Osho and Shanti

How I Entered the World of Meditation – Even Though I Couldn’t Sit Still!

By Shanti

I became interested in meditation when I was 24 years old. For two years I tried to sit in Zazen, (sitting still and facing a wall with eyes half-opened). But I could only sit still for 5 maybe 10 minutes at the most!

Then, I decided I was going to go to Japan, to meet a Zen Master. I went via Europe and India. While in India, through a series of what I call both magical and mystical happenings, I met the mystic Osho on Christmas day in 1973 in Bombay, India.

He asked me about my meditation and I explained to him I could not sit still. He then proceeded to tell me about Active Meditations and why they are suitable for mankind in this period of history.

He explained that passive sitting meditations were developed 25 centuries ago for a totally different type of humanity, who lived less complicated lives and were physically more active all day long. The people of that era were able to release their tensions, anxieties, stress and aggressions by hunting, farming, chopping wood, carrying water, walking, etc. Such activities created a stillness in their bodies and minds, which made it easier for them to enter into meditation.

In contrast, people in our day and age have to deal with a more complex lifestyle, and are continuously bombarded with information. In our daily lives we tend to be less physically active — sitting at desks, in cars or in front of TVs for long periods of time. As a result we are unable to release mind/body stress and anxieties. This creates tremendous restlessness, making it difficult for most people to sit still. When we try to sit silently, the mind races and the body wiggles and squirms.

He continued telling me that Active Meditations are a modern day antidote to this situation. They start with some form of physical activity which helps to release tension. This creates space for stillness and silence where the mind’s chatter slows down and even stops at times. This allows us to settle within ourselves.

Just by sitting near Osho, I entered inside my inner self. It was my first taste of meditation and it felt so good that I spontaneously decided to attend his meditation camp at Mt Abu, Rajasthan held two weeks later. So he gave me two active meditations to practice as a preparation. One was called the Dynamic Meditation. Little did I know then that this is the meditation technique I would do for over nineteen years!

In the years that followed, Osho sensed my love of meditation. He continually taught me different types of meditation techniques. I loved them all. They were both modern and ancient types from different traditions and schools.

He would also give discourses on mystics and schools of meditation from all over the world. (I had once considered being a history major, but I quickly understood that the type of history taught wasn’t at all what interested me, so I dropped that idea. By listening to Osho speak on the history of human consciousness, I realized that this was the history I was truly interested in). I became acquainted with the school of Zen and many of the Zen Masters; I learned about Sufis, the Hassid’s, Tao, Tantra, Yoga, Buddha, Socrates, Jesus, Zarathrustra and so many other schools of meditation and mystics.

He would also speak on topics of relevance…such as love, relating, sex, politics, conditioning patterns, taking risks, trust and meditation. Each lecture was peppered with outrageously funny humor and jokes.

As I listened I felt I was drinking wisdoms and truths that expanded my consciousness beyond the familiar. I became inwardly more silent and still.

In 1997, I came back to America to live. Since that time I’ve been looking for ways to share with people about Active Meditations. I know there must be people around like me who want to meditate but can’t sit still! It’s been really rewarding when people come in contact with these meditation techniques, to see how they are affected by them. Because the meditations are from a variety of traditions, many people have been able to discover spiritual paths that are suitable for them.

Also for anyone who is interested to know more about Osho, or to read books taken from the numerous discourses, or to learn some of the meditations he taught, I invite you to call, write or visit me at The World of Meditation Center (please call in advance).