Pseudo-Spirituality is a Chronic Pain in the Ass

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

November 26th, 2010 • Living with Chronic PainPrint Print

I was speaking with a preeminent figure in the world of self-healing — an individual who not only created a method and space for others to heal mind, body, and spirit, but also who had healed herself from a life-threatening illness. One would think that this person and I would connect deeply, right? On some levels, that happened. On others, I was disappointed, but at this stage in the game, not altogether surprised, by some of her reactions.

At the beginning of our conversation, I shared a 30 second recap of my own story of self-healing through dance. Then later in the conversation, when this individual and I were talking about our respective mothers, I opened my heart and started to tell her the story of my mother’s remarkable healing from a horrific accident two years ago. I figured that this woman would connect, given her own experience of self-recovery.

But as soon as I began telling the story, the minute I mentioned my mom’s accident, this individual interrupted with the rhetorical and judgmental question, “What is it with your family?” Apparently, biological nuclear family units are only allocated one traumatic incident per household. What startled me is that this individual, this person who is a pillar in the self-healing community, would choose to latch on to something negative — ie, completely miss the power and spirit in these two remarkable stories of transformational healing and instead focus on the accidents themselves.

This attitude is rampant. And it is shit.

I no longer had any interest in sharing my mother’s story. Given the professional context in which this person and I were speaking, I did not feel comfortable just dropping the conversation altogether. So I simply wrapped up that story with, “Well, she had a miraculous recovery, so I figured you would relate.” “Oh yes,” this individual assured me, “I love those kinds of things.” Sure whatever.

One would think that in the world of energy healing, meditation, and other forms of spiritual awakening, people would be more open and loving. But I have found some of the harshest, most negative, most judgmental, and most arrogant people to be in this very world. People who are, in essence, control freaks, taking to the ego level their ability to manipulate energies.

Honestly, I much prefer the scrappy-assed, loud-mouthed, punk rock, indie, anarchist, burnt-out activist types, who recognize that there is a whole hell of a lot of crap that is outside our control. People who are putting their Life Spirit and time and energy and hard work into making the world a better place. Changing laws. Increasing access to resources. Tranforming paradigms.

I remember that when I was a hard core yogi in my 20s, I kept feeling like a bull in a China shop. I yearned for an environment where spirituality met activism met healing met social justice. As I bounced from group to group and community to community, I came to the conclusion that there was no ready-made group for Loolwa Khazzoom, but rather, that I would have to hand-pick my own tribe from here and there.

The process is laborious and often-times disappointing. I have a huge heart and get very excited about connecting with people. And it really sucks when I not only discover that this person or that person is hitting up against those same-old, same-old limited paradigms of thinking, but when I end up subject to their pseudo-spiritual spew. As I shared in a blog post a few months back, friendly fire is worse than enemy fire:

Once someone is important to me, once someone has become a reference point of sorts in my life, once I have established a certain amount of trust and have certain resulting expectations, these one-dimensional, unthinking, esssentially emotionally violent proclamations can be feel quite devastating. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been reeling from the harsh, judgmental, condemning attitude of someone with whom I felt a profound connection and with whom I uncannily shared a parallel story of self-healing. I was in shock. Just total shock.

But after the conversation with this preeminent figure in the healing community, I am no longer reeling from this crap, but recognizing the limitations of other people’s thinking. And realizing those limitations are rampant. And feeling a little more jaded, a little more wisened up, a little less vulnerable.

But not less open. I will NOT shut down. I will not close my heart or stop telling my story or stop getting excited when I recognize connection potential. I will live my life with the fullest of spirit and excitement. I will dance in love with the Universe.

What I do want to change in me is the compassion I extend to people when they are being Class A assholes. I am going to start throwing it back in their faces. I mean, what the fuck. I’m done. I am so done with this bullshit. If someone is arrogant and insolent and, well, enough of a poo-poo head that they are going to tell me to my face, amidst my suffering, that I’m causing this crap — instead of recognizing how much we’re out of control of circumstances, instead of recognizing the courage and creativity and power with which I respond to these circumstances, well, they are asking for it. So look out.


Monkeyshines March 2nd, 2011

Stumbled onto your blog – will spend some more time here. You’re a good writer. I hope you’re still writing.
I have one of these in my life right now. I’ve come to the conclusion that people who need to be that public and outspoken with their beliefs don’t really have beliefs so much as false personas constructed that match their idea of what they *should* be or of what they want to be seen as. But actually being those things requires hard work, humbleness, and an ability to give up a fair amount of ego.

Don’t let anyone shut you down, ever. I’m a lot older than you and a lot more jaded. I still laugh like a 12-year-old and love everyone who gets in my way…until they prove they don’t have the grace to appreciate the gift, and then I simplywish them well and go on my way.

All the best.

Loolwa Khazzoom November 20th, 2013

Somehow I did not see this comment until now. I love it! Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration. Sometimes I have felt too vulnerable to keep putting myself out there, when faced with this bullshit self sanctimonious bullshit. But I eventually get back up and at it again. I always love, however, encountering people like you. Keep laughing like a child. I know I do!

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