25. Just as you have the impulse to do something, stop.
All these techniques are concerned with stopping in the middle. George Gurdjieff made these techniques very well-known in the West, but he was not aware of VIGYANA BHAIRAVA TANTRA. He learned these techniques in Tibet from Buddhist lamas. He worked on these techniques in the West, and many, many seekers came to realize the center through these techniques. He called them stop exercises, but the source of these exercises is VIGYANA BHAIRAVA TANTRA.
Buddhists learned from VIGYANA BHAIRAVA. Sufis also have such exercises; they are also borrowed from VIGYANA BHAIRAVA. Basically, this is the source book of all techniques which are known all over the world.
Gurdjieff used it in a very simple way. For example, he would tell his students to dance. A group would be dancing — a group of, say, twenty people would be dancing — and suddenly he would say, “Stop!” And the moment Gurdjieff would say stop, they would have to stop totally. Wherever the pause would fall, they would have to stop then and there. No change could be made, no adjustment could be made. If one of your feet was above the earth and you were just standing on one foot, you would have to remain that way. If you fell, that was another thing, but you were not to cooperate with the fall. If your eyes were opened, they had to remain opened. Now you could not close them. If they closed by themselves, that was another thing. But as far as you were concerned, consciously you had stopped, you had become just like a stone statue.
Miracles happened because in activity, in dance, in movement, when suddenly you stop, a gap happens. This sudden stoppage of all activity divides you into two: your body and you. Your body and you were in movement. Suddenly you stop. The body has the tendency to move. It was in movement, so there is momentum; you were dancing, and there is momentum. The body is not ready for this sudden stop. Suddenly you feel that the body has the impulse to do something, but you have stopped. A gap comes into existence. You feel your body as something distant, far away, with the impulse to move, with momentum for activity. And because you have stopped and you are not cooperating with the body and its activity and its impulse, its momentum, you become separate from it.
But you can deceive yourself. A slight cooperation and the gap will not happen. For example, you feel uncomfortable, but the teacher has said, “Stop!” You have heard the word, but still you make yourself comfortable and then you stop. Then nothing will happen. Then you have deceived yourself, not the teacher, because you missed the point. The whole point of the technique is missed. Suddenly, when you hear the word “Stop!” instantly you have to stop, not doing anything.
Perhaps the posture was inconvenient, you were afraid you might fall down, you might break a bone. But whatsoever happens, now it is not your concern. If you have any concern, you will deceive yourself. This suddenly becoming dead creates a gap. The stopping is at the body and the stopper is the center; the circumference and the center are separate. In that sudden stopping you can feel yourself for the first time; you can feel the center. Gurdjieff used this technique to help many.
This technique has many dimensions; it can be used in many ways. But first try to understand the mechanism. The mechanism is simple. You are in activity, and when you are in activity you forget yourself completely; the activity becomes the center of your attention.
Someone has died, and you are weeping and crying, and tears are falling down. You have forgotten yourself completely. The one who has died has become the center, and around that center this activity is happening — your weeping, your crying, your sadness, your tears. If I suddenly say to you, “Stop!” and you stop yourself completely, you will be totally taken away from your body and the realm of activity. Whenever you are in activity, you are in it, deeply absorbed in it. Sudden stoppage throws you off balance; it throws you out of activity. This being thrown leads you to the center.
Ordinarily, what are we doing? From one activity we move to another. We go on from one activity to another, from A to B and from B to C. In the morning, the moment you are awake activity has started. Now you will be active the whole day. You will change to many activities, but you will not be inactive for a single moment. How to be inactive? It is difficult. And if you try to be inactive, your effort to be inactive will become an activity.
There are many who are trying to be inactive. They sit in a Buddha posture and they try to be inactive. But how can you try to be inactive? The very effort is again an activity. So you can convert inactivity also into activity. You can force yourself to be quiet, still, but that forcing is an activity of the mind. That is why so many try to go into meditation but never reach anywhere — because their meditation is again an activity. They can change… If you were singing an ordinary song, you can now change to a BHAJAN, to a devotional song. You can sing slow now, but both are activities. You are running, you are walking, you are reading — these are activities. You can pray — that too is an activity. You move from one activity to another.
And with the last thing in the night, when you are falling into sleep, you are still active; the activity has not stopped. That is why dreams happen, because the activity goes on. You have fallen asleep, but the activity continues. In the subconscious you are still active — doing things, possessing things, losing things, moving. Dreaming means you have fallen asleep because of exertion, but the activity is still there continuously.
Only sometimes, for a few moments — and these have become more and more rare for the modern man — only for a few moments dreaming stops and you are totally asleep. But then that inactivity is unconscious. You are not conscious, you are fast asleep. The activity has ceased; now there is no circumference, now you are at the center — but totally exhausted, totally dead, unconscious.
That is why Hindus have always been saying that SUSHUPTI — dreamless sleep — and SAMADHI — the ultimate ecstasy — are similar, the same, with only one difference. But the difference is great: the difference is of awareness. In sushupti, in dreamless sleep, you are at the center of your being — but unaware. In samadhi, in the ultimate ecstasy, in the ultimate state of meditation, also you are at the center — but aware. That is the difference, but it is a great difference, because if you are unaware, even if you are at the center it is meaningless. It refreshes you, it makes you more alive again, it gives you vitality — in the morning you feel fresh and blissful — but if you are unaware, even if you are at the center your life remains the same.
In samadhi you enter yourself fully conscious, fully alert. And once you are at the center fully alert, you will never be the same again. Now you will know who you are. Now you will know that your possessions, your actions are just on the periphery; they are just the ripples, not your nature.
The mechanism of these techniques of stopping is to throw you suddenly into inactivity. The point must come suddenly, because if you try to be inactive you will turn it into activity. So do not try, and suddenly be inactive. That is the meaning of “Stop!” You are running and I say, “Stop!” Do not try, just stop! If you try, you will miss the point. For example, you are sitting here. If I say stop, then stop immediately then and there; not a single moment is to be missed. If you try and adjust, and you settle down and then say, “Okay, now I will stop,” you have missed the point. SUDDENLY is the base, so do not make any effort to stop — just stop!
You can try it anywhere. You are taking your bath — suddenly order yourself to “Stop!” and stop. Even if it is only for a single moment, you will feel a different phenomenon happening within you. You are thrown to the center and suddenly everything stops — not only the body. When the body stops totally, your mind stops also. When you say, “Stop!” do not breathe then. Let everything stop… no breathing, no body movement. For a single moment remain in this stop, and you will feel you have penetrated suddenly, at rocket speed, to the center. And even a glimpse is miraculous, revolutionary. It changes you, and by and by you can have more clear glimpses of the center. That is why inactivity is not to be practiced. Use it suddenly, when you are unaware.
So a master can be helpful. This is a group method. Gurdjieff used it as a group method because if you say “Stop!” you can deceive yourself easily. First you make yourself comfortable and then you say “Stop!” Or even if consciously you have not made any preparation for it, unconsciously you may be prepared. Then you may say, “Now I can stop.” If it is done by the mind, if there is a planning behind it, it is useless; then the technique will not be of any help. So in a group it is good. A master is working with you, and he says, “Stop!” He will find moments when you are in a very inconvenient posture, and then a flash happens, a sudden lightning.
Activity can be practiced; inactivity cannot be practiced — and if you practice it, it becomes just another activity. You can be inactive only suddenly. Sometimes it happens that you are driving a car, and suddenly you feel there is going to be an accident, that another car has reached near yours and in just a moment there will be a crash. Suddenly your mind stops, breathing stops, everything stops. So many times in such accidents one is thrown to the center. But you may miss the point even in an accident.
I was in a car and there was an accident, and one of the most beautiful accidents possible. Three persons were with me, but they missed the whole thing completely. It could have been a revolution in their lives, but they missed. The car went down into a river bed, into a dry river bed, from a bridge. The car was totally upside down, and the three persons with me began crying; they began weeping.
One woman was there and she was crying. She was just beside me and she was crying, “I am dead! I am dead!”
I told her, “If you were dead, then no one would be here to say this.”
But she was trembling, and she said, “I am dead! What will happen to my children?” Even after we carried her out of the car she was trembling and saying the same thing: “What will happen to my children? I am dead!” It took at least half an hour for her to calm down.
She missed the point. It was such a beautiful thing: suddenly she could have stopped everything. And one couldn’t do anything. The car was falling from the bridge, so her activity was not needed at all. One couldn’t do anything. But still the mind can create activity. She started thinking about her children, and then she began crying, “I am dead!” A subtle moment was missed. In dangerous situations the mind stops automatically. Why? Because mind is a mechanism and it can work with only routine things — that which it has been trained to do.
You cannot train your mind for accidents, otherwise they would not be called accidents. If you are ready, if you have passed through rehearsals, then they are not accidents. `Accident’ means that the mind is not ready to do anything. The thing is so sudden, it leaps from the unknown — mind cannot do anything. It is not ready, it is not trained for it. It is bound to stop unless you start something else, unless you start something for which you are trained.
This woman who was crying about her children was not at all attentive to what was happening. She was not even aware that she was alive. The present moment was not in her focus of consciousness. She had moved away from the situation to her children, to death and to other things. She had escaped. As far as her attention was concerned, she had escaped from the situation completely.
But as far as the situation was concerned, nothing could be done; one could only be aware. Whatsoever was happening was happening. One could only be aware. As far as the present moment is concerned, in an accident what can you do? It is already beyond you, and the mind is not prepared for it. The mind cannot function, so the mind stops.
That is why dangers have a secret appeal, an intrinsic appeal: they are meditative moments. If you race a car and it goes beyond ninety miles per hour, and then beyond one hundred and then beyond one hundred and ten and beyond one hundred and twenty, then a situation comes in which anything can happen and you will not be able to do anything. Now really, the car is beyond control, going beyond control. Suddenly the mind cannot function; it is not ready for it. That is the thrill of speed — because a silence creeps in, you are thrown to the center.
These techniques help you to move to the center without any accidents, without any danger. But remember, you cannot practice them. When I say you cannot practice them, what do I mean? In a way you can practice them: suddenly you can stop. But the stopping must be sudden, you must not be prepared for it. You should not think about it and plan it and say that “At twelve o’clock I will stop.” Let the unknown happen to you when you are unprepared. Move in the unknown, the uncharted, without any knowledge. This is one technique: JUST AS YOU HAVE THE IMPULSE TO DO SOMETHING, STOP. This is one dimension.
For example, you have the impulse to sneeze. You are feeling that the impulse is coming, you are feeling the sneeze coming. Now a moment comes when you cannot do anything — it will happen. But in the very beginning of the feeling, when you feel the sensation of a sneeze coming to you, the moment you become aware, stop! What can you do? Can you stop the sneeze? If you try to stop the sneeze, the sneeze will come sooner, because stopping will make your mind more conscious about it and you will feel the sensation more. You will become more sensitive, your total attention will be there, and that attention will help the sneeze to come out sooner. It will become unbearable. You cannot stop the sneeze directly, but you can stop yourself.
What can you do? You feel the sensation that the sneeze is coming: stop! Do not try to stop the sneeze, just you yourself stop. Do not do anything. Remain completely unmoving, with not even your breath going in or coming out. For a moment, stop, and you will feel that the impulse has gone back, that it has dropped. And in this dropping of the impulse a subtle energy is released which is used in going toward the center, because in a sneeze you are throwing some energy out — in any impulse.
`Impulse’ means you are burdened with some energy which you cannot use and cannot absorb. It wants to move out, it wants to be thrown out; you want a relief. That is why after you sneeze you will feel good, a subtle well-being. Nothing has happened, you have simply released some energy which was superfluous, a burden. Now it is no more there; you are relieved of it. Then you feel a subtle relaxation inside.
That is why physiologists, Pavlov, B. F. Skinner and others, say sex is also like sneezing. They say physiologically there is no difference, sex is just like sneezing. You are overburdened with energy; you want to throw it out. Once it is thrown out your mechanism relaxes, you become unburdened. Then you feel good. That good feeling is just a release, according to physiologists, and as far as physiology goes they are right. Whenever you have some impulse, JUST AS YOU HAVE THE IMPULSE TO DO SOMETHING, STOP! Not only with a physiological impulse, any impulse can be used.
For example, you were going to drink a glass of water. You have touched the water, the glass — suddenly stop. Let the hand be there, let the desire to drink, the thirst be there inside, but you stop completely. The glass is outside, the thirst is inside; the hand is on the glass, the eyes are on the glass — stop suddenly. No breathing, no movement, as if you have become dead. The very impulse, the thirst, will release energy, and that energy is used for going to the center. You will be thrown to the center. Why? Because any impulse is a movement outward. Remember, `impulse’ means energy moving outward.
Remember another thing: energy is always in movement — either going out or coming in. Energy can never be static. These are the laws. If you understand the laws, then the mechanism of the technique will be easy. Energy is always in movement. Either it is moving out or moving in; energy can never be static. If it is static it is not energy, and there is nothing which is not energy, so everything is moving somewhere.
When an impulse, any impulse, comes to you, it means energy is moving out. That is why your hand goes to the glass — you have moved out. A desire has come to do something. All activities are movements toward that which is without from that which is within — movements from within to without.
When you stop suddenly, the energy cannot be static in you. You have become static, but the energy cannot be static in you, and the mechanism through which it was moving out is not dead, it has stopped. So what can the energy do? The energy cannot do anything other than move inward. Energy cannot be static. It was going out. You have stopped, the mechanism has stopped, but the mechanism which can lead it toward the center is there. This energy will move inward.
You are converting your energy and changing its dimension every moment without knowing it. You are angry, and you feel to beat someone or to destroy something or to do something violent — try this. Take someone — your friend, your wife, your child, anyone — and hug, kiss or embrace him or her. You were angry, you were going to destroy something; you wanted to do some violent thing. Your mind was destructive; the energy was moving toward violence. Love someone immediately.
In the beginning you may feel that this is just like acting. You will wonder, “How can I love? How can I love in this moment? I am angry!” You do not know the mechanism. In this moment you can love deeply because the energy has been aroused, it has arisen. It has come to a point where it wants to be expressed, and energy needs movement. If you just start loving someone, the same energy will move into love and you will feel a rush of energy that you may not have ever felt.
There are persons who cannot go into love unless they are angry, unless they are violent. There are people who can only go into deep love when their energy is moving violently. You may not have observed, but it happens daily: couples will fight before they make love. Wives and husbands fight, become angry, become violent, and then they make love, and they may not have understood what was happening. Then it becomes a mechanical habit — whenever they fight they will love. And the day they do not fight they will not be able to love.
Particularly in Indian villages, where wives are still beaten, if a certain husband stops beating his wife it is known that now he has stopped loving her. And even wives understand that if the husband has become totally nonviolent toward them, it means the love has stopped. He is not fighting, so it means he is not loving.
Why? Why is fight so associated with love? It is associated because the same energy can move in different dimensions. You may call it “love” or “hate.” They look opposite, but they are not so opposite, because the same energy is moving. So a person who becomes incapable of hate becomes incapable of love, according to your definitions of love. A person who cannot be violently angry becomes incapable of the love which you know. He may be capable of a different quality of love, but that is not your love. A Buddha loves, but that love is totally different. That is why Buddha calls it compassion; he never calls it love. It is more like compassion, less like your love, because your love implies hate, anger, violence.
Energy can move, can change directions. It can become hate, it can become love — the same energy. And the same energy can move inward also, so whenever you have the impulse to do something, Stop! This is not suppression. You are not suppressing anything, you are just playing with energy — just playing with energy and knowing the workings of it, how it works inwardly. But remember, the impulse must be real and authentic; otherwise nothing will happen.
For example, when there is no thirst you move to a glass of water and then suddenly you stop. Nothing will happen because there is nothing to happen — the energy was not moving. You were feeling love toward your wife, your husband, your friend. You wanted to hug, to kiss — stop! But the impulse must be there authentically. If the impulse is not there and you were just going to console someone, to kiss because the kiss is expected, and then you stop, then nothing will happen because nothing was moving inside.
So first remember, the impulse must be authentic, real. Only with a real impulse does energy move, and when a real impulse is suddenly stopped the energy becomes suspended. With no dimension from where to move out, it turns in. It has to move, it cannot remain there.
But we are so false that nothing seems real. You eat your meal because of the clock, because of the time, not because of hunger. So if you stop, nothing will happen because there was really no hunger behind it, no impulse. No energy was moving there. That is why if you take your meal at one o’clock, at one o’clock you will feel the hunger. But the hunger is false; it is just a mechanical habit, just a dead habit. Your body is not hungry. If you do not eat you will feel something is missing, but if you can remain for one hour without eating you will forget it, the hunger will have subsided.
A real hunger will grow more; it is bound to grow. If your hunger was real, then at two you will feel more hungry. If the hunger was false, then at two you will have completely forgotten. Really, there will be no hunger at two. Even if you want to eat, now you will not feel hungry. The hunger was just a false, mechanical feeling. No energy was moving, it was just the mind saying to you that now this is the time to eat, so eat.
If you are feeling sleepy, stop! But the feeling must be real; that is the problem. And that is the problem for us now. It was not so in Shiva’s time. When the VIGYANA BHAIRAVA TANTRA was preached for the first time, it was not so. Man was authentic, humanity was real, pure, nothing was false about it. With us everything is false. You pretend that you love; you pretend that you are angry. You go on pretending and then you forget yourself whether you are pretending or whether anything real is left. You never say what is in you, you never express it. You go on expressing what is not there. Watch yourself and you will come to know it.
You say something, but you feel something else. Really, you wanted to say quite the opposite, but if you say the real thing you will become totally unfit — because the whole society is false, and in a false society you can exist only as a false person. The more adjusted, the more false, because if you want to be real you will feel a maladjustment.
That is why renunciation came into existence, because of a false society. Buddha had to leave not because it had any positive meaning, but only a negative meaning — because with a false society you cannot be real. Or at every moment you are in a constant struggle, unnecessarily and dissipating energy. So leave the unreal, leave the false, so that you can be real. That was the basic reason for all renunciation.
But watch yourself, how unreal you are. Watch the double mind. You are saying something, but you are feeling quite the contrary. Simultaneously, you are saying one thing in your mind and something else without. Thus, if you stop anything which is not real, the technique will not help. So find something authentic about yourself and try to stop that. Not everything has become false, many things are still real. Fortunately, everyone is real sometimes; in some moment everyone is real. Then stop it.
You are feeling angry, and you feel it is real. You are going to destroy something, beat your child, or do something: Stop! But do not stop with a consideration. Do not say, “Anger is bad, so I should stop” — no ! Do not say, “This is not going to help the child, so I should stop.” No mental consideration is needed, because if you consider, then the energy has moved into consideration. This is an inner mechanism.
If you say, “I should not beat my child because it is not going to do any good to him, and this is not good for me also. This is useless and this never helps,” the same energy which was going to become anger has become consideration. Now you have considered the whole thing, and the energy has subsided. It has moved into consideration, into thinking. Then you stop, but then there is no energy to move in. When you feel angry, do not consider it, do not think about it being good or bad; do not think at all. Suddenly remember the technique and stop!
Anger is pure energy… nothing bad, nothing good. It may become good, it may become bad — that will depend on the result, not on the energy. It can become bad if it goes out and destroys something, if it becomes destructive. It may become a beautiful ecstasy if it moves within and throws you to the center; it may become a flower. Energy is simply energy — pure, innocent, neutral. Do not consider it. You were going to do something — do not think, simply stop and then remain stopped. In that remaining you will have a glimpse of the inner center. You will forget the periphery and the center will come into your vision.
Just as you have the impulse to do something, Stop! Try it. Remember three things… One, try it only when a real impulse is there. Secondly, do not think about stopping, just stop. And thirdly, wait! When you have stopped, no breathing, no movement — wait and see what happens. Do not try. When I say to wait, I mean do not try now to think about the inner center. Then you will again miss. Do not think of the self, of the atman. Do not think that now the glimpse is there, now the glimpse is coming. Do not think, just wait. Let the impulse, the energy move by itself. If you start thinking about the brahman and the atman and the center, the energy will have moved into this thinking.
You can waste this inner energy very simply. Just a thought will be enough to give it a direction; then you will go on thinking. When I say stop, it means stop totally, fully. Nothing is moving, as if the whole time has stopped. There is no movement — simply you are! In that simple existence, suddenly the center explodes.
Next Meditation Technique No. 26