Mark O Brien

The Scream

By Mark O’Brien

The scream was one of the most intense moments I experienced in discourse with Osho in Pune (see The Lake of Silence on this website) which happened one night during Osho’s Zen series, probably mid 1988.

Sometimes the energy in Buddha Hall would get really intense, as Osho was pushing everyone to go deeper and deeper into their being.

This is a bit hard to convey, perhaps better to say that each night the collective silence was getting deeper and that created a kind of pressure internally.

Each night we would have the discourse followed by the guided meditation with Osho and, in the peculiarity of meditation, the experience of sitting in Zen, being totally quiet, still, is very different to the experience of vipassana which is more a matter of watching the breath, the mind etc.

Zen is unique.

One night it was really intense in discourse, not so much as what was being said but simply the energy there.

And for me, it seemed it was building and building and building, and all of a sudden there was an incredible scream, that ripped through me, seared me like a fire.

It was a friend of mine, a martial arts person, who just let rip, outside of all protocol, a massive scream and then went still again.

Normally Buddha Hall was dead silent – never any talking (if anyone talked they’d be ushered out very quickly and possibly refused entry for a period) or whispering, no coughing or sneezing (If you had a cough you were asked not to attend, but to sit in a separate room watching a video feed) and no movement.

Of course sometimes you had to shift position, but you were very aware of disturbing others.

Perfume or perfume soap or shampoo was also not permitted, and there were people who sniffed you when you entered the hall to screen out those who smelled.

This was partly because Osho had many allergies and was very sensitive to chemicals and scents, and also out of respect for everyone else, as there is nothing worse than sitting in meditation next to someone who smells either from perfume or body odour.

I went into a kind of shock, and it took me some years actually before I was able to go so deeply into meditation again. I felt like I had been violated, as though something precious had been trashed.

What was amazing for me was that when later I watched the video of this discourse, was that when the scream happened, Osho did not flinch or miss a beat.

Here I was, feeling like someone had taken a baseball bat to my psyche, and he was untouched.

My friend was very nervous, as he had broken one of the basic rules about making noise in discourse, and was very relieved when the message came out from Osho’s house to not worry, that Osho understood what had happened, but to try to not let it happen again as it had disturbed others’ meditation.

This made me appreciate the lengths that people go to and need to go to in order to protect the space for meditation. In deep meditation you let your defences down, you become very vulnerable and so need shielding.

There were many structures in place there for this, but sometimes ‘stuff’ just happens.

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