Monday, February 7, 2011

On spirituality

Last Sunday I walked past a small catholic church and as I liked the organ music I stepped inside. I was impressed by the solemness and the quiet. However, then I saw a little brochure entitle "to be born again" which reminded me of all the things I dislike about organised religion of most kinds - how can possibly be up to other human beings to tell us how to be 'saved', how to pray, how to get talking to God, how and when to sit, stand, kneel and fold our hands? Apart from dictating our movements, the music, incense and tone of the mass/sermon even tells us how and what to think and feel. With the annual church circle eat-as-much-as-you-can-Pancake Tuesday, followed by fast-like-Jesus, just to be followed by another dictated feast. It's so suffocating that it's comforting. 

I find it amazing how creative humans are at searching for meaning, searching for 'the something else' that is allegedly missing from their lives or that allegedly gives more meaning to their lives - how it is conceptually possible to "give meaning" to someone's life is a different matter. I have decided to follow up on my curiosity of their curiosity and have sampled the following: 

On the "Alternatives Channel" on YouTube, a lady, Lorna Byrne, talks about how the angels never let her have many friends in her life and how other people were always kept at arm's length from her, but eventually she got used to it. A quick google search reveals her to be an Irish mystic who recently published a book called "Angels in my hair" and one called "Stairway to Heaven", she lives in rural Ireland, has four children and is a widow. According to The Times, her books have been published in 48 countries. 

Michael Neill is the other person featured on the Alternatives Channel, a channel powered by, surprisingly, 'Alternatives', which, according to itself,  is "London's leading centre for holistic learning", founded in St James's Church in Piccadilly. He is making fun of people seeking happiness by buying the right things. Then the clip ends so I won't be able to find out what I really need in order to find what is, I suppose, true happiness. Intrigued by what it is that I no doubt need like nothing else, I do the inevitable and google him. So this time I am not learning about a mystic but about a "genius catalyst" who has published (and now sells in his "genius shop") books with titles like "you can have what you want", "feel happy now" and "supercoach". Apparently he 'coaches' people to be successful which seems to be somehow linked to being happy. Given the range of materials I am encouraged to buy, listen to, book, experience live and share in forums, I get the impression that it takes quite a lot of effort to be "effortlessly successful". 

This bizarre mix of any feel-good-factor one can fathom is reflected by the talks programme of the Alternatives group: you can attend talk on just about anything to make you feel good about any aspect of your life: starting with a Valentine's Concert which cleverly disguises the fact that its listeners would only be buying into an extremely successful marketing ploy of the postcard industry, by offering something - guess what?! - yes, something different. Ironically, the singer 'with a difference' will 'open up the Valentine's Day message'. Err and that was... ah yes, a multi-million dollary industry which, just as the concert, awakens my 'soul's longing with her inspired music of intimacy and belonging' which will deepen 'our personal and global conversation with the unknown and the unseen, the One who has been loving us all our lives'. Who? Fleurop?  Hallmark? In fairness to the singer, Chloe Goodchild, a quick search on YouTube reveals that she has indeed a lovely voice which is being kept refreshingly untouched by auto-tune or similar. 

Lastly I glance quickly at the "Conscious Loving" talk with Katie Hendricks. As I wonder whether this would be a good pick-up place to find my future husband, I quickly click-one - otherwise I'll probably spend £10 attendance fee just to be surrounded by mainly middle-aged and probably sad, bitter middle-aged women. 

No comments:

Post a Comment