Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring has sprung!

Zen Garden at Cathedral of the Pines
The world is a busy place right now, but it's wonderful, too. We're spring cleaning, doing laundry galore as we pull out the spring and summer clothes, and getting the garden ready for new life. I'm all a dither as I run from one chore to another, and sometimes it feels like I get nothing done at all. Heck, sometimes I really don't get anything done at all!

Chives in my herb garden
For me, this is the time when my spiritual life switches from the solitude and silence of winter to the hustle and bustle of summer. Summer meditations are all about movement and sunlight. While winter prayers are inside, summer ones are outside with the wind in my hair and a sunburn blossoming on my shoulders.

In conjunction with the theme of movement and new growth, I've decided to put together a monthly (online) newsletter. If you're interested, you can sign up on my website. It won't be huge, but it'll include some unique articles, links to relevant articles, and photographs. It'll also include any dates I have planned at Cathedral of the Pines or elsewhere, so if local people want to meet up with me, they'll know how to do so.

Kale, reaching for the sun
So... if you want to hear about spring prayer and volunteering as sacrifice, sign up today! The newsletter will go out around the first Friday of each month.

Check back often for prayers, spiritual musings and all manner of religious discussion and talk. If you have questions or comments, please write to me below. I love to answer questions! If you purchase items I have linked through ads or Amazon, I receive an affiliate portion of the sale. If you find the items are useful, please purchase from my site!
 
You may also be interested in:

Kumaré
How to teach your sons about consent
Twelve Steps to Freedom
Being the better person
Taking offense

Friday, April 19, 2013

Kumaré

The other night, I went up to bed a little early and decided to watch a documentary on my tablet. I zipped through the offerings on Netflix and discovered one called Kumaré. The IMDB describes it thus:

"A documentary about a man who impersonates a wise Indian Guru and builds a following in Arizona. At the height of his popularity, the Guru Kumaré must reveal his true identity to his disciples and unveil his greatest teaching of all."

It sounded intriguing and not too pressing. I thought it would be amusing if nothing else. I had been looking for an easy watch, something that I could relax and just soak up. This was not that movie, but I don't regret a single moment of watching it. Indeed, I ended up staying awake almost an hour later than I should have, to watch the end of it.

Our story's "guru" grew up in a Hindu household, attended many rituals, studied religion in university, and discovered that he might just be an atheist.  He did a lot of background research, visiting religious and spiritual leaders around the world. He then set himself up with a couple of pretty young ladies to become Kumaré.

They start with a detailed background of coming from a small village in India, and move on to getting him teaching time at a variety of local ashrams and yoga studios. He speaks in a fake Indian accent (though it's well done), punctuated with foreign words. Honestly, at the very beginning he does look rather fake to me.

Still, what he's teaching isn't wrong. He teaches that religious and spiritual leaders are all fakes, himself especially. He's not trying to dis ministers and priests and such, but more to point out that they're just guides and the impetus and spirituality comes from within. He continues his teachings, getting deeper and deeper with his students.

There's a point at which he's a well accepted teacher, and his core students begin to seek him out for counselling. He does what all good counselors do - he says things like, "Hm... and what do you think of that?" He answers questions with questions. He challenges the students to find their own answers. And they thank him for his deep wisdom and feel that they've gotten something incredibly potent.

The documentary is fascinating, both in its coverage of the students and how they integrate themselves into the practices of Kumaré, and Kumaré himself and how he finds his own way thanks to his students. The ending was surprising, not in its function (he reveals himself to his students eventually) but in the response of the students to that revelation.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone who has an interest in religious or spiritual leaders or teachings. It's incredibly well put together, and is very touching. Kumaré holds nothing back at the end, and talks a lot about how his "expose" film turned into a spiritual journey for himself.

     Five stars!


Check back often for prayers, spiritual musings and all manner of religious discussion and talk. If you have questions or comments, please write to me below. I love to answer questions! If you purchase items I have linked through ads or Amazon, I receive an affiliate portion of the sale. If you find the items are useful, please purchase from my site!
 
You may also be interested in:

How to teach your sons about consent
Twelve Steps to Freedom
Being the better person
Taking offense
Ash Wednesday invitation