The Divine works in wondrous ways particularly for those who are open enough for
Her to so do. Ambitions can be achieved and dreams fulfilled and in the whirlpool
of energy that is Glastonbury at this tumultuous time if something is meant to be
it will be.
I have been a painter all my life and have accumulated over the years many paintings
of our beautiful earth. Painting pictures is an activity of great personal importance
but I was always conscious that there was more to it than this, that there was another
reason for all this creative activity. For years I have been excited at the idea
of establishing a Studio or an Arts centre where this vital creative work could be
shared. The recent developments in modern technology - particularly the internet
and its huge marketing potential - brought into my life a sense of, yes, this is
the way to make the necessary connections - and an awareness that I did not have
the expertise. Over the same period of time my “Created in Meditation” programme,
focusing on personal expression through drawing and painting, had been running at
Osho Leela in Gillingham and the Shekinashram with amazing results. Running this
programme for a month during Leela’s Summer Festival last year confirmed that the
time was now right - to establish a Centre where these courses and experiences could
be available permanently and in Glastonbury.
So all has come together - the time, the place, the people to work together to establish
The AshTat Centre for Creative Living; and if a dream is to be fulfilled we must
describe it clearly and with firm intention, something I shall now do.
“AshTat” is a combined abbreviation of two beautiful words - Ashram and Tathagat.
“Ashram” is Hindu for community, a place where seekers study under the guidance of
a spiritual master. “Tathagat” as a concept is a spiritual cornerstone which, in
essence, means acceptance. It was a name I was honoured to accept in 2004 but to
which I attach no sense of ownership. It is a concept of universal significance fundamental
in all our lives. AshTat then brings these two concepts together but with this understanding
- that there is no spiritual master or guru to follow other than the one within each
of us. The AshTat Centre is a place of acceptance of you in all your beauty and with
all your faults. It is a place of acceptance - totally.
Many of us are angry, full of guilt and grief, conditioned to suffer as if this is
our birthright. Past life experience, the behaviour of our predecessors, the pain
and suffering of our brothers and sisters, the plight of the beautiful earth which
sustains us all - we are weighed down by it all, choking to death.
We are repressed and imprisoned by mental conditioning since birth. How to dress,
how to behave, what is expected of us at each stage of our lives; we must hide our
emotions and rarely do we express how we really feel. Our lives are half-lived and
experienced only in part. We live within bodies which are rarely fully enjoyed and
are controlled by minds which enslave us to patterns of behaviour forced upon us
by external expectations. We live in fear in a state of mental, physical and spiritual
stagnation - the way society wants us to be so that we can be controlled and easily
For many of us our creativity in all its potential manifestations is stifled, dormant
and unexpressed. We carry it around with us like some dead weight unaware of its
potential. When it is expressed it will often fail to be in totality, fully, completely.
Our fear holds us back from going too far into the process of letting go of the masks
behind which we hide and which prevent us from discovering who we really are.
Creativity is freedom; creativity is grounded in love; creativity is a pathway to
discovering who we are. Creativity is our birthright and becomes a way of life, a
way to health and wellbeing. Creativity is a universal language open to all. The
AshTat Centre for Creative Living will empower all who attend to discover their creativity
and express it in whatever form is right for them, an exciting and life-transforming
The Programme and its facilitation.
Creativity - the act of being creative - by its nature can be expressed in many ways. Therefore
the heart of the Centre’s programme will consist of creative courses in all media
- drawing and painting, 3D work, sound and music, dance, words, a range of crafts
including embroidery, cake making and organic gardening. An integral part of the
programme will be daily meditations and an opportunity to experience a range of complementary
therapies offered by in-house and invited practitioners. Retreats will be available
tailored to individual needs and interests and a volunteer work programme, “energy
exchange”, will focus on participant skills and interests and Centre requirements.
The way in which this programme is facilitated will be a key to its success. All
expectations are dropped. Expect nothing - there is total openness. There is but
one condition - that each participant agrees to enter fully into the process of exploring
and expressing his/her creativity. Facilitators remain aware throughout sessions
of the importance of each word, nuance and gesture in their delivery and presentation
of any aspect of this programme.
There is no judgment - this is better than that, your work is better than mine, this
is the way to do it. There are none of these things. There is no judgment of others
work or of your own. The AshTat Centre is a totally non-judgmental space in which
all effort will be honoured no matter how seemingly humble it may appear - this is
the seed, the first step, the beginning. The greatest required skill for a facilitator
of any aspect of the Centre’s programme is this - the ability to encourage others
to explore their potential creativity in a way that is right for them without any
imposition whatsoever of what the facilitator thinks ought to be. This requires great
sensitivity, intuition and a constant awareness - remaining totally focused throughout
is indeed a great responsibility but fundamental to the success of the Centre’s programme.
Creative expression in whatever form, if entered into fully and completely, has the
power to transform how we are and how we feel, to change the nature of our Being.
Once anger, resentment and grief are expressed we open ourselves to joy, bliss and
love - emotions and feelings which can also be expressed in whatever form we choose.
Coming to understand this is but the beginning of our journey. We have begun, we
have come to realise the potential, we have opened the door and moved into the light.
The chains have fallen away and we are free! We understand that there is so much
more to find within ourselves, to explore and express, and now we are content to
continue on our way. Our creativity, grounded in love, is ours to celebrate. What
freedom, joy and liberation as we discover a new way of Being, a new way to live!
Creativity IS freedom - a freedom to fly, a freedom to be who we are and not what
others expect us to be.
The AshTat Centre for Creative Living will empower all who attend to discover their
creativity and express it in whatever form is right for them - an exciting and life-transforming