Chapter 31: From Sound to Inner Silence
The day makes you tense and the night relaxes you. Light makes you tense, darkness relaxes you. That is why you cannot sleep when there is light, it is difficult to relax because light is similar to life: it is anti-death. Darkness is similar to death: it is pro-death.
So darkness has deep relaxation in it, and those who are afraid of darkness cannot relax. impossible, because every relaxation is dark. And darkness surrounds your life on both the sides. Before you are born you are in darkness; when life ceases you are again in darkness. Darkness is infinite, and this light and this life is just a moment in it, just a wave arising and then falling back. If you can remember the darkness that surrounds both the ends, you will be relaxed here and now.
Life, death - they both are two sides of existence. The incoming breath is life, the outgoing breath is death. So it is not that you die someday, you are dying with every breath. That is why the Hindus have been counting life in breaths, they do not count life in years. Tantra, yoga, all the old Indian systems, they count life in breaths: how many breaths you are going to live. So they say if you breathe very fast, with too much breathing in a short time, you will die very soon. If you breathe very slowly and your breaths are less in an interval, you will live very long. And this is so.
If you go and observe animals, those animals whose breathing is very slow live long. Take the elephant: the elephant lives long; the breath is very slow. Then there is the dog: the dog dies soon; the breath is very fast. Whenever you find an animal in which the breath is fast, any animal, the animal will not have a long life. A long life is always with slow breath.
Tantra and yoga and other Indian systems count your life in breaths. Really, with every breath you are born and with every breath you are dying. This mantra, this technique, uses the outgoing breath as the method, the medium, the vehicle, to go deep into silence. It is a death method. Intone silently a word ending in “ah.” The breath has gone - that is why a word ending in “ah.”
This “ah” is meaningful because when you say “ah” it completely empties you. The whole breath has moved out; nothing remains within. You are totally empty - empty and dead. For a single moment, for a very small interval, life has moved out of you. You are dead - empty. This emptiness, if realized, if you can become aware of it, will change you completely. You will be a different man.
Then you will know well that this life is not your life and this death is also not your death. Then you will know something which is beyond the incoming and outgoing breath - the witnessing soul. And this witnessing can happen easily when you are empty of breath, because life has subsided and with it all tensions have subsided. So try it, it is a very beautiful method. But the ordinary process, the ordinary habit, is to emphasize the incoming breath, never the outgoing breath.