We’ve probably all seen it, the kind of recently arisen popular religion that assures us we can change reality with little to no effort simply by giving to the right church, repeating the right words, thinking the right thoughts, attracting the right circumstances, sending money in huge quantities to the right ministry, all without leaving the comfort of my easy chair. Who wouldn’t think that sounds appealing? All these fools out here working their butts off to achieve spiritual transformation when all they have to do is sit in their chair and said, “I think I can, I think I can…”
If that was all there was to the spiritual life, the Little Engine that Could would be the Dalai Lama. If these kinds of processes actually worked, we would be able to find people for whom they had worked who weren’t selling the religious product themselves. What’s really behind the appeal of these pseudo-religions? People who want to be rescued. It’s the same codependency that drives people into dysfunctional romantic relationships. We cry out to the religion, “save me, save me!” and apply the given solution. And when it doesn’t work, we blame the religion for tricking us rather than ourselves for falling for the same nonsense again and again.
If you want spiritual transformation, it’s going to take work. There’s no way around it. If you aren’t willing to do the work, you don’t really want transformation very much.