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Swami Deva Rashid

Observing Tendencies And One Indecency

December, 2012

1. raindrops spread across the window pane in even chaos.
2. each raindrop is itself a galaxy of particles.
3. they wait for something else to move them on.
4. sad winter hovers, smothering the exactitude of hedgerows, woods and fields.
5. electrons are not explained by Newtonian or Quantum Physics.
I long for the Spring (at least the daffodils and willows are an omen.)
I long for the Light.
6. the neighbour comes out in her nightgown, arms wrapped round her, waits; her dog spends ninety seconds watering the clematis.
7. no observation.
8. a shiver of the west wind ripples through the dark Leylandii, the naked, inward roses.
Ramesh calls people, ‘Vibrating energies’. If we are intelligent and have free will, he asks, why do we produce WMDs? His answer is; Everything just happens. There is no individual doer.
9. on the window-sill there stands a money plant, a succulent from Africa. His branches – formal as a candelabra – are tapering and ringed. His leaves are well-upholstered surfboards.
10. inside his branches there is space for prides of resting leopards.
11. he too is on the lookout for some sun.
Be in the bath but not of it, the bright rounded rows of a verse.
Roses in beauty beloved, embraced in the ground of gold.
Hollow of cradle your morning, yellow and purple your freeing.
12. all this sensory world of raindrops, daffodils and dogs squeeze as light waves through the pupil of my eye and are projected upside down upon my retina.
13. then they trot as waves of wild electrons to my brain.
14. a galaxy of other particles might live there too.
15. no observation.
I stopped my daily meditation. I was a spiritual commuter. There used to be an opening there, now it’s sealed with plate glass. I keep looking for the handle.
Are we moved – like raindrops – without cause?
16. a rainbow wraps around my hand.
17. Downstairs there is a ferocious dog
18. I walk downstairs. Its dark and I am scared. It’s something that I have to risk.


The Valley Of Clear Air

November, 2012

desiring Peace or Love or Inspiration
must burn here like a log – burning in the embers of their live
desires –
reduce their fuel to the ashes of
their Discord, Hate and Dullness.
We saw the valley of clear air; orange groves, a citadel
with infinite rooms and women singing coded mantras;
Dover Wight Plymouth South – westerly gale force eight
High pressure. Variable. Losing its identity.
The women spread a garden
for humanity to lie in
isn’t that why men have nipples?
why we watch the firelight flicker – ancient vision from afar –
and gather strange blooms
of peace and love and inspiration
from the ashes of our own extinction?
The crimson embers flicker in our head,
The valley with clear air is almost certainly the heart



October, 2012

In lazy moments after all the sweating and the sweetness
Can’t be spoken
In the long blue shadows of a summer evening
Can’t be seen
Using brilliant intuitions of the mind
Can’t be understood
Ascending with the flute and violin
Can’t be heard
On the sleeping child’s cheek
Can’t be felt
Never coming
Never going
Can’t be brought or left behind
Pointless hopeless unbelievable imbedded
Who are you?


A Good Summer

September, 2012

The old canal gasps
in summer drought
the towpath ambles me
towards the long abandoned
two mile tunnel
through heavy seas of brambles palely flecked with flowers
through faint crescendos of mid-summer insects
through exhalations of small whites and tortoiseshells and ringlets
through the long hot Sundays of my childhood
till I’m stopped beside a lock
thrown down,
asphyxiated these hundred years
by ivy and disuse.
Why now the memory of missiles of depleted uranium fired into Iraq
in a war that we all didn’t want and Blair went ahead anyway
because he wants to please Bush claiming that the Iraqi’s had great
stockpiles of Weapons of Mass Destruction yet now four months later
in this golden summer nothing has been found and he Blair is saying
history will forgive him anyway if you don’t count maimed and
cancered men, women and children as history?
Tall trees stoop over the corpse
of the canal
the air grows chill
the tunnel mouth slat – gated
the chill reek
of broken promises.
Of course isn’t everything in some sort of balance that we cannot see
without a huge overview yet sometimes glimpse don’t good and bad
come back to back aren’t death and life standing side by side aren’t
politicians just as much part of the whole as the swifts screaming
through their aerial mean invisible above the wood?
The Purple Loosestrife and the Meadowsweet do well this year.
On the way home a shower catches me.



August, 2012

Amazing! Would you look at that? A day
of greens and autumn ochres, yellows, reds,
shuffling into dim autumnal grey:
the sky sunk in neglected flower beds.
Amazing! When I take a morning shower,
robbed of thoughts I stand there void – a child;
moments magnify – become an hour
life and death have met as friends and smiled.
This life-long maze! Love deepens into friendliness,
poems happen, bees brew liquid sunset,
I celebrate men’s empathy and women’s loveliness,
Build heart-homes for Iraq and poor Tibet.
Who should I thank for such amazing presents?
No body. Each moment has a Presence.


Is that a Primrose

July, 2012

This morning
dropping down
through the woods
I feel the annual surge
Of life returning
Snowdrops stand immaculate
across the rufous litter of the leaves
A chaffinch is exhilarating
high up in a sky-washed oak
The newly-minted air
teems with spring
quickening my feet
rising in my legs
I mention this because its been a long damp winter; damp days
seeping into sodden, mildewed observations of our politicians and
priests in purple suede and maggot generals dying of corrupted
spleens while pink, serious men in global corporations set about
accelerating global warming.
I think
What if we lose
The benevolence of spring?
What if we lose
Our sense that feels it?
What if the sunrise goes unnoticed?
- a glare on the windscreen –
What if chaffinches are eradicated?
- Disturbers of the peace –
(warplanes are okay though)
What if grass is banned?
- For harbouring destructive vermin –
What I answer is; since when has mankind been in charge anyway?
The fact we do all this to the oceans and the forests and the soil and
the air must be evidence enough that we are not in charge. So then
we are just part of a process – a germ on a tick on a flea on a frog…
Is that a primrose?


Occluded Front

June, 2012

The moment caught me
Pinned me
Where I stood between
The rows of scarlet runner beans
And the wood of dark oaks
That leans too far across my
With a sudden darkening of the skies
Rain fell
Torrential rain
The sound was all enveloping
The sound of bliss maybe
All the landscape shapes were bleached
And blurred
Each colour shared itself with every other colour
Water soaked through to my underwear
A cool embrace
An honour
Nature bringing to itself a part of itself
After all
Where the beans come from and the rain and the pair of owls
In the dark wood so too do I.
With a basket full of lettuces onions beans and sweet courgettes
I stand beneath a tree and think oh its global warming rain this
rain way too heavy for the time of year in England I see the dark
birds of the multi nationals tearing every tiny morsel from the
earth’s tegument I think the politicians should be weeping on their
knees before the children of the world
war and proverty disease and terror
this must be our future now where did we go wrong?
Look how we exclude ourselves from everything outside our skin!
look how the rain includes!


The Stones Need Thanks

May, 2012

I wanted to thank them
the round grey stones with white quartz veins
They lean in tiers towards the raking waves
settled into each other
 like warrior brothers
letting themselves be worn to sand
They’re patient too when human desire enters
hauled to garden centres
called to simulate a stream
become a doorstop or
foundation for a shed
waiting while I fidget
with my digital single lens reflex camera
- I used to love these hands
now they’re lumpy and red
I look at them with scorn –
What does it mean
to lean towards the waves that wear them to sand,
to long to be worn to sand?
anyone with a body should thank them


Hullo – There!

April, 2012

Can’t you see me?
I’m here. Not just when you are sending words
like lighted candles down the rivers of the world
I’m here when you are dully mowing your suburban lawn
Or sitting watching trains of thought at dawn –
with impatience
for me –
my rainbows
and unbounded love.
I’m here. But you don’t stop to recognize
me, sitting in your seat, seeing through your eyes
you stomp off self-importantly – we could be having fun
I follow like dark matter waiting recollection –
for you –
with rainbows
and unconditional love.
Remembering the future will remind
You I am the you you always knew you’d find
a small boy running through a field of flowers
ordinary, spacious and infused with power –
without waiting
for the love
of being the


I Could Never

February, 2012

Let’s say you are wandering life
trying to establish some sort of link.
Then you encounter an Osho. You stop – you think
YES! But I could never,
never be like him.

Later on you meet unique Ramesh.
Your little ego says that even if I lived a thousand
Hindu lives I’d need another thousand long
long lives to
sing his song.

Then you meet a Gangaji.
You think, she’s almost one of us.
Yet even if I was as beautiful as she
is – I still
could never be like her.

Then you meet an Ekhart Tolle.
Not beautiful but totally engaging.
If you too had his skill with words –
to think you’d ever be like him
would be presumptuous folly

Then truth-teller Pamela wafts along
Alight in an ordinary, everyday way.
Witty and pretty and loving and strong
you suddenly start to think perhaps
I too could sing this song.


The Bridge at Eggesford

January, 2012

Below the bridge at Eggesford
the water from the waterfall
wells up
and spreads
into itself

Like in the early morning
when you’re sitting in the bed
and night-time silence
into your inner self
Inspiration leaps
like salmon
an unknown realm

The First Great Western London-bound express bores
through time and space
while salmon leap and
rashid’s being spreads
into itself.



I Don’t Believe in Old

December, 2011

I don’t believe in old –
I still can do
as much as ever
these days however
I would rather not

Old is a dirty habit
and I would rather not

I don’t believe in old
until I’m sick
I am a rusty bollard
on a dock
where no ships come

I long for long unbroken time and I fear the empty days
just let the high seas and the sea mist disassemble me let
water – nature’s softest force – corrode my iron core

Old is a breaker’s yard
And I would rather not
I’m walking backwards to the bridge
that spans
from here to here

In the shower in the morning
a state of non-existence
flushes out the tyrants of the past and future
old is a dirty habit
that can’t survive the present


Bees and Beyond

November, 2011

Early summer: the high blue sky is fleeced with feathered cirrus. In the woods and all around this rural English orchard, blackbirds, chaffinches and warblers sing exalted descants with each other. The scent of briar-rose hangs in the air.

My gaze is on a wax frame in my hands the size of an open book. It is smothered with three thousand honey bees in slow, incessant movement. Their glass wings glisten in the sunlight; their velvet bodies are like shadows following. They are the book I am learning to read; they are the words that lift off the page and teach me by experience.

Honey bees (apis mellifera) have been on this earth for over forty million years, we humans for about four. Bees must know a thing or two. Look how they live sustainably and still produce great wealth. Look at their intelligence that is both singular and plural, individual and collective.

Sunlight is warming the bees and warming the flowers that make the nectar the bees are collecting. Transformed into honey it will feed the young and give the colony winter riches. These summer bees live only six weeks, the winter ones six months or more. I watch some nurse bees drawing wax from under their layered skirts to make the hanging cells that are their home, their store, their crèche and their keyboard. I watch forager bees returning with stomachs full of nectar, passing it by mouth to store-keepers whose enzymes in their jaws refine the sugars into honey. They place it in the six sided cells. Other workers fan their wings to evaporate the excess moisture in the honey. More foragers arrive with baskets full of coloured pollen on their legs: yellow pollen bright as potted sunshine from dandelions in fields above the village, pink pollen from the roadside campion, pale mauve from the cuckoo-pint beside the stream. They pass their pollen loads to different store-keepers who place them round the cells containing brood. This will be the protein boost for youngsters.

Page by page I move ever deeper into this volume of bees. I watch the guard bees at the entrance, checking with antennae the ID of arrivals. I watch the heater bees who can vibrate their flight muscles to generate just one degree of extra heat. .These heater bees are fed by tanker bees who ferry honey from the store frame to the brood frame. All the frames are covered by a multitude of bees and all of them can, when needed, do all of the various jobs. Some appear to have an urgent destination, others seem to amble window shopping, others clean the thoroughfares, others groom themselves or pick up casual labour while others stand along a line of open cells, heads down, serious drinkers at a bar. A few male drones promenade through the crowds like men in uniform; large, proud and pushy. Their ambition and their aim in life is not to shack up with the choicest of these fifty thousand females but to find a virgin queen and die in the act of love: their penis will detach and take their stomach with it. Drones are few and free to roam through any colony.

Ahh! At last I see the queen. Without this vital being the colony will die. She is the focus of the colony and yet she can’t be called its ruler. She has position but no power.

She is seen as a slightly elongated worker bee, sleek, surrounded by a retinue who feed her and who spread her pheromones, their ID, around the colony. She is always beautiful to the lover of bees. I watch her trail across the cells, back and forth, checking each has life within. She finds an empty cell. She hesitates, then backs her smooth striped abdomen into it. And lays an egg. She can choose if it be male or female. Later when the egg becomes a larva, a newly hatched young bee will place food in the cell and make a wax cap over it. Then the larva will transform, undisturbed, into a bee.

I could watch for ever as this complex mesh of life unfolds. But now the amber coloured hum has moved a half-tone up the octave, a signal that my teachers need to be alone again. Returning foragers and other worker bees are circling in a cloud above the hive. Bees, as a collective, work together just as our legs and eyes and lungs and stomach work together. They can agree collectively to move the swarm to this or that new nest place in a hollow tree and when to throw the drones out in the autumn; and, individually they are quick to learn the best route through a maze or to recognise a person.

This points us to the very heart of our human dilemma. How can we live sustainably and harmoniously as a society and as an individual? How can we be entire individuals and yet part of the social structure as well? How can we be one and many?

My logical mind fragments in this swirling cloud of sentience. Time has passed and in this time there’s been no time. The bees have brought me to a glimpse beyond the boundaries of me and mine, a universe unbounded. They have taken me to what sportspeople call the Zone – the place where everything is easy, everything is right. My head is in the cloud of bees; my feet stay on the ground.

* * *

The autumn equinox arrives: damp is in the air, the leaves of trees are yellowing as if an under-glaze has been washed over them; preparation for a radical recolouring. Low sun slants across the apiary. The coming and going round the hive has waned. The bees are more defensive now. They have a lot to lose at this time of year. Six months of stores and a queen who cannot be replaced till spring.

As I watch the entrance to a hive questions rise up in me. What can we learn from bees? How can we halt their calamitous decline? Help them live another forty million years?

In times gone by, when we talked about our sorry human history of wars and our patterns of exploiting and impoverishing the world around us, we would shrug our shoulders and say, ‘Well you can’t change human nature.’ Now the talk is different. Recent neuro-scientific research shows that human nature does not have to change. The human animal is hard-wired for empathy and cooperation. We are capable of living as the honey bees live; harmoniously and productively. It is only our conditioning, the learned behaviour of our ego which makes us ruin our surroundings and drag ourselves through swamps of endless conflict.

‘We live in an ailing troubled treadmill of a world’ wrote Michael Duncan, my old bee-master. In his book he invites us to step into a parallel, unnoticed world of light, tranquillity and sweetness, into the eternal rhythms and harmonies. He concludes, ‘Saving our bees can save our sanity.’

Yes! For the survival of the human race, bees and sanity need saving. One in every tree mouthfuls we eat is thanks to bees. But how do we save our bees with our present levels of insanity?

We have come to treat our bees abominably, unnaturally. We interfere continually in their lives. We feed them rubbish foods. We artificially inseminate their queens. We overload our apiaries. We trick a hive to think the queen has swarmed to multiply our stocks. We haul bees round the countryside to pollinate a crop where every other form of life has just been chemically exterminated.

Think of all the areas of life in which we repeatedly set up unsustainable systems for the sake of short term gains. And suffer long term losses. Are bees relevant to us who are a pack species complete with alpha males whilst they are a colonial species? Why have we lost respect for bees and most of nature as well? Are we too full of fear and greed to free ourselves from ego? Would healing ourselves allow our troubled treadmill of a world to heal itself?

Back in the seventies I travelled to India. The sixties aspirations of a peaceful, better world were strangled in their cradle by the way things were established. Now, once again there is a questioning and crumbling of the global institutions; political, economic, social, religious and environmental. Now again there is a questioning of how we live our lives. India and the East have always known the dangers of the ego. A colony of individual bees works perfectly because no bee has an ego. Ego is the identity we build up for ourselves from childhood. It marks us out as different from our siblings and our peers. It mediates between our inner and our outer worlds. Those are its useful functions. Its uselessness is in the way it drives us to compete when collaboration would be useful. Ego makes unnecessary distinctions and conceits. Ego demands like a needy child.

Ego is not who we are, however, it is the persona we present to the world. What we’ve learned to be. Whereas here in the West we have spent the last five hundred years exploring the outer worlds of chemistry, biology, astronomy, psychology and physics, with, as can be seen, extraordinary results – who has explored the explorer? By contrast India, for the last five thousand years, has deployed their brightest and best exploring inner space, the space behind the ego. The ancient Greeks once understood the necessity of this. “Know Thyself” was carved above the temple door. The East has finely honed its scientific knowledge for advancing self-discovery. Meditation is the stepping back from ego; it is returning to the ground of being from which existence springs. It is the wave remembering that it is not different from the ocean.

In a recent survey of successful people in many different fields, all spoke about their moments in the zone; their times of inspiration. It often comes to them on holiday, or in the shower or watching the sun go down. These are indeed ways of meditation just as a screwdriver is a way of opening a tin or the heel of your shoe is a way of hammering in a nail. The fact is that meditation is a tried and tested tool to do the job of emptying the mind, stilling the ego so that inspiration and true self-awareness can appear. Self awareness knows we are not lonely islands in a sea of chaos. We are the ocean and the drop of water, the ripple on the surface and the silent depths. Then how can a part fight the whole? How can the human part abuse and mismanage the whole of nature? Meditation is the key to stepping back to see what is important. Its side-effects are creativity and freedom, clarity and love

It’s no good anyone telling this to anyone. It has to be experienced. And I’m not saying everyone should meditate. What I am saying is that meditation is a proven fast-track scientific method to step back from our driven ways and habits, back into that world of light and sweetness, of harmonies and eternal rhythms.

Bees are a benign body, beings untroubled by personal preference. Their hanging comb of brood and honey stores, covered by a streaming plane of bees can be our stairway to that place of freedom and detachment, of harmony and sweetness in this world.

On a damp winter morning I stop by the hives. Bees need to be bees as love needs to love. Both will endure all trials. I place my ear to the wood. I hear a soft murmuring within.


A Grave with No death

October, 2011

“Never born, never died.” are the words inscribed on the Samadhi of our beloved Osho.

I have driven through sun and pouring rain, through Somerset and Shropshire, through landscapes of my past and now I stand at the grave of my parents. I have not been here for eleven years, eleven months and twelve days. That was when we buried my mum. I feel the sharp ache of tears in my eyes. These two human beings were so huge in my life and sometimes very difficult. Now they are dissolved into earth, into humus. The ground where their bodies were buried shows no signs of them now. No mound, no hollow, no bare earth. Only a flat damp blanket of grass.

At the head of my parents plot there stands a baulk of oak that I shaped and carved with their names and dates. That now is split and discoloured. Grass and rotting wood. That’s all. That’s all.

I take some snapshots for my children. The site is banal; any graveyard, anywhere. I find a beautiful feather. It might be from a sparrowhawk’s wing. Then I find another one some distance away. I stick them in the ground at the foot of the rotting oak header. That’s my sister and myself I think. I wander in circles and find a third one for my brother. I stick that in. Graveyards are for the living not the dead I think.

Suddenly, for the first time, I fully really realise they are dead. My Mum and Dad are gone. Non-existent. Annihilated.

A rain cloud bursts above my head. For a moment I stand in sun and rain. Then I run for the car.
Again I drive through rain and sun, through sparkling Worcestershire and changing states of being till I come to Hereford. Yes, something of my parents survives in me and my children; yes, something of my parents survives in memory and feeling, but that is not them. They as individuals no longer exist. Their body-minds are non-existent. The void has swallowed them.

For a couple of hours I sit in the quiet womb of a lady-chapel in the cathedral. Beside me is the horizontal effigy of a dead crusader Sir Peter de Grandisson. I let the cathedral’s quiet and its spaciousness permeate me till my thoughts and feelings come to rest. Now, both without and within there is a ringing silence just as real as that within the marble belly of my noble neighbour. And there is a consciousness of this. Not my consciousness but a non-personal, passive awareness of all that is around.

The fire of Osho flares in this old sacred place, that which was never born and never will die.



September, 2011

- a muddy leaf along the muddy track –
the reader, Robin,
- plodding upwards through the autumn flurries –
 reads the language of the woods
Bajere baje domoro baje,
Nachere nache choruno nache
Live transmission
issues only from vast
O kaninganing go
lai lai o kaninganing go
The leaves – the words – pass out beyond
the limits of our senses back into the void
behind our senses for a moment who?
for a moment without time
he is  this


The Foe of Loneliness, the Sky of Aloneness

August, 2011

All sorts of dragons cluster round us as we come to adulthood.  One with the most foul breath is known as Loneliness.  In my youth it was so monstrous, so abysmal I knew that one day I would have to turn and face it. 

To vanquish Loneliness we must call up its vigilant adversary - Aloneness. 

Last week a colt was born in the field outside my bedroom window.  I photographed it two hours old, still wet and wobbly on its matchstick legs.  At four hours it could gallop, buck and frisk around its mother faster than a man could run.  We humans come into the world defenceless and dependent.  But not powerless. 

We can cry. 

Babies’ cries elicit empathetic responses from adults.  When Sabre-toothed tigers prowled the earth, if a baby cried too long and loud it advertised its presence.  I’ve read that during Soviet Communism infants were swaddled and kept in huge nurseries.  Visitors remarked how little they cried while their parents were out in the factories happily churning out tanks for the world revolution.  Babies cry to get attention, to have their needs met.  Too much crying and they’re lunch. 

Loneliness, then, is the baby’s hard-wired need to cry, expressing itself in the adult’s body.  Those who felt protected, loved and cherished as babies later grow up feeling – not lonely – but contentedly alone.  I was born into a culture where mothers and nannies were told to “Let baby cry him/herself out.”  I grew up lonely.

I found that loneliness enslaves you.  Loneliness bends you.

To fight this dragon I have had to live in desert places and in seedy rooms in lonely cities.  Till I met the dragon slaying master of Aloneness, Osho.
There’s another aspect of loneliness.  My grand-daughter described it vividly.

I asked her, “What is loneliness?”

“Not having someone to talk to.  To keep you entertained”

“Why do you need to be entertained?

“To not be alone with your thoughts.”

“What’s wrong with them?”

“I don’t like my own thoughts.”

“Why not?”

“They keep wondering why I haven’t yet found my soul mate.  Especially on Saturday nights.  All my friends are out partying and I am alone with my thoughts.

“What thoughts?”

“I’m thinking, all my friends are out partying and I am alone with my thoughts.”

Right there is the dragon’s tactics manifest; our mind’s ability to twist itself to our own detriment. 

I once asked Osho about this.  I had been meditating, I told him, and my mind took the opportunity of relative quietness to turn into a hall of mirrors with a watcher watching watchers watching watchers; would he illuminate – or eliminate me. 

With a twinkle he said that both were the same, illumination entailed the elimination of my ‘ME’.  “You are the only barrier to your own self-realisation,” he continued.  “You can watch the mind because you are not the mind.”  The dragon gasped - struck a mortal blow.

Osho continued, “The reason that you watch is to see that you are separate from the mind.  It is possible to watch the mind because you are not the mind.  Stepping back to watch the mind brings about the greatest transformation that can happen.  Free from mind you are free from all that was enslaving you – your miseries, your fears, your desires.”

Your loneliness.  That dragon took a little while to die.  Now many years have passed and it will not – can not re-appear.

In that talk Osho also said that the word “watcher” isn’t right.  Really it is not a watcher but watching.  Watching as the mind is seen to come and go.  Gradually it’s seen for what it is – a trick of smoke and mirrors, a mirage, an illusion.  Thus the “I” becomes gradually eliminated.  Then our oneness with existence reveals itself.

There are many ways to practice separating from the mind – all of them involve ‘watching’.  And with that separation from the mind-that-separates-itself-from-everything – then again comes unity.  We are not different from life itself.  We are part of nature’s web, part of the whole of existence.  We have a hard-wired something for the body to survive.  That’s not who we are.  We are all and everything.  Osho called that the blue sky of Aloneness.  That blue sky is the end of loneliness, the end of slavery.  It is freedom itself.

Thank You in Anticipation

July, 2011

Thank you for this bright morning
Thank you for calling Cheltenham and Gloucester
Thank you for software, thank you for toasters
Thank you for health hazard warnings.

Thank you for driving with care through our village
Thank you for audiocassettes
Thank you for foxgloves, thank you for fridges
Thank you for glowing sunsets.

Thank you for refraining from smoking
Thank you for kid’s sense of humour
Thank you for houses, thank you for string
Thank you for fast-track money transfer.

Thank you for taking the time to cooperate
Thank you for cars with a heater
Thank you for warblers, thank you for mates
Thank you for, more than anything else in the whole wide world, Nisheetha. 


Life is Just a Play

Swami Deva Rashid shares his experience with Ma Yoga Laxmi

June, 2011

"One day i was called into Laxmi’s office. She said, “Rashid you are needed to make cheese for the commune. More and more Westerners are arriving into Poona. They need a diet with more protein. You make cheese with Deeksha’s help.”

My heart sank. Deeksha! The Swiss Italian ruler of the kitchens. Oh well, "surrender to what is" was the name of one of the games in that epoch.

Using my experience from the self-sufficient farming days, i set-up a factory in the ashram kitchen. We had cow and buffalo milk delivered, muslins and vegetable rennets acquired, presses and shelving built, vats and strainers purchased. After a few weeks i saw the situation wasn’t working. During the twice daily kitchen cleaning operation, floods of water and scores of minions with mops and squeegees disturbed the delicate cheese-setting processes. I asked for my allotted space to be bypassed. No chance. I insisted that it be bypassed. No response. I demanded and i pleaded with Deeksha.

At last i went to Laxmi. “I need a different space where the cheeses will be undisturbed, where i can work according to my own routines.” Deeksha heard about my new request and had a word with Laxmi. I was summoned back to Laxmi’s office. “Deeksha says you’re making trouble. She says her people never interfere with you. You just need to surrender”
“The cheeses need a place to settle undisturbed,” I said. “I wouldn’t bother you if that was happening.”

Laxmi turned to Deeksha. “Rashid will have a new space on the roof of Jesus House. Later, when it’s available, a space behind the medical centre. I believe his word. You don’t be lying to me Ma.”

The new cheese factory was under a great Rain Tree whose dark green leaves would fold at dusk and open up at dawn. There is ‘Yes’, there is ‘No’ and there is ‘surrender’."

Click here for more details about Ma Yoga Laxmi


Thoughts arising with the Middle East unrest

May, 2011

“We‘re damned if we do; we’re damned if we don’t.”

A wave for freedom sweeps the Middle East. Human beings are hard wired for empathy; it is part of our endowment for survival says recent bio-genetic research. Thus we feel a kinship with anyone who is seeking liberation: especially when we’re faced with television images of unarmed men and women stormed by specially trained and armoured troops.

BUT so complex are the affairs of States and Economies that the United Nations, Europe, and Nato, the African Union and the Arab League are all at sixes and sevens. What should they do with this wave? Support it, repress it, modify it. Protect human lives, protect oil sources, protect the global economy? All or none of the above? Why support Libyan protestors and not Bahrainis or Syrians or Yemenis? Is it about oil? Libya only contributes 2% of global production, something that Saudi Arabia can make up without turning a hair. So is it about human rights? Well a quick search on the web tells me that Libya has free medical care and education, subsidized study abroad, financial assistance to newly weds and cheap fuel and an 80% literacy rate. Whatever Gaddafi’s personal crimes – what is this war really about? Is it because, like Iraq, Libya was opting out of the IMF and the world banking system BIS? The US petrodollar? Does it matter?


Here is the basic paradox. In current mode, whatever any country does will be wrong and, equally, they can’t just sit there and do nothing.

‘If you set out on a journey even one degree off course, you’ll miss your destination,’ I remember Osho saying. He might have been talking about now. Our global problems are inescapable because we set out thinking we are separate from the whole. This is a delusion even though it’s shared by nearly everyone; it is part of our collective unconscious. Look around. Problems! Not in Nature but everywhere that humans make their mark.

The gift that seers and wise men make us, the message Osho spelled out loud and clear is that these huge problems are resolved only when we look for answers and solutions within, not without. Meditation is the journey in to find out who (or if) we really are. One who knows who he or she is, is not capable of causing pain and destruction.

A newspaper in Oregon has put up on the web a short review commemorating the 25 years from when we occupied the Ranch and built the city Rajneeshpuram. The reporter is still – as he did then - only looking at the appearances, the outward manifestations of that valiant experiment. He is still is missing the whole point of it.

The only way to change the world is to change ourselves. It seems awful to be piling words on words when people are dying, however as long as we go on clinging to old points of view, as long as we fail to turn around and find out who we really are, we will miss our own and other’s liberation. We will forever be engaged in futile actions in which we end up damned if we do and damned if we don’t.


What is meditation?

April, 2011

What is meditation?  My friend of forty years threw out the question on the phone this morning.  She has two types of cancer and a lot of pain.  She might as well have asked the meaning of the sound of raindrops falling on oak leaves or what’s the point of love.  I could only tell her what meditation is for me.

 It is a journey beyond words into the empty sky of a quiet mind.

It is the freedom that arises when the mind is still

It is asking deeply who or what I am

Meditation is the watching of the traffic of the mind, its thoughts and feelings, memories and plans.  It is the recognition of the formless-ness that does the watching.

It is acceptance of the mantle of the formless that is none other than our true and basic nature; consciousness itself.

Meditation is the death of this small ego and a rebirth into the everlasting glory of life 

It is the stepping out of this small “i” into the great “I am.”

Meditation is, according to Osho and the sages, going beyond death into deathlessness.

It is being who we really are.  Pure consciousness

This morning sitting on my bed at dawn, meditation settled on me.  There was awareness of spaciousness and of cool, reverberating silence. 

A thrush was singing in the oak tree opposite the window.  Gradually it happened that there was nothing, nothing anywhere, but the throaty, fluting chime of the thrush’s song.  There was no here, no there, no beautiful or noisy, no little me Rashid and no brown-flecked songster limited by time and space.  Only lucent  singingness.

Yes!  Words don’t do the job.  Why try to describe an experience when the experiencer is gone?

In the west we have forgotten the art of stillness.  We have forgotten how to do nothing, how to just be.  After all we are called human beings not human doings.  We have forgotten that infinity expands inwards as well as outwards.  Meditation is the journey inwards and the tools and techniques for that journey.  Meditation methods have been worked out in the east over several thousand years.

What brought Osho to the notice of westerners thirsting for the clear spring water of the spirit was his adaptations of old methods for the modern man.  He evolved techniques that recognised our western, inner-world amnesia and our achieved inability to just be.  If you find it hard to relax a muscle, clench it first.  Hard.  That knack is at the heart of some of Osho’s meditations.

The world has pressing problems needing urgent solutions; global warming, natural disasters, wars, disease and poverty, pollution and and the extinction of species.  But these are not the main problem..  These are mainly the consequence of our human unconsciousness.  For that meditation is the most effective cure.  Solving problems with an unconscious mind creates ever greater problems.  So first get rid of the mind as master for it is a wonderful servant. Only then will our grandchildren have an earth to inherit.



January, 2011

Those who studied Fine Art in the Art Schools of the sixties never heard, never tangled with the word ‘beauty’.

I liked that and was puzzled by it.

We were looking for the truth behind appearances, the truth of what we felt, the true expression of our vision.

Then it dawned on me.  Beauty is a silent, royal consort of the truth.

Once, I was painting by the river Thames in central London, standing in a bomb site overrun by willowherb and buddleia and pigeons.  The river was a brown and roaring dinosaur beside me; the sky was unusually blue.  Ahead of me there was a multi-storey office block of steel and tinted glass; glaring, stupid, out of place amongst its stone Victorian neighbours. 

As the days passed and the large painting matured it started to develop a harmony of form and space and light.  Suddenly i noticed that the office block was shining with its own unique presence, its over-bearing bulk was settled in the landscape with its own integrity.  Suddenly the office block was beautiful. 

Painting searches for the unifying harmony and truth of life.  When they are uncovered, beauty is uncovered. 

Osho lived in truth, was truth, manifested truth with every word and gesture.  Beauty is his consequence, his real, unspoken teaching.  Beauty emanates from him and is his noble contribution to the world religions.
Keats put it - well beautifully; “Beauty is truth, truth is beauty.  That is all.
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Truth is what is. And it’s everywhere. So beauty too...

Aren’t we blessed!


What is Sannyas

September, 2011

Old sannyas was procrastination.  Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow?

Osho gives a shot of rejuvenating hormones to the old body of Hinduism. 

I love the ancient concept of sannyas; student then householder then contemplative and finally free-spirit.  It gives a shape to life that makes a space for both the worlds – the inner and the outer, the sacred and the mundane.  But here’s the catch.  They are not two!  They both are here and now.  Osho’s neo-sannyas is a life that lives the ever-present unity - right now.

I heard Osho refer to himself as an invitation to ultimate truth, an open door.  When he offered Neo-sannyas he was pointing to a cliff.  All that was needed was a jump.  A blind, free-falling, don’t-even-look-before-you-leap, trust in existence and in him. 

Renunciation?  The word means ‘to carry back report’.  So first you have to jump.

I keep a garden. Osho’s sannyas is the window on my garden and the garden too.  It is the cloudless sky beyond.  It is the orange marigold, the row of scarlet runner beans, the hidden earthworms and the rotting compost.  It is the blackbird singing in the willow tree at sundown and the ones who hear the song.  It is the frost that comes in winter and the rain in summer.  His sannyas began with bare earth.  It lives forever in the fruits and flowers and seeds.  Sannyas with Osho is apprenticeship to a master gardener, a master surgeon, a master thief and master clown all rolled into one.

Yes but what is sannyas really?

It is commitment to our inner growth.  It is a re-assignment of the old thinking mind to routine duties.  It is being in the world with all its beauty and its ugliness and not being anyone stuck there.  It is caring and not caring.  It is living by conscious awareness without labels.  Without rules.  Without boundaries.  It is . . . . shhhhhhhhhhhh


The gift of freedom from guilt

June, 2010

In ‘The Point of Vanishing,’ – a  fiction i have written telling in the form of stories the things we learned at Osho’s feet for all those years – there is an incident depicting guilt.

Two men are on the Path, the Ruler is a seeker, the Artist, Streamer, is his sometime guide.  They have to cross a swollen river. (or in Ma Bhagwati’s words get ‘Past point of no Return.’)  The Ruler’s carelessness endangers both of their lives.  He is swept down-stream and eventually found alive and dragged to shore by Streamer.   

Streamer helped him to remove his silk embroidered coat and spread it on a rock to dry. 

"I thought I'd handed in my resignation," the Ruler said at last.

"Are you prone to understatements?" Streamer said.  "Next time you need to cross a river, bring your water wings."

"You're right.  I nearly killed us both.  I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry and I wasn't even trying to walk on water.  I've no excuse.   I was just a bit impatient... saving time...nearly wasted everything.  You might have died.  I feel so guilty."

"No need for guilt."

The sun was warming them.  Streamer took his clothes off.  He found a pool of water in the rocks and stooped and sluiced the blood from his arms and legs.  Then he rinsed his clothes.  He laid them in the sun to dry.  The Ruler also stripped and wrung his clothes and hung them on a bush.  Their bodies showed the lacerations of a hard beginning to the journey.

The Ruler said, "Look at your hands.  They're torn and bloody."

"That's not your blood on my hands.  That's my blood."

"I warned you what a fucked-up, miserable bastard I am.  I tried to cross the river with you still on the rope.  I feel so guilty."

"Well if you feel good being miserable and guilty that's up to you."

"I don't feel good being miserable.  I feel miserable being miserable."

“We’ve crossed the river.  Do me a favour sir.  Drop the guilt.  Forget all guilt.”

“What do you mean forget?  Guilt is guilt, always with us.”

“Not to me.  As I see it, guilt is a second-hand emotion.  It’s manufactured. It masks another, real, emotion.  Guilt makes you blind.  No one need feel guilt.  Ever!"

The Ruler sat a while in silence.  He looked from under his brows at Streamer, “You may be right.  My guilt is masking fear.  Yes fear of my pursuers.  And of what’s ahead.  I was frightened I would change my mind; turn back.  That’s why I pressed so quickly on your heels.  I’m a mess.”

“So here’s one resolution for the journey.  Never more feel guilt.”

“Okay.  I’ll never more feel guilty.  That’s a promise... sort of.”

Above them in the tree-tops toucans rattled down a rain of shrivelled fruits.

I used to confuse remorse and guilt.  There are many things i’ve done in this life that induce in me a feeling of remorse and regret.  In my early thirties i was once asked to cut a tree down for a friend.  It grew too near his house.  It was an ancient yew tree, five hundred years or more it had been there.  Yews were sacred to the Celts and Early Britons, they grew in sacred ground.  All churchyards in England have a Yew tree, some older than Christianity itself.  I cut this Yew tree down without a thought.  I knew no better at that time.  I regret it.  I feel sorry, but not guilty.
We make mistakes, we commit crimes, we behave maliciously or unthinkingly or unconsciously.  We act against our better judgement.  We act with cruelty at times. Yes of course we do.  All these acts come from our genes and our deep conditioning; from our unconsciousness. 

Aren’t we all on a path trying to move away from that?  Are we not all trying to be free?  Are we not all somewhere on a line between rock-hood and saint-hood?  What’s the point of guilt?  The point of guilt i think is to keep us in our place, paralysed, controlled.

In Poona One i found the culture of men and women moving freely with each other difficult.  How should i behave?  I carried guilt from my past, and i carried hard-wired behaviour to support the mother of my children.  It took a long time for me to sort that one out by going through all sorts of painful experiences, including the return of my wife and kids to the west.  What happened happened.  There are those who say i am guilty of desertion.  I feel remorse but not guilt.  My children felt hurt and now i do what i can to enhance their lives and the lives of their kids.  The love is always there but guilt can easily cloud its expression.  Guilt is taught to us, drilled into us, laid on us; we are not born with it.

 If there were one gift only that i could leave to my kids it would be the gift of freedom from guilt.

The Point of Vanishing will be published later this year


From Loneliness to Aloneness

March, 2010

A damp snow falls across the English fields outside my room obliterating distinctions.  Inside i stoke the cooking range and put potatoes in the oven.  Who know what magic and what mysteries these years with Osho have accomplished.

Three weeks ago i was in Sydney’s baking heat, visiting my daughter and her family.  My marriage to that daughter’s mother ended forty years ago.  I tried another marriage after that.  Since then, however, i have lived in communes and alone and with a partner.  So living with my daughter for six weeks, i was visiting again the building block of our society – the family.

In this family i watched, with pain and fascination, the hang-ups, fuck-ups and dysfunctions of my parents and my grand-parents manifesting in my daughter and my grandchildren.

Like all my war-time generation, I grew up in loneliness.  I always knew the aching void, the constant drag of not being whole and adequate.  I married young – too young – to mitigate the pain.  I got it wrong and married yet again; still the hunger, still the fear.

Thirty years or so outside the family, thirty years or so with Osho, help with inner clarity and a non-judgemental witnessing.  However in the early days of the visit, i wasn’t quite so clear.  I talked things over with my lady back in England.  She helped me formulate a guide line for myself; ‘don’t interfere, never offer insights or advice unless invited to’.

Thus i stood outside the tensions and contentions of a couple and their daughter and five sons.  Thus i stood alone.  Sure i cooked and cleaned and played and read the children stories, sure i went on shopping expeditions with my daughter and bush hikes with my son-in-law.  And sure i took an hour or so a day to sit, to burnish the aloneness.  That way i didn’t get identified or cast into a role – despite a lapse or two.

And free of roles you don’t need others to support or vindicate you.  You don’t get caught up in the daily struggles of control or freedom, what is right or wrong, inclusion and exclusion.  You stay alone without being lonely. 

To round off my two months Australian visit, i spent ten days near Byron Bay.  Friends had lent me an isolated house beside a river in the Rainforest.  It was here that i realised – again – the gift and the vision that Osho has given us.  He made us do the work.  Over and over again he contrived and conceived situations to confront us with our multitudinous dysfunctions, all the while commenting on how the wise ones of the past had offered solutions to such issues.

One disadvantage of my age is the need to pee three or four times in the night.  It breaks the sleep patterns.  At three in the morning i remembered the Jacuzzi.  I slid back the lid and slipped into the amniotic waters of the tub.  I lay under the great dome of the sky, of the Milky Way and the Southern Cross, the known and unknown constellations of our galaxy.  I lay like a new born baby.

Consciousness whispered deep inside me.  Something vague at first.  It built a vision.  In that majestic setting i was no longer this old body in a hot tub, but a voyager in time and space.  I travelled to the timeless time when space and form were of an utter density, what physicists call a singularity. 

I watched in vision as the Big Bang happened.  In one colossal micro-moment singularity expanded into plurality.  I watched photons, protons, neutrons and electrons streaming from the centre of the nothingness.  I watched the fires and gasses grow, explode and cool and form into a thousand million galaxies and nebulae, red-dwarfs and quasars, suns and worlds and elements and chemicals – becoming rock and ocean, swamp and protozoa and amoeba, fern and flower and fish, amphibian and bird, beetle and man.

All this. 

This fruit tree leaning from the house, this body in a hot-tub and the hot-tub and the water in it, the cicada buzz of the forest at night, the trees arching up to the sky, the stars bending down to the dark line of hills.  All this - one stuff.

We are all one stuff.

Our loneliness is a delusion.  We heard Osho say it over and over again; we are not separate from all that is – just as islands are not separate but all part of one landmass; all joined under the sea.

Sleep that night came deep and sweet.  And the very next day Nature gave me a gift of confirmation;.

I hiked up through the rainforest following a small stream to its source below a cliff at the foot of a waterfall.  After walking for an hour. i came to where this stream had flooded recently, become a torrent, washed out its banks and undermined a few magnificent old trees.  There was an open patch, a glade, the size of two tennis courts. 

I went round visiting each of the old uprooted trees and some of the remaining standing ones.  There were trunks that soared up 30 metres without a bend or a branch.  Some others were of the fig family, sending down a web of aerial roots that had enclosed the original trunk many times over.  I had a long, long hug with a Western Red Cedar - oh my brother!

Turning to head on back up to the trail i was leaping from rock to rock when my attention was taken by something white.  I stopped, balanced precariously on the rock immediately above the object.
In the cicada silence of the forest i heard myself gasp.  I saw that a snake was subduing a wallaby – or, as i later found, a four foot (1.2m) Diamond Python was about to eat a 6kg Pademelon.

As i watched i thought to myself - there's no way that snake can swallow that animal.  Its body is six times the diameter of the snake's body and twelve times the diameter of the snake's head.

We are all one stuff, one impeccable production of 4 billion years of evolution!  Of course the python knew what he or she could swallow.  She knew that her skull and jaws can open up four ways and that her skin is extremely elastic.

For the next hour i watched and photographed her progress.  Once, as i walked around her, she disengaged her mouth and warned me off.  I got the message, said goodbye and continued up the mountain. 

Lying down naked in the pool under the cliff while a rainbow cloud drifted down to me, i knew again – we are all one stuff.  Python, pool, giant fallen tree, homo sapiens, galaxy.  Where can loneliness come in?

Just a figment of the mind!

Even as i close this piece of writing i hear the judging voices of my childhood mutter; “who do you think you are? you’re not so great a guy! you’re not the only pebble on the beach!” 

Yes yes!

I am the only and the all – and the snowdrops pushing through the virgin snow.

An issue of the mystery and the magic.


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