Protecting and Nurturing Spiritual Wellness Amidst the Rise of Materialism

written by
Michelle Estevez

Artwork by

Benju Pan

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Table of Contents

When exploring spirituality, various concepts may arise depending on how someone’s life experience sculpted their overall view. However, throughout the ages, spiritual wellness has become vulnerable to commercialization and industrialization, promising quick fixes packaged in rose gold boxes—all in the name of bliss and materialism. At the same time, authentic spiritual health has gone as far as saving lives and as close as shifting superficial narratives to bring a more profound sense of awareness of one’s true self.

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The benefits of spiritual wellness extend beyond the physical. It gives us an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the internal sphere and improve our emotional and spiritual wellness. The spiritual journey also offers the opportunity to connect with the invisible thread that weaves all of our experiences together. When looking at the scales of spirituality in the modern world, how can we recognize the harmony in honoring ancient pearls of wisdom while integrating them into our daily lives?

Exploring spiritual wellness & different perspectives

The diversity in mythology, religion and story-telling offers a spring of concepts toward self-actualization, mindfulness and spiritual wellbeing. One example we might explore when reviewing the core principles to develop and tend to one’s spiritual wellness includes the Buddhist perspective. In their belief, peace and spiritual wellness can be viewed through the four noble truths and the eightfold path. Somewhat like a guide, the four noble truths shed wisdom on why humans suffer, while the eightfold path consists of steps to overcome such suffering. In certain mythological takes on spiritual wellness, certain gods and deities such as Airmid, Asclepius, and Eir, to name a few, have been a centerpiece in prayer for healing on all levels.

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In a more mainstream approach, some might define spiritual connection as simple as putting on Sunday’s best, showing up for church, and calling it a day in their religious practice. Others might argue burning sage and banishing evil spirits while chanting in Sanskrit does the trick. While these are but a few infinite examples, spiritual wellness is not constricted to a religious belief or mythological tale. It also has nothing to do with how much you smudge or meditate per day. Spiritual wellness is an experience of deeper meaning cultivated within through an innate connection to the universal understanding that governs worlds unseen.

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Breaking down the core of spiritual wellness

Health is often equivalent to wealth. It doesn’t matter how much money you have if you can’t go out and enjoy your human existence, right? We hear this all the time, yet it is often overlooked. Many people spend their young years working their days away in exhaustion to save for retirement. Fixated on the material and societal definitions of what success means, retirement age comes in an instant. This is something the elderly might advise the young to be aware of. The core of this sentiment is simple. Live life today because tomorrow is never guaranteed. The same is true when it comes to our spiritual life. We might have all of our ducks lined in a row on the superficial plane, but what happens when the soul lacks true spiritual health?

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This is where some might go down a path of overindulging to make up for what is internally missing. Some examples might make it as extreme as losing their livelihood to gambling or as subtle as the dopamine drip of an Instagram notification. While nothing is inherently good or bad, the intention behind why we answer an impulse can give us a lot of information as to whether it will nourish or destroy us. Rather than waiting until retirement to enjoy your daily life, spiritual wellness resides in the core of appreciating the wisdom found within each moment. Here is where I’ll remind you, you don’t need to spend hours in meditation to tend to your spiritual wellness—unless, that is what you are authentically feeling called to. Instead, you might find a practice in watching how the trees flow in the wind and connecting to the force that feeds each life.

The flaw in many teachings might lie in generalizations and in how it might serve a set of people. Materialism in spirituality doesn’t necessarily mean there is a product being sold. Instead, we might pose a different question. What idea or belief is currently being offered or presented? Does it fit with my visions of what a fulfilled spiritual path feels like? When we think about protecting spiritual wellness, we can look at how specific practices like yoga and meditation traverse throughout the collective narrative. There is no one-all fix-all for our spiritual health and buying courses to fill in the missing pieces can lead us astray if our intentions aren’t clear. Whether you find yourself participating in programs or not, remember the core of it all. Take what feels right to your soul and leave the rest. Spiritual wellness cannot be sold to you even when you buy into it.

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Thank you for reading this article to the end and giving us so much of your precious attention.

The awesome folks behind this page

This magazine is a work of heart & art. We collaborate with people who feel it’s time for a more heartful world. Only with their dedication could we publish this article.

Michelle Estevez

Writer | Contributor

Benju Pan

Artist

Benju Pan grew up in Neverland and never left Neverland. You might see him around in your dreams and imagination. And you’ll feel his presence when you listen to your heart.

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