But along with all those years of meditation, have you also sometimes felt lost or confused? Do you occasionally have a feeling that nothing you do makes a difference? Nothing really works? Do you find yourself spinning your wheels a lot? Maybe feeling a bit spaced out?
I know I did. For many years, in fact.
Today, however, I consider myself very happy. I came to this condition through a series of decisions (that I will go over later) that all have in common something I call the “Happiness Test.” I look at things simply as “Happy” or “Not Happy,” and use this as a guide to measuring progress and growth in my life.
The happiness I speak of, by the way, is not the so-called “happiness” of getting drunk, high, or the using of adrenaline-inducers like car racing or chocolate binges. What I mean by being happy is just simply being happy for no reason at all, being at home in myself.
But the road to happiness did not start well.
The Early Days
I was, in fact, an emotional and existential mess well into my twenties. I had some inner experiences I couldn’t explain, got really scared, and asked life to help me find someone who had the answers. This led me to a meeting three months later with a “Sannyasin” (another name for a devotee) by the name of Govindas. He talked about his guru Osho (formerly called Bagwan Shree Rajneesh) and played music.
Three months later I found myself in Poona, India, and spent the next six months at the foot of Osho. This was a major step for me; before Poona I had never even meditated. I had so many questions about life, the person I was, and my relationships, however, that I eagerly jumped into meditation. I thought it would finally allow me to “get it.”
The Poona experience changed my life. I had never met anyone like Osho, and had no idea that anything like his teaching really existed until I got there. It was an exquisite and, at the same time, a shattering experience that turned my thought inside out.
When I saw Osho this very first time, I remember my mind trying to make sense of the whole thing, but couldn’t. By the end of his lecture in Hindi (of course I don’t speak Hindi) I had developed a fever.
Later, as I sat in front of the lecture hall – true story – a bird flew over and dumped a load on my head. The Sannyasins sitting next to me were both amused and excited. “Oh! That means good luck!” I didn’t think this was so funny at first, but later watched as the cosmic joke unfolded.
What happened next was a commitment on my part to go “all in.” I decided to try it all – every meditation that was offered. Meditation camp started at 6 in the morning with something called “Dynamic Meditation” which was unlike any other meditation I had heard of until then. Next came a discourse by Osho, then at 10 am we did my favorite meditation, Nataray. The rest of the day was filled with various other mediations, ending with Osho’s darshan in the evening.
All this stuff took me far beyond anything I could have ever expected. I was completely blown away with the environment of joy, nothingness (even if that lasted only for seconds then) and aliveness that I felt, both alone and with other people.
Along Came A Friend
I remember sitting on a stone wall opposite the boutique and this “older” lady (she was 10 years older than me) came by and said “You look a little lost. You want to come to a party with me this evening?” I did and had a great time. “What a nice lady” I thought at the time. Fifteen years later I met her again, but it took me another 25 years before I made the connection that my current best friend (Mradula) from the state of Washington was that same nice lady who asked me to the party!
I must have really been lost at the time!
The reason this story is important is because – despite years of mediation and inner work, I was still feeling lost, or “gone.” Even though the energy at the Poona ashram was very high around Osho, my nervous system was not strong enough to hold it all, and I had a tendency to leave the body!
Spiritual vs. Spaced Out
“Left the body,” “spaced out,” “was beside myself” . . . does this happen to you from time to time? Although this may feel great, we tend to become less effective in life… and most meditations are not designed to bring us back!
Herein lies a problem – how to come back in the body, while not losing that “bliss” of mediation?
Quite often in my life while encountering stressful relationships and situations, I “left” frequently, mostly because it was too painful and didn’t jive with my desire for bliss. I remember all I could do was sit on my sofa, burn a candle, drink tea and read fantasy novels about the dream world of Avalon.
In my mind, that condition of being not present and spaced out was a good thing, i.e., I considered this as feeling very sensitive, fragile, and was my new “normal.” I also gave it the meaning that I was special. Spiritual. I thought this is what being spiritual meant! Since I loved Osho, I thought this was just how it is.
Fact is, I was not happy. I felt powerless, but thought this was normal when one is spiritual. And even if I would have known that it is not “normal” or spiritual or anything healthy I would not have known what to do differently because, well . . . I did, after all, meditate every day!
Osho actually talked about this spaced-out condition. I just didn’t hear his message at the time (I was spaced out, of course…). Osho told the story about a house where the master had left and suddenly all kinds of people moved in, had parties, trashed the place until the master returned and reclaimed his house. Much later I thought…ooh that is what He meant…
Then later in 1985 I met Michael Craig who introduced me to his work (Logical Soul®) that helped me come back in the body and changed my life in so many other ways.
But that is another story. . . .
(To be continued next week…. Meanwhile, Soma would love to get your comments below)