Always Look For The Good
“Love and compassion don’t at all have to make us weak, or lead us to losing discernment and vision. We just have to learn how to find them. And see, in truth, what they bring us.” – Sharon Salzberg
This post is more in the category of hmmm, that’s something to think about! I recently attended Lissa Rankin’s online webinar entitled the Shadow of Spirituality Uncensored. The webinar was 2 hours plus a 1 hour Q & A session which gave me something to think about.
If you follow Lissa’s blogs as I do, you know her as a medical doctor who is on a mission to transform the medical system into becoming more compassionate and holistically focused in the care of themselves and of their patients.
Lissa’s journey has led her away from her private practice as a medical doctor into the exploration of alternative medicine and of deepening her spirituality. She has written several books, including Mind Over Medicine and is in the process of researching for another one on ancient to modern day self-healing modalities.
This session Lissa offered was more of an inquiry and exploration of New Age spiritual teachings then it was a definitive answer to any of the questions she presented. We (the attendees) were asked to acknowledge the teachings as powerful, yet hold the paradox and consider that they may also potentially be harmful.
Her other concern was how seductive it can be for spiritual aspirants to get caught up following messengers, teachers, gurus who are not in integrity and congruent with the message that they teach. Unless you attended the session you will be without the benefit of the energetic kind, compassionate, and nonjudgmental context in which this inquiry was offered. I confess the New Age statements that were presented gave me pause for thought, and I hope they will for you also.
I confess, from time to time I question whether I am practicing the teachings that I have experienced as transformative in a balanced and holistic way. I have also allowed myself to feel disappointed, discouraged and depressed when discovering someone who languages New Thought teachings, yet doesn’t walk the talk.
Can You Hold The Paradox?
Aha! This is a great segue as you will note below, the New Thought teaching number 5 says, “Everything you judge in someone else is a projection of something within you.” The question in the context of this online session becomes, is that true? Hmmm, something to think about, isn’t it?
As is my tendency to do, I did reflect upon the statements. And I have experienced that statement as powerful in that it is part of my belief system. It supports me in doing the inner work of uncovering and hopefully healing and releasing areas where I might not be walking my talk as purely as I think. Nevertheless, is that teaching always true and does it have the potential to blind me to the power of discernment? Again, no definitive answer, only the invitation to hold the paradox.
During the Q & A session, many of the callers expressed deep appreciation to Lissa for providing this venue where these kinds of concerns could be shared. In an attempt to give you a bit of the flavor of some of the expressed concerns, without going into specifics, here are paraphrased excerpts of comments from different callers:
- Because of New Age, Law of Attraction and the Bible teachings, although there was much this person said they learned about their self, this person stayed in an abusive relationship too long trying to get it right.
- Someone else expressed having a secretive relationship with a prominent spiritual teacher and was having concerns about whether to expose this teacher or keep silent as the behavior continues with others.
- Another caller questioned concern about the practice of delving into spiritual realms without having sacred boundaries or discernment regarding the purity of the realm or the practitioner.
Is It True??
As you might imagine this session gave me pause for thought, mainly about myself and where my boundaries and discernment can benefit from some fine tuning and I hope the 12 statements listed below will give you the opportunity for reflection also.
Whether you recognize all of the teachings as part of your belief system or none of them, I’m inviting you to reflect and respond to any of the statements you see as powerful and transformative or/and as potentially harmful.
If you are willing to respond to the statements, indicate the number of the statement with the letter of your chosen response.
For example 1a. Yes, it is powerful. 1b. Yes, It is harmful. 1c. It’s a paradox, both powerful and potentially harmful.
And If you are willing to add a comment, that would be most useful, but not required. I will post a summary of the statement number, letter/s to which you responded.
12 New Age Statements
1.You will never hurt if you practice the power of now.
2. Pain is inevitable suffering is optional.
3. All pain is caused by thoughts that aren’t true.
4. Everything you desire is within your reach via the Law Of Attraction.
5. “Everything you judge in someone else is a projection of something within you.”
6. Forgive and forget.
7. Turn the other cheek.
8. The ego is something to get rid of.
9. Surrender to your teacher.
10. You have to sacrifice to be spiritual.
11. To be open is better than to be closed.
12. If you are enlightened you’ll never be triggered.
A Discernment Tool
The key words of notice, recognize and release that Amy Van Linge, President of Brentwood Unity Board offer as an abbreviated method to be in an awareness that serves your higher self, I think can also be a great discernment tool. So here is a paraphrase of Amy’s words with some attitudes from Lissa’s presentation and other quotes:
Notice – gratitude, sincerity, awareness, attention, passion, contentment
“We need discernment in what we see and what we hear and what we believe.” — Charles R. Swindoll
Recognize – deepen awareness of thoughts/feelings, compassionately name them and where they are coming from, vulnerability and openness,
“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” —1 Corinthians 2:14
Release – make a decision, patience, sense of humor, oneness, touch and serve others
“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” — 1 Sam. 16:7.
Join me in reminding ourselves that we are led, guided and inspired by the living Spirit of Love, Truth and right action.
I love hearing from you. Please comment in the comment box below.
As we know, we are what we think all day long. Let’s align ourselves with the Infinite Source of Life and let Life flow through us as right action and true expression.
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LOL = Lots Of Love