Neo-Spirituality and the Chi of Common Sense


Neo-Spirituality and the Chi of Common Sense

Illustration: Akshita Monga

I’ve decided to become spiritual. This spirituality is a good gig. It should have been around when we were kids. In those days everyone was so busy trying to cope bravely with hunger, disease, famine, and with phones that couldn’t even shoot a video, that no one thought to invent spirituality. In those dark days, there was only religion which was private between you, your God, and a pandit/ priest/maulvi, who made up in volume what he lacked in mellifluousness and actual human kindness.

Today, thankfully, we live in the era of Brad Pitt’s face and that wonderful sanctuary called New-Age Spirituality and life looks brilliant. There are so many reasons to love New-Age Spirituality – and not just because it allows you to smoke some weed and be pious at the same time. It’s also way easier than old-fashioned religion, where the rules you had to adhere to, could sometimes clash terribly with your own ideas of common sense and cool. But with New-Age Spirituality, you are definitely too cool for rules (often you’re also too cool for common sense, but hey, that’s a small price to pay).

To be neo-spiritual, all you need is to be in touch with your own intuition and allow your inner child to frolic through this magic cosmos in a spirit of joyous discovery. (If I could actually figure out what it meant, it sounds like the sort of rule I would so adhere to.)

So yes, I am seriously considering becoming neo-spiritual. I know I fulfil two of the most important criteria for it:

1. I know nothing about what spirituality actually means.

2. I like to judge other people while pretending to be completely accepting of their foibles.

While these are necessary conditions to be accepted into the flock of the neo-spirituals, there are others. Luckily I have spent years observing these people, and as a public service, I am giving you the definitive guide to join them. You’re welcome.

1. Earlier, you had to at least own a few Paulo Coelho books to be considered a New-Age Spiritual, but now they’ve relaxed the rules. Anyone who has even heard of a book called The Promise (subtitled Making Stuff Up To Give Gullible People Hope) or can use the words “the universe”, “energy fields”, and “prana”, while gazing pensively in the distance can qualify.

2. You need to have a signature look – the gazing-pensively-in-the-distance look I just mentioned. All neo-spirituals have one and it’s imperative you get yours; I already have one. It makes me look concerned yet not frantic about the meaning of life and my connection to the larger cosmos, a look that I get when I think about what I had for dinner four nights ago. It has to be a trademark mix of being puzzled yet hopeful and generally works as long as I can’t quite remember what it was that I must have chowed down and I’m hoping that it was something yum. Work on yours immediately; they ain’t letting you or your inner child in the door without a convincing look. People with weak looks that hint of less woolliness get rejected all the time. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

Sometimes these practices have actually been known to help people. Beware, those are the sort of things you need to stay far away from.

3. Always remember, while other people can get away by just walking the walk, neo-spirituals have to actually talk the talk. There is absolutely no escaping this. Here are some words and phrases you must know off the top of your head. Chi, vibration, chanting, cosmos, evolved soul, angels, masters, “ancient wisdom”,  “life unfolding in a particular way”, “merging with the universe”, “challenging your past life patterns”, “repairing your karma”. These are magic mantras and essential to leading a neo-spiritual life. Work them into every conversation. Sample this:

Unevolved soul: Would you like bacon with your eggs?

You (evolved soul, replete with repaired karma and frolicking inner child): After a two hour-long meditation, my cosmic energy needs replenishment from the fount of centredness. So yes, please, make that extra bacon and extra crispy too.

Is that brilliant or what? Did you see how neo-spirituality could turn you from a greedy pig to a seeker of truth?

4. A lot of people get disheartened by how hard meditation is when they first try becoming neo-spiritual. Rookie mistake. Meditation can be hard, but talking about meditation isn’t. Be sure to talk about it often and pair it with the look, and also the words. Scientific research has proven that the length of time you actually meditate does not have to be correlated in any way with the amount of time you claim to meditate. There are not many times that science will prove to be your friend as a neo-spiritual – use it ruthlessly when it does. Talking about your meditation practice has the added advantage of making everyone who doesn’t meditate feel grubby and shamelessly worldly, which is exactly the impact you are looking to create.

When in conversation with other neo-spirituals, remember, listening to other people talk about their meditation practice is mind-numbing and coma-inducing. To avoid this hideous fate, launch into tales of your own meditation immediately and don’t stop until the listeners are carried off by medical professionals.

5. While these four rules are rock solid, there are many optional extras that go well with New-Age Spirituality – reiki, channel writing, angel therapy, past life regression and therapy, pranic healing, cosmic fuckwittery etc. Remember the way that you incorporate these practices into your neo-spirituality will make all the difference.

Sometimes these practices have actually been known to help people. Beware, those are the sort of things you need to stay far away from. What you need is things that make you sound wise and blissed out and on a superior moral and spiritual plane than everyone else, without the actual burden of doing anything useful. Incorporate those (or better still, incorporate talk of those) into your New-Age Spirituality and you could well be on your way to becoming a master yourself.

This is it. The definitive guide to becoming neo-spiritual in five easy steps. Or climbing the ladder of neo-spiritual success, one pretentious woolly rung at a time.

(*Adjusts face to think of what she had for dinner last Thursday night*)

Let the bliss begin.