The Threat of Spiritual Escapism

I have been feeling frustrated lately.

And impatient. And tired – not physically, but intellectually and emotionally. Especially by what I see in so-called spiritual communities, from so-called spiritual people who push conspiracy theories and promote paranoia, suspicion, and careless information.

I always encourage discernment, logic, and groundedness in all that we do. My life’s work is based in spiritual practices, art, and magic, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have space in my life for critical thinking, science, and rational thought.

I know that conspiracy theories exist in all types of circles. And spiritual work is not my only work.

But it is a place I spend much time in, and a place I choose to lead from, so it’s what I’m going to address today.

I am expanding on some thoughts I shared in a shorter post earlier this spring that bears repeating.

If you study tarot, astrology, or other spiritual practices deeply enough, you will learn that they are not really about mystery. They are about becoming well-rounded by honouring all aspects of yourself – not going too far in any one direction in a way that causes you to lose touch with reality, or become disconnected from responsibility.

Spiritual practices should make us better people, not worse. Unfortunately, spirituality can be as harmful as anything else when it purposes become distorted.

How?

It can be an excuse to turn a blind eye.

It can be a way to fill the time to the point where there’s no room in someone’s life for real-life connection, discussion, or conflict.  

It can create laziness in those who believe they are so intuitively gifted that they no longer have to learn anything new. Or that they are so enlightened that they feel they do not have to watch the news or engage with the real world in order to know what’s going on.

And it can be an escape from reality when, truthfully, it should be a tool that puts you up and close and personal with real life, too.

Spirituality should arm you for the things you don’t feel you can handle, not be a reason to turn away from the world altogether.

Where am I seeing this now?

In the crossover between spirituality and conspiracy theories. Again and again, I see spiritual people confusing conspiracy theories for awakenings, awareness, and enlightenment. What are some of the things that are out there right now?

I’m hearing that Covid-19 is a hoax.
That 5G is ruining us all.

That George Floyd’s death was staged.
That the riots happening in the U.S. right now are all just a set up for someone’s hidden agenda.

Seriously? Seriously?

These claims are often made in the name of being “awakened.” Or having your eyes “opened.”

The irony is that conspiracy theories are just another form of escapism – and in some cases, racism.

If you really want to be awakened and enlightened, you must accept reality and be willing to engage with it.

And that means accepting responsibility for your actions every day.

It means staying informed – even when the news is hard to watch.

It means being willing to learn new beliefs, behaviours, and perspectives – and also un-learn opinions and actions that have become so deeply engrained that you don’t even notice them.

It means learning how spirituality can help you engage with the world, not try to transcend this reality and check out altogether.

There are fine lines between delusion and belief. There is enough room in everyone’s life for science and spirituality, fact and faith, humility and leadership.

Your spiritual practices should help you deal with the here and now. They should keep you grounded in reality, not distracted from it with paranoid, misleading information – especially if it is causing fear or harm to those in your community as well as yourself.

Until next time,

Liz xo

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