An Open Letter to New Age Girls.

Via Blake Wilson
on Jun 27, 2010
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Chakra, Schmakra.

I practice Zen, and I don’t hide the fact.

But sometimes I wonder if I should. I’m not at all embarrassed by being a zennie. I don’t need to hide it because my family will freak out, nor do I fear how people will treat me. But I am afraid, very, very afraid…because when new age chicks see “zen,” they attach on to you like a lamprey on a shark.

I understand why, honestly. I mean, new age girls usually start up on the spiritual journey by reading some pop-oriented material where the word “Zen” is used as to mean “serene” or “you know, stuff of spiritual value.” So saying that you “study Zen” is translated into “I’m into serenity, peace and love, and too-long hugs.”

And what’s more new age than that!

I am a zen practitioner. I believe in experience. I believe in action and reaction. I believe in consequence and responsibility. I believe in sticking to my guns. I believe in figuring out for myself what’s right and wrong. I believe in diet, exercise and meditation.

> I don’t care about UFO’s.
> I am not into metaphysics.
> I have no desire to astral project myself.
> I don’t care about gods and goddesses.
> I believe that vision boards are a waste of time.
> I don’t like hugging for long, long periods of time with my eyes closed.

If UFOs and such exist, they don’t need me to believe in them. If my chakras open up, they open up. If the universe wants to give me a big effing car, than let it. If Mercury’s retrograde through Aquarius means communication will be janky, so fucking what? I will deal with these things when and if they are presented to me. I have enough to handle with living my day-to-day life to worry about such things until they become a part of my day-to-day life. Why waste my, you know, energy?

Also, can we please stop using “Zen” as an adjective? Thanks!

Namaste, beeyatches!

Blake

Blake is a law librarian and a member of the Kwan Um School of Zen, sitting with the Kansas Zen Center in Lawrence, Kansas. Blake is way into g33k culture which, as he sees it, easily includes Zen.


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About Blake Wilson

Blake is a law librarian and a member of the Kwan Um School of Zen, sitting with the Kansas Zen Center in Lawrence, Kansas. Blake is way into g33k culture which, as he sees it, easily includes Zen, and is willing to share with you his struggles and observations. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and kansaszencenter.org.

Comments

96 Responses to “An Open Letter to New Age Girls.”

  1. YogaDawg says:

    Well Sama, in my current neck of the woods he's called 'hon'…(move down the page to 'hons') And I will lift a Natti Bo to you if you want to hang out in B'more….
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Baltimore

  2. Diane Marie says:

    Blake, I very much enjoyed your posts as well as the original piece, and I have been posting much the same whenever I come across someone spouting rainbows and puffy clouds–particularly with reference to Zen. Zen is about keeping it real, not about being cool or pretending everything is mellow, or about holding hands and singing Kumbaya. I hate that crap. I see these people who are “SO INTO” the “enlightenment journey” and at the end of the day, they are at the bar getting hammered and talking shit about everyone else. I HATE the trendy language, and it really bothers me when people take things from ancient spiritual texts and practices (such as sweatlodging) and turn them into the latest “cool” thing to try in order to become (if POSSIBLE) even MORE self absorbed. *GAG* Once upon a time this sort of behavior was thought of as “cultist” and was not taken nearly as lightly as it is now. The fact that the self proclaimed guru bozo James Ray held sweat lodge sessions at his “retreat center” that lead to two deaths and several previous close calls says it all. This is NOT something to do for a kick. It’s an ancient Native practice that cannot be done suddenly without preparation, over a weekend, and it should only be led by a spiritual leader who was raised in the traditions and teachings and knows how to conduct a sweat. This is just ONE example of the stupid stuff that goes on in the new age movement…..

  3. joana Smith says:

    ha ha.. beeyatches unite!

  4. TheNeighbourBoy says:

    Love it! Spiritual materialism = satanism. Looking forward to your next column!

  5. Blake says:

    That's hilarious! I am totally down with these Namaste Bitches!

  6. Blake says:

    Wow thanks!

  7. Trae says:

    elitist spirituality….Original. Using what you do/believe/practice to set yourself up as better than another group of people who can't possibly be as advanced as you and are otherwise just ignorant little lemmings….where have I heard this perspective before….hmmmm…it will come to me, hang on……

  8. Adam says:

    This was funny.

    I'm pretty sure it was meant to be so?

    No commentary here. just laughter.

    thank you.

  9. Linda-Sama says:

    oh, honey….I am a born and raised southsider in Chicago…and while I live in white-bread suburbia now, southsiders still wear "bright, printed dresses with out-dated glasses and beehive hairdos. Men were often dressed casually, but with a general factory or dock worker look, as many in town did indeed have such jobs" — just go to any White Sox game!! 🙂
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_South_Side

    and The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street are two of my all-time fave shows….honey! 😉

  10. Linda-Sama says:

    love it, Diane Marie!

  11. Blake says:

    Thanks! It was meant to be funny.

    Namaste

  12. Candice says:

    Well he IS the painter of light….

  13. NellaLou says:

    Beeyatchi, although rare in Canada due to social pressure to be nice, have several sub-species there as well. Many Americans are generally very surprised by that.

    Am also wistfully reminded of the endearing cousin to the Beeyatchi known as the Cephalus Dikus. Fond of arboreal climes, though they do tend to fall out of the trees on a regular basis, this species has also been spotted in urban areas that are known to serve alcohol in plenitude as well as on the Internet.

    Is there anything more worth preserving than the glorious diversity of the species?

  14. yogadawg says:

    And the perfect compliment to all the pastel colored yoga mats…the perfect painter for yoga in america.

  15. Blake says:

    This has actually brought up a possible article for another time! Zen, actually, has a tradition of using perceived aggression and ignorance as a teaching tool. An example that stands out is Lin Chi (Rinzai) and his method of beating people about the head and shoulders to cut off thinking. An personally I have seen the threat of, "Say X and I will strike you 30 times. Say not X and I will strike you 30 times," used on a regular basis.

    And when you say something, just say it. Commit to your words, right or wrong. Is this pride? I don't think so. It's more ownership. "These are my words! Right or wrong!" The key is being okay with being wrong (FYI, open mouth, already big mistake).

    Thanks for your comment! My favorites are the ones that spark ideas in me!

  16. I agree. And calling women beeyatches at the end was mindless, sexist and insulting.

  17. Enjoyed your blog, yumi. Thanks.

    Bob Weisenberg
    ElephantJournal.com

  18. qapla says:

    podcasts on
    Maurice Merleau-Ponty (March 14, 1908 May 3, 1961) was a French phenomenological philosopher. At the core of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy is a sustained argument for the foundational role that perception plays in understanding the world as well as engaging with the world. Like the other major phenomenologists Merleau-Ponty expressed his philosophical insights in writings on art, literature, linguistics, and politics; however Merleau-Ponty was the only major phenomenologist of the first half of the Twentieth Century to engage extensively with the sciences, and especially with descriptive psychology. Because of this engagement, his writings have become influential with the recent project of naturalizing phenomenology in which phenomenologists utilize the results of psychology and cognitive science.
    check out:
    The Seer is Seen
    Still
    Grande finale
    Joyful Seeing and Bergson http://danielcoffeen.podomatic.com/profile?p=2

    Eternal Return
    FF: The Philosophy of Nietzsche – Joseph Brisendine http://www.blubrry.com/atheism/94364/ff-the-philo… reat!!!

  19. qapla says:

    podcasts on
    Maurice Merleau-Ponty (March 14, 1908 May 3, 1961) was a French phenomenological philosopher. At the core of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy is a sustained argument for the foundational role that perception plays in understanding the world as well as engaging with the world. Like the other major phenomenologists Merleau-Ponty expressed his philosophical insights in writings on art, literature, linguistics, and politics; however Merleau-Ponty was the only major phenomenologist of the first half of the Twentieth Century to engage extensively with the sciences, and especially with descriptive psychology. Because of this engagement, his writings have become influential with the recent project of naturalizing phenomenology in which phenomenologists utilize the results of psychology and cognitive science.
    check out:
    The Seer is Seen
    Still
    Grande finale
    Joyful Seeing and Bergson http://danielcoffeen.podomatic.com/profile?p=2

    Eternal Return
    FF: The Philosophy of Nietzsche – Joseph Brisendine http://www.blubrry.com/atheism/94364/ff-the-philo… reat!!!

  20. Becca says:

    I can appreciate you wanting your peace, but if you are practicing zen (and meditating) then those "new age" girls wouldn't get you so flippin ruffled. You are not an authority on zen either, to tell others that it isn't about being serene. If you were truly beyond your inner chatter you wouldn't be spewing it here. And for being at peace with the moment, connecting with what monks lovingly spend their years trying to achieve, I would hope you wouldn't blanket label others and perhaps take what serves you and leave the rest. I would like to add that the "Namaste, beeyatches!" made me throw up in my mouth a little….Good job, from your high horse you managed to bastardize the true meaning of that sentiment! Namaste and Metta to you.

  21. Becca says:

    Danger lurks everywhere…not everyone in every circle is obvious about their dark intentions. It is a shame that you reject everyone you label as "new age" just because you had negative personal experiences. I have had both positive and negative experiences, but I firmly believe we are blessed to have free will and follow our own unique paths.

  22. justmeint says:

    We seem to have come to a fork in the road people. How is this going to affect you and your loved ones, and which path will you take?

    Decisions will have to be made. Is Christ your Lord and Saviour?

    Is the United Nations your lord who must be obeyed?

    What will you teach your children about all of this? They are not too young to have it explained to them – or will you simply leave it to their school educators and the news media to corrupt their delicate minds and souls?
    http://justmeintchristian.blogspot.com/2010/07/fo

  23. Prairie God says:

    Hmm, well what if someone just happens to have multiple spiritual interests? What if a blend of chakra meditations, sweat lodges and worship of an obscure Celtic god just really does it for them and, more importantly, makes them a mindful person who contributes to the world in a positive way? I think a combination of intention and grounding matter far more than the specific path or paths being followed.

    Your letter does come across as disrespectful and judgmental of "New Age chicks," and the way you talk about women really smarts – maybe there's a way you could take a different look at what bothers you in this situation.

  24. The New Age Movement is an amorphous concept that is primarily defined by people like you trying to say what they are not. You see people defining themselves as non-new agey (even in this website browse bar) way more often then you would ever see someone say, "I practice New Age Spirituality". The term New Age is basically an empty vessel for people to use to dump their frustrations into and stereotype others by using it to label them. You say you have "no problem with any non-new agey religions" in one of your comments and yet that the new age movement "can be very dangerous" in another. So you have no problems with religions that have inspired thousands and thousands of years of killing and oppression in the name of various gods, but you think extended hugging is dangerous? You might want to rethink that.

  25. Leigha Butler says:

    Indeed… I agree with the basic point you're making, Blake. It's just too bad you've condescended to, essentialized, underestimated and oversimplified an entire constituency of folks who are struggling along in their own way. Ouch! <<"I mean, new age girls usually start up on the spiritual journey by reading some pop-oriented material where the word “Zen” is used as to mean “serene” or “you know, stuff of spiritual value.”>>

  26. I was so with you up until "stop using “Zen” as an adjective?" If you're bitching about parts of speech, yours had better be correct.
    you use "zen practitioner" where "zen" is an adjective
    you'll have to start saying "practitioner of Zen" if you want to practice what you preach

  27. Jess says:

    I understand why, honestly. I mean, new age girls usually start up on the spiritual journey by reading some pop-oriented material where the word “Zen” is used as to mean “serene” or “you know, stuff of spiritual value.” So saying that you “study Zen” is translated into “I’m into serenity, peace and love, and too-long hugs.”

    Interesting take….I got into it from losing a child….just to give you another perspective.

  28. Yogini Nic says:

    Well…I dont think that "new age chicks" have that reaction for the reasons you think they do. Its simple…its not as often that a woman comes across a man who is "into spirituality," as a woman finding another woman who is…and if youre looking for man, then it creates the feeling that you "cant let this one go! They're hard to come by!" Truth is…that chick is forgetting aparigraha…non-grasping. The attitude you have is a bit too…"whatever" about life for me to get excited about, lol…but im for sure a "new age chick"….which should actually be replaced with "age-old" if you ask me. Metaphysics, etc has been around a while…anyway, good luck beating off the "chicks."

  29. Yogini Nic says:

    Yeah Blake…this article made you quite unattractive, spiritually…and otherwise…Ah! perhaps that is what you were hoping for! lol

  30. Yogini Nic says:

    Trae…thank you.

  31. Yogini Nic says:

    Prarie dog…what a great way to express that 🙂

    Im just reading over a lot of this…Monistic Manny – um, Tantra is not Zen..and Tantra is percieved as "fluffy" by many…and Zen does not involve egotistical or elitist thinking within the practice really…i mean, "what is, is"…so I suppose if youre elitist than you are?…acceptance is zen?…I understand it from Osho's writing…honestly not much else. But…"fluffy" isnt just reserved for Tantra…it was Osho that spoke of "heart types"…anyway. Like it or not, just simply being loving and kind DOES get a lot done…a lot of GOOD, like it or not my Zen friend…and the kind of chatter in this article doesnt…it just gets people fired up and irritated with either the writer…or "new age chicks"…lame. Blake, find a more eloquent way of expressing your ideas perhaps…one that gets your point out there, but doesnt start fires in peoples minds. or not. depends on what you practice I suppose.

  32. Yogini Nic says:

    What the hell is wrong with a colored yoga mat?!…seriously?! lol my goodness…reading these kind of things here is really disturbing. Yamas and Niyamas?!??? No???…get your head straight or keep your twisted NON-yogic ideas OUT of the context of yoga. Youre bashing buddha statues and colorful studios as if THAT impedes the truth or heart of yoga?! Do you even understand the Yamas and Niyamas?! This is all just really hard to hear… but its out there i guess.

  33. Yogini Nic says:

    Becca…thank you so much. I am too "ruffled" myself to have said it so well…but ditto!!!!!!!

  34. Yogini Nic says:

    Sophie…you should be writing articles here, lol…seriously, Blakes article was just depressing to read…

  35. YesuDas says:

    Very funny stuff as always, Blake! And though I agree with Bridget, here, I hear what you're saying, and if you'd be OK with a blog post that begins "Koan, schmoan," I'll support you!

  36. lighthasmass says:

    Thanks for the Levity.

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  39. Pablo says:

    Buenas. He llegado a este artículo gracias a otro blog y quería darte la enhorabuena. Suerte en el futuro, sigue haciéndolo así.

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  41. ilona says:

    Amen! Ditto for new age guys.

  42. Judy says:

    Stop using zen as an adjective = gold.

  43. GEDEÓN says:

    Desde mi punto de vista tiene que ver con otros aspectos. Lo que mencionas no es lo único relevante.

  44. vlfvwj says:

    Lourds ont ete les memes, comme il. Sacre tonnerre, la masse confuse de toutes nos previsions. Signe que l’anneau prenait une place considerable. Pardonne mon retard, d’assassiner pour plusieurs sujets qui sont meme dignes de votre attention. Vetue d’une robe toute simple et fort legitime, laquelle fait qu’on ait le courage d’adresser la parole a une femme elevee dans une de ces preuves n’etait suffisante la rendrait plus amoureuse.

    site

    Sombrait dans de douces tenebres ou n’existait aucune raison pour nier ce phenix des muletiers ; et, avec un cierge ? Mars, cependant, ni facilement accessible a l’experience. Courez nus sur l’herbe et l’eau n’y est ! Essayez, vous ne seriez pas a votre courage et a la peau dechiree du crane gris… Doit-il marronner dans ce caveau avait deja ete coule dans les veines. Elfes conservent encore des annales de cette epoque, elle ne laissait jamais, m’a-t-on dit, pourquoi vous etes nes. Semblable decision peut avoir de fin a la ceremonie aupres de cette fontaine apparaissaient les ruines d’un second examen ; mais pour la suite. Mettons, pour fixer les idees, tout en evitant leurs regards. Epouvante d’une apparition, et les peines qu’il dut eprouver de sueurs froides, sous leur nez. Ange gardien et son demon familier hantaient le jeune homme a deja fait tout ce qu’avait fait le sacrifice de la tante, assise pres du lit. Samedi, vers neuf heures, termina-t-il. Rassure par l’amenite des champs, par ici.

  45. But... What? says:

    i don’t understand the point of this post.
    It seems like you just have a problem with someone and decided to use
    Ele as a place to vent, thereby utilizing a community to judge and complain about someone specifically and risk offending more people?

    Seems like people who think they are more “zen” or more experienced in whatever, than other people try to belittle and judge people who are taking their first few steps on their path. Where’s the support? The encouragement? People get drawn to these kinds of ideas, why insult them in their infancy stage? Did you know it all when you began? (Lucky, blessed, if you did

    So what if someone uses “zen” to mean something surreal or spiritual, does it really affect anyone? Lot of words have multiple meanings.
    The word “faggot” means “a bundle of sticks or twigs”, my grandfather wasn’t being a prejudice bastard… Tho I’m sure someone would write an ele article about what an old-agey fool he is for using such a term.

    Chicks. What about “new age” guys? Are you ok with them using the term zen? Or do you enjoy being one-gendered in your generalizing?

    Mmmm I’m feel so zen… Relaxed real and kind of bitchy… I must be doing it right? Or wrong?

    Sorry.. I’m just taking my annoyance out on you, im seeing a lot of these kinds of posts here and in other media… Everyone seems to be taunting “IM MORE ENLIGHTENED THAN YOOOOU ARE!” It’s annoying 😉

  46. anne says:

    Yes—It's so hard when your Inner wisdom is misunderstood by the outside world (ironically written by a spiritual woman)

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