The person next to you may be an OBE expert

January 18, 2013

I'll be joining a new yoga class soon, and I was just thinking about what I might say, or not say, to the other students in the class. In an open discussion during a previous yoga class I described that I was able to feel various things when we did the "corpse pose" at the end of the session. I never said OBE, just that I was able to feel my blood flow, and minute feelings on my skin, and one woman in the class went right from there to saying, "OMG, you've had OBEs, haven't you?"

So in this new class I think I won't say much, not like that, anyway.

That leads to an interesting thought: How many people do you meet on a daily basis who have OBEs, or other phenomenon, but don't share that information with you? You could be sitting right next to someone who has OBEs every night, and you'd never know it, because they won't say anything about it.

So an interesting aspect of this is that if you don't say anything, if you don't open up about your own experiences, you'll never know what experiences other people have had. You have to make yourself accessible. You have to be willing to say, "I practice meditation", or, "I practice yoga, and I'm really interested in the philosophical aspects of it", that sort of thing.

The Lone Zen Master

There is a Zen story like this. A Zen student gained enlightenment at a monastery and became a Zen Master, but decided he didn't want to stay at the monastery or start his own lineage. He just wanted to go back to work. I don't remember the name for his work, but he had a boat, and would row people from one shore to another across a river as his business. (This was at least 1,000 years ago.)

His teacher said that of course that was fine, but asked if he would help just one other student gain enlightenment when the time came. The new Zen Master said that was fine, he would be glad to help one student.

So he left the monastery, and went back to his business, rowing people across a river. He would casually test people with a simple question to see whether they were a Zen student, essentially starting a mondo. If the student answered the question in the right way, the Zen Master might help him gain enlightenment. But most people were not Zen students, so they answered the question in a way a non-Zen student would answer it. (The question was simple, but could be interepreted in different ways.)

One day the Zen student finally showed up, and the Zen Master rowing the boat did what he had promised, and helped the student gain enlightenment, right there on the boat.

I always thought this was interesting: An unknown Zen Master could ask you a question today, but if your mind isn't ripe, you will miss the question entirely. However, if your mind is ripe (and open), the meeting could lead to your own enlightenment.


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