The Paradox of Spiritual Communities
I’ve had the privilege of living amongst a lot of different communities during my recovery. Now, 17 years sober, I’ve experienced the treatment community, the Jewish community (I’m an assistant Rabbi), religious community, and a lot of spiritual communities. I’ve been a part of Eastern tradition, Western tradition, and healing spiritual communities.
One thing that I’ve learned in being a person who’s walked in a lot of different types of spiritual communities–and sometimes I think about myself as somebody that’s not committed to anyone but I’m able to walk amongst many– is the lack of integrity some communities have. And, I think it is pretty understandable why that is.
What Makes Spiritual Communities Appealing?
First of all, there is something seductive about a spiritual community and spiritual people. You want to learn the secrets they know… what are their insights of their compassion, liberation, connecting with a higher power, etc.
The spiritual communities can be quite welcoming. They can be very deep. But if you think about it, much like certain types of religious communities, spiritual communities are often attracting people who are going through a moment of their life of brokenness.
Generally, when somebody’s seeking out a spiritual community, they’re seeking something out…Meaning.
“Something is missing in my life.”
Individuals are going in with some shadow stuff, shame wounds, or broken pieces they are trying to work through. And often, I think what can happen is a person can have a massive amount of transformation within a spiritual community. But it can also result in what they call spiritual bypass, which means when it comes to certain domains of operation, they’re not whole.
Spiritual Gurus Can Be Morally Split
A rule for me, generally, is to try not to do business with spiritual people. If I want to do business, I like to do business with businesspeople, because in the area of business, those people know the language. They know how to think about it, and they’re not mixing apples and oranges.
And sometimes it’s also true with morality. It’s not uncommon in spiritual communities to find a guru who is morally split. Meaning their moral compass is somewhat off.
It’s confusing. How can somebody be so spiritually powerful but so morally inept?
And I think that just has to do with the nature of power. A person can be spiritually powerful…but how you utilize that power always has to do with where you’re at in your own work and your own development.
Although a guru might have a very high level of spiritual development, he or she might have a lower level of moral development. Because of that fact, I’m always cautious of the ways in which I relate to frankly all communities, spiritual communities specifically.
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