There was an ashram with a pet cat that would always come into the meditation room and disturb the meditators. The Teacher instructed that when it was time to meditate the cat was to be tied to a pole. In time the Teacher passed away. Meditation time with the cat tied to the pole continued. Then when the cat died the students got another cat to tie to the pole.
Spiritual materialism can be like that; getting caught up in form: wearing certain clothes or eating a certain way or specific prayers, mantras, practices, or conducts of behavior. We can tie the cat to the pole and never ask what’s the point? Worse we can convince ourselves that our particular cat and pole are the best.
The point of spiritual practice is to develop a healthy ego. Instead we often feed an unhealthy one with the righteousness of ideology and methodology.
The book I am recommending is Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trumpa.
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was an amazing Master Teacher who brought the highest-level Tibetan Buddhist Teachings to the west. He was extraordinary in busting people’s concepts of what “being spiritual” should look like.
My early religious education and experience prepared me to not put too much importance on the outer form. In my teens I went from Protestant Evangelical to Roman Catholic. Since then I have met many Masters from many religious and spiritual traditions. Some wore monastic robes and some wore jeans; some adhered to strict disciplines and some did not.
Although the look, the practices and the rules were significantly different from each other in these different paths, I found great beings in each place. The commonality of all these great Masters was their Beingness; their unshakable presence, an obvious Knowingness that elevated my consciousness and expanded my experience of reality. Some of them didn’t fit my picture of a holy person ~ yet I knew they were.
Every aspect of our existence is spiritual simply because we are first and foremost spiritual beings. We use our human experience to uncover and develop our spirituality ~ our sense of Self and our relationship to the world. This significant book points out the pit falls of getting caught up in “being spiritual” so that we can actually have the experience of “being” spiritual.
It is my hope that you enjoy this book and that you gain an expanded perception.
May We All Walk in Beauty.