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The New Age Virus and How to Avoid It

photo: Leonid Mamchenkov on flickr

We’ve all seen it. A co-worker gets sick and wonders what she “did wrong” to cause the illness. A friend loses his job and blames it on his “lack consciousness.” A family member gets dumped by her boyfriend and beats herself up for not being a good enough “love magnet.”

They’re all victims of that most vicious and insidious of syndromes: The New Age Virus. 

That’s right, my Goofball friends, Dr. Z is back! And I’m here to tell you about a new disease that, if left unchecked, can wreak havoc in your life.

It can happen to anyone, at any time. You start to adopt the idea that consciousness is creative. You begin to understand the powerful influence of your thoughts.

The next thing you know, you’re holding yourself accountable for every last detail of your life. If something is wrong, it’s all your fault.

photo: Sarah G. on flickr

Before long, your entire life is a horror movie, directed by you. What started out as a groovy, la-la philosophy has mutated into a sophisticated and divinely-ordained way to beat yourself up. Pretty soon, this self-abusive mindset has spread to every area of your life.

And that’s why we call it a Virus.

What’s a Goofball to do?

Well, first of all, I’m not going to let any of us off the hook entirely. I still believe that consciousness is creative. I believe that consciousness is creative because it’s been my experience that this is so.

That said, there’s a huge difference between blame and responsibility. When all is said and done, this difference comes down to one factor: the ego.

Here in the Land of the Goofballs, we have a groovier, goofier title for the ego: The elf. (If you haven’t already read about this particular take on the ego, you can read about it here.)

The elf is basically the ego with pointy shoes and an impish grin. It’s a softer, gentler approach to this aspect of ourselves.  

In terms of the New Age Virus, the elf is what we call the carrier. Our little elf homes in on whatever’s gone “wrong” in our lives and uses it as a flogging stick to terrorize ourselves. And if you’ve ever seen an elf with a flogging stick, it’s not a pretty picture. Believe me.

The tricky part is that there’s an element of truth to the elf’s terrorizing ways. The New Age Virus, like any virus, is only feeding on what’s already there.

Case in point: I recently got sick. And not just a short, little jaunt into sickness. I was sick for weeks. First I got a cold. Then it turned into a cough. Then the cough went away, and I was left with fatigue. Days and days and days of fatigue.

photo: Erich Ferdinand on flickr

In the past, I would have used this as an opportunity to beat myself up. I would have handed over the flogging stick to my little elf and let her have at it.

While my elf was pounding me with the stick, she would have bombarded me with questions. Questions like: What did you do to cause this? What dark and deep thoughts are lurking in your consciousness? Why can’t you get it together?

After the questions were over, the elf would have thrown in some statements as well. Shiny gems like: You suck. You’re a loser. You never do anything right.

In the case of my recent illness, however, I did not allow it to degenerate into a New Age Virus. Instead, I was gentle with myself. I allowed myself to rest. At least, most of the time. I did get a little impatient that it was taking so long to get better. But I allowed myself to be gentle with my impatience, and slowly but surely, I started to improve.

What is important to note is that, in the midst of all this rest and renewal, some messages of guidance emerged. These messages were not from the elf self. She had only blaming and flogging in mind.

Instead, these messages were from a deeper part of me: My wisdom. My intuitive side. My Self.

This is what I was told: You need to slow down. You’ve been spending all your time keeping busy and doing chores. You need more quiet time. If you don’t allow this for yourself, your body will take it for you. This isn’t a form of punishment. It’s part of a natural cycle. A cycle of activity and rest. Oh, and by the way: I love you. You deserve all good things. Including rest.

photo: Kevin Poh on flickr

It was a message of instruction, not of flogging. It was a message that left me in a better place, not a battered one. And it was a message that will help me avoid getting sick in the future.

And that’s the difference between blame and responsibility.

The antidote to the New Age Virus is a strong and solid relationship with the Self. There are all kinds of ways to cultivate this relationship: prayer, meditation, chanting, time in nature or spiritual community. When this relationship is strong, you can listen to the deeper messages embedded in your experiences, messages that have nothing to do with blame.

photo: longtrekhome on flickr

Sometimes the messages involve changing your thoughts. Sometimes they involve changing your habits or your surroundings. And sometimes the messages simply tell you to wait in the Mystery for more to be revealed.

If you, instead, allow the elf to be in charge, the messages are more likely to leave you battered. More likely to leave you a prime candidate for a Virus of the New Age variety.

The Self loves. The elf judges.

It’s as simple – and as complicated – as that.

Of course, all of us spiritual types are potentially going to catch a little New Age Virus from time to time. Even the most “evolved” among us. As always, Love is the answer.

photo: Julie McLeod on flickr

We can learn to love our elf. We can learn to love ourselves enough to slow down and listen to the guidance within. And we can allow this atmosphere of gentleness and acceptance to lead us to the truth behind all of our experiences.

And that, my friends, is how we stay Virus-free!

When have you been prey to the New Age Virus? And how did you cure yourself?

P.S. There’s a complication to the New Age Virus. A related syndrome that’s even more troublesome and maddening. Read about it here!

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17 Responses to The New Age Virus and How to Avoid It

  1. Annette T February 21, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Hi Z!

    Excellent take on a BIG subject. Yes, I too am learning that kindness and gentleness toward myself seem to be the ticket – in all areas of my life, not just health. It also seems that the health issues have actually been the teacher of this.

    I bet I know what that related syndrome is that you mention in your PS, but I won’t say anything now and look forward to your post next week!

    • Z Egloff February 21, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      Hi AnnetTe,

      Ample amounts of kindness and gentleness are never a bad thing. And I agree with you that health issues are one of the best teachers we have – both in learning to be kind and gentle with ourselves, and in learning to discrnn the messages contained within the various syndromes our bodies take on.

      I think you’ll like next week’s post – I’ll be curious to see how well it matches up with your guess. . . . .

      XOZ

  2. Jill Shinn February 22, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    Well said. And slowing down and having compassion for yourself (and yourelf) is always a great idea. Hope you’re all better!

    • Z Egloff February 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

      Hi Jill,

      I like that – yourelf. Very nice! That just might end up in a blog post. . . .

      I’m feeling much better, thank you very much!

      XOZ

  3. mark February 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    I get your point, but I also think you swung the pendulum too far. I believe you CAN ask questions like “What am I doing to create this” not from a place of blame, but from an open, curious space that allows insight. The ego blames, attacks and makes everyone wrong. Yes, the ego will learn the language of “new age” but that doesn’t make the language wrong – we just have to be aware when the ego is using it versus the Higher Self.

    People misuse language and new ideas all the time because they have just enough information to make them dangerous. Then people write articles about how the “new age virus” is the problem. It is not the problem. A misunderstanding of when and how to ask the right questions is the problem. “How did I create this?” When this question comes from a loving place of wonder – so much insight can be gained. And, it will lead the person to the very place you landed – SELF-love, SELF-respect, SELF-care.

    I like where you ended in this article and totally agree. I just encourage you and all of us not to make something wrong that is being misused or misunderstood, but instead take the time to discover and possibly explain the original intention behind it – which is what is important.

    • Z Egloff February 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Greetings Mark,

      I agree with you that questions like “What am I doing to create this?” can be hugely beneficial. That is, when they are asked in an atmosphere of acceptance and love. It’s also been my observation that this particular question can be hijacked by the ego/elf self and used to denigrate the asker. The “virus” component comes in when the ego/elf dominates the inquiry.

      Although even the ego’s participation is perfect, ultimately. We’re all part of an evolution of consciousness. Interacting with both elf and Self – and learning to love them both – is part of the journey.

      Cheers,

      Z

      • georgia February 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

        I’m so glad we talked last week. Did you read my email “Why am I in the Choir?” I was reminded of how transformation is only found outside my comfort zone so that for transformation to occur, it is often necessary to have my “Transformation” button pushed. I am find myself trying not to push other people’s buttons. Yet, who am I to avoid and discourage their growth? This is akin to another conversation you and I have had. Bless you dearest Z! I hope to be as much of a Spiritual Goofball someday, everyday. Love love love you!

        • Z Egloff March 1, 2012 at 11:40 am #

          Hi Georgia,

          Yes – I read the choir email. Good for you for turning the situation into an opportunity to look for the blessings. Oh yes!

          As for the button pushing, it seems that in the process of being our selves, we inevitably push opther people’s buttons. But those are their buttons, not ours. That’s the good part! For me, though, sometimes pushing other people’s buttons pushes MY buttons. If you know what I mean. And I think you do.

          BTW, you already ARE a Spiritual Goofball. Just sayin’.

          XOZ

  4. Naava February 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Love it Z! Yes! Quiet time, and for me that means, no TV, no Netflix, no iPhone or iPad or whatever. Time for the mind to wander and wonder, and even be a goofball.

    • Z Egloff February 27, 2012 at 11:26 am #

      Hi Naava! I’m still working on this whole quiet time/doing nothing thing. I don’t do as much “unplugging” as I’d like. Whenever I give myself the time for my mind to just relax and wander, as you say, I notice all kinds of benefits. So thanks for the reminder!!

  5. C.I. February 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    First of all, Z, I have to say……….If that picture of a person in bed is you, that is the M-O-S-T FATIGUED I have ever seen you!

    And I recently had a BIG Mean Elf flogging me religiously about an annoying health situation. I finally realized “this feels like Hell” and “I would rather have Peace than this”. And so, I reprogrammed myself with the affirmation “I feel better when I stop judging myself”, said frequently and thus eliminating the middleman.

    Your kinder route works because the elf way only adds insult to injury, Yes!
    Go Well ! XOC

    • Z Egloff March 1, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      I was wondering if anyone would think that Mr. Bed Head was me. It COULD have been, I tell ya!

      I love that mantra: “I would rather have Peace than this.” It’s always such a good thing to say. I, like you, have used similar affirmations to climb out of thorny situations – and by situations, I mean the clutter of my own mind. I’m glad that you could free yourself from the BIG Mean Elf! You deserve the Peace!

      XOZ

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