Enlightenment Inc. By Sean Conforti

Art By Tomas Brewer

Art By Tomas Brewer

When I was in university I cleaned a yoga studio in exchange for one free class per week- because enlightenment/liberation/metaphysical masturbation tend to be prohibitively expensive.  I did a teacher training program a few years ago, and this is the healthy perspective from which I view the larger community of yoga people1.

Go to a yoga studio; you’ll inevitably hear the same enlightening conversations that I heard at that studio in Ottawa (that’s the capital of Canada, you capitalist American pigs.)  “I’m, like, trying this fantastic new diet.  I’m only eating cayenne pepper flakes, lemon rind, and raw Iguana eggs taken directly from local Iguanas.”

“Oh, you eat eggs? Ugh, I totally stopped eating eggs. I only eat the bacteria inhaled throughout the day; it’s done wonders for my pores.”

“Isn’t that called Jainism?”

“Oh no it’s like this brand new thing I saw on elephant journal.”

And there’s me, taking a break from steam cleaning the nasty carpets in the hot yoga room, vomiting in my throat just a little bit.  Vomiting my delicious digested baby cow, chewing it, chewing that upchuck-veal, chewing it like cud, loving every delicious bit.

Maybe I’m spiritually empty?  Sometimes I feel like this.  I walk into a place where people are being all happy like they fell in a vat of chemical sludge and came out with a permanent smile.  

My psychologist attributes this to my voracious atheism, and my middle-class envy of both the poor (for their authentic struggle) and the rich (for their money). When I’m feeling especially unliberated I like to go to yoga studios, to smell the fake patchouli bliss, to walk amongst the plastic laughing Buddhism kitsch and the motivating posters, the walls of over-priced DVDs and erection-inducing pants.  I rub yogic paraphernalia against my face, drooling slightly as the enlightened vibes leak into my soulless husk through a consumerist osmosis.

Of course it doesn’t, because that’s not how enlightenment works, osmosis is for fucking plants and there is no enlightenment, God is dead and bliss is a well-branded way for privileged people to long for something they don’t have and will never get.



1 Physically attractive mostly white upper class westerners who use a discipline founded on asceticism to dwell on how good they feel and mask their superficiality in a veneer of spirituality.