Is it good to start with a sitting meditation or an active meditation?
You can go into meditation just by sitting, but then be just sitting; do not do anything else. If you can be just sitting, it becomes meditation. Be completely in the sitting; nonmovement should be your only movement. In fact, the word Zen comes from the word zazen, which means, just sitting, doing nothing. If you can just sit, doing nothing with your body and nothing with your mind, it becomes meditation; but it is difficult.
You can sit very easily when you are doing something else but the moment you are just sitting and doing nothing, it becomes a problem. Every fiber of the body begins to move inside; every vein, every muscle, begins to move. You will begin to feel a subtle trembling; you will be aware of many points in the body of which you have never been aware before. And the more you try to just sit, the more movement you will feel inside you. So sitting can be used only if you have done other things first.
You can just walk, that is easier. You can just dance, that is even easier. And after you have been doing other things that are easier, then you can sit. Sitting in a buddha posture is the last thing to do really; it should never be done in the beginning. Only after you have begun to feel identified totally with movement can you begin to feel totally identified with nonmovement.
So I never tell people to begin with just sitting. Begin from where beginning is easy, otherwise you will begin to feel many things unnecessarily ¯ things that are not there.
If you begin with sitting, you will feel much disturbance inside. The more you try to just sit, the more disturbance will be felt; you will become aware only of your insane mind and nothing else. It will create depression, you will feel frustrated. You will not feel blissful; rather, you will begin to feel that you are insane. And sometimes you may really go insane.
If you make a sincere effort to 'just sit,' you may really go insane. Only because people do not really try sincerely does insanity not happen more often. With a sitting posture you begin to know so much madness inside you that if you are sincere and continue it, you may really go insane. It has happened before, so many times; so I never suggest anything that can create frustration, depression, sadness ¯ anything that will allow you to be too aware of your insanity. You may not be ready to be aware of all the insanity that is inside you; you must be allowed to get to know certain things gradually. Knowledge is not always good; it must unfold itself slowly as your capacity to absorb it grows.
I begin with your insanity, not with a sitting posture; I allow your insanity. If you dance madly, the opposite happens within you. With a mad dance, you begin to be aware of a silent point within you; with sitting silently, you begin to be aware of madness. The opposite is always the point of awareness. With your dancing madly, chaotically, with crying, with chaotic breathing, I allow your madness. Then you begin to be aware of a subtle point, a deep point inside you that is silent and still, in contrast to the madness on the periphery. You will feel very blissful; at your center there is an inner silence. But if you are just sitting, then the inner one is the mad one; you are silent on the outside, but inside you are mad.
If you begin with something active ¯ something positive, alive, moving ¯ it will be better; then you will begin to feel an inner stillness growing. The more it grows, the more it will be possible for you to use a sitting posture or a lying posture ¯ the more silent meditation will be possible. But by then things will be different, totally different.
A meditation technique that begins with movement, action, helps you in other ways, also. It becomes a catharsis. When you are just sitting, you are frustrated; your mind wants to move and you are just sitting. Every muscle turns, every nerve turns. You are trying to force something upon yourself that is not natural for you; then you have divided yourself into the one who is forcing and the one who is being forced. And really, the part that is being forced and suppressed is the more authentic part; it is a more major part of your mind than the part that is suppressing, and the major part is bound to win.
That which you are suppressing is really to be thrown, not suppressed. It has become an accumulation within you because you have been constantly suppressing it. The whole upbringing, the civilization, the education, is suppressive. You have been suppressing much that could have been thrown very easily with a different education, with a more conscious education, with a more aware parenthood. With a better awareness of the inner mechanism of the mind, the culture could have allowed you to throw many things.
For example, when a child is angry we tell him, 'Do not be angry.' He begins to suppress anger. By and by, what was a momentary happening becomes permanent. Now he will not act angry, but he will remain angry. We have accumulated so much anger from what were just momentary things; no one can be angry continuously unless anger has been suppressed. Anger is a momentary thing that comes and goes: if it is expressed, then you are no longer angry. So with me, I would allow the child to be angry more authentically. Be angry, but be deep in it; do not suppress it.
Of course, there will be problems. If we say, 'Be angry,' then you are going to be angry with someone. But a child can be molded; he can be given a pillow and told, 'Be angry with the pillow. Be violent with the pillow.' From the very beginning, a child can be brought up in a way in which the anger is just deviated. Some object can be given to him: he can go on throwing the object until his anger goes. Within minutes, within seconds, he will have dissipated his anger and there will be no accumulation of it.
You have accumulated anger, sex, violence, greed, everything! Now this accumulation is a madness within you. It is there, inside you. If you begin with any suppressive meditation ¯ for example, with just sitting ¯ you are suppressing all of this, you are not allowing it to be released. So I begin with a catharsis. First, let the suppressions be thrown into the air; and when you can throw your anger into the air, you have become mature.
If I cannot be loving alone, if I can be loving only with someone I love, then, really, I am not mature yet. Then I am depending on someone even to be loving; someone must be there, then I can be loving. Then that loving can only be a very superficial thing; it is not my nature. If I am alone in the room I am not loving at all, so the loving quality has not gone deep; it has not become a part of my being.
You become more and more mature when you are less and less dependent. If you can be angry alone, you are more mature. You do not need any object to be angry. So I make a catharsis in the beginning a must. You must throw everything into the sky, into the open space, without being conscious of any object.
Be angry without the person with whom you would like to be angry. Weep without finding any cause; laugh, just laugh, without anything to laugh at. Then you can just throw the whole accumulated thing ¯ you can just throw it. And once you know the way, you are unburdened of the whole past.
Within moments you can be unburdened of the whole life ¯ of lives even. If you are ready to throw everything, if you can allow your madness to come out, within moments there is a deep cleansing. Now you are cleansed: fresh, innocent ¯ you are a child again. Now, in your innocence, sitting meditation can be done ¯ just sitting, or just lying or anything ¯ because now there is no mad one inside to disturb the sitting.
Cleansing must be the first thing ¯ a catharsis ¯ otherwise, with breathing exercises, with just sitting, with practicing asanas, yogic postures, you are just suppressing something. And a very strange thing happens: when you have allowed everything to be thrown out, sitting will just happen, asanas will just happen ¯ it will be spontaneous.
You may not have known anything about yoga asanas but you begin to do them. Now these postures are authentic, real. They bring much transformation inside your body because now the body itself is doing them, you are not forcing them. For example, when someone has thrown many things out, he may begin to try to stand on his head. He may have never learned to do shirshasan, the headstand, but now his whole body is trying to do it. This is a very inner thing now; it comes from his inner body wisdom, not from his mind's intellectual, cerebral information. If his body insists, 'Go and stand on your head!' and he allows it, he will feel very refreshed, very changed by it.
You may do any posture, but I allow these postures only when they come by themselves. Someone can sit down and be silent in siddhasan or in any other posture, but this siddhasan is something quite different; the quality differs. He is trying to be silent in sitting ¯ but this is a happening, there is no suppression, there is no effort; it is just how your body feels. Your total being feels to sit. In this sitting there is no divided mind, no suppression. This sitting becomes a flowering.
You must have seen statues of Buddha sitting on a flower, a lotus flower. The lotus is just symbolic; it is symbolic of what is happening inside Buddha. When 'just sitting' happens from the inside, you feel just like the opening of a flower. Nothing is being suppressed from the outside; rather, there is a growth, an opening from the inside; something inside opens and flowers. You can imitate Buddha's posture, but you cannot imitate the flower. You can sit completely buddhalike ¯ even more buddhalike than Buddha ¯ but the inside flowering will not be there. It cannot be imitated.
You can use tricks. You can use breathing rhythms that can force you to be still, to suppress your mind. Breath can be used very suppressively because with every rhythm of breath a particular mood arises in your mind. Not that other moods disappear; they just go into hiding.
You can force anything on yourself. If you want to be angry, just breathe the rhythm that happens in anger. Actors do it, when they want to express anger they change their breathing rhythm; the breathing rhythm must become the same as when there is anger. By making the rhythm fast they begin to feel anger, the anger part of the mind comes up.
So breathing rhythm can be used to suppress the mind, to suppress anything in the mind. But it is not good, it is not a flowering. The other way is better; when your mind changes and then, as a consequence, your breath changes; the change comes first from the mind.
So I use breathing rhythm as a sign. A person who remains at ease with himself constantly remains in the same breathing rhythm; it never changes because of the mind. It will change because of the body ¯ if you are running it will change ¯ but it never changes because of the mind.
So tantra has used many, many breathing rhythms as secret keys. They even allow sexual intercourse as a meditation, but they allow it only when your breathing rhythm remains constant in intercourse, otherwise not. If the mind is involved, then the breathing rhythm cannot remain the same, and if the breathing rhythm remains the same, the mind is not involved at all. If the mind is not involved even in such a deep biological thing as sexual intercourse, then the mind will not be involved in anything else.
But you can force. You can sit and force a particular rhythm on your body, you can create a fallacious buddhalike posture, but you will just be dead. You will become dull, stupid. It has happened to so many monks, so many sadhus; they just become stupid. Their eyes have no light of intelligence; their faces are just idiotic, with no inner light, no inner flame. Because they are so afraid of any inner movement, they have suppressed everything ¯ including intelligence. Intelligence is a movement, one of the most subtle movements, so if all inner movement is suppressed, intelligence will be affected.
Awareness is not a static thing. Awareness, too, is movement ¯ a dynamic flow. So if you start from the outside, if you force yourself to sit like a statue, you are killing much. First be concerned with catharsis, with cleaning out your mind, throwing everything out, so that you become empty and vacant ¯ just a passage for something from the beyond to enter. Then sitting becomes helpful, silence becomes helpful, but not before.
To me, silence in itself is not something worthwhile. You can create a silence that is a dead silence. Silence must be alive, dynamic. If you 'create' silence, you will become more stupid, more dull, more dead; but this is easier in a way, and so many people are doing it now. The whole culture is so suppressive that it is easier to suppress yourself still more. Then you do not have to take any risks, then you do not have to take a jump.
People come to me and say, 'Tell us a meditation technique that we can practice silently.' Why this fear? Everyone has a madhouse inside and still they say, 'Tell us a technique that we can do silently.' With a silent technique you can only become more and more mad ¯ silently ¯ and nothing else.
The doors of your madhouse must be opened! Don't be afraid of what others will say. A person who is concerned about what others think can never go inward. He will be too busy worrying about what others are saying, what they are thinking.
If you just sit silently, closing your eyes, everything will be okay; your wife or your husband will say that you have become a very good person. Everyone wants you to be dead; even mothers want their children to be dead ¯ obedient, silent. The whole society wants you to be dead. So-called good men are really dead men.
So don't be concerned with what others think, don't be concerned about the image that others may have of you. Begin with catharsis and then something good can flower within you. It will have a different quality, a different beauty, altogether different; it will be authentic.
When silence comes to you, when it descends on you, it is not a false thing. You have not been cultivating it; it comes to you; it happens to you. You begin to feel it growing inside you just like a mother begins to feel a child growing. A deep silence is growing inside you; you become pregnant with it. Only then is there transformation; otherwise it is just self-deception. And one can deceive oneself for lives and lives ¯ the capacity to do so is infinite.