November 11th, 2010 · 2 Comments
Times have been tough for Matthew Smith. A self-proclaimed “Star Wars” fanatic from Clifton, N.J., Mr. Smith, 38, was laid off from his job as a retail manager five months ago and has been living on unemployment ever since. His dream of starting his own business fizzled along with his marriage — one was directly tied to the other, he says. And his efforts to find a new job have so far been futile.
“My life has not been working,” he said, as he stood inside a huge ballroom at the Westin Hotel on Saturday along with 500 other people, many of them also unemployed and looking for something better.
But this was not a job fair. They were here to see a motivational speaker and self-help guru, and paying a hefty price to do so: $1,297 for a high-decibel, two-day seminar. In this case, the speaker was James Arthur Ray, one of the emerging names in the $11 billion self-improvement industry, and the event was called the Harmonic Wealth Weekend.
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September 17th, 2010 · 1 Comment
Mark Nesti is not your average New Age flake. After five years’ service with a recon/sniper cell in the Australian army, his career shifted into helicopter testing and maintenance, emergency communications, and business development. When he eventually began to explore the fields of theoretical physics and alternative therapies, his broad engineering mindset granted him a unique perspective.
Mark wrote a book about his exploration and research into quantum mechanics, meditation, chi, and consciousness. He isn’t promising you a new car or a diamond necklace in return for your fealty, but you may find his work rewarding in other ways. Mark recently sent me a few words regarding his personal inspiration and investigation, which I share with you below.
Perhaps, in some measure, modern society has lost regard for nature, in a divine sense, or otherwise. If true, this can only be attributed to a loss of spirit within the individual. In an attempt to define the connection between science and spirituality, between the observer and the included, I hope that spirit will be reunited.
I would like to share with you a personal experience of just how powerful some types of meditation can be. Many of you already know that there are many forms of meditation, from practices which are designed to energize and relax, all the way to practices aimed at raising awareness, and some with the specific goal of raising the levels of Chi (accumulations called Kundalini) within the human system. I am of the belief that western society, in a general sense, is not yet ready to tackle the more advanced forms of meditation. My reasoning is that, as a culture, we have not yet been exposed to this type of practice as a part of our daily activities. Furthermore, we have not been raised from children with such disciplines integrated within our daily lives. You will see what I mean as we progress.
Several years ago, my partner and I brought over an Indian meditation teacher to conduct courses at our wellness centre and alternative therapy training institute; this became a regular event and one which attracted many students. One type of meditation he conducted, Dhyan, is a practice originally designed to promote prolonged awareness. However, the ancient Indian Hindu yogis referred to this particular meditation in a more appropriate manner: “the practice of dying”. [Read more →]
What is Zen?
Zen Buddhism is a way and a view of life which does not belong to any of the formal categories of modern Western thought. It is not a religion or a philosophy; it is not a psychology or a type of science. It is an example of what is known in India and China as a “way of liberation,” and is similar in this respect to Taoism, Vedanta, and Yoga. A way of liberation can have no positive definition. It has to be suggested by saying what it is not, somewhat as a sculptor reveals an image by the act of removing pieces of stone from a block.
– Alan Watts, The Way of Zen
If Zen has no positive definition, then everything is Zen. And if everything is Zen, then naturally every blog is Zen too. Right?
Actually, this argument is a perfect illustration of New Age rhetorical misdirection. While one can say that everything is Zen in its transcendent sense, such a statement cannot serve as the premise for an immanent logical conclusion. In other words: Zen proves nothing, by definition.
Applying transcendent or non-dual definitions to conventional worldly contexts is a popular tactic amongst false gurus. [Read more →]
The principle of Subjective Reality—that the universe is consciousness and nothing more—has been employed by authentic spiritual traditions for millennia. Its intended function is not to reveal Universal Truth, but to prepare a seeker for the next stage in their development by dispelling their material illusions.
In other words, Subjective Reality is a spiritual colonic, which for best results must be followed by healthy wisdom food. New-age teachers who skip this critical lesson are like surgeons who excise a tumor, but neglect to close the incision afterwards. [Read more →]
I was delighted to stumble across the Intention-Manifestation Theory of reality a few months ago. As I understood this theory, the key to achieving success in the spheres of business, dating and health is to intend it.
Fortune smiled upon me that day. Intention-Manifestation Theory seemed the greatest labor-saving discovery since the cotton gin, and I was sorely in need of its utility. Since starting my website last year, I had been overwhelmed by article ideas, but never had enough time to fully develop, transcribe and publish them.
I decided to employ the theory straight away. [Read more →]
The Secret, a new personal development guide by Rhonda Byrne, is taking the nation by storm. In the last three months, the book has sold almost two million copies, and the DVD has sold one million more. Einstein, Beethoven and Plato knew and used it. Oprah loves it.
What is this “secret to unlimited joy, health, money, relationships, love, youth, and everything you have ever wanted”? [Read more →]
Steve Pavlina is a professional speaker and writer, and one of the inspirations for this blog. Much of his personal development advice is smart—by which I mean to say that I agree with it. His theories on the nature of reality, however, are inaccurate and misleading.
For centuries, dedicated martial artists have worked to shed the layers of egoistic and social insulation that prevent a direct experience of reality. Some have risked their lives in empirical testing, to verify and refine the martial path to enlightenment. What can the discipline of martial arts teach us about subjective reality? [Read more →]