Anything can be a competition- even spirituality. JP Sears in How to Be Ultra Spiritual tackles everything from meditation to existing in the “soon” in a tongue-in-cheek effort to educate the reader on all spiritual matters. Not for thin-skinned readers, this book uses humor to examine just how ridiculous the whole spiritual thing can be when taken to extremes. Though JP never breaks character, it is clear from the sheer amount of New Age material covered in these pages that if he hasn’t been on the retreats, met the gurus, done the shamanistic plant-fueled trips, then he’s talked to someone who has. I found the whole thing incredibly funny, but it may not appeal to all seekers.
From the introduction: “… if there’s one thing for certain about consciousness, it’s that more is always better. There’s a lot more consciousness in the new level of consciousness that we’re now conscious of, but you’re unconscious to all of this if you’re still wasting your life in the old consciousness that is only spirituality.” loc 17, ebook. And so, the only choice we’re left with, is to become “ultra” spiritual.
What does this mean? “It’s not about being better than other people. It’s about being more spiritual than other people, which is exactly what makes you better than other people.” loc 72. Haha, JP, do go on.
When practicing veganism, he offers a few tips: “Thou shalt not acknowledge the illusionary nature of death in the presence of a thou who casts his stone at animal skulls.” loc 1079. The only vegans I’ve ever met are so not like that- and that’s what makes it so funny.
I’ve thought about taking a guru when I read a couple of Ram Dass’ books: “In the best circumstances your guru should be dead. … Aside from your guru always being with you like a caring stalker, the other advantage of assigning guru status to someone who’s dead is that it’s much easier for you to idealize his idealized self when he’s not alive. The tragedy of a guru still being alive is that they have their faults too.” loc 1250-1260 ebook. It may be that I’ve never met my guru or it may be that everyone is meant to find their own way- it seems to me that we’re all just people doing the best we can. Not to pass judgement on anyone who has a guru or wants to find a guru, I’m certainly not a guru.
My favorite part of this book is when JP takes on Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment with his ultra spiritual “power of soon”: “Conscious people never have hopes and dreams that are based on exactly what’s happening in this present moment of now in their life. Why? Because now isn’t a place- it’s an illusion of time that doesn’t exist. … The enlightened ones know that the only place where their hopes and dreams can live is in the present moment of their future.” loc 1578, ebook. Brilliant.
Recommended for folks who have followed a bunch of different spiritual trends and are ready for a hearty laugh about it all. Some further reading: Be Here Now, Awakening to Zero Point: The Collective Initiation, and Psychosomatic Wellness: Guided Meditations, Affirmations & Music to Heal Your Bodymind.
Thank you to NetGalley and Sounds True Publishing for a free digital copy of this book. And thanks for reading!