Last night, I overheard someone use the words ‘spiritual constipation’ and it got my mind spinning. I was instantly sure I’d be using this term for one of my blog post titles but I didn’t know it would happen as soon as this morning. Some things just can’t be put off… I was triggered by something I came across in my Facebook feed that totally exemplifies New Age spiritual constipation: an ad for crystals and it had the title ‘You Deserve Your Own Sacred Space.’
Sacred space, in New Age, is of course something you must pay for. Otherwise, how can New Age gurus line their pockets? Mind you, I’m not saying that money is the evil here… but the greed is. It is perfectly fine to go out and pick up some rocks or pebbles from the nearest river bed or beach and create your sacred space with those… But you deserve more, right? This ad, like so many supposedly ‘spiritual’ ads, appeals to the reader’s vanity. How much of a sacred space do you feel entitled to? The more it costs, the more you are worth, is essentially the message of any ad that has a title beginning with ‘You Deserve…’ If it makes you think of the l’Oreal ‘Because I’m Worth it’ commercials, you are not alone.
This type of New Age advertising exemplifies, not only everything that is wrong with New Age spirituality but everything that is wrong with the world today. We live in an era of unadulterated greed where people shamelessly feel entitled to more… There is no such thing as enough. Yet half the population of the planet are starving. What kind of sacred space does a person who cannot afford to feed her children deserve?
Late last night, I did some free association writing for the term ‘spiritual constipation’:
Please don’t confuse the New Age bollox about what God can/should do for you with real spirituality, which is about what you can do for your brother. Much of what the New Age movement sells by appealing to your own sense of entitlement will only lead to spiritual constipation. Beware of those who want you to keep consuming, those who make you feel there is no such thing as enough, and instead pay heed to the still small voice within that will never stop nudging you to GIVE more of yourself in divine service.
And what about spending more time in the great outdoors to really connect with sacred space? Must we scar the earth with ever more unethical (most of them, sadly) crystal mines in order to meet the demand of a growing entitled New Age market? And why on earth is collecting crystals considered ‘spiritual’? It just goes to show how contaminated the word spiritual has become.
A human experience is always also a spiritual experience by default. It is when we sell ourselves short that we feel as if we lose the spiritual element, yet there is nothing we can do to lose our inherent divinity. Spirituality isn’t something ‘above’ or ‘out there’ – Spirituality is the natural sense of oneness and compassion that springs from our own divinity and that we are only temporarily blind to when we go into fear mode (most New Age ads appeal to that fear). Spirituality is not something you can buy in the form of crystals, incense, new age music, Tibetan bells, new age books, oracle cards or attending workshops…
The fastest way to create sacred space in the world is to do something kind for someone else. What you create only for you is temporal and bound to lead to spiritual constipation. It reinforces the sense of separation… and there is nothing sacred about that. What you create to include and help others will last an eternity.
The one with the prettiest crystals on Instagram is not the most spiritual of your IG friends. The one with latest ‘spiritual’ oracle deck in your FB feed may not be the best person to turn to for guidance. It is the one who secretly spends hours in prayer for their friends and people in need. It is the one who spends what little she has left to share with those who are suffering.
I am not saying you don’t deserve ‘Sacred Space,’ by the way – I’m suggesting you go out into the world and create it… You’ll find yourself in big trouble if you think you can buy it.