How To Prevent Past Conditioning From Deceiving You When Seeking Spiritual Guidance
The experience we have of our physical reality is based on the perception of the various stimuli that is picked up by our five senses which are then filtered and given meaning by our brain.
When it comes to spiritual experiences they're often internal and are outside of the scope of our five senses and conscious logical thinking minds. Which can make it extremely difficult to know where or who to follow when it comes to spiritual guidance.
When it comes to spiritual seeking I have been deceived many times some of which actually had good intentions behind what they were teaching but were miss informed.
I don't claim to be the spiritual guide you're seeking but through studying and following a large variety of different spiritual paths, teachings and philosophies I have come aware of many misconceptions.
Which by becoming aware of can save someone from wasting not only wasting a lot of money and their time but most importantly their general well being and spiritual progress which I'll be sharing in this article.
Pre-warning this article may challenge a lot of your beliefs, my intention is not to offend anyone or to claim that what I'm saying is concrete and without flaws. But from my perception is to help people from being deceived.
Why your own beliefs can blind you when searching for spiritual guidance
An important concept and beliefs I must first address are the beliefs based on what is attached to the word ego and how we identify ourselves.
In most uses ego is meant someone’s sense of self-worth or self-importance. In this article by ego, I mean what is commonly used and referred to in many eastern philosophies as the "false self".
The "I" that we identify with in this physical carnation this is a concept many are aware of but without an actual spiritual experience of being outside of the mind with no concept of the false "I" that our ego identifies with.
Many people fall into the trap of seeking spiritual guidance based on the egos perception of what spirituality is and what a spiritual teacher should be like and how they should make them feel.
Why you must be careful of the deception of the ego when looking for a spiritual teacher
What most people perceive as spiritual or how a spiritual teacher or teachings should be are subconscious beliefs which they're unaware of to how those beliefs were formed and why they still believe them.
Beliefs can have either an empowering or disempowering effects on our lives. The essence of the majority of spiritual teachings is to help people to become aware of their true nature.
And to become aware of the temporary nature of their ego which is where the majority of issues for spiritual seeking start.
As most people are searching for spiritual guidance following the perceptions of the ego which are the ego itself which is like a dog chasing its own tail and only leading to frustration as it can never be achieved.
Why you must become aware of your spiritual beliefs to prevent further suffering
We have all been conditioned to have beliefs based on our culture, family, school, religious and spiritual upbringing or lack off.
Which influences what spiritual or religious teachings we'll follow even if they're different to what we were originally brought up to believe.
This can lead us to become biased and avoiding specific teachings that go against what we think spiritual teachings should be like.
One person may say you won't get everything you ask for from the universe which someone may perceive as being told something more authentic whilst someone else may believe this is negative and coming from a poverty mindset.
Either might be right or wrong the important thing to note and question is why do you have the beliefs that you have and is there a possibility there might a level of bias or deception in the belief?
The majority of our beliefs are heavily influenced by past conditioning as previously mentioned and are a perception of the ego.
If you don't become aware of these biases your ego will sabotage your spiritual progress
We are wired to have biases that can be beneficial in certain contexts like habits as they allow us to make quick snap decisions that can be life-saving. But in modern day society these biases can cause us to have blind spots.
We like to think that we're logical creatures and make decisions for logical reasons but countless studies prove otherwise. One I find particularly interesting is involving a group of people given either a hot cup of coffee or a cold iced coffee.
After receiving the drink all participants individually were then asked to fill in a questionnaire about a specific individual.
The participants that agreed to fill in the questionnaire would describe the individual to have similar traits to the drink such as being warm or cold based on the drink they were given.
This is just one example of how many factors influence our decisions and the meanings that we attach to things which is important to become aware of to help prevent becoming dogmatic.
If someone sees their identity as a part of a particular school of thought or philosophy this is even more likely to cause someone to become biased towards it and rejecting anything that goes against those beliefs even if solid evidence is presented.
“The most powerful force in the human psyche is people's need for their words and actions to stay consistent with their IDENTITY - how we define ourselves.”
Why believing spiritual teaching should cause you to feel loving and peaceful can ironically cause suffering when seeking spiritual guidance
One of the biggest misconceptions to spiritual seeking is that the teaching itself should leave you feeling inspired, uplifted, more knowledgeable, full of unconditional love and peace or a variety of other empowering benefits.
Which its overall end goal might be to achieve such states but depending on your reason for your carnation into this physical reality you will have your own spiritual challenges to experience.
Which may cause you to go through rapid changes you may not feel ready for but have no choice and have to experience them to grow. This is one of the main causes for long periods of the dark night of the soul.
The most enlightening spiritual path for you might actually involve going into feelings of anger, fear and resentment which may lead you to surpass rather than suppressing them.
Why you must learn to spot the difference between loving falsehood and angry authenticity when it comes to spiritual teachings
Another common misconception is that anything said from anger is from a low level of consciousness and anything said with love and warmth is from a higher level of consciousness meaning it has more truth behind it.
As both viewpoints on whatever the topic can be coming from the ego which is where cognitive emotions arise from. A lot of emotions are suppressed by people in spiritual communities with the association to anger being "bad" and low vibration.
When anger can be a powerful emotion to bring someone out of atrophy as long as someone doesn't remain in these states it can potentially serve an empowering purpose.
A lot of spiritual misguidances have been purposely put out to blind people from specific spiritual teachings and knowledge by this very cunning mask of that only the ignorant and unwise become angry.
When in fact even the most enlightened of spiritual masters experience emotions such as anger but rather than being controlled and run by them they're able to sit with them and transmute them into an empowering result.
How dogmatic beliefs are taken advantage of to manipulate the masses
If someone wants to manipulate a specific group of people to go in a certain direction all that is required is to understand the worldview of that group and to be in a position where what they are preaching is being heard.
That causes people to go in a specific direction that aligns with that groups beliefs which can lead to empowering or disempowering results for that group.
Before continuing I'd like you to stop and think what does the word occult mean to you?
The word occult due to Hollywood movies and other propaganda has caused the majority of the population to associate it with devil worship and other forms of being evil.
When in fact the word occult derived from the Latin adjective occultus "hidden from sight" which comes from the Latin verb occulate "to hide, to conceal to keep secret"
In the context in which it is most commonly referred to is hidden knowledge which can be used for just like a knife for either "good" or "evil".
With the manipulation of this word anything associated with it is often seen as evil which keeps people away from hidden knowledge.
Why it’s important to become aware of the difference between atrophy and a high state of consciousness
I have been guilty myself of mistaking being in states of atrophy with being in a high state of consciousness. Atrophy is caused by being in a very low state of vibration and levels of energy.
Which usually comes from deep levels of none acceptance causing depression.
Which can lead people to no longer feeling inspired, excited or concerned about what happens in their day to day lives. Which is often mistaken as detaching from the ego when it's actually the opposite.
The ego can also trick us into identifying and strengthening its position as being someone who is at a higher level of consciousness which can make it difficult to self reflect and to accept that the uninspired feelings are actually coming from atrophy.
Because this is very painful to the ego and will cause people to deny such claims and prolong their dark night of the soul and rather than transcending and becoming aware of how they really feel.
Subconsciously further strengthen the position of the ego as it brings feelings of comfort even though it causes suffering. As the alternative to the ego can be terrifying as this can result in the egos death.
How denying your emotions will just cause emotional blocks
Feelings of anger are a sign that a rule of we have has been broken if something we perceive to be an important rule to us such as preventing the harm of children from happening is violated.
This will cause someone with this rule to become angry which can in certain spiritual philosophies mean that the person is reacting from a low vibration.
Which causes a lot of people to subconsciously feel guilty when they become angry.
Which causes them to suppress how they truly feel as they want to stay consistent with their identity of someone who is at a high level of consciousness. Which can lead to them eventually being in states of atrophy.
It is only by going into and experiencing how we feel and understand why that we can transmute them. As any emotion can be a sign to tell us something is wrong and shouldn't be disregarded.
Such feelings can only change based on a change in someones rule to how something should be which in a spiritual context may require someone to transcend their ego and no longer identify with their mind and the false self.
Which until someone has achieved such a state is only denying how they truly feel and often causes people to live in states of atrophy.
How to discover and get the most from spiritual guidance to find the right path for yourself
You will naturally be guided by your higher self and spirit guides to the right teachings and experiences for you.
But the more we're blinded by our conditioning and unable to follow our intuition the harder it becomes to be guided and to become aware of the signs that we're being presented with.
Intuition can be described as a sense of knowing that can't always be logically explained to why you know but you just do.
Which can be difficult to distinguish from an emotion which comes as a result of a cognitive process most often subconsciously.
As a result of a subconscious association to a particular event or something that’s in our surroundings outside of our conscious awareness.
By being able to trust and follow intuition rather than relying solely on logic and following emotion.You will find opportunities open up for you and are guided towards your true life's purpose.
Become clear on what you want from spiritual guidance
Being clear on what you want from spiritual guidance just like setting a goal the more specific and clear on the result that you want the more likely you’ll stick at it, follow through and most importantly get the result you actually want.
If we don’t become consciously aware of why we’re pursuing something there is a good chance that we’ll be pursuing something due to previous subconscious programming that isn’t of our own choosing.
By getting clear if you want to stop bad habits, be in a better position to help your community, improve your general well being, raise your level of consciousness, seek enlightenment whatever you seek.
Become clear on why as this will allow your subconscious mind to aid you to pick out opportunities you’d normally miss and attract circumstances to find the spiritual guidance that you’re seeking.
Ways of identifying incongruent spiritual teaching
When you become clear on what you want from spiritual guidance it is also worth becoming aware of how to spot incongruent spiritual teaching especially those that don’t have your best interest in mind.
I’m sure there are many other ways of spotting false or incongruent spiritual teachings then I am aware of and about to mention but here are a few areas to consider before pursuing a specific spiritual teaching or teacher.
1. Is the teaching or teacher open to being challenged?
You can quickly find if a particular teaching is dogmatic if the teacher or most of its followers become very defensive over challenging specific concepts of its philosophy.
If it has been asked in a way that doesn’t come across as attacking and in a polite manner that doesn’t directly make anyone or the teaching fundamentally wrong.
With the aim to get more clarity on their view of a particular teaching especially if it is vague.
The flying spaghetti monster (FSM) the deity/God of the religion pastafarianism could be questioned on their philosophy by rather than directly saying it makes no sense that spaghetti could be God.
That you could ask a question such as “Why is the FSM made out of spaghetti and not another source of food?”
In case you think I’ve made this example up check this Wikipedia article by clicking here.
2. Does the spiritual guide live by the philosophy they teach unless they openly admit they’re working towards it themselves?
By simply observing actions rather than simply taking someone’s word is a powerful way to become aware of the authenticity of someone’s intentions and teaching.
This is can be difficult as it takes time and our own biases can get in the way but by taking some time occasionally to observe it will help you become aware of the effects of the teaching and if the particular guide you’re following is right for you.
3. Be open to the idea that you maybe miss informed or have misunderstood.
This is much harder to do than it sounds as we’re wired to want to be right and to feel significant.
Based on the meanings we attach to being right or wrong can cause someone to reject solid evidence that is contrary to their belief.
The thought of following anything whether it’s a spiritual teaching or any school of thought for a long period of time to later find aspects or the entire philosophy to be inaccurate can be so painful that it can be too difficult to consider.
It also goes against our need for certainty causing us to feel unease and even frightened.
I can’t say what is truly the right spiritual path for someone to follow but from my own experience I have on many occasions rejected an idea but with being open to potentially being wrong.
Has led me to later discover many ideas I had originally rejected turned out to actually be true.
• The ego in a spiritual context means the “false self” that we identify with that is temporary and not the essence of what we truly are which is eternal.
• Our perception of what spiritual guidance should be comes from our egos which ironically can lead us to following disempowering or false spiritual guidance.
• As most people are searching for spiritual guidance following the perceptions of the ego which are the ego itself which is like a dog chasing its own tail and only leading to frustration as it can never be achieved.
• We have all been conditioned by the culture we live in, by our friends, family religious or lack of religious teachings that influence how we perceive spirituality. We also have biases that can cause even more blind spots making it difficult to find the right spiritual path.
• Becoming aware of your spiritual beliefs can help become aware of why you’re on the path that you’re on and prevent unnecessary suffering.
• If we identify ourselves with any religious or spiritual teaching or philosophy it can be extremely difficult to see any inaccuracies or false teachings behind it even if presented concrete evidence.
• The original meaning for word occult means hidden knowledge and has been manipulated to be associated with devil worship and evil supernatural activities.
• Certain spiritual schools of thought may cause people to suppress negative emotions leading to states of atrophy that is mistaken to be in a higher state of consciousness.
• Become clear on what you want from spiritual guidance as this will help you get the results that you actually want.
• Question and observe to see if the teachers and followers of a particular school of thought are dogmatic to help you become aware of any blind spots the teachings may have.
• Be open to the idea of either being misinformed or have misunderstood as this will leave you open to finding the truth to what you’re seeking when you’re ready.
If you want to read some great spiritual teachings and quotes by spiritual teachers through the ages I recommend looking at Transformative Spiritual Quotes That Will Empower Your Journey.
I would love to hear the greatest insight or learning that you have taken and going to apply.
Let me know in the comments below.
My name is Adam Higson and I help people to find their own path and how to manifest the reality they want. My passion and interests are learning and applying various teachings in both manifestation and psychology.
The purpose of this blog is to help and share with you my experiences and understandings that have made differences in my life and the mistakes I made saving you from making the same mistakes.
I’m also very passionate which I do to the best of my current knowledge and abilities is preventing people from being misled and misguided down false teachings and to help people learn how to empower themselves.