The spirituality community, in all its many shapes and colors, young traditions and old, is growing by leaps and bounds. Especially in the West. As more people identify themselves statistically as “spiritual” while less identify as “religious.”
Meditation is currently leading the emergence. (I read online recently that meditation was “the new yoga.” Ha! Umm, well, we know what they mean.)
Suddenly, meditation has magnetism and is quite the media darling. The traditional meditation community is expressing some very natural growing pains….
Some in the meditation community say the advertising world has co-opted meditation and spirituality to sell product– and has sometimes sexualized the image of the practice.
Example: the Time magazine coverage of the “Mindful Revolution” depicting a young, beautiful woman supposedly in meditation. (Image, above)
Are you concerned about this? I wanna know. (Me? I’m putting my concerns into another article. Stay tuned.)
I will say here, though, that “the sexy” in this image is not my #1 concern. Why?
I’m used to the media mind thinking like this. Popular = sexy. And sexy = a beautiful girl
We could dig in quite deep here… but let’s move on, and just say for now, “It is what it is” and not get bent out of shape.
Meditation has existed through the many aeons because it’s a pliable practice. It’s a wisdom shapeshifter.
It has been co-opted over and over through the ages by cultures, countries, religions, governments and, yes, markets. Every adaptation of the practice brings new facets to light.
Over time, the strong, true adaptations survive to become real traditions while the flimsy ones fade away naturally because they don’t support people.
We talk about meditation as a noun but really it’s a verb. One of the necessary things we do to sustain ourselves and evolve. We’re encoded with the meditative tendency. (Formal meditation practice is just re-training to help us get back to the pause-and-reflect instinct.)
And now isn’t the first time meditation has been in the marketplace. For example, the Tantric movement brought meditation to the masses– into homes, streets, hospitals, courthouses, jails. Any place life was being lived by regular folks. (Interested in learning more about this? go to the Yoga Exhibit in SF and soon-to-be other major cities)
Prior to the Tantric movement, only the upper classes and (mostly) men could enter temples, learn meditative forms, chant mantra and speak sacred languages.
Naturally, these new practitioners, working people:
- used their skills to make and sell tools for meditation practice
- practiced wherever they could, on-the-fly, wherever everyday life called for relaxation and reflection (everywhere)
Certain Tantric teachers became wildly popular and ended up living quite luxurious lives.
Word of mouth, the only available “advertising,” was undoubtedly employed to its full capacity to popularize the form, as a way for teachers to gain followers and for merchants to sell product.
I’m sure the higher class people in the temples were concerned that the forms were being misused by these lesser-educated practitioners.
But the movement was truly a beautiful revolution. The Chakras, Yoga Nidra– all forms of physical yoga originate from Tantric traditions.
The body became the temple. Everything the body did was considered sacred. Yes, everything. Sacred sexuality, the most famous example of this principle, was born and has never died.
So, let’s worry less about whether meditation is being sold as sex.
And celebrate more how it makes us sexier.
Sexy meaning: more healthy, caring, real, radiant, magnetic.
How our body can be a sacred place of healing, our personal laboratory where we skillfully view with utmost intimacy the magic of science unfolding inside us. (Our bodies are self-healing machines after all, and as such, they are objects of beauty as well as function.)
And celebrate how the recent popularity of spiritual practice will positively affect and evolve:
- our idea of sexy
- how we define beauty
- what holds magnetic power in our society
- the new, emerging sexy
What I call Sexy 2.0.
Here are a few attributes of Sexy 2.0:
- reading and thinking = sexy
- quiet and still in order to be aware and empowered = sexy
- looking inward, fearlessly, for what is real = sexy
- acknowledging our fear, resistance, and denial in order to shift towards caution, love and reality = sexy
- helping others cultivate love instead of fear (according to recent science, the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s fear– more on this in future posts) = sexy
- allowing yourself to be vulnerable in order to grow and help others grow = sexy
- speaking up and stating the very truth that everyone knows but is afraid to acknowledge = sexy
- taking risk– of failure, loss, looking foolish– in order to secure a better world for yourself and others = super-sexy
Do you see the new sexy emerging in the world? I hope so. I do.
Let’s study and nurture Sexy 2.0. In ourselves, our children, our creations, our government, our whole world.
Hey, I’m willing to BE sexier and live in a sexier world if you are….When I’m in my inner beauty and you’re in yours we’re together in inner beauty paradise. Even if only for a fleeting moment.