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I have been on a spiritual path since the late 90s.
It was a time when we actually had to drive to the local metaphysical shop and check the bulletin boards to see what classes were upcoming. I received brochures and calendars of events in the mail for my favorite practitioners and places. Waiting for the next class or free intuition development workshop gave space for my brain synapses to fire off, making connections with new information, fortifying concepts, locking in the knowledge. There was no choice; I couldn’t go to the Google gods for the next online class. I had to wait. Sigh.
Things slowly changed over the next decade. A smattering of practices, sometimes in pieces, started to scatter about the internet. It seemed over time what we wanted to know was instant. Google replaced the local metaphysical shop store owner as the master of spiritual knowledge and information sharing. It was weird and exciting. The years of careful contemplative study it took for those local shop owners to reach master status were awe-inspiring to me all those years ago. Their voices echo in my mind from a distant past chapter of my life.
I am not gonna lie: I’m an internet learning junkie and a lifelong learner. I mean, I have Gemini in five planets, so there is a constant inner drive and deep need to absorb knowledge. Learning is ecstasy. I eagerly absorb what pops up and grabs my interest on the daily.
The endlessly gushing fountain of spiritual knowledge out there is exhilarating, not to mention how accessible everything is. Internet articles, blogs, social media, and YouTube have been the most incredible teachers to me. They were a lifeline when I was staying at home nursing a toddler and a newborn baby.
When I didn’t have a home computer, I went to the library. My toddler would play in the kids’ area and my newborn was napping away in the sling while I absorbed whatever was picking at my brain. Unable to afford classes and retreats, I felt somewhat isolated, but also free in my own mind—one of my most cherished assets. The internet has definitely been a great equalizer, and for that I’m grateful.
I just wonder about the cost of having everything so instantaneous and accessible all of the time? Furthermore, I ponder: what might be gained by taking time to digest, ruminate, ask questions, and integrate the things we are learning? Is more really better?
Full-on confession here. At some point, I began looking around the rooms of my house, at my altar, my crystals and stones, my spiritual tools, my tarot card stash, and I began to notice something: I had no idea where some of them came from, nor was I aware of their uses or significance. Plastic still covered several of the tarot decks I owned, gathering dust in a cabinet.
After over 20 years in spiritual practice, I realized even I (who already consider myself super old school) had gotten seduced by the Google gods for things that seemed important in the moment. So I gathered up the pile of things and put it in a box in the closet. Maybe a time will come when I sort that pile one item at a time and try to understand what drew me to them to begin with.
I Googled smoke-clearing kits the other day. Over 18 million links came up on a combination of platforms including YouTube, books, online shops, even Groupon. I froze. I took a deep breath. I stepped away from my computer.
It’s time for a hardcore check-in with my relationship to my spiritual practices. The Google gods have been wonderfully liberating for me, but I must manage the pattern of seduction and impulsiveness through careful, diligent questions.
Here are the seven basic questions I now ask myself before allowing myself to be seduced. Please feel free to make them yours:
1. Where are the products I am about to purchase sourced?
2. Are they sourced ethically?
3. Are the companies I am purchasing from making money from culturally appropriated practices?
4. Do I really need this item or is it an impulse buy?
5. Can I easily locate where those ideas, philosophies, or products originated?
6. Do I know the uses of the objects and items I am purchasing?
7. Do I really feel those classes or items will genuinely help me and why?
They aren’t easy questions, and I may decide in spite of them to participate anyway. I am unwilling to break up with the Google gods for good. After all, we are tight and I love to learn!
However, I am definitely going old school with my approach. There is no time crunch to spirituality. The philosophies, ideas, objects, and rich knowledge I crave will still be there next week, even next year. I have 20 years of review to do. I wonder what I will relearn and awaken in the process.