Friday, April 8, 2011

Spiritual Narcissism

Perusing Internet spirituality, one would get the sense that it was all about getting high without needing to pay the bartender or your dealer. Or about healing whatever emotional or physical ailments one might have (or think one might have). Or about manifesting an upper middle class lifestyle.

Above all, it’s about “me” –about “my happiness”, about “my health”, about “my dietary preferences”, about “my pain”, about “my relationship”, about “my spiritual development”, “my  meditation practice”, “my automobile” and “my stock portfolio”.

Except no, it’s not. It’s not about “me”. It never was about “me”, ever.

Meditation taken up artificially (i.e., before one  turns to it naturally) and made the exclusive, or nearly so,  practice makes for a lopsided, narcissistic spiritual life. Missing is the  unfashionable practice of continuous self-examination (yes, looking at one’s failings and trying to correct them is a spiritual practice, and an essential one). Absent is genuine service to others (by genuine I mean for-real, not for something to put on “my” resume that gives “me” warm fuzzy feelings).

It’s not just lopsided–  it’s doomed to failure. I guarantee  you that anyone who gloms onto a largely mental practice and with it intends to pry open the doors of truth will find their path blocked, and the more they try to force past the bouncer at the door, the worse things will be for them. There is no substitute for character work, regardless of how unfashionable it may be, and there is no substitute for that equally unfashionable word, sacrifice. The surest path to enlightenment is to forget altogether about enlightenment, and let it tap you on the shoulder while you’re caring about others.

Spirituality may ease emotional pain, but spirituality is not therapy. The concepts and vocabulary of therapy make absolutely no sense in a genuine spiritual context. In fact many of the aims of spirituality are directly opposed to those of therapy.  It’s not about healing the child within or expressing one’s feelings. It’s about the Divine, period, end of statement.

Wanting to manifest more stuff for oneself is just not spiritual. Well okay, it is, if you count the left hand path as spiritual– they do think the object of everything is to use the invisible world for self-aggrandizement. Simply tacking on something stating it only counts if it doesn’t harm anyone can’t nullify the underlying intention, that a very imperfect ego be made more comfortable.

I’m not a materialist. I certainly think one can use one’s will to manifest things, and that it works, at least some of the time. I also think that employing the will to make ego more comfortable is a mistake, even without the unintended consequences that almost always come with it. About the only good thing I can say for the half-assed covert magickal schools that describe themselves as working with the “Law of Attraction” is that most of the people who attempt to follow their guidance will be unable to manifest anything (you can’t make things manifest unless you truly understand will, and you can’t understand will short of a lot of very serious inner work of the sort that is not and never will be trendy). Unfortunately even though these programs are largely impotent they still spread the evil nonsense that is the Just World Fallacy.

If magick is what you want, learn the real thing the right way, caveats and all. Or better yet, recognize the power for what it is, a glittery attractive and potentially destructive thing that is not to be sought and that, when acquired, is to be used sparingly, and with great caution.

The cowboys of the world keep on thinking they can have spirituality and egotism too. They can’t. They can feign spirituality, occasionally at a profit, but they can’t have it and use it in the service of “me”, because spirituality is all about the systematic, often disruptive, destruction of “me”. All about it.

1 comment:

  1. I've dealt with hundreds of idiot scumbags who try to promote this inner calm essence, or what have you. Did a bit of research on the psychology behind these "spiritual" people, and they're just hard core narcissists, or worse...sociopaths/psychopaths.

    People are getting dumber, me thinks =p

    They can't see that psychopaths are using various ploys to hit emotional/instinctual/spiritual chords in people, and then hook them into a web of delusions. It's so far entrenched in our society, that they psycho's have recruited narcissists and other misfits to spread their nonsense.

    I've tried to reason with these fools, but to no avail. They have no freaking clue how mindless they are. None whatsoever.

    Just run like hell from these maggots. Scum of the community, imo.