Religious Viewpoints, pt.2: Feng Shui and Mom

My Mom is a Jehovah’s Witness. I’m not going to make this post all about that, however.  I go into more detail about this in Religious Viewpoints, pt.1.  Rather, this post is about how Mom and I talk about certain subjects because of her perceptions, which are greatly influenced by her religion.

Mom is big on demonism.  It’s not that she’s a Satanist (though there are many people out there with the misconception that Jehovah’s Witnesses are worshiping Satan).  Rather, Mom is big on thinking that anything she doesn’t fully understand is from the Devil.  Her reactions can be so quick and fully integrated into her thinking that it can completely inhibit any form of rational thought or problem solving skills.  I cannot fully blame being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for this, Mom’s mental condition has something to do with it as well.

That being said, there is a great tendency to blame many things that happen in life on this mysteriously dark force that JW’s have termed as “the Devil”.  If something bad happens in their lives, then it is either a test from Jehovah or it is something the Devil has sent their way to try and trip them up.  It cannot simply be a set of circumstances put into motion by the decisions they or others have made.  That would be too easy.

With all of this in mind, whenever I am talking to my mother about certain things, I have to choose my wording very carefully.  I also have to be prepared to break down the demonic defenses (as I call them) and whip out my critical thinking skills to explain why something makes sense without the necessary influence of a malevolent being.  I should be a lawyer.

What brings all of this about?  Well lately I have been looking up ways to improve the positive flow of energy in my life.  When I talk about this to Mom, she automatically nods her head and says that I need to pray to Jehovah for help.  Umm, no.  I need to do research to find ways to get rid of the negative energy in my life (like getting rid of negative thinking, negative people, etc.) and bring in the positive.  “Oh…”, Mom will say.  She will look confused at this point because her mind is totally anchored to prayer as the only acceptable and non-demonic way of bringing positive energy into one’s life.  As I explain other ways that counteract this belief, she becomes confused.  She begins to rationalize how the two can exist at once: how prayer to her god can be the only way while my way is also not influenced by little red imps.  This is what I believe George Orwell termed “Doublethink” in his book “1984”.  I see it in action almost everyday.

Back to the positive energies.  I have been researching ways to get more positive energy, and just more energy period, into my life.  I looked into Feng Shui to see what it was all about.  In my opinion,  Feng Shui was started as a common sense approach to keep one’s environment clean and organized.  Back in the day, they didn’t have the luxuries we have today that allow us to live in clean homes and communities that are not plagued by .. well.. plagues.  We now have running water and electricity.  The principles such as fixing things around the house, keeping things clutter free, and increasing the aesthetic appeal of the house itself all point towards keeping oneself and one’s home happy and healthy.  In other words, keeping out the nasty germs that could cause plagues.

I can see how fixing leaks saves money and, therefor, helps deter negative energies.  If I feel like I’m paying off bills faster and getting out of debt, my energy will probably be much less negative.  It’s harder to pay off debt when your utilities are high, and having leaky faucets can make your water bill high.  So fixing those leaking faucets can lead to more positive energies.  In this regard, I find that a lot of the Feng Shui principles are common sense activities to have a happy and healthy home.

Mom does not see it this way.  Feng Shui is from the Devil.  It’s what “those” people practiced.  “Those” people who did not believe her religion or in her god so were obviously from the Devil.  Her thinking is very either/or.  It’s either this way, or it’s that.  There is no grey, no in between, no other possibility.  For this reason, I have had to bring Feng Shui into the Christian faith.  I think I’ve done a damn good job too.  Click the link below to read the full article.  I would put it in here, but then this would be way too long.

Feng Shui, Christian-style

I wrote the above article (the one I linked to) while my mom was in Michigan taking care of her parents.  I really wrote it just to get my thoughts down before I tried to explain to Mom about Feng Shui.  I wanted to be able to incorporate it into her religion in a way that did not cause the whole debacle of how it was demonic and then I’d be all emotionally stressed out again.  I wanted to nip it in the bud from the beginning . I think I have done that.  I guess I’ll find out when I get the chance (read: nerve) the talk to Mom about Feng Shui.  One must be careful about the setting such things are brought up in as well.  If, for example, I begin the discussion in a public restaurant.. she will be less likely to be so vocal.  Talking about it in the car will only lead to me being more stressed out as my mind tries to deal with bad drivers and Mom.  I think public is the best bet..

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