Also, I have a sexier butt than yours because I do more time doing yoga
Spiritual Materialism is a concept I found difficult to understand. It took me some time to understand it– there were some examples of things that irked me, and I only recently realised they are Spiritual Materialism.
What is Spiritual Materialism
First, what is materialism? It is the belief that collecting more things– money, house, sex, status etc will make us happy. Most people think this is the goal of life.
But when we turn to spirituality, we bring this attitude to it.
Suddenly, it’s like, If only I meditate more, I can become enlightened faster!
If only I buy these crystals/go to that healer, my chakras will be opened quicker!
My guru is more enlightened than your guru!
Definition: Here is my best attempt:
Spiritual Materialism is pursuing meditation or spiritual practices to gain external rewards or status or personal gains, and not for inner growth and self transformation
Take the 1st example above, about meditating more to become enlightened quicker, like meditation is some sort of god damn competition. I’ve seen many people boast how much they meditate (and slyly humiliate others– “What, you only meditate 15 minutes daily? LOL that’s why you no enlightened, my man”).
This belief is so common that every meditation book / course assumes this–as well as every forum I’ve joined.
Just meditate HARDER, bro! Work hard, play hard, meditate even fucking harder bro! That enlightenment ain’t gonna fetch itself!
(Please read the above in a dude-bro voice for maximum effect)
Other examples of it I love from LonerWolf
“Owning” and indirectly claiming special status due to certain gifts (e.g., clairvoyance, ability to read auras, communicate with spirits, etc.) which reinforces the separate sense of self or ego.Practicing meditation with the hidden agenda of trying to avoid suffering by becoming peaceful or detached all the time (when the reality is that thoughts and feelings are always fluctuating like the ebb and flow of the ocean – the point isn’t to bypass or “kill” the mind, but to stop identifying with its contents).
Using the law of attraction to try and attract all of your desires (because that would supposedly “make you happier” than being grateful for what you already have).
How to Avoid this Trap
Awareness is the best method– you will constantly need to ask yourself: Am I doing this because it is the inner call / right thing to do, or because you think it will make you look enlightened, or fix your problems sooner?
Read about more Traps on the Spiritual Path