Ruediger Dahlke is a best-selling author in Germany. A medical practitioner interested in the healing potential of spirituality, he wrote the introduction to From Medication to Meditation by Osho (published in Germany by Heyne as Das Buch der Heilung). The following is from an interview with him conducted by Osho Times International
Dr Dahlke, your books are about the unity of body, mind and soul. What, according to you, is the role of meditation in health care and healing?
Dr Dahlke: A very central one. I don't think it is a mere coincidence that meditation and medicine go back to the same linguistic root – medi, middle. Both point towards our center – to become whole, to rediscover one's center. And this is the goal of meditation: going back to the center –"meditation."
Here in our practice [a therapeutic institute in Johanniskirchen, southern Germany], the first thing we do when people come to us is to bring them into contact, in a meditative way, with their inner world of images. They come to us because they have read about us. My books decode illnesses as symbolic messages our inner world is trying to convey to us. I've also made many tapes with guided meditations on various symptoms: back problems, allergies, cancer, etc.
Personally, I prefer silent meditations. But of course you can't tell a patient first thing: "You should do Zen." Somebody is suffering from back pain, so he must first lie down and have a good look at his back problems by meditatively entering into his inner world of images, by listening to what they want to tell him.
You mention that you came across Osho's active meditations in the seventies. What did they do for you?
Dr Dahlke: They did me a lot of good! And the same goes for my patients. Of course, you can't prescribe Dynamic to just anybody, for example, to an elderly man with rheumatism. A physician should know exactly what a patient can or cannot do. And for Dynamic you need a certain supportive space, preferably a meditation center, because with many people doing it together it is so much more intense. I could see for myself in Pune what a difference it makes if 800 people are doing it....
And let's face it, this technique is almost something psychotherapeutic, a cathartic process. For the Western man, that's very efficient.
But while Osho's meditations are more directly to do with spirituality, our own guided meditations are primarily devised for ill people. They are taking a detour via the symptom – which becomes necessary once a symptom has become the center of your attention. It doesn't mean that someone will be stuck with a back-care medication for the rest of his life – at least, I hope not! He would first work out his back issue and then, provided the pain has disappeared, be open for other things like Osho's Dynamic, Kundalini or Mandala meditations.
In one of your books, you give the Osho approach credit for having found "a pretty good solution for the problem of "the shadow," and compare it with other movements which repress "the shadow," thus planting the seed for future crises. Can you explain?
Dr Dahlke: That's true, it's my own experience. I don't really know all the other movements, but I know TM and some other methods. If you aim from the very outset at silence, love and inner peace – all wonderful things – then there is a big danger of repression. That's what I call "the shadow."
Once you start expressing the shadow.... When I was in Pune sometimes all hell was allowed to break loose in encounter-type situations. This was very courageous – that in the protective space Osho made available there, people were allowed to express things that had been repressed for a long time. This was not a bunch of cowards. And that's what I had in mind when I mentioned that in my book.
In your introduction you say that Western medical science still tends to confuse prophylactic treatment with early diagnosis. Today, many Osho sannyasins with a personal experience of ten, fifteen years of meditation are offering their skills to the public, insisting that meditators get less sick, that more health is being created in this way on all levels. Would you agree?
Dr Dahlke: Yes. And I can only recommend the meditative approach to everyone. Meanwhile, many have taken steps in this direction, and they are the living proof.
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