Friday, September 12, 2014

Traders in the Temple?

Bloomberg News story describes how a high pressure finance trader uses meditation to manage stress. Spiritualists quoted in the article cry heresy. The meditating stock trader reasons that Japanese Samurai and, later in history, Kamikaze used meditation prior to battle. So our intrepid trader, engaging in finance, is at ease with co-opting the stress reducing benefits of meditation for mere financial gain.

If one examines the claims of spiritual superiority exclusive to their systems combined with claims of scientific validity coming from scores of twentieth century self-styled gurus, and one digs only a little, you will find a pattern.
  • Assume a Hindu name or title
  • Claim a lineage from ancient times
  • Declare your system as the only valid approach
  • Treat western medicine as a misguided competitor
  • Invoke scientific support
  • Claim special secret knowledge or ownership
Gurus seeking Western audiences taught spiritual lessons, yoga postures or a combination of both. When successfully implemented, the pattern created great wealth for leaders of many yoga and meditation movements. This meme, this marketing pattern, included celebrity name dropping as well. If this describes the man you hold as a creator of a system you follow and think I am describing him, look deeper. This description fits nearly all of the late nineteenth and twentieth century Indian gurus who found success in the West.