I was reading about The School of the Living Light, which “focuses on spiritual development, meditation, channelling and healing courses.” I shouldn’t, I know. But I was. It contains much of the usual blend of reiki, channelling, healing and ‘ascension’. But what I also noted was this text:
There are many paths to spiritual growth and transformation, all of them valid, we are simply offering one way, it may be your way.
This seems to directly reflect a theme I explore in Dispirited. The claim that of the many paths: “all of them are valid”. I am always nonplussed by this. Does that mean that all Spiritual paths are effective? That none don’t work? Is valid here a synonym for ‘true’? Or for ‘efficacious’? This is how I address this in the book:
Across the spectrum of contemporary spirituality, the question of: “yes, but who is right? Which account of reality has more explanatory and predictive power than others?” is set aside, often in the name of inclusivity or liberal openness. But inclusivity of belief is not belief at all, but a posture of un-truth, of not knowing even what truth is. The seemingly benign world of spiritual syncretism, particularly in the new-age movement, is a blend of arrogance and nervousness. Arrogance regarding somehow have transcended the need for demonstrating the full basis and rationale for beliefs, and nervousness about actually being called upon to do so, especially when having invoked half-understood concepts imported from science or philosophy.
I am still fairly confident that this isn’t too harsh. Reading the page at http://schoolofthelivinglight.co.uk/classes-workshops/what-is-the-light-body/ there is this section:
wakening your light body creates a level of harmony, aligning your physical, emotional, and mental energy bodies so that your spiritual shimmer is activated. In a series of three workshops you will work with the seven centres that affect them. (These are not chakras).
If the seven centres that impact your ‘bodies’ are not your chakras – do you still have chakras? Do they conflict? Do we have both? Which is true – this or a chakra-based account? They are invoked at http://schoolofthelivinglight.co.uk/downloads/chakra-meditations/ so it seems we have both.
My aura is starting to feel a little overcrowded…
5 thoughts on “All Paths are Valid?”
Read an interview with you this week on. http://www.religiondispatches.org I laughed out loud!
I welcome your contribution though I fear you’ll be preaching to the converted. Some people’s minds are open to anything but reason it seems.
Can’t wait to read the book. Amazon UK say 29 June.
Just to let you know that I’ve changed my mind, I will be buying your book in order to refute it, on behalf of everyone like myself whom it unjustifiably disparages. I now begin to understand what you’ve written here… at least it’s mercifully short.
As for this post:
Does that mean that all Spiritual paths are effective? That none don’t work? Is valid here a synonym for ‘true’? Or for ‘efficacious’?
It probably means all efficacious paths are in some way true and therefore valid.
Across the spectrum of contemporary spirituality, the question of: “yes, but who is right? Which account of reality has more explanatory and predictive power than others?” is set aside, often in the name of inclusivity or liberal openness.
Not in my experience, and certainly not intraschool. I’ve seen the most tremendous doctrinal squabbles, not least surrounding Enlightennext magazine which I loathe far more than you myself. And you can see I myself am no friend to what is marshmallowy.
Allowing all paths to exist is really no big deal. It only gets big press in the West because of exclusivist Abrahamism. In a Chinese ‘Catholic’ house it is no big deal to see a little Kuan Yin figure with incense burning in front of it.Certainly it is not any lack of integrity which makes people deny the idea of ‘one true way’. Our culture has been polyparadigmatic for many decades, and I think should officially be.
Arrogance regarding somehow have transcended the need for demonstrating the full basis and rationale for beliefs, and nervousness about actually being called upon to do so, especially when having invoked half-understood concepts imported from science or philosophy.
Not in my case nor in that of anyone I respect, I assure you. I don’t claim everyone is rigorous — I know they’re not. I claim it is a massive cheap shot only to pick those who aren’t for your targets.
i don’t know that I can be bothered to click on the particular link you give in order to find out more about this particular group — whom I wouldn’t go near — but chakras could certainly exist alongside other energy centres, indeed i personally am quite sure they do.
Don’t worry, I won’t post endlessly here. What I will do is demonstrate why I believe that, as much as I often loathe pop spirituality, what you are offering is way worse. I shall take my time getting there though. Adieu.
My own view is that all spiritual and religious traditions are metaphors for whatever is really happening; but not metaphors for each other. There is some surprising convergence between them, but also some important differences. I don’t think that I have managed to penetrate to the underlying truth that the metaphors describe though – now that would be arrogant.
But are some paths rubbish metaphors, and others better ones? [And what criteria could we apply to tell the difference?]
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