How to walk out of a rotten past
One fine morning, whilst scrolling my Facebook feed, I clicked on a video posted by my long-term friend Lera to discover it is a professional commercial produced by Air China. The video is about Lera’s life story and her love for tea and meditation, and “how tea can actually make us see that right here and right now there is beauty already”, she says. The adv shows Lera’s personal journey from the corporate world to the world of tea, and prompted me to reflect on my own life as an Osho sannyasin.
I shared a flat with Lera in my 20s in London. She already graduated (with distinction in Economics. Smart chick!) and I was finishing my degree whilst also working to sustain my studies. Like most young people we drank, took drugs, partied and experimented with sex (a lot of the time drunk, of course). This was the standard lifestyle back in our home countries and even more in London. Having good time, meant drinking to the state of “no mind” but from a totally different angle – dropping flat unconscious.
At that time, I was already reading Osho for many years, and tried his meditations on and off. However, I was living in an environment, at home and at work, where meditation was not encouraged. Eating junk food, drinking alcohol, gossiping, competing and partying was all that was offered to me by the “normal” society.
It seems to me that nothing much has changed for new generations. I come across a lot of young people, who show deep interest in meditation, but are in turmoil and split between the two worlds: the world of meditation (the new and unknown) and the world on unconsciousness, bad habits, toxins, waste of energy (the beaten path). A lot of courage is needed to say “no” to the past.
When I stopped drinking, I realised how hard is to go against the norm. Even today, people cannot believe that I do not drink by choice – often they would suggest I am an AA member, or suffering some trauma. How crazy is that?
Lera and I found individual and unique ways to come out of this massive conditioning, and stop living “the life of others”. Lera literally walked out of a very prestigious job (where she was just promoted for) into NOWHERE (Now Here as Osho says), jumped with me into Osho meditations and went to Pune, to eventually find her passion and meaning in life. She now offers tea ceremonies, and tea walks in London.
I took the jump in a different way: I walked out of my whole past. Some of my old friends still call me a “cult member” and find it infuriating that I work in banking, whilst also meditating, and living a healthy alcohol free life. I changed my job, I took a career break to meditate in India and Nepal, I met Swaram, who was already not drinking so made it very easy for me to stop too, and started daily meditation. I wore my mala, and put a beautiful large picture of Osho on my desk in an American Tier 1 investment bank. Often I was laughed at for having a boyfriend with such a long beard. Only if they knew how it made me chuckle and proud.
However, looking back, it was the hardest time of my life. I got kicked me out of the flat. I was totally alone and broken. I had no friends, nobody seemed to understand what transformation I was going through. And there was no Osho centre in London to go to. Reflecting on it all today I think it was the most important time of my sannyas life - separating from the past. It was all a blessing. I came out totally transformed. I am so grateful to Osho I was able to persevere with the help of his meditations and discourses. I was alone but I made it. I often say that the most important help that Osho meditations and his vision gave me, was dropping intoxicating my body and mind. I am immensely grateful to Osho for his Dynamic Meditation. Coming from a family with some history of alcohol abuse (which is still a national tragedy in most post-Soviet countries) I am totally free from something that could have ruined my life.
Thank you Lera, for reminding me how far we have gone, and how much more beauty is awaiting us. It is a great reminder that when we are stuck in between the two worlds, we have to jump to the other shore, and not remain split. Osho says: “The fears are there, ... It is a gambling, but only the gamblers know what life is.”