Nowadays, those seeking an alternative to mainstream religion face a dizzying array of options. Visiting Taiwanese-Canadian author and healer Amira Eva Loo has tried many of them on a 13-year journey seeking enlightenment that included a 6-year stint spending over half of each year meditating in India, and experiences with everything from karma to Christ to a clairvoyant.
Amira, currently in Taiwan to hold book signings, talks and “healing” retreats, was one of the first to bring the “Oneness method” to Taiwan. The method teaches people how to use guided meditation and deeksha to achieve enlightenment through a connection with the divine. Today, there are over 25 Oneness centers where people experience deeksha (which claims to help transfer the divine through the laying on of hands).
But she has now branched out into her own independent practice that involves deep guided meditation that claims to help people delve deeply into their subconscious and deal with family issues, personal pain and even the trauma of past lives.
No pain, no gain
She believes the key is “pure conscious attention at the center of oneself.”
“If one can pay attention to any pain, disturbing emotion or negativity,” she said, “it would eventually dissolve. If one can go beyond thoughts and stay centered in awareness, awakening would result … because any phenomena that is witnessed simply transforms into something higher.”
Her book, Awakening into Love, published this year and available at Eslite bookstores, is the portrait of a woman at once uplifted and beaten down by her spiritual transformation, constantly struggling for true enlightenment while eventually dealing with the pragmatic difficulties of opening and running the business side of a spiritual center.
After meeting a guru named Sri Bhagavan at the Oneness University in India in January 2004, she took a series of workshops and learned deeksha.
The descriptions of her early experiences can seem outlandish to the skeptical — more like a trip on a psychedelic drug like LSD or DMT.
“When people take drugs, part of the brain opens up and you get a heightened sense of awareness,” she said. “With spirituality we’re doing it in a natural way, that merging into one that you see in Buddhist texts, the cosmic consciousness.”
Following the advice of her guru she and her partner began to introduce the method in Taiwan, resorting at one point to going door to door and from 7-Eleven to 7-Eleven, talking to anyone who would listen. After a humbling experience where only a dozen people attended a function meant to host 250, she got a break when a visiting meditation teacher introduced her to his followers at a large event, which enabled her to make the necessary connections to continue.
She took groups of people from Taiwan to India to learn the deeksha training and become practitioners. She opened the first Oneness center in Taiwan in Taoyuan in the spring of 2004. After soliciting funds from friends and relatives the group moved to a bigger center in Taipei in the fall of that year.
“It helped me to know myself, to see all the past I hide or am unwilling to admit,” said Sandy Lee (李舒蘋), a former student who is now also a spiritual teacher “[I was] able to face relationships, truly from the heart to forgive myself, accept myself and others.”