The spiritual journey has many twists and turns—full of pitfalls, dead-ends, roadblocks, and thorny terrains. The journey has often been compared to a map that has been handed to us by the great spiritual teachers and masters that came before—like Buddha, Jesus, or Muhammad.
However, each map is unique because it represents the problems, setbacks, and challenges that reflect the spirit of our times. Our personal journey does not occur in a vacuum but rather within the context of our zeitgeist. Each zeitgeist is its own distinct blend of confusion, beauty, and chaos.
This makes it very hard to know where you’re going unless someone points it out to you because they’ve already been there. As seekers, we have a shared responsibility to help each other out by putting up guideposts and warning signs for the next voyagers. Like, “Watch out! Pothole with snakes in 400 m.” Or, “Treacherous road leads to dead-end, but the view is spectacular!” Kinda like a Yelp, for seekers.
I believe this is what Ram Dass meant by, “we’re all just walking each other home.” This points to the idea that we are all students and teachers of life, and of each other.
One of the biggest pitfalls on the spiritual journey is guru worship. This happens when, rather than orienting us in the right direction, a fellow seeker takes advantage of our naivety, ignorance, or trust for their own personal gain. This gain usually comes in the form of money, sex, or both. We get seduced into an unequal power dynamic that sets us up for a bad time.
This is not about ‘victimizing’ ourselves. On the contrary, it’s about taking responsibility for our own ego projections by developing the necessary critical thinking skills to discern reality from someone else’s delusion.
It’s important to remember that no human being is above being human. This path is yours and yours alone. We cannot outsource our power to any guru, teacher, or even doctrine. This also (and especially) includes not putting our blind faith and trust in those whom we consider teachers or gurus. Doing so means that we are enmeshed with their ego. From there, it is a slippery slope to losing our individuality to a cult identity.
Remember: It takes two to be in a power dynamic. Two egos, one big dance of projection.
I will have a lot more to say about this in my follow-up episode where I share my own experience of guru worship with Osho. It is an important lesson on the nuanced and delicate balance between guru devotion (an actual practice in some lineages) and guru worship (a cult dynamic).
It’s rare to find spiritual teachers who can strike this balance, especially on social media which is inherently a breeding ground for online spiritual cults.
That’s why I’m so excited to invite Amit, the creator of @findingawareness as a guest on the pod today. Seekers, you don’t want to miss this!
In this episode, Amit and I delve into the common challenges and pitfalls of the spiritual process, like spiritual materialism, the spiritual ego, and spiritual bypassing. We address how to spot red flags and warning signs for inauthentic teachers and how we can protect ourselves from cult dynamics.
We also discuss critical issues in spirituality that frankly need more attention, including fake gurus, money worship, and capitalist spirituality.
I hope this conversation will support you as you continue to navigate the thorny realms of spirituality in our modern times. I highly recommend reading Amit’s book (linked below) if you’re looking for a no-nonsense, practical guide to the spiritual process.
Enjoy! I would love to know what you think of this episode. What were your biggest takeaways?
Connect with Amit:
On Instagram: @findingawareness
Amit’s website: findingawareness.com
Buy Amit’s book: Finding Awareness
Connect with the Conscious Revolution Host:
Podcast music credits: @artmusic.janevo
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