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Tourist Traps and Truth Walks: Part 1

Jul 3, 2008
'Tourist trap' is a familiar phrase to any vacationer. Every city, every resort, every vacation spot in the world has them. If you're not careful, you'll spend a lot of money purchasing items that you just don't need.

The phrase 'tourist trap' describes any business or group of businesses specifically created to separate tourists from their money. The quality of those products and the price one is willing to pay is in the eye of the beholder. And, I might add, based on the size of the wallet or purse of the traveler.

For example, a recent Associated Press release announced that the next great tourist trap could be the Moon. The company who pioneered commercial space travel by sending "tourists" to the International Space Station is planning a new mission: rocketing people around the far side of the moon.

The price of a round-trip ticket: $100 million.

The premier mission by Space Adventures could occur in the next year, and is planned as a first step to an eventual lunar landing by private citizens.

"For the first time in history, a private company is organizing a mission to the moon," Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson said, a day after the space shuttle Discovery safely returned to Earth.

Anderson reported he already has prospective "private explorers" who anticipate the trip and can afford the ticket.

For many people, tourist traps are part of the vacation experience. For others, the trips themselves are part of the trap.

Swiss psychologist Carl Jung had this to say:

"People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. They will practice yoga and all its exercises, observe a strict regime of diet, learn theosophy by heart, mechanically repeat mystic texts from the literature of the world, adopt the sayings and follow the example of the latest guru - all because they cannot get on with themselves, and have not the slightest faith that anything useful could ever come out of their own lives."

That quote was recorded 50 years ago. We believe he is referring to a different kind of tourist trap - the trap we fall into when we buy into New Thought messages which cause hiccups on our truth walks.

Because we are higher consciousness explorers - people attracted to the deeper meaning of life - our journeys into the world of New Thought can become huge traps, if we buy into touristy things like:

* The hot off the market snake oil sold by people who know just enough about higher consciousness stuff to be dangerous;

* Clever sayings and sound bytes which can take bites out of our spiritual growth;

* Close-minded religious dogma which ignores our God-ordained divinity;

* Negative, self-defeating thinking which blocks our good;

* And, yes, we're going to say it - questionable and misleading literal translations of Biblical scripture which keep alive the myth of our separation from Spirit.

These tourist traps are like the couple driving an RV, who got hopelessly bogged down in an unexpected muddy ditch along a dirt road. After a few minutes, a local farmer happened by on his tractor and offered to pull them out for $45.

After the motor home was safe on dry road, the driver said to the farmer, "At those prices, I imagine you're pulling vehicles out of this ditch day and night."

"Nope," replied the farmer. "At night I'm busy filling the hole with water."

It's the classic business strategy of creating a need and then filling it. It's a business philosophy based on purely hip pocket interest.

Remember the definition of tourist traps? They are any business or group of businesses specifically designed to separate tourists from their money. From a metaphysical perspective, a tourist trap is any misleading teaching or philosophy, attitude, or activity designed to separate truth students from their money and, as it turns out, from their spiritual growth.

On our trips into higher consciousness, we will no doubt find ourselves doing lots of touristy things. We have gone to our share of disappointing workshops and questionable seminars. We've read our fair share of substandard books that failed live up to their hype. But we also realize tourist traps are part of the journey. Our warning is not to turn them into THE journey.

Just as there are good buys in the proverbial tourist trap, there are valuable discoveries in commercialized New Thought as well. In Part Two of this article, you will learn how to locate them, and put them to practice in your Truth walk.
About the Author
Drs. Bil & Cher Holton are Spiritual Leaders at Unity Spiritual Life Center in Durham, NC, where they practice positive, practical, progressive Christianity. Visit their website at Unity Spiritual Life Center and sign up to receive a complimentary 4-week e-course.
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