Catharsis of a Different Kind
August 26th 1996
Laugh and cry, jump and scream – just release your energies and feel how golden silence becomes. Nimish Shah peeks into the dynamic world of meditation.
The Osho meditation centers have recently organized 21-day Dynamic Meditation camps all over the world. At one such camp at the Osho [meditation resort], I realized the potency of Dynamic Meditation to get rid of the ills that plague modern society.
For medical science, it is a continuous struggle tackling the various psychosomatic disorders that afflict us because of our social structure. The tensions and anxieties that have made a permanent place in our lives have led to many physiological disturbances. However, while treating our physical ailments we ignore the deeper wounds and the methods to heal them.
Dynamic Meditation, based on scientific principles, helps us gain a deeper insight into this aspect. Human beings have been subjected to stress, accumulated unknowingly over the years, leading to what are known as ‘twentieth century diseases,’ which include cardiac ailments, skin diseases, neuroses and ulcers.
The first step is breathing chaotically – deep and fast, with an emphasis on breathing out. This is done for ten minutes. Early in the morning, the body’s metabolic rate is low, following many hours of sleep. The fast, chaotic breathing suddenly wakes you up and increases the metabolic rate. A lot of catecholamines are released, which stimulate your entire nervous system, as well as various hormonal glands in the body. All lethargy is pushed out. Fast, chaotic breathing releases carbon dioxide from the body, filling our lungs with more oxygen and stimulating the body. This is the best way to wake up and get ready [for the day].
The second stage is of total let go – catharsis. With the help of body movements we are encouraged to express what Osho calls our “inner madness.” These repressed emotions can be expressed by dancing, crying, shouting, laughing. The first step of chaotic breathing stimulates us to a great extent, stirring our pent-up emotions. We fail to express our feelings in our daily life because of our social structure and conditioning. These tend to accumulate in us and come out in the form of irrational behavior.
Have you ever considered what it means when someone says that he is irritable today?
Our suppressed emotions tend to keep our nerve cells in a high state of activity, thus reducing their threshold of getting stimulated. A little bit of adverse, external and circumstantial stimulus and we react immediately. This second stage allows us to throw out all these unexpressed emotions lying within us. Over the days we realize that we have accumulated so much that we wonder whether we are a garbage bin! Though it does take a while to let one’s hair down completely, it becomes easier as the days pass by. By the end of this ten-minute session, one feels much lighter and free. In certain cases there might be a feeling of nausea because of the stimulation of our nervous system, but that is okay.
The third stage is really an exhausting one and it is meant to be so. Now that the mind has had its chance at exercise, it is time for activating the body. Jumping up and down, arms raised heavenwards, shouting “Hoo!” each time we land will increase the stamina, if nothing else! Once we are rid of our nervous tensions we need to stimulate the dynamic energy within us. The physical exhaustion of this stage creates a sort of emptiness within us, which is only a preparation for the next stage – the actual stage of meditativeness.
The fourth stage is of silence. At the end of the third stage we suddenly freeze. Keeping whatever position we are in, watching what is happening within and on the outside. It is during these moments that one realizes what Osho means by “no-mind.” A state where no thought runs through the mind.
This is the most difficult part to put down in words. Having a scientific background, I had a testing time trying to understand this concept when I first heard Osho. How can there be no thoughts? Thoughts cannot be stopped. Well, Osho does not expect us to “stop our thoughts.” He only asks us to remove the restlessness from within us and the state of thoughtlessness happens on its own.
All of Osho’s active meditation techniques are geared towards this. Actually, it is not as easy as it seems. In Osho Dynamic Meditation, the first half an hour is meant to remove this restlessness from within so that we can experience this state of thoughtlessness. It does not stay for long.
At least not for me. After some time the mind is back at its tricks again. But it is interesting to watch all this. And once we get a taste of this state, even for a second, we become aware that it can happen for longer.
The last stage is of celebration and dance. Dancing to music, just expressing our joy and gratefulness. We cannot feel anything but that.
This is like a complete health program. Many of us go for aerobics and gyms to work our bodies out. Well, here is a technique that not only works out bodies but also minds and hearts.
It is like getting our whole body to work in a synergistic way. Physical exercise takes care of our bodies but most of our illnesses originate from a deeper level.
Dynamic mediation helps get rid of the tension we tend to accumulate in our daily activities. I know that you cannot cure appendicitis with it but I am equally sure that our chances of being afflicted by many of the psychosomatic ailments, ranging from cardiac diseases to simple ulcers. will become slim.
And on top of it you develop a different gestalt of living as a whole
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