ethics

Selling Enlightenment: The Commoditization of Kundalini and Spiritual Awakening

Recently someone sent me an article about someone who had had a supposed Kundalini awakening and was now selling courses to teach people how to become “enlightened”. This sort of sales pitch is far from rare. I regularly see or get sent literature, websites, and articles about kundalini, spiritual awakening, enlightenment, or really anything spiritual for sale.

I do think that it is wonderful that people want to become more aware, more in tune with their spiritual side. If each one of us could awaken to the point of holding multiple perspectives– meaning that not only our perspective but that of someone much different than us– as both being valid and true, this world would be a much, much better place.

Just in case you have not read my other blogs, I personally operate under the realization that we all are awakened or enlightened. We just do not remember or realize this… and we have layers and layers of conditioning, trauma, and belief systems on top of that awakened state. So I am not suggesting that if you have had a Kundalini awakening you are a member of some super secret club… but true Kundalini awakenings are rare. The ability to remove or have multiple layers of conditioned reality removed within a single lifetime is really rare.

Most of the people that I see selling enlightenment are not enlightened themselves. They have not had Kundalini awakenings or another awakening to the extent that they have gone beyond the lower layers of understanding– meaning going beyond the Self. All of the material I have seen from people selling kundalini, spiritual awakening, and so forth, are from people who have had a few spiritual experiences (maybe even a singular kundalini experience and not a full awakening) who do not realize what a kundalini awakening actually is, or what awakening really is like.

I realize that in some ways this sounds a bit harsh. But anyone who has truly experienced a spiritual awakening of any sort realizes that you can do all the mantras, hypnotherapy, meditation, yoga, read all the books, and visit whatever workshops, gurus, teachers you like and the end result for you and the person sitting next to you in said workshop is going to be entirely different. I used to go to workshops and wonder why the person who came up to me making sure that they told me how they had taken years of teachings or followed certain gurus or teachers around for decades were still so traumatized and still needed to be so spiritually competitive. There is a reason for that, I found out later.

This is because awakening is a multi-lifetime process, and it is something that is not in our individual control. Once you get beyond the “Self”– meaning our direct experience of life (this is typically where most people who commoditize spiritual awakening are), we begin to process the layers of family, ancestors, and past lives- meaning the beliefs and traumas that we have been given to us through them. We then leave the Self and process societal energies, world energies, archetypes, thoughtforms… all the stuff that is communally created. When those layers lift we discover that the world is simply in a sort of cosmic flow. When you experience the cosmic flow state you realize that things like spiritual awakening are intended to happen within an individuals lifetime. Or they are not. And no guru, teacher, Oprah show, or the like is going to awaken you if you are not intended to awaken.

People really do not like to hear what I wrote in the last paragraph. We are used to living in an aspirational, goal-oriented world, and the idea that we cannot have something even if we really want it, and we want it now, causes our egos to throw tantrums like a two year old. There is a reason why so much aspirational material is out there– we want to be shamans, enlightened, have our kundalini awakened. We want to buy it. We are spiritually competitive– we want to be more awake and more enlightened than the person sitting next to us. We would prefer that it be easy, and that we do not have to do much work (certainly not lifetimes of work) and that the end result is us being a multi-millionaire.

We create a whole huge mythology around “if we were only enlightened our lives would be perfect.” And the people who are selling enlightenment are only too happy to oblige by wearing a mask of enlightenment, repeating memes and meaningless phrases that superficially sound good to anyone who cannot see through them. This creates a vicious circle of false enlightenment, where people go around congratulating one another on how enlightened they are, or follow and copy a teacher who is saying they are enlightened and promises enlightenment… meanwhile the teacher is typically miserable because they are typically stuck in a specific phase of awakening and cannot humble themselves to ask for help because then they would not be “enlightened” to their followers, and the followers can never be enlightened like their teacher/guru because that enlightenment is an illusion perpetrated by the teacher.

We can only come to a certain point with our teachers and healers– the point they are at personally. This means that if they are still stuck at the layers of the Self, even if they are presenting an illusion that they are not, they will not be able to guide anyone past those layers. Someone who had a single kundalini experience (a one or two time experience of the energy) will not be able to guide someone who is having a full kundalini awakening. Someone who is an aspirational shaman teacher will not be able to provide much for someone called spiritually through multiple generations to be a spiritual healer. And this is unfortunate, as people truly having these awakenings have to go through a lot of b.s. in order to find someone that can actually help them and find material that is not ego-based, aspirational, spiritually competitive and by someone that has actually had or understands these experiences.

In fact we may have spiritual experiences and ignore all facts to the contrary (or simply not know/be educated enough to know) that we have had a profound spiritual experience according to our own direct experience of spirituality… but that it is not in fact enlightenment, kundalini awakening, or so on. Direct experience is tricky, and kundalini has become a bit of a buzz word to the extent that it is rare that people actually in our modern culture know what it is. But kundalini has specific symptoms, phases, and experiences that are really easy to spot. Most of our culture is so filled with aspirational information and people who really want to believe that they experienced (or are experiencing) kundalini that what kundalini actually is has been lost.

As a side note, I get contacted by many people, and as I mentioned Kundalini awakenings are very easy to spot. Basically they are like having a huge fireball in your energy field (this happens even if you do not have a heat-oriented Kundalini awakening). I have regularly had people contact me who are powerful channels, high-level empaths, and/or have a variety of beautiful, special gifts that could be nurtured and developed to profound effect. But some of them really want to believe they are experiencing Kundalini– because it has entered our cultural grids (those middle layers I talked about) as the most intense, advanced, spiritual experience, and fulfills the cultural need for ego-based spiritual competition. Kundalini awakenings are quite intense, by the way. They are certainly not the only intense spiritual experience… they are just the only one people know about. Some of them have disregarded anything I had to say to them about what kundalini is, what a kundalini awakening actually looks like and feels like, because they wanted to believe that they had or were experiencing one. The irony of this, of course, is that their awakenings (if they were willing to understand what was going on) were beautiful, and wonderful, and meant specifically for them. But most of them will not continue awakening because they prefer the illusion.

There is a huge mythology in the “awakening” community that enlightenment is the end point, the peak experience, the most “advanced” you can be. It is sold as such– that once you do become awakened your life will be perfect, you will be rich, beautiful, and svelte. Becoming awakened is actually the end… the end of seeking… but it is the beginning of true understanding. No matter how “awakened” you are, how far and wide kundalini flows through you… there will always be someone better, faster, more awake, more aware, differently awake, etc. than you. Realizing this takes you out of that spiritual competitive mode, and that idea that you can purchase enlightenment.

Real awakening creates humility… a realization of how small and unimportant you really are. The aspirational community hates to hear this, because most of us come to spirituality to fill a sort of emptiness, a void of not feeling or sensing our own divinity and hunger to merge with divinity. Most people come to spirituality to feel big, to feel important, to recognize the Self as God. This certainly is true… we are all divine… we all are aspects of divinity… but we are also very small. I mention this because it is again a specific phase to look for in the awakening community– if the teacher does not show this or recognize this directly they are not as enlightened as they claim.

It is of vital importance to realize that becoming awake, enlightened, or having a kundalini awakening is not something that can be purchased simply because you want it. We can and should all become more awakened– meditating, doing yoga, reading, learning, visiting teachers and workshops. Meditating daily will change the life of anyone astronomically. But there are many things that are not under our direct control– despite what aspirational teachers and gurus want you to believe. Becoming a spiritual worker/shaman is one, becoming enlightened is one, having a kundalini awakening is one. We all have a spiritual path here. We can all consciously work to become less traumatized, to open our minds, our hearts, and our belief systems. We can consciously create compassion for one another, to hold multiple viewpoints and understand where they are coming from even if they are not in line with our own. But we should be happy with who and what we are. No need to aspire, no need to compete, no need to be the guru down the block. Real spiritual awakening is becoming as much and as fully who we are as we are able to within our lifetime. Discover who you are as an individual, be compassionate and love yourself, and realize that most of the books, the gurus, and the aspirational material out there is an illusion based on the ego-based, spiritually competitive and unrealized notion that kundalini or enlightenment can be bought and sold like a used car.

By the way, I do realize that it sounds contrary that I do work with people (yes, for a sliding scale fee) who are experiencing spiritual awakening, kundalini, and so forth. When we are awakening, especially when we are going through an intense awakening, we can all use tools to help us, understandings of what exactly is happening, and healing to help us work through the layers that are coming up. That is what I offer. My appointments are based on people currently having these experiences (non-aspirational) and are struggling with some element (or many elements) of it. I do so in an honest, ethical, and straight-forward manner and simply do not take people on who contact me that I am unable to help (for whatever reason) for any of my services. You can read more about my ethical practices that I abide by in my practice here

Ethics in Mediumship and Channeling

Although typically in my blog I make a specific point to not call out individuals, there is on ongoing trend in modern psychic communities to “channel” famous (or not-so-famous) historical figures, politicians, and people from the recent or not-so-distant past.

Although I have met some and worked with some incredible channels in my day, and very much believe in the phenomena due to direct experience, I very much doubt the validity of many of these channels. There are also considerable ethical issues with many of them who choose to “channel” anyone from Hitler to former POW’s to children or others who have been caught in a natural disaster.

If you are channeling something/someone from Galaxica 5 (yes, I made this up) you can choose to believe them or their message. They do not have friends, family, loved ones, and people who have been affected by their stories or their lives. But when you are claiming to channel Hitler, for example, and claiming that he is now all “love and light” and filled with compassion and understanding complete with messages for the universe about the “positive effects” he had due to what he perpetrated on earth, it is obnoxious. More than that, it is morally wrong.

The dead are not different than us, especially if they are still at a point where they are retaining their individual identities. When we die we retain many of the same qualities that we had on Earth. Any real medium or spiritual worker that I have met agrees with this point. If we died and were a 17 year old high school drop-out drug addict, we are not going to start quoting Osho. If we cling to material possessions and/or a religious fervor in life, we are like that in death. There is this grand illusion that once we die, perpetrated by common religious systems, that we all turn into love and light and can tell our loved ones about the depths of the universe.

It is understandable we want to believe this. Death is scary to most of us… life is scary to  most of us… and if we believe that there are people who can and do get messages from even the most difficult, despicable, souls, or the souls that have had the hardest life on earth that are all about forgiveness, light, and love, that makes us a bit less afraid about our own inevitable death.

If we are “channeling” messages from a loved one who is hearing multiple apologies and exactly what they need to hear in their grief-stricken state from their dead loved one, it is likely that they are deeply traumatized and have disassociated from the experience due to trauma that was too overwhelming, cultivating a sub-personality or it is something that is self-created to tell them exactly what they need to hear in that overwhelmed, grief-stricken state.

This is how most “mediums” and “channels” operate. They rarely have real abilities. The catch to this is that most of the people who go to mediums to talk to their loved ones do not really want to actually hear from their loved ones. They want a story constructed of forgiveness, of love, and of how they are safe and in a wonderful place. I have mixed feelings about this, because many of these stories can create comfort for the loved on who desperately needs to hear that their deceased loved one has forgiven them, has moved on, and is full of love and light. This illusion can be deeply comforting, healing, and exactly what the living need to hear to reconcile part of their grief.

But it is not actual mediumship or channeling. When a deceased loved one actually appears, they are likely to give specific messages that only the person seeking them can relate to, have the same personality in death as they did in life, and may actually need something from the medium or their loved ones in order to cross over. Real mediumship can be quite difficult, and often is not filled with the sort of awe-encompassing messages that we see from mediums on tv or in the media. This is because we really want that illusion of our loved ones suddenly being Einstein, and even the most difficult lives being transformed into utter bliss. Death is certainly freeing, but if we work through our fears about it and our needs for it to be a certain way, we will be more comfortable without the often elaborate illusions that we have set for ourselves about it and that are perpetrated by other “mediums” and “channels” that prey on our fears and needs… and often their own delusions and psychological needs relating to the same fears.

But let us also talk more about the ethics of this. Even if you are channeling a famous murder victim, Hitler, your own child, or someone on the news, why are you not questioning yourself as to the veracity of this information? Why are you so important that this information needs to get out to popular media? Why should this equal you having a Youtube channel, a book, or telling hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people about this? 

Unless you are an extremely advanced channel or medium (this is extraordinarily rare) you cannot know without question that what and who you are channeling is 100 percent accurate. Everything that is channeled is filtered through our own beliefs, our own illusions, and our own needs. If we see a news report about a famous person who has just died and who is all over the news and suddenly we are “channeling them” ethically we need to question if we are right, if we are valid, and if we are just in this information getting out there, whether it is real or not. Because if this information does get out there, the situation becomes energetically focused on us… instead of who it should be… the deceased, their family, and their loved ones.

Also, when someone channels someone who has affected many lives, are those lives considered at all when the “channel” is relating messages? We live real, physical lives on Earth… complete with emotions, relationships, and personal and cultural histories. When someone is claiming to channel a famous veteran who was killed in combat, they are often not considering anyone other than themselves. They certainly are not considering if the friends, family, and those affected would be open or need to hear this type of information. It is also interesting that many of these “channels” never channel anything that has not been on national news or is part of our national history. They channel controversial and popular figures to build up notoriety. Most real channels I have met channel a specific person or group. Most real mediums I have met encounter thousands of dead people on a daily if not weekly basis, many of whom nobody has heard of.

It is always funny to me that when people relate “past lives” that they are always someone like Cleopatra, when they have a “spirit guide” it is always Native American, and when they “channel” it is always someone well known. If we consider this logically, there are millions of spirits and past incarnations out there. Many channels and mediums (that I do not have doubts about) work with a variety of beings, energies, and spirits of all sorts. Most real channels and mediums are they types to ethically consider the ramifications of their work, the energetics of their work, and the veracity of their work. They have enough energetic and spiritual awareness and sensitivity to constantly question themselves, to question if what and who they are working with is real (vs. something they have self-created due to seeing a news report or their own needs or wants for notoriety, from trauma or personal emotional needs), and what the impact of relating specific information will be like to a general public that does not have the spiritual abilities or awareness that they have cultivated. Basically, if they do channel Hitler, they will likely shut up about it (and seriously- Hitler?)

It is important for all of us to question what we see popularized in media, social networks, and in literature when people claim spiritual experiences or to have spiritual abilities. Is what they are saying logical? Does it hit our personal “gut instinct” as being right and true? Could there be other underlying reasons why this person is claiming that they are channeling something? These are all questions that we need to consider. The spiritual is not illogical.

Let us also consider our own needs and issues when we want to go to a medium or channel (or listen to them, buy their books, etc). Do we really need to believe what they are saying? Why? Do we acknowledge our own fear of death? What would happen if we let go of that fear or worked through it? What would happen if we let go of our cosmology (just even a little bit) that is based out of fear and a real need for anyone in death to become suddenly much more intelligent, capable, spiritual, eloquent, kind, filled with love, and more beautiful?

If we look at the channel or medium it is also true that if we are in any way sensitive we will notice a palpable change in them when they are channeling. If you are able to view them are they filled with a different sort of energy than before? Are their facial features different? Is their personality different? No matter what type of medium (some people are more physical than others) and no matter what they are channeling or bringing across, there will be some sort of noticeable, palpable change in them… one that also when we check in with our gut instinct (our inherent sense of knowing) seems real and not contrived.

There are real mediums and channels out there. There are sensitives of all sorts, people with psychic abilities of all sorts. When I begin to talk about problems that appear in communities like this, it is natural for people who want to believe in anything and everything to say that I am not a believer, or am angry, or I don’t understand. These are all common ways to not process or consider what I am saying because you do not wish to or are not ready to. I get that, and people are where they are. This is also a complex issues, as I do not think that the “fake” mediums out there who tell loved ones that their family member is charming and safe and forgives them (or whatever else the family member needs to hear) are creating more harm than good. It can be deeply healing to hear from someone with purported psychic abilities that their loved one is healed, healthy, and filled with love and forgiveness.

But the point remains that we need to consider, in a logical manner, what is real and what is creating more illusion. What we want to believe based on our own trauma and psychology and what would happen to that belief if we healed that trauma. What would happen if we healed our fear of death? What would happen if we approached spiritual work and spiritual experiences as logically as we did going to the grocery store or doing our laundry? 

If we are a medium or channel, considering what we need to hear and what we may be self-creating vs. what is actually coming through is of vital importance. We may really need to hear that nothing and nobody is evil and that Hitler is picking posies in a field somewhere filled with love and compassion. That is likely our own stuff and our own needs for the universe creating illusions. More than that, we need to consider the ethics of what we relate to the general public. If we are “channeling” a well-known celebrity or person that has met a tragic death recently on the news, are we relating this to be of service? Or are we doing this to add to our own notoriety or needs for attention? There is no such thing as 100 percent trusting anything that is coming across to us. We can be fairly certain, but as sensitives, even if we see a giant neon sign about the head of someone that says CANCER!!!!! it could be a metaphorical cancer, it could be actual cancer, it could be something that we need to be paying attention to in ourselves. The point is that we can never be 100 percent sure. Everything is filtered through our own perceptions, and ethically we need to consider that, and consider the effects of the information we relay in the “mundane” (our ordinary reality- the one we all live in) before we relay it.

The Energetics of Facebook Part 2: Gurus

A few weeks ago I wrote Part One of this series (which you can access here) which went over the basic energies of Facebook and the typical Facebook user. Very basically, when we use technology we are living from the neck up, meaning that who we are vitally as people and who we then project or create an illusion of ourselves being on Facebook are two separate things. This disconnect also means that our “shadow” selves, meaning that the anger, bitterness, and general animosity that is pervasive in so many of our lives, and that we choose to ignore or not deal with, comes out full force because it does not have the typical filters that come with the physical form.

Some of the most interesting dynamics I have encountered are by Facebook “gurus”– people who have designated themselves as spiritual teachers, some with a fairly large following.

It is a natural progression on any path, spiritual or not, to become a teacher or mentor at some point to others. Specifically spiritual teachers have typically had a great deal of trauma, pain, and imbalances in their lives. These issues and traumas have taught us a great deal, made us more sensitive, and allowed for us to really hold space and understand where others who have been traumatized similarly, are coming from.

This is actually in its natural state a beautiful process. The teacher or “spiritual” sort works through their trauma, lets go of identification with it, the chaotic energy behind it, and the belief systems that have been created by it, and so can recognize and help others work through that same, or similar states. When you are able to recognize and work with a teacher or healer who has walked the path of the “wounded healer” and has come out the other side there can be very deep and transformative work that happens. They are able to hold space, or witness, your transformation without agenda and without inserting themselves or their issues into the equation.

But this rarely happens, especially with Facebook “gurus”. Most of the Facebook gurus I see are still actively living out their traumas and subsequent belief systems that have been created by them. They are still in a place of creating drama or are putting on a mask of being “enlightened” while at the same time participating in and creating drama and chaos. Trauma is chaos. When someone is still engaged with it their life will be chaotic and they will willingly participate in chaos.Their followers will on some level understand this and be drawn to this Guru because they wish to participate in the chaotic and often negative energies that this person provides time and again. This is not to say that shit doesn’t happen in all of our lives, even if we are not trapped in a cycle of chaos. But our reactions are different when we have risen above and walked through our traumas. We no longer are part of the energies of the chaos and can witness them rather than amplifying them. We are in a place of quiet examination rather than negativity, emotion, and chaos (yes, I am using that word a lot, because it is how the energy of trauma presents).

So the Facebook guru posts endless facts about what abuse they have suffered, how their lives have been awful, along with pictures of themselves and quotes from themselves in an attempt to gain attention and to satisfy their need for energy from their followers to alleviate their own trauma energy. Again, I am not saying that someone should not post pictures of themselves, or that the sharing of their lives is somehow wrong. But the endless stream of narcissistic pictures, quotes and memes with their names at the bottom that they have created, and the endless loop of reveals about the abuse, trauma, and darkness (from an emotional and not a quiet reflective place made to assist others through that some process instead of satisfying their own energy that comes with revealing something like that) that they have endured shows that they are still fully engaged in their own issues. This means that they do not really have space in their lives to help others, are not really in a place to teach, and is also engaging a dynamic in which they are essentially energy vampires, needing energy and attention from their followers. The posts are about them, basically, and their needs. For energy, for attention, for chaos, for drama. A Spiritual Teacher should be at the point to help you walk through your own personal hell– not to introduce you to the flames of theirs.

Let me explain this last part because it is important. When you are friends with someone it is supposed to be an equal exchange of energy (it rarely is, but let us pretend). When someone is a spiritual teacher they are supposed to be far enough away from their own stuff that they can provide insight and allow space so that their students can transform without the teacher needing anything from them. This is a big deal. Most spiritual teachers I see on Facebook are actively engaged in cording and taking energy from their students and followers. They are still deeply engaged in trauma patterns which create a need and craving for attention. This creates a loop in which the teacher is not feeling well and will begin to post flattering pictures of themselves to get compliments or horror stories in which they reveal their past to get responses. Some spiritual teachers will also engage in arguments or create chaos within their followers for the purpose of feeding on energy as well.

Although this sounds a bit harsh, it is simply what happens. There are wonderful spiritual teachers out there who are far away enough from their own issues that they can hold space for your own… without any agenda on their part. There are wonderful spiritual teachers out there who have been to hell and back, or survived things that would make most people traumatized for their entire lifetimes and have seen the other side and have worked through the trauma so it no longer has no resonance. Most of the “Spiritual Teachers” out there, however are not of this ilk. They are actively feeding on the energy of their followers because they are traumatized and have not worked through that trauma. Many of them do this unconsciously, posting pictures and quotes and creating drama and chaos and negativity without realizing that they are doing it to feed on the energy of their followers. Many spiritual teachers do not realize that their students or followers are a reflection of themselves– and if there is a great deal of discord, animosity, anger, and issues within their students that the dynamics of their “group” is a direct reflection of their own emotional state and issues they have not yet worked through.

However, some teachers do this very actively and with purpose. This is somewhat rare, but a few teachers out there (this is rare for the Facebook guru, but it happens) will specifically cord and create energetic structures (and all sorts of complex contracts and weird alliances we will not discuss here) for the explicit purpose of draining energy from their students in order to receive power. It is rare that the “Facebook guru” knows how to do this– most of them have very, very little power, or concept or connection to their own power, otherwise they wouldn’t need to feed and create issues like they do.  But it is worth a mention because it is out there. I do work with this… so if you have participated with a group, guru, or school/organization that you feel weird about, or like your energy was taken (or still is being taken), you can contact me and we can release any ties you have to them.

In Part Three of The Energetics of Facebook I will examine group dynamics. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

Spiritual Awakening and Eating Meat

There is a pervasive myth in the “awakening” community that in order to become awake, enlightened (or insert word here) that it is essential to not eat any sort of meat. Many in this community take it a step further and publicly denounce others who eat meat, judging them as being barbaric if they are not a raw vegan.

This is a belief that can be transcended to allow for greater awakening. What does this mean? When we hold onto any belief tightly, no matter how “right” we believe we are, and judge others for not following our path and choices we are creating a cage for ourselves out of that belief. We are imprisoning ourselves. When we hold a belief to this extent we are in a state of cognitive dissonance, meaning that any evidence that does not support your claims (that you can be awakened and eat meat, or that the amount of judgement that comes with the belief that you must not eat meat and the superiority complex that comes with it may actually be more harmful to you energetically than eating meat) is not processed or even heard.

This is one of the biggest illusions in the awakening/spiritual community. Dietary changes are necessary when awakening. Foods with chemicals, heavy foods, eating a great amount at one time, eating for emotional and spiritual purposes, and eating meat may all have to be deeply considered by the individual. Those of us going through Kundalini or other intense spiritual awakenings may find ourselves unable to eat anything, or very much beyond simple foods like rice. Many of us going through awakenings may find ourselves questioning the portion size (of the American diet in particular) and our go-to foods in times of stress. Others may find themselves ravenously hungry for meats, breads, cheeses, sweets and other heavy foods to anchor ourselves, for energy, or as a coping mechanism for the trauma that is created by awakening.

Many of us may be unable to eat meat, or will make more conscious meat choices. For some of us this may extend to being unable to process anything that comes from animals. Many of us may find that we cannot process endogenous hormones and have to buy grass-fed or local animal products. Many of us may find that we desire less meat and eat it much less regularly.

But these are all individual choices. They are based on what our body can process, not our belief system. There is a difference. I would love to eat chocolate every day. I have a sweet tooth that is legendary. As I began awakening I noticed that I craved more sweets to self-soothe. It was a long-standing belief structure and psychological mechanism to anesthetize myself. As I awakened further my body no longer processed sweets. I could no longer eat ice cream, then as much chocolate, and sweets overall started tasting too sweet for me. Then I began examining the psychological mechanisms that created the belief structure that sweets were helpful for specific emotions. When I was ready my body slowly cut down on the amount of sweets that I craved and felt I needed. I still enjoy sweets- just not to the extent and not for the same reasons I once did.

Belief systems work differently in this regard. If we have ethical issues with eating meat, that is understandable. But typically in the awakening process it is not an ethical issue but an inability to process the energy or vibration of the material coming into our bodies that is the issue. And if we harbor hate, violence, and animosity towards anyone else for their food choices, or maintain a superiority complex about our food choices, that quite simply is not an awakened state. It is certainly true that many “awakened” individuals may not eat meat. But it is not an imprisoning belief, and generally it is understood that people are where they are in their lives (even if it is at a McDonald’s).

The belief that one cannot or should not eat meat is a belief that should be looked at and transcended like any other. Once you have transcended this belief you can understand that everything is vitally alive- everything has spirit. Every animal, vegetable, plant, even the air we breathe has spirit. If we are still in a place of looking down at others, judging them for their choices regarding meat (or anything else) we will remain static in our belief systems. We will not progress any further. At some level we will understand that we are blocked and will develop animosity towards others as a reflection of our own stuckness. When we do what is right for us and understand that people are where they are on their journey we can transcend. When we lose that sense of superiority that our choices are “right” and everyone else is “wrong” we can open ourselves up to new knowledge and understandings that may be further of the path we are on or an entirely new path altogether. When we stop branding ourselves as being a certain way (vegan, vegetarian, raw) we can stop holding that belief so tightly that creates further illusions and separation so we can actually awaken.

So I invite you to look at your individual beliefs. Look at how you have labeled yourself. As an individual understand how specific foods, like meat affect you. Ask your body how they affect you. Notice how you feel after you eat them. Let go of the illusions of the “awakening” community, the superiority complexes, the labels, the memes, whatever illusions food companies and society (even spiritual communities) want for us. Awakening is an individual path. Be thankful for the food you take in. Give thanks for it. Allow for yourself to stop being imprisoned by food, by diet, and notice the pure, sensual, experience of it. A grape can be bliss if we allow it.

The Money Thing: Money and the Spiritual Path

When I go on Facebook (which is less and less these days) and go into the groups I am part of, there invariably is some sort of argument going on about money. Mostly the argument is that if you are “spiritual” or offer spiritual or shamanic services you should not accept money for said services. In fact, you are an asshole if you do, and stomping on tradition… you are a fake, a fraud, and karma will come back to you. The follow-up is usually an idealized whitewashed idea about how indigenous shamans did business, which invariably incites an argument about what constitutes a shaman, and how many of them are fakes and phonies and terrible, awful people.

This idea is evidenced by some of the people that contact me as well. Invariably someone will contact me with a situation that is quite complex- involving anything from possession to ancestral issues who expects me to spend my time reading their emails, doing healing work for them, and replying to them for free. Usually this is the same person who will get quite mad that I charge for my services and will repeat the arguments above, along with the sentiment that if I know how to help them, why don’t I?

A few facts for you about this scenario…

Shamans were typically considered very well off by indigenous standards. They were gifted food, items, livestock, and typically lived on a large compound with their family and extended family. They were cared for well, because their jobs were extremely hard and being a shaman was, and still is, extremely dangerous.

It goes without saying (but I will say it anyway) that we no longer live in communities such as indigenous shaman did. Modern-day spiritual providers need to go to the grocery store, feed their kids, pay their rent… just like everyone else.

People who are spiritual healers, shaman, etc. cannot do anything else with their lives. They can no longer be accountants, or work a 9-5 job. The pull for those who are called to this work is so strong and the consequences are so horrific that there is no choice but to follow the path that you are called to.

Now that we have gone beyond the cultural ideas surrounding this, let us talk about the individual reasons why I accept money for my services…

Beyond needing to feed, clothe, and pay the rent reasoning (which is a surface reason, but still a reality) money is an energetic exchange. It is not evil (or good), but it is how we value things in our society. The type of patient who comes to me, pays the fees I charge, does the homework I provide, and is open to change is the one that has a huge healing session and gets the most out of the work. The patient who feels entitled to ask me for healing sessions for free has no reason to show up for the work. And they do not. I used to offer pro bono work- it never went well. These were the patients who were late for appointments, tried to control the work, and were ungrateful overall… and the work simply was not as powerful. They put nothing into the appointment- so they got nothing out.

The other type of patient that asks providers such as myself for free work is typically complex and has mental illness issues. I am certainly comfortable working with mental illness, but spiritual work tends to attract psychopaths, schizophrenics, and borderline personality types who most ethical practitioner would not choose to work with due to the state of their imbalances.

One of the simplest explanations about why I, and other healers, accept money is that we offer a service. Dentists, doctors, plumbers, librarians, artists, writers… are all professions who offer services. Spiritual healers do as well. By suggesting that they do not accept money, or it is wrong for them to do so, is suggesting that either their job is not important or that the spiritual level of existence is not. Many spiritual healers get the last-ditch effort patients- the people who have spent thousands if not millions on psychotherapy, medication, and all sorts of tapes, books and personal efforts to solve their issues. Someone does not show up to someone like me unless they have tried countless other healers. By paying money, you are showing respect to your own healing process and acknowledging that the spiritual aspect of yourself is important.

Beyond this, a single appointment (or a few) with a Spiritual Healer can change your life. I frequently work with people who have been in therapy for years, if not decades. People who have been through the Mayo clinic for experiences they can’t explain, who have been through acupuncturists, chiropractors, medical intuitives, allopathic physicans, medications, ER’s/hospitals, (you catch my drift) and they come to a Shaman or Spiritual Healer. Because they work with a level (or levels) of reality and a depth that few modalities or healers can touch, Spiritual Healing can heal things that nobody else can. I once had someone joke that an appointment with me was like a year of psychotherapy. The same is true for most effective spiritual healers- it is intensive, life-altering work. It is intense for the giver and the receiver and should be respected. In modern culture, this is through money- ensuring that the provider is taken care of in the outer, external world of car insurance, groceries, and rent.

One of the arguments that I hear often is that if you don’t charge, and are “spiritual” the money will just come. Divine flow, the universe, God/dess will bring it to you. This is certainly true if you follow the path you are intended to. However, there is a joke one of my patients told me- hopefully I don’t screw it up… A man was lost at sea. He repeatedly called for God to come help him. A floating raft appeared- the man did not take it because he was waiting for God. A ship appeared and offered to bring him on board. The man said he was waiting for God to help him. Finally, the man drowned. When he appeared before God, he asked why God did not help him. God said “I sent you a raft and those people!” This is true about money and being a spiritual healer as well. The right patients at the right times will appear to you. And they will provide you with money. And you will pay your rent.

A few thoughts about how a Spiritual Healer actually works

Many people make the argument that if you are a spiritual healer that you will be doing work like this anyway. Why not help someone? The truth is, most single appointments that I do with people take around a week. They take supplies- such as candles, herbs, etc that cost money. But mostly they take time and energy. A single appointment may take anywhere from two hours to fifteen, depending on the prepatory work and after-work that I need to do. I have spent years cultivating spiritual relationships with my helpers. Appointments require energy and considerable energetic exchange between myself, my helpers, and the patient. This is for one patient and one single appointment.

I, as well as many other ethical Spiritual Healers, do not accept all patients. This is certainly true. Even if someone wants to pay me more than my full fee, or begs for me to work with them. Why is this? Some people my spirit helpers tell me not to work with, some people are simply too mentally ill to work with, and some are out of my area of expertise (I refer this last category typically). Most patients are simply not ready- they are not ready to heal, to let go of control, to go through a period of healing, to change.

So, let us break this down…In a week, I might get one hundred emails. Sixty of them want me to help them without paying me anything, or to answer questions about their issues, or are submitting questions for my blog. Thirty of them are not a good fit for me- either due to mental illness or not being ready for the type of work I do. This leaves ten people who might realistically want and be ready to work, some of whom understandably need to think about the considerable commitment energetically and financially that an appointment will require. While I am thankful for my busy practice, sorting through everything to find the people I can actually help, who actually want help, and who are ready to change is fewer than you think and takes longer than one might think. While I certainly appreciate every email that I get, the reality of the situation is that since I only work with people who are ready and willing to receive help, much of my time is spent with people who are not ready for my help. This is true of every single spiritual healer I have talked to (as well as every acupuncturist, psychiatrist, etc).

So, what is the point here?

The point of this blog post is not to participate in the endless argument about spiritual healers and money. Money is simply an energy. It should not inspire anger, or fear. The idea that “spiritual people should not need or accept money” is really saying money is wrong and bad, and that money is something that someone who is truly spiritual doesn’t need or will magically appear. The truth is, if you are a spiritual healer, money does magically appear. In the form of patients you can help, in the form of a service for payment. This sentiment, that spiritual healers should not accept or need money, and are terrible people if they do, is simply a thoughtform. A thoughtform is a communal thought. In this case, it is like a bad game of telephone- people with a misunderstanding of how things worked with indigenous healer plus pop culture New-age Shamanism plus anger and fear equals this thought. And this thought doesn’t really make sense.

This thought is also a projection. If you are getting angry over money, or fear it, or are judging others for receiving it, having it, not having it… whatever the case may be… ultimately it points to your own unhealed wounds about money, not whoever you are projecting this on. What you see in others is your own unhealed wounds– and in this case it points to your own spiritual issues and money. Heal your own relationship with money, and you will realize that money is a current of energy- it either flows or it does not. And nobody is entitled to healing from anyone. If you cannot heal yourself, it is time to pay someone for their time, energy, and abilities.

 

Spiritual Advice Column: Permission to do Energy Work

Mary-

our guitar player got mad at me tonight for channeling someone’s pain
away into my body where I can give it back out to ocean because I didn’t ask
permission to do so??? Then she sent me your link..and I read what you said
about wrong uses of energy transfer…but I’m simply taking pain away…like
via magnetic intentionality…is that wrong to do without explicit
permission from the person I am healing???

John

John-

Although it sounds like you had wonderful intentions, unless you had her permission ethically it was not the correct thing to do. People have pain for a reason, and it is their job to figure out why that is, and to experience it. By taking it away, you may have stopped an experience they were likely supposed to have or a lesson they were to learn.

You can simply ask for permission from someone to do what you are doing. That way they are aware of it and can say yes or no. Most people, naturally, say yes. If you want to be more interactive with it without asking them, you can utilize something like Ho’oponopono where you heal the part of yourself that resonates or has created that person. You can do this by simply saying internally to yourself “I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you” for the part of you that created or wants to interfere with her pain.

If you are an empath or are physically or emotionally feeling their pain I always suggest to people to say thank you (internally) for the information, but that I do not need to feel their pain. Then it usually goes away.

Mary

P.S. Here is the original article on ethics here and the second article on ethics here

Interested in submitting to the Spiritual Advice column? Contact me here with the heading “Spiritual Advice”. Please note that I am not an allopathic physician or psychiatrist, and my advice is not intended as substitution for the advice of those professionals. I reserve the right to edit emails for clarity.

Mary Shutan L.Ac, CST-D, CZB, ABT offers readings, services and programs for people undergoing Spiritual Awakening issues, including Kundalini syndrome, as well as for people dealing with psychic abilities. You may contact her to set up a consultation for an appointment or go here for information on readings.

Ethics in Spiritual Healing, Reiki & Energy Work contd.

I have gotten some recent feedback for my last post on Ethics in Spiritual Healing, Reiki & Energy Work. Most of it positive, some negative, but a lot of interest in the concept of Ethics in this field. I have answered to the best of my abilities below some of the questions I have received.

What do you do if you see someone obviously in pain or suffering and want to give them Reiki?
What I do in this situation is ask their permission verbally. Often I do this simply and ask for their names, strike up a small conversation, and offer to either send them Reiki if they seem open to it, or ask if it is okay to send them your prayers. Although prayers and Reiki do have some differences, they are both guided energies, and people are generally more open to being on a prayer list.

What if I see something really bad, like cancer, in someone? Wouldn’t they want to know?
Generally I don’t advise walking around “reading” people- it is bad form. But if you are sensitive, clairvoyant, psychic, whatever, you will naturally notice things that most people don’t in others around you- diseases, patterns, thoughts, inner truths. First of all, what you need to understand is that you are viewing the universe through your perceptual lens- even if you are a powerful clairvoyant and you see the word CANCER in big bold neon lights above someone’s head it doesn’t mean that they actually have cancer. Also, why is it your job to tell them? Why you? What makes you important enough to walk around telling people what their truth is, what their lives are about, what their patterns are, how to fix them? Basically, the short answer to this question is don’t tell them. It is not your job, and chances are they wouldn’t take it well.

What if someone is in a coma or you can’t ask them but you want to help?
In the case of not being able to ask them verbally, you can ask their higher self. To do this, you need to make sure your ego is in check. I have had a few coma patients say no. You need to make absolutely sure that you are not doing this for any of your own reasons (ego, wanting to feel helpful, wanting to see what working with a coma patient is like, etc) before you proceed. If you are unable to do this, don’t do it.

I have people bring in their spouse/significant other/child for treatment. They say it is okay, but their higher self says “NO”
This is an interesting one. This has actually happened quite a bit to me- where a loving and Reiki or Shamanic Healing minded person has brought me their spouse, family member, friend for healing and they really don’t want to be there. They verbally say “yes” but when asking their higher self, the answer is clearly “NO!”. If this happens, and you do other work (like massage) you can offer to do that work instead. Otherwise I tell them simply that this work may not be right for them, and suggest a healing modality that would be better for them, and refer them out. I then typically offer to treat the person who sent them in the first place- because chances are they are more open and ready, and likely need some healing themselves if they are trying to corral a friend or loved one into an appointment with me. Plus, we have cords and all sorts of ties to our friends and loved ones, so if we are doing better, they are generally doing better also.

When I see a news report of something awful happening I want to help. How can I help if I am a Reiki practitioner?
If you are local in the area, the best thing you can do is often to be of physical assistance or financial assistance. Find out if there are groups going to the site where people who want healing can come for free. If you are not local, or are too sensitive to be “in the thick” of the situation, there are several things you can do:

• Volunteer or offer work to a charity or organization around you. Yes, it is not the “flavor of the month” disaster or what is currently being played on the news. But it gives you the opportunity to serve your fellow human, and to make the world a brighter, lovelier place.

• Work on yourself. There, I said it. The world is a reflection of us. If we work on ourselves, the whole world changes. What have you not healed? Who can you forgive? What can you let go of? Often we look outside of ourselves when the journey should be within. I know from my personal journey that the more I work on myself, the more my view of the world changes. The more you are healed, the less depression, desperation and emptiness come up when something horrible happens in the news.

• Send energy to the world as a whole. Some people have mixed feelings about this, but instead of picking a target, how about spreading the love around to everyone? Picture the entire globe, allow yourself to fill with light, and fill the globe with that light. It will go where it needs to.

How can I make sure my ego is not involved when I am doing Energy Work?
The ego is a tricky thing. As much as current New Age material tells us that destruction of the ego is what is needed, what is actually needed is a healthy, happy ego (hmmmm another blog post). A happy, healthy ego can tell us if we are doing something because of our stuff, or because of someone else. But since this is difficult, and a happy, healthy ego is a rare commodity it seems, you can set up a sort of fail-safe. You can do this by setting up with whatever sort of spiritual support you work with to block you in a specific way. I have set up a specific symbol that shows up when I am doing something that is not ethical or I may want to rethink, and then I stop. Other ways include a specific animal showing up, a sound, or another visual. One of my patients set up a smell. When you see/smell/hear this, you stop. This is obviously set up as a secondary measure, not a primary measure (meaning use the other methods first!)

Hope that answers all or most of your questions! Thanks for the feedback!

Mary Shutan L.Ac, CST-D, CZB, ABT offers readings, services and programs for people undergoing Spiritual Awakening issues, including Kundalini syndrome, as well as for people dealing with psychic abilities. You may contact her to set up a consultation for an appointment or go here for information on readings.

Ethics in Spiritual Healing, Reiki & Energy Work

When I attended a workshop a few months ago, I sat next to a woman who took one look at me and told me rather rudely that my crystal was “dirty” and it needed cleaning, and how and with what I should do this. She then said “Sorry” without meaning it, and sat back in her seat. At first I was angry at her- this was before we had established any sort of rapport and we hadn’t done much besides for exchange names.

When I took a step back from the situation, I realized that she was simply angry and rude with the world- she was going through some difficult life experiences and since I was a relatively calm person she wanted to entrain me into her world of anger and hurt. Reflecting even more, I realized that she was someone who was feeling out of place at the workshop, and that she was attempting to establish some credibility amongst professionals who had much more experience than her.

And when I stepped back even further from the situation, it got me thinking about ethics in the field of Energy Work. This simply isn’t talked about much- it is left to courtesy and manners that people who are sensitive or trained in energy work don’t go around telling people what their issues are or how to fix them. As Energy Workers, we see so much, but as ethical energy workers, we are not supposed to work without permission or tell people what we see because they may not be ready to hear it, or may not want for others to notice.

I work with and have trained many Reiki practitioners. When a natural disaster happens, plenty of Reiki practitioners “send Reiki” to the site because they believe it to be helpful. Sometimes they do so to specific people they have seen on the news or to the entire area. But is sending Reiki to an individual that has not given permission ethical? If you are a powerful energy worker who can work with the concept of the higher self and ask their higher self, the answer is maybe. But since most of us have egos, sending energy to someone who has no knowledge of it and did not request it is not typically ethical.

And what of sending energy to that whole disaster site? Plenty of us were doing this for the tornadoes in Oklahoma, or the Boston bombings. Sending energy to those sites is a lovely concept, but what sort of energy are you sending? Are you sending in your fears? Your obsessive energy? Energy that is unstable or based off a sense of ego- you feel unsafe and want to do something about a situation that you have no control over? Sending Reiki or energy to these sites can be a good thing, if your energy is stable, clear, and you are able to understand when not to intervene if something larger and more spiritual is going on. During these situations though, I have seen time and again that many energy workers are cording themselves to the situation and become tethered to it- becoming obsessive, fearful, constantly feeling in their own body what is going on with the situation. They are then reflecting this energy back through the cord to a situation that does not need any more fear, chaos, or heightened energy.

The next time you “send Reiki” to a person or site, question your ethics, the energy you are sending, and whether you are doing so out of a sense of help or ego. Sending Reiki, reading someone, or working energetically can be a beautiful thing when it is done with permission (ideally in person, or if necessary through the higher self), and with a sense of calm, clear, powerful energy. But often this energy is sent out of feelings of loss- loss of control, uncertainty on a personal level, and is not helpful to the situation. Consider the next time you work energetically if your ethics are impeccable. If they are, proceed. If not, reconsider how you can help the situation or take some time to reflect.