This year, I embarked on an adventure. Several constant patterns dissipated, opening time to consider a few new areas of learning — the idea being that with further integration of the practices I’ve been working with for so long, and by letting in further related associations, there would come a better sense of inner world/outer world balance… better circulation. I’ve been trying to, as one author put it, unlearn isolation.
So, facing previous blocks head on, I set out to make more spiritual friends – especially Christians whose faith was less about church and politics than about personal inspiration – which led to A Course in Miracles. Then, I allowed myself to listen more closely to new-age teachings I’d been averse to since before my first ‘awakening’ at 18: if a new acquaintance was moved by angels, I decided to just walk along with them and that for a while. Same with various other practices; no sense of threat, just curiosity about that person.
My basic feeling is that if someone I am drawn to, is drawn to these areas, that is enough; for me the heart of the matter is the devotion, the leaning and desire. People who are ‘like that’, who cultivate these kinds of intuitive talents, pique my attention and awakeness.
Also, one does find hidden paths while traveling down more obvious highways.
Still, I’m finding at this midway point of the year, that I am turning again to less social practices and studies, like zen. And that I feel fatigued by the capitalistic fervor of the new-age community. I have ultimately formed few bonds sans background agendas toward my possibly becoming a client.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of the best sort of candidates for this kind of path, as someone whose spirituality has often seemed to get in the way of ‘everything else’. The people doing this kind of work in life and health coaching especially, are some of the most vibrant and outgoing folks I’ve ever come in contact with, and most honestly wish to be of service. A few are deeply amazing, and inspire mirroring, crafting lives that do not separate work life, family and romantic life, and spiritual devotion.
The problem has come when trying to go further as ‘just part’ of a community in these contexts. There seem to be prescribed positions of asking for help, giving help, cheer-leading, and eventually a default to some kind of product, including classes and books, promotions. I do indeed have a business to nurture further and try not to compartmentalize away from other aspects of life, however: not at the cost of the central exploration.
The main question is what Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche illuminated in Spiritual Materialism. And there is so much grey area. For instance, did I just lead you toward a product?
One good example is the topic of ‘signs’ which I’ve written a little about previously. After several rounds of discussion threads that begin with someone looking for ‘their sign’ and asking for validation about whether it might be this or that, one tries to push a little further and go beyond the question of ‘my sign that leads to my path of my abundance’ or what-have-you. ‘My sign’ is a shiny hook. Or a temporary flash of light leading one on.
My impression is, after admittedly just a handful of attempts, is that there seems little momentum for leaning in further. Rather, there comes another ‘new shiny thing’.
A loving parent doesn’t want to nurture the dependency of their child, nor does a loving teacher. They know that formulas fail, or only reach so far, and that it isn’t the sign or words of a teaching that will be there always, in all situations. Only what you are will be there always. A good therapist, teacher, parent, or friend, will always come back to this center.
So don’t misunderstand me: I value dipping my toes into a few of these coaching or new-age leaning communities. I certainly value what I’ve put into practice of ACIM and intend on lightly continuing. It is just that at this point, in the spirit of good research, I feel I must take as accurate of a snapshot as possible.