Maneesha facilitates most of the workshops and in addition offers individual sessions related to meditation and counselling for general issues as well as support in the dying process. She has also authored most of the articles and other content on this website.
Maneesha has a background in midwifery, general, and psychiatric nursing, and is also a psychotherapist and meditation facilitator. She lived close to the Indian mystic, Osho, for the 15 remaining years of his life. Appointed by him as his chief editor, from the mid ‘70’s she was also ‘the guinea pig’ in his experimentation with meditative methods.
She is known internationally as the reader-of-questions in Osho’s daily public discourses. She has written what Osho refers to as the ‘historical documentation’ of his work in the form of a trilogy (OSHO: The Buddha for the Future; OSHO: Twelve Days that Shook the World; and OSHO: One Man Against the Whole, Ugly Past of Humanity.) , She has produced several CDs of her own guided meditations. Most recently, she has co-created OSHO Bardo – a meditative process for living and for dying.
Meeting Anna Freud in London in the 1980’s and being with her in her last moments, was a turning point for Maneesha. While maintaining her interest in meditation as a resource for all aspects of living, through that experience, she saw the potential in bringing meditation to the dying process. This aspect has become the focal point of her passion. In addition to those who attend her workshops, Maneesha has worked with a number of individuals who were facing death and provided the psycho-spiritual support to help them through the transition of death.
A video clip (A Dialogue with Death’; 6 minutes’ duration) of Maneesha working with a client.
She sees OSHO Sammasati’s approach as providing a way, through meditation, for the misunderstandings and fears around death to be dissolved. Free of fear we can approach our demise with more awareness and pass through dying as a natural process. One that has its own challenges and also its own beauty and potential for transformation. One that can we celebrate.
Among her other passions she lists a love of life, of animals (especially dogs) and nature.
Maneesha is based in London and travels internationally facilitating workshops and events on meditation, generally with a focus on conscious dying. She also gives individual sessions.
Testimonials for Maneesha
More testimonials can be found here.
I want to thank you for making it possible for me to come on the workshop (Support for a Meditative Dying) in Buckland-on-the-Moor, in April. It was just wonderful. It has really deepened my experience of what’s happening, and given me what feels like new ways of just dropping deeper and deeper. I’m sorry it has taken me so long to thank you. I got a fever soon a few days afterwards, and felt pretty rough for a while. But now, getting stronger, feeling very grateful that I can just sit in this wonderful spring sunshine, and even though I feel quite weak can just let go. Still struggle with pain, and fear of pain, but again I thank you for giving me more tools to be with that.
You are doing such wonderful work, Maneesha – thank you.(Diana Brueton)
I am a palliative care physician with more than 20 years' experience of caring for people living with a life-threatening illness. My main area of interest is the holistic care of those who are dying. For this reason I have explored and continue to seek ways that may help with the psycho-spiritual and existential issues that often challenge the dying person, their family and carers.
With this in mind, I recently (May 16, 2010) organized a workshop titled ‘A meditative approach to dying’ with Maneesha James as the facilitator. The workshop was experiential and was therefore limited to 12 participants and included a counsellor, social worker, school teachers, yoga instructors and myself.
The workshop had a small didactic component and consisted mainly of discussions and meditation. The discussions focussed on our own fears around death and dying, and how meditation can address some of those fears. The meditative sessions helped us to appreciate how the mind finds it hard to ‘let go’. This is particularly true when fear abounds, as is often the case in the palliative care situation. Such fear not only compromises the peace around dying but also the peace people desperately seek while living. The final meditation session took us deeper into the experience of dying as it gently explored the transition from life into death.
The discussions and meditations were affirming rather than threatening and this was due largely to the sensitivity and compassion Maneesha has acquired after many years of running workshops.
Maneesha comes from a general and psychiatric nursing and midwifery background and has recently completed two years' psychotherapy studies. She is a sannyasin, having studied under a spiritual master for many years. Over the past 20 years she has lived and taught in Western communities and has adapted the knowledge and wisdom she has acquired to our contemporary Western society.
Maneesha has a great drive and passion for the work that she does and I am pleased to endorse her and her work unreservedly.(Michael Barbato, Palliative Care Physician, Australia)
First, I would like to let you know it was a privilege to have been able to attend your workshop, [“A Meditative Approach to Dying”]. I have been truly inspired to continue on my path of meditation. I have always known this to be true but have always struggled. I have practiced meditation on and off over my life (mostly off) but I left on Sunday with a dedicated heart. I know meditation is the answer to many of the problems I face in my life and I know it is the path home!
I have been a palliative-care volunteer for sometime now. It was helpful listening to how you followed through on questions e.g.: ‘So how did that feel? What was that like for you?’ etc. I really do feel that the meditation process would be very very helpful in the palliative care situation as it would be in one’s life situation. I found your meditations very helpful and will definitely get a couple of the [guided meditation] CD'S.
Maneesha, I admire your dedication and feel that although Australians in general are not as open to this sort of thing as they are in the Europe and the eastern world your workshops will find a way to those who will most benefit your comprehensive knowledge.
Again, I thank you.
Thanks for [the workshop]. It’s so nice to be around like minded souls who speak the same language. What was highlighted for me was how the experience of letting go in meditation and the experience of letting go in the dying process seems to be one in the same. Over the last 6 years being a meditator I’ve gone from total fear of death to an understanding that there is nothing to fear except fear itself. That has come from an experience of feeling the eternal presence of myself that never changes. If we can learn to die alive every day – that is, to let go in meditation every day to the body and its roles and responsibilities – then we can fully re-enter those roles and live each day more fully and alive without taking so much stress and sorrow in.
I think the workshop is valuable to everyone not just those working with the dying.
Best wishes with your work.