I’m Scott, creator of Skeptic Meditations. For 14 years, I was ordained a monk of Self-Realization Fellowship Monastic Order, a religious organization founded in the U.S. in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda, the famous Yogi who wrote the Autobiography of a Yogi and was the first Indian-Swami to permanently make his home in the West.
I was known at the time as Brahmachari Scott. Behind cloister walls, were hundreds of monastics who vowed celibacy, simplicity, loyalty, and obedience. Everyday, for at least four hours, we followed sacred rituals of prayer and silent meditation. The monks didn’t just sit all-day chanting and navel-gazing.
The daily monastery routine consisted of meditations, classes, recreation, 9-to-5 office work and ashram or ministerial duties on evenings and weekends. (Unfortunately, unlike Trappist monks, we did not brew beer or ferment cheese!). For allowance, each monk received $40 cash per month, room and board, healthcare, and all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet. Why would anyone leave this paradise on earth?
For reasons that are as complicated as life gets, I realized years after entering that I really didn’t belong in a monastery. This wasn’t the end, though. In the most important ways, my journey unfolded (or unraveled) when I fell back into the world.
To say that I renounced my values, leaving the Monastic Order, would be incorrect. Ironically, “self-realization” came through my willingness to question all my cherished ideals and assumptions, that prior to that time held me in the monastery. I kept my secrets largely to myself. A decade and a half after leaving the Monastic Order, I share what I have learned about yoga, meditation, gurus and groups.
At Skeptic Meditations you find news, reviews, and articles that examine the supernatural claims of yogis, mystics, and meditators. I share pitfalls and lessons learned of a “professional” contemplative monk.
Most devoted meditators seem quite lop-sided. Suspicious of intellect, they often say reason is inferior to feelings (heart). Many ardent skeptics are lop-sided too, rejecting mystical experiences, spirituality, as a hoax. Neither for nor against meditation, I am suspicious of the extraordinary claims made by its advocates. Skeptic Meditations explores the hidden side of yoga, meditation, and mysticism.