Questions and Answers

Prospective volunteers have emailed some interesting questions. They are not really frequently asked but all the same you might have some of these questions too:

(Not recently updated – some answers may not be relevant anymore to our present situation)

Are you working every day?

Q: But what about working every day? Did you mean there are no days of? I’m curious  why..

A: …about days off, tell me how many days you want, I will discuss it in the team. By the way, we actually do take days off, to go to the beach or on shopping trips or visiting friends and so on. It is not according to any schedule at the moment but it happens. And if you want to go out on a trip all by yourself, you are free to do that also. But when we are here at Osho Garden, we are all usually doing something. Someone cooks because we all want to eat, no? And someone cleans the house, someone waters the garden, harvests our food crops and so on, things like this need to be done every day. So it seems a bit odd if other people then don’t want to work because it is weekend. And there are always so many things to be done – ask any farmer, the cows need milking on Sundays too! And moreover it is healthy to be active, the body likes the daily rythm, it knows no weekends. The big difference is of course that here you can learn to relax all day in everything that you do. Working as a meditation. You are not in a stressful job, running 8 hours a day, competing with others to keep the boss or the customer happy. The work here is a sharing of energy with the community, and it is part of our spiritual development.
Yes, I can understand that it is different than what you are used to, but this is how we like it and I hope you also like this lifestyle.

How many people are living there?

This question is often asked by new arrivals, and sometimes I notice disappointment when there are only a few people at that moment. Because the number is changing from week to week. It can range from just two or three to ten or twelve. It is presently limited by the accommodation to a maximum of 6 or 7 in winter and 12 in summer. But we are working on increasing these numbers. Hundreds of friends are reading our blog, have visited and worked with us for some time since we started last year or are wanting to come and join us. But we cannot give them all food, accommodation and work yet. So if you want to join a large Osho community in Portugal you may have to wait a few more years. Or come anyway, and help us expand this project together, help us to create the extra facilities that we need in order to grow, become a coordinator and take responsibility for a part of what we do. And by the way, the formal answer to the above question is actually that no one lives here. Because all of us are here as volunteer workers on an organic farm, and we all have our permanent residence elsewhere.

Do you have to be a follower of Osho?

Q: Do you have to be a follower of Osho to go/stay?

A: No, you don’t have to be a follower. Osho always only wanted people to discover themselves and be their own master, he certainly did not want any followers.
However we do want people who are genuinely interested to participate in the active meditation techniques. The reason is that without meditation a community may easily end up in an endless discussion about ideals and philosophies. Mind stuff. I experienced in Osho communities how much more relaxed and loving life can be if people explore their inner realities, the No-Mind stuff, instead of focusing on what’s wrong with the world and what to do about that. It is not about the wrongdoers out there but about us. Meditation is a way to improve that part of the world that we really can have some control over: our selves. Even that is not at all easy but if we practice it on a daily basis, most of our potential worries and conflicts tend to dissolve in the end.

Shall I quit my job and change my life?

Q: I appreciate very much that you take the time to explain all this and be very honest. Thank you. Working towards building an ideal of life is something very exciting. We have nothing to loose other than following one’s heart instead of living as robots just to get the pay check at the end of the month! But what I suggest we could do – if you agree – I could come for two weeks so we can discuss more and I can participate in every activities to make myself an opinion. That way, I don’t need to quit my job too soon (Ahrhg, difficult hey to leave the pay check behind ;)). Would that work for you then? Which day at the earliest can I come?

A: I think you are right in that you first want to see for yourself who we are and how it will be for you to live here. Because it will be different in many ways to what you are used to and you can never be sure in advance how you will react to the challenge. Living in a community is different. And in some ways the conditions will be primitive compared to city life. Not that we want it to be so but what we want to create is still being developed, not a finished situation yet. Many people want to live in a community in nature, in theory, but after doing so for a few weeks they are very happy to go back to the privacy and comfort of their city houses and just accept the alienation, the stress, the pollution and the noise as things they can cope with and are already used to. And either forget all about this crazy idea to change their life or postpone it to the future, but this future never comes…. Many people dream, but few really go for it.

Shall I do the Ecovillage Design Course?

Q: I would like to join the Ecovillage Design Education training in Damanhur. I think it is good that I get certified. Then I will feel more empowered and knowledgeable on how I can support the project. How do you find my suggestion? Or maybe actually I will start now the online curriculum….not sure…I have received confirmation that I can still register even if they started already…. That way I can do the training anywhere in the world I will be

A: Damanhur may be a beautiful and valuable experience in itself. And the Online course may be more practical and less expensive.  But whether to do one course or the other or neither is up to you, just do what appeals most to you, and what is convenient. Don’t think we will love you more once you have the diploma. Our appreciation depends mostly on who you already are and your dedication to join us, to share the responsibility to create a beautiful resort for a community of beautiful people. All the essential knowledge that you need for this is already in you.

What do you normally do to enjoy yourself?

Q: Just one small question to reassure me. I am convinced that this is all hard work and you can easily be involved in the activities 24 hours a day, but do you guys take time too to enjoy yourself and so what sort of things do you do normally?

A: Ah! What we do normally to enjoy ourselves? I may have to disappoint you, life will never be normal again. Every day is another adventure. But tomorrow, just to stay close to reality, we are going to a party in Santa Clara, invited by our friend Jaime the master carpenter. Then, also enjoyable – once you get used to it – most of us get up early in the morning to do Chi Kung movements, as a warming-up for Yoga. Then after that we have an active morning meditation, and then a relaxed breakfast. We also enjoy our daily morning meetings, sharing our stories, and planning for the new day. And some of us like to create new vegan food inventions, and serve them for lunch. Also in the afternoon we are taking an hour for meditation. The ultimate holiday, nothing to do but enjoy yourself. And at happy hour there is a glass of beer and wine if you like and music and when the new construction is ready we will organize a dance night once or twice a week, everyone welcome. And maybe karaoke and mantra singing, playing life music, showing movies on our big screen. We have shopping trips to Odemira or the Algarve that you can join if you want to reconnect with the luxuries of a large shopping mall. And this Sunday we are going to have a picnic on our land and taste nature there. In  summer we go to the beach in Zambujeira or Milfontes, or a music festival.
Mmmm, better than me explaining all this, please come over and experience how it feels when you are here, because words remain always on the surface, and maybe next year we are doing it all different again

I want to detach from the globalized destructive empire. But what about my savings?

Q: I am so eager to quit everything here to go and do something that is more meaningful to me – back to authenticity, take control again of our livings by bringing alive again the local activities and the goal is to build a living model that other people in the world can implement too, so hopefully there are more and more places on Earth that are detached from that globalized destructive Empire that just want to use us like robots and do everything the way it wants. But again I hope you don’t mind me asking…you are saying that at the moment the Cooperative foundation is taking care of all expenses, but how long for? I need to know with regards to my savings.

A: Yes, and the sad thing is that many of these bank and industry emperors are believing that what they are doing is best for us, since in their theory the market forces are supposed to bring the greatest wealth to us all. Their philosophy justifies their greed that destroys the rest of the world. It is like a religion, where the ideas about God justify all kinds of sacrifices, especially to be suffered by others, like those who do not believe in the same God. Anyway, I would not worry too much about far in the future financial issues. The Foundation will support the Cooperativa as long as necessary for it to become self-supporting. And I would be very surprised if we could not succeed in growing our own food and produce a little extra. Are we not intelligent and creative?

How can you guys survive without a salary?

Q: I went again on your website and it is good to see that the group living there is young and cosmopolite! I have a few more questions though before I can definitely confirm I will join, I hope you don’t mind me asking…but I am sure you understand that this is a big decision I am taking if I resign from my job. What I would like to understand is how you guys can survive without a salary? Maybe that sounds like a stupid question but no matter how small money you need to go around your days, you sill need some, right? What are your views about that?

A: There is a lot to be said bout this subject and it will not be easy to explain all in this email. It is not only about how we as individuals can survive, but also the community as a whole. At the moment it is all financed by the foundation, but ultimately we will have to practice what we preach, and prove that the lifestyle we envision is not only fulfilling our dreams but also economically feasible. There are many reasons why I think it will work out better than living in the way society is now organized, but we must not forget that presently society enjoys a dishonest advantage by cannibalizing the earth, pumping its valuable resources until it will be dry, abusing farmland until it becomes wasteland, mining for resources in a way that leaves piles of chemical waste and rubbish behind. And even with that temporary advantage it is in crisis and governments are at the verge of bankruptcy. So in order to live in a sustainable way with nature and in wealth instead of a crisis situation we must do a whole lot better than the present society, with all of its very experienced, competitive and efficient organizations.
It will not be easy and it will not be immediate. Developing a fully functioning Permaculture garden that actually produces more and healthier food and also at less cost and effort than monoculture takes up to 9 years. Planting fruit trees is an investment that only starts bearing fruit after a long time. Making interesting products that can be sold is a learning process.
But fortunately there is also some help available. There are forces in our society that promote and support these kind of experiments and because of that there is a number of EU subsidies aimed at some of the things we do.
There is also much interest in learning about new lifestyles and Permaculture and solar energy and as soon as we have sufficient accommodation we can organize workshops.
And we are with many intelligent and creative people and will find ways. At this moment however, we are building it up and still live on our savings. Because of this many of our members can be here only for short periods, they have to return to their work. Or want to, because they do not yet dare to give their present security up. Actually you need very little to live here and some savings will take you a long way.

Can you exchange services and do “business” where the community is located?

Q: Regarding the location where the community is located. My personal aspirations for next life would be to build an up and running community where members each have a role in there to keep it going, but also, I know you are in an isolated place and I like to have regular contacts with people and build new relationships. My point of view would be to exchange services and do “business” within the locals as much as possible, would that work you think where you are? I know this is a very idealist aspiration!

A: One of our plans is to reintroduce traditional crops like linseed and hemp to this region. They do very well in this climate, the yield is high, the fibres and seeds are very useful and many interesting products can be made from them. We want to interest other farmers in the region to join us, so we can have sufficient economy of scale to start local production facilities based on these crops. An added benefit is that these crops require no chemicals or artificial fertilizers and will help to reduce the soil erosion that agriculture suffers so much from. Also for initiatives like this there is a lot of interest and support from local, national and EU governments. And lastly: You can help the project by joining and sharing your vision and creativity to reach self-sufficiency!

I really would like to experience what it is. Can this be the new life for me?

Q: I have been highly interested in the concept of Intentional Communities and I have done a lot of research on the Internet. I really would like to experience what it is in order to confirm that this can be the new life for me. It has been several years now that what the current System offers us in big cities is not satisfying me anymore. I refuse the society of consumerism; I think we have lost touch with authenticity and what we are really on Earth for. And most of all, we have lost what Earth should mean for us! I want to live simply, to give around me and share with others the simple things of life. I would like to live somewhere where the people know the values to celebrate are to be healthy and to take care of us and around us. And when I read about Osho Garden I immediately thought it was a great place because the people there really have ideals and they are concretely working to achieve these! There are real projects on track and it is fantastic opportunity that you are open to volunteers to participate – and I will not want to miss that opportunity! I am willing to travel anywhere in the world where I know I can get involved in such a projects and learn a lot of the skills to be auto-sufficient and live in a community. I believe you cannot rely anymore on the System to provide you and instead nowadays you should learn to be independent to get what you need to live and become a producer instead of a consumer. People are made to live in small communities where they can really take time to interact and exchange with each other. Regarding my application to volunteer at Osho Garden, I would be ready to quit my job if I get a confirmation that is possible – I have some savings – and I would really like to stay as much as it is possible and we are working along fine! The only field where I do not feel capable of helping much is the construction, but apart from that I am pretty open to learn and take part to any project!

A: Thank you for your application. My first impression is that you will perfectly fit into our community. The thoughts that you express in your email are indeed what we are inspired by and are doing here. It is also positive that you intend to stay long. In this way you can become a member of the team that manages this project. There are many responsibilities to be taken care of and it helps if we can share this among us in a larger group. It makes me very happy to see that you are so motivated to use this opportunity to join a different lifestyle, this is more important than any specific skill that you could bring to the project. Also I admire your courage to leave your job behind, so much trust in life and in yourself, and in the validity of your own choice.

What is the accommodation and food provided for volunteers ?

Q: What is the accommodation and food provided for volunteers ?

A: For accommodation we have presently 2 rooms in the house, 4 caravans and some tents. We are now planning to build solar heated and insulated domes for volunteers but this will take some time to do.
We provide vegetarian and vegan food.

Do you provide any working clothes?

Q: Do you provide any working clothes like gloves, waterproofs etc. ?

A: Work gloves are provided but we don’t have clothes for you, just take some old things for work. We have boots for you, but no waterproofs, we usually don’t work outside when it rains.

Do you practice trial periods with volunteers?

Q: Do you practice trial periods with volunteers or just see how things are going ?
A: There is no trial period, this is not a job. Voluntary work you can stop any time or if it does not work out for us we can ask you to leave (this has never happened yet).

Do you have particular schedule of working?

Q: I’d like to ask some questions such as if you have particular schedule of working, like certain hours a day and days a week or it’s more like how work comes day by day ?

A: We now oploaded a page called Information for applicants. For the schedule, please read section 5 of that page.

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Kim said,

    How much will the expenses cost as a volunteer? Thanks


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