His Highness JP Sears
His Highness JP Spears
by Nadia Colburn, Ph.D.
Today, I would like to introduce His Highness JP Sears. JP is Ultra Spiritual, and this is important because being ultra spiritual is significantly more significant than being spiritual.
How do you know if someone is Ultra Spiritual? An Ultra Spiritual person often posts yoga pictures in dangerous places to his or her Instagram account. He or she is vegetarian or vegan and looks at meat eaters with contempt. And of course Ultra Spiritual gurus crush it in meditation.
JP is a meditation master. He likes to do a six-hour meditation daily. And he’s so good at it, it only takes him five minutes.
He’s very competitive when it comes to consciousness.
This is how the comedian and coach often introduces himself.
JP Sears pokes gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) fun at the new new age spiritual community. And it seems to have hit a nerve because he became an almost overnight YouTube success with more than 100 million views on his channel.
For the past fifteen years, JP has worked as an emotional healing coach. He’s part of the very world that he pokes fun at. He has a very busy client practice and travels to workshops classes and retreats. And he’s recently published his first book, How to Be Ultra Spiritual with Sounds True.
Like so many coaches, JP got into this work because it was what he himself needed. He grew up with red hair and blue eyes in a small town in Ohio. As a child, he thought of his red hair—something that he was made fun of for, something that set him apart—as a curse. But the blessing of that curse was that it helped him develop a sense of humor, and helped him learn how to entice people to like him rather than make fun of him.
JP started out as an exercise professional, but he quickly saw that emotions had great impact on human health, and so he moved into the field of emotional healing. He soon realized he was passionate about helping others because he was in need of healing himself.
John McMullin, who has been one of JP’s main teachers, teaches that in order to heal we must be comfortable with being fully ourselves. And JP himself gives his clients this same advice.
In 2014, however, JP realized that he wasn’t being fully himself in his own work; he had cut off his humor. It was, in part, to honor this teaching of fullness and to walk-the-walk himself that JP brought comedy to his work for the first time that same year. But he still worried that it would hurt his business if his funny, irreverent, silly side came out.
He’d been making sincere life-advice videos, and they were doing well, but he felt like he was repressing a big part of himself in them. So, he decided to take a risk.
He made his first comedic video and decided to make his peace with whatever way it hurt his business.
Instead, the opposite happened. It didn’t hurt his business; it flooded his business with new clients. And so, he made another and then another.
The videos started to go viral. He got speaking engagements and, eventually, a book deal.
The very part of himself that he had thought he needed to hide to do the kind of spiritual healing work he believed in was the work that people most responded to.
JP makes his videos now the same way he did back in 2014—with a simple camera. He acts as scriptwriter, cameraman, director, editor, and producer so that he has control over the whole creative process.
When we talked, I ask him whether the presidential election has changed his work and people’s response to it.
His answer is yes, of course. In fact, he tells me that he himself ran for president, and at the time we spoke, he had yet to receive official word that he lost. Given that the votes were still being counted, he thought there was still a good chance he’d won. Furthermore, he told me that while many people are feeling fear at the moment, a big part of his work has been to teach a love-based consciousness; people need to learn how to hate their fear; it has no place in their life.
He says, “We are called on to serve others to such a great extent that we must deplete ourselves and suffer in the service of others. Only then, when others see how much we are sacrificing for them, can we enter the path of sainthood.”
JP hits a number of nerves in spiritual communities. He says, “Because everything is an illusion, students should make a voluntary mandatory donation to him to escape their mind traps. This voluntary donation helps put a high price on their intention to heal, otherwise they won’t find anything value in it.
“Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are all instrumental on this path,” he continues. “Only if the world sees our selfless service does it have true value.”
JP’s comedy, of course, has a serious message. He’s careful only to critique a world that he is part of and that he knows well.
One of his most popular videos makes fun of being gluten free. JP himself has been gluten free for over a decade. It’s important, he tells me, only to parody the things that he has a lot of respect for.
He sees his role as making people more aware of unconscious patterns in their lives—of showing them what is going on under the surface (or sometimes right on the surface).
Above all, he believes that people are looking for happiness in the wrong places; our consumer world suggests to us all day long that happiness can be found in material things—in money and status.
JP points out the dangers of this. One of the underlying messages of his comedy is to invite people to realize the wild goose chase of happiness and to realize that genuine happiness and peace is in our own self and heart, not in what we have but in what we are.
JP’s work gets us out of the ruts of our own thinking and asks us to see ourselves with a fresh eye. By turning things upside down, we get to come back to our true selves and to more peaceful ways of interacting with ourselves and with the world; we get to turn away from striving.
His book, like his videos, uses comedy to deliver deeper messages. It helps readers let go of that which no longer serves them and encourages them to be unapologetically true to themselves, discovering happiness where it is, not where it’s not.
And while JP’s humor encourages us to rethink many of our assumptions and behaviors, he’s also able in conversation to slip seamlessly into more serious discourse.
When I asked him, for example, about the dangers of The Law of Attraction, the notion that we can attract into our lives health, wealth, and whatever else we wish for simply by thinking the right thoughts (an idea popularized the book and video The Secret), JP had deeply perceptive and serious insights into the phenomenon.
“The dangerous aspect is that the message appeals to the most fundamental desire of the human ego, the ego’s insatiable desire to control, even when you can’t control,” he tells me.
“This message delivers what the ego most wants to hear and preys on the most fragile aspect of the human being,” JP continues.
“Do I believe we control the world around us through our dominant thought? No. What I do believe we have power over is how we respond to the world around us—and this is much more beautiful.
“The power of our thoughts help determine the attitude and the perception of the world around us. Can we see abundance instead of lack, joy amidst sorrow? I believe true peace of mind comes from surrender, not control.
“Control consumes us. But what enlivens the human heart is surrender. When we can be humble people surrendering, our power to co-create is how we respond to the world, which is a force of nature far greater than ourselves.
“Actually,” JP points out, “if we could control the world around us, that might be a curse. Because usually our wants come from the parts of ourselves that are deficient, and we wouldn’t want to control the world through those most vulnerable parts. “
JP’s work asks us to question our desire for control, to question our own desire to show our superiority. His work asks us to surrender our habitual way of seeing things, and to surrender, among other things, to laughter.
That said, JP does have some clear advice for us all: we should read his book. And why should we read his book?
In JP’s own words, “Because you need to. The world needs this book. The world needs not just a light to shine, not just a bright light to shine, but the brightest light to shine. I am trying to wake the world up to how awakened I am.”
But it’s not really about him, JP assures me, it’s all about what the world needs. After all, he is pretty humble, he reassures me. §
Nadia Colburn, Ph.D. (Editor) holds a doctorate in English from Columbia University and a B.A. from Harvard University. She is a kundalini yoga teacher and mindful writing coach, and she offers workshops in person and online. Her writing has been published in more than sixty publications, including The New Yorker, Boston Globe Magazine, and The Kenyon Review. To get free meditation and writing prompts go to nadiacolburn.com.