July 6, 2013 at 10:10 am #40949
10 Spiritually Transmitted Diseases
Mariana Caplan, Ph.D.
Posted: 06/15/10 09:00 AM ET
It is a jungle out there, and it is no less true about spiritual life than any other aspect of life. Do we really think that just because someone has been meditating for five years, or doing 10 years of yoga practice, that they will be any less neurotic than the next person? At best, perhaps they will be a little bit more aware of it. A little bit.
It is for this reason that I spent the last 15 years of my life researching and writing books on cultivating discernment on the spiritual path in all the gritty areas–power, sex, enlightenment, gurus, scandals, psychology, neurosis — as well as earnest, but just plain confused and unconscious, motivations on the path. My partner (author and teacher Marc Gafni) and I are developing a new series of books, courses and practices to bring further clarification to these issues.
Several years ago, I spent a summer living and working in South Africa. Upon my arrival I was instantly confronted by the visceral reality that I was in the country with the highest murder rate in the world, where rape was common and more than half the population was HIV-positive — men and women, gays and straights alike.
As I have come to know hundreds of spiritual teachers and thousands of spiritual practitioners through my work and travels, I have been struck by the way in which our spiritual views, perspectives and experiences become similarly “infected” by “conceptual contaminants” — comprising a confused and immature relationship to complex spiritual principles can seem as invisible and insidious as a sexually transmitted disease.
The following 10 categorizations are not intended to be definitive but are offered as a tool for becoming aware of some of the most common spiritually transmitted diseases.
1. Fast-Food Spirituality: Mix spirituality with a culture that celebrates speed, multitasking and instant gratification and the result is likely to be fast-food spirituality. Fast-food spirituality is a product of the common and understandable fantasy that relief from the suffering of our human condition can be quick and easy. One thing is clear, however: spiritual transformation cannot be had in a quick fix.
2. Faux Spirituality: Faux spirituality is the tendency to talk, dress and act as we imagine a spiritual person would. It is a kind of imitation spirituality that mimics spiritual realization in the way that leopard-skin fabric imitates the genuine skin of a leopard.
3. Confused Motivations: Although our desire to grow is genuine and pure, it often gets mixed with lesser motivations, including the wish to be loved, the desire to belong, the need to fill our internal emptiness, the belief that the spiritual path will remove our suffering and spiritual ambition, the wish to be special, to be better than, to be “the one.”
4. Identifying with Spiritual Experiences: In this disease, the ego identifies with our spiritual experience and takes it as its own, and we begin to believe that we are embodying insights that have arisen within us at certain times. In most cases, it does not last indefinitely, although it tends to endure for longer periods of time in those who believe themselves to be enlightened and/or who function as spiritual teachers.
5. The Spiritualized Ego: This disease occurs when the very structure of the egoic personality becomes deeply embedded with spiritual concepts and ideas. The result is an egoic structure that is “bullet-proof.” When the ego becomes spiritualized, we are invulnerable to help, new input, or constructive feedback. We become impenetrable human beings and are stunted in our spiritual growth, all in the name of spirituality.
6. Mass Production of Spiritual Teachers: There are a number of current trendy spiritual traditions that produce people who believe themselves to be at a level of spiritual enlightenment, or mastery, that is far beyond their actual level. This disease functions like a spiritual conveyor belt: put on this glow, get that insight, and — bam! — you’re enlightened and ready to enlighten others in similar fashion. The problem is not that such teachers instruct but that they represent themselves as having achieved spiritual mastery.
7. Spiritual Pride: Spiritual pride arises when the practitioner, through years of labored effort, has actually attained a certain level of wisdom and uses that attainment to justify shutting down to further experience. A feeling of “spiritual superiority” is another symptom of this spiritually transmitted disease. It manifests as a subtle feeling that “I am better, more wise and above others because I am spiritual.”
8. Group Mind: Also described as groupthink, cultic mentality or ashram disease, group mind is an insidious virus that contains many elements of traditional co-dependence. A spiritual group makes subtle and unconscious agreements regarding the correct ways to think, talk, dress, and act. Individuals and groups infected with “group mind” reject individuals, attitudes, and circumstances that do not conform to the often unwritten rules of the group.
9. The Chosen-People Complex: The chosen people complex is not limited to Jews. It is the belief that “Our group is more spiritually evolved, powerful, enlightened and, simply put, better than any other group.” There is an important distinction between the recognition that one has found the right path, teacher or community for themselves, and having found The One.
10. The Deadly Virus: “I Have Arrived”: This disease is so potent that it has the capacity to be terminal and deadly to our spiritual evolution. This is the belief that “I have arrived” at the final goal of the spiritual path. Our spiritual progress ends at the point where this belief becomes crystallized in our psyche, for the moment we begin to believe that we have reached the end of the path, further growth ceases.
“The essence of love is perception,” according to the teachings of Marc Gafni, “Therefore the essence of self love is self perception. You can only fall in love with someone you can see clearly–including yourself. To love is to have eyes to see. It is only when you see yourself clearly that you can begin to love yourself.”
It is in the spirit of Marc’s teaching that I believe that a critical part of learning discernment on the spiritual path is discovering the pervasive illnesses of ego and self-deception that are in all of us. That is when we need a sense of humor and the support of real spiritual friends. As we face our obstacles to spiritual growth, there are times when it is easy to fall into a sense of despair and self-diminishment and lose our confidence on the path. We must keep the faith, in ourselves and in others, in order to really make a difference in this world.
Adapted from Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path (Sounds True)July 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm #40950
what is (part) of the truth?
WHAT ARE YOU?
a person is a bardo transmission bundle…
what does that mean?
it means a person comes from an eternal heaven, prior to birth, and is here to experience life, packaged out of a vast super intelligence
but what does that mean?
the gate back into the pre-birth leads back through the dream dimensions and collective sub-consious space to a vast eternal system coming from the same origin as the heavens themselves
well what does that mean?
it means the physical heart is a transistor linking to that dimension
but why? the heavens hold infinite worlds and are themselves truly a miracle in boundless and infinite eternity…
to contact higher intelligence and figure out what to do and what else there is…July 10, 2013 at 12:01 am #40952
great articleJuly 10, 2013 at 2:51 pm #40954
Great! But I would change n.5 for Espiritualized narcissist structure.
They seen to simpatize with spiritual traditions that everything ego is “bad”. But they don’t explain what they understand of “ego”.
The need to wipe out the Ego would be disease 11 for me. And I put in the package the wrong notion that everyone knows the meaning of the word “ego” and uses it the same way.July 17, 2013 at 9:05 pm #40956August 15, 2013 at 11:48 am #40958
This volume offers the basic Universal Healing Tao practices, which constitute just the first half of the Universal Healing Tao system. By 2020 the written system should be complete, with the publication of another twenty-one books on topics such as cosmic astrology, Greater Kan and Li practices, and Christs’s teachings within the Tao. This next series of books will delineate another six levels of practice, moving completely into the Immortal Tao.
-MANTAK CHIA & WILLIAM U. WEI, Basic Practices of the Universal Healing Tao: An Illustrated Guide to Levels 1 through 6
I feel like a prize in a box of Cracker Jacks with God’s hand reaching down to pick me up. I have been under medical care for months. My wounds are getting bigger. I have trouble breathing. I am ready to fly home. I won’t be here much longer. I can’t do anything about it. My heart is too weak. I want to say goodbye to everyone…I want to say I love you. I’d like to push back the darkness with my bravest effort…Goodbye, farewell, we will meet again.
…the game of the Greek fishermen, “the-pouring-of-the-empty-into-the-void,” is titled by an expression that Gurdjieff uses frequently to any discussion, dialogue, exchange, or activity that is a waste of sacred time in that it is passive and unconscious…
-ANNA T. CHALLENGER, Philosophy and Art in Gurdjieff’s Beelzebub’s Tales: A Modern Sufi Odyssey
How important part of Healing Tao USA’s teachings are ‘Christs’s teachings within the Tao?’
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