Thursday, December 22, 2005

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!

4 Comments:

Anonymous Darcy said...

I have several of my own theories about okiyome. Personally I believe that the amatasu prayer has a lot to do with it. It is spoken before Mahikari participates in anything and for those who have heard it or been Mahikari members, I am sure we can all agree that the prayer seems to drastically relax you in a very short amount of time. It almost seems to put you in a medative state. I have seen children who have been diagnosed with ADHD (hyper-activity disorder) who were normally bouncing off the walls prior to hearing the amatasu and sitting down to receive okiyome. I think the prayer should be the main focus because once you hear it, it almost seems as though you become more receptive to beliving and agreeing with anything that the Socho's or Doshi's say to you at monthly ceremony. I believe there is a reason why it is spoken before everything...and it's not just to open up fellowship or to connect you with God. Once you believe in okiyome of course it will work. The human mind is a powerful thing. But one thing I noticed is that if a person comes into the dojo convinced that okiyome will not work, they tend to be accurate. They seem to be the ones who don't feel anything. Why? Because they don't want to feel anything, and until they do they never will.

December 28, 2005  
Blogger Anne said...

Ah...now that is interesting, Darcy!

I have wondered about the role of amatsu norigoto. I, too, had a rather puzzling experience with it once, and haven't yet found anything that might explain its effect. I'd really like a chance to discuss this more with you. (Feel free to post another comment here with more detail in it or, if you prefer, please email me at anne_9_8@yahoo.com.)

It'd also be good to hear more about your own theories about okiyome. This comment function is not particularly suited to presenting much detail. If you'd like to write a longish article about your theories, please email it to me and I will post it as a main topic (credited to you), rather than just as a comment.

In any case, it was good to hear from you. Thanks!

December 28, 2005  
Anonymous Darcy said...

I can go on about this for days. My personal expirience with Mahikari...I went to the dojo for the first time with a friend. It was a very akward expirience. I was skeptical and a little embarrassed that I was there. She had briefed me on the teachings and the technical bowing and clapping aspects, but in my mind I didn't believe that a human being could spiritually purify me with a necklace. I went and received okyiome, but didn't feel a thing. In fact, the whole time I was just sitting there wondering how long until it was over. My legs were numb, my ADHD was kicking in...it was a miserable expirience. After I was done I felt the same and had no intention of returning, but my friend continued to push, saying she didn't want to go alone. After a while I found myself wanting to feel what the other people there felt. I wanted to know why they thought this was so worth while. I suppose that was when I started "feeling" something. Of course there is an excuse for everything you feel or don't feel anyway. If you feel something that's great because toxins are melting. If you feel nothing you have toxin build up and it will take more okiyome. If you feel pain then the toxins are melting rapidly, which is great. From the beginning I recognized this argument and in the back of mind knew that it was all fake, but I suppose that in the long run I just wanted to belong to something. The people there seemed so kind and caring and I found myself wanting to be a part of them. They were like the family I had always wanted and never had. Eventually I wanted to believe so badly that I took it all in. I abandoned my common sense and became submerged in Mahikari. Okiyome did seem to work by that time, but I did some expirimentation with my boyfriend and we found that without the pendant it felt equally as good. However, I found that without receiting the amatsu I did feel as much if anything. Maybe because I wasn't in that relaxed hypnotic state. I don't know.

December 29, 2005  
Blogger Anne said...

Hi Darcy,

Parts of your story sound familiar. You're not the only person who has described how their initial reaction to Mahikari (not feeling anything, not liking dojo, etc.) eventually changed to a positive reaction after repeated exposure to okiyome.

Reading your story reminded me of something I'd seen in the excerpts from Tebecis' book on the Sunrise Press site. He was questioning the conclusions reached by a researcher (McVeigh). Tebecis wrote, "It seems to me that McVeigh would have come to different conclusions had he had more experience with the practical aspect of giving and receiving True Light."

Tebecis seems to often dismiss negative comments about Mahikari on the grounds that the person making the comments had insufficient experience of okiyome...but look what happened to you when your friend persuaded you to make repeated visits to dojo!

I think "more experience with the practical aspect" of Mahikari sounds suspiciously like more opportunity for the mind controlling mechanisms to kick in.

I wonder if Mahikari supporters can dismiss so easily the comments from the increasingly large group of vocal former members who, between them, have many, many years of experience.

December 31, 2005  

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