The first thing that marketers use to sell a product is sex, and it seems that the second thing is now spirituality.
Products ranging from sports gear to food are being sold through marketing methods that employ spiritual philosophies. The prefix of metro- now needs to be attached before spirituality to define how the Buddhist, Taoist, and Hindu values have been mainstreamed into easily understandable and buyable ideas.
Through the popularity of the spiritual concepts and habits, marketers have managed to create a unique tactic to advertise their product in which buying the products not only satisfies the physical needs of the consumer but also the emotional and spiritual ones. An entirely inexhaustible niche. This places the particular brand above all others with the same product.
Many groups have also adopted this newest way of being cool that starts with body positivity and ends at veganism where both are being promoted through spirituality. And while it’s not wrong to do that, branding spirituality on random acts without fully integrating it holistically in living is more like self-promotion.
Yoga classes, organic restaurants, clothing outlets and self-discovering retreats that connect a person with their spiritual selves are loaded with scores of well to do folks in the chicest outfits discussing the concepts of love and compassion according to Buddhist philosophy while a homeless person outside the same café sits in utter invisibility.
Yoga too has become the poster child for spiritual living, yet a considerable number of people practicing it can be called anything but spiritual. The yoga pant fashion dominated the internet a year ago with women dressing in these tight pants to go everywhere but the studio. Pages over pages were plastered with pictures of translucent pants which revealed ample bums to the entire world enticing men to pay attention to the body which in yoga philosophy was all about; being the temple for the soul and a tool for humans to discover the peace within.
For many yoga students the method is reduced to an exercise to tone the legs and flatten the abs and being seen in hundreds of dollar worth of athleisure clothing which is the newest must have for any fitness conscious person. The phrase “Yoga – it’s not about tightening your ass, it’s about getting your head out of it” even emerged to the chuckle of many of us who wondered about the Instagram posts of these consumers who had turned over a new leaf of spiritual materialism.
What’s Wrong With Spiritual Materialism
Spiritual materialism brought with it a new line of products which included magical chakra healing crystals, Buddha and other god’s figures, stone jewelry and singing bowls, yet in practice, the simple ascetic lifestyles of the dervishes who used the singing bowl are nowhere to be seen. It became cool to be scantily clad or even nude to advertise your spiritual product with rarely actually accepting the body the way it is, which for white folk means not perfectly shimmering sun-kissed golden.
Till the time people ask age-old questions like about the meanings of their life, the path to fulfillment and our purpose in the world, there will always be new philosophies and new solutions offered. Some of these suddenly become popular through celebrities or T.V shows and of course, companies very affably provide the products to go with them. But what are true spiritual values and how can the modern man really make use of them?
The authentic spiritual values are not about changing oneself and creating a better newer you and instead of rejecting who we are it’s about understanding ourselves in the most intimate way that we can. To be authentically spiritual means to have a more mindful approach and participation in our own lives rather than violently carving out a more appealing version of ourselves for the same ego.
In changing ourselves with aggressively cut away the parts of us we don’t like and consider it something shameful, we then carry this pain, suffering, and shame into our life practices.
How To Be Spiritually Authentic
The true spiritual value is of love and nonviolence and seeing our darkest parts through that and lifting ourselves out of the darkness with that love. We don’t need to attend any retreats for that or buy any products. We don’t need to follow a certain guru or a lifestyle to be spiritual rather introspection and courage to accept what we see, spread the knowledge of truth to others whom we share the living experience with.
To be authentic in our spiritual search means to be non-judgmental and loving both within and outside our spiritual practice circles and not only in the yoga studio. Instead of being selectively spiritual it’s about showing compassion to everyone and embracing others for who they are. Forgiveness is a requirement for healing and without healing true spirituality cannot be reached. Grudges are resentments are what we need to change first rather than our diet or the company we buy clothes from.
To feel better about ourselves we need to develop unconditional love rather than unattainable goals, for it’s not somewhere in the future where contentment lies but rather in this very moment.
It looks like people will never get tired of the endless advice on how to improve our emotional and spiritual well-being. Though regardless of the amount of information available to us, our need for analogies that exceed ordinary life never changes. We crave for the proof that there is more than this everyday life of grocery shopping and laundry, and working hard for a vacation every once in a while. We desire the answers that combine the spiritual and supernatural realm but we forget that the spirituality needs to be practiced not in the ideal situation but with patience in the most uncomfortable of all scenarios.
Our current trend of metro spiritual culture or the habits of spiritual materialism are our tries of bridging the gap between our distinguishable physical/emotional needs and are often hard to perceive, intangible spiritual needs.