Maneesha visits Osho Leela in Dorset, UK
It must have been about 10 years ago that I first approached Osho Leela with the offer of facilitating a meditation workshop there. Though in the past it offered predominantly Humaniversity-based programs, according to Devaraj (one of the four directors) that emphasis has been changing since the departure of two former directors several years ago.
That’s my experience too. I’ve always felt tremendously welcome there, and my workshops – based on Osho’s meditations – are much appreciated by both ‘old’ sannyasins and those who are completely new to meditation. I enjoy the little reminder of what it’s like to be in a community set-up again, and to have residents join us in the workshop, as their schedule allows. Devaraj sees meditation as vital for the community’s wellbeing, and each member’s inner development. The ability to recognise and take responsibility for one’s issues is pivotal, and perhaps particularly so when one is living in a small community such as Osho Leela.
With Croydon Hall no longer owned or maintained by sannyasins, and – after the December celebration – no longer offering events organized or facilitated by sannyasins, Osho Leela becomes even more precious for those of us who long to spend time meditating and just being with each other.
Osho Leela was first established in 1997, moving to be near the village of Gillingham in Dorset in 2000.The picturesque two-storied house boasts a group room, eating area, kitchen, bar, sitting room, reception area, laundry, 5 dormitories and around 10 other bedrooms. At any given time, there are usually between 20 and 30 residents, both from the UK and abroad. Their energy and work make possible the year-long schedule of workshops and festivals that Osho Leela offers.
Workshops typically include Tantra, Biodanza, and Humaniversity Training, along with Awareness Intensives and Osho meditation groups. Each year Osho Leela attracts thousands of people (children and teenagers are welcome and especially provided for) to its many festivals: the Indian-themed ‘India, My Love’, festival in May, the Osho Ultimate Celebration festival at the end of August, 2 Tantra festivals, a Biodanza festival, an Easter festival and New Years. All of these (except Biodanza) provide a meditation program, live music and entertainment, as well as the opportunity to socialize and just have a great time generally with kindred spirits.
Apart from the spaciousness of the main house, the grounds surrounding it are generous and include pine lodges, mobile homes, caravans and a camp-site. This means there is ample accommodation, which is needed to house the large influx of participants that each festival attracts. It also means that, with the variety – from dormitory to pine cabin – one has a choice, according to one’s pocket (and availability of course), as to where to stay. As a workshop facilitator, I’ve most often been given one of the pine cabins: an absolute luxury – so cosy and self-contained! – and now something I really look forward to with each visit. I hope it will be mine again when I get back there in spring to facilitate a meditation retreat.
Maneesha who has recently moved to the UK will be offering in April 2012 a ten-day* Osho Meditation Camp at Osho Leela where – along with Osho Dynamic, Kundalini, Vipassana and the Evening Meeting – there will be some of the many lesser-known techniques that Osho has made available. Live music will be provided on one or two days through the ever-popular band, ‘Presence’ (comprising Tarisha, Surabhi, Adarsha, Prabodh and Manu).
*Those who can’t make the entire ten days can opt for a minimum of a four-consecutive-day commitment.