Last week I was introduced to an article entitled “Spiritual Snobbery: The Dark Side of Lightworkers.”
It was written by a woman named Via Syma Kharal. She was discussing an incident where she felt unjustly snubbed by a Facebook group and was ultimately removed over a misunderstanding over posting guidelines.
Kharal felt because this group was touted as being loving, compassionate, and spiritual she would have at least received a warning or an explanation of posting guidelines before being axed.
This was not so. Shocked, hurt, and surprised, the experience led her to the realization of other areas in her life where she felt snubbed by members in the Spiritual Community.
I was so touched by her words because I’ve certainly been on the receiving end of Spiritual Snobbery, more than once, and deeply resonated with her message.
In fact, I came up with my own 2 terms to describe the feelings I’ve had when met with people in the Spiritual Community who have been less than supportive and sometimes downright offensive.
The first term is “The Spiritual Backhand.” The Spiritual Back-Hand occurs when you’re in a vulnerable state with your Spiritually-Minded peers and feel moved to share your feelings or experiences. Before you can finish your sentence you’re promptly met with criticism for feeling that way and then told how you should be feeling instead. Because feeling upset, sad, mad, angry, and anything else unpleasant is just wrong.
The second term is “The Spiritual Smart-Ass”. The Spiritual Smart-Ass usually swings by when you’re speaking of a dilemma, problem, or a challenging situation you’re struggling with. The Spiritual Smart-Ass usually pipes in with the slick message of how you should see the situation as a gift, as a lesson, and you should be grateful, damn it, because God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle.
So, since I’ve been struggling in my path to Spiritual Enlightenment I’ve often asked myself and my husband does that mean I can’t handle what God has given me? Is everything a lesson? Am I wrong to feel hurt and sad? Is there something wrong with me? Am I not spiritual enough?
And who determines this? Right?
I’ve been seriously confused by some of the remarks and responses made by people in the spiritual community because I doubt that if the Spiritual Smart-Ass was experiencing the same pain that the person speaking was they would not feel so immediately overjoyed by their “blessing.”
Just as much as the person delivering the Spiritual Back-Hand would appreciate being corrected and reprimanded while expressing their pain….it hurts and it’s embarrassing.
This is what I see as an ongoing and growing problem.
Where is the love, the compassion, the holding space, the understanding, the sister-hood, the brother-hood that the spiritual community implies it has?
Why all the Spiritual Snarkiness?
Then I realized that all of us are in a continual state of Spiritual Development. Each of us is in a different place in the journey and will respond to others based on our current level of Spiritual Awareness. It might not always be pretty but it’s an important part of the process; we’re all learning and we all need to be understanding and aware of this.
From my perspective, I broke it down into 4 different Spiritual Awareness areas. This can help give all of us the ability to see where someone is at on their journey and realize that their response is coming from their current place of knowing and experience.
When we can see a person for who they are and where they are then we can truly release expectation and judgment, even within ourselves.
Here is what I call the 4 Stages of Spiritual Awakening:
+ The Spiritually Vulnerable: This person is new to the journey and may have high expectations of the people and situations they’ll experience in the Spiritual Community. This person is also called a “Seeker”. Think Luke Skywalker.
These individuals can by fresh from some sort of trauma or they’ve had some type of awakening experience.
They want to live their life differently but may not know what that looks like at the moment. Spiritually Vulnerable people tend to be sensitive, insecure, afraid, and not very trusting. They may be fresh from the fight and feel wounded..
+ The Spiritual Know-It-All: This person is a little further into the journey and has acquired a little bit of knowledge, just enough to be dangerous. They make it their business to point out any and all problems with the Spiritually Vulnerable and everyone else around them.
The Spiritual Know-It-All may feel it’s their duty to point out and tell people what they should and should not do, think or feel. Their heart may be in the right place but their approach is raw. They need more time and experience to craft their message in a more meaningful and inspiring way.
+ The Spiritually Conscious: This person has been on the journey for a while and has evolved from the Seeker phase to the Know-It-All phase and has now become what I call “Spiritually Conscious”. This person has been stepping into the Leader and Teacher role.
They have mastered the gentle balance between speaking and listening. They have begun to develop authentic feelings of compassion, love, kindness, and self-awareness.
They’re beginning to hear the voice of Spirit clearly and regularly and are able to discern their Gifts, Passion, and Soul Purpose. They’re awake and moving deeper towards enlightenment.
+ The Spiritual Sage: This person has come full circle in their journey; they’re neither teacher nor student nor leader nor follower. They have evolved into the highest expression of self.
They’re continuously connected to their Spiritual Source and love and compassion flows from them effortlessly and easily from their being. Although wise, educated, experienced and a Master, the Sage knows true Spiritual work is never done and that it’s a life-long process.
The above analogies are based on my own assessment and experience.
I see areas within myself where I’ve held judgment and misunderstanding towards others.
I believe there are all different variations and phases of each of the 4 Spiritual Stages.
To know where you are and to be able to recognize that in others helps us to remember we are all in this together and each of us has an important part to play in each other’s growth. Spirituality is a team sport, we don’t become Enlightenment by ourselves.
I think we’ll see less Spiritual Snubbing, back-handing, and smart-ass-ness when we can see people as Spiritual-Beings having Human Moments and then recognize ourselves within others.
I think the first step is to be kind and respectful to each other because we have no idea where someone has been or what they’re going though.
If you’re unsure about someone and what they’re experiencing, ask questions, but don’t put your thoughts, opinions, and experiences on them. .Kindness can change the world in a word, an expression, or a hug.
Practice being that kind face at all points of the journey, you’ll be grateful you did and so will the people you meet along the way!
Brightest Blessings and Namaste
+Originally Posted August 2015