Spirituality, once an authentic path of discovering oneself and making the world a better place, seems to have devolved into nothing more than a new consumerist fad.
As I stepped into my tweens and beyond, I was very attracted to the ideas of spirituality. A mysticism untouched by the dogmatic nature of the church I was brought up in. I spent days learning about how I could create a better world for myself and others by going beyond the ego.
Not soon after I had begun walking this path, I began to notice something adrift. Instagram posts slowly became filled with individuals doing yoga poses in front of exotic backdrops. Trance festivals meant for healing and connection began to attract those looking for a weekend of psychedelic escapism. Stores slowly began selling assortments of clothing with the words ‘Namaste’ on them.
The consumerism grew and, what was once an authentic path, seems to have almost become a shadow of itself. What was once meant as a way in which individuals could turn their own lives and those around them into something for the higher good, began to turn into an online pseudo-spiritual competition.
What has begun to irk me even more is that a new apolitical and privileged approach to spirituality seemed, and still seems, to be growing. Individuals who have access to many of these expensive retreats, health foods and spiritual modalities show it off online, as though it were easily accessible to the majority of the population. Beyond this, they tend to do so with an air of arrogance, twisting spiritual ideas into almost pseudo hardcore capitalistic statements.
The idea that our minds are solely what creates our reality and suffering is simply a story of the ego having been twisted to negate the real-life suffering of lower-class individuals. ‘You create your own reality’ seems to be a softer way of saying, ‘Poor people are just lazy.’
As a spiritual person myself, I often wonder what kind of alleged compassionate awareness not only ignores, but also invalidates, the plight of some of the most vulnerable groups in our society?