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Spiritual Graduation

by Dave Markowitz(more info)

listed in mind matters, originally published in issue 270 - May 2021


A few years ago, I began writing a book called “The Elephant in the Crystal Shop” about New Age metaphysical teachings and communities. I wrote about what I perceived as spiritual bypassing, misunderstandings of the law of attraction, and a general lack of embodiment of what was being taught. I shared the first few chapters with several trusted friends. Many of them enjoyed the content, and all stated that the book was sorely needed.

Other readers added that the tone was unbecoming of me.

They said that my observations and suggestions might not be seen as invitations to something better, and that my words were filled with projection, frustration, even anger. Interestingly, they still felt I should go ahead with publication. In retrospect, perhaps because they’d witnessed and become equally frustrated with the same things, they concurred with the energy behind what was presented in the book and supported me speaking my – make that our – truth, even though in hindsight, it was highly judgmental.

At that time, I justified the judgments by thinking, “Isn’t it important for me to call out some of the more detrimental aspects of New Age, no matter how it comes out?”

Um . . . no.

graduation angel

And that’s why I never finished it or published it.

Many systems, beliefs, movements, and philosophies have their benefits and drawbacks. But I’d entered a “holier-than-thou” state and had focused too much on what I perceived as the drawbacks of New Age, essentially blinding myself and potential readers to any of the good things that come from it.

It felt good to get all of that out of my system and then be supported in potentially sharing it with a bigger audience. My ego ate it up like a guru behind closed doors eating all the things he proposed we shouldn’t! (Was that judgmental, an observation, or just a joke?) Well, we could use some levity!

What I see now is how much that tome was ego-based. The now-clearer reality is that if I’d really outgrown New Age, I would have mastered one of the most basic tenets of New Age and many religious and spiritual philosophies: nonjudgment.

Clearly, I hadn’t.

I had to ask myself, “What part of me needs to call out these New Agers? The ones who I used to study with, grow with, and learn from? Was The Elephant in the Crystal Shop necessary? Was it supportive? Did it help anyone besides others who were stuck in ego to get a false, temporary hit of superiority via trash talking? Was this the kind of energy I really wanted to put out there in this already highly pained world?”

I’m not the only one who failed New Age 101! Because one of the basic tenets of New Age is nonjudgment; I hadn’t graduated at all. And neither, from what I’ve observed, have any of the writers of what seems to be the latest trend, calling “BS” on the entire New Age movement.

In the past several years, I’ve seen countless articles claiming that everything in New Age is BS. And based on the content, it was obvious they’d been in that world enough to learn the jargon and that they had been exposed to many of the principles. But they clearly hadn’t mastered, or even gotten close to mastering what I now perceive as the most important precepts of all: compassion, unconditional love, and nonjudgment. And those who commented on or shared these posts and blogs did so with the same type of anger, frustration, and judgment I exuded years ago. They too, it appeared, had not done their homework.

So, I’m reading these scathing articles and asking myself, “What part of them needs to call out the New Age movement? and Why are they doing so with such venom?” By speaking it, the projections inherent in the questions made themselves known: I was witnessing myself judging those who are judging! I then took ownership and asked myself:

“What part of me needs to call out these bloggers? If I truly think I’ve graduated from any school, philosophy, or movement, does that mean that what I’ve learned from those is wrong or bad? Does judging my own past ever serve me or others? If I hadn’t gotten better at non-judgment or healed the anger I was feeling, would anyone buy the book or seek my services? (Well, besides other angry people!)”

It didn’t seem helpful to trash-talk those seeking growth from my own egoistic and highly distorted reality. The truth is, I like to think I’ve learned a lot of great things from the New Age movement, perhaps more than the other paths I’ve studied. I’ve learned so much from all of them!

To judge myself as better than those who follow any other path isn’t a sign of growth but rather, emotional immaturity.

New Age and other philosophies deepened my understandings of the mind-body connection and so much more. I like to think that the intuitive healing work I currently do is an augmentation of that, a version of “standing on the shoulders of giants” that I’d never attain if I hadn’t gotten something positive out of my prior studies. My graduation, it seems, was more of a realization that every bit of my past is as important as any moment of now.


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About Dave Markowitz

Dave Markowitz is a two-time best-selling author, intuitive healing facilitator and guide for Empaths and Highly Sensitive Persons. His work has been endorsed by Shirley MacLaine, Lynn Andrews, Lee Harris, Dannion and Kathryn Brinkley, Karen McPhee, Dr. Meg Blackburn Losey and more. He’s shared the lecture bill with Deepak Chopra and Gary Null and has worked with thousands of empaths and highly sensitive persons (HSPs) since his “empathic awakening” in 2012. To find out more about Dave, check out

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