Sunday, 25 March 2007

Spiritually Materialistic

The Devil wears Prada when God is not in Gucci

Who says you need to give up your designer tags and exotic lifestyle in order to pursue happiness or spirituality? As all metrospirituals will vouch, you can find God within your Gucci togs if you only look inwards! It’s when you start doing things divorced from normal life that the Devil takes over… by VINITA DAWRA NANGIA

WHY does the movie The Pursuit of Happyness spell happiness with “y” and not “i”? Maybe it was a quirk of the film director to create intrigue. Or, perhaps there was a deeper meaning there. The Times of India edit page recently reduced all capital “I”s into small “i”s – a step possibly towards keeping the ego in check. Could the removal of this pesky letter from “happyness” be for the same reason? Because you can be happy only when you remove the “I” or ego! And now, our new column, God in Gucci (right) invites people who seek their own brand of spiritualism, to write about inward journeys that helped them reduce or remove their “I”s.

What did these journeys involve? What kind of experiences did these metrospirituals undergo? Did they have to give up Gucci to attain God? How did they resolve the conflict between materialism and spirituality? Did they forgo the pursuit of happyness?

Those who have been there and done that, point out that the paradox is in the word “pursuit”! How can you pursue a state of being like happiness or spirituality? You just can be happy; you can’t go looking for it. Like Will Smith says in the movie, “Maybe that’s all there is to happiness, just the pursuit!” Similarly, you can just be spiritual; you can’t go seeking spirituality! For, what you seek is not without, but within you. The paradox seems to be that we insist on having all our material comforts as well as a state of bliss and spiritual equanimity! Can this conflict be resolved? Most gurus say it can. The answer surprisingly is – indulge! For, it’s a happy, satisfied mind that can be meditative and spiritual – not the other way round. The trick is in being YOU, not trying to become something else.

A friend recently said, “Everybody looks at the world, eyes wide open. Have you ever tried looking at it with eyes closed?” Everyone hears with ears open. Have you ever tried to listen with your ears closed? To the silence within? That’s where you will find God – He is with you, you don’t have to seek Him in a temple, you don’t have to indulge in any religiousness to achieve Him; you don’t have to destroy any temple or mosque to prove your devotion.

One of the quickest ways of taking anyone away from God or spirituality is to assign templates and rules, rights and wrongs. Take off your footwear; cover your head; T-shirts and necklaces with religious symbols are fine, but when Roberto Cavalli designs a line of innerwear with images of Ram, his bikini bottoms raise the top off the lid! Who is to say you cannot wear your God where you want to? Why is it acceptable to hold Him in the deepest recesses of your heart, but taboo to wear Him intimately next to your skin?

Why can’t you be wearing a Cavalli bikini and still be deeply religious? What stops you from being sexy as well as religious; materialistic as well as spiritual; happy as well as sad? Why must one state preclude the other?

The very idea of one of these states with the complete exclusion of the other seems totally unrealistic. These are not contradictions, but complementary activities. You can’t put life on a pause and go off in pursuit of happiness or even spirituality outside the realm of daily concerns, as a kind of separate activity.

Spiritualism is all about finding God when you are in your Gucci. You may see him in a bar, in a pub, on the road, in your garden…The idea behind this column is to be comfortable with your own notion of spiritualism. This is the genesis of the concept of God in Gucci.

My comments: Totally agree with the lady. One can be spiritual and materialistic, note that there is a difference between materialistic and greedy or self-absorbed. The trick lies in striking a balance, without indulging in some kind of whimsical hedonism.

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