Yogananda’s journey that led him to crystallize a teaching that is a synthesis of Taoist Inner Alchemy and Human Design.
Before I met Osho I would have been satisfied to encounter any human being who could intelligently answer a few basic questions about what it is all about. I might have been well advised to be careful what I wished for. Questions answered led to questions, buckets of questions. So began the deluge of answers to the meaning of life and existence that had no end.
In the early times, after Osho moved from Mumbai to Pune, he welcomed gifts of books. He still read extensively at the time. I found two books to bring to him. One was Supernature, A History of the Supernatural, by Lyall Watson, and the other was Method in Theology by Bernard Lonergan, a Canadian Jesuit philosopher. I wanted Osho to know that I was a serious thinker! He picked up Supernature and smiled broadly. He didn’t actually scowl when he picked up Method in Theology, but I got the message. I wished I could have disappeared in the moment of shaming I had brought on myself.
The puzzle remained though, in the presence of Osho, master of no-mind, whose silence quelled the thoughts of crowds, his beautiful mind continued to operate beautifully and effectively.
An answer of sorts came one day in the first discourse on Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching when Osho said, “When I speak on Lao Tzu I speak as if I am speaking on my own self. With him my being is totally one.” I had no idea what it meant but I knew it was the answer.
Not much of what Osho said in his Taoist discourses appeared to actually land. I remembered Chuang Tzu, “the empty boat” and “easy is right,” Lao Tzu and “the real truth is not the truth that can be said, and at the same time something has to be said,” balance and harmony matters, and there was a sense that dialectics mattered. In The Art of Dying, discourse three, Osho said,
“We have been trained in Aristotelian logic — which is linear, one-dimensional. Life is not Aristotelian at all, it is Hegelian. Logic is not linear, logic is dialectical. The very process of life is dialectic, a meeting of the opposites — a conflict between the opposites and yet a meeting of the opposites. And life goes through this dialectical process: from thesis to antithesis, from antithesis to synthesis — and then again the synthesis becomes a thesis. The whole process starts again.”
Overcoming resistance and fear I came to be part of the Pune Ashram and from there on for many years the question of the meaning of life went into the background making way for the living process of meditation, inner and outer work, and painful encounters with one’s unconsciousness. In Pune, life was a rollercoaster of bliss and devastation. In Rajneeshpuram, bliss was rare but intense. Grinding devastation accompanied a grounded engagement in real life difficulties.
After Rajneeshpuram I lived a quiet self-sufficiency that must have been the developmental product of the hard times in Oregon. In Pune again with Osho I felt that there was soon coming a time to grow up and be alone in the world. In the early days of the Resort while participating in the Osho Mystery School Esoteric Science Training, a quiet sense of awakening landed that happily managed to sustain itself. It brought with it the sense that the urgent work of this life was done and that a new motivation for living was needed. This motivation turned out to be partly an aesthetic sense of respect for life itself that asked for the journey of self-development to continue, and the other part was a sense of gratitude to Osho, for his heroic commitment to helping us all develop. This suggested in some way sharing what I had received.
Living in Marin County in the San Francisco bay area with Kumud, working as a computer programmer and participating in a graduate masters program in Cultural Anthropology and Social Transformation at the California Institute of Integral Studies, I found out that it was going to take more than a well-developed talent for meditation to survive in this world.
Neglected and overlooked aspects of my unconscious erupted as unresolved personality issues, in a period of breakdown and of acting out. I had to accept that I needed good quality help and support from a source outside of the Osho community. Kumud and I were introduced to Faisal Muqaddam and his Diamond Logos work. Over the next few years Faisal helped me to cultivate a more embodied and human kind of consciousness. For a time too I had weekly psychotherapy and was able to come to terms with very ordinary and real developmental life issues that I believed I had already transcended.
In this same period, Patipada who has become again Mary Ann Winniger, introduced Kumud and me to Ra Uru Hu and the Human Design system. I thought that I had had enough of systems and would pass on Human Design. For Kumud Human Design became a major life interest. I failed to follow through on my resolve to ignore the Human Design system, and I count myself blessed to have been able to learn Human Design and to explore it so deeply with Kumud.
At a certain point as my work with Diamond Logos and Faisal took hold, I began to train to be a Diamond Logos teacher. I also longed to return to live in Ireland. This was strengthened by the aftermath of the events in New York on September 11th 2001. Kumud and I were struggling to live happily together so I gave up my job, returned to Ireland, and began teaching Diamond Logos in London. I reconnected with Punyo who has become again Rina Janssen, and we have been living together in County Kerry in the south-west of Ireland. We would probably not have made it together as far as we have were it not for the shared understanding of our relating made possible by Human Design. Rina has studied Human Design and became a Human Design analyst.
My Diamond Logos students were gracious in going along with me while I learned to teach this work on the job. I had the privilege of offering Diamond Logos teacher training workshops in Europe. My engagement with the Human Design system was immensely transformative, and I wished to be able to bring Human Design insights into teaching spiritual development. This proved not to be easy as there was no way yet established for presenting the Human Design work to spiritual seekers. I settled for using my own understanding of people through their Human Design charts as a partial step towards this goal.
Some years into my work as a Diamond Logos teacher differences about the way the work was delivered arose between Faisal and me, and I felt that these differences were sufficiently consequential for me to discontinue my association with the Diamond Logos work, but continued to teach a small number of students. Questions arose for me about how effective spiritual development work is. I introduced working with the Chinese text, The Secret of the Golden Flower. This is the same text that Osho spoke about in his discourse series The Secret of Secrets. The text combines Zen and Taoist Inner Alchemy approaches, a strange combination if you think about it, as Zen itself is a combination of Buddhism and Taoism.
Last March, almost a year ago, it became clear that it was time for a rethink. The work I was offering was clearly not effective when put alongside the progress that Kumud, Rina, and I experienced through fully embracing Human Design. It was also clear that Human Design offers a very advanced understanding of the potential for human spiritual development, yet could benefit from a Taoist approach to realising this potential. The possibility of a synthesis of Human Design understandings and the practise of Taoist Inner Alchemy called out to be investigated.
With Osho and also with Buddhist, Zen, Sufi, and Advaita, and other approaches, modern spiritual seeking has brought to life the spiritual wisdom of the east. Advances in psychotherapeutic developmental practises and modern understandings of the integration of body and consciousness, along with developments in neurobiology have all contributed to our understanding of our developmental potential. The Diamond Approach and Faisal’s Diamond Logos have brought forward a solid synthesis of modern understandings and spiritual development.
Ra Uru Hu’s teaching of the Human Design system tells us that, since 1781, our capacity for realization is significantly greater than ever before. He makes it clear that spiritual realization is about freedom from the addictive nature of the identified self and equally about the potential each of us has to reach a unique fulfilment in life. He also makes it clear that freedom and fulfilment are inextricably intertwined in the developmental process. This understanding of our potential goes beyond our traditional ideas of enlightenment, non-duality, transcendent love, and divine humanness. He makes it possible to be precise about each person’s different unique potential, and about their way of being free of living a habitual identification with self.
Taoist Inner Alchemy offers the possibility of realizing nothingness as the peak (in a manner of speaking!) of spiritual realization. In the first discourse of The Empty Boat, Osho says,
“If you meet a Chuang Tzu, or a Lao Tzu, or me, the boat is there, but it is empty, nobody is in it. If you simply look at the surface, then somebody is there, because the boat is there. But if you penetrate deeper, if you really become intimate with me, if you forget the body, the boat, then you come to encounter a nothingness.
“Chuang Tzu is a rare flowering, because to become nobody is the most difficult, almost impossible, most extraordinary thing in the world.”
Osho called Tao the pathless path. With a synthesis of Human Design and Taoist Inner Alchemy, the path is no longer pathless. Each of us has a unique path, but we find it by letting go of all the alternative paths we have constructed with our minds, by inverting the course, so that we can live as a nothingness inhabiting our own unique empty boat. Ra Uru Hu has talked about this as passenger consciousness riding in a vehicle or form that functions correctly and navigates us through the true life we are here to live.
This is the magic of a synthesis of Taoist Inner Alchemy and the Human Design system, Osho’s ultimate answer to what it is all about, and the unexpected outcome of my mystical adventure. It offers us the synthesis of freedom and uniqueness, the sense of which drives us to ask what it is all about. For the first time I have a sense of being in a ballpark for working with human evolution and spiritual realization that I can comfortably stand in.
The rethink that took off almost a year ago has been exhilarating and arduous. The first task was to understand enough of Taoist Inner Alchemy itself to be able to evaluate how it could be synthesized with the Human Design approach. The second task was to discern the difference in how Human Design can be presented when it benefits from the flavour of Tao. The third task was to find a way to present the synthesis as a grounded developmental process over time.
Of these the first may appear deceptively simple. As I read through various texts on Taoist Inner Alchemy I contemplated their meaning. Taoist texts don’t tell you anything in a straightforward intelligible way. You have to read them, allow yourself to be bamboozled and wait for understanding to come.
My ultimate guide, Osho, had not after all abandoned me prematurely. As each piece of fog lifted, and continues to lift, here is Osho smiling with great wisdom, as if to say, “I might have mentioned that already!” The sayings on Tao of Osho, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu and the Taoist alchemists are delightful to read, notwithstanding that what they speak is not Tao.
In approaching a rethink of spiritual development, I had wondered for some time how it is that seekers put an enormous amount of time, commitment, and money into different ways of developing spiritually, and while much changes, much also remains the same. It appeared that there was lacking a clear understanding of what is our spiritual potential, and that there was lacking a clear understanding of how to account for the uniqueness of each seeker’s journey to freedom and fulfilment. I knew that Ra Uru Hu had articulated clearly how each individual can come to an understanding and a realization of their own development, yet there has been for the most part the same pattern amongst those who are committed to the Human Design way of development, where there is an enormous amount of time, commitment, and money invested, much changes, and yet much remains the same.
From Osho, I had understood that the way of Tao, although difficult to ‘practise’, offers what perhaps many seekers would consider fulfilment. Human Design and Tao both speak about reality in a similar way, dealing with patterns like yin and yang and I Ching hexagrams. It was clear that a synthesis might be significant. Turning to the Golden Elixir Press and especially the translation by Fabrizio Pregadio of Foundations of Internal Alchemy by Wang Mu, a breakthrough occurred and a synthesis began to take shape.
Osho’s understanding that life needs Hegel after Aristotle is of significance both to spiritual seekers and to the modern world as we grapple with the destruction of life in the name of progress. Ra Uru Hu has pointed to a consciousness called nine-centred consciousness which resonates with Osho’s view of the significance of Hegel’s way of thinking. Gregory Bateson has shown us how to think about life, and Benjamin Whorf has explained that understanding how language and culture block Hegelian thinking in favour of Aristotelian thinking can show us the way to transform our thinking. I have written about these thinkers in an article called Imagination and Rigor in Harmony which is online at emicfocus.com. This makes the difference that one thinks the way life works rather than by imposing thought on life.
If you wish to read more go to the overview page of my website. I welcome to be engaged through the clarifications section of the website in any way that may enhance anyone’s understanding of what is talked about here.
Yogananda lives in the south-west of Ireland, and offers spiritual development workshops and sessions under the name of Obsidian Essence. He has a Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and Social Transformation from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He is devoted to the never-ending question of what ‘it’ is all about and how it works, and is resourced in this by Osho and by the Human Design system. obsidianessence.com
The first workshops of Obsidian Essence will be offered at Dharma Corfu on 29 May – 2 June and 25-29 September 2017.