I don't talk a lot about it because I'm a bit of a snob really, but I sometimes infiltrate the inner circles of things witchcraft, pagan, psychics, shamanism and meditation. I seek out the kind of people who get into that stuff with some sort of perverse curiosity about how the minds of people work especially where faith is concerned. A lot of the time I feel bitterly disappointed and let down because there are so few "real" people in those circles, and all sorts of fluffy straight out of the box crap tends to really put a damper on the fun of it.
Remember when I whinged (by the way, is whinged a uniquely Australian word?) about gratitude and wealth, and how I have a problem with what's now become the accepted way, it seems, to deal with those concepts and how we apply those words in our every day life? Remember? Well, if you don't you can find it here.
Mentioning it again is actually making me a little worked up right now for several reasons. I'm not grateful for the "wealth" being afflicted by major depression has afforded me. I'm a deeper and certainly more faceted person as a result of it but I can honestly say it's a phase I would have liked to skip altogether. I'm not grateful for having had O in my life. I'm a wiser and more cautious person as result of it, and my self-esteem took a severe beating, and I can honestly say it's a phase I would have liked to skip altogether and have it never, ever happen. Ever. It just really made me feel stupid in the end.
I just want to say that I'm kind with Carl Jung here; we need to embrace our shadows. Being grateful for everything in our lives is just counter-intuitive to that. I've hard staring contests with my inner demons especially in the past year but I've learned to listen to them instead. It's not the pain that brings the suffering, it's the resisting the pain. But those demons, the feeling grateful for their existence, not so much, not for me anyway.
I went to a shamanic drumming circle weeks and weeks ago. I love meditating in groups and I love shamanic journeying in groups. I love the sound of the drum and it makes me journey and meditate so much deeper than I normally can.
In a group, the energy is so different from when you do it on your own and I feel like I get to mooch off the collective energy, and on the rare occasion you have shared experiences with people . It makes me feel connected. I've come to the conclusion that while depression is an illness of disconnection this is a great antidote for it, for me anyway. I feel a bit naughty when I do it because the others don't know I'm mooching so I can feel connected but I figure they feel connected too so we all win. Right?
The thing that gets me every time is the people who I see as being "half way there". I find it hard to tolerate the people who are "half way there".
I'm not saying I'm enlightened or have a better grasp of spirituality but there are an awful lot of people who worship at the Altar of the Religion of Denial. These are the kind of people who think that if you meditate you will become a better person, for example, and that it makes you more enlightened than the rest of the arseholes in this world. These are the people who think the aim of meditating is to learn to stop your suffering. You don't actually have to do any real work on yourself, you simply pop your head phones in (*pop*) and you listen to a guided meditation now and then, and that will make you less arseholey and more enlightened, maybe you will even ascend a little and this will make you more attractive to your guides and guardian angels. Maybe it does, a little, but for the most part it fills you with a false sense of having worked on yourself.
Closely related to that crowd are the Spiritually Daft. They like to talk about their every experience after every damned group meditation and journey like they've just reached nirvana or invented the concept of seeing a deer in a vision. "Can I talk about my experience?" they ask and without skipping a beat go on to spending a good ten minutes describing their experience while the rest of the people think about how they actually paid to get taught by that other guy with the drum in his hand. "What does that mean?" they ask completely forgetting that the other 20 people in the room probably had a very similar experience or probably even more kick arse experiences except they're keeping it to themselves!
The most spiritually daft are those who forgot that spirituality is inclusive and while you may be on a personal journey being spiritual means you're connected to others. That means check your ego in the umbrella holder by the door, please. The Spiritually Daft also lack respect. When the organizer stands up to start the ritual with casting the circle they have to involve themselves and do it with them. As he starts the drumming and chants moving in a circle in the room to create the sacred space they are up there like it's some sort of dance along rattling their little crystals with a silly grin on their faces. Maybe it's just me but I tend to think that there are special workshops that facilitate that sort of stuff.
To be fair I think it's me and not them who has the problem. I went to lunch yesterday with the guys at work and we talked about it in the car. Dave, who's the same age as me, said something about there being a need for religion in the world because without it a lot of people would just be doing bad things. Religion keeps them occupied and provides an incentive not to be arseholes so as not to be punished for it (karma or afterlife - you pick your flavor). He said this after I had said something about being a little confused in that morning's Town Hall meeting because our fearless leader reminded me so much of David Miscavige, and I couldn't help thinking about Scientology instead of paying attention to what he was saying. I had to agree plus I tend to envy those who have faith because they seem so sure about things while I constantly wonder, doubt and think too much.
I guess now that I've thought about it a bit more it's probably the lack of authenticity in the people I just described that bothers me, and the need to show how progressed they are. It's like there's a measuring stick to be held up to show just how far you can levitate off the floor or how open your chakras are. And still, I can't quite leave the curiosity I have about it all behind because I have this feeling that there's magic in there somewhere and it's so much grander than any of us can possibly imagine. How else can you explain my returned burning desire to write and posting two posts in one day. ;)
I'm just saying.
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