I’ve been thinking a lot about spirituality and narcissism — and why it’s such a seductive and dangerous combination.
For what is spirituality anyway?
The best way I can explain it at this moment is that it’s the direct experience of personal transformation. The yuck of trying to share this amazing phenomenon with others is that all too often, the ego slips in and appropriates the process — especially when we try to share our experience of spirituality via a professional persona. That is when we are most at-risk of becoming the spiritual narcissist.
For pretty soon, once again, the self becomes the object of focus instead of the surrender to the intelligence beyond it; and the result is that we stop transforming. We become fixated on our own beauty, prestige, and cosmic perfection as the vehicle to promoting our mission of being the person who “gets it,” because maybe one day we felt our kundalini rise in our shoulder blade or because we drink algae for breakfast, hang out in a cool clique with good vibes, and our menstrual cycle aligns the moon.
None of this bad or wrong. In fact, it’s desirable. We no longer need to view the spiritual path exclusively through the lens of monasticism and asceticism.
Our spirituality becomes about our senses, identity and version of truth, rather than a practice that is based in the caliber of our behavior, on the Hippocratic Oath of “doing no harm” and compassionately relating to those who are the most vulnerable and different from us.
Absent of this, others will still overlook our shadows and accolade us for our enlightenment, for our image conforms to the cult of self which this society worships. We learn to monetize our divinely transmitted gifts and develop a fan base of people who believe in their pain and desperation that someone else has the power heal them. In a world where most people suffer from some kind of self-esteem and insecurity issue, it seems like these gurus have the answer. However, the spiritual…