If you watched JP Sears’ new video, “Spiritual People Thinking Out Loud” when it debuted on YouTube and Facebook earlier this week, you were not alone. It’s already racked up more than a million views on the social network. It purports to give insight into the innermost thought of “spiritual” people and, like most of JP Sears’ “Ultra Spiritual” videos, is good for a laugh — if you are not offended by the joke.
But the big secret behind Sears, whose parody videos of everything trendy and new agey — like coconut oil, veganism, gluten intolerance — may be that he’s actually a real life healer and spiritual coach. Although the world came to know JP Sears as the man who made fun of the healing industry, it turns out it was his bread and butter for more than a decade and still is — just in between YouTube videos.
Last August, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that JP Sears’ “How to Be Ultra Spiritual” series of videos had a total of 100 million views on Facebook and about 30 million on YouTube. After making several serious spiritual coaching videos, Sears made a comedy video as a lark, and it quickly went viral. The shift from life coach to YouTube comedian wasn’t planned; it just happened. It’s almost as if the universe had something special in mind for JP Sears, and he was grateful to receive the abundance of good fortune.
Back in December 2016, Sears did an interview with Yoga Journal, where he compared his comedy videos to a Buddhist philosophy of non-attachment. He also said he’s not above spouting the spiritual vernacular often heard in his videos; he said his humor actually came about as the result of his own tendency to take himself too seriously as a spiritual guru.
“The videos became and still are a therapy for myself. I was taking myself and my spiritual life way too seriously; it had become an egotistical endeavor rather than a spiritual endeavor.”
In fact, one of Sears’ running jokes is that in order to be “ultra” spiritual, you have to look the part. Why do yoga if you can’t post about it on Instagram? But he also has more practical advice for his fans, including reassessing what it is that they rely upon to better themselves in the name of spirituality, as he told Yoga Journal.
“I like people to consider what has become dogma for you—what is working well for one person might be working against another person. What works well can stop working for us, even work against us. We all deserve to analyze and reconsider, ‘What am I doing, what am I believing, is it still serving me now?’ Even if served me for five years.”
— JP Sears (@AwakenWithJP) May 26, 2017
Of course, since Sears is dealing with such — ahem — sacred topics, he’s bound to ruffle a few feathers. In an interview with USC Annenberg’s Religion Dispatches, Sears said he tries to be conscious of what he’s putting out through his videos — although the “line” is different for everyone.
“I need to look at it through my perspective. The best I can say is I do my best to be mindful of it. I never intend to attack or criticize people. What I always intend to do is expose the shadow side that people are usually not aware of.”
Sears recently went from online to print, having released a book that puts his “philosophy” down on paper. As with most of the videos where Sears is offering a tongue-in-cheek perspective on spirituality, the photo on the book’s cover is of the author looking deep, wearing a headband, with a flower tucked into it.
[Featured Image by PixieMe/Shutterstock]