Tag: Spirituality

Julian Walker is a yoga instructor, writer, and co-host of the podcast Conspirituality. He and Bridget discuss the growing overlap between new age spirituality and conspiracy theory culture in the last few years, how QAnon-influenced ideas started to take hold in the yoga space, the growing trend of anti-intellectualism and shying away from science, the difference between freshman skepticism and healthy skepticism, and why he’s committed to the principle that politics should be boring. Julian talks about growing up in South Africa amid the dismantling of apartheid and the perspective it gave him about reality bubbles, authoritarianism, propaganda, and what a charismatic candidate that arouses a passionate response in their followers means in a society. They talk empathy, morality, purity, cults, gurus, political stability, and why we should give people the benefit of the doubt in conversation rather than going from zero to calling them a Nazi in two seconds.

Split Focus

 

God began early, hunting me down and taking hold of me when I was just a child in Farmington, Connecticut. I wasn’t born there, but close by in Maine at a Naval hospital that no longer calls itself a hospital, and to this day still raises questions of its location; Maine or New Hampshire? My parents weren’t exactly religious given my father was a rigid perfectionist and my mother was a neurotic depressive. I emerged from the womb happy, which was taken advantage of by my mother and beheld with contempt by my father.

I say this to now say that we sometimes went to church (at least until the elders came to the house to collect offerings and ticked off my mother), I didn’t go to catechism, and in third grade, I was best friends with a Jewish girl who had never heard of Jesus until I told her about Him while playing out in the field near the school’s monkey bars. I don’t remember exactly when I found Him, except maybe the one summer I went to vacation Bible school in Farmington and we used felt-covered boards and characters to show Jesus running down the hill away from the big boulder chasing Him from the tomb. The young teen-aged teacher was creative even if not theologically sound.

When a Dear Soul Passes On

 

My dear friend, Earl, died yesterday. You may remember my writing about him a few times.

Earl was a bright and engaged 88-year-old black man. He was over six feet tall, lean like the swimmer he had been, and was one of the most curious and reflective people I’ve ever known. He was in our meditation group for nine years, showing up every Monday to meditate silently, and then participate in our discussion. He would ring the bell to start our meditation periods and end them, and also lead the group in slow and moderately paced walking meditation. One time he asked us, where else could I go, walking in circles around a room and have ten women obediently following me? We roared with laughter.

In a special holiday edition of 10 Blocks, Timothy Goeglein joins City Journal assistant editor Charles McElwee to discuss how people of faith can help renew American society—themes explored in his new book, American Restoration: How Faith, Family, and Personal Sacrifice Can Heal Our Nation.

Coauthored with Craig Osten, American Restoration calls for a revival of spiritual values in America and offers a roadmap for people of faith to engage with our modern culture—especially at the local level.

Spiritual But Not Religious

 

I’m tired of people describing their spiritual lives as “spiritual but not religious.” I have little respect for people who wear the spiritual label to show how enlightened they are, and how they have freed themselves from the archaic practices of religion.

I know there are many people who have had painful experiences with religion and thus have chosen this narrow journey of spirituality. Many people have had difficult, emotionally wounding experiences with organized religion. They have been betrayed by a spiritual leader or were taught as a child a fearful or hateful version of religions. They were expected to follow rituals they didn’t understand or resented. All in all, early experiences left them empty, without filling their hearts and souls. Even my own mother felt rejected; she had wanted to join a synagogue, but we had limited funds. She left hurt and embarrassed after visiting the synagogue, when they told her they couldn’t adjust the fees for her poor financial situation.

There are also many people who, for one reason or another, never felt connected to their religion. A plethora of people and entities could be blamed for this lack of fulfillment. In many cases, parents didn’t know how to communicate the depth and meaning of the religion; often they themselves had been poorly educated, so that the religious observation was a perplexing combination of ritual, holy days, and practices to which they couldn’t relate. The mix of observances just seemed to interfere with everyday life and didn’t seem to provide a meaningful purpose.

Crystals the Color of Sweat and Blood

 

I was a minor rock hound — a rock pup, if you will — in my youth. Nothing serious, a small collection, only a few spectacular finds of my own, the rest either dull or store-bought. I liked crystals. But not as “wellness” aids. The folklore surrounding minerals, including their medicinal use, is part of their history. Still, I found myself mildly disappointed by the degree to which even geology shops treated the folklore as true.

Apparently, “wellness” claims for rocks have only gotten worse — er, I mean, more popular — since I was a young rock hound. Gwyneth Paltrow, for example, has gifted the world with Goop, like crystal-enhanced water bottles! Yoni eggs! (Warning: these eggs NSFW.) Rose quartz, with its soft pink hue, is particularly popular for “wellness.” Fair-trade certification, which is supposed to guarantee humane treatment of workers, is also popular in wellness products. But — and it’s a big but — most “wellness” crystals are far from fair trade. That pretty rose quartz is the color of sweat and blood.

Poor folk paid pennies to mine, in cramped, dangerous conditions, rocks that richer folk will sell for hundreds of dollars doesn’t shock me. Terrible as these mining jobs are, people choose these jobs over the other available alternatives. But then, I’m usually of the attitude that there’s no reason why bad conditions couldn’t get worse, and that’s not an attitude I’d expect the “wellness” crowd, which believes in “wellness,” after all, to share. Even someone resigned, or callously indifferent, to human suffering might balk at the environmental damage wreaked by humanity’s current appetite for crystalline “wellness.” I have a rare stone in my wedding ring, but it’s lab-created: I didn’t find it appealing to molest tons of extra earth for one small pebble, not even for a wedding ring — especially when a better-quality version of the same crystal can be easily made in the lab. Natural and environmentally-friendly aren’t always the same thing.

Cloudburst — only a paper cloud?

 

“Tell me, burnt earth: Is there no water? Is there only dust? Is there only the blood of bare-footed footsteps on the thorns?” “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”

Eric Whitacre is a conductor and composer with matinee-idol good looks, personal magnetism, a slick marketing strategy, and arguably common sense, too: he recommends young composers not waste time acquiring training in academic theory beyond what they need to write music that sounds good. Whitacre is beloved in the choral world, but also, sometimes, disdained — for being overrated (he is, although overrated can still be good), for being gimmicky (also true, though his gimmicks often land), and for writing music “suffused with a sense of easy spiritual uplift… Everything [is] maximally radiant and beautiful, and beautifully sung. And that [is] the problem.”

If that’s the problem, it’s a problem many composers would like to have. Or at least it’s a problem many performing musicians wish the composers whose music they have to perform had. Our disdainer continues, “Whitacre is so sincere I suspect he would glow in the dark.”

Member Post

 

Greetings, dear Ricochetti and hey there, prayer partners! The Lenten season of reflection and preparation for Easter (for those observing it) is upon us. Along with the cultivation of good, possibly new physical habits, might we consider an attitudinal one, as well? This could include any one or all of the following: Preview Open

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Greetings, dear Ricochetti and hey there, prayer partners! The Fall has yielded a fruitful harvest of fellowship and connection for those participating here. (Hoping others will find us and join in.) These next two months are jam-packed with opportunities to reflect and recharge, believe it or not…When rising/retiring look inward and upward. When readying for […]

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What is Oregon Governor Kate Brown talking about here? Most of us probably struggle to convey our religious beliefs but she almost sounds like she has never given it any thought. Giving some rambling response about spirits and yoga when asked about your religious beliefs is…quite Portland. Brown seems, for some reason, unwilling to acknowledge […]

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Greetings, dear Ricochetti and hey there, prayer partners! The chapel has been a cool, fragrant oasis during the height of Summer – a relief from heated conversation, contention, and conundrums – on the site and in daily life. Peace roses, daylilies in a patchwork of shades, asters, zinnias, and candles in beeswax comingle with citrus […]

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I have an Android phone, which is, essentially, a Google device. LG made the hardware, but the “smarts” are Google. I’ve configured Google Cards to show from my home screen’s launcher. It has a lot of helpful information: weather, traffic conditions, event reminders, birthdays… and an “interests feed.” It’s so helpful, that it’s my daily […]

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Greetings, Ricochetti, friends, fans, and inquiring minds! You know who you are… I think I’ve come out of Lenten/Holy Week hermitage time into Easter-tide ready to put pixels to paper once more. In answer to questions you may never have thought to ask. Such as: “What brought Nanda out of the cocoon of small-town life […]

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Note: I posted the below essay on my personal site this past Sunday, the 4th.  Reposted here with some family encouragement.  It would have been a good candidate for the “Gratitude” writing assignment, but the anniversary of his passing was more fitting: My father passed six years ago, today, after a long battle with lymphoma.  […]

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Lent started yesterday and I let it pass, busy and rushing at work. My sister and I aren’t Catholic, but we grew up with Catholic traditions. I read an email from a local church and the other from a website EWTN. Both talked about Lent for our day and time. I still let it pass, […]

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Thanks to everyone who responded to my post that asked what you wanted to know about the topic of conservative Buddhism! Your feedback was very helpful and gave me some great ideas. I’m going to talk about how I practice with Buddhism (mostly) and Judaism (not so much) and the influence of the left on […]

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