Believe in materialism or spirituality


materialism - Reflections and thoughts on a difficult topic. Materialism is the name for a kind of worldview that postulates the exclusivity of matter. Materialism says that there is only physical reality and that all else does not exist. Materialism is the opposite of idealism.

Materialism is also a concrete attitude to life, which regards material enjoyment, material rewards, material possessions as higher than human values ​​such as love, compassion, mercy, etc. Materialism ultimately reduces itself to absurdity: because everything material has an end - that is why the materialist always becomes ultimately suffer loss. Eventually the body even dies.

Materialism and Spirituality, Two Views of Truth

People can see the world differently. There is the materialistic attitude and the spiritual attitude. I do not speak strictly philosophically now, there is a very different distinction, but from everyday language use there is the statement of the materialistic worldview "and there is the" spiritual worldview ".

The materialistic worldview

The materialistic worldview says: "Matter is everything. There is only what can be seen and what can be measured with physical measuring instruments. The world consists of atoms, neutrons and protons, there are energies, etc." Materialism has since evolved to include all of energy physics and subatomic physics and astronomical physics.

Biology and evolutionary biology have also become quite complex. The materialistic worldview is already very comprehensive. So materialism explains the world. But materialism cannot explain how the world came into being in the first place. You don't know.

  • The second problem of materialism is: consciousness. Where does consciousness come from? The claim of evolutionary biologists that consciousness has turned out to be a helpful construct somewhere and that living beings have developed consciousness at some point - that is not conclusive. And the brightest minds among brain physiologists and brain scientists, they understand that too: consciousness cannot be explained.
  • The third problem of materialism is that real happiness cannot be found permanently on the material level, because on the material level, everything that has a beginning also has an end. And everything that is material will not be able to satisfy you in the long term. The problem with the materialistic worldview is that ultimately lasting happiness is not possible there.

There are also philosophical attitudes where, for example, one can learn to have a certain serenity with regard to the vicissitudes of life, and that is also possible due to a materialistic worldview, but it is somewhere - I mean, a kind of compromise, I would even say : a lazy compromise.

  • The fourth problem of materialism is: yes, why is it all? From a materialistic point of view there is no point. The meaning that people see in their life is just a construct. Man is pointless in this world, he is a product of chance. Something has arisen somewhere through evolution, at some point it will stop - that is pointless.

Materialism used to be accused of leading to unethical behavior. Fortunately, it turned out that this is not true. Atheist people and people with a materialistic worldview are no more unethical than others. An ethic is innate in man. Man wants to do good. He wants to connect with others. Evolutionary biologists say that humans simply want to do good, and that is what they want. That is why the materialistic worldview - contrary to what was previously thought, especially in religious circles - does not make people a worse person. Maybe it makes people less fanatical.

Materialism also has its good sides. Ultimately, it takes a deep religious attitude to life to become a suicide, that is, to become a suicide bomber, I mean. So, materialism sometimes has something good over fanatical religiosity. But materialism has another problem.

  • The next problem is, where do you go when you are dead? Materialism would say: "Since consciousness depends on the brain, everything ends with death. With the moment of death, you no longer exist.

Well, materialism has some problems, and I've just listed a few of them now.

The spiritual worldview

A spiritual worldview has different views. The spiritual worldview says: The world as it exists is a creation out of a higher principle. The world did not arise out of itself, not a coincidence, but it is a manifestation of the highest divine being. There are now different spiritual worldviews and what this Supreme Being is like, and the relationship between the world and the Supreme Being is interpreted differently in different spiritual traditions.

  • The first claim is: "Yes, there is a spiritual background to this world. This world is not meaningless, it has a meaning, even if one cannot fully understand it as a human being.
  • Man is also not a product of chance, but man is a child of God, as one would call it in Christianity. He is an image of God, as it would be called in Judaism. He is a manifestation of the divine as one would say in Vedanta. He is a creation of God - however you want to say it, man has a meaning.
  • Life has a meaning. Life has a purpose. We are here to grow, we are here to experience.
  • The consciousness did not arise accidentally, but we are a consciousness and this consciousness has manifested itself in a physical body and is expressed through a personality. But I am conscious.
  • Happiness comes when you come to your own awareness, when you connect with others in love, when you enjoy something in gratitude, when we experience God.

So a spiritual attitude to life / world attitude can solve the problems of life much better than a more logically stringent view of the world and above all, I mean, it is an attitude that gives life a deeper meaning, a deeper joy. One could say a lot more, and I have already given several lectures on "the seven words of spiritual philosophy", where I then go into more detail: "What do you mean by spirituality, spiritual attitude and spiritual life?" But it is helpful to be aware: on a physical level we cannot prove it, or is the materialism or the spiritual attitude to life right now?

In higher levels of consciousness it becomes evident: The spiritual attitude to life corresponds to the experience in the higher state of consciousness. And it also becomes evident in the sense of happiness and in the sense of meaning. A person who has a spiritual outlook on life can have a deeper experience of happiness and see deeper meaning in life.

Those were a few thoughts on the subject: materialism and spirituality - two different views of truth. Whereby it is of course clear: I prefer the spiritual approach to life.

From the following lecture by Sukadev Bretz:

The philosophy of materialism

When the body dies, everything material remains

- Section from the book: What becomes of the soul after death - by Swami Sivananda -

Charvakas are atheists who deny the existence of the soul after the death of the body. The materialists, who consider the body to be the only one existing and deny the existence of a soul independent of the body, are also atheists. The charvakas, lokatyatikas and materialists believe that no soul can exist outside the body and that with the death of the body the soul dies too.

They say that the soul is formed by the union of the five elements, just as red color is made by combining betel leaves, nuts and lime, or just like an intoxicating liqueur by combining the individual components. Isn't that a nice philosophy? It is the philosophy of the materialists, the Viroshana and its followers.

They do not believe in anything that cannot be grasped with the senses and therefore cannot acknowledge anything that is outside their senses. They demand visible evidence for everything and even want to see the soul with the naked eye, because only then can they believe in its real existence. They do not know that the soul can be intuitively known and that it is not an object of sensory perception. Their philosophy is: “Eat, drink and be happy. Enjoy the pleasures of the senses for as long as you can. Don't think about the future. Eat and drink even if you don't have any money, you can borrow it. Just keep drinking, because when you are dead no one can hold you accountable for your deeds! ”There are very many philosophers with such an outlook and their number is growing every day. Many do not believe in the existence of a soul at all.

The charvakas and materialists do not worry about rebirth or transmigration of souls and philosophical questions such as: “Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going? What is left after death? What is life What is death What happens to me when the body dies? They believe that people who ask such questions are ignorant and believe that they alone have wisdom and insight. They are not open to any argument and stubbornly adhere to their point of view. They write books about books in which they deny the existence of the soul.

Most of India's modern university students, the descendants of the Rishis and seers, have become adherents of this philosophy because of poor upbringing and poor manners. You have deviated from the old traditions and succumbed to the attraction of fashion and passion. They neglect prayer, Sandya, Gayatri, Japa, Satsang, study of the Gita and Upanishads, Ramayana and Bhagavatam. Physical well-being has come to the fore. They regularly visit hotels, restaurants, clubs and cinemas, are passionate about playing cards and reading novels. They don't care about their parents' financial troubles and waste their money pointlessly. After graduating, they are not even able to make a living. Ignorant parents imagine that their sons can become great judges, engineers, or lawyers and borrow or sell their land to pay for their studies. Afterwards, they have to come to terms with the fact that the dream has not come true.

The charvakas and materialists believe that thoughts, intelligence, consciousness, mind and soul are only created by matter or the body and only exist as long as the body lives. They believe that thoughts or intelligence or consciousness are generated by the brain just as the liver produces the bile. That's a very strange idea. The union of atoms and molecules can never produce thoughts, intelligence or consciousness, and no movement can produce sensation, imagination and reason. No scientist has been able to prove that matter or energy ever gave rise to consciousness or intelligence. The charvakas and materialists deceive themselves with various false arguments. They only rely on the senses and have lost their ability to differentiate as a result. They do not have that sharp and pure mind to put things in perspective. Existence, consciousness and eternal bliss are the essence of the all-soul. This physical body, which emerged from the five elements, is subject to constant changes. But the Eternal Soul, the origin and source of matter, energy and spirit, is immortal. The "I-consciousness" persists even after the death of the body. It is inconceivable to us that we could never be, even if the body no longer exists. This unswerving feeling tells us that there is an immortal soul, independent of the body, whose existence cannot be scientifically ascertained, but whose existence is irrefutably proven by certain experiences.

The deeply rooted question: “What happens after death?” Will arise in each of us at some point. You may forget them when you are rich and can live a life of great luxury, but when you see one of your dearest relatives being dragged to death, you become frightened and start to wonder, “Where did he go? Is there anything left of him? Is there a soul that is independent of the body? ”It is unthinkable that it has dissolved into nothing. His being, his thoughts and actions cannot perish.

Based on their intuitive knowledge, the seers of the Upanishads say emphatically that there is an all-pervading, immortal soul that is itself luminous, blissful, beginningless and endless, timeless and spaceless, and with which the individual soul can become one if it is becomes free from ignorance through knowledge of the immortal. The soul is the inner ruler and ruler of the spirit, the prana and the senses. The spirit borrows its light from the soul.

The soul is beyond the reach of material science. Man is soul surrounded by a physical body. The soul is extremely fine, finer than ether, spirit and energy. Consciousness and intelligence arise from the soul. The personality of man is a brief, veiled revelation of the immortal, all-pervading, indivisible soul or atman or brahman. The soul is the immortal part of man. O ignorant person, who has strayed from the right path through wrong knowledge and no longer believes in the immortal soul, now awaken from your ignorance and open your eyes! Study the Gita and Upanishads, practice Japa, Kirtan and meditation regularly and free yourself from your bad samskaras, because this is the only way to save yourself from annihilation.

Do not identify yourself with this body, because you are not perishable, but the immortal soul. Identify yourself with her. "Tat Twam Asi" - "That is you!" Feel this, recognize this and be free.

Dealing with one's own materialism

- A lecture by Sukadev Bretz 2019 -

Om namah Shivaya and welcome to a text on spiritual materialism.

Today I'm writing about an important topic that sounds strange at first. Namely, spiritual materialism. It is part of the series of texts about the spiritual path, part of the series of texts about Yoga Vidya training, holistic development of your personality, spiritual growth.

When you go on the spiritual path there are first tasks for the beginner. It is important to align life spiritually.

If you have followed this series of texts you will know the four S, they are four important spiritual practices or spiritual exercises, on the one hand the practice in the narrower sense, asana, pranayama, meditation.

  • 2. I have already published texts on how to do this well. Then it is important to go to Satsang, to practice regularly with others, ultimately also to experience spiritual community.
  • 3. Then, thirdly, it is important to practice sattva, i.e. to have a spiritual lifestyle, which has an impact on diet, clothing, choice of words, taste in music, home and the way you live your job.
  • 4. Then there is the task of serving something unselfishly and doing something good. The next thing to do is to get to know your wishes and needs. To live this in a sattvic way.
  • 5. Then it is important to integrate work, family and partnership well into the spiritual life. It is also important to accept yourself as you are, because it is of no use to feel unhappy with yourself, you have to learn to like your body, to like your psyche. To work on it but to like it.

That’s a lot on the way. And you might say, oh how am I supposed to do this? But if you ever manage to do that to a certain extent, then the next danger lurks, namely spiritual materialism.

That means you turn yoga into a kind of lifestyle without consciously working on yourself. You could also say spiritual bourgeoisie, or cozy spirituality, or spirituality in the comfort zone. What do I mean by that?

So you are living a spiritual life, which should help you to make yourself comfortable somehow. Ultimately, you lead a life like everyone else, just a little more satiated. Others may jog and go to a gym. You do your yoga exercises every day and go to the yoga center every now and then. Others have their way of eating and you eat full, vegetarian - hopefully - wholesome, healthy. But you like it too.

Others may have their own ways of calming down. You have your meditation and deep relaxation. Others like to drink coffee for energy.You practice Pranayama and maybe drink one or the other strengthening drink in the sense of Greensmoothie.

Others may spend their vacation somewhere, earlier you would have said Ballerman, Mallorca or something like that. You go to the ashram regularly and enjoy your vacation there. That is all good and that is all right. This is the problem now: The problem may be that you are no longer really working on yourself. You meditate, but not with great intensity. You do your yoga exercises, but not with great intensity. You live fully, but you no longer have this great Mumukshutwa, this desire for liberation.

Ultimately, you get stuck in a kind of comfort zone. The yoga lifestyle is healthy, it is one that also incorporates common sense. You can say it can be a kind of feel-good and wellness spirituality. And you can get stuck there. It was not for nothing that Martin Luther once said: Works alone do not make a person righteous before God if he does not achieve redemption.

And Shankaracharya once said: Liberation cannot be achieved. Not even through millions of pranayamas, not even through thousands of pilgrimages, and not even through constant meditation. What is correct is either, as Martin Luther would say, the intense love of God that leads to acceptance of God's grace. Or Shankaracharya would say the deep detachment that leads to jnana, to knowledge of the self.

How to Avoid Spiritual Materialism? A few tips on how to avoid spiritual materialism.

  • 1. The first would be to ask you often why am I doing this anyway? And bring intensity into spiritual practice. Make yourself aware that I want to experience God. I want to experience my deepest being. I want to experience the unity. If you don't want to put it that way, put it another way: Please dear God, dear cosmic energy, give me liberation. Let me know you Let me know your grace Give me supreme knowledge. That intensity is important.
  • 2. Before you meditate and do asanas, pranayama, make yourself aware again why. Right in front of it. Then practice with a new intensity.
  • 3. Intensify your practice beyond the comfort zone. If you can sit well for 30 minutes, then sit down for an hour or two for meditation. If you enjoy practicing certain asanas, also practice asanas that you do not enjoy doing. When you've figured out the best time to meditate at seven o'clock, get up at half past four and do meditation at five o'clock. Get out of the comfort zone.
  • 4. The next tip would be if you are someone who regularly practices a lot, two to three hours a day then reduce the amount of practice a little so that you feel the need to be more intense inside. This is not possible if you only practice half an hour or an hour a day, but if you practice two or three hours a day and still have the feeling that you are getting stuck, it can be helpful to practice more or a little less.
  • 5. Next tip would be to consciously do things that you don't enjoy. Bring some discomfort into life. And then learn to like things that you haven't liked before. Reach out for the things you don't enjoy doing and do them with intensity and joy.
  • 6. Forego one or the other convenience. Tapas also helps you break out of spiritual materialism. So in the sense of if you think you need that to eat and then it's good, then maybe fast. Or eat something that is ethically justifiable in principle, but that is not quite as one hundred percent healthy. Or do without one or the other meal or for a week without anything sweet or salty. Do something that is uncomfortable.
  • 7. Think about what quality you can work on. Sometimes in the beginning people want to revolutionize everything and want to become saints in a few months. Then you realize that it will take a little longer and at some point you come to terms with all minor and major weaknesses and stop working systematically on yourself. Think about what quality you want to cultivate in yourself. You may want to cultivate more patience, cultivate courage, cultivate empathy, overcome your shyness, etc.

A master whom I appreciate very much, Swami Chidananda once said: Every aspirant should always know what he or she is consciously working on. Now you can pause for a moment and think for yourself what are you consciously working on at the moment? If you don't know then you are either enlightened or you are not yet on the path regularly or if you are regular maybe you are currently in a spiritual phase of comfort. And think about what could you work on?

Another way would be to have a guru, a spiritual teacher. One of the tasks of the spiritual teacher is to make sure that you don't get too comfortable.

I had a master named Swami Vishnu Devananda, who was especially a master in making sure that the life of his aspirants did not become too comfortable. To be a close disciple of Swami Vishnu meant always being ready to work on yourself, always being ready to grow beyond your self-made limits, always being very conscious of walking the spiritual path very consciously.

So the job of a spiritual teacher is not, as many people think, to hold a hand somewhere, to listen to worries and to give caresses, but on the contrary to wake you up to point out your own weaknesses and help you about self-made ones To point out boundaries. Fortunately, karma also has something to do with avoiding spiritual materialism. These are called karmic events. Someone who is seriously on the spiritual path will find it again and again, then when he has settled down comfortably a small or larger disaster or an event occurs somewhere that throws himself out of the comfort zone.

Welcome that, be grateful. Such unforeseen events will accelerate your spiritual progress.

Now think about it, are you yourself in the danger of spiritual materialism? Or are you still so much at the beginning that your main concern is less that you make yourself spiritually comfortable but your main concern is to be practiced spiritually first.

Then this text was not for you now, but maybe for your future.

But one more thing: Do not use the accusation of spiritual materialism in dealing with others. This text should not lead you to go around and look at people and say: yes, he is a spiritual materialist and he is too. I am much better. But work on yourself and have respect and esteem for others. You don't know what they're like inside

Sukadev wishes you a lot of fun with yoga and a wonderful day.

You can find more information about yoga and yoga courses on the Yoga Vidya website. There you will find a search field. There you can enter what you are looking for there. You will be able to enter everything about yoga, meditation and Ayurveda, spirituality, health and find an article, a video or an audio and many suggestions.

Video - dealing with one's own materialism

Video lecture by Sukadev on spiritual materialism

More spiritual materialism - this is a common temptation for serious aspirants. More spiritual materialism, that has something to do with bourgeoisie and cosiness, trimmed in spirituality. It is not for nothing that Shankaracharya says that sadhana, spiritual practices, sattwige life, charity and rituals are not enough for enlightenment. It is important to break free of all attachments and identifications from the ground up.

Listen to Sukadev's remarks in this video lecture - and then consider: Are you showing signs of spiritual materialism? How do you want to avoid this? Other expressions: spiritual bourgeoisie, leisurely spirituality, spiritual comfort zone. This lecture is part of the lecture series on Vicharana, conscious spiritual pursuit. The lecture series on Vicharana is part of the lecture series on "Spiritual Path". And this in turn is part of the lecture series "Yoga Vidya Training - The Holistic Yoga Path".

This is also the fifty-second lecture in the “Yoga Vidya Training” lecture series. Here you come to the previous lecture or the next lecture and the first lecture from this lecture series.

For more information, see the Keywords spirituality and bhumika.

Dealing with the materialism of others

Maybe you are a spiritual person, an ethical person, a philanthropic person, a person who wants to do good to others. And you feel the materialism of our time is bad. And when you then see people who are very materialism oriented, then maybe that can spoil your mood somewhere.

But be aware that no person is really a materialist, because deep down inside everyone is a soul. Deep down, everyone wants to experience joy and love. People are not about the accumulation of things, people are not about possessions, but people are about appreciation. People are about love, maybe people are also about security. Perhaps people are also interested in plugging internal holes. Instead of getting upset about the materialism of others, get in touch with the souls of others. Feel with love the soul of the other person whom you previously viewed as materialistic. You will find that the divine manifests itself in every human being.

From the following lecture by Sukadev Bretz:

Materialism in relation to other personality traits

A tree - beauty even with materialism

Materialism belongs to the group of personality traits, downsides, vices and virtues. To better understand this character trait, let's relate it to others:

Synonyms materialism - similar properties

Synonyms materialism are for example Possession striving, striving for profit, exploitation, striving for pleasure, attitude to life, factual orientation, worldview .

The synonyms can be divided into two groups, those with a positive connotation and those with a negative connotation:

Synonyms with negative connotation

Synonyms that are commonly interpreted as negative are, for example

Synonyms with positive connotation

Synonyms with a positive connation can help to see an apparently dark side positively. Synonyms with positive connotation are for example

Antonyms materialism - opposites

Antonyms are opposites. Antonyms, i.e. opposites, of materialism are for example Anti-materialism, idealism, self-sufficiency, independence, narcissism . You can also divide the antonyms, the opposites, into those with a positive connotation and those with a negative connotation.

Antonyms with positive connotation

Antonyms, i.e. opposites, to a vice, a shadowy side, a negative personality trait, are commonly interpreted as an opposite pole. These can be cultivated in order to overcome the vice, the dark side. So here are some opposing poles to materialism that have a positive connotation:

Antonyms with negative connotation

The opposite of a shadowy side, a vice, is not always positive. Here are some examples of antonyms about materialism, but they are also not seen as beneficial:

Properties in the alphabet before or after

Here are some properties that come before or after materialism in the alphabet:

Property group

Materialism can be counted under the following two groups of properties:

Related words

Words related to materialism include the adjective material, the verb materialize, and the noun materialist.

Anyone who has materialism is material or a materialist.

See also

Ways out of Depression Yoga Vidya Seminars

Seminars on the subject of depression and how to overcome it:

07/02/2021 - 07/04/2021 - Transformation and healing of negative thoughts
Our brain cannot distinguish between thoughts, inner images and the “real” situation. As a result, negative thoughts and negative inner images that originate in ...
September 5th, 2021 - September 10th, 2021 - Burnout and anti-stress counselor in training
Learn to guide groups or individuals in coping with stress. Protect yourself and others from the stress trap or take necessary countermeasures. With the theoretical part and techn ...

More information on yoga and meditation