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Are you spiritually materialistic?


This was a term I first heard in reference to a buddhist teaching I was learning. Spiritual Materialism was coined by the buddhist Chogyam Trungpa. So what is spiritual materialism? It is an affliction of spirit intertwined by the great ego that rules us all. There are different types of spiritual materialism but the greatest was once called idol worship. It is the collection of spiritual or religious objects to make one feel more spiritual or to try and satiate that gnawing more need within.

An example of this first type of spiritual materialism would be surrounding yourself, with crucifixes, malas, holy books, the bible, the quoran, crystals, statues, rosaries, holy relics, prints of spiritual deities, books or tv shows of a supernatural nature or anything fo the sort. Many of us may have one or two of these items and this is fine. It is when there is a collection built, a compulsion or need to surround yourself with these items that it becomes a spiritual materialism. This is the most base of spiritual materialism as it has its grounding in the physical world. Possessing these items is not a guilt or offense alone, because it is when the possession is in conjunction with a superiority complex.

This is the next stage of spiritual materialism the halo effect, it is a holier than thou attitude. A feeling that these people don’t deserve to worship here or have these items because they cannot properly care or appreciate them. This is the ego feeding off of the spiritual need to better one’s self. This halo effect has the opposite effect however and pulls us closer toward materialism and the desire to belong, to control and conquer.

Spiritual materialism is not a means to an end, it is a soul sickness. The goal of a spiritual aspirant is humility, compassion, understanding, empathy and right mindedness. Without these qualities the aspirant is lost amongst the visceral noise of another materialism that is under the guise of something more.

It is with great sadness that I see many aspirants adorn themselves with malas, pentagrams, or astrological bangles in effort to be more spiritual. These items alone will not aid in the journey. It is the intent behind the item, the aspirant must be willing to toss them aside and look to achieve more. The objects are nothing more than simple guides. But, when they become crippling, and you cannot live without them or function in fear of removing or losing them, they become like a poison to the soul. It is at this point when spiritual materialism truly takes over. We are merely ethereal beings in a perceived physical world. We are of one consciousness trying to unite itself globally, and universally. When the desire or need to be better leads to egotism all of your work is for naught.

You are a spiritual materialist if
  • You surround yourself with religious or spiritual objects
  • You think others are unworthy of their spiritual efforts
  • You feel you alone are able to guide humanity

You do not need to have all of these to qualify as a spiritual materialist, you only need one. When you are able to admit to yourself that just maybe you are materialistic in soul, then and only then are you ready to transcend beyond.

How do I escape from spiritual materialism?

It may be a quick change of direction for some and a longer process for others but in the end it will improve you.

Step 1: Identify if you are materialistic
Look around and see what do you keep close to you? Could you live with out the objects? Can you look at the situation outside yourself? What do you hold close what is driving you to where you are? When you can answer these question honestly with yourself, because you are the one who knows if you are lieing. Then you can begin to step outside your comfort zone.

Step 2: Practice selflessness
Give it away, give away your collection, the items you hold so dearly. Give away yourself help others not in hopes they may help you or return the favor but simply to help. Expand beyond your safety zones. By giving away items that are closest to us or serving someone we may consider below us we practice humility. We are able to see what makes us uncomfortable and we can use that to better ourselves. What part makes you uneasy, what do you feel safe doing? Is what you are doing for the betterment of others or is it self fulfilling because you were told to do it?

Step 3: Repeat
Keep reflecting upon your current situation, where are you? what are you doing? what is a need versus a want? We have many wants our modern culture drives them all the time. We are bombarded by wants, but what is truly needed to grow?

This is not an easy process and I myself admit I have been struggling with some aspects of this. But, I keep trying knowing that someday, I will not want or need, I will be able to help others and live in wealth without ever wanting or needing more. The spiritual items we surround ourselves with are like a safety blanket of a young child. Eventually, either the blanket wears away or we realize we don’t need it any more. If you find that some items you have do genuinely benefit you and not perceivably benefit you then I encourage you to keep them until you know you no longer need them. If you use them because you invested $1600 in it and it is a pain point to give away that astrological bangle or old tome then it is time to let go. I hope this has been of some help to you and if you are ever struggling I encourage you to reach out to me and I will do my best to help guide you.

Pax Vobiscum,

The Art of Play

When you get older, your childhood becomes more and more distant until one day you forget. You forget what it was like to be a child. You may remember being young but you forget what it was like to be a child. Which, is nothing short of a travesty. You don’t forget because you choose to. You forget because you are conditioned to. From the first day you are presented with adult problems you are forced to grow up. For many this is the transition from one school to another, for some it is a challenging life event that comes too soon.

Whatever the reason it is not too late to recapture that lost youth, that lost child. We can play, and we can enjoy it. The question is – How do you play again?

On the day you are born you are told how to think. You are told what to believe. It is the rule makers,the teachers, the doctors, the lawyers, the religious authorities that try to form in your mind their vision of life. You know what it worked. But, it is time to move forward, time to let go of their vision, their dream of reality. You can start by playing.

Playing doesn’t have to be hard, and if it is you are probably worried about that perceived view of reality in your mind.

Let Go.
To start you must let go, you must for a moment or two, forget you are an adult. Set aside your responsibilities. Look at the world around you for the first time. Really, stop reading this and look up. Look at everything around you. Look near and look far. What do you see? Now think about what it would be like if everything you have been told didn’t matter. Look again. What do you see?

You know what you are supposed to be doing because you do it. Now what if you didn’t know about the world around you. Children learn by doing, by exploring. When we have explored and tried enough times, we form ideas of how things are “Supposed to work”. We work with minimal information based on lessons we’ve learned previously. Only when we can see our surroundings with a new light can we begin to re-imagine.

Get up and walk over to something, anything, it can be a chair, a television, a drinking glass, anything. Now interact, if it is a glass of water play with the water. Pour it out study it, notice how it feels on your skin, give yourself permission to learn again. Give yourself permission to just be in the moment. Only when we are ready to let our inhibitions go are we free to interact with the world without judgement.

I am sure you may be feeling self-conscious right now but if you did what I suggested above then you are ready to play.

Pick a medium it can be pen, paper, markers, blocks, needle, thread, clay, paint. With your chosen medium find a space where you will be uninterrupted. Then just start creating. You can do whatever you think of. If you have blocks build a tower, an airplane, a wall. If you have paper and pen start writing, or drawing. Allow yourself to just create, you don’t need an end goal, just a moment to scribble, stack, cut or sew.

Now destroy whatever it is you made. Knock over the tower, rip up your paper, smoosh your sculpture. Whatever you did undo it. Don’t just undo it because you have to do it because it’s fun. Without an end there can be no beginning.

If you have done all of the things above then you are ready to play. Let go of your inhibitions, let go of all those things you’ve been told you should or shouldn’t do and go into the world and have fun. Run outside, jump up and down. Do things that make no sense but are just enjoyable. Be a child. Children are always running, jumping, picking things up, dropping them, stacking and knocking over. They don’t know what the world wants of them so they try everything. They learn what happens when you knock over a stack of bricks. They learn what happens when you scribble on paper.

Children learn to make a mark, they learn to leave an impression. Then somewhere along the way they forget, and they are told not to pour water on the floor, or draw on the walls. They are taught how to act to fit in to our collective view of reality. Then time goes by and they forget that they can have fun with the simplest of things. That is our gift. We can make something of nothing, we can enjoy or hate the simplest of things.

One person can change the world. You can alter the course of human history, you just need to be mindful, and not let those inhibitions stop you. Bring joy and happiness to yourself, bring joy and happiness to the world. The universe has been waiting for you to start fulfilling your divine purpose. Now, forget what you’ve been told and play!

How to Pray

Intent, intent is the key. Many people for years, decades, and generations, have said their prayers and seen no results. They become echos, mere words said to the air. The first key to having your prayers answered is intent. Not want or desire, but intent, knowing this is what you want and how to get it.

A prayer for money, wealth, or success will often fall short of any manifestation. This typical prayer may go something like this.

“Please, God most holy of holies, I do most humbly beseech thee. I need money to pay my bills and to get my family through these rough times. I ask that you please help me through these difficult challenges. Thank you God Amen.”

This is wrong. Not because the intent is missing, because the prayer has authenticity and selflessness. It is wrong because you are begging, you are asking, you are lowering yourself to the divine admitting that you are unworthy. The holy spirit can sense your intent and your confidence. You must demand from God what you want.

There is truth in making demands of God. God created you in his image. You are a microcosm of the macrocosm. You deserve more and need to demand what you need. Instead of begging approach the divine as an equal, as part of a whole. You wouldn’t ask your hand to please reach for your food and bring it to your mouth. So instead of the above try.

“I am a divine child of heaven, as your child I ask for my share of wealth. I will get past these tough times because you will guide me to what I need. I will not want I will only have what I seek. Amen.”

The intent and demand help define what God will hear and answer. But, this often is not enough to simply demand as an equal you also need to have a humble heart and be sincere.

Saying a prayer with demand and intent are not enough without sincerity. Remember there are no secrets between you and God. The divine knows you better than you do. God knows what we are all capable of. So when you speak to God with an insincere heart God knows. This is the death of lip service. You must kill the mechanical automatic prayer and use your own words. When you demand prayer from the heart with sincerity and intent, God knows it. This is only achieved by using your own words. No one else’s words will do only your own will be answered.

Knowing that you are one with the divine reflect on how you would perceive someone asking for money every day. Surely giving them money once might solve their problem, but is the lesson learned? As Jesus said “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” God wants you to learn life’s lessons so you can grow and become closer to your true divine nature.

When you make your prayer demands do so with intent, sincerity and knowledge. God wants you to be happy, but God also wants you to follow your inner divine voice.

When I was a child, I had the traditional view of many Christians that God was an old man sitting in a throne who ruled in the clouds above. I also would pray to God for most everything. “Help God, I lost my favorite lego piece, will you help me find it?” I would have those prayers answered more often than not. But, as I grew older, my needs and wants changed. I stopped praying to find toys, or to make small scrapes on my knee stop hurting. For a while I stopped praying altogether.

Until, I was a little older and my friend got cancer. She was always sick, and I didn’t really understand why. I would pray to God every night with tears in my eyes. “Please, God help Sarah heal, she is too young to be sick.” I would then recite the same prayers in church. But, nothing happened, she got worse, and I lost. That was the first time anyone had died in my life.

I lost faith in God and Christ for a very long time and I thought how could there be a God if he let a child die. Someone who does not understand what is even going on. Were my prayers not heard because they were hollow and repetitive, and insincere? No. My prayers were not answered for many reasons. Perhaps it was karma, or a selfless lesson her family and friends needed. What ever the reason it has only strengthened my relationship with the divine.

It is only when we pray with intent, demand, sincerity and knowledge that our prayers will begin to be heard. Do this in all your prayers and your relationship with the divine and your basic needs will be closer to being fulfilled.

How to Develop Your Intuition

The fastest way to improve your intuition is through continued and persistent meditation. Once you start on a consistent meditation schedule then your being becomes more in tune with itself. When you are more in tune with your self and your surroundings you are better able to react and make snap judgments, or as it is called follow your instincts.


Your gut instinct versus spiritual intuition.
Some people describe it as a feeling they get in their stomach, almost like butterflies, but more insubstantial. This in many ways is common sense. It’s knowing when you walk down an icy road that you might want to be careful so you don’t slip and fall. It’s also a feeling you may get when you realize you locked your keys in your home. It’s a guttural feeling.

Your intuition is a feeling of knowing. Knowing with every fibre of your being that something may happen, that maybe you should go right instead of left. It is a feeling of knowing like you know the number 2 will always come after the number 1. It is irrefutable, and it is sometimes confused with destiny.

Spiritual intuition is the only instinct you need, and the more you use it the more powerful it becomes. Until eventually, you use it the same as any of your other senses, without even thinking. So how do you improve or hone your intuition? You have to trust yourself. You may not always be right at first and it can be discouraging, but do not give up. Because, those few times you are right seem unbelievable.

By practicing meditation for a few years I started to pick up on subtle things, I normally wouldn’t think about. I had gone to stop at a yard sale with a friend, he was looking for some cheap furniture for his new apartment. There were any number of tchotchkes and old decrepit 70s furniture you might expect at a yard sale in a rural area. I looked over the wooden geese, and at the wicker baskets. Someone, was clearly liquidating their past trend worthy purchases or hand me downs. As my friend was ready to leave, something caught my attention in the distance it was an old pot, with a crackled patina and strong black and red patterning. I told him to wait a moment as I walked over to it. Yes, this was definitely old, I could feel the age. I looked down at the sticker price it was a bright neon orange $10. That seemed fair. I took the gamble and bought the pot. My friend asked what I was going to do with it, I said I have no idea I just got it because it was old. He laughed and said it was some tacky reproduction. Following my intuition paid off, the pot was actually an old Hopi jar from the early 1800s, worth substantially more than the $10 I paid for it.

I noticed the Hopi Jar not because I am lucky, but because I had worked diligently to hone my instincts over the years.

Pay attention, look around, look twice.
The first key is to improve your attention to detail. This is done by looking closely at random things throughout the day. Is there a house you go by every day? Stop and look at it, how many windows does it have, doors? What color is it? What is the condition of it? What is it made of? When you ask yourself these questions randomly throughout the day your mind starts to hone itself for clearer detail. You are able to see when something is new or old, valuable or cheap.

Take a risk.
This is a bit like gambling at some point you just have to take a risk. Will those cards you want come up? Most likely not, but if you have the spiritual intuition you will be able to walk by scratch off lottery tickets and know there is a winner among them. Then if you know there is, buy the one you think is the winner and take a risk.

Observe and try again.
Like meditation, repetition is the key, it takes 10,000 hours to make someone an expert in their field, and it takes practice to hone your intuition. At first your chances of success may seem pretty far fetched, but eventually you will know if you should bother.

Positive Reinforcement.
When I was younger I practiced developing my intuition with friends by playing a game of memory with a deck of cards. They would show me a card, then shuffle it back into the deck, and I would have to try and pick it out. Eventually, I had uncanny “luck”. Every time I found the card I reinforced that positive feeling I got for trusting my instinct. This positive feeling started to increase my chances to get it right.

Daily Meditation.
The best thing you can do however is practice meditation daily. Meditation is the key to improving self awareness and putting you in touch with the cosmic consciousness. With successful meditation, comes success, because it is the greatest thing we can aspire to.

If you follow all of these then in time you too will have amazing intuition and be able to “defy the odds” but this is not something that happens over night. It may take years, but the longer you practice the more natural it becomes.