The Unsolicited Guru – Part 1
How to stay empowered when navigating the ‘spiritual industry’
I believe you can tell when socio-economic conditions are tough by the upswings in sketchy activity on the internet. The amount of hacking, ID impersonation, phishing and sketchy-ass emails seems to spike. And with that also comes an upswing in direct contact from self-appointed gurus, seers and mages, touting a direct line to my ancestors, or picking up on some curse, or having a dream about me…and offering relief, a spell or a turn of fate for a fee.
Lately, I have been receiving a few a week and I’m going to say it straight…these people really steam up my cauldron! They usually come with terrible greetings…like ‘Grand rising love my beloved”; who really speaks like that? Or, ‘Greetings from Atlantis Dear One…” and every shade of BS in between. But what really gets me annoyed about these creepy people is that it is also during socio-economic dips or periods of uncertainty, that many people genuinely start searching for meaning and a spiritual path. There’s more need and more vulnerability.
It happens outside of the internet too. I will also get trends in what I call ‘clean up jobs’. These are clients that come in because they have been negatively affected by a session with a self-appointed healer, mystic, ‘shaman’ or some other important sounding label, which they have found appropriate because they burn some sage and maybe, have danced naked at Burning Man once.
Sometimes, the damage is serious. Low energy, depression, illness, psychological confusion and moreover, a choice to jettison all spiritual enquiry…just because of one run-in with an idiot. I also, on occasion, see it with ex-students who have had a wonderful experience in one of my courses and believe that qualifies them to hold circles and mentor others in the finer arts of spirituality. Feel good is not wisdom! And on the few occasions it has happened (that I know of at least) it has been to satiate a deep need to feel special…which is not at all the best energetic disposition for guiding others.
It’s difficult to measure the ‘spiritual industry’ as it is difficult to define and usually gets lumped in with the ‘wellness industry’ metrics. But going by that alone, we’re talking of a global market that has grown in the last few years to beyond $4trillion USD and is showing no sign of slowing down. This is exciting in some ways, as more and more people are choosing to divert greater amounts of their disposable income into self-improvement and wellbeing…however it also attracts the ‘snake oil sellers’. Whilst the fitness and psych worlds are well regulated, insured and licensed, the spiritual end of the scale in energy healing, spiritual mentoring and the psychic arts, is not.
So how can we navigate our way through the options in the spiritual industry, without becoming jaded by the self-appointed, unsolicited gurus out there? Here are my top tips that work for me:
- Nothing is new under the sun. Nothing. If you are being promised an exclusive patented method to enlightenment that is accessible through only one source and can only be drip-fed to you for higher and higher fees, look closely, question everything, and follow your heart.
- Do the ‘I/me’ count. When you hear someone speak about spirit, notice how many times they refer to themselves, that subtle self-stroking of ego. If they present themselves as being the source of their power and abilities, tread carefully.
- Trust only a spiritual guide who has earned that title through personal mastery, preferably in a known system. Check out their followers and students. You’ll get an immediate gauge. Is the guide empowered and free, or are they being manipulated? I once went to a talk with a ‘master’ that did an online metaphysical course that allowed him to choose his title. He chose ‘master.’ His students looked as if they were in a group trance when they gathered. He didn’t seem too shiny to me, and he was decidedly sleazy. I obeyed my heart and walked.
- Be very alert to predictions of accidents, death, injury, bad luck, or illness if you don’t engage the provider. Believe me; it happens. I once met a shamanic teacher who emailed me urgently saying she had a warning dream that I was going to be hit by a car and needed her protection—for a fee, of course. I followed my heart and walked. I am alive and well.
- Be very wary of anyone who attributes all their sketchy words and behaviours to their ‘guides.’ This is a real red light. I once met a woman who sent me an unsolicited email for some past-life regression treatment that only she could offer for a huge ‘energy exchange’ (a term I can’t stand). When I sent it back saying no thanks and that I felt neither the need nor compulsion for it, she replied saying that her guides were playing with us and they had sent the email. BS!
- Be aware of unsolicited divinations and readings. You are in control and should always decide what support you need. I received an urgent message once from a woman in Australia who had seen my Facebook profile picture and was very concerned about my blocked upper chakras. Ironically, this was during a time when I was studying the most sublime heart-expanding practices, and I felt the best I had ever felt. I politely replied, thanked her for her concern, pointed out that the profile picture was actually two years old, and told her, ‘No thank you.’ She was very persistent, and if I were a more vulnerable person, I might have listened to her. I explained that I was not in need of, or want of, her help. She then changed the direction and thought she may have been picking up on someone close to me, maybe a family member. Again, I politely said ‘No thanks’ and wished her well. She then came back with ‘Well, I can’t help what I see or for whom I see it…all I know is that you need help’, to which I replied, ‘Well, if you don’t know what you’re seeing or whom you’re seeing it for, then you haven’t quite mastered your art, have you? Leave me alone!’
- Exorbitant ‘energy exchanges’ can show that your provider is conflicted materially. In my experience, those who are truly connected to spirit are not focused on material gain. They’re looked after materially when they are in true service, and most give a lot of what they earn to the needy. This is not to say that spiritual teachers should give their services for free either. This life, if chosen, is an investment of time, intention, studies, and practice. It should be charged for, but realistically.
- Just because someone exhibits some psychic ability or has dedicated their life to spiritual service does not mean they are a good person or aligned with spirit. We have seen this in all too stark detail with the systematic child abuse in the Church (amongst other institutions). I have seen this with spiritual practitioners—especially those offering tantric services. If it feels hinky, despite how amazing it might seem or what promises are made, just walk. Walking away doesn’t mean you are spiritually blind or ‘unable to accept higher truth’—yes, that one has been used on me too! It means you are discerning; you are listening to your heart, and you hold the power of free will and choice.
In Part 2 of this blog series I will outline what to look for when seeking out a true spiritual guide or healer, and in the meantime, remember this….
You have everything you need within you, within your design. You are spirit manifesting through a human nervous system and form. If you feel you need some guidance or a new perspective as you move along, look around, keep searching, and don’t rush things. Ask spirit to send you the right teacher and content for this time. In my observation, the soul-calls that are made for spiritual truth and enablement are answered swiftly and delightfully, and they make your heart sing. When you make it a priority to build awareness of your spirited self, your intuition is undeniable.
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