Spiritual Consumerism ~ 17th Karmapa

I want to be clear that seeking your own understanding does not mean rejecting all established spiritual paths. Many people feel that organized religions are problematic – or even hopelessly flawed. They might even think that they could assemble a better religion for themselves by picking and choosing bits they like from different religions. I do not think this is realistic. It simply does not work as we think it might. Instead of something holistic that transforms us, it just yields a patchwork that pleases us. This can become a kind of spiritual consumerism.

Worse, it can be dangerous. Bits that you thought would be beneficial for you can turn out to be ineffective or even harmful if you apply them out of context. When you extract practices from a gradual path of transformation, they might not have the same effect outside of their intended sequence. Our spiritual path has to unfold organically – and we have to be receptive to going where it leads us, step-by-step.

17th Karmapa

from the book The Heart Is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside Out

translated by Ngodup Tsering Burkhar & Damchö Diana Finnegan

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