By Dick Lam
My personal experience as a Scientologist
About 13 years ago, I was dead already.
I do not say that to be dramatic or literal. For obviously I am here.
The death I am talking about is what Marten Luther King called – the “Death of the Spirit”.
Now, by all appearances, I was alive and not necessarily unsuccessful. And yet I was living life as though I was dead. I would not have had the bravado to say as much to others, because when one is so far gone, one is too insecure and frail to admit their weaknesses.
The thing was, I thought ‘everybody else’ had the answer. Because they didn’t look dead to me. Likely I didn’t look dead, but little did they know… and so I thought.
You see, being raised in a Western Society (and I was born in Hong Kong – a Western Society), we tend to gauge life by achievements, possessions and status. When one is getting more of it, they are more alive. When one is failing to do so or has none, then one is then worthy of their own humility.
You see, what I found was that the more I focussed on such things, the more I felt like I was dying. Don’t get me wrong, I still hold achievements, possessions and status in some esteem. These are worthy things. But when I got some, I felt like there should be more to it. And so the answer was to get more of it. But when one fails to get it, one feels… for want of a better word – dead.
An interesting book changed all that. No, it was not a Scientology book, it was essentially a business book. A book called “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People” written by Dr. Stephen Covey.
I will not go into the ins and outs of that book (although I will always recommend it), but essentially what it did was this:
It restored my faith in humanity.
Essentially it painted the real reason WHY I felt dead. You see, it is very easy to ‘buy’ into the reasons of the world – about how to get ahead. A salesman personality or ‘gift of the gab’, a pursuit of achievements and the measurement of a man by the very things I have outlined.
But that was not the way life worked. It works best when one has integrity. One helps. One does the right things for the right reasons. When one demonstrates character. When one follows the 7 Successful Habits.
I was cynical and didn’t even know it. Now I knew.
And now I realised also that I was dead. And by knowing I was cynical made me less cynical. That led me to Scientology.
No, it was not the Pearly Gates. It was the door to the Church of Scientology Advance Organisation in Glebe, Sydney in Australia. But if I had not been changed prior, I would not have walked in.
I was not looking for religion. I wore a gold Christian Cross around my neck, which I bought one day not because I was particularly Christian, but because I had had some not so perfect dealings with executives in another country, and the weekend before my next trip, I decided to buy it so I could remind myself of the reason why I did things. All religion I have found since to be very good in teaching its advocates similar principles – good ones. Even those religions slated to be related to violent actions around the world do so in the essence of its teachings.
I started on a course called “Success through Communication”. Not a particularly religious thing you might think, but I was not looking for religion. I was looking for help.
But it was a course unlike anything I had done before.
In business, one tends to have courses where you get taught, do a few practicals, have a bit of Q&A with the trainer and get given a certificate for attending. I had expected something similar and I must admit, I was looking for something (still) to change the personality of how I was communicating. I was after ‘the Gift of the Gab’.
But it was a course where you sat across from someone and practiced – confront, communicating, and various drills such as acknowledging a communication. To an Honours Degree Graduate, MBA student with multiple business course certificates, it seems rather simple.
But then one does it. And does it until they do it right.
And at the end, I thought it was the most unusual and remarkable course I had done. And so I started looking for the next unusual and remarkable thing. I challenge anyone to do otherwise.
In Scientology I discovered what made me do many of the things which I was doing. Behaviours which by want of a better description – were destructive. To myself and others although not necessarily in any criminal way, but nevertheless, one feels it acutely.
I started to understand why other people were the way they were. Why I wasn’t happy and even the science of happiness.
Winston Churchill once said – “The destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits – not animals.”
The world was not necessarily in chaos. But at times in my life, I felt like I was. When I began to come out of the turmoil and confusion of life, I discovered for myself – why Scientology was a religion.
Religion is confused in many ways with the common people. It is often associated with worship or a god. Scientology interestingly does not necessarily compete on this level with other religions. It has no godly worship and its focus is not God (or Gods). Though the subject of God is adequately addressed Scientology studies do not necessarily intrude into this area.
In many ways, Scientology parallels Buddhism, which teaches knowledge from the life of Gautama Buddha. The fact that it is now construed as a worship in modern terms is not really the basis of it. It is a spiritual philosophy which helps carry the person across their lives as a spirit.
Scientology also deals in one’s past lives. And therefore that one might live again. It has a concept of Kharma – for want of a better word – that the deeds that one have consequences for one beyond the immediate and obvious. It is oneself that creates such results. The guilty or clean spirit then capable of creating their own effects based on it’s condition – the guilty one bad results and the clean one desirable ones.
But these concepts were beyond a materialistic me just starting on the road with the idea of getting the ‘gift of the gab’. For me, the concept of spirit and religion came otherwise.
You see, I started being involved in other Scientology activities. The juicy stuff. Things which help you get rid of the crap one has encumbered their personality, beingness, their mind and life with, much of which were not yours.
One is inspired or defeated. One is elated or dead. One is serene or in turmoil. And behind these extremes is one’s true spirit and personality, and the baggage of the things one did and the other guy.
And one can discover their true beingness. Their true purpose for their life.
And it is divine.
And there is no other word for such experiences than spiritual. I am a spirit.
Maybe driving the right Alfa Romeo on the right road is my only comparison in the materialistic world, and although a holy experience, is never quite complete nor enduring. No, none of the 20 cars I have owned nor any other means have rivaled such a knowledge and experience.
Scientists may argue that happiness is a chemical reaction in the brain. That memories are combinations of matter which create in its complexity and nanite size – the pictures and sensations one might have experienced.
But no modern Scientist has been truly able to explain why the body might lose 21 grams at death. Why some people like chocolate and some people really love chocolate. Why dogs will wait on you and cats don’t really give a damn. Why some people become truly great despite the attacks and adversity in their life.
And no scientific explanation suffices when such a shift occurs in one’s experience as discovering one’s purpose and true being, after getting rid of all the junk one has burden themselves with through life and the ages, or simply by asking the question at the right time in the right way – “What is that?”
And when such a change happens, it becomes natural to shift from the materialistic nature of one’s motivations, to where one is inclined otherwise.
And also by greater awareness, of oneself and thereby as a natural consequence the awareness of the world around one – one’s family, friends, workplace and society – dawns the other great awareness.
Many people are also dead already.
And we enter the demesne of the other activities of church – beyond the actualisation of the spiritual. The domain of help.
I will not give any lengthy dissertation on that area. One may already be familiar.
But in a world where so many are already dead. One cannot come alive and be happy that others are not.
But how does one change a ‘dead’ world, with people walking around who look alive, but are ‘dead’ inside and may not know it.
The answer is not so complex.
It is not necessarily to promote one’s religion around the world. The purpose of Scientology is not to make everyone Scientologists. Just like it is not the purpose of the Salvation Army to make everyone Christians.
No. The way to do this is to help and to get others to help.
When one is helped, suddenly one becomes a little bit more alive. Or at least one might realise that they were dead, and so be alive to that degree. Things might happen as a result, to oneself or one’s associates.
Just like Stephen Covey’s 7 Habit’s book did for myself. Just like the Salvation Army does to those who have not the means. Just like the various activities the Church of Scientology undertakes – in Drug Prevention, Human Rights, Criminal Reform and with its Army of Volunteer Ministers in places of Natural Disaster such as 9/11, Bandeh Aceh and Haiti. An impulse to help which comes as a natural response to being alive.
And when one does such things, one is liable to be attacked at times. By those who do not wish it so or vested interests. And those attacks seem very strange to one who has learned otherwise.
But one might even see in their actions some of the impulses one had when one was not so alive also. But after a while, when one becomes practiced in such activities realise that the majority are on your side. They do not spurn help. And once helped, they encourage it. They encourage you.
And for most, that is the extent that they might travel on that path. They are the crowd who will applaud you and encourage you. Give you a hand here and there. But no further will they go down that path. One will never see them again although one will feel content that you may have helped them.
But there might also be those who want a bit more. Those who want to find out more about themselves and the dreams they once had. And for those people there is also a door that leads otherwise.
D F Lam
10 August 2010
Locate the Church of Scientology of Canberra here.
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