Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Empathy, contentiousness and fact in the spiritual community (or lack thereof) and why it is something we are losing as we speak

It's about that time again...time for the ole' weekly reality check...This one too deals with the topics of brainwashing/personal development/Abraham-Hicks as well...

 Lots of us want to contribute to the holiday season in some uplifting way. Below is just one part of my contribution: First, I'd like to say this: I am absolutely not here to down put or "out" anyone, but I do want to share with you a short story...

 I recently spoke with a very spiritual minded friend who has taught me quite a lot about spirituality. I was shocked...absolutely, entirely and genuinely shocked to hear this person tell me that poverty (apparently like sickness...) is something that people bring upon themselves through an unhealthy combination of laziness and bad juju (read negative energy-another subjective term which makes about as much technical sense as "bad juju").
 I was of course appalled and I did my best to explain to this person what poverty mentality was and what it was like to live in a cycle of poverty, make good decisions while hungry, cold, tired, etc not to mention what it might be like to have to make long term plans with short term means. 
 Now, I'm by no means impoverished and I'm thankful for that, but I want to reiterate what I said about illnesses before and I want to do that right here and now and say that all of this and more can happen to anyone. It can happen to me and it can happen to you. Poverty does not simply strike lazy, stupid, useless neglectful slobs. Poverty, like illness, can strike anyone at any time despite good thoughts, positive energy and good juju.
 Look, I'm so very happy to see that so many of us are trying to uplift our souls and spirits and to become spiritually inquisitive people, but in becoming spiritual, many of us lose that ever important second adjective-inquisitive.

 To me, being inquisitive, like being practical, means questioning everything--not accepting anything to be true that can't pass muster. I could tell you all right now that the sky is actually orange. Now, those of you who are inquisitive might say,
"but Dominique," I'm looking at the sky right now as we speak and it's obviously blue (or gray as the case may be)."
 Of course, that should be the end of the argument. You got me. The sky's blue. End of story. But... If I'm a clever "personal development guru," I'm going to give you seemingly plausible information which can't be refuted because it can't be proven. I might say,
"well, my gift allows me to see the true nature of the sky and I'm telling you that it's orange because I can see more than you can see and therefore I have more information than you do,"
 and being an inquisitive person, your first reaction might be,
"really? More information? I must have this information too, but since I don't have your gift, I'll need you to interpret for me."
And that is where questioning what you hear comes in, because folks, that is the exact tactic that some of these personal development gurus use to convince you to see things their way. This tactis is widely used by advertising firms for company advertisement. It's like the old allegory about The Emperor's New Clothes. If someone with "more information" tells you that the emperor has beautiful new clothes, you'll want to believe them because you think that in your deficient state of simply being you and simply having the five senses everyone else possesses, that you don't have all of the information, and that might me true. You might not have ALL the information, but you have ENOUGH information and you certainly have the SKILLS you need to be able to gain CORRECT information and discard INCORRECT information.
 So, the moral of the story is this: you're smart people. Don't believe everything you hear/read/see just because the person or people behind it claim to have more information or a more highly developed connection to a mysterious "source" source of some kind which has more information than you do (enter the widely disputed, oft disproved "teachings" of Esther "Abraham"-Hicks).
 I am a spiritual counselor, coach, reiki master, high priestess, minister, holder of a psychology degree as well as a degree in human development and early childhood education as well as in philosophy. I DO actually have more information than do many people or at least more access to it, but that's not what I'm selling doing what I do (which is pertinent because what I do is NOT what say Abraham-Hicks does). I WANT you to question everything. I WANT you to not believe everything you hear. I actually want you to develop your own senses and abilities and your own connection to the divine within as well as any divine that you may believe exists outside of yourself. I'm here to help YOU to FIND your own skills, your own guru (the guru inside of you, which is the only one that matters), and as someone who may have more information than you do, I am thoroughly recommending that you QUESTION EVERYTHING, starting with me. Question what you're reading right now. Question whatever you read, whatever you see and whatever you hear no matter what the source. Don't ever stop doing so!
 Like many of you, I, as well as anyone understand that life is hard. It can be an uphill battle. Sometimes it seems easier to believe that the world has an ultimate purpose...that everything that happens is scripted and out of your own hands (that is what the psychological community likes to call having an "external locus of control," which is something extremely unhealthy and unfortunately also something that religions and cults use to hook otherwise healthy individuals), but that's just not the case. Poverty, illness, death, accidents, loss are all part of the human condition as are joy, birth, happy relationships, love, trust, opportunities and kindness. The point however is that there isn't some mystical tally sheet or scoreboard out there-whether it be internal or external-that punishes us or rewards us accordingly, whether it be God, the law of attraction (at least Abraham-Hicks' version of the very ancient law of attraction, that is), karma or something else. In fact, embracing concepts such as those can lead to the loss of a very important emotion: empathy. Empathy is how we understand and relate to the world around us and others in it. It is arguably the single most important human quality-that which makes us most human-and certainly one of the most important qualities to be found in a spiritual person of any background. I want you to ask yourself, as a spiritually inquisitive person, is that why you're seeking spiritual enlightenment? To lose empathy? Is that kind? Is that enlightened? Is that-the lack of empathy-at the core of what makes us spiritually "successful" (as if spirituality is some sort of goal or single, unchanging, immutably perfect state of being)? You of course should answer that question for yourself, but in my humble opinion, I tend to think not. So let's all find some balance and embrace facts and truth-even hard truths-scratch that, ESPECIALLY hard truths, and let's do it now, before it's too late. I read so much about the concept of immediate dismissal of all that does not serve our greater good. To some extent, I agree that that is an healthy way to be, but one without empathy might see that as dismissing a friend whose ideas don't line up perfectly with their own rather than having a frank discussion with said friend and trying to understand their point of view and help them to do the same for you. Some might see that as immediately leaving a job that's needed for financial security without giving notice or refusing to help a friend in need because that friend "called in" whatever struggle they might be experiencing. With spiritual growth and understanding, as with great power comes great responsibility, and part of that responsibility is to question everything. As I said in another article that I recently published via my blog, don't lose your empathy for the low cost of $19.99 (or whatever your spiritual growth and development books, conventions, etc cost). Don't trade your spiritual "growth" for what makes you human. I can guarantee you that it is not a fair trade. Be responsible for asking the tough questions and then answering yourself honestly. Be kind. Be caring. Be compassionate. Embody empathy. Don't trade what makes you unique for the false feeling of being above it all. As I've said before, we are all equal on this journey. No one is above. I like the kundalini yoga quote of sut nam. It means truth is my name-I embody all that is truth. This is something I choose to remember. I hope that all of you will as well. Sat nam, everyone.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

When Your Beliefs Hurt Others i.e. the harm in following 'gurus'

I'm going to address a growing problem within the spiritual community. This problem is pervasive, unfortunate and seriously damaging to the sense of empathy of anyone who chooses to engage in the type of cult-mind thinking I'm about to describe, and sadly, I've seen some really talented, intelligent, otherwise balanced individuals fall prey to this unfortunate trend. As a sufferer of an invisible illness (an illness whose symptoms cannot always be viewed from the outside-i.e. MS, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, lupus, HIV, cancer) and someone with a background in science and fact thanks to my extensive education in psychology, I feel very fortunate never to have been the type to let myself get carried away with kookiness or goofiness, especially kookiness disguised as sage wisdom within the spiritual community. I'm not a fluffy bunny pagan. I don't believe in unicorns who eat happiness and shit rainbows. I believe in the earth, the universe, the elements and laws therein--I believe in cold, hard fact. Unfortunately, there are many out there who do not, and those types of people tend to be more susceptible to becoming brainwashed into believing some of the silly, worse yet scary and even downright dangerous self-help, new age, cult mindset nonsense that's out there disguised as, like I touched on just now, self-help.
Here are my thoughts on the matter as well as some facts for your viewing (i.e. reading) pleasure. First, let me emphasize how deeply hurtful and out of line it is for anybody no matter what the circumstance or how helpful they think they're trying to be to suggest to someone with an incurable illness (like myself), financial problems (like so many), mental or physical disabilities of any kind, etc or with loved ones with any of the same that they have somehow brought the above states of being upon themselves as bad living, bad energy or overall neglect made manifest. I have heard many times from many people-none of them of course who have actually ever lived with any such impediments I might add, who like to tell me and others that if we only think positively, let go of the pain, take some magic "supplement," get our lives "straightened out" (as if illness, accidents, injuries and misfortune only happen to deserving parties who have some intangible, indefinable sense of wrongness taking seed somewhere within that must be responsible for their current predicament), we'll all be cured and that can't we see how said predicaments are brought on by negative thoughts, sin, etc...? I personally find it hurtful and rather ignorant for anyone to believe that intelligent, successful and well adjusted people are just missing that one key fake supplement that one positive thought or that one piece of cultish, vague nonsense none-too-adeptly disguised as wisdom that some kook decided to make the selling point of their latest kooky self-help book, which would cure them of that pesky ole cancer, injury, illness or poverty. I of course can only speak for me, but I for one take excellent care of myself. I take my medicine (science, folks, Google it), I take my supplements (actual vitamins, not some sales based, mlm pyramid scheme sugar pill), I eat right, I meditate, I have an extensive yoga practice, I hike, etc etc and so on and so on. I find it deeply hurtful and offensive when it is suggested to me that I am somehow manifesting legions all over my internal organs because bad mojo, bad juju, sin and boogity boogity. That is impossibly, horribly, ridiculously offensive and deeply hurtful. Now, I'm not suggesting that everything that Tony Robbins, Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziglar, [Esther] Abraham-Hicks or whoever have no grains of truth tucked away in their largely nonsensical writing, but what I am suggesting is that anyone can become a self-proclaimed guru, that anyone can write a book, think up a catchy branding idea, or speak from the tops of their heads and call what they're saying fact without the burden of having to back any of it up. 
 I know that there are lots of good people out there who are looking for some uplifting, personal responsibility-based theory of life, but I'd like to invite and encourage said people to develop your own rather than adopting that of someone else. We are all equal on this journey. No one is above. 
 Following someone that you think has more information than you is hazardous to your own freedom at best and at worst, seriously undermines your ability to continue to possess and utilize that all important key part of the human condition: empathy. So, use your logic, use your intuition. Develop your own philosophy, but don't adopt views that can harm others. After all, there are no gurus. There's only you and me. And my right to believe what I want to believe and do what I want to do in life ends where yours begins. I mean to say that if what I believe could potentially hurt you, then what I believe may not be okay. If I believe that all purple is an affront to my god and your house and car are purple, I may want to seriously reevaluate my beliefs before I go and destroy your well earned home and automobile. There is no time or place in which it is okay for me to destroy your property or harm you in any way because of my beliefs. Does my right to believe that purple is sinful supersede your right to believe that you can have a purple car and house if you damn well please? No. It does not. 
 On that note, I'd like to encourage all of you to join with me in making sure that we're all respecting other people even as we strive to follow our own paths and fully participate in our own journeys. And might I add, that if you can't believe that random occurrences happen in life and that good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good at least some of the time, at least try to be open to the possibility that everything that happens in this world isn't a matter of choice, punishment or reward. Do you get to choose what you look like (while here in this life)? No. You don't. Genetics are set in stone. Do you get to choose your parents or siblings (again, while in this life)? No. You most certainly do not. So why would you make the choice to lay the blame for such subjective happenings as illness, poverty or loss at someone else's feet? Is that a spiritual way to be? Is that empathetic? Is that kind? These are physiological and scientific issues, not manifestations of bad juju. C'mon people, it's 2015 now. Let's try to introduce some facts into the equation. Question everything in life. Don't seek out the question based on the answer you have or want to find and don't seek out answers based on your own desires. Seek out facts. Seek out truth. Seek out knowledge. Search within yourself. Question everything. And for gods sake, or for your own, put down the self help books before you hurt yourselves (or others). Don't lose your empathy for the low cost of $19.99 (or however much your self-help books cost you). It is worth much more than that. 

(I had posted a link below when I originally posted this post on Facebook, you can look it up if you'd like-it's about a skeptic who collected some compelling and bad experiences relating to 'self-help' guru Abraham-Hicks)

Keepin it real,


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Real Talk On The Pittfalls Of Being A Healer, Reader and Lightworker (not a fan of that term btw)

So...just to point out the obvious lol😉😘, readers need readings just like therapists need therapy just like reiki masters need reiki just like teachers need to learn and be taught. Get it? Got if? Good.

 Let's keep that in mind, guys. A reader that I know recently related to me that they had been given what they referred to as some really special and kind information for another tarot reader/medium recently. Guys, you know how it is when you get a message. Sometimes it just WILL NOT go away until you relate it to the person that it's for. Though I don't know all of the particulars here (insert joke here about how I should be all knowing because I myself do this in part for a living and as part of my business lol), I do know that the other reader turned them down because they apparently 'knew enough' (or something to that effect). When I hear about instances like this, I just shake my head. Hey, guys, listen up... Nobody's trying to steal your crown, break open your piñata or steal your thunder when they do that. Nine times out of ten, the person in question is just trying to do you a kindness with no thought of reward. Now, if someone offers you advice about the divorce you just went through or tries you what you should or shouldn't have done or tells you that your ex never loved you anyway or something, then you have my permission to tell that person to jog on, but this is not what happened here and is not what happens most of the time for that matter. I know both of the people involved in this particular situation to an extent and believe me, this happens SO often that I'm positive that I'm not outing anybody by saying this-but, I'm just astounded that another light worker/healer wouldn't be open to kind healing and goodly messages themselves. Nobody said you had to take them to heart if they didn't resonate with you. As a reader, you know that, okay? You know that. The only reason I can think of that one wouldn't want the other's help is because they themselves feel fraudulent or disingenuous in some way doing what they do (which is not my place to comment on-we all have our issues--even the best of us and that is NOT what I'm saying here). I'm pretty sad to see that happening. Unless the other reader is being super interfering, there's no reason to do this. I've heard so many healers say to other healers that they don't need healing themselves when that person offers to help them in some way or exchange with them. I've seen so many readers and spiritual therapists who say that they don't need readings and/or spiritual therapy themselves. BS! We all do. Let's not become so full of ourselves that we see accepting help or entertaining another person's perspective as damaging to our perceived images and/or abilities. I for one absolutely love and feel SO flattered when another amazing healer or reader like for instance Sandra M. Russel offer me readings in exchanges. I just don't see why we can be so silly and catty and it makes me very sad. I know that in professions like this where you have to be somewhat of a public personality, egotism can get in the way, but to me, that seems absolutely ridiculous. Any insight from anyone? Thoughts? Feelings? Experiences?

First Question [podcast] Belle Gunness short show notes

​ Listen to THIS episode of First Question here! Born as Brynhild Paulsdatter Størseth Belle Gunness, nee Paulsen was born in Christiania, ...