Subhuti looks inside a therapy training centre that seems to defy the laws of the universe.
To me, Osho Risk is an ordinary-looking place with an extraordinary secret: it defies the laws of the universe. I mean, how can something that looks so small be, in reality, so big? It’s a kind of cosmic relativity that Albert Einstein knew nothing about.
Even though I have visited the place many times, it still surprises me. As I drive along narrow Danish country roads, come over the crest of a hill and see Risk a kilometre away, it looks nothing more than a small clump of trees, surrounded by farmland.
And even when I drive into the courtyard, my car’s tyres crunching softly on gravel, it still doesn’t look very big – a converted farm house, built on three sides, two stories high.
But Risk has a secret, which I can only compare to Doctor Who, the world’s longest running science fiction television series, listed in Guinness World Records as the most successful science-fiction series of all time.
Doctor Who, as everyone knows, is a Time Lord who explores the universe in a time-travelling spaceship called the Tardis. The most endearing feature of this spaceship – a stroke of genius by the programme’s creators – is that from the outside it is very small, the size and shape of a blue British police box (a common sight in Britain back in 1963 when the series first began).
The paradox is that when you step inside the Tardis, it opens into a huge, futuristic control room full of high-tech gadgets capable of taking you absolutely anywhere in time and space.
Risk is like that. The resemblance is uncanny. You enter what looks like an ordinary Danish farmhouse and it opens out into a huge space, in which you are free to explore every aspect of your own inner universe.
“It was the energy that pulled me,” reflected Shayar. “I visited Risk, did a couple of meditations and when I went home I could feel energy from a higher plane travelling with me – spiritual energy, I guess you might call it.”
Shayar is 42 years old, a Danish designer and a seriously good-looking guy. A veteran of many growth processes, he’s been interested in men’s groups, shamanism and also Tantra, which he explored with his Swedish girlfriend who is now nursing their first baby. “For me, the techniques at Risk were secondary,” he mused. “It was the feeling of being in the washing machine of Osho’s energy that was the primary focus. Slowly, I became more rooted in my being – something solid to return to whenever I’m tossed around by the circus of life.”
The Osho ‘washing machine’ is a familiar story for many sannyasins, but at Risk there’s a unique twist to the tale. Here, they’ve been offering a process that’s been going on for 25 years which was approved by Osho himself.
“It came as a surprise to us,” said Anjee Carlsen, a long-time Risk director and a practicing psychotherapist. “After we bought the farmhouse and formed a meditation centre, we had the idea to create a therapy training program for people in career jobs who didn’t have time to go to Pune.
they are my people;
they can offer
“Up to that point, long trainings had always been the exclusive prerogative of the ashram in India,” she recalled. “You want to train in Osho therapy? Go to Pune! That had always been the understanding. But anyway, we asked our friends in the Pune group department if it was okay and they sent in the question to Osho.
“Osho gave the answer, ‘Yes, they are my people; they can offer a training’. That’s how it began. And now, when long trainings in Pune have become a thing of the past, Risk is one of the very few places on the planet where this experience is still available.”
Risk’s Therapist Training begins every November and lasts for a year-and-a-half. It has eleven sections, each lasting one week, spaced apart by gaps of 6-7 weeks.
“I didn’t know what it was, I couldn’t afford it, but I knew I had to do it,” recalled Maggie Richards, who heard about the process while chatting in the women’s changing rooms at Osho Uta in Cologne. An Italian friend was talking to her about a ‘life-changing experience’ in Denmark and, even though she was leading a busy life in London as a copy-writer and editor, Maggie made an immediate decision.
“Before she’d even finished her sentence, I knew I would go there,” she explained. “My inner electric circuit was on fire and it meant only one thing: I was going to do the course.”
That was seven years ago, when Maggie joined what she calls the ‘roller coaster ride’ of TT19, the nineteenth Therapist Training to be held at Risk since the program began. “The training gave a lot of support to my inner qualities of trust, healing, self-confidence, friendliness and my devotion to meditation,” she explained.
“I don’t keep all of it with me, but the most important is an unshakable trust in the guiding inner voice that pointed me to the training – that direct connection with the Great Beloved that is inside us all, calling us back home to Love.”
To help with their inner adventure, participants in the training are presented with an impressive toolbox of self-help methods: breathing and movement techniques, primal therapy, counselling skills, self-inquiry, male-female polarity work, body armouring typology, active meditation methods…. The training is loaded with tools that have a single function: to acquaint you with the unfamiliar territory of yourself.
In the past, there wasn’t a user manual for this exploration, but now there is. If you walk into Osho Risk’s reception and look at the bookshelf, you’ll see a big blue book – a very recent publication titled Osho Therapy. Just released this year, it’s a compilation of 21 well-known Osho therapists describing how their work has been inspired by an enlightened mystic.
About half of these therapists come to Risk, each of them leading a separate section of the training, each sharing years of experience in the mysterious art of psychological, emotional and spiritual development.
This is Risk’s version of Doctor Who’s Tardis that transports participants to unknown dimensions of themselves. It is like no other journey they will undertake in their whole lives and, in doing so, they will come closer to each other and know each other more deeply than ordinary people ever imagine possible.
The key to the journey is, of course, the link to Osho. All these visiting therapists have been guided by Osho, have met him personally, have lived and worked in his communes.
When therapy is linked
more than a process
of creating wellness
in mind and body.”
All of them know that when therapy is linked to meditation it becomes more than a process of creating wellness in mind and body. It gives people a taste of being, a realisation of ‘who I am’ beyond the self-image created by a passport, a job, an address, a bank account and a car.
There is no pattern to the sort of people attracted to the training. Some are involved in helping professions, some are mothers, some are in business, some are between jobs, some are young people who haven’t yet figured out what to do with their lives. Mostly, they come from Europe, but participants have included people from Mexico, Turkey, Japan and the United States.
Bernard Behomer is co-author of a controversial book, soon to be published in Norway, in which he invites men to explore their fears, emotions and self-image. The book’s title, in English, is Men Who Look Within Themselves. Bernard, 51, has been running men’s groups in Scandinavia ever since he did Risk’s Therapist Training, ten years ago. It had a strong impact on his life, most notably on his ability to connect with his children.
My children immediately
came closer to me.
It was such a gift,
to be able to embrace
my loved ones
in this new way.”
“Coming back to my family from the training, I could see them more clearly for who they really were, rather than my ideas about how they should be,” Bernard recalled. “My previous attitudes about how my children should behave were not mine; they had been given to me. So when I let go of them, my children immediately came closer to me. It was such a gift, to be able to embrace my loved ones in this new way.”
Bernard explained that, typically, men struggle to maintain an image of strength and control that blocks their feelings and shuts off their inner reality. He laughed when recalling how uptight he was during his first days in the training: “I remember very well, when I entered the training, I saw people hugging each other. That was a shock for me – ‘My God, what to do?’ It was a small thing, because, in fact, hugging is natural, but at the time it was a big thing for me because I wasn’t used to it.”
Overcoming his initial hesitation, Bernard dived into the process, particularly enjoying the freedom of emotional release and opening the door to his inner world through meditation. A few months later, Bernard created his first men’s group, which has been running in Oslo for nine years. His book, co-authored with his friend Caspar Seip, arose from the issues shared in the group.
Participation in Risk’s Therapist Training involves a lot of travelling. To cut this down, some people choose to join the living-in program at Risk and become part of the community for a while. Others make use of low-budget airlines like Ryanair to keep travel affordable. And so, as November rolls around and the first day of the new training approaches, about 20-to-30 people will find themselves driving along Denmark’s backcountry roads, heading for what looks like a small group of trees in the distance.
Inside the grove of trees stands a farmhouse. It looks so small. Who would have thought it has the capacity to transform the quality of human life?
Text by Subhuti
Note: information about Osho Risk, its Therapist Training and other workshops is available at: www.oshorisk.com.
Email inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +45 7575 2500 (4-6 pm). Or make an appointment and drop by for a chat.
Video clip: watch Bernard Behomer’s interview on YouTube via this link: www.youtube.com
Review of the book/manual: Osho Therapy
Anand Subhuti has been a disciple of Osho for 38 years. He first came to Pune in 1976 and has been a regular visitor to India ever since. In the 70s, he worked in Osho’s Press Office and in 1981 travelled with the mystic to Oregon, where he founded and edited The Rajneesh Times newspaper. Subhuti has written a book about his life with Osho, titled ‘My Dance with a Madman’, and recently authored a romantic novel set in Koregaon Park titled ‘The Last White Man’. Both are available on Amazon.