Sunday, 16 December 2012


Marius and Martin - photo copyright by Vivi-Mari Carpelan 2011
So now onto something more positive! I've been thinking to share something personal that really isn't that personal by the end of the day. It's one of those things that I feel a bit embarrassed about, because I don't always feel so "spiritually adequate". Yet sometimes I realize there are things of a spiritual nature I take for granted that aren't that obvious to other people.

Healing. You may think of reiki, Rosen therapy, close or distant hands-on-healing, channelling... well, you name it. It comes in many forms, I hear. Some people have developed their own method, sometimes intuitively, as seems right to them. To me it's something extremely simple and not something I've been taught. It all started when I was practising intuitive massage in the late 90s. I wasn't feeling omnipotent and able to create miracles, though I knew I was a good masseuse. I decided that whatever energy wanted to come through me for the benefit of the client was welcome to come, and I would simply be the best conduit I can be in this body and in this life time (even if not the best, after all my own health wasn't great). It was more a matter of allowing something of a universal nature to pass through rather than trying to control anything. I might have said something like "please let me be a conduit" in my head - it doesn't really matter what I said, what mattered was that I had a belief that it could happen.

I do think the nature of our beliefs is what determines what becomes possible in our lives, though there are many things at play and there are many things we cannot change no matter how much we'd like to. For instance, I do not believe that we can heal issues in another person that are determined by karma. Mental and emotional issues are usually ones people have to sort out themselves. A healer might be able to facilitate the process but to create instant miracles where processes over time may be required isn't possible. 

When I met my partner, he had bad cases of tachycardia, and that's where I started to try and give another person healing in a context that wasn't therapeutic. I would place my hand on him (I don't think it matters where you put your hand as the energy will surely reach its destination regardless, but you might as well put it where the problem lies). Then I would "will it". By that I mean, I would ask to be a conduit for the energy (chi, or life force) that my partner needs, and I would then concentrate on this. I've done this quite a few times now, and there's usually a sense of  mild "chock" in my own body. I don't feel hot hands or anything like that. It's interesting, that this sensation varies a bit depending on what the ailment is, so sometimes it's quick and not so strong, while other times it's much more electric and lingers on much longer. He usually feels something too, and often times he has felt better afterwards. This has encouraged me to believe that it's actually working. He has also done this on me a few times, and once I had a very interesting energetic experience, and another time the sciatic pain disappeared (much to my surprise, as it tends to be quite chronic once it's started). He doesn't seem to experience the process the same way I do, though.

The kind of ailments that I feel I can affect are ones I call "nuisances". They are temporary physical symptoms that don't have any particular raison d'etre except to cause suffering and sometimes more issues as a consequence. It can be tachycardia, or toothache, or restless legs, or issues that come with old age - things that we take pills for if there is a suitable pill. This kind of healing is in other words "a virtual pill", but it also makes me feel good, as if I've meditated - in fact, it feels like love has visited. So, I would encourage everybody to believe they can be a conduit... I have no way of knowing whether everyone can be one, but I don't see a reason why not as long as people stay real and don't nourish extreme attitudes such as "I'm chosen by God to be a conduit" or "I'm a loser who can't possibly make a difference".

Humans have a tendency to want someone else or something outside of them to save them. It's not hard to understand, given that life isn't easy and profound insights don't come easily either. I think others can be facilitators, but ultimately the only one who can solve your problems is yourself. It's important to develop discernment and realize when it's okay to rely on someone else's help, and when it's a case of escapism from a deep personal dilemma. There are sometimes karmic connections that mean that someone could have a deep influence in another person's life. But to think that one day we'll be "fixed" or "saved" through the intervention of an external force is like believing in the apocalypse... I wouldn't recommend relishing such thoughts but rather focus on one's own inner work at all times. Everything boils down to how we handle our own existence.

I also don't know if there is a way of affecting someone's mental issues, for instance if they are in the manic phase of a bipolar disorder. I think it's possible, because one might be able to calm down the system to create more balance in that instance, a bit like acupuncture or qi gong  It would be a fallacy to think that one could cure a mental illness and chronic conditions from their root though, as that would probably be messing about with someone's destiny and karmic issues in an ontological sort of way. There is certainly no harm in trying but I doubt that one can make the kind of difference that only introspection and self-development can do. And of course, sometimes that doesn't help, only acceptance that things are the way they are.

Saturday, 15 December 2012


The chakra system - not my own artwork

I know I probably shouldn't wind myself up over all those people out there who are trying to sell spirituality. But I get curious about some of them, maybe due to my education as a scholar (spotting religions in the most unlikely places was one of the things we were trained to do so I still carry that legacy of looking at spiritual phenomena with some objectivity), but when I investigate I get very saddened and disappointed. Still, I decided to write about something I've been looking into a bit because I feel it's so important to be aware of spiritual hoaxes and how the advertising works. I am not trying to suggest that this particular case is a fraud, only offering my personal opinion about their advertising strategy.

I clicked on an ad for "Psycademy" on Facebook. It was promising to tell you if you're a lightworker or not. Well, I think I can say with some confidence that any ad you click on on the internet has an agenda, which is to sell you something for a lot of money. Still you often hope it won't be. Of course, the test you are being promised is free, and it's what draws you in initially. At the end of the test with various questions about your attitude to reality and spiritual matters, you're being told that you're in one place or another of a cycle consisting of various phases. You could for instance be a seeker, or a pioneer, or an actual lightworker. This is the basic concept that draws you in because all it says is, you're in a phase and this cycle of phases are repeated endlessly throughout your life. This is not a poor image of life, on the contrary it is potentially thought provoking, but not very informative in the context of the initial question. It doesn't say anything about whether your spiritual age or level of consciousness is such that you actually have the potential of being a lightworker (whatever that really means!). This woman, Lisa Turner, then sends you an e-mail which explains that you are most definitely a lightworker since you signed up for the test and her free course in the first place! 

I could be crude and say that you probably aren't one if you felt such a need for confirmation about your own spirituality, that it's a sign you're not in touch with your intuition and higher understanding. But I also realize that sometimes we are unsure, vulnerable and a little bit clueless, and therefore people who call themselves psychics can draw us in and make us feel that they have some answers that we desperately need. Please don't feel bad about seeking answers, it's a human thing to do. And after all, curiosity is normal and even desirable, and we all hope for a clearer vision and more control over our own lives and destiny. We also want to believe that people who speak in the name of spirituality are all good and honest people. I have also wished for  truly ground breaking answers about my own life from other people, but the feedback was always poor and I decided this wasn't the way to go.

So back to Lisa Turner and her Psycademy - well, she promises to send you e-mails which are going to take you on a great journey of discovery, and you will learn things about yourself and the nature of reality that may be utterly shocking to you. At this point I have a suspicion that it's not anything other than what most spiritual seekers have already read in countless books about the ascension of mankind and various other things to do with angels, guides and channelling. It might be shocking to the novice - but that's probably not someone who is geared up to be a "lightworker", i.e. work on a very high spiritual level for the good of all mankind. Interestingly, one of the questions of the questionnaire was "do you believe that spiritual services should be free?". Well, I said yes, because I believe that in an ideal world, that's how it should be. Yet in a way this question could be just another carrot to make you feel that you should receive her services for free, and that's exactly what she's promising you... well, until she isn't, anymore.

In her first e-mail, she starts telling us the story of how she used to be oblivious of spiritual matters, but was woken up thanks to some terrible things that happened to her in Britain when she was 15. At this point, you're being drawn in thanks to a story that aims at appealing to your emotions and curiosity. We all want to know what happened next, after she was taken captive by this evil man... so Lisa follows the textbook and says, if you keep reading these e-mails you'll find out more about her story. But of course - she knows "we are all impatient" (so she says) and so there is a way in which we can instantly find out about this story and many other things to do with guides and healing, just a click away! You click on a link and it takes you to - guess what. A DVD for 20 pounds (I think there was a book too but I can't remember for sure). 

So, you don't buy the DVD or whatever the product was that was going to answer all your questions. You keep reading the e-mails that arrive about once a day or so (not regularly, because after all, she wants you to get impatient). After a number of e-mails, say six or seven, I'm none the wiser. Blablabladibla... There was a list of signs that you have healing powers - hot hands that you have an obsessive need to place on other people in order to heal them, for example! Now we are getting into the realm of spiritual stereotypes. In another there's some analogy to Santa in shorts and how people always used to promise that it was going to snow at Christmas in Australia (in her childhood)! Ahum, what? Not sure what that one was about. Then there's a a long list of questions people allegedly have about contacting their guides, and how to spot the difference between a ghost and a real guide. And of course, the twelve signs or so that will tell you whether your guide is a really highly evolved one! And guess what! Now you find out, that all you need to do is go and sign up for the "real" course! Which of course, means parting with some contents of your purse. I bet you you'll find out that your guide is one of the greatest guides anyone can have!

At this point I'm so bored I just want this person to go away. I read two more e-mails, one in which she hints that she will tell you more about her own journey towards realization in the next e-mail, and another in which she isn't following up on her own story but is trying to sell you a three day course with these words:

"You feel it like a pull, or a tingling deep within you, like an inner knowing but you can't quite grasp it. You've heard it but only as a whisper on the breeze, but can't quite tune in to the message beneath the babble. Maybe you've seen dim flashes or glimpses that simply vanish when you turn to look. Maybe you've experienced that deeply blissful state, where your heart is fully open and you feel a complete connection, yet you can't seem to get it back again or experience it in any kind of on-going way in your daily life. 

Bottom line is that you are frustrated by life and starting to wonder if being spiritual isn't all it's cracked up to be... 

The simple fact is, it's one thing to have a spiritual experience, and it's quite another to tap into the true spiritual power at your fingertips so that can change the world and reality you live in, solve problems and bring healing.". 

That's compelling, isn't it. The course offers pretty much everything you could possibly imagine under the heading of "new age" in a book store, all those things about finding your soul mate, becoming a real healer, channelling and so on, that new age books are full of. It makes my head spin and I personally wouldn't know how to deal with so much "stuff"! Is it all important stuff? Perhaps it's all good. Sure many of us feel frustrated at times, as if we're not accessing all those wonderful spiritual phenomena that other people seem to be able to see and understand, and also use in their own lives. But the most important thing seem to be missing, which is that there is no wonder cure for this kind of existential dilemma. You have to figure it out yourself, and it doesn't cost any money. What you need (as opposed to what we believe all those other supposedly enlightened people out there need) is right there for you to have if you just open your eyes and soul. Don't compare yourself with others, because this will lead you astray - that's my bit of advice, anyway. Unless, of course, you just want some entertainment, or to give yourself the time to think about these things a bit more in a specific context that takes you away from daily life and being on "automatic pilot", or socialize... well, unless that's how you feel, I don't think you need Lisa's course, or any other similar course for that matter. I'm not an expert because I don't do such courses. But when someone comes along claiming to have all the answers, clearly uses emotional manipulation, and uses all the other advertising tricks in the book, then I get suspicious  I just don't believe this person is particularly evolved or endowed with any real spiritual integrity. Problem and solution: "Not enough money – raising your spiritual vibration has been shown to directly increase wealth." (from the website). Perhaps? But selling spirituality has also been shown to create wealth because there are so many desperate seekers out there.

This is an image used for the advertising of the course...
aren't you also a bit tired of seeing this cliched image of human evolution?

In fact, you can read more about her own story, albeit in sketchy words, here on the actual advertising site - to be honest I would have preferred to have seen this page in an honest sort of way right from the beginning without all the "beating around the bush". But - what the heck is this supposed to mean? "It’s not your fault that you haven’t accessed your spiritual power yet. But once you learn this system you can. And the results will be extraordinary (even if it doesn't seem easy to believe right now.)". How can such a thing be anyone's fault in the first place? Can you hear how wrong this sentence sounds in the context of true spirituality? This, if anything, is just emotional blackmail, attempting to put you in a child's shoes, making you feel that you need an authority... now do you really

I'm not suggesting that it's all wrong, and that none of the lessons could potentially be useful for the right person... We are all different It's not for me to judge. That is, though, if you don't mind paying about 500 pounds for the 3-day basic course (whose value is allegedly well over £ 1000!). You can spend an awful lot of money on all sorts of seminars, in fact some people are quite hooked on always seeking answers from seminars, and it's not always so useful. I don't know that this is a real hoax. After all, she promises to refund most of your money if you're not happy and haven't had spiritual experiences (which on the other hand she says it's not what it's really about... it's about making it work for you in real life). There are plenty of photos from previous seminars on the website. But I can only say that I'm deeply suspicious of this sort of approach to serious spiritual matters.