How Some Spiritual Beliefs Breed Codependency

How Some Spiritual Beliefs Breed Codependency

How Some Spiritual Beliefs Breed Codependency

Since January, I’ve been “inspired” quite a bit to write about modern New Age spirituality’s relationship with narcissism, which is quite strong these days.

In my previous post “How Separation Consciousness Masks Itself In Spirituality” I talked about how Individualism in the West creates a me-centric version of spirituality which ignores the fact that we are co-creating with a collective, places the greatest emphasis on the self, and ultimately results in a form of overt spiritual narcissism/god complex where adherents believe they are literally the center of their own universe and everyone else on the planet is just something they manifested. This, of course, lends itself to a severe lack of empathy and social responsibility, because they then believe that everyone else on the planet has manifested their circumstances and simply need to change their thinking to manifest their way out.

A couple of weeks ago, I also posted in-depth about narcissistic empaths, how codependency is really a form of covert narcissism, and how this kind of “empath” and narcissism are actually two sides of the same narcissistic coin.

In today’s post, I’m taking all of these topics one step further and discussing how some very common concepts in New Age spirituality come from and create codependent mentalities.

What is Codependency?

Codependency: a pattern of behavior in which you find yourself dependent on approval from someone else for your self-worth and identity.

Like with narcissism, there’s a lot to unpack with codependency and a lot of it overlaps, depending on the specific situation. The most important aspects of note with regard to spirituality are:

Codependents often feel responsible for how other people feel and that underlying feeling of distress (usually guilt or shame attached to the subconscious belief that they are the cause of the other person’s emotional state) pushes them to want to “fix” the other person’s emotions and thus, regulate the energy in the room.

This is often confused for empathy, but it’s important to distinguish that the codependent isn’t actually feeling the other person’s emotions or acting out of care or empathy, they’re driven by their own sense of shame and guilt and the underlying motivation is to alleviate their own uncomfortable emotions, not those of the other person. And this is why codependency can be considered another form of narcissism: because this action is driven by self-interest and the other person’s emotions are (subconsciously) seen as an extension of the self.

How Spirituality Can Breed Codependency

Similar to how certain concepts in spirituality can breed a form of narcissism, those same concepts can also breed codependency.

  • You are the absolute creator of your reality
  • You are responsible for all of your negative experiences
  • Your scarcity mentality is responsible for your financial situation
  • No one will love you until you love yourself

Each of these platitudes encourages extreme independence from reality. So what happens when you buy into this mentality, you work on yourself, and things in your life don’t magically shift?

You probably being to use your external reality as a measuring stick for how healed you are. And any time someone or some situation shows up that creates discomfort, you ask yourself, “What haven’t I healed?”

I caught myself doing this recently with a connection to someone who, for all intents and purposes, is toxic, but whose energy won’t seem to leave me alone. It actually started to drive me a little bit batshit. I had cut cords a thousand times. I had healed. I had grieved. I had released. I had forgiven. I had moved on. And yet, we are still psychically linked for inexplicable reasons, and it bubbles up to the surface periodically.

Then one night in the shower it occurred to me: it’s not me. I’m not the problem. I’m not the one hanging on–it’s them. They haven’t completed their end of this karmic bargain by cleaning up after the consequences of their actions.

I had a similar realization when I was trying to date and 90% of the men I met were still awful. I thought it was me–that I hadn’t healed enough yet to attract great men. I was taking all of the responsibility for the people that I was running into on the street, more or less. Every terrible interaction was somehow a reflection of what was wrong with me. The truth was…it wasn’t me. It was them. There’s just a lot of shitty men out there and my healing had no effect on that percentage. I just had a much lower tolerance for their bullshit.

THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE!

I’d momentarily forgotten that we are co-creating our reality and that I don’t have any control over other people (or the world, for that matter). I only have agency over myself.

This idea that we are the supreme manifestors of our life and our reality teaches us that we are responsible for the toxic, abusive people and situations that come into our lives, that those people are reflections of us and whatever is unhealed within us, and that somehow, through obsessive self healing, we’ll be able to change that, or in the case of a lot of Twin Flame trash, that we’ll be able to heal another person…(how’s that for codependent thinking). And when it doesn’t happen, how much guilt and shame do you feel over your inability to succeed?

The reality is that healing ourselves doesn’t change what kinds of people or situations come into our lives–we can’t control or manipulate people in that way, and it’s quite delusional to think that we can or do.

There’s a difference between using situations in our lives as opportunities for self-reflection, and assuming that every situation is a reflection.

Healing teaches us discernment, and how to not find ourselves attracted to those people and situations. It teaches us boundaries and self-respect. And when you implement those changes in your life, you’ll choose differently, and certainly more wisely. It doesn’t mean you won’t still have to wade through a sea of garbage people to find gold, because a lot of the people on this planet are still holding shit energy, but you don’t have to be one of them.

Xo,

Ash

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How Separation Consciousness Masks Itself In Spiritual Unity

How Separation Consciousness Masks Itself In Spiritual Unity

How Separation Consciousness Masks Itself In Spiritual Unity

In the spiritual community, we talk a lot about oneness and unity, and you may occasionally hear the term “separation consciousness.”

Separation consciousness is a lower level of awareness wherein a person cannot perceive the interconnectedness of all beings or their connection to their own divinity and God/Source.

You’ll see a lot of New Agers refer to this as the reason why we aren’t able to recognize our spiritual oneness and they will attribute it to the human ego, but separation consciousness goes much deeper than just the energetic and personal level, it’s also manifested into the world around us as tribalism. We have different groups and factions that see themselves as being independent of one another, and in many instances, diametrically opposed, for example, Republicans vs. Democrats, capitalism vs. socialism, fascism vs. communism, etc.

Within the spiritual community, the concept of a diametric opposition in and of itself is often labeled as separation consciousness, but what many of these people don’t realize is that much of their own doctrine is also infiltrated by separation consciousness.

Individualism in the West

Individualism is a social theory that places heavy emphasis on self worth, self-reliance, individuality, personal freedom, and personal responsibility. It is extremely evident in Western culture, particularly in the United States. The very concept of the American Dream–that if one works hard enough, they will achieve prosperity–is rooted in individualistic thinking.

This in and of itself is not a bad thing. It’s healthy for people to have a personal sense of independence rather than being codependent, being self-reliant is a valuable skill to cultivate, and we do all need to have a healthy sense of responsibility for ourselves.

That said, when the values of individualism are taken to an extreme, it becomes toxic just like anything else. Extreme individualism assumes that everyone in the collective is independently responsible for their own circumstances. One’s worth to the collective is often measured by their level of material success and that worth is largely expected to be earned and proven by hard work. In other words, this line of thinking correlates a person’s worth as a human being with their ability to produce goods and amass wealth.

Extreme individualism dehumanizes people by only valuing their economic output. It ignores or dismisses complex social factors and systemic oppression, and implies that anyone who has been systemically disadvantaged is simply lazy–i.e. unworthy. This is nowhere more apparent than in the prosperity gospel preached by many Christian Evangelicals that says god rewards good people with financial success, which automatically implies that poor people are unworthy of God’s love (even though Jesus himself said blessed are the poor…).

Extreme individualism also often leaves the individualist feeling as though they owe nothing to the collective other than to be a hard worker, which allows them to avoid social responsibility and accountability. This, of course, also allows the individualist to avoid having to feel responsible or be held accountable for the way their actions may affect the collective they live in.

Any time someone chooses “my rights” and “my freedoms” over and above what is good for the whole of society, they are acting from separation consciousness.

Westernized (Americanized) Spirituality

Extreme individualism is antithetical to unity consciousness, because it values one’s self above the collective. It doesn’t view the collective holistically as “one.”

This philosophy shows up in spirituality most often dressed as Law of Attraction, manifestation, and extreme personal empowerment rhetoric:

  • You are the absolute creator of your reality
  • Energy flows where attention goes / what you pay attention to becomes real
  • You are responsible for all of your negative experiences
  • Your scarcity mentality is responsible for your financial situation
  • No one will love you until you love yourself
  • Surround yourself with people who are living the lifestyle you want to have

These concepts reinforce unworthiness, ignore collective karma, disregard the effects of trauma and abuse, and dismiss the consequences of societal structures that oppress others by assuming that the oppressed have a victim mentality and are simply manifesting their own abuse. You are not responsible for your trauma, but you are responsible for healing your trauma, and in order for trauma to be healed and abusive karmic cycles to end, abusers must be held accountable along with the culture that enables them.

Learn why we don’t manifest abuse.

The idea that we are the absolute creators of our reality is an especially obvious example of separation consciousness because it completely ignores the existence of everyone else on the planet and is the polar opposite of the much touted concept in spirituality that “we are all connected.” You are the absolute creator of your thoughts and beliefs about reality only after you’ve deconditioned yourself from childhood and societal programming and healed your trauma. However, you are not the absolute creator of your physical reality and your actions have real repercussions and consequences that affect other people.

“Energy flows where attention goes” and “what you pay attention to becomes your reality” applies on an energetic level and within your belief systems, and only manifests in the real world through the actions (or inactions) that you take with regard to those belief systems. If one is not careful of how they apply this platitude, it can greatly contribute to spiritual and emotional bypassing. It is the core belief that results in spiritual people ignoring acts of violence, abuse, and systemic oppression.

In spirituality, we recognize that every human being is inherently worthy of being loved, even the ones we don’t necessarily like. That worthiness also extends to having their basic survival needs met. Love and survival isn’t something that human beings should have to earn.

The concept that we should have to earn love, as well as the perception of good and evil comes from separation consciousness:

When we incarnate here, we forget who we really are (that we are love and that everything is love) and in that forgetfulness, we have the perception that there is a lack of love–that love is scarce.

 

Fear-based belief systems are rooted in duality–the concept that there is a polarization of good and evil. They have not yet recognized that the foundation of the Universe is love, and the only thing that makes it appear as fear is their own limited understanding of it. – Why Fear-Based Beliefs Are Distorted

Individualism is also largely behind the explosion of The Secret and Law of Attraction and why business coaches have now integrated manifestation techniques into their marketing rhetoric as business gimmicks. These people have no true commitment to inner work because they are primarily motivated by desire, success, and money.

This attitude is also extremely evident in hustle culture, which reinforces individualistic philosophy, consistently shames people for not being productive, and neglects the importance of self-care and balance. When you say “surround yourself with people who are living the lifestyle you want to have” as applied to material wealth, it eliminates the perspectives the majority of the (poor) people in the collective and “others” them as unworthy of your time and attention. Instead, I suggest you surround yourself with people who demonstrate the values you wish to embody: integrity, depth, accountability, authenticity, humility.

Learn about materialistic spirituality.

Finally, from a spiritual perspective, our sense of individuality is our ego and it is the literal mechanism that allows us to experience separateness. When one only recognizes themselves as the absolute god of their individual physical reality, and does not recognize that everyone else on the planet is co-creating a physical existence along with them because we are all, collectively, God, well that’s the ultimate level of narcissism and the epitome of separation consciousness.

Spiritual Hierarchies

The hierarchical view of spirituality that labels some beings as more advanced or more enlightened than others is another way separation consciousness can show up in spirituality.

When narcissism invades spirituality, labels like lightworker and ascended master, psychic, intuitive, empath, incarnate angel, etc. become avenues for people to set themselves apart from everyone else–mainly by presenting the illusion that they are “better than.”

Pay attention who uses these labels and how much humility they express. Anyone using them as an avenue to accrue power, authority, or attention are operating from separation consciousness.

Healthy Interdependence

When you lean too far in one direction, individualism becomes materialistic selfishness and narcissism, and can also lead people to become too independent and avoid meaningful connection. Human beings are social creatures. We need each other, and we require connection in order to be mentally healthy. But when you go too far in the other direction it manifests as codependent relationships, neediness, energetic vampirism, and entitlement. For this reason, individualism espouses some important concepts that can be valuable when they are recognized in their proper context and not taken to an extreme.

In order for us to have a healthy sense of individuality, we must find balance and recognize the importance of healthy interdependence. While we are all individuals, we are also incredibly interconnected and our actions affect one another. This is what spirituality is attempting to teach us. This is unity consciousness.

Many of the concepts I mentioned earlier that spiritual people attempt to shun or avoid in the name of oneness because they view them to be dualistic and diametrically opposed are, in reality, unity consciousness opposing separation consciousness.

By condemning or avoiding these things, the spiritual community is actually engaging in spiritual bypassing and preventing the very ascension they claim to be here to facilitate!

Learn about spiritual bypassing and ascension.

We have to observe the lesson in the energies of Aquarius where the individual is valued just as much as the individual’s contribution to the collective. Aquarius recognizes that our unique gifts and experiences are our very contribution to that collective.

Start asking yourself some important questions:

  • Where have I been embodying separation consciousness in my spirituality?
  • Where have I been embodying separation consciousness in other areas of my beliefs and attitudes?
  • Who are the people promoting separation consciousness in the form of extreme individualism?
  • How can I bring myself back into balance and support the liberation of the collective, not just myself?
Xo,

Ash

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5 Toxic People To Avoid On Your Spiritual Journey

5 Toxic People To Avoid On Your Spiritual Journey

5 Toxic People To Avoid On Your Spiritual Journey

As I watch the world around me, I recognize that more and more people are beginning to experience the early stages of spiritual awakening. Last week, I re-published a post that I wrote six years ago about the phases of spiritual awakening and if you’ve read it, I think you’ll agree that many many people in 2020 are experiencing the earliest stages. Those who are in this pre-enlightenment stage of spirituality are in a vulnerable place in their journey and being that there are so many of them, it puts us in a precarious and vulnerable situation as a collective.

Today I wanted to delve more in-depth into some of the pitfalls of those phases that I touched upon in that post in an effort to help those of you who are new to this journey navigate some of the murkier waters of spirituality that I’ve encountered over the last 10 years, specifically the most toxic people you’ll meet on this journey who can and will do you and the collective harm.

The Egoic Psychic

Many years ago, my psychic development teacher told our class, “Just because someone is psychic does not mean they are spiritual.” Indeed, there are many psychics, healers, and channelers out there who operate within fear-based, dualistic belief systems. Some use their metaphysical abilities to feed their own ego rather than engage in the shadow work necessary to make themselves a clear channel, and still others are simply scam artists passing themselves off as spiritual practitioners.

How to recognize them: These people are pretty easy to spot. They’ll come at you and attempt to position themselves as “more enlightened than thou” because they are psychic and can speak to the dead, channel the Galactic Federation of Light, or whomever they are claiming to be their connection to Truth in an attempt to hold power over you.

They make bold and wild claims like being the earthly incarnation of a famous historical figure or esoteric entity, or that they are in a special relationship with one. They may claim to be in contact with dead celebrities, or the “chosen channel” for some bygone demigod (Jesus or Mary Magdalene for example), or some other metaphysical status which feeds their ego and sets them apart from the regular humans. They are “special” and they want you to know it. The more fear-based ones may claim that you have negative entity attachments, curses, or are otherwise under psychic attack from some invisible force that only they can see, and therefore, only they can help you. You’re not allowed to question them, and they’re always going to demand something from you, whether it’s admiration and attention or money.

Many famous psychics have made famously wrong predictions, Sylvia Brown to name one. I’ve personally encountered or heard stories of psychics and mediums claiming to be in intimate relationships with dead celebrities, impregnated by Archangel Michael, telling people they are demonically possessed, and even making very wrong predictions about people’s family members dying. And of course there’s also tales of psychics offering to lift imaginary curses off of you for the low low price of $400 or more.

Why you’re vulnerable: Early on in your spiritual journey, as you begin to explore new concepts and ideas, you have a more open mind and are willing to consider ideas and information that you may have previously dismissed. When you’re in this questioning stage, you don’t yet have a strong connection to your own intuition or your own direct line to Truth, so you’re more willing to get that Truth from other, outside sources, and not all of these sources are credible. People think that just because these people have psychic abilities that their every prediction is accurate, or that how they are interpreting it is correct without taking into consideration that they have their own mental health issues and untreated spiritual dis-ease that may contribute to taking their readings off the rails. Maintaining a healthy amount of skepticism about the information people try to feed you is imperative as well as learning to recognize egotism when you see it.

Learn how to discern mental illness from spiritual experiences.

The Sexual (Predator) Healer

When we reach a stage of our spiritual journey where we’re beginning to examine our own shadow, we’re often faced with a multitude of personal crises that leave us emotionally raw and seeking healing. Kindness and compassion are something we gravitate toward as we look for trustworthy people to hold space for us as we heal, but there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing out there parading around as healers, particularly of a sexual nature. I’ve come across multiple male energy healers who attempt to capitalize on emotional vulnerability as an avenue for crossing sexual boundaries, and it’s also rampant in the astrology community.

How to recognize them: These people come in a variety of costumes. Some pose as tantric healers who “use sexual energy” to help you heal. Sexual energy can be healing when you’re with a partner whom you know well and have a deep sense of trust with, but NO SPIRITUAL PRACTITIONER IS EVER GOING TO ATTEMPT TO HAVE CASUAL SEX WITH YOU TO HEAL YOU. None. Ever. Fucking throw that concept out the god damn window.

True story: I used to see profiles on dating apps of male “reiki” practitioners looking for casual sex claiming they had the ability to heal women through sex. Nothing has ever turned my stomach more.

Others will be far more subtle. They may offer you “free” energy work, but eventually begin to introduce sexual micro-aggressions. This is how a predator tests your boundaries for vulnerabilities to see if they can escalate the relationship into something more sexual. Exercise extreme caution when accepting free energy work from anyone that you don’t know well. A true healer will ALWAYS respect your boundaries and NEVER do something that makes you feel uncomfortable. If the thought that this person has crossed a line even remotely enters your awareness, or you feel even mildly uncomfortable with their behavior, THAT MEANS A BOUNDARY HAS BEEN CROSSED. Don’t ignore it. Always say something and cut off contact.

John of God is a famous Brazilian “healer” who amassed hundreds of thousands of followers all over the world. He reached a level of international new age fame, including being featured by Oprah. He was also jailed in 2019 for raping over 300 women, including his own daughter.

Why you’re vulnerable: If you have a prior history of sexual or emotional abuse, you are particularly vulnerable to this, because your nervous system does not easily recognize these kinds of boundary violations (because it’s used to being violated). If you have a history of abuse of any kind, I urge you to seek out trauma-informed practitioners rather than accepting free services from seemingly good samaritans. And look for any and all resources about how to recognize and set strong boundaries.

The Dilettante Coach/Influencer

In the excitement of the pre-enlightenment phases of awakening, many people who are early in their spiritual journey jump into the evangelism phase with gusto, becoming spiritual social media influencers and even offering coaching services or readings of some kind. The problem is that they’ve not yet engaged on their own shadow work and as such, are only able to guide people from the shallow depths of the work that they’ve done. In many cases, these people are not at all trauma-informed and still greatly unaware of their own issues, and when they set out to start helping others, they end up projecting their own issues onto their clients and doing more harm than good. It’s the blind leading the blind.

How to recognize them: These people tend to talk about having had a “sudden awakening” where they saw the Truth of the universe, and then almost immediately afterward, set out to become a spiritual coach or teacher (or psychic or medium). They’ve also often rapidly accumulated a social media following.

They are demonstrating what psychologists refer to as the Dunning-Kruger effect, where amateurs tend to be over-confident (and experts tend to be underconfident). But having an intellectual or conceptual understanding of spirituality is merely scratching the surface, and until one does the necessary shadow work required to fully embody and integrate that knowledge through experience, they will often engage in spiritual bypassing and share information that lacks a depth of understanding required to be a spiritual teacher. But that doesn’t matter to them, because this kind of behavior is more about financial success and internet fame/notoriety than it is about mission and responsibility.

They’ll often become defensive, block you for some “spiritual” reason, or try to use their spiritual terminology to gaslight you after you question them, or they’ll sick their army of social media followers and influencer friends on you if you for disagreeing with them. A lot of them charge an absurd amount of money to work with them and operate like a business, not a teacher.

True story: My attention was recently brought to an online “spiritual” women’s coach with a large audience on Facebook who made a post chastising women who experienced coerced rape as having porous boundaries and told them, “Regret isn’t rape.”

 

As a women’s coach and a healer in a country where one out of every five women has been sexually assaulted, she has a responsibility to her audience and her paying clients to educate herself about women’s issues, and to be responsible with what she says in that regard.

 

Anyone who is even remotely trauma-informed, has a background in psychology, or is simply educated about rape culture knows how much shame and guilt rape victims deal with. For one of them to then go online and see a person in a position of alleged authority effectively validate their worst fear–that what someone else did to them was their fault–is incredibly harmful, and extremely ignorant on behalf of this “coach” who has claimed that she is here to heal people. Her careless victim shaming can lead someone into a shame spiral that ends in suicide.

 

One might even go so far as to suspect that this coach has likely experienced coerced rape at some point in her life and internalized her own shame and guilt around it, has convinced herself that it was her fault for not having better boundaries (newsflash: the only people who take advantage of people with bad boundaries are people who have no respect for boundaries. I.e. abusers) and because she has not done the work to heal herself, she is now projecting her own shame onto other women by only holding the victim accountable and more or less absolving the abuser of any wrongdoing in the process.

Even people who seem like they should have a better grasp on how their actions as a wellness influencer affect their followers such as the Holistic Psychologist and Mastin Kipp have recently been outed as having little to no self-awareness about issues involving anti-racism with their dealings with the Black community. And hey, in 2020, literally no one is perfect, but as a spiritual practitioner, if you can’t self-reflect deeply enough to see your own bias even when people are pointing it out for you or at least commit to making an attempt, then what are you doing trying to lead others in self-reflection?

Why you’re vulnerable: Humans are primed to look for social proof that someone is an expert. Using the right terminology and having a massive number of followers gives the appearance of depth. These people have pretty, professional photos and great brand messaging. They look credible, and other apparently credible people are talking about them, so why shouldn’t they be credible? But in this day and age, social media followers can be bought, being connected to the right people–even if you don’t really know what you’re talking about–can expand fan bases, and paying boatloads of money for professional graphics, photos, and meaningless online course certifications can give anyone the facade of being a professional without actually having the life experience and spiritual depth to back it up.

Learn how to spot a spiritually immature influencer.

The Cult Leader

There’s been a lot of new age cults in the news lately, including NXIVM sex-cult leader Ken Raniere. Upon first glance, it’s difficult to understand how seemingly good people are recruited into such wildly abusive lifestyles, but when you understand that cults prey on vulnerable people, it becomes apparent that those who fall into these traps are often seeking acceptance from a community and have a history of abuse which renders them nearly incapable of recognizing proper boundaries.

How to recognize them: These people, like many of the others on the list, are simply narcissistic personalities masquerading in spiritual garb. They target vulnerable people who are seeking to be loved and start out by love-bombing them with validation and telling them why they’re special in order to get them hooked and if they’re charismatic enough, it will work. Then, once they have them, they slowly begin to chip away at their already fragile self esteem through manipulation, gaslighting, condescension, and other subtle yet gradually escalating abuses until one day, the abuse reaches staggering proportions (in the case of NXIVM, it was BDSM and fire-branded initials) and the victim is so mind-fucked they don’t know what’s real and what isn’t.

Many cult leaders isolate their flock and erode their trust in outside information, positioning themselves as the only source of “Truth.” They’ll gaslight their members to the point that they can’t recognize up from down and staggering self-doubt is enough to keep them hanging around.

True story: I once had a guy online try to convince me that I was one of only 18 Pleiadian hybrid “messiahs” incarnated on earth at this time to save the planet and he had developed a system to identify and prove who was one (i.e. you’re special… only I can show you how special you are, here, let me show you…). All of the other alleged messiahs also happened to be attractive, young brunettes. He, of course, was the incarnation of the Pleiadian King (See, I’m special, too. Even more special), and we were all to be his wives (ah, there’s the catch…) and he was building a city–the new Zion–that would survive the catastrophic end of the world (fear-based belief system), which was coming soon, naturally (time-sensitive urgency). He was also creepy and old and CLEARLY INSANE.

 

Each piece of the story is carefully crafted to play to vulnerabilities and fears, ultimately luring the victim in through a series of pulls (compliments and validation) and pushes (fear, panic, and scare-tactics). The end goal was isolation (the new Zion), and he’d already positioned himself in power by claiming he was a “king.”

 

Fortunately, this guy was not nearly charismatic enough to build a cult, but if he were, it would have been a dangerous combination.

Why you’re vulnerable: This is a combination of the history of abuse vulnerability I mentioned with the Sexual (Predator) Healer and the open-minded naivety discussed with the Egoic Psychic, which means that this personality can hit you on multiple fronts. Some of them, like Ken Reniere, have even amassed an outward appearance of success and charisma, or latched onto a network of people with fame and fortune (such is the case of Scientology), much like the Dilettante Coach/Influencer. The Cult Leader is a triple threat and a master of manipulation, which is what makes them the most dangerous person you’ll meet on your spiritual path. Sometimes these people hit a trifecta of fame, influence, cult-like followings, marketability, and sexual trauma, such as in the case of the OneTaste, an overpriced new age sex cult that claimed to help people heal from sexual trauma.

Learn how to spot signs of spiritual authoritarianism and spiritual abuse.

The Spiritual Karen

Of all of these people you might meet on your spiritual journey, the Spiritual Karen is probably the least dangerous on an individual level, but the most dangerous because there’s power in numbers, and make no mistake: they are legion.

Often found lurking in suburban households, the organic-only aisle of your local Whole Foods, the front row of your hot yoga class, or posting inspirational quotes in your aunt Linda’s essential oils downline Facebook group, these Karens are onto spirituality like the next MLM fad.

Spiritual Karens are inconspicuous and consider themselves well-meaning. Most of them are in the Evangelism phase of their own spiritual journey and they’re happy to spread the love and light. The problem is, they haven’t quite done their spiritual homework, much less their shadow work, and are woefully lacking in self-awareness, so they have absolutely no clue that half of the time when they are dispensing spiritual “advice,” (which is usually just parroting back their limited understanding of a spiritual quote they saw posted by a Dilettante Coach/Influencer on Instagram) they’re actually being dismissive, derogatory, occasionally racist, and engaging in spiritual bypassing.

Spiritual Karens are the soldiers in The Dilettante Coach/Influencer’s army of social media followers. The Beyhive to the Dilettante’s Beyonce. They also suffer from the same Dunning-Kruger effect as the Dilettante, but in true MLM fashion, only have a local audience. If they weren’t so driven by unrepentant self-righteousness, you’d almost feel sorry for them. They really just don’t know any better, and due to that severe lack of self-awareness, may never learn.

How to recognize them: Spiritual Karens are big believers in toxic positivity and the law of attraction, and say and do things like:

  • You can’t think negative thoughts because you’ll manifest them.
  • Good vibes only.
  • Fake it until you make it.
  • When somebody violates your boundaries or otherwise harms you with their words and actions, you should just “let it go” (as though you could…).
  • Will shame you for being “judgmental” of others, not realizing they are being judgmental of others by shaming you.
  • Often engages in hypocritical behavior because they believe their excuse is valid when no one else’s is.
  • Lives to invalidate your emotions.
  • The way to solve society’s problems is to pretend they don’t exist.
  • The way to solve their own problems is to pretend they don’t exist.
  • The way to solve your problems is to pretend they don’t exist.
  • People of color are manifesting their own experiences with racism because they have a victim mentality, and likewise, women who experience sexual assault are also manifesting their experiences because of their own thoughts.
  • I can’t get the coronavirus because I don’t exist on the same vibrational frequency.
  • “I refuse to live in fear.”
  • High probability of being into Pastel QAnon.
  • May be found trashing a mask display at your local Target.

Why you’re vulnerable: Spiritual Karens can do damage by the sheer volume of their ignorance. But you’re not so much vulnerable to be victimized by a Spiritual Karen–unless you’re a marginalized group in society fighting for social justice, an immunocompromised or elderly member of society attempting to avoid COVID, a good samaritan attempting not to infect one of those people, a minimum-wage retail worker, the manager, or a dissenter making a comment on a Dilettante’s instagram post–as you are to become a Spiritual Karen.

Humility, integrity, self-awareness, and deep empathy are the kryptonite for a Spiritual Karen–and they are the very things that every person on this list lacks. If you, yourself, often practice these things, you don’t have to worry about becoming a Spiritual Karen, or any of the above.

In the same way that my psychic development teacher said that just because someone is psychic, it doesn’t meant they are spiritual–just because someone is “spiritual” or doing spiritual work with the public, it doesn’t mean they:

You can only teach others, lead others, and heal others from the same depth at which you’ve learned, led, and healed yourself.

Learn how to identify spiritual bypassing and spiritual gaslighting.

If you need help discerning who is and isn’t the real deal when it comes to spiritual teachers, coaches, and influencers, check out my post on how to know if a spiritual teacher is credible.

Xo,

Ash

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Finding Purpose in the New Paradigm

Finding Purpose in the New Paradigm

Finding Purpose in the New Paradigm

An update in regard to last week’s post and some of the reactions to it. I posted this in my Facebook group, but thought I should share it here as well. I have feelings and emotions that aren’t roses and sunshine, just like everybody else. Sometimes I just need to feel those feelings, deeply. I have had days and weeks that are far, far worse than what I wrote today over the last two years.

I vividly recall a day last summer, laying in my bed in so much emotional pain that the thought, “I’d feel so much better if I could just die,” actually went through my head.

I simply chose not to share those feelings with all of you. I journal them privately where no one sees them but me. And I’m still here. And I’m fine.

What I’m going through right now is a process. A very long, lengthy one. No amount of burying my head in the sand and pretending these feelings don’t exist is going to change my circumstances (and no amount of watching Abraham Hicks videos is going to speed up that process). I have to allow myself the time to reflect, and feel, and process. They’ll come and they’ll go. That’s the way it is.

Earlier in the year, I talked a bit about how, when you have a platform like this, people tend to have expectations of you and they forget that you’re a real person, too.

I’ve seen people have very unrealistic expectations of us “lightworkers.” I’ve had people project their own unrealistic expectations upon me, personally. I think, when people look at people like me and my friend and see us teaching these things, they tend to forget that we are people, too. They forget that we have our own path of growth, our own boundaries and our own weaknesses.

 

We, as spiritual teachers, face a kind of mounting pressure to be perfectly “spiritual” in every way – to lead perfect lives, to always be happy, and especially to sacrifice ourselves for others. – Healers Need Boundaries Too

This is a part of me that most of you have never been privy to, because I’ve never allowed you to be. I don’t need to be fixed. I just need people to hold space for me while I go through this and fix myself. That’s all.

If you’ve been following along since June, you’re already aware that the reason I’m here and the reason I’m going through all of this is purpose. I felt a deep, clear call to purpose that has pulled me to where I am right now. I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know what it looked like. I just knew that I had to be here, of all places, and now, of all times. I’m still waiting for that purpose to reveal itself to me, and obviously, by my post last week, you realize this isn’t an easy thing for me to do.

I know that I’m not the only one who is seeking purpose, either. I’ve drawn more and more people to me lately who are doing just that. The last two readings I’ve done have been questions around life purpose. I always find those readings interesting because the information that comes out is just as relevant to me as it is for my clients. In the case of yesterday’s reading, everything that came out was exactly what I needed to hear as well.

I’ve been struggling to figure out how to find my purpose, and how to sustain myself while I go about doing that. I keep trying to make something happen by doing what has always worked for me in the past… but this isn’t the past. This is New Paradigm, and I’m not the person I was back then, and neither are you.

The thing about purpose is, you have to meet it half way. And you don’t meet it half way, necessarily, by just going out and trying to create it. Life is about evolving and being. You have to BE the person you need to be when you’re meant to embody that purpose.

To quote from the reading I did yesterday:

“Just as you’re trying to find purpose – your purpose is trying to find you. But there’s a divine timing to all things. In order for us to embody purpose, we have to be ready. That means we have to keep doing the work on ourselves to clear out anything that’s no longer serving us. We’re just vessels, after all, and in order to be a pure vessel, we have to put all of our own fears and ego aside and allow the universe to use us as was intended.”

I recognize that I’m still involved in that clearing out process. I’m on the tail end of it, I hope.

“A lot of finding our life purpose involves finding ourselves and honoring who we truly are and were always meant to be. That means letting the old version of ourselves fall away. So don’t worry about finding your purpose. Find yourself, and your purpose will find you.”

Even as I wrote those words, I knew they were also for me. Stop falling back on what you know, you’re not that person anymore. I’d been pulling cards for myself all week that were essentially saying the same thing: leave the old you behind. Leave your old career behind. Let it all go. This is something new. Something you haven’t seen before. Something unexpected. You don’t know what this looks like. Sit back, relax, and let it unfold: trust the universe.

Sitting back and doing nothing when you know you’re living on limited resources is really fucking hard. So I’ve been asking myself this whole week, “What do I do in the meantime?” I feel like I need to be working toward something. Doing something. And then, yesterday, came my answer. Work on yourself.

All the job applications and resumes are a distraction from working on myself. I’m spending hours a day putting energy into something that isn’t even a permanent solution to what I’m trying to achieve. I feel that whatever is coming for me isn’t going to be achieved this way. It’s going to be an opportunity that I never expected that presents itself in a fortuitous way. I’m not going to have to look for it. I’m not going to have to fight for it. By comparison to a typical job hunt, it’s going to be handed to me on a silver platter. I just have to be ready for that.

That takes a lot of trust, particularly in my situation, but then again, it takes a lot of trust to listen to a voice in your head when it tells you that you’re going to be packing up your shit and moving 1,000 miles away to a city where you know no one. So there it is. This will either happen as I’ve described, or I’ll end up penniless living in my mom’s guest room come next February. Here’s to hoping for the former.

Xo,

Ash

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Healers Need Boundaries Too: The Unrealistic Expectations of Healers and Spiritual Figures

Healers Need Boundaries Too: The Unrealistic Expectations of Healers and Spiritual Figures

Healers Need Boundaries Too: The Unrealistic Expectations of Healers and Spiritual Figures

I was perusing Facebook one day a few weeks ago and noted that a friend of mine who teaches personal development through astrology had posted to her page a note about her personal boundaries and how, if you weren’t ready to heal, then do not come to her until you are.

It seemed to ruffle more than a few feathers and I found the responses to be both telling and intriguing. I’ve seen people have very unrealistic expectations of us “lightworkers.” I’ve had people project their own unrealistic expectations upon me, personally. I think, when people look at people like me and my friend and see us teaching these things, they tend to forget that we are people, too. They forget that we have our own path of growth, our own boundaries and our own weaknesses.

We, as spiritual teachers, face a kind of mounting pressure to be perfectly “spiritual” in every way–to lead perfect lives, to always be happy, and especially to sacrifice ourselves for others. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t hold healers to a particular standard: there’s a certain amount of healing they must do on themselves before taking on the responsibility of healing others, and learning appropriate boundaries is one fo those lessons.

Read How to Know if a Spiritual Teacher is Credible.

I’m here to tell you that self-sacrifice is the most unspiritual thing you can do, as a healer. The biggest lesson that all of us are here to learn is self-love, and sacrificing ourselves, our time, and our energy for the sake of another person who doesn’t actually want to do the work to be healed is not an act of self love. It is an act of self-sabotage.

It’s incredibly important for healers and teachers to set boundaries when it comes to this, or else people will greatly take advantage of you and you will slowly lose yourself, your energy, and your will to help others. I’ve seen it first hand.

If you, as a healer or spiritual teacher find yourself making these kinds of sacrifices, you need to ask yourself why you feel the need to put your own well-being below that of a stranger. You are not less than anyone else. You must respect and love yourself as much as you do everyone else. Take care of yourselves and don’t let anyone try to shame you for it.

Xo,

Ash

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Why I Never Was A Lightworker

Why I Never Was A Lightworker

Why I Never Was A Lightworker

Someone made a reference to me a couple of weeks ago as a lightworker.

For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s one of those that’s thrown around rather frequently in new age circles.

“A light worker is someone who wants to see healing in the world on a large scale, considers themselves able to detect subtle healing energy, and has had some kind of a mystical awakening in their lives, be it current or a past life.”

A lot of people who read this probably won’t like what I’m about to say, but to me, the entire concept is bunk. It’s just a label. And many times I see people using it as a way to inflate their ego and set themselves apart from others, or they took a quiz on the internet that told them they were even though the “signs” are so vague they could literally apply to billions of people.

Actually, it probably should apply to billions of people. Seven billion, to be precise.

Because everyone is a lightworker. Every. Single. Person.

Don’t we all want to see healing in the world on a large scale? I’ve never met a single person who said, “You know? I think the world is just fine the way it is.” The real question is, what does that healing look like to you and how do we achieve it? Everyone has different ideas and not all of them are in agreement. Some of them are downright diametrically opposed.

A lightworker considers themselves able to detect subtle healing energy? I can detect subtle energy, healing or not. So can you. It’s how you’re built. In fact, you do it so often and so frequently that you probably barely even notice that you do it.

A lightworker has had some kind of a mystical awakening in their lives, be it current or a past life. Well, since there’s no such thing as time and all of our lives exist simultaneously and the entire purpose of our existence is to “awaken” then we’ve, quite literally, all had that mystical awakening in either a past, current or future life.

Nobody is special, or else, we all are, because we’re one. We all incarnated here with the expressed purpose of addressing our own karma. When we (all) heal ourselves, we heal the world. Some people may have even incarnated here to serve as a negative catalyst for that healing by embodying and mirroring all that is wrong with the world. To quote Conversations with God, “Hitler went to Heaven.”

Before anyone jumps on a “How dare you insinuate Hitler was a good person” bandwagon, in spirituality we do not believe in a God who rewards and punishes people based on their deeds, nor an afterlife that is based on reward or punishment for those deeds. We view the afterlife as a law of nature of which every being is equally subject.

No one is disputing that Hitler did horrible things, we dispute the contradictory notion that an alleged perfect, unconditionally loving God creates evil people and then punishes those creations for being what he created them to be. A truly unconditionally loving God creates beings, gives them free will (or maybe not, that’s debatable), and loves them regardless of how they wield it. The responsibility for the consequences of that free will is resolved through the process of karma.

If I had to call myself anything, I’d say I work more with the shadows than the light. I encourage people to look at the darkest, ugliest parts of themselves and realize that it’s all an illusion. A belief. An idea in your head. Your greatest fear. It’s all the things that are holding you back. I encourage people to run toward it, not away from it. Dive into it, explore it, understand it, and then integrate it.

So no, I do not identify as a lightworker. I never have. You know, unless it’s just what you want to call yourself…but I’m not really into labels.

We’re all just here, doing what we came here to do in our own unique way.

Xo,

Ash

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