The sweet pull of Natsukashi

Healing & Meditation

Madhuri writes about an Ancient Japanese Wisdom Retreat she has been participating in every year.

Kohrogi san and Champaka
Kohrogi san and Champaka

Natsukashi is a Japanese word meaning ‘the original face – the face you had before you were born; your true nature.’

I’ve been to 9 Natsukashi groups now – approximately once a year for the past many years. The group lasts just 3 days, and the exercises are largely similar from one group to the next – so why do I keep going; and why do I consider this group the high point of my year?

The answer is mysterious. I get an image of a soft-serve ice cream machine: you put your cone under the spout, press a button, and the malleable confection comes out; on top of itself – a vertical happening; ice cream on ice cream, piling up until you twist the cone and push the Stop button – and you’ve got this pointy pile, in the vertical present moment.

And when you eat it, it fills your mouth and is welcome!

The group is not a progressing from A-Z in a logical, linear flow, improving you as it goes. Instead, you blessedly sit there, and blessedly embark on the same exercises as before, and each time it’s all different, and each time you see yourself and your life reflected there, with whatever state it’s in, and whatever depths are being granted you.

And you come out… ga-ga, and centred, and happy-for-no-reason; and looking with uncommon well-wishing on your fellows.

But that’s just the skeleton of the thing, what I’ve described; there’s more…

There’s the music, and there’s the awe-filled joy of suddenly hearing Mr Kohrogi say something astonishing – just as Osho again and again does.

And since Kohrogi-san is Japanese those astonishing things are sometimes cryptic, and need pondering. And that pondering too is a vertical, leisurely delight. Nothing is in a hurry here, nothing is ambitious. We’re just Being, gazing sometimes into someone’s eyes, or doing certain whole-body mudras, or looking at some formative event in our lives with a fresh and bewilderingly cosmic perspective.

Kohrogi san singing

Kohrogi-sensei was a rock’n’roll musician before he was a healer – and he still is. We have a lovely concert during each group, where he plays his original songs – the words are sort of Rumi-ish, very poetic – and we dance.

I highly recommend this group – a sweet, short dip in pure consciousness, with juicy warmth around it – music, friends, goodness. And whatever issues you arrive with, you are bound to feel some decided shift, along the way – in some indirect yet direct manner, things just happen.

We know the feeling.

The next group is to be in Provence – in beautiful surroundings, as usual.


Madhuri is a healer, artist, poet and author of several books.

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