In the late summer of 2018, I created a Facebook blog page on a whim and began writing articles which cast a sober yet satirical glance on contemporary spirituality and the culture that is woven around it. The page was called Advaitaholics Anonymous and within a very short time it won a strong support among many seasoned seekers; individuals who had followed various ‘spiritual’ teachers, read all the literature, practised various meditative techniques yet were left with the vacant feeling that in the end it had all been a form of escape.
Advaitaholics Anonymous was also published in book form by New Sarum Press in 2020.
‘Advaitaholic’ is a term that I coined in reference to the phenomenon of spiritual addiction; an addiction that plagues so many seekers who claim to be in search of a higher truth, transcendence, awakening, enlightenment, liberation or whatever other form that holy grail may take. And although the term appears to single out Advaita as its focus, it is much broader than that. It encompasses all forms of spiritual belief systems and doctrine.
Spirituality is a highly personal business. It is a person’s unique relationship with reality. Yet, the moment it is taken out of the person and objectified in the form of a system of thought it is no longer a personal affair. Once it is made concrete for others to congregate and build a community or culture around then that spirituality—our own relationship with reality—ceases to be the focal point.
When common sense becomes the highest form of wisdom to which we can aspire, and sanity the greatest kind of enlightenment, then it is safe to say that the path of recovery has truly begun.
With his avant-garde, no-nonsense approach to the existential questions of life, Shiv’s work has captured the minds of readers across the globe. With a balance of caustic wit and profound insight, his writing throws down the gauntlet for each person to confront reality by themselves, without the assurances of authority figures, the dictates of dogma and the comfort of cultural belief systems.
Shiv lives with his wife and two daughters in snowy Hokkaido, Japan’s Northernmost island, where he works as a Business Strategy consultant.Shiv Sengupta is a writer and blogger