The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Know Thy Neighbor: Sue Pike
I'm not being facetious, and I'm not poking fun. Sue's a Reiki Master and she's an animal communicator, and by all accounts, a damn good one. Check out the Reiki Sue page on the myspace for more specific info on what she does and how she does it. If you want to talk reiki, you should probably know at least as much as the bare minimum, which is about what I know. Which is that reiki is a nearly 100 year old practice, started by a way mystical Japanese dude, that involves life force energy known as (the great scrabble word) Qi (spelled also ki or chi). Sue tells me that even some in the medical "establishment" have shown interest in its effectiveness. You may fall into the skeptical camp, but believe me, it's not worth arguing this stuff. Sue's satisfied customers won't be swayed by your tough talk! Let's just say she's not interested in converting the masses; she says either you're open to these ideas or you aren't.
Like any other discussion of matters spiritual, a certain level of respect is due the experiences of others. If, for instance, you were to tell me that God loves you, I'm inclined to agree and leave it at that. If you're certain your earthly body will cease to be, but your soul will live on, I have no skin in the game and needn't argue the point. And if you are inclined to trust in the powers of reiki and spiritual guides from the other, or another, side - both human and non-human - I wholeheartedly endorse a consultation with Sue. Here's the NY Times piece on her, and it does a fair job of 'splaining:
Since the "spirit" belongs by definition outside the realm of the more humdrum senses, I can't empirically tell you ANYTHING about it, since there's nothing to measure but the smile on your face or the furrow of your brow. That's really important for me to remember, especially when my skeptic bone gets a workout, and grows sore like a case of the rheumatiz.
But I've got to admit I'm super intrigued. I've read more than I care to mention on modern religious and spiritual movements. It's a hobby of mine to learn how people relate to the biggest of issues - namely death, grief, meaning and questions of the universe's creation. I have no formal feelings on the matter, just the occasional "man life is weeeeeeird" brain zap. But here's what I've learned, and it's help me make sense of the world in which we currently reside:
The Age of Enlightenment led to many great human advances. And it put knowledge and art in the hands of regular ol' people. The Industrial Revolution, however wealth-creating, led to specialization. And this specialization meant that regular ol' people no longer felt in control of their destiny. They, or rather we, do our little useful jobs, but we're reliant on the greater society and other people's specialized jobs to provide our sustenance, in exchange for money. Ever seen or read Little House on the Prairie? Now THERE'S a straight forward existence. Either get that house built by winter, or you'll freeze yer cheeks off. I for one would last about a month alone in the woods. And how does one fashion contact lenses from tree bark? Used to be humans could manage nearly all the tasks required for survival. That was good for our self-esteem, and I think it was good for our spiritual lives as well. God took care of the big stuff, we took care of keeping ourselves alive. In return for all our hard work staying above ground, he'd let us live out eternity after our tickers gave out.
Humans reacted to the loss of spiritual certainty by adopting any manner of new reactive religions and strategies. Concurrent with the industrial epoch came yer Hasidic Jews, the Charismatic or Pentecostal Christians, the Mormons, the height of the Quaker and Shaker movements, the growth spurt of older Anabaptist traditions like the Amish and Mennonites, Christian Science, and eventually Islamic fundamental revivals. One could argue that Socialism, while officially Godless, was a religion of the same sort - a reaction against the new orthodoxy of capitalism and a return to Eden's ideals.
I'm talking out one side of my ass of course. But I'm getting at a point about how even even those disinclined to seek organized religion made the journey back to the mystic, which is not just a place for Van Morrison to go into, it's a popular destination all around. Mystical isn't just for the whirling dervishes anymore.
Forty or fifty Million Americans now practice or utilize elements of mystical or non-Western spiritual practices in their daily lives, from yoga to crystals to acupuncture to herbs to meditation to reiki to...so isn't this also part of the worldwide "return" to the mystic? To a simpler, more ordered universe? To a more ethical, less insatiably greedy lifestyle and outlook?
I'm sure a left-leaning New-Ager would take umbrage at being lumped in with the evangelical fundamentalists. But maybe the same instinct is at play?
Anyhow, don't count on the Q for answers. Right now, he's too busy eating Girl Scout Thin Mints, straight out of the freezer where they belong.