When I was in college, I fancied myself very enlightened with my five-day-a-week yoga practice, my lotus flower tattoo, and my tattered copy of the Daoist text Zen Mind, Beginner Mind. Post-college, I experimented even more with New Age spirituality. There were Indian sweat lodges, psychic vortex tours, aura pendulum readings, natal chart mappings, and Sanskrit chanting sessions. Before you giggle, I will be the first to admit that, in retrospect, I was a bit misguided in my pursuits. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was desperately searching for my purpose in life. Once I had more of a clue about what my actual purpose was, the luster of New Age activities wore off for me. I wanted to spend more time gazing into the eyes of fellow human beings than at my own navel. Not that I discredit the knowledge gained from these experiences—hey, I still make time for yoga once a week and I would totally go to that sweat lodge again because it was crazy cool. I just now understand that engaging in New Age rituals doesn’t make you any more enlightened. Feeling secure with your place in the world does. That’s why I was really interested in this article in The New York Times about the emergence of young, female gurus in New York City. The article claims that women like 29-year-old Gabrielle Bernstein are trading their fancy PR jobs and nights out on the town for the cloistered lives of yoga, meditation, and spiritual coaching. Translation: they’re becoming self-appointed gurus. Bye-bye “Sex and the City” and hello Eat, Pray, Love. The article claims that the emergence of gurus is indicative of a generation of woman making their internal journey a priority. But are women truly becoming more enlightened or is this just a new (age) trend for women in their 20s and 30s? I can’t help but think that next season these gurus will be trading in their meditation pillows for Jazzercise leotards. [New York Times]
So what do you think? Would you ever visit a guru?