Shanti describes his path of learning and seeking to arrive at understanding.
It is September 1st, 1957. I am still a child, 12 years of age, when I leave the family I am born into, my father, my mother and my six brothers. I am off, I am on the road, I am on my way to the good education of a gymnasium and to the lap of a loving God, a beloved and very dear new father, me being his present child and his future priest.
It is March 1963. I am 18 years of age and I start wavering. Will I follow my vocation and become God’s priest or will I become a medical doctor or a teacher and the lover of my future beloved girlfriend?
One year later, 19 years of age, it suddenly happens on a blessed and sunny Sunday afternoon. Sitting in the chapel I fully and clearly realize in a split second that my Christian God and Heavenly Father is a myth, a dramatic story told already during a few thousand years in that part and culture of the world I happen to be born into, being fully supported by my family, by the Roman Catholic society, by politics and by education. The soap-bubble goes ‘splash’ and with it goes the good father and the lap I lived on so happily for all my life up to that very day.
All of a sudden I am on my own, no father, no mother, no brothers nor sisters, no lap, no home, no creed, alone in a world I don’t know at all, without any compass or orientation. It turns out to be a blessing. It is a new birth, but this time I am my own man. No parents, no religion, no dogma, no commandments nor “Thou shall not”, just me and everything depending on my own responsibility, my own way of responding to whatever happens on my way.
Of course I do feel very vulnerable for a while. After a few years of growing up I even come to a point where I doubt if I will ever make it or die a premature death. It’s really shaky! For several weeks I walk in the dark winter nights over the beach along the seductive surf of the ocean.
Then on an early morning in spring there is a blessed day again. I wake up and I do feel an overwhelming care for this vulnerable and shaky man being me, an unshakeable dedication to support and love him whatever happens. I will stand by him! I become my own father, my own mother, my own best friend.
Where did this ray of love come from? And where do I go from here? I have seen people dying in despair and this experience sets me on a quest. Is there anything in life which is so glorious that death has no hold on it, so fulfilling that death can be welcomed and accepted with peace in our heart?
I am a university-student by now. I learn to know some possible answers to my quest. I love Abraham Maslow’s panoramas on what we may be as a human being, what our human potential is. I love meeting Roberto Assagioli and Piero Ferrucci and all the friends worldwide of Psychosynthesis. I get familiar and become very good friends with my various sub-personalities. I start learning the art of disidentification and of watching, of witnessing the body and the mind as well, the thoughts and the feelings. More in general, I study humanistic and transpersonal psychology in depth. I participate in the Sufi meditation camps of Pir Vilayat Khan in the Alps and I listen to Jiddu Krishnamurti: wonderful people!
On a sunny day I meet Osho, the midwife of my soul, my Being.
Our parents and ultimately the stars are the native soil for every body and there is a midwife for the birth of our body. Society is the native soil for every mind and the family and the education are the midwives for the birth of our mind. So why would there be no midwife for the birth of our soul, the place where this ray of love came from? Although I am alone on my path there are fellow-travellers. Meeting them I listen to my heart. I can’t do otherwise than letting my heart decide if I will step back from some or come closer to others. Sometimes my heart taps me on my back and reminds me gently that this is not the right person for me to stay with. It guides me towards those who are now my brothers and sisters and today I wonder: what are the characteristics of those I have chosen to be my family? What is their ‘vibe’ that makes me feel close to them?
When I visualize them before my mind’s eye and watch them, one after the other, these are the senses and the faculties of the soul which I see in them:
- a loving heart and an empty, non-judgemental mind, willing to receive
- being interested and a capacity for empathy
- a sense of kindness, warmth and affection, heart-warming hospitality
- the capacity to respect
- common sense, both feet firmly on the ground
- simplicity, sincerity, transparency
- lightness, playfulness and a sense of humour
- the capacity to be creative and at least one eye for beauty
- joy and peacefulness
- the capacity to be courageous
- a sense of thankfulness to life
- a search for knowledge and understanding but above all: a sense of wonder!
Just as our body and our mind have senses and capacities, so has our soul, our being. And such as with this person these bodily and mental senses and faculties are more present and with that person those, so is this brother more blessed with these soul-senses, that sister more with those soul-faculties and a lucky one with almost all of them.
These are also the soul-senses and soul-faculties most dear to me, they are ‘alive and kicking’ in me. I make it my daily ‘meditation’ to live them. In dear friends’ loving eyes I have seen my soul reflected. That’s where friends are for, after all: to sing the song for you that is most close to your own heart and to remind you when you have forgotten it. Exactly this, at least on my Path, is the function of Osho, the midwife of my soul.
I am grown up now, not just grown old for 67 years. Along my way searching has gradually faded and finding has started to dawn. I am that which I have always been looking for. Love and Life and Laughter are alive and kicking inside me as my soul. But my soul is no longer confined to just being within me. I live within the soul also, as a child within the womb, as a fish in the ocean, as I am within being. And so are all of us!
Shanti is Osho’s sannyasin for more than 35 years. A psychology teacher by profession, he translated the books of Roberto Assagioli and introduced ‘Psychosynthesis’ in Holland. He gave numerous workshops on witnessing and accepting sub-personalities. Later he was trained by Dr Edward de Bono in ‘Thinking Skills’ and worked as a management trainer. Nowadays he enjoys writing a book, The Chronicle of the Earth, the history of our planet from the Big Bang up to Now.