- Posts: 440
- Joined: 01 May 2006
- Affinity to the BKWSU: ex-BK
- Please give a short description of your interest in joining this forum.: I was an active BK for 12 years. That was long ago. Now I am just a person.
I happened to visit Mt. Koya, the center of Shingon Buddhism, where I stayed overnight at a temple. My travel companion was interested in experiencing their version of meditation, and invited me to join him.
A cheerful young priest wearing a black T-shirt printed with aboriginal art in brown and white was our guide.
As a former "mediation salesman", I was interested to hear how he introduced meditation.
- Meditation is like sitting in a hot tub.
- We should sit with that feeling of pleasure.
- Meditation is a toy, something to play with.
- For this first experience, he suggested a meditation of three parts:
* thinking of the moon
* thinking of the moon inside
* thinking on the moon inside as the same as the moon outside, as tho the entire universe outside could be inside yourself.
- You don't need to concentrate. In this special place where many people meditate, you will enter a good state automatically.
- If you feel sleepy, or fall asleep that is okay. No one will hit you from behind (as in some kinds of Zen meditation.)
- We will sit on chairs for the meditation; at home you can use an even more comfortable chair.
- It is fun, a toy, just enjoy, like a hot bath.
We sat for about 20 minutes after his introductory talk.
What I noticed about this first experience after so many years of having left the BK ways and beliefs was:
- No judgment or trying. I was present, accepting my self and my experiences more fully than I remember.
- I permitted myself to listen to the frogs outside, no judgment. Priests from 1000 years ago probably heard the ancestors of these same frogs, I thought.
- I accepted when I felt some stiffness, and could take the time to rock myself, tiny movements forward and back and side to side until my sitting became more comfortable. This self-maintenance part of the meditation process seemed natural and appropriate--not a distraction.
- I could come and go from the theme of the meditation. No reward for focusing on the theme, no punishment for leaving the theme.
- The only remnant of anxiety I noticed was in a reluctance to stay too long with open eyes. I observed that somehow I was concerned with whether the priest saw me opening my eyes! Yet that too, I could accept in myself.
Overall, I could feel how much more mature and accepting my attitude toward my inner process has become through my inner work over the last ten years.
The priest ended the session by asking people to stop meditating. (Ah, clever, a way to interrupt a person's efforting.) Then he spoke for a bit, introducing another topic better suited for daytime meditation: the sun, which represents male and intelligence in contrast to the moon, which he said signifies emotion and woman.
Then he asked people to shift their torso a bit forward/back and right/left before standing. Allowing a few moments for this was helpful preparation for returning to the world of movement.
He mentioned that some of the benefits of meditation are:
- better physical health
- better mental health
- inner happiness
- gateway to enlightenment
- good things will happen to you
Despite my good experience at that moment - an amazing silence and presence - I observed that I disagreed with these promises. A good experience in meditation does not necessarily solve life's problems, lead to self-acceptance, or impart missing life skills, such as communicating and expressing oneself. Such experience does not substitute for work with a qualified therapist, perhaps for some, but certainly not for all.
I disagreed with the idea that meditation could be a kind of panacea. Profound, yes, cure-all, no.
Yet the peaceful, still and deep feeling of quiet stayed with me for that night and through the next day.
After some years of a post-BK resistance to meditation (I am already too quiet, too inward), I could appreciate the value of this quality of silence for many people, could understand the richness and longevity of the tradition of meditating.
The huge promises associated with some traditions are, in my opinion, a weird kind of lie that detracts from the genuine value offered by a group experience of meditative silence.
And I could see that meditating itself doesn't necessarily make meditation better. My years of inner work without meditation have brought me to a place where I could enjoy meditation more. Good meditation experiences are neither a goal, nor a sign of some enlightenment--much more enjoyable without a superstructure of interpreting these experiences to mean something other than what they are.
After almost 10 years (I left in '99), I find myself meditating again. But at the top of a stairwell in an 8 storey building :-). After all these years, I have reclaimed my spirituality - cult free! This is the result of a conscious decision to live a spiritual life - something I just couldn't consider before because the very idea had been so poisoned by my experience as a BK.
I guess it is because my spiritual 'evolution', which was effectively hijacked by the BKs, has finally come full circle. At the end of the day we became BKs as a result of our spiritual quest. That we were deceived and exploited can only delay things - in my case about 25 years - but now I have confidence in what I believe, that I own it, and that it works for me. In the years of contemplation and reflection in meditation as a BK, I had many profound realisations that were mine - not the BKs. In other words, they weren't the product of BK doctrine but really the product of my own spirituality. But as a cult member, I could only attribute these realisations to some imaginary Baba.
Now I have come out of a spiritual void, in which I was very uncomfortable, to a place that I find refreshing and enjoyable - and "Baba free". And I feel that the wisdom that flows in my meditations now is universal and real - free from cycles and deities and a need for Destruction in order to be free. It fits perfectly with having a wife and a baby and credit card debt!
As I sit in meditation now the wisdom that I had thrown out is flooding back, along with the peace, and life is feeling as it should be.
Some may think it ironic that I am a committed atheist. I don't.
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