Bonnie Aspen – Spirituality and Religion

“She had the hots for the minister.”

I was not [raised religiously], although when I was an early adolescent, my mother started taking us to the Religious Science Church. It turns out she had the hots for the minister. [Laughs.] I had about three years in my early teen years of Religious Science. Religious Science is all based on metaphysics. It’s not Christian Science, but it’s really based on, “What you believe creates what you experience.” That was a perfect point in time for me to get a big dose of, “Oh, I’m the creator in my universe.” That never, ever left me.

Then, after we moved to California, we were introduced to Avatar. That’s a deeper level; it’s really “What you believe creates what you experience. And if you can change your beliefs easily, then [you can change your experience].

California’s very “woo-woo,” especially that part of California—it’s just over the bridge from Marin. Marin’s just across the water and the navel-staring capital of California. It really is. All the spiritual stuff is from Marin. All the self-examination. Any kind of healing. It’s all Marin. Jerry Garcia? That’s all Marin.

We’re not teaching [Avatar] right now, but we still use our Avatar tools all the time. It’s not about a guru [or specific belief system]. A lot of Buddhist monks really love Avatar a lot, because it’s a little bit faster of a way to get to where they’re going. The neat thing about Avatar is, if you take the personal management of your life—and that’s the pebble in the water and the first ring—then, as a person understands more about how their experience affects the larger thing, then the other ripples really do start being moving toward enlightened planetary civilization, and are a lot about inspiring. I mean, a lot about the work that we’ve done in Spokane—which is inspiring a community to move beyond what they used to think was possible, or real—[came from our Avatar beliefs].

***

Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson, 15 August 2007; transcribed by J. Zander; edited by Laura S. Hodgman. Audio file held in the Museum of Arts and Culture.