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The Science Of Crying.

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tears-bw-picThe Science of Crying. Tears Can Reboot your Genetic Code!

Repression kills our emotions. All of them. Our sadness, despair and abandonment, are all safely locked away, out of site and out of our conscious mind.  Repression also buries our joy, our feeling of connection,

of being loved, valued and accepted for who we are.

From our earliest moments of life, we are compelled to control and inhibit our natural expressions of laughter and crying. We are forced to abandon the most basic and uniquely human form of language.

It is well known and understood.  That in order to begin to ‘feel’ again, to live with an exposed and open heart, we have to risk encountering loss, grief and loneliness. So we find ourselves trading in intimacy and emotional bonding in order to avoid the emptiness and fear  born of our deep, hidden painful memories. Our un-expressed and unheard cries for safety and security, for love and acceptance.

In his groundbreaking book ‘The New Primal Scream’Arthur Janov describes how  our brains handle extreme trauma and emotional overwhelm. He explains that the brain has a particular way of coping with more stress than the body can handle. He states…

“Ordinarily, neural information about hurt is relayed to the Thalamus. When the pain is not overwhelming, information is then sent to the hypothalamus which initiates a variety of responses, including crying. That makes up the healing process.  When repression exists, information and tears are rerouted away from the hypothalamus. If this did not occur, the excesses of hypothalamic activity in blood pressure, pulse,and temperature for example, would be lethal. It is therefore important that the hypothalamus not accept all of the input. The excess neural energy of the pain is rerouted and finds its neurotic destination in the Limbic system and it is because of this bifurcation that full healing cannot take place”.

Basically, he is saying that as infants and children, when we are forced to deal with more fear, trauma or pain than we can handle, the brain puts some of the emotion into deep storage where it is locked away, and so we can no longer cry and release this element of the wound. It does this to protect the organism, to keep us alive!  Over time, the Limbic system fills with more and more ‘censored’ pain and the effects on our bodies and lives from this emotional pool of unfinished business manifests as many dysfunctions. These can include psychological problems including self sabotage, addictions or other types of anesthetics, which allow us to function with some sense of normality. It also affects our physiology. Our bodies become sensitive and we may develop allergies, intolerance to certain foods and damage to the immune system. It can even repress diseases that can lie dormant in our systems, unable to be exposed and treated and so continue to poison us throughout our lives.

But there is an even more dramatic effect that is less well known about what happens to our bodies during a lifetime crippled by early repression.  Stinted  by the inhibition of our freedom to express both our pain and our joy. Our evolutionary pattern or genetic code that runs our bodies during our life, can actually stall in the face of deep repression! This means that we are running on a faulty code, a fundamentally dysfunctional system breakdown at the level of our DNA. Our ‘operating system’ begins to crash.

So when we begin the process of reactivating the lost pain and traumatic memories, when we begin consciously healing ourselves by allowing the limbic system to re-open and slowly release the old wounds. We are actually allowing our bodies genetic code to reboot. We are in effect, switching ourselves off and on again! This is why it so crucial to find a way to open this portal and begin the process of revisiting and releasing this deeply buried mass of pain and sorrow.

Janov goes on to write…

“Weeping is healing. Feeling is healing.  Repression is ‘antihealing’. Every process of our brain and body has an evolutionary rationale.  To block weeping is to run against the sweep of evolution. That is why those who weep deeply seem to ‘restart’ the evolutionary process – beards begin to grow at age forty, wisdom teeth develop at forty five, breasts begin to grow at age thirty five.    

The genetic code can now proceed to its destination;  that destination is growth, healing and health.  Not a bad job for minuscule droplets of moisture. Imagine!  Tears have the power to transform our physiology, change our personality and re-fire the evolutionary engine. What has seemed like weakness to so many of us turns out to be one of the most powerful forces on earth”!  

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From Seriousness To Sincerity!

JoinThe Laughing Rebellion!

Do we have to be angry to have strong feelings?

Do we have to be upset to show that we care about the madness of the world?

And do we have to inhibit our humour and joy, to show that something is really important to us?

This tension, this apparent contradiction in our lives, when we feel the pain of those suffering, both around us and in distant lands, and yet we know, that to dive into that space, makes us feel dark and contracted, heavy and negative. We feel guilt and shame and frustration.  So we look away, we scroll down or we switch off and get on with our lives. But inside, we still care, we still ache.

It is only human to feel empathy, to go into an experience of another’s pain, in order to know it and be there for them. It is a loving act but, it also feels like it spreads the pain out. It expands the very suffering that we anguish over.

This vicious cycle can be so overwhelming, that many of us choose to avoid or ignore the reality of life as it is for us as a global village, as a species, sharing our beautiful little blue ball hanging in infinite space. Its just too much to let it all in. The corruption, the cruelty and torture, the suffering and the despair of our fellow humans and creatures of this paradise.

We struggle to even work out how we got to this point, let alone where we go from here.

What we do know is that we are in a serious situation.

But are we served by making that state of affairs our state of being?  Is our seriousness actually empowering us?  Or does it send us into a state of collapse, of defeat, of resignation?

How can we not cry tears of sorrow?  How can we not hang our heads in despair?

When we face our greatest fears, the loss of our life or the lives of our loved ones, the loss of our liberty or maybe even worse, the loss of our very hope, then what are our choices? Where is our power?

What happens if in that moment, we decide to let go of seriousness and yet, remain deeply sincere in our truth?  What if we can stare fear in the face….and begin to laugh, really laugh, to know that at our deepest core we see the truth and choose to remain free?

Laughter is so often seen as a lack of capacity to understand the gravity of a situation.

Its frivolous, its selfish, its a sign that you’re not getting it!

But when we really try to understand laughter, when we get real about what laughter and a sense of humour actually is, then we begin to see that it is, in its purest form, the greatest expression of understanding that we have. Laughter is our bodies reaction to a moment of ultimate clarity, it is how we express the recognition of truth itself. It is what makes satire both deeply funny and deeply moving all at once.

This is because laughter is Intelligence! It is the ultimate expression of rebellion!

A rebellion against guilt, against shame and self doubt. A rebellion against fear itself.

A rebellious person is a dangerous person. Dangerous to the system, to the status quo. They will not be easily controlled and they will not be easily silenced.

Un-hindered by the fear of condemnation and judgement, the rebel is not playing by the book.  Not keeping to the script.  A rebel will laugh in the face of their own fear, even their own demise. But an intelligent and awakened rebellious and joyful person is always, always sincere!  They are led and guided by a bigger picture, a bigger perspective. and that creates an immense freedom. The laughing rebel lives a liberated life. They live an authentic life and a life of courage and truth. Laughter relaxes us, it unites us, it connects us and it heals us.

That is why we must move from seriousness to sincerity. From emotional enslavement to personal power, where  we can care, more than ever before!

We can desire and fight for justice, equanimity, and dignity for us all and we can stand strong against the headwind of corruption, against the mass insanity and indoctrination, that would have us on our knees in a state of futility, worn out by the sheer size of the challenge.

The dark forces of this world want us to take it all very seriously.

When we are serious, we are open to their message of hate and division. Open to the script of tribalism, nationalism, religious separation and isolation. When we are serious, we are open to dis-ease and disinformation. We can be controlled, because seriousness is fear. It is blind faith and blind action.  The serious and scared are easy to control. They are easy to manipulate and indoctrinate.

So if we want to be a part of creating a new world, a new way of living, then we have to renounce seriousness and embrace the power of humour and laughter as a force of vision, of perspective and as an expression of our true authentic being.

Laughter is the expression of this powerful state. It is the manifestation of our deepest truth. That is what the sages and great mystics of history have always taught. Laugh in the face of fear, celebrate, dance and sing in gratitude, because that generates power and conviction in ourselves, it engenders individual thought and values and right now, more than sorrow, more than sympathetic sadness, this world needs sincere, laughing, courageous rebels!

Ha ha! Ha ha haaaaaa!!!



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keys beach

Sometimes, I get this feeling that all of the songs, lyrics or pieces of music that I will ever write, have already been written. They lie like bones, under a thin crust of Earth. Waiting to be revealed,  to be discovered  by the Archeology of expression.  Art, brought to life –  using just relaxed presence, a quietened mind and an honest heart.

That’s how creativity works in me. I allow the feeling, the notion, or the idea to just float around. Feeling it, being with it. Whatever is challenging or inspiring me in my life at that point.  And then, as I allow my attention to wander in a fertile moment, a gentle breeze blows away some dust, exposing something. Stones? Or bones.

If its bones, then I begin to pay more attention, gently brushing away the dust, following what is exposed, whatever becomes interesting or inspiring. Or, if nothing comes, if its stones, I meander off to a different spot and begin to explore again. Soon, the fragments connect, the dots begin to join, the bigger picture emerges and suddenly, there it is. The song is made manifest. Brought in to the realm of sensory perception to be heard. To be healed and inspired by.  And perhaps, to leave the listener moved, to something deeper. Something real.

I marvel at this new baby, this new chunk of expression. I am in awe and I often ask,

“where did this come from?”

” Am ‘I’ the songwriter,  am ‘I’ an Artist,  am ‘I’ a Musician?”. 

What does being creative mean?

The  dictionary defines the word creative as; [relating to, or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something].

So then, what is the source of our imagination?  From what or where do we get ‘flashes’ of inspiration. and does it happen to us, or do we happen to it? Is it  the subconscious or the superconscious?

Exploring this mystery is one of the most exciting parts of the creative process for me. It means that not only has music and expression become my spiritual practice, it also relieves me of any great attachment to the work. It doesn’t have to be my music. It is just the music. I discovered it. I didn’t invent it.

A musical Archeologist or ‘Arteologist’, following a creative flow, putting my attention on what life lesson or situation I’m in.  Whatever is relevant to me and my life at the time. Almost like consulting an oracle, with no concern for others opinions, criticisms or judgements. Nothing is personal. If I can relinquish ownership in a creative sense – to not have the music be mine, to drop the need to have it be a reflection of ‘who I am’, then I don’t feel I have to take credit for it. It was always there. I have just revealed it. It belongs to creation itself.  In this way the music can be completely honest and vulnerable.  I can find the courage to write about the difficult, painful and also the ecstatic and joyous, without inhibition. Then It becomes a part of my healing.  Then it is therapeutic. I get to release pain, fear, wounds and trauma, through this process, through this connection to the creative energy of life itself.

But it gets better! The act of expression, true, authentic expression, means that I get to share my inner world with anyone that wishes to know.  And really, what do they ultimately want to know? That their own inner world can heal and grow too.

In the realm of lyrics, rich in symbolism, metaphor and rhythm,  powerful messages can be received. Great insights can occur and when music is added, when melody and harmony join the words, then our hearts are immediately  activated. It is almost impossible to fight back the rise of sorrow, of joy or bliss when it comes, floating on an emotional flying carpet of soaring music. It is almost irresistible.

Music is the language of the inner world, the voice of our beings. Apart from sex and food (which are both survival driven), music is the one other way to have a shared experience of ecstasy  and profound emotion. It evokes the very energy of what we really are. Loving, fragile beings, trying to find our way,  trying to connect. Then expression becomes more than just our expression. More than just our creative process. Then it becomes contagious. It becomes the ‘collective creative’.

Infected by its power and potency, others begin to dig, to dust a little to see what treasure lies beneath their crust, their Earth. and so it spreads and grows… this is where things get truly creative.





Interviews with Marc Itzler

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The Secret Superpower of Meditation.

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yogi-hulk-diffuse-angerMeditation….What is it really all about?

Most would claim that Meditation, (commonly imagined as sitting silently, becoming aware of the present moment or of ones breath), brings about a greater sense of calmness, clarity, serenity, and contentment. A break from the incessant chatter of the unstoppable inner voice clanging around in our heads. This of course is absolutely true. And then, there are all the benefits to our health, like reduced blood pressure, stress release, increased oxygen levels… it’s a long list, and all of it good stuff.

But what happens when we leave the cushion?  When we roll up our mat? When the commentary in our heads starts running again?  We are back in our thoughts, anxieties, and judgments. How quickly we lose our serenity and sense of ‘one-ness’. How easily we return to business as usual. Here is where we could be missing the greatest benefit that Meditation actually has to offer.

Let’s use the analogy of going to the gym or doing yoga, martial arts, or whatever physical pursuit scratches our itch. We do our workout, our practice or exercise. During and just afterwards, we often feel a nice warm rush in our bodies. Our bloodstream is flooded with yummy dopamine and we’re glowing and maybe even a bit high. Great feeling, but we know that it is not this immediate ‘hit’ that motivates us to keep going.  What really gets us to commit to our practice is an understanding that over time, we are building and training our muscles to feel stronger, our heart and lungs to be more effective, increasing our physical ability and developing our body to work at its optimum.  Making it as capable as possible of handling what modern life throws at it. We know we will be more able to deal with unexpected physical stress and strains, we’ll have less aches and pains.

We can dance all night, and do…other things.. all night. We feel less fatigue, more awake, sharper and fitter.  In short, we become healthier and have a better quality of life.

Applying this understanding to Meditation is what will give us the secret superpower that is almost always overlooked.

When we meditate on a daily or very regular basis, we are in fact strengthening our ‘presence muscle’. That is to say, we are building our capacity to become present and aware when we really need it most – not on the mat or cushion, but when our sore points, our vulnerable places, are triggered in our ‘normal’ day to day activities.

When all is smooth and wonderful in life, we are mostly content, happy and connected. But when the shit hits the fan, when we are triggered, by our parents, our partners, our children, friends or work colleagues, it is in these moments of ‘reaction’ that we ‘lose consciousness’.

This moment is where we snap.  It’s where we defend, rationalise, attack, manipulate and either act ‘out’ in aggression, or act ‘in’ through passive anger, punishment or just total shut down. This is when we actually feel the sting of abandonment, resentment, envy and fear in real-time and space. This is where we damage ourselves and others.

Meditation’s greatest gift, is that it can train us to expand that moment. It allows us to stretch that nano-second of time, just as we are triggered, offering to us an extra split second of hard-won presence and awareness.  A capacity built over time, as we cultivate our ability to witness our thoughts and emotions from a higher perspective.

This little gap, this fleeting blink of an eye, is where the practice of Meditation manifests its most profound benefit.

In that extra interval lies the greatest power available to us.  The capacity to choose how we will deal with the rush of pain, fear or anger welling up inside. It gives us the capacity to slow down time, take a breath and allow the emotional charge to subside, so that we can make a conscious decision about how we want to respond. This shift enables us to move from automatic conflict, towards resolution. From judgement to compassion. From anger to forgiveness. From fear to love.

It should though be understood, that this fundamental ability, this knack, is by no means easy, nor is it always welcomed by those around us. When we develop this capacity, we become uniquely empowered, as we step out of ‘character’ and no longer follow the scripts that have been playing out in the theatre of our lives. Others who are used to being able to trigger and control us, are suddenly left having to deal with their own thoughts and feelings, because we are no longer playing along and feeding the fire. We have learned to take each moment, each criticism, each comment that once had us lashing out in desperation and rage, and see it for what it really is…someone else’s inner world, their reality, not ours. We no longer take it personally.

This does not mean that we are no longer capable of hearing a valid criticism or are unable to receive feedback about where we can change, learn and grow.

We can in fact, remain more receptive, more discerning and better placed to make a healthy judgement as to whether we take on, or dismiss what comes our way from others.

With less fire and smoke comes clearer vision and understanding.

In the coolness of presence, we respond from our deepest, true nature.

This is real inner power.

This is ‘spiritual fitness’.

This is the secret superpower of Meditation!










You want a seven point plan to destroy ISIS? Here it is.

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Ive been just a little frustrated by the somewhat passive approach of the anti-bombing Syria movement at the moment.

It’s as though we are all responding to David Cameron’s seven-point plan with either acceptance or rejection, without much detail of what we should be doing instead.

There are a few vague references to the Vienna negotiations around Syria’s future and some doubt about ground forces that will confront Isis.

I do not understand why the main opposition has not formulated and laid out a very clear alternative to air strikes both in Syria and Iraq for that matter.

What I am interested in is a new plan, a new narrative, clearly laid out by the those that seek an alternative to fighting fire with fire.

Cameron’s plan is at best incoherent and at worst, a blatant admission that he is not a leader but instead, is bound by those who put him in power to ensure that their interests are met at the expense of any common sense. The industrial military complex on both sides of the Atlantic are setting the agenda, closely followed by big oil and finance. This is why and how wars are generated, financed and exploited. We know this. The last 20 years has seen the opposite of everything our leaders have told us would come from aggression in foreign lands. They claimed we were in danger when we were not and that we would be in less danger if we intervened, which also we are not. Instead, we have destabilised, radicalised and exploited these regions to such an extent, that we are now in more danger than we were before 9/11. Why does David Cameron think that the British people don’t get this? The truth is, he knows bombing in Syria or Iraq or anywhere will do nothing to make us safe and tragically, that is what this government actually wants. Our insecurity is exactly what they are seeking. I insert here a quote that illustrates this political strategy.

“Naturally, the common people don’t want war, neither in Russia nor England nor in America nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”

-Hermann Göering- (during the Nuremberg Trials) 

Through this paradigm it becomes patently obvious that this government, like Russia and the US are set on using the middle east as a landscape for real life war games and the local population as the guinea pigs for their weapons. With such huge military industry at work, how can these massive super powers keep the economic wheels turning if they are not despatching these weapons somewhere?  Without war, what will fund the endless building of more weapons, jets, missiles and drones? As the metal band Megadeth’s 80’s album cover so clearly puts it, ‘Peace sells but who’s buying?’.  We know that no matter how accurate a bomb or missile can be, ordinary, vulnerable people get slaughtered. Fathers and mothers lose children. Children lose their parents, brothers lose sisters.  Real lives, real people- destroyed.  To keep us ‘safe’?  The claim that our missiles are so accurate that they can get through a window may be true but what if its the wrong bloody window? To say that our added weaponry will ‘save lives’ is so appalling and dishonest – it is simply outrageous!

So, as it seems that most of our MPs have been dragged like mindless sheep to another slaughter, I put forward here, (based on my best but limited understanding of the current and historical situation), MY seven point plan to make our streets and the Middle East a safer and more peaceful place.

Point One: All western nations including the US, the UK, and France should immediately accept the legitimacy of the Assad Government.

Reason a: Although Assad is a butcher and total sociopath, he is the current leader of a sovereign nation and is secular in his beliefs. No country has the legal right to remove him from power regardless of his crimes. This would also bring a ceasefire closer as Western governments end their support of disparate groups fighting the Syrian army.

Reason b: If the argument of brutal regime change is to have any credibility, then we would also have to remove the Saudi Royal family, along with the leaders of Kuwait, and several other Gulf states, and then of course, North Korea, Brunei, Egypt, Israel, Iran etc etc. This argument against Assad is utterly hypocritical.

Reason c: Once Assad sees that he would be recognised by the international community, he would be far more likely to respond to calls for more democracy and more benign governance. This is what is happening in Burma and Iran and it can happen in Syria too. Humiliating sociopaths only serves to make them even more sociopathic. Lose/lose.

Point Two: Immediately establish the Turkish and Saudi governments’ role in aiding and abetting ISIS through weapons/drugs supply, loose borders and the purchase of oil from ISIS-held territory. 

Reason a: If found guilty of these acts, then Turkey’s application for EU membership should be cancelled and a full review of NATO membership undertaken.

Reason b: Saudi Arabia, if found to be supporting and promoting ISIS ideology, should have all economic and diplomatic ties cut by all western nations, regardless of their financial interests in the EU and the US, which should all be frozen.

Reason c: If they are found to be complicit in helping ISIS then the blood of all their victims in the region and Europe is on Saudi hands. They are the enemy.

Reason d: If they do support ISIS (and much evidence suggests they do), then by selling arms to them we are turning those weapons on our own pilots and civilians.

Point Three: End bombing of any civilian areas and focus air attacks solely on oil convoys, refineries and supply-routes to and from ISIS-held territory.

Reason a: This action would truly minimise civilian casualties as these targets are isolated, out in the open and slow-moving. Warnings can be given prior to destroying vehicles, armoured columns, installations and supply convoys, allowing conscripted drivers, workers and soldiers to escape safely. This is the only way that bombing is useful and anything close to ethical.

Reason b: Armies march on their stomachs and in the case of ‘salaried Jihadis’, their payments and supplies of free cocaine. Cut off these supplies and soon loyalties will dissolve. Even extremists get hungry and will break ranks if supplies dry up.

Point Four: Instigate a massive UN-coordinated plan of humanitarian aid and support for all displaced civilians in the region.

Reason a: Our priority must be to address the human suffering of innocent civilians that is occurring on a biblical scale across the region. Saudi and the Gulf states are doing absolutely nothing to mitigate the situation and have cynically offered to ‘build mosques’ for the immigrants pouring in to Europe. Really? Thats it?

Reason b: This action would enrage and exasperate ISIS, as the very last thing they want, is for muslims to start believing that Western nations are there to help and care for them. That would cripple their local recruiting strategy at its root.

Point Five: Stop all weapons sales to the entire region. Especially to Saudi, the Gulf states and Israel.

Reason a: Weapons are traded to these despotic regimes under the pretext of ‘defence’ but they are being used as offensive weapons on civilians in local conflicts like Yemen and the occupied territories. It is nothing short of scandalous that we and the US are supplying arms and ammunition to these warring, oppressive leaders.

Reason b: De-militarising the region can only reduce suffering and loss of life.

Point Six: End all financial and military support for Israel until it’s government complies with all UN resolutions and requirements, including a sincere attempt to negotiate a two state solution for Palestine.

Reason a: The end of unconditional support for Israel would be a huge body blow to ISIS and all extremist groups in the region who use the Israeli / Palestinian conflict as an example of the unfair plight of Arab Muslims.

Reason b: This action would dilute attempts to radicalise young muslims across Europe and the Western world and render useless, one of the great levers of indoctrination by hate preachers in mosques around the world.

Point Seven: Instigate a massive regeneration programme of islamic communities to recognise, enrich and upgrade the lives of muslims in cities across the European Union and elsewhere, including the promotion of multi faith co-operation and unity to dilute racism and islamophobia. 

Reason a: This move would again infuriate ISIS and severely undermine its ability to radicalise and groom muslim youth to carry out acts of barbarity against their fellow countrymen.

Reason b: A united and just approach to the muslim populations would give the young people in those communities hope and a sense of being valued. The absence of this hope is the foundation of the ISIS recruitment campaign.

And finally one last addition. Following any further atrocities carried out around the world in the name of martyrdom or Jihad, there should be a total media blackout on names and histories of the perpetrators. Absolutely no analysis or background reports. Yes, report on the details of the events but at no point should their pictures or names or nationalities/religion be made public. The current media frenzy to publish these personal details is a huge motivator toward martyrdom for would be gunmen or suicide attackers, knowing that they will be given the attention and ‘respect’ of notoriety they so desperately crave.  But to die with no one ever knowing who you were, or what you represented, is somewhat less romantic than imagining yourself across the front pages of the world’s press, hailed by fellow Jihadis. No brainer right? But governments haven’t thought of that one or have they? Perhaps putting faces to the crimes is all part of building our fear, driving a wedge between us and gaining more control.

So, the basic approach is to starve the fire of ISIS and all other extremist groups by cutting off the oxygen. Cut the supply, the funding, the communication, the motives for those to join and the weapons with which to fight.

ISIS can sell oil but cannot grow its own
food or build its own weapons. Because of this, they are dependent on the super powers to keep throwing arms and ammunition into the arena and for supplies to be trucked in. Once that is clearly ended then ISIS would simply dissolve as a force. They will never be defeated as a mass army but they don’t have to be. The fighters would simply melt away into the population or return to their lives and countries. ISIS would no longer be able to be the provider of basic social needs and would lose power.

This to me, is a far more effective way of protecting our own populations and reducing the whole threat of terror around the world.

This seven point plan was not difficult to work out. What is very puzzling is this government’s inability to see this very obvious reality. I fear that they actually do but worryingly, have another agenda that requires this mad dash to join in a global conflict and increase the chaos, the suffering and the danger to us all.

A bond beyond time. Osho and me.

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India 1979
India 1979

Last year was the 40th anniversary of my becoming a disciple of  the Indian mystic Osho. I was a sprightly and happy ten-year old, living in London, going to school every day, playing football, riding my bike, eating sweets, winding up my big sister. What most kids my age did back in 1974. Our house was the definitive hippy sanctuary. Big kilims and rugs hanging on the walls, and covering the floors. Mattresses covered in Indian fabrics, with huge cushions to match and of course the odd bean bag. It was a cosy, clean and happy house.

It had been already a year or so that the photographs of a bald, bearded, smiling Indian had come into this home. My mother was now going by the name of Leela instead of Lydia, since deciding to become a devotee of this chap with cute cheeks and a twinkling eye. I remember sitting and looking carefully at his small photo on the chest of drawers in her bedroom. Who was this Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh – this man, with his cutting, powerful, uncompromising eyes? I had seen the change in Leela, watching my mum become less stressed, less intense, more humorous, more relaxed, more…her.

One afternoon, sitting at home in our kitchen, I asked, “Mum, can children become sannyasins, could I become one?” She paused for a moment and replied, “I’ll find out”? I asked her to see if it was possible, saying I would quite like to have a new name. I thought it would be fun and different. She enquired and told me that we needed to write to the Ashram in India and send a photo. So we did just that. I found a photo and wrote a scribbly letter giving a little bit of info about myself. A few weeks later, I got a reply. I opened the envelope and read the short paragraph explaining my new name and what it meant to become a sannyasin. Hand written in the bottom right hand corner above a tangled flowing signature were three words – Swami Prem Divakar – ‘Sun of Love’.

I was something of a clandestine sannyasin for the first few years. I was still attending school in a uniform and occasionally wore my Mala of beads under my clothes. I was not ready to wear orange clothes (as was required of a sannyasin), around my school friends, it didn’t seem like a great idea.

In 1978, we left London for a Georgian mansion in the Suffolk countryside converted in to a commune. This was a time of mixed emotions for me but the summers were exciting, as huge crowds would arrive to do therapy groups and I loved helping in the kitchens and being part of the crew. I felt happiest when there was plenty of action and connection.

It was here one autumn evening that my sister and I were summoned to a ‘meeting’ with Leela and our Dad (who was now called Swami Neeraj). “We have an idea that we want to put to you” Leela began. “We want to go to India, to Poona to be with Bhagwan, and we know that this will mean taking you out of school”. “We want to try it for a year and then if you want to, we can return and you can pick up your studies again”. My sister (Who was now Anubhasha), and I were asked to go away and think it through. We left the room and went and sat in the big communal dining room alone. I was not a big fan of school but there were many elements of it that I enjoyed and being 14 years old was just about to start working towards exams. Bhasha on the other hand found school unbearable and hated having to go. She almost immediately said, “I want to go. I don’t care about school”. I felt a huge sense of excitement but also nervousness rising in me. “Ok, so we want to go then” I said.” “Yes, let’s tell mum and dad.” We marched straight back to Leela and Neeraj and told them how we felt.

The following February of ’79 we were on the Ashram in Poona and I was sitting in front of Bhagwan. He looked at me and asked how I was. “I’m happy to be here,” I said. He chuckled, “So do you want to work in the Ashram?” “I wondered if I could do some groups first” I asked. “Mm-hmm, no need for groups, you begin working and that will be your group”.

And so I spent the next two and a half years In India, working in the Ashram, doing everything from woodcraft and construction to bookbinding and even security. And every now and then I disappeared into the underbelly of ‘rebellious’ and somewhat debauched enclaves of Sannyasins, those who, while loving being around the master and the commune, also liked to party quite hard and led a more ’hedonistic’ lifestyle that being in India allowed. Eventually I headed for the freak parties of Goa and Kerala for extended periods (both astounding and growth-full adventures in themselves).

This period in India was one of the most surreal and intense phases of my entire life. It was at this time, as I came of age, that my experience of being around an enlightened master became a personal journey. This was when the magic started. I was exploring everything, inner and outer. Both Meditation, working in the Ashram among thousands of amazing joyous and inspired souls, but also, I began experimenting with mind-altering substances. I smoked hash-packed Chillums at sunset with Sadhus, in tiny temples on the banks of the Mula Mutha River, and then began exploring with LSD and magic mushrooms.

Although I was only 15 years old, my consciousness was expanding at an explosive pace. I grew into adulthood in an uninhibited and permissive environment. My sexuality blossomed as I ‘played’ with many beautiful bodies and energies.

This freedom, this level of deep connection and understanding between my peers and me was truly enchanted. I could feel myself maturing well beyond my years, as it was for all the other young people I was spending time with. It felt so alive, so real and so energising.

Here I was, totally removed from the routine of my conventional childhood. Here, where every day was Saturday and every night was a new opportunity for wild and ecstatic connection, I fell in love, I fell in to joy, and I fell into myself. All under the guidance and energy of the master and his Buddhafield. Some deep but already ‘known’ part of me awoke during this time. Some dormant inner capacity was activated. One that has stayed with me all my life. It is impossible to articulate such a multidimensional experience. It is a desire to celebrate, to feel blissful, a movement towards gratitude, appreciation, intimacy and awareness. I was given the gift of a direct line to the present moment. To be meditative and alert to my being, no matter what circumstances arose in my life. I learned to spend time in the space in which my thoughts existed. To witness, to dis-identify.

My family departed India in the summer of 1981, soon after Bhagwan left to start the new Commune in America. At first it was not easy adjusting to life back in western civilization but the understanding and wisdom that I had learned allowed me to adapt, to integrate and to continue to grow and develop. As I moved into my twenties I travelled a lot and met and enjoyed being in communes with Sannyasins all over the world. A global network of fellow travellers that all had about them that knowing, that aroma of understanding.  It was like having a huge tribe that I could ‘plug into’ at any time or place.

Around 1985, when all kinds of challenges around the commune were coming out, I lost my trust of the movement and also of the commune. In an ironic way, I had to drop sannyas to really ‘take it’. I needed to let go of my past conditioning and beliefs, of which there were many. I needed to begin creating my own life separate from Sannyas.

Bhagwan had now become ‘Osho’ and had returned to Pune, with a ‘rebooted’ commune. Having purged itself of a difficult period, it began again to flourish. But for me, Poona in the late 70’s would, and could not, ever be re-created. It was a new time and there had been too much trauma and disillusionment. I now felt and experienced the commune in a much more objective way. My relationship with Osho had grown up to become more of a grounded and dis-attached story. I never joined the commune again but visited the Ashram in 1989 for some weeks. One evening while lying on the marble wall of Krishna Gardens pond, listening to Osho speaking slowly, deeply, I heard the phrase, “right now, you are the most important people on the Earth”. My body sprung up to a sitting position like a spring uncoiled. “What”? I thought, “What does that mean”? I knew that he had said it in a context of us all being very present and being more conscious, but it had aroused an energy in me that took me to another level of reality about what it is to be a Sannyasin.

This idea of being ‘special’ or somehow ‘elite’ had been a big part of my early beliefs and conditioning. I knew then, that however much wisdom and teaching I could receive from this man, paradoxically, I would have to disagree with him before I could ever move toward my own Buddhahood. It even felt like that moment, that phrase was designed for that very purpose.

It was a moment of deep liberation for me and I felt myself welcoming the responsibility of being a light unto myself, of being my own master. But I also knew that without having spent all those decades in that atmosphere, in that fertile soil, I would never have developed to that moment of realisation.

As I moved through my late 20s and 30s, I began a period of some disconnection from Osho. Not in a defensive or resentful way, but life moved me toward a marriage that was to last for over 20 years, and to my greatest achievement in life, raising a family and being a father. This was always going to be a challenge. Marriage and parenthood is a mountainous forest of mixed emotion and experience for anyone – heaven and hell together. And so it was for me too.

But my early years and the continuing presence of Osho on the periphery of my life, worked like a magic box of tools, a set of spiritual spanners that I had learned to use to make the path so much more joyous and profound than could have ever been possible had I not developed those skills.

The most fundamental of those skills showed up whenever I looked in the mirror. I truly loved who I saw there looking back at me and that alone, gave me the capacity to love and accept others in all their imperfection. I was no saint and lost it many a time, but always, I knew I had a better alternative and mostly chose it. I didn’t have to take it personally. As long as I had the strength to own and own up to my shit, then I could expect and receive no less from those with whom I shared my life. A true inner power. Not a noisy, weak power of a screaming ego, but the warm, calm power of self-love and inner contentment. So now, in my 51st year, my middle age, I once more have Osho in my life. I meditate daily with my Mala of beads over my heart. At night I regularly drift off to sleep to his soporific tones, just as I did as a 10 year old in the darkened meditation rooms of North London.

As Osho said so many times, that when he was gone, he would grow into all of us. And I feel his consciousness in me. I feel the master in me – the awakening continues and my gratitude to him and the beautiful people that I have met through him will never die. Not even when this chapter ends and I move on to a new beginning. He, I, us, it, will always remain.

Jai Bhagwan.