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Pramada Harkness
Co-Leading the 21-Day dynamic Meditation Event

As a member of the Osho Academy of Meditation, German-born Pramada has been leading Dynamic and the other Osho Active Meditations for twenty years, both at the meditation resort in India and elsewhere.
Here she recalls what it was like to be co-leader of the first global 21- day Dynamic experiment at the meditation resort in July of 1996.
En route, she includes some useful pointers for anyone leading Dynamic.


     The event was scheduled for June, which some felt was too hot and that therefore no one would want to do it...or lead it! But I've always loved Dynamic and it's helped me so much in my life, so I accepted the chance when I was asked to co-lead the 21 days.
     Three hundred and fifty people participated at the resort in India – which was an amazing amount, considering the heat – and they were really committed; they came every morning. We had posters and announcements and so on in the resort to encourage people to take part.
     It was such a high...a huge energy event. You felt connected to all the people around the world who had made this commitment. Almost every morning my co-leader, Panthen, or I would read out e-mails from around the world. We also had a big map of the world outside the meditation hall: we would pin the messages onto the appropriate place on the map so people could read them.
     Some mornings we would play a short Osho quote – about totality or intensity, and so on. Every morning we would describe the stages of Dynamic. In the resort meditation leaders are asked to do this – to always repeat the instructions – even if everyone present has been doing Dynamic frequently – and also to read the instructions for themselves again and again. The mind loves editing, and it starts developing its own version, embellishing the instructions. So it's good to read them as Osho described them; otherwise, you will be amazed what your mind has started to leave out or add in!
     The "meditation" for the meditation leader is to be present (with open eyes) and provide the right atmosphere and safe space for the meditation. S/he does not participate but is like a guardian, available to respond to anything that should arise during the period of the meditation.
     When anyone leads Dynamic Osho has advised giving verbal support during the meditation. The verbal support can be a real help.
     For example, the first stage, of breathing, is crucial for the whole Dynamic: people need to really breathe totally. So we encouraged people to use the whole body for breathing and to breathe chaotically. Many people don't do that. It is understandable: the mind doesn't want to go into a chaotic meditation; it wants something to hold onto. So it creates a structure – such as a predictable breathing pattern or you having your own, routine way of doing Dynamic. But that, of course, sabotages the intention of the meditation.
     During catharsis we rarely said anything because listening to what is being said can bring people back into their minds. The right encouragement in the breathing stage can build the energy up to such a point that the catharsis takes care of itself. Only if I felt the catharsis was becoming sleepy, or if too many people were lying down, or when they are collapsing, would I say something...maybe just "Keep going!" or "Use all your energy!" or "Throw it out!"

     I've heard it said that Dynamic is really only effective when you can do the "noisy version": loud catharsis and shouting the "Hoo" mantra in the third stage. But that has not been my experience. Out of necessity, the whole 21 days at the resort were without noise, so people could learn to use their bodies in catharsis, rather than just their voices. If you breathe rightly in the first stage, you don't have to scream in the second stage because the energy has opened up and is flowing. Screaming can be very helpful to open the energy but it is not a must.
     Osho has talked about scrunching your face up, making claws with your hands; exaggerating every expression of your body. You don't just stand there and wait for something to happen!
     Some people tend to think the cathartic stage it is just about anger, but we reminded them that they could laugh, shout, jump, cry and be crazy. You don't know what is going to come up for you each day. I personally have felt all types of emotions: from deep grieving to anger to laughter. Sometimes it is a bundle of all kinds of mixed tensions but no definite emotion that you can label...it is just a throwing off of tensions.

     In the third stage, the verbal support from the leader can help people to continue, to go over their limits...because, again, the mind doesn't want to go over its limits; it wants to stay in control. People can get really high – psychologically as well as physically! – on the jumping, and you can support that continuous jumping easily with encouragement.
     In the fourth stage of course there is complete silence and we didn't say anything.
     In the last stage, only in a few instances did I say a word about celebrating. Some people think, "Oh, it's just dance," and decide it's more important to leave the meditation so they can be first in the queue for breakfast in the canteen! In my view, we do that last stage so we can celebrate life; that's what the last stage is about. It is part of the alchemy of the process: you have cleared your energy and now you celebrate.

     In the first week of the experiment, before starting each morning we emphasized different aspects of the breathing; and for another few days, we talked about the silence or about the significance of the last stage, etc. We didn't say too much, as we didn't want to get people into their minds when they'd come to get out of them!
     All talking before and during Dynamic is short, telegraphic and to the point. The attention of the meditator should never be diverted from doing the meditation to trying to comprehend the meditation leader.
     After the end of the meditation we hung around to be available for questions. There was also always a counselor for participants to talk to during the day in the nearby Multiversity Plaza. Not so many people came up with questions immediately, but often during the day when I walked through the resort, people came up just to say how much they were liking the process, how encouraged they felt, and so on.

Encouraging Without Controlling
     I found that when my encouragement was coming from a wanting to control what was happening or to put my imprint on it, I got loads of reaction, people telling me how terrible I was, or to "Fuck off!"...especially in Germany!
     So I started to look at the situation as me and the meditators being one, part of a total happening, an organism in which I was needed as much as they. I tried to tune into it being part of an organic process. That understanding made me very receptive: I was just seeing when and where the participants needed some input. Then, when I began giving the right input at the right time – to keep the energy up or move it to another level – the reaction to me disappeared...even in Germany!
     When a whole group does Dynamic together, every day, a collective energy is created. The right encouragement and presence of the leader can help the process take off. Everyone feels when that happens...and people are really grateful for it.

     There was something of a collective breakthrough in the middle of the second week.
     Through observing what people were doing we – myself and Panthen – could get a feel for where they were at. They were total, they were really committed, but many were not breathing chaotically but in a predictable rhythm.
     So one day, before the meditation started, we decided to focus on this point. We gave people some examples of what it meant to be chaotic. We used the analogy of water – gushing forward in spurts, sometimes going fast, sometimes slow – and emphasized their allowing a similar chaos in their breathing, and supporting it through their body movements.
     Then something happened with the whole group – I think everyone felt it. The whole group went onto another, higher level. It was a breakthrough. Participants became less individuals, trying their hardest separately, and melted into a group energy. Then of course, at the same time, everything became easier. It became more effortless... although in Dynamic you always make an effort in the first three stages.
     On that particular day, after the final "Hoo!" the sound of silence was ringing like a huge bell.

Trusting Chaos
     I understood something about the chaotic meditations that I had never understood before, because I could see the effects right in front of my eyes. It was about trusting the chaotic life energy; about how, the moment you allow, the chaotic life force runs through you the way it wants, not as you want. It's like a river that supports you.
     That insight has effected me in my meditation-leading and in my own life.
     On one hand I have learnt about trusting life wherever it takes me. On the other hand, the deeper I go into mediation, the more I become aware of deeper levels of control, which I didn't even know existed.
     What I can definitely say is that the experience of streaming life energy – if you have experienced it once you will never forget it. It stays with you forever – that life can be an orgasmic experience. Even if you have times when it isn't, you know that it can be...and that there are ways to get back to the space again.

To read Pramada's personal experiences of Dynamic
...The Ultimate Energizer

...Back For More Articles on the Experiments

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Pramada Harkness

Email: harkness@iinet.net.au

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