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Spiritual Surf: Diwali, Mother Teresa, Angel Valley deaths, the Bab’s birthday

Obama lights up the White House for the Goddess of Wealth (and no, it’s not Oprah). In another first for Nobel Prize winner Barack Obama, he became the first  US President to honor Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains by lighting a symbolic diya/lamp in the White House and wishing everyone a “Happy Diwali and Saal Mubarak.”

The Secret’s Out for Oprah Guru: Police in Angel Valley are showing  no mercy in pursuing James Arthur Ray, as Oprah’s Self-help Guru sweats out  homicide charges in the Sedona sweat lodge murder investigation.

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Spiritual Surf: Kathy Griffin teases Oprah, Gwyneth Paltrow’s diet, Jeff Sharlet infiltrates C Street

Soul’s Code has suffered occasional blow-back for critiquing Oprah’s mixed messages. We  challenge Oprah from the non-dualist, spiritual “left”; celeb-spoofing comedienne  Kathy Griffin has made a career out of roasting Oprah from the secular “right.”

Expect the biggest round of Oprah jokes in the media, ever, thanks to Griffin’s publicity tour for her upcoming memoir, Official Book Club Selection, (the foreword is addressed to Winfrey, and Griffin has launched a facetious petition to get it on Oprah’s Book Club).

Griffin’s newest Oprah riffs are in this video, where the Life on the D List host has fun with Oprah favorites, The Secret, and Eckhart Tolle (who also happens to be a Soul’s Code favorite).

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Spiritual Surf: Vatican gives Half-Blood Prince thumbs up, Mira Sorvino’s miracle baby, and an eye on Oprah

We surf Oprah . . . so you don’t have to

The L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, has given Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince a four star rating.

Not overly concerned that most of the characters are witches and warlocks, the article praises the movie for its values of “friendship, altruism, loyalty and self-giving.”  Catholic News Service.

Mira’s miracle?

One wonders if the word “miraculous” is getting too much play.  Mira Sorvino’s third child has been called a “miracle baby.”

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Spiritual Surf: David Carradine’s split soul; Wright on God; celebrating less, crystals buck downturn, and more

Kung Fu and the trappings of transformation

The West Coast new age community embraced actor David Carradine as a kind of icon of east-meets-west mysticism, largely because of his leading role in the 1970s TV show, Kung Fu. He even headlined at the Conscious Life Expo in L.A. in February, 2009 (sponsored in part by Soul’s Code.)  Now, days after his death in Bangkok at the beginning of June, journalists have discovered that Carradine was a split soul, viz. this TMZ story about his fetishes and sex-toy shopping sprees. You don’t have to be in Hollywood to get wrapped up in re-branding your personality as “spiritual,” while holding real transformation at bay. Our thoughts  for Carradine’s safe voyage to the other side.

Reverend Wright on the evolution of God

In a surprisingly sensitive essay in this week’s Time, Orange County, Calif., mega-church preacher, Robert Wright — the controversial cleric tapped by Obama to lead the sermon at his inauguration —  discusses in frank terms the “evolution of God.” Wright writes: all three of the great monotheisms —  Judaism, Christianity and Islam —  have gone through periods of religious belligerence and spiritual tolerance.

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Spiritual Surf: Astronaut’s “X-Files,” sex and the single girl, priestly scandals, and Oprah tweets

It’s tough being one of the forgotten astronauts. You know the guys who went to the moon who aren’t either — Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin. (Quick: What was the name of Armstrong and Aldrin’s companion astronaut? For the answer see the end of the article.)

Well, astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who flew to the moon in February of 1971, has been getting some controversial ink recently.  Addressing a crowd of UFO-ologists at the National Press Club, Mitchell said, “We are being visited” by aliens from outer space. “It is now time to put away this embargo of truth about the alien presence.” Soul’s Code enthusiasts tend to think the truth is in here. But what if it’s out there*way* out there?

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Spiritual Surf: Bladerunner meets Lost, Dalai Lama’s “Liberation”, Meditating Spaces, Eckhart Tolle Says “Enough!”

Lost meets Bladerunner

Let’s start with Darryl Hannah to help you make this connection. She played Pris, the “pleasure model” android in Bladerunner, Ridley Scott’s dystopian translation of Philip K. Dick’s 1968 sci-fi novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? In Bladerunner, Hannah hides out with the same supporting actor who popped up last week as a mad scientist in the Dharma Initiative on Lost.

His name: William Sanderson. Twenty-seven years ago in Bladerunner, Sanderson played J. F. Sebastian, the prematurely-aged geek who invents FX-like toys. The title of Lost‘s season 5, episode 10, “He’s Our You”, is actually about Sanderson’s character.

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Spiritual Surf: Lost says, “Namaste”, Tony Robbins writes “vanity”, Jennifer Aniston’s Dogma, Yuppie Islam and More

Lost goes all the way with, Namaste

When the Sopranos was on the air, Soul’s Code liked to call the HBO “family” show the TV series with the most mystical messaging. Sorry Tony, but ABC’s Lost now blows your crew off the screen on that score. The way that Lost routinely plays with the notion of both linear time and personal identity as illusions of the mind makes it the most spiritual show on TV.

Episode 9 of Season 5 is called, “Namaste”, a Sanskrit word uttered when you bow to the divinity, or spark in the heart chakra, of another. “Namaste” is also the greeting they say on the Lost island to new recruits at the Dharma Initiative, a 1970′s scientific commune that is now the center of action for Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lily), Sawyer and the other main characters.

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The Oprah, Obama, and Reverend Wright broken-love triangle

Both Oprah and Obama were members of Reverend Wright’s church. She quit out of careerism, early. Less calculating, Obama hung in until he ran for president

BY PAUL KAIHLA — Whenever I open my mouth about Oprah!, scud missiles rain down upon my space (link to the Led Zep-tune, Kashmir).

Usually, those scuds form their craters during conversations with women who are totally focused on their careers.

Maybe . . . probably, it’s a projection. Do we feel a “missing-ness” in our jobs, yet throw so, so much of our energy into making them so, so good?

What does this have to do with Oprah? She pitches to that careerism that’s alive in each of us, and reflects it. She’s the most successful double-minority, media careerist on earth.

The shadow side of careerism is a sense of missing-ness. Missing this, missing that. Missing that which we really love. Because we’re at work, and selling our precious time for a pay-check. Are the highest highs you’ve ever felt in life produced by your job, an experience at work ? Not bloody likely.

The reason I do not trust Oprah as a trusted source on how to resolve that tension, and instead see her as a self-serving opportunist, was reinforced by this week’s Newsweek.

It shows once again how deeply Oprah is cathected in a self-image that morphs into fame and fortune. Like Barack Obama, she too was a member of Jeremiah Wright’s Chicago church. But unlike Obama, expediency prompted Oprah to cut out after a couple of years — while the future presidential nominee naively hung around for 20.

From Newsweek’s Oprah kiss-up: “Something Wasn’t Wright”:

“Oprah is a businesswoman, first and foremost,” said one longtime friend, who requested anonymity when discussing Winfrey’s personal sentiments. “She’s always been aware that her audience is very mainstream, and doing anything to offend them just wouldn’t be smart.”

It’s natural to take offense, defend Oprah — and have affection for her. You want to be rich and famous? Great! Memo to Oprah: Don’t strike a pose as spiritual, a way of being that — by definition — is aimed at obliterating and undermining the very identifications that holds a mass audience in your thrall.

I follow Oprah’s movements, I respect Oprah — I do not trust Oprah. I trust the women that this site calls The New Female Mystics.

What’s the difference? Spiritual teachers like Byron Katie, Pamela Wilson and Catherine Ingram seem like they have surrendered what Oprah has not — and have little interest in promoting a self-image.

Why isn’t the same deference, fierce loyalty and emotion that Oprah enjoys extended to the likes of Byron Katie, Catherine Ingram and Pamela Wilson ?

They occupy a place of peace and acceptance that media celebrities can only imagine. They have a knowing. They do not have money, or media profile.

Is is that what they have is actually not wanted — and what they do have, really isn’t?

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OPRAH WATCH: Her May issue says, “Have Your Own AHA Moment!”

We’ve had our fun with Oprah!, the be-all-things-to-all-people TV filter. Her May issue of O! is 348 pages — rivaling the page-count of In Style and the luxury New York fashion magazines. Her roof line: “BEAUTIFUL BOTTOMS: At last! Pants that really friggin’ fit.”

The cover line is what got our attention: Have Your Own AHA Moment! A practical guide to the spiritual side of life (it’s time to wake up and smell the roses!)

The notion of having — and sharing — psychological realizations and mind-body breakthroughs is kinda the whole point of Soul’s Code. It’s one reason we’re called to have fun with Oprah’s “Aha! Moment” franchise — a cliche lifted from a long-dead German psychiatrist named Karl Buhler.

True to form, Oprah’s current cover story reveals no Secret-worthy specifics for getting spiritually high. It features a gallery of celeb testimonials — NAACP chairman Julian Bond says he subsumed his ego marching in the 1960s, Elie Wiesel riffs on whatever for 12 sentences. They’re snippet sermons by established personality-brands.

But two spots where Oprah gets it right are a snippet on Ram Dass, and a five-page interview with Eckhart Tolle, two post-modern mystics who can genuinely talk about peak experiences (aka, what Oprah brands Aha Moments).

Was Oprah’s own Aha Moment making the March 24, 2008 issues of Forbes magazine, which ranks the world’s top billionaires? Forbes annoints Oprah as the richest celebrity in America — and estimates that her net-worth is $2.5 billion, and that last year alone she made $260 million in take-home pay!

Contrast that with the Soul’s Code slide show: AHA Moments that Blow Oprah off the Screen. It features spiritual teachers like the contemporary American mystic, Byron Katie, and Ramana Maharshi, perhaps the greatest sage, ever.

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ECKHART TOLLE makes an Oprah joke (Outside of school)

Eckhart Tolle had some fun with Oprah, but he didn’t do it during their Monday night “class” about “awakening.” Tolle made the joke at a live talk he gave the other weekend, while Oprah was thousands of miles away doing whatever the billionaire chairwoman of Harpo, Inc. does to grow her media group.

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