I used to be a closet horoscope reader, until I became a fan of Sara Beak and other "New Gurus," (so dubbed by the New York Times). Luckily for myself and the other mystic-curious out there, spirituality now seems to be evolving from the oft-laughable genre of "new age" to the wildly popular "new enlightenment." I'd conjecture the sweeping popularity of spiritualism, eastern religion, mystisicm, etc., is an obvious next step in a consumer culture that has started collapsing in on itself. And this is a good thing. While taking a stab at "yuppies" can be a quick way to attempt establishing one's own intelligence over the middle class (although, if yuppie is in your vernacular, you probably are one), I would like someone to point out the negative of people becoming more enviornmentally conscious, more thrifty with their spending, and more excited about handmade, homemade goods. If there's a line at the door outside of Ten Thousand Villages verses Pottery Barn, I'm all about it.
I also don't see any downside to women (who seem to be the largest adherents to modern spirituality) wanting to find balance in their life beyond being super woman (very stressful endeavor) and following fashion magazine dictates (is the gloss ceiling finally broken? ...sorry). Dr. Neralich always repeated to his classes that we are spiritual beings having an earthly exprerience, not the other way around, so ignoring the essential nature of humanity because it seems "silly" to many westerners, really just makes us the silly ones.
Back to horoscopes, I've taken to watching the Soul Garden videos that are streamed onto Gala Darling's web site. The "forecast" for Aquarius in the month of October discusses the importance of restructuring my belief system, which I feel has been a task I've undertaken since moving to Austin. I've decided to go back to church after a long hiatus which I began when I decided that it was not reasonable to invest in a religion that I don't entirely believe in. And by that, I simply mean that I don't think any one religion is right, and that religions are humanity's interpretation of divine events and inspirations, so why recite creeds that I don't buy 100%?
Not going to church, though, created a "spiritual void," that has left me feeling disconnected from a part of myself that, in verbal irony, keeps me grounded. When I'm cultivating my spirituality whether through church, yoga, meditation, books, etc., my stress is lowered, my breathing is deeper, and things in life take on a deeper importance.
I used to have a Jewish boyfriend who I loved very much and wanted to be with for much longer than we ended up being together. Members of his family were not pleased that I didn't come from a similar background, but at the time, my understanding was that I just needed a God who wasn't abstract. And Christianity gives that to people by putting a human face on God, and considering that idea again in recent months, I decided to return to the church fold I grew up in. It's not a sprititual make over, but it's a start.
Dr. Neralich also said that whenever he went into people's homes while traveling through parts of Asia who practiced Buddhism, he was always met with the same answer when he asked how to follow the spiritual path: "sit down, practice."
One of the awesome things about Austin is the Austin Area Interreligious Ministries. The church I've been attending participates in programs put on by this organization, and a look at the calendar gets me excited about all of the things I want to become involved in beyond Sunday worship and yoga classes.
Things coming up include the Spiritual Book Club that next meets at Book People on November 9th, and the Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration on November 22nd. While I know attending things doesn't equal a well practiced spiritual life, it still opens the channels of dialogue, prayer and reflection that are necessary for cultivating a calm and open mind. I can get so tense that I forget to breathe, so anything that puts me on the track of spiritual mindfulness and keeps me on it is a positive, and I'd like to fill my life with far more positives than I typically make room for. I'm always open to stories and advice about how to go about this.