… Urmatoarele 10 categorii nu se vor a fi definitive, dar sunt niste repere pentru a deveni constienti de unele dintre cele mai comune boli cu transmitere spirituala:
1. Spiritualitatea Fast-Food: Combina spiritualitatea cu o cultura care motiveaza viteza, multifunctionalitatea si gratificarea instanta, iar rezultatul este foarte probabil sa fie o spiritualitate fast-food. Spiritualitatea fast-food este un produs al fanteziei comune, usor de inteles cum ca eliberarea de suferinta conditiei umane poate fi rapida si usoara. Insa un lucru este clar: TRANSFORMAREA SPIRITUALA NU POATE FI DOBANDITA, POCNIND DIN DEGETE.
2. Spiritualitatea gresita: Spiritualitatea gresita este tendinta de a vorbi, de a ne imbraca si purta, imaginandu-ne cum ar face-o o persoana spirituala. Este un fel de imitare spirituala, care mimeaza realizarea spirituala, la fel cum pielea de leopard artificiala mimeaza o piele de leopard veritabila.
3. Motivatiile confuze: Cu toate ca dorinta noastra de a evolua este veritabila si pura, de multe ori este amestecata cu motivatii mai marunte, incluzand dorinta de a fi iubiti, dorinta de a apartine, nevoia de a ne umple golurile interioare, credinta in Calea Spirituala ca ne va elibera de suferinta si ambitie spirituala, nevoia de a fi special, de a fi mai bun decat, de a fi “Acela”.
4. Identificarea cu Experienta Spirituala: In aceasta boala, ego-ul se identifica cu experienta spirituala si o adjudeca ca si cum ar fi a lui si ajungem sa credem ca integram intelegeri care au rasarit din noi, in anumite momente. In cele mai multe cazuri, aceasta boala nu e definitiva, desi tinde sa tina perioade lungi de timp, in cazul acelora care se cred iluminati si/sau care functioneaza ca invatatori spirituali.
5. Ego-ul spiritualizat: Aceasta boala apare atunci cand tocmai structura personalitatii egotice devine adanc cufundata in concepte si idei spirituale. Rezultatul este o structura egotica, care este “anti-glont”. Cand ego-ul devine spiritualizat, devenim invulnerabili la ajutor, la informatii noi sau la raspunsuri constructive. Devenim fiinte umane impenetrabile, fiind impietriti in cresterea spirituala, toate in numele spiritualitatii.
6. Productia in masa, de invatatori spirituali: Sunt cateva traditii de curente spirituale la moda care produc oameni care se cred ca au ajuns la un nivel de iluminare spirituala sau stare de maestru, ceea ce este mult peste nivelul lor real. Aceasta boala functioneaza ca si o banda rulanta de spiritualitate: imbraca stralucirea asta, atinge acea intelegere, si – BAM! – esti iluminat si pregatit sa iluminezi si pe altii, intr-un mod asemanator. Problema nu este ca astfel de invatatori instruiesc, ci ca ei se prezinta pe sine ca si cum ar fi obtinut maestria spirituala.
7. Mandria spirituala: Mandria spirituala apare cand practicantul, dupa ani de munca grea, a atins un anumit nivel de intelepciune si foloseste acesta realizare ca sa justifice blocarea spre alte experiente. Un sentiment de “superioritate spirituala” este alt simptom al acestei boli. Se manifesta ca un sentiment subtil de “Sunt mai bun, mai intelept si deasupra celorlalti, pentru ca sunt spiritualizat”.
8. Spiritul de turma: Descrisa ca si gandirea de grup, mentalitatea de cult sau boala de ashram, spiritul de turma este un virus inselator, care contine multe elemente co-dependente traditionale. Un grup spiritual face conventii subtile si inconstiente, privind modul corect de a gandi, vorbi, imbraca si actiona. Indivizii si grupurile infectate cu “spiritul de turma” resping indivizii, atitudinile si circumstantele care nu se conformeaza cu legile nescrise ale grupului.
9. Complexul celui Ales: “Complexul celui Ales” nu se limiteaza la evrei. El este credinta cum ca “Grupul nostru este mai evoluat spiritual, mai puternic, mai iluminat, cu alte cuvinte, mai bun decat alt grup”. Este o distinctie importanta intre recunoasterea ca cineva a gasit calea cea dreapta, invatatorul sau comunitatea potrivita lui.
10. Virusul mortal: “Am ajuns”: Aceasta boala este atat de distrugatoare, incat are capacitatea de a fi terminala si mortala pentru evolutia noastra spirituala. Aceasta este credinta cum ca “Am ajuns” la scopul final al caii spirituale. Progresul nostru spiritual se opreste in punctul unde aceasta credinta devine cristalizata in psihicul nostru, in momentul in care credem ca am ajuns la capatul caii, iar progresul viitor inceteaza.
(Cele 10 boli in evolutia spirituala fragment din cartea Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path, de Mariana Caplan)
It is a jungle out there, and it is no less true about spiritual life than any other aspect of life. Do we really think that just because someone has been meditating for five years, or doing 10 years of yoga practice, that they will be any less neurotic than the next person? At best, perhaps they will be a little bit more aware of it. A little bit.
It is for this reason that I spent the last 15 years of my life researching and writing books on cultivating discernment on the spiritual path in all the gritty areas–power, sex, enlightenment, gurus, scandals, psychology, neurosis – as well as earnest, but just plain confused and unconscious, motivations on the path. My partner (author and teacher Marc Gafni) and I are developing a new series of books, courses and practices to bring further clarification to these issues.
Several years ago, I spent a summer living and working in South Africa. Upon my arrival I was instantly confronted by the visceral reality that I was in the country with the highest murder rate in the world, where rape was common and more than half the population was HIV-positive – men and women, gays and straights alike.
As I have come to know hundreds of spiritual teachers and thousands of spiritual practitioners through my work and travels, I have been struck by the way in which our spiritual views, perspectives and experiences become similarly „infected” by „conceptual contaminants” – comprising a confused and immature relationship to complex spiritual principles can seem as invisible and insidious as a sexually transmitted disease.
The following 10 categorizations are not intended to be definitive but are offered as a tool for becoming aware of some of the most common spiritually transmitted diseases.
1. Fast-Food Spirituality: Mix spirituality with a culture that celebrates speed, multitasking and instant gratification and the result is likely to be fast-food spirituality. Fast-food spirituality is a product of the common and understandable fantasy that relief from the suffering of our human condition can be quick and easy. One thing is clear, however: spiritual transformation cannot be had in a quick fix.
2. Faux Spirituality: Faux spirituality is the tendency to talk, dress and act as we imagine a spiritual person would. It is a kind of imitation spirituality that mimics spiritual realization in the way that leopard-skin fabric imitates the genuine skin of a leopard.
3. Confused Motivations: Although our desire to grow is genuine and pure, it often gets mixed with lesser motivations, including the wish to be loved, the desire to belong, the need to fill our internal emptiness, the belief that the spiritual path will remove our suffering and spiritual ambition, the wish to be special, to be better than, to be „the one.”
4. Identifying with Spiritual Experiences: In this disease, the ego identifies with our spiritual experience and takes it as its own, and we begin to believe that we are embodying insights that have arisen within us at certain times. In most cases, it does not last indefinitely, although it tends to endure for longer periods of time in those who believe themselves to be enlightened and/or who function as spiritual teachers.
5. The Spiritualized Ego: This disease occurs when the very structure of the egoic personality becomes deeply embedded with spiritual concepts and ideas. The result is an egoic structure that is „bullet-proof.” When the ego becomes spiritualized, we are invulnerable to help, new input, or constructive feedback. We become impenetrable human beings and are stunted in our spiritual growth, all in the name of spirituality.
6. Mass Production of Spiritual Teachers: There are a number of current trendy spiritual traditions that produce people who believe themselves to be at a level of spiritual enlightenment, or mastery, that is far beyond their actual level. This disease functions like a spiritual conveyor belt: put on this glow, get that insight, and – bam! – you’re enlightened and ready to enlighten others in similar fashion. The problem is not that such teachers instruct but that they represent themselves as having achieved spiritual mastery.
7. Spiritual Pride: Spiritual pride arises when the practitioner, through years of labored effort, has actually attained a certain level of wisdom and uses that attainment to justify shutting down to further experience. A feeling of „spiritual superiority” is another symptom of this spiritually transmitted disease. It manifests as a subtle feeling that „I am better, more wise and above others because I am spiritual.”
8. Group Mind: Also described as groupthink, cultic mentality or ashram disease, group mind is an insidious virus that contains many elements of traditional co-dependence. A spiritual group makes subtle and unconscious agreements regarding the correct ways to think, talk, dress, and act. Individuals and groups infected with „group mind” reject individuals, attitudes, and circumstances that do not conform to the often unwritten rules of the group.
9. The Chosen-People Complex: The chosen people complex is not limited to Jews. It is the belief that „Our group is more spiritually evolved, powerful, enlightened and, simply put, better than any other group.” There is an important distinction between the recognition that one has found the right path, teacher or community for themselves, and having found The One.
10. The Deadly Virus: „I Have Arrived”: This disease is so potent that it has the capacity to be terminal and deadly to our spiritual evolution. This is the belief that „I have arrived” at the final goal of the spiritual path. Our spiritual progress ends at the point where this belief becomes crystallized in our psyche, for the moment we begin to believe that we have reached the end of the path, further growth ceases.
„The essence of love is perception,” according to the teachings of Marc Gafni, „Therefore the essence of self love is self perception. You can only fall in love with someone you can see clearly–including yourself. To love is to have eyes to see. It is only when you see yourself clearly that you can begin to love yourself.”
It is in the spirit of Marc’s teaching that I believe that a critical part of learning discernment on the spiritual path is discovering the pervasive illnesses of ego and self-deception that are in all of us. That is when we need a sense of humor and the support of real spiritual friends. As we face our obstacles to spiritual growth, there are times when it is easy to fall into a sense of despair and self-diminishment and lose our confidence on the path. We must keep the faith, in ourselves and in others, in order to really make a difference in this world.
Adapted from Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path (Sounds True)