Why New Agers/Spiritualists are probably among the most useless people in the world

From “As the World Burns: 50 things You Can Do to Stay in Denial” By Stephanie McMillan and Derrick Jensen, page 6, Seven Stories Press

What this cartoon depicts is something which has bothered me for ages now. It’s a certain passivity and lackadaisical worldview among the New Age/Spiritual and even at times, the yoga set.

Most of them employ a type of thinking which is called “magical thinking”. That somehow by meditating on a certain idea, or by “dedicating your yoga practice” and doing 108 Sun Salutations, that some magical aura of positivity will emanate from you, like a fuzzy gas cloud your dog just farted out and then goes around to transform the world into your version of the Garden of Eden.

Doing 108 of these in a row, will give you killer arms and abs, but it will not stop Japan from reactivating their nuclear power plants.

It’s nothing new. A few weeks ago I read Barbara Ehrenreich’s most excellent book,“Bright-sided: How The Relentless Promotion Of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America”.

Eye-opening read.

In the book, she outlined the historical basis of how all this magical thinking has seeped into the general culture, from corporate seminars with the likes of Landmark Education, to runaway trash best-sellers like “The Secret” or movies based on pseudo-science like “What the Bleep do we know?!”.

Fit for the bin.

It goes back to the end of the 19th century, oddly enough when industrialization and mass production also started. At that time it was called “New Thought” and it set up the base for the New Age movement decades later.

I’ve also seen it at the yoga studio. Where every autumn and spring equinox, there’s usually a Yoga Mala being held somewhere. Donate your $20 for a local charity, do 108 Sun Salutations and achieve World Peace! Sounds groovy, right?

I don’t think so.

If anything, it is a form of the corporate state to control the masses and it is a form of extremely deceptive thinking and it goes something like this. “If we can deceive you to just sit at home and meditate on world peace or meditate on abundance or Ganesha’s third eye, and take no other real-world action, we can still go ahead and send in drones to bomb Pakistan or instigate Israel to start a war with Iran (so screw your peace). If we can deceive you to read books like “The Secret” or “The Power of Positive Thinking” and fall for them, you’ll be too distracted to see what we are really doing behind your back. Plus you’ll be too afraid, too distracted and in too much debt to ever take real, meaningful action, like fight us in the streets and expose us to the world and what we really do.You feel bad about all this bombing and world hunger? Well, just give your money to some charity to ease your guilty conscience, we’ll be able to buy them out anyway and make sure the status quo is continued. Guaranteed.”

While I agree keeping a positive frame of mind is important for day-to-day life, it cuts down on the irritation and your blood pressure  when a rude driver cuts in or when someone with 15 items is in front of you in the 10 items or less line at the supermarket, it’s just not everything.

Road rage isn’t good for you either.

Achieving things like world peace, equal rights and abundance FOR ALL takes work. Serious grunt-work. It means getting involved in grass-roots movements, going to demonstrations, boycotting companies or entities which are hurting people and the land. It means being an active citizen of the world. It means doing research, reading up on the issue of your choice and then really doing something about it. Just hiding out at your yoga studio, temple, church, mosque etc. does not achieve anything. If you’re really serious about changing the world for the better, your ideals have to be coupled with action. This video below shows how slavery had a lot to do with the sugar trade and and what people had to do to stop it. It’s an example worth thinking about and analyzing seriously.

I’ve also noticed something else in recent years. That radical activism has a sheen of coolness to it which these corporate types and enablers have tried to siphon back on themselves, to make themselves look cool (and somehow that translates into more followers and more money).

I thought it was extremely disingenuous when the likes of Russell Simmons, Deepak Chopra, Sean Corne, and Elena Brower showed their faces at Occupy Wall Street in NYC last fall.

Every last one of them personally benefit from the capitalist system and have yearly annual incomes well over the 6-digit range. That they can somehow show up in Zucotti Park with people who have lost their homes in foreclosures, students with PhD’s and MA’s who can’t find work, people who normally would never be able to afford in 5 back-to-back lifetimes to go on an overseas yoga retreats with someone like Brower, in my mind, stinks of opportunism and phoniness.

If these New Agers and Yoga “Teachers” are serious about alleviating the suffering that many are going through, they also have to help in dismantling that very system which created it in the first place, instead of trying to work around it or within it. Nothing less will do. But as it is, they benefit too much from it, so why ever say or do anything which will have real impact?

So chant all you want, pray all you want, meditate all you want, wait all you want while the world burns. Nothing is going to change out there unless it’s coupled with informed action.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

Categories: Ascension, Ch-ch-ch-changes, False prophits, Politico, Pop culture, Raise your EQ, Shift of the Ages effects, This is why the planet is screwed up, Yoga | Tags: , , , | 50 Comments

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50 thoughts on “Why New Agers/Spiritualists are probably among the most useless people in the world

  1. I agree with much of what you say here. Have you seen this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5um8QWWRvo.It's a great critique of corporate appropriation of the power of positive thinking. But I digress.

    Much of what you say here, I’ve said myself in conversations with friends. But I do think there is something powerful and important about prayer, intention, mantra – as long as it is coupled with grounded, meaningful action. It’s about finding a balance, being intentional and mindful with our work and our struggles. Those things can have an impact when we use them to create change and build intentional communities. They also guide us to create safe spaces; be clear with our selves; set our aspirations, goals and expectations and help us remain focused and resilient.

    Also I think that maybe it’s a good thing all those celebrities came to Occupy. Perhaps it was opportunist and yes they have privilege they need to challenge -and it’s a good thing that you are critiquing it here- but people being at Occupy, being willing to enter that space, vote and eat and converse with each other, I want to believe that laid the ground work for something bigger, something lasting. For things to change, yes, they need to challenge their privilege and work to undermine systems of oppression, but maybe being there was part of that journey for them.

    • Hi Andrea, mantras, prayers and intention are important, I agree but it must be coupled with action in the real world. Without it it, it becomes either magical thinking or passivity in it’s worst form and stops people from taking meaningful action to change their lives for the better. I mean look at the Quakers, they are a group of people who are extremely anchored and grounded in their spirituality, but they were also among the first white groups to overtly come out against slavery, supported the Civil Rights movement and often are elections monitors in places like Palestine.

      Many celebrities showed up at OWS, people like Mike Myers, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Michael Moore etc. What I take issue with and especially in the instance of Sean Corne was that she was over at the Republican Party’s convention a few weeks ago offering yoga to party delegates. You can’t support the Republican Party and OWS at the same time, it’s like saying you support Ralph Nader and the war in Iraq in the same breath.

      • Cepia

        I don’t stay well informed in the arena of who shows up where. However, I find it to be of little help or service to underfoot or undermine someone’s presence in an establishment based on a judgement of their intention. Perhaps the directive in anyone’s presence might be just that…. to bust a system, an outdated paradigm, by gifting others of an opposite spectrum an opportunity to experience something different. An opportunity to gift perspective could be celebrated as a courageous endeavor in regard to seeding change. It does little good to place unnecessary focus on blame or judgement as one can rarely know or gauge with any certainty the intention behind another’s presence, nor the potential receptivity from any participant of any particular establishment, to perhaps bring about or implement a greater, more expansive outlook that could be the beginning of a healthier, more sustainable directive, or even the confirmation someone may have been needing in order to follow through with an action that might benefit healthy change on any level. (Butterfly Effect) We cannot know how the smallest of inklings might deliver in regards to change in our world, thus, it is perhaps more to our detriment to point fingers at others merely because we can’t see the change they may be creating within a seemingly limited spectrum. Some are called to action while others choose a more passive role. Passive aggressive seldom leads to positive action as it tends to attract a defensive posture by those it tends to address. It is more often received as segregation, delivered on a more subtle level that can be used and even received as a potential blockage, restricting change, rather than an opening in the integrity of restructuring sustainable, healthy change. As it is a great responsibility for our leaders and teachers to teach and guide with wisdom and neutrality that can seed change through appropriate action, it is also our individual responsibility to use our faculties of discernment and discretion as participants in any teaching, modality, or school of thought. If someone is seen as not living up to their potential, perhaps they are indeed reflecting our own challenges that need addressing. It’s easy to point a finger in judgement at what may be perceived as less than adequate. It is quite another experience to set an example as we utilize our creative measures, challenging our own individual potentials to support and instill change that may be received by the masses. Labeling, defining, stereotyping & general grouping of this manner has far less potential to create sustainable healthy change than does choosing to meet diversity with creativity to elevate within a seemingly limited spectrum.

      • Each of these upwardly mobile bleeding heart liberals deserves an individual evaluation of their own profile. Many of them are talented and work at very challenging professions to move their own family up out of poverty. They need Christianity, meditation, yoga, and spirituality (and maybe a few blows) to cope with the stress from the intense competition into which they are thrust. Their educations rarely included understanding of the the expoitation of the masses that is prevelant beyond their own family plight. When you have been lucky enough to get that fateful start up the economic ladder you are forced into a position where you must step around and over others who you want to leave behind in the old neighborhood. If you arrive in LaLa land you inevitably bring along a lot of baggage which you keep under tight control, out of sight.
        If you have a normal ego there is no way around the depression/anxiety producing stresses. One other thing that soothes your soul is to reach down and offer a hand to someone else who you find out, is otherwise hopeless. You may be a celebrity so reporters inevitably ask questions about you, and the way you got there. If your past is a typical mixed bag should you be judged harshly by the public? My answer to this question is: If you treat the people who work for you with all due respect then any incidental thing that is dug up about you deserves a pass.

  2. searchingforfernando

    This spiritual passivity did not come about by accident. New York bankster, Gordon Wasson (CIA) created the hippy movement, the New Age movement and the 2012 meme. Go to: http://www.gnosticmedia.com and find August 11th 2012 in the archive. Listen to the podcast of Jan Irvin on Red Ice Radio. This interview puts all the puzzle pieces together.

    • SFF, I think understanding the historical basis for it is important but then what? One of my criticisms of the conspiracy-research community is that indeed, they are very good and making the links and exposing the connections, but just understanding that also needs to be coupled with some sort of action to counteract it.

    • city zen

      that’s silly. No one person could do that. To believe that you have to think every hippy was a brainwashed zombie, and none could think for themselves. And you have to dismiss bohemians, beat poets, rock musicians, tim leary, esalen, and countless other influences as either insignificant or part of the conspiracy. Just silly.

      • searchingforfernando

        It’s not silly unless one is unread, uninformed or too uneasy to face the truth about a subject near and dear to their heart. Esalen and and Timothy Leary WERE part of a conspiracy. “Inside the LC: The Strange but Mostly True Story of Laurel Canyon and the Birth of the Hippy Generation” by Dave McGowan and “The Hippy Matrix” by Miles Mathis both spell it out very clearly (both available online). However, having survived the hippy culture myself, I realize most with an attachment to this era will not want to face the truth. Strange how people are so eager to believe anything… as long as it does not impinge upon their sacred cow. Brave Dave McGowan paid for his expose with his life. Dave, wherever you are now, realize how important your work was, and I thank you very much for going where so many fear to tread.

      • Gus Williamson

        You’re ignoring that those groups were primed to be influenced. Nobody is saying that they wouldn’t have existed without Wasson, but their movements and concepts were hijacked and the use of the word meme in the description of the absurd 2012 event is rather apt. Spiritualists are basically open to be used and abused and this makes them closed.

        Here’s an example of this type of person and their way of thinking. I have a cousin who is into all that hippie bullpuckey and bless her heart for it, but she is so closed minded because of it. She is influenced by the most stupid of things and closed to rationality and even real spiritual concepts and ideas. She had all her amalgam fillings taken out and apparently went through a detox process and when I gave her peer reviewed scientific research that concluded that the ambient levels of mercury in in the environment was doing her more harm than her fillings were, she went off the hook and almost lost her mind at me for even suggesting otherwise to her opinion. I have access to a huge academic library through my alma mater which she doesn’t make use of and refuses to accept information and data from. Basically, she has come up with unfounded conclusions based on her own whims and those of other nut cases and any suggestion to the contrary is like a personal attack oh her. These people are like as though they’re in a cult.

    • Nora

      That is really exposing my point of view too! And you put it very clearly. Thank you

  3. What do you mean by, “even, at times, the yoga set”? It’s all part of the same package. Otherwise, good article. I don’t think that meditation, yoga or psychedelics (searchingforfernando) are the problem. Before I did those things, I was just a dumb Southern California surfer. After I did them, I experienced love and compassion for the first time. Later, I saw how the gurus were steering their followers towards a passive acceptance of the system.

    • Rob, I think meditation, psychedelics, yoga in isolation might provide personal insight into one’s own situation but after that…then what? I might go and chant Om Shanti, indefinitely and wish peace on every being on Earth, but that chanting will not stop the ongoing injustices taking place around the world. I think the edifice can only hold if the two pillars of spirituality and action are equally in place.

      • I’m not talking about chanting Om Shanti. I’m talking about a radical change in perception and ideals. I did very few psychedelics, but they showed me that there are other ways of perceiving the universe. When I started meditating, I felt to my bones for the first time what Walt Whitman meant when he wrote “and a kelson of creation is love.” It was from that perspective that I quit teaching yoga at a retreat and became a vocal critic of the retreat. It was from that perspective that I felt the pain and suffering of the Vietnamese who were being carpet bombed and napalmed and risked going to jail instead of getting drafted. It was from that perspective that I jumped at the chance to leave the U.S.

        You’re writing in generalities. I still know several people who have, like me, lived on a shoestring our whole lives because we could never get into the capitalistic game. By the way, the whole “New Age” thing made me cringe from the beginning and I hated that “Age of Aquarius” song, just as I hated the Beach Boys for popularising and trivialising surfing.

        Who doesn’t make mistakes? David Icke may have been taken in by the 2012 myth, but he isn’t now. Can you honestly say you’ve never been suckered? Naom Chomsky was a believer in the official 9/11 spiel, but I don’t hold that against him or call him a secret member of the global elite – just a very bright guy who made a mistake.

    • searchingforfernando

      The search for the truth is damn difficult. If one embarks on this search, they will take a wrong turn from time to time. There’s no shame in this, as long as you use the critical thinking skills God gave you to get back on track. Even David Icke got sucked into the 2012 meme in 1998 (THE BIGGEST SECRET).

      The common denominator of those who crave this spiritual junk food (‘creating your own reality’ aka in New Age speak: ‘co-creating with God’) is a total lack of critical thinking. Also these types want a spiritual connection, as long as it’s easy and they don’t have to change their lifestyles. I’ve noticed that those who yell the loudest about orthodox religion turning people into zombies, are the most mind-controlled by New Age beliefs.

      I caught the tale-end of the hippy movement, only because all my boyfriends were ten years older than me. I think the majority of the hippies that dropped out of society, did so because of mass mind-control programming. Most of the hippies that I knew eventually went on to start their own businesses. The programming didn’t last, and they returned to their former programming: be a good citizen, pay your taxes, don’t make waves or question anything, and you will be rewarded with toys. Dropping back into the system is a lot easier than to REALLY drop out.

    • Rob, I think whatever it was/is that gets you to your place of truth is valid, I mean in your case, it was psychedelics, which caused your shift in perception and accordingly, choices in your lifestyle. For me it was a series of insights and quasi-mystical experiences and realizations which were then verified by life experience. Once you get there, even after all the mistakes, it is very hard to go back to the old ways especially is you have any integrity, knowing what you know, your blinders come off permanently.

      But this is what I personally find to be the most offensive and damaging part of the whole thing. As human beings, we have a spiritual dimension and spiritual needs, of that, I have no doubt whatsoever. These disingenuous money-grabbing types have figured that out and they prey on this vulnerability and need, on many people given that it is now a multi-billion dollar industry. And surprisingly it is the traditionalists who are fighting back. I don’t agree with everything about them but the Catholic Church is one, if you visit the New Age Frauds and Plastic Shamans website, the Native community are also trying to take their traditions back from those who have hijacked it or bastardized it.

      Of course, we all makes mistakes, that’s how we learn, once bitten, twice shy. I met many of these frauds when I started my journey but it’s also why I get so angry at what I see going on. My issue is with some of these “methods” and the personalities behind the methods, yes particularly the New Age-type, and these days the gentrified spa-yoga-type as well (check out The Babarazzi’s site about this). And yes, I am generalizing, but to touch on something SFF brought up, it is quite true that that the problem with this commercialized spirituality is the fact that they paint it out to be so easy, “buy this book, come to my seminar, attend this retreat, chant these words and all will be yours, God, Jesus, the angels, Saint Germain, Ramtha, guruji etc. are all with you.” it’s corporatism at work…again, albeit underneath extemely slick marketing and sugar-coating. The fact that it’s corporatism in disguise is exactly what continues to paralyze people into being passive, complacent consumers as opposed to informed, active, participatory citizens. And we need much more of the latter, than the former right now.

      • searchingforfernando

        I was briefly sucked into the New Age movement in 1991. Fortunately I was able to extricate myself before any damage was done. A few years ago I tracked down some of the New Agers I had known because I had done astrology readings for them, and I wanted to know if my predictions had come to pass (they had been perplexed when I told them I did not charge for readings). What I found made me sad. Spiritually, these folks were right where they were when I had taken leave of them twenty years before. There had been no change or advancement. It brought to mind what David Icke wrote in THE BIGGEST SECRET:

        “It was the Brotherhood who created the New Age Movement to divert the awakening. The term New Age is the name of a Freemasonic magazine. Whenever I have made these points, New Agers have dismissed the idea because, they say, the Brotherhood would not want the people to emcompass a different view of life. No, not in an ideal world they wouldn’t, but this is not an ideal world for them because the energy changes are waking people up. They knew this was coming and what it’s affect would be. They couldn’t jump in a spacecraft and fiddle with the Sun or gointo the centre of the galaxy to switch off the new vibration.

      • searchingforfernando

        Sorry for the interruption. The library computer cut me off (I don’t have a computer) Back to David Icke:

        “Their only alternative was to hijack the awakening consciousness and lead it into another cul-de-sac, another rules-and-regulations-religion, where it would be no threat to the Brotherhood Agenda. This they have done with the New Age Movement. So much of the New Age is not spirituality as change, but spirituality as escapism. It is suppressing and diverting the awakening, not advancing it.”

        Well stated, David. It was as if the New Agers I tracked down had been spinning around in a whirlpool for all those years. For twenty years I have been reaching down into that whirlpool and offering a hand to those who might want to climb out. Has it done any good? I don’t have a clue, but… in the fairy tale THE EMPEROR”S NEW CLOTHES it only took one little boy yelling “the king is naked!” to wake everybody up. Life isn’t as simple as a story, but I will continue to say “the king is naked” until someone proves to me that it is futile to do so. And Rob, I’ve known a few hippies that really did drop out back in those days, and like you, they left the United States. I think that’s what it takes, to REALLY drop out. I would be out of here in a second if I had the means to do it.

      • Of course, the tentacles reach out globally, so leaving the US hasn’t been without its challenges. In retrospect, it seems like my life has been like a game of dodge ball, trying to live as I see fit while keeping an eye out for the next ball sent flying in my direction. Sometimes I’ve been hit and sometimes I’ve let myself get drawn into some aspect of the game that go against my deeper convictions. I’m certainly not a role model, but then again, no one is. That’s just another thing I like about David Icke: he doesn’t pretend to be anyone special.

  4. Michelle Farinella

    Hello! Avid follower of your blog. You are asking difficult and valid questions and i learn something new w every post. Thank you for doing what you do. What do you suggest people like Seane corn and Elena browder do if they find an organization or movement that they feel passion about and want to support? Respectfully, Michelle

    • Hi Michelle,
      Thanks for reading. I’m not one to tell other people what do to, but I think figuring out what you truly believe in and sticking to it is a good start instead of grasping here and there to whatever flavor of the month shows up. 200%. I mean look at someone like Ralph Nader, he’s been at it for 50 years now, exposing companies like GM and exposing politicians. I heard him speak once and he said something very wise: pick one thing that you’re passionate about, not because it’s a popular cause or profitable, but one which hits close to home, and work ceaselessly for the good with that cause, that is a thing of beauty, exposing truth in that way.
      Did you have a chance to watch the documentary I posted on “Big Sugar” above? It’s an excellent example of an evil industry which contributed to slavery and continues today, but it also offers a blueprint, in this case of how slavery was abolished within the British Empire by simple Joes and Janes, people of faith as well.

  5. Heather

    Hey guys, interesting conversaton. I agree with many of the things you are all saying but don’t you think that we all may have a slightly different role to play and that it’s not necessarily for us to say everyone needs to couple intention with action? Maybe in this life we have one thing to contribute and in another something else. I think it’s for everyone to search, find and live out as much as we each can, what our particular contribution is in each life.

    I’m coming more and more around to thinking that so much of what we are here for is actually to change ourselves. Another way to see it is to come home to who we really are already. And so as we change ourselves, we change the world.

    How much can we really change anyone? Perhaps very little. It is for everyone to change themselves. But we can be the best guide possible, by following our own path as truly as we can.

    That doesn’t mean to say that I think no one should take action. Of course if action can be good.

    And so I’m coming to judge less and less. We may see someone who dedicates their life to meditation etc. and it may not be for us. However, it may be for that person at that time. We may perceive that there is more for them to do. If that is the case, and it comes from a place of truth / inspiration and not judgment, then perhaps we can gently share that with this person. If they take something from this, they take something from this and if they don’t, they don’t.

    I more think we are part of something bigger. Being part of something doesn’t mean we all have to do as each other.

    Maybe it’s ok that there are those out there who meditate, do yoga all day.

    Also just to say, I think books like the ones you mentioned above advocating that positive thinking change the world, only go so far, only explain so much. It’s only one insight into life. I think it’s clear that positive thinking alone won’t solve our woes and the worlds woes. Perhaps suffering is part of life for a reason. And again, that’s not to say that we shouldn’t make changes to ourselves and the world.

    Ah hope that wasn’t too much of a meandering waffle.

    Oh and Earth Energy Reader – I think we don’t know that someone chanting Om Shanti all day won’t change the world. Maybe it will (how exactly I don’t know). Perhaps someone will be so inspired by this person chanting Om Shanti, that it will inspire them to take the action they feel drawn to doing. Perhaps chanting Om Shanti sends vibrations of peace, helping to heal the world. It may sound like a long shout but my point is if someone wants to chant Om Shanti indefinitely, and they feel inspired doing so, is that a problem? And perhaps chanting Om Shanti won’t change the world at all but maybe that person just needed this life to chant Om Shanti for god knows what reason.

    • Hi Heather,
      It is true there are those people who have decided to devote their entire lives to spiritual and quiet contemplation, nuns, monks from all spiritual traditions, not just Buddhist or Catholic. We often forget this in our frantic world but there are aging nuns and monks in monasteries who do nothing but pray for the world’s salvation or the enlightenment of all beings. Hermits, mendacants, sadhus, persons who have decided to actively renounce the materialistic world to do nothing else but pray and meditate and devote themselves to their spiritual life. They most definitely have a role to play in all of this. That is holy meditation and holy prayer and needs to be respected as such.

      My issue is with bullshit New Agers like Solara, or Magenta Pixie on YouTube or the Galatic Federation of Light. I mean just go to a place like Sedona, Mount Shasta, even “hot spots” like Bali these days and you have (usually) middle-aged divorcees who are offering courses on Goddess initiation, or chakra cleanses which involves placing “attuned crystals” on your body. These are the types which need to be taken to task. They preach “love and light” yet when it comes to either setting an example or putting to practice what they preach, it’s a completely different story. How can you preach love and light and at the same time politically support a war-monger like Mitt Romney? And it is this disconnect which is problematic. It’s this disconnect which allows a John Friend to pop up or a James Ray.

      We all have a role to play, that’s true, no matter how big or small, and we all individually have to figure out carefully what our role will be but once you figure it out in earnest, it may involve trail and error, it may involve taking long detours but once you know, I don’t beleive you can do a half-assed job. What difference will working on ourselves mean when there isn’t a drop of real water to drink, for example?

  6. Heather

    Hey, ah yes get you. People can I guess preach love and light at at the same time politically support a war-monger like Mitt Romney. However, the truth, at least it seems to be, is becoming more and more to the forefront. Deception and other forms of darkness are becoming exposed for what they are. The light is shining more. Yeah respect to your passion about not doing a half-assed job. Re what difference will working on ourselves mean when there isn’t a drop of real water to drink: well it might help us accept this situation and be more at peace!

    I do know what you mean. Maybe trust that nincompoops will be exposed for what / who they are? Really, people who preach one thing and live another can be very annoying. I have come across people like this and it’s a lot harder than people who you / others can see for what they are as they come across so god damn nice but they aren’t. That can be sickening.

    But I’m not in favour of the philosophy that all being need to take action etc. For example I read post in relation to occupy movement basically saying that all people need take action and if they don’t they are x, y an z. There are so many many ’causes’ in the world. We can’t presume the one/s that are important to use are the be all and end all. I’m not working to take down corrupt political powers for example but I do care about this stuff. What I am doing in my life is what I currently feel guided to do, which is help a certain group of people in a certain way. That’s something for me to do, that I feel is part of ‘my work’. I’m not going to go to activist dudes and say ‘hey guys, you need to leave this stuff behind you and do x, y or z’. But when it comes down to it, for me, I feel that the most important lessons in my life, the most important work I am doing here, is actually very personal. Maybe depends on ones soul age. (ah I’m wondering if you’ll be like, she’s one of those hippies!!!!)

    That’s the great thing about the world – it’s like a huge learning field for well, learning!

    • I think it’s about doing what you can and according to what gifts you might have. Not all of us are going to be Noam Chomskys, Derrick Jensens, Rosa Luxemburgs or Martin Luther King Jrs. You do what you can according to your ability or talents. Some of us have gifts in organizing, some in planning, some coming up in new theories, some in networking, some in writing. And I agree, you can’t fight all battles all the time, you have to be selective and you can only truly be dedicated to something if it is something you personally feel passionate about.

      You see the thing with activism, is that you eventually reach a point where confrontation against power and privilege is inevitable. If it is a cause you have no emotional resonance with, at the first sign of defeat or confrontation, most people will back down because the costs are too high for something they don’t really care about. It takes courage and bravery to really mean what you say you’re standing up for. Does that mean, we’re all meant to be street fighters? No, but I certainly can support them. If there’s a demonstration, I can show up, sometimes even the show of numbers are all that’s needed to keep a cause going and to provide encouragement to those who are working on the forefront. Saving the Whales is not my cause, but I completely support those Greenpeace activists who deliberately place themselves in rubber dinghys between the whales and the harpoon ships. The Israel/Palestine conflict is another one which isn’t “my” cause. However, I can fully support the work of people like Norman Finkelstein, Gilad Atzmon or the late Rachel Corrie, and drop them an email of encouragement or two from time to time.

      I think it’s about seeing what your own gifts are, figuring out what what it is you’re completely dedicated to and see where the two can fit.

  7. Heather

    Yep – I agree.

  8. “So much of the New Age is not spirituality as change, but spirituality as escapism. It is suppressing and diverting the awakening, not advancing it.”

    Thank you, SFF. This quote from Icke nails it. I think real spirituality informs your actions, when you realize that you have to do the right thing and can’t sit on the sidelines anymore in face of the kind of suffering which is taking place. Norman Morrison was a Quaker who couldn’t take the Vietnam war anymore, and self-immolated himself underneath the office window of then-Secretary of State, Robert McNamara. That’s an extreme example but it shows you how seriously people take their ideals and how far they are willing to fight back to change things.

    People think that the civil rights movement was Martin Luther king Jr. or that India’s independence was just about Gandhi, but really things change for the better because people are constantly working all the time, men and women whose names you and I will never know. We’re now in a dangerous and precarious situation where people are engaged in “lifestyle spirituality”, where they consider themselves spiritual and doing good things but all it really does is create a blind spot which allows injustices to continued with complete unaccountability.

  9. I have just written a post about new age ascension, well, kind of. First of all, it struck me that the “new age” philosophy is really just an interpretation of “old age” mission creep. The modern dialogue can be traced back to at least the 19th century in Blavatsky’s writing, the “Secret Doctrine”, and her decoding of the ancient books of “Stanzas” are great examples of this. Interestingly, the term uni-verse can be translated as “one” song and when you look for meanings of “individuality” you find the term stanza embedded in there amongst others, so these ancient books of stanza in this regard focus around the meaning of individuality.

    New age-ism seems to be about uniting human consciousness into “one” and yet when you look at that for what it is, it is actually creating a “hive” or “Borg” mind mentality under which one love and one harmony is championed – however, what kind of “united” love and harmony are we talking about here, for instance, a satanists idea of love and harmony would be very different from the average being, albeit it would still be love and harmony to the satanist, but a virtual nightmare for everyone else.

    Everywhere you look humanity is already being sucked into a globalist “oneness” agenda, United Nations, Earth as a Federation, one banking system, one world government etc… the “old age” has merely shifted in terms of terminology to appeal to a broad spectrum of individuals who are looking for love and light. Rather than look for love and light inwardly people continue to search for it “out there” somewhere. A simple look at what “Lucifer” means tells us that Lucifer is the “light” giver… is this the kind of light you would like to find?

    Surrendering your own sovereign consciousness to some external concept is for me just taking a step further away from the truth. Uniting under one consciousness or joining some cosmic consciousness through external means sounds idealistic but in reality it pulls you further away from the true nature of one-self which can only be found with total introspection. That is the true source of light, not the Cosmic light, the (symbolic) light of Lucifer, but the infinite sea of still magnetic light beyond the universe.

    Each one of us is a uni-verse in our own right. Utterly unique. One of a kind

    • Autogene, i pretty much agree with everything you wrote but I also think the problem is compounded by the fact that it dis-empowers people even more from taking effective and meaningful action.
      I can focus on my internal spiritual development all I want, but how will that save the water, air and land base when the land base is what we need in order to live. For example, people think that they don’t need to fight, they can go plant a peace garden somewhere and all will take care of itself. What I’m saying is plant you peace garden later, there’s a fight happening right now and we need to take intelligent and well-thought out action first.

  10. Experiencer

    I think its a problem with the Newbies? Yes or no? I know when. Started on my journey~ what I call the awaening process~ u are actually very lost~ like a litle kid excited to go to kindergarten with a bunch of other little kids but quickly realize~ there is work!? Awakened is not Enlightened and Enlightened doesn’t immediately put you into wisdom. Its a process. Peace is what we atempt to maintain in our core at all times~ its the ultimate goal but that doesn’t mean u sit on your butt and wait to bring it about with thoughts. Maintain peace when working on any worthwhile project. You can be peaceful even in disagreements. Can’t really explain but just remember~ awakened is step 1 ~ work toward enlightenment annd then practice wisdom. Good luck!

  11. Heather

    Hey, thank you for your insights Autogene. I love what you said – “each of us is a uni-verse in our own right. Utterley unique. One of a kind.”

    Earth Energy Reader – I hear you say “Plant your peace garden later, there’s a fight happening right now”.

    Can you maybe see that for some, planting a garden is ok and might be one’s contribution? Perhaps others can fight and others can plant the gardens. Perhaps some trust is needed that others also maybe know what their path is and it may just be to plant a garden…..?

    And I say go those who what to plant the pace gardens as those who are fighting might require some respite and relief and help from those planting the peace gardens.

    • I, for one, could relate to the original post because I, too, find New Agers incredibly annoying. When I even get an email that signs off “light and love” or “om shanti”, I get annoyed and tend to write the person off as trivial and shallow. I’m sure I’m often wrong and try to resist the knee jerk reaction, but what I see in my mind is someone who wears the “spiritual” label and then supports a system that is anything but spiritual as long as it pushes the right buttons. For example, if the President is black and grows an organic garden, you can set aside uncomfortable realities like foreign invasions and drones or the fact that he hand picked an adviser who works for Monsanto. If someone else smokes cigarettes, they automatically do not have anything to offer even if they are standing in the line of fire and trying to expose the lies. I remember listening to an audio tape where the “guru” said in one breath how someone who smoked cigarettes couldn’t possibly be “enlightened” and in the next referred to “the great Alan Watts.” For the record, Alan Watts was a smoker.

      I guess what I’m saying is that most of us have a tendency to generalise and judge based on appearances. We also tend to try to put life into a nice, neat box. It will never fit. All we really can do is work on ourselves and for others in the best way we see fit.

  12. Linda-Sama

    huge bow to you! I also agree that for people like Simmons and Corne to show up at OWS was the biggest pile of phony horse shit evah….well, maybe not EVER, but you know what I mean.

  13. I don’t know if you have seen this video. The research is fascinating and revealing. I have been meaning to for sometime to drop it in to you. Apologies for the delay

    • Thanks autogene!
      This crap has been going on for a while now…but I do think it’s heartening that people are starting to read things symbolically and understanding what’s behind the public face.

  14. simian

    By their works you shall know them…

  15. Oh god YES so many times YES!!! I feel so much pressure to always be happy that it causes me stress and I am sure the pressure of it causes people to have some very deeply repressed feelings that eventually lead to break downs.

  16. I have a lot of issues with the pressure to be 100% happy 100% of the time. Unless you are a psychopath you are born with the ability to experience a wide range of emotions and feelings including stress/anger and it turns out we need that range for our ability to survive on this planet. Guess what, it is perfectly ok to have a bad day, to fail, to be pissed off, to be sad, to feel joy, to feel hate and more.

  17. K. A.

    You are so right on all reasoning and score points! I have to give you a link to a website, which kinda summons up the problems with the New Age-b******t pretty well
    i m h o
    Have a nice day and take care!

  18. I believe that you’re are taking a propaganda style approach to this article. Though, much of what you say is true, you assert that you have the authority to tell us what is meant by power of thought up through the ancient scriptures and there is no truth in it. That is simply not true. Much of what else you’ve said seems very pointedly accurate. Your presupposition that anyone who doesn’t work toward your agenda is also very misleading. Since, you don’t like Deepak or Russel Simmons you profess that they can have no authenticity in supporting a movement. They have their own reasons and agendas, and I’ve never heard either one say they were personally working on foundational world change. Maybe they’re powerless to the system too, and just doing the best they can. I’m with you, all this talk and no action is the reason we’re in the position we’re in. Attacking these guys personally seems to say more about your mindset than theirs. With respect, I appreciate your passion and dedication!

    • fmmission, I think you might have misread me completely. I have zero authority to tell anyone what to do and how to do it and I don’t have an agenda either. I’m just simply critiquing how much of the New Age/”spiritual” community are deluding themselves in changing anything for the better if they’re not willing to confront power. And that confrontation is inevitable in any genuine and real struggle. There’s also way too many “teachers” who are profiting from the system as it is so its in their best self-interest to NOT change anything . That’s a problem.

      • VK

        Irasna, I agree with fmmission.

        You miss the point of a lot of spiritual people. Many of us have been through some form of trauma and need to work (through our own action) on our own personal issues. Painting all of us with a broad brush as “the most useless people in the world” demonstrates a lack of experience and I invite you to come back from the fringes and meet with us. A deeper understanding of your fellow human without the harshness of judgement may fundamentally change your view, if of course you’re open minded to something like that.

  19. Excellent article and discussion! It has always come down to the individual’s actions. Many of us began to see behind curtain through the new age movement. but it’s what we do with our realizations that counts. Every penny you spend, every item you recycle, and every person you interact with is a moment of action.

  20. Elizabeth

    Russell Brand who you lampoon in this particular cartoon does actually contribute pragmatically and actively to those in need ( drug addicts and the like) … In Bellingen where I lived for 15 years we have the knitting Nanny’s who are hands on activists in local concerns with mining and fracking in NSW … There is probably quite a few mediators and old hippies among them …any activists will experience burn out and overwhelm without the balance of a spiritual self care practice . Of course the corporations are going to jump on these things and manipulate them to try and keep people stupid and people will use them as excuses or distractions to avoid actually doing anything. I think they can work well together. It’s too easy to take a swipe and cause more decisiveness .

    • Um, first of all “I” did not make up this cartoon. It’s from green anarchist Derrick Jensen’s book with cartoonist and activist Stephanie McMillan so you would need to ask them if indeed they based this cartoon on Russell Brand, having read several of Jensen’s books, I highly doubt it.

  21. As you progress in your consciousness and advance your genius, you pass through many levels of learning…Much of the “spiritual” material is imagined garble expressed by people seeking to get a greater understanding of themselves, others and the universe..…. As you become more aware on how to evaluate information, you become able to source true wisdom and insight…Gibran, Jung, Emerson, James and so many other “spiritualists” have shared great wisdom…. Classifying people as “spiritualists” or “New agers” is in and of itself misleading….. In the end, we each evolve trough successive levels bullshit to discover greater truth…ad infinitum.

  22. John Willemsens

    Reblogged this on Advayavada Buddhism.

  23. Most of the New Age stuff is nothing more than cultural appropriation from real traditions such as Mahayana Buddhism, Vedanta, Jainism, Gnostic Christianity, and Jewish Kabbalah Mysticism.

  24. Reblogged this on ravanabola.

  25. Robert

    Many good points and I agree with the fact that we are here to not only sit, but to act. However, since the problems in the world are the result of the egoic mind, most people would be better off removing the stick from their own eye before removing the splinter from their neighbor’s. I believe that people who are trying to wake up will be called to appropriate action as they become less controlled by the egoic mind.

  26. Nuke

    Hi, greeting from Indonesia 🙂

    I stumbled upon your blog from trying to find subject about medical anthropology and continue to “How many Indian doing meditation”. Funny thing is, the thought you had just crossed in my mind few hours back. And some of what you said did ring in my head.

    I am not opposing the idea of meditation and idle mind body ritual completely. I am still trying to get more facts and data on how these mental transformations really effect human world and environment. But your notion struck some of the basis of this contemparary issues. We tend to use this thing – or other way- only to “get away” from doing something much more important.

    Few hours ago, I get an insight while listening to audiobook about the power of mental thought, that “new age” empowering concept -endorsed primarily to worldwide views by “The Secret” book- may not be correct afterall.

    I am still trying to connect the dots here. But here some of what I thought:
    1. There is Grand Design going on
    2. Buddhism – Hinduism – Gnosticism – Occultism – which appearantly seems to promote the “idle mode way of life” are actually saying about: “Let the car drive on its own – let go the wheel”
    3. Accepting the above thesis, meaning: we might stop ‘thinking’ that our mind is creating by law of attraction – and doing some mental work is fine to change the world.

    It is the “PERCEPTION” mind, perception that matter. The idea of meditation or any religious teaching is trying to bring mankind to understand their power of self. They need to go within, trusting themselves, believe on themselves, loving themselves, then stop trying to control what’s going on outside them. Whatever polarity that’s going on in our world – bad and good – it just happened only to teach us spiritually to become better person. Change the angle of perpective – then it change the whole system – then it would effect your transformation of behaviour. ACT DIFFERENTLY.

    So, in my personal opinion – we don’t need really to spend years of following one Guru only to perfect our technique of yoga etc – what we need to do is to use that tool – or any tool available for self construct – self contemplation – self talk – self movement – self understanding – self loving.

    Go inside, go on deep.

    It is a mental activity – based on whatever time you have design by the Grant Designer. You can either have only 1 min to reflect because you spend your 18 hours in operating room doing surgery as a surgeon – or half day since you just working behind your computer waiting for inspiration to write.

    Whatever role – whatever scenario – whatever life : the teaching said: go deep, go inside – grow within.

    Trust on self and finding “GOD” inside meaning – a human will uitlmately understand that they don’t have to work so hard to change the world, they just need to have a positive attitude and perspective toward everything – EVERY THING – negative and positive (the polarity), because at the end of the day; man is actually outside the “system” and just pounds played in chess board. You as personal had nothing to do with the ZIKA outbreaks, or moral decadency in the world – you just following you own path – doing the best you can by understanding yourself more and bringing the biggest and the best of you forward to the outside world.

    Life is a self journey afterall.

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