Because the leader is above us, then an unwritten group rule and group belief is that our spirituality must be of lower quality than the leader's. You cannot outshine the leader and expect to stay in the group no matter what the leader professes about freedom for followers. Because most leaders are themselves pursuing pleasures or success (Stages I or II of spiritual development), this will often subtly encourage followers to generally limit themselves to Stage I. Thus, followers have only the illusion of spiritual freedom.
In any group that has some considerable importance for you, you do not have total freedom if you intend to stay. All groups have rules and boundaries that define the group. In spiritual groups run by a guru, shaman, nagual, or other-person-with-special-spiritual knowledge, the hope for spiritual knowledge and favor with the leader often results in strong attachment and dependence upon the leader. Such leaders often have a clever intuitive feel for meeting followers' neurotic needs for a loving parent and a loving family. I estimate that more than 99% of us have such neurotic needs in at least minor ways. By meeting these old sick needs, leaders keep followers glued and bound to them in the same ways as in the worst type of cults.
Let me give a personal example of the illusion of freedom. I grew up in a family in which I experienced large amounts of physical freedom from about the age of six onwards. At the age of nine, this included the freedom to walk a mile home after midnight from basketball games as well as the freedom to swim unsupervised and alone in a local tidal river. But what were not free were my emotions and my thinking, which I had bound up in the ways that my parents thought I should be. Anger, sexuality, grief and pain were all submerged. I had the illusion of freedom but it was just one type of physical freedom.
© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze
Table of Contents for this Online Spiritual Book
|Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "Do you routinely ignore your body and its signals, as you might ignore a carcass alongside the highway? Is your body dull and lifeless, like a carcass? If so, you may be like many psychotherapy clients who have the mistaken impression that just doing verbal psychotherapy will eventually make them happy."|