Accused of Being Psychic
A brief video describing this story has been added to this post below. The longer story is below that.
I think it was in 2003 or 2004 when I was at Pa-Auk Meditation Center when this event happened to me. I was at the mountain meditation hall during the meditation break and I saw a yogi dressed in white yogi clothes. His outfit basically looked like pajamas to most Westerners, but if you know the meditation scene and you know how the foreigners usually dress at Pa-Auk, then you would know that he was a serious yogi. He was wearing the white yogi clothes and it was clear that he has been to other meditation places. Pa-Auk was not his first stop of on his spiritual journey.
He was of Asian descent, and although I had no clue what his race was, he had an American vibe sort of look to him. It certainly was not the clothes he was wearing or anything like that. It was simply just the way he was standing. I could almost swear by it, so I went up to him and said the following. I know you are Asian, but I was wondering if you were American. He looked at me in somewhat of “I am sorry” look, and said, “No I am from Japan.” I looked at him again, something wasn’t right. He had to have some type of connection to America. His English was smooth. At least I got that right. I said to him again, “But you must have stayed in America for a long time, right?” He then told me that he spent two years at a Zen Center in California and he was also an English teacher. Like I said, he had some type of Westerner look to him, although I could not place it, I knew. We started talking a little bit, and he was a serious yogi and did some of the courses by Sri Paramahansa Yogananda with the Kriya yoga. I was familiar with this guru by some friends and I had also read Autobiography of a Yogi a couple of times. To get initiated, you have to do courses for at least one year. He told me a little bit about the Kriya Yoga initiation ceremony and it seemed very interesting and powerful.
The next day, I was staring at the cut away earth on the side of the main Pa-Auk road in front of the infirmary. The road is deep cut and there is a 6 foot wall of earth on the side of the road. Most of it is covered in moss, but in one certain part, there was a circular shape of fresh earth that had just been revealed. It was a nice red color which is good for earth kasina as a meditation object. I decided to stare at it for a little bit when all of a sudden my new Japanese friend with American vibes came near to me and spoke to me in a soft, curious voice. It was a voice that believed in magic. He said, “What are you doing? Are you trying to get some type of meditation sign?” In the meditation manuals, you can stare at a round piece of earth and then later memorize the picture in your mind’s eye. If the picture is photographically memorized and sustainable with they eyes closed, then the first sign or uggaha-nimitta is achieved. But that is a long winded thing to talk about in detail.
He was well versed in meditation methods and while most people would not know or care about what I was doing, he certainly knew and cared. I did not want to talk about my meditation with him and changed the subject and started walking away. He followed and started talking to me. As we were talking, the subject of age came up and he asked me how old I was. I flipped his question and then asked him, “How old are you?”
He stopped in his tracks and then looked me square in the eyes and said, “Guess!” Now I am looking at his face, and he did not seem so healthy. I did not want to guess too old because if I did, he would feel bad. If I bluffed and said 20, then he would know I was just bluffing. He looked 48 to me, but I figured that padding it 5 years would be safe.
So I am staring at him for maybe 20 or so seconds, thinking about all of this stuff to calculate his age, and then I slowly blurt out as I am thinking … “ foooorrrty …“ his eye light up! “.. threeeee.” His eyes were on fire, as if he found someone he was searching for and said, “That is exactly correct!” Now we all tell people to guess our ages, and I went along with this one. However, based on his reaction, his eyes, and his exposure to gurus, etc., I realized that this was a psychic power test. When he stared me in the eyes and said, “Guess!”, he was throwing down a challenge. I fell for it hook, line and sinker. He was thinking of his age as loud as he mentally could and when I was figuring out what would be a polite buffer, he thought I was diving into his heart to read his mind!
“That is exactly correct!”
When he said that, I realized that I had passed a test I never bargained to take. I started to worry that he thought I was psychic and I said, “Oh no, now you think I am psychic!”
Then he immediately said, “I was just thinking that too!”
At that point, I ran away from him out of fear. I was very afraid. It seemed that anything I would say to him, would coincidentally be taken in his mind as psychic powers.
After telling one of my friends about this who is also able to know who speaks English by looks, how it happens, he thinks that certain muscles in the face get used when someone learns English and that is why it is easy to tell.
I am a skeptic on many ends. If someone says they are psychic (a self-made claim) here is the test you should give. Start by holding your hands under a table or behind your back and ask the psychic to guess which random fingers are up and which fingers are down. Two to the power of ten is over 1024 choices.
My mother asked me why I was scared. The Fourth of the four offenses of defeat is “Lying about super-human states” or psychic powers or attainments. So merely saying “Yes, I read your mind.” would cause a disrobing offense. The other 3 are Sex, Stealing, Killing a human being.