Re: the bright path
Date: February 21, 2020 04:36AM
First I want to offer my condolences to the family who lost their son. My prayers go out to you .
I do hope you find answers that bring you peace.
I have attended several courses and an intensive retreat with the ishaya monks.
I would find some of my local churches defineately more cult like than this group .
I have been a spiritual seeker for a very long time and have attended multiple meditation/healing courses as well as the Alpha program at a local church.
I met this group in the summer of 1999 in Moncton New Brunswick when a Doctor friend had heard of their teachings and invited me to go. I paid 300$ for the course .
When I walked in the room , my initial impression would be that of anyone, what have I gotten myself into as they were dressed in all white. Within a matter of minutes the peace that came over me changed my thoughts. No , this was not any type of mind control, it was the love that emannated from them.
I spent two days listening to them explaining their meditation techniques, the first sphere .
I practiced this method daily and it has brought me great peace as it's based on praise, love and compassion.
In August of 1999, two months later , I flew to the ishayas main facility outside of Waynsville North Carolina. I spent 17 days meditating in this magical location. Not everything was perfect , but this defineately was a very high point in my life. Not every teacher was perfect, but 98% were nice. No one asked me to attend this retreat. Many were surprised I was there as I was new to this practice. It was totally my choice.
The property consisted of at least 10 log cabins in the mountains with a three floor kitchen/ meditation building. There were huge angel statues outside the entrance of the kitchen building.
There were possibly 100 people on the grounds at the time I was there with 11 in my retreat group. This was a teaching facility not an ashram so everyone with the exception of our group were either teachers or studying to become teachers. The participants were all ages and from every corner of the globe. Many were very educated professionals that changed their lives to become a meditation teacher. Sometimes we get the impression that seekers are down on their luck or uneducated. This was not the case with many that I met.
We had a dorm room to sleep in. Everything was clean and comfortable.
I would get up early to participate in the optional yoga classes. The meals were vegetarian and we only had coffee once as a treat. Their was plenty of delisious food being prepared, as well as tons of fruit for smoothies. You could eat as much as you wanted. I'm not a vegetarian and I drink coffee, but I welcomed the healthy life style.
We had group meetings once or twice a day with three meal times. After dinner, some of us would go for a walk along the road down the mountain . We could meditate eyes open or closed and anywhere on the property was ok. It was even ok to fall asleep. We were free during the day. I often meditated by a pond . We meditated for hours with our given techniques. At night we would all gather in a large room at the top of the dining hall to meditate as a group. I loved the people and the conversations.
During the retreat, I recieved more levels. At first , I found it extremely hard to wind down , but by day three, my mind was quieter. This was my first experience at a meditation retreat.
As far as the rules, I was allowed to call home. I just didn't call that often by choice to fully immerse myself in my meditation practice.
We were told to stay on the grounds, however, I was a bit of a rebel and when asked to go with a group hiking for someone's birthday in the montains and swimming in the water falls, I went. Later when we had our nightly meeting. When questioned about why we left and our experiences, the group teachers were not upset at all, but some of the participants in our group were. I bring this up to show you that we were not controlled in any way.
At the time , the course with my flights to and from from Canada included cost me around 3000$. This included all my meals and accomodations. I think my flight was around 800$. I think this is very reasonable for a 2 and a half retreat type vacation.
During our meetings we were not sharing our past drama but a few did share painful experiences that meditation was helping them overcome.
I cried on the plane on the way home. I didn't want to leave all the beautiful people that I had connected with. The experience of being in meditation that long takes away the weight of the world .
At the time , my life at home was quite beautiful as I owned a house on a lake and worked in healthcare. I was not running from anything but running to find peace, bliss, a sense of connection to God, a new way to have peace envelop me every day.
After returning home, for a short period, I did want to sell my house and become a meditation teacher. It was 14,000$ American for 6 months back then in 99. If you didn't have the money , you were allowed to be a volunteer working 6 hours a day 5-6 days a week. They needed volunteers to cook and work taking care of the large property.
I had the support of my father and sister, even though they didn't fully understand it at the time, they trusted my judgement.
In September of that year, I hosted two ishaya monks at my house to teach the three day course. After the course , I decided I wasn't ready for the gypsy type life style that teaching meditation around the world would require . Over the years , I continued to go to additional weekends in my province of New Brunswick. For every level I did, 4 per sphere, I paid only 65$ . The forth level in each sphrere or segment cost 95$. You could do the levels separately after the first four. I have 15 levels to date. If you hosted a course , some levels were offered free. I hosted two courses in the late 90s.
The last full weekend course that I attended was in 2008.
In 2007 I started traveling to Sedona Arizona and learned other forms of meditation .
The last group in which I was involved with an ishaya teacher was a two years ago. I would have continued to go to this group, but the person moved away. This group was free, most of us had already attended courses.
I still use the meditations as it helps me to sleep better. I don't think we have an active ishaya group here anymore as most people that are seeking are on to the next thing.
I have a good family, I don't take drugs prescription or non prescription but I will definately keep meditating and reading spiritual books . As we know the mindfulness meditation practices are now being taught everywhere, even by doctors for pain management. I aspire to have people feel love and compassion in my presence .
In a world where every one wants to complain on Facebook, I would hope more people seek connection and less negativity.
I have not met any controlling or manipative people from this organization trying to convince me to enroll in courses after the first one.
Yes people seeking a spiritual path will sometimes seem distant with their families and become withdrawn unless they find common ground to discuss their experiences. The spiritual path is an inward path that forces us to self reflect.
Please ask them questions in a very loving and supportive way not to alinate them . Yes spiritual seekers will spend money they don't have on credit cards to take courses, but that happens with anyone for things they perceive as valuable .
Unfortunately , so many people suffer from depression and meditation can only do so much. The love and support of family
and friends is very important. Please don't make fun of your child/friends new age/spiritual beliefs. This causes separation instead, ask them questions and treat it as if you are in a philosophy class at university. We all are trying to find meaning in life and ways to be more peaceful.
This technique brings peace that's why it's hard to find anything negative about it .
Yes, courses cost money. I think the current rate is 400$ for a weekend course. This is totally reasonable. I do feel that I received value for the money I spent . Everything cost money. We all need to get paid for working and that includes teachers. I have spent more on vacations with less value and enjoyment.
There are courses/groups out there that are considered dangerous, in my experince, this is not one of them .
As a cost comparison my two separate week long meditation courses I attended in Sedona AZ in 2009-2010 cost 550$ for the first one .We were there from 8:30am +6:30 pm for five days and recieved snacks. The second week long course was 780$ and again included snacks. ( No lodging or meals) This meditation teacher also offered free courses for people unable to pay but had to volunteer for commuity work as a form of exchange. Unfortunatly my teacher in Sedona has retired.
I question everything and research on anything I decide to take part in .
So thanks for creating this forum . I like to read the negative as well as the positive about anything I choose to get involved in.
Some of my original ishaya meditation teachers are involved in the Bright Path branch of the organization. Not everyone in any given organization will be a good honest kind and decent person. It's not possible , people have flaws. But as the old saying goes....take the meat and throw away the bones. I would still recommend taking at least first 8 levels to anyone who wants a peaceful meditation technique.
If you do take this course, please ask questions and make sure the person teaching you is qualified .
Unfortunately , the ishayas no longer own the property in North Carolina. It was a beautiful place and experience .