Spiritual Elitism: The Ultimate Bondage

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A lot spirituality thinking in the past 2000 years seem to bear one thing in common: a distrust of the physical dimension. In holier than thouChristianity we are taught to “die to the flesh.” In Buddhism we’re told to “rise above” our desires — even snuff them out entirely. In many esoteric spiritual traditions “enlightened” gurus emphasize the spirit as our super hero and the “ego” as our enemy. And because we are programmed from birth to believe we are fundamentally flawed, we spend our lives seeking a way to perfect ourselves and be free from what we are: human.

Those of use who chose the religious or “spiritual” path became obsessed with a sort of moral competition. “Who is right?” “who is the most pure?” “who is the holiest of all?” “whose god is the most powerful?” We quickly devised a spiritual class system in which our worthiness was defined by what we deny ourselves, what we exclude ourselves from, and what we don’t do.

The problem with spiritual elitism is it only creates more separation. The “us” and “them” mentality has been brewing conflict for thousands of years, but we’re starting to wake-up and realize the “them” is us. We’re not better or more spiritual than someone else because we don’t eat meat or cooked food, or drink, or wear “immodest” clothing (or whatever rules we’ve created that we believe sets us apart from others). When our self-imposed rules and lifestyle become the guidelines by which we measure our goodness or judge others, we miss out on the point of it all: our hearts.

When we bury ourselves in rules and spiritual elitism, we kill the most precious gift of all: our ability to love, forgive, accept, Naked pastor2empathize, and embrace. All of these things come from the heart, and when we deny and punish ourselves for being human (in physical form), we kill our desires, and we harden our hearts. It’s no coincidence that some of the most “spiritually” moral, and religiously elite people are the least embracing, the least forgiving, the least empathic, and the most empty.

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, watch over the heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Rather than measuring our goodness by what we deny ourselves and who we exclude, what if our goodness was expressed by what we embrace and who we include?

Freedom is precious. And far too many of use “spirituality” as prison to keep us from truly living life, from true communion with others, and from real intimacy with the Source we come from.

Yes, we want to make wise choices. But living on purpose in not an excuse to us set apart from others, it’s a tool to enjoy life to the full. The only reason to have a rule or restriction is to keep us safe. If we use our freedom to harm ourselves or others, it becomes a prison, but once we learn to use awareness and intention – once we deeply experience the true nature of this experience (that everything is connected, and we are all one), it can no longer be about “right” and “wrong,” saved and unsaved, “them” and “us” – but rather “how can I best harmonize/make peace and love all aspects of myself that are being reflected to me in this physical dimension?” Because everything we observe is an aspect of us, and an extension of Source. As soon as we make an enemy of the external, we make an enemy of ourselves. And we all know how that battle ends.

Why would we want to live life in a never-ending struggle with ourselves? Our “spirit” attempting to kill and deny our flesh inangel devil on shoulder a battle that doesn’t end until we die? And then we can pass on to the other side with pride, knowing we didn’t embrace life at all, but fought it every inch of the way, in order to not be “human”? What a sad life, indeed.

What if we practiced (submitting) to the lead of the ‘spirit’ and making love to the flesh (the physical experience)? Rather than making our “higher self” the close minded boss who takes no pleasure in the physical dimension and has a list of rules for us to follow in order to be ‘set apart’, what if we allowed our spirit to lead us into all things that bring joy – to open up and make love to this experience, and to declare this life ‘good.’ The trick is to live with AWARENESS and intention, making decisions from the perspective of oneness, connectivity, while remembering this is a dream we are continually creating with our thoughts and emotions. We are not victims of circumstance, we are products of our beliefs and programs.

When we begin to see everything in our environment as a gift; food, walks in nature, relationships with people, jobs — all of the physical dimension becomes an experience to be enjoyed and embraced (rather than denied and “overcome”). From this perspective, an intense shift of power occurs in the solar plexus, and a potent outpouring of our inner kingdom unfolds. It’s a wondrous experience, related to the idea of opening up, spreading out, and breathing-in the energy around (rather than shielding/protecting, and essentially seeing “others” as a negative influence on our holy, righteous living). It may sound radical to some. No doubt many will assume I’m suggesting leading a reckless life, over-indulging in every manner of pleasure. But that’s not what I’m saying at all.

Glutinous living comes from a lack mentality – a belief that we can’t have or don’t deserve pleasure, so we grab what we can because we don’t believe we’ll ever have the chance again – it’s the “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” mentality. But when we realize that every good and perfect gift is meant for our enjoyment — is created for us in this life – that this experience is simply for the joy and expansion it will bring us, and there is more than enough pleasure and joy to go around, we suddenly release to need to over-consume, to make reckless decisions, and to fall asleep at the wheel of our life.

When we remember we are eternal beings and this “reality” is only one tiny fractal of the entire experience, when we realizeembracinglife there is more than enough life to be had, we suddenly slow down, we take our time, we want to savor every precious moment because we see what a gift we are being offered through this experience. It’s merely a shift in perception, but it’s a powerful one indeed.

Living a life of rules and obligations will never bring true freedom. Measuring our goodness by what we don’t do can’t bring the depth of relationship and intimacy our hearts long for. We must let go of a life of denial and rules in order to receive the abundance of living with a scandalously free heart. A heart that embraces ourselves and “the other” with true empathy, understanding, and love. Choose to be set free from the bondage of “religious” and spiritual elitism — that world will only ever separate us from our true selves. We are so much more than we ever imagined, and our lives are meant for greater things.

Be free.

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5 thoughts on “Spiritual Elitism: The Ultimate Bondage

  1. Another way of expressing this would be “Spiritual Bypassing” of which elitism is but one of a number of ways that we use everything, most especially including our spirituality, for avoiding our shadow side.
    Robert Augustus Masters wrote a tremendous book by this title which I highly recommend. It helped me see a lot of the ways that I mis-use my gifts.

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