No, I haven't seen Woody Allen's new mixed-review flick. Though I do have two AMC Theater passes languishing in my desk drawer if anyone wants to make a date of it. In this case, I've been pondering if taking the "whatever works" attitude should apply to all areas of our lives.
The other day, I asked an especially spiritual friend of mine to send out some positive energy to help me find my dream job. I've been working hard to harness the power of the law of attraction, so I too have been envisioning myself in my new office, working with my new colleagues, buying new Mad Men-inspired outfits, etc. I even petitioned the cashier at Trader Joe's with the septum piercing to help me out by focusing on those good vibes and helping me claim my fantastic job.
Though I've expressed some skepticism over The Secret in the past - I simply cannot believe that those poor people on the Taconic Parkway last Sunday manifested themselves into a head-on collision with a woman so out of it she didn't know she was driving the wrong way on a one-way highway. However, in this challenging job market, you've got to pull out all the stops. Allah, Buddha, Vishnu I love you all.
Or do I? When I asked my friend to help me out by thinking positively, she offered to guide me in a shamanistic journey. Now, I like to think of myself as being open-minded, but it truly gave me pause to consider the idea of participating in this ritual. Could I participate in it? Was it against my religion? Did I care if it was?
Ultimately, I decided to decline the offer and I didn't even have to ask my rabbi about it. Just as I wouldn't be comfortable going to Mass and taking communion in order to obtain grace in God's eyes, I don't think it's OK for me to do so in a more "New Age" context either. It's interesting how we look at non-Judeo Christian religions with a more tolerant eye. Why is that?
If my friend finds meaning in her shamanistic practice, or someone else finds comfort in lighting a candle and saying a novena and other says tehillim (psalms) - I think that's fantastic and I sincerely thank them for seeking Divine intervention on my behalf. I hope I can someday return the favor and under happy conditions.
Rarely am I presented with situations that truly force me to examine my beliefs, especially on issues of idol worship or monotheism. Usually, I'm just worried if I can eat the potato skins or if they have bacon on them. Maybe the plus side to all this is that I got a nice distraction from the immediate concerns of my job search and instead got to dwell on deep dogmatic issues for a change. In the meantime, I'm going to go burn some sage... that's still OK, right?