It’s Amazing – But is it Spirituality?

Spirituality vs New AgeThe other day my mentor GD mused, “In the past, people worked from 9 to 5, month after month, to buy a fancy car; these days they just try to manifest it using affirmations and visualizations. So things are not that different! We have simply found more clever and subtler means to fulfill our desires. It is not wrong in itself, but is it really spirituality?”

This is a question I have asked myself for many years too. Today, we have a plethora of healing tools and processes on the planet to upgrade our life experience. As a lifelong process junkie, I have explored many of them myself, but I have wondered: is this spirituality?

Spirituality, in its purest sense, is the quest to find your true nature: who am I?

However, in Eastern tradition also, the scope of spirituality was not limited to sitting meditation and self-enquiry. It embraced physical mastery like yoga, tantra and t’ai chi. But the goal was always to transcend body, sexuality and the world. It wasn’t in order to get ‘killer buns’ or ‘a bodacious booty’. And an attempt to manifest a new chariot would probably have come under the realm of sorcery.

The quest for happiness is innate in beings. And the attempt to find it through persons, objects and experiences is natural. The difference is that in its original definition, ‘spirituality’ begins where this search ends. As the outer begins to be questioned, the inner becomes relevant. Today, perfection of the outer often becomes the goal. The focus – instead of being on the question ‘who am I’ – is on ‘what I want’ and ‘what I need’. And tools for ‘abundance’ are never used to attract an abundance of awareness or emptiness.

The tricky part, which took me years to understand, is that dismissing these tools of manifestation and mastery would be throwing out the baby with the bath water. We are fortunate to live in a time when more powerful energetic tools for healing and transformation are available than ever before. I would recommend anyone who is unfamiliar with this treasure chest to explore it and transform their life – there is no glory in living a stressful, conflict-ridden lifestyle. But time and again, do pause and question: are the dreams you are seeking to fulfill through these spiritual tools really yours or just advertising-fuelled consumerism?

Don’t justify a quest for material abundance as an affirmation and celebration of Life. Celebrating the world is not clinging to the world; just as owning a forest has nothing to do with enjoying a forest. And I’m not suggesting real spirituality needs renunciation. You don’t need to become a monk and sell your Ferrari – just keep in your garage, not in your heart.

The mind is always searching for that one practice, insight, technique which will give it control, security and happiness-without-sadness. And whether it is getting a new job or a new-age practice, neither seems to finally deliver it. This, to me, is the awareness that is at the heart of true spirituality. Fulfilling personal desires is not wrong, but whether the tools come from Harvard Business Review or Higher Entities, I see that they are amazing, but question if they are spirituality.

At some point, the focus must shift from polishing the persona to transcending the persona. Healing and bodywork must go beyond the vain pursuit of a perfect body. And even meditation must evolve beyond seeking repetition of a higher octave of pleasant experiences. That is the real miracle worth manifesting.

15 thoughts on “It’s Amazing – But is it Spirituality?

      • Thank goodness it’s fake; I was prepared to be disgusted.
        Oh yeah, people would definitely buy it! Everyone’s looking for a shortcut to enlightenment. I say, do the dishes first; you can have all kinds of ephipanies in soap bubbles if you look (pretend) hard enough. 😉

      • Thank goodness it’s fake; I was prepared to be disgusted.
        Oh yeah, people would definitely buy it! Everyone’s looking for a shortcut to enlightenment. I say, do the dishes first; you can have all kinds of ephipanies in soap bubbles if you look (pretend) hard enough. 😉

    • “Once you have seen through the illusions even briefly, had a taste of pure awareness or remembered the knowing of your true essence – you can no longer walk out of this maze”… Very nice and comprehensive post. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • I think the new age stuff, especially channeling, has made it seem much more complicated. It took me a while to figure out that if Buddha was saying desire was the cause of dukkha and Abraham-Hicks was encouraging desire, whom to trust? I have come to the conclusion that impermanence still exists even in higher dimensions so in the ultimate count I would go with the Buddha and other teachings of transcendence. That’s my take, anyway 🙂

      • Yes. I was on a reverse spin for a long, long time. Somewhere a past life monkhood conditioning was that you “should” not desire. As a result, I would cower with desire. Ironically, every time GD would say the same thing but without the “should”, it began healing my ability to experience desire. I slowly found that I *could* desire and still it would not cost me a life. Today I’ve come to the stage that I am aware desire is okay. It brings greater peace to acknowledge desire where it is and yet recognise that it is utterly incidental if it gets fulfilled. 🙂 much love

  1. “And even meditation must evolve beyond seeking repetition of a higher octave of pleasant experiences.” – So true. I’d love to see you develop your astute observation into a post.

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