Here is one of the paradoxes of which there are quite a few on the spiritual Way: life in an ashram, commune or monastery would seem to provide the best conditions for performing practices of spiritual development, but as for what concerns awareness of oneself, being in a closed society may become an obstacle. In order to see in yourself deeply suppressed things and work with them, the power of awareness alone is sometimes not enough – you need external irritants that provoke an internal reaction of fear, anger and so on. In Osho’s ashram, where people were extremely relaxed – in dances, sex and dynamic practices – such irritants sooner or later ended. A person gets used to everything, including even the influence of the field of Consciousness of the Master, if he is in it for a long enough time. And the Master’s field has a limitation of effect on the student, which is expressed in the fact that a person rises in his awareness to a certain level, and then time and his own efforts are needed for growth to continue.
Staying in an ashram turned into a way of life, which was drastically different from what happens on the outside, which is much less dangerous and more fun. Life was stripped of the very challenge which Osho often spoke of, and becomes quite comfortable internally. Under such conditions, to grow in awareness is very difficult because exactly the stresses provoked by external reasons raise up what is still hidden from our attention. Both monasteries and modern ashrams often are refuges from the vicissitudes of life, and the refugees rarely come to awakening because they want too much to acquire emotional comfort and peace. Approximately the same thing happened in Osho’s ashram with those who lived there for a fairly long time – dynamic meditations turned into physical exercises, talks with Osho became a means of getting a little blissful high, and freedom became an excuse to relax and not do anything with oneself.
I have already written about how Osho’s slogan – Do what you like but be aware of yourself” – was somewhat changed by the minds of his students, dwelling only on the part “Do what you like.” Liberation from suppressions has meaning only when it becomes part of the overall work on awareness and change of oneself, and not otherwise. You can endlessly realize your desires, but if you don’t get to their roots, if you don’t become aware of the reasons for their emergence, then this path will be endless. As a result, the majority of Osho’s students relaxed too much, having lost the necessary internal tension without which there is no work on yourself. He himself enabled this to happen, encouraging various types of celebrations in his ashram. His people danced with or without reason – they felt good, Osho was happy, things stalled. Time showed that it was very hard to link the dancing Zorba with the silent Buddha, because Zorba would always get the upper hand.
Osho would constantly denounce priests and theologians, calling them parrots who repeated sacred texts, sometimes not even understanding their true meaning. By the bitter irony of fate, the so-called enlightened students of Osho do the same thing now. Of those I have had the opportunity to see, not a single one had his own message for the world, only quotations from Osho, mixed up in random order. They did not have enlightenment, either, but they weren’t worried about that because celebrating Existence, as the Master taught them, could be done always, everywhere, and in any state.