Unfailing honesty is the key to all the introspective pathways. A mystic who is not willing shine the light of truth upon himself is likely to fall prey to delusion. I recall vividly the first time I spoke to one of my main inspirations as a mystic, Leonard Jacobson. I first met Leonard in 1993 in Byron Bay in northern New South Wales, Australia. Byron Bay is a New Age Mecca (a little like Sedona in Arizona). Leonard told me one thing I have never forgotten – that there is no greater world of delusion than the world of fortune tellers and channellers. Four years later when I worked with a spiritual group in New Zealand doing intensive healing work, my teachers were very strict in checking the veracity of almost everything that occurred. When someone came forth suggesting that a particular teaching or idea had merit, they would check the ‘energy’ on it: the level of truth. This was done both with intuition, and with the Quick Check, which is one of the Integrated Intelligence (INI) Tools I outline in Discover Your Soul Template. We found that the most difficult people to deal with were spiritual teachers, because their attitude tended to be rigid: “I already know all this stuff.” Rather than relax and allow deeper truths to emerge, they tended to create dramas. They tended to have a strong need for power and control.
The reason I mention this is that a few nights ago I watched an excellent documentary, Derrren Brown, Messiah. Brown is a magician who specialises in debunking paranormal and spiritual claims. The documentary is worth watching because it demonstrates how easily many people in the New Age movement are fooled. They are easy to deceive because they often do not question the truth of the mystical and supernatural concepts they come across, and the result is that their worldview can become heavily distorted by delusion.
This is why I am recommending you watch the video. Brown successfully deceives several noted New Age teachers and authors, by claiming to have mystical abilities (in fact he has none). He impersonates a UFO abductee, and successfully gets an expert in the field to endorse him. A gathering of spiritualists are easily worked over by Brown, as he convinces them that he is talking with their dead friends and relatives. He even “sells” an empty metal box to a leading New Age publisher, telling her that it can catch her dreams.
Needless to say this may be uncomfortable viewing for all people involved in spiritual circles.
Derren Brown does throw the baby out with the bathwater, however. Many of cognitive abilities and mystical realities that lie behind New Age and alternative philosophies are genuine. I have seen that clearly for myself; and if you have read any of my books or read my blog for any length of time you’ll know where I am coming from. So I am not advocating extreme scepticism as the preferred path in life. The extreme skeptic refuses to relax and allow the intuitive mind to lead. A “rational” mystic leads with the right brain, but permits a space for the critical faculties to sift through all the information and experience that comes his/her way. The extreme skeptic simply refuses to cede any control at all to the intuitive mind, and typically becomes lost in dissociation, unable to connect with the human spirit.
The key is finding the right balance. In the end, my preferred state of being is relaxing in presence; and in such a state spiritual beliefs are not so important. Genuine understandings are, but it isn’t necessary to know all the secrets to life, the universe and everything.
Keeping all this in mind, I present Derren Brown’s documentary, below.