What are Active Meditations?

Don’t try to be passive [means: sit in peaceful meditation]. How can you try to be passive? You can sit like a Buddha, but that passivity will just be skin-deep. Deep down you will be in a turmoil, you will be boiling, a volcano – you can erupt any moment…. People sit in Zazen for years…just trying to make the mind silent, and it goes on working, goes on working, goes on working.

“Hence my emphasis on active meditations. That’s a balance. First be active, so totally that passivity follows automatically. When you have been active and the whole energy has moved, you would like to rest. Osho

As stated on the front page, Osho is the first enlightened person to invent novel meditation techniques specifically for the modern mind. He calls these Active Meditations. This page is a very brief overview. For proper explanations of the very varied techniques, see:
Full explanation of every meditation, videos, and buy music, on osho.com.
And here is an older but still useful explanation by Maneesha James.

The essence of all meditation is to sit silently, and allow thoughts, feelings, moods, and sensations  to flow through the inner sky of the consciousness without concern.  As experiences come to feel more and more peripheral, we become more and more aware of the consciousness which is aware of them; this consciousness is our inner nature. It is not psychological peacefulness, but something silent, blissful, of the beyond, from our being. People experience it in different ways;  some refer to it as “the peace which passes understanding.” In the time of Gautam Buddha,  it was easy to attain such meditation simply by sitting and watching the breath.  The world then was so very much simpler than today, and people lived active physical lives in supportive communities and in harmony with nature. Our lives today are complex, fragmented, non-physical, directed to things outside ourself, and alienated from nature.  Meditation is no longer easy.

“Active meditations” are meditations designed to help people in the modern world to meditate easily. There is no need to feel an interest in Osho to benefit from his meditations. They are stand-alone experiences. If you already practise some other form of meditation, then doing active meditations will support and deepen your existing practice.

Osho Active Meditations are structured meditation exercises. Some very useful ones have a variable length you can choose for yourself, as with sitting meditation. Quite a few are structured, often one hour long, with several stages. Typically, not always, the first stage(s) involve movement, ranging from the gentle to the highly energetic –  dance, shaking, deep breathing, emotional catharsis, running on the spot. Then the structure progresses to end in the silent awareness we more conventionally think of as “meditation.”

Anybody can use the meditations in their lives in their own way. The meditations rely on no dogma,  or cultural (Indian, Chinese, Tibetan) system of thought.  They form a complete system in themselves, or any of them can be added to an existing meditation practice.

A person can be meditative and can become very silent and may miss bliss. Because meditation can make you silent, absolutely still, but unless dance happens in it, something is missing. Peace is good, peace is very beautiful, but something is lacking in it; bliss is lacking. When peace starts dancing it is bliss. When peace becomes active, overflowing, it is bliss. …
Peace has to dance and silence has to sing. And unless your innermost realization becomes a laughter, something is still lacking. Something still has to be done.

If you want to start on your own at home, and you have some space to dance, then a very good method to try is Osho’s Kundalini mediation, www.osho.com/meditation/osho-active-meditations/osho-kundalini-meditation . This combines many basic parts of the “Osho method” and many people find enjoyable. (Despite what the link says, you can do this any time of day.)

Another excellent starting point is his Gibberish meditation, www.osho.com/meditation/osho-active-meditations/osho-gibberish-meditation  This is also a basic part of the “Osho method” and is very convenient and easy for any meditator to do at any time. It doesn’t need music. You can do this quiet quietly or much more loudly as you wish, as your living space allows. The link suggests timings of 15 minutes for each of two stages, but you can do it for longer than 15 minutes per stage if you like, eg 30 minutes per stage.

Active meditations are equally suitable if

  • You’ve tried to meditate and found it hard
  • You’ve never meditated but want to explore it
  • You love to meditate and want to try new methods
  • You have a meditation practice and you’d like to go deeper.

Perhaps the most famous active meditation is Osho Dynamic Meditation. This is not necessarily the best starting point for newcomers, and it is not necessary that this is a good meditation for you. Different people benefit from different meditations. If your main interest is to experience this (also Kundalini) , then  osholeela.uk/  is the place to go.  It’s good however to realise that  though Leela’s programmes are enjoyable and nourishing,  what they are overall offering is not intended by them to be an understanding or presentation of Osho’s  revolutionary vision of enlightenment.

Mind is very serious, and meditation is absolutely nonserious. When I say this you may be bewildered, because people go on talking about meditation very seriously. But meditation is not a serious thing. It is just like play. Nonserious. Sincere, but nonserious. It is not something like work; it is more like play. Play is not an activity. Even when it is active, it is not an activity. Play is just pleasure. The activity is not going anywhere; it is not motivated. Rather, it is just pure, flowing energy.
But it is difficult, because we are so involved in activity. We have always been so active that activity has become a deep-rooted obsession. Even while asleep we are active. Even when we are thinking about relaxing we are active. We even make relaxation an activity; we make an effort to relax. This is absurd! But it happens because of the robotlike habits of the mind.
So what to do? Only nonactivity leads you to your inner center, but the mind cannot conceive of how to be nonactive. So what to do?
I have devised a means. And the means is to be active to such an extreme that activity simply ceases; to be so madly active that the mind that is hankering to be active is thrown out of your system. Only then, after a deep catharsis, can you fall down into inactivity and have a glimpse of the world that is not the world of effort.

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