Blog Post

Julia Cameron and Why Dying to Self is the Only Way to Unlock our Full Human Potential

LL writes: "I have a son, Chris who is a reiki master and is now taking a course called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I did a bit of research on this and it looks very new age. Is this something you have touched on in your program before?"

No, we haven't touched on Julia Cameron but she does indeed promote a New Age worldview and does so unabashedly. On her bio, she credits herself for "founding a new human potential movement that has enabled millions to realize their creative dreams."

This is how she presents her beliefs in the introduction to her book, HeartSteps:

"'In the beginning was the Word,' scripture tell us. The ancients sang the world into existence. Aboriginals believe. Ethiopians believe that the world and God himself was created by God speaking his own name. In Hopi belief, it was Spider Woman who sang the world into existence - one word at a time. Indians believe 'Nada Brahma: the world is sound.' As even this brief scan suggests, it is difficult to find a spiritual tradition that does not emphasize the creative power of the word. From the Lakota songs of North America to the song lines crossing Australia, spiritual seekers have always used language - sound - as a safe haven. It is a stairway to higher consciousness as well.  . . "

Cameron, who was raised Catholic, was married to famed Italian film director Martin Scorcese for two years from 1975-77. According to her autobiography, Floor Sample, a scotch-and-cocaine binge launched her on a "descent into alcoholic blackouts and drug-induced paranoia" complete with bouts of psychosis and nervous breakdowns. She eventually realized that drinking and writing don't mix and launched herself on a recovery program. Her teachings on recovery and creativity as a spiritual path are the basis for her book, The Artist's Way.

Even a cursory review of Cameron's writings are enough to reveal the profound New Age underpinnings in her work and belief system:

"There is a unity flowing through all things. This unity is responsive to our needs. Unity responds and reacts to our positive spoken word. We are co-creative beings working with - and within - a larger whole. We embrace and contain this Source, which embraces and contains us. Drawing upon this inner Source, we have an unlimited supply."

These beliefs draw deeply from the well of the human potential movement, which believes the mind is God and that we can fashion ourselves and our reality any way we want - if we just learn to think a certain way or tap into this or that hidden stream of secret knowledge. God and His will are not needed. If we have ourselves, we have all that we need to be whoever we want to be.

This teaching is the exact opposite of the truth as revealed by the great saint and doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila. We can only achieve our full potential when we have died to self and come back to life in Jesus Christ. In her seminal book, The Interior Castle, St. Teresa uses the analogy of a silkworm to describes this process.

"The silkworm is like the soul which takes life when, through the heat which comes from the Holy Spirit, it begins to utilize the . . . help God gives to us all and to make use of the remedies which He left in His Church - such as frequent confessions, good books and sermons . . ."

When the little worm is fully grown, "it starts to spin its silk and to build the house in which it is to die. This house may be understood to mean Christ . . . Let us hasten to perform this talk, and spin this cocoon. Let us renounce our self-love and self-will, and our attachment to earthly things. Let us practice penance, prayer, mortification, obedience, and all the other good works that you know of."

If we take this advice, one day God will take hold of the ugly little worm lying half dead within its silken tomb and unite it to Himself in the prayer of union. And in that brief, flashing moment, the little worm will be instantly and totally transformed in to a brilliant white butterfly.

There simply is no other way to unlock one's authentic human potential except through the God who created us.

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