Short Book Review: Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa
SBR: I am happy to see this phrase “spiritual materialism” coined and acknowledged, that too by an insider. Spiritual journey isn’t about accumulating “spiritual achievements” or about basking in the glory of your efforts and sacrifices. If you are feeling smug and proud of your spiritual journey, it is time to step back. You might be feeding your ego, instead of transcending it.
The author does a very good job of ruthlessly telling us what spiritualism is not – that is most of what we see around us! When it comes to describing what it is though, things become vague. His descriptions are rich. But that doesn’t necessarily makes it graspable. This is not something I have a quarrel with. From what he says, and from what I intuitively feel, you cannot actually describe spiritual experiences in words. Why even try it is my question.
It is also disconcerting that after saying all that he did in this book, he was still a part of a big spiritual establishment and a “spiritual entrepreneur”, if I can coin a phrase too.
To read or not to read: If you are on or embarking on a formal spiritual journey, especially by joining an organization or following a guru, you should read it to keep your smugness and expectations in check.