I am Wally Nut. I used to blog some years ago and gave it up when I came to realize that I had nothing more to say. I am back to try again.
I think I am entering a secular phase.
I am a member of the Unitarian Universalist movement. In this movement there is a strong group of secular humanists who consider themselves atheists or agnostics. There is another group who see themselves as more spiritually focused, and this group includes those of the mystical bent as well as pagans, Buddhists, Christians, and representatives from all faiths. For many years this second group has been in the minority in the UU movement, but their membership has grown over the last decade or so. I have been one of this number and have at times challenged my church friends to consider some of my ideas. As such I have given sermons describing why I believe in angels, about reincarnation, about traveling to the other realms, about multi-dimensionality.
So, I have been a bit surprised at my recent attraction toward secularism. This US presidential election has shaken me up a lot. I have done some shadow work and realize that Mr. Trump can be my teacher in that he can help me to see how destructive the ego can be, and so I can be more aware of my own ego trying to take over my life. But I am still shaken.
I have come to understand that we are all complicit in what has happened, and to some extent those of us who focus on mystical things may be especially complicit. Let me explain. I will offer three critiques.
My first critique is an old critique which was illustrated very well by Debbie Ford when she published her seminal book The Dark Side of the Light Chasers: Reclaiming your power, creativity and dreams, which she published way back in 1999. She challenged light workers to resist the tendency to see the world as full of unicorns and rainbows, and emphasized the importance of each of us to do our own individual shadow work, and to collectively do the same. Her critique is just as valid today as it was 17 years ago, perhaps even more important. Mr. Trump has gathered to himself much shadow energy from his hundreds of thousands of followers who are apparently content to project their pent up hatred and fear toward anyone who is not white, toward women, toward immigrants, toward LGBTQ folk, toward liberals. Mr. Trump scoops up this shadow energy and together with his followers, sends it out with a fierceness and intensity that is frightening and dangerous. To the extent that we have not done our own shadow work, we are complicit with this process. If we ignore income disparity, if we ignore our own implicit bias, if we deny our own privileges, then we are complicit. I cringe whoever I hear a light-worker say: “I am only responsible for myself because every individual creates his or her own life,” even though on one level this statement is true, it also renders our privileges and the injustices of our cultures invisible, and makes the job of the Mr. Trumps of the world much easier.
The second critique is one I have been exploring recently and one which I have not heard or read much about. Light-workers, et al. tend to focus on intuition or “feeling into the energy” of a problem or situation. This is very useful in finding solutions or roads to travel “outside the box, ” or in the process of accessing other dimensions or connecting with non-corporeal entities or beings. The focus is on the heart rather than the mind. I have no critique of this per se. However, what often happens is that there is a naivety expressed that does not clearly differentiate between an impulse and an intuition. Such a naivety often leads to a tendency to believe things that are not tenable. For example, once when I thought I was really in tune with the universe, I walked past a stand where they were selling lottery ticket and felt drawn to it. I could see numbers in my mind and purchased a lottery ticker using those numbers. Of course, I did not win. This was not an intuition. This was an urge. The urge had nothing to do with divine energy. It had to do with greed. The greed was not in my conscious mind or heart, but was in my shadow, and I had not done the shadow work necessary to understand this. On light-worker websites you can often see photographs where the person posting it thinks there is a spirit floating in the picture when most likely it is simply a glare or reflection. Many find themselves supporting this person and coming down on anyone who would question it as being not enlightened enough to see it. These examples are probably harmless, but I provide them as simple examples of a more serous phenomenon, which i will call an anti-science mentality.
If what is true is only in the mind or heart of the individual, then we are going down a slippery slope. To use President-elect Trump’s movement as an example, he frequently denies things which are clearly true and in fact there are videos to support the opposite. However, his followers accept what he says and ignore the evidence right in front of them. So my critique is that the anti-science sentiment of the light-worker et. al. movement has contributed to the tendency to support “the story” rather than the facts. The anti-vaccine movement is perhaps a good example. Science tells us there is no link between vaccines and Autism. So light-workers “feel into the energy,” “trust their gut,” and come to believe, often vehemently, that there is of course such a connection. If someone were to argue that the science doesn’t support this view and in fact a wide acceptance of this view could do harm to children, it is easy to put that critic down as “not enlightened enough” to see the truth. Recently President-elect Trump has stated that he doesn’t read much because he prefers to trust his gut feeling.
This leads me to my third critique which is the elitism that light-workers often fall into, and which can be mirrored in the way President-elect Trump has presented himself, that is, as an elite who has had an awakening and come over to the “outsider” side and can now speak for the disenfranchised, for the forgotten. This is of course a present danger for anyone who has had some authentic spiritual experience because there is often a moment when one seems to see much more widely and clearly, and one can sometimes grasp a deeper more powerful vision of wha this world is and who we are. However, if we get stuck in this vision and forget the powerful connections we have in this material world and forget the real effects of certain practices in this material world, such as the suffering of our fellow humans and animals, then we can become very dangerous. We can focus on embracing our inner Self, taking responsibility for our own lives, emphasize how each human creates his or her own reality, and forget compassion. We can ignore the real effects of social policy, or how the economic rules favor the wealthy, and how genes and early life experiences really do make a difference in what options are available to each human. We can ignore our privilege, deny implicit bias, and fret away our lives feeling complacent in not having any shared responsibility of a world which may very well be falling apart at the seams.