The Price is Right
There was a time when God was viewed as wise and all knowing and before that even more; a Father-Mother Creator. Today he is confused and like an auctioneer at a country fair, selling himself to the highest bidder. Western governments have become so concerned with political correctness that the average person has no idea what our common ideals are or should be. We are searching for answers and selling spirituality has become big business with plenty of peddlers. Consumerism is the new religion. Spirituality is brought to you via the internet, television personalities, radio hosts, there is an unprecedented number of self help books, books containing ‘the answer’, and there are new age gurus and motivational speakers galore.
You only need to watch a few episodes of Oprah and you will discover that we are searching for a new life; one filled with happiness and abundance. We are told we will find it through our intentions, the books we read, the clothes we buy, the cooks, doctors and decorators we follow and the charities we donate to.
New spiritual revelations are written in books that become best sellers and are accompanied with lots of stuff to purchase; specialty journals, cards, more books (even though the first one contained everything you needed to know), opportunities to take on-line courses and all this comes, of course, at a cost.
God, going once, going twice
Who can afford this new religion, the poor who need it? Millions of men and women are living in ghettos or struggling just to get by; yet they watch and pray each day for the Oprah bus to pull up so they too can be recognized and applauded and gifted on national television.
When Oprah does finally make it to your house, not only do you receive free trips, public recognition, but also prizes like cars, wardrobes, makeovers or cold hard cash. All this she bestows because you have answered some deep spiritual call within and have proven it by creating material abundance in your life. And you too can sell your aha moment, now that you have it.
Many will argue that is not the message; but listen and look at the interviews with the latest celeb who has the answer to your life problems, look at their dress and poise, manicures, hair and makeup, their homes and business holdings; all things to covet. All these things can be yours if you only believe hard enough and buy their book or use their cream or watch their new show.
What of the new spiritual gurus trying to sell you the newest ‘secret’ to assist in the manifestation of more material abundance and of course, peace of mind. Gleaming web sites that promise the true path, the only path, the miraculous path, the path to God himself (and all the goods he will provide). All you need to do is subscribe now, buy now, watch now, commit now! There are just 8 days left to buy happiness.
What then of the man or woman who cannot afford the good things, or the favorite things. How do they reconcile? It may appear to them that a personal sense of fulfillment and peace of mind is something only the rich can afford. Many are left feeling like they are failures, unable to grasp the answer, held back by their own negative thinking, they blame themselves for not making it. But if it is not Oprah and the gifts, then maybe, if they are lucky, perhaps they could still get chosen to reveal themselves in all their ugliness for the ratings and vicarious pleasure of viewers on a spin off show, where tough love is the word of the day. Well why not? There is a free trip there too.
Add this to your Cart?
How does a living prophet; that is how many of these guru’s see themselves, sell you God? A God that only wets your appetite or peaks your interest in spiritual development, but stops short of the answer - please enter your Visa number before continuing. It is like God has become a game show host; do this, wear that, eat this, sent money here, buy this, buy that and then all your friends and neighbors will know how spiritual you are and all your dreams will come true. Like your own private genie!
New age prophets are quick to remind us that God does not require his prophets to go hungry a laborer is worthy of his hire – but if the message is pure, if the message is true, if the message is love; how can they charge you for it or tease you with it? Yes a writer should get paid from a publishing house through the sales of their books; the host of a web page should get compensated for their labors. But the true message that they back themselves with – often quoting Jesus or Gandhi or Mohammad– abhors just these practices.
Our governments and our culture too, no longer provide spiritual direction and in the name of political correctness have left us rudderless, bound by more and more rules and laws, but there is no cohesive glue binding us together as neighbors or people with a sense of community. Who are we? What do we believe? What are our ideals?
After 9/11 the President of the United States spoke to all Americans telling them to set aside their fear and shop. Do not let the terrorists win; he told them it was their patriotic duty to go to the malls and shop for the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas buy-a-thons in spite of their fear and the alerts still leading daily newscasts. We are Americans he told them and we will not be stopped! Shop! Is this what we have become? A people whose only goal is to accumulate things? It would seem so.
A Race to the Checkout Stand
So what are we searching for? Peace of mind, fellowship, love and obviously material wealth and abundance. How does one resolve spiritual ideals and the modern material world? The problem is you cannot.
When one reads scripture it consistently states that your sustenance, indeed all your needs will be supplied by God and is dependant only your personal relationship with Him; thou shalt have no other Gods before me. Everything that we hold most dear in life is free, our intelligence, our bodies, health, our children and friends, the air we breathe and the water we drink, but we forget this in the pursuit of adornments for our bodies and our homes, afraid we be left behind and found wanting.
Jesus spoke against organized religion – yet the religions that follow him are organized in order to accumulate wealth. Great Wisdom and ancient Laws of Truth do not change from one generation to another. The law of gravity was still a law and we were bound by it even before it was discovered; it has not changed because we understand it better now. Our intelligence and sophistication cannot change these Laws.
One thing remains clear, spiritual unfoldment is a personal journey; it is not a race to the checkout stand. The truths found in the bible are as relevant today as the day they were written and if one seeks to understand our culture and how we came to be this way – it is not to be found in the best seller section of the grocery store. It is found outside in nature where the Laws of God and Man were written. Finally it is found in the simplest truth, Love your brother as yourself. Love costs nothing. Yet this seems the most difficult spiritual truth to practice in this material and self-indulgent time, these times where we are told and encouraged to emulate the new prophets of materialism, and the game show hosts who have branded spirituality.