There can be little doubt that whilst a great deal of today's New Age spirituality distances itself from established religions such as Christianity it still harbours more than a thin connection to their traditional values.
The most prominent example of this exists in the idea that in order to be a worthy human being we have to be 'good', we have to do good things, or carry out good works.
Similar ethical ideas permeate many other fringe areas of occult and mystical philosophy. As a result we find that many within in Witchcraft identify themselves specifically as 'White Witches' and thereby associate themselves with only positive magic, whilst at the same time practicing occultists insist that they only summon good spirits or angels and not practising any form of demonology.
As moral constructs these labels — as well meaning as they are, can make true spiritual progress extremely difficult to achieve for they negate the dark over the light.
Finding Your Genuine Self
In her book Letting Go of Good professional trainer and motivational speaker Andrea Mathews challenges the very notion of goodness and demonstrates how it resides not only within spirituality but is also can be found lurking at the heart of our Western culture.
Very early on in her book Mathews elucidates her feelings regarding the problems that she feels being good all the time brings us.
She states"If we really think about what goodness is, however, we have to admit that there is no clear objective definition that is standardised across all nations, cultures, religions, and families. What is good to one group of people might be bad to another. So essentially, a person who identifies with goodness can only identify with the version of goodness he grew up with."
Mathews argues that very often 'doing the right thing' all the time results in the disengagement with that part of ourselves that she refers to as our Authentic Self. As a result we can and very often do, build up walls created suffering from a lack of honesty around ourselves which is something which isolates us from a more meaningful life experience.
A Considered Approach
Letting Go of Good is formed from several specific parts. In part one the author offers her readers the opportunity to learn what it means to be 'genuine'. This leads through to an explanation of the Self-actualisation process through which a person begins to learn how to live in the presence of the authentic Self.
In part two the reader learns how to recognise the existence of various falsehoods passed down to us from prior generations.
Part three of the book deals with the challenges of coming to terms with difficult or buried emotional material. These include those of anger, resentment, fear, and sorrow; whilst in Part four the author examines the roots of personal power and how they are reflected through intuition, discernment, and desire.
And finally part five of the book examines the healing process and how we can come to know the peace that emerges following disclosure of the deep, inner truth about ourselves. Mathews describes this peace as being characterised by a stillness that seems to to have its own sound or sense of presence.
When it occurs you know that you have found you true authentic Self.
Our Review of Letting Go of Good by Andrea Mathews
How many people do you know who, whilst they are good and wholesome individuals do, at the same time exude as sense of not being fully here or even worse, of not being completely engaged with themselves?
In Letting Go of Good Mathews presents a well-argued case for challenging our need to be constantly attempting to do good deeds; to be seen doing the 'right thing', or by presenting ourselves as altruistic; for this, she argues, closes a hole through which our Soul's should, under normal circumstances, and given half a chance, be breathing.
Letting Go of Good is an extremely well-rounded and complete book. It is one that opens by declaring a problem and finishes not only with its resolution but also offers the final prize for those who make it through the process of personal transformation.
Equally it is also a brave book; for along the way the author challenges accepted notions about what it means to be a fully formed individual — something that she does in a way that is both sympathetic and instructive.
In fact there is a great sense of cathartic liberation within the pages of this book and this, in a sense, means that it carries with it an energy of authenticity; one that is as strong as the subject material itself.
Letting Go of Good by Andrea Matthews offers the reader the chance to create a vitally important space — a sort of vacuum, into which the psyche can grow and expand. It calls out to the Soul for reconnection and as a unique message of liberation it has a vitally important role to play within today's psychospiritual movement.