46. Posture should be steady and comfortable.
47. Posture is mastered by relaxation of effort and meditation
on the unlimited.
48. When posture is mastered there is a cessation of the disturbances caused by dualities.
49. The next step after the perfection of posture is breath control,
which is accomplished through holding the breath on inhalation and exhalation, or stopping the breath suddenly.
50. The duration and frequency of the controlled breaths are conditioned by time and place, and become more prolonged and subtle.
51. There is a fourth sphere of breath control, which is internal, and it
goes beyond the other three.
Just the other day, I was reading an old Indian fable, the fable of the woodcutter. The story goes this way: An old woodcutter was coming back from the forest carrying a big, heavy load of wood on his head. He was very old, tired – not only tired of the day’s routine work, tired of life itself. Life had not been much to him, just a weary round. Every day the same: going to the forest early in the morning, the whole day cutting the wood, then carrying the load back to the town by the evening. He could not remember anything else, only this. And only this had been the whole of his life. He was bored. Life had not been a meaningful thing to him; it carried no significance. Particularly on that day, he was very tired, perspiring. It was hard to breathe, carrying the load and himself.
Suddenly, as a symbolic act, he threw the load. That moment comes to everybody’s life, when one wants to throw the load. Not only that wood bundle on his head, it had become a symbolic act: he throws with it the whole life. He fell to the ground on his knees, looked at the sky and said, “Ah, Death. You come to everybody, but why don’t you come to me? What more suffering have I to see? What more burdens have I to carry still? Am I not punished enough? And what wrong have I committed?”
He could not believe his eyes – suddenly, Death appeared. He could not believe. He looked around, very much shocked. Whatsoever he was saying, he had never meant it. And he had never heard of anything like this, that you call Death, and Death comes.
And Death said, “Did you call me?”
The old man suddenly forgot all weariness, all tiredness, the whole life of dead routine. He jumped up and he said, “Yes…yes, I called you. Please, could you help me to put the load, the burden, back on my head? Seeing nobody here, I called you.”