The key: alertness without effort
Not counting the discourses, is twenty minutes of meditation a day enough to see me along the path and lead me to experience the Satyam, Shivam, Sundram you are pointing us towards?
Vimal, first you cannot be allowed not to count the discourses, because your meditations cannot happen without these discourses. These discourses are the foundations of your meditation. I am crazy but not that crazy that I should go on speaking four hours a day if it does not help you in meditation! Do you think I am trying to distract you from meditation? And then you are such a miser, Vimal. I never thought you were so miserly that just twenty minutes in twenty-four hours... not even twenty-four minutes!
You have missed my basic standpoint completely. I don't want you to think of meditation within limits; I want meditation to become your very life. In the past this has been one of the fallacies: you meditate twenty minutes, or you meditate three times a day, you meditate five times a day -- different religions, but the basic idea is that a few minutes every day should be given to meditation.
And what will you do in the remaining time? Whatever you will gain in twenty minutes... what are you going to do in the remaining twenty-three hours and forty minutes? Something anti-meditative, and naturally your twenty minutes will be defeated. The enemies are too big, and you are giving too much juice and energy to the enemies and just twenty minutes for meditation. No, meditation in the past has not been able to bring a rebellion in the world because of these fallacies.
These fallacies are the reasons I want you to look at meditation from a totally different standpoint. You can learn meditation for twenty minutes or forty minutes -- learning is one thing -- but then you have to carry whatever you have learned day in, day out. Meditation has to become just like your heartbeat.
You cannot say, 'Is it enough, Osho, to breathe for twenty minutes every day?' -- the next day will never come. Even while you are asleep you continue breathing. Nature has not left the essential functions of your body and life in your hands. Nature has not trusted you, because if breathing were in your hands you would start thinking how much to breathe and whether it is right to breathe while you are sleeping. It looks a little odd doing two things together -- sleeping and breathing. Breathing seems to be a kind of disturbance in sleeping. But then the sleep will be eternal!
Your heartbeat, your blood circulation are not under your control. Nature has kept everything that is essential in its own hands. You are not reliable; you can forget, and then there is no time even to say, 'I am sorry, I forgot to breathe. Just give me one chance more!' Even that much opportunity is not there.
But meditation is not part of your biology, your physiology, your chemistry; it is not part of ordinary natural flow. If you want to remain just a human being for eternity, you can remain there. Nature has come to a point of evolution where more than this is not needed: you are perfectly capable of reproducing children and that's enough. You will die, your children will continue. Your children will carry on the same stupidities that you were doing. Some people will be coming into the congregation, into the churches; some other idiot will be giving sermons, and the whole thing will continue -- don't be worried.
Nature has come to a point where now, unless you take individual responsibility, you cannot grow. More than this nature cannot do. It has done enough. It has given you life, it has given you opportunity; now how to use it, it has left up to you.
Meditation is your freedom, not a biological necessity. You can learn in a certain period of time every day to strengthen meditation, to make it stronger -- but carry the flavor of it the whole day.
First, while you are awake -- the moment you wake up, immediately catch hold of the thread of remaining alert and conscious, because that is the most precious moment to catch the thread of consciousness. Many times in the day you will forget -- but the moment you remember, immediately start being alert. Never repent, because that is a sheer wastage of time. Never repent, 'My God, I forgot again!'
In my teachings there is no place for any repentance. Whatever has happened is gone, now there is no need to waste time on it. Catch hold again of the thread of awareness. Slowly, slowly you will be able to be alert the whole day -- an undercurrent of awareness in every act, in every movement, in everything that you are doing, or not doing. Something underneath will be continuously flowing.
Even when you go to sleep, leave the thread only at the last moment when you cannot do anything because you are falling asleep. Whatever is the last thing before you fall asleep will be the first thing when you wake up. Try it. Any small experiment will be enough to prove it. Just repeat your own name while you are falling asleep: half awake, half asleep, go on repeating, 'Vimal, Vimal, Vimal.' Slowly, slowly you will forget repeating, because the sleep will grow more and more and the thread will be lost. It is lost only because you are asleep, but underneath your sleep it continues. That's why in the morning when you wake up and just look around, the first thing you will remember will be 'Vimal, Vimal.' You will be surprised: Why? What happened? You slept eight hours, but there has been an undercurrent.
And as things become deeper and clearer, even in sleep you can remember that you are asleep. Sleep becomes almost a physiological thing and your spirit, your being, becomes a flame of awareness, separate from it. It does not disturb your sleep; it simply makes your sleep very light. It is no more the sleep of the old days, when your house was on fire and you went on sleeping -- that was almost like a coma, you were so unconscious. Your sleep will become thin, a very light layer, and your inside will remain alert. Just as it has been alert in the day, it will be even more alert in the night, finally, because you are so silent, so relaxed. The whole nuisance world becomes completely silent.
Patanjali, the first man in the world to write about meditation, says that meditation is almost like dreamless sleep, but with only one difference. In dreamless sleep you are not aware; in samadhi, in the ultimate state of meditation, there is just a little difference -- you are aware.
Vimal, you can continue to learn, to refresh for twenty minutes every day, to give more energy and more roots -- but don't be satisfied that that's enough. That's how the whole of humanity failed. Although the whole of humanity has tried in some way or other, so few people have been successful that many people by and by stopped even trying, because success seems to be so far away. But the reason is that just twenty minutes or ten minutes won't do.
I can understand that you have many things to do. So find time -- but that time is not meditation; that time is only to refresh yourself, and then again you will have to work, earn, do your job, and a thousand and one things. Just remain alert whether it is still there inside or it has disappeared.
This continuity then becomes a garland of twenty-four hours. Only then, Vimal, will you be able to experience satyam, shivam, sundram -- not before it.
Satyam Shivam Sundram, Chapter 28