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Are You Also Getting Trapped in Spiritual Materialism?


Are you new to this term "Spiritual Materialism" or wondering why I have even used this term with "Spiritual"?

You will certainly know why going ahead in this article. It is important as a spiritual healer or lightworker to understand the difference between actually serving the purpose we are here for and the difference when we silently slip away from our track and get trapped in "Spiritual Materialism".

When I read some Shamballa excerpts, I decided to write my views on this very emerging concept of "Spiritual Materialism". During my readings, I learned about the Buddhist monk Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who had already founded and established many Buddhist and Shamballa teaching centers in the west.

It is important for all of us to understand this, as we are ascending every day into spirituality and trying to serve our purpose while also being closer victims to spiritual materialism.

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche introduced the techniques of mindfulness, compassion, and love, and being aware of our thought process at the same time. Mindful practices and certain breathing techniques help us be in a state of awareness, which allows us to choose the right path and make the right decisions too. The responsibility of a lightworker isn’t just limited to giving spiritual guidance and healing to others and helping them come out of their sufferings. We are more aligned with our spiritual purpose too, to serve the Divine, to make way for peace and compassion as our spiritual tools.

In these times of wars and competitions everywhere and in everything that we do these days, we must not forget that we are spiritual warriors serving the purpose of instilling and maintaining peace, love, harmony, and oneness with each other. To stop the warrior mindset from destroying each other with weapons and through armies, we have to keep compassion and love alive in ourselves and all around us.

We need to heal ourselves and others who are already in deep pain and suffering, and they don’t even know it. The few who know need divine guidance to instill that peace and love in their hearts. Mindful spiritual practises and knowing our core self will aid in the healing of our hearts and minds, and will provide the answer to the age-old question, "What do we want to choose: peace or war, love or hate, forgiveness or resentment and revenge?"

When we heal our hearts, we heal our thoughts and actions too. If this isn’t happening, you still need to work on yourself. Remember that while you, as a spiritual worker, are responsible for healing others, you must also heal yourself.

No offense to anyone, and with all due respect to all, I would want to express my views on this very elegantly as this is a very sensitive matter and many people or healers may not even realize how easily they can get trapped and slip away from their core purpose that they initially started with when they started their spiritual journey. With time, sometimes in a rush to prove ourselves the best, we forget that we must keep on working on our egos too.

It is evident and it is quite possible that in order to rush into the competition, we sometimes forget our core purpose and continue feeding our egos. "Ego" is a very complicated thing to deal with sometimes. Through spirituality also, it can lead us down a road of illusions and materialism. But how do you know you are getting trapped or already trapped in spiritual materialism and not serving the actual purpose?

The easiest way to identify when you are silently slipping away is when you start seeing problems or issues in others and not in yourself, when you don’t realize what you are thinking and what verbiage or actions you are portraying, when you have a lack of genuine compassion and understanding towards others and don’t deal with situations or people respectfully. This is when you seem to be slipping away.

When your purpose slips away from serving unconditionally to only making money and running behind more fame and recognition, when you think everyone is a competition for you, it is then that you are actually going off track into spiritual materialism. This is when you should stop, look inside, analyze, and realize what went wrong. Energy exchange is necessary and must be practiced. However, it is valid only when you are serving from the core of your heart to actually create and make a real positive shift and difference in others’ lives.

Not only in the west but also in our side of the world, we are conditioned from a very early age to think of individualism and material possessions as signs of success and achievements. Material possessions are a way of feeding our egos to continuously tell us and others, "Hey, look what I have achieved, how successful I am, or I am better than everyone else". Remember, during childhood, even if we had acquired second position in a competition, we were not so grateful for that second prize trophy, but regretted not being able to achieve the first prize!

Similarly, if you don't feel compelled to meditate every day or practise even an hour of Dhyana or simply sit at the feet of your God/guru/just being in the presence of divine beings to cleanse and heal yourself, you are on the path to becoming trapped in spiritual materialism by not honing your divine skills and tools. Learning a few holistic techniques and using them to give healing to others will not fully serve the divine purpose. We have to continuously grow within ourselves to know more and more about the mysteries of this endless universe.

We can not just limit our knowledge and spirituality to what we think we know about spirituality. Spirituality is much broader as a term than we have even thought of. It is our own journey too, along with making others aware of their journeys. Remember, being human and a lightworker at the same time isn’t as easy as it seems to be. We also have to deal with our own problems, egos, and challenges during our own journey.

We have to understand that only providing solutions is not the primary purpose, but also, bringing real change in their lives is one of the core purposes for us.

In the long run, using spiritual tools to build an empire of materialistic possessions will not serve in any way. Working on oneself is just as important as serving God through our ability to help others. How? By keeping ourselves in alignment with our divine purpose, we can certainly work on ourselves. Meditate, and release what is not serving your highest good and the purpose you want to serve unconditionally.

If your behaviors and actions are not in divine alignment, you are not serving the actual purpose. If you are not learning your lessons through the situations happening in your life currently and continuously blaming others for that, you are trapped.

The Trap of being in Competition

Trungpa Rinpoche spoke about the "Three Lords of Materialism", viz., the "Physical Materialism"—when we believe that owning and acquiring more and more material things will bring us happiness and success; the second lord is psychological materialism"—when we believe that a certain faith or belief system will cure everything. The third lord is "spiritual materialism," the belief that a certain state of mind or spiritual practice will free us from our daily troubles and sufferings and can bring more peace or material gains.

We may separate ourselves from the real world by overdoing or under practicing meditation, which leads us to the state of escaping. Life continues, no matter how hard we try to stop it. It still happens, no matter now or later, but it will definitely happen. You can’t escape; you have to face it with courage!

The belief that I mentioned earlier about using a certain technique to set us free is nothing more than the idea that we can be tamed or trained in a certain technique and then use it to bring us joy. However, the joy is already within us. It's us who are trying to find it outwards, but eventually we have to look inwards to recognize and enjoy that bliss we already have within ourselves.

If you are thinking of demeaning and competing with your own Guru, then I am sorry. You are somewhere trying to feed your ego and getting trapped in spiritual materialism. There is certainly no competition between one and another. The universe has made each one of us unique. Getting insecure by the deeds of others or knowing others’ getting or going to be more successful is a thought and action of ego, no matter if it is your own Guru. This clearly proves an act and thought from the ego self and not the divine self. The place of the Guru can never be replaced by a Shishya (disciple). This means you are not giving respect to your Guru for what has been taught to you.

There is certainly no spiritual battle going on where we have to defeat other light-workers by creating a fake image of ours. If you are actually running after material possessions and your image, rather than serving your life's purpose, it will end up nowhere. The universe knows that in order to lead our lives on earth, we need things to fulfill our material needs as well. That is completely OK. Your soul purpose should be to serve the purpose, and all your needs will be met by the Lord automatically.

The Universe always watches over us, our actions (karmas) and our intentions. If the intention is pure, material needs get fulfilled automatically, but if the intention isn’t in sync with the divine purpose, then no matter how high you reach in the field of spirituality, downfall is definite one day.

Your intention must be pure at heart. If your heart can feel others’ pain and suffering and genuinely serve them, God will take care of everything you need for your survival. A true lightworker never forgets his/her purpose on earth for which he/she is being sent.

Working on oneself is essential while working for others, and as lightworkers, we must bring that change with courage, compassion, and divine wisdom within us. The main purpose for all of us is to attain peace, and peace is the only thing that can bring that love, compassion, and healing to all of us.

Everything is interconnected. If our intentions are pure and focused on doing good for all, only good will follow us. Remember that our small acts of kindness and being gentle can bring massive healing to this world we live in and for.

If you observe yourself talking only about your latest spiritual practice, or rewards and recognition, or high-profile contacts all the time, it’s time for you to do a reality check for yourself-you are trying to "sell" it all! Selling here means you have just tipped over and crossed to the other side, i.e., spiritual materialism.

This isn't to say you shouldn't tell others about your healing practices, or that you shouldn't offer healings and solutions, or that you shouldn't accept energy exchange; the key is to stay centred in the being or mode of serving others through "you" as a channel, rather than just serving your own needs.

Life will keep on throwing challenges and bringing events to shake us up when we become dormant. Also, we need to understand the consequences of mixing different rituals together for healing. Not everything can be mixed up to bring instant results. It is like when we try to mix two different chemicals in a chemistry lab. What happens when they are not meant to be together? Yes! You got it right! Not all spiritual practices and cultures can be mixed, so keep them separate and give them the respect they deserve.

Also, the choice of words and language we use to interact and deal with others brings to our notice that we may be falling victim to the trap of ego and materialism through spirituality. Any words or feelings of judgment, jealousy, separation, or acquiring something should serve as a wake-up call for you!

The core of spiritual materialism is that it makes you feel you are growing spiritually, but actually you are just feeding your egos through spiritual techniques and tools. So, if you are not serving from the core of your heart, then stop, and look inside at what has brought this on for you. Remove and release it before it is too late.

A real spiritual or enlightened person would not run after materialism so much. He/she would follow their Guru like God, hence serving the purpose, and in return, all needs are taken care of by God.

The core belief of Shambhala is in the ingrained goodness of human beings. There is no one good or bad; it’s only the core intentions. Mindful meditation helps us focus on our breath while keeping ourselves aware of our thoughts, especially the ones we create out of our rigidity and negative mind conditioning and beliefs that keep us caught in the web of being and behaving in a certain way that may not serve us or others around us in any way.

We are all souls on this earth, in this physical body, to learn and teach lessons, experience the ups and downs of life, and understand the reality of the universe and life itself. Our purpose is to heal ourselves and others with the divine wisdom God has blessed us all with.

Through meditation, we gradually come to individual realization of oneness with all beings, and through this we emanate compassion and awareness/wisdom, the core tools to heal this world. Also, we must not forget the Law of Three. Whatever we give or say comes back to us three fold. So, if you give out love and healing, that is what you will get back. If you give money to the needy, that is what you will get back. If you give blessings, that is what you will get back, and so it is. If you curse, you get that curse back three times. So don’t forget, if you think and do wrong to others, no one is watching over you or you will be able to escape from that. The Universe is watching over that too, and when the time comes, it will be returned to you in three folds for sure.

Finally, dwell in the bliss of divine love, compassion, and service to others through your work as a divine channel, and avoid becoming entangled in the web of spiritual materialism.

Spirituality is a very broad term and to experience it, you need to keep walking on this path and keep learning and sharing your knowledge with zero ego and insecurity about your power being overtaken by another. There is only one power, "God". Spirituality is itself "awareness" and that is the only key to reaching and fulfilling our divine purposes on this earth. This is why we're all here: to learn how to be one while remaining distinct and free of materialism's stings.

Stay grounded. No matter how far and high you reach with your work, if you won't, the universe surely knows how. Do not forget, it’s not us who bring healing and relief to the ones in pain and suffering; it's God who chooses us as a channel of healing for all on this earth.

Love, Light, Peace, Gratitude and lots of blessings to all!

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