Top 10 Traps of Spiritual Materialism
Walking the spiritual path can be a tricky adventure. Sometimes we make progress and become more free and loving and wise; sometimes we may think our meditation or prayer or ritual is leading toward enlightenment, but really we're just treading water or even going backwards. The great Tibetan meditation teacher, Chogyam Trunpa, wrote that we are often "deceiving ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques." He called this kind of self-deception spiritual materialism. We all deal with spiritual materialism; here's a list, from my book The Seeker's Guide, of 10 common pitfalls of spiritual materialism you may encounter on your spiritual journey and the key signs that you're on the path of progress.
By Elizabeth Lesser
Original Content | December 11, 2009
Harry S. Truman lamented: "Memories are short; appetites for power and glory are insatiable. Old tyrants depart. New ones take their place. It is all very baffling and trying." Perhaps the most baffling and trying aspect of the new American spirituality is the disparity between spiritual teachings and the behavior of teachers. Men, women, Western, Eastern, fundamentalist, new-age, modern, or indigenous—none have escaped the temptation to abuse power. Things to be wary of: extravagant claims of enlightenment or healing; the minimizing of the hard work that accompanies any true spiritual or healing path; the excessive commercialism that betrays the deeper spiritual message; and the blind adherence of followers to charlatans (be they gurus, therapists, preachers, healers, or teachers). With their deceitful double standards, some gurus, therapists, and teachers have given mentorship a bad name and tarnished the image of humbling oneself to a wiser and more experienced guide.
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