A few weeks ago, a friend suggested I should read Osho. Despite my deep familiarity with spiritual writings, somehow this is a name that had eluded me. I always follow book recommendations, so I immediately started to read Love, Freedom, Aloneness by Osho.
What I love and admire about Osho's spiritual teachings is his brave willingness to challenge our beliefs on sexuality, marriage, and family. This is an area that is cautiously overlooked by teachers such as Eckhart Tolle, who error on the side of playing it safe. For his cleverness, humor, and honesty, the late Osho quickly became one of my favorite spiritual teachers. But I still didn't know much about him.
Then a few days ago, I noticed a new documentary series about him on Netflix called Wild Wild Country and dove right in. I won't go into any detail, so as not to play spoiler, but...wow. This story of the 1980's Rajneesh Commune in Oregon certainly requires some thoughtful analysis by anyone who would follow Osho's teachings. If the teachings are filled with such wisdom, what went wrong in practice?
The answer is simple: centralization. Any idea or philosophy, if implemented in a centralized way, will fail. What went badly wrong in the case of the Rajneeshees is that they followed their guru, obeyed orders from the top, failed to question the system, and ultimately failed to look within. Consciousness is the very act of discovering your personal identity, which is by definition the source of freedom. True spirituality is the unchaining of your true essence from society, the recognition of yourself as spirit, a detachment from anything of the world, an escaping of mind-activity and of ego. Yet the Rajneesh commune allowed itself to become a cult that was based on the very opposite values: ego, arrogance, greed, violence, revenge, attachment, and belief in the external form. In practice, they were a disgrace.
Centralized systems are vulnerable. Concentration of power leads to corruption. Osho and his inner-circle became ego-driven, arrogant, power-hungry, and completely lost sight of the values and principles upon which the community was founded. After just a few years, the movement turned into a sick, violent cult and eventually imploded.
Eckhart Tolle says that any advance in consciousness is never lost. Any gains remain with us and cannot be destroyed. This is certainly true in the case of Osho. Despite all the terrible things Osho and his followers were responsible for, his teachings live on. Sales of his books are thriving and the reason is simple: his words, even from back from the 1960's, are eternally true.
So, looking forward, how might we design a beautiful society based on these spiritual values? How do we set our souls free to love? How do we escape misery? How do we enter the kingdom of heaven in this life? There is an answer.
The time has come for something different: a consciousness revolution that is built not on centralized power; rather, decentralization. On a personal level, we need to absorb spiritual teachings to set us free. Then we can use technology to create our own, inter-dependent social networks. With today's technology, it no longer makes sense to line-up behind a guru or master. Yes, we can look to teachers for guidance...but then we must set our own course. We will connect with others on our own terms, for our own reasons, in ways that are personal and right for us. We no longer need to lose ourselves in the crowd to connect in oneness.
Decentralization sets us free to be the individuals we were born to be, just as we easily and elegantly connect with others who fit with us perfectly. We don't need to buy a piece of land, amass weapons for protection, or engage in silly rituals. We can exist together, in freedom, within and outside these institutions. We can transcend even as our real-world neighbors notice nothing. We will attract no scrutiny, will love all and make no enemies, we will battle with no entity, and we will fully dwell in a place of spiritual truth that cannot be threatened. When we go off course as individuals, our inter-dependent networks will correct us. Decentralization is self-correcting.
The time has come to live in a state of consciousness, abundance, and freedom...yet on our own terms. One such project is what we are doing with "I am" (www.infobeing.com). Perhaps there are others like it. This is the new consciousness revolution. Say goodbye to the sort of thing you see in this picture. The new spiritual revolution is real; and therefore invisible.