My scary meditation experience
I was determined to meditate and went to this Afroz center. But when I left I was more stressed than when I had arrived.
I can say that I am the master of my body, but my mind? Nooo, it drives me crazy quite regularly! I am thinking way too much, especially when I shouldn’t of course, like when I am dead tired and have got only four hours until the alarm clock starts ringing. So when my friend Gülçin told me about the OSHO Afroz Meditation Center on the Greek island Lesbos, I was totally intrigued. I decided to join her and find out about meditation.
When we got there, I saw all my stereotypes materializing: Men and women looking either very desperate or very high, all wearing Ethno clothes and Birkenstock shoes. “What the hell am I doing here?” was the first thought crossing my mind. “Don’t be presumptuous, these people are probably much more beautiful and mature than yourself” I rebuked myself and kept my mouth shot. My friend seemed to be extremely happy to be back at the center and we got plenty of hugs before we were led to a little stone house in the forest. We were for sure going to share it with lots of little bugs and spiders, but I didn’t mind. I was thankful to drop into bed and get a good night’s sleep.
The next morning we missed the Dynamic Meditation. Gülçin said that it was possibly better that way because apparently people were shouting and weeping and she feared I could have got shocked. Which in retrospect would most definitely have been the case by the way. We had breakfast under the trees and I was delighted to find decent filter coffee and a cute red cat which was happily scooping the egg yolks from my plate into his mouth. After my second cup, I felt ready for the beach. We changed into our bikinis and walked down the hill to Zorba. To our surprise it was extremely crowded and soon we found out that it was because of the International Eressos Women’s Festival. I am not sure if they thought that Gülçin and I were a couple too but who cares, we were there to meditate, right.
In the late afternoon we went back for the Kundalini Meditation. We closed our eyes and started gently shaking our bodies to the sounds of the drums. In the second stage we danced on the spot, allowing our bodies to be taken over by the music. You guess what happened: I couldn’t refrain myself from sneaking a peak of the others dancing. I was quite happy during the first half of the meditation actually. The next 15 minutes we were asked to remain still and watch passing thoughts, feelings or sensations go by. In the final stage we lied down on our backs and did the same thing again. During the second part I was bored and inevitably thinking of all the things I shouldn’t have.
The Evening Meeting at 19 o’clock is when everyone in the OSHO center comes together to dance and celebrate before sitting silently. Gülçin started hopping around, followed by two girls who had an ecstatic expression on their faces and for some reason they were both not wearing bras which irritated me beyond the fact that I am a woman with boobs myself. I couldn’t bring myself to dance even though I love dancing in nightclubs. I simply didn’t feel like it, I felt tensed and I have to say I truly envied them for being so free. The celebration climaxed into three shouts “Osho, Osho, Osho” which I couldn’t pronounce neither. Then we sat for ten minutes before music from a tape alternated with silence and was ended by three loud drumbeats.
It was already dark when they showed OSHO’s first sequel. I loved it. Having studied philosophy at university in Zürich, I felt it was such a pleasure to look at this wise men, listen to his words and actually understand. I can read Kant or Wittgenstein twenty times and still don’t get their obviously brilliant thoughts. But I read OSHO’s book like a novel, it’s simply fascinating and very entertaining. He brings in those very funny examples to illustrate his theories. Read Osho World if you want to know more.
It surely wasn’t because of alcohol because we had drunk only tea that night, but the next day, I was like a different person. I was relaxed. We participated in the Dynamic Meditation and I was totally at ease, I even felt like talking and laughing when the others were shouting and making funny noises. At lunch time we had a Sufi Meditation scheduled. This is a very mystic meditation where you think of your body as the earth and your heart as the sun. You are supposed to see that God is in your heart and that this is the reason the heart should govern your life, not your head.
The Sufi meditation was so much fun! After 30 minutes of a continous dance in synchronicity with the other people of the group, we started whirling first slowly and then very fast. At a certain point it felt like I was flying with my arms spread like wings. And all of a sudden that Something happened: I didn’t think! I was completely lost in the movement. That was such an amazing feeling. After the whirling we lied down on the belly with our eyes closed, but there I lost it. The whole magic was gone, I started thinking about lunch and the beach and that I really wished to be able to get up finally.
In the Evening Meeting I danced (with bra!) and had a great time. Then we joined the party and had some drinks at the bar. We went to bed late and I convinced Gülçin to skip the morning meditation and have breakfast at the beach instead. Talking to my beloved friend, swimming and reading books felt like a meditation again. We had spent a fantastic day and went to bed after a vegetarian meal, reading some fashion magazines before switching off the lights. I was lying on my side hugging the pillow, when I felt something on my leg. I was sleepy and thought that my muscles were twitching. Or maybe I had just imagined it? But it happened again. Something was moving and this something was not me! I shrieked and leaped on my feet. Alarmed, Gülçin switched on the light. I was deadly scared to take off my pants because I have a snake phobia and I knew it had to be something long. There surely was no other way out, so I pulled down my pyjama in one fell swoop and was promptly bitten by a 15 centimeter long and thick black millipede.
I suffered a shock and started trembling while staring at my pants on the floor. Gülçin had also screamed and her face was ashen. We both knew we had to find it but I couldn’t bring myself to examine the pyjama, impossible. Gülçin picked it up with her finger tips and I could see how terrified she was. The inspection was fruitless – the millipede had disappeared. That felt even more spooky. To our relief, we spotted it climbing up the wall after a few seconds in anxiety. We agreed that I would stay in the cottage to make sure we didn’t loose sight of it again and Gülçin was going to find someone to remove it from our place. Yeah right, all she had found was a broom that she had collected from the kitchen, but we both agreed that it wasn’t the proper tool — the millipede would escape. Determined, Gülçin ripped open a card box with a candleholder she had bought. We tried to catch the intruder but to our horror, he slipped out of the box. That was enough for both of us. We decided to kill this disgusting insect which actually looked more like an animal to me, due to its incredible size. It was as long as my bloody hand!
My brave friend took off her white sneaker and started hitting it. Mesmerized I watched her. Believe me, being a vegetarian I feel terrible about hurting any living creature. But this thing had been on my bare skin and what’s more, it had bitten me! I was tremendously relieved when it finally dropped to the floor. We gazed at all the walls and the ceiling and there it was — a huge spider. Now spiders are not a problem for me. “I’ll get it, I offered.” “Oh no”, said Gülçin, “now that we are at it, we will proceed.” She climbed on the bed and squashed the spider. Again our eyes wandered to the walls. And again we discovered a reptile above the door. Thanks God the little lizard escaped before my friend had made it to the entrance.
Needless to say that we didn’t sleep well that night and that all the magic of the OSHO meditation had evaporated in the course of five minutes. Still it was a great experience and I cannot wait to finish my book “THE SEARCH”. OSHO uses ten Zen paintings from the 12th century that tell the story of a farmer in search of his lost bull as an allegory for everyone’s search for enlightenment.