This is what I will write: some thoughts, some stories, some of myself. The way I see the way of life. It is just me, my views, my opinions, my way of saying, my way of writing. My spirit, my fire, my love and the freedom of being myself.

"My life in Orange" my praises to Tim Guest

Friday, February 19, 2010

A few days ago I found out that Tim Guest died last Summer, on the first of August 2009. He died at the young age of 34 of a heart attack. And I felt extremely sad when I read this news.

Right after the bomb explosion in Poona in the German Bakery, I had an impulse to google for Tim Guest' s name. His book was in my hands again in the last days and I wanted to know how his journalist career was unfolding.
I never met Tim Guest aka Yogesh. I was never in Medina, I only knew his stepfather Martin -previously Sujan- because he was one of my teacher in the Rebalancing Advance Training in Amsterdam '86 and I worked for a while in his studio in London in '91.

Tims autobiographical book is the story of a remarkable childhood as the son of a sannyasin woman, who was one of the commune leader in Medina. "My life in Orange" - 2004 is considered one of the best autobiographical account of the decade in his obituary in The Guardian and in my humble opinion I agree completely.
I read the book in 2005, when I was immersed in my process to undo the harm of my participation both in Miracle of Love and in the world of Osho sannyasins. I already wrote my thoughts on other books written by ex-sannyasins (Hugh Mine, Kate Strelley). Now I finally put down a few words about Tim Guest' s book.

First thing I thought was, if one day I will write a book about my own involvement in spiritual groups I would love it to have the wit, humor and plain truth of Tim Guest's book. He writes from the eyes of the child he was and describes brilliantly how it was to grow up with so many people who were pursuing the dream of enlightenment and experiencing a community lifestyle of love light and laughter.

I praise him for the literary achievement and for the honest recollection of his own experience. Beyond the dream, beyond the illusion of perfection and freedom.
Let the kids speak what they felt in the commune time. This is how it felt, if you are humble enough to hear that not everything was a horn of plenty in the world of Osho. Not at all!!

Osho sannyasins are ever so often ready to put the blame on the individual, whenever someone is asserting his opinion, voicing his doubts, questioning Osho's teaching or simply saying how different is his/her experience from the main stream devotee.
But if there is some good to gain then it is all because of the Commune lifestyle, because of the outrageous and visionary teaching of the Master Bhagwan/Osho.
This is a kind of a black and white way of looking that characterizes a group as very selective with a "supremacy syndrome" - we/us better then they/them. How arrogant! Certainly Osho sannaysins suffer from the "being special and better" syndrom.
And I indulged into that too, to wake up years later and recognize my shortcomings.

I read an obituary on Tim Guest online from a sannyas website that made me shrink for the lack of depth and foremost lack of respect for who Tim Guest was and how he dared to speak. Not to say about the cheap comments that follow the article.

Personally, I found the book amazingly well written. I can see this little kid running around the commune, looking for his mother, straining his ankle and back to try to grow taller in order to meet someone' eyes and receive full attention to his needs. He didn't have one mother, he had all the women of the commune as his mother, and consequently no one had the time to really take care for the children so they ended up roaming around like in a fairy land of "everything is allowed".
Some time ago, a sannaysin friend who lived in Medina and with whom I shared my thoughts about 'My life in orange', turned to me and said: "I remember that boy running around always so lost. He looked to me so out of place and very sad". She was still defending the commune life and condemning the child. If he was "lost" it was his fault.
I am still disturbed in seeing so many of my sannaysin friends being so 'brain washed', acting aloof and judgmental, while simultaneously professing to be such a caring and understanding person. My friend didn't read the book. Anything that points out defects, contradictions or even is just questioning whether the world of Osho was at all 'sane', is often discarded as untrue or not worth reading. How sad and how one-sided way of life.

My life with Ohso

Your book, Tim, is a must-read for those who have the eyes and a heart to recognize that it was not only a blissful land to live with Osho, whether in his presence or in a commune with his gigantic picture hanging in every room, to remind everyone who was the boss.

Certainly there were moments, at least for me, in my years in Poona (from 86 to 96) when you could feel that everything was possible, that all the limitations are inside your mind, and that if you have a complete trust everything will work out fine. Those were words, ever so often spoken by the average disciple, and at times you could even realized them for real.
Since I left the Ashram in Poona and changed my sannyas name back into my old dear name, I had those experiences maybe even more often then when I was in the Commune, as I had them also before Osho in my solitary walk in the mountain.
Freedom is not limited to following a master or anyone for that matter, the real freedom is in knowing yourself and where you stand.
And Tim in his book is slowly unfolding his journey to find who he really is, searching in his past, lucidly expressing even the most agonizing pain for a child: missing the love of his mother.

From "My life in orange"
-We all want a way out of pain and the fear of death. The way out Bhagwan offered was Enlightenment, but even Bhagwan died. Sannyasin believe he "left his body". But those are just words. Bhagwan snuffed it. He kicked the bucket, jumped the perch, shuffled off his mortal coil. He is an ex-guru. He pulled a stiff one, popped his clogs, booked a One Way Sleeper-Ticket on the Night train to the Big Adios. as the French say: He will have toothache no more'-

I chose this bit, just because I like to wake up from dreams. And in memory of Tim Guest I thank him to have done his part in seeing through the lies.

It was very sad to me to find out about his untimely death, that it took me few days to recover and write about him.
My heart reaches out to his wife, and all of those who survived him.
May you all find comfort.

From sleep we wake
and death shall be
no more

John Donne (1572-1631)

From Driek on the same book: Reflections on "My life in orange"

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posted by Milena at 8:56 AM 3 comments

Poem: "Let it flow"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dedicated to those who have thrown stones at me

A grass blade doesn't ask the sun "please keep me warm",
so the heart of man should bend in humility to the great Presence from above
Much too often the mind wants to retaliate on past offense.

Who is there to listen
to this agony of the intellect
when the heart can fill you with so much tenderness
and like during a gentle sleep
rejuvenates your soul?

Nothing is worth the bitter feeling of revenge.
Let it pierce when it pierce
and let it burn
when the hurt burns you like a log in a fire.
It will dissipate
if only you have the patience and compassion to wait.

Everything is just a flickering moment
the dance and the dancer can only truly meet
suspended by time
in the blessed moment of Now

All will pass
and what truly remains
is the space you have found between your heartbeat
and the stillness of your mind between your breaths
Simply let it flow
like water carves the stones and find its way to the ocean
so the heart of man need to travel light
with no burden or bitterness
its natural purity.

Milena, February 2010

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posted by Milena at 4:09 AM 2 comments

"Sorrow mountain": a book that breaks your heart

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Today I finished the book of the life of Ani Pachen la (1933-2002).
And today, the 2nd of February, is unknowingly to me till now, the anniversary of her death in Dharmasala in the year 2002. I waited until I reached the end of the book to check on the Internet if she was still alive. Another of this unexplainable coincidence.

Some people called her the Joan d'Arc of Tibet. And as Joan D'arc (1412-1431) is one of my inspiring example of true surrender to God, who was leading French soldiers to several victories during the 100 years War and was burned at the stake at a young age (19 y.o). I humbly recite a prayer for this indomable Tibetan warrior nun who stood, fought and led an army of warriors against the Chinese invaders.

The book is her autobiography which has accompanied me in the last days in a world of abuse torture and faith, in the magnitude and silence of the Tibetan mountains with their monastery of peaceful life till the sorrow changed the very earth of Tibet and their culture.

I am horrified at the immense brutality and persecution that the Chinese has inflicted on her. Reading her story (written beautifully through the pen of Adelaide Donnelly) you are carried in the first chapters into a dreamlike state of Tibet full of its ritual, tradition, spiritual richness and integrity of spirit. As a woman of the mountain myself and a warrior of life in many ways, I resonate with the simple deep enriching life of a Tibetan tribe, long before the Chinese decided to make Tibet their own. How wrong! Tibet will remain always Tibet.
The Tibetan prayers flag are blowing on my balcony in the strong wind of Amsterdam, as my personal support and love for Tibet.

Slowly the horror of the invasion unravels through the story of Any Pachen and you are thrown without even realizing into a nightmare of the uttermost reality. The facts told in the book did really happened and you can really say that to survive such abuse is a miracle, a grace of Buddha. It is possible to understand how someone is able to endure and survive such cruelty if they possess an untamed courage, a deep trust and one of the most ancient practice of meditation on compassion.
Compassion in action. Faith in His Holiness and an integrity of spirit that nothing can bend.

I was touched deeply in my soul by the essence of Ani Pachen that transpires throughout the book and I just wanted to write this piece in memory of this wonderful courageous woman exactly on the day of her departure from this world 8 years ago.
Maybe because I come from a small village in the mountain in the independent region of Trentino in Italy, maybe because the Tibetan cause has always brought tears to my eyes, or simply because in my visit to Dharamsala in '90 I fall in love with the Tibetan people there and their kindness. Or perhaps I was in one of my past life as often I said a Buddhist monk.

I like to think this way and I also believe that truly everything is transitory. In one moment life can be broken and you are no more in this form. Sometimes I wonder how our human body can endure and survive the most horrendous torture, famine, and sickness and I am amazed by what is possible that apparently seems impossible.
The physical torture and terrible abuse are only one sad facet of the persecution that the Tibetan people had to suffer. The indoctrination, brainwashing and thought reform in the name of Chinese education are as bad if not worse. Attacking ones' own identity, spiritual beliefs and faith and coercible forcing to deny or betray them is the most disgusting sin on earth.

My life with Miracle of Love
Regretfully we still see everyday those tactics applyed in the most sophisticated spiritual group, as I had my personal experience in the Miracle of Love cult. Perhaps physical abuse is not so obvious but let me tell you the game of punishment and reward and spying on each other, confession sessions and humiliation have their part in the education of a "good indoctrinated miracle of love member".
It makes me scream!
Just recently, I had another opportunity to realize how deeply the involvement in MOL can effect the psyche and the soul of a person, making it very difficult a full recovery. One of my closest friend, even after years of being out of MOL, but still having a lot of ties with MOl, has been behaving with me and my husband as if he is still inside the group, denying our friendship and breaking his contact with us without explanation after years we constant support him in his troubled time.
Compassion and pardon are my prayers in these days.

In memory of Ani Pachen.

Ani Pachen survived both the physical and psychological torture with extreme dignity and a fiery spirit. I am reminded in reading her story how sacred is human existence and how vital is to learn the art of cultivating peace of mind so that, even in the most challenging situation fear doesn't hold you down and paralyzes you but you can find true refuge inside into a place of peace and tranquility.
In your memory Ani Pachen, with gratitude:

"The ocean of peace lies ahead of me
Sail the boat, O pilot
You are my constant companion now
Take me in your lap.
Along our journey to the infinite
The pole star alone will shine.
Giver of freedom
Set me free
May your forgiveness and compassion
Be my eternal resources for the journey.
May the mortal ties fall away,
May the vast universe
Hold me in embrace,
And with an undaunted heart
May I come to know the Great Unknown."

Rabindranath Tagore

The mountain on top of Mclead Ganj in 1990.
Oh, how I loved to hike there and just be there!

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posted by Milena at 3:03 AM 1 comments