gatineau morning.

gatineau morning.
photo by douglas mcarthur.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The New Age.

(first published in 2000.)

Having wrenched my knee playing basketball with boys half my age, bigger and just plain better than me, was bad enough. But, to have a Reiki treatment thrust upon me made matters a little worse. It made me cranky. 

I do believe Shelagh, a lovely twenty-year-old Australian lady, truly believed her healing vibrations would help. Unfortunately, suffice it to say I was just not open to it. She was staying with the same friends I was visiting in Chelsea, only I merely dropped in for an hour and was compelled to spend most of the time with her hand strategically placed on my knee. So there we were, my boyhood friend, his wife and I, chatting as normally as can be with a very young girl sitting next to me on the sofa with her hand on my knee. Discussing world politics just seemed strange under the circumstances. After at least twenty minutes she opened her eyes and said, "Whoosh. That was powerful. Did you feel it?" "Not really", I said, looking over at my friend, "but if you had moved your hand up a few inches I probably would have".

Where my cynicism concerning this New Age comes from is unknown to me. There’s a part of my mind, in spite of all that I’ve seen in my life, that remains more than skeptical in the face of Tibetan singing bowls, crystal healing, numerology, astrology, palmistry, tarot cards, sand-box therapy, levitation, astral travelling... I almost had a psychic girlfriend once, but she left me just before we met. I must add, however, that every now and again something happens that reminds me to never close down my subjective little mind entirely. I have often felt a vague feeling of a guiding hand in my life, never stronger than as I made my way by ‘chance’ to Wakefield.

Not long before I left India, for example, I waited in a long line to garland my teacher. It was part of a tradition in India for the occasion. I couldn’t help noticing that most people exchanged a few words with him during their turn. Some appeared to be having full-fledged talks: chatting, laughing, posing with him for the camera. I noticed how each person initiated their little interactions, so I began to wonder what I could say. It’s not usually a situation I find easy. I certainly didn’t want to be the only jerk to kneel speechless in salutation before just slithering sheepishly away.

Finally, I decided I’d simply say that he was looking especially nice and see where it would lead. As I inched towards the front of the queue I practiced my sentence over and over again inside my mind. "You’re looking especially nice today, Swamiji. You’re looking especially nice today, Swamiji. You’re looking ESPECIALLY nice today, Swamiji." It may seem slightly overdone, but I wanted the moment to go off without a hitch.

As I goose-stepped closer to the front, my sentence repeated itself in my mind almost involuntarily, more and more quickly until eventually there remained no one between us. I stepped forward with my garland: shiny purple, green and silver tinsel with its little tassel, and draped it over his head. I knelt down and was about to blurt out my icebreaker when Swamiji said, "How are your parents?" Taken quite by surprise I quickly said they were fine, a little too loudly perhaps. Then he said, "Have you heard from them lately?" I felt as though I shouted out that I’d spoken to them on the phone just recently and that they both wanted me to convey their regards. By then I was on my feet. I thought it was time to move on. Swamiji, however, asked how my cousins were since their visit to India and I turned back even more flustered and said, "They’re great. They write every day, every week, I mean every month or so". Then I began moving away when I heard Swamiji call out to me, "By the way, you’re looking especially nice today."

On the eve of the Psychic Exposition at the Ottawa Congress Centre, which I intend to check out and report back to our readers about, I offer these observations only in order to bring this great New Age into perspective. And you can believe me when I say that there’s a lot I don’t know. I don’t know how to drink a lot of booze without turning into a moron. I don’t know how to change a spark plug, or go dog -ledding, shoot a moose or build a house. But, in the field of mysticism, spirituality and especially meditation, I know a little bit.

What I want to say today is that, if at all one wants to be a great sage of this wonderful New Age, I believe the matter has everything to do with love.

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