LAST week I attended the open day of Orange: Sannyas in Fremantle.
The exhibition traces the history of the so-called ‘orange people’ in Fremantle during the 1980’s and 1990’s.
They were a colourful bunch, living a kind of up-market hippy lifestyle and using ‘dynamic’ meditation instead of drugs to get high.
Their leader was an Indian guru by the name of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, later known as Osho.
He taught his followers to celebrate life, sing, dance, enjoy good food, make love…oh yes—and meditate.
The open day, at Fremantle Arts Centre, featured dynamic and kundalini meditation, an open forum and a live Osho band for revellers to sing and dance to.
I have my own history with this group, having been a disciple of Osho during the 1980’s.
At the arts centre last week, I felt a bit like an old hippy returning to Woodstock to re-live the glory days.
There was a lump in the throat as I heard some of the old songs being played again.
Even though I parted company with the movement in the 1990’s and made my way to SE Asia to explore meditation in places like Bhutan, India and Thailand, this group is still close to my heart.
Back in the 80s I was a structural engineer working for Woodside, designing offshore oil rigs.
The difference in my quality of life before and after meeting Osho was enormous.
I can honestly say that this meeting turned me from a life of depression and anxiety, to one of joy, richness and celebration.
Not that it has all been plain sailing—like everyone I’ve had my share of ups and downs.
But his message of enjoying and celebrating all that life has to offer has stayed with me, and for that I’ll always be grateful.
Osho’s dynamic meditation is a way of releasing the stresses that we accumulate in our culture.
Without this groundwork, I would not have been able to appreciate the more subtle and quiet forms of Buddhist practice in Asia.
Nowadays, I combine Osho’s methods with what I have learned from traditional Buddhist practices.
One of my great joys these days is to teach meditation to all types of people – those who are struggling, and those who are ready to go deeper. As the Dalai Lama has said ‘helping others is the best way to help yourself’.
by FRANK VILAASA
Anahata Wellness Centre