Greetings beloved being of love and light. Often, when you start embarking on the spiritual path, you may not have others around you who you can turn to for guidance or who understand what you’re going through, and so you may feel lonely and lost at times. You know something big is changing within you, but you don’t know what it is. And you may look for someone who can help guide you through your awakening, or you may try to look for a group of people who are experiencing similar things so that you no longer feel alone and alienated.
This search may lead you to a particular spiritual teacher or group with whom you resonate with. There are many different spiritual teachers and groups in the world, all providing their own perspectives, guidance and practices. Different spiritual teachers and groups will resonate with different people. You will resonate with those groups and teachers that can help you the most. You may even become an established member of the spiritual community. However, when many people within a spiritual community are experiencing such dramatic shifts in consciousness, those outside of the community may label them as a cult.
Those associated with their egos are always going to attack those who are healing and growing. People’s egos want to stay in victimhood mentality, and so when an ego sees many people are being helped by a particular community, it will start labelling them as a cult. By creating this narrative that there must be something negative about the community, the ego is able to remain in victimhood mentality. The ego would rather believe that there’s no way out of this suffering, than to accept that some teacher or group can help you out of it. To be part of a spiritual community, there needs to be a certain amount of ego dropping. You have to come to the realisation that you don’t know very much, and that you would benefit from the help of others. You have to be able to somewhat surrender to a teacher or group in order to want to be part of their spiritual community. Egos do not want to surrender as they want to be in control of life, even if that life is full of suffering. So those who are strongly associated with their egos are always going to attack spiritual communities.
Egos may say that those joining a spiritual community are extremely vulnerable and that the group or teacher they are joining are taking advantage of them. In a way, they are right about the types of people that join a spiritual community being vulnerable. It usually takes someone to experience a lot of trauma and suffering before they look for outside help. And often people try many other things, such as therapy and pharmaceutical drugs, before they join a spiritual community. In most cases, joining a spiritual community is their last resort. Each trauma you experience is basically trying to get you to drop your ego more. When someone experiences a lot of trauma, they are more likely to drop their ego enough in order to look for help from a spiritual teacher or group. People who criticise those that join spiritual communities don’t understand the extent of the suffering that these people have experienced. And the people that criticise those who join spiritual communities are often the very same people that alienated them from normal society in the first place.
What’s more, is a spiritual group or teacher necessarily taking advantage of these people? If person A needs help with something, and person B offers that help, does that mean person B is taking advantage of person A? Of course not, otherwise we’d all be guilty of taking advantage of each other. Spiritual (not religious) communities never force their help on anyone. People join these communities out of free will. They are not forced to do anything. And if people are experiencing great benefits from being part of these communities, they stay. If people are not enjoying the community, they are free to leave. So if people are benefiting from being part of the community, and they stay there out of free will, then why not let them be? What’s the harm? Why are you so concerned with what these people are doing with their own lives? People simply join a spiritual community in order to explore a different method of healing and enjoying life.
Enlightened teacher Osho and his beautiful followers were often labelled as a cult
Of course, being part of any group makes you more likely to be influenced by those around you, but this is not limited to just spiritual communities. This is the case anywhere; with any employer, any sports team, any family or group of friends, any school or university, any neighbourhood or country. And we have all been influenced by others our whole lives, so why is it suddenly called a cult when the influence is from a spiritual community? It’s because the spiritual community is a different influence to that which egos are used to in the world, and egos usually resist anything that they don’t understand. The ego wants to feel like it knows everything, so when something different occurs that it doesn’t know much about, the ego usually criticises it.
Spiritual communities usually offer an environment that is much more freeing compared to the rest of the world. That’s one of the most attractive things about joining a spiritual community. And by spiritual community, I am not talking about religious communities. Why aren’t religions labelled as cults? Were Buddha, Mohammad and Jesus not cult leaders? Many people at their time certainly thought so and called them frauds. The main difference between religious and spiritual communities is that religious communities put many controls, rules and restrictions on their members, while spiritual communities promote the freedom of their members. Yet religious communities are more accepted; is this not absurd?
Egos often criticise enlightened spiritual teachers who have a following by saying things like “Who gives you the right to help these people?” and “What qualifications do you have to help heal people?”. These questions have been asked of enlightened teachers for centuries. Let me clarify here that if you did get some kind of spiritual degree, you would for sure not be enlightened. This is because degrees require you to learn other people’s truths and take them as your own, while you can only discover enlightenment by going within to find your own truth. Degrees require you to use your mind, but to discover enlightenment, you need to go beyond your mind. Anyone has the right to help people, and you do not need a degree to do so. If you are effective, people will come to you for help, but if you’re not effective, people will not come to you. It’s that simple. Enlightened teachers are those who have first healed themselves and found the truth within themselves. That is why they are able to effectively help others. If you have not first helped yourself in the way that you want to help others, you will not be effective at what you do. You will not be an effective therapist, psychiatrist or counsellor if you are depressed. You will not be an effective doctor or healer if you regularly get sick. You will not be an effective personal trainer if you are overweight. You will not be an effective martial artist if you have never had to defend yourself in a real fight. By helping yourself, you give yourself the qualifications you need to then go help and teach others. And when you have discovered enlightenment, there is no longer a “you”, and your mind-body just becomes a vessel that the Divine uses without any ego getting in the way. So those questioning effective, enlightened spiritual teachers are actually questioning the Divine.
When someone has discovered the truth of who they are, they then dedicate their life to helping others discover this same truth within themselves as they realise that there is nothing else worth doing. The enlightened teacher has an extremely attractive energy around them, and they are able to channel the Divine easily. As a result, those who grasp the incredible opportunity will naturally be attracted to these enlightened teachers as they love being around them. However, those who do not grasp the opportunity will get jealous of these spiritual teachers. This is because egos work very hard to try to get others to like them, with very little success, while these spiritual teachers are able to attract people to them without much effort. This jealousy is often behind why egos get angry at these spiritual teachers and call them cult leaders. A lot of people are fanatic about celebrities, yet these celebrities are not called cult leaders, but it seems that society always labels enlightened spiritual teachers as cult leaders. See the contradiction?
All that being said, we are now entering an age where people are relying less on outside sources for guidance. The time of following a particular leader has now passed. People are learning to tune in to their own inner guidance more, and so there is no need to follow anyone. People are discovering their innate power, and so they no longer need to rely on the power of another. People are remembering that all is One, so they no longer see spiritual teachers as superior to them. People are learning to follow their hearts, so they no longer just do what other people around them are doing. Spiritual communities of the new age will no longer be centred around a particular leader; instead, they will be centred around the sharing of everyone’s talents, wisdom and love. They will respect and support the freedom and equality of each individual member. And they will allow people to re-establish their deep connections with each other and nature once again.