It would be unfairly biased for me to right away promote a blanket acceptance that all spiritual movements today are fundamentally harmless, without first pointing out there have been some really terrifying and dangerous cults in our recent history that indicate otherwise. That being stated, our mainstream, and additionally our still very young Western spiritual culture is currently going through an unnecessary cult-fear resurgence. Although you can hardly fault our middle-of-the-road audience for that. They’re reminded almost daily through our media’s incessant fascination for the macabre just how unaware past segments of our society have been when it came to following or dealing with the charismatic attractions of various demented spiritual leaders. Affirming the sentiment, you had better beware! Add to that the industries online success of the 2006 award-winning documentary, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, and more recently the huge success of a Hulu’s original series called, “The path,” it’s not hard to realize why many spiritual explorers are now unwilling to tell anyone about their own mystical journeys, lest they be branded as another cult dupe. Sorry folks, I’m not trying to scare you away. I only want to point out the dark side of our easily manipulated social underbelly when looking for genuine guidance to life’s remedies.
In fact, these extreme cult circumstances are exceedingly rare. You’re more apt to get struck by lightning three times before ever encountering anything like those malevolent conditions. Still, a little dread can go a long way in affecting public sentiment, or in marketing another unnerving movie. This all plays quite well for those heavy-handed religious institutions that are ever ready to scare or persuade you that their biblical way is the only way. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain who tortured and massacred millions in the name of a messiah who preached love is our sole reason for being. And try to overlook the new breed of cult-hunter leaders that try to convince you to trust no one: no spiritual leader and no spiritual organization, unless it’s first passed by them. Or, to be more honest, is promoted by them. Oh, yea it’s true, there’s always that next opportunist lurking beneath the rock yet unturned.
Do I sound cynical? — Not my intention folks. It’s more that I feel I’m watching a tragic history repeat itself. Where the good is once again crushed under the weight of an opportunistic culture of fear. What I genuinely want to tell you is, you have a right! With a little insight and caution, you can undoubtedly be intelligent enough in making choices that can give you so much more than you might yet have imagined. We all need spiritual teachers and guides in our lives. Spiritual teachers carry on a tradition that has been around since the beginning of time. Only the truly arrogant will assert otherwise. Or will tell you who you can or can’t trust. Though you’ll never realize your chance to find the one that fits your needs if you let the drafts of our darkened fearful past steal that from you. And not if you let that new treacherous breed of cult-bashing fearmongers come in to claim your mind.
From experience, I feel compelled to add, there are no perfect spiritual teachers out there, even the truest master will not be perfect. Regardless of their realizations, the enlightened still have a human element that comes into play. None of that should really bother you unless you are looking for someone to give all your power to so you don’t have to think or reason for yourself. If that’s the case, well, you’re headed for trouble regardless of what anyone might tell you.
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