This week Newsweek’s Special Edition titled “Spiritual Living” hits the newsstands examining all manner of alternative connections to Spirit. The Home Office of Centers for Spiritual Living announced that CSL leaders had been interviewed for an article that would appear and it’s there, on page 28. One page of writing and a photo that is not related specifically to CSL or any of its brands.
Issue #1: while I realize that as an interviewee you have no control over what or how much is printed (I’ve been there), I question the research that went into saying “Yes” to being written up in a widely-publicized magazine when it had to be disclosed that CSL would be grouped together with a lot of practices that make mainstream folks roll their eyes and look around for the posse of middle-aged women in faded wolf t-shirts.
Issue #2: you cannot pass gas in a branded CSL organization without the express written consent of a minister, and yet somehow – in all the vague descriptions of education contained on that 1 page exposé – it is never once mentioned that a significant portion of the academic track at Centers for Spiritual Living is dedicated to training ministers. I saw nothing in the article about Practitioners, healing and supportive communities. I saw a lot about navel gazing and finding one’s self – and that’s all fine and good, but the CSL mission and vision that I thought I understood is vastly different from the CSL that was characterized in that article.
Issue #3: if you don’t know anything about a Center for Spiritual Living, you’re not much further ahead after reading this article. It reads like CSL is a loosely-affiliated band of online classes. In a publication where Tarot Cards got a 2-page spread, Reiki got 8 pages and a relatively unknown dream healer and ascension guide got 4 pages, CSL – an international organization with history, infrastructure and a recognizable brand – got a single page of non-specifics and an unrelated picture (where “minister” and “spiritual practitioner” are mentioned but not explained).
Issue #4: If you consult Tarot Card readers, psychics or dream interpreters or use crystals, Reiki or other alternative practices, I have no issue with you, BUT; until I read this article, I considered these practices to be in a totally different category than religious science/CSL practice.
In the professional world (where middle-aged women are not allowed to wear wolf t-shirts to work) it is perfectly acceptable to be someone who goes to the Catholic or Methodist Church on Sunday, the synagogue on Friday or the (Quaker) meeting house on Wednesday. While there are people who do not subscribe to these beliefs or practices, these are at least respected as choices that fall within the spectrum of the mainstream. However, if in this same professional world, you share that you consult psychics, mediums, use crystals or Tarot Cards,… you’re automatically in a totally different category. You move immediately from the “normal distribution curve” to something that is “other“. In the arenas I swim in, this isn’t compatible with corporate advancement (no wolf t-shirts in the C-suite).
I’m in NO WAY saying that we should alter our practice in order to fall into the normal distribution curve, but I am asking if the larger CSL organization prefers to be affiliated with Tarot Cards and psychics as opposed to more respected (and vetted) religious and spiritual organizations? If they do, then I misread something along the way and need to recalibrate my own choices. If they do NOT want to be cast in this category, I believe that some serious damage control is in order after the distribution of this article.
I welcome your comments. I’ll definitely have some more of my own.