How to Avoid the Dark Side of Spirituality

By Wes Annac, Openhearted Rebellion

It is normal to search for answers to the mysteries of our existence, as we’re all trying to find meaning in whatever this thing is we call life. Some of us think there is nothing beyond what we see in front of us, and some of us think there is more to all this. Some take it a step further, claiming we can communicate with a higher power if we learn to tune in.

Spiritual curiosity is natural; there will always be religious and scientific thinkers because we will always be called to explore the unknown. The kind of spirituality you identify with is inconsequential, even if you create an identity around it, because in the end it is just a belief system. What matters, and will always matter, is how you treat people. 

Does your religion inspire kindness or cruelty? If you’re not hurting anyone, then you should have no shame in what you believe. 

With that said, spirituality can get murky when you wade into the waters of outrageous beliefs and cult-like reliance on spiritual teachers – some of whom turn out to be frauds and abusers. I used to identify heavily with new age spirituality, but I was unaware of how many new age cults and other manipulative groups were misleading and controlling vulnerable people with these beliefs. 

It’s sad that religion and spirituality are rife with cults and so-called leaders who hurt their followers. It sucks that new age cults have ruined so many people’s lives. It took me a while to get to a point where I could acknowledge that it is happening without letting it deter me from looking for answers. Despite whatever craziness is out there, it is possible to cultivate a sense of personal, practical spirituality.

The quest for answers has motivated scientists and philosophers alike to plunge deeper into life’s mysteries in hopes of finding something substantial. Who doesn’t want to know more about our existence on this beautiful, bizarre rock we’re stuck on together?

It is a natural and awesome thing to seek answers to life’s greatest mysteries, but you should take care not to let it lead you down a dark road. And no, I don’t mean looking for ghosts or doing witchcraft in a forest. To think that is dark or evil is, to put it lightly, paranoid religious nonsense.

I’m talking about our susceptibility to liars and deceivers who claim to stand between us and the divine. People who gain large followings claiming to be the bridge to God, and use their power to manipulate and hurt people.

Do not let these culty snake oil salesmen lead you astray. 

Instead, look for the divine in your everyday life. Meditate daily or whenever you need a sense of spiritual connection, and remember to integrate the stillness of your meditation into your everyday life. Stop at random moments to take a slow, deep breath, reminding yourself that in stillness you find clarity and answers. 

We don’t need a preacher or guru; calm moments of stillness are available to us at any time. The simple act of stopping and taking a breath can make you feel more in touch with that which so many lost and desperate people seek from gurus and, sadly, cult leaders. 

There is no shame in seeking out or celebrating your spirituality in whatever way inspires you. Just remember it is a deeply personal practice, and let no one tell you they have answers you can only find in yourself. The answers lie not in the words of someone who knows what to say to get followers, but in simple stillness and meditation.

Just be still. This solution is so obvious, it’s actually a little annoying.

Much love!

Featured image credit: Pixabay

One comment

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.