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Why Learning about Spirituality from Tik Tok Can be Harmful

If you have been on Tik Tok recently, you have definitely seen the rise of spirituality on the app. Whether it be through love-related Tarot card readings on your “For You” page, or tips on perfecting the Law of Attraction, new age spiritualists are quickly emerging as a result of Tik Tok.  While the awareness, self discovery and serenity that spirituality can bring is powerful, the ways in which spiritual topics are being brought up on recent social media nowadays can be harmful and insensitive.

Spirituality is the overarching theme of an individual’s connection to transcendence, themselves, others or all of the above. With this, spirituality is often a broad concept, and if you put 10 spiritual people in a room, it is likely that they all have varying beliefs and mindsets. There are many common practices and rituals that are associated with spirituality that you may have heard of, like the use of crystals and chakras or the practice of meditation and manifestation. However, what is barely acknowledged amidst the rising popularity of spirituality and these practices is their origin. The concepts of meditation, yoga, manifestation, karma, chakras, and crystals (just to name a few) all come from Hindu and Buddist origins. 

So, with the new age of spirituality comes the fine line between appropriative whitewashing and appreciative respect. It is fair to want to genuinely try out manifestation or learn about the spirituality behind crystals, but it is disrespectful to have posters of Hindu gods or Buddha in your room just because Tik Tok made it look cool. Those who practice the religions in which these traditions come from are often discriminated against, while others who simply see it as a trend on Tik Tok are praised for similar actions. So, with the boom of spirituality on Tik Tok, these cultures and practices have unfortunately been digitally colonized to have their beliefs cherry picked and their traditions aestheticized. 

This is why it is vitally important to practice everything you are interested in respectfully, while also researching the meaning and origins behind what you are doing or posting about. Without degrading those who practice the religions correlated, understand where the practices come from, and learn about the religions and respect them. It is important to look at these practices for what they are, which are parts of cultures, not aesthetics or trends.

Here are a few of many resources to learn more about the religion and culture behind spiritual practices:

Gabriella is a first-year student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo majoring in Graphic Communication. She is currently involved in Her Campus as the Cal Poly SLO chapter Instagram Manager and as an editorial writer. She is passionate about writing, making art, volunteering, and pursuing a career where her creativity can be at the forefront. In her free time, you can find her attempting to surf, researching astrology, and doodling anything at any given opportunity.
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