I was intrigued by the following video, which reminded me of Grant Morrison’s comment about how civilization is a process going through what Stanislav Grof has dubbed the Basic Perinatal Matrices. In other words, a birthing process.

I followed a link and the end of the first video to find the following. It’s an interesting, well produced piece that I mostly agree with.

The previous video then directed me to this website: Perceiving Reality Watch the flash in full.

Although I don’t agree with absolutely everything, it’s not a bad explanation of how most of us (myself included) exist in our day to day lives. It’s not a bad take on the notion of “reality tunnels” we’ve discussed at length here at Animam Recro. My problem with what has been said is that it’s an overly positive take on the nature of reality. For practical purposes, this is an excellent and very functional way of operating, but nature can destroy and take away just as much as it can “bestow”. I love the production quality yet couldn’t get the sensation out of my head that I was being sold something.

It turns out the site is a promotional piece for the Bnei Baruch Learning Center. And in fact, I wasn’t being sold anything, at least not something I had to pay for. This website offers free online Kabbalah lessons to anyone with the time and interest. It’s open to everyone and claims to not promote any religion, accepting individuals of all backgrounds. Hey, at least it’s not The Secret, right?

Here is a video description of what the institute offers. This is also where I have a few qualms with the program.

I’m always wary of certain phrases and ideas in teachings such as this. First, in my view it’s the unnecessary emphasis on “authenticity”. The use of this concept is maybe one of the oldest marketing tools known to man. We don’t want to follow an unauthentic system, we want the REAL thing. What does that even mean? Next comes the obligatory reference (on their website) to an unbroken chain of teachers that have passed down the teachings throughout history. We really need to get over this kind of talk. Everyone claims this, even Zen Buddhism goes back to the flower sermon, right? As teachings age, their connection to past teachers should not be used as a form of legitimization. The proof is in the pudding as they say. It either works or it doesn’t, you either follow it or you don’t.

Second, the following phrases also make me worrisome:

“…find out who you really are.”
“…learn the real rules of the game.”
“…a unique illumination revealed only through the study of authentic Kabbalah texts.”
“…an illumination that reveals your life’s true purpose.”

These wordings work like a magnet on individuals looking for meaning in their life. The problem is that when you build up a teaching like this and someone dives into it, the person may often come out equally blocked off to the world as when they entered it. The path of spirituality is a winding one, you never know where someone may get stuck and how they discern their current state to be “who they really are”.

And of course, as a teaching you always have to claim that you offer something that no one else in the market has to offer. But criticisms aside, this may be actually one of the best spirituality programs online I’ve had a chance to glance at. The fact that it’s free, rather technologically advanced, and promotes notions that are pretty spot on, it makes me want to learn more.

I hereby announce a challenge! I think Pavel and I should download a few of these free lecture videos, watch them and make a podcast for discussion. What do you think?