Welcome to Travels in India: Meditation and the Crazy Enlightened Mystic, Osho
If you are going to learn one thing at the OSHO International Meditation Resort, it is going to be dancing. Wild, ecstatic, flowing, celebrating, at all hours of the day, dancing is happening, begging for your participation. The lesson here being, if you can celebrate life and dance, then you are alive in the moment. Most dynamic meditations here contain some form of dancing and the highlight of the day, evening meeting, begins and ends with dancing. Osho created these meditations to help people create space between the body/mind and your watcher, otherwise known as your intrinsic Buddha. With this space, one may experience their authentic nature, of silence, happiness, and being centered. One does not need to go anywhere, only turning in, realizing your own self, taking just one step and you are there. We practice the art of living, to see our habit patterns and how to live with our watcher intact. This creates the gap, the experiential wisdom of knowing you are not the body or the mind, and thus transformation, inspiration, and all sorts of emotions can come forth and leave you feeling peaceful, happy, and above all else, alive.
I jumped into resort life with both feet, 8 months prior to arriving, when I decided this was the decision that would help me quit my job and give me the next step. I had no idea what really went on here, and I wanted no information either. To come with the least amount of expectations so that I could experience what is, instead of what I wanted it to be in my mind. The first hurdle for my self transformation was actually getting the desire to go to India. My fears of this famous country, known for meditation, always held me back, but they were unfounded. There is extreme poverty and trash everywhere, but also beautiful landscapes, perfect temperatures, many smiles and friendly people. I decided to join the Work as Meditation program for 90 days and just give it the best go. I work for 6 hours a day to receive a lowered price at the resort and be part of the staff. Like everyone else here, visitor, worker, and teacher alike, we all pay to be present and experience the magic of this place. This was the first hurdle for my western mind, I am paying to work. I can rationalize it, knowing I also get to live at a resort and meditate the rest of my day, but money, money, money were my thoughts. Of course this is part of the work as meditation purpose, to watch your mind, and my mind couldn’t stop calculating prices and value. For the first days I was plagued with these kinds of thoughts, trying to turn this beautiful experience into dollars per hour. In the end, relaxing into the daily life of work and meditation healed me of all these woes and the real priceless value came shining through.
The greatest realization I’ve had during my visit here is what living in a community of meditators feels like. Beforehand, I didn’t even realize that I would be practicing part of my future way of life while being here, and what ive found confirms my beliefs: This is the lifestyle for me. Unlike daily life in the modern world, everyone here understands the basic principal on which we all operate. It matters not where you come from, what you believe, or even what you know; everyone understands that we are all developing ourselves. If you are having an expressive joyous day, someone is there to support and join you. If you are having a silent day and really working on something personal, everyone allows you your space to discover yourself. It is a unique experience to know who is here, but never know if and how you can interact with them each day. Perhaps you had plans for lunch, but you find your friends are all wearing silence badges on that day without telling you. You really learn to focus on yourself, on being total in expressing yourself and your desires, moment to moment. Every day brings something new and you practice not planning for the future or some daily habit pattern. Even though I work 6 hours a day, I can’t tell you with any certainty what the day will bring me. Often I am roped into something fun, there is a taster class to attend, lunch with different people, and the best part is that I never know how I will feel when I wake up, but whatever that feeling is, I have all day to fully express it, because tomorrow it will change. There have been days of laughter and days of silence, days of peaceful awareness and days of rushed anxiety. Learning to really embrace whatever shows up, in work, in friendship, in community, and in your heart is the root of the biggest realization here. I know now that living in this way, from moment to moment with a group of people who all desire at the basic level to develop themselves is the answer to what I am looking for in a lifestyle.
The next major realization is the new meditation techniques I have been practicing here. Having done mainly silent sitting meditations over the last 2 years, I was in for a shock at the OSHO Resort. Osho created many meditations and meditative therapies, but the 3 daily core meditations are Dynamic*, Kundalini**, and Evening meeting***. I had just finished a 10 day silent Vipassana course before arriving here and I couldn’t have prepared for a more abrupt 180 degree turn. The meditations here are designed to do what Vipassana does slowly and with awareness, abruptly and directly. What I learned and discovered is that both techniques use one basic principal: The body sensations and the sub-conscious mind are linked. If you feel something coming up from the sub-conscious you will feel it in your body, and if you feel something on your body it will go into your subconscious. This is called the bodymind, which is one thing, not two separate things. This explains the celebratory dancing here. If your dance is a celebration, your inner being becomes a celebration. Dance when you don’t feel like it. Smile when you don’t feel like it. This will change your inner being. I stopped a 2 year practice of daily silent sitting to see what being total in this experience could give me. What I found is that the meditations which often look like exercise or wild dancing, if you peek from your blindfold, are actually deeply working processes transforming the inner world. Learning to express yourself in Dynamic though wild catharsis, starts to break down the walls of suppression in a quick and real way that transforms many people instantly. I feel that if I have learned one thing in the physical realm it is how to express myself better. This doesn’t mean just through my words, this means expressing my authentic inner self in all dimensions. If anger is there, if happiness is there, sadness, laughter, joy, tears, anxiety is there, express it, look at it, examine it, but just don’t suppress it. So often in our society we learn from childhood to present ourselves in a certain way, to create a personality. We are not allowed to yell at other people and then be friends again the next moment; or to laugh or cry when we feel the urge, but society deems it inappropriate. The need to express is still very real, but we just tuck it away for later. But later never comes and years later you find yourself a mess of confusion and emotions with no exit valve. This whole experience is learning your natural exhaust valve and how to come back to your authentic self. To see your conditioning given to you by society and family and choose consciously what you want to carry and what you want to drop. I struggled at first with dropping my silence, and habit pattern for the last 2 years, but quickly learned that I didn’t know how to really express my true emotions. Silence is fantastic, but it needs to be balanced against emotional aliveness. Osho taught a mixture of “Zorba the Buddha”. Zorba the Greek knew how to enjoy the pleasures of life, and Buddha knew how to enjoy the silence of your eternal centeredness. Osho teaches that both are incomplete, both need each other in one being, that is the whole Man/Woman.
The next realizations are all a mix of personal work done though the lens of being at a Meditation Retreat. Every day is a day to work on yourself; every moment and interaction is a time to develop yourself. As long as you keep looking back at yourself and embracing any uncomfortable feelings, progress is astounding. At first I started manifesting connections to people, to make some friends and have conversations around meditation. As I found my first friends and began feeling very comfortable and available to open myself, I then decided to manifest more experiences containing flirting. I had been in a state of introverted silence so long that to think about flirting with anyone, was something I actually needed to work on. I didn’t want anything other than fun, playful, cute, and connected flirting and for this reason the manifestation was fully welcomed and explored. All the cute ladies, older women, and male friends flocked to my new desire instantly and hugs and kisses abounded. To feel loved every time you encounter someone just makes your day. The quality of flirting with people and life itself is such a beautiful experience that to carry this quality of aliveness with you is a blessing and a gift. Then New Years arrived and things changed. While I was holding my energy and desire clearly, the effect on others was not so contained. So from my fears of moving into a sexual relationship, a wonderful Chinese girl by the name of Sangeetam became my partner. We moved seamlessly into relationship as if this had been arranged. It had been a long standing intention to manifest a partner in which to grow meditatively and lovingly. I knew something was arranged for me at the OSHO Resort, and I can clearly say this was it. We met with the same kinds of knowing about meditation and relationships, understanding we are both here to work on ourselves and see how we can develop. The precipice of our bond was not physical attraction, but the calm knowing of two quiet souls meeting and knowing this was not the first time. What came next was an expedition into the fears I hold around relationship, boundaries, responsibility, and most importantly opening to love.
Ah, relationships, I can’t even say I know what I am doing because I don’t. Generally my relationships last a few months with wonderful growth which then leaves someone behind who didn’t continue to grow fast enough. As I’ve gotten older, navigating the entry and exit has become much smoother with both people knowing our purpose was completed. However, my knowing of love is only from what the masters have said on the subject. That you can only love yourself, and when that becomes enough you overflow into the world and can shower it on another. I know this to be true, because when I am in flow with the universe it is a state of grace that I can hold for myself and share with others. To be honest, i have never felt that I’ve known love growing up. I look at other relationships and I see what society tells me should be love and know that this has not been my experience. I am working on opening my emotional body and heart because I didn’t know how to be open, and thus, never could give myself totally. I could act totally, and DO things for the other that looked like what society told everyone lovers should do, but actually feeling it? I can’t say that except for a few moments in my life, I’ve felt the totality of LOVE. Love, which is this overwhelming merging of being one with the universe so totally that you forget yourself and know instantly that all is one, life is perfect and then you shower that bliss of existence on all. I have been plenty good and happy with people, even overcome with great joy and caring. I have even felt that something special you reserve for your intimate lover, but this actual truth of Love that the masters speak about, I have to admit I don’t know it, and ive never been shown it. In knowing that fact, I can at least now invite the experience to come to me as a realization and a breakthrough. As I work on myself, clearing the old debris of fear, I am making way for love to come through me and to experience whatever shows up.
From my moment to moment perspective this seems to be the major work for me here. Nothing else seems quite so hard, quite so big, or quite so rewarding. I have opened myself to a mixture of meditation and celebration, that was needed, but the deep work of opening my heart will be the greatest gift I can give myself here. Being in a relationship I have been given the perfect opportunity and partner to show me my weaknesses and also support me through my rapid growth in this area. I can clearly see the fears in my mind and instead of putting them aside and letting the relationship ultimately suffer and die, I face the uncomfortable feelings and embrace the work of changing and facing my fears and old patterns. I have seen clearly now that I have never let anyone into my emotional world before. This is partly because I don’t know how to go there myself and partly because ive been lied to and kept that lie as the truth. Due to my upbringing I never experienced what the energy of a relationship between two people really feels like. My parents divorced when I was 6 and this began a subconscious learning process of individuation that just happened to be for this lifetime. No blame to be dealt, everyone grows up in certain conditions, whether from family or society that we don’t get to control, but we do get to choose if we wish to carry it once we become conscious of the patterns. I am aware that my relationship patterning was flawed, only seeing separation and becoming an island unto myself. I kept expressing the same lie of separation over and over again, telling myself that this is just how I am and my authentic emotional connection to people was just missing. Well, now thanks to this patient and strong woman, I can look at that patterning and instead of accepting this pattern as my natural way of being, I can drop it and see what lives underneath. As I keep stirring the pot each morning in dynamic, I can feel the layers peeling off. What is beginning to shine through feels so big, so exciting, so much needed, and I am ready to welcome whatever it is. I am beginning to feel into my heart space, I am becoming softer, and while I am nowhere near the end, I have at least started the process of something I have long questioned and long desired.
I have been hugely aided in this endeavor of self realization. Firstly, the energy of this place pushes personal growth forward at an accelerated pace. The encounters with other meditators and adhering to a daily schedule of meditation aids in the quick pace of self realization. In my own energy work, I’ve begun to work with some masters by accessing a place called the Akashic Records. This can be thought of as a giant book of everything ever done from every lifetime. In a sense it is very much like collective consciousness. In this way I have called upon the energies of Osho and Rumi, along with other masters as I see the need, and have access to their essence and energy which still exists in a very tangible way for me and the universe. Having opened their essence, they are with me through this work and Rumi is teaching me how to be transformed by love, while OSHO is working with me to realize and clear the layers of fear and conditioning that are not part of my authentic being. In conjunction with this I have set a new intention for my daily experience, “I intend to constantly bring realizations and new understandings to myself”. I had a realization that I cannot manifest or intend an experience I have never known into my reality. For instance I cannot intend the experience of enlightenment to show up tomorrow, because I don’t know what the experience is like; therefore when I ask for it, I really don’t know what I am asking for. However I do know what the experience of instant realization or insight feels like. This I can totally ask for, and since I have been asking for it, realizations have started showing up every day. In this way I can reach enlightenment or many other things on the way as I progress from the known into the unknown. So working from these three angles, this meditative environment, the wisdom and energy of the Masters, and my intention for instant realization I am reaching a new level of self development that is astonishing. It is exciting to look at yourself and realize all of a sudden that whole aspects of your self have been hidden and with a little work the door can be opened for discovery. It is an exciting time to be a meditator.
Thankfully during my visit to the resort I was able to meet and touch the lives of many people visiting from over 100 different nations. Every type of person from around the world and with many different backgrounds and stories arrived each day to try this wild place and experience first hand the crazy genius of Osho. I would love to recommend a visit to every person I meet, but the truth is that there are many pathways to the divine and I only urge each person to find what works for them. Keep a burning desire to find your truth and discovering the path is inevitable. I have been transformed by this place and my experiences over the last three months. Thankfully I am also happy to call this place and the people here my home. I will be back many times and soon, because having tasted once again the daily lifestyle of the old routine, living in a city and just going about ones daily business, I can clearly say that I would rather not waste another moment being outside of the delicious process of developing oneself surrounded by the most astounding people and environment that one can call home. A truth has been learned and can never be forgotten. I thrive in an environment of conscious meditators and now starts the long road of developing a sustainable lifestyle that enjoys this connection as its core. Blessings and happiness to all beings and may you find your own light that never falters.
In Love and Truth,
Torey, the Wandering Monk
*I got to be the official photographer for a while!
*Dynamic Meditation: 1 Hour, 5 Stages
Stage 1: 10 Mins: Deep, chaotic exhaling breaths, building energy. Stage 2: 10 Mins: Explode! let your body and emotions take over and express anything that you feel. Sing, shout, dance, cry, roll around anything that you feel. Stage 3: 10 Mins: Jump up and down with arms raised overhead shouting “Hoo” each time your feet strike the ground. Stage 4: 15 Mins: Freeze! Dont make any conscious movement. Witness your inner world. Stage 5: 15 Mins: Dance. Express anything that is left and carry your aliveness with you for the rest of the day.
**Kundalini Meditation: 1 Hour, 4 Stages
Stage 1: 15 Mins: Shake. Allow your body to vibrate and shake with the energy coming up from your feet. Allow this natural shaking to occur, dont DO anything. Stage 2: 15 Mins: Dance. Allow your body to dance and move anyway it feels. Dont Do any particular dancing. Stage 3: 15 mins: Stand or sit silently and just watch your inner world. Stage 4: 15 Mins: Lie down and let go. Maintain awareness, but dont do anything, just allow.
**Evening Meeting: Various time, roughly 2 hours, 6 Stages
Stage 1: 20 Mins: Dance by yourself and celebrate life. Stage 2: 1 hour +: Listen to a discourse from Osho. Listen to the gaps between the words, not the words themselves. Anything you need to hear you will pick up on. Stage 3: 5 Mins: Laughter. Osho will tell some jokes, enjoy! Stage 4: 2 Mins: Gibberish. Speak in a language you dont know to clear your mind of rubbish. Stage 5: 10 Mins: Let go. Osho will guide you deeper into yourself to find your buddha. At one point you will “Let go” and fall over dead like a tree falling in the woods. Stage 6: 3-5 Mins: Dance and celebrate being alive.
Its not often that you know you are taking your first steps on a quest. Usually you suddenly become aware after sometime that is has just happened and you are walking a path to your dreams. When I locked the door for the last time with the keys inside and walked away from my home “The Castle” is Kansas City, it was the start of a quest, a journey and a pilgrimage into the unknown. I have sold all of my belongings, including the house, and reduced myself to a backpack, intent to travel the world for at least 3 years with 2 goals and a pretty lose idea of where to go and when to be there. My quest is to learn how to live in the world, right now at this moment, fully content and happy. I want to discover what elements this takes. My two goals in discovering this way of living revolve around Meditation and Sustainable Living. Obviously im starting this quest with what I know looking for the unknown, to experience the unknown and be changed by it. Inherent in this process is the fact that my goals, viewpoints and everything else about me might change or might not. Anicca, the Pali term for impermanence, which is the Law of Nature (everything is always changing) is pretty much my guiding light. To understand that everything, good and bad, is always changing and resolving to be at peace with this Law is the characteristic that Meditation will bring to me on this quest. Visiting communities around the globe who are focused on sustainable living practices such as farming, community building, and holistic living will be my practical application of experiencing a new (at least to me) lifestyle.
At the young age of 28 I will be challenging myself to let go of what I know; to allow what is unknown to pour into me, to be changed by those experiences and then with the wisdom gained to better understand what it is that I am really looking for. I at least know upfront that I am looking for something I can’t define and I can’t quite place my finger on it. I have reduced it down to my two goals because those are the nearest concepts I can place that will help me experience whatever longing desires to be expressed. What I want is perhaps what many of my generation want and cannot express in clear language. The more I explain to people what I am doing and why, the more a light goes on in their eyes that they also want something quite similar and hadn’t quite gotten around to fully forming this idea and acting on it. People are searching for connection, purpose, and community. Things the digital age seems to give us, but our intrinsic nature isn’t being fooled, we want the real deal. My personal life goal in this quest seems to be, discover what Truth can be found and to bring it back to share with others. To be one of the forerunners, do the hard work, so that others may benefit and make their transition easier. I have a long term goal of making my own sustainable community to implement what I love about life and what I will soon be learning (and this may change), but the end goals in this community would be 1) To live a wonderful daily experience, and 2) To share this experience with anyone who wises to try something new. I learned long ago that without the experience of something new it is impossible to change. I want to create this place so that people may come, experience something new and be transformed by it, if even just the smallest amount. To plant a seed in all who visit, and to nurture that seed in all who stay. That is what my quest is about; to experience new ways of being on this planet and collect those seeds and watch them grow and see what blooms.
The purpose of this blog is to update all those who follow on the seeds of experience that I collect along the way. Some people of course just want to know where I am (Hi Mom) and what I’m doing, in which I believe this will be the best source of information as well as the link of this on Facebook. I had struggled with the idea of disconnecting myself almost entirely from the internet as I traveled and the many requests of friends and family to start a blog to keep them informed. In archetypal language I am on a Hero’s journey; going off into the world, leaving behind all that is known to hopefully succeed in being transformed and bringing back sacred knowledge to the community. Joseph Campbell has outlined the steps of this most common story, found in most movies and through out all literature. My specific journey is that of stepping into adulthood and manhood; discovering exactly who I am as an individual and what I have to bring to this experience of life. I will be recording my journey in my journal, and whatever insights arise will be translated into digital to share. I can’t promise how often this will occur, but I can promise that what I post will hopefully be insightful and may also plant a seed in your awareness.
I have a sort of itinerary for my first year of travel. I will begin with a 10 day Vipassana Meditation course in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. This is something I have been looking forward to since I first heard about it from some couchsurfing friends who had just completed their 10 day courses around the world. To be further enhanced by a friend and roommate Taylor who had done 2 of them back to back. Finding 10 days off was the issue, but now that my job has been resolved I think an intense meditation course is the best way to initiate the change from old to new. Following this I will be doing a 2 month internship at an organic greens farm in South DartmouthMA. A long time friend of the family I am staying with, Eva of Eva’s Greens has taken me in and will give me my first experience of what it takes on a day to day to grow a lot of food. As sustainable living is based on your ability to grow most of your own food this will be another critical skill and continuing experience along my journey. On August 28th I leave the United States for 3 years, starting with 3 months in France and a few trips to neighboring countries. Then I travel to India for up to 6 months. I have a 3 month work/meditation program at the Osho Meditation Retreat in Pune India. After that experience I may stay on or travel India, who knows. From there I am a blank slate. I leave this purposely open so that I may say YES to whatever the universe brings me. When you travel you meet so many people and they always offer such amazing experiences or places to visit. Without an itinerary I can say yes to any and all that seem best to fit my mood at the time and that is the best gift I can give myself. I have a hit list of countries I want to visit, not limited to but definitely including, Japan, Bali, Nepal, Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, New Zealand, All of South and Central America, and the rest of Europe I haven’t seen already. I want to spend some time on a sail boat, diving in the ocean, learn to paraglide, walk from the shire to mordor, take a vipassana course in every country I intend to stay more than a month in, visit every hot spring I can dip myself into and eat the most amazing food. This list will only grow as time moves on, but that is what is in store.
For those who always are asking how can you do this? I have a budget of 30$ a day (that’s 12k a year), I plan on wwoofing a lot, I plan on courchsurfing a lot, I plan on volunteering or even working at retreats/centers/farm etc. While transportation is probably my main expense, I am aiming at a lifestyle that is sustainable and mostly free. Trade your time for food and a place to stay is a lot of the way I will be going around the world. This isn’t a vacation, its hard work, self development and the basis of what I hope is the rest of a wonderful life. It’s also a vacation! And it might just be the easiest thing I do! Or the hardest thing I do! From what I used to call work, work now must be also play and learning at the same time. I did work very hard, behind a desk for 5 years and I did save enough money to pay my way around the world, although I want to learn how to travel for mostly free and love all the experiences that can be gathered. Anyone can save enough to travel, it depends on your priorities. For instance, a 1500$ plane ticket to SE Asia, plus 3-400$ a month will get you a 4 month beach retreat for 3k total. If the idea of scraping together 250$ a month for 1 year (125$ over 2 years) sounds too hard to live at the beach for 4 months well then you might be stuck in the cultural trance or just not a world traveler. I struggled for 3 of those 5 years knowing that working behind a computer was not what I loved to do in life. I made good money and had a comfortable lifestyle, but the essence of life was missing and I knew it everyday. I am still recovering from all the justifications I gave myself to stay put and keep making money all those years. Just so you don’t get the wrong idea, this trip is in no way justification or a reward for all those years of work. I was unaware of my fears keeping me stuck and I am now at least free of that fear, free to move on. I also happened to save enough money, just because of my thrifty nature and deeply knowing I wanted to change my lifestyle. The hardest and easiest decision to quit my job changed everything. I don’t envy anyone the struggle it is to give up that security of money, and if you have other responsibilities like a family or are in debt, it is even harder. However, giving up what makes you unhappy to follow something that makes you happy no matter the cost, is a trade I will now take every time. Again it is something you have to experience, and I plan to put my experience to good use, for the benefit of others.
I hope this lengthy post explains enough about what I am about to do in my life, why, and a bit about who I am. It is my sincere wish that everyone finds true happiness in their lives. To free themselves from misery and to enjoy each moment as it arises no matter what is occurring. This power of choice we have all been given is jaw-droppingly the most amazing gift. You get to choose what you want to do, be, think every moment and you can always change it! Remember nothing is being done to you, you are choosing it, and if you don’t like it choose something else. This includes how you feel, choose to be happy and surround yourself with wonderful experiences of what inspires happiness in you. Remember Anicca, that everything is always changing, even your happiness. Enjoy your suffering and then enjoy your happiness, both are a part of the journey. Blessings to each of your journeys, may you all be enlightened and liberated.