Can older people also meditate?
... and in fact everybody is in need of meditation. Everybody is starved of it. Particularly as one grows older in life, more and more is the necessity felt. Of course people have completely forgotten the language of it. They cannot even form the right question about what is missing. They simply feel that something is missing; they don't know what. They are bewildered by it. They may have everything. One may have arrived in worldly ways, succeeded, but by the time that one reaches the age of forty-two, one starts feeling that something is missing.
Forty-two is just like the age of fourteen. At the age of fourteen you start feeling that something is missing. The sexual partner is missing; the man or the woman is missing. Suddenly you feel that you are alone, incomplete. You need somebody to complement and complete you. A great desire arises to move into love.
Exactly the same happens at the age of forty-two. Again one has matured ¯ deeper than the maturity that comes at fourteen. That was physical maturity; one was ready to make love physically. Forty-two is the age when one is psychologically mature, and is ready to make love psychologically.
That's what meditation is all about. Because in the West people have completely forgotten ¯ and Christianity has never talked about meditation, but at the most about prayer, which is a very diluted form, which doesn't work much ¯ when people become older, when they come to the middle of their life, suddenly they feel a haunting, that something is missing; what is it? They cannot even pinpoint it. They cannot put their finger on it: 'This is what is missing.'
People start drifting at the age of forty-two. They think this wife is not fulfilling because they know only one experience. At the age of fourteen there was a haunting of sexuality. Maybe again this wife is not satisfying, this man is not satisfying. So they swap wives, swap husbands, make group sex. There is only one language, and that is of sex. Or they start thinking that they need more money, a bigger house, bigger cars, because that is the whole logic they have been living by and they cannot find any satisfaction through it. They go on and on and on until they simply fall down dead and die.
But meditation is as natural an urge as sex. It has its own time.
Osho, The Passion for the Impossible
(This title is no longer available at Osho's Request)
As one becomes older the shadow of the death starts falling on you; that's what is creating the fear. But as far as a sannyasin is concerned, there is no death.
If you are feeling afraid of death and the dangers ahead, that only means you are not going deeper into your meditation, that meditation has been to you just a fashion. Now it is time, that you should sincerely and authentically enter into meditation, because that is the only space which can free you from all fears of death, old age, sickness.
It makes you aware that you are not the body and you are not the mind, and you are not only this life, you are eternal life. Death has happened many times and you are still alive, and death will happen many times and you will be still alive.
Meditation's ultimate conclusion is, live the moment to its totality, intensively, joyously, because there is nothing to be feared ¯ because even death is a fiction. There is no need for any security, for any safety. Live moment to moment, trusting the whole existence as the birds are trusting it, as the trees are trusting it. Don't separate yourself from existence, become part of it and existence will take care of you. It is already taking care of you.
Osho, The New Dawn, Talk #26
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Even at the time of death, sexual repression is such that people go on thinking about it. And that is the reason why they enter again into another womb ¯ that is, another sexual body.
I am not teaching sex. I am teaching you not to repress it so that you can transform it, not to repress it so that you can get free of it. Anything repressed will remain with you in your unconscious as a bondage. Don't repress anything, and you will feel a tremendous freedom.
Experience everything, and you will start becoming more and more mature, you will not have to wait until the age of ninety. My own experience with my sannyasins is that just as a man becomes sexually mature at the age of fourteen, if he lives his sexual life without any guilt, without any idea of sin but simply as a natural phenomenon, by the age of forty-two he will have gone beyond it.
Every seven years there comes a change. Just as fourteen is the time when you become ripe for sexual experience, able to produce children, at the age of forty-two you start a new phase of your life. At fourteen you were entering into the world of living. At forty-two you are entering into the world of death. Just as at fourteen life needed reproduction, at forty-two life needs not sexuality but meditation.
And if you have lived your sex, you have had enough time to see that it is a child's game. There is no question of repressing it, it simply drops of its own accord, the way it came on its own accord. You did not produce it; it was not your creation at the age of fourteen. In the same way as the breeze came at the age of fourteen, the breeze passes you by at the age of forty-two. That is the time when something more significant, something more valuable, has to be experienced. You have loved, you have seen the reality of the world, experienced all kinds of relationships ¯ now is the time to know yourself, to be yourself, because death will be coming soon. Before death you have to be ready to meet it. The last story....
A king dreamed in the night that a big, very ferocious shadow was standing in front of him. He asked, 'Who are you and what is the purpose of your coming into my dream?' The shadow said, 'I am your death, and I am coming tomorrow evening at sunset. Remember, at the time of sunset meet me at the right place.'
And before he could ask, 'Where is the right place?' ¯ not that he was going to be at the right place, he wanted to know so that he could avoid the right place ¯ the shadow disappeared, and out of fear the dream was broken.
It was the middle of the night. Immediately he asked all the wise men, astrologers, palmists, prophets, to gather because they had to decipher the meaning of the dream. They discussed, and as are the ways of the so-called knowledgeable, they couldn't agree. They were all talking, discussing, everybody had his own explanation ¯ and the king was more and more confused.
The king's old servant was watching all this, and the sun was rising; half the night had passed. He whispered to the king, 'Sir, these people are never going to come to any conclusion. All they know is fighting, quarreling, arguing. You don't have time for that, the sun has already risen, and how long will it take for it to set? There is not much time. My suggestion is, let them discuss. You take your fastest horse and escape far away from this capital and this palace.'
The advice appeared to be very relevant. The king picked the best horse he had, and by the evening he had moved hundreds of miles away from the palace.
To rest for the night, he entered into a mango grove. He stroked the horse and said to the horse, 'You really proved your mettle. I had no idea that you could run so fast. You risked everything, as if you understood my problem that death is close and you have to risk all your energy. I am thankful to you.'
At that very time the sun was setting, and suddenly he became aware of a hand on his shoulder. He looked back. The old shadow that he had seen in the dream was standing there and said, 'I have also to thank your horse, because without him I was worried how you were going to manage to reach the right place at the right time. But you managed. The whole credit goes to your horse.'
Whether death is a few hours away, or a few days or few years, it makes no difference. Just as one prepares for life, one has to prepare for death too. And the preparation for death I call religiousness.
The art of religiousness is the art of preparing for death and dying in such a way that nothing dies ¯ only the body is left behind and you move into eternity.
Osho, The Sword and the Lotus, Talk #4
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