10 Must Have Buys for the Spiritual Materialist.

Via elephant journal
on Jul 11, 2010
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Spirituality as fashion or lifestyle statement.

Are you a neo-hippie/faux-Buddhist? Want everyone to know how holy you are? Read on!

1. Mala on wrist; never used for actual meditation practice

2. Tattoo of OM (“it means, you know…the light inside of me bows to the light inside of you.” [See comment at bottom])

3. Lululemon as everyday wear

4. Co-exist bumper sticker on hybrid SUV Lexus

5. walk around with PVC yoga mat

6. GT’s Kombucha.*

7. email signature includes “injoi” or “all one family”

8. frequent Burning Man references: “Oh, I shouldn’t go to Whole Foods after kirtan; gotta save up for Burning Man.”

9. Half-destroyed TOMS.

10. café accessory: Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle or, cunningest of all, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism book with unbent spine.

Bonus Points

EC: Vision Boards; sage incense; Dr. Bronner’s; Prius; Essential Oils in lieu of deodorant, cologne, perfume; altar on dashboard or sacred stuff/ feathers/ dream catcher hanging from rearview mirror, Dalai Lama or Rumi or Hafiz or Buddha quote book on toilet; live in Boulder, Berkeley, Madison, Lincoln, Lawrence, Brooklyn, Santa Monica or Venice, Austin, Ashland, Asheville, Portland, Seattle, Eugene, Flagstaff; vacation in Belize, Costa Rica, India or Tibet; subscribe to elephantjournal.com

What’d I forget?


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131 Responses to “10 Must Have Buys for the Spiritual Materialist.”

  1. Roger Wolsey says:

    Excellent and FUNNY!

    (though I think you perhaps may've meant a tattoo of "namaste" instead of om?)

    We Christians have the same sort of pseudo/faux/shallow spirituality phenomenon in our circles too; e.g. fish emblem on back bumper of car; cross and/or rosaries hanging from driver's mirror; plastic saints, jesus, and/or mary on the dashboard; saying an assortment of vapid religious platitudes as fillers in conversations; … and this list goes on too. : P

  2. I meant om: thought it would be funnier if the tattoo-ee got the meaning mixed up with that other uber-cliche of peace-lovers everwhere: namaste.

  3. You should do a Christian list, Reverend!

  4. Via twitter: RT @alexandthenews: @waylonlewis i almost forgot 4 your list- tibetan prayer flags are a must on that list. #hippyhip http://bit.ly/aeMh8Q

  5. Alex helped me come up with half of these, props!

  6. mariavlong says:

    It's Altar not Alter, Waldorf Schooling? 🙂

  7. Good god, my bad! No such excuse!

  8. Hey, this list isn't meant to be too serious…I have many of these things…it's more in spirit of making fun of ourselves, and remembering what all these "spiritual" things are for…

  9. Hey now, dude, that's some fuckin' awesome shit like I bought one o' them mala bracelets in the parking lot at at Bonnaroo last year and it's made me like a waaaaay more spiritual person and that Chogram Chunkra book's awesome cuz my bro had it in his van at Burning Man and we were crankin' up this kind Phish tape n' rollin' fatties o' this totally kind Humbolt on it and started totally like trippin' out n' shit lookin' at that awesome picture on the cover. I can hardly wait to check out some Lulemon and Kobuchka and shit.

    all one family

  10. Tee says:

    I feel comfortable enough in my beliefs that I don't have to defend them; this list is amusing, especially when you start thinking, as I said, about how many spiritual "baubles" we have. As soon as we start thinking that, "Yeah, I have them, but I'm not one of those pretentious snobs", though, we become the pretentious snob.

    Look at the commentary this humor has sparked…that alone has created an awareness of what we surround ourselves with, and what is truly important and what is not.

  11. Sebastian says:

    Thank you for listing the cities I should check out when I get the heck out of texas.

  12. roger wolsey says:

    Oh, LOL! Well, that does make it even funnier! : D

  13. roger wolsey says:

    why leave Texas? you've got Austin! ; )

  14. John Sprague says:

    In the list of cities, you left out Northampton / Amherst MA.

  15. Randall Smith says:

    This is great. love the video.

  16. via http://www.twitter.com/elephantjournal – RT @carolann3888: RT @elephantjournal: Made ur $$$ off corporate world, ready 2 get spiritual? Ur go-to guide: http://bit.ly/aeMh8Q

  17. Nice one! I'll add it.

  18. Boysen says:

    and Ithaca, NY …

  19. got it all… and sorry you meant namaste: Tattoo of OM (“it means, you know…the light inside of me bows to the light inside of you.” [See comment at bottom])….namaste is the bowing thing…I HAVE an OM tattoo…it's the sound of the universe the sacred A-U-M the…OK I'll stop 🙂 but seriously if you poke fun you must get it right LOL

  20. swati jr* says:

    this is SO hilarious. it totally laughed out loud. how did i get away unscathed? i don't even have a feather hanging in my car or a coexist bumper sticker! guess i have some work to do…..

  21. ARCreated says:

    In addition to all the above included the expanded list shared by Tee (I thought for a second she had been in my house) I would add the tibetan prayer flags I fly, any kanji anywhere — have them tatooed and hanging all over the house and any fish/dragon/frog feng shui stuff 🙂 I have both the coexist and the believe bummper sticker with two peace signs…roflmao…OMG my list is so long its wrong…but my stickers are on a beat up hyndai that has mismatched doors and a busted out window LOL…my materialism ONLY applies to spiritual stuff I guess in all other ways I live close to the bone — no LuLulemon clothes here… as a yoga teacher I wonder how yogis afford that stuff??? seriously??? one pair of paints is like 5 classes…YIPE

    I have a home studio and it could be mistaken for a curio shop 🙂 a decidely hippy gypsy yoga head shop 🙂

    and finally I go a BIT against the grain as I live in Scottsdale….I'm sort of like a sore thumb around here….:p

  22. BShu says:

    What a shitty bunch of hippies. HAHA!

  23. Yoga Jen says:

    I think its interesting the backlash that is happening against the materialism/ popularity/ capitalism of spirituality, yoga etc. I think that if I just focus on the things that draw me closer to my true self then I don't have to worry about the intentions of others "spiritual" journeys. It is just another way to separate and judge each other. Plus then it feels phony to respond "well I'm not phony but they are?"

  24. elephantjournal says:

    As I said in other comments, I got it wrong intentionally…like tattoos with Chinese symbols, thought it would be funnier if the tattoo wearer didn't even know what they were tattooed with, and got the definition mixed up.

    After 8 years of publishing elephant, I'm sorry to say I know what OM and Namaste mean, all too well. Got that down the first couple months–my first yoga class, or one of them, when everyone OMd, I asked what it meant, kinda irritated that we were all chanting stuff without any explanation. The teacher looked at me, knowing I was Buddhist, and said, c'mon, but then went on to explain it anyway. One of the defs of Spiritual Materialism is the "spiritualish" aping (or changing, or wearing) of symbols, words, that you don't even bother to learn and practice what they mean.

  25. Very "yoga" of you. You judge your food, when you choose to eat organic vs. gmo/processed. Judging can be negative, you're right. But it can also be "discriminating wisdom," or "prajna," as in the Buddhist tradition.

    Spiritual Materialism is pervasive, and twists the genuine aims of spiritual practice into a self-serving ego-strengthening fest. But you know all that.

    Your point is, "who cares, let folks practice and experience their own paths, without having to laugh at them!" I guess I could agree with that.

    The above was offered half-humorously, of course–I mean, I do many of those things, have many of those things. It is, I'm sure we can agree, all about intention or "view."

  26. Aunty says:

    See now, this is what I mean about Boulder. Everyone is so damned good-looking and all peace and flowers and shit. Damn hippies. Come to a nice, conservative place like Richmond, Virginia. We'll have you straightened out in no time. And ugly.

  27. roger wolsey says:

    Poetry by Rumi, These Spiritual Window Shoppers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyfMm4lgvbg

  28. stephen s says:

    the only thing left out was that 'tolerance' bumper sticker: square with blue field and two horizontal yellow bars.

    live in Lincoln?? as in Lincoln, Nebraska? ever been there?

  29. This is all good, but of course let's not forget some of the real classic signifiers of spiritual materialism:
    1. Holy books
    2. Popular brand names (i.e. "Buddhism")
    3. Titles ("Rinpoche" "Dalai Lama")
    4. Fancy robes

    The list goes on and on…

  30. judgenot says:

    There's a whole lot of judging going on…

  31. potmeetkettle says:

    Reads elephantjournal.com…

  32. jolinda Van Haren says:

    I want to go buy a pretty mala. Do they come in red?

  33. elephantjournal says:

    Good point, but…imho:

    Judging is aok: in Buddhism it's called discriminating awareness or prajna; insight. It's considered simply healthy to know what to accept and what to rejecct.

    Pre-judging is not great. You know, prejudice.

  34. elephantjournal says:

    ahahahahah best one yet.

    That said, I think we do our share of cutting through. "God," I hope so. I personally as editor try not to let too much New Agey love n'light slip through the cracks.

  35. elephantjournal says:

    All colors! Made in Tibet! Or, you know, China—same thing since 1959.

  36. […] one is a little too hippie-dippy-trippy for […]

  37. […] some kind of Eastern religion. Doesn’t matter which one. Yoga counts, but only if you get an om tattoo. Piercings count). Waylon Lewis, founder of elephantjournal.com and host of Walk the Talk Show […]

  38. […] Why grow up when you can go shopping? […]

  39. Oh NO! I live in NY and don't have ANY of these things….. I do have a PVC yoga mat. My two-year old niece likes to sit on it and play with her little dolls…… 🙂

  40. SAL says:

    Perhaps judgmental, but some big truths in a decade where a lot of Americans are suffering–Americans who can't afford pretty yogi baubles. I was raised in the times of communes and ashrams, with back-to-the-land hippies who didn't have any money. They were really kind, lovely people who went out of their way to help others and tried to live their principles (which was really a hardcore thing to do and most had to strike a balance once the 80s hit). They had friends of different classes, races, perspectives, cared about the earth and education. I know it's now hip to be snarky and "I got mine," but I think it really cheapens what yoga is supposed to be about–unless contemporary yoga is about lululemon, driving posh cars with bumper stickers, traveling to exotic places, ignoring the suffering of those who don't look or live like you, and only hanging with folks who are like you. It's like an upgraded, groovier 1950s America, I suppose. But not judging, of course:). I do have a lot more respect for yogis who are community oriented and try to be decent people. The trinkets and stuff are fun, for sure, but there's got to be more than that.

  41. callie says:

    Oh the red kabballauh string bracket that is now sol in leather at tiffanies. Although some debate the Ted thread Buddhist also wear them. Loved the funny look at ourselves in the article satire is fabulous. Callie

  42. SriDTMc says:

    while I continue to undermine that effort! bwahaha http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/05/a-laymans-

  43. […] Purchase the Ten Essential Items. […]

  44. Joshua Eaton says:

    Thankfully our traditions are bigger than we are. I started out very much this way and ended up biting off more than I could chew, so to speak. As Nagarjuna said, “Even give poison to those whom poison will help.”

  45. Love this & can laugh at myself for the things on this list I have….

  46. Suri kate says:

    Heee heeee dude, you made my day …this is why i love elephant…..I think the coexist sticker is iNterchangeable with the free tibet bumper sticker

  47. […] for only those teachers who have proven themselves to be fully dedicated to The Path: teachers who go by a Sanskrit name that they chose themselves, wear more than one set of prayer beads at a time, and will perform full Rajakapotasana with ease at every class whether or not he or she is teaching […]