When one sees and hears the word spiritual, immediately it is associated with the words kind, humble, caring, cult, religious, and magical. However, ego and arrogance is rarely used, because surely a truly spiritual person couldn’t be egotistic or arrogant? Sadly, there are some with those traits, and the number is on the increase with the widespread use of social media and the illusion of self-importance with made up titles and labels. The problem lies in people forgetting what spiritualism is really about, and get caught up commercializing their name and creating a brand, and with it all kinds of services. Now, some of these services are helpful and are created in order to help others, but many not only prey on vulnerable people looking for guidance, but also it stems from an inflated self-belief that they can justify what they are doing as a ‘fair exchange’ of goods and services. Quite simply, praise and popularity goes to their head and they believe the hype.
So what can be considered to be egotistical or arrogant? Is there an invisible line that can be crossed? I find one should be wary when they encounter those who believe that only they are right and others are wrong, and when people are charged excessive fees for services that may not have an outcome. I recently saw on a Facebook post a friend shared that she recommended a spiritual coach who was charging £1000 a month to have access to her via Skype. How does someone decide their time is worth that much, with no actual defined service? Books, and even videos can be helpful as people can choose what they wish to believe, however, it depends on the tone—whether it s inspirational or delivered with a biased dictatorial tone. Modesty is golden, and if someone is not respectful or open to alternate theories of say reincarnation, then how can that be considered spiritual?
I have met some spiritually egotistical people, and regrettably they do give spirituality a bad name. I also saw a job description to be an assistant for a spiritual mentor and trainer (as she calls herself) and the job was hardly spiritual at all, but was really a marketing job to be done as and when needed. It was all about promoting the website, answering queries on the courses, processing payments, and to post on social media new blog posts. The site had some useful information, but was full of click and bait headings, and I’ll be frank here—you can’t just pay for a course to learn how to be psychic and to channel Spirit. Anyone who offers those types of courses are not spiritual. I have seen Shamans offer mentoring to those whom they choose for free, and that’s how it ought to be. Simply put, you cannot put a price on spirituality, and if you do, then that’s not spiritual.
In some spiritual centers, whether they be churches, learning centers, or retreats this is where egotism can breed where people feed off the praises of others. I have worked in and visited such places, and there was a minority that believes the hype and rhetoric of what is written in their profiles. My faith was restored when I met several well-known spiritual writers and names who were humble and modest—some had groupie followings and one even had a PA, but remained very grounded when I had any dealings (Jean Houston, Ray Moody, and Stan Krippner). The same could not be said of the center, or others. Instead they had an air of arrogance in what they stood for. Ultimately, the end result is always about money because without it they cannot continue or exist, and it’s more of a business than a vocation.
It saddens me when spiritualism is so commercialized, which is why I choose to have no adverts on my sites except for my own books, which I offer for free. More importantly one should also know when to stand aside when people have a different view of spiritualism or a belief that differs rather than to argue—discussion is good, but when one side refuses to accept that there are other perspectives, then that becomes spiritually arrogant.
I recently encountered someone (who I now ignore) who purported on an open chat room that they used magic to keep themselves looking young. I merely asked them if they considered that personal gain, and they replied they had that right and control to use magic and boasted about their appearance. My response, in an attempt to signify to others that using magic for personal gain is not ethical, mentioned that there are consequences and that I had seen them first hand. The arrogant reply was, ‘They must have been lousy at magic,’ at which point the full force of the ego was shown. Anyone with spiritual or magickal gifts knows the unspoken responsibilities of using their powers and gifts (or they learn through consequences). For once the ego steps over the boundaries, consequences will arise.
Learn to listen respectfully, even if the person is misguided and present why your belief is credible, be modest when praise is offered and don’t allow it to make you believe you are above others or more ‘advanced’, and remember we are all equal—it’s not what we say and how we say it, but also how we project ourselves to others that matters. Integrity, honesty, and humility are the traits of the truly spiritual.
©2016. S. T. Alvyn.