COSMIC YUPPIES IN AN AGE OF "EXUBERANT RELIGIOSITY"
By Debra Rae
April 6, 2007
As rightly observed by Peter L. Berger in The Chronicle of Higher Education, our purportedly rational age is distinguished, ironically so, by �exuberant religiosity.� Susan Graham Mathis agrees. A Focus on the Family publication (October 2005) uncovers her first hand experience with nontraditional religious thought by means of college physical education classes, special library offerings, and adult exercise programs.
Myself a nostalgia-free �boomer,� I bid adieu relatively unscathed to the mystically propelled, flower-power sixties. A recent perusal of Martha Stewart�s �whole living� magazine, however, resurrected my recollection of that era�s trappings. Page after page blended Eastern thought with Western ethic. It�s as if the sixties were recycled and repackaged, now targeting an older audience�no longer the stereotypically blurry-eyed, posy-pushing hippies of yesteryear.
Even Valley Medical Center in King County, Washington offers its patients empowerment sessions to �meet their spirit guides� and, thereafter, live �a life of joy, health, and prosperity.� With this in view, Transcendental Meditation, holistic health practices, dream work, guided imagery, life-force teachings, and the like entice an unexpected audience of career-focused, SUV-driving yuppies.
Case in point: Just outside our local athletic club, I recently met and greeted a charming, middle-aged man known, years earlier, as a regular attendee at neighborhood pee-wee softball games. His �go, team� sweatshirt and baseball cap testified to proud, hands-on parenting, as did the sparkle in his eyes while he recounted his daughter�s achievements as a college co-ed.
In a friendly gesture, David offered his calling card, billing himself as an Opti-Mystic (not to be confused with an optometrist or ophthalmologist). Instead, David is available by appointment for private or group �ascensions� up seven rungs of the so-called universal ladder. However unexpected, his brand of nouveau spirituality reflects the �exuberant religiosity� shared by growing numbers of mid-life cosmic yuppies among us.
Sure enough, my new acquaintance David�s friendly image graces his home page at consciousness.com. With legs crossed in what appears to be yoga fashion, David warmly welcomes visitors to this site.
No doubt with genuineness, David apologizes should any unforeseen hindrance prevent honest seekers from �understanding and benefiting� from the esoteric philosophy he offers. Though arcane, the essence of David�s message is relatively simple. That being, human destiny is achieved, not according to tenets of biblical Christology, but rather by conscious ascension through centrifugal fields of energy called �aziums.�
White-and-black symbols prominently superimposed on his chest speak to David�s other-worldly leanings. The most universally recognized among them represents infinity (or eternity).
In specific reference to optics, �infinity� by definition describes an infinitely distant point sufficiently far from a lens or mirror so that the light it emits falls in parallel rays. Presumably, the point at which parallel rays take form represents spiritual alignment. This is characterized by a golden era of pseudo-peace and brotherhood�that is to say, a sort of �heaven on earth,� compliments of illumined �celestial humanity.�
Prominently displayed in one oval of that infinity symbol is the letter �M� with arrow, which in hermetic thought signals union. The other oval showcases a spiral symbol representative of pantheism, belief that �all-is-god� (self included). Although these symbols likely represent the Opti-Mystic�s yoking with the god-force within and without, David insists that the process itself is no metaphor.
Not coincidentally, the spiral symbol closely resembles the Eye of Horus, son of Isis (ancient Egyptian goddess of nature) and Osiris (god of understanding or illumination). Occultists broadly accept that, through this motif, Satan imparts mystical wisdom, enlightenment, illumination. In fact, union with Lucifer is the fifth and final step in occult initiation�not a thing with which to toy.
To the illumined Freemason, rediscovering �the lost Word� is to possess the divine self, or Christ-state. It is to wield �the key of the phenomena of nature,� also a classic witchcraft definition. Today�s new-age mystic attains to Christ-, cosmos-, or group- consciousness by becoming one with the universe, hence one with God.
Cosmologist Daniel Quinn clearly differentiates Daoism and other eastern philosophies from western thinking: Whereas westerners try to conquer nature, easterners try to understand and live in balance with it. This may sound reasonable until one examines tenets of today�s trendy eco-theology.
You see, eco-theologians insist that Gaia-Mother Earth deserves apology for human damages inflicted. Earth servitude�even to the point of worship�follows. Accordingly, director of the National Park Service Roger Kennedy addressed the 1994 National Wilderness Conference. �Wilderness,� he postulated, �is a religious concept that should be part of our religious life.�
In the introduction to Goddess Spirituality for the 21st Century: from Kabala to Quantum Physics (1997), Judith Laura offers a two-fold metaphysical base of goddess spirituality�first, the Kabala; next, cosmology said to mirror �matrifocal mysticism��i.e., Gaia-Mother Earth spirituality.
Using numerical associations, as did Babylonians and Greeks, the Kabala explains the Old Testament from a mystical, even magical point of view. In so doing, it is rightly compared to Egyptian and Tibetan Books of the Dead.
Compliments of Egyptian religion, this pantheistic understanding looks to a burgeoning, bio-regionally defined trans-federal government. Terrestrially speaking, its utopian ideal gives way to biosphere reserves, connected by corridors of wilderness, which enlist at least half our �sacred� land area for unhampered, wild life migration.
Even now, the government is systematically reintroducing wolves and bears, thus displacing and endangering humans. Indeed, a prominent Green biologist by the name of David Graber assigns greater intrinsic value to the eco-system than to even a billion human bodies.
�Exuberant religiosity� serves to propel this otherwise unthinkable concept. Simply put, spiritual transcendence softens its impact. After all, celestial humanity is destined to unite with the sacred terrestrial, thus rendering humans �one� with wolves and bears�even more, one with the universe at large. In a word: problem solved.
The term �yoga� means �union with Brahma,� allegedly the divine spirit of the universe. In giving way to one�s true divine nature, the goal is samadhi or occult enlightenment accomplished by controlling vital energy (prana) in the act of breathing.
Some may be surprised to learn that virtually all standard yoga texts link psychic powers and other occult abilities with its practice. From a Bible perspective, yoking with Brahma is to be unequally yoked with unrighteousness (2 Corinthians 6:14). Divining, horoscopes, wizardry, hypnotism, and psychic services are among such �abominations� to be eschewed, not embraced (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).
Nevertheless, as meditative technique has flooded the mainstream, so have psychic phenomena. What�s not to like about Lifetime�s budding star, Lisa Williams? A bubbly, quirky, and highly likeable wife and mother, Lisa�s extraordinary readings make believers of the most skeptical among us.
Meditative practices associated with yoga feature mental passivity and mantra meditation, both of which attract even Christians who tend to be long on experience, but short on doctrine. To achieve a so-called �cloud of unknowing,� where God�s presence is thought to be waiting, those who ponder aright are instructed to �shut down� and �turn off� while whispering some supposedly sacred word. It is alleged that mystical silence requires the soul, not the mind, to contemplate God.
While rote methods, as those employed in mystical �contemplative prayer,� have become all the rage in many Christian circles, these nevertheless miss the mark. Being still before God in its truest sense is taking time to relax, ponder God�s goodness, reflect upon His Word, and acknowledge Him at work. In doing so, there is no need for altering one�s consciousness because, by its very nature, waiting on God is decidedly cognitive.
Conversely, New Age counterfeits leaven the loaf with a prescription once advanced by Harvard-trained Dr. Timothy Leary, best known for his misguided mantra, �turn on; tune in; drop out.� More often than not in bygone days, this was accompanied by chemically-induced altered states of consciousness. For many, yoga has become today�s �drug of choice.�
In exuberant pursuit of spiritual ascension, Opti-Mystics employ a homemade meditation regimen incorporating a sophisticated mix of blended heresies springing from Hinduism, Buddhism, Greek philosophy, and ancient mystery religions of the Mediterranean.
Sadly, it has become increasingly fashionable to accept that the �old age� defined by antiquated Judeo-Christian dogma must give way to a new, enlightened age promising full flowering of human potential, worldwide collaboration and, yes, world peace.
Today�s so-called �inner voice of humanity� (the universe�s alleged consciousness) begs for �a pure moment of one� when peoples of the world will hug each other innocently, deservedly, metaphysically. Toward this end, the clear boundary between physics and metaphysics is obliterated by supplanting scientific study of the universe (cosmology) with its worship (cosmolatry). In fact, the Internet is awash with cosmo-phrases that enlist a �great united voice heard everywhere.�
This touchy-feely brand of nouveau spirituality effectively hooks the curious, lured to what New Age Aquarians reference as �the inner force,� but what the Bible calls �seducing spirits.� While the Bible advances no cosmic plan for global enlightenment, collaboration, and empowerment apart from the Lord, Jesus Christ, what it does offer exceeds human imagination and desire. Ultimately, by His doing, the believer is invited to partake of the Divine nature�but only in measure and in strictest accordance with God�s plan and purposes.
Newsweek�s �Special Report: Spirituality 2005� noted that increasing numbers of Americans, especially those younger than sixty, embrace �no religious affiliation,� yet still describe themselves as �spiritual.� That is to say, the impulse to link with a higher being(s) is on the rise; at the same time creed, commandments, and ritual bite the dust. Neo-pantheistic syncretism may well appeal to seekers of meaning in a life otherwise existentially defined, but in the end revived Mediterranean mysteries produce no better fruit for 21st century mystics than they did for the ancients!
Becoming a �transformed partaker of the Divine Nature� communicates something altogether different to a New Age mystic than to a Bible-believing follower of Jesus Christ; yet a prominent, albeit ill-advised evangelist goes so far as to pair the two. Their shared mission, he contends, is no more or less than �transcendence in the midst of the mundane.� To the contrary, the Great Commission is more about evangelism, revival, and reformation.
The New Age mystic wrongly perceives God to be no more or less than the sum total of all that exists. Since energy flows through us, we are gods-in-the making. In fact, Opti-Mystics believe that the universe is a seven-tiered ladder of centrifugal energy fields. At the bottom of the ladder rests the spin of earth�at its top, expansion of the Galaxy wherein lies the divine �universal self.�
Opti-Mystic David directs followers to �unfasten their seatbelts� so as to free the intellect from �territorial entanglements.� This, he claims, eases natural alignment with �higher celestial influences.�
While notable teachers of low-rung terrestrial humanity include Christ (thrown in with the likes of Moses and Buddha), David and disciples apparently share an even higher calling. Their new revelation of Universal Azium Ascension purportedly awakens celestial humanity to capital �L�-Life in the greater universe.
In David�s view, illumined humanity occupies an �ascending place� within the universe. By applying Opti-Mystical meditative technique, those spiritually awakened accelerate conscious evolution from lower rungs of instinct and intellect through the third rung of emotion�i.e., love�and on to higher stages of spirit-consciousness.
To attain ever-ascending states of consciousness, individually or collectively, seekers commonly employ centering techniques. For more adept practitioners, the quickest way to contact one�s �spirit guide� is by means of meditative visualization, encouraging participants to create their own self-god reality�more commonly known as �visions of grandeur.�
International Women of Wisdom Foundation: Illumination Knows No Gender
�Power� can refer to godlikeness, physical might, moral vigor, ascendancy over others, autonomy, or influence. In today�s culture, it is often associated with a variety of �-isms��feminism, for one.
The empowerment principle frequently accompanies esoteric enlightenment to so-called higher consciousness. Having undergone a sort of mystical evolution, the highly evolved profess to have mastered �the self� and, in having done so, to have discovered �the god within,� as is the case with Opti-Mystics.
The inward journey in search of the so-called �higher self� and universal consciousness is by no means gender-exclusive. Jungian psychologist Marion Woodman credits the International Women of Wisdom Foundation for manifesting what she calls �the feminine side of God.� It stands to reason, then, that God likewise has a masculine side�despite His being spirit.
WOW welcomes �any woman who desires to connect with other women� and thereby �be inspired by the spirit that links us � and our ancestors before us.� In the wake of women�s liberation, girl power is said to rock.
Correspondingly, empowerment jargon drives popular talk show venues, as the Oprah show. �I am WOMAN,� �You go, girl,� �My body, my choice� all represent mantras of would-be adepts whose spirits are awakened and whose human potential is nearing full bloom.
Expressing �the Divine Feminine� may indeed transcend the mundane; however, humble submission to the Lord of lords more accurately reflects biblical perspective. In contrast, skewed �sacred secrets� advance an all-inclusive oneness principle that hints at Bible truth, but wrongly demotes God to an impersonal force while, at the same time, it promotes His creation to celestial stature.
True transcendence uplifts humanity, no matter the gender, but never forfeits God�s glory to another, certainly not to His �feminine side.� While there may be a �softer side of Sears,� the principle in no way applies to the mighty God of Holy Scripture.
The OptiMystical Universe Guide Book
Published in 1943, The Little Prince is the most famous novel of French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exup�ry. I am struck by the uncanny parallel between this prince and his worldview with respect to the image depicted on the cover of Hargrave�s OptiMystical Universe Guide Book.
Ostensibly a children's book, The Little Prince expounds profundities relating to life and love. The essence of the book is contained in this famous line: �Here is my secret. It is very simple: one sees well only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes."
Asteroid 2578 Saint-Exup�ry was named after this novel�s author who imagined himself stranded in a desert, where he met a young human-appearing, but extra-terrestrial prince. Throughout their conversations, the author revealed terrestrial follies juxtaposed against celestial possibilities.
David Hargrave contends that the OptiMystical Universe completes a trilogy preceded by Old- and New- Testaments. All three represent divine revelation, teaching humanity how to live and play�i.e., find their bliss�while stranded in some terrestrial desert, as was Saint Exup�ry. While we may appear to be human, really we are extraterrestrial princes, embryo gods as it were.
Celestial humanity experiences heaven on earth, but not without traveling the universe in bodies of light�hence, Hargrave�s tongue-in-cheek mandate: Travel Light. He assures us further that his way is a �peace of cake.� To awaken to what Hargrave identifies as �celestial humanity,� we first must explore �the gentle light of dawn,� as did Saint- Exup�ry�s little prince. While a charming concept, it is by no means grounded in reality.
All can agree that sincerity is engaging, as exuberance is compelling. My brief encounter with David was characterized by both. Unfortunately, one can be too spiritually minded to be of earthly good. Furthermore, a sincere person can be sincerely wrong.
To fall prey to New Age religiosity is to err by identifying, perhaps unwittingly, with a worldwide coalition. The burgeoning new world order is propelled by an esoteric belief system compatible with Opti-Mysticism and its ilk. Moreover, it is united by a global agenda at war with biblical Christianity and at odds with what has come to be known as the American dream.
� 2007 Debra Rae - All Rights Reserved
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Daughter of an Army Colonel, Debra graduated with distinction from the University of Iowa. She then completed a Master of Education degree from the University of Washington. These were followed by Bachelor of Theology and Master of Ministries degrees-both from Pacific School of Theology.
While a teacher in Kuwait, Debra undertook a three-month journey from the Persian Gulf to London by means of VW "bug"! One summer, she tutored the daughter of Kuwait's Head of Parliament while serving as superintendent of Kuwait's first Vacation Bible School.
Having authored the ABCs of Globalism and ABCs of Cultural -Isms, Debra speaks to Christian and secular groups alike. Her radio spots air globally. Presently, Debra co-hosts WOMANTalk radio with Sharon Hughes and Friends, and she contributes monthly commentaries to Changing Worldviews and NewsWithViews.com. Debra calls the Pacific Northwest home.
Web Site: www.debraraebooks.com