ABOUT SPIRITUAL FAIRS AND CONGRESSES
The latest discoveries in science tend to corroborate age-old metaphysical principles and conscientious researchers in both fields are keen to integrate them into our world. Equally avid, imitators, attention-seekers, and marketing experts provide the public with gadgets, tricks, programs and products that simulate spiritual technology.
Gatherings organized to inform the public about the dynamics of spirit fall into two main groupings and, unfortunately, the distinction between the two kinds of activity, as well as their purpose, is often blurred. Any intelligent person who lives outside the range of the New Age mentality is bound to confuse categories and dismiss them both. Here is perhaps why.
Congresses and Conferences tend to be educational as well as informative, well documented, and often revolve around a theme. They can be as challenging as they can be boring and overly complicated. The subjects range from health research to quantum physics. During the course of a series of talks, books and subsidiary material is made available. Spiritual or “Mystical” Fairs, on the other hand are lively, eclectic and more obviously commercial, packed with booths and sideshows on every possible topic that indiscriminately capitalizes on the paranormal, the metaphysical and the so-called spiritual. The first type is considered to be serious; the second to be experiential and fun.
A few months ago, I attended one of the best-known “spiritual” fairs in the world. Many years ago I had given a conference there, but when I arrived to give my seminar this time, I found a wholly different reality.
In order to arrive at the room where I would give my presentation, I had to go past long hallways packed with kiosks overstuffed with remedies, talismans and other artifacts for sale, which varied from good and inoffensive to ridiculous. There was Indian-made clothing in brilliant textures, small exotic bottles, crystals of every size and color, cabalistic seals and other energized relics. A sort of massage table especially struck me, where people hung suspended by the legs as if in yoga posture. In others sectors, a woman who appeared to be in a trance read palms, while in an adjacent space various people who were standing with their eyes shut, stealthily imposed their hands over the heads of others seated in a row. There were also men with turbans and distinguished suits who invited the public by means of a demonstration, a computer, or a futuristic machine to a treatment, an astrological prediction, or a talisman. Meanwhile, over the loudspeaker, the spectacle of the moment, Indian drums, gongs, Atlantean chants and hodge-podge groups of musicians… frenetically pulsed over the atmosphere. It was a sort of circus and thousands of people gaily promenaded and chatted through it for various days.
The fair I am referring to is the largest in the world and the first one of its sort. It served as a model for hundreds of others that today take place everywhere. Healing methods, entertainment, complex concoctions of somewhat tasteless soy products, and energy (aura) clearing is mistakenly linked to spirituality. Actually what transpires within it has more to do with technical advice, decorative artifacts, momentary highs, and lots of visual appeal. What is sold is “possibility” and trinkets to keep people busy thinking they are being spiritual. Surely there is a better and more elegant way of informing the public of people and products that facilitate perception and experience of the spiritual world.
More recently I was a presenter at a Conference, perhaps the most sophisticated gathering of New Age speakers at the moment. The level of camaraderie among the presenters themselves and between them and the audience was exceptional. There was evident self-promotion and sometimes it fell into the trap of trying to outdo the other, but without any negative intention. Rather than the showmanship of fairs, there was humor and anecdotal remarks that sparked interest and personal relevance. Some of the speakers offered clear information and formulas for self-betterment, appealing to the linear mind, to analysis and evaluation. They were well researched, original, and backed by known scientific and literary quotes. Others added a combination of simple, immediate experience that enamored the public. Still others created a very tangible space for the participant to integrate personal life experience. At every point an appeal was made to understand the variants that global consciousness offers to those with eyes to see and ears to hear.
Sometimes the information was unnecessarily dense. For the participant, going beyond the glitter of intellectual excellence and gauging what was best for them was often challenging. Different levels of information were passed and the audience could not always have the time necessary to assimilate it all. It was also difficult to amalgamate or to choose among speakers who skillfully and intelligently informed the public, and teachers whose personal touch addressed individual experience and implementation in everyday reality. Without a balanced individual Reality Check, blind acceptance or fervent emotional adoration always clouds judgment.
An open mind is confused with an open heart. Most people who attend such meetings usually go to find answers without having carefully formulated their questions beforehand. Our global culture, for all its advancement, does not instill inner discernment for the simple reason that it is not profitable. Even at the very best of events there is commerce.
Expansion of Consciousness and the evolution of humanity is not only the task of organizers and speakers. As a society, we are not helping a participant who goes home with too many answers and allegiances. It is everyone’s concern. We need to develop and transmit a better quality of perception, sensitivity and a clear sense of personal responsibility.
Whether it is information, exploitation, seduction, persuasion, emotional manipulation, phenomenological illusion, or mysterious bewitching… It is perhaps time that we drew a clear line of distinction between what titillates intellect, feelings and senses, and what speaks to soul, what is “interesting” or even “fascinating” and what is of immediate personal, social and global relevance.
It is a humbling lesson and sometimes scary to be in the position to speak and help. Everyday adds to the tremendous weight of guiding, revealing, sharing insights and solutions. People respond to different needs and should be entitled to approach solutions in whichever manner suits them. My heart goes out to them and to organizers who truly care about quality.
Now, is the attraction exerted by an event of such importance as the inner life and outer integration of our world for the information it may provide (suggesting the accumulation of knowledge for itself), or is it is for transformational experience that opens new perspectives? Sometimes the purpose is for the promise of some future miracle that might occur effortlessly.
My last word is for the public. Whatever the level of the event, please evaluate your filters and the kind of receptivity you have. Know that often you understand what you wish to understand, and rather than sense the meaning behind the presentations you may be attracted to formulas and dreams that have nothing to do with your everyday reality and how you live your world in your body, in your feelings and in your mind. Discernment is your duty as well as your basic human right. No illumined speaker or extraordinary event can give you discernment.