Two words that don't belong together: Spiritual Capitalist

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Two words that don't belong together: Spiritual Capitalist

Post by Wes on Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:05 am

In my two years spent living in Queensland I have yet to find a place to hang my spiritual hat, and after giving up for a year, I'm back on the trail. A medium I knew in Adelaide, Barry Gray, lives just over the border now and makes a lot of appearances in Queensland so I thought I'd use his appearances in various Brisbane churches over the next few months as a reason to check out what they have to offer.

While he usually appears in (so called) spiritualist churches, yesterday was an exception as he was the guest medium at a Healing Centre which had no affiliation with any religion, belief, or philosphy. Little did I realise then that by having no core principles, they were little more than a spiritual vacuum sucking in all sorts of dross..

Things started well enough when we all sung "imagine" with a lot of gusto and the energy was wonderful - very upbeat and positive. Then we had a 15 minute talk from someone callling himself a spiritual entreprenuer, who was promoting a game about starting meaningful conversations, and a way to improve your eyesight (at a price of course). Then we had a 15 minute talk promoting colour therapy, which didn't really follow any real structure and was mercifully cut off right on the 15 minute mark.

Then (you may start to notice a patttern here) we had a ten minute talk on a book someone had written about how to make money. The author said she was not a spiritual entreprenuer but a spiritual capitalist! She then went on to try and justify the term, saying that making money helped you to do good things. She called this 'wealthalilty", I myself would call it BSality - As far as I can tell, doing good things comes first, not second, when you are truly on a spiritual path.

Mercifully we had a ten minute break (so you could get a ten minute psychic reading, or buy some products, of which there were many on display) and then surprise surprise, we actually had something spiritual - a guided meditation that didn't try to promote books, games or past life therapy, but was about connecting with your guide.

I must mention here though that one of the stalls was promoting a brand of essential oils that is very good (and very expensive) as my hardcore sceptic partner tried a drop of anti-stress oil on the back of her neck and said it made an immediate and beneficial difference to the pain in her neck/shoulder.

So possibly there is a place for mentioning such beneficial products in a spiritual setting, but it can't be done at the cost of substance and integrity. There's a difference between saying "this product might help you" and saying "this book will help you (and more importantly me) make money"

Then we had a delightful little old lady talking a bit about how spirit moved her to move to Australia. Funnily enough that story was included in a book she was promoting about her life and spiritual journey...

Finally it was then Barry's turn, who put on a solid display of mediumship, and I couldn't help but think that he was just being used to get bums on seats to help sell products. It really did seem like they were trying to do an "Amway" by using marketing and sales techniques that would sell a dream (making money in this case and dressing it up as being spiritually acceptable) without any sort of examination of values and ethics that you would have thought belonged in a healing centre, or any place that promotes spirituality.

It was an empty feeling, sitting through all of that, and thinking that an opportunity had been lost, that the 60 or 70 people who were there, making an effort to find meaning in their lives, had been sold a watered down saccherine-sweet version of spirituality. It's a poor reflection of the society we live in that spirituality has to be sold to the public using the very techniques that makes modern society so hollow and vapid.

Oh well, it looks like my search for a spiritual setting here will continue a bit longer, and at least Barry's next appearances will be at spiritualist centres where he will get a chance to talk about spirituality, as well as demonstrate. In the menatime I am grateful for my Silver Birch books, for some comfort and inspiration.







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Re: Two words that don't belong together: Spiritual Capitalist

Post by zerdini on Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:30 am

A very interesting post, Wes.

At the same time a sad reflection on today's society with its emphasis on 'me first' philosophy.

Thanks for posting your report.

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Re: Two words that don't belong together: Spiritual Capitalist

Post by Wes on Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:59 am

Thanks Z, it was a strange and jarring experience to see Spirituality reduced to a networking opportunity. Although some may say it was being enhanced, updated and made accesible, rather than reduced!

As I was trying to find words to explain to my partner the difference between New Age and true Spirituality, I found the simplest way was to say that New Age was "look at me" and Spirituality was more like "look at us"



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Re: Two words that don't belong together: Spiritual Capitalist

Post by petal34 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:20 am

Wes wrote:Thanks Z, it was a strange and jarring experience to see Spirituality reduced to a networking opportunity. Although some may say it was being enhanced, updated and made accesible, rather than reduced!

As I was trying to find words to explain to my partner the difference between New Age and true Spirituality, I found the simplest way was to say that New Age was "look at me" and Spirituality was more like "look at us"




You were lucky.
I lived in Mackay and coudn't even find a spiritualist church to attend.

Very Happy
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Re: Two words that don't belong together: Spiritual Capitalist

Post by Admin on Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:56 am

Sorry to hear that Wes. ell Barry is trying to make a living of it now so has to fit into wherever he can. I am glad his Mediumship is holding up to it though. I have noticed a few people he is working with on platform now may not approach things the way he used to.
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Re: Two words that don't belong together: Spiritual Capitalist

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:54 am

I also note that everywher people call expenditure on Mediumship and other courses and Investment. They suggest that once the course is complete the people can seek a return on that investment. So half trained people with little underlying knowledge train beginners, who train beginners. We can see where that leads to by looking at the chaotic state of the new age and some would be "Spiritualist" or "Healing" centres.
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Re: Two words that don't belong together: Spiritual Capitalist

Post by Wes on Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:41 am

Interestingly I got a totally different perspective on things last night from an unexpected source.

I recently started doing some volunteer work at a neighbourhood centre and atttended its AGM last night as I had been roped into joining their management committee.

They had a guest speaker, a native of Rwanda, who spoke ten languages and spent the last 15 years working in Africa, helping the displaced and refugees settle in new environments, helping them with things we take for granted. Things like reading letters and going to a bank. It really struck me that here was someone who embodied the ideal that "service is the coin of spirit" regardless of his own spiritual leanings.

Then another guest got up and told us how she got herself off the welfare treadmill, by sheer force of will and determination that her own daughter would not have to live on the breadline, like her mother and grandmother had. Again I could see spirit at work, as she was paying this forward as she was now a social worker and author of books on how to manage money when you were on welfare.

So here we had two people that weren't trying to sell credit card spirituality, but were instead working so hard in service of spirit that it didn't matter what their beliefs were.

I ended up leaving that AGM with my head buzzing and in awe of the work that can be done for the good of all, and so much more inspired than I was on Saturday Very Happy
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Re: Two words that don't belong together: Spiritual Capitalist

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:48 am

Fantastic Wes now that was a valuable "investment" of your time
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Re: Two words that don't belong together: Spiritual Capitalist

Post by Wes on Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:58 am

Thanks Jim, and that reminds me: Relying mostly on government funding means that the centre does have a lot of tough times keeping things going, and during one such time a staff member coined the phrase "Our rewards greatly exceed our challenges" which became an unofficial motto, and would not be out of place in one of Silver Birch's books!



Last edited by Wes on Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:59 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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Re: Two words that don't belong together: Spiritual Capitalist

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:07 am

Maybe you should chat to Barry about a fundraising demo Wes
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Re: Two words that don't belong together: Spiritual Capitalist

Post by Quiet on Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:38 pm

Wes wrote:Interestingly I got a totally different perspective on things last night from an unexpected source.

I recently started doing some volunteer work at a neighbourhood centre and atttended its AGM last night as I had been roped into joining their management committee.

They had a guest speaker, a native of Rwanda, who spoke ten languages and spent the last 15 years working in Africa, helping the displaced and refugees settle in new environments, helping them with things we take for granted. Things like reading letters and going to a bank. It really struck me that here was someone who embodied the ideal that "service is the coin of spirit" regardless of his own spiritual leanings.

Then another guest got up and told us how she got herself off the welfare treadmill, by sheer force of will and determination that her own daughter would not have to live on the breadline, like her mother and grandmother had. Again I could see spirit at work, as she was paying this forward as she was now a social worker and author of books on how to manage money when you were on welfare.

So here we had two people that weren't trying to sell credit card spirituality, but were instead working so hard in service of spirit that it didn't matter what their beliefs were.

I ended up leaving that AGM with my head buzzing and in awe of the work that can be done for the good of all, and so much more inspired than I was on Saturday Very Happy

I really enjoyed this post, Wes. Yes, there are many people simply living good, kind lives in many aspects of service - volunteering, work in other churches, organisations like the CWA, just being neighbours, doing their daily jobs and so on.

Many people have similar beliefs to those of spiritualism - maybe they use different language or have different cultural understanding of what it means to be human and spirit.

I'm glad you're feeling better. So am I!

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Re: Two words that don't belong together: Spiritual Capitalist

Post by zerdini on Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:48 am

Many people have similar beliefs to those of spiritualism - maybe they use different language or have different cultural understanding of what it means to be human and spirit.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

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