Nov 02, 1997 12:23 PM
by Titus Roth
firstname.lastname@example.org (Thoa Tran) wrote
> I dread attending "New Agey" groups because of the pious atmosphere. It's
> usually in such atmosphere that I feel my "shadow", horns and goatee
> growing, and evil mischievousness. I would rather hang out with people who
> are totally themselves and see the sacred in them. Oh well, maybe I would
> never be in a spiritual group, only in the spiritual group of mankind.
> Now, I bet HPB would be one interesting woman to observe.
Welcome back, Thoa! Without you there's been no one to give me a hard time. ;)
Well, at least not with the flash and flair you do. ;) Tease. Tease.
I have also seen that kind of "piety" and share your disdain for it. But let
me talk about the flip side.
For the last few years I've observed a kind of worshipful or sabbath day on my
own, though at intervals (usually when travelling), visiting other
groups. From what I've seen there are three kinds of piety: the frozen,
plastic, hypocritical kind; an "honest hypocritical" kind (how's that for an
oxymoron?); and genuine kind.
Before I describe them I'll add that my conclusions come from a fair amount of
observation. A sample of the groups I've visited: Roman Catholic, Islamic,
Methodist, Swedenborgian, Thai Buddhist, Unity, Ramakrishna Order Vedantin,
Synagogues, Southern Baptist, Tibetan Buddhist, Science of Mind, Russian
Orthodox, Self Realization Fellowship, Manly P. Hall, Anglican, Ananda, Sai
Baba, ... etc ... etc.
Most of them I wouldn't go back to, but some have an admirable presence to
them - usually in the congregation, not the leadership.
Amidst the babbling New Agey's I've met people with a contageous and genuine
reverence. They spark some kind of remembrance or knowing in the soul. These
are the types you hope would be on the altars. Appreciation for that genuine
kind of reverence in a receptive person prompts a clumbsy attempt to recover
and apply that knowing. This is what I called, improvising on the spot,
"honest hypocrisy". Like the inferior function described by Jung, the
undeveloped clumbsy faculty seeking to come out contains the richest seeds of
new growth and original creation. Unlike the polished but well-worn superior
function, it abounds in new possibilities. But it is initially awkward.
Imagine what an olympic racer looked like when he or she rode their first
The genuine and the "genuine imitation" are different from the out and out
hypocritical. For every good thing, there seems to be a force that seeks to
cheapen it and pervert it. I think this must be what the Valentinian Gnostics
called the Antimimon Pneumatos or counterfeit spirit. The moment an esoteric
truth becomes exoteric, there is always the cheap imitation coming forth. Part
of the price you pay, but the "genuine imitation" turning into genuine makes
it worth it.
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