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Monday, April 6, 2015

A BACKWARD GLANCE AT THE NEW AGE



Saw a picture of a chalkboard sign a little bit ago on facebook that said, "When life gives you lemons, ask for tequila and salt." Had to save it. I've seen a mess of kinda humorous sayings about lemons, like make lemonade, according to authors of laugh-all-the-way-to-the-bank books toward becoming a better person. This is head out of the clouds, feet on the ground. I don't mean to throw off on that period, the Seventies, Eighties, into the Nineties, now pop culture history, it helped a lot of people, self included. I say it's gone, but only in that it is no longer new. Even Sparta has yoga classes now. Sparta has coffee shops where political correctness is the rule. It seems like self-awareness opened up in that time of a popular interest in such things as astrology, the I Ching, even reading. The time saw emergence of some everyday life applications of knowledge from a century of focusing the scientific method on the mind. Lamas were writing books revealing theretofore hidden Tibetan wisdom. Joseph Campbell, reserved reading for graduate students, became popular reading as the grand old man of the wisdom of our origins. The time of Women Who Run With The Wolves. Noam Chomsky now appears to be Campbell's replacement as wise old man of our culture teaching us about plutocracy. Much that was learned then was incorporated into the lives of so many people, so individually, impossible to know how many, I believe many of our lives improved as a result of what we learned from reading, workshops, New Dimensions weekly radio interview show. Largely middle-class people tapped into the wave, then Oprah introduced self-help, self-awareness, to working class women. the mothers of the next generation. 



Though this period of time seems far away now, I did much inner work in that time, all of it on my own, reading what drew my attention. I didn't go for the unicorns and rainbows or the believe your way to wealth formulas, like Shakti Gawain's meditate your way to wealth plans or Marsha Sinetar's do what you love the money will follow. Exceptions came up in the interview and I loved Sinetar's reply, "I didn't say how much." I heard some brilliant minds on New Dimensions and some wise ones. The truly wise ones didn't have much to say. They don't chatter. They have no cocktail party experience. They don't care about dead air time. They don't think of the interview calling attention to themselves, requiring performance. The only thing about the interview for them was exhaustion from being required to talk so much. They don't write in journals, Interviewed by New Dimensions today. Most of the ones interviewed were advertising themselves, selling their books on the book-signing circuit. A time came when that's all it was, people writing books and leading workshops, telling a roomful of people what's wrong with them. In the early years, they had some fascinating people interviewed. Eventually it was like the people interviewed were lobbied by publishers. Like the hippie time, the self-awareness time came and went. Didn't last a long time, but brought with it some essential changes in our culture. I can see it a version of a shamanic ritual. Perform what you want to see out in the world, a small number of people get together of like mind and perform the change they want to see. Their action reverberates to a larger circle and to another, on and on. It's like a spiritual wave passed through us collectively, each of us receiving what we were ready for from the wave.



One of my more important learnings incorporated from the time was readiness, when an issue surfaces, to deal with it. Deal with it and let it go. I felt like that time introduced values into a society whose values were of another time and did not hold anymore, no longer practical. The American emphasis on money, from the founding moment onward, has inspired a whole population to give up the old values that went counter to self-advertising, making a good first impression, for more money. In the old ways, humility was an important value. After two-thirds of a century of television in service to Mammon, arrogance has become the preferred attitude. It is the time when the light of the spirit wanes to near nothing. And what follows the waning of the moon is the waxing of the moon, a cycle. I see the popular wave with us now of wanting to be a better person an outer ring from the initial splash that was the New Age. Before 1970, self-help books were rare, spiritual books were rare, psychology books concerning everyday life were rare. Spiritual teachings from the East appeared, one after the other. In a way, it was a quiet reformation beginning in the middle class, and passed to the working class of mostly non-readers where the two classes intersected, Oprah. Self-awareness came to many from the wave manifesting in the Narcissism of the time. A magazine called Self. Body awareness took a leap with gyms everywhere and advertising specific to hyper-exercise. The egoic "philosophy" of Ayn Rand was educating Wall Street and the politicians to practice me first and everybody else last. Self-awareness came in all levels of getting it, from the spirit to the body. Individuals received from it what resonated with them. My own spiritual awareness came forward in 1975. My interest in the time was matters of the spirit and the mind.        



In that time my spirit began its journey to self-realization, which sounds like egoism, but is the contrary. Self-realization only comes after ego goes away. Remember, the kingdom of heaven is within? It doesn't mean beyond the clouds in outer space. It means within, one's own interior true self, the observer of our thoughts and dreams, consciousness. Learning about the application of karma to everyday life made a difference in my attitude toward life. Somebody pulls some shit on me, I want to get them back, and really mean it, unto wishing I could plot murder, I've learned to let it go. A karmic return will settle the matter perfectly. Plan revenge from my mind, it will either be too little or too much. Let karma, you get what you give, the natural law, handle the situation. From the moment I turn it over to karma, I'm at peace, no more thought necessary on the matter. I laugh about it. I don't need to know what the return might be. I already know it will be perfect to the occasion. Somebody I know who knows him asked me what I'm going to do about it. I said, Nothing. Why? It will take care of itself. He just opened the door and invited somebody to do the same to him one surprise day down the road. Friend was puzzled at the moment, but got it. I've seen him, since, wax furious with somebody unto wanting revenge, then calm right down, saying, "It'll turn around and bite him in the ass," and let it go. It's important to treat others as we want to be treated. It's how we will be treated in turn. I'm aware that when I talk about somebody in a gossipy way, I've made it compulsory for that individual to talk about me the same way, to the good or the bad. This awareness of karma, another learning from the wave of the New Age, has brought peace into my mind, made my later years much more interesting with a clarity of mind I never dared hope would unfold.




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