Dear reader

Why do I write about pitfalls of spirituality?

My purpose with this blog is to crystallize and share my thoughts and experiences, in the hope that you and I may benefit from them. From 1993-2005 I practiced a so-called spiritual method (Sahaj Marg). Ultimately I realized that this method - and especially the organization around it (Shri Ram Chandra Mission or SRCM)- was contrary to some deep spiritual layer in myself. I came to some clear conclusions, and also to some still developing insights.

One still developing insight is that almost everybody is looking for some form of spirituality in their life. Therefore there are many spiritual methods and movements, often with similar pitfalls to the ones I experienced.

Many people follow a well-trodden path which is defined by the group in their immediate vicinity. Others are prompted by their heart and/or head to look for spirituality that makes sense on a personal level. Spirituality gives fulfillment -humanity as one, universal love growing, one with the buddha- as well as direction through life's tough questions.

I write about the pitfalls of spirituality because so many others seem to write mostly about the bliss of their own approach to spirituality. This bliss to me actually seems a pitfall.

Understanding the pitfalls I deem essential to gain more spiritual insight. For me this actually translates into a lighter and more loving heart. I do not believe that understanding is the key issue in spirituality. But I do believe that misunderstanding can block key issues (although to which degree probably varies with each person).

Please bear with my frequent use of I feel, seems to me, in my not so humble opinion and so on. It is to emphasize that I do not consider any of my opinions to be more than that. I cannot bring you universal truth. In my not so humble opinion [imnsho] universal truth is a major pitfall in spirituality.

Dear reader, I hope you find something worthwhile on these pages. Friendly reactions, which may be as critical as you like, are always welcome.

Tips how to read this blog

* Please start with the closing remarks (click on the link), they should provide a balanced perspective on this blog.

* There is a list of 20 pitfalls in the sidebar. Clicking on a pitfall will provide a number of posts in which that pitfall is discussed to some extent.

* If you have time, consider starting with the oldest post, and simply going through to each next post. This probably gives the most faithful ;-) reading...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Money & power, selfperpetuation

Like stated before, I'm not looking to depict spiritual movements as being entirely driven by power. Many many followers are kind spiritual people who are not at all driven by power. And also in the Movement's Pyramid, there are `officials' and administrators who are just trying to do a certain task in a spiritual way. The same goes for many large secular organizations.

Yet the structure & functioning of the Movement's Pyramid generally encourages people who are susceptible to `power as fulfillment'. It encourages them to behave in the way described in the previous post. They become true Believers, they obey higher levels rather blindly, they do not question the Absolute Truth of the Movement, and they devote a large proportion of their time to Work-for-the-Movement.


Many movements peter out, of course. They don't make it into a large number of followers. But any movement which does want to `make it', has to be led by efficient managers.

Suppose we have such a Spiritual Movement. Its Absolute Truth dictates that it should spread its Loving Message to the rest of the world. This Truth also dictates that the Movement is of superior and permanent importance to mankind.

What does an efficient manager do, when faced with the above Mission?


That really is the key question, if one wants to understand why so many spiritual movements eventually tumble into the same old pitfalls. Personally, although I allow for some malicious behaviour also, I find it much more likely that people are driven by motives which to themselves look Very Noble. `All I do is for Him. For the benefit of mankind! I am just a tool in His hands.'


OK, so what does an efficient manager do, when faced with the above Mission? Well, he (yes, the Leader is a he, if he is not a very good manager then his Manager is a he, sorry dear sisters but although we are all equal of course in the spiritual sense, one cannot leave these things to women) analyzes the Mission to formulate attainable Goals.

The attainable Goals cannot be far away from the following:

* Growth of the Movement in terms of followers
* Growth of the Movement in terms of recognizance
* Growth of the Movement in terms of influence
* Providing a solid organization, a Pyramid, for the Movement
* Providing a solid financial base, a Fund, for the Movement

Failure to attain any one of these Goals results in a much higher risk of the Movement petering out over time.

If the Movement doesn't make it...well, one will have failed Him! One has failed one's Sacred Duty. It is unthinkable. We must all work, work, work for these Goals, in order that His Light will shine over Humanity!


And now, you see, money becomes an issue. All by itself. It is needed for the selfperpetuation of the Movement, it is needed to Secure the Mission. (to be continued)


4d-Don said...

Hi Frank...

Reading your last post and letting the thinking process go "tangential" or in "negative space", I could not help but think that these "spiritual Movements", all wanting to UNITE the world under "their banner" or under their GURU or leader, and his MISSION, his dreams, have actually been the source of division in our historic past and in our modern but as yet un-evolved or un-civilized world.

It seems to be a flaw in logic. One cannot form a GROUP whose main function is to eliminate the divisiveness of "GROUPS", without wanting that group to become the ONLY ONE. It is megalomania hidden behind "SPIRITUALITY". It is the MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE syndrome.

At least, many of the other religious or "spiritual movements", specially the religions of the "descendants" of Abraham (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), claim to offer "a sword" of discrimination, a division. The even claim that they will "divide" the father against the son, the mother against the "child" etc... That at least is "HONEST" and RELIGIOUS although it is still divisive. But SPIRITUALITY was to offer a BETTER and less divisive Path...

So to form a SPIRITUAL GROUP to UNITE MANKIND, is really like "digging half a hole" is impossible. And then to write it in your textbooks is really "illogical" and self-defeating. How can intellectuals swallow this contradiction? Will all eventually realize it? It is what happened to me. I started reading Chari.

If, as Krishnamurti says, "Spirituality is a Pathless Path", how can any "method" be thought up, written down and then proselytized and believed? To reach which GOAL? COMPLETE UNION WITH THE DIVINE? After complete UNION, then what? NOTHING? Everything stops and we "sit on a cloud" that does not MOVE in a UNIVERSE that is not only still, but NOTHING. Is that not SILLY? Who is this believed by? By women? Is it that the MEN in these movements are just drawn to POWER (in Sahaj Marg) and the POWER is "over the WOMEN"? Are most male "spiritual" seeker, who get attracted to these "spritual movements" really "harem seekers"? ;-)) It Makes more sense than most "possibilities".

This attempt to stop the MOTION of LIFE, to reach the GOAL, or to "stop the world, I want to get off", is a fantasy, a pipe-dream of Religions, and an "un-desireable" one at that.

NOTHING is not GOOD... SOMETHING is GOOD. To make "SOMETHING" or "EXISTENCE", bad or un-desireable, it has to become an ILLUSION, hence MAYA. And in NOTHING, there is not MAYA, then? It's a theory but not REALITY... REALITY is SOMETHING, not NOTHING.

I would be leery of such individuals who gather material power with that lackluster logic: "Give me your money, it's all just an illusion, anyway", or... "Spend all your time working on my dream, because your dream is just "sensuality" and hence an illusion"... Of course, your reward is "on the other side". Sounds like a "protection racket" of the RELIGIOUS. It sounds like: "INSURED BEYOND THE GRAVE"

Here we have a Movement who's ONE (GOD) is being taught to children as being a MALE, or having a "male-ness" attribute, and who's Master does not want women to be Masters and who thinks that "homosexuality" is "un-natural". And it is mostly adhered to by women who left "Christianity" because of the same theological, philosophical and moral flaws.

Islam, the fastest growing religions is also being joined by western women in great numbers. What is that about? They leave Christianity because of its flaws for Islam?

One computer Science thesis I read recently, explained the phenomenon as: We intellectuals, the scientists, (men) are working in n...dimensions and women can't understand the intellectualism of "higher dimensions", so they rush to "faith-based" fundamentalist religions, so as to "not think" and still have "some societal power". They love religions that demonize the intellect and glorifies the "heart" or the emotions. The more fundamentalist the better. It's a "faith-based" versus a "logic based" battle, according to him (a male).

A flawed theology will lead to a flawed philosophy (or no philosophy), which will lead to a flawed psychology, which will create flawed individuals with flawed "theology"...and on and on...

The religions that have survived the longest are those who offered a new theology (flawed or not). The theology of "SRCM(California) is 12th century Occidental theology, before the REFORMATION, with women and homosexuals in their place, and the ONE (God) as MALE (always referred to as HIM, HE, etc...)

I tell others that if India and China and other "populated" parts of the world, would encourage "homosexuality" as one of nature's "population control mechanism", to the 'natural" average (7% of general population), then they would not have to constantly "invade" their neighbours with such arrogantly "flawed" spirituality. As with most "invasions", after, or along with, the Religions to "soften up the enemy", come the Profiteers (businessmen), and then the Militaries to defend the Profiteers and their RELIGIONS who always scream: "RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION" or "RACISM" when opposed with LOGIC.

MONEY and its POWER we accept in the Marketplace. When some "nations" use religion as a basis of POWER, then we as the "invaded" should at least not give them "tax-exempt" status in our countries. These POWER addicts, using religion and spirituality, create a negative situation in our countries when they suck our charitable dollars to build their PRIVATE schools, and purchase castles, ranches (28 acres), commercial buildings, and retreats in "tourist" destinations, for their travel luxury "relaxation", and their commercial ventures, when our children are in "mobiles" and "portables" and the poor and the sick and the needy, of our countries are not taken care of.

These SPIRITUAL MOVEMENTS are an ABUSE OF POWER...ALL in the name of ONE, or UNITY, what they call GOD.


frank waaldijk said...

hi don,

i removed your first comment because it was identical to the second.

in reply to this comment, i sometimes find it hard to read beyond your `loud' use of capitals. don't take this badly, but i think you would be far better heard if you wrote in a more quiet way.

often, less is more...if you catch my drift. still, frequently i find food for thought in your comments, and i appreciate you taking the time.

i will try to address this `food for thought' in the main blog, even when i do not always find time and energy to respond directly to your comment.

i also might like to give some examples from srcm, but i hope this will not set you off on another diatribe against sahaj marg. i really think that repetition of such diatribes is counterproductive.

it would work better if everybody, including abhyasis and other followers and ex-followers of spiritual movements felt welcome here to give their comments.

a dialogue, with mildness of tone, seems to me more fruitful than crusading against each other. this is not to discount certain excesses which take place or took place in the name of religion. but this blog is meant as a help, an invite, to put entangled concepts in a clearer frame. such analysis is helped more -i think- by a somewhat subdued, friendly tone and a little emotional distance to the content discussed.

since there are already some critical blogs devoted specifically to criticism of srcm/sahaj marg, you might want to consider to differentiate between your comments there and on this blog.

nonetheless, thank you for your continuing support and contributions.

4d-Don said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
frank waaldijk said...

don, i think i pointed out the purpose of this blog repeatedly, and in a friendly way.

i have no wish to block your comments, but i also have no wish for your goals to take priority over the purpose of this blog.

for your goals, i would think you have your own blogs and several other platforms.

please consider a less polemic style, if you want to exchange ideas with me. please respect the purpose of this blog.

thank you.

the introduction to the blog states very clear that friendly reactions (which may be as critical as you like) are welcome.

i will remove your previous comment since i do not find it friendly. for the time being, in order not to censor absolutely, i am putting removed comments

the removed comments will still be accessible, but i hope they will not put unduly strain on the atmosphere in this comments section.

however, if i find myself too much involved in keeping the atmosphere friendly, i will simply close the comments section altogether. my time and energy is limited. the main blog should not suffer from the comments section.

i hope you understand, and keep contributing. thank you again.