[An Indian sannyasin had come before darshan to talk to Osho about a frightening experience he had had recently while meditating. As people arrived for the darshan Osho was saying:]

Osho – One gets really scared. Really, it came too early and you weren’t yet ready. It can happen that suddenly a key fits, and then the experience of deep meditation is exactly like death. The problem is created because one gets scared. Meditation leads you deep into yourself. Beyond a certain point it is felt like drowning, sinking, suffocating. If you accept it and cooperate with it and simply say that you are ready to die, then you don’t create the opposite process of trying to come out of it. Then there comes a peak where all disturbance disappears.

Something has happened – but you are still there. In fact for the first time you are there – and everything becomes blissful. Before it comes to the peak there is pain and anguish, and it is natural that one starts thinking about how to get out of it somehow. In the getting out, that cooperation is broken, so you are moving now in two ways. Something you have done in meditation is taking you deep, while you are trying to cling to the surface. In that confusion and conflict the whole body can feel in turmoil.

It was not really because of the experience, but because you created this conflict. This phenomenon has to be faced one day by anyone who is moving into meditation; there is no way to avoid it. When it happens one naturally becomes afraid to meditate again. So, don’t do this method for a few days; do something else. Humming is good. It is very slow, and will subdue the energy. Do a camp, and if something happens then I am here, so you rely on me more easily.

You could rely on me there too… but it was for the first time, so you were not aware of what was happening. Next time it happens simply take the locket in your hand, and leave it to me. Simply say that you are ready to die, and relax; sink, and allow it. Once you allow it, the whole of the energy is moving in one direction so there is no inner conflict; and because there is no conflict there is no anxiety. The whole body will feel rejuvenated. Otherwise you create a disturbance.

It is just as when you are driving a car. You go on pushing the accelerator, and at the same time you brake: the whole engine feels the shock because you are doing two contradictory things – racing and braking simultaneously. That’s what you have done. The meditation turned the energy inwards – and it is a tremendous experience, deeper than any death.

We are accustomed to live on the surface, and we think that that is life. We have forgotten our own depths completely. So when we encounter death for the first time, it is like an abyss, and fear takes over – because if one falls… it is bottomless. This is the point where a master is needed. He is not needed in the beginning because one can start on one’s own, but when this experience comes then someone is needed who can give assurance, who can give you confidence again, who can put you back on the path.

In a way it has been a blessing. It is rare, because usually people work for years before it happens. If you have worked for years there is not so much fear, because by and by you are gradually being prepared. Little glimpses of it come and go, so you know something of it and that it is going to happen. When it happens so suddenly, then either the body suffers or the mind – which is worse; some people can go mad. So both are possible. But you have to understand that it happened not because of the meditation but because you started fighting; you started to come up, to surface.

If you are in the river and you are caught in a whirlpool, the natural tendency is to somehow fight it. But this is wrong. Masters of swimming will tell you that if you are caught in a whirlpool, you should cooperate with it. If you go with it, if you give all your energy to it, there is no conflict, so no energy is wasted. At the rock-bottom of the whirlpool it is so small that it cannot hold you, so there is no need even to come out of it; you will be simply out of it. But if you start fighting it on the surface you are wasting your energy, and you will lose it before you get to the bottom; you will be gone.

[The sannyasin said that it was just like an explosion…. ]

Yes, it was an explosion! People long for it all their lives! The opportunity was very close, mm?… but it will come again. That method is your method, and you have found the key!
[A sannyasin describes an experience which happened during the Gourishankar mediation: Something cold was rising up, and something was happening here. (indicating his third eye)… I was screaming for thoughts to come because there were no thoughts at all… I got very frightened… After it was over I was very ashamed that I didn’t go through it.]

Osho – Yes, that too is right. It was good, mm? It is such an unknown state when thoughts stop. We have always lived with thoughts – that is the known, the familiar; we are moving on a well-trodden path. When you stop thinking for the first time, then the wildness of existence opens its door. It is chaotic. The greatest fear that can come to a man is to not be able to think.

When you cannot think, you cannot be, for without thinking you disappear. The father of modern western philosophy was Rene Descartes. His whole philosophy was based on three words: Cogito ergo sum – I think, therefore I am. If this is the mind: ’I think, therefore I am’ – and it is – then when thoughts stop, you are not. One simply looks crazy, as if in an insane world, because what is happening is beyond control. You cannot even think – which was always so easy!

In fact it was difficult to stop thinking! But when it does stop, fear takes over. It is bound to happen the first time. The next time it will be easier. Don’t try to do anything when it happens again. Just remain in it.

Source: from Osho Book “Hammer on the Rock”

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