March 24, 2015 at 5:52 pm #44155
Top 10 Traps of Spiritual Materialism
Written by Elizabeth Lesser
The Way of Meditation website
Posted by Chad Foreman
Tuesday, 17 March 2015
Walking the spiritual path can be a tricky adventure. Sometimes we make progress and become more free and loving and wise; sometimes we may think our meditation or prayer or ritual is leading toward enlightenment, but really were just treading water or even going backwards. The great Tibetan meditation teacher, Chogyam Trunpa, wrote that we are often deceiving ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques. He called this kind of self-deception spiritual materialism. We all deal with spiritual materialism; heres a list, from my book The Seekers Guide, of 10 common pitfalls of spiritual materialism you may encounter on your spiritual journey.
Theres a thin line between narcissism and following your bliss. Without some degree of sacrifice for the greater good, self-discovery eventually leads to plain old self-indulgence. Be aware of your tendency toward excessive self-centeredness even as you work to heal and love your own tender self.
Americas new forms of spirituality and therapy are often accused of selling superficial and sunny answers to lifes complexity and pain. Spirituality does not ultimately work if we use it to protect ourselves from the rough-and-tumble of real life. Any world view that suggests that thinking positively always protects you from harm, or that there is something wrong with you if you suffer or fail, or that healing isnt often complex, is offering superficial promises.
3) The Never-Ending Process of Self-Improvement
You can become so obsessed with your own self-improvementyour story, your victimization, your faults, your fearsthat instead of becoming free, you end up caught in a tape-loop. This myopic kind of focus on the self also leads to social apathy. It just isnt true that your self-empowerment and self-healing will necessarily lead to the health and happiness of others and of society. We have to participate in the improvement of more than just ourselves.
4) Instant Transformation
Just as some people get seduced by the never ending process of self-examination, some are disappointed when they dont achieve inner peace after reading a book, or in a day-long workshop, or even after two years of weekly therapy. Spiritual awakening takes patience, hard work, and the grace of God.
5) Desire for Magic
Some of the new American spirituality throws common sense out the window and pursues a search for magic cures and miraculous people. The need to believe in all-powerful teachers, angelic visitations, UFOs, and other unexplained mysteries can obscure the ordinary magic of everyday life, proof enough of God and the miracle of life.
In democratizing spirituality and bringing it to the daily life of each person, each one of us risks becoming a messianic little Pope or a humorless saint. If you find yourself becoming unbearably profound, feeling that you are somehow different from others and destined for sainthood, perhaps you are suffering from grandiosity.
7) Romanticizing Indigenous Cultures
There exists a kind of reverse prejudice in our politically correct times that just because something or someone is from another culture, especially an indigenous or minority culture, that it/he/she is somehow more valuable, spiritual, or wise. Whenever teachings come to a country from abroad the problem of spiritual materialism is intensified, writes Chogyam Trungpa.
8) The Inner-Child Tantrum
I once heard someone say, Some people just dont seem to realize, when theyre moaning about not getting prayers answered, that no is the answer. Knowing what you want, and honestly asking for it, is a monumental achievement. But so is learning to gracefully accept Gods wisdomwhen He giveth and when he taketh away.
9) Ripping Off the Traditions
Many modern seekers skim off the ritual trappings of a tradition with little respect for the depth behind it. This trivializes powerful and elegant systems of spiritual growth that often demand years of study. There is a difference between carefully creating a spiritual path that includes genuine practices from a variety of traditions, and flitting from flower to flower like a drunken honey bee.
10) The Guru Trip
Harry S. Truman lamented: Memories are short; appetites for power and glory are insatiable. Old tyrants depart. New ones take their place. It is all very baffling and trying. Perhaps the most baffling and trying aspect of the new American spirituality is the disparity between spiritual teachings and the behavior of teachers. Men, women, Western, Eastern, fundamentalist, new-age, modern, or indigenousnone have escaped the temptation to abuse power. Things to be wary of: extravagant claims of enlightenment or healing; the minimizing of the hard work that accompanies any true spiritual or healing path; the excessive commercialism that betrays the deeper spiritual message; and the blind adherence of followers to charlatans (be they gurus, therapists, preachers, healers, or teachers). With their deceitful double standards, some gurus, therapists, and teachers have given mentorship a bad name and tarnished the image of humbling oneself to a wiser and more experienced guide.April 12, 2015 at 12:03 pm #44156
Cavendish was a shy man who was uncomfortable in society and avoided it when he could. He conversed little, always dressed in an old-fashioned suit, and developed no known deep personal attachments outside his family. Cavendish was taciturn and solitary and regarded by many as eccentric. He only communicated with his female servants by notes. By one account, Cavendish had a back staircase added to his house in order to avoid encountering his housekeeper because he was especially shy of women. The contemporary accounts of his personality have led some modern commentators, such as Oliver Sacks, to speculate that he had Asperger syndrome, though he may merely have been anthropophobic. His only social outlet was the Royal Society Club, whose members dined together before weekly meetings. Cavendish seldom missed these meetings, and was profoundly respected by his contemporaries. However his shyness made those who “sought his views… speak as if into vacancy. If their remarks were…worthy, they might receive a mumbled reply, but more often than not they would hear a peeved squeak (his voice appears to have been high-pitched) and turn to find an actual vacancy and the sight of Cavendish fleeing to find a more peaceful corner”.
Trungpa often combined drinking with teaching.
…the great Tibetan meditation teacher, Chogyam Trunpa, wrote that we are often deceiving ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques.
Yes surely surely, it’s very important to cultivate one’s drinking choices, frequency and intensity.
PS. Sorry for my broken English.April 13, 2015 at 4:55 am #44158
Zui quan (Chinese: 醉拳), which means “Drunken kung fu”, is a general name for all the styles of Chinese martial arts that imitate the movements of a drunkard. It is an ancient style and its origins are mainly traced back to the famous Buddhist and Daoist sects. The Buddhist style is related to the Shaolin temple while the Daoist style is based on the Daoist tale of the drunken Eight Immortals. Zui quan has the most unusual body movements among all styles of Chinese martial arts, which makes use of even the most unusual parts of the body to attack and defend. Hitting, grappling, locking, dodging, feinting, ground and aerial fighting and all other methods of combat are incorporated. Zui quan is considered one of the most advanced styles of kung fu.
Tengu (天狗?, “heavenly dog”) are a type of legendary creature found in Japanese folk religion and are also considered a type of Shinto god (kami) or yōkai (supernatural beings). Although they take their name from a dog-like Chinese demon (Tiangou), the tengu were originally thought to take the forms of birds of prey, and they are traditionally depicted with both human and avian characteristics. The earliest tengu were pictured with beaks, but this feature has often been humanized as an unnaturally long red nose, which today is widely considered the tengu’s defining characteristic in the popular imagination.
From Medieval Latin eccentricus, derived from Greek ekkentros, “out of the center”, from ek-, ex- “out of” + kentron, “center”. Eccentric first appeared in English essays as a neologism in 1551 as an astronomical term meaning “a circle in which the earth, sun, etc. deviates from its center.” Five years later, in 1556, an adjective form of the word was used. 129 years later, in 1685, the definition evolved from the literal to the figurative, and eccentric is noted to have begun being used to describe unconventional or odd behavior. A noun form of the word a person who possesses and exhibits these unconventional or odd qualities/behaviors appeared by 1832.
Divine pride is a special way of regarding ourself in which we
imagine that we are a Tanttric Deity and that our environment
is his or her Pure Land. Although it is called ‘pride’, divine
pride is is not a delusion; it is totally difterent from deluded
pride. Deluded pride causes our rebirth in cyclic existence,
whereas generating the divine pride of being Vajrayogini leads
only to liberation.
-GESHE KELSANG GYATSO, Guide to Dakini Land
Personally see that above list as almost total rubbish, anyway something very very misguided.
What about Chögyam Trungpa himself?
So it’s not only his heavy substance abuse, but it has been all his eccentricies which made him as a kind star.
But actually many attributes presented as something negative above would be Tantric ideals.
Ps. Sorry for my broken English.
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