Can there be too much spirituality? Following are 6 examples of too much spirituality, plus a Zen story about how we often lack control in our lives.
1. Osho (“You are in prison and you don’t know it” and Rajhneesh overboard devotees) The Indian Guru Osho transplanted himself to Oregon and was known as Rajhneesh. Worshiping a Guru in excess: How about buying him 93 Rolls Royces over time? If only ½ of this is true, it is startling: The Article in Oregon Live
I have been to his book store in India. (He had written over 90 books, and that may be an understatement). One of the books that Oho wrote is “You Are in Prison And You Think You Are Free”. In the first page of that book someone asks Osho, “Osho, George Gurdjieff has said: ‘You are in prison. If you wish to get out of prison, this first thing you must do is realize that you are in prison. If you think you are free, you can’t escape.’
“What are the prisons that I call home”?
Osho answers in part: “Sometimes he (Gurdjieff) went more deeply into the reality of it, and instead of saying , ‘You are in prison,” he would say, ‘You are the prison.’ “That is more true…..For any seeker of truth, this is something to always remember as one of the first principles.”
Osho further: “Gurdjieff has said that you are in a prison – but you can come to believe that you are not in a prison, that this is your home.” …”Your home are nothing but beautiful prisons – made by you, decorated by you. You think they are protecting you; they are destroying you.”
2. Rosicrucian excess. My brother Louis is captivated by Rosicrucian-ism. That’s ok, but he is “all-in” to the point of it controlling his life. Never starting anything on Mondays (or make decisions on Mondays?). Even when I check in advance, I can’t even call him on the telephone on Mondays. On any other decision, on any day whenever, he checks “the cosmos”. It took Louis over a month to decide on a good day for him to “tag” some belongings, for possible storage, to be taken from his flat in San Francisco, which became unoccupied after he was taken from the Haight-Ashbury flat in an emergency ambulance to The University of California Hospital (Louis is an invalid and is now in a nursing home, and needs to continue to be in a nursing home). After he decided on a good date, we were all pleased and lined up several relatives (traveling hours to get to the flat) to help in the tagging. A day or two before the chosen day, Louis called and said “it won’t work out”. I am sure that was because he re-checked the “cosmos”. It is very disconcerting to negotiate or communicate with a person who can’t make his own decisions, and had to check another mysterious source controlling his life. Even though I class Louis as being Spiritual, he is a good example of too much spirituality.
3. “Sonia” (not her real name) had been a doctor in Yugoslavia. She transferred to Algeria, where she became the doctor for a factory, with over 2000 workers. Or was it 20,000 workers? She moved to San Francisco, and could have become a doctor in California, but had to pass a test. All she had to do was to study a lot for the test. But she became involved in a new age awareness group, and psychic phenomenon. She had dramatic all white hair, I believe dyed, and had a presence that would stand out in any crowd. She had unusual talents- for example, she could through, her mind alone, anesthetize parts of her body in 30 seconds.)
But, alas, that didn’t help her pass the test to become a California physician. She had a fall in a bus, and ended up on welfare.
4. Quote from Thich Nnat Hanh : ”There is a story in Zen circles about a man and a horse. The horse is galloping quickly, and it appears that the man on the horse is going somewhere important. Another man standing alongside the road, shouts, “Where are you going?”and the first man replies, “I don’t know! Ask the horse!” This is also our story. We are riding a horse, and we don’t know where we are going and we can’t stop. The horse is our habit energy pulling us along, and we are powerless.”–In January 1967, the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for that year’s Nobel Peace Prize, stating that he personally knew no one more worthy of receiving the honor.
5. Bonnie, and the “Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East”. Bonnie was (and is) captivated by a 6 volume set by Baird T. Spaulding. So much so she traveled to India and now (2013) lives there. I read part of the volumes and my impression was that it seemed that miracles were reported too frequently to believe. So I did some research, and found that, much to my surprise, it is a work of fiction, and the author Baird Spaulding wrote the first volumes, never having traveled to either India or Tibet, as he claimed. See http://www.bairdtspalding.org/frequently-asked-questions-about-baird-t-spalding/
Who was Baird T Spalding?
Baird Thomas Spalding is the nom de plume of Bayard Spaulding*, an American writer born in 1872 in Cohocton, New York. Spalding self-published Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East in 1924 which told of a fantastic research expedition to India and Tibet in the 1890′s that witnessed masters who could perform miraculous feats, imparting simple spiritual truths in a format which appealed to Western audiences.
Spalding’s first book was republished by DeVorss & Co and became a runaway hit, selling many thousands of copies and leading Spalding on lecture tours across America. Spalding continue to write three more volumes of Life and Teaching, and led a small group of followers to India in 1935. He died in 1953 in Arizona at the age of 80.
Spalding’s books and his publisher say he was born in the 1850′s in England, and his father/grandfather was from India. What’s your source for saying otherwise?
Baird T Spalding’s family history has been published here, taken from authoritative sources such as passport records, the US census and Spaulding family obituaries and they are unequivocal.
Spalding had no family connection to India, but he did have a lifelong penchant for tall tales. The biography and timeline provided in the books and on the DeVorss & Co website is primarily based on those tales and is mostly fictional, just like Spalding’s nom de plume.
Are the books fiction or non-fiction? Did Spalding actually go to India in 1894?
Many readers are disappointed when they learn that Spalding did not go to India in 1894, and there was no research expedition as described in Life and Teaching. Spalding was only 22 years old in 1894, and he spent most of the 1890′s in the Yukon mining for gold. Spalding’s first visit to India was in 1935 at the behest of his publisher, after the release of Life and Teaching Volume 3
6. Orange County real estate star Barbara was a very successful real estate broker in Orange County. She was making $80,000 a year and this was a long time ago. She had a husband and 3 children. Then Lifespring entered her life, big time. Lifespring, an awareness training formed by John Hanley, (who was formerly an instructor for Alexander Everett, the father of the Awareness training. But Lifespring was headquartered and was being taught in San Francisco, and she was living in Orange County.
Barbara left her husband and 3 kids, and her very successful real estate career, and went to San Francisco to become “aware” with further education, mainly through Lifespring seminars. Using her savings, she eventually ran out of money. She borrowed using an expensive mink coat as collateral, and lost the coat because she couldn’t fulfill the loan agreement on the coat.
She borrowed on a second deed of trust on an Orange County residential property, and eventually couldn’t repay the loan, and the lender became the owner of the note and deed of trust, and the lender ended up making a handsome profit on the note. There is nothing wrong with Lifespring other than the powerful pressure tactics to join, harassing the people who attend the free seminar that makes extensive promises how paying the course fee and taking the course, hoping to dramatically change one’s life.
I took the basic and the advanced course of Lifespring, and it was part of changing my life from being an analytic “no woo woo” narrow person to a more spiritual person open to beyond the usual beliefs, but I didn’t have Lifespring change my life completely. What I am emphasizing hopefully is being “spiritual” to an excess that overly restructures your life almost completely is going too far and often ruinous, effecting people around you.
7. Taking the Bible as a spiritual rulebook literally could be classed as too much spirituality.
- a) The Lord considers Sunday to be a holy day and anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death. (Exodus 31:12-15 NLT)
- Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)
- If a girl is proven not to be a virgin on her wedding night the townsmen should stone her to death at the entrance of her father’s house because she committed a crime against Israel. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)
- A man or woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning.
- Gays should be put to death for their abominable deeds. (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)