MUSINGS ON THE NEW AGE
A series of blogs of life in the world of the New Age
New Age Bad Behavior
I’m calling this post New Age Bad Behavior. Yes, it sounds judgmental. And yes, I’m pointing out behavior that, in my view, is less than spiritual by people who promote themselves as progressives in the new age. I feel I shouldn’t even have to say these things, that it would be obvious – that being said this is definitely a weird one.
Purposely sitting, poking, jumping on, or slapping someone on the head when they are meditating is not spiritual. I don’t meditate in public groups anymore – with the exception of certain, supervised seminars where I know I can trust the maturity of my fellow participants.
Meditate in groups at the beach? No.
Meditate in the lovely Hindu Temple nearby? No.
Crazy things can and have happened in unsupervised group meditations. And I’m not the only one this has happened to. I’ve been poked in the ribs, bashed in the head by an Indian woman with an oversized handbag, and leapt upon by someone thinking it was a joke to land their full weight on their ‘okole (rear end), onto my lotus crossed legs. Though they landed on me for only a few moments, it was a shock and it hurt. When you are in an altered state, having your body violated is distressing.
Sometimes, in crowded situations someone moving around can jostle you, and usually they are apologetic. This jumping on me was something else, the individual knew me, but wasn’t participating in the group meditation outside in the park. They were passing by and happened to see me.
I cannot imagine what would possess a person to purposely disrupt someone meditating – it felt like it was out of spite or malice. Sure, interrupt them if the building is on fire or there is another emergency, otherwise don’t disturb them.
After the meditation, I sought them out and said that it was disruptive and hurtful. They responded saying, “Oh, you’re just too sensitive,” and flounced off. Which is another example of what I call new age bad behavior – not taking responsibility for having negative impact on others. Not only is it not taking responsibility, it is being dismissive of the other person and their experience.
Was I angry? Yes. At the time they jumped on me I was more disoriented than anything. The anger came later with their denial of impact and dismissal of my feelings. It felt like a double violation.
At the time it happened, I wished I’d had the foresight to yell and bring attention to their actions. As it was, I was seated at the edge of the group, so no one else saw what they did. We have enough impact on each other just living our lives without purposely trying to hurt each other.
I processed my anger, got clarity and saw that, though this person had professed to be my friend, this was not an action a friend would take. I’ve since stepped back from any friendship with that individual. I needed to grow and see that I required better, more respectful friends. I shifted that part in me that felt I automatically needed to be friendly back to someone who wanted to be friends with me. I developed discernment and now wait to see if someone who says they want to be friends follows through with actions that reflect respect and trustworthiness.
Thanks for another thoughtful subject. It hits hard on my experience, not just in those kind of physical “attacks,” but more for me, in psychological ones.
I am still learning to keep myself at a distance in sharing in a group. My most recent one was in a group experience in the place we have both called our spiritual home for a time. Individuals in the group had a subject/question to raise for insights. I should have known better. I was blasted by two people who informed me that I knew all the answers to that, and was attention seeking.
Friends, no. Acquaintances for a time, but knowing when to pull back and pull up a boundary. Being referred to as a “best friend” always leads to disharmony!
You’re right: discernment is the key, and most of the time I practice that. Out here in the world in which I live, it has always been a challenge to hold my spiritual side safe from “the other side.” Always has been but I am getting better. Long ago, I discovered that the most dangerous people are/were the “spiritual” ones.
I’m glad that your world seems safer, as you said, when you stay alert and choose your friends carefully.
Love to you.
Thanks for your comments, Rachel!
For a long time I thought spiritual groups and people o=in the “new age” were more kind, compassionate and loving. It seemed spiritual people were working on their “stuff” and I always gave them the benefit of the doubt if they came across as harsh. But now, I see so mush more. Maybe it’s due to my having grown, or maybe newer kinds of people are bing drawn to the new age. I’ve encountered fewer people who have, or are willing to work on themselves, and less tolerance of others over the past few years. Some of these individuals are promoting themselves as the latest, greatest spiritual teacher – which feels like ego need to me.
A red flag for me is when I’ve newly met someone and they go off describing me as their best friend to others. Over the years, I’ve learned that friendship can start in a moment, but needs to evolve and stand the test of time. Best friends know it, they don’t need to keep saying it.
Discernment was a tough one for me to learn, and I’m still growing in it.
Love and Hugs, Back.