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On suffering: Is it really worth the trouble?

On suffering: Is it really worth the trouble?

Oprah and Lady Gaga may be today’s spiritual role models for self-actualization but our devotion to suffering remains a national faith.

BY JOHN PTACEK – Why did a tsunami flood Japan? Why can’t politicians tell the truth? Why did it have to rain on my wedding day?

If humans really had power, CEOs would be immune to cancer, holy men wouldn’t sin and Michael Jackson would still be alive. But we don’t call the shots.

Reality baffles us.  We question it every day and keep waiting for people to be good, for governments to be just, for life to be fair.

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Spiritual Surf: Meet four online horsemen of the apocalypse

SOUL’S CODE — What is the Internet-borne phenom dubbed the “doomer-sphere”? Depression chatter, global-warming warnings and permanent war in the Middle East. Introducing four viral experts:

Nassim Taleb is a former hedge-fund manager and critic of globalization who is a kind of  ‘anti-Thomas Friedman.’ His break-out book spent more than a year on the New York Times non-fiction list, and got a reported $4-million advance

Dimitry Orlov: Years before the financial crisis, the Russian software engineer made a sailboat his home — and survival strategy. On Club Orlov, he blogs about the notions that made his book , Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects, an underground hit.

James Kunstler: is a pre-apocalyptic, off-the-grid guy who lives in Saratoga Springs, NY; author of the book, “The Geography of Nowhere“; and weekly blogger on the Clusterfuck Nation.

Gold-bug Jim Sinclair bet any takers $1 million that gold would hit $1,650 per oz. by 2011.


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How Oprah fixed my mom

How Oprah fixed my mom

Is it possible that the TV icon somehow succeeded where God and psychotherapy had failed?

BY TIPPI STRACHAN — I don’t watch Oprah. I have no real justification for this, but whether it’s her mega-sprayed hair or the adoring throngs of “go-girl” women in her audience, the show brings a lump of bile in my gut.

How do I know? It’s always on whenever I visit my mom. The same mom who raised us to watch minimal TV now quotes Oprah like the Bible, and brings her up in every conversation. But I put up with this because — and I genuinely believe it to be true — Oprah fixed my mom.

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The Soul’s Code Spiritual IQ Quiz: Who is the most enlightened celeb?

The Soul’s Code Spiritual IQ Quiz: Who is the most enlightened celeb?

Celebrities are seekers, too. So who has more soul: Paris Hilton, Madonna, or Kathy Griffin?

While wealthy stars may have allegedly inherited the earth, they are often as spiritually-impoverished as any of us.

Driven by their demons and DUI’s, public break-ups and private meltdowns, the rich and famous seek instant-karma in everything from crystal energy healing and kabbalah to talk therapy and tantric sex.

Or in Paris Hilton’s case, they parachute a Hollywood holy man into their entourage (Maxie Santillan).

We invite you to test your knowledge of celebs who may, or may not, have soul in a material world.

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Why Byron Katie kicks Oprah’s ass

“I’m a woman without a future — I don’t need one.”

SOUL’S CODE —  We don’t mean that Byron Katie is literally beating up on Oprah. The only reason we make the comparison between the two is that Byron Katie, who is a post-modern mystic, made a rare live appearance in the San Francisco Bay Area the same day that Oprah’s show hyped the movie The Secret and its gospel, the “law of attraction.”

The difference between Oprah and Byron Katie is that Oprah explicitly caters to America’s victim-culture — millions who don’t like their looks, their job, their love-life, their personal history, etc. Oprah pitches a grocery list of prescriptions to fix the personality’s grievances.Byron Katie, on the other hand, offers a radically different way out of pain.

Why would you care? Katie, as she goes by, comes as advertised. We won’t write that she has ‘achieved enlightenment’ — that is, a person who is free of internal conflict — because we can imagine her rejoinder. Katie would turn one of her famous four questions back on us, and ask:

“How would you know? Can you absolutely know that that’s true? Do you have any proof?”

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Spiritual Surf: Mikhail Gorbachev goes psych; Jay Leno goes hollow; Howard Stern takes down the spiritual leader of America (Oprah)

Jay Leno’s Lenten pilgrimage; Stern on Oprah; Chelsea Clinton’s faith

Russia’s Jesus: Mikhail Gorbachev recommends “shock therapy”

Hollow men: Jay Leno’s Lenten pilgrimmage on Mulholland Drive in a luxury sports car

Howard Stern takes on Oprah and Gabourey Sidibe: “Oprah is another liar, a filthy liar . . .”

Psychic charged with investor fraud: “He should have seen this coming”

Chelsea Clinton marriage: converting to Judaism?

The government runs America? Senator Al Franken begs for infrastructure, courtesy of Google

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Spiritual Surf: Leno’s Oprah confessional, John Edwards’ New Age love connection, Jude Law, Baptists, burqas, Groundhog Day, Candlemas

Jay Leno walks Oprah’s Stations of the Cross

The Washington Post‘s TV columnist, Lisa de Moraes, has a psycho-spiritual essay about Jay Leno’s appearance on the final Oprah Winfrey Show of January, 2010. Moraes’ brilliant metaphor for how celebs rehabilitate a tarnished public image by seeking on-air absolution from “the Queen of the Confessional”: the Stations of the Cross, a ritual associated with Lent and penitence.

The WaPo columnist also works in a quickie psycho-analysis of Winfrey’s narcissism: Oprah interview with Leno manages to be all about . . . Oprah

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Spiritual Surf: Sundance takes down Mormons; Kitty Kelley takes down Oprah; Tu Beshevat (the tree of life) and St. Paul

8: The Mormon Proposition, a movie on spiritual politics

Utah not only hosts the annual Sundance Film Festival; in the 2010 edition of the film fest, the state’s (unofficial) church has a starring role in the line-up of movies.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is taken down in a documentary about the 2008 initiative that successfully banned gay marriage in California.

Another irony: the film, 8: The Mormon Proposition, is directed by a former Mormon. It details the counter-revolutionary intervention Mormons poured into passing Proposition 8.

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When silence is ‘spin’: sweat-lodge tragedy, Oprah and “The Secret”

Oprah once promoted self-help guru James Arthur Ray, and his vehicle The Secret. Now she maintains a strict silence on both, and the deaths in Sedona

BY PAUL KAIHLAThe Secret was launched as a viral, online, pay-per-view phenomenon a couple of years ago. Oprah made it a mainstream hit by featuring its Australian producer on her show, and some of the film’s self-help “stars” like James Arthur Ray. (Oprah also added the book version of The Secret to her epynomous Club).

But the stream of support has dried up since October, 2009, when Ray presided over a $10,000-per-person retreat in Sedona, Arizona which climaxed in a sweat-lodge event that injured dozens and left three dead.

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Soul’s Code Celebrity Seekers’ Quiz – All things Oprah

Test your knowledge of billionaire Oprah and her BFF Eckhart Tolle

Last year, Oprah featured Tolle’s books, The Power of Now, and A New Earth on the Oprah Book Club, and then devoted 10 weeks of webcasts to interviewing Tolle himself.  Fundamentalist Christians got their knickers in a knot at the thought of Tolle’s “New Age” teachings becoming accessible to anyone who has a computer or a TV. Test your knowledge of these spiritual bed-fellows:

Check your answers at the bottom of the page.

1. Who publicly denied rumors in 2006 that they were in a same-sex relationship?

A. Eckhart Tolle
B. Jim Carrey
C. Oprah
D. Suze Orman

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