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spiritual tripstones

genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

The following list is excerpted from a Huffington Post article and may be of some interest:
The following 10 categorizations are not intended to be definitive but are offered as a tool for becoming aware of some of the most common spiritually transmitted diseases.

  1. Fast-Food Spirituality: Mix spirituality with a culture that celebrates speed, multitasking and instant gratification and the result is likely to be fast-food spirituality. Fast-food spirituality is a product of the common and understandable fantasy that relief from the suffering of our human condition can be quick and easy. One thing is clear, however: spiritual transformation cannot be had in a quick fix.

  2. Faux Spirituality: Faux spirituality is the tendency to talk, dress and act as we imagine a spiritual person would. It is a kind of imitation spirituality that mimics spiritual realization in the way that leopard-skin fabric imitates the genuine skin of a leopard.

  3. Confused Motivations: Although our desire to grow is genuine and pure, it often gets mixed with lesser motivations, including the wish to be loved, the desire to belong, the need to fill our internal emptiness, the belief that the spiritual path will remove our suffering and spiritual ambition, the wish to be special, to be better than, to be "the one."

  4. Identifying with Spiritual Experiences: In this disease, the ego identifies with our spiritual experience and takes it as its own, and we begin to believe that we are embodying insights that have arisen within us at certain times. In most cases, it does not last indefinitely, although it tends to endure for longer periods of time in those who believe themselves to be enlightened and/or who function as spiritual teachers.

  5. The Spiritualized Ego: This disease occurs when the very structure of the egoic personality becomes deeply embedded with spiritual concepts and ideas. The result is an egoic structure that is "bullet-proof." When the ego becomes spiritualized, we are invulnerable to help, new input, or constructive feedback. We become impenetrable human beings and are stunted in our spiritual growth, all in the name of spirituality.

  6. Mass Production of Spiritual Teachers: There are a number of current trendy spiritual traditions that produce people who believe themselves to be at a level of spiritual enlightenment, or mastery, that is far beyond their actual level. This disease functions like a spiritual conveyor belt: put on this glow, get that insight, and -- bam! -- you're enlightened and ready to enlighten others in similar fashion. The problem is not that such teachers instruct but that they represent themselves as having achieved spiritual mastery.

  7. Spiritual Pride: Spiritual pride arises when the practitioner, through years of labored effort, has actually attained a certain level of wisdom and uses that attainment to justify shutting down to further experience. A feeling of "spiritual superiority" is another symptom of this spiritually transmitted disease. It manifests as a subtle feeling that "I am better, more wise and above others because I am spiritual."

  8. Group Mind: Also described as groupthink, cultic mentality or ashram disease, group mind is an insidious virus that contains many elements of traditional co-dependence. A spiritual group makes subtle and unconscious agreements regarding the correct ways to think, talk, dress, and act. Individuals and groups infected with "group mind" reject individuals, attitudes, and circumstances that do not conform to the often unwritten rules of the group.

  9. The Chosen-People Complex: The chosen people complex is not limited to Jews. It is the belief that "Our group is more spiritually evolved, powerful, enlightened and, simply put, better than any other group." There is an important distinction between the recognition that one has found the right path, teacher or community for themselves, and having found The One.

  10. The Deadly Virus: "I Have Arrived": This disease is so potent that it has the capacity to be terminal and deadly to our spiritual evolution. This is the belief that "I have arrived" at the final goal of the spiritual path. Our spiritual progress ends at the point where this belief becomes crystallized in our psyche, for the moment we begin to believe that we have reached the end of the path, further growth ceases.**



  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    10 'categorizations'...?!

    Surely - SURELY! - 'categories' would have sufficed!! WTF, 'Murrica...?!

    (OK, rant over. I liked the article.....)

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited June 2014

    @genkaku said:
    9. The Chosen-People Complex: The chosen people complex is not limited to Jews. It is the belief that "Our group is more spiritually evolved, powerful, enlightened and, simply put, better than any other group." There is an important distinction between the recognition that one has found the right path, teacher or community for themselves, and having found The One.

    Highly offensive to Jews and others, the author of this post ought to know better. "The Chosen People" viewpoint is applicable to all monotheistic and most other religious paths. In fact, it's evident amongst some posts on this very forum.

    I'm sorry @genkaku‌ but I've noticed you always take the time to make a dig about Jews and, as a JuBu (and not the only one) I have to ask you to desist.


  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Ooh, yes, sorry, missed that one. The disclaimer 'well it's the article, and not my view' (should that be a considered route) is actually insufficient here. The post is original....

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @federica‌ actually I was going to edit it and say I did not want to come across as speaking for the moderators (the please desist bit). I'm sorry if I overstepped the boundary.

    I was a tad testy (and still am a bit to be honest), because I have noticed a few comments in previous posts and have to assume, because of no disclaimer that the poster agrees with the contents. It gets a bit tired after a while.


  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Gentle Man Veteran

    As an individualist as to belief, as with many here, I would say that any group that claims that the "best" way is followed by its members is questionable in part because of that claim. I do not care what they label themselves. Society has bunches of them, but they cannot all be right.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2014

    Oh Crap.

    Maybe this is like checking disease symptoms on the net and finding out that one could have just about anything out there.

    or perhaps

    is for the rest of us who assume that they've already sampled everything of 1 through 10
    and thank God I now have a spiritual excuse for that nasty rash.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Outstanding. Surprised to see something like this in mainstream media.

    Each of these diseases have an innoculation response. For example developing independence from cultural defense mechanisms and identities eg. female, olde Buddhist, style varied practitioner, cushion collector, politically incorrect identity, etc.

    @genkaku what do you feel are the ways to respond to these diseases in ourselves?

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited June 2014


  • robotrobot Veteran

    I don't think so dhammachick. I've delt with a lot of bigots and still do with some regularity.
    And I've read genkaku for some time now. He doesn't qualify. Not even close.
    I do think that generalizations about people's spiritual missteps and downfalls can be a smelly thing to wade into. I say why bother. Keep on the sunny side.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @dhammachick, personal opinion is valid, and if it's important to you, then you have the right to express it. Whether it's perceived in the same way by others or not, is their liberal choice.

    But name-calling is unacceptable, and not conducive to engendering good discussion.
    I have removed your comment.
    I know you feel very strongly about it, and that's your absolute right.
    But politeness gets you further than prickly defensiveness...


  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran
    edited June 2014

    I find this article describes in a very lucid way the pitfalls and delusions we have all tripped over on our spiritual quest: we want it to work now and fast, we want the bling but also the zen, we think our path is the path, and the worst delusion of all, we think we've finally made it. This one is the easiest to erase, as soon as we get our next reality check with affliction, and we're back down the lowest rung of the ladder, yet again, for the umpteenth time.
    @dhammachick: I grew up in a Jewish neighbourhood in Buenos Aires. We don't know for sure, but my Mom might have some Jewish component on her mother's side (I bet high on that one, since my Grandmother was an overprotective cross-breed between the Italian mamma and the Jewish mamele).
    Argentina is the country with the highest Jewish population in the world after Israel, America, and some European countries, and apparently the only country in the world where a Yiddish newspaper is still in circulation. Just want to show you that Jews are not a rarity in my landscape.
    I haven't read the Bible for many years, but if I am not mistaken, the use of 'chosen people' denomination is widespread in the Bible.
    I don't think @genkaku meant any offence and neither did the writer of the article. It was just a passing comment to refer to a phenomenon that existed long before the Jews, but probably got a name with the Jews, and has thence spread to any ethnical or religious group that chooses to refer to themselves as 'chosen people.'
    I'm sure Jehovah witnesses make the top of the list, nowadays, to judge from the ladies that every Thursday on the streets of my village try to persuade me that their path is the path.

  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited June 2014

    OK I am, or have been, all the things on that list.

    But only because the real thing exists and takes working through stuff to reach.

    Anyone can sit and analyse other people.

    Now what ?

  • edited June 2014

    Oh goodness, bits and pieces of these have found their way into my journey at times :o
    This little monkey's still got an awful lot of evolving to do, bless her heart.

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    You've just got to realise when the monkey's doing these things, insinuating into our spiritual practice and undermining, diverting or burying it - oops, what's my monkey doing now - let's take a little look at that list again - damn monkey mind did it again! Now where did that big white elephant of my mind go, it was here, surely something so big can't just disappear like that can it - Monkey!

  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited June 2014

    The Buddha left Three great legacies. Buddha Dharma Sangha.

    THE antidote to those activities found on that list is a fully functioning real world Sangha.

    With the exception of Groupthink or Groupmind, which requires different antidotes, they are the result of the western emphasis on the individual and on individual experience.

    So many of our wanderings down ego driven byways are made much more difficult when actual flesh and blood people are there to either support us or to take us down a peg, as needed.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    I hate lists! Except Buddhist ones of course

  • I love this article. It made me laugh in recognition of myself and others I know on the spiritual path. This insightful article on spiritual bypassing by John Welwood is on a very similar theme

  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `   South Carolina, USA Veteran
    edited February 2015

    Content deleted by me due to the age of this thread.
    GoodBye and Good Night, dear folks.

  • Oddly enough noticing that my zipper is down is more upsetting than violating these

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    At least you notice!!

  • @SpinyNorman said:
    At least you notice!!

    You are lucky.

    Some of us have nothing worth hiding and no zippers . . . o:)

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    Nice top ten, not to do list! Easy pitfalls there.
    Note to self. Stay humble and watch your step! ;)
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