Chetna, who grew up as a sannyasin kid and turned 40 this year, writes about her life.
#Physical meetings with Osho – these are short, distinct and powerful memories of my childhood
#Mental meetings with Osho – his words and meditations that sunk in
#Osho Zen stick – moments of love or meditation that have no explanation – ‘vertical experience of the moment’ may be close to describing those times
#In the marketplace – I am learning to bring meditation in my working life
#Physical meetings with Osho #Love #Age 5-7
Our parents would take us to Pune once a year. I remember Osho’s presence as a powerful feeling, while sitting amongst all the people in Buddha Hall. I remember playing with the kids, watching people hugging, kissing and feeling the overflowing energy of the place. Whenever I come across the music from those times, the feeling of ‘at home’ comes back to me.
#Osho Zen stick #Osho Meditation #Age 11
I remember the time I went to Pune without my parents. This was when Osho was in America. I went to Buddha Hall for Osho Satsang meditation. I used to love that meditation because it has a combination of words, silence and dance. The words that hit me were: “Enlightenment is simple and can happen any moment.” I felt how I was diving deep within myself while my body was dancing. When the meditation was over I was still in that state. I remember that the thought came ‘I am enlightened’. Then at some moment my sister whispered to me, “The meditation is over, people are taking pictures of you dancing!” I had to stop then; however, after that I couldn’t speak for a long time. I took sannyas the following day and was called ‘Ma Chetna’.
#Physical meetings with Osho #Love #Age 12
A clearer memory is from the time when we met Osho in Manali upon his return from the US. My father decided to take my sister and me to meet Osho. Wow! I remember the cold trip in the buses to get there to see him. My sister wanted to give Osho a flower so we started trekking through the snow and eventually found a little yellow wild flower. We then took the bus from Kulu to Manali, and then I remember standing in line for darshan. There he was standing silently with joined hands. If I can remember that moment from 28 years ago so clearly, it must have made a big impact! It was my first physical experience of snowfall, and of Osho.
#Osho Zen stick #Osho Meditations, books, audio and videos #Age 6-20
We used to go to the 3-day Osho meditation camps which Dad organised throughout Rajasthan. This was his passion other than his work. He was rebelling from the rest of the family. The memories from those times were amazing…all of us kids enjoying different games that we created while our parents were meditating. Once in a while we would playfully go and join the meditation. Then slowly I started participating in more and more meditations. By the third day I felt those melting moments. I felt to stay in silence long after.
Osho Dynamic meditation – I had a love-hate relationship with this meditation. I loved it when there was an inner urge to do it. I hated it when Dad wanted me to do it. My urge for different meditations changed too…. I would sometimes enjoy transforming my emotions rather than expressing them. I re-discovered this meditation at a later stage of my life. When my sinus problems were gone, my breath was deep and my lungs were strong after Yoga practice, I dived again into Dynamic Meditation and realized the power of it, in shifting thoughts, unchaining emotions and accessing the powerhouse of ‘Hoo!’ Then the high energy silence and playful celebration. I could describe it as an internal shower. I experienced what Osho meant by asking us to put ourselves 100% in this meditation!
Once there was a 5-week ‘Meditation in the Marketplace’ experience. Every week we would go to a different part of town, find a roundabout and meditate there. This was a movement in India while Osho was in the US. We were literally doing Kundalini in the middle of the traffic! I was a teenager and remember how embarrassed I felt. However, I need to admit now it saved me from the idea that I had to have an image in front of others. Well, if you are shaking like crazy in-between the traffic…you have to give up your image!
#Physical meetings with Osho #Osho Zen stick #Osho Meditation #Age 15
This was the time of Ten Thousand Buddhas. The Pune Commune seemed to be overflowing with loving, laughing, hugging, kissing people. What an energy there was in that place! Osho was back in Pune. I remembered being sniffed by two people before entering Buddha Hall. His dancing hands and the energy of the place is so vivid in front of me. Then his powerful words. While his jokes were not that clear to me, the laughter around was contagious. Then came the moment he took us deeper and deeper in the silence to get us in touch with our Buddhahood. What can I say…
#In the marketplace #Osho – Non Religion #Age 21-35
During my career in the US where I worked as an engineer, manager and entrepreneur I would actively pursue his words and meditations when something was shaking up my world. Otherwise I was busy with adventure trips, making love, making money, learning art, enjoying nature, travelling the globe and experiencing the outside world. Having non-sannyasin partners had an interesting impact on this journey with Osho. The big question I was always asked was, “Is Osho your religion or your journey?” This constant question brought a new light to experiencing Osho’s words and meditations. I had to start to be more aware if it was ‘knowledge’ of his philosophy or ‘experience’ of my own participation.
#In the marketplace #Meditation as Medicine #Age 35-36
Everything in my outside world had fallen apart. I lost connection with my family, had a heartbreak, my company went under, my health went downhill, and months of depression overwhelmed me. Every morning when I woke up I had this feeling of ‘I don’t know what to do!’ While I was still working in these conditions, there was no life left in me. Osho’s words and meditations became medication during this period. I was never before more grateful of his presence in my life!
#Osho Zen stick #Opening to Self Love and Yoga #Age 36-39
I was visiting India for work and my health and spirits were low. My breath was very shallow, I had an hormonal imbalance and a stiff body when I met my Yoga teacher Sunil in Rajasthan. I told him, “Yoga doesn’t work.” After I showed the few asanas that I had learnt in fitness clubs in California, he said to me, “Forget Yoga, you just go and take a vacation.” That’s exactly what I needed!
I ended up going to the Osho Meditation Resort in Pune where I took the course ‘Opening to Self Love’. I was ready to jump into each and every exercise and to explore the many layers within me. I came across the conditionings from my childhood and some expectations that I still wanted to meet. I danced my way out of the course…I hadn’t felt so fresh and new for ages!
This was followed by three and a half years of learning Yoga with my teacher in Rajasthan (personally and then on Skype). Yoga asanas brought much needed connection to my body, and pranayama put me in touch with my natural breath – slow and deep. I found a natural discipline and I practiced every day. The experience was like shedding old skin. I felt so healthy, joyous, loving, alive. I could breathe a cycle as long as one minute, my hormonal balance was back, my allergies were controlled, and this was just the beginning. You’ll hear more about this journey of Yoga in another article here on Osho News.
#Mental meetings with Osho #My Unlearning Experience #Age 36-39
When I listened to Osho my listening was total! There was no one in-between filtering the words. Then I started ‘squeezing the juice’ everyday! I moved to Pune near the Osho Resort and went for all the meditations. Dynamic became so powerful because I could do the chaotic breathing fully. I could witness my thoughts and emotions shifting. The ‘Hoo!’ was uninterrupted, and there was so much energy in the silence after that, I could have exploded. I kept experimenting with Sufi Whirling, the Laughing Drums and silent sitting. Every day started from scratch…no expectations…just flowing!
I wrote these words in my journal:
Moments when you feel unlimited capacity within you.
Moments when love is overflowing and you see beauty in all surroundings.
Moments when silence and energy meet.
Moments when one jumps deep into it, and whatever is being done becomes magical!
Moments that expanded to minutes that expanded to hours full of energy!
I listened to ‘Yoga: the Alpha and the Omega’ by Osho later on. The most exciting part of it was that his words were not inspiring, but actually validating my experience of Yoga! This is when the idea for ‘EmptyCupJourney’ started taking birth. I needed to find a creative expression for these experiences, and also make sure that I brought back meditation into the marketplace.
#In the marketplace #EmptycupJourney #2012-2014
My journey within is ongoing. Osho’s words from the book ‘Work is Love Made Visible’ inspired me to start the ‘EmptyCupJourney’ project.
While my therapeutic Yoga and Meditation center started out in India, it was in San Diego that the idea of a ‘Playful Zen Lab’ took shape. The ‘Playful Zen Lab’ programmes are e.g. a week of ‘Yoga Immersion’, a week of ‘Active Meditations’ and a week of ‘Zen and Living Arts’. Then we have the ‘Energy Management Lab’ for those playful Zen members who have had a taste of these programmes and are interested in bringing Zen to their daily lives. The Lab has a simple structure and can be personalized for each participant.
The studio is located in the center of the Sorrento Valley where companies such as Qualcomm exist…and has been attracting attorneys, doctors and professionals who start off by looking for stress relief. The structure, framework and tools developed for this studio will be duplicated in various locations, and are now being integrated at the center in India.
The vision is to develop multiple studios in the middle of cities in California and India, to make meditation in the marketplace alive! The cities of America (India is catching up) seem to be filled with entertainment, socialising, social media, scientific researches, sports, gadgets, apps, products, sales. There Yoga is more related to fitness and has an element of competition. Meditations and Zen practices are done in very serious environments and pull only a limited number of people. I think that ‘EmptyCupJourney’ can fulfil the need where ancient Yoga practice and meditation are brought together.
#Mental meetings with Osho #Sannyasin Kid #2014, age 40!
This year I turned 40 and I had been 5 when my parents took sannyas. Osho was in his body when I was growing up and how lucky is that! If you ask me, “What was it like to be an sannyasin kid?” I would answer, “Love, pain, laughter, confusions, life, intensity!” One important blessing in this journey with Osho is non-attachment to him. To live his words seems to be the most important thing for me, to convert my life into an experiment and not to run away from the Zen stick!
Chetna’s life story continues with: My Life with Yoga
Chetna (Reena Daga) was born in the States and grew up in Rajasthan, India. She was introduced to Osho in 1979 through her sannyasin parents, at age 5. She studied Engineering in India and graduated in 1996 and had been working as Hardware Engineer and then Business Development for 14 years in the USA. Since she discovered Yoga she developed ‘Playfully Zen Lab’ and ‘Energy Management Lab’, encompassing Yoga, Osho Meditations and Therapeutic Art at her own studio ‘EmptyCupJourney’, in San Diego CA. www.emptycupjourney.com