New Age: Part 1

New Age: Part 1

Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade

New Age is a more general term and New Thought is a more specific
term.  I don’t know when the term New Age was first used, but as its
used in contemporary culture it seems to mostly to apply to the pop
culture spirituality that was inspired by various earlier movements.
One of those earlier movements was New Thought, and New Thought is no
longer distinct from New Age.  New Thought has become incorporated
into mainstream culture.  Most people who are familiar with New Thought
views aren’t familiar with the New Thought tradition.  New Thought has
in some ways become even more generalized than New Age because its
influence has been so wide and yet so below the radar.

I was raised in Unity and it attracted the New Age type of person.  It
was normal practice to hug people at church and everything was fairly
politically correct.  There was an extreme open-mindedness about it
even though it was Christian… by which I mean that no one cared if
you were saved or if you believed in any particular dogma.  New
Thought Christianity is often referred to as Practical Christianity.
There are two basic elements to this.

First, personal experience is prioritized and so having a personal
relationship to Jesus/God is emphasized.  The difference between this
and the personal relationship of other Christians is that its very
relaxed.  Jesus is your friend and you can talk to him as you would a
friend.  Jesus isn’t our Lord.  Instead, this notion is replaced with
the idea of Jesus being the (or a) Wayshower, a wise and knowledgable
guide.

Second, the power of mind is related to the Power of God.  We are
microcosms of God, and as such we are co-creators of our reality.
There is a difference here from some later adaptations in New Age.
This power is rooted in our personal relationship to Jesus/God.
Beyond simple positive thinking, its primarily about faith and the
ultimate goal is in deepening our faith experience.

New Thought influenced the New Age, but it has other influences.
Unity publishes a small magazine which if I remember correctly is
called The Daily Word.  It used to (and may still) have a wide
readership outside of Unity.  I met people from mainstream Christian
churches that said that their church distributed it.  Unsurprisingly,
even though these people had seen Unity’s magazine, they didn’t know
of Unity or of New Thought.  Also, recently, I’ve been noticing New
Thought creeping into the Evangelical movement (practically taking it
over in some cases).

New Thought has common origin in several other American movements.  At
the time Unity was forming, Americans were seeking a new form of
religion.  For instance, out of this same milieu, the Mormons arose.
New Thought has much in common with the UU church as Unity too is
Unitarian and Universalist in its theology.  The Transcendentalists
also seem to have been a part of this quest for the new.  There was an
influence from Eastern texts that were being translated, but there
also was a renewed interest in the long suppressed Gnostic strains of
the Western tradition.  The inspired text A Course In Miracles has a
strong Gnostic flavor to it and it was an extremely popular book in
Unity.  One of the more interesting influences of New Thought was
Mesmer who proposed the idea of animal magnetism, that there was a
power in the world that could be directed for the good of humans…
specifically in terms of healing.  There is a strong emphasis on
healing in Unity and in Evangelism.  Interestingly, Mesmer led to the
tradition of hypnotism which in course led to Neuro-linguistic
Programming (NLP).  NLP, similar to New Thought, is interested in how
we influence reality through our perception of it.

Another interesting American phenomena is Landmark Forum which
originated from EST.  Landmark is a more harsh (almost cult-like)
product of the New Age movement.  Its positive thinking on steroids.
I’ve been to a Landmark Forum.  It had some useful things to teach,
but I didn’t like its morally questionable techniques of influencing
participants.  EST supposedly had even stronger methodologies.  Sadly,
I’ve heard that Landmark is gaining a foothold in some Unity circles.
If Landmark used its stronghold tactics to inveigle its way into
Unity, then it could use it as a respectable front for its
prosyletizing activities.  This is the darkside of the New Age.

All of this that I mentioned has influenced and in some cases been
incorporated into the almost anything goes theology of New Age.
Nonetheless, as I grew up in New Thought as a distinct tradition, I
still consider the two separate.  I agree with some of Wilber’s
criticisms of New Age: the Mean Green Meme (MGM) and cultural
relativism.

BTW my experience with New Age is pretty wide.  I’ve read many of the
New Age classics growing up.  I also attended a UU for a while.  I
went to massage school where I learned about alternative health and
energy healing.  Two of the psychotherapists I’ve been to were Reiki
healers and one of them was also a practicing Sufi.  I went to a
shamanistic healer a couple of times.  I’ve had my hug from the
hugging saint Amma.  I’ve done all kinds of spiritual practices over
the years.  I used to be a vegetarian.  I have interests in various
New Age subjects: tarot, astrology, chakras, etc.

OTOH I was also raised by two fairly conservative parents who later
became very dissatisfied with Unity.  I went to highschool in the
conservative South and lived in the heart of the Bible Belt for a
time.  I’m fairly critical of much of New Age and New Thought.  I’m
very intellectual and can be frustrated by anti-intellectual
ideologies.  I’ve spent much of my life depressed and can be annoyed
by the manic cheeriness of some New Agers.

I have both an insiders and an outsiders view of New Thought and New
Age.  I meet people online who have just discovered positive thinking
and I have to control myself from expressing my cynicism too strongly.
 I’ve practiced New Thought off and on over the years and I still
believe in it, but I also know of its weaknesses and pitfalls.  What
annoys me about the positive thinking is that many people who discover
it feel they must prosyletize it as if it can answer all of the
world’s problems.  To me, the most important New Thought principle is
acceptance and not optimism.  Plus, I distinguish between faith and
optimism… whereas, pop culture positive thinking downplays faith or
limits it to personal psychology.

Even though all of these ideas and experiences have made me who I am,
I don’t label myself as New Age or New Thought.  I believe that there is
much truth in these traditions, but I don’t align myself with any
particular tradition… which I suppose is very New Age of me.

Whether or not I’m New Age, there is no doubt I’m a product of this
sub-culture.  I joined Gaia because a part of me very clearly
resonates with this kind of positive thinking community.  Generally
speaking, I like most New Agers as people.  They’re my people and I
understand them.  I’m an INFP which is one of the MBTI types that most
closely fits with a New Age worldview.  I belong to an INFP forum and
I love the place, but the sweet kind pc friendliness would make some
people vomit.

This blog is posted in the God Pod.

Access_public Access: Public 25 Comments Print Post this!views (463)  

16 minutes later

Enlightened.thinker said

Your last sentence is a riot! People cannot seem to tolerate people who are kind, sweet and friendly as they must have some agenda! NOT!

I love this differentiation blog and find it well explained here Ben. I grew up New England Congregational church and taught Sunday School. We did not have an angry God, he was a loving one. After many years, I was attracted to astrology, then more new thought ideas. And growing up in New england was pretty liberal..then at 33 I moved to Virginia, where Edgar Cayce and other readings opened up my mind to reincarnation and other ideas. And the other side was the bible beaters on the street corner espusing an angry God. Who was he? No one I knew!

I attended Unity in Florida and liked it, and also learned about Native American nature thought, and psychic and other new age ideas. I was in heaven. Moving to Texas burst the bubble. I was immediately contacted by every yahoo to come to their church. Churches are on every corner and the biggest one in Houston is Osteens church of 55K members. No thanks. They talk tithing only half the time.

From this space I returned to school for my masters and was taught comparative religions, and loved it! Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam were all taught and I read all the sacred text. I also attended and enjoyed Science of Mind, which is NOT Scientology. They have a daily word too…The Science of Mind Treatment magazine. It is good, but still refers mostly to Christianity. I love Buddhist ideas…and like to pick and choose my beliefs.

I chose zaadz because after living back in New England, I was starving for connections with like minded folks. I have no agenda to change anyones perceptions about anything…I just plain love the energy exchange!

So, as an older woman, I am vitally pleased you have found your “place” as a younger person, and can articulate it so well and bring a piece of your ideas to this forum. I wish I knew half of what you know when I was your age, but then maybe it was not the time for me to know. Just as teaching did not occur in my life until I was 44 and it was at the right time.space/place.

Thanks Ben…your feelings are like mine and I hate labels too…and titles. That is why I will not become a Gaia Ambassador, even though I already do the job of one on a daily basis.

Blessings to you!
Aley

20 minutes later

Centria said

Ha ha, Ben, the sweet kind pc friendliness would make most people vomit!  This sounds like we’re getting back to a “care bears” discussion….  I actually have a bit of trouble with the positive you-can-make-things happen ideology.  Although a part of me loves it.  I think it’s both/and.  We can make things happen, and we can’t.  Because it’s not just us.  It’s our thoughts and intentions, as well as the Universe’s.  which is why I like it that you argue with “God”.  Actually, the term “God” sometimes makes me want to vomit.  I prefer terms like The Universe, The All, the Self….just because the pre-conceived ideas of God are so darn limiting at times.  so about the time I can’t stand the term God, I start using it all the time, just because.  Although I don’t like the term New Ager, either.  Come to think of it, is there any term I like?    Good question….thanks for this, Ben!

Marmalade : Gaia Child

32 minutes later

Marmalade said

Thanks for commenting.  I have to go to work right now, but I’ll respond later tonight.

Bye bye!  🙂

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 4 hours later

Nicole said

hey Ben, i hate labels too…. little tiny boxes that people try to stuff you into, so cramped and uncomfortable in there i just won’t stay! 🙂

enjoy work :):)

1Vector3 : "Relentless Wisdom"

about 10 hours later

1Vector3 said

Hi Ben, I got onto Notifications of your blogs, yippeee !!!

You connected a lot of dots for folks, and I also enjoyed learning more about your personal journey and approaches !!

I have touched into most of those “dots,” too, and now feel that I am not only outside the box, but the box isn’t even visible anymore, hahahaha !!!!!

The distinction that most interests me if it comes to my attention is the differentiation between Unity and Science of Mind (Church of Religious Science.) For example, there is a real anti-energy-healing bias in SOM, which seems less so in Unity, though one might expect vice versa.

Rather than just say Yes Yes yes Yes, and yes again to your many good points, I’ll add a slight deviation or two. I have not been to Landmark, but did several others in that genre, like Context Trainings. They were good at the time, for my development. I have a bunch of friends who have found great value in Landmark, and are not at all into it as a “cult,” and that is perhaps too strong a word, but I too dislike quite a few of their internal methods AND their marketing approach.

BTW “barf” is an easier word to not trigger the vivid imagination……

There are exceptions, but within New Thought and New Age, as in Christianity in general and rampantly in the Eastern religions, I often get the sense that one is supposed to strive for some kind of “connection” with God or Jesus, but heaven forbid you should tell anyone you have achieved it, they would accuse you of all kinds of pride and ego !!! Also Unity is shot through with what Wilber calls “dualistic thinking” – God is very much alive and well OUTSIDE of oneself – and I can no longer resonate much with it; I just get annoyed. SOM less so, but still.

I can’t even begin to talk about the notions of creating your own reality and positive thinking, that would end up being a book…… I won’t even start. Suffice to say I am as usual a heretic wrt any other known system of thought…..

Nor will I venture into the fascinating discussion about the word “God.” I use it for a shorthand, but am writing even now a piece about how in the question or statement, “IS there a God?” only the word IS has any meaning whatsoever !!!!!!

Aley, I enjoyed reading about your personal journey too. Touched most of those dots, too, in my long life.

Thanks for mentioning the Transcendentalists. I think they are amazingly neglected and greatly worth exposing oneself to as part of one’s religious and philosophical education. Can’t say I have done that yet, but based on all the snippets I have read of Ralph Waldo Emerson, sounds as if one would have to consider him as an enlightened human. Extremely amazing stuff, that guy said !!!!!

Looking forward to Part II.

Blessings, OM Bastet

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 10 hours later

Marmalade said

Aley,
bible beaters – Is that like a wife beater?  🙂

Moving to Texas burst the bubble.
A bit like when I moved to the middle of the Bible Belt in North Carolina.  I worked a few summers at a YMCA camp and it was very conservatively Christian.  Most of the Christians I met there were nice, but it was a culture shock.  In particular, I dated a local girl and her parents were some of the most backward Christians I’ve met in my life.

the biggest one in Houston is Osteens church
I’ve read a bit about Joel Osteen.  An interesting phenomena.

I also attended and enjoyed Science of Mind, which is NOT Scientology. They have a daily word too…The Science of Mind Treatment magazine.
For a short while as a kid my family attended a Scienc of Mind church, but my memories of it are vague.  My Grandmother (who introduced my parents to Unity and to A Course In Miracles) was trained in giving Science of Mind Treatments.  Unfortunately, she died when I was very young and I never got to know her. 

So, as an older woman, I am vitally pleased you have found your “place” as a younger person, and can articulate it so well and bring a piece of your ideas to this forum.  Everyone finds their own way in life.  I don’t know that I’ve found my “place”, but I can at least articulate whatever place I’ve found myself in. 

I wish I knew half of what you know when I was your age, but then maybe it was not the time for me to know.
I know what I know because I’ve done very little else with my life other than learning.  I don’t have a career and I only work 3/4 quarter time at a job that allows me to read at work; I’m not married and I have no kids; I don’t travel much and I have no time consuming hobbies.  All I’ve done for the last 15 yrs of my life is buy books and read them.  So, I have knowledge, but I don’t have much else.  You get what you invest your time in.  But for me it wasn’t exactly a choice I made.  I was simply drawn to learning and so that is what I did… and now here I am.

Just as teaching did not occur in my life until I was 44 and it was at the right time.space/place.
Yeah, a lot can change in life.  I could be doing all kinds of things when I’m 44 or I might just still be doing the same thing.

your feelings are like mine and I hate labels too…and titles. That is why I will not become a Gaia Ambassador, even though I already do the job of one on a daily basis.
My problem is I just can’t ever find a label that fits me.  I’m too much an individual and I don’t want to try to fit in with a group identity or to play a specific role.  I just want to be me.  So, I probably won’t ever become a Gaia Ambassador either.

Centria,
I actually have a bit of trouble with the positive you-can-make-things happen ideology.  Although a part of me loves it.  I think it’s both/and.  We can make things happen, and we can’t.  Because it’s not just us.  It’s our thoughts and intentions, as well as the Universe’s.
Sounds like my perspective.  Yes, its not just us.  And its the fact that we’re more complex than our conscious thoughts and idealized intentions.  Once you start taking a participatory viewpoint seriously, normal causation starts breaking down.  What makes sense to me is the Buddhist idea of Dependent Co-arising.  So, the world may manifest out of mind, but if so it isn’t my individual mind.

Actually, the term “God” sometimes makes me want to vomit.  I prefer terms like The Universe, The All, the Self….just because the pre-conceived ideas of God are so darn limiting at times.  so about the time I can’t stand the term God, I start using it all the time, just because.
My view of the divine feels most in line with the inclusive monotheism of Hinduism.  Hinduism allows for one to worship any particular deity or set of deities, and their gods aren’t jealous.  Inclusive monotheism sees all gods as aspects of one God (which is similar to Islam).  On top of this, Hinduism has many other theological viewpoints that more or less peacefully co-exist.  So, a Hindu can even switch from worshipping a personal God to worshipping an impersonal principle and they don’t have to switch traditions.  I like this kind of complexity.  It fits my ambiguous sense of the divine.

Nicole,
i hate labels too…. little tiny boxes that people try to stuff you into, so cramped and uncomfortable in there i just won’t stay! 🙂
Yep, labels are just convenient ways of thinking about things, approximations of reality.  But labels never perfectly fit.  In the end, experience trumps all.

1Vector3 : "Relentless Wisdom"

about 10 hours later

1Vector3 said

Great commentary.

The tiniest of comments: The classic term is, I think, Bible thumpers.

Experience trumps all. That’s kinda quotable. I like it !!

Blessings, OM Bastet

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 11 hours later

Marmalade said

Om,
The distinction that most interests me if it comes to my attention is the differentiation between Unity and Science of Mind (Church of Religious Science.) For example, there is a real anti-energy-healing bias in SOM, which seems less so in Unity, though one might expect vice versa.

It is useful to compare those two.  I know of SOM in a more indirect manner, but my sense is that they have a more clear set of beliefs and practices.  OTOH, Unity seems more open to different beliefs and practices.

I have not been to Landmark, but did several others in that genre, like Context Trainings. They were good at the time, for my development. I have a bunch of friends who have found great value in Landmark, and are not at all into it as a “cult,” and that is perhaps too strong a word, but I too dislike quite a few of their internal methods AND their marketing approach.

I have a friend who is really into Landmark.  He is one of my closest friends, but I must admit I like him less when he is in Landmark mode.  He is much more relaxed, compassionate, and genrally more friendly when not in Landmark mode.  He finds great value in it, and I understand that its been helpful for him. 

I still think that the methods used by Landmark are morally questionable.  Landmark isn’t a cult, but its the closest thing to a cult that I’ve ever personally come across.  Basically, its as cult-like as you can get without precisely being a cult.  Landmark has a very manipulative style of getting people involved.  You just can’t know what its like until you’ve been in a Landmark forum and had the full force of the Landmark followers turned upon you.  Its overwhelming.  That is how it works.  It breaks down a person’s normal psychological defenses, but that is also how brainwashing works.  Its a thin line.

There are exceptions, but within New Thought and New Age, as in Christianity in general and rampantly in the Eastern religions, I often get the sense that one is supposed to strive for some kind of “connection” with God or Jesus, but heaven forbid you should tell anyone you have achieved it, they would accuse you of all kinds of pride and ego !!! Also Unity is shot through with what Wilber calls “dualistic thinking” – God is very much alive and well OUTSIDE of oneself – and I can no longer resonate much with it;

I understand what you’re saying, but this doesn’t bother me. 

I see the experience of divine as Other as being a valid and real human experience… which isn’t to argue about the theology of what that experience means.  How I see it is that God is as real or unreal as I am and as the world is, and God is as external as the world is.  From one perspective, my sense of an internal self and my sense of an external world are both false.  Reality isn’t as we perceive it. 

God is by definition non-rational and our longing for an Other is non-rational.  There is nothing that can be directly said about it from a rational perspective, and that is just the way it is.  You can call it a false view or a less developed view, but those are rational judgements of a non-rational experience. 

It also doesn’t bother me if you say that you’ve achieved it.  I can’t say that it sounds any more rational.  But if that is your experience, then there isn’t much that I can say that would be meaningful.  I really have no clear opinon about any of this.

The “dualistic thinking” part is something that has been on my mind.  I’ve been reading about binary oppositions (in Structuralism, Deconstructionism, and Postructuralism) and their relationship to concepts such as liminal and anti-structure.  The author I’m reading (George P. Hansen) also discusses the numinous which relates to the experience of divine as Other.

Nor will I venture into the fascinating discussion about the word “God.” I use it for a shorthand, but am writing even now a piece about how in the question or statement, “IS there a God?” only the word IS has any meaning whatsoever !!!!!!

I would agree but with some addition.  The same goes for any similar question… “IS there a Human?” and “IS there a Ben?” and “IS there a Reality?”   So, yes, only the word IS has any meaning because the IS refers to experience rather than categroies. 

Abstract categories tend to fall into binaries.  But dualistic thinking isn’t exactly the problem because our minds seem designed to think this way.  The problem is when dualistic thinking becomes black and white, and when any particular dualism becomes absolute.  Also, the privileging of one side of a binary opposition is a major issue.

Looking forward to Part II.

And I’m looking forward to your piece about the subject of IS.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 14 hours later

Nicole said

and you used to worry about your blogs not being discussed! now you can hardly keep up… isn’t it great! :):)

Yes, I think we are wired for binary, though we are analog beings 🙂 but as you say it is not a problem per se… i try to remember strengths are weaknesses and weaknesses strengths, and so it is with many opposities – just two sides of the same coin. embracing reality in its fullness and enjoying it all…

i liked very much when you were describing your life of learning and learning… it is a privileged one for such a curious cat as yourself… and you seem so contented in it. but who knows what is around the corner. isn’t it fun?

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

Hey Nicole, I think your correct to point out that we’re analog beings.  In thinking, we seem forced into binary distinctions no matter how subtle.  But in our general experience we naturally fall into an analog way of being.  The book I’m reading right now points this out.  The Trickster archetype tends towards the concrete rather than the abstract, and the Trickster is wont to blur the binary divisions of abstract thought.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

About Landmark, I was being a bit critical of them.  I know that many people have been helped by Landmark, but even so I don’t know if I’d directly recommend it to anybody.  If someone was interested, I’d recommend they research it thoroughly first and retain their objectivity while in the forum.  Take what is useful from it and discard all else, but beware that this isn’t what someone involved with Landmark would recommend.  From a Landmark perspective, you only get out of it what you put into it which translates that you must immerse yourself in it without questioning.  Personally, I would entrust my mind to Landmark.

I do believe that Landmark could be risky for someone who wasn’t perfectly balanced mentally.  An interesting thing was since I’ve been diagnosed with depression my therapist had to sign a consent form to allow me to participate.  For someone who was having troubles in life and was looking for answers, such a person could become as pulled into Landmark as they would with an Evangelical church.  What I was surprised by Landmark was how evangelical it was by which I mean how much they encourage prosyletizing.

Sometime I’d like to blog about Landmark, the good and the bad.  There is quite a bit of info out there on the web.  I researched it before attending my Landmark Forum, and I admit that some of the things I read made me feel a bit wary.  If my very good friend hadn’t gone along with me, I might not have gone at all.  Landmark is one of those organizations that tends to polarize people.  Some practically have conversion experiences and others feel that Landmark really messed with their head.

Whatever Landmark is, its certainly interesting.  As it was inspired by EST which was supposedly even more intense, I can’t even imagine what that would’ve been like.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

very interesting about Landmark, food for thought… and that’s cool to know about the Trickster, such a fascinating archetype – do you have a favourite incarnation? Culturally appropriate ones for me are Anansi the Spider Man and Brer Rabbit LOL! I grew up loving those stories…

1Vector3 : "Relentless Wisdom"

3 days later

1Vector3 said

Sorry I can’t contribute more to your blog than this one thought right now.

I was trying to be as generous and tactful as I could about Landmark, but my friends who have “immersed” themselves in it, even the one who has since split with them, can sometimes get into what I call the “Landmark Robot” mode when they are facilitating groups in other settings, and it is not pleasant to be on the receiving end of.

They are steamrollering, disrespectful, even encouraging of people to violate their own integrity. They have no empathy, they are inconsiderate. Their faces and voices get hard and harsh and remote and unreachable and unalterable, in that Landmark mode. Normally, these are people who are the opposite in their daily lives. So I have to consider the “Landmark Robot” to be something that got programmed in and they accepted it.

They THINK they are being helpful, not letting people get away with their usual games, encouraging stepping out of comfort zones, but I see them running roughshod over people, being juggernaughts.

Not the way I would choose to help someone change/grow.

For those who need a kick in the posterior, perhaps it works fine. I have other friends whose lives have really opened up from doing the Landmark series….. But it seems to lack subtlety, and be a “one size fits all” approach to changing people.

I have not been through it, but as I said, I did Context Trainings, more than once, and that’s a sibling.

Blessings, OM Bastet

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

Nicole – So, do I have a favorite incarnation of the Trickster archetype? 

I’m not sure I have a favorite exactly, but there are some I’m more familiar with.  I’m fairly familiar with Mercurius because Jung wrote much about Alchemy, but I might be more familiar with Hermes as I come across Greek mythology more often.  I do know the stories of Loki and I know some of the stories of Native American Tricksters.  I’m probably the least familiar with the African Tricksters.

Which are my favorite?  Hmmm…

Well, the Native American Tricksters are some of the most amusing, but I don’t personally connect with them.  The Native American Tricksters are nice to study about because there is a lot of info available.  The stories seem amusing on the surface, but they related to dark magic.  There is something very primal and grotesque about some of the Native American Tricksters, and I don’t know what to make of them.

I find Loki fascinating, but there isn’t enough info about him to have a good sense of what he represented when he was a living myth.  I like how he plays such a central role in Norse mythology, and how even the other gods have great respect for him.

I have to say that Mercurius and Hermes are my favorites, and the two are closely related.  They both have the seeming darker side of the Trickster, but they also show the Trickster’s other side which isn’t obvious in many other incarnations.  The Trickster does represent change in all its forms which includes injury, death, and theft… but it also includes spiritual transformation.  The Trickster isn’t just a clever buffoon.  The Trickster is also the redeeming psychopomp and this is where he shares territory with other redeemer incarnations such as Jesus.  I’m most interested in where the Trickster and Redeemer meet within the same incarnation.

Hermes is probably my most favorite because of his relationship to Apollo and Dionysus.  The latter two seem to be mythological forerunners to the Christ story.  Jesus uses the same or similar symbolism as Dionysus and they’re both twice born godmen who challenge earthly authority figures.  But Jesus took on many of the characteristics of Apollo: solar logos, heavenly being, healer, etc.  Of Apollo and Dionysus, the second is more of the Trickster and this makes sense as he was put under the protection of Hermes as an infant.

Unity prefers the Apollonian Heavenly Christ, but I prefer the Dionysian Earthly Jesus.  I find it strange that people invoke Jesus as a preserver of order.  Afterall, he overturned tables in the temple, and he told people to give their money away and to let the dead bury the dead.  Jesus was a Trickster all the way through.  He was constantly challenging authority and defying expectations.  Jesus was clever and witty in his words.  Jesus spoke in concrete parables and expressed his emotions freely.  Also, Jesus embraced suffering which is a major theme of the Trickster, and he acts as pschopomp (like Hermes was also a shephard).

So, maybe Jesus is my favorite Trickster.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

OM, you hit the nail on the head.  What bothers me isn’t Landmark the organization, but rather Landmark the mindset.  I don’t like aggressive and manipulative people, but of course a Landmark person just sees it as being assertive.  The other thing is that Landmark teaches techniques and I don’t like the feeling of someone using a technique on me instead of just relating to me as a person.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

Hermes… yes, I have loved him in the way you say, as psychopomp as well as trickster. and you’re right, Jesus must be my favourite Trickster too. The parables were deliberately tricky to understand at times, he was very emotive and yes, a shepherd too… fascinating… not at all a preserver of order, rather constantly challenging authority. even the way he chose to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” is not usually underlined by the conservatives – getting a coin out of a fish’s mouth isn’t really paying taxes on income 🙂

Amazume : Pure Light Combustion

4 days later

Amazume said

Hmmmm, great discussion and musings. Just listening in here. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and journeys. Thank you Ben, for creating this space to share.  I agree whole heartedly with OM that ”experience trumps all” is quotable, and with everyone who likes to avoid labels. Labels indeed are toxic.

People have asked me ‘what my children are’ within an ‘interfaith marriage’, of parents who grew up on completely different continents (one in Africa, one in Europe). If people insisted, as they were frantically looking to wrap their busy minds around something, I opted with a big smile: “I suppose you could say my kids are mutts”. Still sometimes people would not give up and tell me “you have to choose for your kids sake”. I am so very glad I did not. As I have come into my own experience, my kids have too. I am with Kahlil Gibran to allow my kids to have their own thoughts, although mass media has a whole other agenda, and I’m doing my darndest to minimize that influence.

Also, I enjoy shopping around in the different flavors and colors of what God, Goddess, the Divine experience looks like. Never really buying into any established belief system, yet really open and eager to experience truth. This happens a lot when I’m in a zone, working with clients doing energy work. People who have passed on show up sometimes, and even Jesus, and Mary. Atheists could argue these images could be figments of my client’s imagination I picked up, yet experience has taught me that what you can imagine is true.

😉

Marmalade : Gaia Child

4 days later

Marmalade said

Howdy Amazume!

Your way of raising your kids sounds healthy to me.  My parents are pretty conservative and have strong opinions about many things, but even so they let me make up my own mind and make my own mistakes.  🙂

I do sense there is a truth to what may appear as mere imagination.  Nonetheless, I’m a questioning kind of guy and so I can’t help but wonder what kind of truth it may be.  I personally have never had a vision of Jesus or anything similar.  But if I did have such an experience, I’d tentatively accept it for what it was… oh, who am I kidding… I’d analyze to death.  :):)

I have had strange experiences and its hard to know what to make of them.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

4 days later

Nicole said

of course you’d analyse to death! that’s what you do best – hug.

amazume, great to see you here and hear your thoughts…

Amazume : Pure Light Combustion

5 days later

Amazume said

Hi Ben, and Nicole,

Thanks for your responses. I too can wear that analytical hat and enjoy it. Yet, I have learned not to explain away the magic. Some questions are simply answered by: where there is love, there is no question.

😉

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

5 days later

Marmalade said

Hi Amazume,

I’m not for explaining away the magic.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I tend to have more questions than answers.  I don’t feel my intellectuality and my sense of wonder are in conflict.  When I’m most engaged with contamplating something, my sense of wonder directs and inspires my intellect.  I think in terms of possibilities.

where there is love, there is no question.

I’m not sure what you mean by that, but I might have to part ways with you on that one.  I love questions.  So, for me, where there is love, there are questions because my questioning is fueled by wonder.  Love need not be an answer.  My purpose for questioning isn’t to find conclusive answers.   Related to this viewpoint is my attitude that doubt strengthens faith, and so my faith is defined by my ability to be open to doubt.

Also, questiong for me is a simple matter of my having an insatiable curiosity.  Questioning is my normal mode of being.  My mom says I was asking philosophical questions when I was a little kid.  Plus, I have a love of learning and a strong idealization of truth.  I want to know about the world, about people, about God.  My studying is my spiritual practice.

Still, I might understand what you’re pointing at.  There are moments where my mind becomes quiet and empty, and not even wonder disturbs it. 

Nicole : wakingdreamer

5 days later

Nicole said

i can just imagine the kinds of questions you asked as a kid! 🙂

love may be an answer, it may be a question, it may be so many things… love is so complex, life and people are complex…

Amazume : Pure Light Combustion

7 days later

Amazume said

Hi Ben,

You say: ”I’m not sure what you mean by that, but I might have to part ways with you on that one.  I love questions

I do too! So no need to part ways here 😉

There are moments where my mind becomes quiet and empty, and not even wonder disturbs it.” Exactly! At moments like that one can feel completely at one with all there is. At such moments the (energy) body becomes one with the frequency of a love vibration, and it simply is so fulfilling that no question will even come up.

And yes, please do keep your sense of wonder, which often is a great portal to those moments of blissful stillness.

😉

1Vector3 : "Relentless Wisdom"

7 days later

1Vector3 said

Interesting similarities! Among my descriptions of my experience of that state, or what might be the same state, is

“There are no answers, because there are no questions.”

But for me it has the sensation of fullness, even while there is that emptiness/absence of all seeking, of all searching, of all movement toward anything, of any sense of incompleteness or unknowing.

Blessings, OM Bastet

7 days later

Centria said

OM, I just wrote a poem about qestions and answers on my blog:  http://eternalquestion.gaia.com/blog/2008/7/questions_and_answers
I LOVE that line you just wrote  “There are no answers, because there are no questions.”
Dear Ben, thank you for facilitating this rich discussion! 

I love so much how you express yourself.  🙂

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