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Hermetic Principles: 7 Keys to Self-Mastery

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The universe runs on natural laws. The hermetic principles refer to knowledge of these laws as passed down by the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus. When you can understand hermetic principles you can learn from them and use them to experience more happiness, meaning, and control over your life.

Consider this article as a brief introduction to hermetic philosophy and the 7 hermetic principles. I hope it will raise more interest in you to study the hermetic tradition and hermetic principles deeper.

The Doctrine Of The Universal Laws

Hermetic philosophy as the doctrine of the higher universal laws came to the occult traditions of various peoples from Ancient Egypt, in particular in Chaldean astronomy, ancient Greek philosophy, Persian magic, and alchemy.

The founder of this doctrine is considered one of the great mystics of Egypt, the Master of Masters, the father of Occult wisdom, the founder of Astrology, Alchemy and the Tarot system, revered as the God of wisdom Thoth, – Hermes Trismegistus. There is also a belief that he was one of the Atlanteans.

Hermes Trismegistus is credited with 42 treatises containing all the wisdom of the Universe. However, almost all of them were burned in the library of Alexandria, except for two: “Asclepius” and “The Emerald Tablet“.

Hermetic Texts

The Corpus Hermeticum Image

The entire hermetic philosophy is covered in three main hermetic texts:

  1. The Corpus Hermeticum is the most widely known Hermetic text. It contains dialogues between Hermes Trismegistus and a series of other men. The first chapter contains a dialogue between Poimandres (who is identified as God) and Hermes. In this Hermetic text, Poimandres tells Hermes the secrets of the universe.
  2. The Emerald Tablet refers to the three parts of the wisdom of the whole universe. It was found by Alexander the Great at Hebron, supposedly in the tomb of Hermes.
  3. The Perfect Sermon was written in the 2nd or 3rd century AD and is a Hermetic work similar in content to The Corpus Hermeticum.

Other important Hermetic texts include:

  • the Discourses of Isis to Horus;
  • the Definitions of Hermes to Asclepius;
  • the Kybalion: Hermetic Philosophy (the book that describes essential Hermetic principles);
  • a Suggestive Inquiry into Hermetic Philosophy and Alchemy.

Hermeticism

Hermetism Image

The hermetic tradition represents a non-Christian lineage of Gnosticism, which is the name for a variety of ancient religious ideas and systems dating back to the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D.

Hermeticism is a school of systems and ideas that focuses on the pursuit of Gnosis – the pursuit of empirical knowledge pertaining to spiritual mysteries.

Hermeticism is based on the belief in a Single transcendent Mind. Everything that exists in the Universe is a part of that Transcendent mind.

According to hermetic teaching, everything acts according to the law of analogy, because everything is one Higher Consciousness. But any movement of life is an interaction of dualities. Two dualities, which are two sides of the One, create an infinite number of proportions and probabilities in the creative process. And this makes a choice possible. Making a choice, the soul weaves its fate, chooses its path. Everyone’s path is unique. But all paths lead to a single divine source, which is the beginning of creation.

After centuries of neglect, Hermeticism was revived in the West in 1460, when a monk named Leonardo, who was one of the many agents sent by Cosimo de ‘ Medici to search for ancient manuscripts lost in European monasteries, brought to Pistoia copies of hermetic treatises in Greek, taken from Constantinople. Subsequently, these treatises, translated into Latin in 1461 by Marsilio Ficino, contributed to the outbreak of interest in Hermeticism in the Renaissance and formed The Corpus Hermeticum.

In 1614, the Swiss philologist Isaac de Casaubon, after analyzing the hermetic texts in terms of content, textual connection with other texts, and language, came to the conclusion that the hermetic works attributed to Hermes Trismegistus were not the works of an ancient Egyptian priest, but were actually written already during the Christian era.

In 1945, hermetic writings written in Coptic were found near Nag Hammadi. They were arranged in the form of a talk between Hermes and Asclepius from the Corpus Hermeticum and a text describing the mystical school of Hermeticism.

Not all Hermetists were concerned with religion; some of them considered only the philosophical system of Hermeticism.

In hermetic religion, the Supreme deity or Principle is called God, the One, or the All. Many Hermeticists also ranked their faith and the mystical ideas of other religions, such as Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and the mainline of paganism, because they held the view that all great religions have a common heart, are similar in their mystical truths, and contain a share of understanding of the seven hermetic principles.

The 7 Hermetic principles are:

  1. The Principle Of Mentalism
  2. The Principle Of Correspondence
  3. The Principle Of Vibration
  4. The Principle Of Polarity
  5. The Principle Of Rhythm
  6. The principle of Cause and Effect
  7. The Principle Of Gender

Who is Hermes Trismegistus?

Hermes Trismegistus Image

“Master of all arts and sciences, perfect in all crafts, Ruler of the Three Worlds, Scribe of the Gods, and Keeper of the Books of Life, Thoth Hermes Trismegistus — the Three Times Greatest, the “First Intelligencer” — was regarded by the ancient Egyptians as the embodiment of the Universal Mind. While in all probability there actually existed a great sage and educator by the name of Hermes, it is impossible to extricate the historical man from the mass of legendary accounts which attempt to identify him with the Cosmic Principle of Thought.”

Manly P. Hall — The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Hermes Trismegistus is the name of a syncretic deity that combines the features of the ancient Egyptian God of wisdom and writing, Thoth, and the ancient Greek God Hermes, who were both gods of writing and magic in their respective cultures. He is the purported author of the Emerald Tablet and the Corpus Hermeticum.

Hermes was credited with tens of thousands of highly esteemed writings, from both Egypt and Greece. While the Italian Renaissance believed Hermes to be an Egyptian Priest, it is possible the Corpus Hermetica was actually written collectively by unknown authors who were Platonistic and Stoic Greeks.

Thus it’s still a mystery if Hermes actually existed and if there was a link between the Greek God Hermes and the Egyptian God Thoth and the connection between Greek and Egyptian culture. However, what we can be certain of, is that the Hermetic principles held immense value for these ancient cultures, whoever their author (or authors) may be. 

The Kybalion

Kybalion Image

As I mentioned above, the Kybalion is a collection of the main hermetic principles which are transmitted from the Teacher to his student.

The “Three Initiates” who wrote the Kybalion wished to remain anonymous, which led to much speculation about the authorship of this work.

It is generally assumed that the author of the Kybalion is William Walker Atkinson, who wrote this text independently without assistance. Atkinson was known for using numerous pseudonyms for his published works. He was also the owner of the publishing house “Yogi Publication Society”, which published Kybalion.

According to one theory, Atkinson co-wrote with Paul Foster Case and Michael Whitty.

Other possible co-authors of the Kybalion include Harriet Case (the wife of Paul Foster Case), Ann Davies, Mabel Collins (theosophist writer), and Claude Bragdon (architect, theosophist). However, given how prolific Atkinson was as a writer, it is doubtful that he needed any co-authorship.

Mental Transmutation

The Kybalion describes mental transmutation, which is also known as spiritual alchemy, the art of spiritual chemistry, and the art of polarization.

Hermetic Alchemy is the mutual conversion of spiritual vibrations of one type into others — the transmutation of the spirit. This process affects absolutely all objects in the Universe and follows seven hermetic principles. So now let’s take a closer look at these seven hermetic principles!

Hermetic Principles

Principle #1: The Principle of Mentalism

“The Universe is Mental – held in the Mind of THE ALL.”

The Kybalion
hermetic principles mentalism image

This principle states that everything is mental in nature.

Everything that exists is intelligent, even that which we cannot understand. But it is not rational in itself but is a part and product of the vital activity of the One Mind, some eternal and unchanging entity, the Absolute, or simply the spirit. The universe is just a mental image of this Absolute, it is present in every part of the Universe. However, the Absolute doesn’t identify itself with the Universe. This is a manifestation of the immanence of the spirit.

Similarly, a person creating a mental image creates his own Universe, filling it completely with his presence, but not identifying himself with it. Man is both a Creator and the one who lives directly in his thoughts, just like the Absolute. This seems a paradox, but only to the limited human mind.

And just as we can suddenly stop thinking about something, so for the absolute, the creation and destruction of any Universe is a matter of a moment.

In other words, everything in the universe is created by thought or mind. There is nothing that exists in the material world where this is not the case.

The essence of anything that is physically created is mental because the essence of everything is mind. Our actions arise from our thoughts even if some of them are on a subconscious level.

Edgar Cayce says “thoughts are things.” When we have the right thoughts, the right actions will follow.

“He who grasps the truth of the Mental Nature of the Universe is well advanced on The Path to Mastery.”

– The Kybalion

If all that exists is thought, then it is possible and more productive to interact with this “all” with thought. Which, if you think about it, opens up endless possibilities.

The entire universe was created by the thought of God. And the same is true for us, we create our reality both metaphysically and physically by the power of our own thoughts. Yes, it is our thoughts that create our reality!

Principle #2: The Principle of Correspondence

“As above, so below; as below, so above.”

The Kybalion
Hermetic Principles Correspondence Image

This principle is a universal law used in Hermeticism to understand all the unknown and inaccessible, to know the hidden laws of the Universe.

According to this principle, the macrocosm is a reflection of the microcosm and vice versa. 

To solve complex paradoxes, we look at what is above us (a macro level) and below us (a micro-level). What works for the planets also works for the atoms. And what works for the solar system and atomic system also works for the human system.

According to the Hermetic Philosophy, the Universe is divided into the Three Great Planes:

  1. The Great Physical Plane;
  2. The Great Mental Plane;
  3. The Great Spiritual Plane.

The classification of the planes of the Universe is conditional and based on the different frequency of its vibrations. It is also important to understand that all planes mutually penetrate each other and do not have absolute isolation. All these planes work in correspondence with one another.

Grasping this principle is what allows us to deduce the hidden solutions to problems by looking at what exists a layer above, and below the problem, to infer the pattern and shadow nature of what is in-between.

By observing the Principle of Correspondence, we can come to know the whole of the Universe by exploring the higher and lower nature of things. And likewise, discover more of ourselves, by experiencing and studying the world we are integrally a part of.

Principle #3: The Principle of Vibration

“Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”

The Kybalion
hermetic principle of vibration image

This hermetic principle embodies the truth that Motion is manifest in everything in the Universe – that nothing is at rest – that everything moves, vibrates, and circles. All of life is vibrations at different frequencies.

Some vibrate slower and others vibrate at a high frequency. Higher frequency vibrations are in the realm of the unseen while lower frequency vibrations reside in the physical world where our sights can translate the “visible light.”

We either vibrate at a state of harmony or a state of chaos. But the good news is this is within our control!

Our thoughts have their own rate of vibration and we can control them like tuning an instrument. As our understanding of vibration, frequency, harmony, and resonance increase, so too shall our power over ourselves and our reality!

Every atom is a micro-universe within every molecule of our physical bodies. Our thoughts manifest our feelings, beliefs, attitudes, emotions, health, energy, and ultimately what we attract in our lives. Energy follows thought!

Therefore our ultimate goal should be a creation of such a vibration that is determined by our Higher Selves, rather than by manipulations of our egos. 

Principle #4: The Principle Of Polarity

“Everything is dual; Everything has poles; Everything has its pair of opposites; Like and unlike are the same; Opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; Extremes meet; All truths, are but half-truths; All paradoxes may be reconciled.”

The Kybalion
Principle Of Polarity Image

Everything that exists has two opposite aspects, and what seems to be the exact opposite is actually the extremes of the same thing — the line of polarity. For example, heat-cold, light-dark, heavy-light, gift-curse, love-hate, good-evil, laughter-tears, etc. Between these poles, there is a great variety of gradations of the same nature, which explains the incomprehensible diversity of all states of existence.

For Hermeticists, the norm is free movement along any line of polarity, that is, the transition from one qualitative state to another which is considered mental transmutation.

One state of mind can be turned into another (as metals and elements can be turned into each other); one degree of mind can be turned into another; one condition of its manifestation can be turned into another; one pole can be turned into another; one mental vibration can be turned into another.

This principle is very important because it suggests we can change the polarity of a degree of emotion, by recognizing it and choosing the degree which best suits our needs.

Usually, these transitions from positive to negative emotions, happen unconsciously in an ordinary person’s mind. However, by applying the principle of polarity, we can consciously choose to experience these transitions by using our willpower for the betterment of our own lives and the lives of others.

For doing this, we have to realize that the difference is not a hurdle to be surmounted, but two expressions of the same thing, differing only in degree, that can be consciously chosen. This practice is the essence of the art of Mental Alchemy.

The alchemists of the middle ages were preoccupied with transforming base metals into gold. However, the real meaning of this seems to come from the knowledge of changing base thoughts and emotions into “spiritual gold” or higher energies. We just need to polarize our consciousness and life vibration differently since they are all varying degrees of the same thing.

For a deeper understanding of this principle, read our article “SOLANCHA: The Law of Harmony and BaLANce“.

Principle #5: The Principle of Rhythm

“Everything flows, out and in; Everything has its tides; All things rise and fall; The pendulum swing manifests in everything; The measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; Rhythm compensates.”

The Kybalion
Hermetic Principle of Rhythm Image

What flows in must flow out. What swings forward will swing back again. And what goes up must come down.

Science expresses this principle by the formula F = – F.

There are many examples of the principle of rhythm: the change of seasons, day and night, moods, life and death, incarnations, epochs, the rise and fall of civilizations, etc. In addition, Karma itself follows this hermetic principle.

Hermeticism believes that you can not escape from the action of the Pendulum or interrupt its movement, but its impact can be compensated. The person concentrates himself at a certain desirable resting point and then compensates for the movement of the Pendulum in both directions.

Some people do this unconsciously when, for example, they are trying to overcome stress or change their mood. But the possession of this principle consciously allows you to balance yourself and others, as well as various events in your own and other people’s lives. It is believed that it is even possible to balance the whole nation on a global scale.

The balance is the key! You see if you enjoy the fruits of the highest highs, you won’t be able to avoid the destruction of the lowest lows. You can try to neutralize it to a degree. And that degree depends on your understanding and application of the Hermetic Principles. Then you will be able to enjoy “the rise” and neutralize “the falling”.

“Nothing stands still – everything is being born, growing, dying – the very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline – the law of rhythm is in constant operations.”

The Kybalion

The hermeticists apply the law of neutralization to their consciousness. They learn how to use this principle instead of being used by it. They do this by the use of will and detachment to create a state of consciousness that is not swung forward or backward like a pendulum. 

Most people live on a mental and emotional roller coaster. This creates disbalance which makes the Pendulum swing. As a result, people see life as an alternation of good and bad events.

The hermeticist’s goal is to attain a state of consciousness of inner peace, divine indifference, even-mindedness, and bliss.

The idea is to stay even-minded, whether you experience joy or sorrow, whether you receive compliments or criticism, whether you feel pleasure or pain, whether you are sick or healthy, whether you win or lose, etc.

Divine detachment is a point of neutrality that is not caught up in the pendulum swing between the polarities. Instead of seeing a situation as good or bad allow your conscious to have a detached and higher view from a consciousness perspective. This is how duality becomes transcended.

All the suffering that humanity experiences come from their attachments or misplaced points of view.

Principle #6: The Principle of Cause and Effect (Causation)

“Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its cause; Everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the law.”

The Kybalion
The Principle of Cause and Effect Image

Simply put, nothing happens for no reason, and that there is no such thing as ‘chance.’ Nothing happens without explanation.

All known science, in particular almost all classical physics, is built and developed on the laws of cause and effect. This regularity has also been widely studied in philosophy, which completely excludes any probability of chance.

However, the Hermetists believe that it is possible to master this principle if you learn to control the causes, and therefore their effects. This becomes possible if you subordinate the causality of higher planes in order to influence the effects on your own plane.

If you want to experience the empowering impact of this principle, try to make the conscious choice to rise above the plane of thought you currently occupy to become your own Cause, and not just an Effect of others and the situations you find yourself in. In other words, instead of reacting to circumstances, make a conscious choice of what thoughts you fill your mind in. Rise to a higher plane of consciousness and take your rightful place as a master instead of a victim, and focus on causes instead of effects.

It seems like this might be an essential step for everyone who wants to be happy – to become a master and drop a victim mask. The difference between a master and a victim is that a master takes responsibility for all good and bad events in his life whereas a victim denies it.

The average person in this world is an effect, not a cause. They are victims of their own thoughts, emotions, feelings, moods, opinions, biorhythms, other people, past lives, subconscious programming, the weather, illusion, astrological influences, disincarnate spirits, fantasies, the environment, etc. In fact, the average person can always find something or someone to blame for. This victim mentality leads to constant suffering and the lifestyle of a prisoner of destiny, fate, circumstances, etc.

On the contrary, the Master rises above all the “circumstances” and has a great deal of mastery over these things.

The basic cause of our life is the thoughts and images we hold in our conscious and subconscious mind. By learning to be utterly watchful and only allowing the thoughts that serve us, we are able to create the desired reality (both inwardly and outwardly).

Yes, in fact, our thoughts cause our reality. Our thinking must be submissive to our spirit, instead of our ego.

If you are not a master, you are a victim. This is the law of polarity.

We need to learn how to gain mastery over our mind, which will lead to mastery over our emotions and desires.

Principle #7: The Principle of Gender

“Gender is in everything; Everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes.”

The Kybalion
hermetic principle of gender image

This hermetic principle embodies the fact that both the masculine (active) and feminine (passive) exist in all things. Not just in sex, but in the creative nature of all things, on all planes. The masculine and feminine exist not only in the physical plane but also in the mental and the spiritual. 

The masculine is the penetrative, progressive, assertive, and explorative energy that drives progress. The feminine is the receptive, treasured, sacred, protective energy, that maintains tradition and nourishing that which is most essential to life.

The types of correspondence between the two beginnings traditionally include man and woman, logic and intuition, Sun and Moon, microcosm and macrocosm.

Too much masculine energy brings imbalance and leads to a growth of power to the extreme of reckless abandon. As a result, we lose perspective of what is most important and disconnect with our intuitive side. 

Too much feminine energy also creates disharmony and leads to a life deeply grounded in the present. As a result, our lives are missing the perspective and become determined by the cycles and external circumstances out of our favor.

On the physical plane, each of us has a male or female physical body. However psychologically each of us is androgynous with male and female qualities. Each of us has a left brain and right brain.

In science, this principle has been confirmed in the electronic theory of matter – just remember the structure of the atom of matter. In fact, the same applies to all planes.

This hermetic principle is aimed not only at structuring everything that exists, but also at the process of creativity and recreation. For example, regarding the structure of human consciousness, this principle is manifested in the duality of levels of mind – consciousness (active) and subconsciousness (passive).

The path of balancing the masculine and feminine aspects within self and also balancing the heavenly and earthly aspects within the self is the path that Buddha called “the Middle way”. True progress is possible through the balancing of the two energies of Gender in oneself, relationships, life events, and the environment.

To choose the “Middle way” between the present-oriented feminine and future-driven masculine and seek balance in all things, is the key to using all the 7 hermetic principles to full effect. This is how lasting self-mastery is achieved.

The Bottom Line

7 Hermetic Principles Image

Hermeticism is a synthesis of religion, philosophy, and science. Perhaps one day it will serve as a base for a new, even more grandiose synthesis – harmonious and integral teaching, built on the entire set of experimental data obtained by mankind. This reconciliation of faith with knowledge, religion with philosophy and science, an ancient humanistic worldview with Christian mysticism, or, symbolically speaking, the cross with the Rose, was the original dream of the Rosicrucian Order that emerged in the middle ages, being the spiritual heir of ancient hermetic and Eastern wisdom, on the one hand, and Gnostic Christianity of the first centuries, on the other.

No matter what your religious or spiritual view is, these 7 hermetic principles suit any spiritual path and help to expand consciousness to see a greater Universal truth that is a basis of many spiritual teaching and religions. Study them, meditate on them, and apply them to your life. Very soon you will start seeing the world you live in from another angle and discover the creative divine potential within yourself!

Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Spirituality

8 Warning Signs You’re Falling Into Spiritual Materialism

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Spiritual materialism image

Walking the spiritual path is a tricky adventure. We are often deceiving ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques. This kind of self-deception is called “spiritual materialism” which is a “toxic” form of spirituality.

In this article, I want to share with you what spiritual materialism is and 8 warning signs you could be practicing it.

What Is Spiritual Materialism?

Spiritual materialism is a term coined by Chögyam Trungpa in his book Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. 

This term is used to describe mistakes spiritual seekers commit which turn the pursuit of spirituality into an ego-building and confusion creating endeavor, based on the idea that ego development is counter to spiritual progress.

Spiritual materialism means making use of spirituality to gratify the desires of the ego.

No matter what the practice or teaching, ego loves to wait in ambush to appropriate spirituality for its own survival and gain.

– Chögyam Trungpa

According to Chögyam Trungpa, spiritual materialism can fall into three categories:

#1: Physical materialism

This form of materialism is based on the belief that possessions can bring release from suffering. However, in fact, they may bring temporary happiness but then more suffering will follow. Or on another level, physical materialism can manifest itself as a belief, “I am rich because I have this or that” or “I am a teacher because I have a diploma.”

#2: Psychological materialism

This category is based on the belief that a particular philosophy, spiritual tradition, belief system, or point of view will bring release from suffering. Therefore, seeking refuge by strongly identifying with a particular religion, tradition, philosophy, political party, or viewpoint, for example, would be a manifestation of psychological materialism. The goal of psychological materialism is to use external concepts, pretexts, and ideas to prove that the ego-driven self exists, which manifests in a particular competitive attitude.

#3: Spiritual materialism

It is based on the belief that a certain temporary state of mind is a refuge from suffering. For example, when you’re using meditation practices to create a peaceful state of mind or using drugs or alcohol to remain in a numbed out or a euphoric state, you are merely heightening the suffering when these states cease. Therefore, attempting to maintain a particular emotional state of mind as an escape from suffering, or constantly pursuing particular emotional states of mind, will actually lead to more long term suffering.

Spiritual materialism is an attachment to the spiritual path as a solid accomplishment or possession. It is said that spiritual materialism is the hardest to overcome. The imagery that is used is that of golden chains; you’re not just in chains, you’re in golden chains. And you love your chains because they’re so beautiful and shiny. But you’re not free. You’re just trapped in a bigger and better trap. The point of spiritual practice is to become free, not to build a trap that may have the appearance of a mansion but is still a prison.

– M. Caplan

Spiritual Ego

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We all need to realize that nobody is immune to spiritual materialism. As long as we have the ego, we are living on the edge. And no matter how spiritually developed you think you are, there is a tricky ego trap for each “level” of development.

Most of us have a delusional idea that the spiritual path is always steady and secure. It is only later that we begin to realize that the spiritual path is very slippery and you have to maintain balance and constant awareness not to fall into old “traps”. The thing is that the more we learn theoretically about spirituality without applying it to our everyday lives, the more likely we develop the spiritual ego in our beliefs.

Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the spiritual ego can hide behind judgment, spiritual dogma, or even a false sense of moral superiority over others. And this could be very dangerous for our spiritual development since it can blind us and prevent us from doing the necessary deeper spiritual work we need for inner growth and self-healing.

It’s hard to see our ego and therefore it’s hard to control it. Buddhist say that in the war of ego the loser always wins. Which makes complete sense to me. The second you realized you overcame your ego, you have fallen into its trap. Therefore, the best way you can deal with your ego is by observing it. It is by observing that you can learn how to take control of your ego.

8 Signs You Could Be Practicing Spiritual Materialism

The most important part of shadow work is taking an honest look at ourselves no matter how hard and painful it could be. Let’s take a look at 8 signs of spiritual materialism and determine which ones could be describing us.

Sign #1: Spiritual Superficiality

Spiritual Superficiality Image

Modern forms of spirituality and therapy are often accused of selling superficial and sunny answers to life’s complexity and pain. Spirituality isn’t about protecting ourselves from real-life challenges. Any philosophy that is based on the belief that thinking positively always protects us from suffering and emotional pain, or that there is something wrong with you if you suffer or fail, is offering superficial promises.

Sign #2: Spiritual Elitism

Spiritual elitism is based on using spiritual ‘achievements’ or ‘gifts’ to disconnect from and feel superior to others. If you find yourself becoming unbearably profound, feeling that you are somehow different from others and destined for sainthood, perhaps you are suffering from grandiosity.

Our desire to be special can be manifested in many different self-aggrandizement ways, like:

  • Claiming to have “special access” to spirit guides, Ascended Masters, angels, spirits, etc.;
  • Claiming to be the reincarnation of a guru, superior being, a famous spiritual historical figure, etc.;
  • Claiming to figure out all the world mysteries, conspiracy theories, governments’ secrets, etc.;
  • Claiming access to special and exclusive spiritual knowledge that others can’t access.

In order to overcome this trap, ask yourself: “Do I really need to prove my specialness by using different titles (like lightworker, Starseed, etc.), the memories (or fantasies) about my past incarnations, etc.?”

Sign #3: Spiritual Shopping Obsession

Do you find yourself habitually buying spiritual trinkets/tools/items or accumulating the blessings and initiations from sages, shamans, saints, etc.? Does having spiritual items make you feel more “special,” “awakened,” “aligned” or spiritually worthy. If so, you could be practicing spiritual materialism!

The truth is all those endless workshops, tools, trinkets, and techniques which all promise to make you a wiser, more intuitive, more blissful, more “spiritual” person, are designed for distracting your attention from profound spiritual practice. You see, in order to follow your spiritual path you don’t need to “look” or “feel” spiritual. All you need is already inside you.

Sign #4: Entertaining Spirituality

This is a common trap many seekers get into. Instead of enjoying the blessings of everyday life, you seek after entertaining spirituality and supernatural experiences like angelic visitations, seeing visions, meeting UFOs, spirit guides, Ascended Masters, beings from other planets and dimensions, etc. All these supernatural experiences can be a part of your spiritual journey. However, if they are your main focus, you could be practicing entertaining spirituality.

Sign #5: Ripping Off the Traditions

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Many modern seekers skim off the ritual trappings of a tradition with little respect for the depth behind it. This attitude trivializes powerful spiritual systems that often demand years of study. It is so important to be committed to your spiritual practice and realize the difference between carefully creating a spiritual path that includes genuine practices from a variety of traditions, rather than flitting from flower to flower like a drunken honey bee.

Sign #6: Power Abuse

Another sign of spiritual materialism is the disparity between spiritual teachings and the behavior of teachers. These are the things to be wary of:

  • extravagant claims of enlightenment or healing;
  • minimizing the hard work that accompanies any true spiritual or healing path;
  • excessive commercialism that betrays the deeper spiritual message;
  • blind adherence of followers.

With their deceitful double standards, some gurus, healers, and spiritual teachers have given mentorship a bad name and tarnished the image of humbling oneself to wiser and more experienced spiritual guides.

Sign #7: Spiritual Narcissism

The spiritual narcissist unconsciously believes he/she is more “awakened” than others and will do anything to reinforce that “specialness” including harming others through arrogance and forcing his/her beliefs on them. They also use spiritual jargon that you can relate to when recruiting their victims. A spiritual narcissist will make you think that you have a special gift or that you are their soul mate when in a real sense they are grooming you for the abuse

Do you always back your desires with only those spiritual facts that suit you? Then, you could be developing spiritual narcissism. Be mindful when you purposely omit those facts that don’t advance your course.

There is a thin line between narcissism and “following your bliss.” Be aware of your tendency toward excessive self-centeredness even as you work to heal and love your own tender self.

Sign #8: Future Obsession

Do you believe that if you do certain spiritual practices or chant certain mantra you will get to a special elevated state of consciousness in the future? Well, there is nothing wrong with this belief unless you become so possessed with your future achievements that you stop living in the present moment. If you become too obsessed with your future and stop recognizing the fundamental ego-centricity of this obsession, you could be stuck in another spiritual materialism trap!

The Bottom Line

The spiritual path can be a truly joyous and satisfying journey of self-realization. It quickly becomes very clear to anyone who has spent significant time on their journey that the path is riddled with many obstacles and traps designed specifically for the ego.

Have you found yourself saying “They are Asleep”, “I am Awake” or any other self-proclaimed statements of spiritual achievement in comparison to others? This type of comparison can be the first of many dangerous behaviors that can lead a hopeful spiritual student down a path of despair, spiritual degradation, and unfortunate suffering.

True spiritual development is almost always a long and arduous journey that spans many years and lifetimes. Maintaining a high level of compassion and humility along with a strong desire to serve can be a very helpful tool to ensure one keeps their ego in check.

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Spirituality

10 Types of Spiritual Bypassing That Slow Down Your Growth

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How do you react to misfortunes or sad phases in your life? Do you deal with the pain or remain with unresolved wounds for fear of becoming vulnerable? Well, chances are, you are spiritually bypassing.

The Origin

Spiritual bypassing is an old term coined by John Welwood, a Buddhist teacher, author, and psychotherapist, in 1984. It refers to the tendency for persons to avoid, sidestep, or escape uncomfortable issues facing them. Welwood noted that persons resorted to this behavior to rise above their shaky emotional or personal foundation, hence, obtaining enlightenment.

What of Today?

Spiritual bypassing is quite common in the 21st century. Here, we see people covering up their low self-esteem, loneliness, or anger with spiritual practice. The only difference is it is a short-term cover-up. Spiritual bypassing facilitates a buildup of negative emotions into full-blown unrest and uncertainty.

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Is Spiritual Bypassing Negative?

Often, we associate spirituality with positive aspects of our lives. You know, feelings of inner peace, contentment, or fulfillment. But, spiritual bypassing confirms that there are dark and painful areas in spirituality.  Yes, it creates a false feeling of security and satisfaction, blocking any efforts for emotional healing.

Types of Spiritual Bypassing

Do you often resort to spirituality to bypass the unpleasant phases of your life? Here are the ten possible ways: –

#1: Optimistic Bypass

An optimistic bypass will insist on seeing life as a glass half full. This person is always focusing on the sunny side of life, ignoring the other half that is not so pleasant. In turn, these persons never engage their anger, inner conflict, or aggression. For, they fail to see that life isn’t always a happy fairytale.

#2: Aggrandizement Bypass

Do you know of a spiritual leader or seeker who seems overly enlightened and superior? Chances are these individuals struggle with personal insecurities and deficiencies. For, aggrandizement bypass is a self-delusion that convinces the self-proclaimed spiritual gurus that they have achieved a level of enlightenment or higher being.

#3: Victim Bypass

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Are you a victim of your gifts? If these gifts hinder you from living a healthy or happy life, you could be a victim bypass. For example, a victim bypass may identify as an empath and use their gift of compassion to others to the extent of neglecting their happiness. Likewise, a victim bypass may disguise as an indigo child, a gifted healer, or a Starseed.

#4: Psychonaut Bypass

A psychonaut bypass exploits psychedelic drugs to escape their painful reality. In turn, they get into a psycho-spiritual crisis that hinders them from pursuing personal development.

#5: Horoscope Bypass

Do you love astrology, or are you dependent on it? Well, if you struggle with fear or self-doubt to the point of living an indecisive life, you could be relying on others to predict the outcome of your life. For this, a horoscope bypass trusts the predictions of a psychic or an astrologer. It becomes destructive when this trust supersedes their inner feelings to make significant decisions in their lives. In turn, their obsession with astrology makes them incapable of coping with traumas.

#6: Saint Bypass

When growing up, kids learn that spiritual leaders are saintly, kind, and compassionate. Only, these leaders have weaknesses and dark sides like any ordinary human being. However, a saint bypass holds on to this holier-than-thou notion from their childhood, even when they are now adults. In turn, a saint bypass will sacrifice themselves to appear sweet, approachable, heavenly persons.

#7: Spirit Guide Bypass

A spirit guide, whether an angelic or godly being, serves to protect humanity, right? Well, this belief is quite soothing to the mind but constricts the soul. That is, we forgo the need to be resilient, courageous, or take charge of our safety. We become like children under the protection of the parent. Living this way deprives us of the ability to grow our spiritual character. Instead, we should look to the spirit guide to learn more about our spirituality, not babysit us.

#8: Guru Bypass

A guru bypass is overly attached to a spiritual teacher or guru, to the extent of worshipping them. They accept all the teachings from their spiritual guru as absolute truths. Eventually, the guru bypass never grows spiritually. Further, they fall prey to manipulation or any ill-intentions of their spiritual leaders.

#9: Finger-Pointing Bypass

When on a spiritual journey, we develop clarity of mind. Here, we intuitively determine when someone is lying, honest, or trying to manipulate us. More so, we can tell reality from delusions and make rational decisions. A finger-pointing bypass uses this ability to declare them as self-righteous. In turn, they are quick to finger-point anyone who has a contrary opinion or acts differently from them. In essence, a finger-pointing bypass is procrastinating. They find fault in others instead of working to correct and improve themselves.

#10: Prayer Bypass

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Finally, a prayer bypass ignores their responsibility. Instead, this person entrusts a higher being to deal with their problems. For example, this person will pray about a sickness they have without taking any steps to seek medical attention.

What Next?

Does any of the above types of spiritual bypassing resonate with you? Here are some tips you can use to stop this negative tendency: –

#1: Be Open Minded

Know that all spiritual seekers are human beings, hence, bound to make mistakes at some point. Then, be willing to learn and receive correction from others.

#2: Deal with Any Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance arises when our beliefs are challenged or misaligned with reality. You will experience cognitive dissonance as your change your attitudes and beliefs from spiritual bypassing. That is, you may feel guilty, anxious, or ashamed for letting go of your thoughts that do not align with what you now know to be true.

When this happens, you should examine your life for areas that do not add up. For example, you should question a narcissistic leader who preaches compassion but uses physical abuse against you.

#3: Seek Honest Feedback from Others

Discuss spiritual bypassing with your friends and loved ones. Let them tell you what they see in you that suggests that you could be a spiritual bypass. View the feedback as positive criticism, and use it to grow spiritually.

The Bottom Line

Spiritual bypassing is not easy to detect. It disguises itself as a caring, compassionate person. Take time to evaluate yourself. Acknowledge the tendency and start your healing process.

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Spirituality

Spiritual Transformation: 6 Signs You Are Experiencing One

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Human beings are spirits inside a physical body. However, most people live their lives like bodies inside the spirit. Spiritual transformation means transcending beyond the physical body to the level of the soul. As complicated as this sounds, we will explain how easy it is to achieve spiritual transformation. But first, let’s get a bit more practical. 

Common Experiences of Spiritual Transformation

Overcoming trauma

Have you ever shied away from attempting something just because that thing reminds you of your past trauma? Once you overcome such experiences, it’s a clear sign you have transformed spiritually. Like a rape victim finally getting married and enjoying motherhood. 

Letting go of a toxic behavior

Most people can possibly relate to this one. How many weight-loss diets have you tried before achieving your weight goal? Or, how many times did you try quitting smoking before you actually did? See, spiritual transformation is not a walk in the park. But once you get the hang of it, you become the unstoppable hero. 

Becoming Soul-centered

When you experience spiritual transformation, you start journeying back to the center of your being. You echo the advice “be yourself” and now find it easier to apply. Perhaps it’s because you now know who you really are. 

How Does Spiritual Transformation Differ from Spiritual Awakening?

In the past, we have explored Spiritual Awakening. So what is the difference? Now spiritual transformation occurs as a by-product of our spiritual awakening journey. And since spirituality is a never-ending journey, it means if we continue in this journey, we will experience multiple angles of spiritual transformation. 

Enough of the theories, how then do you know that you have achieved spiritual transformation?

6 Signs You Are Experiencing Spiritual Transformation

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Let me start by reminding you that we are all different. A change might go unnoticed for one person yet be painfully unbearable for another person. That means you might notice some of these signs but not all of them. 

#1: Things Start Falling Apart

That moment when you can’t seem to hold anything together. Your partner breaks up with you, you get fired at work, your family becomes a thorn in the side, and all you want to do is close yourself up and cry. Transformation can only happen when there’s a space in your life that leads you to change. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small change. At this point, you need to realize that whatever is lost isn’t necessarily good enough for you and instead open up to new opportunities.

#2: Heightened Agitation

You start getting emotional at things that would not usually bother you. Like overreacting when you find yourself stuck in traffic. This is a sign of transformation if you wouldn’t normally react this way.

Agitation occurs when we allow fear to drive us. That moment when you feel lost in the middle of nowhere. You have no idea what to do or where you are going.

#3: Your Desire for Change Is Greater Than Your Fear of Not Knowing

Do you have a strong desire to change but the fear of the unknown keeps you stuck? Well, during spiritual transformation, you realize that this desire grows bigger while your fears diminish. You can quickly draft that resignation letter without worrying about your next opportunity. Or, you can easily break up with your fiancée without worrying about your future.

#4: You Trust Easily and Your Faith Grows, or the Vice Versa

Trust is usually the last chapter of the transformation. After you’ve been through emotional rollercoasters and denial, you are now ready to surrender and accept the will of your creator. It’s also at this point that your world starts turning around for the better. Mainly because your spirit is now open to other avenues.

A good example is when you can’t let go of a toxic relationship even when all the signs say otherwise just because you can’t see past the relationship. Then after you’ve finally let go, you start wondering why you took so long. Sound familiar?

Now, for some people, the lack of trust is what signifies spiritual transformation. You suddenly feel the need to research any information you gather, irrespective of the source.

#5: New Opportunities Open Up for You

At this point, you stop “betting on an old horse” and start looking beyond your limitations. Your willingness to change and openness to a new reality manifest in new opportunities coming your way.

#6: You Open Up to New Relationships

At some point in your spiritual awakening journey, you will realize that you no longer fit in your normal circle of friends. This is normal. When you keep holding onto relationships that no longer serve your highest good, they will eventually drag you behind instead of pushing you to even greater levels.

Therefore, it’s important to let go of all the attachments and open yourself up to new relationships. Instead of feeling resentful of people who have hurt us in the past, we now feel compassion for them. The hatred turns into love and understanding.

The Bottom Line

As much as spiritual transformation can get uncomfortable, the most important thing is allowing yourself to grow until you finally feel that part in you that you turned off a long time ago because someone told you to. You also have to be willing to see and accept the things you don’t necessarily want to know about yourself. Be open, and allow yourself to evolve and participate in your transformation journey.

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