Reflections on Spiritual Narcissism and Structural Violence in Spiritual Communities and Beyond
With a heavy and full heart, I wish everyone a warm Tibetan New Year. I was practicing all week, and once again reflecting on all of the deeply traumatic religious scandals from our Yogic and Buddhist communities worldwide that were exposed after the #metoo movement. As you all know who follow me, I long to create a truly healthy spiritual community, free of some of the painful issues with narcissism, secrecy and cultish spiritual codependency that we have been propagating for years, centuries even. This is an audio-journal entry to my dear dharma friends who have left their primary sangha because they woke up, and saw that they were unhealthy, and they want to break the pattern, not perpetuate it. I am so proud of you all, and indeed metoo.
I was cleaning my retreat house, and wanted to informally jot down a voice memo of some of these insights, pardon if you can hear me washing, mopping and cleaning, a bit multi-task winded. It’s my first Soundcloud, not produced so bear with me being a neophyte. There is no intention to confront or harm any teacher, friend or specific community, I just feel like we have to be able to see clearly, learn, evolve and change, letting go of what is no longer healthy or sound, in order to make genuine spiritual progress. Covert or Spiritual Narcissists or people with any variety of Cluster B Personality Disorder, do not operate in a vacuum, it takes us to enable and sustain them. That for me has been really hard to admit. I worked for, funded and upheld these spiritual kingdoms where people were hurt, including me. Were many of us spiritual henchmen (flying monkeys) when in fact we believed we were emanations of protective “Buddha Activity?” One guess…
I have endless daily conversations with people from various Tibetan Buddhist and extended communities who are reexamining the authoritarian control of Lamaism and our role in creating so much confusion. Many dharma friends have been hurt, felt trapped and owned and we have co-created structurally violent systems and unhealthy high demand groups. Many if not most of my closest friends are in full on “religious trauma syndrome” now. These patterns that we all participated in, are often reflective of unhealthy patterns from our families of origin, and that can and must change now. May we all co-awaken, with honestly, openness and transparency and create much brighter days ahead and attain true accomplishment in this life. Thank you for listening. So much deep, sincere and genuine love, brightness and hope to all.
Let us all heal- together, our intelligence and insight is much stronger than these deeply unhealthy ways that are in fact, not the dharma, any dharma. May warmth and truth prevail.
I also wanted to include this heart-wrenching video produced by friends here: https://vimeo.com/685246963/f7cb756850 (you may have to copy and paste link) who left their teacher and Buddhist community, based in my spiritual hometown of Crestone, Colorado. This expresses all they lost by misguided devotion, the vengeance, victim blaming, humiliation and shunning these dear friends experienced when they woke up. So very many tears.
May we all finally grow up and heal from this life wasting nonsense of being owned, controlled, exploited and furthermore being blamed and mistreated and even hated by those we loved. Dharma friends who are still trapped and used, please listen to every word, and let’s indeed find the light. I love you all, we can Go Clear.