Spirituality isn’t a ‘trend’. Becoming spiritual isn’t about gaining a new personality, getting a new vocabulary or wardrobe, buying crystals or doing yoga. It’s about returning to our natural state — Unknown Author
I woke up at 04.30 AM after another night of light troubled sleep and started contemplating to leave the community I am living in at the moment.
Some idealistic feelings and desires for safety and family had driven me in the arms of this experiment to co-create a heart & mind coherent, safe and ‘spiritual’ family.
One month later, I feel exhausted as if an energetic truck has run me over.
What the flower power happened?
Making sense of it all this early morning, I realized nobody I shared my living space with for the last weeks has a clear idea of what ‘Spirituality’ really is, or ‘Community’. I had surrendered myself to an idea, a concept.
The common denominator for people in most communities is an urgent need for belonging. To feel at home in an increasingly unsafe world.
Than what mostly happens is that a bunch of idealistic people get together around values like healing and transformation while ‘moving into the new paradigm together’.
I’d wish it was that simple. I know a bit better now.
Spirituality can be used as a weapon for gaining more status and power, for controlling others, while advocating 24/7 “love”.
I am very grateful for this experience, and of course, we had fun too. We danced, laughed, cried and had our cuddle puddles together and for sure we did some personal growing.
Through this experience, I am able to discern better some of the big shadows of spirituality. They will function as a mirror for you to discern if and where you are caught in the big 21st-century spiritual trap.
Spirituality to Cover up Narcissism
Up till very recently our story of culture is build on Darwinist concepts of survival of the fittest. We are in a never-ending competition for never enough money. These rivalrous dynamics lead to collective ‘me first’ sentiments since that behaviour the system will reward.
You don’t want to be left behind by your in-group, begging your way on the cold streets that connect the skyscrapers in our grey concrete jungles.
Now push this a bit further and you’ll get Narcissism. Push it to the extreme and you’ll end up with a bunch of Sociopaths feasting on the carcasses of our collapsing 3D society, culture and economy. My best guess is that that’s where we are right now as humanity.
Daniel Smachtenberger mentions something really crucial in the Rebel Wisdom series on The War on Sensemaking II.
In the circles that talk about healing and trauma, I don’t know any places that attract narcissists and sociopaths better because there are a lot of vulnerable people there that would be good sources of narcissistic supply and who are willing to hear shit like ‘that’s just your ego’, or ‘me doing this is just me being authentic’ …or whatever else that allows bad behavior in the name of some spiritual idea — Daniel Smachtenberger
In my small community, the same dynamic translated very small scale in some people openly advocating an ‘I can do the fuck I want since I am free’ kind of hippy narrative. This got enhanced by a hidden taboo on authority and rules that nobody, including myself, dared to bring into the light.
Think JP Sears to get the gist of it.
Hold on, there is more to this.
Spirituality for Not Giving a F*CK
Let me give you another example of this ‘bad behaviour’ covered up by cheap incense, close to obligatory hugs and overlong sharing circles because nobody sets any borders.
A good friend once told me about a guy he’d met in a community that had ideological objections for paying rent. His idea was that the earth is here for us, there should be enough room for all, and landowners and landlords are a bunch of greedy capitalists.
I don’t object not paying rent in 5D, the new earth, as long as it works for everybody. Spoiler Alert; we are still in 3D.
I myself do pay rent and no postmodern hippy-ism is going to change that any way soon. Imagine living in a building, and some of your neighbours object for paying rent and get away with it. What would you do?
I asked my friend how this guy got away with it. He answered that others would hold space for him, and his ideas. And it worked, apparently, he always got a bed and a roof above his head.
My friend described how this young lad would sit by the fire arguing about this rentless ideal world. His eyes all firing up and feeling all spiritual and true about it. To a certain degree of religiousness.
Or is it arrogantiousness ?
According to self-propagated abundance master Bentinho Massaro, it is. In the video ‘from hippy to happy”, he accurately describes the identifiable behaviour of the in-group that we refer to as Hippies as follows;
People sitting on a high horse in the shit rebelling against money, authority and power whilst believing being pure and spiritual — B. Massaro
For me, this attitude is close to something like I have the right for not giving a F*CK because… I am better than all of those rent-paying suckers and so I call my arrogance being spiritual meanwhile avoiding my real challenges and pain in life.
There is no birth of consciousness without pain. People will do everything…in order to avoid facing their own soul . One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious — Carl Gustav Jung
Spirituality to Gain Status
I do men’s work. I facilitate circle’s and they are all about becoming real with ourselves and others. In the course of developing the skills to do this work, I’ve read the classic David Deida’s book The Way of the Superior Man.
The following is what happens to so many of us on our spiritual path. It happened to me too, that’s why this one was easy to discern.
Deida speaks about first, second and third stage relationships. After reading the book twice, I got kind of the picture what he means with ‘fucking your women open with your love’. But not quite. I never tried this out in the relationship I had at that moment. I mean, where to start? Hey darling, I’ve read this book and tonight I would love to…? W.T.F?
It merely remained a concept in my head of what it is to be an authentic superior man in a 3rd stage relationship.
It was not a consistent real lived experience for me, although I believe I experienced some of it and understand the essence of it.
Now I had the choice to mimic being a third stage man, with the aim of gaining more status in the men’s work world. The more true and honest alternative was just sticking to my own life experience and wisdom coming from embracing my pain, weaknesses, triggers and shit. I chose the latter.
Sometimes it feels many of us are mimicking their way through the spiritual billion dollar marketplace and the people that are best in one liners and landing pages get all the burned out clients from the real world hungry for some instant empowerment.
I believe the mimicking of spiritual concepts to hide insecurities is one of the most widespread spiritual mindfucks around.
Spirituality as a Weapon to Gain More Power Over Others
Everything that is a tool can be made into a weapon — Daniel Smachtenberger
This one takes the status-seeking behaviour one level further. It is the result of narcissists and sociopaths infiltrating in the therapy/healing/community world with only one reason: to gain more power over other people.
The extreme of it is the spiritual guru’s that abuse people in the name of therapy or healers like John of God that has been accused of raping 200 women and got a 19-year jail sentence.
That’s how bad it can get, really.
Being a coach brings you in a special relationship with your client. Bottom line it’s all about trust and vulnerability. But it’s even more about a delicate power dynamic that you should be aware of as a coach.
There is a strong connection between modern-day spirituality and power.
I believe some people become a coach because they are, in fact, obsessed with their own trauma’s. But they never make it that far of really facing their pain, going through it, integrating it in their beings. So then they create a perfect playing field to experience vulnerability without having to go there themselves.
In essence, they suck out the energy and money of others while elbowing their way up the spiritual status ladder using the mask of the coach or healer.
Just like in the real world.
The community I lived in for a month showed me how spirituality can be used and in fact abused to avoid being real. How concepts can take over covering up insecurities and pain.
When you like to do a spiritual bypass test yourself, read this article;
When Spirituality Becomes Resistance For Experiencing Your Deeper Pain
Some practical tools to transform spiritual bypassing
This experience showed me how tools of vulnerability, trust and transparency to grow together all can get weaponized to push personal desired outcomes. Even to the extend of narcissistic driven manipulation cleverly dressed up with a tasty sauce of spiritual in-group language.
I am beyond grateful for this group of people because they were the perfect mirror for me and they challenged me to express my borders, and examine my own truth amidst taboos around authority.
My need to belong and feel save was stronger than expressing my boundaries and my truth with the risk of being rejected or even exiled.
Toko-Pa Turner expresses the same mechanism in her brilliant book Belonging
While every mythic journey requires us to make painful separations from the group, it is so we can learn to hear and follow our originality — Toko-Pa Turner
Exactly this struggle I see happening all around me, all over the world. In relationships and organizations. The need for people to belong to an in-group carried by certain values. The desire to feel save by embracing a certain status quo versus the necessity of speaking our truths, how disruptive for others or for the unspoken taboos that might be. The need for being real and feel real pain versus covering things up with creamy and sweat spiritual language that sounds great but means nothing.
My experience with the community showed me that I am clearly not a master in truth-speaking yet. I am, however, leading heart circles on Ibiza to create safe spaces where people can embrace their shadow, pain and insecurities and by doing so can become real with themselves and thus with others. My next step is offering this to the community.
At the end of the day, we are all on our journey to walk each other home.
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