Posts Tagged With: New Age

Spiritual trendiness

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell

“When you find an author who really grabs you, read everything he has done. Don’t say, ‘Oh, I want to know what So-and-so did’ — and don’t bother at all with the best-seller list. Just read what this one author has to give you. And then you can go read what he had read. And the world opens up in a way that is consistent with a certain point of view. But when you go from one author to another, you may be able to tell us the date when each wrote such and such a poem — but he hasn’t said anything to you.”
– Joseph Campbell

Shrine of Rumi, Konya, Turkey

Shrine of Rumi, Konya, Turkey. The turquoise-tiled minaret shows where Rumi is buried.

Rumi's grave (May eternal peace be upon him)

Rumi’s grave (May eternal peace be upon him)

I remember while in Turkey, taking a long weekend off of work to journey to Konya to watch the Whirling Dervishes, the mystical Islamic Sufi order established by Jalaluddin Rumi (or Mevlana as he is known by in Turkey), dance the Sema dance and to visit Rumi’s grave. I’m sure you’ve seen in either in ads or commercials or documentaries.

To outsiders who don’t know any better, it just looks like a group of men in long flowing white skirts and jackets, wearing fez hats, twirling around in circles. The Sema, in fact has a deeper symbolism. The circles they dance in represents the Circle of Life. Birth, death and rebirth. Fall, winter, spring and summer. The blood in our bodies being pumped out by the heart to only return back to the heart. The examples are infinite. It induces a trance-like state for the dancer which is supposed to help them meet with That, like ayahuasca might for some or peyote for others.

Mevlana was actually born in present-day Afghanistan, wrote all his poetry in the Persian language and is buries in present-day Turkey.

Mevlana was actually born in present-day Afghanistan, wrote all his poetry in the Persian language and is buried in present-day Turkey.

Back then, Rumi was not the spiritual superstar that New Agers and certain yoga instructors these days love to quote. In fact even 10 years ago, I’m sure if you even mentioned Rumi to those who were knee-deep in Deepak Chopra-speak or Wayne Dyer-speak, they wouldn’t even know who or what you were talking about. It’s interesting to watch because since the Rumi train seems to be slowing down now, I’ve noticed that the Deepak/Dyer crowd have now jumped on another mystical Islamic, Persian poet, namely Hafiz. (I’m betting after they get sick of or run out of the Persian poets, they’ll return to the Russians like Alexander Blok, and Pushkin and then heaven forbid, the old Europeans mystics like William Blake, W.B Yeats, Goethe, Meister Eckhart and Emanuel Swedenborg. It’s always about finding a “new” bottle for old wine.)

When western yoga instructors "discover" Emanuel Swedenborg, will that lead to a revival of interest in Christian mysticism? Your guess is as good as mine...

When western yoga instructors “discover” Emanuel Swedenborg, will that lead to a revival of interest in Christian mysticism? Your guess is as good as mine…

Truth be told, I find the sudden interest in Islamic mysticism by some Westerners and bubble-headed yoga instructors who are normally Conservative, Republican, right-wing and very anti-Arab or anti-Muslim, strange to put it mildly. True, the poetry of Rumi and Hafiz have inspired wonderment across centuries. If you have even the smallest spiritual inclination in you, you can’t help but be touched by their words. But before Rumi, it was the Khalil Gibran train. Before Gibran, it was Marianne Williamson and Neale Donald Walsch. It’s this constant hopping around because it’s a trend, without any real study or serious reflection on the works of these past masters and then passing it off as “This makes me look serious” which I take issue with.

if you want to be trendy with what you wear and what you eat, fine. But don't expect anyone to take you seriously if you do it with your spirituality.

if you want to be trendy with what you wear and what you eat, fine. But don’t expect anyone to take you seriously if you do it with your spirituality.

And this brings me back to Campbell’s quote above. I have to agree with Campbell 150% on this one. It is best to find someone whose words ring so deeply and so true for you that you will need to read up on all their works to process and internalize their ideas and sentiments properly. That’s when you start to “get” them properly. One spiritual master whose words have consistently resonated deeply with me, as I have posted many times here is Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov.

It was Neem Karoli Baba who gave him the name "Omraam" and it was Swami Nityananda who explained that Aivanhov was an incarnation of Vedic sage from the Solar Age and in fact had come back to bring back the Solar teachings.

It was Neem Karoli Baba who gave him the name “Omraam” and it was Nityananda who explained that Aivanhov was an incarnation of Vedic sage from the Solar Age and in fact had come back to bring back the Solar teachings. Apparently he also met the legendary Babaji in the Himalayas as well but he refused to talk about it.

Like all seekers at the beginning of their road, I did my fair share of hopping as well. Not because a certain writer was the flavour of the month but because I was searching. I read George Gurdjieff, Rudolph Steiner, tried Jiddu Krishnamurti and Theosophy in earnest but none of it seemed to “stick” for lack of a better word. But with Aivanhov, it was like remembering a deeply treasured memory which had been forgotten and a flood of light breaking through a door. I’ve been reading Aivanhov since at least 1996 and have never looked back.
In fact here’s a photo of my Aivanhov bookshelf;

P1010483

Like I posted recently, these days it’s also Alan Watts which is speaking to me (thank God for YouTube!). While I don’t see myself going to Japan to study Zen in all seriousness with a proper Zen master ( and I’m not even sure if the monasteries there even accept women!), Watts, like Aivanhov, was/is able to synthesize the Perennial teachings along with recent scientific findings and present it with their own flair and in such a way the modern reader/listener can connect instantly.

galvanoplasty-definition.jpgSpiritualGalvanoplasty

That is a rare talent and not one which New Age hucksters can ever master convincingly.

Portland_Japanese_gardens_zen_garden

Categories: Ascension, Ch-ch-ch-changes, False prophits, Raise your EQ, Shift of the Ages effects, Travels, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

This Baby needs to go out with the Bathwater… like yesterday

Have any of you ever heard of the clichéd saying: “Treat them mean, keep them keen?
3168409I only came across this very recently and I don’t know about you but this is the equivalent of an ideology for a bona-fide disaster and unfortunately I see way too many people falling for it, both guys and gals, of all orientations. Why? Because for whatever reason, it speaks to the part of some people’s psyche where they need constant approval from the person they’re interested in.
I’m sure you’ve all seen it:
1) The impossibly beautiful girl who can stop traffic with the bat of an eyelash walks around being mean and haughty and expects Prince Charming to crash his Porsche for her sake as a token of how much he likes her…and even then she’s still not happy.
Hint: A person who is that mean and cruel will never be happy, no matter what you do for them.
Caroline Mumford, the most popular girl in school, in John Hughes 1980's classic teen flick,

Caroline Mulford, the most popular girl in school, in John Hughes 1980’s classic teen flick, “Sixteen Candles”

2) The insanely sexy love hound who has every girl in a 10 km radius at his beck and call who treats women like garbage but the girls lap it up to and somehow determine that with “the love of a good woman” (i.e Hers) she’ll somehow catch him, reform him and show off her Alpha Male to all the women everywhere. Hint: People who are used to being disrespectful, usually have a hard time changing their ways.
Notorious love hound John Mayer

Notorious love hound John Mayer

I wish someone would explain this to me, but is this sort of dating behavior and courtship “normal” and more socially acceptable in some circles than others? (I apologize in advance because I’ll be using a ton of generalizations and stereotypes here and no offense is intended anywhere.) I’m desperately searching for the article I read it in but I once read a line where insulting each other is a must when it comes to dating on American college campuses and between professionals in East Coast cities in order to “catch” (or trap)  the person you want.
Ummm...doesn't work, dude.

Ummm…doesn’t work, dude.

I know I’m generalizing and maybe I’m a clumsy bear in this regard but my experience with people who try to pull this with me backfires in the worst possible way. Perhaps being an off-the-scale  INTJ-female has something to do with it (we’re rare :)) but when I even detect games of this sort, I naturally bolt. I recall once I had a screechy female boss during a summer job who was a sadistic type, insulting and intimidating her employees to get anything done. When she tried it with me, I giggled. She nearly had a nervous break-down.
I couldn’t understand someone assigning themselves to soo much self-importance for such a small job.
Boss from hell from

Boss from hell from “Office Space”

I also recall meeting someone for tea who kept telling me he wasn’t interested in me, I just shrugged my shoulders, smiled, said “OK”, paid my bill and sauntered out. I figure if someone isn’t interested, then why should I be interested in them? He ran out after me and then had the nerve to ask if I was still going to talk to him anymore. Suffice to say, it was an instant turn-off.
2009-08-08-Self-involved-je
I just don’t think real love or real respect has room for this kind of mental, emotional  and spiritual immaturity and it baffles me to no end that while everyone claims to be looking for real, true love yet at the same time, they then engage in this kind of behavior. If the right hand and left hand are going in two opposite directions, how the hell can you ever build anything?
Twisty hands works in Eagle pose in yoga

Twisty hands works in Eagle pose in yoga

Rhetorical question: Isn’t being spiritual, being kinder to one another, being more loving, all that stuff spiritualists, New Agers, conspiracy theorists and yogis usually go on about, isn’t it about being more truthful, more honest with yourself which then leads to a personal transformation and that would (in theory) then lead to a societal and planetary transformation if enough people do it?
482713_467753083297050_761435190_n
See, a part of me is deeply pessimistic when I see that kind of emotional dishonesty running rampant in the world, that our economy, marriages, even friendships are predicated either on self-interest, economic gain, financial security etc. In short, fear.
6a00d8345170ec69e20133f5be50dd970b-800wi
Another part of me is deeply hopeful because I think the old ways of doing things have their days numbered. The machine is broken and the replacement parts have been discontinued. A new way of relating to one another and and new mindset is in the process of being created and birthed. It’s not completely out yet, but like some days in late winter, there are moments where you feel, even for a second, a foreshadow of spring which is on it’s way. Likewise, there are foreshadowed glimpses of this change in relation to one another.
Early signs of spring

Early signs of spring

An artist, who I always felt was a few steps ahead of everyone else, is David Bowie. He has a long history of being on the edge and figuring out trends and defining them before the mainstream even gets it.
Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, at his most androgynous

Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, at his most androgynous

Many astrologers have said that Aquarius is the sign of the Androgyn, that the Age of Aquarius will be marked by more androgyny, that there will be a further blurring of the sexes and traditional roles as we speed towards a more level playing field. Bowie’s latest video for “The Stars are Out Tonight” has him (looking fantastic for 66 incidentally) and uber-Androgyn Tilda Swinton playing with the idea of androgyny to the hilt (There’s even a  website which postulates that Bowie and Swinton are one and the same person!)
So going back to the idea of a new way of relating to one another. Seriously, you know what’s REALLY hot? I mean the kind of hotness that leaves you weak in your knees, the kind that has your mind wandering into serious X-rated territory when it shouldn’t be there, the kind that causes you to blush at the oddest moments?
Blush, blush

Blush, blush

Some of that old-fashioned stuff like integrity, loyalty, honesty, kindness and of course a rollicking sense of humor. Think of them along the lines of old-fashioned medicines like Witch Hazel, Cod Liver Oil or Castor Oil. Old fashioned, yes, but by golly, do they ever get the job done and done well 😉
thayer
Categories: Ascension, Ch-ch-ch-changes, Pop culture, Raise your EQ, Shift of the Ages effects, This is why the planet is screwed up | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I don’t do New Age gatherings

An example.

An example.

I’m sure this has happened to some of you.
You read some popular new-age book, either on the recommendation of a friend of through sheer hype. You get interested, maybe even enthusiastic about some of the ideas in the book and want to learn more, know more, explore these ideas more deeply. You look online and find out there are such-and-such discussion or meditation groups in town. You decide to go. 
Another example.

Another example.

A week later you show up, the group is mostly women and usually older. Copies of “Oprah” magazine are stacked on a corner table. Lucky bamboo, Buddha statues, a poster of a maṇḍala and some gong hangs on a far wall. A 20-something pony-tailed fellow with a goatee sits in the corner.
or this....

usually in a place like this….

You sit on the floor forming a circle. Most people aren’t talking to each other or if they do, they’re usually talking about some yoga class they went to or the newest vegan resto in town. You decide to ignore all this and just want to get comfortable and wait for the discussion to start in earnest.
The moderator/organizer shows up. She usually looks very wealthy, normally middle-aged, with flaxen blonde hair cut into a shoulder-length bob and wearing huge dark, round-framed eye glasses. She looks like she might be a New York City editor of some publishing house or something. She drops her Prada purse on a chair. She wears loose-fitting clothes, you can’t tell if they are wearing pants or a skirt, but it’s very billowy and drapey. She wears lots of chunky ethnic jewelry. She has an unusual old-fashioned name like Constance or Harriet.
A reasonable facsimile...

A reasonable facsimile…

The discussion starts. You decide to stay quiet to first see where it goes and see if this is really something for you.
The moderator and 2 other people quickly start to monopolize the conversation while everyone else stays quiet. What started off as a general discussion quickly becomes a discussion about the issues of the 2 monopolizers and their life story or problems. This isn’t what you thought it was going to be, you want to leave ASAP. Before you leave, they want you to sign in and give your email address. You make one up and leave disappointed 
 
Now imagine going to regular meetings like this and before long, someone is spewing out New Age psycho-babble (seriously, if I hear about “Love and Light” or “Love and Laughter” once more time, someone is going to get my boot going up where the sun don’t shine…).
Ummm....no.

Ummm….no.

If you really sit down and analyse what they are saying, they are not really saying anything at all. In the case of ambitious New Agers, they often use NewAge-speak to either fool you or get something for nothing out of you. 
 
Here’s a quick guide to deciphering this annoying form of language. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. The next time you encounter this kind of linguistic pabulum, do as you see fit, whatever that is. Call them out on it, take the piss out of them. If you feel like punching them, take responsibility for it if they press charges. (Just tell the judge it was a form of mental aggravation and harassment. That’s legit because it’s true.)
 
“Let it go, blow light and love to them”
Translation: “I don’t want to hear about it and I don’t really give a shit that someone has done you wrong. Go away now”
 
“Maybe it’s your karma”
Translation: “Better you than me. Later”
 
“My guides tell me that you need to go within”
Translation: “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing or saying. You’re on your own. BTW, are you still gonna pay me $10 for the reading?”
 
“Love, light and laughter”
Translation: “I want to come across as nice and caring and spiritual, but I’m not so I’m just going to sign off with the most generic sign-off I can come up with and hope you won’t notice anything or question anything.”
 
“We can’t judge.”
Translation: “Yeah I know they did something wrong, but I don’t want to offend any potential clients so I’m not going to speak up or take a stand and try to come across as neutral as possible.”
 
“Everything happens for a reason”
Translation: “I REALLY don’t know what to say to that.”
 
“Maybe you need to start caring about yourself more”
Translation: “You’re fat. Stop eating all food bought at the store and only drink fresh water from Argentinian glaciers from now on”
fiji
 
“You need to learn to take back your power.”
Translation: “Buy my book.”
 
See, what gets me angry about this sort of thing, aside from the blatant commercialism and hawking of goods in some cases, is that many of the folks engaged in this sort of behavior are doing it because it’s “popular”. They very often want to come across as “spiritual” (whatever that may mean) or “nice” or “caring” but really if you scratch the surface just a bit, they really don’t care. They often should not be in a  place to dispense advice when the depth and the maturity to really deal with other people on a real level isn’t there at all.
What I also find to be a blind-spot, is that they actually have other “non-spiritual” means of helping people if they really wanted to. They either don’t see it or they don’t want to. Many of the people who often show up at these sorts of gatherings are usually professionals and have many others skills. A seasoned magazine editor or writer can easily help the insecure young girl who is new to town by giving some pointers in organizing her CV.  A triathlete yoga instructor can easily offer a free , gentle session to a traumatized woman who have just came out of a physically abusive relationship. A nurse or dietician can reach out to someone who struggles with an eating disorder. Practically everyone I have seen at such groups or gatherings are broken in some way and are just looking for a way to heal…or some answers. They either need an idea or an inspiration they never thought of and sometimes those “leads” can be in the same exact room. What could have been an opportunity ends up being a lost one. The last thing anyone needs in life is a platitude which is a masked blow-off.
There is a deeper problem here. It’s one of genuine engagement. It’s really about service to others, even if it’s as “inert” as active listening. That’s what genuine spirituality boils down to, being present, not only with yourself but with others. I remember years ago, attending such a gathering at a well-known meditation center in town. There was a speaker who came in, clearly  to talk about her book but one of the things she asked us to do as an ice-breaker, was to really mindfully greet the person to our right and to our left. So  we did. Though I don’t know her name, I will never forget the woman to my right. Even through her pitiful forced smile, I could see someone who was in deep, deep pain and clearly broken and barely keeping it together.  It saddened me because this person was looking for an answer and needed a space to find that clue or maybe a space to let that pain out and instead, she got this celebrity author talking about herself and how great she is and how spiritual she is. I admit, I did not  reach out to that woman mostly because I did not know how and the format of the event didn’t allow any sort of discussion. Maybe all she needed was a hug or an acknowledgement of her pain, I don’t know, but it would seem many of these spiritual gatherings seem to fog up issues instead of bringing more clarity for the participants.
(BTW Feel free to add to this list of annoying New Age sayings :-))
 
Categories: Ascension, False prophits, Raise your EQ | Tags: , | 12 Comments

Fuck you “spiritual teacher”, you don’t know shit. A rant.

I nearly died from laughter while reading this because I know *exactly* where she is coming from because I’ve been there myself, way too many times and sometimes way too long.

This was posted on tryingtobegood.com back in September 2012 but it deserves a re-run, by the lovely Emelia Symington Fedy.

Fuck you “spiritual teacher”, you don’t know shit. A rant..

 

 

Categories: Ascension, False prophits, Pop culture, Raise your EQ, This is why the planet is screwed up | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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

Blog at WordPress.com.