Spiritual materialism

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The Winnipeg Free Press has a article on creating personal spaces in your home — often at great expense — for “hobbies” such as Star Wars, bowling, and meditation. Yup, meditation is now apparently a “hobby” akin to rolling a ball down a polished surface in order to knock down some pieces of wood. As descriptions of meditation go, this one is something of a gutter ball.

Time was when someone might create a place to meditate with some floor cushions, a CD player and fragrant candles.

Lori Dennis, a Los Angeles interior designer, said she frequently gets asked to design something quite different: chic, very expensive meditation rooms. Ones with “expensive luxuries like $200 per yard fabric, custom meditation benches, custom wall murals in gold-leaf paint, cashmere hand-knit throws and accessory art in the $10,000s.”

She has designed a shower with a view of the Pacific Ocean, exotic veneers and a Venetian glass vessel bowl.

“This is because meditation and chanting is a big deal in Hollywood,” Dennis says. “The most sought-after chant and meditation leaders, like Deepak (Chopra), are invited to head up small parties of important people in these spaces. It’s a new way to hold an exclusive power meeting.”

You can read the rest of the article here…

Of course there’s nothing wrong with having a nice space in which to meditate, but it strikes me that simplicity — which generally isn’t terribly expensive — is more appropriate. And the whole idea of spending vast amounts of money in order to impress guests is totally alien to what meditation’s about. It turns meditation into a way to gain status and to boost the ego. Meditation is supposed to be a way to let go of clinging — including clinging to status.

The Associated Press journalist who put this piece together seems totally oblivious to the ironies involved in promoting this rather gross form of spiritual materialism.

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