Pretension, materialism, and spirituality.
There are a lot of confusing, mixed messages out there in the spiritual world today. On the one hand, a new rise in money mindset empowerment tells us that we deserve beautiful things. That it’s okay to want to manifest a big house or fancy car. And that’s not any less spiritual. In fact, a large segment of Law of Attraction teachings is built around that idea.
On the other hand, we’re told that we don’t need any specific outside circumstances to be happy. That happiness is always inside and a state of mind. And there’s a great history in this space of people giving up all worldly possessions—seen as distractions—to pursue spirituality.
So is it materialistic or spiritual? And where and when do those lines get drawn? Am I pretentious for talking about the importance of my beautiful condo in my life, or am I simply ‘sharing my Truth’?
It’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to over the last few years. It’s something that my work—and specifically, the Sacred Circle—directly addresses.
And it’s been more personally on my mind as I plan my elaborate 3-day Aruba wedding, full of a private catamaran, elegant dinners, and a sunset beach ceremony under a custom-made arch. Is it all pretentious or is it spiritual?
To answer that question, we have to go back to thinking about containers and essences. In my work, essences are raw, unmanifested energies. Able to be expressed in infinite ways. We often think of them as emotions. Things like Aligned and Zany and Free and Unmistakable and Successful and Vulnerable (to use mine). They’re who we are in any given moment. But how they are expressed can be wildly different.
And we know that all essences need a container to be manifested. Like my body is a container for my Soul. Or my home is a container for my safety. Or this blog is a container for my expression. Or my relationship is a container for my love. Whether physical or conceptual, containers simply contain and manifest energy.
When I look up at my stunning red painting, it’s really just some paint on a canvas. If I believed it were just the container, I probably wouldn’t have spent much at all on it. But it’s the energy that I receive from that container—the raw emotion I experience when I look at the painting—that I’m ultimately after.
So anything can be a container for any energy. And the meaning—or energy—we get from each container is totally subjective. I may look at my painting and feel immense power and strength. You may not see much at all. And that’s totally okay. But that doesn’t deny my subjective experience with it.
By definition, materialism is mistaking the container for the essence. It’s thinking the container is the end-all, be-all. Like buying this painting because it’s worth a certain amount of money. Or buying a particular home because we feel like we should.
Like a hollow shell, we don’t feel the energy inside. We just so badly want meaning that isn’t there for us. There’s no subjective essence. No intentionality behind it. And we never transcend.
The whole point of our physical, material world is to access our own deeper Truths. Our own Divinity inside. And containers are simply portals to take us somewhere deeper. To experience my own Divinity through my relationship with Garrett. To experience love and vulnerability and honesty and magic. To experience success and alignment and freedom and unmistakability through my wedding.
And there are infinite ways to showcase that. None of it has to cost money. None of it has to be expensive. But, if it is, that’s perfect too. Because we’re the artists. It’s just the materials we choose to create our piece. To ‘contain’ the essence.
It’s all about intentionality. About creating art to transmit energy.
Every decision I’ve made for my wedding has been incredibly, incredibly intentional. Just as the way I decorate my home is incredibly intentional. Or the way Garrett and I have built our relationship. It’s always aware that this is simply a container for a certain essence. A bringing us deeper into ourselves, into our Divinity.
You know, it’s funny. Even the words ‘pretentious’ and ‘materialistic’ are subjective. Because those too are essences. And we talk about them like they’re objective. Like everyone who only eats organic and drinks kombucha and goes to tasting menu restaurants and talks about art is totally pretentious. But, quite literally, pretense is about pretending. Making believe something has meaning when it doesn’t. Mistaking the container for the essence.
If we know that our outer world is a portal to a deeper Truth, then how could it ever be pretentious? The ‘how’ matters much less than the deeper essence inside.
So is it materialistic to want nice things? Is it spiritual to want to manifest your dream home?
I don’t know for you. The cool thing is you get to decide. If it feels empowering and full of the essence—or Universal Truth—that you’re seeking, then anything can be a container. Anything can bring you closer to your spirituality.