Using breath and sound to know yourself beyond life and death
When: For 20 minutes just before going to sleep at night
This is an especially lovely method if you like using your voice. Through the sound of ‘om’ and observing each in and out breath you can have a strong sense of that reality beyond the two, beyond both life and death.
Step 1: Intone ‘o’ with each exhalation
With the light off, sit on your bed, close your eyes, and exhale deeply through the mouth with the sound ‘ooooo’. Continue exhaling with that sound as deeply as possible. Your stomach goes in, the air moves out, and you go on creating the sound ‘oooo…’. It is not ‘om’; it will become ‘om’ automatically. When it becomes harmonious and you are enjoying it, when there is an inner vibration, you will become aware that the sound has become ‘om’.
“The sound of ‘om’ is the deepest, the most harmonious and the most basic.
When it happens your whole body and brain relax. Your sleep will have a different quality. And your sleep has to be changed; only then can you become more alert and aware.”
Step 2: After the exhalation, stop
When you have exhaled completely, stop for a single moment. Don’t inhale, don’t exhale – just stop. In that stopping you are not doing anything, not even breathing. In that stopping you are in the ocean. Remain in that stop for a single moment and be a witness. Just look at what is happening. Be aware where you are: witness the whole situation that is there in that single stopped moment.
“Time is no longer there because time moves with breaths; breathing is the process of time. Because you breathe you feel time moving. When you don’t breathe you are just like a dead man. Time has stopped; there is no process anywhere. Everything has stopped…as if the whole existence has stopped with you. In that stopping you can become aware of the deepest source of your being and energy.”
Step 3: Let the body inhale
Rather than you deciding to breathe in, let the body do that – through the nose. So you can be completely relaxed, knowing that the body will take care of each inhalation.
“That too is beautiful and works wonders. You have exhaled, stopped for a moment; then you allow the body to inhale. You don’t make any effort to inhale; you simply watch the body taking the inhalation. And when you watch the body taking the inhalation you will feel a deep silence surrounding you, because then you know your effort is not needed for life. Life breathes itself. It moves by itself of its own cause. It is a river; you unnecessarily go on pushing it. You will see that the body is taking the inhalation. Your effort is not needed, your ego is not needed; you are not needed. You simply become a watcher; you simply see the body taking the inhalation. Deep silence will be felt.”
Step 4: After the inhalation, stop
When the body has fully breathed in, stop for a single moment again. Again watch.
“These two moments are totally different. When you have exhaled completely and stopped, that stopping is just like death. When you have inhaled totally and then stopped, that stopping is the climax of life. Remember, inhalation is equivalent to life, exhalation equivalent to death. So exhale as totally as possible; that will give you a death moment. That’s beautiful, because a death moment is the most silent, the most peaceful. That is nirvana. Then let the body inhale to the full, and then stop. That moment is a life moment: the climax of energy, power, bio-energy at its peak.
“Feel it, and feel both. That’s why I say stop twice: when you have exhaled, then; and when you have inhaled, then – so you can feel both life and death, so you can watch both life and death.
“Once you know that this is life and that this is death you have transcended both. The witness is neither death nor life. The witness is never born and never dies; only the body, the mechanism. You become the third. These two moments are very significant.” (Osho: Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi)