Sunday, 18 June 2017
One thing the controversial spiritual teacher Osho once said has always struck me as deeply true, and that is that life is actually there to be a celebration. And celebration, the authentic coming together of people, time and circumstance, is a way to spread joy, the dharma of joy. When people lose the ability to celebrate, then comes entertainment, which is a kind of grey noisy substitute for authentic celebration.
With the rise of the internet, a huge wave has arisen to crush the spirit of celebration, as a whole young generation becomes isolated from themselves and each other, and expects to watch..not to participate but to be entertained.
Same principle at work in spirituality. The rise of spirituality as a kind of spectator sport for the soul, something to look at from a distance - like you are reading these words right now. Spirituality as a hobby, Guru chasing as a form of narcissistic reinforcement, meditation as an "experience" or means to get high in some way or other, or spirituality as a form of play acting. We are all guilty of this over and over again. My generation in the west were really the first to "play" as Indians...which gave rise to the Hare Krishnas and the whole pretend reenactment of ecstatic states experienced hundreds of years earlier by the great Chaitanya - even down to the arm movements and a few "Haribols" added to the mix. Nowadays the equivalent is pretending to be peaceful on the yoga mat.
Playing is good, playing is what we are about as humans, but it has to really be grounded in ourselves, in our authentic selves. And also is playing to give, not take. Getting drunk and terrorising others is not authentic joy. Hurting others, ruining the environment, that is not it either. Anger is never playful. Malice and sadism are the shadow sides of play.
So We start from where we are and usually the first thing we have to fix is stuff like anger at unfulfilled desires or life circumstances, self-pity, and a low-level chronic dissatisfaction with the life we are given to live. We expect to live in heaven and to be constantly entertained and sort of spoilt... And the harshness of life can be in horrid contrast to this expectation.
So ... What to do? Well, I wanted to tell you a story of a young man, born in Serbia over 30 years ago, still alive today. He is most unusual, because he has chosen to live without possessions or attachments, following his Guru (who is still alive and relatively well known) with pretty much nothing but a t shirt and pair of shorts! He is not naive. He has engaged with life in different ways, had lovers, girlfriends, peychedelics, jobs, but this is what he has grown into. As a result he has a force of authentic joy which is very healing for others. And the world supports him in a number of magical, miraculous ways.
His jyotish chart is unusual, very spiritual and God-centred. In another life and culture he would be a wandering sadhu, unencumbered by any formal affiliation to a teaching or monastry or ashram. That is how it used to be in India for millenia... Free beings, some of whom were crazy, some of whom were wierd, but many just simply authentic seekers of truth. And here he is at the start of what could
be the crisis century for mankind!
Such human souls are rare, but what is striking about this young man is that he truly walks his talk. How long this can be sustained in such a difficult world I do not know. But I do know that his simplicity is accompanied by the force of authentic joy. Entertainment can be complicated. Celebration never is. How lovely the light from living dharma! Dont overcomplicate life.