I was a monk. Now, I’m a heretic, a nonbeliever.
Or, whatever labels you could give a doubter, skeptic, and explorer. Rarely, do I tell anyone I was a monk, or that I’m no longer a “believer”. Yes, I lived for 14 years in the ashrams of Self-Realization Fellowship Monastic Order, a Worldwide “church of all religions” (Yogananda), founded by Indian Swami, Paramahansa Yogananda. According to Self-Realization Fellowship, their teachings are a blend of original Christianity and the Yoga Meditation traditions of the East, namely Hinduism. I was ordained as Brahmachari Scott and vowed to follow the disciplines and doctrines of the ancient Swami Order of India. [More About me].
You’re probably wondering, like me: Was the monastery, where I lived for 14 years, a cult? What IS a “cult”? Are Catholic priests in a cult? Or, you have some other valid or wild questions. I won’t try to answer these questions here, but plan to in future blog posts. But, back to what led me to start this blog…
During 2013, I stumbled upon a column in Scientific American magazine. I don’t remember that article’s title or topic, but I clearly remember the author, Michael Shermer, founding publisher of Skeptic Magazine. While reading Michael’s article on my iPhone that night, I realized I’m a skeptic and nonbeliever of supernatural claims. That moment started me on a journey.
Since my aha, “I’m a skeptic, nonbeliever”, moment I’ve been exploring and questioning:
- Were my 14 years as a monk, meditating 4 hours a day, a waste of time?
- What are the redeeming aspects of meditation, mysticism, and yoga? Any good come of it?
- Will my family, friends, and society shun or embrace me as I come out as a former yogi monk? And/or, as a nonbeliever?
In a nutshell: This blog is where I will share, with everyone who may be interested, my journey and discoveries from exploring these kinds of questions.
“Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road…”, Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road