Are Spiritual Teachers The New Fashion Model?
For those of you who don't know, I own a spiritual beauty business that is currently transitioning into a spiritual lifestyle brand called Moon Phace Collective. I am constantly getting messages and comments to my instagram account from people asking about how they can get started with living a spiritual life and walking that path. You wouldn't believe how many people need help, despite the thousands, if not millions of resources available. For the past year, people have reached out to me for help because they just don't know where to turn. It got me thinking, where are we spiritual teachers missing the mark?
So the other day, I posted on that brand's feed, asking my community to tell me their spiritual needs and challenges. I explained how I thought perhaps spiritual teachers (myself included) have failed to adequately provide solutions to the problems of the nascent spiritualists in our community. I wanted to know what challenges people are facing and why they feel they aren't growing.
The response was more than I expected. I know a lot of people feel uncomfortable sharing their beliefs, especially the spiritual ones, via social media but plenty of people stood up this time. I received several dozens of comments and DMs from people who feel frustrated with the quality of material being offered and more than that, the way this material is being offered. Two things that came up the most were teachers being inauthentic and trying to get rich by making people believe they need to buy more stuff to live a spiritual path.
Now, I want to make sure that you know, there is nothing wrong with making a living as a spiritual teacher. We all have to eat, right? Why not earn your meals doing something you love? But when did the spiritual industry become so materialistic? Its fine if you want and can afford every crystal out there, to buy a new moon workbook every month or to get a $150 tarot reading several times a year. Make no mistake, those things will help you in some way but they are NOT necessary for your spiritual growth. I love tarot and at one point in time, they were the main source of my spiritual growth but did that mean I had to have every tarot deck on the market? Certainly not. Being honest here, I did feel this obsession with decks and ended up spending an embarrassing amount of money, buying tarot and oracle decks every chance I could get... thinking one deck had something entirely new to offer.
Getting back to the post; I ended up in dialogue with someone who feels as though spiritual material is being offered in a way that makes students/consumers feel guilty for not having these tools and that spiritual marketing invokes a fear based response. I would argue all marketing invokes a fear based response in some way. You're subconsciously made to think your problems won't go away unless you buy XYZ or that you you'll be just like this person you see in this advertisement if you buy this. Obviously marketing is a key part of making a business work but how big of a role should it have when the whole point is to break away from material and societal expectations? Has the spiritual community gotten trapped in consumerism?
I think maybe it has. How many times have you been told rose quartz will bring you true love or that attending a guided meditation will help you reach your goals? How many times have spiritual teachers made you feel guilty for not having certain tools, whether that was their intention or not? How many times have you felt pressure to mediate everyday, have a yoga membership, buy an endless supply of crystals, candles, mists, workbooks, soaps and so on?
Have we as spiritual teachers built this false idea of what spirituality is? Have we made you believe you have to be in constant control of your thoughts for the law of attraction to work? Have we made you believe having an apartment full of crystals will change your life's circumstances? Have we made you believe the perfect spiritualist is wearing bohemian clothing, charting the moon cycles, doing yoga every sunrise, journaling without fail and doing a ritual each and every full moon? Have we spiritual teachers become the new fashion model?
We talk endlessly about how models are a false representation of everyday people. We look at models, specifically females and complain about how most women are not that skinny or tall or have perfect hair. We call out magazines for failing to represent all shapes, sizes and colors but why aren't there more people calling out spiritual teachers, healers and gurus? Shouldn't spiritualists be free from the expectations of spiritual consumerism? Doesn't looking at a skinny girl wearing crystal malas, Lululemon yoga clothes and doing some contortionist like yoga pose inspire the same or similar feelings as seeing Kendal Jenner walk a runway? Doesn't seeing your go-to spiritual teacher meditating in Puerto Rico, surrounded by crystals at sunrise make you feel like you don't have your shit together or that you aren't spiritual enough? Or at the very least that somehow their life is better than yours?
I'm not saying spiritual gurus/teachers/healers/shamans are doing it on purpose and like I said before, everyone has to make a living. But when did making a living doing what you love become more about the bottom line? And when did making it seem like you need every spiritual trinket to find spiritual growth start? I fell in love with spirituality because it was how I found reprieve from the expectations of society but now its starting to seem like we have become the expectations we've tried so hard to avoid.