Thoughts on Spiritual Hypocrisy
Sun 30th Jul 2017
I am getting really tired of spiritual hypocrisy, particularly in so called ‘spiritual teachers’. People masking their shadow and negative qualities in “love and light”, “om nama sivaya’s”, “om Shanti’s” or whatever other language or actions are used out there to allow us to manipulate situations and hide from our own imperfections. People using their ‘spirituality’ as a way to use or abuse others and feel better about themselves.
Practicing or teaching yoga, buddhism, veganism, non-duality etc does not make you superior or better than the rest of the world. Being able to recite mantras, or meditate does not make you above someone who does not do this. It just makes you someone who practices yoga, buddhism, veganism, non-duality or recites mantras. If you stand as a teacher it is because you have a gift to share your experiences with others and to be a guide, it does not make you special or above the people you teach. You do not need to be perfect to hold that role. If you think you are more enlightened, or more spiritually advanced than another then I am afraid you have fallen into a mind trap.
For me what is important as we journey though our lives, whether we think of ourselves as “spiritual” or not, is authenticity, deep self honesty and the ability to reflect and take criticism where appropriate. To look deeply within and be willing not to wrap ourselves up in anything that allows us to create an even more false sense of self or step into narcissistic qualities that tell us we are above others. We need to face and embrace our shadow as much as our light. Through that I feel we open ourselves up to the possibility of moving in the world with true compassion and peace. Unfortunately in the ‘spiritual world’ the opposite is increasingly rife and far too many, apparently wise teachers, play this out themselves, thereby guiding their students into the same trap.
The more I journey through life the more I recognise how these qualities in myself are what create my suffering. My desire to be important and recognised does not come from any personal greatness it comes from my insecurities. As I discover my smallness and find peace with being one of many, I am increasingly able to accept that all humans, including myself, are unique and amazing, no one more or less than another. When I am in this place I find myself peaceful, I experience a childlike joy when I see the talents and brilliance of the people around me. It allows me to take such pleasure when I watch another succeed. But if I am in a place of self lack the same thing makes me crumble inside. Then I notice myself trying to be better than, or wiser than, or more knowledgeable than and move into a place of judgement. What then is moving in me is fear and insecurity, a feeling of inadequacy that is masked by my false presentation of and to myself.
I truly hope that as we all grow and develop we are able to let go of the idea that anyone is above or below us. In my experience, as someone who has had a broad mix of teachers, true teachers teach through their actions and their presence. They need nothing in return from the people they teach (except possibly financial exchange so they can live). They do not need to play out their longing to be recognised, nor loved and adored, nor to be held on a pedestal, nor do they allow it. They can be challenged and are able to acknowledge their mistakes. They are willing to own and accept their shadow as they become aware of it. This, in turn, encourages their students to do the same, rather than have the increasingly familiar, but false idea, that to stand in our greatness we have to deny our smallness. It encourages everyone to be empowered and to accept and love both our beauties and imperfections.
Personally I am ready to learn and be inspired by people who see themselves as my equal, not as my ‘parent’ or my superior. Teachers who are willing to recognise my greatness as I recognise theirs. Teachers who support me to stand in this fullness, not try to knock me down when I present a quality they do not like, nor when I reflect something they do not wish to see in themselves. People who are willing to learn and to grow through the experiences they have with their students. Who embrace their imperfections and their greatness, while supporting me to do the same with mine.