From crystals to meditation, horoscopes to reiki, the past few years have seen the spiritual revolution soar and not just among the young. In 2017, studies found that roughly 25% of adults in the US now describe themselves as ‘spiritual, not religious’, an increase of 8% from prior years.
The increased interest in spirituality comes in part from our growing understanding of how new age medicine can positively impact both our physical and mental health. Especially during the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, looking after your spiritual side can significantly help you take control of other parts of your life.
If you’re looking to reduce stress, find gratitude and recenter yourself, the Internet is teeming with blog posts and Youtube videos to help you on your journey. Don’t know where to start? Learning the background of key visionaries, like in this page about Aaravindha Himadra, is a great way to begin your journey.
- Dalai Lama
One of the most famous and long-serving spiritual gurus today is the Dalai Lama. As per Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the Dalai Lama is known as the reincarnation of a powerful spiritual teacher who has been in existence since the birth of the religion itself. The 14th and current serving Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso, who has held this role since 1950, when he was just 15 years old!
The Dalai Lama’s teachings are built on a foundation of compassion. Buddhism teaches that the way to enlightenment is through being kind to others, learning tolerance and embracing self-discipline. In pandemic times, when peeling ourselves away from Netflix can be a struggle, learning about the Dalai Lama is a good way to remind yourself to practice self-love and revisit self-discipline each day.
- Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra is an extremely well-known and beloved spiritual teacher who has played a strong part in the New Age movement. The Indian-American spiritualist started his career as an endocrinologist before turning his attentions to the blossoming transcendental meditation movement. His career really took off in the West after prolific talk-show host Oprah Winfrey featured him on her show.
Chopra, 74, has been a polarising figure at times, due to the controversial nature of some of his teachings, including the idea that mental health can determine your physical reality. While not all Chopra’s ideas can be concretely proven, the spiritualist can help you learn more about the art of meditation and the power of positive thinking. Start by looking into Deepak’s 21 Day Abundance Challenge, a programme to help you harness your best life.
- Eckhart Tolle
Another guru that was plucked from relative obscurity by Oprah Winfrey is Eckhart Tolle, author of the best-selling book The Power of Now. German-born Tolle eschewed formal education to study different spiritual teachings, from Sufism to the New Testament. His extensive studies led him onto a path that blends the best of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions.
If you struggle to keep yourself in the present and find yourself obsessing over the failures of the past and worries of the future, Eckhart’s teachings are for you. In his book, he cautions against leaving the present moment and reminds us that the past and the future are simply constructs of the mind. Through learning to control our negative (and often untrue!) thoughts, he purports, we can begin to live more healthy and spiritually aware lives.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is an Indian guru known equally for his spiritual teachings and philanthropy. Sadhguru, who started doing yoga at the tender age of eleven, now has a New York Times best-selling novel, Karma, under his belt and counts celebrities like Ozzy Osborne and Moby as fans. Sadhguru teaches that people in positions of power have a great responsibility to use their resources for good. The spiritual teacher practices what he preaches, fronting a charitable initiative to improve healthcare in rural villages across Tamil Nadu.
On his thriving Youtube channel, Sadhguru shares his wisdom on achieving fulfilment in life and relationships through awareness and gratitude. Sadhguru asks us to remember that “…we have the highest level of comfort and convenience compared to every generation in the history of this planet, and still we cannot stop complaining.” His teachings challenge us to reassess and appreciate our reality through meditation and self-discipline.
The world can be an unsettling place, so make a promise to yourself to do one thing today that nourishes your soul, whether it’s researching one of these gurus further or simply pouring yourself a nice, cool glass of water.