Last night I was flipping the TV dial, in my customary drooling semi-conscious haze, when I landed on a PBS series hosted by spiritual guy Dr. Wayne Dyer. Dr. Dyer appears to be the house guru on Public TV for the time being.
There have been others. About decade ago, John Bradshaw was the wise potentate on BPS during the 12-step-derived toxic whatever & recovery craze. That's a wide net, man. I mean, who isn't a hopeless addict of some sort?
Bradshaw would stand next to a giant mobile sculpture which carried labels of constituent family roles on its drifting panels: "daddy", "mommy", "sister", "brother", etc. The mobile was there to symbolize the mechanics of the dysfunctional family. "When daddy starts drinking"... Bradshaw would say, nudging the 'daddy' piece of the mobile, "daughter fills the void and compensates in an unhealthy way". Bradshaw would then draw attention to the 'sister' piece suddenly clanging about on the other side. I kinda' miss that John Bradshaw.
Fashion has always been a part of spirituality and religion. Impassioned movements led by charismatic figures would sweep through the land, followed by quiet years where the flock finally tiptoes away and re-assimilates back into faceless tract-house vistas (or they go completely berserk and drink the kool-aid) , which creates a vacuum for the next movement. --Not that there's anything wrong with that. Hey, I'm not here to judge.
Listening to Dr. Dyer, it became clear that he was pitching one simple idea. Doing this took about an hour of gesticulation, as well as both hands frequently coming together in holy symmetry. "Don't expect to find happiness, you must make happiness." The rest of the presentation was filler... LOTS of filler. After all, you can't just expect to shoot a whole show around a single sentence. Not without dancing girls! You must mold it, shape it and drive it home. You need to accessorize with spiritual lingo, which tends heavily toward: "energy", "universe", "channel", & "vibration". You are always safe when using these words.
I guess people like the nurturing approach (damn bunch of soft pansies!!! They need a swift kick from Dr. Phil!). It obviously presents an alternative to the paternalistic, angry God stuff that was plowed into people's heads from childhood. I understand that to a point, but too much affirmational navel-gazing turns ghastly saccharine and gives rise to accompanying imagery of unicorns flying over vast cosmic seas of amorphous purple plasma. You'd think you'd been held prisoner in Doug Henning's underwear drawer. Aesthetically something needs to be reconsidered, and quick!
Call it his gift, Dr. Dyer does have a focused and nurturing demeanor. His voice is even-tempered. His gaze, thoughtful. His cranium is pleasantly smooth, almost erotic; very soothing to gaze upon. Very much like his own vibrating universe channeling energy.