In her introduction to her review of Alan Watts’ book Become What Your Are, Maria Popova shares an observation on a mid winter meditation retreat she attended that underlined a strange human conflict for her, that maybe we can all identify with…over to Maria:
This past holiday season, I attended a meditation retreat at a remote but renowned center for “deep change in self and society,” where I was struck — more sharply than I have been before — by our culture’s conflicting values of material success and self-transcendence. That disconnect was manifested on many levels — including in my own act of taking an airplane to go meditate — but one particular incident made the point more poignantly than others. A fellow retreat-goer casually shared with us the previous evening’s dilemma — whether or not to drive there in her Porsche or her other car. (She, a corporate coaching executive per her introduction, had decided against the Porsche, which is probably why she felt compelled to make it known that this invisible dilemma existed in her life in the first place.)
I am well aware, of course, that we are creatures of infinite contradiction andsanity-saving self-delusion — so to consider this woman’s disposition hypocritical would be to do an injustice to the dissonant desires of which the human condition is woven. I don’t doubt that part of the allure of such retreats comes from a genuine yearning, mine and hers and maybe yours, for “spiritual enlightenment” or refinement of the soul or whatever we might call that sincere longing for better communion with the universe within and without. But I was also struck, more viscerally than ever, by the other part of the modern psyche, the one that sees “spiritual enlightenment” as just another checklist item on the inventory of self-actualization and the Good Life.
Maria then goes on to review Alan Watts’ book in her usual insightful manner. Full article here.
Alan Watts book
[amazon asin=1570629404&template=iframe image]
Maria image credit: creative mornings