Spiritual Celebrities, Sufism and The Superhighway: A Comparative Approach

by Melody Jean

Spiritual Celebrities, Sufism and The Superhighway Contemporary SeekerRecently a reader wrote to ask whether I notice similarities between Sufism and various modern-day spiritual practitioners.

She mentioned that five year’s ago, back in its prime, she read a book by Eckhart Tolle which was life changing for her. After reading my post Sufism: Explaining the Unexplainable she concluded that Sufism seems similar.

The reader further alluded that she is once again in a bit of funk and is looking for something to refresh and strengthen her spiritual muscles.” With that she questioned which Sufi book to begin with.

A loaded question. So I offered my simple, yet complex answer which I elaborate on in greater detail here.

They’re Everywhere – Spiritual Celebrities

While I’ve never personally read Eckhart Tolle, I can only assume that there are some valuable little nuggets to be found in his writings.

Those who are tuned-in to this way of thinking probably notice the abundance of “spiritual” people and ideas cropping-up all over the place. These individuals almost become celebrity-like in nature. From Wayne Dyer, to Deepak Chopra, to Eckhart Tolle, and even Oprah – they’re everywhere.

This is good. Real good. Why?

They Make Us Think – There’s A Secret!

These spiritual celebrities, as I’ve come to refer to them, get people to think.

I remember my dad’s response when I asked him about the book, The Secret, when it was all of the rage. He simply said that if it were really that simple, or that easy, where all we have to do is read one book, then it would really be that simple and that easy. All the world’s problems would be solved because alas, we’d all know the secret.

Yes. This was dripping with heartfelt sarcasm. Yet it helps to put this into perspective.

We’re Stepping Outside

The publishing and sale of titles such as The Power of Positive Thinking, Conversations with God, Eat Pray Love and many others, are inspiring. They are tangible examples that show the increased number of those who think in a way that which wasn’t common before.

It’s almost as if mankind is stepping “outside of the box.” We’re contemplating ideas outside of, and in addition to, religion. Notice I say “in addition?”

Religion as a Primer

Religion is the intro to the answer, but not the entire answer. Due to the state of our society today, mankind is being forced to look deeper, and within ourselves. This is partly because we intuitively, as a species, are achieving higher levels of thought.

It’s maintained that this evolution in thought was supposed to happen. Further, it’s supposed to take time.

System Flaws

On another level we are being left with no choice but to seek inward. Everywhere we look, everything we knew, or believed-in is crumbling about.

From financial, to government, to education, to big business, to religious – we are seeing flaws and dangers in every system. We can no longer take each facet at face value and therefore must trust something outside of these entities to help us uncover the truth.

So who better to trust than ourselves?

The Confusion of Multiples

The only real issue with the multitude of spiritual perspectives is that many tend to get a little confused. It becomes difficult to decipher that which is right or what to choose.

–> It’s a Beginning Not an End

As a result many just glob-onto one thought, idea, or person (gurus) in a cult-like fashion – whether they realize this as such, or not.

Subsequently they end their studies right there. With that one thought or person. It’s as if they believe that they’re finished having read the compilation of works published by one author or spiritual celebrity.

–> The Discomfort Returns

What many find, like the reader I opened this post with, is that while whatever they happened upon opened their eyes, made sense and seemed to work, it was only for a while. In time, they once again become unsettled.

The reason, I can assume is that their deep hunger wasn’t satiated enough. Hence they become restless again. The simple answer to this conundrum, is that what they read wasn’t enough.

A Comparative Approach

Comparing Sufism to today’s spiritual celebrities or thought processes is like comparing apples to oranges. While they are completely different in composition, they’re both still indeed a fruit.

–> Similarities and Limits

Many spiritual ideas are comprised of similar objectives, yet completely different in their method and/or vice versa. Further there are limits as to how far some of these approaches will actually take the traveler.

–> Our Birthright

An aspect that is quite telling is that Sufism has been around since the dawn of time, the beginning of man. It’s the thought process that was given to us as a gift. It’s our birthright. Too, it has stood the test of time and is becoming more common in the West today.

Sufism – The Spiritual Superhighway

One day my dad offered up an idea for me to entertain. Perhaps Sufism is the spiritual superhighway. It’s the highway that bypasses all others in terms of attaining enlightenment.

–> My Soul’s in The Car

I imagine my life, here, on this planet, in this realm, like this. My soul is traveling in my car along The Path on the superhighway named Sufism. The car is my physical body, which carries my soul.

While I know that the superhighway isn’t going to be easy, or offer a quick ride, I continue.

–> Making Stops

On my journey I see my friends, family, acquaintances and many others along the way. They’re driving too, but most are stopping-off all over the place.

They’re visiting Deepak at his house, having dinner with Wayne Dyer, hanging out with Oprah, taking yoga classes, reading quotes by the Dalai Lama, or going to mosque, synagogue, church or another religious institution.

–> Going Home to Sleep

These stop are all good and purposeful and I too make stops along the way. Yet instead of returning to their cars to continue straight on the spiritual superhighway to true knowledge, they head back home to sleep once again.

When it’s time to wake, they resume similar travels and keep visiting more of the same.

What essentially happens is that when one tastes of ideas, whether religious, spiritual, or both, they believe this to be enough. That is, that their religion coupled with new age thought or new age thought in replace of religion, is the answer.

–> Continuing On

While I might stop and say hello to many along the way too – religion, new age spiritual speakers, celebrities, writers and the like just to see what they have to say, I get back in my car. I continue straight and follow The Path (or The Way) the Sufi Way.

I make these stops because they’re part of my journey. Too I like to entertain thoughts without accepting them (as Aristotle says), or accept ideas in part or in whole. Yet because I’ve had a small taste of the knowledge that Sufism can offer, I persevere on the superhighway.

Where to Start

If your soul too wants to travel in your car on the superhighway along with me, the good news is that you can. It’s available to everyone.

You can even continue to participate in your religion and explore other thoughts along the way as I do. The trick is to get back in your car and continue on the superhighway.

–> The Book for You

I always suggest for readers to start with the book Sufism for Western Seekers, which was yet to be written 15 years ago when I started out on the spiritual superhighway. It’s the best introduction to Sufism that I’ve ever read.

It actually explains Sufism through the eyes of three students and a teacher in a modern day mystical school.

The Finale

If you’ve read this far, I’ll leave you with this. You have something special within, we all do.

The difference between you and the masses is that you know that you do. Further you are willing to explore it.

So I wish you well on your journey whichever way that you choose to travel. Perhaps too I’ll see you on the elusive spiritual superhighway.

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