I had a push to write today, and this is what bubbled up.
Perhaps it has to do with the opportunity to observe more interactions between those who are seeking help from a reader, healer or spiritual teacher and the individuals offering such assistance.
I will start by reminding the reader that this is a touchy area, our spirituality, and that there is only one person who can look out for your well-being: you. If you find yourself in a situation where you are abused or taken advantage of by a healer, psychic, or teacher there is no recourse in most cases. And because you are usually more open in this area of your life, you might also be more vulnerable to such manipulation or unethical behavior by a ‘spiritual authority’ figure.
It’s easy to spot – and stay away from – the psychic that tells you you are cursed and that if you pay them a couple of thousand dollars, they will remove it for you. But what about the less obvious situations? What about the experiences that leave you in turmoil or upset, maybe even frightened or confused?
Remember that this ‘world’ is not filled with people who only have a desire to serve the highest good, or who seek only to uplift and empower others with their work. This field seems to attract many people who have certain (often unrecognized) dysfunctional patterns which actually interfere with their ability to treat clients and colleagues with respect and as equals, or who are perhaps on a power trip. Though they may form only a small percentage of the whole, the damage even a single encounter with such an individual can cause is often long-lasting and devastating.
The most extreme example that comes to mind is the case of self-help guru James Arthur Ray (The Secret) who served 20 months of a two-year sentence for the negligent homicide of three participants at one of his events in Sedona, AZ in 2009. Fifty-six people spent $10,000.- each to attend a five-day ‘retreat’ where some were willing to shave their heads, to endure extreme conditions in the desert, and who followed Ray into a “sweat lodge” (put in quotes because this was definitely not a traditional Native American sweat lodge) where at least 20 of them suffered severe effects that required hospitalization and three of them died. And Ray? Well, he walked out of the sweat lodge where people were suffering and dying and went to his room and took a shower.
After serving 20 months in prison, he is now free, but the families will suffer the loss of their loved ones for the rest of their lives.
What can you do to avoid a bad experience yourself?
Do NOT go “all in” without knowing someone unless your gut clearly tells you so. ALWAYS take the time to do your due diligence. Ask questions. Get referrals from others who have worked with that person. Do not just take at face value their pronouncements about their abilities or training. Get a feel for how the person presents themselves in their work. Pay attention to any physical response you may have to the person, their promotional materials, or their website if they have one.
Your guides and higher guidance will keep you on the right track. You just need to give them room to work with you. When you are reviewing a person’s presentation, if they have ‘issues’, it will broadcast in their materials, their book, website, and in their persona. You have to pay attention to the signals coming at you.
You may not understand it on a conscious level, but your intuition will let you know. You might find yourself feeling that something is a little ‘off’ or that you have a feeling of discomfort or unease. Watch for this. You do not need to have an explanation for your feeling, you only need to pay attention and follow your instincts. Your intuition is alerting you, but your conscious mind has not pinpointed what is ‘wrong’ yet. Trust yourself. You are better off taking a pass, and maybe just watching or waiting or making another choice for yourself that you feel more comfortable with than you would be jumping in with both feet.
To help you with this selection process, here are a few ‘red flags’ that should cause you to run, not walk, in the other direction:
When you hear: “My techniques are better than the other guy’s. I have access to information/guidance that nobody else does. I have special training only available to a select few.” No one person has all the answers and no one modality is a one-stop-shop. No person (except perhaps Jesus or the Buddha) can be all things to all people. Everyone has a connection to Source (including you) and anyone can bring through a ‘new method’. The important thing to remember is to discern whether this method, this person, is the right one for you now.
When a person seeks to invalidate your experience or perceptions, telling you the way you see things is not correct. If this happens often with the same person, this is an indication of emotional abuse, and can be used to keep you off-center and dependent on their ‘work’. A spiritual mentor of any sort should be offering support and encouragement, not making you feel insecure or uncertain about your inner guidance.
Look for the use of the words ‘never’ or ‘always’ or ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’. Any reading or reader or teacher/healer who tells you that there is some sort of deadline or definite time frame for something is not coming from a helpful place. It is often more about their (again often unconscious) control issues. Spirit/God/Source never abandons us, is eternally patient and will not deliver ultimatums.
Does this person allow you to put them on a pedestal? As long as we inhabit a human body, we are not perfected beings for this is the realm of lesson-learning. A person who claims to be perfected or enlightened, especially when this comes with an appearance of being blissed-out (which usually means they are checked out from life) and can indicate a need for adoration or admiration which can interfere with the person’s work, and distort their ability to be clear conduits for Spirit.
We all have faults, experience upset, have weaknesses and shortcomings. Some people are just better at presenting a good front than others. Do not let apparent perfection fool you. Before you submit your energy field to the influence of another, no matter who they are, make certain they have the level of integrity and intention that you are looking for.
Sometimes you can tell what something is by what it isn’t. ~Kenneth Copeland
All original material posted to this site is (c) 2014, Julie Marie. All rights reserved.
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