Thursday, September 29, 2011

When spirituality becomes twisted

Perhaps it's time to leave California. Signs are showing up that I no longer belong here. One of the signs is that when ever I attend anything "spiritual" I find how spiritual concepts are being misused. Like the friend who considers himself a guru and is seducing and being seduced by his "devotees". He is one with everyone and feels unconditional love and is free. That's what he tells himself. From my perspective, I want to vomit. That's a sign to me that something is off.

Well this morning I found myself yelling at a woman because I had had it with her new age concepts. (So much for the Course in Miracles.) Anyone who knows me, knows I love my cats--and really all cats. I saw Max, my alpha cat, looking out the window at a red cat in the garden. The red cat seemed lost and scared. I went out to check on him, but he left. Five minutes later a woman drove up asking me if I had seen a cat. Yes! I was so relieved, this cat wouldn't stay lost.

Apparently she was driving from Forestville to Lake Tahoe, and had the cat in the car without a carry case (mistake #1.) The cat jumped out of the car. Her main concern seemed to be that she had to be in Lake Tahoe at 4 pm to celebrate her birthday. She didn't really have time to look for the cat. She spent five minutes calling to him half heartedly and then gave up. "I can't do this to myself," she said to me. "I'm too upset." Hmmm...This seemed to be about her and not the cat.

Then she handed me a can of tuna and asked me if I'd give it to her cat if I saw him. She wouldn't be back for two days. "So you're going to leave your cat lost, thirsty and hungry, for two days?" I asked her. "I assume you'll be coming by to find him on your way back?"

"Well, I might, if I'm not too broken hearted over this," she replied. OK, that didn't compute. She would be broken hearted over losing her cat, and so couldn't come back to look for him??? At this point she wasn't making any sense to me. Then she started telling me how her cat was doing this to punish her, describing the cat's astrological signs, and saying that she trusted he would be fine.

OK, I had had enough. "Enough of this airy fairy new age bullshit!" I yelled at her. "This cat is lost and frightened. You put him in the car without a carry case. You let him escape. And now you can't take the time to find him? You committed to take care of this being. How about taking responsibility??"

She looked at me and asked, "Are you from New York?"

Despite my anger, I had to laugh to myself. "Yes, I am," I said. "And I am so tired of this California spiritual bullshit way of not taking responsibility."

"I'm from New York too," she said. And as she got in the car to leave, leaving her cat behind and homeless, she said to me, "Perhaps you need to be in California longer."

"I've been here 14 years," was my answer. And I would need a lobotomy to get to the point where you are at, I thought to myself. And perhaps it is time to leave Northern California and find a less "spiritual" place where spiritual concepts aren't used to justify indulgence and self-centeredness. Or perhaps I just need to see reflected in this gross projection, what I have bought into for so many years that I need to let go of.


Anonymous said...

My dearest friend Despina,

Finally a knowledgable man found a way for me to get in and comment on your latest blogs. I could not, until now.

Thank you to the ladies, who sent words of comfort at this tragic stage of my life.

Thank you for remembering and even dedicating a whole blog to our little "crystal."
But mostly thank you for your latest blog, where you really expressed how you feel about certain subjects and where your life is going.

You put a smile on my sad face. I have not smiled in two weeks. You have a gift of getting out there important subjects and food for thought, with a sense of humor.

I always loved that quality about you, among other things.

I am writing this, aware that I am taking too much space, but I wanted to add that a 24 year old veeeery good looking man is hovering above my shoulders, trying to understand what I am writing. You see, he is French/ Morrocan and he struggles with his English. He is mostly staring at your picture making comments like "Beautiful lady, really beautiful. Great picture, good dressing (outfit)" and complimentary comments like that. If this does not boost your self-esteem a bit, I do not know what would flater you more.

I find it funny, but very true and flatering to anybody. A 24 year old real hunk drooling over a picture of yours? Haba-haba my friend.

He is not stupid either. He is super educated, speaks more than 5 languages, but English is not something he needs very much for his work, so he is perfecting it now.

Keep on writing. To some of us, you are a spiritual inspiration.

Sorry for the grammatical and spelling mistakes.

Love you,

Deb said...

Can you really change anyone anymore? After all, how do we formulate our sense of what is true?
At the diner this morning one of the regulars called me “451 Girl.” I was reading the NY Times on my Kindle and he was commenting on how out of step with the world that puts me! In the Fahrenheit 451 world, sound bites alone shape perception and the collective understanding of what is true. People formulate their beliefs from slogans and half truths that get repeated like punch lines from old movies because reading is forbidden. But without context and analysis, we are left to key in on those bits and bites that validate our own prejudices. We are immune to the deeper truth that could change the way we look at things. That makes us very very vulnerable to the Oligarchy…and isn’t that just the way “they” want us.
Wait am I talking about the book or…

Popi said...

I probably sound mentally challenged at this point, but I did not understand your latest comment. To whom was it refering, about what? I do not know what a Kindle is or the 450F concept.

I love your comments and I wish I could get what you are trying to share with us. I am not that cerebral, I guess, but I like to learn.

Were you refering to the lady with cat in the blog? The irresponsible world we live in? Who comprises the oligarchy that rules us? These are not retorical questions. They are being asked with all sincerity from a person, who lives a very complicated life, but on very simple, stripped to the bone facts and "bottom line" decisions.

I have not the luxury to philosophise and super analyze facts, that is why I ask Despina for a deeper perspective, told in every day terms, so that I can "get" it.

I admire all the great comments you ladies and gentlemen leave, but I feel "left" out, because I am too earthy and "simple" to get them.

I guess, as the lady said to Despina, "may you should stay in California longer."

I feel so stupid right now and I know I am not.

Deb., Despina speaks very highly of you, give me a clue of what the last comment meant.

Thanks you,

James said...

Another interesting post Despina. I certainly can relate to your frustration with new age concepts and their use; I have experienced similar examples myself.

Personally, I have a hard time when these concepts are used to define and prejudice people or relationships. I find the statement "I don't get along well with (pick your sigh) to be rather distasteful.

That said, I would recommend traveling in other "spiritual circles" before making a move.

True, the cat woman as well as the guru guy, seemed to be using these ideas for selfish reasons, but in my view the new age concepts are being used as a vehicle of justification.

The thing is, you will find selfish people everywhere, and they always need justification and spiritual justification carries more weight.

It seems to me that you were expressing burn out, and disillusionment. Perhaps you simply need a vacation from new age overload. You could visit Nashville and get yourself a big helping of good old fashioned Baptist values, or even visit an atheist's convention. It might be fun to make a game of finding and blogging about the selfish justifications that you find there...

People are attracted to new age concepts and religion because they want answers. I am quite content with questions because for me, it is in the wonder of this experience that we call life that I feel the most spiritual. To paraphrase Forrest Gump "spirituality is as spirituality does."

Despina Gurlides said...

Wow! I didn't realize that there were so many comments on this post.

I'll let Deb answer Popi's question about what she meant. Deb isn't in California, so she's not speaking California-ese.

James, it looks like I will get a dose of other perspectives that are not new agey, as I will be moving to Central Florida towards the end of the month. At least for the winter, until I figure out what I want to do when I grow up :-)

It seems that when it's time for me to leave a place, all sorts of annoying things happen that remind me what I don't like about the place. Like the guru guy and the new age woman. It makes it easier for me to say goodbye.

Sandy said...

James seems like a wise person, and I
resonate with his comments.

Trust that you are being inspired to
move, but wherever you go, you will
find beliefs and behaviors that aren't consistent with your own.

Realize that you may be part of a very small niche.

I'm glad that you have someplace to re-evaluate and experience
alternative perspectives. Looks like you're craving the contrast.

Look forward to reading about your
experiences there. At least you'll
be warmer!