Book Review: A Course in Miracles? Or a Course in Confusion?

by Stephanie Brail

I've had a copy of A Course in Miracles since the 1990s. When I first got it, I tried reading it and could not get into it. Yet, Marianne Williamson was all the rage (Williamson's book Return to Love was a huge new age hit in the 90s), and so I felt there must be something in there for me. After all, Williamson was quoted so much at the time, it just seemed like this was some sort of grand, amazing course all serious seekers should be taking. Maybe I wasn't quite "ready" for it.

Over a decade passed, and A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is no longer the "hot" ticket it seemed to be in the 90s. For some reason, though, I still had the book in my bookshelf. It had survived many moves (even an out-of-state move). So recently, I dusted my copy of ACIM off my shelf and took another look at it.


Depression and Andrew Koenig

  • Posted on: 25 February 2010
  • By: mokshalom

Today I heard the sad news of Andrew Koenig's death. I was fortunate to have known Andrew - though not that well. He was one of the improvisers at the now defunct Empty Stage Theater in West Los Angeles, which I performed at for almost 10 years. While I knew Andrew was "Chekov's son," I did not know while he was at the theater that he had played "Boner" on Growing Pains - he was that humble and non-pretentious about his celebrity.

Andrew was not someone I was friends with, but an acquaintance who I saw on a regular basis for many years. He never struck me as the kind of person capable of taking his own life. In retrospect, I can see some evidence of the depression in his sharp humor. I don't remember him as a happy or joyful person, but a bright guy who expressed a more cynical view of life in his creative expression. Still, I would have never in a million years thought he was capable of ending his own life.

The Arrest of James Arthur Ray and the Law of Attraction

  • Posted on: 15 February 2010
  • By: mokshalom

James Arthur Ray has been arrested on charges of manslaughter for the deaths of three participants in a sweat lodge ceremony he held last year.

From the Daily Mail:

...(One of the victim's) mother, Ginny, said yesterday that she would have liked to believe the deaths were accidental - but that everything that Ray did during the 'Spiritual Warrior' event almost made them inevitable.

'One of the things that horrifies me after we found out Kirby had died was to see how he behaved, to really yield his true character,' she said.

'This wasn't just a horrible accident. His own conviction in his omnipotence and his own seduction of money and wealth made him delusional.'

Wisdom From the Love Guru

  • Posted on: 31 January 2010
  • By: mokshalom

The Love Guru (brought to us by Mike Myers) is either one of those love it or hate it films...but I thought it was pretty funny despite an over-reliance on penis jokes. Maybe you need to have lived in Southern California and joined the new age community to get it.

What made this film for me was the spot on parody of the yoga gurus who cropped up in America in the 1960s. The first part of the film really hits the satire hard, starting with a sea of starry-eyed followers at the Love Guru's ashram. Everyone greets each other with "Mariska Hargitay," which, despite being the name of an actress, actually does sound like some sort of funny Sanskrit mantra.

At the ashram, "Guru Pitka" (the Love Guru) gives a hilarious yogic talk complete with silly acronyms and words turned into other words. For example:

Intimacy = "Into-me-I-see"

The Real Secret: Abundance Doesn't Come First (But it Will Come to Stay if You Follow These Steps)

by Kathleen McGowan
Author of The Source of Miracles: 7 Steps to Transforming Your Life through the Lord's Prayer

Instant Manifestation. Unlimited Abundance. Ask, Believe, Receive!

So many books, DVDs and other programs have promised all of these things over the last few years. Millions of people have flocked to the teachings of "The Law of Attraction" in hopes of transforming their lives and attracting love, money and fulfillment.

And millions of people are also finding that these programs don't work. And if they do work, the effects are temporary. Why? Because the lessons of these programs are incomplete and totally out of order. They skip the important steps, the elements of personal and spiritual transformation which are necessary to provide a solid foundation to build upon.

Most "Law of Attraction" techniques do not require any kind of accountability and therefore they do not work.


Free 1/2 Hour Reiki Healing Sessions in Culver City through February 4

  • Posted on: 27 January 2010
  • By: mokshalom

I have just started offering healing, hypnosis and coaching sessions at RakSa, a beautiful new space in Culver City (West Los Angeles). I am offering free 1/2 introductory Reiki or Angel Healing sessions Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10 am and 3 pm until February 4, 2010.

To schedule, call 310.559.7200

Oh No, Not Shrimp Too!

  • Posted on: 25 January 2010
  • By: mokshalom

Is there some agency that is charged with reviewing all the foods we've been eating for centuries, for the purpose of driving us insane about what we can and cannot eat? Seems hardly a month goes by without some food being declared unfit for consumption. It started with coffee than went to milk and I've lost track of how many foods have been deemed unfit for consumption. Is this an industry? What's next apples?

Such is the lament of one commenter on Jill Richardson's article "Shrimp's Dirty Secrets: Why America's Favorite Seafood Is a Health and Environmental Nightmare."

And yes. Now the big bad food is shrimp. Shrimp!

Given all the scare and horror stories around about various types of food, you think something as seemingly benign as shrimp would be OK. Ooops. No, it's not.

Perking Up Your Ramen Noodles

  • Posted on: 23 January 2010
  • By: mokshalom

I hate to sound like a stereotype, but ramen noodles were one of my staple foods in college. I also remember eating a lot of waffles and popcorn. Sometimes for lunch and dinner. That, and Hamburger Helper. It's a wonder I survived at all, now that I think about it.

My friends recently gave me some packaged food they didn't want, and it included one lone packet of ramen noodles. It was chicken "flavor," which really doesn't mean there's any actual chicken in it (though there is plenty of MSG).

Once I cooked the ramen, I noticed how lonely they looked sitting there in the bowl. Nothing green or colorful, just a bland mix of cloudy yellow water and yellow noodles. Kind of sad looking.

I remember I had some roasted seaweed in my cabinet, and when I put some strips into the soup bowl, voila, I suddenly had something that looked like actual soup!

Health Care is Not a Right, But Being Healthy Is

  • Posted on: 21 January 2010
  • By: mokshalom

I see a lot of well-meaning people saying "Health care is a right!!" as their rallying cry. Yet, I don't think they've stopped to really think about what they are saying. Health care can't actually be a right, because forcing someone else to give you a service against their will is called slavery, and you'd be taking someone else's rights away in the process.

Consider. I know how to do Reiki healing. It can help a lot of people. You could say "Reiki healing is a right!" and then try to force me to Reiki everyone I possibly could, non-stop, 24-hours per day. Perhaps I do help people in that fashion...but is that right, to lock up Reiki healers in a room and force them to heal until they are exhausted?

I hope Andy Swan doesn't mind that I am copying his entire blog post on the subject verbatim, because he explains it very logically: