June 9, 2024

Mood: Kan Gao - The Fiction We Tell Ourselves

I wrote a post about this on Agora Road a little while ago (not that long, but enough that it feels far for me). I talk all the time about spirituality, but honestly... I think I've lost that bone of mine. Not entirely, but most of it. Perhaps it's simply undergoing a process of shedding its old skin, but I'm a bit concerned that I might just be realizing I believed in a whole lot of bullshit and that for years, I was completely delusional. After all, insanity is one of my worst fears. Being totally insane, disconnected from reality, and not even realizing it, and worse: thinking I'm entirely sane and normal. I guess this is a safeguard against actual insanity. Healthy spirituality requires questioning, but to what extent is the whole thing even real?

The most common type of spirituality nowadays, if we don't count traditional religion, is some flavour of New Age. And boy do I know that these have a lot of insane people in them, lots of narcissists also as it's very centered on the self, but also, now that I think of it, many predatory things about it. It's the most commercialized and watered down type of spirituality, the snake oil of our modern times. I've dabbled in a whoooole bunch of it ever since I was a teenager. In these years I was mostly interested in tarot, pendulums, and crystals, as well as incense. I had a whole collection of the latter, which I kind of regret giving away now as I love crystals still. I have a few that remain, and bought a couple more along the way, but for the most part, I don't have them anymore. They make neat jewelry and decor though. I also had several tarot decks that I also gave away, my favourite having been this one (photo not by me) with cats. The art is just superb on it. Now I've got only one deck, a witch themed one, that I bought a couple years ago and haven't used in a very long time, but that is also really beautiful. Tarot decks are a work of art.

Then, in university, I learned about the Law of Attraction, then the Law of Assumption, but these horribly backfired on me each time I was attempting to use them. I would become a person I did not like. Someone entitled and narcissistic, not to mention the borderline OCD obsession with not having any 'bad' thoughts as to not 'lower my vibration' and attract even more bad things. It's roughly the same thing for both: in the Law of Attraction, you attract what is a vibrational match to you. In the Law of Assumption, things unfold based on the state you're assuming. In other words, "you get what you deserve". Best route to victim blaming. The reason why I, along with most people, wanted to practice them, was because my life had been a shit show so far, getting worse faster after the age of ten, the same patterns repeated and piled up, creating more trauma, and I wanted to get out of that cycle because each time, I felt that the next blow would be the last, that I just would not survive it.

I don't blame my younger self for falling for that, nor do I blame the others who fell prey to it: if you were under a curse and you encountered something that seemed like the key, the solution to end your curse, wouldn't you want to take it? Especially if that thing seemingly guarantees you you'll have all that you want? No more heartbreak, because you can get this person to love you and secure the relationship before it inevitably goes to shit. No more poverty. No more living in a shitty space. No more bad job or people being abusive to you. No more bad friends because if you change your thoughts, they will change, in turn, because everything is "you". Some say free will exists but other variations of the teaching say that "everyone is you pushed out". Ergo, you are the only one controlling "your" world and the people around you are simply NPCs. You see where I'm getting at? This is the perfect recipe for narcissism and entitlement. No wonder why it made me and others like that.

I would also watch a whole bunch of these YouTube tarot readings every time I was interested in a person, and while I think many of these readers do so in good faith, I think it's kind of dangerous to put something like this that can be accessed by desperate people like I was, or like many are in the comments of such videos. Some are being abused, some are being strung along, and I would say nine times out of ten, the viewer is wasting their time with the person they are inquiring about. If it wasn't the videos that fueled my tarot addiction anyway, it was my own cards that did. Those aren't good tools to be left in an anxious person's hands, especially one who has obsessive tendencies, tends to confuse love and fear and who has a gut feeling something is off without realizing it. I do sometimes still watch one but it's mostly when I'm bored and need something to listen to. I don't take these nearly as seriously as I would, because at the end of the day, it's just some video on YouTube. It's not specifically meant for me, although I might find that, for a reason or another, the description of the situation resonates with my experience, even when I have simply seen the pile from the thumbnail. It has clearly some Barnum effect at play, though, and it has details that I can leave out most of the time. But again, it's not some tarot reading online that can truly see a situation that I, as an individual, am experiencing.

Spirituality and spiritual people, I've found, are very intolerant of negativity or anything that seems to indicate that problems go deeper than simply "bad vibes". They are quite dismissive under a nice appearance and often have a selfish quality to them that makes me think I can have fun with them when I do, but that I should never expect them to ever truly care. At the end of the day, they're more concerned with sweeping their own very real issues and that of others under the rug as to maintain the illusion that all is well, and some use this as a way to avoid responsibility or worse, abuse others and getting out scot-free.

In university, when I would vent to one of my friends, she would always tell me to do meditation, that I "live too much in the mental", that I have to learn to "let go", that I should be "detached", and that by letting go you allow unconditional love into your life or whatever else was about unconditional love. "Deepak Chopra did a 21 day program for this", I don't remember what, but what I do remember is how frustrated I felt. What I needed was not meditation and I knew it in the heart of my hearts. It was for someone to listen to me, to tell me that I was not going insane, that I was not bad for experiencing what I was, that my heartbreak was real. In other words: genuine connection with another human being. Not some... pseudo-remedy.No amount of meditation or good vibes or "letting go" can cure complex trauma, from which stems a good dose of anxiety and depression, and the crippling sense of loneliness that trauma and constant rejection creates.

That girl had a dreamcatcher in her room, and I kinda very much dislike it when someone who knows nothing about the culture from which this very item originated has one proudly hanging in their car, or their room, or whatever. Whether it's a dreamcatcher or a Buddha head in your garden, or another cultural item that shouldn't be commodified, it sure feels a lot like something I hate naming because of the overuse of the term, but that fits perfectly: cultural appropriation. At the end of the day, though, the result was the same: she was not listening to me. She had her own issues, obviously, and possibly more than I even did, but it was still dismissive of her, and she even disrespected me twice when I invited her to my dorm room, which led me to stop talking to her.

I have another friend to mention here, in the present this time. The guy with whom I'm doing the radio thing. He also happens to be a whole lot into spirituality. But the more time passes, the less I feel I can actually trust him to be an actual friend in the long run. He's all about a self-help book called the Four Agreements. (Also happens to be into polyamory and the recent emissions talked about LGBT rights, activism against homophobia and transphobia and such... and I'm feeling a little less sure, because I fear potential abuse now in case I express how I feel about a portion of the T community and the whole QIAP+... and what I truly think of the whole thing in general, but that's for another day)

Basically, this book supposedly is based on ancient Toltec wisdom that puts us on the path of freedom, love, and happiness. This already feels a little suspicious to me as anything that has these words already feels like it's going to be some oversaccharine thing that they just want to sell you, but that at the end of the day is just... watery soup, kind of. You think you're getting actual stew when in fact you just have some sad soup. Anyway. From the perspective of Ruiz, our life is determined by "agreements" that we made to ourselves, the world, other people, society... and that it basically determines every detail. Okay, I can see this linked with core beliefs, and such. The fluff is just not needed though. The two agreements that really make my alarm bells go loud are the second and third.

Second agreement: "Do not take anything personally".
While yes, a lot of the things people do should not be taken personally as it is fueled by their own issues, or perceptions, or simply expectations, there are times where it should be taken personally. If you have behaved selfishly, insensitively, inconsiderately, or in any way that grants valid anger and criticism from the other person, you entirely SHOULD take it personally. Criticism can help us grow. The people who care about you will tell you when they don't agree with something you are doing and it may very well be something that is either harmful or just plain disagreeable for the other person.

If, I'll take an example from my friend that I kind of gently nudged about, you wait until the last possible moment to send me the emission's script when I told you that I heavily dislike working on my phone, and that I have to take the bus long in advance and thus cannot access my computer, that is something that grants criticism and valid one at that. It's not that it's harmful to me but it's just plain annoying. (We did prepare other future emissions in advance, though, but for time-sensitive stuff, I just expect to be replied to or given info at the last minute) Telling people not to "take anything personally" basically allows you to be an abusive asshole and then, when the person retaliates or calls you out, tell you that "oh that's your problem if you take it personally". Not a fan.

Third agreement: "Do not make any assumptions".
This sounds like the perfect "getting out of jail card" of a narcissist or just of an asshole. The hangup I have with this one is a lot like the last line of the paragraph above. When you stand up to a bully, they can just turn it back around you and say that you're the one assuming that they are purposely trying to mess with you, thus blaming you for your reaction, and reinforcing the bully-victim dynamic. There are also times, many times, when these "assumptions" are correct, and in bullying or abusive situations, sadly, this is one of these times. This agreement is the gaslighter's golden ticket, in other words. You're the one who assumed, you're the one not doing it right, meanwhile I am just doing my thing and I am not responsible for what you assume. You see now why I'm a bit warier of my friend now: something tells me that in a tricky situation, he might use the Four Agreements card against me. Not that it will necessarily happen, but I'm not going to invest in this friendship beyond something casual-ish (and collaborative, as my rubric in the radio emission will last until sometime in 2025). I just smell the potential for spiritual bypassing and possible backstabbing.

In general, I cannot say I'm a big fan of these spiritual self-help books. Their popularity does not help: the popularity of such a work isn't an indicator of its quality, but rather, of how marketable it is, and spirituality is something that can be very easily sold. As I said earlier, many people are suffering, some have been for many years and don't see a way out, and if given a key to end this suffering, will take it. But those, even before I read them, feel already very watered down and full of platitudes. The little I see of them just makes me roll my eyes and not much want to buy into it. Only rarely have I dug a popular book, like The Body Keeps the Score, but this specific book was more focused on trauma rather than spiritual stuff. It wasn't about enlightenment or mindfulness or whatever bullshit, but it was about healing and recovery.

Now, for another teaching. I was very into the Michael teachings. It has existed since the 1970s I reckon, though the entity in channeling "claims" that they (not as in gender neutral, but as it's supposedly an entity consisting of 1050 fragments that have cycled off and gone to the causal plane, a step higher than the astral) have been channeled in different forms since they stopped incarnating. I ordered a chart as to get my profile, and it overall fits me pretty well. The person who did so did not know about who I was, so I assume it's pretty valid. My soul is unsurprisingly of the artisan type, pretty old, and I happen to have overleaves (traits) that are difficult, as well as be from an entity that is known for its sensitivity. Sounds okay. Now if it just sticks to the basic teachings, nothing suspicious or bad. It's when you go into the communities and the more extended channelings that it gets bad, specifically one that I will not name but that is pretty prominent.

The channel is said to be the "most accurate channel" of all of the Michael channels... that already sets off my radar, but this guy is also a staunch vegan, leftist, and his entire personality revolve around that + the fact he's gay, and needless to say I'm glad I'm far away from this fuck as just talking about him gets me all riled up. The community is a "family", red flag number two, and you're not allowed to express any other opinion than woke leftist and it's pretty much a huge echo chamber, red flag number three and four. Also, found an old thread from an external person on an external forum inquiring about the teachings because his friend started getting into them and seemed to have changed a lot, and at some point the dude came in and said a whole lotta stuff about channeling, trying to explain it, but would evade a lot of questions that people asked... the thread is old as balls but still, I guess it hasn't changed today.

The channeling, of course, is very pro vegan, pro "being on the right side of history" whatever that means, pro woke and leftist, strangely enough if you're friends with our dear guy you seem to have a bunch of named historical lifetimes. It just seems like this channeling is very coloured by his own beliefs and relationships with others overall, but no one seemed to really raise the topic. I would be okay with channeled info if it didn't directly concern him, but as soon as there's the potential to get some bleed-through from his beliefs... nope, I'm not buying it anymore. I did consider going vegan during this period but the first thing I did was to look up ex-vegans because I had a feeling this couldn't last a lifetime, and there's no way I'm risking my health for a cause that, at the end of the say, is not just an incredibly unnatural way to eat as we are not herbivores, but also has the worst fucking cultish community.

On a collective level we're supposedly now in a Mature Soul paradigm and moving away from the oh awful Young Soul paradigm, where exploitation runs rampant, where it's all about gaining wealth, oppression, and all! And close to the manifestation of the Infinite Soul which would cause a wave of awareness or whatever, because the world is just in such a bad state, you know. This just gives me second coming of Jesus vibes. It's not much different from all these spiritualities that say we are in a dark period and that soon enough things will improve, that the future is beautiful, peaceful, and that everyone lives in harmony without violence... the Age of Aquarius horseshit, and such... you know, it's like the apocalypse, we're always on the cusp of it and have been since the dawn of time, but the supposed even never comes. According to a recent energy report that I've seen thrice by three different people, "the world is starting to move away from using violence", or getting disillusioned with violence and war, and supposedly we move towards a world that has no violence at all... but I think that's impossible. Violence is a part of human nature and very much needed in certain contexts.

Back to the teachings and the community I mentioned, I never quite found my place and I was always in a bad mood when going there. It was just bringing out the worst in me. I would share only to feel incredibly uncomfortable and ending up wiping out my publications little by little as to leave next to no trace. (The site on which I signed up has since been wiped out and the community migrated to another, so I'm good.) I had this urge to troll, which isn't a good sign, though I never acted on it. I felt like a huge sociopath in the midst of these supposedly more compassionate and inclusive people... but now that I'm away from it, I know that I'm not a sociopath at all. I just saw through how fake all of this was. It felt like a cult, or at least a cultish branch of the teachings. I think I sensed that there was manipulation and gaslighting at play and that's why I was so stirred up. I get this with many communities that are supposedly "kind" and "safe spaces", and "compassionate", this feeling that something is off deep down, and oftentimes, I'm proved right one way or another.

A general rule is, if you're a good person, you don't need to say you're a good person. If you need to, that's a sign you might not be.

Anyway. I don't know what will become of my spirituality. It's been a while since I first expressed it and I'm not sure where it will go. As I said, it might just be that I'm shedding what no longer serves me and that I will find something that fits better. It might just also be that I'm becoming a cynical old wench when I haven't even turned 25 yet. I still do believe in reincarnation and such, although I honestly am not fully sure about these beliefs anymore either... but there are still things that sometimes make me feel there is something beyond the physical. I know there is, but it seems like my ability to see these things and playing with them, or just appreciating them, has been squashed. I don't want to believe in spiritual connections with other people anymore because it feels like it's going to hurt me again. I'm afraid of being delusional and creating whole stories that at the end of the day are not just fiction, they are complete lies and will harm both myself and others, perhaps for a long time. Those things are not to be messed with. They are to be handled carefully because the line between spirituality and mental illness, or spirituality and manipulation/marketing, seems incredibly thin, and the area between the two feels foggier than a December morning.

I guess that indeed, true spirituality is something you discover on your own... hopefully without falling down a cliff into a pit of madness.