Another way to look at the New Age from the standpoint of marketing--identifying people who have money or time for volunteer work, which to a recruiter is what is known as 'sweat equity'--wealth in the form of unpaid labor which is obtained by people who volunteer.
Ever notice fliers, sometimes printed on glossy paper, in many colors and distributed all over your town in the cafes and laundromat and community center and library bulletin boards?
Advertising free classes in this or that?
Who pays for the adverts, especially the ones that require sophisticated print jobs on good paper and that are repeatedly posted all over town several times a year?
That kind of outreach costs MONEY.
Where is that money going to come from if the classes are free and remain free?
Somewhere, they have to find the money. Which means, eventually--someone
has to pay.
And that means--us. Or you.
So--thats a signal to do a background check, before getting involved too deeply. Ask them clearly who is in charge, where does the money come from for the ads? If there is a name for the artist who designs the flier or website--do an online search for the name of that artist and see what other projects he or she has designed stuff for and research those. You may be quite amazed at what you find.
Another way is to think about who becomes famous, especially as a spiritual teacher or guru or preacher.
It takes a lot of work and effort to become a familiar name and face. It costs money
(or a lot of volunteer donated effort) to print fliers, distribute fliers, etc. Ad space in big magazines like Yoga Journal
or Psychology Today
can cost a great deal, depending on the size of the ad.
The general New Age is what sales people term a 'niche' market--or a collection of niche markets.
Some stuff offered within these niche markets is of high quality. Some of it is a mixture of high quality and not so hot.
And some of it is the kind of stuff that lead you and others to visit this forum.
(note: visiting RR.com is personal choice. Unlike what we discuss here, RR.com does not advertise. Registration is free and one doesnt have to pay any money at any time to remain a member--all one needs to do is abide by the forum rules)
So what this means is, a way to recover and become more choosy is to look at areas that are very popular and learn to run background checks, because you are a person with time, energy and money (or credit) and a lot of people out there want to get some or all of your time, your attention, your money.
Instead of being reactive
to advertising or glowing recommendations from a friend, become responsive
by doing a background check, just as we do when getting information about what kind of laptop to purchase, what kind of mobile phone plan to sign for, what kind of car or bicycle to purchase.
Look what we do if we know we have limited money and need to buy a clothes. We check the fabric, think whether the color suits us, does the item fit us, then look inside to see if it is well made or just slapped together with a big price tag.
Part of recovery in relation to the New Age alternative scene is learning to slow oneself down and apply this same approach.
Notice how often some buzz words are used in New Age and Alternative advertising:
This is where the power of advertising and sales technique come in.
For more about niche markets read here.
And within the New Age/Alternative scene are smaller, more specialized niche markets, say for persons interested in stress reduction, mindfulness, yoga, persons interested in Buddhadharma, those interested in astrology, channelling, gnosticism.
Next, take a look and see if a particular niche market is tied to a trend that has become commercially 'hot' -- lots of interest from people, disposable income, especially persons who are new.
Yoga is an example of this general area. This is commercially very very popular right now and shows no sign of slowing down. Sub areas are clothing, learning to cook Indian food, even the film and book Eat, Pray, Love.
What kind of paperwork do they want you to sign before attending some workshop? Is it the kind of paperwork where you give up your right to litigate in case you get hurt?
This alone is odd if the workshop is all about taking responsibility for your life--the workshop leader should be willing to take responsiblity for any bad stuff that goes down. So...what kind of a role model has us sign that kind of release of liability form?