You want to get real? Let’s get real then.
The spiritual community has an endemic ego and narcissism issue. I see it and experience it and I’ve gone a long time keeping my mouth shut on it. But it’s really been bugging me lately.
There’s a great article by Justin Brown going through his experience of transcending through his own spiritual narcissism, and I really appreciate his refreshing honesty and bravery to take a look in the mirror and be able to see it for what it is. “Instead of really using spirituality to move beyond my constructed ego, I was using spirituality to reinforce it…one of the sneakiest ways spiritual ego gets you is that it tells you by intentionally acting [so, not being genuine] and trying to be humble, grateful, positive, and so you think you’re on a better level than those around you who don’t do those things…the “I’m so special” mentality…they look at you with a hint of pity if you don’t share their precise worldview…”
“The ego has many ideas. It says, ‘I want to be a spiritual person. I want to be recognized as a spiritual person. I want to be more spiritual than all these people. And I’m definitely more spiritual than YOU…the essential dysfunction of the ego is still operating. This is why we have the phrase, ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions.’Eckhart Tolle
Again, from Justin Brown, “In fact, many (perhaps most) self-proclaimed spiritual gurus or teachers become trapped in the stage of having a spiritual ego. This usually happens because they achieve recognition based on what they share with others about spirituality…the list of those who have achieved powerful spiritual insights but used them to manipulate or mistreat others or start unhealthy communities full of abuse, control, and authoritarian hierarchy is long…so is the list of people who have been hurt by these kinds of experiences.”
This is why I feel like I need to speak up. Because I’m watching people potentially be manipulated and abused and disrespected in the energetic sense by self-proclaimed ‘experts’ and ‘teachers.’
BEWARE OF THE ‘GURU’
“At the guru stage, someone is no longer bound by the method but is able to use their knowledge and experience to speak to everyone’s unique situation. They can take their spiritual practice and make it apply to your life. Spiritual gurus or teachers are often brilliant and persuasive, which can be good when they are sharing amazing information and practices, but can become dangerous and full of deception, too. You should always keep some caution around self-proclaimed gurus, especially ones that are offering ‘levels’ of knowledge, progress, or spiritual unlocking. This is because the guru is smart enough to see through ideologies and systems but will still often choose to use them in order to control and profit from others.” – Justin Brown
Okay, back to this life…
This whole topic really slid across my plate because I have been watching some energetic practitioners in my sphere and have been somewhat horrified by some of their actions and words as of late. Acting as though choosing to feel emotions is spiritually ‘negative’ and ‘tsk, tsk, looks like you haven’t done your [spiritual] work because you wouldn’t be feeling this way if you did!’
If you think you’re enlightened because you’re detached from all of your emotions and feelings and the hard sh*t – then why are you here on Earth?
And before anyone takes that out of context, no, I’m not telling anyone to leave this physical realm. I’m really asking. Why are you here if not to have this human experience? Why are you sitting there telling me that none of it really matters? Mind over matter? What’s the whole point of you coming down here to learn and live? Is it just to stand atop your pedestal and pretend like you have all the answers? To have the masses at your feet, worshiping and repeating every word you say? Feeding your ego by telling everyone that it’s their own faults for their traumas, their illnesses, diseases, and emotional breaks – and then telling them how they should fix it, even though they never asked?
Allow me to be transparent with what I believe (most of these speaking towards energetic practitioners but can apply elsewhere):
AN UNORGANIZED, SOMEWHAT SUBJECTIVE, SLIGHTLY RAMBLING CODE OF CONDUCT FOR ENERGETIC PRACTITIONERS, SPIRITUAL LEADERS, AND EVERYONE ELSE
- When you do not allow yourself to feel, fully, what emotions come up from your experience, you are pushing it down and creating pain to deal with later.
- When you do not allow others to fully express, you are co-creating an energetic wound full of shame and judgement for both yourself and them.
- When you purposely detach yourself from your own feelings and emotions, you are not living in your body and your experience – get ready to come back to Earth in the next life to re-do all the lessons you’re purposely skipping. This is not the same flavor as detachment as a trauma response – that is entirely understandable, and with proper mental health care, you can come to process your emotions and find closure, moving through the trauma rather than ignoring it due to ego.
- If they don’t ask you for advice – it isn’t your place to impose yourself and your beliefs on them. Your services are better suited for those who come looking for you – not you forcing it onto everyone you encounter because ‘I can help.’ You could help. But your help may not be what they need or want right now. Respect boundaries.
- It is energetically disrespectful and crossing a boundary to attempt to do energy work and ‘tap into’ someone who has not asked you or given you explicit permission to enter their energy field.
- When a client is on your table, they are in an incredibly vulnerable and open state. They have put your trust in you to treat them with care and respect. Unfortunately I have had the experience where I have been on a table and the session was not for my healing – they opened me up and put their own traumas and issues onto me, expecting me to counsel them while I was lying face down. This ego made it all about them – some of their clients have also told me that they felt they were used, particularly in the sense that they were used for the practitioner’s own energetic development and renown. I never went back and have sealed my energy field off, especially after hearing the next few points about said practitioner:
- IF YOU ARE NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR OR LICENSED IN A WAY TO DISPENSE MEDICAL OR PSYCHIATRIC ADVICE, YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO ENDANGER SOMEONE WHO NEEDS THE HELP OF THESE QUALIFIED PEOPLE. Stop demonizing doctors. Stop demonizing therapy. Stop demonizing medication. If someone needs help that you are not qualified or able to give, you are obligated as a practitioner to help them find someone who can. If you care about your own ego and beliefs more than the life of someone else, you should not be an energetic practitioner.
- Concerning the above, unfortunately I have a real-life story of this happening. A client was having suicidal thoughts brought on by anxiety and trauma brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. An energy practitioner thought that they could heal this client with energy work alone. The practitioner did not notify the client’s family or emergency services. Suicidal thoughts and idealization are an emergency and should be handled by qualified individuals, which this practitioner was not. This angered me to my core because I have been in that place of suicidal thoughts and I know just how fast things can escalate. I know that people who are suicidal are great at lying and will tell you that your energy work ‘definitely helped’ only to go home, be alone with their thoughts again, and commit the act later. It was incredibly irresponsible on the behalf of the practitioner and showed no concern for the client whatsoever.
- While doing energetic work, you also benefit as a by-product of the work. But it isn’t about you. It’s about your client, and channeling clean Universal energy. Not your own [see below]
- If you are an energetic practitioner, you are not the source of healing. When you act as though you are, you create a power dynamic between you and your client that reads ‘You need me to heal.’
- If you aren’t an energetic practitioner, you are more than capable of taking on your own healing. All of us have that ability, some of us have just been trained and have studied it. Google and books are your friends. Practice and experience are your teachers. I promise that you don’t need anyone, even me. It’s okay to want help processing and moving through these things – that’s what I’m here for! I have been trained for a long time and have some degrees, which gives me some hefty qualifications. Some practitioners want to keep you under the guise that you need them because of the money they make from you. I guarantee you that my intention is to help you if you want help – not to make you believe that you need my help, if that makes sense.
At the end of all this, I suppose I just needed to express what I’m seeing around me. It’s one thing to accept and embrace your shadows, but it’s another thing to let them run rampant and be in the driver’s seat, feeding your ego, especially when you’re leading in this community. They are your responsibility, and if you’re committed to helping our collective heal, then you must keep them in check. We aren’t helping anyone if we allow our shadows and egos to do more harm. “I’m not hurting anyone if they’re triggered – it’s their fault they have wounds,” is a bit of a selfish statement. Everyone has wounds. It doesn’t mean you should go marching around with the intent to be a trigger. Triggering someone who doesn’t have the tools or the practices to process through that trigger in a positive way is causing harm. You are taking advantage of their unconsciousness (which can come from lack of access to information – not everyone is unconscious because they want to be) and using it against them to shift the blame away from you when sh*t hits the fan.
And, remember: if they don’t ask you for help in becoming aware of their wounds or how to heal, then it isn’t your place to step in and attempt to force them to do something they aren’t ready for.
So, with all of that said, how do you navigate this world?
- Sometimes you’re going to trigger someone when you didn’t mean to at all, even with the lightest steps. Be kind. Apologizing isn’t taking the blame for their wound. It’s common decency. “I’m sorry that I touched a sensitive spot for you. I really didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.” They can then proceed in the ways they wish to, and most people will soften. They feel heard, they feel seen, and they feel as though someone does care that they have pain (and, you know, be sure that you mean it).
- Most people don’t expect you to solve their problems or pain for them. They just want to express them so they aren’t lingering in their systems any more than they already are.
- It is perfectly reasonable to distance yourself from people who are triggering your wounds. How do you expect to make progress in healing your wounds if they’re getting ripped open every few days? To me, this is different than unconscious avoidance. It’s consciously stepping back, creating a safe and sacred space for yourself, and facing the wound on your own terms – not because someone else is forcing you to.
- When you feel triggered, it usually doesn’t help to lash out at your trigger. I’m sure we’ve all been there before, and it’s very clear that your trigger is in need of their own healing, too. But you can prevent forming an even stronger (negative) energetic cord between you if you disengage. Feeding the cord makes it stronger and more present, and will take much longer to dissolve.
- When you see, hear, or experience something that is hurtful or dangerous to someone else, a group of people, or a race of people – speak up, but be mindful of your words. Nastiness, name-calling, and threats cause more pain and detract from the issue. Bringing awareness to a situation is incredibly important for all parties to become aware of things they previously were not, to (hopefully) have some self-reflection and take charge of their shadows, and ultimately, the goal is to heal and prevent these situations from recurring.
If you think that to be enlightened means to have no emotions, no triggers, no wounds, no pain; to have an Instagram-perfect life, to seem like you’re never ‘unbalanced’ or ‘shaken,’ a perfect home, a massive following of disciples who hang onto your every word, a huge business, a load of money, expensive clothes, and a library of accolades and degrees and certifications – then I’m going ask you to look in the mirror and start working to heal that ego. Don’t allow it to do more harm than good. ‘Fess up, get brave, and do the work.