I wake up one morning, sometime after the birds, and hear India calling. Oh shit, I grumble. I can never refuse the mother and her calls are spot on, but not easy to digest. If Mother India calls the time has come for some surrender and surrender is something I am still getting the knack of. Anyhow, not knowing and mystery packed with a dose of curiosity and dread I head off to India.
I land in Dharamshala after 3 flights. Flying has lost its charms I sigh .. bus-stop airports with ever hopeful people trying to get a deal in duty free. The outrageous overflowing stench of perfumes nauseates me. The masses rush through electronics, champagne and perfume in a frenzy. I take cover in a VIP lounge drinking Italian water and taking very long showers.
On board to Dharamshala on a good ole propeller plane a something something 72. The safety check done .. the propeller was turned and someone looked into a box on the side of the plane with some very sincere interest. The passengers begin to visibly twitch as we board one by one hoping that we do not go down with Kingfisher as fast as the vast company seems to be plummeting out of Existence in India.
Kingfisher was my childhood school sports team and we always won. Flying on a plane with a huge picture of the blue bird suggests to me something of the journey ahead. I am hopeful. We land and Chopin fills the plane. Mountains looming all around the little airport.
Off to Osho Nisarga, a Osho centre founded by Ma Neelam after a big political split from Osho Pune. It seems there has been disagreement in the power inner circle of 21 chosen personally by Osho.They said he said Pune, ” Osho wanted a place where many people could come for a brief time and have a sound beginning in meditation.” Ma Neelam, ” Osho wanted a place where people could come for a long time in very deep immersion.” Seems to me that both centres hold both visions simultaneously. It seems Osho wanted both and I wonder about the enraged power struggles over something so simple.
Osho Nisarga is a very tightly run meditation centre in the Kangra valley below Dharamshala and Mc Cleod Ganj. Osho centres are only second to the United States in the number of rules you are not only expected to remember and sometimes even spontaneously know but also to follow. Coming out of the Apartheid Regime of South Africa and a survivor of Mormonism I am intensely rule phobic and immediately begin breaking the rules.
Thus begins some heated discussion with the mandir “temple” protector Ma Prem Kaveesha a quite lovely woman from Sweden who seems to not lose a beat in grace as she effortlessly flows into her love service, insisting the same from the participants and remaining in some deeper integrity with herself. I watch intrigued and listen as she explains the ease of remaining in the truth and self within rules and culture. Mm, it seems simpler now .
I see now that this is a method left behind by Osho that even in a tightly run regime freedom is not dependent upon any outer condition. Freedom that depends on external conditions is not freedom.Freedom exists in and of itself. You either know it and are it or you attempt to create it or access it in places where you can feel allowed. As this is tempered you will again be fighting for freedom.
I see how I can now know freedom within external rules and cultural conditioning but I wonder if Kaveesha will find freedom without rules, timetables, plans ..
I have come to the Himalayan Osho centre to meet belly dance and Sufi chanting on board the body and love of Ma Prabhu Erasmia.
The Sufi chanting seems to be a powerful and very direct route to the heart while the belly dance wakes up the Hara. After a 5 day immersion I feel a deep magnetic energy between the Hara and heart forming a figure 8 and dancing between each other. I have never felt deeper into togetherness or Hara and aloneness and emptiness the Heart as I do in the final moments of the dance and chanting listening to Osho in white robe.
These two energies arise simultaneously .. togetherness and aloneness and neither are directly influenced by external relating, but a deep meeting within which can be felt alone or with others.
I head off to Dharamkot and land up right on top of the mountain overlooking the mountains.
Dharamkot sits in the middle and little higher between McLeod Ganj and Bucxu. The Dali Lama’s home is in McLeod Ganj. There are shops of all kinds Tibetan tea pots and Kashmiri shawls, Tibetan slippers and Dakini statues in all their wrath and sculls and blood in one hand and a dagger in the other as the dakini dances enraged.
Every restaurant serves really really good pancakes. Bucsu cakes and Tibetan tea that that is made from wild saffron, wild rose and berries. Buddhist monks walk slowly up and down the hills and hairless nuns come smiling by. I feel myself wanting them to grow their hair. Ideas are firing about women and the feminine and dropping the denial that has been far too long and why to refuse this to meet god .. but perhaps she simply enjoys no hair and women who are drawn to this life share this desire for no hair. Maybe it is an act of complete simplicity. No energy to family, children, food or hair. All energy for the inner journey. Maybe it is not a denial but an utter embrace of what she truly desires. And she requires all of her inner energies for this journey home. Nothing can be spent on that which dies.
This place, this triangle of villages, forming a playground for big children. Everyone is friendly and wants to play. I catch a glimpse of a man with blue eyes that don’t stop smiling. We exchange some words about his chess game. He tells me he is winning with the same delighted eyes. I wonder away looking for something I don’t know what and then run into him around the corner. We start walking and talking and walking and then eating and then walking and many hours later we walk into his bedroom and make love.
Soft and lovey embrace, energies rippling through my body feeling an exquisite mix of soft and hardness as he enters me.And the curtain comes down as Shima and her new friend dance into love.
In the morning, he eats sourdough bread made by an old Chinese man, who he says, has been making this bread to the same presence for the last 30 years. I bite into this bread covered with Himalayan honey and bursts of sour cream fill my mouth. I have never tasted a bread quite like this. I munch and watch the sun come up over the valley wondering about my adventures for the day.
It seems the energies are calling me to return to Osho Nisargo to join the mediation camp of Ma Neelam. It feels like I am being dragged back. How to leave this new adventure of pancakes, singing lessons, making love, friends all over the mountain and clucking clicking griing goat herders to go back and watch my breath and Aum? Back I go.
It turns towards the sun as I find a deep relaxation on the rhythm and structure of the day. Now we sit absolutely still, then we dance until we fall down and then we Aum from the heart Awakening. We eat and have free time and then into our white robes dancing wildly and Osho whispers wisdom and understanding into our heart. Ma Neelam tells us the same story of darkness, aloneness and death as we lie together in the Mandir temple warm and snug and then off to bed all 40 children .. ah meditators go. Something of the little one within begins to let go and enjoy so much this rhythm that she has never known before.
Vipassana awakening a moment to moment awareness from within and Aum waking the heart. Love meets meditation in the child’s relaxation in the arms of the mother.
The journey ends in stepping through a lifetime of vacillation and into trust as I surrender into sanyass and a watch an ancient ritual of Darshan unfold as the sanyass catalyst awakens. It looks like a reborn christian gathering of celebration of overflowing energies except with an older Indian woman at the centre instead of a white Baptist southern man.
In the sanyass, mysteries open. I step into the celebration of Existing for this feels like nothing less than a celebration of one’s own existence the deepest prayer the ultimate step into loving one’s self.