Saturday, September 6, 2014
The Industry of Spirituality
With the emerging New Age movement and the popularization of spirituality in the West, from the mainstream practice of Eastern disciplines such as yoga, meditation, Tibetan Buddhism and ayurveda; to the phenomenon of channeling, angel readings, chakra balancing, tantric workshops and the like, has come another element: the industrialization of spirituality. Around the world, people are making millions of dollars off of others, by offering their various spiritual practices, services and products at a price. And my view, is that there is nothing necessarily wrong with that!
Money is, of course, an integral part of human life at this point. I'm not really sure what the viable, realistic alternative is. I'm about to go grocery shopping. And I'm really glad that I can just bring some money tucked into a wallet, instead of having to bring several chickens and a cow and a shovel and a wheelbarrow and a bag of potatoes and my mom's old jewelry and who knows what else, so that I have something to trade for those groceries that I undoubtedly need. So money is just a tool, and a really freaking convenient one.
As long as there is money, people are going to have disposable income, and they're going to spend it on something. They could spend it on entertainment. They could spend it on alcohol or cigarettes. They could spend it on new clothes. They could spend it on a new car or boat. They could spend it on gambling or going to the horse race.
In my mind, it's actually an amazing development that we now have a huge industry in which people are spending their disposal income on spirituality. It might seem like a waste of money to some.....and no doubt some of it is. Lots of it is b.s., lots of it is the equivalent of useless plastic crap. But money is meant to be spent. There's nothing whatsoever wrong with people spending (and making) money through a spiritual service or product that other people are willing to pay for.
And more importantly, the grander point is, that more and more people are turning their focus towards spiritual awareness and self-growth. Keep in mind that it's incremental. Going to a chakra healing session or angel reading or one acupuncture treatment, for example, isn't going to change your whole life all of a sudden. But it could be a small stepping stone in the direction towards self-realization. Some of these products and services are undoubtedly over-priced...depending of course on what you have to spend and what it's worth to you. But much of it is actually quite reasonable. I was getting acupuncture treatments at a clinic in Portland, Oregon that was offered at a sliding scale of $15-30, for as long as you wanted to stay there. I paid $20, and would often stay for 2 hours or so. Not a rip-off in my book.
Overall, I see it as a profound development that millions of people around the world are now making spiritual healing and evolution the focus of how to solve the problems in their life.....rather than going to the casino or the bar, drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, zoning out on TV, engaging in obsessive shopping habits, etc., and in the process only making their life's predicament worse.
Money spent on something intended to uplift your spirit, raise your consciousness and in many cases provide practical, down-to-Earth information for one of life's many real issues, isn't necessarily a scam. It's just one aspect of the way the world works. Unless you're living in a cave in the Himalayas, surviving off bugs and grasses and a nearby trickling stream, then you need money to survive (even if you're a spiritual person!), just like everyone else.
Money is an illusion, it's just energy flowing. It's every bit as spiritual as is the wind in the trees. The big question is, what is it supporting by where it's flowing to?