Audio for Bardo part 15 (click to play or right click to download)

Hence, I say religion is the art of dying. You might say, however, that I have often said religion is the art of living. I certainly talk about both things, for only one who knows how to die is able to know what life is. Religion is the art of living and dying. If you wish to know what life is, what death is, you will have to learn the art of withdrawing energy from your body voluntarily. Only then can you know, not otherwise. This energy can be withdrawn; it is not difficult. It’s easy to pull this energy inside. This energy is diffused at will and withdrawn at will. This energy is simply an expanse of the will. It is merely a matter of will. One just needs a determined resolve to go within.

If you resolve that for half an hour you want to turn within, you want to die, you want to drown within yourself, you want to withdraw all your energy, then within days you will come close to experiencing the contraction of energy. It will be a state in which the body will lie separate from you. A deep three-month long experiment will make you see your body lying separate from you; you can see your own body lying distant from you. First you will see from within that inside you are standing separate – radiating, like a flame. You will see the entire body from within as you see this building. With a little more courage you can even bring this inner living flame outside, and from outside you can see the body lying there, removed from you.

Let me tell you an incredible experience I had. It has just occurred to me; I have never told it before. About seventeen or eighteen years ago I used to meditate until late at night sitting in the top of a tree. I have often felt the body has a greater influence over you if you meditate sitting on the ground. The body is made of earth, and the forces of the body work very powerfully if one meditates sitting on the ground.

All this talk of the yogis moving up to the higher elevations – to the mountains, to the Himalayas – is not without reason; it’s very scientific. The greater the distance between the body and the earth, the lesser the pull of the earthly element on the body. So I used to meditate every night sitting in a tree. One night…I don’t know when I became immersed in deep meditation, and I don’t know at what point my body fell from the tree, but when it did, I looked with a start to see what had happened.

I was still in the tree, but the body had fallen below. It’s difficult to say how I felt at that time. I was still sitting in the tree and the body was below. Only a single silver cord connected me with the navel of my body – a very shiny silver cord. What would happen next was beyond my comprehension. How would I return to my body?

I don’t know how long this state lasted, but it was an exceptional experience. For the first time I saw my body from outside, and from that very day on the body ceased to exist. Since then I am finished with death, because I came to see another body different from this one – I came to experience the subtle body. It’s difficult to say how long this experience lasted.

With the breaking of dawn, two women from the nearby village passed, carrying milk pots on their heads. As they approached the tree they saw my body lying there. They came and sat next to the body. I was watching all this from above. It seems the women took the body to be dead. They placed their hands on my head, and in a moment, as if by a powerful force of attraction, I came back into the body and my eyes opened.

From Osho, And Now and Here, Chapter 8

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