Atmo’s start of his inner journey and the ‘plop!’ in Osho’s place in Poona.
Running my own business and having a theatrical career in tandem, my life up to age 40-something was full, to say the least. I was also helping raise my two daughters while at the same time having numerous affairs.
At some point I began, unwittingly, my own inner journey by joining a School of Philosophy for night classes. From there followed psychotherapy sessions, workshops and then practicing yoga. I travelled to Mysore in India to join the Yoga studio of Sri Pattabhi Jois. It was such fun and I was enjoying myself so much. At some point in each one of these activities I always felt, “I can’t go any further with this” and moved on. Shortly after these ‘phases’ I simply decided to stop everything – including giving up my business – and just started travelling for fun.
As a one-man show in business (actually in life also!) I was sure no one would be interested in buying a business that was almost on its knees (because my heart hadn’t been in it for more than a year). Still, I sent out six letters just in hope. Lo and behold, to my surprise I received a reply and subsequently a buyer offered a considerable sum. I could hardly believe it. Eventually I ended up in India to trek from the Kashmiri side of the Himalayas. After one night sleeping in a tent on a slope at an uncomfortable altitude, and awful food to boot, I decided that this was not for me; it was way too uncomfortable and I realised how much I enjoy my luxuries. I then decided to first head to Delhi, then on to Goa and after that I would return to Ireland. So I booked all the flights.
As I sat in my room in Delhi reading the Lonely Planet Guide to India, I came across a section on Poona, references to ‘the ashram’ and the ‘sex guru’. Something stirred in me and I decided that I would just go for the day and have a look. I arrived in Poona and asked a rickshaw driver if he knew where the ‘Osho place’ was. Within a short while I found myself standing outside the Osho International Meditation Resort and asked if I could go in. I was very struck by the sight of people walking around in maroon robes. I thought it to be very strange. The people at the welcome desk told me I’d have to come back in the morning, unless if I wanted to book my stay at the Guesthouse. Slightly bewildered, I accepted that. On checking in I was handed a white robe and a maroon robe (they were handing them out for free at that time), and was told the evening meeting was soon to begin. I had no idea what this was. In fact I had NO idea about anything in relation to Osho.
It felt very strange putting on a robe with just underpants on, but I was going to give this a try; I promptly arrived inside a big pyramid with what looked like a Ku Klux Klan meeting. Anyway, I sat down and then everyone jumped up to dance, so I just followed and began jigging around. The whole sequence was altogether very bizarre for me. Suddenly, nearly having a heart attack after the three drumbeats, this ‘guy’ whom I’d never seen before appeared on the screen. He spoke and spoke and the more he spoke the more I began to feel…‘I know this…’. Something deep inside me was touched. A memory of something I’d forgotten. Then, and to this day, I felt ‘I know this person’. I was totally in the moment and so open to what was happening for the entire period.
As I left the meeting in a kind of dazed euphoria, I asked someone, ‘who was the guy talking?’ Of course they told me it was Osho! That was in October 2006. Six months later I was still there, having taken sannyas and taken part in the Work as Meditation programme for the final three months. This event was one of the greatest gifts given to me, ever. It’s true, when the disciple is ready, the master appears.
As I write this account of my meeting Osho eight years ago, I have just sold my house, my car, and let go of everything in Ireland.
Into the unknown…
Text by Atmo