Avoiding The Traps Of Spiritual Tourism And Spiritual Materialism

Spirituality is exploding today.

Organized religions are, in many cases, failing to touch the hearts of younger people. Consequently, attendance at houses of worship is, among those in their 20s-40s, declining.

Meanwhile, spiritual exploration seems to me on the rise. The opportunity? That perennial questions, through experiments in psychotechnologies of transformation, will be imbued with new life.

The risks? Spiritual tourism and spiritual materialism.

As the Advaita Vedanta teacher Stephen Wolinsky tells us, genuine spirituality has nothing to do with having more, with being more, or with doing more. (*) Experiences don’t matter except insofar as they may be signs that one on the path of discovering one’s true nature. And such experiences, should they occur, are not possessions or even–dare I say?–“signs of progress.” True spirituality is not self-possession, Total Work, or self-improvement.

Indeed, all that really matters here is discovering one’s true nature and then living from that place. That’s it. Therefore, one must be, from first to last, a lover of truth and, to be a lover of truth, one must set aside everything else.

See how this proposition, straightforward and demanding, sounds to you.


(*) It was my wife Alexandra who reminded me of his Wolinsky’s stringent position.