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by Melissa Karnaze

P1020094 BUY PROTONIX NO PRESCRIPTION, I'm no expert in religion. Or in New Age.

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New Age isn't really new at all.

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The religion program

Differences aside, religion centers around one thing: getting off of Earth, BUY PROTONIX NO PRESCRIPTION.

Getting into Heaven, buy cheap PROTONIX, God's New Kingdom, or some other ethereal plane. PROTONIX coupon, Whatever the details are, the bigger picture is that Earth is temporary and second-rate. And it's probably a punishment too, for original sin or something else related, cheap PROTONIX.

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The New Age

The New Age movement became popular as new generations became fed up with the oppression of religion.

They were tired of men being the gatekeepers to spirituality -- they wanted to worship the Goddess too. They were tired of a black and white view of right and wrong -- they wanted spiritual freedom, BUY PROTONIX NO PRESCRIPTION. They were tired of being guilted for enjoying sex before marriage or falling in love with someone of the same gender -- they wanted to make their own, low dose PROTONIX, educated, adult decisions about how to lead their lives. PROTONIX interactions, And they were sick of the rigid Western grid of thinking -- they wanted Eastern philosophies and an exploration of spirit and consciousness that would make churches weak in the knees.

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But the main program of the New Age is still the same old program.

The New Age program

Whatever the details are, the bigger picture according to the New Age, PROTONIX wiki, is that Earth is temporary and second-rate. And punishment too, PROTONIX from canadian pharmacy, because we're stuck here in the physical when we're really of the spiritual -- and we can't get out. (Maybe that was our cosmic mistake.)

The real deal is somewhere in a higher dimension, BUY PROTONIX NO PRESCRIPTION. The real deal is retuning back to God, the Source. Ascending from physical form to pure spirit, PROTONIX natural. Returning home. Becoming whole again.

What the religious/New Age program really is

The religious and New Age program is really escapist wishful thinking BUY PROTONIX NO PRESCRIPTION, . Purchase PROTONIX online no prescription, It catches on like wildfire because of all the dissatisfaction with the current state of worldly affairs. And how hard it is to be alive, human, and inhabiting Earth, PROTONIX photos.

The program's so popular because the planet is messed up and people need reprieve. Because there are complex societal problems no person alone can solve. And because it feels so hopeless and scary.., BUY PROTONIX NO PRESCRIPTION. Buy no prescription PROTONIX online, that the only way to cope is to wish and hope for that better place "on the other side."

Life is a mystery. We have no clue why we're here. And death is even scarier. In the face of death, PROTONIX cost, what does life even mean. BUY PROTONIX NO PRESCRIPTION, Could it be that this question is so hopeless and scary that the only way to cope is to wish and hope that this is all an illusion and we're to be someplace better. Where harsh human life and inevitable human death don't exist. Get PROTONIX, When planning for the future is dysfunctional

There's nothing dysfunctional about preparing for the future, as religions prepare you for the afterlife and the New Age prepares you for the cosmic reunion. Wishful thinking doesn't have to be dysfunctional either.

But too much planning backfires, about PROTONIX. Too much worry or obsession about the future impairs your ability to respond to life right now, BUY PROTONIX NO PRESCRIPTION. Planning becomes dysfunctional when it runs off course and becomes escapist instead.

Why the religious/New Age program is dysfunctional

There's also nothing dysfunctional about believing in an afterlife, PROTONIX steet value, that the soul goes on, that God exists, or that God is in everything.

But it becomes dysfunctional when you use that as an excuse to disengage from the real life that is happening right here, PROTONIX reviews, right now.

It's dysfunctional when you let other high ranking spiritual officers tell you what to do --without thinking about whether it fits in with your mindful construct first. BUY PROTONIX NO PRESCRIPTION, It's dysfunctional when you let a spiritual belief system beat you down into guilt and submission. Buy PROTONIX from mexico, Guilt for "original sin." Submission to other human beings or Ascended Masters that are supposedly more spiritually evolved than you.

It's dysfunctional when you use a spiritual belief system to condone a life a self-destruction. Self-destruction of your ability to:



    • Think for yourself -- which the religious institutions and gurus don't like
    • Feel for yourself -- which the religious institutions want to regulate and the New Age wants to keep polarized to only love and light
    • Care for yourself -- which the religious institutions say is selfish, because you need to serve God, real brand PROTONIX online, and the New Age says is selfish, because you need to be Egoless in order to return to God

And it's definitely dysfunctional when you use your belief systems to condone a life a escapism, Buy PROTONIX from canada, much in the way mindfulness meditation can.

How the New Age is the new religion

The New Age is just less-organized religion.

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And when you condone self-destruction, the destruction of the world only follows.

You can't separate organized religion or less-organized religion from propaganda. Because any time there are high-ranking officials in charge of what lower ranks do and think and feel, with a lot of worldly power in their hands — you don't have the right to make up your own mind.

So think critically about religion and the New Age movement. And follow your own lights instead.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Haider May 29, 2010 at 1:25 pm

An excellent article, Melissa.

It’s extremely important for people coming from a religious background, or heading to a New Age lifestyle to be aware of their own motivations, and how effectively the teachings they follow prepare them to the challenges of daily life.

If the solution is: “This too shall pass,” with no guidelines as to how to handle the situation in a way that respects your mind, heart and body, then your attitude is escapist and, therefore, unhealthy.

The whole idea of “Higher Truth” that blinds you from current reality is destructive, no matter what spiritual benefits and heavenly bounties are promised.

Melissa Karnaze May 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Thanks Haider, I was hoping you’d share your thoughts on this. ;)

Handling the situation “in a way that respects your mind, heart and body” — I really like the sound of that!

markantony May 30, 2010 at 5:22 am

Melissa Your article is very inspiring, and reminds me of a fundamental truth, wherein man wants to encapsulate in totality all understanding to do with science and his environment, this is the same human behaviour exhibited towards knowledge pertaining to God and spiritual enlightenment.
Presumptive forms of knowledge take deep root when the ego is in the way or the human ethological imperative of power and its rewards are beckoning or being realized, though this knowledge could be deeply flawed being ineffective or even harmful to the individual as well to the human species as a whole in having destructive attributes or human enmity and war.
Science and God surpass mans capacity to fully understand because of the difficulty of having perception, appreciation or inability to successfully mentally construct a mind view of the higher dimensions that are known to exist in our reality, our mental capacity for this is severely limited by the 3 dimensional matrix our senses and brains are made from and the environment we inhabit. when we view science from the limitations of our observational lower order dimensionality, e.g. particles in quantum mechanics their properties or motions could appear unbelievable, incoherent or unreal -beyond theoretical explanation. interesting as these are some of the same observations/conclusions made about the essence God.

Melissa Karnaze May 30, 2010 at 9:37 am

Mark, you’re getting onto some interesting topics…

Next week I’m releasing a Mindful Construct report that touches on some of these 3D limitations, and shows how human science itself is limited. ;)

Chris Edgar June 1, 2010 at 8:18 am

I would agree that spirituality is sometimes used as a method of escaping from our experience in this moment, as in the practice of visualizing a calm lake or something like that for relaxation purposes. However, there are also many spiritual practices that are about learning to bring your attention back into this moment, and out of the past and future. That’s actually the real value that getting all “New-Agey” has brought me. :)

WN June 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm

This is your thesis right here, Melissa. Mindful Construct has been working its way toward this revelation.

Dogma is dogma. Slap a new paint job on it and bring it up to date. Incorporate “science” and “ancient traditions” and “eastern stuff” and suddenly we’re rebellious. But it’s still dogma.

And where does all this get you? Are you now somehow more prepared for suffering than your unenlightened neighbor?

Nope.

When suffering crops up, there is not going to be some tactic that you learned at a weekend workshop on the mountain that’s gonna make everything okay. You’re going to have to act in the present moment with skills you don’t currently have and make it work.

Just like everyone else.

Mindful Construct is the skeptic’s path. It’s about taking established constructs and deconstructing them and forcing the reader to make up their own damn mind.

Be responsible for self, not captive to cultural relativism.

Realize you can do more working on yourself, on your own, solving problems, than you can following a following.

“Differences aside, religion is about one thing: getting off of Earth.”

I am in love with this statement.

Don’t we all just wanna get off? :)

I’m kinda joking but not really. There are so so many different ways to accomplish this, but the only way that’s gonna work for you is your own way.

Awesome article.

Melissa Karnaze June 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm

When suffering crops up, there is not going to be some tactic that you learned at a weekend workshop on the mountain that’s gonna make everything okay. You’re going to have to act in the present moment with skills you don’t currently have and make it work.

Just like everyone else.

This is golden, and why I think the construct of mindfulness in psychology has a lot of potential.

I think you need to expand on this statement through a guest post here or at least continue expanding on it at Sacred Sheath. ;) It’s like The Functional Power of Now.

Mindful Construct is the skeptic’s path. It’s about taking established constructs and deconstructing them and forcing the reader to make up their own damn mind.

Be responsible for self, not captive to cultural relativism.

It’s so great to see the value of deconstructing being appreciated for the tool that it is!

It’s counter-intuitive how being critical, blunt, and even “harsh” about established beliefs and system leads to greater mindfulness and emotional zen.

And really, what it is on my end is having a hissy fit or getting really triggered by what upsets me personally, then working with those emotions so clarity can come through an article focused on the reader. Blogging is also a powerful tool. :)

WN June 3, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Shucks, I already published an article expanding on that idea last night!

http://www.sacredsheath.com/?p=536

(If you ask me to write a guest article here again I will die, btw)

Never thought of that as being the functional Power of Now, but that really makes sense. And come to think of it, my assumption going into reading the Power of Now was exactly that!

Wow, anyway, it’s weird how we answer our own prayers through writing sometimes–hell, all the time.

Keep throwing those hissy fits!

And, for the record, OMG, it would be a DREAM to guest post on MC. :)

Melissa Karnaze June 3, 2010 at 1:55 pm

I did read and enjoy your article today, and the overlap is not a problem at all. Blogging is all about drawing lines around different ideas with lots of room for flexibility. And often, hitting at the same idea over and over again from a different angle (or with different words).

Never thought of that as being the functional Power of Now, but that really makes sense.

Mm, now given that you are a Power of Now (the book) expert, lol, I can see a great article (or even article series) in contrasting the Tolle version of that “power” (or if not power, then some other dysfunctional bit you found in reading) and the more functional version of real mindfulness — being present and especially emotionally present enough to act with purpose.

And come to think of it, my assumption going into reading the Power of Now was exactly that!

Wow, anyway, it’s weird how we answer our own prayers through writing sometimes–hell, all the time.

Definitely!

Yeah, so shoot me an email sometime if you think there’s an angle there you’d like to turn into an article. :)

There are way too many Mindful Construct articles to be written by one person and perspective alone. And when it comes to such a dense book like The Power of Now, oh man — the deconstruction of a single blockquote could be turned into a lengthy article or more!

Haider June 3, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Oooh… I wanna write a guest post about the Power of Now! I wrote one at The Discomfort Zone (which I called The Power of Numb, hehehe…).

The Power of Now has an extremely powerful message that’s packaged in an extremely destructive explanation. Tolle asks his readers to let go of their sense of self (their “egoic mind”).

I believe we should let go of our self-image, the “construct” we use to define who we are and what we’re capable of doing, which we usually create based on past experience and, therefore, dismisses our ability to choose how we will behave in the future, since we believe we must act consistently to our self-image.

Melissa Karnaze June 3, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Beautiful article Haider, would love for you to write here too. Guess I was too subtle in my last request, eh? :P

I believe we should let go of our self-image, the “construct” we use to define who we are and what we’re capable of doing, which we usually create based on past experience and, therefore, dismisses our ability to choose how we will behave in the future, since we believe we must act consistently to our self-image.

This is what my graduate adviser is focusing on through his work and research, cool. :) This is also fertile ground for articles, so shoot me an email with ideas/potential titles, and I can make sure we’re each tackling the Power of Now topic strategically from different angles.

Joseph Jin June 4, 2010 at 5:29 am

This discussion has been difficult for me to accept for too many reasons to mention here, but let me try a couple of examples:

1. I think of “New Age” as a loaded term – loaded to the point of being almost useless. Each faction seems to define “New Age” beliefs and practices according to their own agenda. For believers, the New Age is a grand vision of spiritual potential; for many conservative religious groups, the “New Age” is a convenient package (i.e. punching bag) containing a lot of the spiritual belief systems they disagree with. I’ve heard Hinduism being labeled as New Age, along with Buddhism, crystals, UFOs, and so on. A lot of these categories are not necessarily related, and it could be argued that they differ on important aspects of what people define as New Age.

It’s really hard for me to accept this “New Age” concept as a legitimately coherent entity. Some parts of what many would call “New Age” I think have ideas that are both useful and profound. And quite a lot of the “New Age” is stuff I just roll my eyes at. Theoretically, there are some core characteristics which seem to be universally accepted as New Age. But when it comes down to deciding whether a particular person, group, or belief is “New Age”, the consensus isn’t always so clear, and it just doesn’t mash together for me.

If someone plays a sitar or didgeridoo, are they New Age? I honestly don’t know, and I’m not sure that the pursuit of defining what’s New Age is really helpful in the first place. As Admiral Ackbar said in Star Wars, “It’s a trap!” Is Star Wars New Age? Depends on who you ask. How about The Matrix?

2. When you mentioned “getting off the Earth”, it was easy for me to think of examples to support that idea. But then I thought about the bodhisattva vow in Buddhism, all the stories of gods/angels/aliens who want nothing more than to be born into the human world on earth, Ramakrishna, Joseph Campbell’s hero cycle, and other teachings or stories which ultimately affirm the value of human existence in its entirety, while taking “heaven” or “enlightenment” as mainly a means to living completely here on Earth.

3. Some of the comments about Eckhart Tolle also didn’t make sense to me. I’ve made several attempts to “get” what’s in The Power of Now. But I never managed to connect the dots. A New Earth was much easier, although I can’t say I totally “got” that book either.

However, I did try a couple of exercises in A New Earth and had a few interesting experiences of deep “Presence” or awareness of an energy, peace, or joy which seemed to have no cause. I don’t know if that counts as “enlightenment” or whatever, but remembering this experience made me stop and reflect when I read your and Haider’s comments about The Power of Now.

Isn’t it possible that Eckhart’s teaching about ego and “sense of self” is not too different from your (and/or Haider’s) idea of “self-image”? What if the “Presence” Eckhart talks about has nothing to do with rejecting this existence for a “higher” one? What if he’s just using “ego” as an expedient construct in order to point to the reality that there’s really no ego to keep or get rid of in the first place?

Btw, this is a complex topic, so I hope I’ve correctly understood at least most this discussion.

And I have to apologize because, while reading your “About” page, it took a me more than a moment to realize you are NOT Ann Curry.

S. Ali Myers - Soulful Body & Mind June 4, 2010 at 6:15 am

Melissa,

Uh oh….religion talk! ha ha! I love it. Make people think.

I subscribe to one statement about religion: Religious denominations practice segregation.

Nice write-up!

- Ali

Haider June 4, 2010 at 7:06 am

Melissa, I’ll be emailing you soon with my thoughts on a potential guest post. :D

Joseph, Tolle taps into a very important dimension, and I fully support those whose lives have been transformed as a result of reading his books. This is something I don’t wish to undermine. But they were able to benefit from a message that, in my opinion, wasn’t accurately expressed. Therefore, I don’t mean to discredit what Tolle has said (to the degree that it was accurate).

But I do want to point out where I disagree with Tolle, because the distinction is extremely important. If we are to take Tolle’s writings to refer to the “self-image” then I completely support his message. But Tolle denies the existence of a self altogether, which I don’t believe is healthy for “response able” living.

In other words, those who have benefited from Tolle’s books were relieved to have thrown out the bath water (self-image), and haven’t yet realized that the baby (self) went out with it. :P

Melissa Karnaze June 4, 2010 at 7:29 am

Joseph, New Age is indeed a loaded term, but the message stands alone regardless. In other words, I’ve experienced enough New Age culture to see this trend and wanted to share it even if the language is shaky.

I generally described the set of New Age beliefs, and the core component that we are all spiritual beings in physical form, meant to return back to God/pure spirit. If the didgeridoo player is on that boat, I’d consider him New Age.

Star Wars seems kind of mainstream to me, as could the first Matrix. New Agers really identify with first Matrix because the matrix symbolizes the 3D reality that Neo transcends through his spiritual powers.

When you mentioned “getting off the Earth”, it was easy for me to think of examples to support that idea. But then I thought about the bodhisattva vow in Buddhism, all the stories of gods/angels/aliens who want nothing more than to be born into the human world on earth, Ramakrishna, Joseph Campbell’s hero cycle, and other teachings or stories which ultimately affirm the value of human existence in its entirety, while taking “heaven” or “enlightenment” as mainly a means to living completely here on Earth.

Great counter-examples. However, these are not filtered into the widespread practice of religion. Religious human beings are so religious because of their relationship to Earth as being second-rate. (And their dysfunctional relationship with their emotions — as emotions are quite an Earthly thing — as well as other Earthly things.) Which is very odd, because like you point out — why would intelligent extraterrestrials want to be here so badly?

The discussion about The Power of Now carries over from the discussion sections of other articles written here, which may be why it was confusing at first. Haider explained his distinction, but feel to let me know if you have any other questions on what I’ve said.

S. Ali, Oh yes, I left that key part out, and that segregation is also very big but of course more subtle and nasty in New Age.

I’m glad you enjoy the foray into religion. We’re technically not supposed to talk about religion because it’s impolite you know, but maybe that’s just another dysfunctional belief. :P

Joseph Jin June 6, 2010 at 1:12 am

Haider, isn’t Tolle just making a distinction between a real self and a false self?

And I don’t remember him denying the existence of the self (I don’t know, but if he did say it, then maybe the context will show otherwise?) If “response ability” means being proactive and not a victim, then Tolle’s description of the ego (what he would call a false self) would be pretty useful in becoming increasingly aware of the internal chatter that keeps identifying the self as subject to external conditions (e.g. a victim).

I don’t know…are you sure that your definition of “self” and “ego” are the same as Tolle’s? I’ve seen so many discussions become a confusing mess because one or more people were using the same words to mean different things. This is especially risky when talking about “self” and “ego”, since Eastern spirituality sometimes seems to adapt these terms to mean something a bit different than what psychology might take them to mean.

As for the baby and the bathwater, I don’t see how benefiting from Tolle’s teachings (i.e. becoming more aware and present in the moment) is necessarily going to repress either the self or the self-image. Both can stay there as long as they like. If any Eckhart Tolle fans really believe they’ve eliminated the self or even need to get rid of it, then I think they’re a bit deluded.

Melissa, of course I would agree that a lot of New Agers have a mindset of wanting to “get off the Earth”. I’ve also spent a lot of time with them, both casually and in more involved settings (like workshops and retreats), so I know you’re right in this respect.

But I’ve experienced that the flip side is also true. A lot of New Agers are not waiting for otherworldly entities to “beam me up, Scotty”. And even if they do want to transcend in some way, they consider it a sign of maturity to offer the benefits of their spiritual practice by focusing on ordinary, so-called “mundane” life. I think this type has become more prevalent over the past dozen years or so. There has been a growing interest in getting intimate with the raw good and bad in life. Back in the 70′s to early 90′s, I would probably have had no argument with you on this point. But it’s become different by now. The disdain for life as it is on Earth is definitely still a feature of the New Age movement, but things are evolving quickly, and I think it’s time to question whether this belief is still as “core” to New Age as you feel it is.

I might use Eckhart Tolle again as an example. It would be easy to interpret his idea of “A New Earth” as some future utopia which takes us away from the pain and folly of our present day experience. But although he does talk about moving away from our present consciousness to a “higher” one, I believe he’s using these “New Age” ideas as more of a springboard to bring people right back to engagement with life as it is right now (which I believe is basically a goal you would agree with). And later on in his book, he talks about how “A New Earth” is actually the world as it is right now, and it’s “new” mainly because you’re allowing yourself to experience it fully for the first time (reference when Neo asks why his eyes hurt).

Regarding Star Wars and The Matrix, I would agree that they are “mainstream”, but mainly in terms of audience appeal. However, their themes and the sources which influenced their creators are definitely outlets into New Age affinities. Personally, I don’t call them “New Age” movies, because that just sounds silly and, again, loaded. However, anyone who likes digging into their origins will likely find lots of New Agey intersections. For Star Wars: Joseph Campbell, buddhism, shakti/goddess energy, etc. For The Matrix: Ken Wilber, gnosticism, maya/goddess/illusion, etc.

“Which is very odd, because like you point out — why would intelligent extraterrestrials want to be here so badly?” Okay, I really think this is a connection worth making. All these otherworldly beings supposedly want to live the human life because they recognize this world (because of its swirl of negative and positive) as the very best crucible for self-evolution and spiritual advancement – more so than any heaven or “enlightened” sphere.

At this point, it would be easy to say, “Oh, it’s the New Age thing again. Even the gods hate this Earth so much, they want to use it as a purgatory so they can earn an existence someplace even FARTHER from Earth than whatever heaven/plane they started from.

But this is also the point where I would suggest that quite a lot of people sympathetic to the “New Age” don’t think this way. Many would say that these stories of higher worlds or spiritual states are just symbolic stories. The real end point is not up there, but rather realizing that “up there” is already under your nose right here.

This contrast between what you and I see as being core to the New Age is also worth noticing. I think our viewpoints are mostly formed through our different personal experiences and information sources. If this is the case, then the confusion is largely semantic (happens a lot, doesn’t it?). “New Age” is one term, but we may be fooling ourselves if we assume it means the same thing to you as it means to me.

Finally, even though you probably weren’t speaking to me, I got really confused when you mentioned that talking about religion is not polite. You’ve written about the New Age, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and maybe more. Wouldn’t that be an open invitation to talk religion and spirituality?

I’ve written a lot, and it’s not something I feel good about. It’s often a bad habit, and believe me, I’m working on it. Anytime you think this is going nowhere, do let me know. I can stop whenever I want, lol.

Melissa Karnaze June 6, 2010 at 5:58 am

The disdain for life as it is on Earth is definitely still a feature of the New Age movement, but things are evolving quickly, and I think it’s time to question whether this belief is still as “core” to New Age as you feel it is.

Joseph, first of all, you’ve ignored my explanation that I used a specific definition of New Age. Secondly, if you really wanted to know what I think about this, you would have asked me a genuine question rather than assuming that I have not already thought about this “core” belief. This “evolution” you’re speaking of is that same old program in new shiny packaging.

Now if you want to discuss this rather than “politely” argue about it, you’re welcome to. Otherwise, you should know that you won’t engage me in the manner you impose.

You’re welcome disagree with me. My articles are meant to foster response ability. You can get on that boat anytime by asking specific genuine questions (where you don’t already have your own answers in mind) or writing constructive feedback. I don’t argue about why I write what I do, because I work with readers who are willing to listen to and use these articles to mobilize their lives for the better.

Finally, even though you probably weren’t speaking to me, I got really confused when you mentioned that talking about religion is not polite.

It was playful sarcasm — did you see the smiley?

Haider June 6, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Joseph, the problem with spiritual writings, in general, is that they’re open to a great deal of interpretation. Most readers find the message they are searching for, and they end up not knowing (or caring) what meaning the author intended to convey.

The same happens with Eckhart Tolle’s writings. But if you want to stick to what he is literally saying, then Tolle denies the existence of the self. He considers it an illusion. The “egoic mind” is a veil that prevents you from experiencing reality for what it is, which he believes is accessible without the mind and not through the senses (classic Kantian philosophy).

I don’t object to living in the moment (if, by that, we mean appreciating the situation we are in, without worrying about past or future), but that’s not what I was referring to in my “baby/bath water” analogy. I believe we should embrace our self and shed our self-image. Tolle doesn’t believe in the existence of “self”. If this leads his readers to abandon their self-image, then that’s a good thing (an extremely liberating experience, especially when someone is living with a negative self-image). That’s throwing away the bath water.

But to deny that the self (i.e. the individual) exists is destructive, in my opinion. It makes us look “beyond” the faculties we possess in order to lead a spiritual life. This includes exploring your own thoughts and working with your own feelings. The evasion may be enjoyable at first, but deadly with time. That’s throwing away the baby.

Finally, I’m a Muslim and have benefited a great deal from Islamic literature. But I still think Melissa’s description of religion to be accurate. She’s not saying that every religious individual will think this way, but that there’s a religious “construct” that promotes the outlook she’s criticizing. The same goes with “New Age”. I’m sure you’ll find 101 exceptions to what Melissa has mentioned, but this doesn’t undermine the observation that there is a trend amongst New Age thought that extends the same religious pattern.

I hope what I’ve mentioned helps resolve some of the confusion my earlier comments have created. :)

Joseph Jin June 6, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Melissa, it looks like this is one of those cases where more discussion just multiplies the misunderstandings.

You’re probably right about at least a couple of things in your last comment. I think my options come down to either agreeing to disagree and say bye, or quitting my line of argument and playing the game on your terms (which are not totally unreasonable).

I was actually talking about this argument with my wife today. I have a mass of reasons lined up to explain why you are misunderstanding me and my thinking. But I was telling her that I’ve played this scene many times over during the past dozen years or so, and it ALWAYS feels bad when I argue about spirituality. And this is puzzling, because spirituality is one of my favorite topics.

So that’s probably the motivating question at this moment: Why does it always feel so bad when I argue about spirituality?

I tend to naturally move into an argumentative mode, so if you have any advice on how to avoid this, then do let me know. It may seem reasonable to expect that I should already know how not to argue in this kind of discussion, but the fact is, maybe I don’t.

Haider, thanks for your considered response. I still disagree with you on a couple of major points, but I’m going to try a different tack for now, so I hope you don’t mind if I don’t argue back at this point.

WN June 7, 2010 at 9:14 am

Haider, I think what you said:

“the problem with spiritual writings, in general, is that they’re open to a great deal of interpretation. Most readers find the message they are searching for, and they end up not knowing (or caring) what meaning the author intended to convey.”

is BRILLIANT.

People are straight up going to find what they’re looking for. They’re gonna find the evidence to back up their beliefs.

Joseph, politics and religion/spirituality are never subjects that actually make you feel good after all is said and done. Even on this website I’ve seen threads on spirituality attract the craziest fanatics who don’t really want to add anything but their own biases. It’s not polite to talk about religion or politics, because it basically saps the fun out of the party every time. What’s the point in trying to convert someone who was basically born with their political and spiritual persuasion? Most of the time we keep mum about our core beliefs simply to avoid conflict. Don’t know if this is dysfunctional because of the denial aspect, or if it’s just a way we get through another day and get along with folks. But maybe these polarizations keep balance in the Force or whatever. :P

Joseph, maybe it’s time for you to start using maybe. Instead of Joseph Campbell and Ken Wilber and Eckhardt Tolle, how about some Robert Anton Wilson? It’ll open up your whole world, bro!

Melissa Karnaze June 7, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I tend to naturally move into an argumentative mode, so if you have any advice on how to avoid this, then do let me know.

Hi Joseph, here’s how I look at it. If you were totally 100% comfortable and confident in your spiritual beliefs, then you wouldn’t feel compelled to convince me to see it your way.

Because you would know, through and through (balls to bones), that in order for other people to come to the rock solid place that you would be with your spiritual beliefs, they would have to earn it, go through what you went through to get there.

Rock solid is a valuable place to be; it’s not just something fashionable to take on — but something to be genuinely worked at. It takes a lot of soul-searching, research, and introspection to get really really comfortable recognizing and owning your beliefs — and it’s always a work in progress!

Argument stems from fear. We attack what we’re afraid of. As you referenced in your comment on the article, “Dysfunctional Beliefs of a Jehovah’s Witness Apostate,” “dueling semantics desperately crafted to defend an ‘unquestionable’ dogma” — stems from fear and uncertainty that you are actually blindly following something that doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

What’s the worse thing that can happen if you’ll never be able to get through to me? Or get me to see it your way? Answering those questions is a good place to start.

My thoughts as it pertains to this conversation — in that other comment, you openly shared that you perhaps have some dysfunctional spiritual beliefs lodged in your subconscious. You were in acknowledgment of the fact that that religion is extremely dangerous in beliefs. But something about this article made you uncomfortable. And the devil’s advocate approach is meant to obscure that initial reaction so you won’t have to look into it.

In the other comment you said:

Even though I’ve thought I was beyond all that, I look at your list of beliefs and notice how uncomfortable it feels to realize how I still sympathize with so many of them to some degree.

This is an honest place to start. If you take your own words to heart and apply it to your perception of this article, you may look to what the real issue is rather than avoid it by trying to convince me that I am wrong. Proving to me that I’m wrong is a distraction. First of all, you can never technically win an argument. Secondly, there’s so much more to learn — so much more for you to get out of it — in going into that uncomfortable-ness and finding out why it’s there.

Believe me, I’ve been there. It takes a while to figure out all this spirituality stuff and what you want to believe — that doesn’t undermine your real life experience, life goals, and potential.

I don’t engage in arguments with readers because first of all I don’t feel compelled to convince everyone I’m right. And I would rather spend time working with those who are genuinely interested in what I have to say and on furthering these types of discussions that you just led into. :)

Odin Xenobuilder June 8, 2010 at 10:51 am

I think you’ve made a wonderful insight here, Melissa. Reading this also made me think of something that may be a little off course of your focus, but I’ll share anyway.

It seems that if you were to identify more similarities between traditional religions and new age “programs”, it might reveal further insights into why so many are drawn into the two, and exactly what they plug into us and put band aids on. You’ve obviously already made some connections here, but I think it’s sparked my curiosity of what other more basic similarities there might be in terms of the human condition. It could be a source for more ways to express how thinking, feeling, and caring for yourself is a better way to be fulfilled than subscribing to nonsense. I’m guessing there may be a bunch of literature on the subject, has any of that been part of your research? I’d be interested if there is any reading you’d suggest to delve deeper into the subject (Assuming what I’m saying makes sense :-P).

This statement seemed a little too sensational to me:

And when you condone self-destruction, the destruction of the world only follows.

What do you mean by destruction of the world?

markantony June 8, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I think people have to be careful they don’t misinterpret disagreement with argument, human language is not the ultimate format of expressing something that is of a higher functional dimensionality i.e. spiritual nature: maybe because two quite different view points are just aspects or both correct mental visualizations of the same 4/5 or higher dimensional nature of something and that neither are incorrect nor a total exspression of it.
e.g. what does a Tesseract i.e. 4th dimensional hypercube really look like?
answer: no human limited to the 3 & 1/2 spacial dimensions can see one to describe it properly, so we will all imagine it differently in our minds.
Anyone versed with enough scientific understanding has at least a minute understanding of the higher freedom dimensions that exist inside by the side or outside our universe, and trying to talk about them in a 3-d format will lead to misunderstandings just like when people talk about spiritual nature, e.g. it could be said that when religious writings explain that you are living within God and God is within you, the general understanding that God is basically everywhere could be incomplete or inaccurate, but an understanding of 4/5th dimensional nature of Gods presence.
I believe in combining religion and science, because some religous writings can become intelligible and unambigous and promoting us to have more freedoms of movement within the spiritual creation by not moving or functioning solely in the 3-d material world.

Melissa Karnaze June 9, 2010 at 2:34 pm

It seems that if you were to identify more similarities between traditional religions and new age “programs”, it might reveal further insights into why so many are drawn into the two, and exactly what they plug into us and put band aids on… It could be a source for more ways to express how thinking, feeling, and caring for yourself is a better way to be fulfilled than subscribing to nonsense.

Totally noted, what great feedback Odin!

I’m guessing there may be a bunch of literature on the subject, has any of that been part of your research? I’d be interested if there is any reading you’d suggest to delve deeper into the subject (Assuming what I’m saying makes sense :-P).

I haven’t read a lot of formal literature on the subject, have actually assimilated what I know more through direct interaction with others who are religious, spiritual, or broken off to some extent.

A book though that I have on list for delving deeper is one recommended by my graduate adviser: Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening. The reason I want to read it is because Batchelor deconstructs religious belief to band-aid the existential angst that comes from knowing (a) we are all going to die, and (b) we don’t know when.

If you read it before I get to, let me know how it goes!

This statement seemed a little too sensational to me… What do you mean by destruction of the world?

By destruction of the world, I mean literally how we are currently slowly but surely destroying our world. Why? Short answer: because people in power are evil (and people not in power, but who do have power, are still asleep and don’t want to know).

But evil doesn’t just exist, it’s a construct. Evil comes from a broken psyche, which certainly means the absence of a healthy relationship with self. People are evil because circumstances helped shape them to have an unhealthy relationship with self. Addiction, power-mongering, harming others, etc. all stem from an unhealthy relationship with self. People destroy the world because they themselves have experienced personal destruction, and likely still do. The more we all go around denying our true emotions and dark sides, the more asleep we will be when powers-that-be make unhealthy decisions for us. And the more we will condone and directly facilitate bad decisions ourselves.

Of course, this is something that could be far more expanded on into the future…

Odin Xenobuilder June 10, 2010 at 4:56 pm

That book sounds interesting and looks like a fairly short read. I’ll have to add it to my list too. Brings my list up to 28, if there weren’t so many good books out there, I might be able to keep that manageable, but I’ll not wish for that :-P

Thanks for explaining the world destruction thing, I see the connection you’re making there now.

Sandra Hendricks July 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm

This is well put. I am interested in hearing your views on The Law of Attraction. It is along the same lines as you have here. Does it contain any value? Does it promote accountability or is it another fly by the night idea, that is quickly become almost a religion, in and of itself? Have you written anything on the subject?

Regards,
Sandra

Melissa Karnaze July 14, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Hi Sandra, the Law of Attraction mindset can have tremendous value, but how it’s commonly pitched comes with three major pitfalls which I’ve written about here. The way most New Agers use it is very irresponsible and dangerous.

But back to the value. First of all, it’s very true that you co-construct your reality (which I talk about in this free e-class). LoA breaks from the mainstream conviction that you’re always a victim of fate.

Secondly, looking for how the bad things in your outer world reflect or mirror your inner dysfunctions is a very powerful exercise.

This is the short of it, but someday I hope to write about it much more in depth — it’s a huge and fertile topic!

Daniel May 4, 2014 at 6:31 am

OMG. Epic. This is what I’ve been looking for after being fuckedup/over by spiritual liberation stuff. Thanks for this a lot

Dani October 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Melissa Karnaze – maybe you should start writing again! ;-)

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