Friday, January 8, 2010


Photo credit: mconnors from

Fundament - the buttocks, the anus.

Right. There you go.

And I'm not just talking about the right-wing evangelical variety, either. This morning what's really got me going is a list-serve that I subscribe to, of North American (mostly) acupuncturists (mostly), who've gone off on a spiritual tangent.

As a bit of background, there's an acupuncture treatment protocol in Chinese medicine to address "possession". It's great. Really, I mean that. It's a great treatment to yank a person out of the mire and get their feet back on whatever path they were meant to be on. It's used for treating addictions, but it's also good for those times when a person gets so emotionally stuck on one track that they don't have the flexibility to react in anything but one way. It's effective on at least the physical and emotional levels, and I think, from my own experience, that it's effective spiritually too. And by spiritually, I have no idea what I mean. The inexplicable, immeasurable. That.

But in this online discussion about addictions/obsessions/possessions, there's cropping up this fundamentalist undertone. "The spirit of this herb IS this" or "Wholeness IS that" or "Healthy spirituality IS thus". Lots of ersatz Buddhism, paganism, Sufiism being slung around, mostly by people not raised in those traditions, and mostly slung at their clients' viewpoints.


I stay in tune with this list-serve because I want to know what they're saying. When it's more focused on actual treatment, there's often a lot of valuable information. I've never participated. I just want to keep an ear cocked to the craziness, because it's better to know than not to know. This particular group bears watching.

And you know, it's not that I think spiritual seeking is craziness. Definitely not. And I don't think that you can't legitimately move away from whatever you were raised with and have legitimate spiritual growth. But growth would be the operative word. Maturity. Humility.

The longer I live, the more I think that "I don't really know for sure, but this seems to work most of the time" is the best answer for most questions. And usually the most truthful one.

Scientific fundamentalism, educational fundamentalism, religious fundamentalism... it's all from the fundament.

Thus, compost. Praise be. It'll grow punkins after all. Eventually.


arcolaura said...

ooohoohoo belly laughing - I love you, Madcap!

Madcap said...

Jeepers, I didn't know I was so funny! Not complaining, mind you. Wonderful to see you back, and thanks for the link. I'll be over to read more carefully later.


I like your reference point. Funny, indeed!

You said, "Humility."

Yep...that's what I'm beginning to discern as well.

Madcap said...

The word "humility" always brings Jean Vanier to mind. If there was ever a man who had cause to be proud, he would, with his prodigious brain and capacity to get things done. But he is the gentlest, most humble, and serving person. I went to hear him speak once in Edmonton when Chive and I were first married, right about this time of year, and there he stood in front of a thousand people or more, in his old cardigan that Chive said was the same one he'd been wearing at his last presentation there 20 years earlier. He talked about the ultimate pointlessness of everything except love, and his work with the handicapped and how they'd taught him to be human.

I compare that with the leader of this particular group, who's always reminding her followers of how spiritually advanced she is, what a scholar she is, how her methods are so superior. And who knows? Maybe that's all true. But all I can hear is the clashing cymbals, you know?

And I'm really repelled by the current trend in advertising among practitioners in my field (and maybe others, but I'm not curious enough to spend the time searching). I can't imagine having the nerve to construct a website full of testimonials about how marvelous I am, and how your life will be changed if you come to my clinic/classes. There's a lot of talk about the client owning his/her own process, but mostly it's just talk. The real attitude shows up in the flyers.

arcolaura said...

Humility. Humus.
Richness. Riches.