Is the West becoming more spiritual?


#1

Myself and N have been discussing this as part of our discussion in the Hindutva thread. My position on this matter is that the West is clearly becoming more spiritual and I have even predicted how America is ideologically becoming more and more Hindu - spiritual. I say this with confidence because I have many spiritual Western friends, I have been involved in several Western spiritual groups and movements and I know how much into the mainstream spirituality has penetrated in the West.

I am more likely to meet a spiritual Westerner than I am a spiritual Indian or Chinese.

What about the Western members on this forum, do they see a shift in the West towards spirituality? If so, in what way, shape or form.


#2

[QUOTE=Surya Deva;52039]Myself and N have been discussing this as part of our discussion in the Hindutva thread. My position on this matter is that the West is clearly becoming more spiritual and I have even predicted how America is ideologically becoming more and more Hindu - spiritual. I say this with confidence because I have many spiritual Western friends, I have been involved in several Western spiritual groups and movements and I know how much into the mainstream spirituality has penetrated in the West.

I am more likely to meet a spiritual Westerner than I am a spiritual Indian or Chinese.

What about the Western members on this forum, do they see a shift in the West towards spirituality? If so, in what way, shape or form.[/QUOTE]

Haro, how you doin today?

I too am interested in seeing other people’s responses.


#3

What strikes me is firstly is the growth of “spirituality” in the West, I agree with you SD, that there seems to be a general “Dharmatization” of America taking place. It’s quite interesting how opinion leaders such as Jim Carrey, Julia Roberts and others encourage people to embrace Hinduism.

This I like.

But, secondly, I am equally - if not even more - astonished by the immensely materialistic attitudes of younger Asian generations. My experience comes from some meetings with a few people from Eastern Asia [and thus I cannot generalize] (South Korea, Thailand, China, Japan mostly) who display a freakish fanaticism over (Western) commodities - is this the given result from the commodification of their cultures perhaps? - While the West has entered some kind of “late-capitalism”/neo-liberalism and is experiencing a spiritual growth and the move-away from Abrahamic religions - the more newly capitalist countries in Eastern Asia are alienating themselves from their cultural-religious heritage (like Buddhism).

This I highly dislike.

My follow up question to you guys is to what extent we can “blame” the mode of production here. SD - your posts in other threads seem to suggest such a thing - you have pointed out how India was the largest economy in the world when the country was the most spiritual - and also you have said that the US is becoming spiritual since they have high living standards.

Does it all boil down to the mode of production and level of welfare?


#4

…on a similar note (and in line with Nietzsche and SD in other threads):

The question of spirituality does also “boil down” to the scientific maturity in a given society. Scientific maturity is of course a result of the wider organization of production and division of labor.

High scientific maturity (as in e.g. the US) - > Dharmic religion eventually prevailing

Low scientific maturity -> Abrahamic religion prevailing

Agree?


#5

Yeah, I think it does boil down to how materially affluent you are. We know that materialism does not not bring lasting satisfication, rather it brings new kind of problems: existential crisis. Western society rose up against industrial capitalism and materialist science after WW2 realising that materialism does not bring us any closer to happiness either, and this is one of the reasons why postmodernism arose. Modernism is no longer a dominant force in Western society, Western society is highly rebellious against authority, science and religion. Postmodern life is more about fashion and trends. In a way postmodern life is highly liberating because it gives one the freedom to explore and play with ones identity, which in turn makes you realise how fluidic and false the sense of identity is, and how we can deconstruct and reconstruct it as we want.

Newly emerging capitalist countries like India and China are still stuck with the values of modernism. Their mode of production is primarily industrial and they respect authority, science and religion. They have not yet graduated to postmodern philosophy, even though are exposed to it through Western media. They adhere very strongly to the values of modernism. However, even in India and China you can see the emergence of a new generation of rebellious youth that are opposing modernity(just like the counter-cultural movement in the US) and becoming more postmodern in their outlook.

However, India and China do not have a new-age spiritual movement, and they will not because they are - as you say fanatically materialist. If you talk to the average Indian they want fast cars, designer clothes, big houses and sex, drugs and rock and roll. Sure, that is what the average Westerner wants as well - but you do find Westerners that do not want this, what they really want is health, harmony and spirituality in general. There is a growing number of such Westerners.

The growing spirituality is not a product of capitalism, but more so the result of disenchantment with capitalism. It negatively leads to spirituality, rather than positively leads to it. Western society realises that capitalism does not live up to the dreams it promised, that actually it is a farce. On the other hand, Indians and Chinese still believe in the dream, and dreaming one day they will become superpowers. They foolishly pretend that they will not have to go through any of the problems the West have, because they are morally superior. The truth is the problems the West have are problems capitalism breeds and they will, and have indeed now started to appear in India and China as well.

What my Indian friends on this forum are not realising they are trumpeting a farcical system that leads to moral, economic and political collapse. Why do they want to emulate a failed system?


#6

There’s basically now three types of people in Australia. There’s atheist (which seem to becoming more and more numerous), there’s liberal Christians (you know, the kinds that say “well I believe in god, but I don’t go to church or read the bible or any of that stuff”), and there’s Muslims. It appears that atheist are becoming more numerous, so as far as Australia goes, I’m happy to report, minimal hippies over here.


#7

[QUOTE=Surya Deva;52133]fast cars, designer clothes, big houses and sex, drugs and rock and roll.[/QUOTE]

Yummy!!! I’ll have one of each thanks :slight_smile:


#8

[QUOTE=theseeker;52052]…on a similar note (and in line with Nietzsche and SD in other threads):

The question of spirituality does also “boil down” to the scientific maturity in a given society. Scientific maturity is of course a result of the wider organization of production and division of labor.

High scientific maturity (as in e.g. the US) - > Dharmic religion eventually prevailing

Low scientific maturity -> Abrahamic religion prevailing

Agree?[/QUOTE]

I agree, high scientific maturity leads to the rejection of faith, myth and superstition and the acceptance of valid and reliable means of collecting knowledge in all areas. This naturally leads to the the dharmic religion because they are based on valid and reliable meaning of collecting knowledge in all areas and promote free and critical thinking.

Quantum physics has pretty much validated the entire dharmic worldview of a inseparable and interconnected universe joined by interplay of a network of subtle forces(prana) that is inseparably connected to consciousness. These forces are hardly even theoretical now, we actually use them today. It is proven the a priority of consciousness by demonstrating that it is an essential requirement for there being any reality at all.

Transpersonal psychology and neurobiology have validated transcedental states of consciousness and how meditation leads to them, the existence of the 6th sense and how human minds can and do manipulate matter, reincarnation, life after death, astral planes. Not only this, they have been able to create technologies such as biofeedback machines, hemi-synch etc to induce these states.

It is inevitable then that high scientific maturity leads to dharmatization. It is an indirect proof that the dharmic religions are the product of a previous civilisation of high scientific maturity.


#9

[QUOTE=theseeker;52052]…on a similar note (and in line with Nietzsche and SD in other threads):

The question of spirituality does also “boil down” to the scientific maturity in a given society. Scientific maturity is of course a result of the wider organization of production and division of labor.

High scientific maturity (as in e.g. the US) - > Dharmic religion eventually prevailing

Low scientific maturity -> Abrahamic religion prevailing

Agree?[/QUOTE]

Yeah. I agree.

And if you lived in America, you can readily see that the Abrahamic religions are prevailing. I see more people rejecting the BBT and evolution than I do accepting them…it is a sad spectacle…


#10

Well, so far the indicators of a rise in Western spirituality have been discussed in the other thread. Is demographical data identifying a consumer market for sustainable health and lifestyle which engage in spiritual consumerist practices, which is estimated to be about 50 million Americans by one PHD sociologist. This includes 15-20 million Americans who practice Yoga.

We have also discussed mainstream movies with spiritual content: What the bleep do we know, Celestine prophecies, Eat pray love, The Peaceful warrior, The Secret and several documentaries on Yoga and meditation. In addition major celebrities in America like Jim Carry, Julia Roberts and Oprah Winfry endorsing spirituality.(There is no equivalet in Indian or Chinese cinema)

Spirituality has even entered into the academic world and the Church. This is when you really know that spirituality is well and truly penetrated into the West. Ken Wilber, one of the founders of consciousness studies in academia and a leading academic in transpersonal psychology has written a lot of peer-reviewed papers on spirituality and is widely known in the academic mainstream(He was even suggested by my Philosophy professor in class) Father Thomas Keating, a mainstream figure in theology and the Church has succesfully introduced a Christian meditation into churches which he calls “centering prayer/contemplative prayer” which really is just a modified form of Yogic mantra meditation and he is also a proponent of spirituality. You can see both talk in this discourse:

To an objective person reviewing the evidence that is being presented to show there is defintiely a rise in spirituality in the West the evidence presented so far should be sufficient.


#11

The whose who of Western spirituality:

Michael Beckwith(Featured in the Secret)

Dan Milman(The author of “The peaceful warrior”)

Neal Donald Walsh(The author of the bestseller, “Conversations with God”)

Western disciples of Indian gurus making a huge splash in the West:

Mooji:

Gangaji:


#12

Dear Surya,

Not sure if Africa is considered part of the West or maybe East with all the Chinese here, but here goes:

I can only speak from personal experience and my observations are not based on research or fact, but that which I have persoanlly observed.

When in my twenties I used to work for a big book chain in my city, which is Pretoria. Now in my country Pretoria has alwys been seen as conservative, more reserved and slower to change than other big cities. As a bookseller (which i was until age 27) part of my job was responsibility for certain sections in the shop, which meant that I had to ensure that the right mix of books was there and that stock levels was always above a certain level. My sections was Eastern Philosophy, Mind Body & Spirit, Alternative Health (which included yoga), Self-Help and Spirituality. When i started working all these sections were only 5 shelves. By the time I left after 4 years, these sections comprises of 25 shelves. We couldn’t keep up witht he huge demand for books in these sections.

One of my good friends still works for the book chain and he is now responsibile for those sections, he told me the other day that just the Spirituality section now comprises nearly 10 shelves.

What a nation read is a good indicator for me of where they are. However, and I admit it brings us back to who read. Yes, it is the more affluent person and not the poor. But for me it is a clear indication that there is an increase in the West in spirituality.

I can also say, being very much involved with the Theosophical Society and Yoga, we have seen a marked increase in interest over the last 10 years.

Thanks for all the interesting debates and views from your side over many threads. I do follow what you say with great interest, it does echo much of the thoughts of many highly spiritual people I know and have contact with here is SA.

PS. Pretoria has changed over the past 10 years to be progressive, open minded and a city which is alive with yoga and other spiritual groups. Something is happening!


#13

Ekhart Tolle(Author of the bestseller “Power of now”)

Deepak Chopra:

Spiritual scientists, who are changing the very landscape of science:

Bruce Lipton, spiritual biologist and pinoeer of epigenetics:



Bruce Lipton’s research has proven categorically that genes DO NOT determine your life or your body, but rather genes are determined by your mind, thoughts, belief systems. You can use your own mind to heal yourself.

Gregg Braden, spiritual physicist, author of “divine matrix”:

Gregg Braden reveals the entire universe is a universal field of consciousness and that out thoughts directly affect events happening in the universe. In the above video he reveals how the magnetic field of the earth was affected on 9/11.

All of this pionnering in research in spirituality is coming from the West.


#14

South Africa is a relatively developed country compared to India and China, so that does not surprise me. Any developed part of the world will have a natural drive for spriituality. Again, you point out that your consumer demographic was affluent, and this also does not surprise me. Spirituality never thrives with poor people. Even if you were to expose a poor person to spirituality, they would still find a way to turn in an an enterprise to make wealth.

Even in India, the consumers of spirituality are the highly rich. This is why Yoga programs offered in Indian ashrams are highly expensive, such as the one offered by Isha Yoga. Again, not surprisingly, the target demographic are rich Westerners.

There is certainly something going off in the West which can best be described as a consciousness revolution. I ended my philosophy dissertation with the same words, “There will be a consciousness revolution, and this revolution will dwarf the industrial and information revolution many times over” I was rather brave to put that in my dissertation, but in general I went against every rule in the book when writing my dissertation and cited spiritual authors, spiritual books and very bodly challenged materialism and declared spirituality as the truth. I was lucky that those who marked my dissertation were professional and openminded, otherwise much less getting a distinction for it, I would have been failed :smiley:


#15

[QUOTE=Surya Deva;52039]Myself and N have been discussing this as part of our discussion in the Hindutva thread. My position on this matter is that the West is clearly becoming more spiritual and I have even predicted how America is ideologically becoming more and more Hindu - spiritual. I say this with confidence because I have many spiritual Western friends, I have been involved in several Western spiritual groups and movements and I know how much into the mainstream spirituality has penetrated in the West.

I am more likely to meet a spiritual Westerner than I am a spiritual Indian or Chinese.

What about the Western members on this forum, do they see a shift in the West towards spirituality? If so, in what way, shape or form.[/QUOTE]

It would be helpful to this thread to lay down a few parameters of spirituality. Then we can go ahead with our thoughts - in the absence of this , I am afraid, we may be all using the word spirituality but meaning different things.


#16

If you watch the discourses above you will find they all one thing in common: consciousness. Spirituality is a consciousness-paradigm of the world, where one accepts that the entire universe is a field of consciousness and everything is the form of vibrating consciousness. Where one accepts that one has an infinite and eternal consciousness at the core of their being, a divine reality permeating ones very core that one can very intimately know by connecting to it through the self. Where one sees themselves as a spiritual being having an experience on earth in order to grow to greater and greater levels of consciousness and actualize ones highest being. It is also about taking responsibility for ones own actions, thoughts and speech, knowing that the entire universe is inseparable and interconnected and that one must strive to live in harmony with its laws.

In short it is santana dharma. In the above discourses they are speaking clearly of santana dharma.

I think there is an even better way to define sanatana dharma: it is the human potential religion. The goal of sanatana dharma is
to realise the human nature which is absolutely divine. Thus the human and its needs are at the centre of sanatana dharma. So the
following needs have been recognised in SD: wealth, knowledge, sex, pleasure and art, and spiritual liberation. In order to ensure
the growth of the human sanatana dharma has developed the most ideal systems in order to fulfill each and every human need.
There is no comparable science in Western spirituality for any of the systems in SD. This is simply because, Western spirituality has
not reached the level of SD yet, it is still in its infancy. Hence, why it is the duty of Hindus like you and me, to catalyse the development
of Western spirituality by integrating it with SD.

It is our duty as those who claim to be members of sanatana dharma to keep the knowledge of our risis alive, the original founders of SD.
We must spread it everywhere, so that every human on this planet has heard of it. The goal is to awaken humanity to its divine nature.


#17

Some youtube videos that will truly help you understand what spirituality is and what SD is really all about:

We are divine beings:

The universe is a matrix of consciousness:

Knowing both SD and the new modern Western spirituality born out of science gives you a highly comprehensive understanding of spirituality.


#18

[QUOTE=theseeker;52051]What strikes me is firstly is the growth of “spirituality” in the West, I agree with you SD, that there seems to be a general “Dharmatization” of America taking place. It’s quite interesting how opinion leaders such as Jim Carrey, Julia Roberts and others encourage people to embrace Hinduism.

This I like.

But, secondly, I am equally - if not even more - astonished by the immensely materialistic attitudes of younger Asian generations. My experience comes from some meetings with a few people from Eastern Asia [and thus I cannot generalize] (South Korea, Thailand, China, Japan mostly) who display a freakish fanaticism over (Western) commodities - is this the given result from the commodification of their cultures perhaps? - While the West has entered some kind of “late-capitalism”/neo-liberalism and is experiencing a spiritual growth and the move-away from Abrahamic religions - the more newly capitalist countries in Eastern Asia are alienating themselves from their cultural-religious heritage (like Buddhism).

This I highly dislike.

My follow up question to you guys is to what extent we can “blame” the mode of production here. SD - your posts in other threads seem to suggest such a thing - you have pointed out how India was the largest economy in the world when the country was the most spiritual - and also you have said that the US is becoming spiritual since they have high living standards.

Does it all boil down to the mode of production and level of welfare?[/QUOTE]

Yes, in developed Western countries, people now have increasing interest in spiritual development. It is only natural, if you know what I mean: you got food, you got pleasures, you got health care, you got every freaking material you could put in your life…but after a while, it gets boring. Then what happens? Philosophy and spirituality kicks in. Today in the West, there isn’t even one person I encounter who doesn’t follow a some sort of life philosophy… simply, spiritual growth is natural in the west cos Western people begin to feel that they’ve had enough of wealth…

In developing countries, people are after wealth and high standards of life. The way they imitate Western style of life and use its technology is almost childish and quite obtuse. They don’t do research, development or innovation per se, but are obssessed with ready commodities… free thinking in developing countries is rarely encouraged. They all are in some way nationalistic/militaristic and try to show to the world that they are in the technological ‘intercultural’ game… if even the culture itself does not accomodate free thinking, how could they accomodate spiritual development? They can’t. Hence spirituality is hard to come by in many developing countries…


#19

[QUOTE=High Wolf;52230]you got food, you got pleasures, you got health care, you got every freaking material you could put in your life…but after a while, it gets boring. [/QUOTE]

Are you kidding me!! You’ve obviously never been on a yacht cruising through Sydney harbor. That never gets boring. I’d die happy doin that. Plus if anyone was to get bored with luxuries, it’s only because they are spoilt brats.


#20

How many times you can cruise through Sydney harbour before you do not get bored of it :wink:

If affluence really did bring satisfaction, then the West being the affluent part of the world would not have such a high rate of mental illness. It is very clear the human bring craves more than just wealth and pleasure. To claim that this is all life is all about, can only come from somebody who is either lying to themselves or lying to us.