TWICE BORN – A Story of how therapy evolves in the field of the Master (Italian Osho Times, 2008)
Learning to care and hold the space
When I arrived to Osho, in the early eighties, I was carrying with me a colourful backpack of seventies culture, culminating into five years of work and training in London with R.D.Laing, and also a battered suitcase of philosophical studies and political ideology from the sixties in Rome…
Nothing had prepared me for the complete revolution that happened in meeting the Master. Very quickly, the dayliness of commune life and the fragrance of love around the Osho, swept away both my selective taste for “extraordinary and special” experiences, and my preference for intellectual left wing jargon…I found back some flavour of innocence and open heartedness that I realized I had lost around the age of five, this time with the understanding that it had a spiritual value. I had arrived home.
During the Rajneeshpuram time, in USA, the emphasis of the experience around Osho lay into work as a meditation: it doesn’t matter what you do, but how you do it! And during that time, I had the opportunity to experiment with all kinds of jobs which I would have never come across in a “normal” life: from waitressing in at the Zorba the Buddha Restaurant, to being a bouncer in the Osho Disco, to having a go in editing this very magazine that you are now reading, of course then in a different format, and called the “Rajneesh Times”. I did not know then, but I was learning something very valuable and important also in the context of being a therapist. The care, the presence, the meditativeness that are so essential in holding the space for the client, are as important and effective as the brilliant insights into his or her psychology…
How I fell in love with thee Osho Primal
The first time I saw Osho Primal in action, was at the RIMU . I had been sent by De Stad Osho Commune in Holland, to be trained to become a Rajneesh Therapist.
I entered the room where the Primal was happening, there were about one hundred participants, and in that moment the scene looked like a madhouse. People were catharting all over the place. The therapist was telling an assistant that this structure had to be used carefully, otherwise people could really explode. I wondered what more could happen, than what was already taking place in front of my eyes.
I fell in love. Instantly. I guess it was the mixture of the large therapy structures, with the release of all kinds of emotions, that caught me.
As a child in the south of Holland, in the village, whenever there was a marriage party, there always was a local entertainer that did different games with the guests. I actually was a reserved child, that preferred not to be chosen in those games. Yet, the way people became alive under his instructions looked like magic to a child. Suddenly, from serious grownups they became like silly children, laughing, dancing, singing. Maybe, that day in the RIMU, in an unexpected way, reminded me of all that, and a latent wish to bring more aliveness in people’s life got stirred up.
The therapist who was leading the group was guiding the participants into the denied feelings of childhood, and people were really letting go of all their old burdens. You could see the room lighten up by the second. That was it. I had found my vocation. I had no doubt, and never had that this was it. I simply knew I had found what I was looking for.
Learning to step aside
When Osho returned to Poona, the focus of his work on us shifted to meditation: the dream of living all together in an alternative and utopic society was replaced by the experience of the “mystery school”, a gathering of seekers that would come and go from the commune, maintaining their financial independence and individual lifestyle. There again, I had the great luck and privilege to be given a job which in my “wordly” training I would have never come across: I had the task to assign discourse seats for the Osho Talks and make sure that in the evening everyone would fit into the then smaller Chuang Tsu Auditorium…This gave me direct “exposure” to the atmosphere of these talks and the presence of the Master, and a feeling for his incredible capacity to put us through sudden changes of our limited perspective…sometimes it was great fun and joy, and sometimes the rocks of my personality structure were hurting a lot in the process of being broken down and exposed…
There again, little did I know that also this would be a milestone also for my training as an Osho therapist…I was learning to step aside, to live in trust without really knowing the direction that the Master would take me to, and to recognize the painfulness of resisting it…
Confrontation meets compassion
A few years later, in the Poona Ashram, I was leading the Primal myself. It was happening in the chambers, deep in the belly of the ashram.
It was my time to create the space for catharsis. I loved the feeling that everything was possible, the high energy, the madness, the confrontation. I had not yet understood the finesses of the primal work, but I was enthusiastic and loved this being in the moment with such a large energy. The work was very intense, and of course it took its toll. Sometimes I looked like I was living in the chambers, but however I looked, I felt very happy to be part of Osho’s work.
Usually, we worked in pairs, man and woman, in one way to recreate the parental figures, and in another way to heal that projection. This working as a pair could be very successful, a love story in creativity, or t could be difficult. In any case, we were exchanging skills with each other. In this way, I learnt in depth about therapeutic techniques, such as Gestalt, Trance journeys, Bioenergetics, Psychodrama, Catharsis, Breath, even Past Life techniques, and Encounter.
In that time, there were always new therapeutic processes arriving, coming from the world to the Buddhafield. Often, they contained critical attitudes towards the Master-Disciple relationship. Osho would ask his therapists to emphasize the preciousness of this connection. To do this, they had to change the processes, which gave us therapists the chance to volunteer as participants, since feedback was needed.
In that way, I met the latest groups, just arriving from the world. Many of them became love affairs too. At one point, I met a therapist, who had just joined the group department, but had a large experience with working in the world. She was working in a way that I had not known before. Next to provocation and confrontation, she introduced compassion, understanding, and allowing things to happen.
Participating in her process, I had a first hand experience of this difference. The group was on childhood issues, and at a point, facing my father as my adversary, my hands were bleeding from the intensity of the catharsis. An assistant came and said, well meant, go on, the bleeding is not important. He didn’t know that this was exactly the attitude of my father. I entered into an overlap, that made my hair stand on end. The therapist appeared suddenly, and said: “Premartha, stop, you don’t need to destroy your hands for your father”. This sentence reverberated inside of me. It had a strong effect, not only privately, but also professionally. It was a little event, but it set off in me a whole new understanding of therapy. I loved the new groups, and trained for several of them. This created a very important learning time. Deep down, though, my love remained with the Primal work. So, I continued assisting and learning, but whatever I really understood, I applied to the Primal work in a new way.
Learning to let things happen
In all my first years around the Master, I had lost the “title” of “therapist” that I had arrived with to Osho, and had become a Commune member, a worker, and a meditator.
During all this time, nevertheless, I continued being connected to working with people, through supporting my beloved Premartha, who was a recognized Osho therapist, in the groups he was offering in Osho Centers around Europe. The longing for the intimacy, the love and the focus that therapy groups provide was still in me.
Just when I had started really settling into the routine of my Communal reality and enjoyed the ordinariness of my position, therapy reappeared for me in the Poona horizon…In a very short lapse of time, I was asked to train as a Mystic Rose and Born Again facilitator,
Interesting turn of events, because both methods involved an absolutely non intellectual approach, and no therapeutic intervention. I was basically invited to learn how to let things happen…
Opening a unique path into meditation
Still, until a certain point, our emphasis would always be on the wounded child. It was that child that we needed to liberate from the clutches of the past.
When Osho started to introduce the meditative therapies, it brought with it a complete different view. For me, specially the Born Again had a different flavour. Beloved Svarup was asked immediately to train in leading this meditation. She loved it. I got intrigued. Soon I was invited too. As a participant, to be a child in a one hour open space, was a very important experience. In the beautiful Samadhi, becoming a child again, starting to play, talk Gibberish, I found a side of my child that in the Primal until then I had not really explored.
Leading it was a surprise too. The not knowing what was happening, with the no specific direction, following the energy, was a whole new experience. The primal Therapist in me was at a loss, but the child in me clearly loved it. After playing for one hour, there would be another hour silence. The combination of the two was mind blowing. For the first time, I could experience consciously how close childlikeness is to meditation.
It became clear to me that the emphasis on the wounded child was a necessity in the Primal work. I also became clear that, together with the wounded child in us, there lives a natural, wild, essential child, that, when it appears on the scene, can make great changes. This child might find adults often very boring, and expresses its truth as it comes. It was time to honour this child, and give it its rightful place in the work. Here came the child. It immediately revolutionized the Primal. Primal became much more amusing, funny, hilarious, sweet and tender. It was not only about addressing the repressed adult any more, it was actually about becoming the natural child again, and opening in that way a unique path into meditation. This was the last great gift from Osho to the Primal work, before he left the body. The last gift that I received from him myself, was when I sent him a question asking if he would have anew name for a group we were developing. The answer came: “Do the idea yourself, and check with Prasad”. Beloved Prasad left his body soon after Osho left, so now I have to check with my own inner Prasad.
Only the child can come close to the Master
Very soon I feel in love with the space of Born Again, clearly feeling how tapping into the childlikeness in all of us is a direct opening into the essence of meditation. Becoming a child again is dropping al the agendas, and living fully in the moment: no child plans when to build a sand castle or when to run after butterflies, it just happens…being in the atmosphere of the Born Again Meditation was clearly changing the quality of the rest of the day not only for the participants, but also for me…
This experience culminated with Osho leaving the body. While it was happening, I was –of course not knowing what was going on- next door, in the Chuang Tzu Auditorium, facilitating Born Again. The quality of that particular session was exquisite, very silent and delicate. I went home full of a sense of quiet and peacefulness, to hear shortly after that my beloved Master had left his body…
A few days after, I had a dream, so vivid and simple that it still feels real and present: I was trying to reach the Master. I knew he was dying, and I could see him from a glass partition. But I was denied access: I was told: “only the child can come”…and then, I saw a child walking into Osho’s room, silently and innocently, and standing there in a quiet heart communion with the Master.
I feel this was the final message for me: in the dimension of truth, beauty and goodness, only the child can come: and it is not the wounded child of the western therapies, the one that we need to heal and fortify,. No, it is the child of the mystics, the expression of what is original, natural and essential in our being…
And this, just this, was in some mysterious way the final step that opened up the way once more to therapy as part of my life.
One or two months after Osho left his body, I was invited to first co-lead and l then lead on my own primal groups in the Poona Ashram.
I had to draw out of my inner drawers the old skills, and take back a certain power to direct people to relive and express negative emotions. I had the joy to be at the center of a very high energy of confrontation and release, with the consequent celebration of having found back the strength and the will to live…
And yet, something of that mysterious message, “only the child can come close to the Master”, was from the beginning adding a new dimension to the therapy work…it was as if for the first time in my life all the different streams that had led me to this moment were coming together: understanding, healing, expressing, together with awareness, meditation, and that touch of magic that I loved so much as a child…
SVARUP & PREMARTHA
“Doing the idea myself”, and “Only the child can come close to the Master” have become the main sources from which the primal group has become a beautiful presentation of Osho’s vision, still with a good catharsis and confrontation, but also with so much colourfulness, delight and joy.
So much so, that from being originally a group process that people had to pass through, but they were relieved when it was over,, it has become a piece of work that people want to return to again and again.
Osho calls to be reborn as a child “Dwijia”, Twice Born. We took this title for our own work, since in essence this is what we love to transmit.
The first birth is given by your parents,
It is unconscious,
The second birth is given by your Master
It is giving birth to yourself
It is becoming conscious