22 .Let attention be at a place where you are seeing some past happening, and even your form, having lost its present characteristics, is transformed.
You are remembering your past — any happening. Your childhood, your love affairs, the death of your father or mother… anything. Look at it, but do not get involved in it. Remember it as if you are remembering someone else’s life. And when this happening is being filmed again, is on the screen again, be attentive, aware, a witness, remaining aloof. Your past form will be there in the film, in the story.
If you are remembering your love affair, your first love affair, you will be there with your beloved; your past form will be there with your beloved. You cannot remember otherwise. Be detached from your past form also. Look at the whole phenomenon as if someone else were loving someone else, as if the whole thing doesn’t belong to you. You are just a witness, an observer.
This is a very, very basic technique. It has been used much, particularly by Buddha. There are many forms of this technique; you can find your own way of approaching this. For example, when you are just falling into sleep at night, just ready to fall into sleep, go backwards through the memories of the whole day. Do not start from the morning. Start right from where you are, just on the bed — the last item — and then go back. Then go back by and by, step by step, just to the first experience in the morning when you first became awake. Go back, and remember continuously that you are not getting involved.
For example, in the afternoon someone insulted you. See yourself, the form of yourself, being insulted by someone, but you remain just an observer. Do not get involved; do not get angry again. If you get angry again, then you are identified. Then you have missed the point of meditation. Do not get angry. He is not insulting you, he is insulting the form that was in the afternoon. That form has gone now.
You are just like a river flowing: the forms are flowing. In your childhood you had one form, and now you do not have that form; that form has gone. River-like, you are changing continuously. So when in the night you are meditating backwards on the happenings of the day, just remember that you are a witness — do not get angry. Someone was praising you — do not get elated. Just look at the whole thing as if you are looking indifferently at a film. And backwards it is very helpful, particularly for those who have any trouble with sleep.
If you have any trouble with sleep, insomnia, sleeplessness, if you find it difficult to fall into sleep, this will help deeply. Why? Because this is an unwinding of the mind. When you go back you are unwinding the mind. In the morning you start winding, and the mind becomes tangled in many things, in many places. Unfinished and incomplete, many things will remain on the mind, and there is no time to let them settle at the very moment that they happen.
So in the night go back. This is an unwinding process. And when you will be getting back to the morning when you were just on your bed, to the first thing in the morning, you will again have the same fresh mind that you had in the morning. And then you can fall asleep like a very small child.
You can use this technique of going back for your whole life also. Mahavir used this technique of going back very much. And now there is a movement in America called dianetics. They are using this method and finding it very, very useful. This movement, dianetics, says that all your diseases are just hangovers of the past. And they are right. If you can go backwards and unwind your whole life, with that unwinding many diseases will disappear completely. And this has been proven by so many successful incidents; there are so many successful cases now.
So many persons suffer from a particular disease, and nothing physiological, nothing medical helps; the disease continues. The disease seems to be psychological. What to do about it? To say to someone that his disease is psychological is no help. Rather, it may prove harmful, because no one feels good when you say his disease is psychological. What can he do then? He feels he is helpless.
This going backwards is a miraculous method. If you go back slowly — slowly unwinding the mind to the first moment when this disease happened — if by and by you go back to when for the first time you were attacked by this disease, if you can unwind to that moment, you will come to know that this disease is basically a complex of certain other things, certain psychological things. By going back those things will bubble up.
If you pass through that moment when the disease first attacked you, suddenly you will become aware of what psychological factors contributed to it. And you are not to do anything, you are just to be aware of those psychological factors and go on backwards. Many diseases simply disappear from you because the complex is broken. When you have become aware of the complex, then there is no need of it; you are cleaned of it, purged.
This is a deep catharsis. And if you can do it daily, you will feel a new health, a new freshness coming to you. And if we can teach children to do it daily, they will never be burdened by their past. They will not need ever to go to the past, they will be always here and now. There won’t be any hang-up; nothing will be hovering over them from the past.
You can do it daily. It will give you a new insight for going backward through the whole day. The mind would like to start from the morning, but remember, then there is no unwinding. Rather, the whole thing is re-emphasized. If you start from the morning, you are doing a very wrong thing.
There are many so-called teachers in India who suggest to do it — to reflect on the whole day — and they always say to do it again from the morning. That is wrong and harmful, because then you are re-emphasizing the whole thing and the trap will be deepened. Never go from the morning to the evening, always go backward. Only then can you clean the whole thing, purge the whole thing. The mind would like to start from the morning because it is easy: the mind knows it and there is no problem. If you start going backward, suddenly you will feel you have jumped into the morning and you have started going forward again. Do not do that — be aware, go back.
You can train your mind to go back through other things also. Just go back from a hundred — 99, 98, 97… go back. Go from a hundred to one, backwards. You will feel a difficulty because the mind has a habit to go from one to hundred, never from a hundred to one.
In the same way you have to go backward with this technique. What will happen? Going backward, unwinding the mind, you are a witness. You are seeing things that happened to you, but now they are not happening to you. Now you are just an observer and they are happening on the screen of the mind.
While doing this daily, suddenly one day you will become aware during the day, while working in the market, in your office or anywhere, that you can be a witness to events that are happening just now. If you can be a witness later on, and look back at someone who had insulted you without becoming angry about it, why not right now, to what is presently happening?
Someone is insulting you: what is the difficulty? You can pull yourself aside just now and you can see that someone is insulting you, and still you are different from your body, from your mind, from that which is insulted. You can witness it. If you can be a witness to this, you will not get angry; then it is impossible. Anger is possible only when you are identified. If you are not identified, anger is impossible — anger means identification.
This technique says, look at any happening of the past — your form will be there. The sutra says your form, not you. You were never there. Always your form is involved; you are never involved. When you insult me, you do not insult ME. You cannot insult me, you can insult only the form. The form which I am is there just here and now for you. You can insult that form and I can detach myself from the form. That is why Hindus have always been insisting on being detached from name and form. You are neither your name nor your form. You are the consciousness who knows the form and the name, and the consciousness is different, totally different.
But it is difficult. So start with the past, then it is easy, because now, with the past there is no urgency. Someone insulted you twenty years back, so there is no urgency in it. The man may have died and everything is finished. It is just a dead affair, just dead from the past; it is easy to be aware of it. But once you can become aware there is no difficulty in doing the same with what is happening just here and now.
But to start from here and now is difficult. The problem is so urgent and it is so near that there is no space to move. It is difficult to create space and move away from the incident. That is why the sutra says to start with the past: look at your own form, detached, standing aloof and different, and be transformed through it.
You will be transformed through it because it is a deep cleaning, an unwinding. Then you can know that your body, your mind, your existence in time are not your basic reality. The substantial reality is different. Things come and go upon it without touching it in the least. You remain innocent, untouched; you remain virgin. The whole thing passes, the whole life passes: good and bad, success and failure, praise and blame — everything passes. Disease and health, youth and old age, birth and death — everything passes, and you are untouched by it.
But how to know this untouched reality within you? That is the purpose of this technique. Start with the past. There is a gap when you look at your past; the perspective is possible. Or look at the future. But to look at the future is difficult. Only for a few persons is observing the future not difficult — for poets, for people with imagination who can look into the future as if they are looking at reality. But ordinarily the past is good to use; you can look into the past. For young men it may be good to look into the future. It is easier for them to look into the future because youth is future-oriented.
For old men there is no future except death. They cannot look into the future; they are afraid. That is why old men always start thinking about the past. They always go again and again into their memories, but they commit the same mistake. They start from the past toward their present state of being — that is wrong, they should go backward.
If they can go backward many times, by and by they will feel that their whole past is washed away from them. And then a person can die without the past clinging to him. If you can die without the past clinging to you, you will die consciously; you will die fully aware. Then death will not be a death to you. Rather, it will be a meeting with the deathless.
Clean the whole consciousness of the depth of the past, and your very being will be transformed through it. Try this. This method is not very difficult, only persistent effort is needed; there is no inherent difficulty in the method. It is simple, and you can start with your day. Just tonight on your bed go backward, and you will feel very beautiful, you will feel very blissful. And then the whole day will have passed. But do not be in a hurry, pass it slowly so that nothing is missed. It is a very strange feeling, because many things will come up before your eyes. Many things you have really missed while passing through the day because you were too much engaged. But the mind goes on collecting even when you are unaware.
You were passing through a street. Someone was singing, but you might not have paid any attention. You might not have even been aware that you have heard the sound, just passing in the street. But the mind has heard and recorded it. Now that will cling; that will become a burden to you unnecessarily. So go back, but go very slowly, as if a film is being shown to you in very slow motion. Go back and see the details, and then your one day will look very, very long. It is, really, because for the mind there has been so much information, and the mind has recorded everything. Now go back.
By and by you will become capable of knowing everything that has been recorded. And once you can go back, it is just like a tape recorder: it is washed away. By the time you will reach the morning you will fall asleep, and the quality of the sleep will be different — it will be meditative. Then again, in the morning when you feel that you have awakened, do not open your eyes immediately. Go backward into the night.
It will be difficult in the beginning. You may go a little. Some part, some fragment of a dream which you were just dreaming before the sleep was broken may come to your mind. But by and by, with gradual effort, you will be able to penetrate more and more and more, and after a three-month period you will be capable of moving backward to the point when you fell asleep. And if you can go backward deep within your sleep, your quality of sleep and waking will change completely, because then you cannot dream; dreaming will have become futile. If you can go back in the day and in the night, dreaming is not needed.
Now psychologists say that dreaming is really an unwinding. If you yourself have done it, then there is no need. All that has been hanging in the mind, all that has remained unfulfilled, incomplete, tries to complete itself in the dream.
You were passing and you have seen something — a beautiful house — and a subtle desire arose in you to possess it. But you were going to your office and that was no time for daydreaming, so you just passed by. You did not even notice that the mind had created a desire to possess this house. But now that desire is hanging there, suspended, and if it cannot be removed it will be difficult to sleep.
Difficulties in sleep basically mean only one thing, that your day is still hanging over you and you cannot be relieved of it. You are clinging to it. Then in the night you will see a dream that you have become the owner of this house — now you are living in this house. The moment this dream comes to you, your mind is relieved.
So ordinarily people think that dreams are disturbances to sleep — that is absolutely wrong. Dreams are not disturbances to your sleep. They are not disturbing your sleep, they are really helping; without them you could not sleep at all. As you are you cannot sleep without dreams, because your dreams are helping to complete things which have remained incomplete.
And there are things which cannot be completed. Your mind goes on desiring absurd desires, and they cannot be completed in reality, so what to do? Those incomplete desires go on in you, and they keep you hoping, they keep you thinking. So what to do? You have seen a beautiful woman and you were attracted to her. Now the desire has arisen to possess her. It may not be possible, the woman may not even look at you. So what to do? The dream will help you.
In a dream you can possess the woman, and then the mind is relieved. As far as the mind is concerned, there is no difference between dream and reality. What is the difference? Loving a woman in reality and loving a woman in a dream, what is the difference for the mind? There is no difference. Or this may be the difference, that the dream phenomenon may be more beautiful, because then the woman will not disturb you. It is your dream and you can do anything, and the woman will not create any problems for you. The other is absent completely, you are alone. There is no barrier, so you can do whatsoever you like.
There is no difference for the mind; mind cannot make any distinction between what is dream and what is reality. For example, if you could be put in a coma for one whole year, and you dream on and on, for one year you will not be able to feel in any way that whatsoever you are seeing is a dream. It will be real, and the dream will continue for one year.
Psychologists say that if you can put a man in a coma for a hundred years he will dream for a hundred years, not for a single moment suspecting that whatsoever he is doing is just a dream. And if he dies he will never know that his life was just a dream, that it was never real. For the mind there is no difference: reality and dream are both the same. So mind can unwind itself in dream.
If you do this technique, then there will be no need for dreams. The quality of your sleep will be changed totally, because without dreams you fall to the very bottom of your being, and without dreams you will be aware in your sleep.
That is what Krishna says in the Gita, that while everyone is deeply asleep the yogi is not, the yogi is awake. That doesn’t mean that the yogi is not sleeping — he is also sleeping, but the quality of the sleep is different. Your sleep is just like a drugged unconsciousness. A yogi’s sleep is a deep relaxation with no unconsciousness. His whole body is relaxed; every fiber and cell of his whole body is relaxed, with no tension left. But he is fully aware of the whole phenomenon.
Try this technique. Start from tonight, try it, and then do it in the morning also. And when you feel that you are attuned to the technique, that you can do it, after one week try it for your whole past. Just take one day off. Go to some lonely place. It will be good if you fast — fast and be silent. Lie down on some lonely beach or under some tree, and just move toward your past from this point: you are lying on the beach feeling the sand and the sun, and now move backward. Go on penetrating, penetrating, penetrating, and find out the last thing that you can remember.
You will be surprised. Ordinarily you cannot remember much, and you cannot pass the barrier of four or five years of age. Those who have a very good memory may go back to the age barrier of three years, but then suddenly a block comes and everything goes dark. But if you try with this technique, by and by you will break the barrier, and very easily you can come to remember the first day you were born. And that is a revelation.
Back again with your sun and beach, you will be a different man. If you make more effort, you can penetrate to the womb. And you have memories of the womb — nine months of memories with your mother. That nine-month period is also recorded in the mind. When your mother was depressed, you have recorded it because you felt depressed. You were so connected with the mother, so united, so one, that whatsoever happened to your mother was happening to you. When she was angry, you were angry. When she was happy, you were happy. When she was praised, you felt praised. When she was ill, you felt the pain, the suffering, everything.
If you can penetrate to the womb, now you are on the right track. And then, by and by, you can penetrate more and you can remember the first moment when you entered the womb.
Only because of this remembrance, Mahavir and Buddha could say that there are past lives, rebirth. Rebirth is not really a principle, it is just a deep psychological experience. And if you can remember the first moment you entered the womb of your mother, then you can penetrate more and you can remember the death of your past life. Once you touch that point then the method is in your hands; then you can move very easily to all your past lives.
This is an experience, and the result is phenomenal, because then you know that through many, many lives you have lived the same nonsense that you are living now. You have been doing this whole nonsense so many times, repeatedly. The pattern is the same, the format is the same, only the details differ. You loved some other woman, now you love this woman. You gathered money… the coins were of one kind, now the coins are different. But the whole pattern is the same; it is repetitive.
Once you can see that for many, many lives you have lived the same nonsense, how stupid has been this whole vicious circle, suddenly you are awakened and the whole thing becomes a dream. You are thrown away from it, and now you do not want to repeat the same thing in the future.
Desire stops, because desire is nothing but the past being projected into the future. Desire is nothing but your past experience in search of another repetition again. Desire means just an old experience that you want to repeat again — nothing else. And you cannot leave desire unless you become aware of this whole phenomenon. How can you leave it? The past is there as a great barrier, a rock-like barrier. It is upon your head; it is pushing you toward the future. Desires are created by the past and projected into the future. If you can know the past as a dream, all desires become impotent. They fall down, they just wither away — and the future disappears. In that disappearance of past and future, you are transformed.
Next Meditation Technique No. 23