Yes the spiritual can wear Armani

Before we start I must confess I am completely in ignorance of fashion, that’s to say I have no interest in it. I would no more be able to pick out an Armani suit in a crowd than I can say longest place name in the UK, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (It’s a village in Wales).

Just because designer labels don’t rock my world doesn’t mean I live in some egoless dimension, when it comes to clothes I do have prefaces to what I wear. So here in lies the point of the blog it is generally thought that ‘new age’ spiritual types should look a certain way. Often the look of a spiritual person is devised to suggest a lacking of ego, I’m thinking of monks and Indian holy men but this is a misnomer. There can be just as much ego vested in a loincloth of denial, as anything thing that struts down a Paris cat walk. The historical Buddha is said to have worn a humble monk’s robe made of patched pieces of donated cloth throughout his life. We are also told the Dalai Lama wears Rockport shoes, we can all jump to conclusions on both Siddhārtha Gautama (the man who achieved buddhahood) and His Holiness dress sense but that would be simply putting our own perception on the subject. Wearing humble attire does not mean the absence of ego it simply means the persons wearing humble attire, they could be walking around thinking ‘I’m far more humble than your ever be dude’. Likewise a person in the much venerated Armani suit may no more think about what he or what others around him are wearing, than a tiger checks out his strips and thinks ‘boy I’m Cool’

Of course you may disagree. But think on this if a billionaire turns up to a glitzy film premiere in a stretch limo does anyone really notice? If they come in a ford rusty escort the media would have a field day, they write page upon page on the subject. If the same billionaire drives around my town no one would even know, if he turns up in a limo everyone’s rubbernecking to see who’s inside. Once again it is impossible to say from a viewers stand point what of the above actions are totally driven by ego.

Often the purchasing of expensive items just makes common sense. Let take the Dalai Lamas Rockport’s (not literarily ) I know that when I spend £90 on a pair of boots apart from feeling ill (spending money on clothes has that effect on me) I’m getting a pair of boots that have in the past lasted me up to two years of daily use. Now I have just brought a pair for £15 down the market and in 2 months they have almost totally fallen apart. So in two years at that rate it would cost me £180 but I would have also thrown 11 more pairs of boots into the land fill. Technology is another area where often buying cheap is a false economy, I know this is not always the case see my blog ‘a Mac for a day’ .

While you may feel I’ve gone of the point I have not, Perceived indulgence and flaunting of the ego is not always that it is just sometimes good sense. As you will know I show my art work at many Mind body and Soul (spirit) shows and exhibitions, now I have witnessed people turning up in scruffy jeans and clothes and then 10 mins before the event starts putting on a white robe. Now I’m not judging that person but what is really going on here? Have not the clothes just become a false persona (persona derives from the Latin for “mask”).

If Jesus was alive (literally) in 2009 London what would he wear? a hoodie? a Gucci suit ? I very much doubt it would be a robe. No clothes come with added EGO, the ego dimension of all fashion is purely all down to our personal perceptions. A designer label can only impress those who have heard of it.

So no matter if I stand next to my art work in a £10 pair of jeans and a £9 shirt or my old trusty black suit only the very few will not be judging the way I look. I know whatever I wear I will never sound or look ‘spiritual’ enough for the majority of people, because many people say with surprise, ‘oh YOU created this work?’. When his happens I know I’m going to spend the next few minutes, talking to a person who is driven by the perceptions in their head, and not the feelings in their heart.

The Kingdom of the ego is vast. It touches on our every thought and action. It is my belief that ego resides in us all from saints to sinners; Yes it can just as easily bask in our glory as it can wallow in our despair. This ego lives in the rich, the poor, the sick, the healthy, the wise and the fool. So the obvious question is – Are we all doomed forever to be slaves to what could be likened to a devil in our heads?

While I do not believe in an egoless state in this lifetime, I know that we can radically reduce its negative impact on our lives. This is done by tracking our ego at play and understanding when it is holding back our life experience. The divine essence (soul, spirit – call it what you will) within us all is unaffected by this leech on the mind. By listening to our inner self we can begin to view our life more from the stand point of the observer rather than the helpless puppet. While we may never totally break free from the egos clutches, we can thwart its domination of our lives and its desire to keep us often in a constant state of separation, dissatisfaction and fear. It is possible with practice to spend large slices of the day in the now and enjoy it, so reducing the time the monkey mind has to jump back and forth from past events to future hopes and nightmares at the egos whim.

Never forget that while we all have an ego we are not our ego and that within us lies stillness, peace an ultimate truth. So, when an unkind thought or word pops up or we look around us in judgmental condemnation, just acknowledge you egos handy work and re-centre your self and once again attempt to cast off the labels and stories of this false ruler of our mind.