Karen Weissman *89
moves from engineering to metaphysics
Caption: Weissman teamed up with Tami Coyne
to write The Spiritual Chicks Question Everything: Learn to Risk,
Release, and Soar.
It might seem that Karen Weissman *89's switch from being an engineer
studying noise and vibration problems to guiding others with her
spiritual know how was an abrupt change of course. But Weissman,
who earned a Ph.D. in civil engineering, says her interest in the
metaphysical world grew out of her scientific pursuit of the physical
As a scientist, she learned about the underlying orderliness of
the universe. Weissman, who worked as an engineering consultant
and later as vice president of corporate development at a start-up,
"became convinced that the same order doesn't apply just to
physics but to everything" and that the same energy drives
all things and all people.
Weissman started exploring metaphysics after she contracted mononucleosis
and later an infection that landed her in the hospital with a fever
of 106 degrees the year she was finishing up her doctorate at Princeton.
"A health food snob" at the time, she says, she realized
that she had been focusing on not getting sick rather than maintaining
a healthly diet and lifestyle. That experience "made me realize
there was some power that could be contacted and directed,"
and she started focusing less on food intake and more on what made
her happy - her friends and her interests. Eventually this experience
made her realize that she had to redirect her energies and beliefs
in positive ways.
About 10 years ago while still a practicing engineer, Weissman
started taking seminars on Concept Therapy - a course of study that
demonstrates how everything we experience is related to the concepts
or beliefs we hold and offers practical solutions to real-life problems.
During one seminar, she met Tami Coyne and together they penned
a Web site column on spiritual matters. They were on to something
and three years ago Weissman stopped practicing engineering and
embarked on a new career as a writer and teacher of courses in metaphysics.
The chicks started their own web site Spiritualchicks.com - a hip
take on everything from beauty to the existence of God - and in
October published their first book, The Spiritual Chicks Question
Everything: Learn to Risk, Release, and Sour, a sassy, easy-to-read
manual offering their own funky spiritual attitude to the world
The authors answer questions that they have struggled with themselves
over the years or that they have come across in Concept Therapy
workshops. For instance, they ask: Do I need to go to church (synagogue,
mosque, or a mountain top)? Short Answer: No. Am I smart enough
to be enlightened? Short answer: Yes. Why are some people so hard
to deal with? Can a little narcissism be good for the soul? Is there
sex after death? To the Chicks there are no right answers, only
what's right or wrong for you.
Underlying the spiritual chicks philosophy is what they call the
One Life Principle: "the idea that there is one underlying
essence in the universe that connects us all," says Weissman.
(Some people call that essence God.) Spirituality, says Weissman,
is "the pursuit of the underlying essence that connects us
all. Spirituality is about being who we really are." So we
are all spiritual and all that we experience, even the mundane in
our daily lives, is part of this common energy running through all
of us, says Weissman, who is Jewish but says she didn't receive
much in the way of religious training from her parents.
The authors argue that by aligning our beliefs with our actions,
we can attain all that we want in life and become happier, more
peaceful, and fulfilled. Weisman, for example, tells the story of
how she learned to become a better and more relaxed manager by giving
her staff the space and freedom to do independent, creative work.
Adopting the one Life Principle has changed her life, says Weissman,
who teaches Concept-Therapy seminars in New York City. "It's
helped me have much greater compassion for other people," and
at the same time, not "take the world so personally anymore,"
because she's better at appreciating other people's points of view.
As for her career switch, she says, "my studies as a scientist
really nurtured that spiritual pursuit. ... A doctorate in engineering
was the right path for me" and led her to where she is today.
"Any path we take will lead us back to the source of all being."