A Life Changing Moment

A Life Changing Moment

All of us experience moments when an insight occurs and everything falls into place. It’s as if our eyes suddenly open, everything is seen differently and our lives are never quite the same again. What follows is the story of how I came to such a moment.

I spent a significant period of my life (1972 – 1984) with a master, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. At first there was excitement, liberation from old conditioning and lots of laughter. Then subtle changes started to occur; the gradual but steady distancing of Rajneesh from his disciples. The formation of an inherently hierarchical system, which for many brought a sense of fear and the need for approval. Finally with Bhagwan’s move to America came the increasing sense of political manoeuvres and corruption. For me this culminated one winter morning in Rajneeshpuram, Bhagwan’s commune in Oregon.

As part of the desire for political power a scheme had been devised to bus homeless people in from cities around the U.S. and to give them homes in the commune. Around 2000 people arrived and were welcomed, given food, clothing and shelter along with a sense of being part of a warm family with the promise of dignity. The real reason was to increase the voting power of the commune in the coming elections.

However, this didn’t work because it emerged that these people would not be allowed to vote when needed because they had not been long enough resident in Oregon State. They had arrived at the height of summer and it was now the freezing cold of winter. A team of us were assembled to take away anything they had been given during their stay in the commune including all the winter clothing they were wearing. The man whose suitcase I was going through took off his jacket at my request. He stood in front of me dressed only in thin cotton trousers and the tee shirt he had arrived in, his arms wrapped around him and shivering in the cold, as he pleaded with me to be able to keep the warm jacket. I went to give it back to him but was immediately stopped by the team manager. Against every instinct, every feeling of humanity and compassion, I kept the jacket.

To this day I vividly recall that moment when I went against my own integrity, and despite the feeling of anguish I had for this man, gave away my power and did as I was ordered. Shortly after this I left Rajneesh resolving never to have a master again and from that time on to listen my own truth and find my own authority. This is reflected in my work where I seek to empower people to discover and live their own truth.