Friday, March 12, 2010
The Secret and "Occult Science"
Rabbi Rami Shapiro wrote a warning about The Secret - joining a large group of people who warn about it due to the "blame the victim" mentality, which is saddeningly usual among "New Age" people. A person calling himself "Junani" responded.
I don't think Rabbi Rami did anything good by bringing in physics, magnets and Coulomb's Law. The Law of Attraction is, as Junani says - and as Rhonda Byrnes says - an "old" idea. Nevertheless, these "ancient occult laws" are not very old. Junani refers to two books, both available free on-line.
Kybalion is written 1912 and Science of Mind 1926.
The Religious Science, New Thought, Golden Dawn, Theosophy and Antroposophy, and all the other similar ideologies, movements or philosophies - what ever you wish to call them - are heavily influenced by New Age thinking and the modern New Age is heavily influenced by them. It is not a big mistake to mix the concepts, if it is a mistake at all. All of this comes from the same root - Western understanding of especially Indian philosophies through the 18th century European "esoterism". All of this was born in the 19th century and defined during the first decades of 20th century, by mostly self-taught and charismatic people like Alistair Crowley, Helena Blavatsky and Ernest Holmes. It is on this base the spiritual movements of 60's and 70's lay.
I think it's all a lot of mumbojumbo, created by people with a deep wish to find something, but no humility or patience to actually LISTEN to the "ancient wisdom". True ancient wisdom won't make you rich and famous. Most people in the Western World know what The Secret is, but rabbi Rami's book, The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness, is generally ignored. It is not "mysterious" and "occult" enough. I haven't read it but I suppose it might ask you to stop thinking about yourself and what you want, and start doing things to make this world a nicer place.
Ernest Holmes, NOT A DR, was about 40 and had "studied the main religious traditions of the West and East" by himself. Being charismatic and an excellent speaker, his thoughts and ideas SOUNDED good. It doesn't mean that they ARE good. Being only 40 and self-taught means that one probably have misunderstood most of the things through the memes and filters one collects during one's lifetime. So - I'm sorry, if you idolize Ernest Holmes, but I wouldn't use his word to prove anything.
The Law of Attraction, as presented in The Secret, works like this: you want something, you express the wish loud and clear, BELIEVE and accept it when it arrives. "Ask and you will be given". Ask and believe, nothing else. Yes, wishcraft, just as if one was using the Universe as a giant genie. Even though the people who get what they desire get it through change of attitude and hard work, this part is never mentioned in the witness accounts, or presented as secondary to the ACTUAL work of wishing and believing.
To "mentally embody" is to visualize, form an image of something in our mind, to THINK about something. Whether the wish is "trained" thought or not, it is stil a wish.
"Metaphysical" is the same as abstract or imaginary - a fantasy. Of course people who have problems with "metaphysical laws" have problems with them simply because they ARE metaphysical - pure fantasy. There are no "metaphysical laws". It's not that "they don't understand" or that "it takes years of study to understand" and other such pompous bull. It is that people waste time, effort and money in studying magickal fantasy of houlabaloubaland, getting disappointed and disillusioned and loosing their faith in real magic, becoming sad and cynical. All these metaphysical pseudosciences do is dissect fairies.
"[New Thought] is not “new” so much as “higher” thought because a definite discipline/practice is required to use it with intention – the difference between ballet and dancing once in a while for fun."
I'm sorry but saying things like this makes me want to puke. Pompous and overbearing words that mean nothing.
Rabbi Rami says "If you want love, act lovingly; if you want justice, do justly. This is the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi: be the change you want to see".
This is not the same as karma. People who are "callous, narcissistic, brutal or cruel" don't get that back from the world, because the world is being itself. Some people are nice and they are nice to all, to people who are nice and people who are not nice. Some people are gentle, some people are rude, some people are considerate, some are not. Some people are horrible to some people, but nice to some others. If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no-one. Being kind, gentle, loving and caring to everyone doesn't reward you by the world being kind, gentle, loving and caring to you. Probably a couple more people love you than someone who is unkind, rude, cruel and arrogant, but there will always be people who don't like you and who will treat you badly. If you expect everyone to be nice to you, because you have PAID for it by being nice, you will be disappointed. You are to be kind to people because you don't know their stories and everyone deserves kindness, not to earn some karma points or to be a good person.
Bad things HAPPEN to good people, because WE DO NOT EARN WHAT HAPPENS TO US. WE DO NOT ATTRACT WHAT HAPPENS. WHAT HAPPENS IS NOT CONSEQUENCES OF OUR THOUGHTS, FEARS OR SINS. It just happens. Some of it IS consequences of our ACTIONS, most of it is consequences of someone else's actions. When someone's mother rapes him when he's 6, he is not responsible of it IN ANY WAY. He didn't attract it to him, he didn't fear it into existence, he didn't seduce his mother, it wasn't a punishment of him being a pedofile in his previous life or because he stole a bubblegum from the store a week before. It happened BECAUSE HIS MOTHER DID IT. A spiritual truth must be truth in all instances. If the Law of Attraction only works for adults or learneth experts, it is not a law.
I believe "bad things happen to good people", because the "good" people are not good and the "bad" things are not bad. These kinds of value words are only in our attitude. If we think something is bad, we think it's bad. Nothing is good or bad by essence. To some people death is a relief and a blessing. To some people breaking a leg is a blessing. To some people getting sick is a relief. Some people think earthquakes and tornados that destroy the whole village is a good thing. It all depends on how one looks at the thing. Change the perspective and you change the world.
This is also why the scientists think that you affect the RESULTS of the research. You don't affect what has happened, you affect YOUR PERCEPTION of it. What has happened has happened, but you can influence your thoughts about it.
This is the "secret" in The Secret, but it really isn't presented that way. It IS presented very much the way Rabbi Rami understood it.
Junani says that he has "studied metaphysics as a Religious Scientist and before that other New Thought areas for nearly thirty years". So, he should know what The Law of Attraction is. What does he say it is?
“Ask and it shall be given;” “Knock and the door will door open;” “It is done unto you as you believe.” That’s the Law of Attraction.
Ask and it shall be given - express your wish and the genie-Universe delivers it to you.
Junani also says "And yes, we are responsible for the bad stuff in our lives". "If and when I realize that I am causing the bad stuff to come/happen to me, then maybe I can change and make good stuff come/happen to me." The problem with this is that WE CAN NOT AFFECT OTHER PEOPLE NOR THE NATURE. We cannot stop people from raping us, robbing us, abusing us by believing that we deserve to be in peace. We cannot stop earthquakes, tornadoes or viruses by believing we deserve something better. The only thing "realizing I have caused the bad stuff to come to me" will result is guilt, shame, helplessness and bad conscience. To be able to move away from a high crime area, earthquake area or storm area, I have to accept that there are areas like that where crime, earthquakes and storms are more common than in other areas. It's better that I wash my hands more often, than that I believe I'll be healthy.
The fact that prayer, hope and positive thinking has a positive effect in health, to the extend that it sometimes makes the difference between death and life, or recovery and permanent disability, is something totally different than the idea of that you can heal yourself with your thoughts or that we are responsible for being sick.
Caring about your health, actively working to keep your health, isn't the same as attracting health. People who read "Spirituality and Health" are not all in perfect health. Some people who claim to be healthy are not. There is a story of an old farmer who claimed all his life that he hadn't ever been sick. The autopsy revealed that he had had several heart attacks and strokes and other less serious health problems. If I remember correctly, he had broken ribs too. Sure, you can ignore and you can believe you are ok, and if you really, truly believe, your death will be a surprise even to you. It might have been better to go to the doctor and find out you have cancer before it kills you. It might have been better to let your family know that you have a terminal illness so they can prepare and say good bye. It might also be easier to accept that you are sick if you don't blame yourself of it.
Dr. Francis Collins said that human behavior isn't hard-wired in our genome, but is due to the "memes". He didn't say nor mean that we "affect our genetic make-up by our attitudes, beliefs and environment"!
In what way was Jesus or Mohammed "great spiritual master"? Mohammed had sex with his 9 years old wife and that you call "serving by example"? Jesus had a temper tantrum in the temple and then cursed a fig tree because it didn't have any fruits out of season... Really great examples. "A few months after the farewell pilgrimage, Muhammad fell ill and suffered for several days with head pain and weakness, then he died". So - we can heal ourselves as Muhammed... Sure, Junani.
Yes, this is woo-woo and most people will go away and do something sensible with their lives, but others will come to The Esoteric and Occult Secrets, believing to be just the "mentally disciplined" and "informed" superhumans to whom everything is possible, and to whom, even after 30 years of study, rockhard belief and all the promises from the snake-oil seller, "bad things" will happen.
"As you say, there is no way to simply wish for what we want, so if The Secret gives people hope or new direction, what’s the harm?"
Ok, read Rabbi Rami's post again. Might be that it works miracles in the lifes of people who are "mentally disciplined" and "informed" superhumans, but 99% of the humanity are just normal human beings who work exactly the way Rabbi Rami explains. For these people the hope is false and the new direction leads straight to perdition. As Rabbi Rami said, The Secret does not give people hope or new direction, but greed, egocentrism, false understanding of how the world works, indifference, lack of compassion and bad self esteem. Both the book and the movie talk a lot about all the things one can get, houses, cars, money, love, health, eternal life and perfect body. If you don't you do it wrong. It's your fault that your life isn't perfect and filled with all material good you can imagine. You don't believe enough, you don't do it right, you are sabotaging your own success by attracting bad things into your life with your subconscious fears.