Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Music & Meditation (Osho)

The opening and closing videos are by Toumani Diabete, the kora master from Mali, playing Debe alongside the great Ali Farka Touré, and playing Toumani with his Symmetric Orchestra.

Music: Meditation or Intoxication 

Which is music for you, meditation or intoxication? 

It's a striking question!


The same! You are hearing an instrument -- a sitar, or anything. Many notes are there. Be alert and listen to the central core, the backbone of it around which all the notes are flowing, the deepest current which holds all the notes together -- that which is central, just like your backbone. The whole body is held by the backbone. Listening to the music, be alert, penetrate the music, and find the backbone of it -- the central thing which goes on flowing, holding everything together. Notes come and go and disappear, but the central core flows on. Become aware of it.

Basically, originally, music was used for meditation; particularly Indian music developed as a method of meditation, Indian dancing developed as a method of meditation. For the doer it was a deep meditation, and for the audience also it was a deep meditation. A dancer or a musician can be a technician. And he can be a great technician, but the soul comes only when the musician is also a deep meditator.

And music is just the outward thing. While playing on his sitar, one is not only playing on his sitar, he is also playing on his alertness inside. The sitar goes on outwardly and his intense awareness moves inside. The music flows outwardly, but he is alert, constantly aware of the innermost core of it. And that gives samadhi. That becomes ecstasy. That becomes the highest peak.

It is said that when the musician has really become the musician, he will break his instrument -- because it is of no use. If he still needs his instrument, he is not a real musician yet. He is just learning. If you can play with music, with meditation, sooner or later the inner music will become more important, and the outer will become not only less important: ultimately it will become a disturbance. You will throw the instrument away from you, because now you have found the inner instrument. But it cannot be found without the outer; with the outer you can become alert more easily. Once you have become alert, leave the outer and move inwards. And for the listener also, the same!

But what are you doing when you listen to music? You are not meditating. On the contrary, you are using music as something like alcohol. You are using it to be relaxed, you are using it for self-forgetfulness. This is the misfortune, the misery: the techniques which were developed for awareness are being used for sleep. And this is how man goes on doing mischief with himself.

If something is given to you which can make you awake, you will use it to make yourself more sleepy. That is why for millennia teachings were kept secret -- because it was thought to be useless to give techniques to a sleepy man. He will use them for sleep; he cannot do otherwise. So techniques were given only to particular disciples who were ready to shake their sleep, who were ready to be shattered out of their sleepiness.

Ouspensky dedicates one book to George Gurdjieff as "the man who disturbed my sleep". Such people ARE disturbers. Persons like Gurdjieff or Buddha or Jesus, they are disturbers. That is why we take revenge upon them. We may have been dreaming beautiful dreams and he comes and disturbs our sleep. We want to kill him. The dream was so beautiful. And if it is beautiful, then it is more dangerous because it can attract you more, it can become a drug.

We have been using music as a drug, dancing as a drug. And if you want to use music and dancing as drugs, then they will become not only drugs for your sleep, they will become drugs for sexuality also. So remember this point: sexuality and sleep go together. When you awake you will be more loving, the whole energy of sex will have been transformed to love.

To summarize:


And then you will know what is to be known, or what is worth knowing. You will become omnipresent With the music, finding the composite central core, you will become awake, and with that awakening you will be everywhere.

Right now, you are somewhere -- a point which we call the ego. If you can become awake, this point will disappear. You will not be anywhere then, you will be EVERYWHERE -- as if you have become the all. You will have become the ocean, you will have become the infinite.

The finiteness is with the mind.

The infiniteness enters with meditation.

Carrie: Thank you so much, Okei. The sitar video is absolutely beautiful. I could listen to it over and over again. For me, the music is a simultaneous blend of intoxicant and meditation. :)Namaste!
okei: Yeah, it's cool! The kora is like a sitar, but it's a "21-string West African harp".
Kathy: The same idea is also the core behind other instruments like Scottish bagpipes. They also have a central, "drone" sound around which the rest of the melody is played. Music certainly does have a way of transporting us, doesn't it? :) Thanks, Okei!! :) Blessings!
okei: Thanks for dropping by, Denise, and Thanks Kathy! They do indeed... and it does, but we are bombarded with music and even bombard ourselves sometimes.
The ease of listening to music, with the transfer to digital, the ability to store thousands of tracks on a small device, instead of just a few as in the past, makes this more true than ever, that it becomes just mindless noise to fill the silence.
And this can be said of anything, even that which is most spiritual, so it's worth paying heed to Osho's warning (extracted from the above):
"If something is given to you which can make you awake, you will use it to make yourself more sleepy. That is why for millennia teachings were kept secret -- because it was thought to be useless to give techniques to a sleepy man. He will use them for sleep; he cannot do otherwise."

This originally appeared on Buddhist Travellers in 2010.

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