Quantity vs. Quality - Size Matters Trap

Excerpt from Chapter 3 - Spiritual Ideas and Choices

It is common, though erroneous in my opinion, for people to judge the quality of spiritual ideas, concepts and beliefs by basing their opinion on size. For them, more books sold indicate a more important spiritual author, more followers implies a more successful better leader, two meditations are superior to one, 50 sacred objects are better than three, a larger altar/sacred-object/labyrinth is more spiritual, and so forth.

For those in Stage I of spiritual development, who are pursuing pleasures, then the size that matters (i.e., how quality is judged) will typically be by how exciting or pleasurable the activity is. They consider:

1. astral plane entities to be very exciting (they rarely recognize how low the quality),
2. powerful energies to be more exciting than calmer higher plane energies,
3. a neurotic ecstatic high to be more important than a small real pleasure,
4. infatuated love to be better than the real thing,
5. the more childish the activity the better, and/or
6. being more anti-authoritarian is juicier.
For those in Stage II of spiritual development pursuing success, then the size that matters (i.e., how they judge quality) will typically be based upon money, power or fame comparisons. What are important for these people are: number of books sold, how many followers there are, how much money the group has in comparison to others, how much fame the group and its leader have, how many different entities have been channeled, how many rituals and ceremonies are used, how powerfully are the energies felt, number of sacred objects possessed, and/or the monetary value of buildings, artifacts and sacred objects.

Success is man's god. Aeschylus, 525-456 B.C.

Theoretically, for those in Stages III and IV of spiritual development pursuing service and freedom from attachment, size should not matter. Usually, however, there are a few leftover Stage II beliefs that cause things to be judged by number of followers/workshops/books, by how much time is devoted to the service, by whether the service is being done correctly, or by how important the service is.

For those in Stage III pursuing service, then the size that matters will be the sense of how well one has done one's duty or has lived up to one's responsibility. Has the service been done well and been successful in terms of helping the world (or whatever community is involved)? In truth, the evaluation of quality will be flawed for those in the first three stages of spiritual development.

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© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze


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Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "Many of us as toddlers learned to threaten a tantrum or tears in the supermarket when denied a favorite food item; this often resulted in our gaining the item. Thus, we learned that we sometimes could get what we wanted by being unhappy."