Respond to a situation, don’t react to it

The Hindustan Times
Saturday, September 29, 2001, New Delhi

MEDITATIONS/ Swami Chaitanya Keerti

THE BEST place to test our meditation is not the Himalayas but the world, with all its struggles, trials and tribulations. We have to be at the centre of the things to be able to get the right perspective. In the seclusion, there’s nothing to provoke us. Our meditation is real and ripe only when it can cope with the world.

The war is a great opportunity for the meditation. Actually it is the best opportunity. In times of war, our energies become so integrated that our awareness reaches the optimum level, because any wrong move would mean death. When it is a question of life and death, nobody can afford to be inattentive. There will be a 100 per cent alertness in dangerous situations which is usually not possible in normal times. In the time danger, it is very easy for us to find our center within ourselves.

In the Ultimate Alchemy, Osho cites an example of climbing a mountain: “Ask someone going to the top of Gaurishanker on Mount Everest. When for the first time Hillary was there, he must have felt a sudden center. And when for the first time someone was on the moon, a sudden feeling of a center must have come. That is why danger has appeal. You are driving a car and you go on to more and more speed, and then the speed becomes dangerous. Then you cannot think; thoughts cease. Then you cannot dream. Then you cannot imagine. Then the present becomes solid. In that dangerous moment, when any instant death is possible, you are suddenly aware of a center in yourself. Danger has appeal only because in danger you sometimes feel centered. “Nietzsche somewhere says that war must continue because only in war is a center is felt. And when death becomes a reality, life becomes intense and you are centered. But if it is situational, then when the situation is over it will disappear.”

A meditator does not need such situations to attain to centering, but such situations are needed for testing the centering. He does not to react as an automata – he responds with awareness and always remains centered within himself. That is his real strength.

Meditation is the strength of the individual and it can also become the collective strength of a nation. The sutra or insight is: Respond! Do not React! Reaction is automatic and without full awareness. Response is not automatic, rather it comes with full awareness and totality. Reaction happens in anger. Response happens in wisdom and responsibility. In Osho’s words responsibilty is actually the “ability to respond”. If you want to win this game the sutra is: Drop all the rhetoric. Be responsible. This is the real art of war.

Swami Chaitanya Keerti is the editor of Hindi edition of Osho World magazine.

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