September 20, 2018

Are You actually Spiritual—or a Spiritual Snob?

Do you call yourself “spiritual?”

Is that a religion? What does it mean?

Does it mean you judge people because they don’t understand how elevated you are—because that’s what you are now, elevated—above other people?

Swami Satyananda taught (regarding the uncertain concept of the immaterial):

Spiritual life begins with a question: Who am I? Where have I come from? What is my path of arrival? What will be the dock of my departure?”

This seems a more authentic way of being spiritual in that it merely acknowledges the important existential questions.

We need to keep coming back to our origin: where have we come from? Honour that part of our journey, and then see the expanse of our lives in terms of where we are going to end up. How will we depart this earthly venture?

Basically, ambition and success have become the new “en vogue” spiritual movement. This is spiritual materialism, and bypasses the essential question, “Who am I?” Yet, the ego self says: “It’s just a creation anyway, so who cares; I’m going to play this game!”

We also need to acknowledge our identity is made up by the conditioning of our parents and society, and finally, us—until we kill our ego, and kill who we thought we were. Or, simply, recreate ourselves. Superficiality and ceaseless spiritual shopping sprees avoid the real work.

It seems spiritual notions are causing a great deal of judgement and confusion in our modern world. People who have studied yoga, become yoga teachers, meditate, visit ashrams in India, study religions, become teachers, or devotees, or who simply read a few spiritual books are still wracked by judgements and insecurities, and their woundedness continues. Their shadows grow longer, their darkness ever more repressed.

They want to escape themselves—but they can’t. They fail, and they’re angry.

They divert their anger at people who are “not as spiritual” as them, who have not suffered like they have—the people who have had less tragedy, who can’t relate to their lofty status.

I’ve often been told, “You can’t understand me as you haven’t been (fill in the gap) like I have been, so your opinion is meaningless.”

The woundedness has become a reason to push people away, so we don’t have to face the awkward truth of being so uncomfortable with our wounds that we can’t bring another close. When we feel unlovable, we push people away. It’s like we don’t want to be reminded of this feeling of being unloved, even though the more we push people away, the more unloved we are.

Toko-pa Turner writes in Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home:

“While the New Age has awakened many to the power of creative intention, it has simultaneously pathologized the so-called ‘negative emotions’ and stricken them from our social palette of acceptability. We live under a kind of hegemony of positivity which emphasizes pleasure over pain, gain over loss, happiness over sadness, and the creative over the destructive. We are taught to ‘rise above’ things like anger, anxiety, sadness—and by whatever means necessary, stay in bliss and light. This kind of bypassing is dangerous because it teaches us to not only dissociate from the multiplicity of ourselves but from the magnificent spectrum of life itself.”

There is a bypassing of conscience here. I have felt judged because I ate fish, that I’m not spiritual enough. A conscious person would never eat flesh after all. One day everyone will  be raw vegan as that’s the most spiritual path—or breatharian, because we can live off air and sunshine.

Maybe I’m not on your level, I’m sorry.

I do breathe the same air, walk on the same earth, and drink the same water. Sometimes I don’t even meditate at all. Some days I do no yoga or stretching. Some days I’m just bone lazy. I’ll admit it, I am not perfect (surprise, surprise).

I am just so tired of all the judgement and hypocrisy from so-called “spiritual” people or “conscious” people who go around telling people they are looking for a “conscious” man or woman. Run away.

The worst judgement I’ve experienced lately was at the hands of a “conscious woman” who on repeated occasions got mad at me (no apologies if she’s reading this). One time because I said “Come to India” on my Facebook feed and she thought that meant I wanted to travel with her. When I admitted that wasn’t my plan, she become furious. I wasn’t on her level.

Another time she asked me about her profile picture on Facebook—what did I think? I told her it looked a bit serious, “I would love to see your beautiful smile.” She was so angry—seething. I wasn’t appreciating her radiant light. She admitted to me that it was her “spiritual ego”—and urged me to appreciate her spiritual ego—because I needed to honour that part of her.

All I got from the exchange was that she is above reproach and can throw her fury around because it’s just her “spiritual ego.” Who could be worthy of such a towering spiritual being?

Spiritual bypassing happens when  people can’t be real with each other—or themselves. It’s an escape from the self, an escape from being raw. Pretending is easier than facing the truth, that the person who stares back at you in the mirror is a human being like everyone else.

Perhaps for our real “spiritual life” to begin, we must first ask the questions:

“Who am I? Where have I come from? What is my path of arrival? What will be the dock of my departure?”

Maybe we need to just remove this “spiritual” concept from our vernacular and identify in a different way. The old religions seem unable to hold people to their narrow worldview.

So, the new age has taken people hostage—and these people are the new “spiritual.” Let’s just be human. Being human is more than enough for me!



Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

David Starlyte  |  Contribution: 16,600

author: David Starlyte

Image: Thu Anh/Unsplash

Editor: Lieselle Davidson