New Age: Part 3

New Age: Part 3

Posted on Jul 24th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade

Unity and New Thought denies evil any reality because God is all and all is in God.  There is no Satan and what appears as darkness is nothing more than a lack of light.  Just a false belief and a misperception.  As for sin (original or otherwise), evil, satan, and hell… its all the same in New Thought theology.  Good vs evil isn’t a dichontomy that is used in New Thought.  For instance, A Course In Miracles uses the terms of love and fear: “The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.”  There really isn’t any more that can be said of it from a New Thought perspective. 
 
I was raised with no concept of evil and so I never thought about it growing up.  Even though I now understand it in the abstract, it doesn’t have much meaning to me.  As my grandmother (who was a Unity minister, a Science of Mind practitioner, and a student of the ACIM) used to say, “Everyone is doing the best that they can for where they’re at.”
 
In New Thought, God has no gender because God isn’t an anthropomorphic deity.  Rather, God is a spiritual principle something akin to monism or panentheism.  New Thought is the natural result of the evolution of the Judeo-Christian tradition taken to its extreme.  The Catholic God is more abstract than the Jewish God.  The Protestant God is more abstract than the Catholic God.  The New Thought God is more abstract than the Protestant God.  As rationality increased with socio-histoical development, God became ever more rationalized.
 
Unity uses the term “God” to refer to the divine, but the use of the term “Goddess” in reference to the divine is extremely common in New Age.  Even in Unity, nobody would care if you felt like referring to the divine as Goddess. 
 
Goddess combines the whole feel of embodied spirituality that is in line with the New Age’s desire to bridge spirituality and science.  The Gaia hypothesis is a case in point.  It was originated by a scientist, but was quickly spiritualized and has become one of the main tenets of New Age.  Nature and environmentalism are very important in the New Age. 
 
Plus, Goddess fits in with the whole female empowerment.  New Age groups have a high percentage of female membership and women often have leadership positions.  If I remember correctly, all of the ministers of Unity churches that I’ve belonged to have been women.  A major influence of the Goddess strain within New Age goes back to Gimbutas’ theory of ancient peaceful matriarchies.  Also, the rise of virgin mary worship has contributed to this.  New Age is the common person’s spirituality and virgin mary worship has a similar position within Catholicism.  There are many theories why the feminine principle is becoming more central.  I simply see it as the return of the repressed.
 
So, what is a Unity service like?  There is nothing particularly special about a Unity service.  Its very simple and bare bones.  Unity isn’t big into symbolism and ritual.
 
There is singing non-traditonal songs such as “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”  Come to think of it, God was referred to as Father in this song.  I just looked it up and I see that some versions have of course changed “Father” to “Creator”.  During the singing of this song, I remember that everyone held hands in a circle that connected the whole congregation together and everyone would sway back and forth.
 
Unity people are a smily and friendly group for the most part, but I have been to a Unity church nearby where the people weren’t as open as the Unity churches I grew up in.  One thing I remember is that people liked to hug and there was a specific point in the service that was for this purpose.  However, someone told me that Unity churches were much more huggy in the past than they are now.   I don’t know what would cause such a change.
 
Of course, there is a sermon.  But its quite different from most Christian sermons.  God is talked about in a less direct way.  There is much more neutral language.  Bible stories aren’t usually told.  Nonetheless, the whole service has a general Christian feel to it.

This blog is posted in the God Pod.

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about 4 hours later

Enlightened.thinker said

I love that Bible stories aren’t taught because ones interpretation of the story is sometimes askew in traditional churches and subjective!

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 16 hours later

Marmalade said

I think the reason for this is that Unity strongly emphasizes developing your own personal relationship to Jesus/God.  A text tends to act as an external authority, but Unity teaches that the authority of God exists within our experience (and within the larger world).  A related thing might be how Unity bookstores stopped carrying the ACIM text because it was becoming too popular amongst Unity membership.  I’ve heard it explained that they didn’t want the ACIM text to become the Bible of Unity.  However, maybe they don’t want any text to become the Bible of Unity… not even the Bible itself.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 18 hours later

Nicole said

fascinating…

sandy : Activist and Ambassador

21 days later

sandy said

sending you lots of hugs!~

Marmalade : Gaia Child

22 days later

Marmalade said

Thanks for the hugs!  Hugs to you as well!

The Adventures of Mark Twain

The Adventures of Mark Twain

Posted on May 12th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade

From Wikipedia:

The Adventures of Mark Twain, released in the UK as Comet Quest, is a 1985 stop motion animated film directed by Will Vinton (best known for “The California Raisins” animation). After many years in television syndication, it was released on DVD in January 2006. The film features a series of vignettes extracted from several of Mark Twain‘s works, built around a plot that features Twain’s attempts to keep his “appointment” with Halley’s Comet. The concept was inspired by a famous quote by the author:

“I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year (1910), and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'”

Included are sketches taken from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Mysterious Stranger, The Damned Human Race, Injun Joe (briefly), The Diary of Adam and Eve (Letters from the Earth), Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven and a rendering of Twain’s first story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

A scene from the movie is often posted on the internet, sometimes without attribution as to where it came from. The scene is present on the DVD release, and shows the children meeting Satan[1] (taken from The Mysterious Stranger)

From Wikipedia:

Twain actually wrote multiple versions of this story, each unfinished and each involving the character of Satan. The first substantial version is commonly referred to as The Chronicle of Young Satan and tells of the adventures of Satan, the sinless nephew of the more familiar Satan, in an Austrian village in the Middle Ages. The story ends abruptly in the middle of a scene involving Satan entertaining a prince in India, suggesting Twain abandoned this piece before he finished writing it.
The second substantial version Twain attempted to write is known as Schoolhouse Hill which involves the familiar characters of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer and their adventures with Satan, referred to in this version as “No. 44, New Series 864962”, and is set in America. Schoolhouse Hill is the shortest of the three versions.
The third version, called No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger, returns to Medieval Austria and tells of No. 44’s mysterious appearance at the door of a print shop and his use of heavenly powers to expose the futility of mankind’s existence. This version also introduces an idea Twain was toying with at the end of his life involving a duality of the “self”, one being the “Waking Self” and the other being the “Dream Self”. Twain explores these ideas through the use of “Duplicates”, copies of the print shop workers made by No. 44. This version contains an actual ending, however the version is not considered as complete as Twain would have intended.

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Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

fascinating! how did i miss this? anyway, better late than never.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

1 day later

Marmalade said

I discovered The Mysterious Stranger video on youtube a year or two ago.  Recently discovering the Elephant’s Dream video reminded me of it again.  I just ordered The Adventures of Mark Twain from Amazon.  I’ve never watched all of it before and so I’m excited to receive it.

This a side of Mark Twain that is less well known.  I’ve never read the stories that these videos are based on, but its piqued my curiosity.  I suppose I’ll add it to my never-ending reading list.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

oooh… tell me more, please! I have always enjoyed Mark Twain, especially his works a bit more off the beaten path.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

2 days later

Marmalade said

Maybe its you who needs to tell me more.  I’m not overly familiar with Mark Twain.  All I meant by my comment was that works such as The Mysterious Stranger aren’t normally required reading for English literature classes.  Sorry to disappoint.  I’ll try not to let you down ever again.  🙂

Nicole : wakingdreamer

3 days later

Nicole said

you never let me down, dearest Ben 🙂

… i guess i am going to have to dig deeper into this mysterious stranger work myself … when i have time 🙂

debyemm : Tree Hugging Dirt Worshiper

4 days later

debyemm said

I found this blog fascinating, especially the piece about Mark Twain and Satan.  A bit chilling when you consider the cyclone in Burma and the earthquake in China.  Particularly interesting was the mutating mask of Satan and some of the concepts, including those you shared from Wikipedia about this work and Twain’s interest in it.
I kept thinking of the psychic entity of the Pain Body that Eckhart Tolle speaks of and how cunning but also the thought that All that there Is, is All that there Is, and this is somehow part of that.  And the impermanance of form and it’s return to the formless.  It seems like it’s all there in this short little clip.
Deborah

Marmalade : Gaia Child

4 days later

Marmalade said

Deborah,

It is chilling.  There is something compelling about this vision of the Demiurge

I found it interesting what Wikipedia said about the “Dreaming Self,” the “Waking Self” and “Duplicates.”  I’m curious as how those ideas fit into the narrative, but I couldn’t find any more info about it on the web.  I guess I might have to read the story for myself.

I’m not familiar with Eckhart’s use of the term ‘Pain Body’.  Would you mind sharing?

I came across a book that looks interesting:
The Bible According to Mark Twain
by Joseph B. Mccullough

Here is a good overview article:
Mark Twain & the Significance of the Number 44:
A Review of the Scholars’ Theories

by schmidt@tarleton.edu“>Barbara Schmidt

Another good article from the Atlantic Monthly that gives some context:
Mark Twain, or the Ambiguities

A site that has the N.C. Wyeth pictures that went with the original installments of The Mysterious Stranger:
100 Years of Illustration and Design
by Paul Giambarba

debyemm : Tree Hugging Dirt Worshiper

5 days later

debyemm said

Yes, I have not been able to quit thinking about this Mark Twain & Satan post of yours.  I think I’m going to write something more in the Living Metaphysics group and link to your blog here.  I’ll let you know.  After I posted the comment, I went to Amazon and bought the claymation video, the snippet you posted is from that one.  The comments and reviews were quite positive.  Yes, I think I want to read too but I had the feeling these were unfinished?  Thanks for all the additional links.

Most people probably think of Twain (who is from the state of Missouri that I now live in.  We pass through Hannibal often when headed to tractor shows in Iowa) as a children’s writer but this shows a much deeper, contemplative side of him.  Yes, I am definitely going to delve into it a bit.

As to Eckhart’s Pain Body, yes, I’ll watch your video again and try to bring the concept in that way.  It was something about Satan, his cunning and changing methods of tormenting and causing suffering.  We are studying Tolle’s A New Earth in the Living Metaphysics group and I have written some of my perspectives in Chapter 5 – Class 5 which talks about the Pain Body.  None of the A New Earth discussion board is anywhere near complete at this point.

I am glad I stumbled on this blog of yours last night.

Deborah 

Nicole : wakingdreamer

5 days later

Nicole said

Ben, here is an overview of the pain body concept by Tolle:

http://www.detoxifynow.com/et_pain_body.html

This accumulated pain is a negative energy field that occupies your body and mind. If you look on it as an invisible entity in its own right, you are getting qute close to the truth. It’s the emotional pain body. It has two modes of being: dormant and active….

….The pain body wants to survive, just like every other entity in existance, and it can only survive if it gets you to unconsciously identify with it. It can then rise up, take you over, “become you,” and live through you. It needs to get its “food” through you. It will feed on any experience that resonates with its own kind of energy, anything that creates further pain in whatever form: anger, destructiveness, hatred, grief, emotional drama, violence, and even illness.

So the pain body, when it has taken you over, will create a situation in your life that refects back its own energy frequency for it to feed on. Pain can only feed on pain. Pain cannot feed on joy. It finds it quite indigestible.

Once the pain body has taken you over, you want more pain. You become a victim or a perpetrator. You want to inflict pain, or you want to suffer pain, or both. There isen’t really much difference between the two. You are not conscious of this, of course, and will vehemently claim that you do not want pain. But look closely and you will that your thinking and behavior are designed to keep the pain going, for yourself and others.

If you were truly conscious of it, the pattern would disolve, for to want more pain is insanity, and nobody is consciously insane.

The pain body, which is the dark shadow cast by the ego, is actually afraid of the light of your consciousness. It is afraid of being found out. Its survival depends on your unconscious identification with it, as well as on your unconscious fear of facing the the pain that lives in you. But if you don’t face it, if you don’t bring the light of your consciousness into the pain, you will be forced to relive it again and again. The pain body may seem to you like a dangerous monster that you cannot bear to look at, but I assure you that it is an insubstantial phantom that cannot pervail against the power of your presence.

…..So the pain body doesen’t want you to observe it directly and see it for what it is. The moment you observe, feel its energy field within you, and take your attention into it, the identification is broken. A higher dimension of cosciousness has come in. I call it presence.

You are now the witness or the watcher of the pain body. This means that it cannot use you anymore by pretending to be you, and it can no longer replenish itself through you. You have found your own inner strength. You have accessed the power of Now.

Unconsciousness creates it; consciousness transmutes it into itself…..

…. The pain body consists of trapped life-energy that has split off from your total energy field and has temporarily become autonomous through the unnatural process of mind identification. It has turned in on itself and become anti-life, like an animal trying to devour its own tail. Why do you think our civilisation has become so life-destructive?

But even the life-destructive forces are still life-energy.

…..Let me summarize the process. Focus attention on the feeling inside you. Know that it is the pain body. Accept that it is there. Don’t think about it – don’t let the feeling turn into thinking. Don’t judge or analyze. Don’t make an identity for yourself out of it. Stay present, and continue to be the observer of what is happening insde you. become aware not only of the emotional pain but also of “the one who observes,” the silent watcher.

This is the power of the Now, the power of your own conscious presence. Then see what happens.

…..For many women, the pain body awakens particularly at the time preceding the menstrual flow….If you are able to stay alert and present at that time and watch whatever you feel within, rather then be taken over by it, it affords an opportunity for the most powerful spiritual practice, and a rapid transmutation of all past pain becomes possible.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

6 days later

Marmalade said

The Pain Body reminds me of the shamanistic notion of soul loss and retrieval.  It also reminds me of Reich’s view of body armor.

debyemm : Tree Hugging Dirt Worshiper

6 days later

debyemm said

Ben,

Just to let you know that I linked to this blog in the Living Metaphysics group here – http://pods.gaia.com/living_metaphysics/discussions/view/288274.  I thank you for bringing this to my attention through your personal blog.  This is one of the more unique discussions I have run across in some time.  I will never think of Mark Twain quite the same, thanks to your work here. 

Now, I have much to read, watch, ponder and digest.  Here is a good link http://www.geocities.com/hal9000report/hal96.html that includes a couple of chapters from The Chronicles of Young Satan, edited and published by others after Mark Twain’s death.  I think the last 2 paragraphs form an amazingly accurate description of how we ended up in Iraq.

I see Nicole posted quite a bit about the Pain Body.  I think this is one of the more original concepts to come out of Eckhart Tolle’s own contemplations (it really has the potential to change human interactions for those who become acutely aware when it arises) and one that many people who begin to read him seem to resonate readily with.  Thanks again !

Deborah

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

6 days later

Marmalade said

Thanks for linking my blog.  I joined your pod.  It looks like it could be interesting, but I don’t know how much I’ll post cuz I have my plate pretty full already.

And thanks for linking to that page of Twain’s writing.  I agree that those last 2 paragraphs are ever so relevant.  War(and what leads us to it) is one of those things that doesn’t change much with time.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

7 days later

Nicole said

yes, deborah, it is a significant concept – it helps me understand my life better, i need to work through more implications

sadly, Ben, war doesn’t change much… but we must do what we can

Marmalade : Gaia Child

8 days later

Marmalade said

I just finished watching the movie.  I highly recommend it.  The larger narrative of Mark Twain and Halley’s comet somewhat brought together the vignettes.  I liked the way the movie showed the different sides of Twain.  I think to get more out of it I’d have to read some of the stories its based on