Is Your Meditation or Yoga Practice Just … Spiritual Entertainment?

Bursting self-delusions in the spiritual environment

Ida Eira Johannesen

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Me, private image

The assumption that our yoga, meditation, cacao ceremonies, women’s groups or spiritual books clubs are in themselves a path of awakening… must be one of the grandest delusions I know of in the spiritual environment.

In itself, standing on our heads for ten minutes a day, sitting still in meditation for hours, volunteering in an ashram, doing nose-cleanses and attending cacao ceremonies, haven’t got anything to do with self-realization. That is… unless we USE THE ENERGY these practices generate to take on our REAL work: The inner one.

Our spiritual practices are at best the very BEGINNING of our inner work. And unless we proceed to take on our (dirty, challenging, painful, scary) inner work, our daily asanas or weekly ceremonies or silent sittings turn into mere spiritual entertainment — something to pass our time with to prevent us from going KO-KO.

A consumption of spiritual activities has nothing to do with awakening or self-development!

I spent the years between 2017 and 2020 in a fulltime spiritual deepening. Much of that time I lived in Ubud in Bali: a spiritual heaven for seekers from all over the world. Apart from yoga, there was daily ceremonies, womens groups, crystal healing, massage therapy, oil treatments, meditation sessions, spiritual movie nights, ecstatic dance parties… you name it.

After I returned to Norway in 2020, I wrote this essay of all the self-delusions I’d observed in this environment: 9 Traps of a Spiritual Journey. And today’s essay is sort of a deep dive into trap no. 7: Refusing to take on the challenging parts of our personal journeys – and by that reducing our practices to mere spiritual entertainment.

Rest assure, it’s not only Bali that’s a heaven for spiritual seekers… Spirituality and self-development has become among the world’s biggest industries, and we are flooded with trainings, events and retreats that claim to support our self-development or awakening journeys.

Join an online ceremony? Learn to meditate! 3 weeks in the Amazonian jungle! Yoga…

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Ida Eira Johannesen

Personal development and spiritual pitfalls. I’m a performing artist and tea ceremonialist, with background from the tantric field.