In every throat, there is the ability to gag.

Via Waylon Lewis
on May 26, 2011
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“In every community, there is work to be done..In every nation, there are wounds to heal…In every heart, there is the power to do it.”

~Marianne Williamson


Spiritual Feel-Good Fluff, anyone?

Spirituality isn’t about nice words, feel-good aphorisms, generalities. It’s not about perfecting ourselves, or self-improvement. Spirituality itself, as a term, doesn’t describe what it aims to describe. As the Zennies say, the moment we solidify that which we are talking about, it ceases to be true.

Those of us who practice meditation and walk a spiritual path need to remember to communicate in ordinary, human terms. If there’s a gag-reflex, as there was for me with the above words, we may be only speaking to our own choir. A professional communicator such as Marianne Williamson must remember to speak beyond the “spiritual crowd” and to the masses who didn’t know they gave a care. That’s our aim, on elephant.

So we’re not about spirituality. We’re about living a good life that also happens to be good for others, and our planet.

~ Waylon Lewis


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


10 Responses to “In every throat, there is the ability to gag.”

  1. Claudia says:

    Why does this make you want to puke in your mouth? Just curious. I kinda get a better-than-you vibe from Marianne Williamson, but I love ACIM so I sorta tune her out.

  2. elephantjournal says:

    Susan Pierce Freeman hahahaha! That was great! Definitely a burst out laughing moment! Thanks, man!

    Sandi Strong I've never read it, but many of the people you quote in your intros and even write about have read it, and you can hear the influence in their writings and see the results in their lives.

    # Yes, but with years of hard work, they can overcome said results. ~ W.

    Sandi Strong Hmmm….. I (mostly) enjoy watching your journey here, I just often wish it was done with less criticism of other ways and more espousing the benefits of your way. ~ There are many rafts to get you across the river.

    # Well, I was brought up Buddhist, and me and a pal often called we Buddhists the Republicans of New Age…in Buddhism there's a great deal of emphasis on discriminated wisdom. It's not allllll good, brau—some of this is trite cliche aphorism hogwash, and some of this (usually requiring a little exertion, and joyous discipline) actually does help us be better people, better able to serve the greater good.

    That said, my post was offered somewhat humorously…I thought of Colbert and his oft-stated "vomit in my mouth" statements about things he regards as grandstanding nice-sounding superficial BS. ~ Waylon

  3. elephantjournal says:

    It seems rather "special," "precious," easy-to-say, nice-to-say, empty. That said, it's probably quite out of context and I just had a knee-jerk or rather gag-reflex reaction to it, so probably more my problem than anything else. ~ Waylon

  4. […] Let’s remember what the generation before taught us: if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all, especially not sticky sweet spiritual euphemisms. […]

  5. Lizard says:

    Not sure why you are complaining about the quote, sounds pretty plain spoken to me. Are you wanting her to ‘dumb it down’ for the masses? Usually I like your articles, not today.

  6. Claudia says:

    I totally get where you are coming from. That's just how MW talks. It annoys me as well.

  7. What I want to know is who did that awful book (or CD?) cover making the Course look like the outcome of some kind of meteorological anomaly… as we veteran students know, the standard edition of A Course in Miracles has always come in a plain blue wrapper, bespeaking its actual nature as a spiritual curriculum (meaning: hard work) or, as it calls itself, a "mind training." Marianne is a popularizer and has fulfilled her function in that regard, I guess, but it's always a shame when people come away with negative impressions of the Course from this kind of PR…

  8. […] not here to share blogs about “accelerating our spiritual development”—that is the language of ego ungrounded in suffering or genuine sadness, as Trungpa Rinpoche put it. That’s not to say […]

  9. […] Gagging at feel-good bullshit isn’t, either. But it’s a good start: […]

  10. Simon says:

    I used to be inspired by that tone, for a while I emulated it.

    'Me then' makes 'me now' gag. I'll probably say the same thing in 5 years.

    There is so much short and sweet wisdom thrown around these days and mostly it is by people who don't really get it's inner meaning and use it to make them seem wiser than they are.

    If these people are as wise as they think they are they'd realize that some down-to-Earth, common-sense practicality would go a lot further and alienate less people.