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    Archive for the 'oprah' Category

    Well, I’ll be reintarnated!

    Thursday, May 15th, 2008

    Oprah seems to be making her way down the New Age aisle of the bookstore lately.

    From The Secret to Ekhart Tolle and now to past lives (I do NOT want to see the show she does on colon cleansing!).

    Have you ever heard someone talk about their past lives? Or heard someone tell another what they did when they were here before?

    Have you noticed that however un-cool, un-accomplished, un-impressive or just un-  we may be now, in the past we were all important, amazing and admirable.

    We might be losers now, but when we were helping birth homo sapiens, we were good enough, smart enough and, gosh darn it, people liked us.

    Go to a past-life workshop and you’ll meet Cleopatra! Go to another workshop the next week and you’ll meet, why could it be? another Cleopatra?! Another workshop, well, I’ll be… ANOTHER Queen of Egypt!
    Why doesn’t anyone ever discover that in ancient Rome they were Vic the vomit bucket carrier, or in the Ming dynasty they were Chang, a soldier in the army who was known for being the fourteenth guy from the left… or was that fifteenth? I don’t know, but somewhere under twentieth.

    Okay, sure, sometimes someone “recalls” a less-than-stellar lifetime. But even those were somehow important. “I died giving childbirth and saw the ephemeral nature of life… and that’s why I now have 37 cats in my one bedroom apartment.”

    Those who had, oh, less than respectable careers always find a way to make them uber-special. Prostitute in ancient times? If this was you (and if this was you then, there are many who want to know you now), well you weren’t just giving handies underneath the steps of the Acropolis for 20 dinars… oh, no, you were doing SACRED SEXUALITY, or were the mistress to the Sultan of Somewhere-ville, or were Gaia and gave birth to the universe itself!

    I can’t recall one past life story (and, living here in Boulder, people answer “What do you do?” with past-life stories) that sounded like, “Oh, I was an accountant in a small town. Nothing much happened. Died in my sleep.”

    I’m just not sure why I would believe that under the unusual and often mind-bending conditions that are required for “remembering” past lives, I should assume I’m getting the facts straight. I know how crappy my memory is about things that did (or didn’t) happen to me in this life, let alone when I was a crystal cleaner in Atlantis. Hell, I rarely remember what I had for breakfast by the time I’m eating dinner. Oh, and I have a VIVID memory about having pneumonia when I was 10… which is only complicated by the fact that I DIDN’T HAVE IT!

    I’ve also noticed that past-life readings tend to “reveal” causes from the past for events we are aware of now. Got a pain in your leg. Well, guess what? You were stabbed in the leg in the Peloponnesian War! Migranes? Killed with a shovel to the head by Gengis Khan.

    But we don’t tend to hear stories that reveal something previously unknown to us in real-time. I haven’t seen any testimonials for past-live workshops where someone remembered where they hid all that Mayan gold, or buried the body, or etched “Michaelangelo was here” under David’s scrotum… and then found the gold, the body, and, well, where Michaelangelo had unknowingly been.

    Now, look, I’m open to the possibility that we were here before and we will be here again. Could be. Granted, I’m not going to hide the Hot Wheels cars I’ve saved since I was 7 with the expectation I’ll pick them up again in 1000 years and become a millionaire on the reincarnation of eBay.

    And I also won’t deny that some people find great solace in “discovering” that, say, they have “commitment issues” now because they were the daughter of the 4th concubine of the Prince of History-stan in the 12th century. I’ve seen it happen that a thought that sure FEELS like a memory triggers a great release, a stunning insight or even the eradication of some pain or illness.

    But sugar pills are also very effective against pain and depression.

    There’s a phenomenon I call “The Resonant Lie.” It’s something that FEELS right, that SEEMS true, that may even bring a big “AHA!” with it… but isn’t true. You can have a life-changing insight about your “Inner Child”… but there’s no such thing. It’s a concept. A sometimes-useful concept, but just a concept. (Admittedly, when my inner child wants chocolate, I spoil him rotten.)

    My favorite Resonant Lie story is of a woman I knew whose father died and at the funeral said, “I’m at peace with the fact that Dad died, but I’m sad that I won’t be making new memories with him. I remember when I was a little girl and he taught me how to wash a car… I just wish we could make more sweet memories like that one.” The memory was very useful for her in many ways. Afterwards, her uncle approached her and said, “That was a very touching thing you said about your dad teaching you to wash the car… but *I* was the one who taught you how to wash the car.” SNAP!

    I’m sure there’s more to be said, both about reincarnation (BTW, the title of this post refers to the definition of REINTARNATION: Being reborn as a redneck), and the Resonant Lie… but I’ll have to save that for another time because, in a past life, when I was Henry VIII’s court jester, I was punished for getting to the end of a story, and now I tend to leave things hanging and incomple…

    Okay, Oprah, let’s settle this once and for all…

    Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

    Have questions or having trouble manipulating the atoms in the universe with your thoughts? Well, Oprah feels your pain and is going to do a show just for people like you.

    But rather than merely attracting guests by seeing, believing and receiving, she’s actively soliciting people who, for some reason, can’t make the UNIVERSAL LAW of Attraction work for them. Oprah’s producers say, “The Oprah Show is looking for people who have questions about the “Laws of Attraction.”

    For a moment, let’s ignore that if it were a UNIVERSAL LAW, people would have no trouble with it or questions about it. I mean, when’s the last time you had trouble with gravity? I don’t know about you, but if I had a dollar for every time I spilled water on the ceiling because I tried putting my cup on a table, but it floated up into the air instead… well, I wouldn’t have a dollar. But, hey, maybe it’s just me.

    But, I’ll play along. Here’s are my questions:

    Why assume that if you’re “having trouble” with the LOA it’s because of some problem you have? That you don’t understand something, or that something is preventing you from implementing The Secret and getting what you (think) you want? That some new bit of knowledge will allow you to bend the will of the cosmos to your puny desires (seriously, why isn’t anyone using The Secret to “manifest” food and water for everyone on the planet instead of for a new car, house, relationship, job, body, or Oscar?)

    What if, and again, I’m just askin’ here, the fact that so many people can’t make it work reliably (and by “so many” I mean EVERYONE) is proof that the very premise is flawed?

    What if, and please just humor me, the times it SEEMS TO WORK are not proof that it does, but a demonstration about human beings bad understanding of probability and complex cause-and-effect relationships, and our tendency to latch onto times we BELIEVE we have control over a chaotic universe, even when we don’t?

    What if trying to “have strong intention” in order to create a specific outcome is no less superstitious than believing that ripping the heart out of a young girl every night causes the sun to rise the next morning? (It wasn’t too long ago that a lot of us believed that.)

    Why do we “believe our own experience” when we THINK that the LOA worked for us in the past, when our own experience lies to us on such fundamental levels?

    For example, ever had a VIVID memory that turned out to be wrong? Or, even simpler:

    We KNOW there are no gray dots in the spaces between the squares, below, but it’s impossible NOT to *see* them. This should send us SCREAMING from the room with the knowledge that we cannot trust our most basic perceptions, rather than writing it off as a “trick.”

    Anyway, in the spirit of fairness and scientific inquiry (as well as good television), let me propose this experiment for Oprah’s show:

    At the beginning of the show, announce that one member of the studio audience will get a new car. And the job of everyone on the show, with the help of how ever many “experts” about The Secret they bring on, is to “attract” the new car.

    Now, right before giving out the car, ask the audience who feels/thinks/believes that they’ll get it. Ask who has asked and believed and is ready to receive.

    If more than one hand goes up in the air, then The Secret is nonsense.

    Since everyone can’t be correct, and if more than one person believes they’ll be the winner, than the internal experience of “believing” or of “having the right vibration” or of “having the cleanest colon”, or whatever, has absolutely no relationship to whether you’ll get what you want.

    There’s no Vibrate-o-meter or Gauge-o-Attraction (let alone a thought, or feeling, or belief) that can measure or predict, IN ADVANCE, who will get the car.

    Now there are two ways to finish this experiment:

    1) Give the car away in a RANDOM DRAWING… and then ask the winner why he/she won and listen to the story he/she makes up. It’ll be total fiction about how he/she is responsible for getting the car (probably by not really wanting it in the first place). Of course, it would be my hope that the car would go to someone who DID NOT have their hand up for “who thinks they’ll get it!”

    Then ask ALL the losers why they didn’t get the car and listen to their stories — equally fictional — about how they weren’t visualizing hard enough, were vibrating 3 MHz too slow or fast, how their chakras were spinning backwards, or how a psychic predicted they wouldn’t win… or whatever.

    Stories made up after the fact to justify history are JUST STORIES. (Now is the time to kill one of your pets so that we have a good corn harvest next season.)

    But here’s an even better resolution for the show…


    That’ll put a twist in the audience’s collective knickers (Or turn the show into an homage to Let’s Make a Deal and if anyone in the audience IS wearing knickers, give them the car).

    Make everyone the “loser” and show, definitively that no amount of wishing, hoping, releasing, allowing, attracting, vibrating, manifesting, willing or anything else had ANYTHING to do with the results.

    And then watch the crowd tear down the studio in some sort of soccer-style rampage that would make fights on Jerry Springer look like an afternoon with Mr. Rogers… and then do the follow-up show about how Oprah and all The Secret experts attracted this negativity.

    OH! I just realized how I really want the show to end.I want to see someone do the ONE THING that reliably and dramatically improves (but doesn’t guarantee) their chance of getting what they want. Namely, taking EFFECTIVE ACTION.

    When Oprah asks who thinks they’ll get the car, I want to see someone bound out of the audience, stride right up to Oprah, yank the keys from¬† her hand, and drive the car through the studio wall!

    And then roll the credits over the stunned faces of everyone in the studio, Oprah included.





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