Web Exclusives: Alumni Spotlight

Posted December 18, 2002:

A Spiritual Chick questions everything

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 world.

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 at large.

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."

By K.F.G.