Surrounding myself with and wearing things of beauty is one of the easiest ways for me to maintain a relaxing and peaceful environment. Some products associated with the eastern and New Age traditions are very aesthetically pleasing to me, however I am a Catholic raised person and do not worship Eastern, or New Age traditions.
I hold many symbols of spirituality in my home, such as crosses, as well as chakras and yin yangs to add depth and beauty to my space. I am also happy to wear “chakra” jewellery as I do like crystals (pictured) and of course rainbows! I have nothing inherently against New Age spiritual people in general, and I love crystals, incense and smudges for my home as they add ambiance and beauty.
However, the arrogance of a small number of the “practitioners” of this craft is incredibly off-putting as their religion is supposed to be about oneness and love.
Today, a lady looked at me today and asked “what way do the Chakras spin”?
Not knowing the answer to a question of profound metaphysical mystery (akin to asking about the direction of Chi or the essence of the Holy Spirit) I honestly replied to her that it was an interesting question that I would love to look into.
I realized that it was not a genuine question, but a rhetorical test when she rolled her eyes at me.
From her condescending body language, I gather that she wanted to see if I “knew” what the meaning of my Chakra laden personal decor was.
She delighted in looking down at me, a lowly, non-enlightened poseur from her ivory tower of New Age “wisdom”.
I imagine that she felt so great about her spirituality, knowing that she possesses supreme transcendental knowledge that I most certainly do not have!
I had to laugh a bit at this subtle display of hubris. In my scheme of existence, do I need to know what a Chakra is? Do I need this knowledge to survive, let alone be spiritual? Am I not allowed to wear symbols that I do not fully and certainly “understand”?
Imagine if I had asked her what Newton’s laws of physics are. We apply and experience his “laws” every single day, so according to her logic she should know exactly what thermodynamics entail, right? If she didn’t understand the concept of entropy, should I have scoffed at her and felt superior just because I heard about it in Physics 101?
I think these questions can be taken into account with anything we do and most of the intellectual interactions we have.
Yes, you may feel you “know” something but do you really know?
To put my own bias and limited experience into perspective, I have a four year degree in the sciences. It is important that I acknowledge that the “knowledge” I gained from this experience is only a drop in the pond in the vast and infinite scheme of all things.
Even “educated” people vary greatly in experience, therefore possessing vastly different world views. For example, an education science degree from my school may be of vastly different focus and rigor than someone else’s education science degree from another school. The professors I had were different than the ones someone else had. The curriculum could even be different. Even the same degree at the same school is different one year to the next due to changing professors, course offerings, etc. Me taking the same degree as you at the same school could be an entirely unique experience for the both of us. My upbringing, biases, cultural background and attitudes will make my experience different than yours.
Remember this the next time you judge someone for not “knowing” what you “know”.
According to my “knowledge”, our lifespan on the planet is biologically short in the grand scheme, and the history of humanity is millions of years old. Therefore, perspective of one person, group or even religious movement is incredibly limited in the grand scheme of time. No amount of books can expose you, me or your spiritual group to the vastness of the human experience.
The New Age Movement is a collection of perspectives and experiences which can be perfectly valid to those who possess the worldview that they do. It can also be an interesting arena to explore if you feel disconnected from your childhood faith.
Don’t think just because you read The Secret or consulted a “healer” or shaman that you know the secrets of the universe. The same goes for us University alumni. A degree only helps us learn how to think. It does not give us all the knowledge in the cosmos. There is much to discover and profound lessons will happen outside of spells and textbooks.
The nose-in-the-air Witchy Chakra lady and the hardened but educated scientific cynic are one in the same to me. Both are so certain that they miss out on learning outside their paradigm. Both have lots to learn from each other but may never know due to petty arrogance and attachment to belief.
Let’s remember to be humble about our knowledge and accept the world with open eyes and ears, and refrain from judging those different than us. You never know what you can learn from someone else who has a whole life to tell you about.