This issue came up over the weekend as I spoke with someone about their desire to leave their community.
Individuals with these false Awakenings fill the spiritual marketplace. They may be charismatic, brilliant, and disarming. Yet as teachers they perhaps haven’t fully dealt with the shadow elements of their personalities, thus leaving spiritual gaps in what would otherwise be an integrated whole. To be fair, all of us need to pay attention to this. When we stand in the light of awareness, shadows are revealed. No matter how hard any of us who lives in the world tries, we can’t escape them. We can only use the practice to undercut the power that our shadows hold over us. Looking honestly at all of our darkness, at all of our negativity, at all of our unconsciousness, and never flinching as we meet all of it diminishes our shadow’s subconscious hold. Unfortunately the traditions don’t always do a good job of helping this revealing process take root in their communities. Sex scandals, criminal activities, and financial improprieties show up all the time in the spiritual arena. Most likely all of this will continue as long as spiritual leaders and their communities collectively let their egos grasp onto all of their glowing press releases. A good dose of Western psychotherapy in conjunction with deep spiritual work might do a better job at preventing this kind of abuse. Authentically integrating what is best from spiritual traditions along with what is best from psychotherapy might prevent further destruction of communities by enlightened egos that always lose sight of their most sacred responsibility: to not cause harm.