The Hindustan Times, New Delhi
4 June, 2001
Meditations – Swami Chaitanya Keerti
Meditation isn’t concentration, although the two are confused with each other. Concentration is a mind exercise to focus on a particular subject, but meditation is a state of consciousness where there are no thoughts and no mind. Yoga and breathing exercises only prepare the ground for meditation, so these methods belong to the world of doing, whereas meditation belongs to the realm of happening.
For example, one can dance and dance in such a way that dancer disappears in the dance. Sufi mystic Jalaluddin Rumi practised whirling for hours to attain enlightenment. Rumi must have observed children whirling and feeling ecstatic. I have heard that he whirled non-stop for 36 hours to attain God-realisation. But again, the act of whirling was only the means to an end, which was the awakening of inner energy.
The Buddha prefers to call it enlightenment because it has nothing to do with prayer. With prayer, in fact, comes the baggage of worshipping God. Not surprisingly, the Buddha’s magic of meditation, Vipassana, is returning to India in a big way after transforming the entire Far East and much of the Western world.
Existence moves in polar opposites: Action leads to inaction. Effort leads to effortlessness. Meditation is total restfulness – no physical movement and no mental activity. The Chinese call it Wu-Wei.
Osho describes this phenomenon as pure witnessing and he says, “A witness is not a spectator. Then what is a witness? A witness is one who participates yet remain inert. A witness is in a state of Wu-Wei. That is Lao Tzu’s word: It means action through inaction. A witness isn’t one who has escaped from life. He lives life far more totally, far more passionately, yet remains a watcher, deep down.
That is what Buddha has said: Pass through a river, but don’t let the water touch your feet. That is the meaning of the Eastern symbol of the lotus. A lotus is a flower that lives in the water, yet the water cannot touch it. The lotus does not escape to the Himalayan caves; it lives in the water and yet stays away. It’s like living in the marketplace, but not allowing the marketplace to enter into your being. It’s like living in the world and yet not being of the world – that is what is meant by a ‘witnessing consciousness’.”