Wednesday, 1 May 2013


I'm not writing here often, though I think about subject matters sometimes. I hesitate to be judgemental, but I also find it difficult right now to be very enthousiastic about anything. Life is quite difficult. I think a lot about the kind of life I'd like to lead, but deep down, when my visions don't become reality, I feel that it's simply not time just yet. Some people speak of "God's time". I have always felt humbled before the greater ways of my destiny. Postulating that only part of "me" is present to my self-awareness in this particular incarnation, there is simply a lot more to my life than I can possibly imagine. As soon as I start hypothesising about who I really am and what my purpose really is, I feel I need to stop, because it's sliding into the realm of wishful thinking. This is why I want to distance myself more and more from the whole New Age way of thinking. Don't get me wrong, the New Age has offered some interesting perspectives that I haven't encountered in a digestable form anywhere else. But when I see a lot of people trying to convince themselves that they are doing the right thing in the name of New Age, I often think, it's just another religion. 

By religion I mean a rigid and dogmatic system of beliefs that mostly relies on believing in something that may or may not be true. Of course, I'm not suggesting anyone with strange beliefs fall into the category of woolly and flakey new agers. The problem is seeing who is what. There are certainly genuine people out there with experiences that are out of the ordinary, but there are also a lot of people who are really just trying to make money out of other people's gullibility and desire "to be evolved". These people often need to  convince themselves that they are "special", with extraordinary powers and insights that simply aren't real. Very often self-development is mistaken for spiritual development. While deep down there really is only spiritual development (if there is only the One), in our day-to-day lives there is a difference suggested by this terminology. People who are into self-development can be quite self-absorbed and appear downright selfish. They are discovering themselves, and looking for tools to enhance their lives. It's all as it should be, but it's a stage in the development towards matters that are a lot more "spiritual" in a deeper sense, i.e. true compassion, the letting go of personal control in relation to other people and life on the whole, understanding some fundamental things about the nature of reality, but also of deep thinking and intellectual scrutiny. There is simply nothing airy fairy about a truly spiritual pursuit.

I follow Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen in their attempts to underline the necessity of absolute truth. While we have our subjective truths, objective truth co-exists in a paradoxical sort of way. When we agree on what this absolute truth consists of, we are paying homage to the fact that we are part of the greater collective consciousness. Making clear distinctions in your mind about which is which can be conducive to a healthier attitude to life, and above all, a more ethically sound life style that helps create a better social environment for all of us. 

In the present day and age, not many people understand the nature of absolute truth, since you really need to experience it in order to know it's really true... but others who haven't had this epiphany, can deduce quite a lot from accounts by those who have. You can get quite far through persistant intellectual research, though you always need to be aware of not getting stuck in intellectual pursuit for its own sake. Life is also for living, regardless what kind of reality you're living.

One thing that bothers me about most of the New Age movement today is the extensive fear-mongering. For instance, the law of attraction is very attractive on the surface, but when you look at it with some critcism, you'll find that it really engenders guilt. Perhaps it's a valid tool for some people, perhaps in terms of experiment with one's abilities rather than as a tool of absolute value. When I hear people talk about it, I usually detect a sense of grasping, control and a great deal of self-centredness that doesn't take into account that there's a whole other world out there with people who have very different agendas. You can't just force your way through that field of events. Having the attitude that we need to co-exist harmoniously is a different matter entirely.

My point of view is that we are not all at the same point in our development and therefore there are no specific methods that are applicable to all. I have probably said this before, but I have to stress it again; not everyone is in a place of absolute freedom to imagine whatever life they want. Some people seem to be a lot more fixed by a destiny that doesn't allow them quite that much freedom to experiment with their lives. Take illness, for instance. Some people are able to cure themselves in the most miraculous ways, and they are more than happy to share their findings. This is all very well, but if you can't fix your problems no matter how much you try, it could well be that you are meant to live with it. Don't feel guilty and discouraged. Some karmas are simply like that. Perhaps a little bit of your suffering can be alleviated. But there really are illnesses that are chronic, and will be part of your life until the day you die. It's a great spiritual challenge to deal with such humbling conditions. Perhaps the idea that "strong souls take on heavy challenges" really is true. It should be of some solace. 

I recently found out that Ken Wilber himself has suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME for over thirty years (see this video). I was flabberghasted - he actually has one of the most horrid and mysterious illnesses of our times, and it's not that different from my own conditon (fibromyalgia). Apparently he just "happened" to be in a small village by the Lake Tahoe when there was a weird epidemic that caused ME in about 250 people. Being a person of great intelligence and spirituality, he learnt to somehow manage the condition and still write books. He has recently had a set back, and was incapacitated for a couple of years. Hence the revelation about this illness and the happy news that he's writing again. It's a small solace that even he has trouble coping sometimes. I wish he would write a book about illness and spirituality, a bit like "Grace and Grit", maybe. All these chronic conditions that cause extreme fatigue and insomnia seem to me to be a sign of our times (ME is growing in frequency and I personally know quite a lot of people with this illness), but also constitute very specific spiritual challenges that causes marginalisation and stigmatisation (HIV comes to mind too, of course). Ken mentions insomnia as one of the greatest of challenges, one that I am more than familiar with (see my autobiographical film).

Ken Wilber manages his condition in an intelligent sort of way (I'd love to know how but suspect that extensive meditation practice is helping him), but he also doesn't complain about his destiny - who knows, he may be quite capable of staying brave in private too... Not all of us are always strong, in fact most people with a chronic condition have very bad days when it's impossible not to feel cranky. In daily life, when you also struggle with poverty and other issues, it's normal to complain a little. How can you find joy in what you do when everything requires a great effort? Fatigue does terrible things to a person's psyche. Exercising escapism isn't the answer, though. Some peope think they are better off if they control their lives, but it's really not about control, it's about co-existing with the condition and gently persuading mind and body to be as well as they can be. It's the same attitude we can cultivate in the grand scheme of life, in relation to other people and events outside of ourselves.

I have seen other forms of fear mongering, for instance the idea that people are under the attack of psychic entities. How easy to list all the symptoms people have due to chronic conditions or stressful lives and suggest it's all because of some invisible parasite? Of course many people will quickly try and get help "just in case". Whenever you consult a person who claims to be psychic, make very, very sure - and double sure - that this is a good person. How do they phrase themselves? Is the person charismatic? Do they have a loving look in their eyes? How many good people that you know personally have recommended this person? Did they come into your life almost by accident, through a friend or another positive context? And so on. Don't spend your precious money on anything that you're doing out of fear or guilt. That is not a spritual context.

Be natural and try and open up to the wonder that is life, in spite of all the flaws of your own existence. There have been times when I've cried bitter tears because I know this reality is so drab compared to some other dimensions... I know this because I have felt it so poignantly, therefore I'm bent to believing it. But this life on Earth is also a "great experiment" and through us all, spirit is finding new ways of expression. It is a wonder.

Read more about my art project involving the expression of invisible illness and fatigue here.  You can also follow what I'm doing artwise on my art blog.


  1. Vivi-Mari,I'm glad to discover your site with such a down-to-earth article. I share many of your views, looking at "law of attraction" with some skepticism. Not that it doesn't work or isn't a useful tool, I just see it like learning to add: necessary, but it's really just the basics of math. And it's true, we can't just manifest whatever we want - there's a whole other world out there wanting to manifest what they want, and all of these energies affect each other. Add to that karma, pollution, etc. and there's a lot of factors influencing each other.

    As we just had Earth Day last month here, I reflect on the fact that, although we can certainly create a good deal in our lives, if we focus on manifesting "stuff", we're eventually going to deplete the planet. I think the "law of attraction" is best focused on manifesting qualities, like love, abundance, peace, etc. Abundance can be experienced when we feel happy and satisfied with what we have, rather than needing more.

    Lastly, I hear your pain about your fibromyalgia. I do not have it myself, but have suffered off and on from various mild to moderate physical issues. I believe and have experienced that all of these have rich gifts (if in rather unpleasant packages). I often say that the truth is, it doesn't really matter in the moment whether this is karma or from drinking water, etc... but what is the opportunity here? What will I choose now? How will I respond to this in this moment? What steps can I take towards my healing of body, mind, heart, and spirit?
    Blessings to you...

  2. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Connie. I've written more about my views on the LOA in other posts, but in general I find that those who subscribe to these views are seeing life through a very simplistic and self-centred lens. It's exactly as you say that there are other people and events out there with different agendas, and it all has to fit. To me it's just common sense that we can't "force" our way through that field of energies, but co-exist harmoniously and compassionately. Of course winning the lottery would solve many problems for us but there are other people out there who may need the challenge of dealing with all that money much more than we do - and so on. Even if we don't try and specify "how" anything comes to us, we (people) are still grasping.

    Focusing on cultivating construcive attitudes and emotions is a whole other story and as far as I can tell, rarely spoken of in the context of the LOA. It's so easy to make the spiritual quest into a very trite affair. It's really all quite simple in theory, but the practice is always difficult and always a unique personal challenge. Starting by questioning set belief systems and thinking for oneself is surely a good place to start! :)

    Thank you so much for your valuable input and may you live in interesting times!

  3. Glad to have the conversation, Vivi-Mari...
    I do understand your comment about "making the spiritual quest into a trite affair." I think many on the path spend too much time thinking about what they want to create (whether a thing or a mood or a result or an attitude) and not enough time letting go and letting something Greater do the creating. Aligning ourselves with a more expansive Consciousness. I find that when I allow that Something to create in my life, it's usually much better and more interesting that anything I could have thought up with my limited thoughts. I am continually working (or rather letting go) on this!

    Many blessings to you!

  4. Hi Connie and thanks for coming back! You put it really well. I think one of the main things I'm trying to get across here on this blog is that we aren't as much in charge as we'd like to be... Sometimes I find it hard to explain why and how... I try and find the words that would make a difference to someone who is the cerebreal type, without going into all the theories that you can find in books. Sometimes I need to be convincing myself too. After all, nothing is obvious though it can be quite obvious once you know to look for it.

    There seem to be two main lessons of chronic illness, learning to let go of control as well as not allowing oneself to become bitter. With all their flaws, these are the experiences I'd like to share with others. The illness just highlights some issues that are important to a great many people who have woken up to the idea of the spiritual realm. When you feel helpless, it's easy to give into bitterness and despondancy, but to be able to see that vulnerable state as a blessing rather than a punishment of sorts is perhaps the key. Most people experience vulnerability in some form at some point in their lives. How you get on top of your situation without force and a controlling volition is very tricky indeed... but talking about it out loud helps sometimes! :) x