I wanted to share part of one of my favorite books, it’s called “Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path” by Mariana Caplan. The part of the book I want to share is on spiritually transmitted diseases, many of these I have gone through and many I still deal with. I really enjoy being able to go back and read this list so I can take a deep look within to make sure that I am not expressing these diseases from myself.
Here are what the author expresses to be the 10 ‘most’ spiritually transmitted diseases.
1. Fast-food spirituality. Definitely a big problem in today’s society where people want instant gratification, she encourages people to watch out for claims that seem too good to be true because they are. Spiritual growth happens slowly and over time which means cultivating gratitude and patience within ourselves; gratitude for what you do know now and patience for what you will learn in the future.
2. Faux spirituality. This is those who tend to talk, dress and act as we imagine a spiritual person would but lack any real spirituality on the inside.
3. Confused Motivations. This is when a person is confused about their true motives for seeking the spiritual path, for example, when people are really only looking for a place to belong or desire to be loved instead of wanting to seek the Creator or change themselves on the inside. Huge problem today from what I see where I live.
4. Identifying with spiritual experiences. The author says this is a disease of ego inflation. Many of us have had spiritual ‘experiences’ at some point in our lives, maybe visions, or any other type of experience. These spiritual ‘highs’ are not meant to be a way of life, in reality, for most of us these experiences fade no matter what we do to sustain them, but some will remain stuck in high states of spiritual intoxication for the purpose of money, fame, or whatever the core reason was for cultivating this disease.
5. The Spiritualized Ego. This is when your ego becomes deeply embedded with spiritual concepts and ideas, this is also when a person will become stagnant and stunted in their spiritual growth.
6. Mass production of spiritual teachers. I have personally experienced this one as I know many of you have as well. Which books are telling the truth and which ones aren’t? I have come to a point where I only buy books I feel drawn to inside because I have bought so many unproductive books over the years and I’m tired of wasting my hard earned money on books that don’t benefit me in any way.
7. Spiritual pride. Oh how I would love to go into my experiences with this one but I won’t. I can suffer from this just as all those I’ve had experience with over the years did and since I’ve had so much experience with this one, within myself and with others, I see this one as a huge dis-ease to watch out for.
8. Group mind. Another one I’ve dealt with personally, internally and externally. This is when a spiritual group makes subtle and unconscious agreements regarding the correct ways to think, talk, dress, and act, rejecting anyone who does not conform to these set standards.
9. The chosen-people complex. This is my view of this disease since it differs from the authors a little. I do believe there are those people who are ‘chosen’ by the Creator, those who are honest and true in their spiritual journey but I do not believe that this is a specific type of ‘race’ or ethnic group. These chosen people are any person from any race from any continent on the planet and these people will not express themselves as better, instead they will be humble and serve others but the author is pointing out the belief some have that they, or their group of people, is more spiritually evolved, powerful, enlightened, and just better than any other group.
10. Survival of ego based on the illusion of separation. The author states that this affects a vast majority of the world population of spiritual aspirants, this is the belief that spirituality is all about ‘me’: that I am studying, doing practices, service, and whatever other efforts I might make so that I can feel better, be happier, or become a better person.
I can’t recommend this book enough, for those who don’t like other ‘expressions’ of spirituality I encourage you not to get caught up on certain terms because overall this book does address many ideas that people should be cautious about in any religion or spiritual path a person takes in life.
– J.R. Richards –