“Here is a universal truth that everyone needs to know: Spiritual experiences, including near-death experiences, DO NOT perfect the human side of our nature. Spiritual experiences can, however, blind us and make us (and others) think we are more developed than we actually are. If we focus too much on the spiritual realities of life without focusing enough on the imperfect, growing, evolving human side of ourselves; if we discount, ignore or suppress the shadowy, undeveloped sides of our nature, these forces will eventually catch up with us and set our earthly lives on fire.”
— Near-Death Experience Researcher & Author, David Sunfellow
“I’ve said this many times, in many ways, but will say it again here, more directly.
“A large number of near-death experiencers report that they felt one of the reasons they had their experience was because they had lost their way in life. Because of this, they required a major wake up call, which is what their near-death experience provided them with. A wake up call does not turn formerly dysfunctional people into healthy people. It gives them a story to share, a map to follow, and concrete ways to begin to tackle all the areas of their lives and personalities that require deepening and healing. What this means is that near-death experiencers, while they often have wonderful stories to tell, including stories of miraculous healings and newfound paranormal abilities, are not necessarily the wisest, healthiest, most evolved people.
“So this is a double warning.
“First, to near-death experiencers: Spiritual experiences, by themselves, do not transform any of us into perfect beings overnight. We still must do the hard work of purifying egos and integrating spiritual visions and understandings with the practical realities of life. If we try to ride the power of spiritual experiences without doing the hard work of personal transformation, we will end up crashing and burning, and potentially taking a lot of others with us.
“Second, to those who are looking to near-death experiencers as emissaries of The Divine: Yes, near-death experiencers have been sent back, in part, to share their stories and, by doing so, help illuminate all of us. Beyond that, near-death experiencers may or may not be able to offer solid, seasoned advice. Along with integrating whatever spiritual experiences they had into daily life, it often takes decades of daily work on shadow and developmental issues to create vessels that allow The Divine to emerge in us in healthy, balanced, full blown ways. The same is true for us. Like near-death experiencers, we must also work on ourselves, which includes not giving our power and personal responsibility away to others who appear to be more evolved than we are.
“As near-death researcher Kenneth Ring writes in his classic book Lessons from The Light:
“As always, discrimination and discernment must be exercised, because even in ‘the near-death world’… there are persons, including some NDErs, who are not always what they seem, or who suffer from obvious self-inflation or other grandiose tendencies that any prudent person would do well to eschew immediately… Please remember something that should be obvious: NDErs, though they may have seen The Light, are still human and have human failings. Not they, but only The Light should be exalted. So do not let your enthusiasm for these teachings and for what The Light represents blind you to possible excesses in Its name.”
— Near-Death Experience Researcher & Author, David Sunfellow
“I want to be a common man. I don’t want to pretend to be a saint. My aspiration is to be authentic and I find that to be a real struggle. One of the things that I think is a huge problem with near-death experiencers, and I include myself in that category… is egotism. I’ve been turned off by some near-death experiencers because I found that their ego was getting in the way of their truth and their authenticity.”
“We are masters of self deception. If there is anything that human beings are good at, it’s self deception.”
“I learned the ego is alive and well upon returning from an NDE. It may have settled down its fervor for wanting what it wants, but for the most part, the ego is still there. When back in the physical plane with the ability to think and have free-will, ego-centred behaviour may return and old behaviour patterns become active once again. Impatience, lack of trust, judgement and all other ego-centered behaviours are just reminding us of perhaps the one big reason people return from an NDE; that is, because there is still much to learn. Those things not yet completed at the time of the NDE are still there. Along with all of the gifts and special talents, this may be the biggest lesson of all from the light. There are still things to be done. There are attachments to become detached from. There are still steps to be taken to learn what the physical world has yet to teach; otherwise, returning would not have been an option.”
— The Ego Is Alive & Well Upon Returning From An NDE by Teresa L. Decicco
“This chapter is about the shadow, what it is, how it got started, and how to take it back. But one thing is certain: the great wisdom traditions, for all their wisdom, have absolutely nothing like this. I know, I’ve spent thirty years checking with students and teachers, and the conclusion is unanimous: an understanding of the psychodynamic repression, as well as ways to cure it, is something contributed exclusively by modern Western psychology. Many meditation teachers claim that they offer something similar, but when you look closely at what they mean, it really isn’t this. Consequently, even advanced meditators and spiritual teachers are often haunted by psychopathology, as their shadows chase them to Enlightenment and back, leaving roadkill all along the way. The good news is that this is fairly easily remedied.”
— Ken Wilber, Integral Spirituality, Chapter Six, The Shadow And The Disowned Self
“We need more psychology. We need more understanding of human nature because the only real danger that exists, is man himself. He is the great danger. And we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man; far too little. His psyche should be studied because we are the origin of all coming evil.”
“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”
“The message that these children were telling me [children who had near-death experiences] is that we’re here for a reason. This reality is a school and we’re here to learn lessons of love. I lectured on this. I told people this… I felt that I was just so filled with wisdom and helping grieving parents and all of this. And yet, in my personal life, things were really deteriorating and I did not learn my lessons of love. To make a long story short, I did this myself, I created a very toxic, ugly environment in my personal life and this resulted in my step daughter making false accusations against me. These accusations resulted in my being convicted of child endangerment. It was very dramatic. Headlines all over the country. Pediatrician waterboards his step daughter. At first, I couldn’t believe that people really took that seriously because oddly enough, I was never accused of waterboarding her. But I was convicted and I spent two years in prison. I went through the experience of feeling that I had lost everything. Lost my family. Lost my reputation, my license to practice medicine. All of these things — this is who I thought I was. And yet I discovered something even more than that. I discovered a relationship that I finally developed with this God — that’s what kids call It, so I’m going to call It God, virtually all the children that I resuscitated told me that they saw God — not a Higher Power, not all the different names we have for God. And I learned my lessons of love. I learned them in prison. I was humbled. My ego destroyed. I learned astonishing lessons of love. And I couldn’t have learned them any other way.”
I fell into a very deep depression, the blackest that I had ever known. And in that desperation, I cried out, “If there is a God, will He show Himself?” Then came a sudden experience in which it seemed the room lit up. It felt as though I stood on the top of a mountain, that a great clean wind blew, that I was free. The sublime paradox of strength coming out of weakness.
So I called in the doctor and tried to tell him, as best I could, what had happened. And he said, “Yes, I have read of such experiences but I have never seen one.” I said, “Well doctor, examine me, have I gone crazy?” And he did examine me and said, “No boy, you’re not crazy. Whatever it is, you’d better hold onto it. It’s so much better than what had you just a few hours ago.” Well, along with thousands of other alcoholics, I have been holding on to it ever since.
But that was only the beginning. And at the time, I actually thought that it was the end, you might say, of all my troubles. I began there, out of this sudden illumination, not only to get benefits, but to draw some serious liabilities. One of those that came immediately was one that you might call Divine Appointment. I actually thought, I had the conceit really to believe, that God had selected me, by this sudden flash of Presence, to dry up all the drunks in the world. I really believed it. I also got another liability out of the experience, and that was that it had to happen in some particular way just like mine or else it would be of no use. In other words, I conceived myself as going out, getting hold of these drunks, and producing in them just the same kind of experience that I had had. Down in New York, where they knew me pretty well in the A.A., they facetiously call these sudden experiences that we sometimes have a “W.W. hot flash.” I really thought that I had been endowed with the power to go out and produce a “hot flash” just like mine in every drunk.
Well, I started off; I was inspired; I knew just how to do it, as I thought then. Well, I worked like thunder for 6 months and not one alcoholic got dried up. What were the natural reactions then? I suppose some of you here, who have worked with alcoholics, have a pretty good idea. The first reaction was one of great self-pity; the other was a kind of martyrdom. I began to say, “Well, I suppose that this is the kind of stuff that martyrs are made of but I will keep on at all costs.” I kept on, and I kept on, until I finally got so full of self-pity and intolerance (our two greatest enemies in the A.A.) that I nearly got drunk myself. So I began to reconsider. I began to say, “Yes, I found my relief in this particular way, and glorious it was and is, for it is still the central experience of my whole life. But who am I to suppose that every other human being ought to think, act and react just as I do? Maybe we’re all very much alike in a great many respects but, as individuals, we’re different too.”
— Bill Wilson, the Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous
“I really see no other solution than to turn inwards and to root out all the rottenness there. I no longer believe that we can change anything in the world until we first change ourselves. And that seems to me the only lesson to be learned.”
“When Germany went to the devil in Nazism, people fell into it through their personal shadow. For instance, they didn’t want to lose their job because they were clinging to money. That was their personal shadow. But then they joined the Nazi movement for that reason and did much worse things than they would have done normally, under normal social conditions. So you can say that the personal shadow is the bridge to the collective shadow, or the open door to the collective shadow. The collective shadow comes up in those terrible, mass psychosis. It’s like if you have a room and there is one door that is not shut. There the devil can come in. If you know your personal shadow, you can shut all the doors.”
— Dr. Marie-Louise von Franz, from the documentary Matter of Heart – The Classic Documentary on C.G. Jung (26:50 – 27:41)
Preachers, Teachers, Experiencers, Enlightened Gurus & Their Followers
Who Ignored Shadow Issues
And Suffered The Consequences
Western Preachers, Teachers, Experiencers & Enlightened Gurus
• Scientology (L. Ron Hubbard)
• Emissary of Light (James Twyman)
Western/Eastern Preachers, Teachers, Experiencers & Enlightened Gurus
Eastern Preachers, Teachers, Experiencers & Enlightened Gurus
• The Enigmatic “Bhagwan,” Osho Rajneesh
• Part 1 of 5: 25 Years After Rajneeshee Commune Collapsed, Truth Spills Out
• Part 2 of 5: Thwarted Rajneeshee Leaders Attack Enemies, Neighbors With Poison
• Part 3 of 5: Rajneeshee Leaders Take Revenge On The Dalles’ With Poison, Homeless
• Part 4 of 5: Rajneeshee Leaders See Enemies Everywhere As Questions Compound
• Part 4 of 5: Rajneeshees’ Utopian Dreams Collapse As Talks Turn To Murder
Toby Marshall writes:
As a person who has been involved in investigative journalism for 25 years, I would say that what Be Scofield reports is both credible and troubling. It is not perfect, but it raises a number of points which deserve more scrutiny, something that many are clearly trying to avoid.
A bit of background: I was involved with Rajneesh (Osho) both in Poona and for the entire experience in Oregon from 1980-1985. I was very close to Sheela and the inner circle around her, as well as with many of Rajneesh’s closest disciples, who lived with and took care of him. I know what went on behind the curtain, and how it contrasted with what was presented when Rajneesh was “onstage”. The theatrics surrounding Mooji are disturbingly similar to what Rajneesh had going on, and the behind-the-scenes stories are also familiar.
To those supporting Mooji, I would ask: Have you been in his presence when he is not “onstage” performing his act in front of all his followers? There are sannyasins today who still think Rajneesh was the “Master of Masters”, a perfect realized being showering his love and grace upon the Buddhafield. They are laboring under this illusion to this day, knowing nothing of how he was in the privacy of his home, or his micromanagement of all aspects of the commune; of his heavy drug use, or the fits of anger, his physical violence with his girlfriend, the manipulation of his followers and sexual improprieties with his female disciples, of which I have firsthand knowledge from those who were subject to it.
To those to whom the illusion of his “enlightenment” still plays an important role in their lives, the discussion of these facts are met with denials on all levels — from tortured justification to outright denial. The pattern fits perfectly those who are presently refusing to consider Mooji’s human failings. I am not saying that Mooji is a “bad person”, nor am I comparing him directly to Rajneesh, who had different weaknesses. What I am saying is that Mooji is not what he presents himself to be. The whole “perfect realized one” act is show. He is as human as the rest of us, and that is where the problem lies — not that he is human, with human failings, but that he must maintain a fiction.
The real problem lies with those who follow him, and must create the fiction of a “realized being” in order to avoid their own responsibilities for their lives. They use him to escape themselves, not to find themselves, in the same way that one would use drugs to get high, or go to a rock concert in order to join a group mind and check out of themselves. More and more they use him for catharsis, and the release they get they mistake for some sort of awakening.
It may well be that Mooji serves some people in a way that they find valuable, but he is not what he pretends to be. The acid test will be how his present disciples react when more information comes out, which it is sure to do. If Mooji or his organization were not afraid of how the bad publicity would affect their bottom line, they would not be hiring lawyers to threaten his critics. These are not tactics of love, but of power.
• Questioning Mooji Page on Facebook
• Mooji Responds To Negative Accusations
• Tanya White Discusses Her Experience With Mooji
• Questions about Mooji on Reddit
• Medium.com Bans Journalist Be Scofield After Sex-Cult Expose
Ethics & Spiritual Teaching SAND Panel Discussion
This discussion explores:
Questioning whether higher consciousness and ethical behavior are tightly correlated.
The founding of the Association of Professional Spiritual Teachers.
The attempt to formulate a code of ethics that might apply universally in the contemporary spiritual community and enliven an understanding of what may or may not be appropriate, giving students greater confidence in their own discernment and discrimination.
Ancient traditions held the teacher beyond reproach and students surrendered their own will. This may have worked in monastic settings but generally does not work today.
Preventative support so we’re not busy doing cleanup.
Power hierarchies should not be an essential part of spiritual development and can lead to abuses.
Spiritual awakening does not necessarily qualify a person to offer advice on relationships, finances, etc.
Ethical training of some sort is integral to most honored traditions.
The issue of sexism and patriarchy in spiritual organizations.
Entering the teaching profession prematurely.
All too often, when teachers are challenged on their behavior, they ignore the challenger or become defensive.
How do we offer the possibility for redemption and atonement?
Moving away from a culture of competition to one of cooperation.
The importance of humility.
The importance of teachers not identifying with their role and thinking that students’ devotion is about them.
South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation” as a model.
“While it is tempting to follow the ‘positive vibes only’ path, this is a trap, a kind of self-rejecting pseudo-spirituality that will leave us feeling in conflict with ourselves. We cannot hate or resist our emotions and expect to feel at peace.
“The goal of spiritual practice is deep and open awareness. Whether our practice is meditation or yoga, the goal is to live as fully present as we can. A full and healthy life is filled with the ENTIRE spectrum of emotion. To be fully alive is not to only experience what the mind categorizes as ‘positive,’ but to live grounded and present for BOTH pleasant AND unpleasant emotions. Alienating any part of our experience will feel confining and imprisoning to the heart, which is always much larger than any duality that the mind invents.
“So, when you feel happy, feel happy. When you feel sad, feel sad. When you are angry, feel angry. The courage to be honest will lead to the wholeheartedness that we all seek.”
— Dr. Brandon Nappi
“Along the spiritual journey, many of us move through a phase of spiritual snobbery in which we elevate our worldview over the worldview of others. We think, ‘If everyone would think like me, act like me, eat like me, vote like me, the world would be a more perfect place.’ It’s amazing how the ego will use even spiritual practice and growth to feel special and important.
“So, notice when judgment is arising strongly within you. Shaming others into believing exactly like we do is not creating a more just and compassionate world. Shaming others for disagreeing with us is a violent act which guarantees division. Let your love be as passionate as your ideas. Let your compassion be as strong as your opinions. Hold everything lightly. Humility is the radical act of admitting that what you don’t know is infinitely greater than what you do know.”
— Dr. Brandon Nappi
Shadow Work Resources
• Shadow Work: Insights From The Pathwork Lectures
• The Pathwork Lectures On Relationships
• All 258 Pathwork Lectures
• International Pathwork Foundation
• Robert Augustus Masters: Spiritual Bypassing
• The Danger in Fake Positivity and Spiritual Bypassing
• Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature
• A Sobering Lesson: Real Mastership Versus Fake Mastership
• The Other Side Of Paradise: How I Left A Buddhist Retreat In Handcuffs
• NHNE Pulse on The Dark Side of Human Nature
• Wikipedia on The Shadow
• Carl Jung on The Shadow
• Dream Basics (using dreams to uncover, heal and transform the dark sides of our natures)
• A Guided Tour of Hell: A Graphic Memoir
• Hellish And Distressing Near-Death Experiences
• Can Negative Behaviors Lead To Hellish Experiences?
• Hellish Realms, Evil Spirits, and How Our Vibrations Create Our Experiences
True Learning Happens In The Body
“True learning happens in the body. This is a big deal to me personally because so much of my life was about wanting to escape the body and wanting that for other people. I also grew up hearing that when you die you get to take off that glove; you get to be free and so I thought that here [in this world] is the more negative, that there [on the other side of life] is the more positive. The understanding in this place — as hard as it is to see and understand — is that true learning happens within the body because when we are in experience, in this form, there is something that evolves within us at the level of the soul that makes the body an important part of the whole. It isn’t that one is good and one is bad. The two work together in an important way. That was very healing for me personally, to come to a better understanding.”
The Other Side Is Not All It Is Cracked Up To Be
“God gave everything to us, everything is here — this is where it’s at. And what we are into now is God’s exploration of God through us. People are so busy trying to become God that they ought to realize that we are already God and God is becoming us. That’s what it is really about. When I realized this, I was finished with The Void, and wanted to return to this creation…”
“The other side is not all it is cracked up to be. There’s a lot you can’t do on the other side. There’s a perfect combination though. A body without spirit is a wasteland and a spirit without a body is a wasteland. And we are the perfect matrix of body and spirit. With body and spirit, you can have it all.”
— Near-Death Experiencer Mellen-Thomas Benedict
Return To The Oneness With A Greater Light And A Greater Understanding
“The separation from God began a journey of love. The individuating consciousness seeks, through the experience of human reality, to know itself fully and completely so that it can return to the Oneness with a greater light and a greater understanding. This adds to the reality of the Oneness for all things are in a state of continual expansion and creation.”
— From the psychic readings of Emmanuel as recorded in “Emmanuel’s Book”, by Pat Rodegast
We Get Perfection When Man Becomes God, Or God Becomes Man
“Perfection does not belong to God as God, nor does it belong to man as man. We get perfection when man becomes God, or God becomes man. The finite being who is conscious of the finite is short of perfection; but when he becomes conscious of being one with the Infinite, he is perfect.”
— Meher Baba, from the book, “God To Man, Man To God”
God Became Conscious As An Individual
“Some have said that the uniqueness of Christ as Jesus was that a man became conscious of God, that an individual became conscious of God. But we would now give a greater significance: GOD BECAME CONSCIOUS AS AN INDIVIDUAL! This is why you are in the Earth — not to become conscious of God, for you were that before entering the Earth. Not that, as many religions and people believe, but that God would become conscious AS MAN, that God would become an individual. There is a difference. One is a transformation, an amelioration, the purpose for which he entered. The other is, well, merely returning the pancake to its batter.”
— From “Creation”, a psychic reading by Ray Stanford
There Are Two Basic Approaches To Human Spirituality
“There are two basic approaches to human spirituality. The first one is to emphasize, concentrate, and focus on the divine possibility within until this possibility becomes a reality. Many movements exist that have practices, teachings, and exercises that help actively and effectively toward this end. All energies and concentration are directed toward cultivating and enhancing, manifesting and expressing, the divine reality within. However, this does not necessarily mean that the other fragmentary levels of consciousness are thereby automatically eliminated and incorporated into the divine center. It is quite possible and, indeed, a frequent occurrence that such practices genuinely bring out the real, Higher Self yet leave the underdeveloped aspects of consciousness intact.”
“Many entities have such an intense longing to realize their divine, inherent nature that they forget, while in the body, that they came to fulfill a mission in the universal plan. This mission is the purification and growth of undeveloped cosmic matter. In order to do this, the second approach must be adopted. And that is to shed the light of conscious awareness and experience on the inner distortions, the ugliness, the darkness, the evil, the suffering, as well as on the inner truth, the beauty, the love, the goodness, the joy.”
“It is necessary to attempt, again and again, to get in touch with the Higher Self, the divine consciousness that is ever-present, immutable, and immediately available within you. When this is done for the purpose of making distorted levels of soul substance conscious and in order to reorient them, so as to unify all split-off soul substance, meditation must take a different road from the kind of meditation that is used for the sole purpose of realizing the Divine Self while disregarding the dark aspects of the self. It is a current illusion and wishful thinking that this latter approach automatically deals with the dark side of human nature. This cannot be so. You cannot overcome what you have not consciously and fully experienced. This wishful hope with which you are all familiar is nourished by the fact that it is indeed possible to realize the already potentially present part of the God self. It is very important, my friends, to understand this clearly. This is why it is often true that entities once they shed the body who have led a difficult and apparently unspiritual life, do more toward the universal process of evolution than some others who have led an extremely spiritual life, who may even have been so-called ‘masters,’ but who have cultivated their beauty and disregarded their ugliness. They have thus failed to unify and so have unwittingly perpetuated the dualistic state of consciousness in which this earth finds itself.”
— From The Pathwork Guide Lectures of Eva Pierrakos, Lecture 193
Shadow Issues Are Revealed In Our Relationships With Others
“Relationship represents the greatest challenge for the individual, for it is only in relationship to others that unresolved problems still existing within the individual psyche are affected and activated.”
— From The Pathwork Guide Lectures of Eva Pierrakos, Pg. 93, The Pathwork of Self-Transformation
We Are Not Here For Any Purpose Of Escape
“When such a substance as LSD is taken into the system, through chemical stimulation relating to the glands, one is taken back in the activities of the evolutionary forces, the evolutionary forces of the body and soul. You may say that ‘I, some, have experienced a glimpse of God, of Christ, in this way.’ Have you? … You have experienced somewhat of an awareness related to the Universal, to God. But, as in the beginning, it draws the focus of the mind back to the deep-set history of the soul and bodily evolution, to the SUBJECTIVE state of mind rather than to the OBJECTIVE state.”
“Such experiences with these drugs hinder man toward the Christ consciousness. For while it is true that they attune him to God, they attune him as to the relationship of man with God BEFORE he was a spiritual being, rather than toward that which he is to become.”
“We are not here for any purpose of escape. Through the nature of the spirit and soul, the forces have been built in man where it is here a bit, there a bit, stone upon stone; not a jump into the infinite — even with a few hours or days or weeks of preparation… No, it is not well at these times that man return to his unresolute beginnings. It would be more important and better that a man flounder for years, striving with his own personal problems to apply what he even consciously knows of the Christ ideal of love.”
— “The Drug Dilemma”, from the psychic readings of Ray Stanford
Mindfully Cleaning Up The Psychic Clutter Within & Without
“I remember a woman who came to me years ago complaining of low energy. She was a passionate individual who felt keenly the problems in the world, so she had a habit of taking on causes to “help the planet.” If someone asked her to volunteer for a particular project, she couldn’t say no. The problem was that her primary motivation wasn’t love or a sense of joyous service; it was guilt and a sense of duty. What she really wanted to do was spend time painting, but her various causes allowed her no time for that., and she felt anxious if she wasn’t “serving”. As a consequence, she was on the edge of burn-out and breakdown.
“I was able to help her see that she wasn’t really helping the causes she believed in because increasingly she was bringing to them a sense of depression and scattered energy. Consequently, her volunteer and her paid work were suffering. I suggested she needed to start saying no, cutting back on the amount of service she was trying to give, and taking time just for herself. She was desperate enough to be willing to try this, and the result over time was that she regained her usual joy and vitality, stopped trying to do everything to save the planet and picked where she was able make a real contribution and to do it effectively and with joy…
“Let’s say a person is on the street protesting Big Oil or the proposed construction of a new pipeline, or opposing fracking or off-shore drilling. The act of protest, if it can put political and economic pressure on corporations or the government that leads to change, might be an effective and important thing to do. But the person who is filled with anger at the government or at the leaders of a corporation, probably fearful of the consequences of what they are doing, possibly even feeling hatred for those involved, may be “off-gassing” powerful emotional energies into the subtle environment which become their own kind of pollution. Others who are less balanced in themselves or more emotionally vulnerable may pick up on this subtle pollution and, finding themselves now feeling anger or fear, though perhaps not knowing why, may be motivated to acts of violence. At the least, they add their negative emotions and thoughts as further psychic pollution. In effect, our collective human body is further infected.
“If, on the other hand, our activist had spent some time learning how to act from a calm center, had learned how to transmute his or her more violent and angry emotions, had learned how to be more whole and how to bring love and respect into their activism, then such a person could still be on the streets or in a courtroom or passing out fliers but not further polluting the subtle environment. In fact, he or she could be mindfully cleaning up the psychic clutter of that subtle room in the world’s house even while working on cleaning up the physical room.
“This is not an either/or matter. Given the dual nature of the world and of ourselves, “being spiritual” is also being practical. Spending time and energy to understand and master his or her own inner states gives a person a powerful edge in working with challenges in the world. The most effective activist these days is a person who has a vision of the whole earth and, drawing on his or her own wholeness, works to heal and transform that which needs healing and transforming in both rooms of the planetary house.”
— David Spangler: Honoring The Unseen Forces Of Life
The Primary Focus of Spiritual Work
By Angela Sophia
The primary focus of spiritual work and the purification of consciousness has to do with the eradication of fear, which underlies all the false egoic tendencies we call desire. The practice of this eradication involves determining internally which actions/responses are being driven by fear at their core, and working to dissolve those barriers. The more barriers we dissolve, the more we liberate our authentic selves to freedom. The external actions we take are not especially relevant, as they are really only a byproduct of the internal process. It is one’s own inner work that is of primary importance, not how one appears externally to others. (For this reason, it is nearly impossible to evaluate another’s spiritual progress by merely observing their conduct or behavior.).
External peace between people is a beautiful thing. But real external peace cannot exist if there is internal turmoil and fear. Discontent can be suppressed and silenced, or negotiated or compromised away, but that is a false facade of peace, not authentic peace. In this sense, external peace becomes a kind of utopian ideal towards which we strive, but rarely achieve. Those who do achieve the virtuous ideal become spiritual masters and titans of humanity.
Many of us are conditioned from childhood to remain silent, or to refuse to engage in a provocation with an aggressor, in order to keep the external calm and social order. This serves to maintain a necessary social cohesion and quell unrest and chaos, without which there would be anarchy, but it is not peace. The authentic ideal requires a much more arduous and complicated journey.
When we embark on the spiritual path, we are initially taught not to engage in interpersonal combat, and to remain silent in the face of provocation. That is a wise initial teaching. By not engaging and refraining from combat, we have the space to turn the focus inward, and work through all of the triggered feelings and beliefs that the provocation activates. This work happens in layers and takes years and years to complete. As our competency in this area matures, we come to see the incredible value of this teaching. By refraining from engagement and using the provocations (so plentiful in our world) to fuel the work, we are able to travel to great internal depth and really discover ourselves fully. A seasoned practitioner of this process will actually arrive at gratitude towards his aggressors, because the attacks illuminated the wounding that was in need of awareness. That is how provocations (and evil at large) serve us, and that is why we ought to “turn the other cheek” in our usual practice.
There comes another stage of spiritual work and purification that asks us to externally work through our fears. Here we are called to a different sort of activity. In this area, having healed all of our primary wounds, we must now work on developing courage. The approach to provocations here is different, taking on a combative nature. This is the other side of the spectrum, which involves bringing increasing awareness to our self-oppression and self-silencing in order to “keep the peace” and “avoid rocking the boat,” because those things aren’t “nice.” We must recognize the places where we remain silent and refuse engagement out of fear of confrontation and avoidance. Then we must reconcile the fears, and find our voice, our anger, and learn how to utilize those tools effectively. They are vital parts of our humanness, and through proper expression they must be brought into balance within.
In some spiritual communities speaking up, engaging when provoked, standing up for oneself or against injustice, or using appropriate expressions of anger are shunned and shamed as “not spiritual.” This is a mistake. Those communities remain stuck in the initial beginner level teachings, rather than advancing to the more mature stages of spiritual growth. They impose “peace” and “calm,” which often becomes abusive and oppressive to the members, especially when malevolent actors are at the helm.
In this more spiritually mature arena, in order to claim that we are consciously choosing to remain silent and forbear when attacked, there must be a valid and viable alternative. That means that responding, or not responding, must be equally available paths of actions. Then it can be said that there is a legitimate choice being made between two paths. If responding to the provocation is not an available path, it is because fear is standing in the way, and then the decision not to respond is not a choice, but an avoidance. We can even call it a cowardice, succumbing to fear, rather than acting on our authentic feelings.
In this part of the work, we must choose very carefully when to respond or not respond, and how precisely to respond to the correct degree, determined mostly by which path scares us most. The responses must never come from a place of vengeance or the pursuit of power or domination. They must always be underpinned by justice and ethical decision-making. By recognizing the fear that blocks us, working through it, and then moving forward in that direction conquering the fear, we will win. That is what is really meant by this piece of wisdom. The one who masters this process wins.
The winning does not have to anything to do with what happens externally. The practitioner doesn’t necessary win against his opponent in physical reality. His external opponent and the external outcome of the fight do not matter. What matters is if he is internally making the right, courageous, wise choice — utilizing the provocation in the best way possible, pushing himself further and further towards the conquest of fear, and responding in just the right way. If this is carried out correctly, he will win, and the victory will be of the most important kind.
The Pathwork of Self-Transformation
By Eva Pierrakos
The Pathwork Lectures of Eva Pierrakos provide an exceptionally insightful overview of personal growth and the spiritual path. Along with viewing and encouraging personal growth in a very well-rounded way, the Pathwork Lectures are unique in terms of how much, and how clearly, they deal with shadow issues. For a comprehensive overview of the history of these lectures, including their main teachings, go here. The Pathwork Foundation’s website is located here.
Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters
By Robert Augustus Masters
Spiritual bypassing — the use of spiritual beliefs to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs — is so pervasive that it goes largely unnoticed. The spiritual ideals of any tradition, whether Christian commandments or Buddhist precepts, can provide easy justification for practitioners to duck uncomfortable feelings in favor of more seemingly enlightened activity. When split off from fundamental psychological needs, such actions often do much more harm than good.
While other authors have touched on the subject, this is the first book fully devoted to spiritual bypassing. Spiritual Bypassing provides an in-depth look at the unresolved or ignored psychological issues often masked as spirituality, including self-judgment, excessive niceness, and emotional dissociation. A longtime psychotherapist with an engaging writing style, Masters furthers the body of psychological insight into how we use (and abuse) religion in often unconscious ways. This book will hold particular appeal for those who grew up with an unstructured new-age spirituality now looking for a more mature spiritual practice, and for anyone seeking increased self-awareness and a more robust relationship with themselves and others.
Important Background Information About Robert Augustus Masters
• Spiritual Bypassing Guru Robert Augustus Masters Was an Abusive Cult Leader by Be Scofield
• Spiritual Wiki: Robert Augustus Masters
• A Needed Shattering by Robert Augustus Masters
Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature
By Connie Zweig (Editor) and Jeremiah Abrams (Editor)
Editors Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams deserve congratulations for constructing this remarkable collection of illuminating looks at the hitherto inscrutable human “shadow.” This substantial volume brings together extremely diverse perspectives on this eternally timely topic, citing brief but pithy passages from luminaries like Carl Jung, James Hillman, M.L. von Franz, John Sanford; Harville Hendrix, Marsha Sinetar, Larry Dossey, W.Brugh Joy; M.Scott Peck, Rollo May, Ernest Becker, Sam Keen, Robert Jay Lifton; Ken Wilber, Robert Bly, Joseph Campbell and John Bradshaw. There is much distilled wisdom in these pages, organized in a meaningful, coherent, even entertaining fashion — with intelligent commentary by the editors, who scatter lovely little nuggets from Rilke, Nietzsche, Rumi, Shakespeare, Lao-Tzu, Blake, Dante and others throughout. Some reviewers have called this highly readable book the “I Ching” of the shadow, and for good reason: readers, even those new to the notion of the “shadow,” can pick it up, open to practically any page, and discover something valuable and essential to understanding themselves and others more deeply and more compassionately. In short, this compendium is a terrific introduction to Jung’s archetypal concept of the Shadow.
Stripping the Gurus: Sex, Violence, Abuse and Enlightenment
By Geoffrey Falk
“Stripping the Gurus is superb — one of the best books of its kind I have ever read. The research is meticulous, the writing engaging, and the overall thesis: devastatingly true. A stellar book.”
— Dr. David C. Lane, California State University
“Geoffrey Falk’s delightful but disturbing unmasking of religious prophets and preachers who command a vast following is a welcome contribution to the literature on the gurus and god-men of all religions.”
— Dr. Narasingha P. Sil, Western Oregon University