What is Osho Mandala?
Osho Mandala – this used to strike either awe in some, mirth in others or a shake of the head in others as if ‘Are you mad or summfink?’ when I would tell people that I am doing the Osho Mandala meditation. This is one of my go-to active meditation techniques when I need a quick resolution, a breakthrough or just to shake off my lethargy. Usually it is Osho Dynamic and when that is not possible, Osho Mandala is the one for me.
Why does it evoke these above-mentioned reactions? Only because this is a little-done or a little-practised meditation technique. Or is it because the first stage of jogging on the spot for 15 minutes is perceived to be the most difficult stage? What do you think? Have you tried this?
When I would facilitate Osho Mandala in the Osho Auditorium in the OIMR in Pune, there would be around 15-20 participants on a good day. For the other meditation techniques the hall would be fairly chocka.
Okay let us start from the very beginning.
Osho Mandala [puts on best facilitator voice!] is an active meditation technique devised by Osho. It has four stages each lasting 15 minutes. The first stage is jogging on the spot, with eyes open, bringing the knees up as high as possible.
In the second stage you sit down and allow the body to become soft and flexible swaying as a reed in the wind.
In the third stage you lie down keeping eyes open, keeping the entire body relaxed, rotating the eyeballs clockwise in their sockets.
In the final stage, lie still. The first three stages has music specially created for this technique and the last stage is in silence. Here is more information.
Now that the description is over, let me tell you about my own experience doing it. Which is why I started this post.
Most people think that the first stage of jogging on the spot continuously is the most arduous stage of all. I tend to disagree. I have discovered that the mind is capable of rising to a challenge. It likes it, it wants to prove that anything can be done. So it makes the body go for it. My mind anyway! So in a few days time I find myself jogging away merrily, even remembering to lift my knees as high as possible. This is the stage of effort, doing, and with time, it becomes easier to do.
What I find the most difficult however, is the third stage of relaxation and action at the same time. This is the killer! The instruction is the whole body is relaxed, including the jaw, the face and the shoulders. The eyeballs moving in their sockets are the only movement. Boy is this difficult!
Have you tried it? Okay, just stop reading this for a moment. Find a space to lie down and attempt it. Feel the whole body is relaxed, no tension anywhere and allow just the movement of the eyeballs. And tell me your experience! If you could do it, congratulations. Because I find it so difficult to maintain the activity of the eyes without the jaw or my neck tightening.
I find my shoulders hunching, the jaw tightening, me holding my breath and once I hold my breath, that is the end of the end! My body is a tight ball of energy and relaxation is nowt. So all through the 15-minutes of this stage I am engaged in this weird, involuntary dance of tensing up various parts of the body, realising the tension, allowing the tension to melt away before the entire routine starting up all over again…
All at the same time as the eyes are doing their thing – rotating clockwise in the sockets. Gawd, is this difficult or what! Then I realise that my very effort to relax is causing all this tension. And it is such an oxymoron – trying to relax. How can the relaxation contain the effort? Relaxation is the absence of effort!
So I learn to accept and allow anything to happen in the body. I allow the tension, allow the tightness and the holding of the breath and focus only on the eyes doing their clockwise motion. And by and by, the tension starts leaving my body. I also come to realise how all the muscles in the body – the larger and the smaller deeper muscles are all connected. Because as the larger muscles relax, I become aware of the tension in the deeper, subtler muscles! And letting go of that is still a knack I am learning. I initially started this just for three days, but then continued to do it for twenty-one days as is recommended. However I have just gone on and now it is well over a month that I have been doing it. And I will stop only when I feel to as I obviously still need its therapeutic effects.
A great centering exercise
However, I am not a masochist. Honest. Promise. I love this technique because it works with three chakras in the body. The first stage works on the base, the second on the hara and the third works on the third eye. These are chakras for releasing the energy, grounding and clarity and insight.
So when I want to cut through the crap that I am creating in my life, Osho Mandala is the one I go to. It is indeed a great centring exercise. Circles of energy within circles of energy as all movements are circular, hence the name Mandala!
* If you are attempting to do Osho Mandala or any Osho meditations on your own, please make sure that you have first down it with guidance and preferably in a group setting. If you need help with anything that comes up during meditation, then the facilitator is available to help address it. And it needs to be done to its specific music and not just to any music.