So here there are those who are bringing the old paradigm - comparison, creating divisions, labelling, religiosity - into the new paradigm. SIGH! When you do that, you miss the point. The very reason we are so limited in our choices is due to that university-inculcated-analyticritical-allleft-brained thinking micromind. Kudos to Spirit Science for featuring articles from the "other" side. We are all on a journey and sometimes on the journey, we get lost. Here is an example. As you read it, note the following:
1. The labelling and boxing. Academics used to their safe ivory towers need to label and put things away neatly. Kierkkegard said "Once you label me, you negate me." If you stick a label on someone, it is like you freeze them at that moment of their development based on certain symptoms of behaviour.
2. The judgment and biais Academia, or "cultivating discernment" seemingly through writing books is definitely less neurosis provoking than yoga or meditation -really? No western philosophical biais here.
3. The not so subtle plug for what her and her partner are doing. They have the answer and will pass it on to the waiting public soon.
4. Extrapolation of an existing model: Applying the "medical" model of allopathy (western medicine and its preoccupation with identifying and treating symptoms) here to spirituality. A bit of a clumsy fit, I think.
5. Opinions and accusations without any offered proof - I wouldn't buy a used course from a academic who starts off "It is a jungle out there..." But maybe that's because I'm from the Great White North. Where is the proof that someone who has been meditating or doing yoga is more likely to be neurotic than someone who has been an academic? Aren't we still innocent until proven guilty?
As someone who knows academia well, I am appalled at this attempt to discredit any and all of the "enlightened" in favour of a couple of academics, who would like to hack into the profits these uneducated "enlightened" types are racking up helping people to find peace in the midst of difficulty. Since education does nothing to bring you peace of mind.
Anyway, you be the judge. Maybe I'm just ranting but this is the type of "holier than thou", "entitled" attitude, which caused me to decline my doctoral invitation. If this type of writing and name-calling is either academic or enlightened, we are all in big trouble boys and girls! I'm not saying that there are not "spiritual" gurus who end up doing things they ought not. Balance is difficult and I acknowledge that in the comment I left, which follows the article. Maybe Dr. Caplan was just having a bad article-writing day, or maybe she was just at that #5 or #7 juncture at the time. Fear not! Life is a journey and we all, especially me (I don't in any way think I am better by the way) make mistakes. Anyway read on, leave comments as you like.
As written by Mariana Caplan, Ph.D. 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.
Source: Huffington Post
- See more at: http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/10-spiritually-transmitted-diseases/#sthash.AXu8t2S8.dpuf
I am no expert on South Africa and so will defer to the comments below of those that are. It is really a nonsequitor in the flow of your article though. Interesting that you and your partner, whom you quote in your article as someone who has "arrived" are putting out a series of teaching for the "confused" among us. Ah well, we are all on a journey. Using the old paradigm of "illness" to cover those struggling to a new paradigm is a brilliant tactic if you want to try to put your own message forward (which of course, is the message that will "heal" these "illnesses", I take it?) The excesses that you mention exist and are the result of imbalance and unresolved emotional, and mental issues or possibly attaching spirits or a failure to integrate the shadow into the personality; One can definitely find evidence of imbalance as we, individuals struggle to learn and grow and put more love and light into the world. We all have them. I think that labels do not help. Love helps. Much love to you on your journey. Mirrors are not always kind. Namaste!