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.

The Box of Fear & Why I Believe We All Must Find Our Own “Religion”

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I  have recently received an email from a friend I met years ago at a metaphysical class. We were both searching and seeking a deeper understanding of life, like all who are drawn to unravel the mysteries. Now, she has turned to religion, following the urgings of a man she loves. I am not surprised, but there is a sadness to her desperation to be loved and accepted into a secure form of life.

In her email, my friend urged me, and the rest of the group of friends to which she sent the email, to follow her path as a born-again Christian so that our souls, like hers, could be saved. She has labeled us as “New Age,” a label I have never tried to own.

I don’t care for labels, and this one I find offensive and incorrect. Although I cannot speak for the others in the group, I consider myself a spiritual being who seeks, in each moment, to heed the inner voice of truth that aligns with the core Truths of being. I do not follow one guru, or worship within the confines of one sect. I simply try my best to live a life in alignment with love.

If that makes me a sinner in some eyes, so be it. Yet, it troubles me that is should be so. Perhaps, in some ways, I am fortunate to have not been raised in what feels like the confines of a particular set of beliefs. As the child of agnostic parents who leaned toward atheism, I had to find my own spirituality in my search for inner peace and wellbeing.

I can recall many sleepless nights lying in bed wondering if my last breath would lead to my oblivion. I would wonder if my life was meaningless as a mere conglomeration of cells adhered into a body with an intelligent brain that allowed me to think both rational and irrational thoughts.

It was only when I started to think beyond the confines of my brain, and stepped into the realm of the heart, that I found a home that stretched beyond walls into the vast expanse of being. My path has lead me to explore many teachings, which all possess the same core of truths. The yoga sutras, which predate all religions, echo the words of the oldest Egyptian texts. The furthest back you go, the more threads of common truths you find. This, to me, feels like home.

Yet, it is not my place to judge another’s beliefs, nor to where they feel most at home. We are, in essence, all searching for belonging. But, do we have a right to label others as incorrect and ask them to follow the way we have chosen? This troubles me. It reminds me that we are still fighting wars and killing each other because of our spiritual beliefs, the color of our skin, and the sexual physiology and orientation of our bodies. This is not okay.

The need to destroy and convert are premised upon fear, not love. At the core of all religions and spiritual teachings, from what I have found, is Love. That is all. Love. It is a calling to find home in the knowing that we are all born from and a part of Love, which unites all life. When I breath into the stillness of being that is what I find. It fills me with a connection not only to myself, but to all life. It reminds me that I am not above or below anyone else, I am simply a part of all life. That, to me, is enough. It is a coming home.