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Are You A Spiritual Window Shopper?

Are You A Spiritual Window Shopper?

In the last 5-10 years the search for meaning in our lives has taken on similarities to visiting a shopping mall. Never before have we seen such an array of teachers all saying they will bring ever-lasting happiness and proclaiming their path is the way, that they have the only or the best teachings, that if we do this we will be free, transformed, changed for ever, happy as never before, fulfilled, enlightened. We can even become a teacher or master within a few days: we once received notice of a Guru Training program where we can become a guru in two weekends, after which, the brochure assured us, we are guaranteed to receive endless adoration, wealth, fame and happiness or our money back.

When people are in need they will often try anything. They are susceptible and easily vulnerable to outside influences. When ego-centered or strongly persuasive people say they can help save them they believe it. There would appear to be three main reasons why someone goes window-shopping for a spiritual teacher:

1. Life does not easily satisfy our needs. We get something but always want more. More becomes the mantra. But from constantly wanting more materially and emotionally, we then apply the same principle to spirituality: more teachers and techniques must be better than just one, right?

2. Like the musk deer in India that has a beautiful smell in its anus but looks throughout the forest for that smell, so we look for happiness outside ourselves and come up short, because whatever we find never lasts. This is the truth of impermanence: happiness comes but happiness also goes. Not wanting to believe this, we continually search for that elusive promise of foreverness, and we search for it wherever we can.

3. Everywhere we look we find flyers on bulletin boards advertising how each can help save or heal us, promoting different teachers and methods which are the BEST. Each is more enticing: surely this one will finally solve all those nagging difficulties in my life? Or maybe it’s this one?

Where is all this taking us? How do we find our way through such a maze of offerings? Many of the above subjects may have something wonderful to teach us, but what can we really learn in an hour or two or even a weekend? When we dig for oil we have to dig deep to reach it. If we dig too many different holes we will never get to the source of the oil. In the same way, if we guru hop and shop too much or learn too many techniques, we will never get to the essence of the teachings. Does this sound like you? Are you a spiritual window shopper?

This blog is a chance for you to do a reality check. Are you being taught to listen to your own wisdom and to be self-empowered or is someone telling the way it is? At what point do you stop and are simply still? Do you need to go shopping or do you need to look within your own mind and heart for what you know to be true? Do comment below.

Related:
Do We Really Need a Guru?
Organized Religion – Misunderstood?
The Path to Sassy Spirituality

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Ed and Deb Shapiro

You can learn more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie and others. Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: EdandDebShapiro.com

35 comments

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8:59AM PDT on Sep 20, 2011

I window shop every now and then to check on the trends!

5:55AM PDT on Aug 11, 2011

window shopping is great as long as you look knowing that you can live without it...and then if you choose to buy it cuz you need it...to take care of something...then it makes sense.

12:44AM PDT on Aug 11, 2011

No, not for meaning in my life. I spent a great deal of time window shopping for a religion to answer some spiritual questions, and have found physics was the most meaningful answer for me.

But in general, meaningfulness, I have found through introspection, reflection, action, honesty with myself. I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of right now.

As for anyone else telling me what to do, I often find myself on the fringe of society. The fringe is lonely on occasion, but I answer to myself and that helps me sleep at night.

9:47AM PDT on Aug 10, 2011

Thanks.

7:54AM PDT on Aug 10, 2011

You'll know what the right thing is for you whan the time is right; keep searching, but the answer will be somewhere within. And when you found it, stick to it and stay true... you'll never be led astray.

6:02AM PDT on Aug 10, 2011

I think we have to look within ourselves, and will find that happiness is not as much about obtaining all the materials things of this world, as it is about living a life that is meaningful where we feel we are serving a purpose larger than ourselves.

6:33PM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

Years of therapy have taught me to make my own happiness,or "look within" if that's how you look at it,rather than looking to "spiritual gurus".They're all full of crap.Please.

5:34PM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

thk u.

5:14PM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

Thanks. I think we have to look within our own selves...window shopping can be very dangerous.

5:03PM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

What's really important when seeking a spiritual leader is to be sure they aren't running a new age cult. These unscrupulous folks will go after your money and mess with your head. Thes happened to me several years back. I had been working as an addictions counselor and heard a woman who had trained with Anne Wislon Schaef speak at a local college. I read some of Ms. Schaef's books and decided to take her "training". While in her training, I did manage to do sweat lodge with a Native American elder that I found to be uplifting, but the majority of what I experienced amounted to brainwashing and emotional abuse. They would tell me things like that I was sick or crazy. My friends reminded me that I was not sick and that the group was. I left them and am now very cautious about following any spiritual or new age leader. My relationship between myself and my Higher Power is personal and does not involve a guru, group or church.

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