Day Fifty Four: Adversity

Daily Journal:

masterchoakoksui

The late Choa Kok Sui, businessman from The Phillipines and founder of Pranic Healing. He died from severe pneumonia in 2007.

Yesterday, I had the day off. Caught up on sleep, waking up around 7:00AM instead of the usual 4:30AM-ish time. Spent most of the day doing chores around the home, with a vague plan of going hiking somewhere. I went to Meetup.com, to sign up for the Wednesday hike at Jefferson Memorial Forest. Noticing the usual Wednesday hiking group is either disbanded or on haitus for winter, I decided to look for a Wednesday evening meditation group instead, considering that my Thursday night group at Loose Leaf Hollow was cancelled while Joe is in Haiti. So I found one called Pranic Meditation & Healing and decided to go. Being somewhat on a whim, I didn’t do much research on “Pranic meditation” and I was open to a new experience anyway. I decided I would drive to Louisville, hike a trail nearby somewhere, then go to the meditation group. I found a park nearby called Brown Park. Being a smaller park with all trails running less than 1 mile long, I had to do laps around the park, which I did for about an hour.

The Pranic Meditation & Healing meeting happened in Sherrin Square, some office condos in St. Matthews. The door for Suite 150 had a sign saying “InnerMost Solution”, and I was greeted by an enthusiast, friendly woman named Martha, who offered bottled water and chocolate candy,  showing me to a room with many office chairs and an altar with all the deities from the major world religions, a salt crystal lamp, some mala beads, and portrait of Choa Kok Sui. (I would later find out that she was Martha Paulin, a “certified colon hydrotherapist” who does business there as InnerMost Solution) I would describe the overall vibe of the place as more “New Agey” than Buddhist or interfaith, and giving off some hints of being a guru business, but it was hard to tell for sure. They were not aggressively selling anything, but did let us know that we could pay to attend classes if we wanted to and there were some brochures in the lobby.

beargrass-creek

Photo of Beargrass Creek taken during walk at Brown Park in St. Matthews.

Before the meditation began, we were guided through some exercises that were similar to QiGong, but not exactly. A small iPod played a recording of Om chanting and then we were guided through a visualization type of meditation, visualizing Earth as a small ball in our hands that we were healing of all its troubles and problems. We were also instructed how to release grudges and resentments, with gestures of “cutting cords”. Short periods of silence here and there. More QiGong-like exercises, then a healing demonstration. Having recently quit smoking, I have the usual quitter’s issue of coughing up some mucus. That was the only health complaint I really had, so the young man in the group, a thin guy with a beard and longish hair tied back, was instructed to “work on the throat chakra”. He was waving his hands around, spraying mist from a bottle, which had a really strong lavender smell. Reminded me of the Mrs. Meyer’s lavender scented cleaner I used to buy at Sprouts when I lived in Arizona.

I don’t know what to make of “Pranic Healing”. I did find the meditation was very relaxing and I felt an overall sense of wellness. I did have a day off after working 9 days straight, actually got some quality rest, the weather was perfect, and I was outside getting exercise. The meditation seemed to help that, but I felt unusually good and healthy yesterday. Was it the healing? I don’t know. Bullshit Detector was going off a bit, picking up on some possible pseudo-scientific nonsense, but showing no obvious signs of outright fraud. Interesting, they read aloud The Lord’s Prayer from the Bible. After I went to sleep for the night, I dreamt about the Lord’s Prayer (in Aramaic, not English) being read to me, which I have heard before on CD recordings.

Final verdict: Not sure. Maybe. The founder died of pneumonia, which takes away the credibility of “healing”, doesn’t it? I couldn’t quite shake a multilevel marketing faith healer vibe in the room either. Certainly nothing like Vipassana meditation I had done, guided “somatic” meditation with Reggie Ray, or anything associated with western Buddhism or interfaith I was familiar with.  Reminded me of New Age stores in someplace like Sedona, Arizona or something. Worth a try. Free, not super aggressive timeshare sales techniques, and the people were really nice.

Deng Ming-Dao on Adversity:

Nothing new here. The old idea of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” about how difficult experiences build moral character. He says we must rely on determination, and not be overcome by fear. He says “times of adversity can be crucial to the development of one’s inner personality”.

On a side note, I purchased an audiobook version of Deng Ming-Dao’s other book Scholar Warrior: An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life  yesterday. Great book so far. Many of the ideas are familiar from 365 Tao, but a really good practical book for self-cultivation in Tao it seems. I’m about 1/3 through the audiobook, which I listen to at work.

Daily Stoic:

Circumstances Have No Care for Our Feelings. Today’s entry is more of the same. Don’t get worked up about things outside your control, etc. Holiday reminds us that circumstances are not sentient beings, so they are not capable of caring about our feelings. Thus, it is futile to get emotional or angry about circumstances since they are not able to care.

Overall, today both Tao and Stoic ideas were simple and familiar. Tomorrow, I may discuss diet, challenges with healthy eating, and so on. By the way, I will continue working through “Designing Your Life” exercises. I’ve been held back by all the overtime I’m putting in, but I haven’t forgotten.

See you tomorrow.
B.G.

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