For 14 years, I lived in the ashrams of a Worldwide Eastern-Religious organization, Self-Realization Fellowship Monastic Order. Everyday, I practiced silent meditation an average of 4 hours, studied holy scriptures, and followed the ancient traditions of yoga mysticism. I’d never imagined I’d be, but here I was, a Western kid, raised Catholic, a yogi monk!
I was known at the time as Brahmachari Scott and was ordained in the ancient Order of Swamis of India — yellow smocked, celibate, $40 monthly allowance in my pocket and determined to find God, Self, Enlightenment. For reasons that are as complicated as life gets, I realized 14 years later that I really didn’t belong in the monastery (the abbreviated story’s here if you’re interested). That wasn’t the end, though. In the most important ways, my story only started to unfold (or unravel) when I fell back into the world.
To say that I’d given up the purpose why I became a monk in the first place would be false. My quest for knowledge and truth continued, out in the world, in my business, in my relationships with self, others, and the universe. I’m highly skeptical of religious authorities claiming they have or can give us enlightenment, truth, and supernatural experiences. Perhaps, you also may consider that science and the scientific method are the most reliable way of understanding reality. Not perfect, but most reliable.
I am, today, a nonbeliever. I don’t believe a god exists, but I admit I don’t know this as a fact. But there’s just no convincing evidence, and I’m looking. Gradually I’ve been coming to terms accepting that I was a monk, a believer in the supernatural. I don’t regret my past choices. But, rarely, if ever, have I talked about my past as a monk or revealed that I turned out a nonbeliever. Perhaps, my silence has been from fear of being judged, shamed, or shunned by friends, family, and coworkers.
One of my favorite quotes is from the 1978 movie, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Gillenormand confesses, “I’ve been a fool”. Compassionately, Jean Valjean responds, “Oh sir, we’re all fools for most of our lives. It’s unavoidable”. That brings us to why I am talking with you now.
Why this blog?
Skeptic Meditations is about climbing over walls and outsmarting gods. It’s about being OK being a fool, about authenticity and honesty, about challenging belief in the supernatural and questioning religious authorities. Ultimately, this blog is about exploring the world — within and without — using hearty reason and the most reliable methods to understand reality — science and critical thinking.
By reading this blog’s weekly posts, you will find provocative views, reviews, humor, and commentary exploring the extraordinary claims of religious mystics, yogi-meditators, and New Age gurus and their religious followers.
This site is where I’ll collect resources for healthy, skeptical examination of supernatural beliefs and claims of the mystical. What do you think? I encourage you to share your comments in this blog and contribute to this conversation.[comment policy]
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