The Business of Spirituality and its Slippery Slope

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I spent Sunday at the region’s largest “holistic health” fair and came home exhausted and relieved the day was finally over. That isn’t how I’m supposed to feel. These events are meant to inspire seekers and to provide them with tools for unwrapping the gifts of their true selves. In theory, anyway.

I don’t go to fairs often, whether they are spiritual/psychic fairs, carnivals, or something in between. My introverted nature finds crowds hard to deal with and the empath in me has trouble shielding from all the myriad energies that fill these spaces. Yet, I was intrigued by this expo that I’d heard so much about, and I had two friend who wanted to go.

As often happens, the red flags went up before I left the house. There was that strangely familiar feeling that the day would not play out comfortably…

Spirituality and holistic living has become a big business. You can sell your spirit to someone almost as easily as you can buy a can of soda. And, sometimes I wonder if the one can be just as bad for our wellbeing as the other. In the midst of the authentic healers, readers, and vendors, there are the charlatans who tout their wares with a conviction that their offerings will change you and the world. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish the real from the fake. The ego can be a trickster. It is often unaware of itself.

Then there is the issue of the seeker’s addiction. You can get lured into the business of “spirituality” as easily as you can a casino in a search for the pot of gold they both offer. I know people who attend fairs on a regular basis in the hope of finding that magical thing they can’t quite define because the cure is never outside of them. It’s easy to get sucked into the belief that someone else has the answer you seek. I’ve found myself on both sides, and it’s not easy to balance it with the larger truth of life.

After the three of us got our wristbands and settled our ticket admissions, we made our way to the workshops housed in another building. Although we spend some time amongst the vendors in the middle of the day, it would have been impossible to visit every cramped booth. There were nearly 300 of them, and it was enough of a challenge to find the two that housed friends I wanted to make sure I saw.

I attended five workshops on Sunday, and found most of them to be, at least in part, strangely depressing. Halfway through one, I left because I could no longer subject myself to the presenter’s aggression. Instead of a heart-felt passion, ego reigned through his voice with the tone of reprimand and anger. Ironically, the presenter was talking about water, using Dr. Emoto’s work for some examples. I was left wondering if he was aware that his own words and tones were most likely distorting the water in his body more than the water he was so worried about drinking. It was, if nothing else, a reminder to check in with my own thoughts and emotions, which were tipping toward unease and irritation the longer I lingered in the room.

In another room, I listened to a healer I really, really wanted to admire because he seemed to have an access to the mysteries of Egypt that have always intrigued me. Instead, I found myself leaving the room after the workshop had ended wondering if I had just sat through a marketing promotion. It felt uncomfortably akin to a timeshare presentation I once found myself roped into. I did’t bother to count the number of times we were told, with various words and demonstrations, how much greater his healing methods were than your average because of the “codes” he had created. There was a price tag, of course, if you wanted to discover the power of the codes for yourself.

Once again, I was left feeling frustrated by the ego’s tainting of something that should have been beautiful. Although I don’t have a problem with people making a living, we all need to, a system of internal checks-and-balances is often needed, especially when it comes to the business of selling spirituality.

And so it was that I found myself at the end of the day feeling more irritated than enlightened. I couldn’t wait to get home to my family and the quiet warmth of my house. I found revival in the “mundane.” Eating the salmon, heated up in our “toxic” microwave that my husband had cooked hours earlier, alongside takeout Chinese food. It’s amazing what gratitude can do for you. I soon felt more revived and nourished than I had from my lunch of delicious Ayurvedic Indian food as I settled onto the couch with the dogs. When I turned on the TV, I show on ancient Egypt just happened to be on.

Later, I found home again inside the pages ofΒ The Sun and the SerpentΒ and thought about how grateful I was to have found this book through Sue and Stuart’s writing. And I thought about how much more comfortable I am roaming the ancient landscape of England, or the quiet landscape of the inner self, rather than the frenetic energies of a fair.

31 thoughts on “The Business of Spirituality and its Slippery Slope

    1. Just finished it last night. I’m considering it a holy book at this point πŸ˜‰ It confirms where my “fictional” series has led me and helped me put some valuable pieces together. Naturally I want to attend the June workshop more than ever now. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’ve only ever been to one spiritual ‘Fair’… Although there were undoubtedly many sincere vendors and speakers, I found the whole thing depressing, pandering to the lowest common denominator in order to make the highest financial return.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I wonder if is wholly possible to have a place where such a variety of spiritual paths and practices are shared, especially where aspects of it have a price tagattached, without running the risk of falling into ego- or commercial traps.

        Liked by 2 people

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  3. These fairs are a bit overdone, for sure. The sad part, as you mentioned, is that folks are seeking answers outside of themselves, following a guru, when the best one to follow resides within. It may be a process that must be gone through to reach the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I certainly did my share of external searching…I think it’s an easy crutch for many to avoid the often really difficult work needed to go within and see the truth. But it is so sad to see the profiteering of this in the sense that people are really made to feel as though someone “special” has come up with a “magical” cure for them. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

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  4. Life is surely the best “guru” and experience processed is knowledge and understanding gained. However, that said, I would just mention that when viewed without judgement behaviors of others are not as affecting. Good column, interesting reflection. wishing you every joy, Tasha

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My best tool for keeping myself safe from “contamination” or getting zapped is to breathe light, in through the top of my head and out through my heart center., and when you do it often enough and for long enough, it becomes an automatic response. Incidentally, I do have a book I’d love you to review. It’s a paperback, how do we proceed? You can find it on Amazon:: Up to my Neck in Lemons. It has essays reflecting dealing with life’s lemons, poetry, and lemon recipes.
        Wishing you well, Blessings, Tasha.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my, This brings back so many memories for me. When I was younger, I fell for all that stuff, thinking that the quality of life would be changed if I tried hard enough. Some of it was fun when I was really younger, but by the time I got through with a lot of those consciousness raising workshops and fairs of people “selling” the spiritual life, I was so burned out. I tried a lot of different religions too, and some of them had the women being cheerleaders and doing routines at different appearances. Of course at the time, that appealed to me because I had never had an opportunity to be involved with any activities in high school, so I guess I was making up for lost time. And then too, there were the speakers on various topics in consciousness raising (trying to be related to spiritual growth), and what I learned is that if I heard enough of those talks during the day, I would feel drugged for the rest of the day, I think of it as growing up now; they would have enough talks and hugging times and singing that, combined with the atmosphere of the beauty of the site, anyone would feel good at least for a short time.

    Interesting stuff for sure. I have to say that The Silent Eye Mystery School has never felt like any of those described above.

    Thank you for this memory. Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anne, you describe the phenomenon perfectly. There is the searching and then the euphoric high when a group is gathered and a collective rise in vibration occurs, but then there’s the realization that the real work has to be done by one’s self and that can lead to a real low. I agree, The Silent Eye takes a different approach – allowing you to walk that inner journey alone, but not really. ❀

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