Path of Love 4: Colorado

img_4599 A Tendency to Shine

If you prefer smoke over fire
Then get up and leave now.
For I do not intend to perfume
Your mind’s clothing with
More sooty knowledge.
No, I have something else in mind.
Today I hold a flame in my left hand
And a sword in my right.
There will be no damage control today.
God is in a mood to plunder your riches and
Fling you nakedly
Into such breathtaking poverty
That all that will be left of you will be
A tendency to shine.
So don’t just sit around this flame
Choking on your mind.
This is no campfire song
To mindlessly
Mantra yourself to sleep with.
Jump now into the space
Between thoughts and
Exit this dream.
Before I burn the damn place down.
-Adyashanti

I walked into path of love ready to look at some hard inner facts. Issues of abandonment and how to love, freshly percolating in my system that needed attention.

Dropping into the space of emotion almost too quickly, tears found me before emotions, and a swirl of emotions before labels could be applied to them. If the last process could be termed strong, this one would be deep.

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I never know how the week will go, nor what issues will truly come up. I have stopped preparing my answers and sitting in the space of terrifying unknowning, something profound always comes.

A deep pain of being unseen from my mother arose in me, stretching from childhood. Realizing our communication today was not serving my needs of connection, but only prolonging the old patterns, I vowed to share my true feelings after process and I stepped into the unknown of what other issues would arise.

Being part of the staff, we witness many stories and are deeply affected by them. The first days were filled with a swirl of multiple emotions that didn’t have simple labels. I was feeling resistance to this unknown force and bouncing between head and heart. My continuing and greatest work being moving from thinking into feeling. Realizing the subtle levels of control I exercise to protect from feeling, and even finding my competence and intelligence to be an automatic form of control distracting me from feeling.

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Supporting my fellow staff members became a true bonding experience and we formed a small family in a short time. A perfect mix of masculine and feminine, full of heart and support. I had to keep working on myself to allow such deep support for the women in our group. Strongly affected by a violent outburst which triggered old trauma, we all got to live this part of our humanity and go through the healing process together. I am so thankful to have borne witness and empathized while supporting the healing between the feminine and masculine.

Last process was very much about supporting the masculine and deepening into my own, while shifting to the feminine this time. Supporting our feminine staff and working with a female participant for the first time as well.

Mid process is when the deeper work began for me. Finding my anger once again, I exploded into fiery passion. Decimating my ego voice again and burning with determination to never give up, to live with my full unlimited energy pouring into my life, to relentlessly keep digging on my journey, and never slowing down to fit in. I will live and love wildly because that is how much energy I always have and I’m tired of not expending it for fear of overwhelming people around me moving at a slower pace. I have to be true to myself and move at my own speed.

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This burst of passion fueled my prayer and intentions for living life. I hadn’t realized that my own inner voice of support and encouragement had gone silent. I placed a new task for myself, which is to speak aloud my prayer for 10 minutes each day. This shall include my gratitude, my desires and intentions, manifestations and what I want for my life. To hear my own words spoken back to me, reminding me, affirming me, encouraging me to keep moving forward is desperately needed to keep me focused and the flow coming towards me.

Similarly I found another truth about focusing on the positive. I can share my troubles, patterns, work, and issues with others easily, but to share my light, gratitude, compliments, and general outpouring of happiness requires extra focus. We as a culture share more from our dark side than our light. I find it my new task to move more into the light side, to consciously change my mind to focus more on the gifts and positive attributes of any situation or person so that the first thought in mind is one of positive encouragement rather than criticism.

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My love and gratitude for Osho of course came pouring out at the right moment. I was again surrounded by his people and doing the work he saw we needed as human beings. Making new friends and sharing in the beautiful stories of the past, I was deeply touched at all the ground work that was laid by the generations before me so that I might be able to easily slip in and find my true self. I have great gratitude to all who engage in this work at any level and am personally thankful for the ways in which I have been transformed.

The week ended with a powerful and beautiful full moon. Completing and anchoring many truths and experiences for everyone. Personally experiencing a transforming dance under the full moon and howling with some coyotes, my heart full and overflowing. Awakened again to myself and emotional body, singing loudly in my car and shouting my excitement to the high heavens I departed from my family to travel again into the unknown and carry this torch with me. Paving the way for a deeply rewarding experience of life, I left transformed with a tendency to shine.

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The Beauty and Urgency Of Leaving

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A remarkable and beautiful experience happens when you decide to leave and go travel the world: Your current life becomes so rich and full of beautiful experiences that you consider, even if just for a moment, not actually leaving.

This is a certain test everyone must pass when they decide to give up their known life for the unknown rewards of a new adventure.

This test has only one question: Can you give up the remarkable things you have, for the possibility of something even more wonderful? Even if your life is not that remarkable at this moment, the instant leaving becomes a real reality, awesomeness will ooze out of every corner to test your willpower and decision to give it all up.

Having consciously left many wonderful living situations in my lifetime, I have seen this pattern emerge almost without fail. The life you have been living morphs into the most perfect example of how you wished it would be.  What had been lacking is now overflowing, every activity is more engaging and fulfilling, friends show up for lunch dates and beautiful conversations, you may even start a new relationship or fall in love; but all at this beautiful last moment. For the impending departure creates an urgency to live life the way you wished each day.

At the peak of synchronicity is when you are handed this test. Can you leave when everything is going right and gamble it all on the uncertain journey you have chosen to go upon? Your resolve will be tested because if you choose to stay things will continue to be nice for a while, but the urgency will fade again and while a bright period it was, your life will revert back to its common denominator because no new growth has occurred.

Ultimately it is a test of trust. In some way you were not being nourished or fulfilled enough and leaving became the best way to refresh your life. There has been a call to travel, explore, and leave the comforts of home so new growth can happen in you. Can you trust this urge to leave, develop trust in yourself, and return again, wiser and more centered? It takes courage to risk the safety and enjoyment one has for the uncertain possibilities that await.

Personally I had been asleep for a few months, enjoying a steady pace of life, unaware of course that I had fallen into distraction. I had been waiting for my community to support me, come to me, and give me what I wished to experience. I stopped waiting and started acting almost immediately. Things as you can expect began to change just as fast.

I had been wanting more interaction with my community, more food nights, conversation, and connection. The instant I decided to just give myself these things, even if alone, my energy changed and suddenly my community responded and showed up. The lesson in waking up of course is to be self empowered and give yourself that which you need to be nourished. In being self empowered others are attracted to this energy and follow in your steps. So instead of waiting for it to come, create it in yourself and it is impossible that it wont arrive swiftly.

Now a month before I had scheduled to leave, due to my own desires to travel, the whole world was exciting again. Suddenly I had all the encounters, dinners, dancing, and unexpected events I could wish for. I felt empowered and happy, and my leave date was suddenly approaching. I have a theory that impending departure begins to move a strong energy in all people, not just you personally.

In yourself, you know acutely that time is running out and thus you begin to add emphasis and energy to all you wish to accomplish before leaving. I engaged more people to meet up for a last goodbye, I created more events and showed up more often. In essence I began to do the things I had always needed to do to achieve the results I wished. It took the impetus of “the end is coming” to really get moving at the correct speed.

Likewise my community showed up at the same speed because they understood it would be the last time for many months. Friends who I couldn’t get to show up for lunch or to hangout suddenly made time. Everyone has busy lives and families, but sometimes you need to break up the routine of work and play and relaxation. Suddenly my energy had spread to their lives and they began to make choices, beneficial to them as well, because of my leaving energy. They had wished to connect and do new things, but life’s distractions got in the way.

This ultimately is what happens to us, we know what we want and need to do to nourish ourselves, but we find simple excuses to be comfortable. When one is leaving, the energy is enough that we decide to do more, experience more, and push ourselves a little more to accommodate; and what happens? Everyone benefits and begins to live the life they wished they could more often.

It raises the question of how can we utilize this energy more to our benefit without having to leave all the time? Going on adventure is certainly needed, but living more fully in our own lives is so much needed right where we live. The problem is that most people rarely get the chance to stop their lives and leave it for a while. A two week vacation is not nearly enough for people to change their behaviors as going away for months or moving to another state. Most people develop families or careers that cannot be put on hold and so how can this feeling of urgency be created? The adage “no one lives forever” simply doesn’t have enough immediate urgency, because we all feel like we are going to live our routine for years to come. The feeling that we have plenty of time is sadly what keeps us moving so slowly.

An idea came to me at breakfast. What if weekly there was a way to have a support group that focused on how urgent and precious our time is to live this very moment? A group in which exercises that help each person pay attention and create a feeling that their is no time but now to act and not waste a moment longer? I feel this takes a group so there is accountability to each other and support to be pushed and reminded that potential dies each day if it isn’t utilized. I feel that so many people would rather live a life of presence and urgency, filled with experiences that enrich the soul and bring happiness, but for lack of a better word, we all fall into laziness and distraction. Without urgency its so easy to spend too many nights watching netflix rather than reaching out for connection. It is too easy to balance the desire to expand with the availability of comfort. I know I struggle deeply with distractions, knowing full well what I would rather be experiencing.

This is why I always decide to leave and go travel. The distractions diminish when in a foreign environment. Suddenly life is all around and available. New people to meet, languages to overcome, daily necessities even take on the hue of a challenge. This sparks the energy to live life more present and alive. Just going to the supermarket in a foreign country is an adventure while only basic routine at home. When a certain degree of distraction based comfort is removed, life is suddenly there to be lived in the smallest of encounters.

So would you pass the test? After finding some urgency to live the life at hand, after each day becomes more exciting and filled with wonder, could you still leave it all in search of something beyond description? I choose once again to travel and discover what there is to be found. But when I return, even I will have to remember this lesson and live with urgency each day. If possible, I wish to awaken to a life where I feel excited to start the day, engaged in my work, play, and passion fields, and comfortable with a little bit of the unknown. I feel that true happiness can spring forth in daily life by living with this urgency and I encourage you to find what it takes to create that urgency, to light a fire in your temple to show the way into the beautiful possibilities of life.

Stay connected and keep reaching for what you deeply desire. With enough motivation and urgency, the whole world can change. Blessings to your journey as well my friends.

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Path Of Love: Finding Love Inside and Out (Round 3)

pol seattle“Im driving a really nice car, but im still asleep at the wheel” -Premraj

Have you ever felt like that? Life feels really good on paper, but there are no heart pangs of deep feeling; that a numbness has crawled in. As a birthday present to myself, I decided to jump into the Seattle Path of Love, to rekindle my passionate fire and wake up to my life. Again. I wanted to feel it all, the sadness, the happiness, the presence, whatever could be there as part of being human. Somewhere I fell asleep to the depths of feeling and the fire was building again to clear the dust on my own life.image

In my day to day of school, work, play, business, and friendship, every aspect was going well, but still something essential felt missing. Path of Love is the strongest, most precise method by which I know how to wake up to more. It works every time, on everyone, and each successive time you participate you get even more. In the foothills of Mt. Vernon, on 250 lush acres, lies the TreacyLevine retreat center. 50 years of interfaith community building to form brothers and sisters among all people on the planet is a pretty ideal setting for our work. Beautiful scenery, sunsets, animal life including coyotes, plus all the stars that come out at night.image

I had a goal, as most do coming to The Path Of Love, I wanted to wake up to all of my emotions and really feel life, deeply, authentically, passionately; with an intensity that I had forgotten, but once knew many times over. The beginning of the process started off with a bang. There was a controlled burn of a house on the property as we began our first meditation, quite symbolic of burning down the old structures so the new can have space. The intensity level during that first meditation really set the pace for the week. What took me a few days to feel comfortable doing in Costa Rica last year, exploded out of me within minutes. Perhaps it is getting easier, perhaps 5 planets retrograde helped expose what was hidden, perhaps the energy dynamics of this group helped; no matter the reason, I jumped with a sincere intensity into the work that would change my life again.

In my exploration of my feelings, a few keys needed to be returned to me. I knew these keys, I even wrote them down, and yet I still forgot the experiential essence of them. First and foremost is the presence of the superego, otherwise known as the Judge. This is the voice in our head that tells us we are not good enough. It comes in many ways, many subtle disguises, directed at others, but mostly at the self. It has a purpose, it keeps you safe, but as we grow up and become stronger, we don’t need this voice so strongly anymore, but who has ever trained us to lesson its power over us? Flexing the muscle of control over the superego is a moment to moment practice. Becoming even slightly more free of its masks of deception provides a profound sense of well being and trust in life.image

My superego tells me many things, mostly how to keep myself small, but it also tells me how I should feel. Like others, it confused me by ‘telling’ me how I feel rather than allowing me to feel how I feel. This is the beginning of moving from the head to the heart. My superego told me I needed to feel a certain way and when I did not, it exerted its control over me by saying “look, see, your heart is closed, you don’t feel anything.” As tears were streaming down my face, having been touched by the deep gratitude and love of many people, I could only conclude that I was overflowing with feeling and I needed to change my ideas about what an open heart feels like. I was feeling everything, wonderfully everything, but still the Judge was there trying to tell me I was wrong, that I wasn’t feeling enough, well superego I caught you in your lies and now you can leave this mind once again.image

Once I caught my superego, the real work of stepping into my power began. This week was about feeling and power; masculine power. As many who know me can attest, I hang out in the feminine, intuitive energies because I am most comfortable there. This has formed a pattern through my life of people being confused about my sexuality. Metro sexual, bi-sexual, homosexual, no one can quite pin down a male body, with feminine energy, who is interested in women and can love everyone, male and female. What I discovered this week was the core of masculine power. This is not the aggressive warrior archetype, although that is an aspect, but it came down to one mantra for me “Strong enough to be changed by love”. The feminine is a river being held by the masculine banks. The bank stays strong in what it is, while allowing its edges to be constantly changed by the love of the feminine. No more controlling life, no lack of trust, a constant dialogue between the masculine and the feminine for without both there would be no river and no bank, just a swamp land.image

My experience of this wonderful dynamic came in an unexpected way; her name is Julie. From the start I took a risk to be more outgoing and assertive, this led to a lot of hilarity in witty verbal exchanges, as well as pushing the boundaries with all people. I was thankful and fulfilled by just this verbal exchange of asserting who I was and how I felt, but the universe always brings more than you ask for. In the weeks leading up to PoL the universe saw fit to bring me many examples of male/female relationships to help me better define what my inner landscape looks like. I changed my internal compass from finding a partner who I can work on my inner issues with to someone with whom I enjoy life each day immensely with. This means someone in whom I feel relaxed and comfortable, someone to laugh with all the time, someone who can meet my intensity and then keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible. This has become my new working definition and highest priority: connection. To say that I found a connection in Julie would be an understatement.image

The transforming experience came in a quiet moment after dinner, sitting in a deck chair looking at the landscape. I was feeling centered and complete with everything. Julie came by, sat in the chair next to mine and laid her head simply on my shoulder. The world turned and stayed incredibly still. Like the river banks, somehow I had found my center. No voice arose, no impulse to do anything, in fact I sunk deeper into myself having the feminine drape itself across me. Normally I would have gotten excited, started wondering how do I need to engage this person, what do I need to do to make this better, more, or somehow mesh with this person. Instead I stayed in my masculine center, right where I was and what I was doing, while my edges were changed. The feeling was incredible and will stay with me forever; of being myself and needing not change anything, that I was enough as myself. My hardest aspect of relationships has always been integrating this with women, and here at my deepest opening was Julie, pushing on my edges asking me if I could hold myself as a man. What an incredibly powerful and subtle experience. Perhaps true wisdom comes silently on the evening breeze, not in some flash of sunrise on the horizon.image

After that experience, our energies coalesced and exploded. The connection generated was felt by all and mentioned by many. I was able to practice my new masculine power center in many ways and found that living life from this place is so rewarding. I can be soft and feminine and present while maintaining my solid masculine core of grounded-ness and commitment. It is this power center that fuels the passion of life and is a core principal experienced on the Path of Love. To be able to integrate this deeply and practice it at the same time is what made this experience so powerful.

I was touched in many ways during this process, tears falling in rivers down my cheeks from extreme gratitude, witnessing beauty, connecting with people: their pain and pleasure, and being present to the wonderful space opening in me as I continued such transformative work. Osho certainly showed up for me personally again, reaching out across the years with his presence and power. It was during this process that I received the name of my heart and that connection was not lost on me. Standing next to beautiful new friends who lived many years with Osho himself, we wept for all the gifts that have been brought to us through his life; we wept for the longing in our hearts of wanting to connect to such a beautiful presence, we wept for the courageous people at that moment who were passionately digging to find and awaken their own hearts. It takes a community of people to hold the space of the heart and to help it trust to open. I was so happy to wake up every day to meet each and every one of these people and share some connection no matter what it was. It is a strange fact of life that everyone desires this connection and security, yet we rarely live in such a way as to promote it daily.

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Wrapping up such a deeply changing process is always difficult. Having built such a powerful and connected community through sharing emotions, love, laughter, and tears is hard to walk away from. Perhaps one day we can all just live together and share life in such a way, but for today we all go our separate ways and reintegrate into our societal lives. The pain of separation has always been an unexpressed surface emotion for me, but I know it affects me deeply. I put extra intention into parting with Julie; and our departure was filled with longing and tears, but also pierced by a connection that runs deep with a love mutually shared and experienced. It was a beautiful letting go into the unknown. Hugs and laughter were shared with everyone else and promises to see each other again soon. We all were deeply touched by the experiences shared in this week and I long for a way of living in which everyone can come and go as they please, but still hold this sense of connection through community. I had a reason to wake up everyday that wasn’t work; either a morning meditation or to share breakfast with friends and connect. This aspect of community and being seen continues to fuel my love of creating community. To have people around who can hold space for you, is such a beautiful gift that so many are longing for, I wonder why we struggle as a society to form lasting community.image

In this sense the divine enters into the Path of Love. Through our own hearts longing, and the grace of the divine, we reach all that we desire. Bring an intensity to the search, and the divine will take over and give blessings. Osho certainly found me and brought me to this work. Through what he left behind, I was able to find myself. The deep gratitude I feel for him and all his people is beyond words and a debt beyond repaying. I am so thankful for this life and this community discovered on the Path of Love.

Find out more at www.pathoflove.net

 

The End and Beginning of a Journey

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It got hazy, standing on the boundary line of beginning and ending. Wondering what defines you as the mist of doubt swirls and sprays in your eye. One foot wading into the adventure of the unknown and the other safely planted in the comfort of the known. Self doubt and fear creep in causing that first step to be questioned from every angle. A step, a leap, a jump, full force into the unknown is the only remedy in this battle between the head and the heart.
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In the borderlands of wrapping up two years of ego crushing travel, ill be honest in saying I woke up with a solid fear gripping my heart each morning. The practical life questions each of us face seemed to suddenly crash upon me in a heap. What do I want to do with my life, where do I want to live, what kind of work can I do, will I be happy and successful, and can I let go of this lifestyle and move into another? I was emotionally paralyzed each morning and it would take a few hours of meditation to settle my heart, and constant attention of my mind to stop questioning the same things over and over. Armed with those two methods I would slowly reclaim myself and be able to go about my day.


What emerged shortly after I finally got a hold of myself was a new distinction. The age old question of what do I want to DO and who do I want to BE? There are many many things in this world I want to do, and even create, but they are not who I am. Somehow I never noticed how I positioned myself to define my beingness by what I did. Creating a community or traveling the world isnt who I am, its what I do. When I listed out all the things in my life, they all landed squarely in the doing category. Where was the definition of my being?
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Suddenly and without much fanfare a new idea entered into my thinking. I cant say it was really new, but I treated it with the attention it finally deserved. In all the things I wanted to do, in all the things I loved in my life, I wanted to BE a healer in all of them. I’ve known this about myself, but never put this little fact into the box of definition called who I am. I always played with the idea (learning or experiencing various things), or thought about how I could make a career out of it (always with a mix of trepidation and excitement). Suddenly everything fell into place when I accepted this truth about myself. I am a healer and it can be expressed in many forms and many ways. I wasnt pigeon holing myself into a small box, in fact this definition opened so many doors I could finally relax. There wasnt a big aha moment, it was a quiet acceptance of what I had known all along.


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Owning up to this didn’t come easy, that’s for sure. It took all the learning and experiences of traveling the world and coming back, practicing meditation. being fearful about making money, and then being excited to turn a deep love into a lifestyle to get over the fear of just even starting. I spent literal months questioning myself, using my mind exhaustively, working myself up into fear and frenzy. I was fearful of HOW it was going to work out, but the answer is always in the doing. After all the fears and worry and doubt, there was a gift waiting for me when I finally just started acting. Every fear my mind created was easily blown out like a candle in the wind of applying yourself to action.
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After knowing what you ARE, doing easily flows from this place. A new idea to become a massage therapist struck me as quite a lovely idea. I get to be a healer in a practical and accepted field and I get to open the door into all the other healing techniques I have to offer. I can travel with this profession and there is endless learning that can be experienced. I get to help people, help myself, and it is something I am already good at and love to do. I get to BE who I am and DO something that supports that beingness. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this was the start of a new journey.
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I could have applied my new definition of being a healer in many ways mind you. I also want to do spiritual counseling and teach meditation, to do intuitive card readings and share human design. Massage seemed the most practical as it answered a very fearful question of supporting myself financially. Massage is already an accepted healing modality and I can make money with it around the world. Everyone needs to start somewhere and with my first chakra active to find stability and security this seemed the easiest way to enter my new way of life.
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When I decided to start on this path, it was like walking the yellow brick road. I am beggining at thirty years old, with all the wisdom of self knowing, and the passionate commitment to master myself in the field of massage therapy. I prepared well for this journey before I even know I had begun, and likewise did all the appropriate research with friends and practitioners in the field to make sure I was suited to this path. As I began this walk, the petty fears I had held for so long all melted away with experience and within a month, I had secured an apartment, furnished it, started school, made friends, landed a job, and was enjoying my rooted life. One month! I was truly fearful of figuring out all those things just the month prior because I didn’t know HOW it was going to happen. This is when I realized I had crossed the boundary; from thinking and fretting about my future to just living my present. One step at a time, I slowly and safely walked into a new life of being a healer.
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I am in love with this lifestyle and what I get to do each day, because it resonates with who I am. I find I am centered and calm at school, talented without any effort, because it is already who I am. Massage isn’t so much about technique as my fellow new students can demonstrate, it ends up being all about your presence. All the work I did around the world of learning about myself and deepening into my own presence has paid off in the most interesting way.  If you love what you do, others can feel that in your touch. This applies to anything and everything. If what you do comes from who you are, you will eventually be a master of it. Despite the ups and downs over the last eight years of walking the spiritual path, I can say it was all worth it, the fears and the joys, the anxiety of the unknown and the culmination of starting a lifestyle that really motivates me.


I would wish this self discovery and knowing upon you all, so that you may begin to live a life that supports itself in a complete circle. To discover and accept who you are and to pursue a life that supports your being. To set aside the fears of how to do it and just take one step at a time forward in your own direction to better yourself. This is what I set out to accomplish in uncertain terms just two years ago. I wandered in many ways that supported me and at many times felt very misaligned. In the end though I accepted something that was authentic and will continue to serve me the rest of my life. There is only one definition of who I AM and that is to be a HEALER.


As I begin a new chapter in my life it is again a new journey of self discovery. To embrace the essence of a healer and having finally found my light, but I still have work to make it shine. Getting this knowing anchored is the first major battle, but every step after that, is one of delight, bringing passion to all your efforts. The choice to be a massage therapist has given me a few hidden gifts as well as I find that my teacher aspect and my acceptance of myself as a master has come forth. Before I anchored who I Am, I certainly had doubts about my talents and qualities. As I work with my fellow students and often find myself teaching, I am owning my power and accepting the knowledge and work I have accomplished in my travels is actually needed, well explained, and even masterful in its execution.
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So it comes down to this. An old journey has ended and a new one has begun. I could never have guessed how my travels would have landed me back in Salt Lake City as a massage therapist, but standing in this new role I find myself overly content and couldn’t imagine doing anything else currently. All the efforts of the past have led me here, just as all my currents efforts will be leading me to some other greatness I cannot imagine. It is tiring to fight against the flow of the universe and worry about how life will work itself out. Begin today and just take one step closer to who you are and have always wanted to be. It makes all the difference in how you feel about each moment.
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May you all find the place of knowing in yourselves to accept the beautiful gift you already carry with you and know is your calling. May it come easier than my hard won battle, but please you all the same. In light and love may we all walk this path together.

Life with the masters in Rishikesh

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Leaving an Osho community is always a strange and powerful experience that one must inevitably conclude their trip with. Whether you jump right back into what you knew as life before or simply move to another experience on your journey, the shift can be quite surprising. Thankfully this year I have a more balanced plan of action. I will take a pause from life inside the resort to learn Ayurvedic energy massage while still visiting once a week, followed by a trip to the beach in Goa, then to be continued with a month in Rishikesh sitting with enlightened masters in satsang. This feels like it might be enough of a step down to mellow out the sharp effects of leaving the Osho community this year.
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*Got to do a little advertising with my face

 

I take my high on life energy from completing the Path of Love course and gently turn its open heart energies into learning hands on massage. From the first day, first lesson, first touch, I am in love with this practice. I have known my teacher for only a year now, but his presence and energy was overwhelming from the very first meeting. The beauty of Shikha’s massage technique, besides being completely relaxing, is to take the recipient into their own space of inner silence. The first time he laid his hands on me in the middle of the massage and suddenly dropped into a deep space of “I don’t know where I am anymore”, I was hooked. When I asked what he did at that point he only smiled as if to say, “isn’t that magical?”

 

The method of this massage is using Ayurveda to touch the energetic and emotional blocks in the body and gently dissolve them. I felt that I wasn’t really receiving instructions so much as directly receiving the information from the body and wisdom directly from the heart of the master. On quite a few occasions deep energy blocks were touched an healed with accompanying tears, laughter, shouting, or other surprises. The depth of our attention and intention was the most important factor in this learning, as if we were just becoming channels for the healing energies through our bodies and hands. I know that often two hours of time would just disappear into massaging my partner and I would finish with more energy and love than I had begun with. I have found massage to be a healing outlet for my hands in which I can share all my talents in both giving and receiving. Wrapping up training with many compliments and love all around, and after a wonderful day of happy goodbyes at Osho, I left for the beach with a song in my heart and a dance in my step
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Goa rushed into my experience in the dawn light of waves crashing on cliffs. I found accommodation as one does, and began running into familiar faces from my first 10 minutes. Goa is filled with sandy beaches, lively hippies, Russian families, artists and musicians, as well as the yoga and meditation crowd. I ran into my good friends Kimberli and Ben on the main road on a whim. They were meeting me in India for the first time from Europe and of course just bumped into each other on the street. We spent our days watching the waves crash onto the rocks, reading books, mid day siestas, walking the beach at sunset, and long conversations over dinner right on the beach. Somehow nine days disappeared into memory so quickly, but we all had a small issue with the energy here.
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My mornings were the best, waking before the sun and greeting it with my daily stretching. Meditation followed and from here the day went downhill, ending with sleeping the middle of the day away and slowly coming back to enjoy sunset and dinner. I thought this was perhaps my issue having just left Osho, but both my friends were similarly affected. Granted it was hot in the middle of the day, but our energies were just depleted in this lifestyle. There are many people who enjoy the daily pace of drinking, mingling, and generally having less direction as beach culture usually dictates. For me, this was pure torture and I could never settle into aimless beach life. I tried some of the classes there, but only my circus arts, dancing, and good conversation carried the day. I came to the conclusion that the energy of Goa is such that it is very surface oriented. The depth is missing, and for me, the quest for depth is all that matters. I could have continued to live out some more days in this easy life, but that underlying pressure I couldn’t identify just kept derailing me. So a few days early we decided to jump ship and travel north to Rishikesh, my next and final destination in India; the birthplace of yoga and hub of enlightened masters giving daily teachings on walking the path to enlightenment.

 

We took the train. The 48 hour train. Sitting in general seating sometimes, but otherwise getting a real taste of Indian culture. From cramming people in train cars like we were escaping a war zone, to the lack of public sanitation, making friends and being invited over for dinner along the way, we experienced it all. It could have been done faster, but we booked all our tickets last minute and were lucky in this sense. We only had to sit in over packed general seating for 8 hours, sneak 3 people into two bunks for 12 hours, and besides sharing our paid for seats with loads of free riders, chai whallas, and train performers we enjoyed our long journey.
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We witnessed an interesting event of Mumbai guards forcing Indian passengers to queue for the train. Normally in India people have never heard of a line. If you can make your way to the front then you do so. Sort of an external affirmation of getting ahead in life. This also happens to be the most common excuse for why everyone tries to cheat you with a loving smile. So watching these poor people stand in line and board one by one, the agonizing pain in their faces of waiting, the desperate bid to push the guy in front of you, or cut line when no one was looking; just to get seated a bit faster and feel you accomplished something was the most interesting cultural experience.
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We arrived in Rishikesh on a drizzly evening and I knew at once I had arrived home. The beautiful Ganga river splits the colorful village of Laxman Jhula in half with a back drop of tree filled mountains. We crossed the foot bridge and stopping into every place of accommodation managed to locate acceptably unacceptable lodging for the first night. We located a wonderful bakery which became our standard daily haunt and with warm ginger-lemon-honey drinks, breathed a sigh of relief.
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Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga, was holding an international festival to this now popular method of self discovery. Besides being home at this time to enlightened masters such as Mooji, Prem baba, Shantimaya, and Swami Atmanada, I felt quite blessed to be surrounded by such a collection of people with dedication and insight into the nature of being human. I would settle into a comfortable schedule of sitting with the masters and listening to discourse, discussions with friends, and enjoying the local food and scenery. I have taken it as a good sign of being in your place when you happily rise with the sun and are energized to begin your day with yoga, meditation, a cup of tea, or any other ritual that brings a smile to your face and heart about the coming day.
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*The real holi festival, celebrating the colors of the heart

It is here, surrounded by many friends from around the world and Osho, that I feel most at home energetically in a long time. I have a purpose in meeting the masters each day. I have found the wonderful practice of kirtan, chanting holy mantras or devotional songs, and often cry with gratitude singing from my heart. The crisp mountain air, the pale blue waters, and the easy life in Rishikesh all appeal to me and is now my home outside of Osho. It feels somehow cleaner here and that may have to do with the mountain air or the recycling programs which were started not to long ago. No one hustles you into their shop, instead allowing you to peruse at your own speed which ironically leads you to purchasing something. There are waterfalls and beautiful hikes to explore and yoga classes everywhere.

 

I came here to spend time with the masters and experience what being in the presence of an enlightened being is like. I wanted to know what it felt like to be near such a person and what their message was. I found out quickly that my expectation was far off the mark, as an enlightened person is as normal a person as anyone. They ride scooters, go shopping, talk with people and share their breakfast table with you when the restaurant is full, as happened with Mooji and myself. They also speak to a handful or thousands of people a day to share one message of unity. Each has their own way of sharing this message that is colored by the life they have lived. Not everyone speaks the same way and I feel that is a wonderful blessing. Just as there are many ways to the truth so are there many teachers who’s message will appeal to certain people. I’ve heard this message, I know this message, Its good to hear it again, but I also know all that is left to me is to find a master to devote myself to and to practice the message each day. I will share a few bits of wisdom gained in my time here, but one incident is worth pointing out.
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Darshan, or meeting with the master, often happens after the discourse is finished. People line up to be touched by the master, or to give thanks, or receive a blessing of some sort. On my first day in Rishikesh I managed to meet Mooji in such a line. His eyes were sparkling, moving gracefully and slowly through this ever thickening crowd, I wondered if he would see me one row back when he turned right to me, placed his hand full on my forehead and then over to my cheek and moved on down the line. I was a bit dumbstruck at my good fortune, but more by the presence of his touch. There was a weight to his touch and hand that conveyed his message as much as his words. He seemed to touch everything, either with his gaze or touch, with the compassion that you were of the utmost importance and worthy of the full attention of the universe. It filled me with the wish that I could touch everything in my life with such a presence, such totality. It was a great gift and reminder of the power of presence and attention mixed with pure love. It was worth the whole trip.
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Most of the teachings I listened to, Mooji and swami atmananda, were of the Advaita school of non duality. A process of self inquiry into the nature of the self to discover the unity of consciousness through awareness. Asking “Who am I?” or “Who is having this thought/experience/feeling?” is a good way to begin this process. If some object can be seen or some experience felt then something must witness it and thus you are not what is seen. This witness is ever present and the realization of such a state is the liberation of the self. These kinds of discourses were somewhat belonging to the mental realm, but effective in their goal. Other methods such as bhakti (love), which focus on loving devotional practices like kirtan, prayer, dance, and pure devotional ceremonies was a new and wonderful experience for me. Embracing my new moniker of Premraj (ruled by love), I found the bhakti practices deeply touching and a straight connection to the divine. I suppose one needs balance even in the way of meditation.

 

Here are a few quotes from my time in Rishikesh along with quotes from Osho whom I was also reading.

 

“The seed cannot relax, only the flower can relax. The seed is trembling, whether it will become actual, will it find the right soil, right climate, right sky, or will it simply die without being born?” – Osho

 

“Your mind wants enlightenment and to feel the experience of it. Enlightenment isn’t a feeling. It is the self before the mind existed and thus can never be experienced or grasped by the mind.” – Swami Atmananda

 

“Lack of attention dies up the personality like a plant with no water. Naturally.” – Mooji

 

“You need nothing to be happy, you need something to be sad. Make space to be happy for no reason.” – Mooji

 

“After a state of tasting the honey of life comes a change and suddenly the taste is gone. Now you must become the honey without the taste of honey. Let go of the desire to experience and taste, just become the awareness. It is a growth. The flower isn’t attached to its own smell. The peace you felt may be gone, but you are that peace itself. If there is one that is still enjoying the experience, even with full awareness, then there is still duality. Try to move to the pure awareness and become that awareness only.” – Swami Atmananda

 

“The bee of life is not attached to any flower. It simply moves where the flower invites it. It has freedom.” – Osho

 

“Surrender and effort. When you see that all effort is in fact an acknowledgement of duality, then non doing happens and surrender begins as the way to inhabit the presence.” – Swami Atmananda

 

“To abide in the heart, the presence, the watcher. If you find a way there, keep it and keep practicing it. No need to keep searching for another method.” Swami Atmananda

 

“Be together with her, the commitment is towards love, not the woman. When happiness is gone say thank you and move on. The moment something is no longer appealing, has lost the quality of allurement, of enchantment, is no longer magnetic, then don’t cling to it. Feel grateful for the past and move on.” – Osho

 

“There are two birds sitting in a tree. The first bird is very busy building a nest. The second bird is above on a branch watching the first bird be so busy. This is the mind and the meditative watcher. Then there is a presence which isn’t a bird at all, watching the whole scene unfold. That is your unified essence, your pure consciousness.” – Mooji

 

“Even once enlightenment has occurred, it can still take time to drop the mind, personality, and habits. You see them as powerless as each arises, but still they arise until full integration happens.” – Swami Atmananda
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These were just a few samples of comments that struck me. Listening to the masters is like constantly being reminded there is more in life and you already have it. There is nothing to do because you are already that which you seek. Only recognizing is possible, only realization of this truth. That is not to say that effort isn’t needed to create the situation where realization can occur, but no work is needed or can be done on your ultimate self. These satsang helped center me each day on the remembrance that I am not my environment, thoughts, feelings, and problems. I am the essence behind all that watching it unfold. Watching is certainly the right word, for when you can watch yourself move through the ups and downs of life and really just watch it happen as if to somebody else, there is a contentment and happiness that arises which cannot be taken away.

 

Abide in the heart and experience the truth. You are the force of love, in this moment and always. Finding and being reminded of the way and truth will always bring a clam knowing that you can walk your path. Rishikesh was a wonderful culmination of spiritual traditions and practice among friends and strangers all drawn to this wonderful community. It has become a must stop on the road to enlightenment with so much packed into such a small shining city. May you be fortunate enough to taste the essence of a living master who can help show you a way to truth.
Blessings on your journey.
premraj