I would like to tap the brains and experience of my fellow Dopers about something that is bothering me. Tonight I attended a free course at the local library about learning to meditate. Sponsored by Sri Chinmoy’s organization. He is a New-York based spiritual teacher. I will google him for more info, but right now I could use some one-on-one friendly advice from anyone who knows anything good or bad about this outfit.
It was interesting, fun and everything was free, even the cookies and juice at break. The speaker was a nice little man who seems very sincere. None of it came across like a cult or anything weird. The course goes on for three more Thursdsay nights, all FREE (???) They showed us meditation techniques and recommended we learn by practicing at home until next week. All they asked for was my name and phone number, which are in the phone book.
Is this too good to be true? Am I being set up? Do they try to fleece you later on? Does the pitch for money come later on? I feel like the sword of Damocles is hanging over my head.
I am not soooo cynical that I cannot believe any organization could exist to help people without trying to use them or fleece them. I know because I have attended AA since 1993. I know as certain as I am sitting here that AA is nothing more or less than it claims to be: a bunch of former drunks who help each other stay sober. They have no membership lists or dues or fees. They just take a collection at meetings to pay for coffee and the hall and pamphlets. You can give a nickel per meeting if you like and nobody even knows how much you gave. People just drop what they want in a bag.
If this organization I saw tonight genuinely helps people by teaching meditation, and just makes a few bucks on the side with voluntary donations, selling CDs of Sri Chinmoy, etc, to cover expenses, then I have no objection. I mean, Sri Chinmoy has to eat and needs a roof over his head like anyone else, spiritual or not.
But if there is a hook here somewhere I cannot see, please tell me before I swallow the worm!!!