In the spiritual world there has always been a part that operates under the guise of spirituality, but in reality cannot be called truly spiritual because it denies and undermines the autonomy, growth, and self-worth of people rather than building them up. This part might be called ‘false light’, or false spirituality.
False spirituality is any form of spirituality that promises growth, happiness and healing but rather dis-empowers people and robs them of worth and autonomy. It is of all ages and times, and can be found in all belief systems and religions: from churches to temples, from spiritual centers, websites and practices.
It is a great challenge of these times for people who long for consciousness growth to know the distinction between true, authentic spirituality that empowers and liberates, and false spirituality that ultimately wants to keep people dependent and powerless.
When you get lost in the world of false light, it can be a very painful experience and take a lot of time, energy and money, but ultimately it can lead to invaluable personal growth, provided you wake up and take charge of yourself and your own life again. For every experience can be taken as a lesson and serve the growth of consciousness, and false spirituality is a painful, confusing and intense, but ultimately speedy road to personal growth!
What makes it difficult to recognize false spirituality is that it occurs throughout the spiritual world. Within one spiritual center, for instance true, authentic teachers can work alongside false teachers that work from ego and hidden hunger for power over others.
Furthermore, some teachers or practitioners can be partly authentic, but fall back on aspects of false, ego based spirituality and manipulation when confronted with situations or people that are still challenging to the unhealed facets of their own being.
It is no simple black-and-white situation, which makes it even more important to be aware and make conscious decisions.
So how can you recognize false spirituality?
There are a number of factors many people and institutions that work under false spirituality have in common. Here are a few of them.
Illusion of light and suppression of the shadow
With false light, there is often little or no room for the acknowledgment or expression of everything that is not nice or sweet. The image of what love and spirituality should entail and look like becomes an illusion that represses real, human feelings and experiences. ‘Difficult’ emotions such as anger and pain are ignored, glossed over or even judged as bad, exploring the shadow (everything that is repressed and subconscious) is discouraged, and all that is left is the appearance of light and love that goes no further than skin deep.
In communication, spiritual jargon and sweet and loving words are used to excess, but there is no real depth of feeling behind the words.
Real love and light on the other hand, do not shrink away from the shadow in oneself but embrace it, and encourage to lovingly explore and heal everything that is within you, without judgment.
Projecting the shadow and undervaluating the feminine
An exception to this are practitioners and teachers that place exaggerated emphasis on releasing difficult emotions and see shadow material everywhere, even where it is not. Then the more gentle, soft expression of the ‘feminine’ becomes undervaluated, discouraged or even suspect, thought to be false and an illusion themselves.
Dualism and judgment
So yes, one aspect of false spirituality is that it tends to go over the top and extremely favor one or the other. It is dualistic, it judges instead of seeking balance, embracing all that is and allowing things to be without judgment.
Within false spirituality there is often a tendency to subtly (or not so subtly) idolize certain people, teachers, ascended Masters, etc. People are encouraged to favor messages of entities and authorities other than themselves and follow their example instead of listing to the wisdom of their own hearts.
There is a famous Zen koan: ”If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.”
The Buddha himself would probably have advised against relinquishing personal authority and letting oneself be led by the words of any teacher, even himself. The only wisdom that is truly lasting and valuable, is the wisdom that resonates with or springs from your own heart.
The dualism of false spirituality can be very apparent in their hierarchic way of thinking. People are compared with one another and judged according to their ‘having an old soul’ or ‘having a high frequency,’ being spiritually gifted or enlightened with the ones highest ranking of course being respected uppermost in the hierarchy and those scoring lower being subtly undervalued.
True spirituality acknowledges that we are all, all people, all life forms, unique and worthy and practices what it preaches by treating everyone with the same amount of respect.
Theories and ideas that do not empower
Within false spirituality you can often find theories and ideas that will be limiting and fear-provoking rather than empowering. They can make you hasty, fearful and overeager.
For instance, you might be confronted with ideas that one must reach a certain deadline or goal by a certain date to be able to ascend to some dimension, because otherwise, you will be left out.
True spiritual theories work from the premise that you are an eternal being, that you are exactly when and where you are ‘supposed’ to be and everything is fine. Everyone grows and develops at their own rate, in their own way.
Fatalistic ideas about predestination, collectively or personally are also dis-empowering. As a person, you have free will and can always choose to direct your own life. From the standpoint of ego or personality it may seem as if things are predestined, but from the standpoint of the soul, we are totally free and make our own choices about what we want to experience and/or how we want to deal with it.
Channels, astrologers, mediums etc. who make predictions that make you fearful, or read astrological tendencies in such a way to make you feel powerless and a victim of forces outside of yourself, are not spiritually authentic but are themselves working from the rigid, controlling prison of false spirituality. They can be fixated on lower energies and frequencies that can even influence their predictions in a negative way.
Ideas about ascension, higher dimensions, extra-terrestrial life etc. that propagate fleeing earthly reality are also part and parcel of false spirituality. We are here to realize our light, right here on earth, in a physical body. Why else would we have chosen to be born here, on this beautiful planet? Ascension is not an escape, it is the opposite: the realization of spirit on earth, the mystical union of earth and heaven.
Some false light theories promise, like so many spiritual scams, golden opportunities and results without us having to lift a finger. But just as with ordinary scamming, when something seems too good to be true, it most often is. There is no quick fix, no shortcut to enlightenment. Nor does there need to be one. We are exactly where we need to be, living and experiencing life as it presents itself, being who we are, lovingly healing our own shadow parts and following the voice of our own heart and soul.
How can you free yourself from the pitfall of false light, or prevent yourself from falling in?
Realize in the first place that you are an autonomous, sovereign being and the creator of your own life and experiences. You are eternal. There is nothing for you to be afraid of. You are exactly as you should be and where you need to be. There are no deadlines. You do not have to purify yourself. You are on your right path, learning what you want to learn by living life as it is. You cannot get it wrong. You are worthy, just as everyone else. You have a right to your autonomy, your experiences, your boundaries.
Everything that negates that, falls under false spirituality.
Listen to your own gut-feelings
When something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. When your frequency and feeling of self-worth plummet after reading a book, attending a seminar, getting a reading then in all probability there are elements of false light, of fear, power and/ or ego in it.
Just because someone says they are channeling Archangel Michael doesn’t have to mean that the information they convey is pure, authentic or even from Archangel Michael himself.
Furthermore, you are an autonomous creator and your soul is on the same level of consciousness and divinity as the archangels and ascended masters. The most valuable insights you can receive, are those from your own soul.
Be honest with yourself
We are all human and all have vulnerabilities, wounds or subconscious needs that need healing (for instance, the need for the ideal mother-or father figure that must save us) that can make us susceptible to false light. Don’t judge yourself for them, but see them as they are and take responsibility to heal them.
So how can you identify authentic spirituality?
Teachers, practitioners, centers, theories that are authentically spiritual truly spring and operate from the heart: without judgment, with compassion, humor and patience for your pace and your process.
They don’t need to be idolized and don’t need to be right. They allow you total freedom to be and respect your autonomy, and above all, they want you to be the wonderful, beautiful, powerful being you already are!
© Wendy Gillissen, 2016
This article by Wendy Gillissen, M.A. is protected by copyright. No parts may be used or distributed without prior written consent by Wendy Gillissen.