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November 27, 2019

How the Capitalist cookbook cultivates narrow-minded healing practitioners

I get it, you want to feel good. So much of our lives is filled with struggling to stay afloat and experience a semblance of freedom in an increasingly oppressive society. Feeling like shit is part of the Capitalist cookbook – however subtly or not. The Capitalist cookbook creates citizens who are horny, lonely, broke, shopping, working out, out of shape – continually trying to live up to expectations they digested through superheroes, barbies, and the absurd array of Hollywood cliches. To make one’s way through this cesspool of disingenuous dribble is to be one of the few among millions, destined to be either wisely silent or bitterly outspoken. Perhaps one day I’ll opt for the former, but allow myself once in a while to indulge in the privilege of speaking up on matters of the heart.

I’ve been through the gamut of yoga and meditation schools, felt deeply that what was being presented was genuine, true and very practical. I’m not here to downplay the benefits of a sturdy yoga and meditation practice. What irks me though are the blind-spots. When Yoga doesn’t see psychology as an ally, I wonder at the pomposity of yoga teachers. When meditation teachers claim to help naive students solve deep rooted patterns, I get annoyed. When talk therapists don’t understand how powerful yoga and meditation can be for someone who is a foreigner to their body and soul, I find it tragic.

In the Capitalist cookbook, you mind your business. You sell your product and keep your mouth shut about the competition. Is that it? Are we so engrossed in this cesspool that we just keep our traps shut when it comes to giving the competition props. Hell, this system makes us so frustratingly desperate for business that we simply must close our eyes to the benefits of our “competitors”. And in this way, we shall never see a revolution come out of yoga or meditation schools. So long as they don’t communicate and collaborate with one another, we’ll never see the fruition of a movement from this deeply (historically) activist tradition. It’s true, yoga is union with the god of one’s soul. Mindfulness practices also help us to become sharpened to the task of caring about our fellow brothers and sisters. It is also a practice to make us more selfless and invigorated so that we can protect our beloved community. In the truest sense of yoga and meditation, all are our beloved. But in the Capitalist interpretation of yoga and meditation, all that is thrown out the window, and all that’s left is a mere shell – the feel-good-guilt-free aspect of this ancient practice.

So what’s the big deal? We’re living in hellish times of oppression, suppression and depression on a scale never before imagined, while debilitating optimism leads the charge. As if all we need to sacrifice is our perspective. The harsh reality is that optimism sells. Promises of a road to nirvana sells. Referring someone to a therapist doesn’t sell. Recommending someone try another kind of yoga, perhaps more vigorous, doesn’t sell. But that’s what usually creates the deep shifts in perspective. Shopping around and visiting different practices can foster positive growth -whether it’s therapy, art, yoga, meditation, hiking, dancing, singing, BDSM – the list is endless because the way in which we can discover a glimpse of our soul is infinite. 

One has to develop a knack for listening for the sweetness AND the authenticity in the experience. Go where you feel alive, grounded and clear. Where you feel the seeds of truth are nurtured and blossoming. Learn to sense the truth in your feet and fingers. Gravitate toward this. It will probably pull you away from the humdrum hollowness of capitalist gatekeepers, whether in yoga, meditation or therapy spaces. In the end, only your voice matters. How you cultivate that voice and see to its contours is up to you. Just remember, if it were for capitalism you’d be scared, quiet and obedient. But we all know, that’s a scam. So speak up for truth, show up and care, join others in solidarity, and see how the angels begin to sing your praises. Trust the author in your story.

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Shachar Efrati  |  Contribution: 500