Woo Woo – Metaphysical Conspiracy Theories
Many years ago I did something that was (probably) morally wrong, but it was something that I wanted to try. In truthfulness, I am glad I did as my social experiment on the unwary gave me the results that I suspected it might, even if it did kinda made me a wanker.
This was at a time when I was facilitating ‘spiritual’ workshops regularly and this workshop in particular, had around 20 participants.
I was guiding a mediation and without doing anything, I told the participants that I was channeling some (made up) cosmic energy into the room which they would feel first in their stomachs before it spread throughout their bodies.
All was silent.
Then, one woman started swaying. And moaning. Swaying some more and generally making it obvious to the room that she could ‘feel it’.
Then someone else.
Within a few minutes, most of the room was experiencing this cosmic non-existent energy resonating through them.
When everybody was all done and finished describing their experiences amongst themselves, there were two women who said that they didn’t feel anything.
Fuck, I felt really bad at this point. Because the two who didn’t feel anything, were the only two who were in touch with what was really going on – nothing. As much as I wanted to tell them this and congratulate them, I couldn’t say anything, and they probably left that afternoon feeling all sad and deflated – when in essence, they were the most in-tune.
For a few years before this incident, I was concerning myself with things that I ought to know better about – that being woo-woo metaphysics. The aspect which concerns itself with the power of crystals, chakras, cosmic energies, past lives, extraterrestrials, channeling, divination and things that generally make people’s eyes roll.
I’m not saying that these things are not real, but what I took issue with was the way that these philosophies were being sold, and respectively, how others were buying into them.
I would consider myself one of life’s observers, and the more I could see others giving their power away to these external tools, the more cynical I became. I could see that woo-woo was dressed up as ‘spirituality’, almost like a badge of honour. I could see that this new ’spirituality’ wasn’t actually that spiritual at all, is full of judgment and worse still, ego. I saw that others were quick to believe anything, defend their positions and became righteous over others if they didn’t share the same set of principles.
More importantly, I saw how the market was reacting to this, what was being offered and how quickly people bought into things that can only be described as total bollocks.
Back then, (the mid 90’s), there were weekend workshops galore on anything you could imagine, from learning how to channel Zog from the planet Zoig, from aligning your chakras. You always walked away from any workshop with a nice, freshly printed certificate from Microsoft Word. If you were truly (un)lucky, it may of even have been printed in the Comic Sans font. As a side note, at that time, there was one guy giving workshops on living an eternal life – yes, he was actually teaching people how to live forever. Sadly, said guy, was killed in a car crash on his journey in. True story. I bet the room full of awaiting participants was deflated somewhat on learning that irony.
Anyway. I took issue with the headlines. Headlines that still attract participants to seminars and workshops today, though we just know them as clickbait now. The ‘Learn the magic codes’, ‘unlock ancient knowledge’, and there is usually an activation somewhere.
I was good friends and still is, with a well known workshop facilitator. When I say well known, I mean this guy is extremely well known within these circles. He has been public for around 30+ years with a following in the tens of thousands worldwide. I asked him why he thought so many feel the need to be activated in some way. Whether that’s having their DNA activated, their abundance centre activated or anything else you can dream up. His reply was that lots of people like to give their power away, they feel better to pay money to get someone else to ‘flick the switch’ and do the work for them, and I feel he was right.
My friend then went on to say something profound. Well, profound to me. Remember, this guy was/is one of the big names in the field, and at the time I looked up to him with my fresh, doey, sparkling eyes. He said “I teach discernment. I basically tell people what they want to hear, throw some keywords around and pretend to channel something”. And this guy is loved for it. So much so, that he has been continually booked up for decades, flipping from country to country selling his snake oil.
My cynicism was now set in, which led to my own social experiment above.
I have long had the thought that Buddha didn’t sit under the Bodhi tree for 39 days and wonder why nothing was happening. He didn’t have a sudden realisation that he needs his DNA activated and run off to have some guy waving a crystal wand over him. He didn’t run back to the same tree waving his certificate around and he didn’t meld into full realisation because of it.
We don’t need this bullshit. We simply don’t.
I now put woo-woo down to three main things:
Beliefs are a weird substrata of the mind. Something doesn’t have to be true for us to believe in it. We could surmise that a lot of our own internal issues are having some core belief about ourselves which is not true. “I am worthless”, “I don’t deserve this great thing that is happening in my life”. Not true, but we believe them anyway to our detriment.
I find woo-woo to be filled with beliefs, which are based off what exactly?
Faith is the cornerstone of every religion. Yet this faith has been passed down through generations for so long, that to a lot of people, it is a natural part of the psyche. Many of us were indoctrinated from birth and faith is something that is sometimes never questioned. Almost a birth right.
Woo-woo seems to be able to invoke this unquestionable faith in a very short amount of time. Where someone had no idea of its existence one minute, suddenly believe in anything you can throw at them the next. Woo-woo seems to be the metaphysical version of conspiracy theories, and people defend them rigorously.
Obviously this new found woo-woo seems to be filling a hole that is sorely missing in other areas of life and is the main driving force for the market in general. When people become like sponges for new beliefs, the market is ready to supply them with just that, which is why my friend is so accommodating and also so successful and why most participants reacted to my made-up energy experiment in my workshop. People seem to be desperate to believe.
Ancient teachings that have been around for thousands of years become adapted, as new, self-proclaimed ‘teachers’ emerge with their new ‘spin’ on things. As we know through marketing, to stand out in a crowded market, it is usual practice to have a unique selling point, and all too often, bullshit is made up, unicorns become real and suddenly everything gets a bad name and it all becomes a bit ridiculous.
Yet, believers keep believing.
Case in point is chakras; the energy centres of the body, first brought to use via Eastern spiritual traditions. Even here we can see discrepancies as to what they are or how many we have. Buddhist texts consistently mention five chakras, while the Hindus offer six or even seven, and this is fine. I am not arguing that chakras are real or not, however, what I am arguing is those who then adapt, add to, teach about, or worse, tell others how theirs are effected, when they have no direct knowledge or experience of them themselves. Traditional teachings, brought to us via centuries of dedicated practice still can’t agree as to how many there are, yet the new teacher, trying to make a name for himself with a shitty marketing tactic, is now teaching his version of 22, 50 or whatever number chakras in the body, as the traditional amount is no longer good enough. Its all bollocks, which leads to others believing this made up cack but more importantly, also some book sales or bums on seats in his seminars.
To have any belief is fine, but we should really ask ourselves why we choose to believe what we do. Which leads me onto my next point.
When we feel the need to be a part of something out of the ordinary, we can experience righteousness and a sense of superiority. Looking back, it was the esoteric side of things that drew me into the whole arena, to begin with. If I am completely honest with myself, in my eyes, having some knowledge that not a lot of other people knew, made me feel all special and fuzzy.
We can become identified with what woo-woo is linked to and want others to see this in us – spiritual. It’s a projection. Do we really need to have profile pictures of ourselves meditating?
This is also where righteousness can sneak in, feeling pity for the unawake masses, trying to get the population of the planet, all 7.5 billion of them, to raise their vibration.
Oh, how dramatic.
This is the most dangerous and damaging issue. Using a lot of philosophies that woo-woo can muster, actually takes us away from what it is that we are actually trying to achieve,
For example; manifestation, creating your reality, the law of attraction, abundance or whatever else you’d like to call it. We can attend as may workshops we like, we can lean all of the ‘secret codes’ that we can get our hands on, and we can study the ancients (particularly those who never existed) but the bottom line is, manifestation, like a lot of end results, actually come from within. No weekend workshop will change your core beliefs about yourself and your relationship to abundance. If you do not believe in yourself and your worth from a deep psychological place, no wand waving will ever fix that. Ever.
This is wanting it all but avoiding the actual real work at all costs.
I’m not here to slate any particular philosophy. You can believe what you like. The point I am making is that through my own experience, the longer I have been involved with this work the more that I have come to realise that any outcome that a lot of us strive for is actually rooted in psychology rather than a channelling book.
My own journey began with the paranormal, which took me into divination and weird shit. I’ve sat with some great channels and have had some deep conversations. This led me into a deeper spirituality, into eastern philosophies in particular, and from there, the mind/heart connection and into the psychological arena. Thought all of this, my observations always had one eye on the bullshit. If things didn’t feel right it was discovering why it didn’t.
It all simply comes down to doing the inner work. The hardest work of all.
Personally, I would now much rather read and study professionals. Brene Brown, Jordan Peterson et all. I am too wary of new age publishing, the main area of the industry which is market driven, outputting not necessarily what is needed, but rather, what is wanted. The other point I take issue is, is god only knows where half of these authors come from. These days, if you have a large social media following, anyone can have a go.
Housewife Maggie, sat in her kitchen, writes a book on her latest realisation (which would soon to be surpassed with another as she grows) which is then picked up by countless others who base their life off it is not necessarily for the greater good.
It’s fine to feel that if someone resonates with a particular teaching, they should follow them, but I find often, new age publishing is based more around making people feel good temporarily. This temporary feel good factor is like a sugar fix. Feels awesome in the moment, it soon wears off, and is actually pretty shitty for you in the long run.