The science behind medicine and meditation

Meditation and medicine: The two poles of one science

Meditation tries to keep the inner being of a person healthy. Neither can the science of meditation be complete without medicine, nor can the science of medicine be complete without meditation.
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Man is a disease. Diseases come to man, but man himself is also a disease. This is his problem, and too, this is his uniqueness. This is his good fortune, and also his misfortune. No other animal on Earth is such a problem, an anxiety, a tension, a disease, an illness, in the way man is. And this condition itself has given man all growth, all evolution, because “disease” means that one cannot be happy with where one is; one cannot accept what one is. This disease itself has become man’s dynamism, his restlessness, but at the same time it is his misfortune also, because he is agitated, unhappy, and he is suffering.

Two methods have been tried to understand and cure the disease called man. One is medicine, the other is meditation. Both these are treatments for the same disease. It will be good to understand here that medicine considers each disease in man separately–an approach of analysis of the part. Meditation considers man as a whole a disease. Meditation considers the very personality of man as the disease. Medicine considers that diseases come to man and then they go that they are something alien to man. But slowly this difference has diminished and medical science too has started saying, “Do not treat the disease, treat the patient.”

This is a very important statement, because this means that disease is nothing but a way of life which a patient lives. Every man does not fall sick in the same fashion. Diseases also have their own individuality, their personality. It is not that if I suffer from TB and if you also suffer from TB, we both will be patients of the same kind. Even our TBs will present themselves in two forms, because we are two different individuals. It may also happen that the treatment that cures my TB does not bring about any relief to your TB. So deep down the patient is at the roots, not the disease.

Medicine catches the diseases in man very superficially. Meditation gets hold of man from deep within. In other words, it can be said that medicine tries to bring about the health of a person from the outside; meditation tries to keep the inner being of a person healthy. Neither can the science of meditation be complete without medicine, nor can the science of medicine be complete without meditation, since man is both body and soul. In fact, it is a linguistic mistake also to call man both of them.

For thousands of years, man has thought that the body and the soul of a person are separate entities. This thinking has given rise to two very dangerous results. One of the results was that some people considered that man was only the soul and they neglected the body. Such people brought about developments in meditation, but not in medicine–medicine could not become a science; the body was totally disregarded. In contrast, some people considered man as only the body and negated the soul. They did a lot of research and development in medicine, but no steps towards meditation.

But man is both at the same time. I am also saying that this is a linguistic mistake, when we say both at the same time, it gives the impression that there are two things but connected together. No, in fact, the body and the soul of man are two ends of the same pole. If it is seen in the right perspective, we will not be able to say that man is body plus soul. It is not so. Man is psycho-somatic or somato-psychic. Man is mind-body or body-mind.

Abridged From Medication To Meditation by Osho

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