You are Electric Shaking with Ratu Bagus - bio energy meditation By Jennifer Juno
Copyright © 2012 Bali Advertiser
“You are electric; you are electric – good, very good.” Ratu Bagus says to me, as he places his hand gently at the middle of my back about two centimeters away from my body. I feel heat shoot to my face as it gets red and hot.
My arms and hands wave in the air as my body begins to shake more naturally, and I repeat the mantra. “Om Swastiyastu Ratu Bagus, I am electric, I am electric.” Continuing to focus on the eyes of the picture of Ratu in front of me, it looms larger than life! I’m beginning a personal journey, by experiencing Ratu’s famous ‘shaking practice’ with his divine energy channeling through me.
For five days I shook off my preconceived ideas of who I am and why I came to feel with my body rather than understand with my mind. It was a tall order for someone who thought they were going to write an article about Ratu Bagus, his shaking practice and bio energy meditation. I recognized we all have the power within us to heal our bodies naturally, whether we understand it or not. Ratu Bagus teaches his students that God resides inside each one of us. Ratu is there to help and advise, providing encouragement and laughter, so we can experience God for ourselves.
SHAKING AS A HEALING AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
To experience the effects of the shaking practice and Ratu Bagus’ healing energy, I spent a full five days at the Ashram in Muncan, near Karangasem, East Bali. Life at the Ashram revolves around the shaking practice lasting about two hours for three times a day. There is no “right way” to shake. Every human body is different and energy moves through each body differently. With Ratu as a facilitator, people shake to clear and release energy blocks that cause, the disease, depression, addiction and disharmony we experience on all levels. With Ratu’s gentle guidance the bodies own Kundalini energy (an unconscious, instinctive force, which lies coiled at the base of the spine) is awakened when the person is ready. This energy is highly intelligent.
From the moment I entered the Taman (a large, central building), it was clear I had to leave my rational, spiritually inclined and analytical mind behind. Loud music boomed during the shaking sessions playing the Beatles, Elvis, Annie Lenox and a range of traditional chanting. A painting was perched on an easel in front of the main alter. It was taken from the penguin movie “Happy Feet” and had Ratu Bagus’ head superimposed on the one of the penguins! All these tools encouraged me to leave behind any previous ideas I had of spiritual healing.
During each shake, I heard hysterical laughter and screaming, and witnessed people twisting and rolling on the floor around me. I felt comfortable with other people’s deep releases having experienced other peoples Kundalini awakenings before this experience. What caught me off guard, however, was the appearance of my own deep, emotional and physical processes, showing themselves within such a short space of time.
The language used at the Ashram to describe what happens when energy encounters a block is called a ‘process’. This process is a release and can take the form of a cold, vomiting, coughing, skin rash or some kind of physical phenomena or symptom. It commonly presents itself to people after the first five days of training and especially after they leave the Ashram. The low vibration energy is where illness begins and gains momentum. When they hit a place of resistance or a block, they must process it and upon releasing the block the body naturally shifts to a higher vibration.
At the Ashram I began to experience cold and flu symptoms and was enthusiastically informed this was a healing sign. This positive sign indicated the shaking was bringing about personal a transformation.
Back at home, my body was full of mucus and for three weeks after I left the Ashram, I had the deepest cough I’ve experienced in two years. This was the most intimate signal that my process was happening through a clearing of my lungs, especially since I had childhood asthma. I also practice Ayurveda and check my tongue regularly to gauge the state of my overall health. When I left the Ashram my tongue looked like a road map. It was covered with white phlegm and had large bumps and spots.
Over the next seven days I continued to shake at home at least two times a day for 25-30 minutes each time to let my body and mind know we were staying at this higher vibration. If there was really an opportunity to heal myself of my lifelong challenge with asthma, I was determined to do the work, no matter how uncomfortable I felt.
On day seven, after leaving the Ashram I coughed up a green pellet about two centimeters that was the consistency of gum. It was the first time I’ve experienced that. The next day the mucus and cough lessened and over the next three days, while still having the cough, my chest and breathing became clearer. By day seven the white film that covered my tongue had burned away, the inflammation had gone down and it was starting to look healthy, pink and smooth. It was a truly amazing process to experience.
Gundola was living in Denpasar after completing a certification course to work on a cruise ship. He had just received an Indonesian passport and visa to travel to New York, and his last step was a medical evaluation. When the test results came back it showed Gundola suffered from Hepatitis C, Carnival Cruise Lines let him go. After a few months of no improvement and spending the rest of his savings on useless medication (the Hepatitis C shots cost three Billion Rupiah each week), Gundola went into a downward spiral of drinking and smoking. Suffering from fatigue and low energy for several months, the whites of his eyes and brown, toned skin acquired a yellowish, jaundice tint.
Gundola’s cousin Wayan Sujana, one of Ratu Bagus’ assistants, suggested he visit the Ashram for one week, just to try the practice and a different way of life. In one week, he felt much better, was less tired and stopped smoking. Ratu encouraged him to stay at the Ashram until his next Hepatitis C check-up, which was in February 2012, nine months after he had been diagnosed. It showed a significant improvement from the June test and results taken a year later on July 31, 2012, showed no Hepatitis C virus at all. Gundola believes his healing came from connecting with himself, connecting with Ratu’s energy and shaking with the intention that his life depended on it.
He says, “In the Ashram, I can heal myself without medicine. I work in the garden to forget my problems, forget about outside problems when you come here. You focus on healing yourself. Staying active, positive and creative, that is what Ratu teaches us.”
There are countless personal stories at the Ashram from both Balinese and Westerners who have healed themselves of Hepatitis C, Endometriosis, tumors, HIV, depression and drug addiction. All regaining long term overall health. A collection of personal essays about students’ individual journeys to regain health and vitality is available at from the Ashram.
ACCESSING THE ENERGY CHANNEL
Physical proof of the energy that surrounds Ratu and the Ashram can be seen online. There are photos of Ratu performing fire ceremonies and facilitating people’s shaking practice with energy orbs. These orbs are balls of energy that connect with our highest potential, freeing any limitations of the mind.
Ratu Bagus’ teachings guide the students to tap into their own innate energy through a channel he provides and the space of the Ashram. Connecting with Ratu’s energy feels similar to tuning into an amplifier. Any natural abilities his students may already have or lie dormant begin to awaken and become stronger, the more the students focus, learn to love themselves and believe in their own innate intelligence to heal. Ratu does not teach from any organized religious point of view, nor does he teach from a place of power and authority. His students learn how to tap into the energetic channel he provides. Time spent at the Ashram feels like an energetic training on how to harness your own channel through the technique of shaking. He combines these intense two-hour shaking trainings, with laughter, love and constant encouragement to keep his students spirits focused on the goal of overall health and wellbeing.
The Mission and the Vision for life at the Ashram encourages you are active, positive and creative. Currently there are 30 Balinese families with 25 children between the ages of 5-18 who live and work at the Ashram, forming the foundation of the spiritual community. Initially, they came because someone in the family was sick, but once they were healthy, many chose to stay and assist Ratu with his mission and vision. While living at the Ashram, Ratu pays for all the children’s school fees, their uniforms and other requirements. Ketut and Sukri have been with Ratu for over 25 years and work out of the “International Kitchen”. When any Balinese family needs anything they come to the kitchen for help. They are given ‘whatever they need as long as they need it’, from this modern day Robin Hood. His contribution over the years in the field of humanity includes, raising orphaned or disabled Balinese children at the Ashram. Accommodating and feeding any sick Balinese (sometimes for months) who require medical help using Ratu’s alternative healing practices. Assisting in life-saving operations (one Balinese child required an emergency operation in Singapore; Ratu Bagus funded the trip and operation)
Social contributions to the community include sponsoring 60 Balinese through a University course where most of the students, were the first in their family and villages to attain such a level of education. Ratu also, sponsors Balinese children at local schools, from pre-school through to high school level.
YAYASAN ASRAM RATU BAGUS INTERNATIONAL
Yayasan Asram Ratu Bagus International has been created as an extension of the Ratu Bagus Ashram. Over the past 25 years the Ashram has developed as an alternative healing center for Westerners and Balinese as well as a social development center for impoverished and disadvantaged Balinese. The Yayasan is funded primarily through Westerners attending and staying for long periods of time at the Ashram. The Foundation has future plans to develop of a school within the Selat (Karangasem) district. Ratu aims to establish the highest standard (Western curriculum) of education so local children have the optimum opportunity to develop and reap the rewards that higher education brings. This is currently a major issue in outlying parts of Bali, away from the tourist-wealth areas. The Yayasan plans to develop a hospital focusing on both medical illnesses and energy-based healing principles (that are now in the field of cutting-edge science). As well as the development of a hospice, where impoverished Balinese, facing a dire prospect of an undignified passing can be accommodated, treated and supported in their final moments.
Entering the Ratu Bagus Ashram for the first time to practice in the Taman with people screaming, crying, laughing and shaking spontaneously, can feel to some like they’ve entered hell on earth. Yet, if you’ve spent time in a hospital cancer ward or held a dying loved one in your arms, you have already heard the shocking sounds of people grasping tightly to life and fighting hard for every last breath. When you stay in the process and trust in the Ratu Bagus shaking practice, you begin to realize just how natural and joyful these responses are to the darkness and negativity in our daily lives. And you are ready for an unforgettable healing experience.
Yayasan Asram Ratu Bagus International is located in Muncan, Selat, near Karangasem, Bali.
For more information, please visit the website at: www.ratubagus.com
Shaking as Medicine
or healing through ecstasy to awaken from our unconscious state of being by Sadhya van Os
Article published in Dutch professional magazine for naturopaths, VAKBLAD VOOR DE NATUURGENEESKUNDIGE – issue 4/10 November 2010, number of readers 7,000
In issue 3/10 of the professional magazine for alternative healing Ria Teeuw has written about several forms of meditation which are excellent for modern man. In this article I would like to zoom in on one of the active meditations that were mentioned in her article: shaking or bringing your body in a deep state of trembling, an ancient method, which is being used successfully since about 15 to 20 years by Ratu Bagus, an enlightened master from Bali.
SILENT MEDITATION TECHNIQUES
Meditation is traditionally seen as sitting silently while observing the phenomena that arise in consciousness – with or without making use of visualization, a mantra or another form of focusing the attention – so that finally the focused attention may submerge into that which is always present: our essence, the source, the divine, the light, atman, the unspeakable or however it has been named.
This is a very valuable pathway, and meditation has meanwhile been widely accepted as a means towards relaxation and a way to prevent and cure diseases. More and more people appreciate its value, even health insurance companies have started to refund the costs for people who participate in meditation courses.
Silent sitting, peace and doing nothing is one side of the coin of being human and the self healing capacity that we all carry inside of us. The other - equally valuable – side to promote healing is the arousal of the life force in the body, the mind and the soul.
Life energy moves between these polarities, so we need to take both sides into account when we investigate how a human being can come to healing and balance. For modern man it is often an impossible, time consuming and frustrating task to sit still, because we are so full of stress and tensions.
Many people also live - energetically speaking - on a very low level, because they are centered in the head and the emotions, which accompany the thinking, with all the obvious consequences for the body. Thinking forms a very tiny part of being human and of what we – potentially - can be. Let me say that I have no objections to thinking, except that thinking has become the master in our lives instead of a very valuable servant.
THE TWO POLARITIES OF ENERGY
Doing something active alternated with being inactive and restful has proven to be a valuable and successful way to transform restlessness and stress into silence and balance. Osho was the first person in my life who made me aware of this. He worked very consciously with these two polarities: his active meditation techniques which combine Western bio-energetic methods with Eastern forms of meditation meanwhile have created a revolution around the world in the field of inner growth. His methods are being used in many ways all over the world, in companies, schools, prisons, spiritual centres and you name it.
Shaking is part of his famous one hour kundalini meditation, which consists of 15 minutes shaking/trembling, 15 minutes let go into dance and spontaneous movements, 15 minutes silent sitting or standing and listening to music with a high frequency and 15 minutes lying down, just being and watching whatever takes place.
SHAKING, AN ANCIENT TRADITION
Like other forms of active meditation, shaking tackles both the issue of stress and tension as well as the low energy level people often experience. It is in fact a very simple method whereby the body is brought into intense shaking or trembling.
Shaking has been used down the ages by tribes, cultures and different spiritual traditions and is a way to wake up our life force, our bio-energy and to tune ourselves to a universal energy, grow in awareness and come to the realization of that which we truly are.
Shaking is therefore an invitation to let go of the control of the thinking mind so we may access our inner capacity for ecstasy, to open ourselves to other dimensions and realms that feed our humanness.
In his book Shaking Medicine (2007, Destiny Books, Vermont), Bradford Keeney – a systemic theoretic and psychotherapist, professor in marriage and family therapy and Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Rock Art Research Institute at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as an initiated shaman and healer – writes extensively about the cultural and spiritual traditions spread around the world in which shaking is used as medicine.
Since about 36 years he practices what he calls the “shaking medicine” and he received initiations and teachings from the Kalahari bushmen in Namibia, the Shakers of St. Vincent in the Caribbean, the Guarani Indians from the Amazon, masters of the Japanese healing tradition Seiki Jutsu, and he has been recognized by elders from all over the world as shaman and healer and holder of the sacred power.
His book shows that throughout the ages shaking has been used in different ways: some traditions tend to regulate the process of shaking whereas others leave it completely free, all depending on the surrounding society and its rules, laws, values as well as the hierarchical structure.
FROM CONTROL TO ECSTASY
Shaking is a way to come to a state of uninhibited passion and free expression of our ecstatic nature.
As soon as we reach a high frequency of being, illnesses of the mind, the body and the spirit, which always have a lower frequency, start to disintegrate and disappear.
This loss of control is for some an enormous attraction and a deep longing; for others it is a reason to avoid this way of working with oneself. But it is exactly that loss of control which brings freedom and makes fundamental healing possible.
Both Ratu Bagus and Bradford Keeney are in favour of allowing the shaking to be completely free, although both find it important that the shaking happens with a focus, as I will explain later in this article. It is in this way that the life force can be free to create whatever is needed for healing to occur on all levels of being.
The fact that shaking and moving in a free, uninhibited manner is a taboo for many people even today, is for the major part due to the fact that many groups in the past who practiced shaking, were opposed, persecuted, imprisoned and sometimes even tortured by the establishment and the institutionalized religions, as Bradford Keeney mentions in his book by highlighting different examples throughout history.
Also scientists who did research on the workings of shamanistic rituals, like the Bushmen in Namibia, contributed - in their ignorance and misunderstanding of what was taking place - to the stigmatizing of ecstatic forms of healing ceremonies by calling them expressions of disturbed, crazy people, even assuming these people were possessed by evil.
In addition to the above, some people object to shaking because it might stimulate the kundalini energy to such a degree that it could disturb the energetic balance of the one practicing the shaking. Of course too much of one or the other is never a good idea; however the fact that you are moving – you are shaking! - is in itself a guarantee that the kundalini energy can be transformed in a safe way. Osho used to say about his dynamic meditation that the very fact that you enter your inner madness in a conscious way is a guarantee that you never go crazy.
As soon as the life force starts to flow freely, she can purify and renew us, give us insights, and heal us from all kinds of diseases, physically, psychologically and spiritually. In this process qualities like unconditional love, joy, ecstasy, sexual strength, connection with one another, with the earth, nature, our divinity, peace and silence are regularly experienced and these experiences find their expressions in numerous ways: through dance, ecstatic movements, through expression of all kinds of sounds, screaming, laughing, crying, lying down or sitting in silence.
JOURNEY AROUND THE WORLD AND MEETING WITH RATU BAGUS
In 2008/2009 I traveled around the world. It was a healing journey that followed on a deep crisis and break up of one of the most important relationships in my life. During these travels I came in contact with shamans, healers and spiritual teachers from South America, New Zealand, Australia and India.
My journey also brought me to Bali and the ashram of Ratu Bagus, where my life took a one hundred eighty degree turn.On his website I saw there was a schedule of three times a day three hours of shaking and I knew – Oh, my God! – that I was about to start on a very profound journey. I was at a point in my life where I knew: it is now or never! So, I took the chance and went for it. I ended up staying two months in his ashram and during this time I cleared many unresolved issues. Most importantly, I started to love myself really for the very first time.
As soon as Ratu greeted me near the entrance of the ashram, where he happened to be, I knew instantly that again I was meeting an enlightened being, someone who radiated such a joy, light, silence, unconditional love and wisdom, that all I could feel was a deep love, respect and gratitude: I was in good hands. In the course of time I got to know Ratu as a true shaman and healer, someone who has access to enormous healing capacities and applies these powerful energies in such a way, that it never takes away the responsibility of the shaker or meditator.
In his ashram shaking happens with the accompaniment of inspiring music. While shaking, the attention is focused by looking at a picture of him, and speaking the mantra: Om Swastiastu Ratu Bagus. This mantra means: “I greet you great soul, I bow down to you great king.” In other words: may that small “I” dissolve into the universal consciousness. So, it is a deep intention to awaken from our deep unconsciousness.
As I am writing this, I realize that some readers might start to feel a certain resistance: looking at a photo of Ratu Bagus and saying his name, it appears you have to adore Ratu Bagus. Let me assure you, that this is not what Ratu is about. The photo’s, sometimes showing him with a smile or closed eyes, sometimes pointing a finger in your direction, are only mirroring your state of being in each moment. The photo of Ratu seems to mirror each movement in consciousness in a perfect way, because the mirror itself is empty. Of course it is wonderful to look at his face, especially if you feel a connection, his face shows so much inspiration and unconditional love. By the way, that too is a reflection of the one who is looking.
Ratu Bagus is against people adoring or worshipping him. His only wish and intention is that those people coming to see him shall wake up and realize their true nature!
THE POWER OF LOOKING……
To give you an example of what the photo can do for you: Often when I was shaking for some hours, the feeling arose that it was enough, I was finished and just wanted to go sit on the toilet or drink some water, in any case find an excuse to be able to stop. I would then ask the photo to give me energy, focus and the courage to continue, and within minutes I was shaking again, full of energy, or I would encounter the pain I so badly wanted to run away from. Although it appeared that the photo gave me that energy, I actually asked my inner being or inner master to generate energy, courage and focus.
By looking at something or someone intently, which in India is known as ‘tratak’, one can explore and experience the depth of one’s being. In fact you do the work yourself. Ratu often says: “I can only help you if you yourself do the work and shake.”
….. AND THE MANTRA
As looking at the picture helps to focus the attention, so does saying the mantra ‘Om Swastiastu Ratu Bagus’, because you have to breathe in and out to be able to speak the mantra. Saying the mantra invigorates you with the intention of wanting to wake up.
HELP FROM RATU BAGUS
Ratu Bagus walks around in between the shakers and oftentimes helps you in exactly the right moment to give you that little push to really encounter your pain or to dissolve it, or burst into laughter and take yourself less seriously. Ratu offers inspirational talks at the end of most shaking sessions and he speaks and responds to the issues that are actual in this moment. Also he works with people to show them what he means by the ‘life force’. His way of working is filled with humor and wisdom, whatever he says always hits the target.
Having said that, it is my experience that I can feel the life force wherever I am on the planet. All it takes is my attention, intention and willingness to open the door and keep it open.
SHAKING: A METHOD OR NOT?
Shaking is aimed at arousing your spontaneity. Life energy is spontaneous, moving energy; that is why it carries the name ‘life energy’. This energy expresses itself differently in each person, all you need to do is follow yourself and no one else.
Shaking often moves into surprising and spontaneous movements that seem to arise from a deeper place inside: sometimes you may find yourself spinning around, whirling, rolling over the ground, screaming, laughing, crying, singing, jumping with the control of the rational mind completely gone, while at the same time being fully conscious.
Other times you may feel a very deep silence or ecstasy.
All these inner and outer movements are expressions of the soul liberating itself, letting you do exactly what is needed to experience that inner freedom and releasing any old baggage. One could call shaking a non-method, because it is all about your process, which is always unique in each moment, duplicating it is impossible.
The flexibility which I have started to experience both inside as well as physically have gained me many compliments about my young looks, even though I am only 54 years already J
PROCESSES AND HEALING CRISES
Through shaking many processes start happening, oftentimes very uncomfortable.
For example there was a time I could not eat for four days. Seeing food almost made me vomit. Meanwhile I continued shaking every day and after some time that nauseous feeling would disappear.
I met a woman in Bali who started to get a really painful rash on her hands. She had been smoking for years and stopped while in Bali, and now through the shaking this “smoke”- energy found a way to leave her system. A year later I met this lady again during a retreat with Ratu Bagus in Rome. She used to be quite large and now she had lost a lot of weight. In fact she had become a totally different human being, fluid, playful and soft. People told me they have healed from allergies, fears, aggression, depression, heart problems, addictions, osteoporosis, illnesses of the immune system and so forth. Bradford Keeney also mentions in his book several cases of healing through “the shaking medicine”.
On the last evening of my stay in Bali, during the shaking, Ratu put smilingly a cookie in my hand. Just these last days I had started to feel rather sick again and even though I used all my energy to speak the mantra and to focus and shake, I honestly felt too weak to shake that evening. I was finished, or so it seemed.
As soon as the cookie landed in my hand, I was suddenly pervaded with an immense powerful energy and my body started to spin so fast, that my thinking could not cope and my mind let go of all control. The energy completely overtook me and I shot like a comet through space and started to experience an incredible ecstasy. The sense of having a body was completely transcended. All sickness disappeared; suddenly there was only light, openness and liberation from any kind of worry.
This made me see the freedom that I am, and with this insight I burst into laughter, fell on the ground, jumped up again, started to whirl again, there was simply an endless source of life energy available, moving me, regardless of what was happening to my body. I realized in that moment that I am this endless source of life energy and that this inner freedom is always present, no matter what challenges I am faced with.
SHAKING IN PRACTICE: A MONEY SAVING ALTERNATIVE
I often advise clients who come to me with back and neck problems, have pains in their joints or suffer muscle pain, to shake and to do it daily and start with 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening. For people who sit a lot or stand a lot, or feel low energy and tiredness, this is a fantastic thing to do in order to give the body a new impulse and be refreshed.
All my clients benefit from this practice and have helped themselves get rid of all sorts of complaints. That is what I love about shaking: it empowers the self healing capacity and this is what naturopathy is all about for me.
The only contra-indication I see thus far is for women who are pregnant less than three months. I have seen pregnant women shake until just before the childbirth, considering the fact that they shake as vigorously or as softly as they feel to do.
I suggest people to always follow their intuition and listen to what the body indicates.
Shaking is for the practicing naturopath a wonderful thing to do in between sessions, or to start and/or end your working day.
Shaking can offer a real alternative for all sorts of medications.
Whenever a client wants to get into this shaking medicine, I always say to them to consult with their doctor or naturopath to see if they can diminish or even stop their medication in a safe way. Let me say that many people have been able to stop taking their medication altogether. A real money saver.
For shaking you do not need much: interest, a CD-player, music which activates and stimulates you to shake, a space in which you can move, and a photo of Ratu, or you could even use another focus which feels good to you, as long as it inspires you to shake. You can shake at home or in a group. You can go to Bali or see Ratu Bagus in Rome where he gives a retreat twice a year.
If you feel drawn to shake, I suggest you participate in an introductory evening or afternoon before embarking on this journey by yourself. It is a well-known fact that meditating in a group works very inspiring and motivating, which also is stressed by Bradford Keeny in his book.
For information about shaking and Ratu Bagus, you can visit www.ratubagus.com
You will find here also all details about shaking in the Netherlands, where you can go for regular shaking sessions and introductory afternoons.
For the book and work of Bradford Keeney I refer you to his website: www.shakingmedicine.com
Copyright photo’s Ratu Bagus Ashram, Bali
Shaking for Enlightenment
While on holiday in Bali Eugène Jacobs chances upon the practice of 'shaking' - a form of meditation that involves rhythmical shaking of the body. His body soon became supple, but his mind had more difficulty with it.
Text: Eugène Jacobs
Originally published in Dutch language in Happinez magazine, October 2009
At six o'çlock in the morning I am moving rhythmically to the fast beat of dance music in a large building on the outskirts of Rome. No, I didn't make a night of it in some club. I'm participating in a five-day "bio-energy shaking" meditation led by the Balinese Brahman and healer Ratu Bagus. Although he is not so well known yet in the West, already lots of stories go around about his extraordinary healing powers.
Shaking is a form of dynamic meditation in which you get your body to shake in a steady flow of movement. It is said to bring healing from serious diseases, strong addictions, stress and all sorts of psychological discomforts. For one hour, I have been at it, giving it my all and the only result is a stinging pain in my knees. At the same time, the exalted conduct of some of the shakers is really getting on my nerves.
The most annoying one is Ms. Whinny. In spite of the accumulated noise of two hundred participants, her continuous, shrill, whinnying laughter haunts me. It undermines the last bit of concentration that I can manage. Is this what I got up for at 5.30 a.m. to be in time for the first shake? I feel irritated and walk over to my water bottle that stands close to one of the walls. While leaning my back against the wall, I see Ratu Bagus walk amongst the shakers with a broad smile. Once in a while he touches someone who immediately goes into some strange antics, as if hit by an electric current. Just imagine Ratu would do that to me! I prefer to stay in the background for now.
A few weeks ago, it all started with such a promising coincidence. On one of our last days in Bali, my sweetheart and I rode a bike over a winding road at the foot of the holy volcano Gunung Agung. We needed shelter for an impending rainstorm, took the wrong turn and ended up at Ratu Bagus ashram, his spiritual community. We had never heard about him, but nevertheless the reception was warm and friendly.
One of his assistants even invited us to participate in the 'bio-energy shaking meditation' that had just started. I asked for explanation, but my question was waved aside. 'Just take part and see what happens.' Minutes later we stood in the big hall of the ashram among many Balinese and some Westerners and were shaking.
It is not too difficult. You just bend your knees a bit and get your body to shake in a regular rhythm by moving the legs up and down. Shaking is an ancient spiritual exercise that is well known in many cultures. In Ratu's version, electronic music helps you to get into the groove. Not much happened to me during that first shake. The conduct of some of the others seemed quite idiotic to me. Some shakers reached a state of exaltation that made them move with furious speed or spin endlessly around. Often someone would start laughing uncontrollably, another one would run around the hall like mad or was rolling on the floor. That happened especially when Ratu touched a shaker or sometimes just even looked at him or her. What mysterious powers did this small man, totally dressed in green, with his irresistible smile possess?
After the shake I talked to some of the participants and began to be impressed by their stories. Like the one about the totally paralysed woman who was brought in on a stretcher one day. Within a few weeks, she was shaking along with the others. On a flyer that was given to me I read that Ratu would give a shaking session in Rome in May and I decided to sign up. I just had to be part of that.
After the first few shakes in Rome I feel a growing doubt if that had been such a good idea. I see people move around me in total rapture, seemingly enchanted by Ratu Bagus' presence.I feel an outsider. During the lunch break, I talk with Jan, who is also new to the shaking. But it seems to click with him. 'I never met someone who is so warm-hearted and authentic', he says enthusiastically. 'So open, so full of compassion. I felt from the first moment that I could trust him a hundred percent.'
German Gisela supports him: 'Ratu is a very simple man with extraordinary powers. He helps you to tune into who you really are. We have lost that tuning due to our materialistic lifestyle, our negative emotions and our ego."
And Reinoud from Holland tells me a bit later: 'Ratu helped me through my divorce, he put my feet back on the ground again. I also learned from him to live more from my feelings.'
All very well of course, but in my head I still hear a resounding, huge 'but'.
Listening with your soul
Ratu is not a man of great discourses. His English is limited and in the beginning his pronunciation makes it hard to follow his talks after the shake sessions. In my notes, I find a collection of sentences. 'What I say you cannot understand with the mind. No problem if my English is not good. I don't speak to your mind but to your soul. Your mind will make a story of what I say. Listen with your soul. Let your soul do the work, your soul is your true self. Your soul knows what is right for you.'
'Love yourself, be positive in life. It is your birthright to be happy. I can help you. You can trust me. You and I are One. By saying the mantra (Om Swastiastu Ratu Bagus = I invite my soul, Great Spirit - EJ) you get connection with me and you tune in to the universal energy that gives life to everything. That way you charge your inner battery, your life energy and your soul can grow. This energy is also called your sacred inner fire, Chi or kundalini energy. This fire cleans out blocks in body and mind. We are all part of this energy, that's why all people are One. By working on yourself like this you work for a better world."
There is something else that Ratu stresses continually: "Keep laughing". He says that laughter opens all our chakras and helps the life energy to flow well through the body. "Laughter frees you from all worries, makes you more conscious of yourself and brings you to Paradise."
I keep encountering my prejudices. My mind is full of questions and demands explanations. I want to understand what I feel and what I see happening around me. And I want no telegram-style messages from Ratu. I want a beautiful spiritual discourse full of deep truths and preferably richly filled with quotes from famous masters.
"Now switch off that thinking mind," I admonish myself during the next shake. "Stop wanting to understand everything." I get distracted again because close-by someone starts growling. "Grrooaauww", it sounds loudly. But wait a minute, it's me that is growling. Then I feel something gets put into my hand. Ratu distributes sweets. He must have charged them with his special energy because when I put them in my mouth my mind stops. At the same time a warm energy rises from my feet to the top of my head. My body takes over. So this is 'being in the flow'... I get an attack of uncontrollable laughter that comes from deep inside.
That evening in bed I realise how my need to always explain rationally influences my contact with other people. I see clearly how my thinking mind uses cynicism and a feeling of superiority as its allies. The side effects of this are the eternal need to compare, judge and think up 'funny' nicknames for people that I find 'queer'. It dawns on me that this is the way I avoid real contact with the world around me. By making my mind the driver of my life, my heart and my sensitivity withdraw more and more. Wide awake, I stare into the darkness. This feels like deep shit and I have to finally deal with it.
My legs are wobbly from lack of sleep when I am one of the first to walk into the hall the next morning. I position myself right up in the front before the large photo of Ratu and begin to shake. The rhythm of the music easily blends with the rhythm of the mantra 'Om Swastiastu Ratu Bagus'. Oh dear, there is Ms. Whinny again. She even stands quite close to me! I start to feel irritated. As I keep repeating the mantra, I look at her and see how she surrenders herself to the movement of her body. Her movements are supple and graceful, her eyes are closed. Sometimes her body jerks as if all her muscles contract involuntarily. Immediately she surrenders herself again to the rhythm of the music. Her face expresses pure happiness and ecstasy. She laughs and it still sounds like a whinny. But this time I don't feel like running away. I would like to put my arms around her. My mind has woken up in the meantime and prevents me: 'Now this shouldn't get out of hand!'
A day later, during the umpteenth shake, suddenly I feel that someone is standing in front of me. I open my eyes and look into Ratu Bagus' laughing face. He purses his lips, moves his head suddenly forward and blows at me. I fly many meters back, as if I am a piece of paper that has become the plaything of a sudden gust of wind. I land in the arms of a person who puts me back on my feet with a happy laugh. A current of energy sizzles through my body and gives me an overwhelming feeling of joy that lasts throughout the shake session and long afterwards.
Scepticism is no match for Ratu's energy, for so much authenticity wrapped up in such a radiant presence. I throw my last reservations overboard and surrender. It feels so good to be around Ratu Bagus. I feel a tingling sensation when I look at him. And the shaking is wonderful. My body feels supple when I jump out of bed at 5.30 a.m. and in the bathroom mirror I am greeted by a big smile. On the way to the first shake! I feel so alive the whole day, happy and free from my compulsive doubts.
That feeling remains when I return to Amsterdam. Well, to be honest, I have some doubts again at times. Not about Ratu, but about myself. With my persistent allergy towards gurus, how can I just embrace this man and take him in my heart? It's a matter of getting used to, but the feeling is fantastic. And the same goes for that wave of compassion for myself and others that overwhelms me when I least expect it.
See for more information about Ratu Bagus and his work www.ratubagus.com
In Holland and Belgium there are shaking groups that meet regularly. Contact Susan Joseph (firstname.lastname@example.org) for Holland and email@example.com for Belgium
Celebrate the wonders of meditation
I'm in a basement in south London, surrounded by friends. We're jigging around to loud house music. But this is no rave; it's a celebration of the spiritual kind. I am about to start a shaking meditation class.
As I begin the session, I try to focus my breathing, let my mind empty and concentrate on feeling the energy flowing through my body.
To help with this, I close my eyes and repeat the mantra 'Om Swastiastu Ratu Bagus' (Ratu Bagus – meaning good king – is the spiritual leader and energy master who developed this form of shaking).
For tonight's session, I'm right at the front of the group in a prime position facing Ratu's picture. The man himself is not present as he spends most of his time helping others at his ashram in Bali.
My arms and legs begin to tingle and my first instinct is to burst out laughing. Is this the laughter energy Ratu promotes to boost wellbeing or a reflex action because I feel slightly ridiculous?
Despite initial inhibitions, I'm soon absorbed into the 'training' (the name shakers give their practice sessions). My body is experiencing noticeable convulsions; my head is bobbing, my arms flailing.
If I go up on tiptoes, I begin to have violent leg shakes. It may look like I'm dancing – albeit in a zombie-meets-Elvis style – but what may seem hard to believe is that it is largely involuntary.
Shaking is described as a bioenergetic meditation made possible by the transmission of energy from Ratu. This calls upon our own energy system to remember and awaken the natural capacity our bodies have for healing.
Put simply, you quite literally shake to release any blocks – mental, physical, emotional – which stop the energy that flows inside us all. Acupuncture aims to do this with needles but, while that technique is a passive process, with shaking you are actively healing yourself.
Testimonials from Ratu's students make for extraordinary reading. He has helped people overcome drug and alcohol dependency, battle stress and heal all kinds of illnesses.
As the two-hour class progresses, the energy builds. More people arrive until there are 20 of us in the room. In addition to the pumping music, there is an increasingly loud cacophony of voices and noises as the people around me begin to 'process' (the term that describes the energy becoming stronger in the body and pushing out anything negative. This processing is the body's natural way of cleaning itself).
I hear laughing, coughing, spitting (ridding the body of mucous is especially common), wailing – you name it. To my left, one woman periodically shouts 'Yes!' while, on the other side, interspersed with a lot of laughing, another is calling: 'Go, go freedom!' No one bats an eyelid – but that's the whole idea.
There is no instructor, just a group leader in charge of the music, and no rules; you just have to open yourself to the energy and wait for whatever comes next. And if that involves laughing or rolling around on the floor, so be it.
At the session's end, there is a clearing prayer, a short silent meditation and then, in a circle, a sharing of experiences. One man says he feels lighter, another describes how he has been having problems with his back and felt some intense pain there during shaking. 'Go freedom' lady says she felt her internal organs grinding around.
For me, the biggest process is the battle over my everactive mind. Every time I attend a session (which I've been doing twice-weekly since May), I make progress. Instead of lurching from one extreme to the other, I drink less, eat less, spend less. I'm calmer, more balanced, less stressed and more in control. The possibility for feeling even better is so close I can almost reach out and touch it.
Wear: Sessions get very hot so wear as little as possible. Shorts and a T-shirt (optional) for men, vest tops and loose trousers for women.
Bring: A bottle of water – and an open mind.
How much: £5
Where: For classes in Britain, Europe, Us and Australia, go to www.ratubagus.com/contactsandgroups or contact Dave and Abi Knight on 020 8390 9318 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma Mahony meditates on a moving experience
The Telegraph - 31 May 2008
First, from India, came Transcendental Meditation. Now, from Bali, comes Shaking Meditation.
Since it was introduced to the UK nine years ago, groups have popped up in Hastings, Hertford, Huddersfield and almost everywhere in between. It can only be a matter of time before the celebrity yoga set joins experienced "shakers" and jets off to the ashram in Bali where it all started with the "enlightened master" Ratu Bagus.
"For the Westerner, it is a wonderful way to relieve stress in a physical way," says Kamini Hola, a former businesswoman in Brussels who gave it all up at the age of 34 to become a yoga teacher. It was Kamini who first demonstrated her hour-long daily practice to me.
Most weekly group shaking sessions last for two hours, including a "clearing" prayer at the end, a short meditation and a group circle chat. Kamini's practice involves keeping her feet firmly on the ground, while vibrating like a child doing an impression of receiving an electric shock. It's all rather reminiscent of Eighties pop sensation Shakin' Stevens.
I join a shaking group in Hastings. Many of the participants have just come back from a week's retreat in Rome, where Ratu Bagus (meaning "Good King") was helping 230 Europeans through their various "processes". The aim was to shake out physical and emotional ''blocks" and ''get the energy".
"The block is something negative that complicates the functions of our body," says Ratu Bagus, who believes that all sickness comes from the mind. "The technique is to get the energy flowing in our bodies and to surrender to the energy and accept it with a smile."
To help them receive this energy, shaking groups recreate a sort of rave party, complete with trance music, candles, joss sticks and a poster of the enlightened master. Some even use tobacco, albeit in its pure herbal form, which they place between gum and lower lip to help them focus.
It's not for me, although I'm all for people dancing, laughing hysterically and screaming when they feel like it. My main concern is that although my visit leaves me feeling energised, those who seem to be "processing" strongly, in an almost religious trance, are supported only by other group members. Surely this level of intensity should carry a health warning?
"There is support within the group," counters Kamini. "Many shakers are trained therapists, and in my experience the 'energy' and its intelligence will only give us what we can cope with."
For a second opinion, I ask cognitive behavioural psychotherapist Dr George Fieldman. ''Meditation certainly has its place in enhancing mental wellbeing," he says. ''But I wouldn't ask any of my clients to embrace this particular version until it has been subject to a scientific evaluation and shown to be safe."
In other words, shake at your own risk.
What is it? Something between a work-out and a religious experience.
Where is it happening? Visit www.ratubagus.com to find your nearest group.
How much does it cost? Most groups charge about £5
The Shaking Meditation co-ordinators for the UK are Abi and Dave Knight (020 8390 9318).
All Shook Up
text by Sarah Doherty - Hello Bali - April 2008
The world is full of strange and wondrous things and sometimes the inexplicable becomes accepted when we let go of our need to intellectualise things. So it is with shaking. A luminous hi-caste Balinese guru, Ratu Bagus, has built an ashram in the foothills of Mt. Agung that followers have helped to establish on the world circuit.
They call themselves shakers and the theories behind the "process" as it is known, will be familiar on some level to many who have practiced yoga and meditation in different forms. It is a strong meditation and healing method that literally has followers shaking, all over. The people here come seeking cures for everything from hepatitis to addiction, from AIDS to burn out, some are simply seeking freedom from attachments and many claim to have found it here.
Paul was a DJ, he worked in nightclubs like Double Six in Bali for five years and was ‘to-ing and fro-ing' between the associated lifestyle and his search for some deeper meaning.
He was in Sydney when he met a Chinese medicine practitioner who was a shaker herself. On his next trip he went to investigate. "I used to finish work at Double Six nightclub, shower and then make the trip up the mountain to see Ratu. It was not until I met my wife, who is Italian, that I fully embraced the process and gave up my former life," he explains.
He and his wife have lived in the ashram for the past year and a half. They are now five months pregnant with their first child and have built an apartment at the ashram where they plan to live. For how long, who knows. This isn't the place to ask questions of futures. The Taman is where the shakers congregate. Three times a day for three hours, followers join the group and face giant likenesses of Ratu Bagus as they shake. They also moan, laugh hysterically, roll about on the ground, scream, whatever. At times it feels as though you have entered an asylum and madness is one of the reasons people have sought healing here.
A young girl is lead by her father into the Taman, she has a catatonic stare and the shuffling gait of someone who has been affected in some way. She has been cursed - the Balinese are strong believers in the power of black magic - and her father has brought her here to be released. She doesn't shake much but there is some movement and those who know her story say she was not able to move at all when she first arrived. Ratu Bagus established this ashram almost twenty-five years ago. Until six years ago there was little more than his house and a series of huts. An old pigsty was used as the Taman. An Italian yoga teacher chanced upon the healer in 1993 and stayed for some time, watching his work with the Balinese and practicing himself.
A group of his friends invited Ratu Bagus to Italy and his following among Westerners grew; he now makes two visits a year and thousands have attended his seminars. Some of them talk of miracles, of cancer cures, one man suffered a rheumatic condition that had him bent double, he now walks tall and can look people in the eye.
The Balinese are treated for free and the philanthropic work that is funded by those on retreat pays for children to attend school, for food and lodgings for the Balinese and the ongoing expansion of the ashram.
The Chinese Medicine practitioner, Lisa, who introduced Paul the DJ to Ratu, is at the ashram when we attend. She is an attractive and well-spoken ambassador for the practice. We talk in the Taman as the shakers shake. As Ratu Bagus passes us, he glances at her and she begins to laugh, hysterically, she rolls on the floor for a full two minutes before sitting up and resuming conversation.
The healer encourages laughing and I ask if it is a matter of ‘fake it until you make it?' She concurs. "Yes. It's the same with the shaking. You do it until you no longer need to think about, you lose yourself in the shaking, you are not aware of it any longer and that is when the work begins."
Ratu remarried two and a half years ago to an English healer, Nicola. She explains that there are no rules, no right or wrong way of doing it. You just start and then keep going, overcoming resistance until you connect all the physical elements with your soul.
As Ratu Bagus puts it, your body is simply a vehicle for your soul. If you connect your physical self with your soul you can lead a clean and healthy life. You can be truly free.
The ashram can be contacted by email on: email@example.com or by phone: (+62) (0) 815 573 3168 or check the website for information and testimonials, www.ratubagus.com
Spiritual leader reminds people to honor nature
The Jakarta Post- Bali - Monday, April 21, 2008
.......... Ida Pandita Ratu Bagus reminded people to be grateful to God always.
"Life is beautiful but why are we always in sorrow?" he said. Because people often forget to be grateful, was his answer.
"Let us pray and say thanks to God by smiling. Smile in the morning, at noon, at night. Let us smile to ourselves and to other people," he said. ..............
Modern people's tendency to forget that God is part of His creation makes people neglect their surroundings and nature, according to an Indian spiritual leader.
"God is part of His creation. Honoring His creation means you honor the Creator," Indian spiritual guru His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar told an audience at Denpasar's Art Center on Saturday night.
The event, titled "Live in Love", was organized by his foundation, The Art of Living, and aimed to give spiritual enlightenment not only to Hindu devotees but also to people from other religions.
The Art of Living Foundation, which has been established in 140 countries, is offering self-development programs to eliminate stress and foster a sense of well-being.
Hundreds of people, including Balinese, Indians and Westerners -- who accounted for almost half the crowd -- flocked to the Art Center on Saturday hoping to find some enlightenment in their lives. The event was also attended by Com. Gen Made Mangku Pastika, Denpasar's city secretary I Nyoman Aryana and Balinese spiritual leader Ida Pandita Ratu Bagus.
Ravi Shankar said all recent natural disasters were the result of people's ignorance in honoring nature. "All ancient traditions honor nature. People used to ask permission through rituals before cutting the trees or exploiting other natural resources," he said.
He said it is unfortunate modern people often forgot to honor nature and most of the time exploited it instead. "It's modern traditions that destroy nature," he said, adding people need to revive an awareness of how to honor nature in modern life.
He also encouraged the Balinese administration to start banning the use of chemical products because they could harm nature.
Denpasar's city secretary I Nyoman Aryana, who represented Denpasar Regent A.A. Ngurah Puspayoga, said people should not exploit nature. "We should preserve the balance of nature," he said.
He said Tumpek Uduh, a Balinese ritual to honor plants, was one aspect of local wisdom in Bali that was still implemented. Besides Tumpek Uduh, the Balinese also celebrated Tumpek Kandang, a ritual to honor animals. "We believe we have to maintain the balance of Buana Agung (macro cosmos) and Buana Alit (micro cosmos)," he said.
Such balance can only be achieved when human beings live in harmony with God and nature. This harmonious relationship, known as Tri Hita Karana, is the key teaching of Balinese Hinduism.
Meanwhile, Ida Pandita Ratu Bagus reminded people to be grateful to God always. "Life is beautiful but why are we always in sorrow?" he said. Because people often forget to be grateful, was his answer. "Let us pray and say thanks to God by smiling. Smile in the morning, at noon, at night. Let us smile to ourselves and to other people," he said.
Ravi Shankar expressed a similar view to that of Ratu Bagus. "The highest form of gratitude is to smile and make everybody smile," he said.
article by Irawaty Wardany
Shaken and Stirred
Hudderfield Examiner: Wed April 15 2009
New meditation form to be hosted at Sikh Leisure Centre
By Hazel Ettienne, News Reporter
A New form of meditation, known as Bio-Energy Shaking is being hosted in Huddersfield.
The Sikh Leisure Centre at Springwood is the venue for the event, which has spread to Europe from Bali.
The spiritual practice was developed by teacher, healer and community leader, Ratu Bagus.
The meditation involves standing and shaking to music while allowing energy to move in the body.
Organisers claim it promotes good circulation which strengthens the immune system and helps the body to function in a healthy way.
Event organiser Judy Hinchliffe said ‘Shaking has helped me in so many ways, I have a lot more energy and generally feel well, which wasn’t the case before.It’s all about connecting to your true self and inner power. People often experience uncontrollable laughter, real laughter that comes from deep within.’
Practitioners report a range of benefits including increased vitality, a greater sense of peace and clarity, reduced anxiety, accelerated mental, physical and emotional healing and more happiness and flow in life.
The event will be held on Saturday April 25 from 12 noon to 5.30pm. People are advised to wear loose comfortable clothing and bring light snacks to share.
During the event there will be sharing and silent meditation.
There will also be an opportunity to watch a DVD of people shaking in Bali.
People who have already taken part in shaking sessions will also be coming long to share their experiences and tap into the energy of like minded people.
More information from Judy Hinchliffe on email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ratubagus.com