Monday, September 25th 2017

Does the world of spirituality need to lose the jargon?

When an accountant goes spiritual, he learns a whole new code: “Presence? But it’s not my birthday”

spirit-for-dummiesGUEST COLUMN: TIM TAYLOR —  Spirituality is pretty cool, isn’t it? It’s something that we each really want to share with our friends and family.  We want them to enjoy many of the benefits that make us high.

I grew up in Indiana and went to Wharton Business School because I wanted to be a Chief Financial Officer. After 15 years of working as a consultant and controller I knew there had to be more to life.

My therapist recommended The Wisdom of No Escape . . .and everything started to change. Not overnight, but inexorably, kind of like St. Francis when he turned back from his first night’s ride as a would-be knight to join the Fourth Crusade.

I stepped into the world of spirituality, and what I remember most was learning a whole new way of speaking that was confusing. I heard a language that was English but nothing short of Sanskrit to me.

Let me share my experiences. . .

* I am present: In 2001, I was talking to my friend Aimee, telling her how difficult life had become and how I really needed someone to really listen.  She said she was “present for me.”  I told her thanks, but it’s not my birthday. I’d never heard this term before.

I understand that it’s the foundation for living consciously, but as an introduction to spirituality it was confusing.

deepakchopra-1-1Perhaps there are simpler ways to explain it.  For example, talking about how we are feeling at that moment, and describing how rewarding it is to truly listen to someone.

* Dropping Names: In 2002, I went to the Vedanta Center’s bookstore in San Francisco with my friend Isabel.  As we went through the books, she oohed and aahed at authors like Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra (pictured at right in cool shades), Marianne Williamson and Joel Goldsmith.

I had never heard of any of them.  And as much as we love them, there are a huge percentage of people in this world who never will, either.

It certainly felt intimidating not knowing any of them.  Perhaps we can make it more approachable by stepping into our friends’ frame of reference.

* Intention/Intent/….Intend?: In 2004, I took my first stab at “manifesting” another confusing term but that’s for another time.  I learned I had to “intend” something from reading Wayne Dyer’s Power of Intention.

I’m aware that intent and intention refer to motivation or “right” action.  But what’s up with intending?  I’ve heard the word hundreds of time (thank you Dr. Dyer!).  And I still don’t get it. If I send “want” into the universe, would I not continue to receive want?  But isn’t it the same with intending?  If I intend something, won’t I get “intend” back?

I have been studying spirituality for a while and this concept still confuses me.  You can bet it will confuse people who have never heard it used in this context.  This is one of the areas where I feel like I’m supposed to say it even if I don’t understand it (and, eventually, I will believe it).  Just do it, and belief will come in time.  To me this sounds like organized religion.

wayne-and-caroline* Abundance: In 2007, I went to see Caroline Myss speak, while she was touring her book, Entering the Castle.  An audience member asked why it always seems that when any of the thought leaders talk about attracting abundance, they always cite the times when it worked.  A super question that she fumbled and bumbled through.

It’s been my experience that spirituality is like a vending machine.  Intend it, and you’ll get it.  And far too often it has a monetary element to it.  And I’m not just talking about The Secret.

At a minimum, if we are going to use a word like abundance as part of our language, we have to understand that it is a new term to many.  Perhaps we can describe why saying abundance is important.

These are just a few language examples of why I think approaching spirituality as a newbie is intimidating.  There is no doubt that we all want to give the gift of spirituality to our friends and family.  There is also no doubt that many of them won’t take it if we don’t step into their frame of reference when we are giving the gift.

Tim Taylor has been studying and living (as best as he can) spirituality, and his beautiful daughter is the greatest teacher in his life.  A CPA, he earned an MBA from Wharton School of Business.  He coaches start-ups on how to present their plans to investors and not entirely unrelated —  also does stand-up comedy.

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9 Comments on “Does the world of spirituality need to lose the jargon?”

  1. I like your take on this subject Tim. I have felt the same way myself many times, as a newbie to the spirituality scene. Sometimes I feel that people are just trying to grandstand by dropping names, and that kinda goes against the whole idea of raised consciousness, doesn't it?

  2. How wonderfully refreshing! Great article Tim.
    I immediately felt compelled to share it, hope it's ok?

    I have often thought about how ridiculous and actually not very spiritual, if you ask me, this whole language snobbery thing is. The idea that you have to talk and look a certain way to be considered really spiritual seems totally contradictive to me.
    You're so right, if we want to "teach" people anything, be it spirituality or mathematics, we always need to meet them where they are and allow them to feel confident about that. Otherwise their ears will be deaf to your words.
    Your comparison to organized religion is spot on. I had that same thought only last night.
    Thank you for a great read!

    Suzann Rye

  3. I love the humor in this article Tim and have to tell you honestly, I am not good at spiritual talk myself.

    With a career in the mortgage business of almost 18 years and serving as a deputy sheriff, this way of thinking or speaking was quite foreign to me.

    It's been over 5 years for me as a professional psychic and I haven't adopted the spiritual lingo and I probably never will.

    I say it like it is, to the point, uncensored and without a lot 'woo woo'.

    Plain English, I like to call it!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

    Karen Anderson
    Animal Communicator/Psychic Medium

  4. I hear you Tim. Seems every discipline has certain inside baseball terminology that presents as incomprehensible to outsiders. Doctors and military professionals tend to pepper their conversations with words and acronyms that are unknown to most outsiders. Spirituality with its presence, mindfulness, and intentionality are no different. There are times when the jargon can drive even a well intentioned, receptive reader or listener to distraction. Excellent article.

  5. Hey all,

    Thank you for your wonderful thoughts. I would love to see a greater emphasis on keeping it simple and feel more inviting.

    You all made wonderful points, I wonder if it could successfully develop momentum to re-think the way we speak to become more inclusive.

    I would love to hear from any of you about any more thoughts that you might have.


  6. It's great to see someone is able to laugh at the jargon:). Spirituality is not a solemn 'religion' but a way of life and shouldn't life have as much laughter as possible?.

    I agree, though well versed in 'spiritualese' talk, I firmly believe that the most important part is really feeling with every ounce of your being what it is you want to achieve (manifest) into your life. The wording, provided it is always positive and put in the now, is not that important.

    When speaking with my Guides, something which also scares off newbies, I don't indulge in any fancy language, just plain English and it works. Including the silent but heartfelt yells of just plain HELP when in a tricky situation.

    By wrapping Spirituality up in too much jargon, it has the effect of making it seem (1) impossible to grasp for the newbie and (2) somewhat elitist. Neither is good for Spirituality.

    A Spiritual person is one who abides by the one rule, do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. Or depending on your path "An it harm none, do what thou wilt". harming none, means NONE including yourself, animals and every living thing on this planet.

  7. Spirituality has gone down the same wide super highway as organized religion. And the results have been the same. Lots of book sales, seminars, movies, tape sales and retreats.

    Also, loss of power.

  8. An ingeilltent answer - no BS - which makes a pleasant change

  9. Your's is a point of view where real intelligence shines through.

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