Spirituality can mean any number of things to any number of people. While it can bring a person to deeper truths and realizations, it can just as quickly be turned into a safe space that enables delusion, apathy, and even cruelty.
Too many people hide behind the idea that they are spiritually realized beings to justify moral and political choices devoid of genuine compassion and empathy. They arm themselves in the language of ‘The Light’ and claim that their knowledge is only for the truly initiated even when it stands in stark contrast to the raw, observed, realities of life.
It’s not productive to argue with people who do this because they’ve co-opted and weaponized a language that was initially designed to liberate a seeker from the control of the material world. There is usually a power dynamic associated with those who distort spirituality for their purposes and at whose expense.
I can’t tell you just how much verbal diarrhoea I’ve seen thrown about, interspersed with words like ‘awakening,’ ‘enlightenment,” discernment,’ ‘awareness,” love,’ and so on – to justify actions that are the exact opposite. Sometimes those who do this use a very technical, arcane language supposedly unintelligible to laypersons.
Effectively, what we’re seeing is the same dynamics that accompany the creation of a cult – especially in certain circles of the spiritual community.
We must be right because we say so.
Only we have access to superior knowledge.
Our knowledge is better than yours.
You have to join us to know why we’re right.
Up to a certain point, I can see how this could be a legitimate stance to take when someone has delved deeply into esoteric matters. But even the most advanced seeker knows that you cannot control or show others what path Spirit asks you to take at the end of the day. It is a deeply personal experience.
The thing that usually confirms it for me is when strong currents of denial and accusation are accompanied by the words: Let me save you! Join us!
When you are truly settled in your knowledge and clear on your path – you do not need to justify it, defend it, or try to shame others onto it – especially when it’s clear they’re not interested.
There’s also a subtler variant that uses moral relativism to justify all approaches as equal. While that makes sense in rhetoric, the people who tend to use this argument tend to come from backgrounds that are not oppressed, marginalized, or socio-economically poorer.
They tend not to be women, minorities, transpersons, or people who have felt injustice levied against them in their lives. In other words, this particular rhetorical trap tends to be used by those who have the privilege to do so.
When it is your daughter who has gone missing,
Or your child that’s been kept apart from you,
Or the son who was shot for playing with a toy gun,
Or the job that was taken from you because of your skin colour or whom you love or how you inhabit your own gender identity
Or the land that was taken from you despite a treaty (if you had one at all) guaranteeing your ancestral rights,
Then moral relativism rarely enters into the picture. Even if it does, it is followed up by action towards rebalancing the scales of justice.
Remember that all spiritual traditions can be used by seekers to find profound truths about reality and themselves. However, the same words, practices, and techniques can equally promote cognitive dissonance, ignorance, and even a justification for the suffering of the innocent.
Using the word ‘ spiritual’ is not what makes you a good person.
Nor is meditating, wearing crystals, using oils, or chanting.
Nor is knowing about chakras, other dimensions, timelines, and astral shenanigans.
What makes you a decent human being is what you do with the time you have on this planet.
At the end of the day, if your version of spirituality justifies turning a blind eye to pain, injustice, and suffering – you have to ask yourself if it has been co-opted. And by whom.
Dr Bairavee, The Sky Priestess
** In the first 20 minutes of this video, I talk about some hard-hitting issues that are plaguing the global spiritual community at this time. In the wake of recent political revelations, more and more are beginning to realize that there is an insidious intersection between denial, privilege and the rhetoric of spiritual awakening. It takes time and experience to know how to respond. The rest of the video is community question-and-answer-time
© Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2020. All rights reserved.