Teachers tout certain ideas that they consider most valuable. It is often useful to reflect upon who might be strongly attracted to such ideas.
For example, those spiritual teachers who make God's love a cornerstone of their spiritual thinking attract those who are most desperately trying to "be spiritual" by covering over negative feelings and emotions. They are often quite confused about differences between God's love, infatuation, friendship, real love, bliss/ecstasy and essence contact.
Millions flock to the pseudo-scientific and the "miraculous" without close questioning or demanding of proofs that would be quite easy to provide. Both applied kinesiology and Masaru Emoto's water experiments would be easy and cheap to prove/duplicate scientifically; no one has succeeded yet (except for devotees who have run very flawed experiments). Until someone credible offers such proofs, I suggest you treat these ideas with doubt and skepticism.
Most spiritual teachers are assumed (and I think the majority are) to be honest and to have integrity. But, are teachers that make honesty an important part of their teachings that honest themselves? Such teachings are popular with followers who profess honesty but are often cleverly hiding, disguising or manipulating themselves and others. If the leader also is cleverly doing the same thing, that is considered to be OK by followers, because it serves a "spiritual" purpose.
Another example is the teacher who keeps people away from psychology with ideas that denigrate psychology, overstress the present or call the past "just a story." This is highly attractive food for addicts of every stripe and variety, from someone occasionally misusing a feel-good tool to someone who is highly addicted to a variety of drugs and/or "spiritual" feel-good tools. Such teachings prevent people from tackling psychological issues in their pasts because that would be "unspiritual." They keep looking unsuccessfully to the leader for answers to their psychological difficulties. Thus, they can remain hooked by that leader for years or even decades.
Widespread popularity is a strong indicator of a system that likely offers followers easy ways to avoid issues and/or to become addicted to the system/teacher. If the teacher is out for success (money, fame or power), then he/she will say nothing that would reveal the avoidances/addictions. Such revelations would cause some followers to leave, thus causing a loss in power/fame/money for the leader.
© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze
Table of Contents for this Online Spiritual Book
|Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: " Most bodywork therapies attempt gently or more forcefully (ask any potential practitioners whether their methods are gentle or more forceful) to change your body by physical manipulation in the direction of enhanced well-being and wholeness. This manipulation is an attempt to eliminate physical and/or psychological problems that manifest in the body as stiffness, dullness, coolness, misalignment, lifelessness or muscle knots."|