Is Spirituality Superficial, Out-of-Touch and Lost in Slogans?

If you google Images, spiritual quotes, happiness quotes or positive affirmations, you will find thousands.

Human beings have the potential for inner change and for making wise changes in the outer world. Most make wise changes through sharing their experiences with others, listening to others, as well as looking into themselves. We can learn much from their insights and our willingness to engage in meaningful change. You might think inner change comes entirely through yourself and through your own efforts. There is no evidence for this. Inner change comes through a range of conditions, not bound up with the self, with the ego.

Lightweight spirituality focusses primarily on self-interest reducing the significance of the outer world. Life reveals a daily dynamic of the inner-outer. We make an impact on the world. The world makes an impact upon us. The self exaggerates its own importance to know wisdom.

Spiritual one-liners keep telling people what they should do.

Twenty Spiritual Slogans

In Alphabetical Order

  1. Accept what is. Let go of what was and have faith in what will be.

Accepting ‘what is’ can bring about a passive state of mind. It is easy to tell ourselves or somebody else to let go of what was. In the loss of faith, how can we expect ourselves to have faith in the future?

  1. Be someone you want to be around.

A nice idea but that may require a depth of inner work to know in daily experience empathy, kindness and clarity of mind.

  1. Do not learn how to react. Learn how to respond.

Reactivity springs from problematic memory, which distorts the perceptions in the present. What are the steps to learn to end reactivity? What are the steps to learn how to respond?

  1. Do not look for a sanctuary in anybody except yourself.

Far too many people experience a low sense of self- worth, so they cannot look for sanctuary inside themselves. She or he may take sanctuary for a period with a wise, kind and supportive person or group, professional, religious, spiritual, secular or friend.

  1. Every day is a new day. No matter how hard the past. You can always begin again.

It is a major step to be able to begin again. Today might seem as hard as all the previous days. We can tell ourselves to begin again but it hardly makes any difference.

  1. Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think.

The belief that happiness depends solely on thought reveals a shallow response to the causes and conditions for happiness, inwardly and outwardly. Experiences impact from the past, the body remembers trauma and anxiety and a weight may hang in the mind affecting our capacity to think clearly and act in a wise way.. The behaviour of another can bring much unhappiness to our lives. Happiness does not depend solely on thought.

  1. If you find no one to support you on the spiritual path, walk alone.

This one liner contains a certain truth but it is an immense challenge to walk alone on the spiritual path. You need confidence, commitment and know peace with aloneness to make it possible.

  1. If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.

Technically true. Only a little excess compassion for oneself can lead to neglect for others. When do you know you have given yourself enough self-compassion?

  1. One who acts in truth, is happy in this life and beyond.

Sometime the truth does not produce happiness. We can act in truth without feeling happy about it.

  1. Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.

A popular slogan. Seek also without, such as the company of the wise and peaceful and learn from them. Do seek peace without – to end wars, violence and conflict.

  1. Positivity is a choice.

You feel low, negative and reactive. Does it make any difference in the thick of such a state of mind to tell yourself to be positive? Does it help another to tell them they should be positive?

  1. Silence the angry man with love. Silence the liar with truth.

There is no guarantee whatsoever the other will become silent. It is wishful thinking that love will silence the angry man. Truth will silence the liar. Check out domestic violence issues.

  1. There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: not going all the way and not starting.

Only two mistakes? The road to truth carries numerous mistakes in judgement, belief, identity, views etc. It is an immense challenge to shift consciousness out of the false and deceptive.

  1. Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.

Surely find peace? Plenty of people have no peace of mind yet they do not have resentful thoughts. Other experiences and thoughts make life difficult.

  1. Trust your place in this world.

A person may not know their place in the world. How can they trust their place if they do not know it?

  1. What you are is what you have been.

People make wise changes. What he or she is now is not what they were.

  1. You create your own reality?

If that were true, we would create a happy reality for every day of our lives and stop creating unhappy realities. Have you met anybody who can do that?

  1. You only lose what you cling to.

Untrue. We can lose loved ones, activities, items etc. It does not confirm clinging. It might confirm love, respect and an understanding of change.

  1. You are what you eat?

Diet certainly matters. We are far more than what we eat. We can eat meat or eat a vegetarian/vegan diet and be arrogant, self-righteous and judgemental on issues, including diet.

  1. You can be anything you want to be.

Positive affirmations can reinforce lack of self-worth. You can start to feel positive, building yourself up with a positive affirmation and then comes a crash.

PS. You might consider reflecting on your potential to go deeper than much of contemporary spirituality with its self-centred approach. If you experience a visceral and appreciative response to a spiritual one-liner, you can benefit from its recollection and reflection. You do not have to construct expectations or demands on yourself to live up to a one-liner.  You will not find in the Buddha-Dharma any one-liners as in the above. Some claim that the Buddha stated some of the one-liners in the list above. Not a chance.

Wisdom take priority.



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