Ten Obstacles to Sane Spirituality

EctoplasmicSnotJulian Walker wrote this excellent overview of New Age flakiness, and gives some corrective measures.

via Elephant Journal:

I am passionate about the relationships between three things:

> inquiry-based practices (yoga, meditation, bodywork and ecstatic dance happen to be my favorites)

> critical thinking (also called “viveka” in yogic parlance, or discriminating wisdom)

> and shadow work (after Jung – the psychological idea that we have a “shadow” that is where we hide the emotions, experiences, thoughts and aspects of self that we would rather not face. Shadow work then is the process of courageously turning inward to bring honest awareness and compassionate attention to this place.)

Having been a yoga teacher for the last 18 years, and having spent my adult life swimming in the waters of popular spirituality, my sense is that more often than not these three elements are missing both in theory and practice. My sense is that this comes down to one revelatory observation. You may find it offensive, you may think it is untrue, or too general. My hope is that by the end of this article, perhaps you will agree that not only are these 10 obstacles quite problematic, but that they can also serve as 10 doorways or portals that lead to a more sane, integrated next stage of spiritual growth. This requires curiosity about what lies obscured from view underneath or behind each obstacle.

What is this one incendiary insight? Simply this: the basic tenets of the New Age belief system can be understood as an elaborate psychological defense system that is actually in the way of the work with which a transformative, healing and sane spirituality is concerned.

The laying out of these 10 obstacles is intended to be both humorous and instructive, and with each obstacle I will provide one general suggestion and one suggestion for teachers and healers on how to use it as a portal towards integration and sanity.…

Read more at Elephant Journal.

6 Comments on "Ten Obstacles to Sane Spirituality"

  1. Fantastic read, thanks for sharing.

  2. BuzzCoastin | May 19, 2013 at 6:31 pm |

    I don’t know about his obstacles
    but his 3 tools
    > inquiry-based practices, critical thinking and shadow work
    have certainly helped me navigate the void

  3. Noah_Nine | May 20, 2013 at 12:16 am |

    so this is basically a manual that explains how to avoid being a flake….

  4. I disagree with his obstacles, they’re his reality tunnel. The three inquiry methods have worked very well for me, though.


    • Allan Beveridge | May 20, 2013 at 6:36 pm |

      re: his obstacles… I agree.

      The biggest obstacles are:
      Lack of mindfulness
      Poorly developed sense of compassion, affection and devotion
      Making superficial observations
      Lack of good reasoning skills

      The mind is not “us” but it is our interface and for most is much like an occluded crystal. In order for us to transcend this we must “reprogram” our minds to eliminate the garbage so that the “light” passes through. Otherwise we remain trapped by the illusions we have built into our minds.


  5. mannyfurious | May 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm |

    There’s only one obstacle and that’s that most “seekers” believe every fucking thing they read. I guess this might go along with “critical thinking,” but, my god, people are gullible as shit. Look at all the people paying Tolle $15 to watch his youtube videos….

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