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Astronauts and The Book of Secrets


When in space, astronauts have repeatedly reported inexplicable euphoria, a "cosmic connection" or an increased sensitivity to their place in the Universe. The experience sounds like the ultimate high, or the ultimate enlightening; it would appear that without trying, astronauts are able to attain a similar mental state as meditating Buddhist monks. So what is happening when the human body is in space? Does zero-gravity create new connections in the brain? Or is it a natural human response to the vastness of space and realizing just how small we are in comparison? What ever the reason, it looks like even when astronauts are back on solid ground, they have changed profoundly.

On March 6th, 1969, Rusty Schweikart experienced a feeling that the whole universe was profoundly connected. At the time, he was on a postponed space walk outside his Apollo 9 Lunar Module, carrying out tests for the forthcoming Moon landings. Already having suffered from space sickness (hence delaying the EVA) he felt a euphoric sensation:

"When you go around the Earth in an hour and a half, you begin to recognize that your identity is with that whole thing. That makes a change. It comes through to you so powerfully that you′re the sensing element for Man." (Russell "Rusty" Schweikart)

Two years later, Apollo 14 astronaut, Edgar Mitchell (joint record holder with Alan Shepard for longest ever Moon walk of 9 hours and 17 minutes) reported experiencing an "Overview Effect". He described the sensation gave him a profound sense of connectedness, with a feeling of bliss and timelessness. He was overwhelmed by the experience. He became profoundly aware that each and every atom in the Universe was connected in some way, and on seeing Earth from space he had an understanding that all the humans, animals and systems were a part of the same thing, a synergistic whole. It was an interconnected euphoria.

Schweikart and Mitchell′s experiences are not isolated anomalies, many other astronauts since the 1970′s have reported this Overview Effect. Andy Newberg, a neuroscientist/physician with experience in space medicine, hopes to find out whether this is an actual psychological phenomenon. Perhaps there is a medical reason for an actual change in an astronaut′s brain function when in space. What′s more, he′s noticed a psychological change in the men and women that have come back from space:

"You can often tell when you are with someone who has flown in space, its palpable". (Andy Newberg)

Newberg has scanned many brains to try to understand how humans reach this euphoric state on Earth. The religious communities, transcendental meditators and others around the world are able to experience similar states and have been the focus of interest to neuroscientists. In some cases, the meditation leads some people to view the whole cosmos as an interconnected quantum web, where consciousness is not separate, but a part of the Universe. Now Newberg hopes to monitor the brain of one of the first space tourists so a better grasp of the brain function of a human in zero-G can be understood.

Edgar Mitchell has said that his personal event has changed his life, revealing a Universe that had remained hidden until he experienced the Overview Effect on that Apollo 14 mission in 1971. Whether this effect is a physical change in the brain, or a deeper, yet to be discovered event, Newberg hopes to find some answers.

From The Universe Today

Also read about it in The Daily Galaxy

The astronauts mentioned in above article must have unwittingly practiced one of the meditation-techniques of the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra also known as The Book of Secrets.


Abide in some place endlessly spacious, clear of trees, hills, habitations. Thence comes the end of mind pressures.

Osho comments:

Before we enter this technique three other points about loneliness must be understood. One: to be alone is basic, foundational - that is how your being is. In the mother;s womb you are alone, totally alone, and psychologists say that the hankering for nirvana, for enlightenment, for salvation, for paradise, is really a deep imprinted memory of the experience of the mother;s womb. You have known it - the total aloneness - and the bliss of it. You were alone, you were God. No one else was there. No one disturbed you, no one interfered. Alone, you were the master. With no conflict the peace was intrinsic. Silence was there, no language. You were deep in yourself. You are not consciously aware of the fact but it is deeply imprinted, it is there hidden in the unconscious.
Because of this, psychologists say that everyone thinks that life in childhood was beautiful. And ever country and every race thinks that somewhere in the past was the Golden Age - somewhere in the past, life was blissful. Hindus call it Satya-Yug, age of truth. In the past, somewhere, the very, very past, before history began, everything was beautiful and blissful. There was no conflict, no strife, no violence. Only love prevailed. That was the Golden Age. Christians say that Adam and Eve lived in Eden, in the garden, in absolute innocence and blissfulness. Then came the fall. So the Golden Age is before the fall. Every country, every race, every religion, believes that the Golden Age was somewhere in the past. And the strangeness is that howsoever deeply into the past you move, this was always believed to be so, always.
In Mesopotamia a stone has been found which is six thousand years old. There is an inscription on it. If you read it you will feel that it is the editorial of today′s morning newspaper. The inscription says that this age is the age of sin. Everything has gone wrong. The son doesn′t believe in the father, the wife doesn′t believe in the husband. Darkness has set. Where are those days, the days of the past, those golden days? This is a six thousand-year-old inscription! Lao Tzu says that in the days of the past, in the days of the ancients, everything was beautiful. Then Tao prevailed, then there was nothing wrong, and because there was nothing wrong, no one preached. There was nothing wrong to be changed, transformed, and there was no priest, no preacher, no moral leaders, because everything was so right. Lao Tzu says that in those days, those old days, there was no religion. There was no need because Tao prevailed. Everyone was so religious that there was no need for religion. There were no sages then, because there were no sinners. Everyone was such a sage that, naturally, no one was aware of who was a sage and who was a sinner.
Psychologists say that this past never existed. This past is just the deep memory within every individual of the womb. It existed. Really, Tao was in the womb, and everything was beautiful, everything was as it should be. Completely unaware of the world, the child is moving in bliss. The situation of the child in the womb is just as it is for Vishnu on his Sheshnaga. Hindus believe that Vishnu is lying on his couch, a serpent couch, floating on the ocean of bliss. Really, that is the child′s position in the womb. The child floats. The mother′s womb is just like the ocean. And you may be surprised to know that the water in which the child floats in the mother′s womb has the same constituents as the ocean water - very similar, the same salts, everything. It is ocean water, soothing. And the womb always keeps the right temperature for the child. The mother may be shivering with cold, that makes no difference. For the child it is always the same temperature in the womb. He is warm, blissfully floating, with no worries, no anxieties, no responsibilities, alone. He is not aware of the mother; mother doesn′t exist for him. This Sanskar, this imprint, is carried on by you. This is the basic reality, how you were before you entered society, and this will be the reality again when you go out of society and die. You will again be alone.
And between these two points of loneliness your life is filled with many events. But those events are accidental. Deep down you remain alone because that is your basic reality. Around that aloneness many things happen: you get married, you become two, then you have children and you become many. Everything goes on happening - but just on the periphery. The deep stratum remains totally alone. That is your reality. You may call this your Atma, your essence.
In deep solitude this essence has to be recaptured. So when Buddha says that he has achieved nirvana, really he has achieved this loneliness, this basic reality. Mahavir says he has achieved Kaivalya. The very word Kaivalya, means loneliness, the alone. Just below the turmoil of events that aloneness is there. It runs through you like a thread running in a mala. The beads are apparent, but the thread is not. But the beads are hanging on the thread, and the beads are many and the thread is one. Really, the mala is a symbol of this reality. The thread is the reality and the beads are just the events which go on hanging on it. And unless you penetrate and come to the basic thread, you will be in anguish, you will be in suffering.
You have a history - that history is accidental. And you have a nature - that nature is non-historical. You are born on a certain date, to certain parents, in a certain society, in a certain age. You are educated in a certain way. Then you enter a particular profession, you fall in love with a woman, you have children. These dramas are beads, events, history, but deep down you are always alone. And if you forget yourself completely because of these events you have missed the very purpose of being here. Then you have lost yourself in the drama and you have forgotten the actor who was not part of it, who was just playing the role. All these things are roles.
Because of this India does not have written histories. Really, it is very difficult to be certain about when Krishna was born, when he died; when Ram was born, when he died - or whether he was ever born or not or is just a myth. We have not written his history, and this is the reason: we in India are concerned with the thread and not with the beads. Really, in the religious world, Christ is the first historical person, but had he been born in India he would not have been historical. We in India are always looking for the thread, the beads are irrelevant. But the West is more oriented towards events, facts - temporal things - than to the essential and the eternal. History is the drama. In India, we say that Ramas and Krishnas go on being born in every age. They have been repeated many times before and they will be repeated many times afterwards. So there is no need to carry on the records. When they are born is irrelevant. What their being is - the thread - that is the meaningful. So we are not concerned if they were really historical persons or not, we are not concerned with outer things that happen to a being, we are concerned with the being itself and whether anything happens to it or not.
When you move into solitude you are moving to the thread; when you move into solitude, you are moving into nature. If you are really alone, not even thinking of others, you will feel the world of nature around you for the first time. You will become attuned to it. Right now you are attuned to society. If you fall from this attunement to society, you will be attuned to nature. When the rains come - they are always coming but you cannot understand the language of the rains - they don′t say anything to you, they don′t mean anything to you; at the most some utilitarian thing about water being needed is realized. So there is some use, but you don′t have any dialogue, you cannot understand the language of the rains, the rain has no personality for you. But if you leave society for a time and remain in aloneness, you will start feeling a new phenomenon: the rains will come and they will talk to you. Then you will feel their moods - some day the rain is very angry and some day it is very soothing and loving. Some day the whole sky is depressed, and some day it is dancing. Some day the sun rises as if without any will of its own, forced, doing the work; and some day on its own - now it is not a work but a play.
You will feel all the moods around you. Nature has its own language but it is silent, and unless you are silent you cannot understand it.
The first layer of attunement is with society, the second layer of attunement is with nature, and the third layer, the deepest, is with Tao or Dharma. That is the pure existence. Then the tree, then the rains, then the clouds, they are also left behind. Then, just existence.... Existence has no moods. Existence is always the same. Existence is always the same: always festive, exploding with energy. But one has first to move from society to nature - then from nature to existence. When you are attuned with existence you are totally alone, but this aloneness is different from that of the child in the womb. The child is alone, but it is not that he is really alone, he is unaware of anything else. He is enclosed in darkness, that′s why he feels alone. The whole world exists around him but he is not aware of it. His aloneness is that of ignorance. When you become consciously silent, one with existence, your aloneness will not be surrounded by darkness, it will be surrounded by light.
For the child in the womb the world is not, because he is unaware. For you the world will not be, because the world and you have become one.
When you reach the deepest being you are alone again because the ego is lost. The ego is given by society. It can persist a little even when you are in nature although it will not be as much as it is in society. When you move alone, your ego starts disappearing - because it is always in relationship. Look at this phenomenon: with every individual your ego changes. If you are talking to your servant, look inside, look at the ego, see how it is. If you are talking to your friend, look within, see how the ego is. You are talking to your beloved, look within, see whether the ego is or is not. If you are talking to an innocent child, look within - the ego will not be there because it will be stupid to be an egoist with an innocent child. You will feel that this would be stupid, so while playing with children you become a child. The child doesn′t know the language of ego. And being egoistic with a child you will look awkward. So when you play with children they pull you down. They bring you back to your own childhood. When you are talking with a dog, or playing with a dog, the ego that the society has given to you cannot exist because with a dog there is no question of ego. If you are walking with your dog - a very beautiful and costly dog - and someone crosses the street, even the dog seems to give you ego. But the dog is not giving you ego, it is the man who is passing. You become straight, you feel elated because you have a very beautiful dog and the man looks jealous.
The ego is there. If you move into a forest the ego disappears. Hence the insistence of all religions to move, at least for a time, into the world of nature.

This sutra is simple:

Abide in some place endlessly spacious.

On some hilltop from where you can see endlessly, from where the vision never comes to any end. If you can see endlessly and there is no end to your vision, the ego will dissolve. Ego needs limits, boundaries. The more defined the boundaries, the easier it is for the ego to exist.

Abide in some place endlessly spacious, clear of trees, hills, habitations. Thence comes the end of mind pressures.

Mind is very subtle. You can live on a hilltop where there is no one, but if you can see a cottage deep down in the valley you will start talking with that cottage, you will be in relationship with it - the society has come. You don′t know who lives there, but someone lives there, and that becomes the boundary - you will start dreaming about who lives there and your eyes will search each day to see who lives there. The cottage will become a symbol of humanity. So the sutra says:

Clear of habitations

Even without trees, because it has been known that people who live alone start talking with trees. They make friendships, they create a dialogue. You cannot understand the difficulty of a man who has gone to be lonely. He wants someone so he will say "Hello" to the tree and "How are you?" And trees are beings. If you are really honest, they will start replying, there will be a response. So you can create a society.
The meaning is this: be in some place and be alert that you don′t create a society again. You may start tending a tree, loving a tree. You may feel that the tree is feeling thirsty so you should bring some water - you have started a relationship and with a relationship you are not alone. So this is the emphasis: move to such a place but have it in your mind that you are not going to create any relationship. Leave all relationship and the world of relationship behind, and be alone there. In the beginning it is going to be very difficult because your mind is created by society. You can leave society but where will you leave the mind? The mind will follow you like a shadow. The mind will haunt you. The mind will start torturing you. Faces will come in your dreams - they will try to pull you. You will try to meditate but thoughts will not cease. You will start thinking of your house, you will start thinking of your wife, of your children. It is human.
And it does not happen to you only - it has happened to Buddha and to Mahavir. It has happened to everyone. Even a Buddha is bound to think of Yashodhara during six long years of loneliness. In the beginning, when the mind was following him, he must have been sitting under a tree pretending to meditate, and Yashodhara must have followed him. He loved that woman. And he must have felt guilty because he had left her - and without saying anything to her. Nowhere is it mentioned that he thought about Yashodhara, but I say he must have thought of her. It is so human; it is so natural. To think that he never thought again of Yashodhara would be very inhuman and would not be fair to Buddha. Only by and by, after a long struggle, would he have been able to throw off the mind.
But mind will persist because it is nothing but society - society internalized. Society has entered into you - that is your mind. You can escape from society, the outer reality, but the inner will follow you.
Many times Buddha must have been talking with Yashodhara, with his father, with the small child he left behind. The face of his child must have followed him. It was there in his mind when he left. The night he left he went into Yashodhara′s room, just to see the child for the last time. The child was only one day old. Yashodhara was sleeping and the child was clinging to her breast. He looked at the child. He wanted to take the child into his hands because this was his last opportunity. He had not touched him yet and now he might never return so there would be no meeting. He was leaving the world. He wanted to touch and kiss the child but then he became afraid because if he took the child up in his hands, Yashodhara might be awakened. Then it would be very difficult for him to leave - she would start weeping and crying. He had a human heart. It was beautiful that he thought of it: that if she started crying it would be very difficult for him to leave. Then all that he had created in his mind - that this world was useless and futile - would disappear. He would not be able to see Yashodhara crying. He loved that woman. So he left. He moved out of the room without making any noise.
This man could not leave Yashodhara and the child easily. No one could. When he was begging it was bound to come to his mind - his palace and everything. He was a beggar of his own accord. The past would persist, it would hammer the mind again and again, "Come back." Many times he would think, "I have made a mistake." It is bound to be so. Nowhere is this recorded and sometimes I think about making a diary about what happened to Buddha′s mind during those six years - a diary about what happened to his mind, what was going on.
Mind will follow like a shadow wherever you go. So it is not going to be easy. It has never been easy for anyone. It will be a long struggle to make yourself again and again alert; again and again to be a witness; again and again not to fall a victim. And to the very last the mind follows. Unless you are desperate, unless you feel that you are incurable, that nothing can be done, the mind will go on haunting you. It will try in every way. It will create fantasies, reveries, dreams; it will create all types of allurements, seductions. It is written in the lives of all the seers that Satan comes, the Devil comes, to seduce. No one comes - only your mind. Your mind is the only Devil and no one else. It will try in every way. It will say to you, "I will give you the whole world, come back." It will make you depressed, "You are a fool - the whole world is enjoying and you have come to this hilltop. You are mad. All this religious stuff is humbug, come back. Look, the whole world is not insane and they are enjoying." And the mind will give such beautiful pictures of everyone who is enjoying and the whole world will be more attractive to you than ever. All that you have left behind will pull you backwards.
This is the basic struggle. And this is just because the mind is a mechanism of habits, of mechanical persistence. On the hilltop the mind will feel like hell - nothing is good there, everything is wrong. The mind will create negativity all around you, "What are you doing here? Have you gone mad?" The world that you have left behind will become more and more beautiful to your eyes and the place that you are in will become more and more ugly. But if you persist and you remain aware that this is what the mind is doing, this is what the mind is bound to do, and if you don′t get identified with the mind, a moment comes when the mind leaves you, and with it all the pressures. When the mind leaves you, you are unburdened, because it is the only burden. Then there is no worry, no thought, no anxiety, you have entered the womb of existence. Unworried, you float. A deep silence explodes within you.

The sutra says:

Thence comes the end of mind pressures.

In such solitude, in such loneliness, one thing more has to be remembered: the crowd exerts a deep pressure on you, whether you know it or not.
Now, after working on animals, scientists have come to a very basic law. They say that every animal has a certain space as his territory. If you enter that space then the animal becomes tense and he will attack you, Every animal has a certain space around him. He will not allow anybody to enter, because the moment someone enters, he feels the pressure. You hear many birds singing in the trees. You don′t know what they are doing. Scientists say now, after years of study, that whenever a bird is singing in the trees he is doing many things. One, he is calling for his girlfriend. Another, he is alerting all the male competitors that this is his territory - don′t enter it. And if someone enters the territory a fight will ensue. And the girlfriend will just wait and see who wins, because whoever gets the territory will get her/ She will just wait, and the one who wins will stay there and the one who is defeated will have to leave. By many means every animal creates territory: by sound, by singing, by body odor. No other competitor should enter that territory.
You may have seen dogs pissing all around. Scientists say that they create their territory by pissing. The dog will go and piss on this pole and on that pole. He will not piss on one place - why? You can do it on one place, why move so much? He is creating territory. His urine has a particular odor and with it he creates a territory. No one should enter, it is dangerous. He lives secluded in his own territory, master of it.
There are many studies going on. They have tried putting many animals in one cage with all their needs fulfilled - better than they can fulfil them themselves in a forest. But they go mad because they don′t have space. When someone is always around they are tense, afraid, ready to fight. This constant readiness to fight gives such tensions that there heart failures or they go mad. Animals even commit suicide because the pressure becomes so much. And many abnormalities develop which are never found in the wild state. Monkeys in the wild are totally different. When caged in a zoo they start behaving abnormally. In the beginning it was thought that it was the bondage that was creating the problem. Now it is known that it is not the bondage. If you give them the proper space that they need in a cage they are happy. Then there is no problem. But they have an intrinsic feeling of space. When someone enters that space, pressure comes to their minds. Their minds start to be tense, strained; they cannot sleep right, they cannot feed right, they cannot love right.
Because of these studies, scientists now say that the whole of humanity is going crazy and mad because of too much over-population. The pressure is so great. You are never left alone: in the train, in the bus, in the office, everywhere, crowds and crowds. Man also has a need of space, to be left alone. But there is no place, you are never alone. When you come to your home, your wife is there, the children are there, and the relatives keep on coming. And they still think that the guest is God! You are already crazy because the pressure is too much all around you. You cannot say to anyone, "Leave me alone." If you say to your wife, "Leave me alone," she will get angry, "What do you mean?" She has been waiting for you the whole day. Mind needs space to be relaxed.

This sutra is really beautiful and very scientific:

Thence comes the end of mind pressures.

When you move alone on a solitary hilltop you have space all around you, endless space. The pressure of the crowd, the pressure of others around you, leaves you. You will sleep more deeply. You will have a different quality of awakening in the morning. You will feel free. An inner pressure circle is not there. You will feel unimprisoned, unfettered.
This is good. But we have become so addicted to crowds that only for a few days - three or four days - will you feel good, then the desire will arise to go again to the crowd. Every holiday you go on, you want to come back after three days. Because of the pattern, the habit, you feel useless. Alone, you feel useless, alone you cannot do anything, and even if you do something, no one will know about it, no one will see you doing it, no one will appreciate it. You cannot do anything alone because all your life you have been doing something for others. You feel useless.
So remember, if you ever try this solitary madness, drop the idea of utility. Be useless. Only then can you be alone. Because really, utility has been forced on your mind by society. Society says, "Be of some utility. Don′t be useless." Society want you to be an economic unit, a thing, efficient, utilitarian. Society doesn′t want you to be just a flower. No, even if you are a flower then you must be worth being sold. Society needs you to be in the market, you must have some utility. Only then are you of use, otherwise not. Society goes on preaching that use is the goal of life, the purpose of life. This is nonsense.
I am not saying be useless. I am saying that this use is not the goal. You have to live in society, to be useful to it, but to remain capable of being useless at any moment. That capacity must be retained otherwise you become a thing and not a person. When you move into solitariness, aloneness, this will become a problem. You will feel yourself useless.
I have been working with many people. Sometimes I suggest that they go for three weeks or three months into total loneliness, silence. And I tell them that after seven days they will want to come back and their mind will find all the reasons for not being there so that they can come back. I tell them not to listen to those arguments and to make it a point that for the time they have decided upon they will not leave. They say to me that they are going of their own will, so why should they leave? I tell them that they don′t know themselves. This will not be there for more than three to seven days; afterwards they will long to return, because society has become alcoholic, it is an intoxicant. In sober moments you can think about being alone, but when you are alone, within three days you will think, "What am I doing?" Remember, use is for society. Society uses you and you use society. This is a reciprocal relationship.
But life is not for use. It is non-utilitarian, purposeless, it is a play, a celebration. So when you move into solitariness to do this technique, be prepared from the very beginning that you are going to be useless, and enjoy it, don′t feel sad about it. You cannot conceive of what arguments the mind will bring. You will say, "The world is in such trouble and you are sitting in silence here. Look what is happening in Vietnam and what is happening in Pakistan and what is happening in China; and your country is dying, there is no food, there is no water. What are you doing here meditation? What is the use? Will it bring socialism to the country?" Mind will bring beautiful arguments; mind is the great arguer. It is the Devil - it will try to persuade you, it will convince you that you are wasting time. But don′t listen to it. From the very beginning be prepared, "I am going to waste time. I will not be of any use. I will simply enjoy being here."
And don′t be concerned with the world. The world goes on. It is always in trouble. It has been always in trouble and it will remain always in trouble. That is the way of the world. You cannot do anything so don′t try to be a great world reformer, a revolutionary, a messiah. Don′t try.
You simply be yourself and enjoy your solitariness, just like a rock or a tree or a river. Useless! What is the use of a rock just lying there under the rains, under the sun, under the stars? What is the use of this rock? No use - the rock enjoys itself being that way. Just be a rock. There are rock gardens in Japan, in Zen monasteries; they make rock gardens particularly for this. There are no trees in the garden, just sand and rock. A solitary rock, just sits there, and the master says to the disciple, "Go, and be just a rock, just like that rock. Don′t be bothered about the world. That rock remains there whatsoever happens to the world. It is not worried. It is always in meditation."
Unless you are really prepared to be useless, you cannot be solitary, you cannot be in solitude. And once you know the depth of it you can come back to society. You must come back because solitariness is not a style of life - it is just a training. It is not a way of life, it is just a deep relaxation to change the perspective. It is just falling out of step with society to have a look at yourself, who you are, alone. So don′t think that this is a style of life. Many have made it a style of life. They are in error. They are absolutely in error. They have made a medicine food. It is not a style of life, it is just medicinal. You fall out for a time being just to have a perspective, a distance, to see what you are and what society is doing to you. When you are out of it, you can have a better look. You can observe. Without being concerned, without being in it, you can become an observer from the hilltop, you can become a witness. You are so far away. Unprejudiced, undisturbed, you can look.
So note it, this is not a way of life. I am not saying leave the world and become hermits somewhere in the Himalayas - no. But sometimes leave, relax, be useless, be alone, exist like a rock, be independent, free from the world, be a part of nature - and you will be rejuvenated, reborn. Then come back and move in society and in the crowd again. And try to carry that beauty, that silence that happened to you when you were alone. Now carry it, don′t lose contact with it. Move deep into the crowd but don′t become a part of it. Let the crowd be there outside you - you remain alone.
And when you become capable of being alone in the crowd, you have achieved real aloneness. It is easy to be alone on a hilltop. The whole of nature helps you, and nothing is a barrier. To be back in the market-place, in the shop, in the office, in the family, and to remain alone - that is an achievement. Then it is something you have achieved and it is not just accidental, something that happened because of the hills. Now the quality of consciousness has changed. So remain alone in the crowd. The crowd will be there outside but don′t allow it to enter in. Protect whatsoever you have gained. Defend it, don′t allow it to be disturbed. And whenever you feel that the feeling has become dull, that you are missing it, that society has disturbed it, that the dust has gathered around, that the fresh spring is no longer fresh, that it is polluted - move again. Fall out of society to renew it, to make it alive again. Then come back and move in the crowd. And then a moment will come when that original spring will remain fresh and no one will be able to pollute it or contaminate it. Then there is no need to move anywhere.
So this is just a technique, not a style of life. Don′t become a monk, don′t become a nun, don′t move to a monastery to live there forever. That is nonsense. If you live forever in a monastery you will never be able to know whether you have attained what you have attained, or whether the monastery has just given it to you. It may be accidental, not essential. The essential has to be tested. The essential has to be set against society; it has to be brought to the touch-stone. And when it never breaks, when you can depend on it, when nothing can change it, then it has become a crystallization.