New Age Spiritual Narcissism
With spirituality gone mainstream, it’s only natural that this would happen…
It has become cool and fashionable to be spiritual these days.
Although it seems that being perceived as spiritual is far more important than walking the real spiritual path and actually doing the deep inner work. I say this as what amazes me is the number of likes and comments on the selfies with Gandhi quotes which clearly shows how far pseudo-spirituality has gone – it’s become superficial. I mean, just because you post memes that quote Gandhi and Rumi does not mean you are spiritual, that you live by them or that you even understand what its meaning is.
This funny screenshot going around says it all…
People using spiritual concepts to compartmentalize their values and bypass emotional responsibility and accountability for their actions is something I’ve done in the past and experienced a lot, not just from people but from so-called healers and even well-known spiritual authors and leaders.
And this is spiritual narcissism.
They use spiritual teachings and twist them to suit their underlying agenda as well as to conceal their own shadow.
And if you dare point it out as a way to resolve a conflict or grow the relationship in truth and love, you are attacked and said to be resentful, unforgiving, judgmental, delusional and all sorts.
I’ve been on the receiving end of spiritual gaslighting from healers, counsellors and supposed psychics some of which took me years of crazy-making, becoming paranoid and almost losing myself to wake up to this extremely insidious narcissistic spiritual abuse.
I understand there is a fine line here, as there could be projection going on from the one pointing the finger. However, to pseudo-spiritualists, facing the truth and accountability feels like an attack when you’re not humble or willing to allow your underlying intention or motivation to be seen or when you’re not ready to acknowledge how your behaviour harms others.
The word “spiritual” to me has become an empty vessel. I have even found myself avoiding so-called spiritual groups and telling people I am spiritual at times.
So how do you recognize a pseudo-spiritual person? Below are 6 traits to look out for.
1. Pseudo-spiritualists assuredly compartmentalize their spiritual values.
To be spiritual with all new-age spiritual knowledge and consumer goods has become a statement that says “I am spiritual therefore I am…. worthy/good/cool/superior/(fill in the blank)”
The superficiality of being on the spiritual path has become a joke. I cannot tell you the number of fake gurus I have encountered attacks from and seen feeding off the vulnerable and innocent. The problem is if they are good deceivers and deluded themselves, it’s really hard to see from the outside, especially if you’re just beginning your inner journey and still have a lot of deep emotional wounds. You will be in awe of their wise words and regurgitated spiritual philosophies but as you get to know them more, you will notice their lack of substance.
Many years ago I was asked to speak at a woman’s event and the speaker before me was a life coach and mindfulness teacher. As I entered the room and made myself familiar with the surrounding, where I would be sitting etc, I made my way over to introduce myself to the other speaker – as you do right? She greeted me with such disdain, looking me up and down and then turned around to have her back to me giving me the hard shoulder. I was shocked by her attitude, especially after I found out she was a so-called “mindfulness” teacher who was actually in that moment, in my humble opinion, not being mindful at all. It was such an awkward moment, I turned around and went back to my seat feeling baffled. Did I do something wrong? Did I say something inappropriate? Why did she turn her back on me without even excusing herself or saying she’s busy perhaps? I had never met her before.
With most pseudo-spiritualists, there is a clear lack of willingness to look within, to face the truth of the situation and take responsibility and accountability for their own emotional baggage.
Pseudo-spiritualists are quick to project, blame and are extremely justified in their stories.
It’s ironic how pseudo-spiritualists’ intuition will tell them this and that about other people (which are often wrong) but rarely show them the true emotional condition of their own soul, their intentions, their motives and their unloving behaviour.
Most people on the pseudo-spiritual path seek to open their third eye, develop their intuition, connect with angels or higher dimensional beings, go do an ayahuasca ceremony to have their awakening or gain more knowledge – but what drives this desire, meaning their underlying motives, is what they are unaware of.
What most of them are really seeking are two things: 1. escape from facing the truth of their reality and soul condition (their suppressed emotional wounds, compartmentalized values, insincere motives, false beliefs etc), and 2. power.
In essence, their own personal power. Because they haven’t healed from a lot of their own emotional trauma and hence have not found it within themselves, they seek it outside of themselves in spiritual knowledge and being ever so intuitive, which gives them this sense of false power.
For some reason, there is a fascination amongst the pseudo-spiritualists with all the metaphysical stuff but none at all with their own deep childhood traumas, unloving acts, deceptive intentions or growth in love. This then leaves you vulnerable to be used and covertly abused by all these fake gurus, spiritual influencers as well as spirits, which I will not get into here.
Because your emotional wounds are your blind spots.
If only they knew that doing the real inner work, healing your deep childhood wounds, forgiving, owning up to your mistakes and truly developing yourself in truth and love – that everything they are seeking will be a natural side effect.
2. Pseudo-spirituality often offers miraculous healing, quick fixes, a fast track to enlightenment and profound wisdom too complicated to understand.
And I must break it to you, there is no fast track to enlightenment. And absolutely no quick fixes when it comes to healing.
It also seems that pseudo-spirituality does not require you to develop integrity either, or at least it’s a delusional one. It seems to go something like this: you don’t need humility, you can speak your truth projecting anger and rage (which from my now understanding is a form of emotional abuse), you can bypass your own unloving behaviour by concepts such as “there’s no such thing as good or bad right or wrong”, justify your toxic relationship because he’s your “soulmate” and you have past life karma and be completely vulgar professing to be authentic (this is a new one from a lot of women spiritual healers I’m seeing).
The pseudo-spiritual path is a slippery slope of ungrounded beliefs of unconditional love with no boundaries, of entitled hurt, of cheap forgiveness (meaning just say it from the mouth out and continue to abuse and allow abuse), of no absolute or one truth because everyone has their truth, and the list goes on and on…
Not being funny but the truth is the truth, end of discussion. At least this is what I eventually learned on my healing journey – and when you find the truth, accept it and fully embrace it and it will set you free.
Another big red flag, at least for me, when it comes to pseudo-spirituality is “gurus”. I have never in my life been attracted to the concept of gurus. In fact, they repel me. Where there is an underlying energy of arrogance and superiority, is a big NO-NO for me so if you sense any form of hierarchy, my advice would be to run the other way.
We are all equals, yes some of us are more developed in love and further down the road when it comes to our spiritual journey but the energetic imbalance of this spiritual hierarchy status is definitely a warning sign showing a clear lack of humility on the part of the spiritual leader.
Now, are there people that can guide you on your journey? Yes of course there are! Are they superior? No, absolutely not. If they are real and authentic, they will be humble and honest, and you will FEEL that. They will not claim to know it all or that you “need” them to heal you, the opposite is true, they will want to empower you and guide you to connect to your own soul and source from within.
3. Pseudo-spirituality is a form of denial and avoidance of facing the truth.
The mass marketing of pseudo-spirituality has unfortunately hijacked the perception of lost wounded souls looking to start their healing journey, with fake gurus using people’s naivety and hunger for healing, inner freedom and spiritual wisdom as an opportunity to deceive.
Even those who have been on the spiritual path for a while may get blinded by the fake guru’s words of wisdom at times, that sounds good on the outside, some even too profound to comprehend – but when you really tune in, you will feel it lacks heart.
4. Pseudo-spirituality is basically a form of escapism.
It’s a false sense of relief from confronting your inner demons, traumatic past and mostly unconscious emotional wounds, as well as a way to run away from responsibility and accountability for your unloving behaviour and hurtful actions.
There are vast amounts of books, courses and YouTube videos on how the mind works, using the law of attraction, and all sorts of new-age healing techniques claiming magical healing, activating supernatural gifts and basically a fast track to inner peace, having everything you desire and enlightenment.
A lot of people on the pseudo-spiritual path are looking for something to make their healing easier or less painful, ways to avoid feeling the real emotional hurt and a way out of facing their truth, which is why I believe these new-age healing modalities are so popular! It’s the perfect cop-out since you wrongly believe you are on the path and doing the inner work yet you remain unchanged, feeding your emotional addictions, misleading yourself in ways you can’t see.
5. Pseudo-Spirituality is self-delusion.
A lot people on the pseudo-spiritual path cannot accept the truth, especially when it’s concerning themselves. A truth that does not fit their false perception of themselves or their perceived reality is immediately rejected.
Pseudo-spirituality can easily be spotted through people’s morals and how skillfully they can compartmentalize their morals when it comes to different areas of their life. If there is an incongruence in what they say and what they do, in particular when it comes to morals and ethics when relating to different people, then there are definitely some elements of pseudo-spirituality going on there. In psychology, this is actually known as cognitive distortion, where people internally justify their wrong doings but cannot accept the same justifications when other people do it.
When you learn spiritual concepts on the mental conscious level, it’s very easy then for your own wounded ego to use these very concepts to suit your shadow agendas and any underlying commitments you have to hold on to your emotional wounds and addictions.
Pseudo-spiritualists have basically found the perfect tool to defend their wounded ego from doing any form of deep and sincere self-reflection. Using the right spiritual terms and concepts to twist their own projection presenting themselves as morally and ethically superior but on the energetic and emotional level projecting blame, shame, resentment, anger or even rage. There is a complete lack of awareness of themselves in particular when it comes to their suppressed and repressed emotions and insincere motives.
I had an experience where I was speaking to a fellow “spiritual” person over the phone. She’s a healer, yoga teacher and everything else everyone is these days on the spiritual path. I had expressed my true feelings with regards to the topic we were discussing, which was actually a very non-emotional statement of being indifferent and really not bothered by the subject. This lady was so triggered, got super emotionally charged with her words and immediately hang up the phone on my face. She then proceeded to write me a message saying “because she’s an empath” and is a “highly sensitive person”, she felt I was highly triggered and she couldn’t stand my negativity. Needless to say, I was in shock. I wrote back and politely affirmed my statement which was that I simply didn’t feel bothered about the subject, it was my honest feelings and then pointed out that considering her reaction, that perhaps she was the one that was triggered by my viewpoint and stance on the topic. Obviously, this did not go down well, her lack of humility to look within at her own reaction and emotions was blinded by the concept that she’s an “empath” and “very sensitive to other people’s energy and negativity” – this is the kind of spiritual nonsense that keeps people delusional in their pseudo-spiritual identities and practices.
Your wounded ego will covertly sway your perception and justify your own projection using very convenient spiritual concepts.
And you will wholeheartedly believe it.
How crazy is that?
This is pseudo-spirituality.
It has no value or sacredness.
And most certainly no ascension.
You will think you are all “high-vibes” and empowered “setting boundaries” but the truth is…
You’re not humble enough to look deep within yourself.
When you nurture this false sense of pseudo-spiritual identity, you can fall prey to your own wounded ego trap and only delude yourself thinking you are “awakened”, “aware”, “so sensitive” or “so in tune with your intuition” and ever so “spiritual”.
6. Pseudo-spirituality is a form of dissociation.
There are several things that are quite evident on the pseudo-spiritual path, one being that it’s illogical and that the concepts become more confusing over time. This is why people on the pseudo-spiritual path end up completely lost, or if they are sincerely seeking truth, frustrated with the path in the long run. I know because I was once there.
In fact, this wide-open spiritual path can be a good path to drive you further into insanity – without you even realizing it! You will notice that there is no real soul growth or true transformation on the pseudo-spiritual path.
I wasted 10 years faffing around with all the metaphysical pseudo-spiritual stuff (which got me nowhere) and I understand now that true spirituality is not about clearing chakras, getting energy healing after energy healing, meditating for hours on end, saging your house or getting downloads to shift your negative beliefs from multi-dimensional beings (give me a break)..
TRUE SPIRITUALITY IS ABOUT DEVELOPING IN LOVE.
This does not mean let’s all hold hands and sing kumbaya.
Other than common sense to be kind, compassionate, respectful etc, being loving means…
- Healing your emotional wounds
- Setting boundaries (with love)
- Not being a people pleaser
- Not being someone’s enabler
- Saying NO when you mean it
- Being truthful with yourself and others in a loving manner
- Not projecting your emotional baggage onto others
- Not being judgmental / judging others
- Taking 100% responsibility for your emotions as they arise
- Apologizing for the mistakes you made
- Forgiving others
And much more!
The irony is that being loving by doing some of the above can trigger a lot of people!!
They will think you are being harsh, cold, egoistical and even unloving – I’ve been accused of all of this just by setting boundaries and speaking the truth.
If you are not developing in love, truth, humility and integrity, then you are not growing spiritually and you are most certainly not on the true spiritual path.
Real spiritual growth can only happen emotionally, meaning when you feel and process your emotions and life experiences first and foremost. It’s about developing morals and ethics, developing in truth, humility, sincerity and integrity. This means being yourself truthfully, acting in integrity with your values in all areas of your life all the time. It also means being humble enough to own your emotional triggers rather than project and blame others for your triggers, for example. This is a big challenge for most people as we tend to compartmentalize and change depending on whom we are interacting with or what the situation or person triggers in us.
Increasing your spiritual knowledge is not the same as developing, growing and evolving on a Soul level.
You can have a lot of knowledge about all these spiritual concepts and it means nothing in terms of true healing and soul growth if you don’t apply them to your life.
Knowing a lot of spiritual concepts does not even mean you “know” it either because a concept can only be known when you have processed your emotions regarding the truth of that experience and have accepted it in your heart emotionally. I believe you can only “KNOW” a spiritual concept or truth when it’s imprinted upon your heart in this way and this, as I mentioned above, can only be done emotionally not mentally.
True spirituality requires humility.
Humility is a desire to experience your reality as it is.
It’s a desire to feel all your emotions.
It means being able to see yourself truthfully.
The true spiritual path requires a sincere desire for truth no matter how painful.
True spirituality is not looking for spiritual knowledge or psychic powers. Incidentally, this does come naturally the more you develop in love.
Soul development requires you to do your emotional work and honestly face yourself, and not simply read books, meditate and use your mind to deflect from diving deep within.
The REAL spiritual path is not for the faint-hearted.
The REAL spiritual path is narrow.
“Enter through the narrow gate. Narrow is the road that leads to life and only few will find it” -Matthew 7:14
That’s why the real spiritual path is often described as walking on a razor’s edge.
You walk on a fine line.
There is right and wrong.
There is good and bad.
There are clean ethics and morals.
And there is truth.
You speak your truth and you live it.
Meaning you walk your talk and not only when it’s convenient for you.
If it doesn’t involve love then it’s not true spirituality.
Love has to include you and being loving even to those who hurt you – and no this doesn’t necessarily mean reconciliation, it simply means you treat them lovingly no matter what, including in your thoughts and feelings about them.
This is the path.
We are here to learn about love so that we can develop in love. To love ourselves, life, animals, the environment and our fellow humans, brothers and sisters.
You will KNOW you’re on the real spiritual path when you are transforming yourself and your life from the inside out.
You will feel yourself growing in LOVE and there is a positive impact on your physical health, mental and emotional wellbeing.
You will have more clarity, inner peace and feel more connected to your Soul and God.
You will have healthier and more harmonious relationships and feel you are starting to really LIVE your life.
In fact, you will feel more alive…
Because your heart is opening to LOVE.
To both give and receive love.
I am aware that there are ups and downs and every now and then we feel stuck, frustrated, triggered and things come up.
I’m not saying you have to be positive and perfect all the time – I know I’m not!!
What I’m pointing at here is to not bypass your stuff but instead to face it as and when it comes up. This requires a lot of sincerity and humility to be honest above all with yourself. The true path is not as mysterious as most people think.
You can fool yourself but you can never fool God.
Your immediate reality and everything you experience – your triggers, relationship dynamics, addictions, emotions – are all a direct reflection of your inner emotional state and soul condition. Something to think about!
Sooner or later on your Soul journey, you will have to face yourself.
You can choose to turn a blind eye, ignore, belittle, overlook, skip, or leave things for later, which is fine. But you will also have to face the consequences of those decisions.
OR you can choose to SEE.
Because you cannot find yourself in books, psychic powers, gurus or some technique or another…
You can only find yourself by sincerely desiring to see yourself.
All techniques and information I share are considered coaching, self-help or complementary therapies. I am not a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist or medical doctor, I have a degree in Health Sciences in Complementary Therapies. Everything I write and talk about comes mainly from my own experience in healing myself and the tools, techniques, and resources I learned throughout my own inner journey.