Buddha’s sutra has three atomic words which appear to be contradictory to each other.
“Sit. Rest. Work. Alone with yourself, never weary.
On the edge of the forest live joyfully, without desire.”
I was struck by these beautiful haiku-like words of the Buddha which have the essence of Zazen and his message of meditation.
These are the complex times in which simple things like sitting on the floor look very difficult. For the mind is agitated, the body disturbed, breathing irregular — how can one sit restfully? Restfulness means suspending all judgmental thinking and letting words, ideas, images, and thoughts pass by without getting involved in them. But rest does not always mean lying down. One of the most restful positions is when your body is perpendicular to the gravity of the earth. It does not need strength to sit in this position. In Zazen, an inner restfulness is very important.
Buddha’s sutra has three atomic words which appear to be contradictory to each other. But Osho expands them showing how it is important to work after restful sitting for a long time.
“ Sit — not only physically: psychologically and spiritually too. Learn to sit, that is zazen. And, rest — and fall into a deep rest, so the breathing becomes natural, the body becomes cool and all the fever of constant desire and turmoil disappears and evaporates.”
“And then, work. That work will have a totally different quality. It won’t be out of desire; it will be creativity. It will be because you have so much energy available that you would like to share your energy with the world, that you would like to create something, that you would like to make the world a little more beautiful, a little more blissful and a little more human.”
Physically speaking, sitting on the floor without moving has many health benefits. Being able to get up from that position takes a considerable amount of flexibility and lower body strength. By sitting on the floor, we strengthen the lumbar region of the body, reducing back-pain and discomfort. The hips open, making our pelvis and legs more flexible. Core muscles are strengthened, and the ankles also get gently stretched. Constant bending of the knees, ankles and hip-joint helps keep them flexible and free of diseases. And with flexibility comes better lubrication between the joints, making it much easier to sit on the floor. This is called Sukhasana in Yoga. Twisting the arms and legs in difficult postures are not Yoga. The real Yoga position is when you forget about your body and can sit in one position for a longer time.
And there is again a beautiful touch of the Buddha. “On the edge of the forest, live joyfully…without desire.” Does it mean one has to go to the forest to meditate?
No, Osho says, the forest represents the unknown, the unknowable. Be always close to the unknown and the unknowable and don’t be afraid… live joyfully… because of the unknown, the unknowable is also yours. Live joyfully without desire. And when energy accumulates in you, start being creative. Paint, sing, dance, or do whatsoever you feel like doing to make this world a little more beautiful, a little warmer.