Commercial Spirituality and how it Compares to Esoteric Teachings
In today’s world, where everything comes with a price, spirituality is no exception. Unfortunately, what many know as spirituality is actually a multi-billion dollar industry, comprising mostly of new age, self-help, and self-growth motivation seminars, books, and retreats. In perhaps a bit smaller number we also have in this mixture the meditation-yoga and mystical-like truth-seeking journeys that are becoming increasingly popular. From all of this a question arises: is there a substance behind it and can true spirituality really be turned into a high-profit gain?
In order to properly answer this, let us first look at history. Throughout ages there were always people who were searching for knowledge that goes beyond this material world, which was the cause for founding of various groups and orders that were dedicated to their goal of spiritual pursuit. These people went deeper into spiritual subjects than what someone who identified themselves with a mainstream religion would go, and were more dedicated to their purpose than someone whose main spiritual goal was observing religious norms.
There were many of such groups and orders throughout history, all over the world. They went under different names, and would also have participants from official religion of their time as well. One example of such is a Sufi order, which is a mystical branch of Islam – people in that order went deeper into the study of Islam and thus organized a group of like minded people who shared the same interests and goals. This happened in all or most of major religions. The reason is simply because most of people pertaining to a religion were not really that much interested in deeper aspects of it, so those who were interested searched for ways to progress beyond the merits of just observing religious norms.
Such organizations at their heart had the goal of self-realization, yearning deeply for that which is real and that could bring them happiness beyond conditions of the material world. They were interested in investigations into the unknown, into the mystical side of life, and it was that common thread that nourished them and made them united as brothers/sisters on a journey to enlightenment. I call this profound and real spirituality.
Now, due to the circumstance of time that we live in, things have changed drastically since those days described above. Many people are still thirsty for real knowledge and development, but because of a high emphasis on comfort and capitalism, spirituality has been altered to become adjusted to “the needs of the people of today”. Today’s fast life pace, pursuit of money, pleasures, entertainment, and overall a hedonistic lifestyle of comforts, can only have enough room for a spirituality of a certain type – there is simply not enough space for something deeper. The construction of such form of spirituality has been seized by corporations and individuals that have turned it into a multi-billion dollar industry.
The problem is that what is given of spirituality through these corporations is a diluted version of a real deal. Some would argue “it is at least something”, and it’s true – the messages that are contained in those new age and self-growth books do have some value and a positive effect, mostly because parts of it have been taken from real spiritual principles. At the same time they are extensively focusing on using esoteric laws for fulfilling people’s desires (mostly in relation to fame, appearance, career, and relationships) and in such a way catering to making their egos even stronger.
In a nutshell, the commercial spirituality takes out some of what sounds nice and amazing from the real esoteric teachings, but leaves most of it out. It then incalculates that into a constructed “spiritual” lifestyles, which consists of indulgences of all kind, but it emphasises the need to be aware in all that we do. Hardships, sacrifices, and basic spiritual principles that would taken one from the fallen to a risen state of Being, does not really exist in such version of “spirituality”, at least not in a proper way.
For someone who is searching for an inner transformation – for a way that will take them to the path of initiations and the attainment of permanent peace, happiness, and other high inner states – they will stumble upon a block as the maze of spiritual disinformation keeps expanding, and could even face the risk of not encountering any true esoteric school in their lifetime.
Someone may argue that because we live in this material world, it’s only natural that a cost would also be placed on spirituality, and I can see how it’s very easy to adhere to such a viewpoint. In a way it makes sense, but if we are talking about something that has depth, such as a type of teachings that was part of that esoteric schools, groups or orders that I mentioned above, then the same principle cannot apply here. The reason for this is because what guides someone inwardly to be active in such groups or to help teach others, has nothing to do with gaining money, but instead it is another type of energy that belongs to ones Being. This is a real motivation behind the actions of such people, and they also understand that if they give, they too will be given. They understand how Dharma operates and how it is related to their inner progress. But also, if they progressed enough, sharing and giving won’t be any more for the sake of the law of give and return. Instead they will act based on an impulse from the heart, as selflessness becomes more and more their true nature, and acting out of love a norm.
This is the essence of what the true spiritual unfoldment is all about – to be transformed, selfless Being, full of love for everyone, and with the right kind of intelligence that guides you and helps you along the path to complete enlightenment. This type of thing cannot be privatized only for those who can financially afford it.
HDP, November 2019.