In a situation where you can’t do active techniques? Here are two simple but effective passive methods. And remember, you will find many more in the regularly rotated “Meditation of the Week” and “Meditation For Busy People.”
1. Watching the Breath
Breath-watching is a method that can be done anywhere, at any time, even if you have only a few minutes available. You can simply watch the rise and fall of your chest or belly as the breath comes in and goes out, or try this version….
Step 1: Watch the In Breath
Close your eyes and start watching your breath. First, the inhalation, from where it enters your nostrils, right down into your lungs.
Step 2: Watch the Gap That Follows
At the end of the inhalation there is gap, before the exhalation starts. It is of immense value. Watch that gap.
Step 3: Watch the Out Breath
Now watch the exhalation.
Step 4: Watch the Gap That Follows
At the end of the exhalation there is a second gap: watch that gap. Do these four steps for two to three times – just watching the breathing cycle, not changing it in anyway, just watching the natural rhythm.
Step 5: Counting In Breaths
Now start counting: Inhalation – count 1 (don’t count the exhalation), inhalation – 2, and so on, up to 10. Then count from 10 back to 1. Sometimes you may forget to watch the breath or you may count beyond 10. Then start again, at 1.
“These two things have to be remembered: watching, and particularly the gaps at the top and the bottom. The experience of that gap is you, your innermost core, your being. And second: go on counting, but not more than up to 10; and come back again to 1; and only count the inhalation.
These things help awareness. You have to be aware, otherwise you will start counting the exhalation, or you will go over 10.
If you enjoy this meditation, continue it. It is of immense value.” Osho
2. Four Levels of Relaxing
This particular method is useful for those time when you are sick because it helps build a loving connection, to create a rapport between yourself and your bodymind. Then you can take an active part in your own healing process.
Step 1: The Body
“Remember as many times as possible to look into the body and see whether you are carrying some tension in the body somewhere – the neck, the head or the legs…. Relax it consciously. Just go to that part of the body, and persuade that part, say to it lovingly ‘Relax!’
You will be surprised that if you approach any part of your body, it listens, it follows you – it is your body! With closed eyes, go inside the body from the toe to the head, searching for any place where there is a tension. And then talk to that part as you talk to a friend; let there be a dialogue between you and your body. Tell it to relax, and tell it, ‘There is nothing to fear. Don´t be afraid. I am here to take care; you can relax.’ Slowly slowly, you will learn the knack of it. Then the body becomes relaxed.”
Step 2: The Mind
“Then take another step, a little deeper; tell the mind to relax. And if the body listens, the mind also listens. But you cannot start with the mind, you have to start from the beginning. You cannot start from the middle. Many people start with the mind and they fail; they fail because they start from a wrong place. Everything should be done in the right order.
If you become capable of relaxing the body voluntarily, then you will be able to help your mind relax voluntarily. The mind is a more complex phenomenon. Once you have become confident that the body listens to you, you will have a new trust in yourself. Now even the mind can listen to you. It will take a little longer with the mind, but it happens.”
Step 3: The Heart
“When the mind is relaxed, then start relaxing your heart, the world of your feelings, emotions, which is even more complex, more subtle. But now you will be moving with trust, with great trust in yourself. Now you will know it is possible. If it is possible with the body and possible with the mind, it is possible with the heart too.”
Step 4: Being
“Then only, when you have gone through these three steps, can you take the fourth. Now you can go to the innermost core of your being, which is beyond body, mind and heart: the very center of your existence.
You will be able to relax it, too, and that relaxation certainly brings the greatest joy possible, the ultimate in ecstasy and acceptance. You will be full of bliss and rejoicing. Your life will have the quality of dance to it.”
Osho: The Dhammapada: the Way of the Buddha, Vol.1, Talk #8