Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Age Guano

Because there's a lot of it floating around out there. I'm not saying the people pushing it aren't (mostly) well-meaning. But no matter how well-meaning a person is, if they're feeding you poo pie, it doesn't do you a lot of good to eat it. Just say "no thanks."

First, vibrations. While it may be true that essentially, all matter is vibration, it's a pretty big leap to say that your emotions are also vibration and therefore, can directly affect matter. It's a pretty idea (pretty silly) that you can vibrate a red Mercedes or a villa in Spain, and people rarely do when they approach it that way.

So, does that mean choosing to feel happy won't make your life better? I'm not saying that. It definitely will. After all, what are you trying to do with all this manifesting in the first place? I'm assuming you want to manifest stuff and experiences that will make you happy. Paradoxically, feeling happy first is the quickest way to make those manifestations happen. But it doesn't have anything to do with vibrations, in the technical physics sense.

If the idea of vibrations is a helpful metaphor for you - if it gets you in the mood of being "a person who has (x)" - then, cool. Use it. But be aware it's a metaphor. Don't think you're using science.

Because manifesting isn't a science, at least not yet. It's an art, and a subjective one (which is what makes it so tricky to explain.)

Second - speaking of science - manifesting also has nothing to do with quantum physics.

I know that many, if not most, of the current crop of manifesting gurus will start out with a quick intro to some of the weirder implications of quantum physics (and it's cool stuff.) But except for Fred Alan Wolf, these folks are not physicists (and neither am I.)

This might be useful as a brain stretcher, but it's not really teaching you quantum physics. Most of the weirdest quantum effects are only operative at the micro level, not at the macro level - in other words, these are things that can be experimentally verified under tightly controlled conditions at the level of infinitesimally-tiny-stuff, but nothing you'll be able to experience or use in a practical way in the Real World.

The best helpful metaphor you can get out of this is the concept of multiple universes, but you don't even need that to successfully manifest your life on purpose.

Third - let's dispense with New Age Fascism. This includes the concept of tithing, the idea that you can't use your manifesting powers for personal gain, and the idea that it's better to be Of Service To Others rather than to do or create what you want.

You can manifest anything and any life you want, as long as it is "you." Manifesting is all about stretching your identity to encompass the you that has whatever it is you want. That's it. If you really want to be a super successful serial killer, there is nothing stopping you from manifesting that outcome. I wouldn't recommend it - there are way more fun uses of manifesting - but there's no law stopping you (besides the usual human ones.)

As for Being Of Service, you'll notice that people who tell you you have to do this usually have a pretty good idea of what you should do with your life, and use persuasion and guilt to get you to do what they think is right.

But imagine if well-meaning folks had persuaded Mozart, or Georgia O'Keefe, or Michael Jordan, that their lives would be better spent changing bedpans for lepers (or some other self-sacrificing bull.) Would we have a richer or poorer world, on balance?

If you're really drawn to change bedpans for lepers, of course, go do it. But do it because it's what you're drawn to do in the world, not because someone else guilts you into it.

(And if you are objecting that my example people are all extraordinary - you're not? Who says?)

Now, for tithing - the most insidious of all the New Age rackets. Tithing "works" because it allows you to become a generous person (OK, it forces you to) and that might kickstart you into an identity of abundance. But it might not - you might just resent it, and that won't help at all.

The insidious part is what usually goes along with the instructions to tithe. First of all, you're given many examples of people who tithed and then suddenly became magically way better off.

Then, like those old chain letters, you get hit with the fear factor - stories of people who stopped tithing, or forgot to tithe, or just decided they didn't need to do it anymore. And then Bad Things Happened To Them. It's usually a long scary litany that starts with bankruptcy and illness and only goes downhill from there.

So what do New Age gurus get out of scaring the pants (and wallets) off their students?

Well, it could be just ordinary sadism. It's usually a little more self serving, though, since eventually the instructions will hem and haw their way to a discussion of who, exactly, you should tithe to.

They will say, sure, tithe to your church, or your favorite charity, if you must, but *ahem* the people who get the most success out of tithing are the ones who tithe to those spiritual teachers who have taught them the most. Like, how to tithe.


OK, remember what I said about personal gain being OK and all? I'm making an exception for this sort of spiritual blackmail. Please do not use your powers of manifestation to scare money out of other people. It just plain isn't nice.

So if you're not vibrating, tithing, Service-ing, or non-local-Schroedinger's Catting your way to manifestation, how do you do it?

It's simple, but it's not necessarily easy. You have to become the person who has what you want. In other words, you "only" have to change your identity. You have to stop being who you are, and become who you want to be.

If all you needed was a word to the wise, then, there, that was it. You're all set.

If you're more like me, though, there's more to the journey. And that's what this site is all about.

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