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Sunday, October 30, 2011

George Noory: Spiritual director extraordinaire

(Photo by David Benbennick)
Not everyone who refers to out-of-body experiences as if they’re real has a popularity index through the roof.  George Noory does.  Perhaps that’s because he’s an ace spiritual director.

Liz Budd Ellmann, Executive Director of Spiritual Directors International, defines “spiritual direction” like this:  Spiritual direction explores a deeper relationship with the spiritual aspect of being human.  Simply put, spiritual direction is helping people tell their sacred stories everyday.  Sounds like the Coast to Coast nightly “communions” – attended to by millions “in the U.S. Canada, Mexico and Guam.”

The Spiritual Directors International website sums up the process this way:  Spiritual direction is not about fixing things or doing something perfectly, because it is not about accomplishing or doing…  Silence, deep listening, and non-doing are contemplative practices often explored in spiritual direction…

Noory, who has ironically been criticized for not doing more to contest outlandish-sounding ideas, has very naturally fallen right in sync with this spiritual-direction type process.  In a February 2010 Los Angeles Times article, Noory is quoted as saying:  I let them talk.  I have become their brother, their confidant, maybe their therapist, by listening to them telling me about these incredible things…  Later within that same article, author Whitley Strieber says this about Noory:  He’s willing to take these [intellectual] journeys.  He’ll have guests on that you think are completely off the wall – nothing they’re saying is real – but by the end of the program you will have made a discovery that there is a kernel of a question worth exploring.

Spiritual directors often draw from the deep well of their own spiritual experiences.  According to Wikipedia, Noory’s family of origin was of “Lebanese Christian descent,” and Noory was brought up as a Roman Catholic.  In a January/February 2010 Atlantic Magazine article, Noory’s “paranormal odyssey” was said to have begun at age 11 when he was “home in bed and sick with a fever.”  At that point, he had a “brief and scary” moment in which “he felt himself float to the ceiling and hang there, untethered by some unseen mechanism, looking down on his sleeping body.”

This was enough to whet a lifetime’s appetite for delving into all things supernatural.  The very next day, he began reading The Projection of the Astral Body (a book that he found in his local library).  Soon afterwards, his mother gave him a copy of We Are Not Alone: The Continuing Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.  Noory was “hooked.”  As he put it:  My life really began to evolve at that young age.

Noory’s present contract with Coast to Coast expires in 2012 (along with perhaps the rest of the world, according to some Coast-to-Coast callers).  The Coast to Coast website quotes him as saying “if he weren’t a national radio talk show host he’d be in politics.”  Perhaps Noory should consider theology instead.  “Father George” has kind of a nice ring to it, although “Saint George” is already taken…


Copyright October 30, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved 

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