Self-Help Hoo-Ha

Do You Need Anti-Depressants? Can You Afford to Take Them in the First Place?

  • Posted on: 6 June 2011
  • By: mokshalom

A Facebook friend posted a link to the following article, which talks about the theory that anti-depressants not only don't cure depression, but make it worse by altering brain chemistry in negative and sometimes long-lasting ways:

The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?

Not surprising, many responses to the article were from folks who were attached to the belief that they needed psychiatric "rescue" by drugs. I posted a reply (admittedly, sometimes I waste too much time debating on Facebook), but thought it might be good to share here on my blog. Given that anti-depressants may make you depressed for life, can you afford to take the risk of using them? Wouldn't it be good to know that there is another way?

Here is my Facebook response:

Spiritual Materialism...It's About the Quick Fix

  • Posted on: 11 April 2010
  • By: mokshalom

I very much enjoyed Tamara Levitt's blog piece, "Spiritual Materialism and Where to Point the Finger." She brings up a lot of issues I've had with the new age/self-help world:

I’ve kind of had it “up to here” with spiritual materialism: people spending $200.00 on yoga outfits, the abundance of self-proclaimed gurus taking ancient Eastern spiritual principles and repackaging them into fragmented Cole’s notes versions, and films that suggest if we simply repeat our daily affirmations we’ll attract the perfect partner and a high paying job. And if it doesn’t attract them, we must be doing it wrong. Suddenly, personal growth is all about outcome. Everybody’s jumping on the spiritual bandwagon. But hey, it’s hip. It’s cool. It’s fun. Let’s all chant, “Namaste,” together!

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"

Is Amma the Hugging Saint for Real?

  • Posted on: 20 June 2009
  • By: mokshalom

Alas, my friend and I, who went to see Amma last night in Los Angeles, have decided that she is not the real deal. Worse, it appears that Amma is a psychic vampire, siphoning off the energy of her devoted followers.

My friend had contacted me earlier in the week asking if I wanted to go see Amma. She is an Indian woman who travels the world offering "free hugs." Someone in his singing class had gone to see her and had some sort of spiritual experience. He was curious, and so was I.

Coincidentally, I had recently heard of Amma just a month ago when I stumbled across an anti-Amma blog called "Cult of the Hugging Saint." Strangely enough, this blog was online last night when we checked it from the event (via my Blackberry), but when I went to look at it today, the blog is no longer available. Hm.

Another New Mental Illness: "Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder"

  • Posted on: 26 May 2009
  • By: mokshalom

Pretty soon modern psychiatry will label every personality type as a mental illness. The latest from the LA Times:

You know them. I know them. And, increasingly, psychiatrists know them. People who feel they have been wronged by someone and are so bitter they can barely function other than to ruminate about their circumstances.

Already Failing at My Negativity Diet...

  • Posted on: 6 April 2009
  • By: mokshalom

I'm not one of those people who believes we should run away from negativity all the time. I believe in the balance of yin and yang, positive and negative.

In starting my new 40-day meditation the other day, however, I was guided to go on a negativity diet for the next month. This means, not reading the news (unless it's really important) and staying away from negative people and situations as much as possible.

So what do I do? Within the first few days, I find myself engaging in a ridiculous conversation at a website over an email issue.