The Imperfect Cult of Spirituality

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Perhaps it’s because my early years found me inside the cult of the Hare Krishnas, and later in the cult of family dysfunction where truth was suppressed with fear; and perhaps it’s because I am, once again, finding myself immersed in the cult-like group-think of the spiritual world, but I’m beginning to seriously worry about how pervasive the cult-mentality is and how damaging to truth it can be.

Unless you are living blissfully unaware inside your own little bubble, you’ve no doubt heard about Qanon and all the damage it has created through its false rhetoric and dangerous accusations that are founded upon fear and lies. Or, perhaps you are a believer in its unproven claims.

I know many people who are, to some degree or another. The ones I know are mostly self-proclaimed “lightworkers” who believe they have been chosen to help save the world. For awhile, I wanted to be one of them. These days, though, I often find myself shaking my head in dismay as I watch people I care about falling headfirst, and willfully, down the rabbit hole of yet another cult that only serves to harm through an abuse of power.

And, I wonder, where are we continuing to go wrong?

In my own experiences with cult-think, there is always at least one figure positioned into a place where power can be abused, hungry for attention and adoration. In the Hare Krishna cults that were popular in the 70s, children and women were often drugged and/or abused by male figures in positions of power in the name of religion. Sound familiar? It should. We’ve seen similar behavior played out with priests unearthed in the more recent past.

The repression of women and children, in particular, has long been a habit of religions and spiritual groups. For many of us this is obviously wrong. For some, it’s disturbing. For others it’s accepted. We crave security. We crave belonging. We crave feeling special.

The last one is where I find myself lingering and where I have had to, once again, reassess and redefine my own belonging. As a result I have removed myself from cult-like groups who profess to be “lightworkers” but are ultimately more interested in spreading their own “specialness” than they are the truth. I have found my circles of friends growing smaller, but also expanding, as I turn my attentions more toward the spirituality of truth than the undefined.

But it saddens me, again. More people I love feel like they are slipping away and there is nothing I can do about it. We must all walk our own paths, but my own compass keeps steering me in the direction of truth and unity. I don’t mind wearing a mask if it will save lives. I don’t mind reducing my carbon footprint if it will save lives. I don’t mind taking a vaccine if it will save lives. And, I don’t mind admitting that I am imperfect and don’t have some secret access to a higher knowing that is not accessible to everyone else.