After Awakening Before Enlightenment

Back in 2011 the essay Awakening Before Enlightenment came gushing out onto the computer screen. I was very reluctant to edit it much at all because it didn’t feel like my writing. It just poured out.

Now almost seven years later it seems like perhaps it is time for a check-up.

In the last paragraph it was written:

So here we come to the point that has been the fuel for this inquiry for all these years. Without exposure to the presence of an Enlightened Master and, unfortunately for some, even with, it is very easy to believe that the “awakening of the witness” is the end of the journey, is itself enlightenment. Some fellow travelers might very well believe that there is no ending of the mind, because that is the limitation of their own experience.

What is the landscape now at this time? What has changed?

Through these last years I have spent even more time exploring coming out of mind. I have experimented with many of Shiva’s 112 Meditation Techniques explained by Osho in The Book of Secrets. And with each I have discovered that same core that Osho points us to again and again, witnessing.

And it is from here that the mind is witnessed, that one sees all the ways to get entangled, and these are not just seen once or twice but again and again. But each time that seeing happens the strength of the proclivity is lessened. It becomes easier to come out, easier to let go of grasping, easier to remain with that which may be uncomfortable.

And yes, there do come more moments, and longer in duration, where one is without thought.

When thought subsides one is capable of exploring the region of feeling. Not feeling with a tour guide who is naming all the sights but feeling just in feeling. Feeling the very sensation of moods, sometimes the feeling of burbling, gushing raw emotion of some long forgotten happening.

And yes there also comes moments when all thought and feelings subside and one is left with only a sense of being.

And this sense of being, this wavering in the belly, is witnessed, is seen and in that very seeingness, when the seeing is total even that sense of being, that ripple comes to rest. In these moments there is “an ending of mind.”

Surely this momentary “ending of mind” is “samadhi with seed.” It is seed because the seed remains and because the seed remains it invariably re-sprouts. Nevertheless in this moment I am refreshed.

So now I can revisit the post and still say yes, for me, it is true that “awakening of the witness” is not “the end of the journey.” In fact it is the real beginning. The beginning of the end of “me.” And in this witnessing there is “a knowingness” that exists without any support. It is self-evident.

It is also important to emphasize that “the ending of me” does not come about by any doing on my part. I am not dissolving or evaporating my mind.  Any such activity would only strengthen the doer, the “me.” The mind does dissolve, it does evaporate not because of any doing on my part, on the contrary it does so because in those moments I am no longer contributing to its survival. My energy is with that “knowingness.” And because I am residing at home (in those moments) there is no energy feeding the “me.” And I am perfectly happy to let all of the un-entangling, all of the exposing, all of the evaporation proceed without any interference and bask in the moments of “now-here” that appear on their own.

And still the refrain, “charaiveti, charaiveti .”

-purushottama

Here you can find  Awakening Before Enlightenment.

That Which Took Us to Rajneeshpuram

Rajneesh Mandir

I am sure that whatever I say will not make one iota of difference to anyone, but still it has to be said.

It seems appropriate to ask ourselves what it was that took us to Rajneeshpuram.

If we were attracted by the idea of creating a utopian community and that is the only reason we went then it is natural that we are disappointed that the experiment did not deliver the goods. And I suppose then there is some benefit in reviewing the history and events that took place so as to do better next time.

Perhaps we were attracted by the idea of being with a “godman”, some saintly character that would conform to our own ideas of “enlightenment”. Just the idea elevated our own status. We were one of the chosen few. Is this anything more than an ego trip? And of course we were headed for disappointment. Masters do not conform to anyone’s ideas of enlightenment, Gurdjieff did not, J. Krishnamurti did not, and certainly U.G. Krishnamurti did not, just to name a few more recent examples. And it is natural that our egos would be bruised when we realized that life did not live up to our expectations.

And then there were some that were lured by the prospect of opening ourselves to the unknown, of diving deep into our own inner depths, of examining every aspect of ourselves, both the dark and the light. There are not many in this group who were disappointed, Rajneeshpuram delivered on all accounts for many.

Whatever it was that took us to Rajneeshpuram, what we can take away, even if only beginning at this moment, is meditation.

We can forget all about Osho, but if we forget about meditation, the whole journey was for naught.

If we persist in meditation (and by meditation I mean observing the contents of the mind without pushing them away or without jumping into the fray) then we rediscover that space, that magical space of silence and love. From here it is hard to be anything but so overwhelmingly grateful for the one who spent his entire life pointing towards this door to no-mind. And, in fact, it is THIS no-mind, this oceanic space of silence and love that is Osho, this very moment.

-purushottama

This was originally posted on the Facebook group page Rajneeshpuram Residents and was part of an ongoing conversation. I thought perhaps it might be interesting to some who are not part of that group.

Dis-identification

Dis-identification can still see identification but identification cannot see dis-identification. No-Mind can see mind but mind cannot see No-Mind. In identification one is not aware of being identified, but in dis-identification one is still aware of the possibility of identification. Jean Klein used to say “that in order to know who one is, it is first necessary to know what one is Not”. Just to say that there is no Not doesn’t cut it. Talley ho.

-purushottama

This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

Sumati and I finally arrived at the Ranch in Oregon in either late November or early December. We had started out from New Jersey on the first of September and crisscrossed the U.S. as well as driven into Canada.

Rajneeshpuram, OR

All along the way we stopped in bookstores and visited distributors taking orders for Osho’s books. The response was really, very, very good. Of course, all the publicity surrounding his coming to the States did not hurt. Neither did the ads that Chidvilas had placed in Time magazine with his quotes. People were very curious and were going into their bookshops wanting to find out more.

It was also a tremendous learning opportunity. Finding out exactly how the book business worked and what the bookshops and distributors wanted from us in order to aid them in the sale of the books. Many strong connections were forged that lasted for years.

Every couple of days we would call Vidya and check in. Occasionally she would relay something that Osho had said concerning the selling of the books.

When we did finally arrive I had a bit of a debriefing session with Pratima, who was in charge of book publishing. We had gathered a considerable amount of constructive feedback that we could use to chart our course with publishing.

After a couple of days, we were invited to Lao Tzu House to see Osho. This was the first time I had had such an intimate (Osho, Sumati, myself and I think Sheela) meeting with him, except for when I programmed the VCR at the Castle.

He gave both Sumati and me gifts; mine was a leather cowboy hat. I don’t remember what she received but it might have been the same.

Then it was down to business and he asked when we would be going out again. This was rather ironic because, in Poona, when anyone arrived back from the West the first thing he would ask was “How long will you be staying?” In this case, it was, “When will you be leaving?”

I explained that now was not a good time to be out selling books because the stores had already made their orders for the holiday season and that it would be best to wait until at least mid-January. He nodded and that was the end of the discussion.

Many times later I would look back on that situation. If I hadn’t been so involved in the book distribution, and so very interested in doing it right, I might have answered Osho’s questioning with more of a desire to say what I thought he would have wanted to hear. But as it turned out, I was not tuned into that at all. I simply told him how I saw the situation and he understood.

I give this as an example not of how I was above wanting to please, I’m sure that I can come up with many of those examples, but rather of what happened if one did not.

This was one of the lessons that so many of us learned at the Ranch—and we had so many opportunities. On the one hand, everyone wanted to stay close to the master so they would do whatever necessary in order to make that happen. But, the reality was, to be true to yourself (and by yourself I do not mean the whims of your mind or the pitfalls of the ego, but that silent inner voice) is the way to be close to the master.

One more of these situations involved Sheela. Rama was the coordinator of Buddhagosha (the book distribution department). Because I was the one most involved with the bookstores very often I would suggest things that we should do to support the stores. One time, I think it was involving a catalog or other marketing material, I had made a suggestion to Rama but he was concerned with how Sheela would react. He hesitated to pass it on. For one coordinators meeting with Sheela, Rama was ill and so I had to stand in for him. During the meeting, I made the proposal to Sheela and she accepted without a flinch.

It is important for us who were at the Ranch to look to what our own experiences were. What do we know from our own experience? After the Ranch it became ever so apparent that we all had not had the same experiences. We have different conditionings, resistances, proclivities, needs and desires, and because of that we found ourselves in differing circumstances.

This is not just a lesson concerning the Ranch but this applies to life. It illustrates how the commune was a large laboratory, a stage for learning about ourselves and the inner obstacles that prevent us from living a life of love and understanding. The commune provided opportunities for lifetimes of growth in both.

I’m the one with the short beard.

When I was not working with the books I was being a Peace Force (police) officer. This mostly involved driving around the Ranch and dropping in for tea at different locations. This provided another opportunity to bring the bliss down into the real world. As you can see from the photo above, Osho did not make it easy on those who were charged with keeping his body from being mobbed. You can also see that he enjoyed the whole affair.

Krishnamurti Lake
Krishnamurti Lake

Sometimes our duties became more serious. During the last festival(1985), while on patrol, we were called for an emergency at Krishnamurti Lake. There had been a swimming accident, apparently someone had drowned. When we finally got the body out of the lake, to my surprise, I found that it was Adinatha. He was the Japanese sannyasin that Sumati and I had stayed with for some time in Tokyo. The investigation showed that it may not have been accidental, that he might have just allowed himself to sink into the timelessness of the lake and never resurfaced.

-purushottama

This story is from a collection of stories and essays from along the Way titled From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva.

 

 

 

 

How Many are Better than None?

Before there were any, there were none.

Those who were none had the wisdom of all.

Those who had the wisdom of all had nothing.

Nothing makes for a wise choice

and need not make sense.

How many are better than none?

Who says what is wise?

Before there were any,

there were none

to say.

-purushottama

The Second Zen Stick

Deeksha in Vrindavan
Deeksha in Vrindavan

My first Zen stick happened when I was around three years old. It is one of the earliest memories I have. Of course I had never heard the term and it would be another twenty-three years or so until I would.

I was sleeping in my bed in a room with no one else present and suddenly, how could it be otherwise, I felt a whack on the top part of the back of my head. I sat up and looked around the room but there wasn’t anyone there.

Twenty-three years later I met a ferocious Zen master who carried a Zen stick made out of her words. Her name was Deeksha. Deeksha was the boss, the mom, the coordinator of the Vrindavan kitchen in the ashram.

Sumati and I had arrived from Japan with our pockets full of money saved from working and wanted to make a contribution to the ashram. Sheela gladly accepted but suggested that we save some for our own expenses and then assigned both of us to work in Vrindavan. Deeksha was not only in charge of the public ashram restaurant but also had her own band of handymen for whatever projects that came up. It was almost as though she had her own empire within the ashram; this certainly was no secret from Osho. Sumati went into the kitchen and I became a handyman.

Deeksha was known for her passion, energy and insults as well as being extremely capable of organizing work. She was also one of the most generous people in the ashram, often using her personal money to come to the aid of her friends and workers. But no one wanted to be called on the carpet by Deeksha. One day you could be leading a crew of carpenters working on building bookshelves for Osho’s library and the next day you could be banished to the bakery that was offsite and away from the ashram.

On one particular day during the lecture, a deep meditation had descended. It was one of those discourses that Osho would take you by the hand and lead you ever deeper into your interiority.  With this sense of being came a peace that knew no fear. I lingered longer than usual after the discourse bathing in the majesty.

When I left Buddha Hall, someone had been summoned to find Purushottama and bring him to Deeksha. I knew what awaited me but there was a calm easy feeling that accompanied my walk. I remember that she was standing with her back to the kitchen wall and she let fly all of her quivers. She was extremely animated and I have no idea what she said, but what I remember was that it was as if love was pouring from her in what would look like to an onlooker as anger. The energy that issued forth just washed over and through and yet didn’t touch me. I was a witness to a raging Zen master but inside was the same peace that I had left Buddha Hall with. From that moment I knew it was possible to be in the marketplace but not of the marketplace. I remained untouched.

Years after we had left Poona and even after the Ranch had closed I would think about Deeksha and feel some regret that she had not had a Deeksha like I had. Deeksha offered me an opportunity that no one else in the ashram could. It was easy to see why Osho gave her so much freedom and so much responsibility.  In his Buddhafield even the wildest, fiercest expressions were love.

-purushottama

This story is from a collection of stories and essays from along the Way titled From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva.

Tim Kaine and I

Tim Kaine went to Rockhurst High School, a Jesuit run school in Kansas City, Missouri. This is the same high school that my mother wished that I had attended. However, I managed to score one of the lowest recorded scores on the entrance exam thereby thwarting my mother’s plan.

He went on to work with the Jesuits in Honduras. I went on to meditate with Osho in India. He went on to work his way through politics culminating in the Democratic Nominee for Vice-President of the United States. I went on to discovering that I am not the body, not the mind and not my feelings culminating in discovering the Witnessing Consciousness.

It seems that the lesson here is if you want to be ‘somebody’ you should listen to your mother but if you want to be ‘no-body’ then you should listen to your inner voice.

-purushottama