Why do you so earnestly seek the truth in distant places? Look for delusion and truth in the bottom of your own heart. – Ryokan.
Spirituality is becoming a “scene” rather than an actual path to inner peace, connection, truth and love.
Have you noticed that too?
Many people are missing out on the life-changing benefits of having a sincere spiritual practice and being on the spiritual path, because they are believing LIES.
Let’s stop that, today!
Here are 6 modern spiritual lies we’re being fed:
1. If you are spiritual, you will be happy, nice, grateful, and blissed out all the time.
Spirituality is not synonymous with running through fields of lilies, wearing white, and smiling all day! Take a look at some truly spiritual figures of history: Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Dr. King, Nelson Mandela… did they seem blissed out all the time, without any struggle in their lives?
I don’t think so!
Spirituality is about seeking the truth – the heart of life – and living from that deepest truth with an open heart in each moment.
It’s about humility and compassion.
Inner peace does not mean that your life will be wonderful all the time, it means that you have found the place in your heart where you can find equanimity – no matter what the storms of life bring.
Bliss is a temporary side effect of spirituality, not the goal of it.
If you’re experiencing the whole of life, all the ups and downs, that doesn’t mean you are failing spiritually.
On the contrary, you are succeeding at expanding your consciousness.
2. Spirituality means giving up all the fun in life: sex, food, sleeping in, silly jokes, parties, etc.
On the flip side of being blissed out all the time, is the idea that spirituality requires leaving the worldly life and being miserable all the time.
Um.. no, thank you!
Renunciation is a powerful tool used by religions for millenia to help seekers of truth become free from the idea that you need the people, objects and beliefs that you think you do, or that your worth is defined by your possessions, position, family, sex, activities, etc.
As long as your consciousness is awake to its inherent worth, and you are able to enjoy worldly activities without using them as avoidance from your heart or truth or getting so attached that you feel your happiness is dependent on your new Lamborghini or LuLuLemon, the manifest world can actually be the most powerful tool for finding liberation.
When you are aware in each moment, everything in your life can become your greatest teacher.
3. Oneness is the “Highest Realization”.
Realizing or remembering the truth of Oneness is a powerful moment on the spiritual path. It’s the kind of shocking insight that forces your whole system to reorganize itself.
It’s a WHOA-daddy of spiritual experiences.
It is also incredibly humbling, for no individual can experience oneness (as that would imply two) – the one who experiences and the experience itself. By its very nature, to remember oneness or unification, is to dissolve. The death of the idea of a separate self in a separate body.
Even so, there is something beyond this.
The rest of the journey is bringing this new knowing into the equally real experience of embodiment and separation.
Oneness and Separation exist paradoxically together.
So beware any “spiritual” people (including yourself!) or teacher who tries to use “oneness” or “illusion” as a way to not take responsibility for their actions or to avoid their life in the relative world.
4. If you find the right teacher, or pay the right price, you will be given enlightenment.
No one, absolutely NO ONE, can show you the truth of your being – what you already, always are.
The spiritual path is about following the longing in your own heart and soul. It’s about finding the truth of your being on your own, over and again in each moment.
Anyone who promises they can give it, or worse, sell it to you is full of BS.
Anyone who even claims to know anything other than ultimate not-knowing is to be treated with extreme caution.
Teachers and guides can be incredibly useful, even essential, on the path – but true spiritual teachers will not claim to be able to give you enlightenment.
Ultimately, you are going to have to go the distance and do the work on your own.
5. Spiritual teachers are “Always Perfect”.
While spiritual teachers can’t give you enlightenment, as noted above, it is also unfair to expect spiritual teachers to be perfect.
This notion that spiritual leaders should have no humanness, human mess, or shadow side is a lie that has gone on too long.
Spiritual teachers are humans who can point you in the right direction. They can’t walk the path for you, they can’t give you what you’re looking for, but they can show you where to walk and what to look for.
They are divine, as you are, and they are also embodied as humans. All humans are human. They make mistakes. They miscalculate. They go unconscious now and again.
This does not make their teaching any less valid.
If a drunk is holding a sign he stuck in the ground when he was sober, it might still be pointing in the right direction.
The more that spiritual teachers have to pretend they are perfect all the time, the harder it is for them to bring their shadow sides to consciousness, and the more it sets up this idea that they somehow have something you don’t right now – because they are perfect and you are not.
Nope, nobody’s perfect, and you’re both divine.
Stay aware. Get curious. Trust your intuition. Forgive. Follow only what’s true for you. Ultimately, your inner guide is your best teacher.
6. You can tell how spiritually awake someone is by what they wear, how they talk, or how much yoga they do on beaches.
Honey, if you are alive, you are having a spiritual experience.
There are no “non-spiritual” people. It doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist or a pagan or a fundamentalist or anything else. You are the mystery of life. You are here. You are on a spiritual path and it looks like (drumroll…) your life!
The only question is: how conscious or unconscious are you in each moment?
As spirituality becomes increasingly popular through the likes of Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra and others, I notice that everyone looks the same.
They wear white or frilly sleeves.
They burn incense and wear bindis, get Sanskrit tattoos and change their names to “purple-rainbow-star” and “ananda-farts-a-lot,” or whatever.
This is fine.
And, this has nothing to do with how spiritual someone is, whatsoever.
Truthfully, you can’t know how sincerely spiritual someone else is. Period. But if you want to take an educated guess… look to:
How equanimous are they? How kind are they? How much do they accept themselves, no matter outer circumstance? Do they turn inward or outward for ultimate life guidance? Are they free from the prevailing winds of taste and opinion? Are they free of habit and do they live independently from the thoughts in their own mind?
Look to their inner, rather than outer world – and most importantly, do this for yourself.
I’d love to hear from you. Do you agree? What are some spiritual lies you’ve heard or believed? Please comment below & share this post, thanks!
Zoë Wild, CPCC, is a spiritual life & business coach, interfaith minister, and former buddhist nun. When she’s not bringing people to their knees in awe of themselves or exploring the deepest questions of life with her kick ass communities: HighVoltageWomenTribe and BlissGeneration, you can find her singing in nature, rolling in the grass with dogs, and giving high fives to homeless people.
Main pic credit: efherne.wordpress.com