Thursday, January 17, 2013

Replacing 'om' with 'glam'

Who knew that all you had to do to achieve total 'unlimited happiness' is dress like the half naked waif above with her flowing locks and hard nipples (or this beautiful Donna Karan model to the right who sadly resembles a famine victim from any number of poverty-stricken nations around the world).  This recent article in the New York Times
The New Mantra: Replacing ‘Om’ With ‘Glam’ is surely stirring up a whirlwind of discussion from fashion enthusiasts to spiritual enthusiasts to moderates like myself.  Please note I am not even allowing myself to read the comment stream on the original article because I know the anger inside me that is stirred by the hate-filled shit storm that ensues online.  I will also note that in the sad day where newspapers are going under left and right it helps to publish shit like this in order to get people order to get people to buy the paper.  With that stated for the record, it is poison like this article that is contributing to the continued estrangement we feel towards ourselves and each other.  
(from the article)

The athletic-wear company Lululemon, known for its yoga togs, introduced a meditation-specific capsule collection in fall 2012, with pieces retailing at relatively affordable prices, including a Devotion Long-Sleeve Tee ($68) and an Intuition Sweater Wrap ($178) that doubles as a meditation blanket. With its extra-deep hood, the Please Me Pullover ($118) is perfect to wear during Zen Buddhist meditation practice, said Amanda Casgar, a spokeswoman for the company, since during the process “you keep your eyes open but focus on a point on the floor in front of you.”“Pulling the hood right down over your eyes automatically creates that line of sight,” she said.
 Believe me, it is way more exciting to think about all the fun fashions you get to wear for meditation than to actually sit down and do it.  We tell ourselves that buying just the right gear will make it easy to do what it takes to take care of our bodies with yoga or take care of our mind with meditation.   If all you needed was the right clothes then wouldn't we all be healthy and happy?  Or maybe not, considering that the above yoga essentials cost over $100 and some other gear mentioned in the article 'for the more affluent' practitioners come from Donna Karan at over $1000.

When is this going to stop?  Advertisers telling us that we have to spend money in order to find happiness.  We will find happiness on the backs of slave labor across the world making us these clothes.  We will find happiness when we can spend more and look better than people who cannot afford such things.  We will find happiness when we deplete nations (other than our own) of their natural resources.  These advertisers are good.  Don Draper good.  They know that we the public are feeling unsatisfied.  They know that sometimes we feel lonely.  That sometimes we feel guilty for being complicit in the suffering around the world.

They choose words that will appeal to our need for hope and contentment.  Our conditioned and desperate mind cannot help (at first) to fall for the suggestion that wearing clothes from the 'Great Patience Zen Stitchery' just might help us cultivate patience with others and ourselves.

The good news is we don't actually need what they're selling!  The authors of the article and the makers of these fancy clothes are right about one thing.  You need to be comfortable to do yoga and meditate.  Let me ask you, are your pajamas comfortable?  Are your hanging-out-at-home clothes comfortable?  Then you already have what you need if you are interested in trying out meditation.  But despite what the author of the new book being reviewed in the article claim, a legit teacher or book will not promise you happiness or a stress-free life.  You will be disappointed at your probable failure in such an endeavor.

Austin in his Zen meditation gear, they are
all hand me downs and the outer robe is
hand-made by a priest.  *Note he is cover-
ing his hard nipples like any self-respecting
Zen Buddhism is a vast practice.  One that has come to mean a lot to me (as my husband pointed out based on my strong reaction to its being co-opted for consumerism and the NYT article).  The reasons I continue to sit have more to do with studying myself, my patterns, my every action, word and thought than trying to be at peace.  Our tradition and teachers over the centuries have shared their experiences of transformation.  The transformation was slow and often painful and most often became realized at the time when they stopped searching for something.  They let go of the "grasping-mind."  If you are wondering how you can have a reason to practice without reaching for something, that's a good question and you should continue to study it.  But don't worry, you don't have to have the "Please-me Pullover" to find the correct line of sight, eyeballs are remarkably capable of finding it on their own.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you Lauren!!! I couldn't agree more, and find it equally frustrating how spirituality is increasingly co-opted in the West for a purpose which serves its opposite. To chill myself, I sometimes think that, perhaps for a lot of people buying this stuff, they would have been buying something equally posh if it wasn't there. And maybe they'll give a try at meditating cause they're working on their new "peaceful yoga me" image. And maybe in some future lives that imprint will carry over and they'll get to work, without the gripping yoga shoes. But thats in future lives, and in the now, the Green Yogi Capitalism...bah.