‘If you live in the West, you are one of the richest 5 per cent of people on the planet. That makes you one of the richest people history has ever known.’*
And now I believe it. I am taking my first cruise on a ship called the Celebrity Equinox, a floating twenty-first century palace. Fourteen levels of dining and entertainment, a casino, 2 theatres, 3 swimming pools, gym and more. It is a world unto itself complete with twelve glass elevators and eleven bars – one of which looks like a deck on the Starship Enterprise. The only living things on the ship (besides humans) is an enormous ornamental tree suspended in a cathedral space in the centre of the ship, and the syringes of botox in the day spa.
I have come on the cruise for two reasons – firstly, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to rewrite the ending of my memoir. I was told once that in Japan if a writer hadn’t finished their manuscript by the contractual date they would be locked in a hotel room by their publisher and not let out until it was finished. Locking myself on a boat without my family sounded like a fair equivalent.
The second reason was that it wasn’t just any cruise, it was a ‘celebrity cruise’ – the headlining act was one of my favourite spiritual teachers, a lady called Esther Hicks who channels a collective entity from another dimension called Abraham. When I told my friend about Abraham-Hicks she said bluntly: ‘Katie, this sounds like a cult…’ I told her it wasn’t a cult, I wasn’t going to change my name to Shakti anything or start saying ‘Om Guru’.
That said, I was surprised to learn there were a whopping 800 Abraham-Hicks devotees on board who had come from all corners of the globe, many had been on dozens of her cruises before, could recite her words like scripture and had adapted a familiar lingo. These followers evidently took things more seriously than me, a YouTube listener who tuned in to pass the time while I was washing the dishes.
Followers of Abraham-Hicks believed in The Law Of Attraction, the idea that all your thoughts and desires, whether conscious or not, attract the things that come into your life. The premise was that meditating (getting “into alignment” and “lowering your resistance”) put you in touch with your higher self (aka, “the vortex”), which would naturally attract good things to you (“manifest your desires”).
For that reason, Abraham-Hicks followers were forbidden to talk about anything bad, such as the gastro bug they picked up on the fourteen hour flight, or the taxi driver that had fleeced them for three times the correct fare, for risk that they might attract more of it into their life – instead they said things like, ‘I’m experiencing a lot of contrast right now.’
How things had changed since Old Testament times I thought to myself… The followers of Moses had squatted on the hard rocky outcropping of Mount Sinai for literally weeks on end waiting for him to deliver the Ten Commandments. If only they had known how to manifest two hour seminars in a tired auditorium with plush velvet seating! And how much more fun was it now being an Abraham-Hicks follower watching for signs from the heavens – no more burning bushes or being slapped in the head by raining fishes, instead we had iPhones to capture the time when it read 11:11.
I was glad I was following Abraham-Hicks who preached unlimited abundance and no guilt – I felt like I had been manifesting this cruise since I was ten years old when I was obsessed with stories of ships sailing through The Bermuda Triangle, before I’d learned of the harm wreaked by fossil-fuelled cruise ships on the environment, the noise pollution that negatively impacted the behaviour of whales and dolphins. Except that I’d gotten a little too carried away manifesting the giant supernatural whirlpool that sucked ships down to the submerged lost city of Atlantis…
I realised that although yes, I still desperately wanted to see a UFO, I did want to return to see my family again. Also, I realised that my fellow Abraham-Hicks followers were growing tired of the contrast of sea sickness.
So after the forth day of high winds and turbulent seas I returned my attention to my first priority – rewriting the ending of my book. And as the revellers frolicked in the sun-drenched pool on the top deck, lowering their resistance with a few cocktails, I got on with the job at hand, appreciating all the while every second of realisation that I am indeed one of the richest people history has ever known.
* ‘Does Altruism Need Science?’, New Scientist 25 Feb 2017.