• Welcome! It’s great to see you. Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life.

    If you'd like to talk with people who know what it's like

Healing is relationship, healing is radical community building

Kerome

Kerome

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
12,750
Location
Europe
A post that's way too short and doesn't come close to covering the complete subject, imho. But an interesting follow up to the post about spending time in communes as a form of therapy from earlier today. These things are definitely linked.

To my mind it stands to reason that if problems with relationships and early life family events can cause these problems, then perhaps radical therapy about forming relationships and living through them long term in a commune, as a kind of new family, can cure them. It's very much a process which I used to see all around me when I lived in the Osho communes, the emotional life was intense and many people did therapy groups on the side which were quite powerful.

It'd be very interesting to see and really measure with modern statistical techniques the effects of those kinds of therapies. They weren't much for follow up studies in those days.
 
Kerome

Kerome

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
12,750
Location
Europe
Would you like the modern version or the story from old times? I'll try and give a really short sketch of both, though there is so much to say that it is necessarily only a shorthand.

Back in the 1970's and 80's the Osho communes were intended to be residential. There was a main ashram in Pune, India where Osho lived, and smaller communes in the UK, Netherlands, Italy, many places around the world. When you decided to follow Osho you would become a sanyassin, which was a little like the Indian tradition: you wore only red, took a new name, wore a mala, listened to daily audio lectures by Osho, and if you could went to live in the commune.

Eventually the main commune moved to Oregon, USA. Lots of people from all over the world came, at its peak it was 15,000 or so permanent residents and at the Full Moon festival time once a year it would be over 60,000 for two weeks. The permanent residents all had work, "worship" as it was called, and in the evenings at 7 or so everyone would come to this gigantic hall called the Buddha Hall where Osho would speak for an hour or two. There would be a short section of music and dancing to celebrate. The normal greeting was a hug, not a handshake, so you'd get lots of hugs every day from everyone you met.

That commune lasted about six years, and at the end it had its own airfield, car workshop, farm, law office, mall, pizza parlour, disco, deli, ice cream parlour, boutique, laundry, library, school, carpentry shop, you name it. It was like a town. But people also meditated a lot, there would be regular daily meditations in the Buddha Hall and other places, and you could sign up for therapy groups with a variety of well known and very good group leaders (which you often had to pay for though). People were very close, very much in their hearts. There was a lot of sex, and people changed partners with some regularity, cough cough. Nobody worried about pensions, salaries or things because you didn't get paid, there was no money, only these tokens as pocket money for the occasional pizza or cookies at the deli.

Eventually the commune in Oregon closed, the communes stopped being residential, and the main commune moved back to the ashram in Pune. Osho died in 1990 if I recall right, but the ashram still exist, as do a number of other communes around the world.

These days the ashram in Pune is more a kind of meditation resort. They still do a lot of the same meditations and groups, as well as activities such as Japanese archery which are meditation based. There are large gardens and there is still a Buddha Hall for evening lectures I think, although they are all from recordings. I think you can still stay for an extended period, but there are no residences for sannyassins in the commune grounds anymore so you end up having to stay in the city. I haven't been there since 1996.

But many people like my parents made lifelong friends in the commune, those ties are not easily forgotten when you've meditated, worked, grown spiritually and emotionally and battled to create something like a big commune in spite of all the governmental harassment and things that are done to stop you.
 
Last edited:
Kerome

Kerome

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
12,750
Location
Europe
I think the closeness that existed between Osho's sanyassins began with the fact that in the beginning we all started a new life together, everyone suddenly dyed all their clothes red, started wearing a mala (necklace with 108 wooden beads with osho's picture on it), took a new name, and it marked you out clearly. Suddenly you didn't belong anymore in normal society, wearing red clothes only while going to the shops, and at the same time you were one of the sannyassins.
 
Jaminacaranda

Jaminacaranda

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 18, 2013
Messages
2,192
Location
East of England
Thank you Kerome, that is really interesting. Are there any books about the Osho communes that I could read?
 
D

Deliah

Guest
That's so awesome, sounds like a wonderful experience. Thank you for sharing! love D xxxxxxxx
 
Kerome

Kerome

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
12,750
Location
Europe
I'll see if I can find a good book, there are a few but I'll recommend one that's not too biased.

I also found this slideshow of pictures from the 1982 Full Moon festival.

 

cpuusage

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
37,637
Location
Planet Lunatic Asylum
Last edited:
Kerome

Kerome

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
12,750
Location
Europe
I want to go! x
Big hugs :hug: I certainly won't stop you, it can be an amazing experience to spend time there, and I think there is still an Osho UK commune called Leela I think.

As far as it being a cult is concerned, Im not even sure what the word means. For me those communes were part of my childhood, I was carried along from one to the next with my father. Perhaps they were cult like; Osho's whole set up was originally based on what the gurus did in India. But there were checks and safeguards in place to take care of you, the Ma's (Osho had women in charge of all the day to day running of the commune) would look after people.
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2012
Messages
13,531
Location
The West Country
I've spent time at a UK Osho community, not as a member but as an attendee at a residential weekend workshop that a friend of mine was facilitating.
It seemed like quite a good community. Members seemed really happy, sociable and welcoming. I'm not entirely sure what the practicalities are of daily living there - what people contribute financially and in terms of working. But as I said, there was a very cheerful vibe to the place.

On the other hand, i've known of communities that do get very cult-like and are downright scary.
I suppose it's always going to be difficult to establish a community without the wankery and egomania.
 
Kerome

Kerome

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
12,750
Location
Europe
But as I said, there was a very cheerful vibe to the place.

On the other hand, i've known of [other] communities that do get very cult-like and are downright scary.
Well thanks for that. I've never thought the Osho communes were very cult like. There are many members who are smart, well educated and have done well in society, like therapists, lawyers, doctors, engineers, as well as the usual helping of more usual types. The net result was a commune that was run like a business in the financial aspects, everything is very clean, aesthetically stylish, hygienic, people have a sense of humour, many languages are spoken and so on. That was one reason why it lasted as long as it did.

But I don't really have a basis for comparison, never having spent any time living in other communes.
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2012
Messages
13,531
Location
The West Country
But I don't really have a basis for comparison, never having spent any time living in other communes.
I've not spent time in a different community, but there is one in my town that I know of. The website has a list of 'rules' that new members will need to adhere to and while some are totally reasonable, others are very problematic.. for instance, a rule stated that parties are allowed but that you shouldn't invite a community member if they have previously fallen out with someone. Sounds very excluding indeed.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
Funnyday Getting Your Life Back! 5
Similar threads
Relationships
Top