Irony is a wonderful bitch.
I recently shared a blog entry on Facebook by someone who was tired of being told by others how to live a healthier life (click here for the original entry). I did it because I found the argument compelling: all these people who claim to have seen God, or to have found the truth in some religious or spiritual practice, to which they want you to now subscribe, are creepy. They are annoying, insecure converts, whose only sense of accomplishment comes from forcing more people to resemble them.
I know. I used to be one of them. I went to the life-enhancing seminars and saw the light and pushed other people to see it too. It didn’t work because I failed to see that what constituted a solution for me was not necessarily an option for others.
I alienated many people before realizing this.
I have since that time stopped trying to “save” people. I find no pleasure in it, no meaning whatsoever. When I do try to persuade someone of something, I have no false impressions about it anymore. I am aware that I am exercising my power over them in the name of whatever it is I am trying to accomplish. I may care about them, but I am well aware that what is driving me, and what is being served through the influence I apply, is not love, but power glossed over with shiny varnish.
True love is allowing people to follow their own paths, for better or worse
I now personally believe that true love is allowing people to follow their own paths, for better or worse. It is being there for them in case they falter, offering advice or help when asked for it, intervening only when absolutely necessary, and minding my own business at all other times. I don’t give a shit about anyone’s inner peace because I am not pretentious enough to pretend to know what that even means.
A few hours after sharing blogger’s ‘don’t give a shit about your inner peace’ entry on my Facebook wall — an article with which I disagree on many points by the way, but which I found useful in that it pointed out the inanity of the ‘guru culture’ — I received a comment from an old acquaintance of mine. She wasn’t impressed by my stance. She told me to “grow up, bro,” then posted a link to a 90-minute lecture by some obscure guru on how the body is the ‘holy land.’
This horrendous video — I mean, truly appalling — was followed by another one, Part 2 of lecture Holy Cannoli by Dr. Gesundheit — another 90-minute recording — and was succeeded by another comment that simply said, ‘With Love!’
Hmm. Dare I call this reaction self-involved and condescending!? How about impractical? Illogical? Pedantic! How about the fact that I would have appreciated the comments, though I wouldn’t have watched the video. There’s better ways to spend three hours of my life than listening to some crackpot crack his pot in front of the camera. I’d rather watch and discuss Eat, Pray, Love (an excellent movie — haven’t read the book), or attend a music concert where I would most definitely feel the vibrations of people coming together, grooving into form, united by the beat — activities seriously new-aged-slash-hippie but cool, instructive, most certainly fulfilling, and much more enticing than watching a partially-digested mashup of theories by an obscure and silly version of Reverend Jim. I would have taken in the feedback from my acquaintance, even tolerated the ‘grow up, bro’ comment (seriously, what the hell was that?) — I would have done all that, responded positively to the whole thing, had it not been for the sign-off at the end. ‘With Love.’
Is that how utterly scared of their shadow some people are?
With Love! How pathetic. Is that how utterly scared of their shadow people are? Deluding themselves that whatever they do serves some god-designed notion of Karma, which can be invoked by simply sending out bubbly thoughts, or signing off ‘With Love’ to gloss over everything they say?
The irony did not escape me. My old acquaintance revealed to me in front of everyone how self-involved and fickle the practice of saving others is.
I responded with the simple comment, ‘Your body may be heaven incarnate, but the point is still the same.’
To which she responded with, ‘If I were you I would not hurry to answer bro,’ followed by a pink heart!
‘Ditto,’ I said, unwilling to take part in any more conversation.
New Age love! I can certainly live without it.
The original article first appeared in Urban Times.