Is there a connection between sports like running and meditation?
You will not think of running as a meditation, but runners sometimes have felt a tremendous experience of meditation. They were surprised, because they were not looking for it — who thinks that a runner is going to experience the divine? — but it has happened, and now running is becoming more and more a new kind of meditation.
It can happen in running. If you have ever been a runner, if you have enjoyed running in the early morning when the air is fresh and young and the whole world is coming back out of sleep, awakening, and you were running and your body was functioning beautifully, and the fresh air, and the new world again born out of the darkness of the night, and everything singing all around, and you were feeling so alive.... A moment comes when the runner disappears; there is only running. The body, mind and soul start functioning together; suddenly an inner orgasm is released.
Runners have sometimes come accidentally on the experience of the fourth, turiya, although they will miss it because they will think it was just because of running that they enjoyed the moment; that it was a beautiful day, that the body was healthy and the world was beautiful, and it was just a certain mood. They will not take note of it. But if they take note of it, my own observation is that a runner can come close to meditation more easily than anybody else. Jogging can be of immense help, swimming can be of immense help. All these things have to be transformed into meditations.
Drop old ideas of meditations, that just sitting underneath a tree with a yoga posture is meditation. That is only one of the ways, and may be suitable for a few people but is not suitable for all. For a small child it is not meditation, it is torture. For a young man who is alive, vibrant, it is repression, it is not meditation.
Maybe for an old man who has lived, whose energies are declining, it may be meditation. People differ, there are many types of people. To someone who has a low kind of energy, sitting underneath a tree in a yoga posture may be the best meditation, because the yoga posture is the least energy-expensive ¯ the least. When the spine is erect, making a ninety-degree angle with the earth, your body expends the least energy possible. If you are leaning towards the left or towards the front, then your body starts spending more energy, because the gravitation starts pulling you downwards and you have to keep yourself upright; you have to hold yourself so that you don't fall. This is expenditure. An erect spine was found to need the least spending of energy.
Then sitting with your hands together in the lap is also very very useful for low-energy people, because when the hands are touching each other, your body electricity starts moving in a circle. It does not go out of your body. It becomes an inner circle; the energy moves inside you.
You must know that energy is always released through the fingers; energy is never released from round-shaped things. For example, your head cannot release energy; it contains it. Energy is released through the fingers, and the toes. In a certain yoga posture the feet are together, so one foot releases energy and it enters the other foot; one hand releases energy and it enters the other hand. You go on taking your own energy; you become an inner circle of energy. It is very restful, it is very relaxing.
The yoga posture is the most relaxed posture possible. It is more relaxing than even sleep, because when you are asleep your whole body is being pulled by gravitation. When you are horizontal it is relaxing in a totally different way. It is relaxing because it brings you back to the ancient days when man was an animal, horizontal. It is relaxing because it is regressive; it helps you to become an animal again.
That's why in a lying posture you cannot think clearly, it becomes difficult to think. Try it. You can dream easily but you cannot think easily; for thinking you have to sit. The more erect you sit, the better is the possibility to think. Thinking is a late arrival; when man became vertical, thinking arrived. When man used to be horizontal, dreaming was there but thinking was not there. So when you lie down you start dreaming, thinking disappears. It is a kind of relaxation, because thinking stops; you regress. The yoga posture is a good meditation for those who have low energy, for those who are ill, for those who are old, for those who have lived their whole life and now are coming closer and closer to death. Thousands of Buddhist monks have died in the sitting position, the lotus posture, because the best way to receive death is in the lotus posture ¯ because in the lotus posture you will be fully alert, and because energies will be disappearing. They will be becoming less and less every moment: death is coming. In a lotus posture you can keep alertness to the very end, and to be alert while you are dying is one of the greatest experiences, the ultimate in orgasm.
If you are awake while you are dying you will have a totally different kind of birth: you will be born awake. One who dies awake is born awake. One who dies unconscious is born unconscious. One who dies with awareness can choose the right womb for himself; he has a choice, he has earned it. The man who dies unconsciously has no right to choose the womb; the womb happens unconsciously, accidentally.
The man who dies perfectly alert in this life will be coming only once more, because next time there will be no need to come. Just a little work is left: the other life will do that work. For one who is dying with awareness, only one thing is left now: he has had no time to radiate his awareness as compassion. Next time he can radiate his awareness as compassion. And unless awareness becomes compassion, something remains incomplete, something remains imperfect.
Running can be a meditation.
Jogging, dancing, swimming – anything can be a meditation. My definition of meditation is: whenever your body, mind and soul are functioning together in rhythm it is meditation, because it will bring the fourth in. If you are alert to the fact that you are doing it as a meditation ¯ not to take part in the Olympics, but doing it as a meditation – then it is tremendously beautiful.
If we give only a fixed pattern of meditation, then it will be applicable only to a few people. That has been one of the problems in the past: fixed patterns of meditation, not fluid — fixed, so they fit certain types and all others are left in the darkness. My effort is to make meditation available to each and everybody.
Whosoever wants to meditate, meditation should be made available according to his type. If he needs rest, then rest should be his meditation. Then 'sitting silently doing nothing, and the spring comes and the grass grows by itself' ¯ that will be his meditation. We have to find as many dimensions to meditation as there are people in the world. The pattern has not to be very rigid, because no two individuals are alike. The pattern has to be very liquid so that it can fit with the individual. In the past, the practice was that the individual had to fit with the pattern.
I bring a revolution. The individual has not to fit with the pattern, the pattern has to fit with the individual. My respect for the individual is absolute. I am not much concerned with means; means can be changed, arranged in different ways.
That's why you find so many meditations going on [in the meditation resort]. We don't have enough opportunities here; otherwise you would be surprised how many doors the temple of the divine has. You would also be surprised that there is a special door only for you and for nobody else. That's existence's love for you, its' respect for you. You will be received through a special door, not through the public gate. You will be received as a special guest.
But the basic fundamental is, whatsoever the meditation, it has to fill this requirement: that the body, mind, consciousness – all three should function in unity. Then suddenly one day the fourth has arrived: witnessing. Or if you want to, call it God; call it God or nirvana or Tao or whatsoever you will.