The ancient paradigm of belief systems controlling life and manipulating the mind has let many people finally realize that they are living in an artificial reality created by selfish people on power trips.
This has led to a situation where many wander, trying to find their own way in a world without many real leaders. As a result of this, a new market has developed which attempts to present answers to those people who have lost their illusions with the old dogmatic systems.
However, there are few people (to put it mildly) in this new realm of contemporary spiritual direction that benefit from others squarely and create circumstances that vary very little from the old paradigm, they just polished it up and gave it the illusion that it is something else.
There is an influx of “enlightened masters of the universe” who permeate the spiritual sphere these days. Gurus and spiritual teachers appear from left to right. Many of them seem to provide an easy way out of the voids that many people think they have in their lives, and therefore these gurus and teachers make a ridiculously large sum… even gaining social ranks akin to glamorous superstars.
Yes, it seems there are people in the spiritual arena who look at the qualitative aspects of self-growth and see a wonderful opportunity to make money or a way to have incredible power over others. Sometimes a pyramid scheme is created and established.
This is very dangerous since it can negatively affect the perception of the legitimacy of the whole spiritual community and all that it encompasses. True authentic spiritual teachers and self-growth coaches will not be taken into account for being false gurus giving spiritual-sounding nonsense that is lacking in substance and are of no use for the spiritual growth of one person.
Being aware that there are such systems of Pyramids of Enlightenment can help us move away from false gurus and seek out the true teachers who truly want to help people and the global conscience of mankind. It is certainly difficult sometimes to see through the spiritual facade that some create as a front to hide their true nature and their intentions, even more with teachers who were once very instructive, but money and fame have taken over.
Getting others to do the work for us, like the various guru scoring services that exist today, is also dangerous because we trust a complete stranger to choose “authentic” and genuine spiritual teachers.
It should be obvious that there can be a lot of deception, subjective bias, and decisions that are made without the assessors being fully informed about a particular person online for the gold star of approval.
Below, we present you 9 ways to notice a fake guru/spiritual teacher:
1. They charge a large amount of money:
Actions speak infinitely louder than words. Anyone can proclaim beautiful and wonderful things, but do these words measure up to the way the person lives and expresses himself in his daily life?
Perhaps the most important problem we have found is the issue of money. We have seen self-proclaimed gurus, spiritual teachers, and whatever title they charge incredibly large sums of money for information, knowledge or so-called superior wisdom, accessible to all (by looking at wise men who charge little or nothing and also seeking answers inside through meditation and other self-induced spiritual practices), as well as several money embezzlement cases.
If you pay someone $ 295 for “12-strand spiritual DNA activation” (a questionable statement to make), then you’ve just been tricked.
2. They give themselves fancy titles:
On the subject of stop words, when looking for a potential spiritual teacher for advice, whether that individual proclaims such magnificent titles referring to themselves as enlightened masters, self-realized yogis or as a saint (one of the ultimate delusions of grandeur following the narcissistic Christ Complex). An enlightened person finds no need for ego.
Those who have experienced ultimate/absolute reality do not continually boast about how they achieved enlightenment and are better than others. They are actually quite humble (maybe sometimes too humble, but they are humble). They understand that there is no benefit to themselves or their students in making such statements based on the achievements they have had on reality.
There is no need to establish a hierarchical framework between teachers and pupils because we are all passengers on the same train, slightly separated because we sometimes sit in different wagons. We are all going in the same direction, ultimately.
3. They don’t accept criticism:
Another sign of a scammer in the guru’s clothes is whether the person is capable of accepting criticism or not.
Those who are not true spiritual teachers will be offended and defensive in the face of the criticisms leveled at them instead of looking into them and taking into consideration what these criticisms are (no one is perfect, after all).
How can an unenlightened mortal criticize them! I have even seen the sad situation of lawsuits brought by these so-called enlightened masters against people who had the “nerve” to report something that they consider incorrect, misleading, harmful, etc.
4. They are absurdly obsessed on the end goal:
If you notice that a spiritual master or guru has an almost bizarre love story with enlightenment this and enlightenment that, be careful.
Many of these enlightenment gurus focus on enlightenment itself instead of teaching others how to reach that state exactly. They do not teach all the steps that lead to the clearing of consciousness in the most authentic way.
Even the revered Buddha did not achieve enlightenment overnight. Unless a spiritual teacher shows you a realistic way to achieve enlightenment (such as through special meditation or an awareness-raising technique), you will be better off without their help and you will also keep your hard-earned money.
5. They behave like hypocrites:
Beware of hypocrites!
It is perhaps one of the simplest methods of eliminating spiritual “snake oil sellers”. See if they practice what they preach. If they teach how to meditate daily to promote your spiritual growth, do they meditate daily?
Are they taking the lead? When they talk about radiant love and your inner light and all that is beautiful, do they do it themselves? No one likes a hypocrite, especially if that hypocrite is promising spiritual enlightenment. “Don’t do what I say, not what I do” should not be an excuse for a teacher to be hypocritical.
6. They focus on actualizing egocentric desires:
One particularly important aspect of a guru or spiritual teacher that we should consider is their investment in the material aspects of life. Do they exhibit behavior that indicates being a neophyte on the spiritual path? Do they focus too much on money, sex, and power?
A dynamic Taoist type balance is a necessity for a balanced life, but when addiction and abuse begin to emerge and creep into the mind, there is a problem.
7. They display spiritual materialism:
Spiritual materialism is something that Chogyam Trungpa (who was himself subject to spiritual traps) wrote in the 1970s classic “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism” about something that has become particularly problematic in recent years and that deserves to be better known to anyone on the path to self-realization and enlightenment.
The increased emphasis on spiritual materialism is problematic. All the courses, teachings, books and workshops that focus on using the law of attraction to bring us wealth and abundance in the world hold materialistic desires at heart and do not reflect real messages of spiritual growth.
Although spiritual growth and self-actualization can lead to attract as because of the immense positivity that we project outward, attracting wealth is not the goal of attaining these mental states. These messages that use the dynamics of attraction are not bad in themselves, but when distorted as being a path to higher spirituality, that is when we should be careful to continue.
Do not get lost in the illusion that false spirituality creates.
8. They act selfishly:
Altruism should be the dominant quality in the spiritually advanced soul, not selfishness.
Spirituality has no place for superstars and glamor. It is not the spiritual teacher himself who should be at the center, but rather the spiritual messages and teachings.
How can we achieve our own self-realization if our position of consciousness is focused externally on the teacher, rather than internally on the self?
9. They promise a fast path to self-realization:
There is nothing wrong directly with the spiritual workshops themselves, but when you see a spiritual teacher giving a spiritual course of several hundred or thousands of dollars that lasts several days or even weeks, do not expect to achieve enlightenment simply by completing such a workshop.
Yes, we all live a busy life and we feel as if we do not have enough time to devote to our spiritual growth, but let’s be realistic: it is very unlikely that you will fully realize yourself in 3 weeks during a retreat to Bali.
The processes of spiritual growth, self-realization, self-actualization, and enlightenment can take years or a lifetime (some even say several lives). It is said that there is only one person in recorded history who attained enlightenment in one lifetime (Milarepa) and how he attained enlightenment was very unorthodox, to put it mildly.
We would all like to believe that there is a fast track to these things, but it is not. Of course, there are always exceptions and some reach the top of the mountain faster than others, but overall it is a process that requires a lot of dedication and time.
These are many ways to spot a false guru, spiritual teacher, or other peddlers of false spirituality. In this day and age where there are thousands of so-called gurus, we have to be careful who we choose to listen to because if we make the mistake of following someone who is ego-centered in his true intentions, then we will waste time, money and opportunity costs (among others).
I hope this article can help discern between the true teacher who wants nothing more than helping others to realize themselves and experiencing spiritual bliss and those who proclaim that they will do these things for you, but by actually just drain your bank account. Be aware of who you decide to listen to and follow, and you will be grateful to have spent some time discerning between those who care for others and those who seek only for themselves.