The 10 Commandments of New-Age Spirituality

Light Watkins
Sep 8, 2015 · 4 min read

I could be wrong about these, but…

  1. Thou shalt never profess “I am spiritual, not religious.” We get it… you identify primarily with your spirit. When you are asked the inappropriate question, “Are you religious?” and you answer, “I’m spiritual, not religious,” it’s a bit condescending because A) One thing has nothing to do with the other, and B) We all identify with our spirit to some degree. It’s like a black person answering the same question with, “I am black, not religious.” The correct answer is simply, “No, I’m not religious.”
  2. Thou shalt never mention how often you meditate or practice yoga. We know you love yoga and meditation, and secretly wish everyone did it, especially all of the Debbie Downers and Negative Nancys in your life. Maybe you think that by reminding us of how committed you are to your “inner work,” you’re going to inspire us to finally try that beginner yoga class, or sign up for that introduction to meditation lecture. But all it really does is push us further away from giving it a shot, and we are secretly waiting for you to snap at someone so we can accuse you of being a big phony. Instead, treat your “inner” practices like brushing your teeth. Do them daily, but without mentioning it. Don’t worry, we’ll notice your fresh-smelling aura, and that will attract us towards doing our own inner work more than anything you can say.
  3. Thou shalt refrain from offering others unsolicited advice on how to improve their lives. Yes, you’re good at parroting the solutions and anecdotes that you’ve heard your meditation teacher posit about life. “This is the way.” “That is not the way,” etc. But if you rape our ears with your spiritual solutions to our problems — without us first asking for your sage advice — you can guarantee that we will either A) Ignore you, B) Get defensive, C) Avoid you, D) Stop confiding in you, or E) All of the above. By the way, this is what it sounds like when we genuinely want your advice: “Hey (your name), what do you think I should do about xyz situation?” Anything else is simply us venting, which is your cue to remain quiet and listen without comment.
  4. Thou shalt embrace ALL religions. Being spiritual does not mean you’re anti-religion. You can be spiritual and be a Christian. Or spiritual and Muslim. True spirituality is all-embracing and is about as religion-specific as it is gender-specific.
  5. Thou shalt embrace all lifestyles. Who says that someone who is truly spiritual needs to be vegetarian, or soft-spoken, or a pacifist? If this is your limited idea of spirituality, that’s fine, we’ll accept it too, because we fully understand that spirituality includes all perspectives (even yours).
  6. Thou shalt refrain from using the word “manifest” in reference to experiences you wish to have. Yes, we get that you manifested an ice cream that one time at Burning Man. Of course, we only ever hear about the positive stuff you want to manifest, such as the perfect relationship or the ideal job. But from a spiritual perspective, you grow just as much from your hardships and challenges. So… we could make the argument that those situations were also manifested, in order to help you learn valuable life lessons. Since there’s no “off” and “on” switch to manifesting, lets retire that word and see everything that happens to you as beneficial in some way.
  7. Thou shalt never wear more than two strings of mala beads. We all know why rappers wear lots of gold chains — it’s a blatant effort to boast about how materially successful they are. So can we assume that by wearing multiple strings of mala beads (two on each wrist, and three around your neck for instance), you want to let us know how spiritual you are? How about you let us determine your “spiritual cred” by your actions, and not by your ornamental use of ancient Indian prayer beads.
  8. Thou shalt never consider yourself to be the ultimate authority on anything, and especially not on the topic of spirituality. We know that you know a lot about metaphysics, the “correct” way to meditate, and why women should never do an inversion while on their “Moon cycle.” But there is still a chance that you could be wrong. If you admit that possibility up front, we’ll listen a lot more closely to what you have to say.
  9. Thou shalt make every effort to understand the fallacies of your fellow human beings. No one is perfect. Everyone is doing the best they can — and that includes all of the “non-spiritual” people in your mind (i.e. Republicans, NRA members, Fox News political pundits, and even Donald Trump). Before you dismiss anyone as being non-spiritual, or bad for humanity, remember that there was a time when you didn’t know all that you know today. Give everyone a chance to grow and evolve before you start judging them.
  10. Thou shalt never, ever use the hashtags #spiritual or #spirituality on social media.. unless you purposefully use it for “non-spiritual” photos to demonstrate that true spirituality is all-encompassing.
Tweet this! It’s good karma.

Written by

Light Watkins is a meditation teacher, the author of The Inner Gym book series, a regular contributor to MindBodyGreen, a TEDx speaker, and founder of The Shine

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade