This book is about therapy that is connected to meditation, inspired by the enlightened mystic Osho and his vision of life. For this reason, it is referred to as ‘Osho Therapy’. In this context, therapy is not just a method to solve personal problems, but also prepares and leads a person towards meditation.
Therapy can be defined as a way to create a state of well-being within the body and mind, while meditation leads to a state that is beyond the mind. Peace, harmony and personal fulfilment are never fully possible within the dimension of mind, because mind by its nature is a problem-creating mechanism. If you solve one problem, it will inevitably create another. If you find the answer to one question, many more questions arise.
This is why some mystics have likened the mind to a tree that is being pruned or trimmed: you cut off one branch and in response the tree grows many branches in its place.
The real solution is to step outside the dimension of mind and enter the dimension of No Mind in which silence, peace and bliss are experienced naturally. Meditation techniques are ways to arrive at such a state.
This book presents a way of working in the field of self-development, healing and therapy that has this understanding as its base. So, while different therapeutic methods and styles are being introduced, the core aspect is the same: the fundamental importance of meditation.
The art of living consciously, connected to the present moment, is considered as the best way to live a real, authentic and fulfilled life.
Birth of a New Vision
Therapists and group leaders who present their work in this book have all been profoundly influenced and guided by the enlightened mystic Osho and his vision of bringing eastern methods of meditation together with western therapy techniques. They use Osho’s meditation techniques in their work and regard therapy as a stepping stone towards higher states of consciousness.
In Osho’s own words:
My therapists are not only therapists, they are meditators, too. And therapy is a superficial thing. It can help to clean the ground, but just to have a clean ground is not to have a garden. You will need something more.
East and West Shake Hands
In the late 1970s, therapists trained in western methods of psychotherapy gathered around this controversial mystic and explored eastern methods of meditation. This gave birth to a unique experiment.
Maybe for the first time in history, western psychotherapy and eastern mysticism shook hands. With Osho’s guidance, therapists using a wide spectrum of growth methods developed new ways of working with people, looking at the human psyche from a broader viewpoint.
Deeper insights became possible for everyone involved, including the therapists themselves and those participating in their workshops, seminars and trainings.
Therapists with different skills learned from each other and experimented with new forms of working with people, without needing to stay within the restrictive guidelines of each specific therapeutic discipline.
Of primary importance in this process was the eastern understanding of putting aside the personal ego and allowing a higher energy to manifest – beyond a therapist‘s own personal knowledge and skills.
There is a profound difference here that needs to be emphasized: Western culture cultivates the individual ego, so that skilled and gifted people in all professions – politics, business, medicine, therapy – have a tendency to acquire a sense of self-importance that accompanies success.
Eastern culture, on the other hand, regards the absence of ego as an achievement far superior to self-aggrandisement. As a result, in the community created around Osho in Pune, India, there was less identification with professional status, not least because roles and jobs were flexible and tended to change quickly – an individual working as a therapist in one moment might be a cook or a cleaner in the next.
When Osho added western therapies to his work he personally monitored what was happening in these workshops. After each course, he met with the group’s participants and its facilitator, inviting everyone to share their experiences and ask questions.
Therapists learned to ply their craft in a totally different way. In a specific workshop – say, for example, Primal Therapy – a therapist would act as the guide and be in a position of authority; but, in the wider context of the community, both therapist and participant would be learning and experiencing meditation together. There was a sense of oneness, with little distinction. This has continued to be the case, long after Osho’s death.
Fundamental to this understanding is that meditation is a mysterious process that cannot be quantified, measured, or even understood by the rational mind – since it is, after all, a state of No Mind. So, even though a therapist has a valuable skill that can be of help to others, he has no greater status or maturity in a spiritual sense.
This revolutionary approach was supported by the fact that no therapist was paid for the work he did. Their work was given out of love and a wish to contribute to the community, supporting the greater priority of meditation.
The reader may wonder about the strange Indian names of the therapists who have contributed to this book. Some background will help: in the 70s, when people started gathering around Osho, he began to initiate them into sannyas. Traditionally, in India, a sannyasin is one who renounces the world and dedicates his life to meditation, changing his name and style of dress.
Osho’s revolutionary approach to sannyas was to remain ‘in the world’ – exploring relationships, business, careers and on so – while learning through meditation to be free from attachments. He taught his new sannyasins to live life fully and joyfully, while at the same time seeking their own innermost ‘Buddha Nature’. He called his approach ‘Neo-Sannyas’ and asked his sannyasins to dress in the traditional orange colour and wear a necklace of wooden beads – called a mala – with a locket containing his portrait.
A person, who took sannyas in this way made a commitment with himself to meditate, declaring to the world that he was now ready to enter a new stream of consciousness, where the art of living life joyously and exploring meditation went hand-in-hand. It was not about withdrawing from the world, or being part of any religious group, or becoming a follower of any kind, but about learning to stand alone and unburdening oneself from past knowledge, traditions, religions….
In the late 80s, Osho declared it was no more important to have any outer symbol of this inner spiritual commitment, so the distinctive clothing, colour and mala were dropped. Now it is everyone’s choice to take a new name or keep the old one, but the commitment to meditation and self-inquiry is the same as ever.
Osho’s work went through many phases and so did the communes that evolved around him. Maybe never in history was there an experiment of such magnitude, where people from all walks of life and backgrounds, from any nation, race or culture, gathered around an enlightened mystic, creating the most diverse and unparalleled melting pot.
Osho’s Multiversity, which acted as the umbrella organization for his therapy work, started in India in 1974, then moved in 1982 with Osho and his sannyasins to Oregon, USA. In 1987, it came back to Pune, where it greatly expanded, offering over 50 different kinds of therapy, courses and sessions for body, mind and spirit. Therapists, health professionals and artists shared their skills, knowledge and insights with each other.
Nowadays, therapists who once trained together in Pune work more on their own, without being connected to a specific Osho community. Still, there remains a common link between them, as the reader will discover in this book.
Through years of sharing, co-operation and communion, while at the same time respecting uniqueness, these therapists have learned to appreciate the richness that can be brought to a comprehensive, multi-dimensional understanding of the human psyche.
For example, during a bodywork training in Pune in the 90s, in a course that lasted several months, various teachers were introduced, covering a wide range of body-oriented therapies from strongly physical, deep-tissue massage to the most subtle energy work.
The teachers sharing their skills worked differently and sometimes plainly contradicted each other. Yet the programme’s facilitators had no problem with this paradoxical situation. They knew it would be an enriching experience and a challenge to help people find their own style of working.
Outside of the training, these therapists would send clients to each other and there was an overall feeling of working together for a common purpose.
This was reflected in the Osho Therapist Training, a therapy process lasting 2-3 months, where various therapists contributed to a single long-term course, teaching people how to work with clients.
The idea to create this compilation came from those times, when many Osho therapists worked closely together. This book presents their approaches, which are different and yet complementary. Each covers a different aspect of human experience and offers a different model of man’s reality.
Those therapists selected have been with Osho for a long time and have developed their own personal styles. Theoretically, they could all contribute to a single Osho Therapist Training that would, indeed, be a kaleidoscope of psychotherapy.
In order to keep the book to a reasonable length and also to avoid repetition, the number of contributing therapists has been restricted. This does not constitute an evaluation of those who have not been invited. There are many more who could have made equally valuable contributions.
Given the uniqueness of every human being, the reader is bound to feel more rapport with some therapeutic styles than others. Yet, rather than taking a comparative standpoint, the reader is invited to embrace different approaches that are all part of a bigger movement towards the growth of consciousness. Osho’s approach to life is multi-dimensional, hence the name ‘Multiversity’.
This book can be read in a straight sequence, but does not need to be. Each chapter stands on its own. Each chapter serves as an introduction to a way of working that may inspire you to explore deeper, perhaps even joining one of the courses that these therapists offer.
Beyond the Therapist-Client Relationship
Osho therapy gives dignity to human beings by understanding that answers to life’s existential problems come from inside, not outside. They arise from the deepest core of one’s own being, not from anyone else. At its best, therapy helps to remove obstacles in order to allow us to find our own answers.
In other words, consciousness is not a commodity that can be given. So the work of an Osho therapist is to create the right atmosphere in which the inherent wisdom and understanding of the client emerges into the open. The therapist functions more like a midwife. It is not a progress from here to there, but to a deeper and deeper here.
Ultimately, a therapist is not a guide who knows more than the client, but a friend who is aware that, even though he possesses a particular skill, he is essentially in the same boat.
In Osho’s words:
When the therapist and the patient are not two, when the therapist is not a therapist only and when the patient is not a patient anymore, but a deep ‘I-thou’ relationship arises, where the therapist is not trying to treat the person, when the patient is not looking at the therapist as separate from himself, in those rare moments therapy happens.
When the therapist has forgotten his knowledge and the patient has forgotten his illness and there is a dialog, a dialog of two beings. In that moment between the two, healing happens. And if it happens the therapist will know always that he functioned only as a vehicle of a divine force, of a divine healing. He will be as much grateful for the experience as the patient, in fact he will gain as much out of it as the patient.