Anugyan writes about his life as a bodyworker, Rebalancing trainer and father.
Tobago, West Indies
I grew up in Tobago, surrounded by coconut palms, sugarcane, mangoes, tropical birds, lizards, carnival and curry. For us kids it was paradise. To dance naked in the first monsoon rains, watching the dust under my feet churn to mud oozing through my toes was a sensual delight. My first kite was a piece of toilet paper tied to some cotton thread that I flew happily from our balcony.
I was touched, on returning 40 years later, to feel how my body remembered the taste of tamarind balls, and the warm gentle lazy lapping of the waves. The smells, the tastes – my body had memorized it all. Astounding!
These joyful early life experiences became the foundation of my life and influenced tremendously my understanding of bodily joy and delight.
I never intended to become a bodyworker. Like many of my adventures that happened along the way, it was a chance experience that changed things. I was invited by Anubuddha to be a model in a Rebalancing training in Italy in 1985.
As I lay on the table a whole new world opened up before me. Apart from it being pure luxury to lie there and be touched lovingly by someone I didn’t know, the experience of inwardly exploring my body through its ‘felt sense’, and feeling the amazing connectedness of it all, blew me away. My body was an organic unity that functioned in perfect harmony with and without me! The session ended, I was in space, tremendously expanded, in wonder, quiet and still. Relaxed in a fullness I had never experienced before.
Everybody switched over and it was my turn to give…! I had no idea what to do, but tried to recreate through my ‘felt sense’ what I had just experienced, and copied what the others were doing. And got into a flow. I loved the flow. I was hooked, fascinated. Because in touch I had found a non-verbal form of communication that spoke to the non-verbal sensory me. And it was beautiful, Wow!
Anubuddha commented that I had a natural feel for touch and invited me to participate as a trainee in the next training workshop, which would take place the following year in Pune after Osho arrived back from Bombay.
That’s how my journey into the body began; it made sensory sense. I began to experience myself as an organism, a body/mind. I could think – and I could feel, and sense, and watch. It redirected my energy and brought about balance. I began to explore what it meant to bring awareness into my hands, to tread consciously, to breathe watchfully and to feel that inner vertical alignment in my body. Through movement, my body became the object of my awareness and my connection to the present. I learned to love touch and noticed its magical, non-verbal way of creating inner harmony.
One day during an awareness exercise, I experienced my spine as a fluid, pulsing thing. I was amazed. It was not a fixed column. I knew it was not fixed, but unconsciously somehow the idea was there that it was fixed, you know, a column! That’s what astounded me: my bodily awareness and unconscious were miles apart!
Another exploration began.
Meeting and understanding pain
While I was in the Osho Commune in Pune, my work meditation was assisting in the Rebalancing trainings and giving sessions on Krishna House roof, with the peacock calls and tooting trains. I went through many stages giving sessions. Learning the technique, then refining my touch and sensitivity. Understanding physical pain, emotional pain, mental pain. Perhaps the most profound in all of this was the sense of helplessness I experienced when meeting peoples’ agonies in life. As their pain surfaced so did mine and I often stumbled into the bamboo grove behind Buddha Hall to sit and ground myself – sometimes teary-eyed and shaken by what people had endured.
I was continually in a position of having to anchor myself and not to be washed away by the emotional discharges that frequently erupted in the people I was giving sessions to. It took me a while to understand that touch transforms, and transformation is often accompanied by an energetic release – tears, trembling, sometimes stillness before a storm. Giving sessions began to turn into a confrontation with myself. I noticed how I avoided issues that scared me and was left with an aftertaste. In such a small place, like this commune, I would uneasily bump into the person again and again till I addressed it – and then miraculously it would all dissolve in, guess what – a hug!
Touch is so simple and so profound. Our energy field self-regulates through a deep hug. And hugs happened every day, some lasting an eternity – a maroon still point that everyone else understandingly walked around!
At the end of the day Osho would take us on a galactic tour and gracefully leave us dancing wildly in space.
This was the essence of my process with Rebalancing: tenderly being stripped down. In the evenings Osho answered our questions in discourse, touching on everything we were already experiencing and had yet to experience. One time he talked about how anger could be felt in one’s hands. It was something I was experiencing – I felt exposed.
As a consequence, I became very aware of this feeling of anger in my hands in the sessions that followed. It raised the question for me that, if I was in a bad space, jealous, angry, distracted, how could I touch lovingly? But the miracle was that I could! Somehow through being aware of it and touching, I got into a session-flow which washed me clean. Soon it just dropped away, I forgot about it and flow took over. This was another wow moment. Giving sessions was healing for me too! It made me aware that whatever arose, embrace it and keep going. I was made aware that being involved in this flow dissolved negatives and turned ice into water again.
What I called blocks were the rejected aspects of myself that I hid, and which through touch dissolved back into life’s flow. This for me is one of the mysteries of acceptance, bodywork and human touch. Transformation.
Rebalancing for me, already then, was not only about structure and technique, it was alive. Although there is a technique to it, there is so so much more. Hence it will naturally evolve. That is what I love about it. As my understanding deepened my touch changed. And giving sessions changed me, quietly, and sort of by the side, without fuss.
Initially, I approached bodywork as a technique to fix people rather like a mechanic fixes a car – partly because it was based on the Rolfing model and partly because that’s where I was.
At some point the sessions became an agonising confrontation with the concept of right posture/alignment, wrong posture/alignment. As the understanding grew that there was no right, no wrong and that we were all where we were, the foundation on which I stood crumbled. I had lost my plot of changing others for the better, of accomplishment and being a technician.
I still remember giving Samada a session. She shared afterwards that it was technically fantastic, but it hadn’t touched her! It hit me though!
When my father, Chinmaya, was dying of cancer I wanted to relieve his pain. After a while, during a gentle massage, he looked at me and said quietly, “Anu, will you be my friend?”
My heart missed a beat. I had been trying to change him. I looked at him blankly – gapped out and touched by what he had just said. How to be a friend to your father? He was asking something of me that seemed impossible. Yet it was so lovingly and quietly asked that I just said yes! And in that yes, the seemingly impossible became actual.
His offering of friendship changed completely how we related from then on. He floored me with his jokes which he thoroughly enjoyed and I laughed at his antics that previously would have really embarrassed me. He was very humorous and asked, as I measured him for his coffin, to add a few inches so he wasn’t cramped.
He died some weeks later. I sat with his body for days as it transitioned from animate to inanimate as his personality loosened its grip and the musculature relaxed. He looked beautiful, an opaque statue.
His tender understanding – that changes happen and cannot be done – stayed with me. And for the next ten years or so, I couldn’t give sessions unless I felt a sincerity and intimacy which touched me. It was too much of an agony for me, and the understanding that ‘the body dies!’ was something I needed to digest.
The touch of silence
I have gone through many phases since then: touch is an ever-deepening exploration, the body an ever-expanding universe. I use the word ‘touch’ because Rebalancing is a form, as is Massage, Cranio, Tai Chi, cooking, making love, and life in all its forms. But it all begins with the body. It all starts here. Our sense of touch is the first to develop, the skin our biggest organ. And for me the essence of Rebalancing is simply ‘touch’.
I am a magician
With my hands I can transfer the energy of love, sensuality, presence, efforting, offering,
of going nowhere, of excitement, pain or wanting.
I am capable to do all of this and more just with my hands!
Wow, I’m a magician!
I can hurt, I can heal, I can hate, I can love …
I am a transformer and a generator!
If I am capable of all this, if I am such a creative force, I also can create a life that fulfils me.
If your heart has been touched by a Master
you will also have experienced the touch of silence,
and with time and meditation it deepens.
Silently of course, but surely…
And you notice one day, it is taking over! Tipped the scales.
Conscious touch is what happens.
Being present, going nowhere…
It is possible to follow a script
but the felt experience is a moment to moment now here.
Now touching here, and now here…
It was Zoe’s birth and experiencing her joy, laughter and very abundant YES for life, that propelled me into teaching. The deep trust of her mother as she let go into birthing touched me deeply. Birth and death come together; we separate them but they come together like twins. My heart beat wildly, drumming me from inside. It was no longer possible for me to work just for survival. This new arrival wanted to live and her presence was compelling. Teaching Rebalancing and giving sessions was the only thing I knew that had touched me deeply and so the heart once again decided, as it so consistently has, the direction of my life.
With kids, my seeker-ego got a kick in the pants and tossed out the window. And “my” spiritual practice (sitting) disappeared like water into sand. It dried up, replaced by very alive Zen, two of them. With this change, who I was, was no more. The props were gone and like Zoe I began learning to walk again.
The wonderful thing, I discovered, is that to teach, I had to put it all together; blend right brain with left brain, body and being. The form and the formless. Mind and heart … ouch! That IS a tussle.
Rebalancing is a dialogue of giving and receiving. This exchange heals both. I love the inner transformation that happens to everyone involved. It is a meditation in the body, a context for awareness to grow, a non-verbal expression of love, gratitude, awareness.
As the world spins more and more out of control, I feel bodywork and grounding is needed – every kite needs someone holding the string; we need to be grounded in the body to fly.
Working in post-war Germany I encountered touch deprivation and its consequences continuously: there was a fear to be here, to be embodied; a need to feel safe and physically welcomed.
More and more I came to understand that touch connects us to ourselves and others, it gives us the chance to experience safety in our bodies. Feeling connected reduces fear, anxiety. Touch is the exploration of getting a deeper understanding of our bodies. It validates us as embodied human beings – this is something tremendously valuable to share.
The trainings and sessions are where I flourish and come to life. I love them and the Osho space that arises, the intimacy between the participants and silences of the hearts, peppered with the mind’s insistence on being in control. I used to look for dramatic changes in people but have learned that life grows underground until it is ready to put up delicate shoots. Strength comes from under the earth and changes are unseen till they mature.
Life can appear to be tough as the eddies and rapids swirl me around, but after the falls there is always a deep still pool, and rest, before the journey again gathers momentum. Through all these changes, teaching Rebalancing, Awareness through Movement, and giving sessions has kept me anchored on a path that sprouted from Osho in Pune.
Seeing Osho in Buddha Hall on the night he left his body, lying on the stretcher utterly relaxed and looking exactly the same as when he sat with us, puzzled me.
There seemed to be no difference!
Was he playing his last joke?
Had he really left his body?
If he had, it happened long ago.
There really was nobody there all this time! Wow!
Anugyan works from his practice in Munich, Germany and runs Rebalancing trainings in Europe and Asia. In 2008 he founded Silence of Touch Rebalancing – Awareness through Touch. He lives in Munich with his wife Gyana and their two daughters. www.silence-of-touch.com