Are you a green-tea drinking, yoga-practicing, Hybrid-driving soul-searcher who spends your free time meditating at awareness-retreats; doing Hanuman-like acrobatic postures at yoga retreats; and dancing like a possessed Lord Krishna at kirtans?
Are you a regular alms-giving, Biblically-versed, choir-singing evangelical disciple who goes to church every Sunday without fail, attends Monday night Bible-studies in spite of Monday night football and Friday night fellowship in spite of the Jersey Shore reruns?
Does your Sanskrit, Jewish, Arabic or Hewbrew name translate to “the great one”, “our savior”, “the creator of the universe” or “the divine one and only”?
Are you spiritual or do you need therapy?
If you answered yes to any question above, you are most likely a highly religious human being. If you answered yes to any two of the above questions, therapy is most likely needed. If you answered yes to all three above circumstances, please let me know which psychiatric hospital you’re residing in.
Yes, you’re living on a spiritual plane but not many of your neighbors, friends or family are. And why the hell not? Why do people run from spirituality like their hair’s on fire?
7 reasons why spirituality gets a bad rap:
1) Dogma and tradition of religion. Many can’t relate to stories of the ancient world. Modern science and our increased sophistication raises doubts about seas parting, angels singing, and miracle healings. Spirituality tends to be wrapped up in religion and religion is outdated, archaic and far removed from the realities of the modern day.
2) No instant gratification. Every gadget and comfort of the modern world gives us instant pleasure. We watch television and are intrigued. We can instantly purchase real farm animals for our social media farms. We can order books with a click of a mouse, chat with our relatives in remote parts of Uganda or order flowers that can be delivered on the same day. The benefits of spirituality can take months, years or lifetimes to materialize.
3) Not practical to daily life. Spirituality has a difficult time fitting into our everyday lives. In a dog-eat-dog world where corporations are focused on the bottom line, spirituality seems to get in the way of making money and succeeding in the material world. There’s never enough time to run all the errands, answer every text message and email, and watch every episode of the Jersey shore.
4) Leaders gone wild. Our esteemed spiritual leaders are supposed to lead and inspire. Yet, like all humans, they fail too. Fallen televangelists, shake-you-down con men and spiritual gurus of old and new seem to be distracted from the spiritual journey. Their own journeys to enjoy the modern comforts of life, corruption and sensuality have turned off spiritual-seekers altogether.
5) Controversies & Scams. Controversy (along with wars and persecution) have accompanied religions and spiritual practices for ages. Controversies have risen about the abuse of power in religious organizations, sex and child abuse charges, and lawsuits about church or temple management. Scams have usually revolved around ripping off the congregation, embezzlement and even money laundering.
6) If it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make sense. It costs money to run a place of worship like a temple or church. While the church-attending and religious minded amongst us have grown up making our weekly alms, more people are tightening their belts. If one approaches spirituality as a financial investment, they will soon realize their investment is better off in the stock market! Regardless of how priceless self-awareness can be, most spiritual practices cost money.
7) Looney-toon practices. Many of the practices of modern day spirituality get at self-awareness and enlightenment. With so many practices out there, some practices become questionable. Sacrifice killings, possessed trances, tantra, end-of-the-world zealots, and most “herbal” practices, make many look at spirituality with suspicion and doubt.
How do you view spirituality and religion? Do you run away from spirituality like your hair’s on fire?
For my book on spirituality and staying resilient during tough times, click here for Is God Listening?