Does okiyome "work"?
The above title sounds like I am about to answer that question, but I'm afraid the question of whether or not okiyome "works" simply generates more questions. What is okiyome? Is it something specific to Mahikari? Does okiyome even exist? Why does it appear to "work" if it's not what Mahikari doctrines say it is?
I recently received an email from someone who has doubts about most teachings of Mahikari but, based on personal experience, still feels that okiyome is very worthwhile. For most of us, I think okiyome was the cornerstone of our belief in Mahikari, and in many, many cases would have been the thing that initially attracted us and motivated us to join Sukyo Mahikari.
In my case, my perception that okiyome "worked" was the sole reason I continued to practise Mahikari when I first realized that I could neither prove nor disprove all the teachings about the unseen world. I've already written about this in my Open Letter to Kamikumite, so I won't repeat myself here.
Let's face it. Whatever we may think now about the nature of Sukyo Mahikari and the worth of okiyome, any of us who were members of Mahikari for any length of time must have been pretty convinced at one stage that okiyome "works". I'm sure many of us had experiences where okiyome seemed to help (sometimes dramatically) with our own health problems, and there were many times when the people we gave light to reported improvements of some kind. We all probably also experienced times when okiyome seemed not to "work".
Of course, according to Mahikari doctrine, the primary purpose of okiyome is spiritual purification rather than physical healing. Since I could not see whether or not I or anyone else was becoming more spiritually purified as a result of okiyome, naturally, I based my former belief that okiyome "works" on what I observed on the physical level and on the physical effects other people reported to me. If these observed effects were not caused by okiyome, what did cause them?
I think too many people observed too many effects to simply dismiss these observations as imagination. However, admitting that the observed effects are real in no way proves that okiyome itself (if it exists) caused these effects.
I've come across various theories that perhaps partially explain why okiyome seems to work...too many for one post. In fact this whole topic of okiyome seems to become larger the more I think about it! I think I'll need a series of posts to deal with all the related questions but, just to get started, the following three articles provide interesting food for thought:
* The Mysterious Placebo : http://www.csicop.org/si/9701/placebo.html
* Why Bogus Therapies Seem to Work : http://www.csicop.org/si/9709/beyer.html
* Spontaneous Remission and the Placebo Effect : http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/placebo.html
These primarily concern the placebo effect, which I personally doubt is sufficient to explain all the observed effects of okiyome, but these articles do make some very relevant points, including the important fact that it is a fallacy to assume that A caused B just because B followed A.
I'll get back to this okiyome topic again soon but, in the meantime, feel free to share your views on any of the questions raised here!