Gratitude is a Quality of the Heart
Two things come to my mind – Osho and my parents. When I met Osho in 1974, he was a sex guru for me. Then I saw what a human genius this man was, and I could appreciate words like 'Master' and 'Enlightenment'.
Today when I visit the Samadhi, I just feel this tremendous gratitude that I had the opportunity to meet this man, and that he could be my master, friend and father. He showed me my heart and I would just cry with joy.
I remember my mother and father trying very hard. Did they put up with me! They really had to love me, because I put them through hell. When I look back, I just say thank you to existence for giving me such amazing parents.
Now this gratitude spreads into who I am. I am grateful for this short moment I have on this planet.
In your groups you emphasize an attitude of being grateful. How do you get there?
Looking back at my life, I see how self destructive I was. I had so many negative feelings about how I wanted my life to be, what had happened to me and what I had done.
As a teenager, I spent 14 years of addiction going in and out of jails, hospitals and rehabilitations centers. I remember going into therapy. The staff in the therapeutic community would say, "you are not straight", and "you are not coming from your heart". I was lying and manipulating, which was true. But I couldn't understand this heart feeling. I was too busy surviving rather than appreciating. I was into dreams and drugs to escape the world.
Now, I choose to come from a position of love and create relationships the way I would like to be treated. If the other doesn't respond, I don't get caught up with trying to get them to accept my love. My need is to love. I create situations around me, like my Humaniversity family who appreciates me. Gratitude is a result of giving and receiving love, it is an inner space.
Many people have difficulties feeling grateful because they believe that life is unfair. How do you work with them?
First I entertain the externals, the relationships with the world. That's what I call therapy. I help them to let go emotionally of all their reactions, problems and negative histories. That requires correcting a lot of behavior, so they can stop and start to look inside at who they are, where they are going in life, why they are going there, and what their purpose is.
You can rationalize things away, but if emotions are still there, horror trips that haven't been expressed, they will always be in the way. So first we correct the negativity, and then the journey inside to discover their heart can begin. From this loving space, all good things come - appreciation, gratefulness, silence and peace... Buddha nature stuff.
You encourage people to be grateful towards their parents. Why is that so important?
Gurdjieff had written on his wall "You can see how far a man has come by how much he loves his parents".
I can see in therapy, that people want their parents to be perfect. They resent them, they are angry that they didn't do it right. Everything the parents did - whether the kids like it or not - was their way of doing it. To appreciate rather than blame them is maturity. If you would see yourself as a result of your parents, then how can you be resentful to them? It's like being resentful towards yourself.
My basic approach, if the parents loved them, is to get people to let go of their negative feelings towards their parents, and then to appreciate what they did for them.
It is possible that the parents didn't love them the way they needed it. Then that is a great learning too, because they know what they don't want to pass on to their own kids. If they missed something, they need to stop complaining and give it.
What changed in you when you became grateful towards your parents?
When I was a kid, I remember waiting for my father to come home from the ships where he was working. Every time there was a giant celebration. For years in therapy I couldn't see that part, I could only see that he was not there, but I forgot the 'Yippee he's home'.
I don't want to repeat that with my own son. For the first couple of years I had this feeling that I wasn't the father that I wanted to be for my son, Rishi, because he is living in Brazil and I am living here.
Now I can say to myself I'm a great father and I love my son very much. He is there and I'm here and it doesn't mean I love him less.
Appreciating my parents helped me say to myself, 'Okay Veeresh, you want to be the ideal dad, but relax. You are doing the best you can under the circumstances.' I look forward to the time when we can be together; I can be patient.
Today I am grateful for so many things, yet at times I get caught up in my negative trips and those of others. What do you see as my next step?
Geetee, welcome to the human race.
I hear Osho saying "The key to celebration is to celebrate life" He went further "Celebration is not dependent on the situation or whatever you are feeling. If it is a good feeling - great celebrate. If it is a bad feeling - great celebrate". That means appreciating that you are alive.
So Geetee, when you get all these negative feelings, celebrate that you can mindfuck and go through this whole process, because you are human. You want to look at yourself, search, be and appreciate.
What helps you to come back to gratefulness when you are disappointed?
I have this little gimmick in my brain. When I feel stress, expectations or disappointment, I say to myself, Veeresh you are perfect just the way you are". Then I come home.
In Rajneeshpuram, I said to Osho: "I feel like a misfit. I don't fit anywhere. I'm kind of lost and need you to say that I'm okay." His answer was "Not only you are okay, but you are perfect just the way you are." That got deeply imprinted in my brain, "when you are lost, don't forget that you are perfect just the way you are."
Once you have reached the space of gratefulness, can you ever fall out of it?
I sometimes see myself closing off to the outside with reactions to stress, problems, trips or whatever. That is only outside, not on the inside. The space is still there, even though I can't express it. I can go into a black hole for a while, but I know the way home. Once you are home, then you've got it.
What are you grateful for in your life today?
I love so many people, and I feel loved by so many people in my life. That's quite an accomplishment. When I look back at the last 72 years, I say, "Veeresh you have created a lot of friends around the world. They love you, and you can fool many, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." I get so many beautiful messages, cards and people saying thank you. I affected their lives. My big turn on is to see loving transformation happening with people. I love to see that I have something to do with bringing out this beautiful love inside everyone. I'm grateful about that.
Would you like to add anything to complete the interview?
For me the Osho Humaniversity is an extension of Osho's dream, an opportunity to be myself, to share who I am and express my love. I feel very fortunate and grateful that I have this chance to be in such an amazing loving family.
I have been reading lately that as a fetus grows, the heart develops before the brain. If you look at society's major accomplishments today, you will see economic greed, military superiority, and religious conflicts. It seems that the major themes are money, bombs, kids being abused, and how to destroy the planet. And then there is the scientific approach, which is limited and does not answer all the questions. All these areas society develops today, but the highest development is of the heart. Then generals would become spiritual, politicians would be caring and religious people would stop fighting.
Love is the highest quality for mankind – the heart space.