The Liminalist # 277: False Rainbows (with Lily Dunn)

Conversation with Lily Dunn on growing up with a Sannyasin parent, misguided movements, psychosocial engineering, & the libido, totalitarianism & spirituality, & Osho’s decline.

Part One: The Dangling Carrot of Enlightenment (0 – 30 mins)

Cultural history &  the Osho community, a galivanting stepfather, Jasun’s early childhood, a fraught adolescence, passing the problem back, spiritual bypassing, a bias against spirituality, brainwashed or drugged?, John Judge on Jonestown, intelligence involvement in Oregon, spiritual philanderers, Vice of Kings, early UK back to nature movements, the pendulum effect, psychosocial engineering & the libido, a totalitarian spirituality, animals in a cage, the dangling carrot of enlightenment, the unchanging spiritual hierarchy.

Part Two: Id Culture (33 mins – 1 hr 5 mins)

Who is being exploited, kids in Oregon, Sebastian Horsley, canary in the coalmine, homosexuality & pedophilia in the 1970s, a pushback against religious intolerance, a deadly convergence, gleaning the clues for sexual abuse, the Sannyasin culture, the empathetic witness, the #MeToo, demonizing pedophilia, premature sexualization, shame-imprints, children as burdens, stripped of innocence, a pattern of abuse, public school system & abuse initiation, desperately seeking wholeness, Tim Guest, the fall-out, rave culture, MDMA from Poland, id culture, siphoning the libido.

Part Three: An Unenlightened Life (1 hr 5 mins – end)

Osho’s withdrawal, Osho’s edge & charisma, into silence, Sheela’s power grab, poisonings, Osho’s sexual philosophy & practice, a lifetime companion, the Sannyasin community, positive experiences, the narcissism spectrum, Osho’s final years, an unenlightened life, Dynasty guru, cancer as spiritual failure, the broken promise of false rainbow, burning bridges & cutting ties, the consequences of recklessness, the toll of unaccountability, the error of large movements, noise to signal ratio, keep it small.

Songs: “Primitive” & “Chasing Time” by Joy Zipper; “Oblivion” by The Mekons; “Sooner or Later” by Widow’s Ride.

19 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 277: False Rainbows (with Lily Dunn)”

  1. I appreciated hearing your continued openness, Lily, to Osho and all what happened. It seems like a lot of “Osho kids” had a really bad deal and I know several who are still pissed off about it.

    I spent a few years reading heaps of the books followers and ex followers wrote, just such incredible social documents. I don’t think anything like this happened before. Other gurus seem so tame in comparison to me. Like everyone’s just locked in this room, mechanically following their instinctual nature, and this guy just comes along and kicked the door wide open.

    I recommend “In the Dark and Still Moving” and “The Promise of Paradise.”

    We need another Osho but I don’t think he’s coming back.

    • Baarf; get thee behind me Dev

      We need another Osho but I don’t think he’s coming back.

      praise the Lord; he’s still doing penance in willy wonka’s city of the engorged siddhis for every soul he gobbled up with his trauma-generated superego.

      • The intellectuals had Steiner and Blavatsky but the lovers and misfits went to Osho. He spoke 2 sentences and we felt the call.

        To this day, most of the anti Osho sentiment comes from intellectual males. The women recognise him far better and give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps because his commune, and most of the countless others it spawned, were strict matriarchies.

        As a male coming in, you would have been shocked to see that all the power roles were held by women, something utterly different from the outside world. The guys built stuff and hung out.

        And for sure a lot of crazy shit went down. And of course Osho’s “vision” changed daily. And of course it all ended in chaos.

        But there’s still a huge legacy from one man’s presence on this earth. And it mostly happened from his capacity to unlock the immense power that sits inside woman. That all the guys have been afraid of for millennia.

        • And Hitler freed the Jews & gave them their own nation.

          Nice try Dev. Accountability is accountability. Good frequently comes from evil/delusion; it’s the way Existence turns shit into manure.

          • PS. The above comparison should not be read as implying that “the creation of Israel” = good. 😮 It’s more complicated than that, just as the problematic legacy of Osho is more complicated than a bunch of poisoned villagers, drugged cult members, emasculated males, and “awakened”/power-demented females.

          • Then the shit really was not bad after all, if the results proved out positive.
            Since our perception is narrow we are just not going to know right away.
            That’s it might take a while for the shit to make the apple possible.
            Which puts into question what can actually be said about bad.

          • or, do we really want to make Gd work so hard that He is forever having to turn sow’s ears into silk purses?

            it is necessary that offenses come into the world but woe unto those through whom they come; who wants to be a sow’s ear?

            it’s not about condemning shit as bad, but about identifying shit as shit; only then can it be moved into the manure pile

          • Talking shit:


            We only have to look at Christinanity to see how something wholesome (arguably) can be twisted out of shape by “others”…

            An example of the complexity:

            The impression I’m getting is that at least some of the toxicity was the result of others twisting Osho’s words…
            Can we identify a genuinely toxic element in Osho’s teachings with the benefit of hindsight? If so that element is not shit that can be made into manure. It doesn’t belong anywhere near the compost pile but it still gets transmuted eventually (there is evidence that fungi can “eat” radioactive nuclear waste…)

          • The only constancy I’ve ever found in Osho was his unrelenting challenge of the mind and its desire to know how the world works and what’s going on!

            His discourses frequently appeared to contradict each other, or invite a synthesis that required a lot of letting go on the part of the listener. His most famous meditations were a neo-Reichian pounding of the unconscious mind. He openly courted controversy and negative attention from the media. He acquired immense material wealth, yet blatantly had no regard for it. Everything was rebellious to the core. He tried to leave no firm ground for the mind to build anything on.

            Nevertheless, with hindsight, I’d say a number of things which happened arguably could have gone better, had he been a little less surrendered…

            * going to America and esp settling in hicksville Oregon, as opposed to say Cali.
            * allowing Sheela to usurp Laxmi’s position
            * being in silence for most of his time in America
            * not taking responsibility for Sheela’s behaviour while he was silent

            The last is the only really dubious one to me.

          • >* not taking responsibility for Sheela’s behaviour while he was silent

            that’s the deal-breaker; that and the fact that so many people are clearly still under a spell of worshipful belief about a gifted charismatic & amusing public speaker who left a devastating amount of damaged intestines and psyches in his wake, and that they fall back on circular apologias like “a number of things which happened arguably could have gone better, had he been a little less surrendered…”

            Dev: i recommend reading dark oasis for a glimpse into the decimation which such misplaced worship of self-annointed disseminators of a half-baked mish-mash of eastern + western spirituality can wreak on the psyche (speaking from experience, tho mercifully a combination of my cojones + an oshanic intervention brought me back to the surface before I lost too many brain cells)

            it also might give me some faith that you are commenting at this site for reasons besides the propagation of dogma/the need for an audience


  2. The last few months I’ve come across so many people that have this single-minded focus on “enlightenment”. This word seems to be more and more some kind of a trap to me. As Lily said it’s like a carrot on a stick in these groups and of course more widely as well. Someone I met recently claimed to be enlightened yet while talking to me had to put down others and even subtly mocked me whilst expounding his theories, his ears tuning out when even light softball questioning came his way. If enlightenment bypasses deep psychological investigation and introspection inwards and outwards, it seems it is necessary to lower others in order not to have to connect with them. To me, it’s like these spiritual people have taken the fastest shortcut to their preconceived destination.

    Also there is much made about going inward (which I agree) but isn’t it a constant symbiosis? Is this a false dichotomy? True investigation outwards into the world that shaped us can influence and inspire an internal revelation (and vice versa), no? The dichotomy and having to pick a side seems to trip us up. You have to go inward, no you have to go outward! Pick a therapeutic side! The focus on intense meditation inwards seems to further solidify a bubble when I encounter these folks that can make an encounter with them frustrating and vexing. At first, I say to myself “They seem to have it all figured out, am I wrong?” but then like clockwork I start to notice the hints. Anyways, an interesting talk as in my daily life I encounter these next gen of enlightenment seekers who would scoff at investigating Osho as a fruitless endeavor. I look forward to reading the books recommended. I found a pdf of Life of Osho by Sam online. Interestingly, that was the name of the guy who claimed some sort of enlightenment. Some kind of sign? I won’t put too much stock in it 😉

    • Personally, I found that my mind’s attempts to make sense of these things – to render enlightenment, seeking and all this stuff into some tangible framework – just seemed to be some programme it was running and so I just gave up really.

      I can take a position to develop more self awareness. I can work on blocks. These things are more tangible to me, so I do them.

      I’ve been around a lot of people in my time who claimed some level of enlightenment. It seemed, on getting closer, that something flipped inside and they no longer had to identify with their emotional nature so deeply.

      Those who had been through immense suffering prior to this happening seemed to me to have more depth. But there are these days literally thousands of Western gurus about, like Rupert Spira for example, who seem very free in the mind but also detached from the body to a considerable extent.

      It’s easy to go into comparison and judgement in the face of these phenomena but these days I try to just remain more open.

      • “…It seemed, on getting closer, that something flipped inside and they no longer had to identify with their emotional nature so deeply”

        That’s the problem. To me, the people that seem most awake/enlightened are true empaths (to the extent I can discern that). Conversely, in these circles the holier than thou detachment to our “emotional nature” leads people overlook the victims of Osho in a utilitarian “well he did more good than harm analysis” A societal view rather than an individual view which you seem to have above. An extreme renunciation of the mind (which can be of great aid to us) leads to an inability to distinguish, or rather, it’s the result.


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