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.