I don’t know what I find funnier. That Judgment Day actually had a DATE this year and that it’ll be discussed and taken care of by FamilyRadio.com, or that “The Bible Guarantees It!” <— that little golden seal of approval and affirmation that yup, yup — ye shall all be judged and shall “cry mightily unto God.”
I turn to my left and see a similar color palate scream out doom and gloom as well:
Apologies for the glare — it was a beautiful 87 degrees w/ clear skies in Sherman Oaks (which is surprisingly a pretty happening place!). But in case you can’t see, it’s an ANGRY VOLCANO spewing magma, fire and brimstone. It’s also the cover of a pretty well-known self-help Scientological self-help book called Dianetics.
“Would you like to take a free personality and stress test?” said a man, who seemingly materialized outta nowhere. No, I don’t believe Scientologists have magical, leprechaun-like powers, but sometimes they do see to pop up in their friendly, upbeat, Jehovah-witness kinda way when you least expect it. Except instead of wearing suits, they tend to dress a lot more chill and laid back, like the rest of LA.
MAN, I couldn’t help myself. The Asian in me immediately responded to the words “Free!” and “Test!”
::imaginary audience laughs::
Ah ha. Ha. Haaaaa…
ANYWAY, I hesitated, which gave the man the opportunity to gently put his hand on my back and guide me to sit in the chair next to a table full of Scientology table that I hadn’t noticed a moment ago. I was a little surprised and discombobulated by physical contact and was like, “Hmm… Alice, what are you getting yourself into.”
He then points to a machine that’s supposed to test stress levels.
It looked straight outta a cyberpunk/sci-fi movie, and it’s notable that Scientology’s founder L. Ron Hubbard was made super famous by his science fiction novels before Dianetics came out.
There’s these little knobs (as you can see from above) and two metal tubes that each hand holds onto. Now the little Geiger-counter-looking thing supposedly measures your stress level.
Now, inside my head, a part of me was going, “COOL!!! THIS IS JUST LIKE A SCI FI MOVIE!! AWESOME!!” and the other part of me just wanted to get out of the chair. Ever had an incredibly friendly and nice person give you the heebie jeebies? Nothing personal or wrong with that person, it’s just something that HAPPENS. And yeah, I got that. In retrospect, it’s like when you’re five years old and a strange old man lures you away from the playground with a bag of candy. A part of you feels like maybe it’s not the best idea, but the other part of you NEVER gets to eat candy at home, NEVER and so kinda does the adult thing and takes a chance on an unknown stranger. (That’s kinda redundant, isn’t it? Strangers being unknown as they are.)
All of a sudden, I felt this subtle and yet really powerful vibration — and anyone who’s done any energy work/healing or meditates often will understand what I’m talking about, especially when I say that it leaves you feeling very energetically “open” — it wasn’t like the tube was shaking like a Shake Weight or those electric massagers. It was like all of a sudden you hands were filled with this inner buzzing. And my first reaction was, “Whoa.”
Then he starts shooting questions at me, “So, what stresses you out the most?”
“Wha — ?”
“When you feel the most overwhelmed by something? Is there any person you know who continually stresses you out? Do you ever feel like you’re not in control of a situation? What scares you the most?”
And I was starting to realize that this wasn’t a stress test, but more of a stress generator — being that, wherever your attention flows, energy goes. So if your entire focus is on stress, then you start to generate and feel stress.
Mind you, I didn’t even really adequately answer these questions as he started to go down the line: “So, how is your love life?”
The needle went all the way over to the right.
But, to be honest, I didn’t think I was particularly stressed about my love life. Partly cuz I don’t have one to stress out about. Or DID I? Did secretly-harbored crushes for good-looking men in the kitchen count? WAS that a love life? WAS it??? I mean I didn’t think so, but apparently the needle did, and now I don’t know, I don’t know if I was really unconsciously THAT stressed out about it!
I felt a little like a deer in headlights.
“Wow, you’re really stressed about that one.”
“Well, actually I have a question if stress is the only thing it picks up — ”
“Nope, it’s really stressing you out. Unlike people, machines never lie.”
Machines never lie? TELL THAT TO MY DROID.
“I’m going to show that it doesn’t lie. I’m going to pinch you now. Is it okay if I pinch you?”
Uh… okay. I nodded, but it was like I wasn’t even saying yes because I wanted him to, but because I was discombobulated and was just responding affirmatively to any authoritative question or stimulation.
He then reached his hand towards me and I got the feeling that it was really going to hurt.
The needle jumped dramatically to the right. I got his point.
“Okay, okay, okay! I get it — you don’t have to — HOLY MOTHER SHIT FUCKER OWWW!”
IT REALLY HURT. And I’m not even super sensitive in that aspect. That 200-pound mother fucker pinched me as hard as he could after I had told him that I didn’t want to be pinched anymore.
“You see what I mean now?” he said with a smug smile, pointing at the stress test.
I now don’t know if I was stressed or pissed off. Confusion, people! Confusion! That’s what you feel during one of their stress tests!!
::waves arms frantically::
And if you’re not feeling particularly stressed when you first sit down, you will definitely start to develop some of that 2 minutes into it.
I mean, isn’t that what the book Dianetics communicates anyway?
I mean, why a scary volcano, meh?
I told him I had to go for an appointment (cuz I did! with a really cool angel reading! trippy, I know, but I’ll explain it later some other time. it’s super cool! and unlike tarot readings where it can get kinda Russian-roullette-y, not scary at all! really amazing!) and pretty soon I got the feeling that he didn’t want me to leave.
“Well, this personality test won’t take very long.”
“That’s okay! I gotta leave!”
He hands me a pink pamphlet anyway and tells me to return it to him after my appointment. Not asks, but tells.
Immediately the psychoanalyst in me starts to pull out key words — “handle” being one of them and “determines” being another. Also “ability.”
These key words immediately evoke feelings we have surrounding burdens/workloads, authority and competency/ineptitude.
Innocent questions with absolute answers. It comes off kinda like those groups that first help you break yourself down so that you can be built back up in their most ideal image. I like that they input that it’s an “Oxford Capacity Analysis” test, which reminds me of the golden seal of approval: “THE BIBLE GUARANTEES IT!”
I mean, come ON, now!!! Just LOOK at the general tone of these questions!! And he WOULDN’T let me leave! When I stood up, he put his hand on my back again and lead me into their bookstore to check it out as well. I really need to check myself in setting up boundaries with others. Especially since I have this on-again-off-again dance with being okay with being rude in order to establish them
HONESTLY. And I say this more with compassion than with judgment, but a bulk of the people who resonate with and passionately respond to this test, and yes! possibly Scientology, must really be at the end of their rope.
It’s like, “Do you think you’re happy when in reality you’re not really happy and feel like there’s something secretly wrong with you and that the world is out to get you and that your friends aren’t really your friends and no one’s really listening to you because everyone else really doesn’t value what you’ve got to say anyway and this makes you feel really sh*tty inside?”
I mean, come ON, now! 🙂 Isn’t this just a smidge ridiculous? And the people who feel the need to respond to these tests — aren’t they all too hard on themselves? 🙂 <– EMOTICONS ARE KING!
I was going to extend this post to incorporate things like this super cool Geffen/Levi’s event and people watching that was had, but am gonna try something new and write (slightly) shorter posts more frequently so that it’s not so overwhelming. Show of hands — anyone down with that?
ANYWAY, since we’re kinda on the topic of relgion/soul-searching and spirituality isn’t too far from that, lemme share w/ y’all some pictures of this amazing place I visited the other week called Lake Shrine.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo beautiful there! It’s part of some Yogananda Self Realization Fellowship which I think is non-denominational since they have pictures of yogis and Jesus and stars of David — but what I really loved about it is that its beautiful gardens are open to the public at certain times of the day.
They don’t try to push any spiritual beliefs or ideas on you, they don’t require that you attend any of their services.
They just have this amazing, beautiful garden that you could visit on any given day.
It’s really great. Partly cuz it’s free, but even if it weren’t, I would pay a few dollars just to sit and chill with such beauty. Plus, it’s really cool seeing so many swans and dragonflies and turtles and duckies just chillin along whichu.
It’s located on Sunset, off the PCH, around Malibu, I guess. It’s sooooooooooo worth it! Plus the beach is right there! You can do a two-fer on a beach day! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Mo stuff coming up tomorrow or the day after. Trying this whole breaking-up-and-spacing-out thing this week. Wish me luck!
Love and tacos,