What is Meditation?

7009853 This is Osho at his best:

In the East we have never started meditation from relaxation; we have started meditation from awareness. An awareness that there are six senses: five are outer; they tell you about the world. There is a sixth sense, the inner sense, that shows and tells you something about yourself and the ultimate source of things. That sense has to be discovered. So to me, the first principle of life is meditation which is only a name for being alone; silent, unoccupied, in an empty state of inaction; in a state of no-mind, raising your consciousness while waiting for the real to assert itself, because it takes you deeper into yourself, into your immortality, your eternity; your godliness which is a state of non-emotional, non-sentimental, and non-thinking awareness. It means becoming centered in one’s aloneness; being joyously alone. Celebrating yourself, loving yourself. So start with meditation, and things will go on growing in you – silence, an immense silence, serenity, blissfulness, sensitivity. And slowly, slowly, you start feeling a new quality to yourself, a new aliveness, a new beauty, a new intelligence and a great sense of belonging to the world. And whatever comes out of meditation, try to bring it out in life, into the world.

So meditation should be an inner shelter, an inner shrine. Whenever you feel that the world is too much for you, you can move into your shrine. You can have a bath in your inner being. You can rejuvenate yourself. You can come out resurrected; again alive, fresh, young, renewed, to live, to be. But you should also be capable of loving people and facing problems, because a silence that is impotent and cannot face problems is not much of a silence, is not worth much. Only a silence that can face problems and remain silent is something to be longed for, to be desired.

Meditation is also simply a strange surgical method, a strategy, that cuts you away from all that is not yours – your personality, your thoughts, your mind, your patterns of behaviour, your identity with the body – and saves only that which is your authentic being. It burns everything else and leaves you standing naked, alone under the sun, in the wind, surfing the waves. And the whole of the science of meditation is nothing but centering, moving toward the centre, to a state of not knowing, a pure space, undisturbed by knowledge, getting rooted there, abiding there. And from there the whole perspective changes. Now the waves may still be there, but they don’t reach you. And now you can see they don’t belong to you, it is just a conflict on the surface with something foreign. And from the centre, when you look, by and by the conflict ceases. By and by you relax. By and by you accept that of course there is a strong wind and waves will arise, but you are not worried, and when you are not worried, even waves can be enjoyed. That is the whole art of surfing – you simply allow yourself to move with the waves, not against them. You become part of them. Then tremendous happiness arises. Then there is mastery, and not a control that has been forced, a mastery that happens spontaneously. You are relaxed, as in deep sleep, and yet aware, fully awake – and that brings you to the door of the mysteries and by and by you become wider and wider and bigger and bigger, and you end with being the whole, no less than that. Then you become a universe. That’s what God is. God is pure space. Love is the way toward that pure space. Love is the means and God is the end.

Remember: Meditation is not concentration which requires an act of will. Similarly, neither is it contemplation or thinking. Instead, meditation is just being delighted in your own presence; in your own being. It is very simple – a totally relaxed state of consciousness where you are not doing anything – no action, no thought, no emotion. You just are, and it is a sheer delight. From where does this delight come when you are not doing anything? It comes from nowhere – or it comes from everywhere. It is uncaused, because the existence is made of the stuff called joy. It needs no cause, no reason. And when one is happy for no reason, that happiness cannot be contained within you. It goes on spreading to others, it becomes a sharing. You cannot hold it, it is so much, it is so infinite. You cannot hold it in your hands, you have to allow it to spread. This is what compassion is. Meditation is the flowering of your inner being and compassion is the fragrance, the overflowing of that beingness: an expression of happiness. But the greater a thing, the more paradoxical it is, and this meditation and compassion is one of the highest peaks, the uttermost peak. So there is bound to be a paradox. The paradox is that a man of meditation is very cool, not cold; cool yet warm, not hot.

Yes, meditation is the ultimate LSD! It is releasing your own psychedelic powers. It is releasing your own imprisoned splendour. And you become so joyous, such a celebration arises in your being, that you need not have any relationship with another. Still you can relate with people and that’s the difference between relating and relationship. Remember: Medicine heals you physically but meditation heals you spiritually for it is the only way to find the beloved. And out of meditation trust also arises, and trust makes existence divine.


1. Osho once described Gautama Buddha as “the greatest breakthrough in the evolution of human consciousness because his discovery of meditation shifted the focus away from praying to God towards becoming alert to the potential of each human being for godliness.”

2. Alan Watts defined meditation as the art of suspending verbal and symbolic thinking for a time and being completely centered in the here and now. Krishnamurti said “Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end.” Chögym Trungpa Rinpoche said “Meditation is the key to seeing yourself as well as to seeing beyond yourself.” and his student Pema Chödrön later said “Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It is about befriending who we already are.”