical, that we are not even aware that we are constantly transforming experience into words.

The sunrise is there. You are never aware of the gap between seeing it and verbalizing. You see the sun, you feel it, and immediately you verbalize it. The gap between seeing and verbalizing is lost. One must become aware of the fact that the sunrise is not a word. It is a fact, a presence. The mind automatically changes experiences into words. These words then come between you and the experience.

Meditation means living without words, living nonlinguistically. Sometimes it happens spontaneously. When you are in love, presence is felt, not language. Whenever two lovers are intimate with one another they become silent. It is not that there is nothing to express. On the contrary, there is an overwhelming amount to be expressed. But words are never there; they cannot be. They come only when love has gone.

If two lovers are never silent, it is an indication that love has died. Now they are filling the gap with words. When love is alive, words are not there because the very existence of love is so overwhelming, so penetrating, that the barrier of language and words is crossed. And ordinarily, it is only crossed in love. Meditation is the culmination of love: love not for a single person, but for the total existence. To me, meditation is a living relationship with the total existence that surrounds you. If you can be in love with any situation, then you are in meditation.

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Society cannot exist without language; it needs language. But existence does not need it. I am not saying that you should exist without language. You will have to use it. But you must be able to turn the mechanism of verbalization on and off. When you are existing as a social being, the mechanism of language is needed; but when you are alone with existence, you must be able to turn it off. If you can’t turn it off – if it goes on and on, and you are incapable of stopping it – then you have become a slave to it. Mind must be an instrument, not the master.

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Language must be dropped. I don’t mean that you have to suppress it or eliminate it. I only mean that it does not have to be a twenty-four-hour-a-day habit for you. When you walk, you need to move your legs. But if they go on moving when you are sitting, then you are mad. You must be able to turn them off. In the same way, when you are not talking with anyone, language must not be there. It is a technique to communicate. When you are not communicating with anybody it should not be there.

If you are able to do this, you can grow into meditation. Meditation is a growing process, not a technique. A technique is always dead, so it can be added to you, but a process is always alive. It grows, it expands.

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