Kaiyum reviews Avikal’s new book.
When the Ocean Dissolves into the Drop
Osho, Love, Truth and me
The subtitle neatly sums up the prime themes in Avikal’s newest English-language publication. Just as Osho remarks somewhere that all autobiographies should be classified as fiction, so too is it clear how Avikal’s perception colours his selection of information, just one composite view of his life-story in 150 densely-packed pages.
Turning points, the center, comprehensions: these are the three main sections which cover part of Avikal’s life before Osho, how he connects with Osho, the development of his dedication to martial arts (a minor theme in the book, but nevertheless present and interesting) and above all how he learns what he needs to know to become the group leader and teacher he is today.
Almaas and especially Faisal come into the picture, and Essence Work becomes a prime focus. Other teachers and guides are mentioned as appropriate – Avikal is generous in his gratitude towards those who have helped him on his path.
Childhood and truth
The reader is provided with numerous openhearted insights into the young Avikal as he finds his way in the world, and such insights are placed within the broader spiritual (sometimes therapeutic) context as only the adult Avikal can:
This moment occurs at around the age of seven and is called “The Great Betrayal”, and it is the period when the child finds himself being forced to forget he exists as an individual; he is forced into being how he should be, and to adapt to the tribe, the family, school, society, religion, and the price he pays is the Truth.
But he will never completely forget.
Listen to what your soul knows.
Avikal excels in taking events and placing them within the whole panorama of his development as a powerfully insightful and skilled teacher, helping others on their way. He describes, for example, the Anti-Fischer-Hoffman therapy that he was finally allowed to participate in, and what that challenging process revealed to him.
Personal growth involves expanding one’s boundaries beyond their limits, physical, energetic, mental and emotional, beyond those dictated by the inner judge and our conditioning in general. This means it is an open system. Therefore, our responsibility, if we want to grow, embodying our potential and our uniqueness, is to let the borders of our body become increasingly fluid, which means becoming more vulnerable and with defences that are mobile and flexible.
In another context he writes:
There is an incredible intelligence in the capacity to recognize one’s own wounds, to feel one’s own wounds and to stop trying to heal them. Yes, that’s exactly what I said. I know I’m saying something that may seem strange to you, even absurd, but in my opinion, we take a fundamental leap in our ability to love ourselves and others when we stop “healing” our wounds and learn to “keep contact” with them, without changing anything. We learn to grow together with our wounds.
Such deep awarenesses are just part of the many gifts this book offers.
Running throughout the book there is the theme of Avikal’s mastery of martial arts. Many brief anecdotes reveal the essential truths that lie behind the motions with the sword, the stick and of course the body.
Citing A.H. Almaas (Hameed) we read:
This flow of essential Presence becomes the true experience of time instead of the linear memory time of the personality.
This seemingly simple statement sums up with crystal clarity the perennial dichotomy of living in a human body and having a mind, being torn between worldly activity (‘of the world’) and true individual freedom beyond the mind (‘in the world’). Avikal’s personal revelations expand on this theme, embellishing his own searching and learning process:
Being in the world but not of the world means consciously changing the direction of your attention and, instead of being focused on what we call the external, it is turned inward, toward the subject himself who is undergoing the experience of everything around him in this and every moment: a hundred and eighty degree turn.
Poignant and to the point
Ultimately Avikal poses the one simple question – Who am I without my story? (so familiar to those who are in any way involved with The Work of Byron Katie) – and pays significant attention to what is required to go behind the masks and, if possible, beyond the mind. The search for Truth, the Radical Enquiry that uncovers the many layers of self-deceit, is crucial to Avikal and his path beyond that of the ‘impeccable warrior’.
Avikal is above all a lover of words. His translator (from Italian) has done a magnificent job, providing English at a high academic level that seems to match the original flow with significant accuracy.
There is, however, a drawback. To read this book requires first and foremost an above-average knowledge of English. Add to that the long sentences – many of which cover 6-8 lines of 10-13 words – and complex grammar involving subordinate clauses within subordinate clauses, and the result can be a very difficult read. Add to all this a somewhat haphazard use of capital letters and punctuation within sentences, and reading becomes even more arduous. The mixture of us/we/our, I/you and one complicates the reading even more: is Avikal talking about himself, addressing the reader or making generalized statements? It’s often very confusing, slowing the reading once again.
Put another way, this book would benefit greatly from a further thorough editing and above all simplification. Then Avikal’s gifts would be accessible to even more seekers who would benefit from the fine examples so humbly and honestly presented.
Review by Kaiyum
All articles by this author published on Osho News
Dedicated page: facebook.com/whentheocean
Available as Kindle from www.amazon.de – integralbeing.com/books
Avikal is founder and director of the Integral Being Institute which is active in Europe, Asia and Australia. In his newest books published by O-Books – Freedom to be Yourself and Without a Mask – with the respective, revealing subtitles Mastering the inner judge and Discovering your authentic self – Avikal provides far-seeing insight into his world of training and personal development. Avikal lives in Sydney, Australia. www.integralbeing.com – articles by Avikal on Osho News