Spiritual materialism is the practice or mindset of applying concepts native to materialism and consumerism to one's spiritual practice. Futhermore, it is adopting a stance that physical goods and tangible things, spiritual accessories if you will, are what is actually doing the healing.
This can manifest as believing certain goods, services, and accessories are necessary for your spiritual advancement or evolution. The trouble begins when one is focusing on these possessions or purchases as the solutions themselves or salves to individual spiritual development which needs to occur through authentic work. Rather than investing time and energy into intention setting and inner work, the spiritual materialist feels that the purchase or integration into one's life IS the healing.
This belief arises because the believer hasn't healed their externalization views and matrix mentality about materialism. What I mean by that, is that if you believe the conditioning (as many do) that in order to integrate something into your being you must purchase an externally visible and tangible thing to symbolize that trait in yourself to others, then you will generally stop at spiritual materialism or buying spiritual goods and stopping short of the deeper inner work and self understanding. It is key to understand that spiritual items aren't the problem. The belief that the healing and balance resides outside of yourself, is the problem. The concept that the energy you need is outside of yourself, is the problem. The truth of the matter is that all spiritual goods and products be it crystals, jewelry, candles, oils, etc. are there to simplify magnify the intention that is within you. You are the salve, you are the cure, YOU are the healer. It all resides within you and your endless array of possibilities regarding what you choose. This is the fundamental portion of energetics that so many people get wrong.
Getting this portion of energetics wrong is why so many people continue to look on the outside for solutions to their imbalances and blocks. They require some other individual, item, or learning work to "give" them or replace in them the energy that they feel they need. In actuality, it was always their intent by interacting with the item, person, or learning work that actually shifted their energy and thought life and lead to change. This same thinking is what leads so many people to spend a great deal of money on coaching or spiritual guidance and healing to "bring them to the next level".
When I started writing Inner Glow Up and creating the course materials, I wanted to focus simply on getting others to be a clear channel in the same way that I made myself a clear channel to get in touch with my own intuition and higher guidance. Serving as an energetic cleanse and vibration raising system, the point of this curriculum and content is to get you to a place where you can truly take in and understand the content created by other leading spiritual life coaches like Amanda Frances, Gabby Bernstein, and Cara Alwill Leyba. I wanted to take the experience I had just gone through to raise my vibration to tap into intuitive guidance and divinely guided next steps and put it into a step by step method that others can follow along with and dive as deep as they want or need to go to overhaul their vibration.
The key thing to remember is that it is all in you, you don't need anything but the knowledge and methods to get your vibration higher and purge out negative energy. When that happens the blocks and imbalances will come up for processing and you can tackle each one with self compassion and inner awareness. Don't get wrapped up in spiritual materialism, because it will lead you down a path of buying the next effort free solution and we all know that is a gimmick. The best piece of knowledge I can leave you with is the understanding that it isn't about raising your vibration FAST and getting to the "next level" as fast as you can. Life and the human experience is about what you learn about yourself in the process. You're in a state of becoming, and you can't rush it, because you'll want to experience every piece of self discovery and sit with yourself and learn who you truly are. It will then be your biggest asset - because in order to do what only YOU are meant to to.....you have to know who you are.
A person, we shall call him "Adam" had been a meditation practitioner for many years before turning to a doctor for his depression. Adam had been a member of a spiritual community that encouraged their members to turn to God through prayer and meditation whenever it occurred that they were feeling any difficult or painful feelings; for instance: anger, hurt, anxiety, or depression. He had been taught that Spirit would transmute his feelings for him and bring him the peace he so deeply wanted - and all Adam had to do was turn over these feelings to God.
Yet Adam remained depressed despite believing deeply in the practice of turning his difficult feelings over to God to transmute and take care of for him. Adam thought to himself, and occasionally lamented to his doctor and spiritual community members “I have faithfully practiced that which I’ve been taught, so why is is it that I still suffer from depression? What could it be that I'm doing wrong?"
Adam was suffering from the misaligned expectations for what he should feel and be responsible for due to a belief that spiritual practice should take all of his responsibility for these emotions away. This phenomenon is referred to as “spiritual bypass.”
Spiritual bypass occurs when individuals use their spiritual practice as a tool to avoid dealing with and taking responsibility for their feelings and emotions. It can be said that anything that is used to avoid feeling and taking responsibility for one's emotions becomes an addiction – whether that thing or tool used is alcohol, drugs, food, TV, work, gambling, spending, shopping, anger, withdrawal…and YES, even meditation. If you find yourself in that pattern that when a difficult or painful feeling comes up for your awareness, you opt to go into meditation in the hopes of blissing out and getting rid of the feeling, you may be addicted to spirituality. It is an avoidance and escapist technique and if it blocks or diverts someone from dealing with or feeling unpleasant or even dreaded emotions, it can become an addiction.
The difference between leveraging meditation for true healing and self understanding and leveraging it for escapist purposes depends solely on intent. Generally speaking, human beings can meditate for two very different reasons: either to avoid pain or to learn about love.
If one's intent behind meditating is to connect with one's inner self and one's spiritual Guidance in order to learn more about loving themselves and others, then meditation can be good way to step outside of the cerebral and intellectual mind and into one's heart space. This practice is a sound way to connect with the loving inner part of one's self so that you may welcome and embrace even the painful feelings and learning and discovering how you may contributing to your own pain through your words and actions. When your intention is to practice self love and take ownership of your own feelings, in that case meditation can help center you and put you in a space for self compassion so that you may do the inner work to explore your internal feelings.
In the transverse, if you find you are leveraging meditation to bliss out and avoid feeling and moving through your pain, you are leveraging and leaning on your spirituality in an addictive pattern. You are then actively using your spirituality to get around learning about and taking self ownership for your emotional spectrum.
To return to the example, this is what Adam was doing. As he was avoiding learning from his feelings,
and avoiding particular breakthroughs...the ways in which he continued to behave toward himself and others around him caused him to feel depressed. As a result, rather than exploring the words and actions that were causing his feeling self, or his inner child, to feel trapped in a state of depression, he was meditating to push away and bypass any feelings. Instead chasing the bliss.
In his work with a psychologist, Adam was able to discover that he was constantly either ignoring his inner child – his feeling self – or he was in a state of self-judgment. This combination of ignoring himself – which he engaged in primarily through meditation – and judging himself resulted in his inner child feeling unloved, unimportant, and especially unseen. In reflection, Adam saw that if he treated his actual children in the way he treated himself through his treatment of his inner child – ignoring their feelings and constantly judging them – they would also feel unloved and depressed. Adam did attend to his actual children’s feelings and needs, and it was merely his own that he was ignoring and judging. This comparison and parallel let him see exactly how he had been off track in his thinking and treatment of self.
Adam came to the realization that he was treating himself the way his parents had treated him. By anyone's estimation Adam was a much better parent to his children than his parents had been with him, but through what he had internalized about himself and the attention to needs and self he deserved - he was parenting his own inner child in the way he had been parented. What's more, not only was he treating himself the way he had been treated as a child, but he was treating himself the way his parents had treated themselves regarding their feelings and emotional management. For this reason, Adam was not being a good role model for his children regarding personal emotional responsibility, just as his parents had been a poor role model for him.
Through his dedicated inner work, Adam learned the Inner Bonding process. Adam learned to welcome his painful feelings during meditation and to sit with them. He learned to quiet the self-judgmental part of himself and to engage with himself with loving care and respect. He learned to take loving action in his own best interests so that his inner child would not feel that sense of abandonment from him. It was truly the inner abandonment that was causing his depression the whole time. Adam discovered that his depression was actually a gift, a teacher, a light to illuminate what was still dark – a way his inner child was tell him that he was not being loving with himself. With mindful action, Adam learned to take loving care of himself and his depression disappeared. He could now use meditation and inner connection as a tool to explore and take inventory of his feelings, his true feelings - he no longer misused meditation as a tool for spiritual bypass.
THE GLOW CHIEF
Hi! I'm Mischaela, AKA the "Glow Chief" (THE GC) the creator of Inner Glow Up!