mystic rose

The following article was written by Andy in 2010 or thereabouts.  It relates his first experience of the Mystic Rose meditation process, from some five years earlier.

The Mystic Rose is a group process designed by Osho.  It takes 3 hours a day, for 3 weeks.  During the first week, the 3 hours each day are spent laughing.  During the second week, crying.  And for the third week, the time is spent in silent sitting.  You can read more about the process the here.


The Mystic Rose

The Mystic Rose started calling to me during my first, brief, visit to the Osho International Meditation Resort in Pune, India.  I know not why she called me so but a few months later I was back in the resort, ready to plunge into her with all my being.

Insanity

The laughter began innocently enough, with a room full of twenty or so people playing like children, tickling, throwing pillows at each other and laughing all the while.  By the second day, though, I had the feeling that the horseplay was not for me, so I distanced myself a little, still tapping into the group energy but without the body contact.

Already the laughter was deep in my belly and somehow resonating in my being around the clock.  Perfectly ordinary objects and events began to seem hilarious.  I recall gazing at a fork on the lunch table and finding it the most funny thing I had ever seen.  Bouts of laughter came at any time, without warning and often without cause.

On the third day, I made eye contact with one of the other participants, a woman, who was on the other side of the room, and suddenly the laughter hit my sex centre.  The energy released was tremendous: my whole body convulsing in some sort of orgasm of laughter.  Judging by appearances, something similar was happening to the woman.  We never spoke to each other about it.  Our tantric laughter embrace, with a roomful of people between us, was so beautiful and complete in itself that words were unnecessary.  This experience was repeated on each of the remaining days of laughter.  For me it became a warm-up, a foreplay for the deeper, darker space I was about to encounter...

It was sometime on the fourth day that I noticed that I was on the edge of losing control.  My body was on the floor, shaking with continuous spasms of laughter, limbs flailing wildly, for all the world like a lunatic.  But a part of me knew that I was still in control, that I could choose to stop this behaviour at any moment.  I had reached a line though.  I could feel it in my mind, almost tangible.  If I went any further I would no longer be in control, there would be no knowing whether I would ever return to normal.  Some fear came but soon melted away.  Fear is rather a serious thing and this space of laughter had enough energy to dispel any seriousness.  In any case, I am an explorer at heart, always wanting to discover what is around the corner, curious to experience the unknown.  So a part of me wanted to cross that line.  Of course, there was absolutely nothing I could do to cross it.  Any volitional act comes from the controlling mind: I could see it all so clearly.  The controller would not do anything to surrender control.  So I lay there, in my yet sane craziness, feeling myself on the edge.

The next day I soon returned to the same state, eager to be there.  Another couple of hours passed with me thrashing around, all the time feeling that line inside my mind.  Then suddenly it happened, without warning, I had crossed the line.  I was insane.  And surprise of surprises, in the same instant that I became insane, out of control, I became totally authentic.  Everything else I ever was had just been an act, false.  The people in the room around me were felt to be acting.  All this was not just an intellectual experience; it was felt, undeniable.

I was no longer in control of myself, nor of anything else.  It could have turned out that I would have needed to be carried out of the room by people in white coats and locked up in a padded cell.  As it transpired though, when the little meditation bell sounded at the end of the three hours, I returned to sanity.  And with that experience, a fear of insanity evapourated from within me.  I had not even known that such a fear was in me.  Yet the need to be in control is just that: a deep fear.

The remaining days of laughter passed in a similar way.  Each day I would take myself to that line and then just have to wait, to see whether it would be crossed again.  And on each day, at some point, I found myself on the other side, happy, free, true...and laughing.

Depression

After a week of laughter, the transition into sadness came remarkably easily.  It felt as if a layer had been thrown off with all the laughing, exposing the hidden depths beneath.

For me, there were not so many actual tears.  Some came when I pondered the state of humanity, what we are collectively doing to ourselves and to this beautiful planet where we find ourselves.  And there were some more personal tears too which came from an ache somewhere deep in my being.  Mostly though, I felt myself sinking into an agony of unfathomed sadness.

On the morning of the fourth day I woke up feeling like I had never felt before: I was in a depression.  I had always assumed that I knew the meaning of the word “depression” but, that morning, I discovered its true import.  There is no substitute for direct personal experience.  How to convey that feeling, that state of consciousness, in words?  It is not possible: the darkness, the hollow lifelessness, the utter hopelessness, a bleakness taken to an unimaginable extreme.  It was the most negative state of mind I had ever known.  Conrad’s words from the Heart of Darkness come to me now: “the horror, the horror...”

As it happened, the facilitator started the group that day with an opportunity for us to share how we were feeling.  As soon as I voiced that I was depressed, the feeling of depression in me changed from being something totally negative to something neutral.  It was still there in all its intensity but no longer was it to be avoided; there was no need to escape from it or change things in any way.  The facilitator asked whether I could sit with the feeling and I knew that now I could.  And so it was.

I sat, that day, in the still hopelessness of depression for most of the three hours.  There was absolutely no bliss, no joy in it.  Yet the feeling had something of the air of meditation.  There was nowhere to run to, nothing to be done.  Even the thinking mind was becoming more quiet through the sense of impotence, of giving up.

It happened in a flash, without warning: A huge rush of energy from my head to my heart then bursting out of my chest.  The energy of depression had transformed itself into love, without me doing anything.

Typing this, recalling that moment, now five years past, brings tears to my eyes.  How much changed for me, for my life, in that moment!  All emotional and mental energy was seen as just that: pure energy.  And I discovered the beauty, the power, of sitting with a feeling, without making any effort to change things.  And all fear of depression, again a fear that I had not been consciously aware of, left me.

A minute later the chime sounded to end the session.

The remaining days of crying I spent under a sheet, lying on the floor in a foetal position.  At one point, seeing my stillness, the facilitator suggested that I try to reconnect with the body movements from the laughing stage, the convulsions in the belly.  I knew that it was not right for me though, at that time.  I was in a period of mysterious transformation.  I felt myself to be in a crysalis.

Coming out of sadness after a week felt like a rebirth.  My body felt light and my being clean.

The Buddha

Sitting silently for three hours a day was much easier and more enjoyable than I had expected.  Thoughts still came to mind, of course, but the clean feeling in my being helped the mind be quieter than usual.  A peacefulness and sense of stillness pervaded me.  Three days passed in this pleasant way.

During the sitting on the fourth day there came a remarkable happenstance.  A golden light poured in through the top of my head and filled my body, as a liquid fills an empty vessel.  This had never happened to me before.  I can visualize colours and light if I choose to but on that day, the warm golden light came unbidden and unexpected.  It was beautiful, blissful.  Then the chime sounded...

It was only when I stood up that I realized something had changed rather radically.  It was not me, not Andy, who stood up and left the meditation room that day.  Instead a buddha was walking in my place.  The feeling of “me” was not there.  And the consciousness which remained was only rather loosely and impersonally attached to a particular body.

What can be said about that state, that most beautiful of ways to be?  Everything was felt as perfect – even those words are not quite right, for there was no possibility of imperfection anywhere in existence.  Everything was just so.  And the being was felt as a light thing, moving effortlessly and with an unaccustomed gracefulness.  The totality of the bliss, the profound stillness, the feeling of love for everything that is...  Words are useless here.

It lasted about four hours.  It finished very clearly, with a choice arising in the mind.  And with the sense of choice, “I” was back.

But what a gift those four hours were!  They showed me, directly, for myself, what is possible.  They confirmed everything that the masters of old have been pointing to.  Yes, existence gave me something priceless that day.

The remaining days passed without the buddha returning.  I did not feel disappointed though, for I was in a space of deep peacefulness and happiness.

Epilogue

These were my experiences during the Mystic Rose.  Others in the group were affected differently, of course.  For me, though, it remains one of the most profound periods of my life.  I feel a deep gratitude to her, to the Mystic Rose, for what was revealed to me during those three weeks.

Andy