Freedom of religion, an internet connection and the run away consumerism in this country produces some strange things. Odd tokens of spiritual access. Plastic Jesus, Glow in the Dark Mary, Ganesh window decals, Buddha garden statues, all manner of the Pagan pantheon in resin. All cast and readily available in newage shops and the internet. These icons and deities will live forever. Literally.
They also send a mixed message in the now deeply demanding fight for the climate, water, the soil and the morality of this kind of consumption. Unless you live under a rock or practice willful ignorance you know plastic in all its forms is choking the planet. Earth is becoming littered with the cast offs of one use plastic and the durable plastic of everything else.
I went to the Parliament of World’s Religions a few years back. I listened to a panel of women I knew were in the forefront of creating a new way of being on the planet. They were writers, activists, proclaimed environmental protectors of water, seeds, and earth. They spoke of the evils of GMOs and the fight ahead to move towards a sustainable world that protects all life. They said inspiring and useful things.
They also were drinking water from plastic single use bottles. At one point you could see they had to address this and they did by saying they were refilling the bottles. It also felt like they were covering their obvious hypocrisy. It was awkward. And for me personally, it raised alot of questions around the integrity of walking one’s talk.
In 2009 I went to Egypt and experienced mountains of plastic waste, water bottles, and other things that could not be absorbed by the tourist industry of a nation that thrives on the spiritual pilgrimages of others wanting to connect to the mystery that is there. I also saw this first hand in Mexico, Costa Rica, across the United states…. etc…. it made me really aware of the way we are sold the access to these sacred spaces and the impact it has on the people who have for centuries worshipped and revered their heritage. We are guests yet most people see these countries and places as zoos for their personal gain…
Experience colonialism. Spiritual Colonialism. We trap countries and the people in an endless cycle to support our consumption to find ourselves.
The pilgrim, the spiritual seeker is also a consumer of instant gratification and a polluter. This is embodied as spiritual bypass with the acceptance of certain actions for the greater cause at the expense of cultures, art, ideologies, self discovery, that elusive enlightenment that drives this bus.Adhi Two Owls
The easy of access through social media to other cultures and beliefs has fueled an industry of cheap one time used spiritual experiences that hack away at the deeper practices of how we are part of a complex ecology of consciousness and engaged experiences.
Spiritual education/enlightenment should create a mindful understanding of our connection to a Divinity in whatever name you wish to call it as embodied in the world around us. It needs to offer a process to grow more aware of our interconnectedness and inter-reliance on each other and all things.
This more tangible experience requires sacrifice and work. The knowledge that there are consequences for actions and that an individuals needs are not more important to the whole.
The spirit leftovers of our exploring should be of stuff that can be composted into new ideas and forms. Clay. Wood. Metal. Stone.
Plastic is the material of a false God.