Thursday, September 29, 2011

"You must have a widescreen navel!"

The other day, I was looking for my brother's passport.  He doesn't live here at present, and he forgot it here the last time he came to visit, and he needed the information in it for some reason.  In the process of sifting through the ridiculous amount of stuff on his desk (and finding out more about my brother than I really needed to know), I found a little book of affirmations and meditations that apparently belonged to our mother first.

It's exactly the sort of thing that I would've been drawn to like iron filings to a magnet in my "Wicca 101" days.  Some of the meditations and affirmations are something I'd still consider worth thinking about, but from what I've seen so far, these are few and far between indeed.  Most of them are the sort of smug and lofty-sounding thing that you might expect from someone who thinks they're an enlightened and all-knowing master of the spiritual realm, but who comes across as pompous at best, things like "my wisdom creates that which I need" and "I rest today knowing that all my physical needs are met."  I find statements like these to be deeply offensive and intellectually lazy, because there's an implication that those who do not have everything they need are simply not wise enough.  Thoughts like these are not wisdom; they come from a place of privilege and there's a certain selfish egotism, a refusal to look beyond one's own life and circumstances, that is both shaming the people to whom these things do not apply, and deeply incompatible with actual enlightenment.

But then, who needs a real spiritual awakening when you can feel superior to unenlightened folk who don't believe that "my awakened mind is all knowing" and "my all knowing mind is all wise"?

Possible differences of interpretation aside, I opened this book looking for some possible deep thoughts to ponder and found little but smug spiritual junk food that left a bad aftertaste in my mind.  Perhaps there was a time in my life when these meditations could have uplifted me, but not for a long time; now, I find them trite and spiritually offensive at best.  They're about as enlightening as that "contemplation of the navel" in a third-season episode of Get Smart called The Groovy Guru.  (Incidentally, this post's title comes from this part of that episode, and the relevant part of the linked video is from about 2:16 to 3:45.)  I realize that my experience of the spiritual is hardly representative of most or even very many other people's, but I suspect that it's not a mark of true enlightenment to be wandering around all mysterious-like and spouting off odd-sounding statements like "Love awakens my mind to love.  I am the basis of love. So be it."  There's so much more out there than your own wonderfulness and your own thoughts, and to concentrate so much on yourself to the exclusion of everything seems deeply wrong to me in a way that I can't quite articulate.

I'm not saying that I know what enlightenment really is; that would be ridiculous.  I'm so far away from being enlightened that it's not even funny.  But I do know that focusing on yourself and how wonderful you are is not really a great eye-opener.

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