I will never forget the first time I told someone that I felt more spiritual than religious. They looked at me like I had just taken the path straight to hell. In fact, I think that was a time in my life that became a true test to what I believed.
Let me break this down though. I didn’t wake up thinking I was better than anyone else in this world, no. I actually felt more connected to others. I mean spirit is your essence, right? I felt connected to the true self of others and just realized that I didn’t have to react to everything that was being said around me. I could take a pause and look to the inside of a person and realize that what they pointed out in others was often what they were afraid of in themselves. Aha. I was waking up.
As I started “waking up” I noticed that others were, to use a Star Wars reference (which technically was also Jungian), going to the dark side after proclaiming being “spiritual”. So what did that mean exactly?
I started noticing yoga teachers who were stuck in ego, people who claimed to be “heart centered” proclaiming how bad others in their field were and to come to them, as well as many other noticeable signs that these people were in fact full of crap. Like counting followers. Here are a few ways to notice on your own.
Spiritual Dark Side Flags:
- Acting superior to other people…as if it is their job. Let me break this down for you. No one, and I do mean no one on this earth, has the job title “supreme spiritual guru”. Why would someone else pick on you or call you out to others if their job is to be a guide here for growth? I can think of only one reason and that’s to make themselves feel better. This type of thinking is from the ego kids (exaggerated sense of self-importance). A true guide speaks from the heart and does it in a way that is a win-win for all, not a win-humiliate. What is the point of that? Truly. Speaking from ego doesn’t result in growth. Period. If you feel this way, try to enforce your boundaries.
- They are working through their own stuff, but instead, prefer to constantly help others instead of doing their own work. This one screams help to me. They are always giving advice on every feed, platform, and portal around. It screams “see me”. Look at me. I have my shit together, and I can advise you. They seem to be looking for a crowd to advise because they just “know” how it is, but they are starting “new” spiritual practices all the time and jumping from thing to thing. When do they have time to do the “work”? Like really? I prefer the teacher, guide, mentor or what have you who says they need some time off. It’s very important to notice those people. They are putting in the time to do the work.
- They have graduated from doing the spiritual work. This one also screams no. If someone tells you that they have reached the final enlightenment stage, run (because they must be a ghost). You don’t stop learning and growing until you die. I really believe that. This is a great adventure. “You can only come to the morning through the shadows.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien The shadow parts teach us how to walk in the light, and yes, they will be there until the end. It is part of life and we must embrace all that life teaches us. Some days are going to be hard and we’re not going to feel like doing the work, and you know what, it’s okay. There are good days and bad days and we all have them my friends.
I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay, small acts of kindness and love. ~J.R.R. Tolkien
To live is the greatest adventure of all, and to live wholeheartedly takes courage. Admitting that you make mistakes is okay. Being a leader who makes mistakes is human. Don’t forget to find those people. Those are your kind of people.
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