Religious Gluttony – Religious Media Weblog

By Noelle Sterne

When you’re a religious seeker, you’re most likely dedicated to climbing ever greater on the spiral of understanding. In your quest, you retain wanting, looking, mining each guide and video you will discover, intent on discovering the reply that may resolve all issues and convey complete and enduring peace. The uncomfortable reality? You—and I—would possibly simply be religious gluttons. 

The idea has apparently been round for some time. Sixteenth-century monk St. John of the Cross described the tendency in Darkish Evening of the Soul: “Many can by no means have sufficient of listening to counsels and studying religious precepts, and of possessing and studying many books.” 

Immediately we purchase the most recent religious books, subscribe to the newest New Thought newsletters, enroll within the main religious retreats and lessons, and spend hours sitting on the ft of the most well-liked mentors. We feverishly click on on the hyperlinks to all of the metaphysical web sites we will discover, watch limitless lectures on YouTube, and purchase affirmation playing cards, calendars, t-shirts, and bracelets. 

We sprint from one chunk of knowledge to a different. We cram all of the supplies into our minds, eager for them to achieve our hearts, and hoping feverishly that someplace the ultimate solutions will seem. And we do all this with a lot delight in our exhaustive searching.

However nothing absolutely satisfies, and we repeat the spherical. We grow to be self-help guru junkies, hooked on our subsequent fast repair of religious reality.

Why can we do that? I like the reason of holistic counselor Michael Swerdloff in a 2014 weblog publish:

I believe it is extremely straightforward with all of the conferences, trainings, seminars and lessons accessible to us right now to repeatedly assume we’d like extra—extra knowledge, extra data . . . . This doesn’t even take note of all that we have now entry to on the web. In our tradition, the idea of extra is on the heart of our worth system. Why would our religious journey be exempt from the assumption that we all the time want extra? 

There’s a desperation to those cravings for extra, as if stuffing within the subsequent gem of reality will magically provide all we’d like. However in actuality, all we appear to get is religious indigestion.


My pal Ella stored looking like this. She’d inform me excitedly in regards to the newest guru, writer, or instructor she had discovered. Earlier than every new discovery, she’d say, “I know that is it.” However after she’d learn each guide, heard each recording, and brought each course, she’d report with an fringe of desperation, “Nope. This wasn’t the one.” After which she’d reel off a listing of criticisms and inconsistencies she’d famous. 

Realizing Ella had spent some huge cash and gained solely ongoing confusion and frustration, I recommended (gently, I assumed) that she would possibly take into account selecting only one or two teachings or academics. She reacted as if I’d attacked her. 

“Oh, you have got all the solutions!” she shot again. “How about giving me some credit score for exploring?”

I apologized, saying that I meant solely to assist. She hardly purchased it. 

Did Ella have to seek out fault with each new discovery? I puzzled. Have been the criticisms her method of not taking within the truths, not studying, probably not eager to develop? 

As quickly as I had that thought, I ruefully acknowledged myself in it. Years in the past, after shopping for the three volumes of A Course in Miracles, I had dipped into the Workbook. Nearly instantly, although, I ended studying. Then I boycotted it for months. Why? Oh, please! The language and diction have been too obscure, method too esoteric. You needed to learn it fifty instances to get it. And the textual content always referred to people as “he.” On this day of inclusion, that’s an insult to ladies! I used to be indignant and virtually sorry I’d purchased the books. 

I see now that my objections stored me away. I used to be depriving myself of admittedly generally troublesome and radical however nonetheless very inspiring teachings. Lastly, I rejected my righteous carpings and inched again into the teachings.  

We don’t have to go looking frantically for the following extravagantly promising “enlightened” piece of data. With some considered selections and slightly self-discipline, we will attain the solutions for any state of affairs that confronts us in addition to the peace we crave.

Religious Judiciousness 

When you suspect you’re spiritually gluttonous, consider your self as an alternative as spiritually considered. You do have the prudence, knowledge, and self-discipline to halt the binge and select the fitting assets. 

A suggestion: Put aside ten to twenty minutes, after which declare your intention with your personal affirmation: I’ll gravitate to precisely the fitting web page/passage/phrases.

Subsequent, with all of the supplies you’ve collected, pay attention for steerage. As an alternative of gorging on the massive unfold earlier than you, let your Inside Information lead you to 1 or two books or passages and browse or pay attention to simply these. When you discover your thoughts wandering, acknowledge this and are available again to the passage you’re on. 

A treasure I return to is Unity minister Mary Kupferle’s Belief within the Goodness of God (Unity Books, 2000), replete with uplifting essays. An essay on this guide helped me not too long ago with a consumer. Her dissertation chair was insisting on the draft a lot ahead of my consumer had initially informed me it was due. After I noticed her e-mail, I bristled, cursed, and shouted out loud to myself, “No method!” Slightly later, I bought a extreme headache. Recognizing the supply, I virtually pawed by way of the stack of metaphysical books inside arm’s attain on my desk, feverish for any reply. 

However I noticed this reflex as my tendency to religious gluttony and as an alternative took a couple of deep breaths. Kupferle’s guide was on the highest of the pile, and I opened it. My eye instantly caught the essay “In The whole lot . . . I Belief God!” Her phrases guided: “If one thing appears too troublesome so that you can deal with, keep in mind that you’re not alone in any state of affairs. . . . God’s presence is inside you. . . . Infinite knowledge is inside you. . . . Give up your ideas and emotions to God and quietly remind your self: In all the things, I belief God. 

These phrases instantly soothed me. After I went inside and requested for steerage on what to do, shortly the reply got here: I might shift one other much less urgent mission one place down on my checklist so I might give this consumer’s work the wanted rapid consideration. I needed to forgive myself too for the sooner response of anger and resentment. An amazing sense of peace came visiting me, and the headache disappeared. 

Each time I grew to become not sure or indignant once more, I repeated the affirmation “In all the things, I belief God.” The work went easily, and I accomplished it on time.

Confirmed Treasures

As my expertise illustrates, we’d like repetition of the truths we search. Previous unfavorable habits of thoughts will be onerous to crack, and repetition and substitute are key. 

Repetition of favourite passages that really contact you combats religious gluttony. We don’t want a surfeit of metaphysical principal dishes. We study that our preferences, or an occasional new dish, are sufficient.

The actual secret is to belief. Belief your selections and steerage, ask and pay attention, and know you’ll be led to the fitting solutions. We’re usually known as to leap off the precipice of uncertainty. As Kupferle says, “Be assured that when the time comes, you may ‘let go and let God.’” 

Maybe much more to the purpose is Joseph Benner’s assurance us in his guide The Impersonal Life (DeVorss, 1979): “Now, when you’ve got had sufficient of teachings and academics, and are certain that inside you lies the Supply of all Knowledge, these phrases will convey pleasure unspeakable to your coronary heart. . . . Be nonetheless! And KNOW,–I AM,–GOD.”

The options we search, whether or not from an individual, a phrase, a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph, an image, a vista, will seem after we belief. So allow us to have the braveness to show inside to the Supply. Belief your self, your instinct, your Inside Information to guide you away from religious gluttony and to each considered proper reply. 

© 2023 Noelle Sterne

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