One of the most harmful issues that is created by the pop spirituality (new age, neo-shamanism, and so forth) movement is the myth of being special.
Many people come to spiritual work for exactly that purpose– they want to feel special, unique, different. They have watched a lot of movies and want to be the “chosen one” like Neo in the Matrix. They have read pop culture type books about white people going to wherever and being told they are the special “Shaman” who will bring shamanism to other white people. They are dissatisfied with their lives and they want to believe that they are special, chosen, or meant for large spiritual purposes on Earth.
Or perhaps due to trauma in their past they already feel that way– they look at societal “norms” and realize they do not fit them. They were not popular in school growing up perhaps, or maybe had a rough childhood, or maybe could see or sense a bit more of the world than other people could (what is considered “consensual reality”). They are reacting to being somewhat outside of the bell curve that we call a “normal life” and have gathered trauma and illusion about this.
When we talk about this, we also have to talk about entitlement. It is almost a boring subject by now, but this myth of “being special” perpetuates a specific type of entitlement type energy. Of course since we are special, we deserve to have whatever we want, and to have it now. For example, here is the latest email that I received:
“I’m sorry I don’t believe that I have to pay for the service of speaking with you I feel if you believe in what you are trying to make known I don’t see why anybody should pay to try and help it know unless it’s a scam”- Jane
This was in response to a form letter I send out to the people that contact me about the services that I offer. What Jane will never realize is that she has likely been told how special she is, and how that means that she is entitled to whatever she wants in this world. She is so special in fact that she looks at my website, sees that I do not have the ability to respond to people outside of those who are interested in my services, and contacts me anyway. In fact, she is so special that I should give her my time for free over the other two hundred or so people who contacted me last week who received the same form letter. This was of course even though I talk about quite regularly in my blogs about how I don’t even work with all of the people who offer to give me money.
What is funny about this is that this is the same tired email I get from countless new-agers, and that her initial experience she emailed me about were not that special, or out of the ordinary. There are likely thousands of people experiencing the same things as her right now, and likely hundreds of them in her town. She also doesn’t realize the irony of the indoctrination that has caused her to think the way that she does, and how entitled she is (or the same tired analogy of her going to a lawyer or plumber or psychologist or massage therapist or house cleaner and saying that she feels she is entitled to their services for free because of how special she is) but that is another story I suppose.
I realize that the above makes me sound upset in a way, but in reality it just makes me a bit sad for society in general. The individual person (Jane) isn’t the point, because this just unfortunately points to larger issues in our culture, ones that the individual is still asleep to and will likely never rise above or understand. The new-age movement, and society as a whole, has really told people how individually special they are and has cultivated this sense of entitlement in people. It has cultivated this spiritual sense of entitlement and “taking” on the back of the individual being separate and special which impacts the world as a whole.
This causes people to eventually to take whatever they want from this world because they are entitled to it– they are so special individually that they do not need to think about others, their needs, their time, their energy, and so forth. This type of energy results in devastation in our world, our planet, and to one another. We can rob, steal, scold, harm, and just simply take because that is what we are entitled to do, because we believe this myth that we are special.
This myth causes schisms, basically. It causes for all of us to feel more isolated and alone with our experiences. If we believe that our experiences are so special we will not realize that there are likely thousands of other people likely having experiences just like them. Every day I get contacted by people who feel really alone in their experiences and for the majority of them (not all, but most) their experiences are being similarly had by so many other people. They are just simply ignorant to this fact.
This myth also perpetuates trauma. If we feel like nobody has had an experience of this world like we have (such as being raped, being a soldier with PTSD, having a horrific childhood, domestic abuse, etc) we isolate ourselves and convince ourselves that nobody will understand our circumstances. This means that we are left to our own coping devices, and often do things like cycle this trauma again and again in a loop (replay it in our minds, act out the same or similar behaviors again and again) because we do not individually know how to break free from it.
There are some energies that require another person to heal, no matter who we are. Someone who can listen to us, can hold space for us, can help us to lighten our load. If we realize that our experiences, no matter what they may be, are not that unique, we are more willing to reach out to others. If we rise above separating ourselves out of the myth that we, our stories, or our path are so “special” or “unique” we can actually heal from them.
This myth also perpetuates predatory gurus and “shamans”. I once knew a Shaman in Peru, who worked in a popular “hot spot” for tourists coming in. He told me that everyone there knew that all you had to do to get a tourist to hand over a bunch of money is to tell them how “chosen” they are, what a “Shaman” they are. This leads to anything from just simply being out of money to violent predatory sexual abuse from someone who really, really wanted to believe how special they were sleeping with a “Shaman” who is all to willing to tell this person how special and chosen they are to have sex with them and take their money.
Similarly, this myth also perpetuates new-age authors (from particular publishing houses in particular) telling you how special you are. This is what you want to hear, this is what they offer you. Sure, you are a Shaman, you are a magical angelic elf from an alien dimension, and doesn’t that make you special? Doesn’t that explain why you feel out of place? or why you feel unique? Doesn’t it explain what suffering you have endured?
No matter who we are, we are not special. Instead of this being devastating, when we are at the right place in our spiritual path it will be quite freeing. Are we seeing grids, ET’s, elementals? Do we go to other dimensions? Do we work with parallel Universes or magic or demons or deities? Are we in correspondence with Archangels? Do we see spirits? Did we maybe feel Kundalini one time? Or maybe are even in a mild awakening of some sort? There are millions of people experiencing similar things. And no matter who we are, there is always someone further in their path, deeper down the proverbial rabbit hole, more in contact with something, more knowledgeable about something than we are.
Yes, there are some people experiencing things out of the depths of most ordinary people. Most people who contact me are having really common experiences likely fueled by watching a few too many Dead Files or Long Island medium episodes. But what happens if we let go of our burning desire to be special and the subsequent entitlement and plugging in to anyone and anything that is willing to sell you or tell you whatever delusions you feed about yourself about how special you are is that you can truly begin to know who you are. You can rise above this delusion and whatever self-created mythologies you have created about yourself. You can step out of ignorance, and into realization.
You can begin to realize that we are all special. The person sitting next to you is as special as you are, just in a different way. The world, the Universe, and the Cosmos themselves don’t owe you anything. We are all different, unique drops of divinity in the cosmic ocean of divinity. There are people that are much deeper on their spiritual path, and there or those who are still in spiritual kindergarten. There are people that bring clarity, or math skills, or heart-centered love, or groundedness, or the ability to build with their hands to this world. All of these are special qualities, that make the individual special. The person next to you is special because they can understand animals on a deep level. The person next to them might be special because they can look at complex mathematical formulas and realize things about them that few do.
If we rise out of the delusion of being special and entitled, we can realize this. Nobody owes us anything, and we are not alone, no matter what we are experiencing. When we rise out of this we can stop “taking” or being a taker– assuming that the world, and the people in it, owe us something because we are special. We can stop buying books and falling hook, line, and sinker for any teacher or guru who wants to fill that void for us, who wants to tell us how special that we are. These teachers repeat themselves again and again because of this delusion, and people fall for it again and again.
If we let go of being special, of needing to be special, we can simply be who we are. We can let go of the entitlement, the separation, the wanton obnoxiousness that permeates new-age and pop spirituality and leads to fake gurus and Shamans taking advantage of people. We can heal from our trauma, our feelings of being different. Even if we actually do have origins in some alien galaxy, we can heal our trauma from that, we can meet others from that same galaxy, and we can let go of the isolation.