About a month or so ago (who’s counting) a friend and I were joking about spiritual elitists, but it’s no joke.
Already ‘elitist’ people exist and to make matters worse, when they consider themselves spiritual, it becomes a whole lot more irritating.
An elitist is defined as having a ‘superior attitude’ and to some, pretty much up has their head up their backside.
It seems as more things are progressing in the Eco, spiritual field of society (such as veganism, pseudosciences, alternative healing methods), there is an increase in spiritual elitism.
With elitism and spirituality combined, we have a great amount of spiritual elitism floating around, and the individuals usually look a certain way without an intellectual heart and mind.
A perfect example would be of a man my friend spoke of that was running some sort of spiritual workshop that said “when you reach enlightenment like me,”, a big RED FLAG to my friend.
I highly doubt anyone that reaches enlightenment would ever acknowledge themselves as actually reaching that point because the state of mind has changed, the self and concept of ‘I’, and in addition to that, the ego would not advise an audience in such a manner.
Let give you another example, but please note this is nothing against vegans at all but the most prominent example in my mind to date.
My partner’s friend turned vegan (although a selective vegan as he eats pizza sometimes) after having a spiritual awakening possibly due to MDMA, LSD and whatever else. Whatever caused him to question and go against meat eating and animal cruelty left him changed. He is also big on sustainability and sustainable agriculture.
Sometimes when people have spiritual awakenings, their whole world gets shattered but not in a bad way. It is quite the opposite as your culture and belief systems are broken down and you end up going hippy dippy, usually loving this new and profound way to view the world.
During this period, you can take up new beliefs or activities (such as veganism, losing your faith in gods, healthier eating, changing jobs, etc) but generally you have a turnaround on a very personal level and your vibrations change. This is evident to the people around you but they may not understand.
It can be hard to remain friends or stay in the same lifestyle if others are closed off to the new ‘hippy’ you. It can even be hard to reintegrate into society because your morals, thoughts and view on everything has altered. This may ring particularly true for some but others tend to find their place.
As a result of the awakening, people can tend to go hippy dippy in an external way too. Fashion sense changes, the way they present themselves online changes, and unfortunately, a lot of the time, the ego perpetuates despite acting like they don’t have much of one.
So, my partner’s friend who became vegan also acts like he is morally superior because of knowing this ‘truth’ about meat and being one with nature and not wanting to kill animals and eat them. That is okay not to want to kill and eat animals, but when you act like your truth is the only truth or better than someone else’s, that is when the issue arises and you need to check yourself!
He also has depicted himself as a full blown hippy at festivals which is also fine, but, if you are going to say you are one with everybody or love them, to act superior is telling me something else.
People must go by experiences and feelings I think, rather than thoughts and presentation .
I say that because things are a front. What we wear is a front, what we write can be a front, the way our hair is can be a front.
It is not who we are – writing can be a reflection, as can clothing, but it is not us.
Kind of like Alan Watts’ ‘the menu is not the meal’, we are not how we appear. We are, but at the same time, when you consider appearance and thoughts, these things always come from somewhere else. Without getting nitpick-y, I’m talking learned and EGO. Ego gives us opinion and so does learning things.
The ego can be problematic – getting rid of it or acting like you are not phased is likely making yourself more egotistical. Trying to eliminate it is what will feed it. It is better to recognise it’s there and how it affects you, and move forward with things.
The ego is tricky in the sense that we all have one, and those that have a spiritual awakening could suddenly feel the need to take up the we are all one and in love with nature and the world attitude.
This is something that people uphold, myself include about being one with the world, however, there needs to be a degree of critical thinking here as to how far you want to go.
If you whole world has changed and you’ve been down the rabbit hole and are back out, how much do you really want to take from your experiences?
You may have felt oneness, ego death, unconditional love, or had something other than those that woke you up, but being in that state is not always possible in reality.
Therefore, people acting like they have a loss of ego is a joke to themselves, thinking they are now more spiritual. There is a big difference between being more down to earth and actually feeling less egotistical than trying to force that you are those.
How do we consider ourselves spiritual? Is it daily meditation, taking mind-altering substances, talking science, life, sacred geometry and philosophy? Hmm, it’s a hard thing to define because there doesn’t seem to be any right or wrong.
In saying all this, this does happen and I too am guilty of it. I understand how it can come about, but my ego would like to say things are not as they used to be. Nor am I as hippy dippy as I was during my awakening phase (which has its downsides, because I was much more genuinely interested in philosophy).
In summary, spiritual elitism does exist. It’s in funky places, festivals, crystal shops, religious and spiritual workshops, etc.
It is simply just down to the ego funnily enough. The very thing that sometimes get shattered can come back strong in a completely different presentation.
Leave it be. The real spiritual growth is internal. Decorating the self because it’s pretty in piercings or henna and harem pants is nice too, but looking the part is not being it. And there is nothing wrong either way. New beliefs can be interesting, a great way to connect with like-minded folk and try something new. Point is, recognise the ego, but don’t try and try and try. It will pass, unless you stagnate.