Month: March 2015

James Bond

On Spirituality and Cool

Spirituality often feels forced, fake, claustrophobic, corny. I think virtually any young person who’s interested in spirituality is, to some extent, embarrassed by that interest. Spirituality often feels forced, fake, claustrophobic, corny: slightly embarrassing to practice, and even to discuss. I used to live at a Buddhist retreat center, and when I’d talk to my closest friend on the outside (an ex-girlfriend), I felt myself withering under her pity that I was investing so much in my spiritual life. I felt the same pity myself when I learned that a Harvard valedictorian intended to join a nunnery. My ex’s feeling and mine, put most bluntly, would be: “But that’s for losers.” Spirituality also often carries an earnestness, an aw-shucks character, that can make one cringe. From the just-linked article, for example: “The Holy Spirit is working overtime these days!” Similarly, at my old retreat center, I recently saw a Facebook update of several people my age building a snowman. It was a bit of painfully earnest fun for people who might otherwise have been going out …