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whatsthatsound On October - 12 - 2010




Okay, I suppose it’s possible that the reason I am not as happy, rich, famous and world renowned as I could be is that I didn’t read “The Secret”, the blockbuster bestseller that proved the effectiveness of “The Law of Attraction” for one Rhonda Byne, the author who “magnetized” millions of happiness seekers as purchasers of her book and DVD, by first “giving intent” that Oprah Winfrey would do that thing she does, which is turn self help authors into overnight sensations, such being the “manifestation” power of the Big O.

On the other hand, I DID read a book that, from what I can tell, is nearly identical to it, which came out about ten years earlier than “The Secret”. That book was titled, “Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting!”, and it also sold quite well. In it, author Lynn Grabhorn makes the same points that Ms. Byne makes; essentially, everything we could ever desire, including, say, a European sports car right down to make, model and color, is there for the taking if we just feel strongly enough about having it. According to both books, the all important tool to use is “The Law of Attraction”, an aspect of this universe that simply can’t refuse us anything we want, provided we are so attuned with our desire for it that we have no doubts whatsoever about its arrival, and are able therefore to experience it as if we already have it; in other words, feel it into being.

Well, it seems pretty obvious that this “secret” doesn’t work as well as advertised, because if it did, we wouldn’t need to have these books pop up in stores every ten years or so, would we? And certainly, no one who bought Ms. Grabhorn’s book would have needed to buy the Byne one, right? But, you want to bet some did? Yet there is  an even more glaringly obvious fact of life that makes it clear that there is more to fulfilling our desires than what the two books teach. That being, and correct me if I’m wrong about this, babies don’t simply dematerialize their restrainers and fly over to the toy they want to play with. I mean, babies? Certainly they don’t have the “negative mindset”, the “poverty consciousness” that messes up the smooth functioning of the Law of Attraction for us neurotic adults, do they?  They just got here! If anybody knows how to “feel” strongly enough, it’s a baby. He sees that toy, and it’s the only thing in the room, in the universe, for him. His eyes light up, his hand reaches out, and then somehow, unfathomably, his hand fails to grasp the longed-for object. Hey, no problem for the baby. He’ll just make everything between him and the object disappear, grab the sucker, and then…..still doesn’t happen! Now it’s time for the poverty consciousness to kick in. The baby wails like life has no meaning, as he sits trapped in his high chair. Poor dear! What could have possibly gone wrong?

Well, it could mean that there IS no “law of attraction”. In the first place, calling it a “law”; what is that? Is that meant to make it sound like some scientifically demonstrable universal phenomenon like gravity? Was it called a “law” just because that makes it easier for self help gurus to deceive the gullible?  On the other hand, it could also mean that there is some truth to be found there, that our life experiences do, in fact, tend to mirror our outlook on life, at least in certain ways, but that the authors have just overstated its power. We all know some glass half full types, and glass half empty types. Give each type the same boss, and for the latter, they end up wondering why they “ALLLways have to take orders from such assholes!”, while the former often ends up winning the boss over and getting a promotion. On yet another hand (which I am magically manifesting now using this all-powerful tool), it could be something far more, to me, wonderful and mysterious that is happening. And that is that this universe is very complex, and we humans are very complex as well. At any time within our consciousness, all sorts of ideas, memories, patterns, images, etc.  are at play within us as we go through each moment of life. We can’t reduce ourselves, the universe, or the results that we experience in our lives to simplistic formulas that fit into a paragraph of gushing, exclamation point-laden prose from a self help author. Would we really want to? Would we want either ourselves, or the universe, to be so flat, so one dimensional? Even if we managed to manifest a Ferrari for each day of the week, would that kind of basic, yes/no, ones and zeroes universe, completely lacking in nuance (both authors liken it to a copy machine) suit our souls?


But then, who am I to judge success? In the New Age world of the self-help movement, a bestseller bestows a great deal of credibility on its author. Since the purpose that compels people to purchase such books is to achieve more in life, the fact that someone does just that, by writing a book and becoming rich and famous, makes them, de facto, a person to be emulated and listened to. A guru. And then, the bonanza begins. The tapes you can listen to in your car.  The workshops and seminars and DVDs.  The crowded auditoriums from Fresno to Jacksonville to Melbourne. The overpriced cruise ship tours to Mykonos and Hawaii in the company of the teacher. As the success trajectory shoots upward, the author can begin to start wearing white all the time, to have beatific photos of themselves doctored to make it look like they have halos. They must appear to be happy at all times, enlightened beings who show the rest of us how far we still have to go. Their critics can be easily dismissed as being “negative”, “not ready to heal” and “still under the spell of poverty consciousness”. Poor things, stuck in kindergarten while the newly wise followers of their rich, famous,newly-minted guru prepare to graduate to a form of existence where only benevolence prevails.

And here’s the thing. In the New Age, you can write the most outlandish things in order to get that book up there in the Oprahsphere, and hence up the New York Times chart. Because we’re talking about, you know, the Universe, it can pay (literally, and handsomely) for the claim to be as outlandish as you can make it. For example, you can claim, as Neale Donald Walsh did, that lil’ ol’ you had a conversation (actually a whole bunch of conversations) with God! His Conversations With God series has sold tens of millions of copies and been translated into dozens of languages. Mr. Walsh, with his long flowing white beard and impeccably white robes, was obviously so impressed with his conversation partner that he decided to copy His fashion sense! Or, you can claim, as one Gary Renard did in his bestseller, The Disappearance of the Universe, that two attractive “Ascended Masters”, one male and one female, just happened to appear in your living room one day, from the future no less, to share with you cosmic wisdom, along with instructions to share it with the remainder of humanity that doesn’t  have beings from the future materialize in their living rooms on a regular basis. Maybe they liked his CD collection?

But even those claims fall well short, on the hubris meter, of what I consider to be the most outlandish claims I have ever encountered from any author (I’ve forgotten his name), in any book, (the title of which escapes me). His book didn’t go on to become a bestseller, but I can assure you he was none too disappointed about that. Because, you see, according to the book, this individual has had many incarnations on this earth plane, and was always a king and a leader, even the founder of religions. In order to be coaxed, grudgingly, by his Spirit Guides to incarnate just one more time (this current life) he accepted, on the condition that he “[wouldn’t] be worshipped again!” I kid you not. The only other thing I remember about the book (interesting how little of its actual content stayed with me) is a passage that describes him visiting a psychic of considerable power. As she read his energy field, she became increasingly astonished at just who was sitting in front of her, thinking perhaps he may have been one of the Twelve Apostles, and then finally exclaiming to an onlooker that – wait for it – “this guy taught Jesus!”

Such extravagant claims for oneself is an area where the New Age excels, and it is not simply because its adherents are gullible, foolish, and easily misled, although that certainly figures into the equation. More significantly, it is that the New Age is a unique field of human experience, one where the goal is to be as “high” as possible. People who delve into it are seeking, above all else, enlightenment. And it doesn’t help to have a lot of “judgment” and “negativity” floating around in your head if that is your goal. New Age authors and teachers are thus able to make use of a loophole that nearly all their followers would, a bit red-facedly, admit to, regardless of how intelligent and thoughtful they are. They want to believe in a world where something as extraordinary and desirable as their own enlightenment is possible; they want to be able to do things with their own minds, and experience things in their own reality that, if not as hard to believe as the claims of the teachers, are nevertheless far outside of our everyday world of frustrations, disappointments and heartbreaks. If they, the followers, feel that being positive, non-judgmental, accepting, etc. is going to put them in the right energetic space to receive the teacher’s messages and move closer to that goal of enlightenment, whereas being “negative”; i.e., using their critical thinking skills and God-given bullshit detector, will only serve to keep them stuck in their unenlightened condition, they will feel an internal pressure to choose to approach the material with the former attitude. Suspension of disbelief never had a higher incentive!

Now, it would be all too easy at this point to clutch one’s Richard Dawkins and Carl Sagan books close to one’s chest and say that the whole New Age deal is just one enormous mountain of hokum. That it only exists because certain “memes” about the nature of reality have hardwired themselves into our awareness since long before the Scientific Method was ever developed, and that some very flaky folks with loads of ambition and no problems stretching the truth have decided to exploit those memes for maximum profit and self-aggrandizement. I can certainly understand why people would hold this view. But I, personally, will not go there.

Because despite all the flimflam, all the grandiose claims, all the marketing excess and fallen heroes of the New Age movement (including Rhonda Bynes, who has been sued by some of her earliest collaborators on “The Secret” for not paying  what she owes them), I am convinced, as I am of anything in this world, that the existence of the New Age “movement” (and it should be said that nobody involved in it really thinks of it as such) is attributable not  merely to human gullibility. Rather, it has emerged from mankind’s eons-long associations with some very real aspects of this universe, and very powerful ones. I think that people do themselves a disservice, and pay a price for it, either by attempting to turn these universal forces into a hyped-up, dumbed down industry, or by denying them altogether as unscientific woo woo.




If you live in a fairly large city, and you spend any time exploring the New Age community there, you will meet some truly exceptional people. Well educated, intelligent, clear minded, open hearted, fit and youthful, hardly conforming to the stereotype of suckers lining up to buy the latest snake oil. Furthermore, you may note that they are not at all defensive about the low regard with which they are held by the scoffing, science minded, “rational” types whose views adhere to Dawkins and his ilk, and are convinced we are living in an essentially stupid, dead and mechanistic universe. If anything, they are bemused; certainly you won’t hear the vitriol that comes from the other side, the pejoratives such as “whack-job”, “nutter”, “loony”, etc. Indeed, one reason for the lack of animosity will be that many of them, perhaps even most of them, have been in a similar state of mind at some point in their lives. Having seen through the baloney of their childhood religions, they went through a period of questioning, doubt and agnosticism that those who scoff at them still inhabit. When one can look at one’s own history and recognize that ten or twenty or thirty years ago, one was in precisely the same position as the scoffers, it is hard to feel overly sensitive, or needlessly retaliatory. 

Some among the people you encounter will be practitioners who have trained in, and offer services in, such esoteric “healing modalities” as reiki, psychic reading, feng shui, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, shamanism, channeling, past life trauma work, Rolfing, tarot, crystal, etc., etc. You will hear from people you talk to that some of these healers have extraordinary skills or talents. They may have the ability to see auras, for example, or have experienced numerous out-of-body experiences, and so on (indeed, one of the reasons that New Agers are receptive to the outlandish claims of the megastars of the field is that even in their own circles there are people they admire and trust who have some pretty amazing experiences to tell of). Furthermore, many of these teachers will have achieved a considerable reputation, at least at the local level, and have a following of people who can testify that without question their lives have improved immeasurably by working with them. They wouldn’t be paying large, sometimes very large, sums of money for the workshops, one-on-one sessions and so forth unless they were experiencing tangible results. Furthermore, those who visit the teachers and healers are themselves not just spiritual wannabes. Many of them will also have experienced (as I have) truly extraordinary, transformative, revelatory experiences, the kinds which are far too lightly dismissed by science-minded atheists who consider all such things delusional nonsense. 

So it’s not that there’s no there there. There is.  The problem lies in how, in our commerce-driven world, even the mysteries and powers of the universe end up being corralled into a moneymaking “industry” that doesn’t always benefit those who get caught up in it. As someone who has spent a fair amount of time exploring the New Age, I have come to the conclusion that it is indeed very problematic when The Big Questions become Big Business.

We all gotta make a living. That’s the way the world is set up, isn’t it? But when one has “been to the mountaintop” (i.e., had a numinous experience of some kind), it can seem like a real drag to go on working the same boring job, and continuing to share office space with folks who “just don’t get it”. It can easily cause you to lose your high. When a spiritual awakening occurs, it doesn’t simply find a nice little place to inhabit in the back of your mind. Spiritual awakenings are powerful things, and don’t comfortably settle into your consciousness; they tend to blast all the doors and windows open and tear up the lawn! They quickly become the most important thing in your life, and your goal becomes staying in that energy, and moving it forward as much and as quickly as possible. This is not some small, egotistical thing. It is in fact very analogous to the sexual awakening that young people experience, when all of a sudden, family, jobs, studies, etc. fade to insignificance as one’s attention fixates almost exclusively on this new, immensely powerful energy in one’s life.

It is only natural that when this happens, many people feel a strong urge to change their jobs, to make their work about spirituality and healing, so that they can spend the majority of their time in that energy, commingle with like minded people, and give something valuable of themselves to the world and the universe. This should not be looked down upon as mere vanity or delusion. This is both an appropriate response to the transformation one has experienced and a clear indication that the spiritual energy has begun to put down roots in one’s consciousness.

And that’s where the problems occur. Because ours is not a society that has the slightest notion what to do about spiritual awakenings. We’ve barely managed to deal with sexual awakenings! Consequently, all too often what happens is one decides to get “certified” in some special esoteric field so that one can then begin to charge a fee for services of some kind. In some cases, this is a very good thing. There are many reputable schools of alternative healing therapies, any number of really good teachers out there, and lots of genuine healing happening in this world as a result. But there is also a lot of what can only charitably be called dubious in content. There are courses being offered in all sorts of “energies”, “mastery courses”, courses that teach you how to become a channeler, etc, etc. Often as not, and this should throw up a red flag for anyone, the courses become increasingly more expensive as you move up the ladder and attain different levels of certification, so that you can ultimately go on to become a teacher yourself. This “certification” process has become downright silly. I know of a person who developed a very unique and quite wonderful spiritual art program, and subsequently started up a “certification course” when she herself had only been doing it for a few years and had only a small following. I’m sure she figured, “hey, why not? It’s my program, so I can choose my own way of certifying that others are able to begin teaching it, right?” Well, actually, no. For certification to have any meaning, it clearly must be administered by a body that consists of more than just one person,  and it must involve a discipline that has been well observed and tested, by numerous practitioners, and over a number of years. 

But at least she wasn’t selling enlightenment! Seriously, that’s what some of these courses do. As you move through their various esoteric courses, each revealing an even more wondrous and mysterious power that the universe withholds from all but a select few, each costing many hundreds, or even thousands of dollars (because, hey, the universe needs to eat too, right?) you will become a “master”. Well, whoop de do! While some people blow twenty grand on something  as silly and material as a car, you just went and purchased yourself the same status as the people in the old dusty books! All you need is to go out and find some apostles!

As a result, in the New Age movement, there are thousands of “masters”, anywhere from their late twenties to early forties, certified, set up, offering their services, and (at least many of them) working with some very real and powerful energies, and passing these on to paying customers. In a more enlightened society, with a saner approach to the numinous, these young and middle aged people would still be apprentices. They would still be spending years of their lives in discipleship to a true master, who would demonstrate to them as clearly as possible that what they are working with is not something to take lightly, nor to pass on to those who are not able to handle it. There can be consequences, really devastating ones. Furthermore, the work shouldn’t essentially be about helping others, to begin with. It should be about self mastery, and then, as a result of that, if one happens to be graced with some healing powers, then these can be offered discriminately, and under the teacher’s tutelage. One has to be absolutely clear about one’s motivation for becoming a healer, as there is a lot of glamour involved in that term and it is very easy for the ego to reduce one’s work to a caricature of true spiritual practice. What is required more than anything is patience, and patience is the first casualty of our crazy, money-centered world.


Several years ago, I experienced a personal tragedy, the suicide of someone I’d known my whole life. This happened in January, shortly after the Indian Ocean tsunami that had wiped out whole villages, and caused the death of upwards of 200,000 people. Those two events, coming so soon one after the other, affected me very strongly, and as a result I was at a very low point in my life. I had been a spiritual practitioner for many years, mostly meditating, but having also participated in various spiritual study groups. I had many friends who were engaged in various esoteric practices. During a get-together at the house of one of these friends, a very lovely, deeply spiritual, woman in her mid-thirties announced that she had something to offer anyone there who was interested. She had just returned from an ashram in India, and while there, had studied with a renowned guru. He had passed on a powerful healing energy to her, and explained that she would be able to pass it through her to others. She had experienced this energy as very beautiful and very healing, and wished for those of us who were willing to experience it as well. Feeling that I needed something to help me shake my blues, I gratefully accepted her offer.

I got into a meditative pose, perched upon a stool, and she held her hand near me as I sat there, eyes closed. Almost immediately, I began to go into a deep trance. I experienced an incredibly blissful energy moving through me. I felt as if I could have stayed there forever. I was aware, vaguely, of all that was going on around me, such as snippets of conversation and so on, but my overriding state was one of absolute bliss that seemed to get deeper and deeper the longer I stayed in it. There was no desire on my part to move myself out of it, so I let my body go stiff as a statue, in that precarious perch on the stool. Other people also received the energy, but no one in the room experienced it as powerfully as I did. Perhaps no one else welcomed it in as deeply as I, because it had been a long time since I had even felt good, much less blissful. Eventually, after perhaps an hour, I had to be nudged, gradually, out of that trance so that I could return to the world of the here and now.

What followed in the subsequent days and weeks was not as wonderful as the feeling that I had experienced that day. Soon afterwards, I began to feel quite strange. My identity seemed to grow more and more precarious. I felt sometimes like I was losing my mind, at other times that I was hollowing out somehow, perhaps even losing my soul. I couldn’t explain these feelings to anyone, and tried to hide what was happening. To make a long story short, eventually I fell into a deep and hellish depression. Only after about six months, and after finding the right type of traditional medication, was I able to recover, slowly and agonizingly. 

Now, I can’t say for sure what influence, if any, my experience at the party had on the events that followed. Human psychology is very complex, and I am sure that a mixture of many things, most certainly the personal tragedy, the entry into middle age I was experiencing, different problems with work and relationships, etc. contributed to the depression. Furthermore, I cannot say that even if that energy had played a role, that that was necessarily a bad thing, considering my life as a whole. As difficult as that period was, as I recovered new talents and personal qualities began to emerge, seemingly out of nowhere. Before my depression, I couldn’t have imagined writing these “visual essays”, for example. I am happier now than I have ever been at any time in my life, and it is possible that going through that dark period was exactly what my soul required in order to grow and ripen. Nevertheless, on that day I possessed neither the wisdom nor discernment to know if accepting that very powerful energy at such a vulnerable time in my life was the right choice. I don’t think the lady who passed it on to me did either. Without question, her intention was purely altruistic. She simply wanted to freely share something beautiful with her friends, no strings attached. But there was no warning that I may be biting off more than I could chew, either.

I feel this episode reveals that much of what is referred to as the “New Age” is rooted in things that are indeed very powerful, and must be treated with great care and respect. They are not something to be packaged in bright, appealing colors or passed around like a new cake recipe. We occupy a precarious place in the universe, the nature of which we ourselves are quite uncertain about. It is unwise to cavalierly experiment with energies that have been here since before our ancestors wiggled out of their prehistoric lakes and rivers, or to audaciously attempt to fit them into our monetary system and reduce them to mere products to be sold. “The Secret” may be over-hyped nonsense, but The Great Mystery is something else entirely.

Written by whatsthatsound

Writer, Illustrator, Curmudgeon. Ferret Owner. Tokyoite, formerly Ohioan. Much nicer in person.

78 Responses so far.

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  1. Truth says:

    Another very interesting post, whats. Excellent!

  2. Questinia says:

    What’s interesting is that by becoming “enlightened” one becomes dehumanized in a way. Being attached is an important component of relationships and love and wonder in the world. To deny pleasure to avoid pain is not all that appealing to me.

    To those who teach and sell enlightenment what do they do with necessary human pain?

    I’m starting to believe that to be a truly enlightened human is not DESIRE to be anything more than a complete human. Not strive for anything un-human. Striving for enlightenment is a way to minimize the human pain of the ultimate separation of death. (That is a desire, isn’t it? ) But it may lead to a sort of detached walk through life to get to the ONE. In some ways it’s a neat trick, that. Remain detached all the way through life… you’re already halfway dead.

    That has always been the issue I’ve had with new age practitioners I’ve seen. Their artificial and nearly smug attitude that they are pain free and that they have a commodity that you don’t.

    • Khirad says:

      You’ve actually hit upon some paradoxes the ancient texts deal with themselves (seriously, those Brahmins anticipated almost everything).

      I don’t feel ready to answer this at the moment, but it is indeed a fundamental question, and why some of the Bodhisattvas chose not to cross to the other shore early (but stayed as ‘shepherds’).

      In Sufism and Erfan, where we’re dealing with Allah, it’s a bit different than the Dharmic systems of either being absorbed into the Absolute (Moksha) or cessation of the bondage of existence (Nirvana).

      I’m a bit more versed in Hinduism than Buddhism, so if I remember, I’ll try to find the appropriate verses that attempt to resolve this.

      In particular are systematically outlined expositions of dualities where even nonduality (advaita) is tackled itself as dualistic.

      If I remember I’ll try digging up Adi Shankara first. It is the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta which focuses on this problem the most (in Hinduism, that is), though concerning love and dispassion -- I would also point to Krishna’s council to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, which in part is representative of Yoga (the whole philosophical system, not just the trendy partner to pilates). And in Bhakti, it is worth noting, being absorbed in God is being absorbed into Love by devotion.

      I would start here, though. To be unhuman is dualism, for it implies a state of humanness. Neti, neti -- not this, not that. Dharma encompasses all, and none (which itself would be another duality, and illusory).

      We cannot conceive of the Ultimate Truth, and all names, divisions, categories and parables are just that. This is what makes it a faith. It may all sound like convoluted casuistry, but that’s also because I’m working off the top of my head right now. Whether in the end one thinks it is bunk, it is very elegant.

      For what it’s worth, when first tackling the questions posed by the Four Noble Truths over a decade back, I asked the same questions. But, still there is hope and optimism. I’ll tell you what is really depressing, and that is Jainism.

      • Questinia says:

        Jainism is depressing! I love that… must check it out.
        Dualism seems to be the universal stumbling block. Binary doesn’t work unless one is a Republican. I wonder if there are Republican Hindus and Buddhists, btw. What on earth do they tell themselves? They must get binary on a case by case Republican-style compartmentalizing basis.

        Re neti, neti. Absolutely. To define one must also define what it is not.

        Which leads me to my bigger question. If there’s duality, why isn’t there duality in enlightenment? It always seems to be so absolute in meaning. Unless it is defined as “loss of illusion”. Because then, it can imply one has lost the illusion of “it” being anything other than a duality. Or, and this is the reason I love science, represented as a resonance, like the at times single and at times double bonds of carbon atoms in a benzene ring.

        By non-duality (advaita) are you inferring the idea of the monad?

        I like to think of the fluid nature of enlightenment. That one can be as bone dumb instinctual one moment and then as sophisticatedly refined in all other ways the next. But, I also think a woman can both be a madonna and a whore… men tend to get Republican on this issue.

        I personally often like being at one with my cluelessness. It saves so much energy! :)

    • whatsthatsound says:

      I think what you’re describing is someone who is merely pretending to be enlightened. I can’t think of any way that being actually enlightened would cause a person to become dehumanized. One is, after all, merging with the very Being that CREATED humanity. All the love, emotions, etc. that are inherent with humans must therefore be inherent in That from which we were born (where else would they have come from?).

      In other words, would Leonardo Da Vinci somehow be less capable of appreciating his own artwork than someone who admires it at the Louvre?

      • Questinia says:

        What I meant by dehumanize is that the very desire to be merged with one’s creator necessitates disavowing the positive qualities of being human, that is to say qualities which make them human and not divine.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          I don’t feel that way. Perhaps at the beginning of my searching I did, but I certainly don’t feel that way now, and I can assure you there is nothing particularly special about me, there are many in the New Age who feel as I do, that we must embrace our humanity from the crown chakra to our toenails. Not escape it.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        There is a famous story involving Ramana Maharshi, a 20th century sage, and one whom nearly all agree was truly enlightened. He was very close to his mother and weeped after her death. One of his disciples was shocked, and asked him, essentially:
        Master, you’re ENLIGHTENED! How can you be crying?
        And he replied:
        It is appropriate to cry at the death of one’s mother.

        I love that story.

        • Questinia says:

          That is SO funny. I was told just yesterday that enlightened people don’t cry. I said “how could they not when it is what is called for?” TY!

          • whatsthatsound says:

            Yes, denial does come into it. But I want to avoid painting the New Age in general as a denial-generating phenomenon, because I don’t think it is. Rather, I think that may be a great trap of it. But I hardly think it’s unique in this regard. I would say our whole society has that tendency, and the New Age is where that carries over into the spiritual world.
            But there is denial in traditional Christianity (blond haired, blue eyed Jesus?). There is denial in modern medicine (nearly 30% of American births by Cesarean) . There is denial everywhere.

          • whatsthatsound says:

            Perhaps, this is, in a nutshell, the essence of my essay. “The Secret” and its ilk offer a rose colored view of reality where one attempts, not so much enlightenment as “hunky dory-ness”!

            • Questinia says:

              Precisely! And when you think about it, pretending everything is Hunky Dory when it’s not can turn one into a GW Bush!


  3. Questinia says:

    Just what is enlightenment anyway? Do people here have any definitions?

    And WHAT is getting healed?

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Hey there, Q!
      As to the question “WHAT is getting healed?”, may I assume from the all caps in the word “what”that you are asking, what part of a person, specifically, is being healed?
      As in, the soul?, the mind? the body? etc.

      I would define healing as: the alleviation of mental/emotional/or physical pain, such that the individual is able to regain more of their vitality and life force that they are losing to their ailment.
      So it would be different each time it happens, it seems. If a person has a very bad illness, and also a very bad relationship with, say, their sister, but the sister has to care for the person with the sickness and as a result, the relationship improves, then that would be a type of healing even if the person’s body doesn’t recover. Because the person was giving away personal vitality by feeding the hatred toward the sister, and that energy is now healthy and useful to them. I think healing can take place at the many levels of our identities, just some, or none at all.

      • Questinia says:

        It makes sense, but does any of that require “enlightenment”?

        I think one needs to define by what we mean by that term. There’s probably “enlightenment lite” which is another thing altogether.

        I always thought it meant having no illusion.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          No, it would not require enlightenment at all. Such things occur all the time. But the even itself, the healing of the relationship, would be “enlightened” (i.e. lighted by Spirit)

    • bitohistory says:

      When the Buddha becomes your servant.

  4. Questinia says:

    wts, I’m still interested in what you think about the codification of enlightenment, if I’m indeed correct in assuming most practitioners do codify it.

    I also think healers could act as role models… as paragons of comportment and purveyors of how one may experience the world. They offer the possible euphoria of what artists experience when they create something. So many people don’t experience their artistic sides, although I believe all people are artistic.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Hi Q,
      As far as I know, the clearest codifications for “enlightenment” come from the East, particularly the Hindu religion, the Upanishads and Vedas, in particular. Meditation was the cornerstone of their practice, so they were able to codify since they were all doing the same things. Certain experiences of “inner light”, insights, etc., were more or less repeatable, and so they became benchmarks, of a kind, on the road to enlightenment.
      I don’t think in the West we have anything like that, though some people believe that type of information was in the Bible, in Jesus’ teachings, originally, but that it was removed by the Catholic hierarchy because they felt adherence to their doctrine was more important than the “Gnostic” approach of “moving toward” Christ. In other words, “Just believe and shut up”.

      So it’s not easy to determine exactly what enlightenment is. Since I am nowhere near it. But what I think many would say is something like this:
      A person’s individual experience is a sort of “illusion”. The One is playing the role of being separated and limited, when in fact It is anything but either of those. One is enlightened when one can identify, experientially, with the One. It doesn’t mean the individual personality dies, but rather that it is subsumed. You can “play” with it. You don’t feel threatened by circumstances anymore. You know who you really are, so it’s no problem going through life as the “small you”. It’s like being an actor who can remove themselves from their role. In their role, they have adventures, challenges, maybe even get murdered. But when the play is finished, they go out and grab a coffee. Something like that.

      • Khirad says:

        Gunas can get real trippy.

        By the way, ever read Heinrich Zimmer or Alain Dani

        • whatsthatsound says:

          No, I haven’t, at least I think I haven’t. I can’t even remember who translated the version of the Gita I read, as it’s been such a long time. But yes, truly an amazing book.
          Yogananda’s “Autobiography of a Yogi” was probably the book that has stayed with me the most, in terms of making the most lasting impression. I love his clear, Western oriented presentation of Eastern mysticism.

      • Questinia says:

        Thank-you for a superbly clear mini-primer!

        A. So, is Gnosticism the closest the West has to an eastern religion? (I should know this because I wrote a paper on Gnosticism in College. But that just shows you how long ago college was).

        B. Got what you say enlightenment is. But it sounds more like being very self aware and liberated in one’s surroundings and free in one’s own mind but also able to rein it in, be detached and emotionally neutral. To be both euphorically connected yet clinical at times, etc… I thought enlightenment was something beyond that and furthermore, is one allowed to have an ego ever?

        Thats it! I’m going Gnostic! So many cool rituals and symbols. At least I HOPE the rituals are cool… :)

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Hi Q!
          I’m guessing that, indeed, Gnosticism is the closest any of the Abrahamic religions have come to codifying enlightenment. But I may be wrong, and I think some people would argue for the Kabala or Sufism (the mystical paths of Judaism and Islam)

          As to B., I probably didn’t do a very good job of explaining what I meant then.
          I don’t think it comes down to being “allowed to” do or have anything (since, One is, ultimately, the One, so who does the allowing?) However, I think the ego is ultimately released entirely, but I doubt that is “supposed” to happen while we still have a fully functioning human body. We’re supposed to use it, our voices, actions, etc., to help others awaken. The Bodhisattva, in other words.

          • Khirad says:

            I would argue Sufism, and even Erfan.

            Gnosticism is far too influenced by Manichaeism for my taste. It’s by in large positive, but the whole part about the body and earth (material vs. spiritual world) being evil is often skipped over.

            None of them are as holistic as Upanishadic or Tantric thought, though.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              Hi Khirad,
              I think I go along with that. Although I’m probably more Gnostic than you by sensibility, by most people perhaps. I do believe this to be a “fallen world”, but that’s a whole other story! :)

            • Questinia says:

              Khirad, I will be looking at Wikipedia for the next few hours! :)

              It’s funny, though, I have an affinity for being a Whirling Dervish.

          • Questinia says:

            Perhaps I misunderstand what you mean by “separated” and “limited”. Could you explain those terms? I think you did a very good job. It is I who am not getting it.

            So, I guess, Buddha= Boddhisattva + ego.

            Hi WTS!

            • Questinia says:

              Se wo hayami
              Iwa ni sekaruru

              Taki-gawa no
              Warete mo sue ni
              Awan to zo omou.

              THE rock divides the stream in two,
              And both with might and main

              Go tumbling down the waterfall ;
              But well I know the twain
              Will soon unite again.

              …but already reunited at the same time as being separated.
              Not practical all the time, it would seem. So being in the actual state of enlightenment appears to need to be intermittent for most of us? Like those who can schedule cruises for enlightenment? Otherwise we’d all be walking Han Shans. Could Han Shan schedule a cruise yet remain enlightened (perhaps that’s a koan!)?

            • Questinia says:

              No, I mean: Buddha = Boddhisatva -- ego. Doh!

            • whatsthatsound says:

              Hi Q.
              According to Vedic thought, and so on, “separated” and “limited” denote the nature of all beings who are caught up in “maya” or the dream world we inhabit.

              For example, many degrees separate you and I. Geographic space, the limitations of a forum such as this, things we don’t know about each other, different pasts, etc. So we feel “apart” from each other when in fact, according to the esoteric teachings, we are not; we are two different manifestations of one being. We’re no more separate than my thumb is from my index finger, in other words. As for “limited”, the same analogy applies. If I wake up tomorrow morning, and ONLY identify as my hand, or my thumb, I will be missing out on 99% of me! Only I won’t know that, because I will have forgotten about the rest of me. I will experience a vague longing, and a feeling that I’m missing something vital, because I AM! “Enlightenment” is when the hand wakes up and remembers it’s the whole body.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              great equation, that! But I have to head out now, so will reply at a later time.
              Always good rappin’ with you, Q!

  5. boomer1949 says:


    The whole time I was reading, this guy was first and foremost in my mind; probably because they use him for pledge drives @ PBS and WOSU; it bothers me tremendously. Why? I’m not sure, but the fact he hawks his stuff on QVC…QVC?…is beyond scary and very scary.

    This guy has been around for years and has made millions. Dr. Wayne Dyer…


    More in your Thursday evening I’m sure.


    • whatsthatsound says:

      Hi Boomer,
      Yes, he’s one of the biggies in the field. And look, on the right, he’s advertising a Caribbean cruise. I guess they’re all doing that now. You can become enlightened and get a tan at the same time!

      He’s also one of the ones who can pretty much be counted on to offer a blurb for other author’s books. It’s a real in-group type thing, where they plug each others’ books.
      I read one of his books, a long time ago. Not my cup of tea, for sure.

    • kesmarn says:

      I’ve had the same reaction, boomer.

      “It can be all joy in your inner world,” says the site. Riiiiight. Welcome to the giant celestial opium den. When do we learn? When do we grow? Other than through suffering?

      Running madly and consistently from any sort of pain produces a stunted sort of person, I think. I’m certainly not recommending inviting pain into our lives! But find us it will. And we drug it away at a cost — to ourselves and maybe to those around us.

      • bitohistory says:

        k’es, is it not what they are peddling nothing but fear- fear of pain? Whether it be in love, money or health? Isn’t pain and the fear of it a condition of all mortals lives? The pain of birth to the pain of death, is there anyone that escapes it? What better thing to sell but a promise of “you to can escape the fear of pain?”
        But we all know that it’s “all in your mind”, eh? 😉

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Hi bito,
          agreement. Many of these folks are doing exactly that, tapping into peoples’ fears that their lives might somehow get worse. It’s like those emails you get that tell you, “If you pass this on to ten of your friends, something wonderful will happen to you, but if you delete it, your life will stay just the same”. Just playing on peoples’ longings and fears.

          • boomer1949 says:

            I used to forward emails like that, but don’t anymore. However cute furry animal videos are a completely different story. 😉

            • whatsthatsound says:

              Naturally. Just so long as they don’t come with the caveat that if you don’t send them to ten of your friends your house will start smelling like cat pee!

        • kesmarn says:

          Exactly, b’ito. Thomas Merton figured it out. He said that the more you try to run from pain, the more acutely you will feel it when it finds you. Again — I’m no fan of pain-seeking. I spend lots of time trying to relieve it on the job! But buying into the “you-can-be-high-all-the-time” snake oil sales pitch is veering into the realm of T-Party thought, don’t you think?

  6. kesmarn says:

    This is a subject near and dear to my heart for a number of reasons, WTS — one of which is that a close friend of mine shortened her life considerably, I believe, by clinging to New Age “healing” techniques rather than getting help from conventional medical resources. Death by New Age.

    She was convinced — by a series of quacks — that:

    She did not have breast cancer. She had been infected by “micro-bacteria,” and she could be cured by positive thoughts and special “customized, non-traditional” treatments.

    But if she did have cancer, it was because she had “chosen” it, and she needed to figure out why she had made that choice and “un-choose” it.

    Her cancer was caused by anger and negative energy that she needed to release.

    Consuming only “pure” things like juiced organic vegetables or blue-green algae would “purify” her.

    People who told her that she had cancer were negative people and needed to be eliminated from her friends/family circle.

    She could visualize her way to health, without having to undergo any unpleasant treatments or surgeries.

    It was a miserable experience to see this life-long friend “drifting out to sea,” as it were, while I stood helpless on the shore. I think I can get an inkling of your experience, WTS, in losing a friend to suicide. Because this did seem like a slow version of the same thing.

    I felt as though my friend had been pulled into a cult. And the more I think of it. the more I become convinced that there are great similarities between the religious fundamentalism of the right and New Age philosophies. Both of them espouse an “it-all-depends-on-me” approach to existence. Since, for the religious right, prosperity is a sign of God’s favor and God always heals the righteous, to be poor or sick is to advertize to the world one’s moral failings. For New Agers, it’s virtually the same story. You have only yourself to blame if you have financial or health problems. You haven’t “visualized” good things properly; you’ve allowed “negativity” to creep into your life.

    The end product, in human terms, for both seems to be a set of “true believers” who walk around with fixed smiles and glazed eyes, who are careful to avoid anything “negative” in conversation (including even taking note of the fact that the economy has collapsed and people are suffering).

    For all its faults, at least the Catholic tradition of spirituality does make some allowance for the idea that there is such a thing as the “dark night of the soul.” There is something called a “desert experience” in which one retreats into solitude to search earnestly for God and to do battle with the devil. There’s a seriousness about that spirituality. It’s rooted in the recognition that human life on earth involves a perpetual state of yearning. That on this plane we are always incomplete and longing. We will never be completely happy until we “rest in Him.” So-- while there have always been silly extremes that used inadvisable methods-- there is at least a willingness to give up food, comfort, even sex to sharpen one’s focus on the God Quest. This tradition never really expected to find God and get rich at the same time. (Although, to look at the Vatican, you have to acknowledge the message of the Desert Fathers got somewhat mangled along the way!)

    I love the fact that you’ve raised all these issues, WTS, in all their complexity. You’ve avoided the “a pox on all their houses” approach regarding spiritual journeys.

    In short, you’ve made the point that just because there are fraudulent spiritualities, it doesn’t mean that spirituality itself is fraudulent.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Hi Kes,
      I’m back again and wanted to write some more. I just want to add that, the New Age is such a broad field that it can’t all be painted with the same brush. There are many teachers who absolutely teach the necessity of looking at our shadow. After all, Carl Jung was one of the seminal giants whose work has been looked at and studied by many New Age thinkers.

      One book in particular stands out, because of the title. Debbie Ford’s “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers”. The book explores precisely how spiritual seekers tend to want to avoid or deny their dark sides, and how harmful this can be. There are lots of teachers like Debbie Ford who are aware of, and practicing this knowledge.

      I truly think there is more good to be found in the New Age than bad, but one has to practice a high level of personal discernment.

      • kesmarn says:

        Thanks so much for your thoughts, WTS. If I’m to be completely candid, I must say that this whole experience with my friend (and my mother-in-law, who went down a very similar path when she died) has made me exceptionally gun-shy when it comes to New Age issues. This is perhaps not entirely fair on my part. I think it will take me a long time to be able to be really objective about New Age ideas, try as I might. I wince when I even hear the words. Partly because I remember all the guilt and angst these people experienced because the “guides” they heeded told them that they were choosing the illnesses they had in order to learn something that they had failed to learn in a past life. How they struggled to try to figure out what they needed to know to reverse that “choice.” It seemed an unnecessary cruelty at the end on one’s life. It has tended to make me angry at the people that they listened to, however well-intentioned they may have been.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          I completely understand, Kes. We must use our own personal experiences above all else in order to know how we really feel about things. It is true that I have met numerous people among my New Age acquaintances who would behave as the people you describe did. But it is also true that if I call to mind some people I know who would be the most compassionate, understanding, kind, giving and at the same time practical and clear headed in such a situation, many of them would be my New Age friends.
          Some “get it” and some don’t, I guess.
          That’s another reason why “The Secret” bothers me. It seems to be a textbook for how NOT to get it.

    • boomer1949 says:

      Dear Kes,

      I am so sorry and to think there are parents who succumb to the same influence regarding their children, the innocents.

      • kesmarn says:

        Thanks for your kind words, boomer. I still wonder if I did the right thing in more or less going along with my friend’s rejection of traditional medicine. But at the time, it seemed like a choice between doing that and losing her friendship altogether. Making the choice to stay quiet and walk with her down the final road together seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

        I still think about the road not taken, though…

        And you’re right: what about parents who make these choices on behalf of their children? A vexed issue, for sure.

        • Questinia says:

          Hi kes, I knew someone who did the exact same thing and left a six year old girl when she died of breast ca. I suppose like any belief people can become delusional about it.

          • kesmarn says:

            And it’s so complex, isn’t it, Q? Because there’s certainly no guarantee that, had she followed the regimen dictated by current treatment standards to the letter, the outcome would have been different.

            She had been widowed as a relatively young woman under really dreadful circumstances. I always wondered if there were some part of her that deeply longed to be united with her late husband, even though that meant leaving her children.

        • bitohistory says:

          Ms. Kesman,

          I still think about the road not taken, though

          • kesmarn says:

            I hope so, b’ito. I hope so. She’ll be remembered forever. I wish you all could have known her. Smart, kind, funny, a great mom and a great friend.

            • kesmarn says:

              b’ito, I ask in all sincerity and ignorance: what is a pure mind? And how does one get there?

            • bitohistory says:

              What is the color of wind? What is your task? Do you feel that it is above or below you? Are you helping others, helping yourself or performing the task not knowing it is a task?

              A monk asked Chao-chou, “I have just entered the monastery: please give me some guidance.”
              Chao-chou said, “Have you eaten your rice gruel?”
              The monk said,”Yes, I’ve eaten.”
              Chao-chou said, “Then go wash your bowl.”

            • bitohistory says:


              Everything is based on mind, is led by mind, is fashioned by mind. If you speak and act with a polluted mind, suffering will follow you, as the wheels of the oxcart follow the footsteps of the ox. Everything is based on mind, is led by mind, is fashioned by mind. If you speak and act with a pure mind, happiness will follow you, as a shadow clings to a form.
              The Buddha

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Hi Kes,
      I have to head out the door, so I’ll add more later. But thank you for your insightful comments, and I really feel for you about the tragedy you experienced. It must have been devastating on numerous levels.

      Your last line says so much, “just because there are fraudulent spiritualities, it doesn’t mean that spirituality itself is fraudulent”. Yes, that’s one of my core beliefs. It’s an illusion to think that spirituality should be so “pure” that it would be immune to human vices, but it doesn’t work that way. We are a species that makes hydrogen bombs out of hydrogen, after all.

  7. Khirad says:

    FWIW, in my opinion The Secret is just an updated variation on sympathetic magic popularized (and bastardized), I suspect.


  8. Questinia says:

    Thanks so much for educating me about the New Age movement. Thanks for your candor; we are privileged to know more about your journeys.

    Humans tend to be hyperbolic beings, it seems. I mean, there is probably a basic desire to be more like the divine just to rid oneself of the notion of being the “every man”, that is to say, devoid of anything immortal. One of the things that I found interesting, for starters, is when you write people who become enlightened have a hard time going back to their office baffles to commingle with the every day. But isn’t that the point of being enlightened? Even washing dishes can be a very rewarding experience when done with mindfulness and in an enlightened state.

    I remember hearing about, a la The Secret, that many cancer patients read Bernie Siegel’s books (Siegel being an MD and an oncologist) only to toss them out of their hospital rooms in anger when they realized they couldn’t cure their own cancers. I’d imagine that people who seek powers like that are bound to be frustrated and even become angry at their gurus. Perhaps that’s why these book come out every ten years or so. There’s a new crop of people who are looking for ways to become transcendent and feel that getting there can be codified. They haven’t been disappointed yet or “need” something to feel “completed”. I suppose that’s the most difficult thing for me. How could it be codified? As you adopted and interpreted practices, were they codified? Maybe you were in a pre-enlightened state to begin with and needed just a little guidance.

    But enlightenment means different things to different people. I am a glass half full person so I can see how books like the Secret can get people to start thinking about their own internal processes even if it is to obtain a material reward. One has to start somewhere!

    • whatsthatsound says:

      As always with you, Q, a cornucopia of things to consider! First, about the notion that in an enlightened state, even washing the dishes can be an act of joy and communion with God.
      Of course practitioners realize this, but it is hardly so easy in practice. I think it is really important to distinguish between starting out on the journey and completing it.

      What I call “spiritual awakening” and “numinous experience” is hardly, at least in my mind, the same as “enlightenment”. It’s just the very beginning of the journey. People want to make it easier to stay in the experience, because it is so easy to be pulled into the everyday. If you try to talk about it to most people, they just give you that look. They haven’t experienced it themselves, and they probably think you’re just making things up. They get turned off by what you are so turned on by. And then they want to talk about TV shows! So you think, get me outta here!

      Then too, there is also the envy/jealousy of seeing folks who ARE making a living doing healing work. Their lives can seem so perfect. A.) They have prestige, just as artists and musicians who don’t have to tend bar or wait tables have prestige. B.) They are working at a job they truly enjoy, and their work and lives have melded. In the New Age, this is a very good thing. C.) They are helping others (although many in fact aren’t, many are as well, imo). And when people have their spiritual awakening, they naturally want to do the same, help others. It just seems like such a beautiful and important thing to do with one’s life. Every day at the office just helping a company balance its sheets, or whatever, while some people are leading tours to Machu Picchu, holding ceremonies, giving workshops that your friends gush about, etc., can wear on a person.
      I experienced a fair amount of this myself, I must confess.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Great points as always, Q! I promise to explore them more deeply when I return. But for now, me gotta go to work!

  9. choicelady says:

    Wow -- this is really a good analysis and also some insightful self analysis. First -- I am sorry for your loss of a friend and the near loss of self through shared grief. That’s a lonely journey indeed.

    More analytically, I find myself drawn NOT to “The Secret” which, taken to its extremes makes the Jews responsible for the Holocaust, but to Henry James’ “Beast in the Jungle” short story. For those who never labored through it, it’s the story of a man who believed he was destined for such great things he never took advantage of what was to hand. He never married the woman he loved, took the job offered, or did anything since he had projected great wonders for himself. Something wonderful was waiting for him, he was sure of it. At his death he realized that the “beast in the jungle” was his failure to work for what he wanted and to pass all life by.

    The problem with ‘The Secret” and similar notions (Oprah -- I’m talking to YOU) is there is rarely the recognition that there are people poised to tell you NO and that you can visualize success all you want, but if you don’t train and work for it, it’s just that -- a vision.

    It all feeds into our sense of entitlement though. If I WANT it, car with the style, model, and gizmos (do we ever visualize a warranty?) then it WILL be mine because I deserve it. Just for visualizing.

    And why is so much of this about material success and rewards? Why don’t we visualize how we can improve the world around us, make it better, cause compassion for others, end violence, hunger, and poverty? And if we don’t, if it’s all about US, then where does concern for the common good fit in, if anywhere?

    This visualization is cousin to “reinventing” ourselves. As if we’re phony in the first place so we can be any phony we want.

    If I have a preincarnated essence, I will bet it’s nobody rich or famous, no one successful, no one you would ever have known. I am not possessed of Melinda Twelvetrees (Barbra fans will know this one) but probably am intimately connected to her scullery maid who had an attitude.

    Between the Religious Right on one hand who believe they are God’s chosen and the New Age on the less right, I’m worn out by all of this. Most of us put one foot in front of the other trying just to stay alive, work hard and well, and be good and caring people.

    And can someone tell me why that’s not enough?

    Just asking.

    • Khirad says:

      I can always respect someone more if they have a sense they’ve felt or seen a place before, -- I’ve felt like that with a picture or two. Whenever they pick out some famous person as their past life, it’s a dead giveaway of our own narcissism. Cleverer ones will find more obscure names from some county register -- and if it does exist, reincarnation I mean, I’d imagine any past-life memories to be really hazy and abstract.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Hi Choicelady! It is always such a pleasure to see you here and hear your POV. I agree, the materialism and narcissism of books like ‘The Secret’ is distasteful. It’s like they’re saying this universe is just some kind of romper room for children if we can get it to work right.
      No soul growth. Of course they pay lip service to using the power to help others, and growing spiritually, but they know why people bought the book. They want the car and the income and the perfect relationship. It’s completely for Western audiences, nothing “universal” about it.

      And the co-opting gets me too. Because ‘The Secret’ was so successful, everybody wants to jump on its bandwagon. So other teachers, some of whom have been doing this kind of thing for decades, write things in their newsletters like, “..to start putting ‘The Secret’ to use….” and, “If you read or watched ‘The Secret’, then you’re probably wondering how….”, etc. I’ll wager these teachers know full well the book is hooey, but they mention it in order to hopefully attract people to their OWN offerings.

      That’s exactly the point of my article, that in this commercial, commerce-driven society of ours, people end up selling themselves out, even the most sacred parts of themselves, for a buck. For mannah.

      Thankfully, there are people like you with both head and heart in the right place, doing what you can in the here and now to make this world a better one.

      • bitohistory says:

        WTS, Reminds me of the Zen koan: A person in full control of their consciousness will steal a beggars bowel from a blind man.
        I think you may have grasped it, Grasshopper.

    • Questinia says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more choicelady. Reinvention, in its worst sense, is just a way to establish another disguise to con others and oneself, ultimately. On the other hand, reinvention as that peculiarly American thing, allows people to be free and not tethered to the past. Animals do molt after all.

      But it is that materialistic overtone to “inspiring” words like those found in books like The Secret that is a turn off to those of us who were not Cleopatra, but scullery maids with an attitude! If one thinks about it, scullery maids with attitudes saw a lot of action! 😉

  10. whatsthatsound says:

    Hi Q, haven’t seen you in a while! Glad you liked the “whatsie as Adam” artwork (blushing). I look forward to hearing your thoughts, as always.

  11. Khirad says:

    Well, I’ll read over this later more carefully, but I’m working on an article on a similar subject right now. 😉

    I like that you’re attempting to bring nuance to a subject that is so easily brushed aside or painted with a broad brush as bullshit because there are so many swindlers and conflations with fads like “The Secret” -- nevermind that a lot of New Age shops are just plain cheesy.

    *For the record, because I’ve seen no harm indulging some of this stuff in fun, I supposedly have a lavender aura (with crystal and indigo overtones), and am centered in the Aj

  12. Questinia says:

    I didn’t read the article yet. But I HAD to comment on the “Ecce Whatsie” illustration.

    More later :)

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