The following interview was reconstructed from an article submitted to Osho Times International by Dr. Jerome Liss, an American psychiatrist, author, and director of the Center for Biosystemics in Rome, Italy. Dr. Liss has spent a good deal of time and effort investigating the biological effects of Dynamic Meditation.
What have you discovered in the course of your biological research on the impact of the various stages of Dynamic Meditation on the human body?
Dr. Liss: Well, aside from its immense psychological value, the 30 to 40 minutes of high energy movements in the Osho Dynamic Meditation can be seen as effective ways to reinforce physical and mental health. The secret to these active meditations is that they call forth vigorous shaking, jumping, twisting and convulsive-vibrating movements, which are followed by complete immobility and rest. This ricochet effect of rapidly vacillating between two energy extremes reveals a mysterious formula hidden in the body.
A healthy formula, presumably!
Dr Liss: A tremendously healthy formula. But to understand that formula we must know something about enzymes, which act like traffic wardens, regulating the body's metabolism. Without enzymes we would still be protoplasmic blobs floating within the primordial soup of our organic beginnings.
According to Professor Emeritus Ernst Gellhorn of the University of Minnesota, the thousands of enzymes that guide our metabolism can best be pictured as a gigantic tree split into two complementary branches: the sympathetic branch and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic system makes our hearts beat faster, increases blood pressure, eases digestion and provokes the secretion of "stress hormones," which are essential for all vigorous action. It makes us prepared to move!
The parasympathetic system, however, helps in our food digestion, pours juices into the stomach and intestines, and otherwise helps in renewing the protein structure of our muscles and lymphatic system. It renews us and gives us rest.
When these two complementary systems – action and rest – get knotted-up and start working out of harmony with each other, they create a lot of psychosomatic problems. In fact, the key to a healthy enzyme system is to keep these two systems separate and alternative so they don't get all snarled-up working at the same time. Professor Gellhorn actually feels that most of man's psychosomatic illness and mental suffering result when these two complementary, reciprocal systems get confused.
And how does modern man's normal behavior confuse or "knot-up" these two complementary processes?
Dr Liss: Well, the latest research of French physiologist Henry Laborit has a lot to show: whenever we inhibit our natural, spontaneous bodily reactions – when we are confronted with fear, attack, hunger or just negative feelings, for example – we throw this delicate system out of kilter.
Unfortunately, most of man's religious and cultural conditioning forces him to repress his natural biological drives, and this has destroyed his health. For example, at school we are obliged to remain glued to our seats, and at work we must repeat monotonous action. Both these are unnatural, forced activities that break down the body's spontaneous, healthy urges to fluctuate between action and rest.
Whenever we inhibit our natural response to the threat of danger, we are preparing the ground for the rest-activity unequilibrium that leads us to mental illness and poor health.
So what you're implying is that the body's natural health depends on this pendulum swing of going from deep rest to intense activity?
Dr Liss: Exactly. The mystery of a healthy body is that it needs to explode with action and then become renewed with rest. This natural wisdom penetrates down to the most fundamental level: the molecular level.
For example, stress makes our adrenal glands secrete molecules of corticosteroid that guide protein production in the cells. But in order to move effectively, corticosteroids need adrenaline, and adrenaline is only secreted if we move. If we become more inhibited, repressed, passive or lazy, while life's stresses keep piling up and challenging us, then no adrenaline is secreted to activate corticosteroid's anti-stress reaction.
As a result, toxins are accumulated, waste products remain in bloated veins and our whole metabolism gets knotted-up, while the corticosteroid molecule gets stuck in the cell nucleus and keeps pumping away like a howling animal in a cage.
In other words, we need to move when we are threatened or under perceived stress; otherwise the whole body goes out of kilter. In medical terms, this is called a parasympathetic knot. I call it the action-rest botch-up. This also explains why, after a deep, emotional turmoil that we do not express, we often fall into a state of depression.
So by actively expressing our natural reactions to stressful situations we actually help our body to biologically renew itself?
Dr Liss: Yes, in many ways. For example, our brain catecholamines are depleted during high-energy periods of emotional turmoil. The enzymes required to renew catecholamine production are likewise inhibited by the excess corticosteroids buzzing around our system. This is why all of our anti-depressive medication is based on increasing the production of brain catecholamines.
But Osho's active meditations do the same thing as an anti-depressive drug – naturally: they increase brain catecholamines and, at the same time, produce countless other changes that synchronize our biological clock, without the need of artificial and often dangerous drugs.
Any other illnesses or modern-day complaints that Dynamic Meditation can clear up?
Dr. Liss: Well, chemically speaking, when excess corticosteroids throw off our inner biological clock, it generally produces a restless condition, which accounts for most of our sleepless nights. This is why insomnia is mostly associated with sedentary lifestyles where people just don't move enough to activate the body's inner renewing processes. In this way, all of Osho's active meditation techniques are among the most effective methods for overcoming these psychophysical knots.
On the physical level, these meditations create a rest-action equilibrium essential for the rhythm of life. When we do the active movement stages of Dynamic Meditation, we stimulate the adrenaline secretion and synchronize our metabolic processes. In a sense, we are rewinding our biological clocks.
All in all, it is a reliable and physically ecstatic way to rediscover the hidden information within our body's amazingly complex genetic code. So why not do it?
For accounts by two other therapists using the Active Methods in their work
...Meditation as an Aid to Self-Diagnosis and
...Stepping out of the Circle
...Back for more perspectives on Dynamic Meditation
Copyright© Osho Times International