It started when my former wife and I called a friend one afternoon and heard this mysterious chanting in the background. When we inquired about it, the friend invited us to a meeting the next week.
The wife and I both attended and met an interesting group of practitioners, participated in the chanting and talked afterwards. I felt a great sense of peace from the chanting and I was hooked. The wife, not so much. But that was okay, Different strokes.
I returned the next week and after chanting, the group sat and around and talked, led by a guy named Bob. I don't remember a whole lot of the discussion, but I remember Bob saying that once you started with the practice, something in your life would shift pretty quickly. It might be "bad," it might be "good," but something would change.
i nodded as if I knew, then went home. Within the week, the wife asked me for a divorce.
Now, I'm not going to lie and say that this was totally out of the blue. We had been working through our issues for some time. But divorce? Now? Really?
Literally, my first was reaction was, "Damn, Bob was right." Then I promptly settled into the illusion of pain, separation, self-doubt, hatred, devastation, fear for my son's well-being and all the other pleasant things we typically associate with divorce.
To my credit, I continued the daily rituals, attended meetings, even joined the local temple, as all about me my life seemed to be falling apart.
Thankfully, the request for divorce was not the only major shift in my life. I distinctly recall waking up one morning, about three months later, feeling a profound peace. I knew at that moment that I would survive the divorce and I would be happy again. I attribute that, too, to my diligent practice of nam myoho renge ko.
All this came flooding back as I read Robert Scheinfeld's new book, "Busting Loose From the Business Game." He goes on at length to explain that Busting Loose is not an overnight process, and that we can expect some serious changes.
In other words, the journey of spiritual transformation is not for wusses.
It's funny the beliefs that we've created around spirituality. Some critics view it as something that they don't have time for, a disembodied practice, designed for self-absorbed, navel-gazing vegan hippies and lost, mindless souls too weak to confront "reality" on its own terms. Spirituality is a cheap and easy escape to la la land. Don't let the door hit you in the aura on the way out.
In truth, many of us spiritual travelers began with an equally inaccurate view of the journey. We plunge in believing that learning this practice or this spiritual formula will help us "transcend" our earthly problems in a single bound. If only I do this, life will get "better." Don't forget to tape that new affirmation to the bathroom mirror.
Those of us who have played the spirituality game know better now. It's like walking into a biker bar at 1 a.m. Start something and the shit is going to hit the fan. Going deep into transformation requires courage and faith that few of us ever call upon.
So when certain other aspects cast a jaundiced eye at you, or sneeringly inquire, "still Busting Loose, are you?", just remember, you're on the spiritual equivalent of the running of the bulls at Pamplona. Run like hell and don't look back. You may get gored on the way, but it's going to be okay.
By the way, check back in Sunday for my review of "Busting Loose From the Business Game."