I was reading Chris Grosso’s new book The Indie Spiritualist, and while this deep, meaningful, funny, engaging, reverently irreverent book about spirituality has much to love, I found myself particularly drawn to a section where he expresses his uneasiness with how “trendy” spirituality has become. I find myself equally uneasy with the way spirituality has been co-opted in certain circles as yet another way to be “cool.”
I’m certainly not suggesting you can’t be spiritual and trendy. No God I love would dictate whether or not someone should shave her head and wear black robes or dress in the latest runway fashions. Any spiritual guidebook I would ever follow would remind you to follow your heart, align with your authenticity, and be the most self-actualized version of your true self, which is your own unique manifestation of God consciousness in human form. But it’s important to examine our motivations. What leads us to behave in certain ways? Are these behaviors genuinely deepening our spiritual practices, or are they yet another way we try to fit in because we don’t feel good enough as we are?
Being Spiritually Cool
Consider yoga, for example. When American yoga practitioners were surveyed about why they participated in yoga, the most common response was “to get a yoga butt.” And of course, that’s not what the yogic path is about at all. It’s about enlightenment.
It has also become cool to listen to kirtan music, decorate your house with singing bowls and Buddha statues, and dress in $300 yoga outfits.
In his book, Chris quotes a New York Times article about how fashionable meditation has become:
“For a new generation of ‘spiritual seekers,’ a daily meditation practice has become the emotional equivalent of green juice: a well-being essential. Russell Brand has described it as ‘like a shower for your brain,’ while the Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr has said it helps her stay in goddess-like shape, inside and out. And when ‘transcendental’ and ‘trendy’ appear in the same sentence, one question inevitably comes to mind (no matter how hard you are trying to empty the contents of your cranium): What to wear?”
What to WEAR? Who CARES what we wear when we are engaging in our spiritual practices? And since when did the goal of meditation become a Victoria’s Secret body? While I like fashion as much as any hip woman, it all starts to sound suspiciously like a lot of ego. I can just see Jesus tipping over those tables in the spiritual marketplace again.