It would be remiss of me to leave Australia without introducing you to the great Osho. Since my own fated meeting, dozens of people have tossed sideways glances at my admitted ignorance of the renowned guru. If you are familiar I’d be curious to hear your views. If not, please meet meet Osho…
Dropping into Australia last year I had two weeks to burn prior to joining the meditation retreat in the Blue Mountains. I needed somewhere to go, someplace to stay, preferably cheap. How about an ashram? Sure. My limited understanding of ashrams included that they were the essence of quiet solitude, where one goes to practice Yoga, meditate and commune with God. Yea, the one I found wasn’t that kind of ashram.
The grounds were gorgeous, complete with bouncy kangaroos and a yurt. And who doesn’t love a yurt? There was a weekend retreat commencing on the day of my arrival and several participants asked me if I’d ever experienced Osho’s Dynamic Meditation. Dynamic Meditation? Why no, no I had not. Well folks, this is not your mother’s meditation. The following morning I was in for a surprise. The day began with the one-hour active meditation: chaotic breathing, screaming, Hoo, Hoo, Hoo-ing (while madly jumping up and down of course), and then suddenly stopping. Each of the previous phases is done for ten minutes. Once stopped the body stands perfectly still for fifteen, followed up by…you guessed it, dancing!
Now I’m game for just about anything and this was no exception. Donned in a borrowed maroon robe I huffed, jumped, hoo-hoo-ed and squawked like a bird. And don’t forget the dancing…ooh the dancing. This was my favorite part. Set to Spiritual Electronica (yes, I’m positive this is a genre), with closed eyes, we spun our bodies to the funky, funky music. Then it got weird.
Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am not a big fan of pictures. At all. And I was suddenly fraught with the sardonic musing of my mother getting wind of my speaking in tongues at the Ashram Down Under. As luck would have it, there was a devotee walking about with a video camera. At the risk of being outed, this is simply too funny to pass up. Check out the ponytail in the front row spinning like a washing machine! You got it baby; it’s yours truly.
He viewed the path to salvation as a new consciousness, fusing the inherent sensuality of life with science and religion. He’d earned his MA in Philosophy, spoke publically and amassed quite a following, eventually establishing a mega-resort geared toward Westerners in Pune, India.
Every night at the ashram, Satsang celebrations marking the induction of new devotees were held as individual’s accepted new names and wood-beaded malas with Osho’s picture on it. I experienced pretty fierce pressure to add my name to the list of new sannyasins and was told it was ‘all in good fun’. Good fun or not, I take my commitments seriously and firmly stood my ground. By week’s end I was the last man standing.
Having gotten to know Osho better I am duly intrigued; engaging insights into politics, religion, lifestyle and sex are done so with a dry wit and superb comedic timing. But words and ideas are only as good as their execution and if the success of a great guru is measured by the sum of his disciples’ progression on the path to liberation I’d like to know the score.
As far as I can tell, Osho himself followed a path of extreme self-discipline, meditation, exercise and intensive study of the great Yogic masters. He’s got countless entertaining and thought provoking discourses available and hundreds of written works compiled by his devotees. However, unless his methodology provides a clear pathway toward liberation are these words and practices any more than cerebral amusement?
This is not meant to sway, one way or another, opinions regarding the mystical Osho; my own views are obviously mixed. Presenting an individual who impactful contribution to the movement of spiritual seeking is merely an invitation. You can draw your own conclusions.
So what’s the point? Why introduce the great Osho if not to plant the seed of judgment? Well, before I prepare to lead you into the sea, I thought it best to get you whet.
I’ve spent the last five years (equal parts on and off) exploring the mysteries of the unseen. I’ve immersed myself in the metaphysical, dabbled in various healing modalities, practiced a bit of the esoteric and even dated a Shaman. I’m not searching for a guru and I’m not looking to be saved. What I am interested in is knowledge and wisdom.
I’ll be traveling to regions steeped in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and just about every other –ism you can think of, centuries old wisdoms awaiting discovery. With an open-mindedness that far exceeds what I could ever hoped to have developed, it’s time to unlock secrets to further my spiritual growth. I just don’t want anyone staging a full-scale intervention if I decide to follow a yogi into the Himalayas to perform rituals with a yak (assuming no harm will come to the yak). It’s okay. It’s all part of the plan. Yes, there is inherent risk and things don’t always play out as expected. That’s okay too. Shit will sometimes go wrong; that’s life. But if you’re joining me on this magic carpet ride I only thought it fair to let you know what to expect. If this is not your particular cup of chai, thank you for reading this far. No hard feelings.