The Business of Growth – A Dollar Value on the Spirit
By Gwen Randall Young
This is a time of rapid spiritual growth. There seems to be a move beyond the sometimes confining religious thought, to a spirituality that carries the promise of embracing and honoring all life. There is a vision of a multitude of spiritual pathways connected by a common theme: despite all differences and uniqueness, we are one. Never before have there been so many seekers. Seekers will open minds and trusting hearts. What a magnificent opportunity for evolutionary growth. Unfortunately, it is also a magnificent opportunity for profiteering. Mass marketed spirituality is an oxymoron, but in a rush to reach the next level of spiritual advancement that small but important fact is overlooked. Ironically, for many a spiritual seeker, the ego is engaged in the service of the not-so-spiritual. Yes, even spirituality comes with designer labels! Many in the business of spirituality have marketing plans that would be the envy of any multinational corporation. They have the art of attracting customers and developing new products at just the right pace to keep the cash flowing abundantly. Consciously or unconsciously, followers are created. Loyalty is engendered. At workshops or seminars, the crowd is worked, and the product line is laid out with workers ready to take your VISA. It is a strange cross between religion and the shopping channel. What happens when spirituality becomes a business? Many who are vulnerable will negate their home grown spiritual wisdom for the shiny new model that everyone else is adopting. After all, if so many are drawn to it, it must be the right path. Unfortunately, all roads to healing are littered with some of the same stuff. Psychology, with its promise of emotional balance and inner strength, also loses something when it becomes a business to be marketed. Seminars and workshops which promise to heal the anger, the self-esteem, the inner-child, the trauma or what have you in one week or one weekend can be misleading, and harmful to some individuals.
Flyers arrive daily announcing the curative powers of all kinds of natural source products. That is not the problem. We need this information. The problem is the hard sell approach that is apparently playing on the fears that people may have about their health, and the hefty prices being charged. We are strayed so far from the tribal wisdom that taught us to help one another out of love. Sharing spiritual views, emotional wisdom, and healing modalities are beautiful ways in which we nurture and care for one another. It is a natural part of being human, and we do it for each other without and expectation of anything in return. For some, healing is a strength and so becomes a livelihood. But how do we ensure the purity and integrity when a one on one healing becomes mass produced? How do we differentiate between being healed, and being a “sale?”
In the same way that we have learned to value organic produce, we may have to eschew processed healing for the natural, organic, close-to-the-earth kind. Ultimately the most powerful healing tool we have is our clear consciousness. We can learn to tune into our bodies and to “feel” what is right. We can learn to nurture ourselves and to bring gentleness, acceptance, and compassion to our emotional pain. And we can be still and quiet enough to tune into the wisdom of the Universe, allowing it to pulse through our awareness. It will provide all of the guidance we need. Ancient travelers learned that they could be still and observe the heavens, and in doing so could chart their path. Tribal people knew how to read the tracks, the wind, the water, and the scents in the air. What all had in common was trust in their ability to utilize their senses, their bodies, and minds to interpret their world and show them the way. This ability is natural. It is intelligent, in the largest sense of the word. Somehow we have relegated our natural intelligence to a back seat, adopting a lemming-like rush towards we know not what. We must stop and get our bearings.
Much is good in our world. There are many honourable teachers and healers from whom we may learn. But, ultimately, we must teach and heal ourselves. It is through tuning into our profound wisdom that we engage our powers of discernment. At a time when choices are unlimited, and all markets are burgeoning with new products, processes, and people, discernment may be one of the most important modern day survival skills that we can develop.