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. NellaLou says:

    If it gives you such grief why not STFU about the Zen? Seems a lot simpler.

  2. Swami bruce says:

    Zen was my first introduction into non-Western ideas. It has always seemed the purest, least dogmatic, leanest and most direct path to a fully realized consciousness. When use as an adjective, it used to mean "austere, efficient, contemplative" . I agree with the writer, zen has been co-opted by the neo-fuzzies who are full of nomenclature and good intentions, but sometimes lacking in sophistication and discipline. I appreciate this mild diatribe from a true practitioner of said path; I too have been amused and bemused by the same.

  3. tia says:

    It's hard to have Goddesses knocking down your door .. I get it.

  4. mukyo says:

    pinky-locks!

  5. Blake says:

    I did say that maybe I should hide the fact. But regardless, it should be noted that Zen, at least as I know it, does not fall into the category of new agey spirituality.

    Now let's awkwardly hug it out.

  6. Blake says:

    I am co-opting your nomenclature and have added "neo-fuzzies" to my repetoir

  7. Blake says:

    The worst part is they don't get my Firefly references.

  8. NellaLou says:

    I don't want to hug. But am willing to arm wrestle until we know each other better.

  9. Blake says:

    Okay but I'm warning you! I have tiny T-Rex arms.

  10. Blake says:

    Oh now… you're getting a hug whether or not you want one. C'mere and get your awkwardness!

  11. NellaLou says:

    Then we, beeyatch & T-Rex will just have to shake paws. Dunno if beeyatches is generally or specifically addressed.

  12. LasaraAllen says:

    Just as long as you don't "oooooh" and "ahhhh" while your eyes are closed. That's more awkward than I can take! Beter yet, can we make it a man hug? http://artofmanliness.com/2008/03/07/the-mechanic

  13. LasaraAllen says:

    Doesn't that suck?

  14. Bridget says:

    I hear that you'd like to protect Zen from the flavor-of-the-week anything-goes aspect of the New Age movement. There's nothing worse than people dabbling in spirituality instead of actually focusing on the here-and-now. I don't like that kind of inattention.
    And I'm not a new ager. But, maybe you should leave chakras out of it. They're suffering from the same problem that Zen is suffering from.
    Chakras are thousands of years old. They are part of the Vedic tradition. They are a terrific gateway to insight that can help the here and now.

  15. Blake says:

    I have no problem with chakras and respect their study. It just seems like they are one of the first things latched onto by new agers. Personally, my practice does not involve a focus on them. For anyone who knows Zen, knows this to be be case.

    Not an attack on Vedic religions here! Just an annoyance with spiritual buffet gnoshers.

  16. Blake says:

    Art of Manliness is my second favorite blog out there.

  17. joseph says:

    hey blake, I get the flavor of what you are sayin', i.e., zen vs. new age, and I dig that, but I have some ish with your use of generalization re: "new age chicks." i think you could make your point without unskillful generalizations, plus, although you may not have mean it, it comes across a bit like you got a charles manson meets the beatles in 65' i'm big in japan kind of thing happening, which makes it hard to hear the rest of the piece. but maybe that's just my reading because i'm jealous that i don't have any new age groupies attaching themselves to me.

  18. LasaraAllen says:

    It IS awesome.

  19. yumi says:

    your letter inspired me to write this blog entry: http://www.intent.com/yumi/blog/can-we-please-giv
    namaste to you, too, biznatch and hello from Intent.com! 🙂

  20. Blake says:

    Wow really? Interesting. The one thing I will say is that I don’t want anyone to think that new age girls are trying to jump my bones or that I have a following. That actually makes me laugh and I suppose it could be read that way. Really my focus was more on how Zen gets categorized by people as being “new agey.” I just used the image of the new age girl because of an event that lead to the blog. I decided not to reference the incident but instead go with generalities. Plus I love that song, New Age Girl!

    Her flowing skirt is flowing in a transcendental wind!

  21. Blake says:

    The link is broken but I found it. Thanks for the reference! But now I’m embarrassed that this came across that new age girls want to climb into my pants! No no no! It’s more like they want me to officiate their weddings because… you know… I’m spiritual, too. Or I get a dog-eared copy of The Secret and asked to comment on the notes.

    I am honestly a geek, am happily married to my geek wife and have absolutely no game!

  22. yumi says:

    my bad on the broken link (http://www.intent.com/yumi/blog/can-we-please-give-spirituality-visual-and-aesthetic-makeover), and oops for the wrong assumption! though, you can never tell with those new age chicks…

  23. Blake says:

    You are absolutely correct. I am notorious for not knowing when someone wants to touch my junk.

  24. Dude, everything falls into the category of new agey spirituality. The entire nature of new agey spirituality is to misappropriate and misquote whatever can be taken out of context stuff from every tradition or school of learning available. Intentionally misinterpret the words "positive" and "negative" as used by physicists and–voila!–you've got the "law of attraction!" Use "zen" as a verb and you've got an all purpose term for anything nice and mellow! Take anything you like from any ancient text and use it as an excuse to be selfish and you've got the entire culture of southern California!

    As for Firefly…it was Joss Whedon's last glimmer of brilliance, though the signs of his imminent decline were clear in the inclusion of all that stupid old-west-in-space stuff. But, really, isn't all this more Nerd than Zen?

  25. YogaDawg says:

    Yumi, Amen to your post, Can We Please Give Spirituality A Visual and Aesthetic Makeover? Enough with the cute eastern images and Pier 1 Buddhas in yoga studios already. Just because somebody does yoga doesn’t mean they have any taste. Hire you local artist is you need stuff on the walls.

  26. Blake says:

    See I have been trying to reconcile my geekiness with my Zen practice and I have come to the conclusion that Zennies ARE geeks! Granted, a certain type of geek, but a geek none the less.

  27. What if my local artist is Thomas Kinkade?

  28. fivefootwo says:

    Maybe it's the girly sissy aspect that is upsetting you so much blake. Maybe if the new agey part was more badass you know, tougher- more ninja cool like… Or maybe you can do the old fashioned thing and put the no girls allowed sign outside your tree house/ club house /boys only place…. It also could be that superficial really old girls like me cannot delve as deeply into real philosophy, and I missed your point completely because you were trying to be so witty..

  29. Well, the Star Wars thing fits–you can tell George Lucas is a child of the 60's when you consider that the first movie (I refuse to call it "Episode Four") is basically about a Zen master and his student hitching a ride with a couple of drug smugglers to save the universe…

  30. Blake says:

    Come to think of it, when that ninja heard that I studied Zen and then started yammering about his visit to Sonoma and how he found it healing because of how the ley lines converge and really focused the universal energy into his chi I was like, "Fuck yeah, ninja! Tell me more!"

  31. Blake says:

    I hear there's a book out there on Zen and Star Wars or something like that? I heard that George Lucas even modeled the Jedi uniforms after Buddhist monks.

  32. Jack Daw says:

    The full scientific nomenclature for the Woolly Woodland Beeyatch is Holla beeyatchi (abbreviated: H. beeyatchi). Common usage is to simply say "Beeyatch" since there is only one species. Interestingly enough it was named after its mating call.

    "BeeeeeeeeeeYAAAATCH"

    FYI, Blake. It is T. rex and congrats on your popular and stigmatizing post!

    Cheers,
    John

  33. Blake says:

    Nobody is more surprised than I.

    Isn't Snuffleupagus a Woolly Woodland Beeyatch?

  34. joseph says:

    i think i would have liked to hear the story then! i always prefer a specific story to a generalities. i had an incident with a melrose ave. retail employee while rockin' a seattle dharma punx tee. he asked me if i was "into" meditation and if i how long i could achieve the "meditative state" and if i ever had left my body. i thought about telling him that mostly i just got bored; clearly there are a great deal of misguided views out there.

  35. rachel says:

    i'm all about snark, but a piece that calls all women "chicks" and "new age girls." not very mindful imo

  36. Oh, and just to show how egoless I am (not afraid to show my ignorance of obviously commonly understood matters), what is "g33k culture"?

    Bob W.

  37. Blake says:

    Honestly, I had started by writing the story but decided against it. Next one I definitely will!

  38. Blake says:

    I don't know how commonly understood it is. Back in the day, it used to be common to replace letters with numbers as a way to get around internet filters. The language is called "leet" which comes from the word "elite." You will sometimes see it spelled as "l33t" or "1337." So "g33k" is a bit of a nod to the computer nature of my geekiness although technically, I could spell it "933|<". It's just easier to read it the way I have it spelled.

    8|4|<3 (Blake)

  39. tia says:

    How in touch and "spiritual" is judging other people ideas, hopes, and connections to high power, vibrations, mindfulness, etc.. ? NO we can not give "Spirituality " a makeover. What if that a yoga class or a hike or a "buddha statue" connected someone to a deep sense of knowing themselves ? A spiritual journey is endless and I celebrate that everyday.
    Blake you have the POWER to talk to and be in a relationship with who ever you WANT ! And that is COOL !

  40. Blake says:

    I didn't call all women "chicks."

  41. Blake says:

    I never said I was "in touch" or "spiritual." I said I practice Zen. My point is that Zen is not part of the New Age Movement even though many New Age followers lump it in.

    Do you want my opinion on the New Age Movement? I'm not a fan of it at all and I think it can be very dangerous. And this comes from personal experience.

    FYI, I have no problems with non-New Age religions (too many to list). I just settled on Zen because it fits just as another religion/belief system might fit with you.

  42. Blake says:

    Oh and I'd like to point out the irony that the term "New Age" came from my namesake, William Blake back in 1809.

  43. Thank you for putting into pithy words that creepy crawly feeling I have been enjoying since moving back to Southern California.

    Although I wouldn't blame goddesses or chakras – because archetypes and energy centers and meridians are science and directly experienced – however grossly culture is appropriated by fuzzy and undisciplined gorging at the spiritual trough.

    This is a problem. Appropriating bits and pieces of very powerful spiritual practices is unethical, and shows more of our arrogance and imperialistic nature.

  44. Thanks. Now during those W33ks when I s33k information about g33ks, I'll know were to go s33king.

  45. YogaDawg says:

    Perfect yoga art. Goes well with the fluffiness of a lot of yoga studios.

  46. thanks a ton for just laying it out there this way. I appreciate it.

  47. I don't get your Firefly references, either. Can I still hang out with you?

  48. YogaDawg says:

    Ha ha ha Blake, I posted your post on Facebook on June 17th because I thought I found a match for the Nameste Bitch. Too bad you are married. You two might have made a good match… Check out:

    http://namaste-bitches.blogspot.com/2010/03/guide
    ——-
    From Facebook:

    YogaDawg Howls: I think I found her match… http://namaste-bitches.blogspot.com/2010/03/guide… A Mindful Geek: An open letter to new age chicks.
    amindfulgeek.blogspot.com

    I practice Zen and I don't hide that fact. But sometimes I wonder if I should. I'm not at all embarrassed by this fact. Nor do I need to hide it because my family will freak out. Nor do I fear how people will treat me. …
    June 16 at 8:30am · Comment ·LikeUnlike · View Feedback (4)Hide Feedback (4) · Share

  49. Linda-Sama says:

    I second nadine's comment. and honey….sounds like you need to leave the younguns alone and get with some women of a certain age who know what they're talking about….;) OM!