This year, I embarked on an adventure. Several constant patterns having dissipated, it felt like 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 Rebecca Campbell puts 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 into A Course in Miracles.
I also allowed myself to listen more closely to new-age teachings I’d been averse to. If a new acquaintance was moved by angels for instance, I decided I’d just walk along with them and experience that way of being for a while, see through their eyes without judgement or taking anything on to myself.
Same with various other practices; no sense of threat, just curiosity about the 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 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, 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 just to be of service. Like I do. A few are deeply amazing, and inspire mirroring, crafting lives that don’t separate work life, or family and romantic life, from 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, receiving cheer-leading, and eventually a default to some kind of product, probably 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.
One good example is the topic of Signs. 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’ can be 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’ to strive for.
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 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.
Please don’t misunderstand me: I value dipping my toes into these 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.