"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.
and death shall be
John Donne (1572-1631)
From Driek on the same book: Reflections on "My life in orange"