It's the future, Jim, but not as we know it...

There's more to tomorrow than robots, flying cars, and a faster internet.
22C+ is all about Deep Futures, futures that matter. Welcome to futures fantastic, unexpected, profound, but most of all deeply meaningful...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Is Your Spirituality Delusional?

Several days ago on Rob and Trish Macgregor’s synchronicity blog there was a post entitled “Synchronicity or delusion?" . That blog post received a large number of responses, including one from me. I thought it would be good to elaborate on the answer that I gave there. I am also going to expand the topic a little, and talk not just about synchronicity, but about the idea of spiritual guidance in general (as synchronicity could be interpreted as a sub-category of the ‘spiritual’).

The post-rational stages of cognitive development have often been confused with the lower, prepersonal stages. Philosopher Ken Wilber makes this point, and he's right. One of the commonalities is seeing and hearing things that others don't perceive. How is anybody else supposed to know whethrer the person is a compete loony, or a prophet? How is the person perceiving the spiritual guidance to know whether he/she is a complete loony? Many sceptics would not even bother to make the distinction, but as someone who has had many spiritual experiences, I think it is not only worthwhile, but extremely important. We don’t want to spend time going down the wrong track in life because we followed the advice of some guidance that was nothing more than a delusion. And we don’t want to dismiss all guidance out of hand, because it can be very helpful

First a distinction that anyone who deals with intuitive or psychic realms has to know.
Not all information you get is from the good guys. As mystic Stuart Wilde once wrote, just because Grandpa dropped dead it doesn’t make him the fountain of all knowledge and wisdom. All human minds, including yours and mind, are constantly being bombarded with information and emotional energy from other people and spiritual entities. That information is designed to manipulate and control. THIS IS NOT SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE, BUT CAN BE EASILY CONFUSED WITH IT (sorry for shouting). I prefer to call this dark energy.

Having worked with my own shadow side, and that of others for many years, I have seen that there are two ways that dark energy works. It tries to control and possess by either inflating the ego, or by deflating it.

People who buy the “I am special” lie are easy to manipulate, and this is why dark energy often uses this ploy. I saw this very clearly when I was dealing with two spiritual teachers (women) several years ago. After working with them for a while, I had a dream, where one stood either side of me whispering sweet things into my ears. They were telling me how great I was. They were also getting a bit “touchy-feely”, which is another common factor with dark energy. Sexual energy is projected with the intention of enticing you. I should point out that this does not require any funny business at the physical level – it is an etheric projection.

However, when you are with spiritual teachers, if you are honest and observant, you should be able to pick up a sense of any sexual projection going on. And if there is any sexual activity going on in the real world – run for your soul!

It took me two years to disentangle my energy from one female teacher whom I completely gave my power away to, and much of the problem existed at a sexual level – no physical stuff, just a complete possession of my spirit.

If they are telling you are special to your face, take the same action- put on your running shoes. It’s a trap.

The other form of dark energy expression involves attempts to attack and destroy, and it includes “messaging” and the more nasty expression of “possession”. Messaging is a stream of thought sent from one mind to another in order to control that other mind. Usually it involves put-downs, judgments, and shaming. The idea is to keep the other person down. I hate to say it, but the most common source is not the anti-Christ, but your loved-ones. There are various reasons people do this, including jealousy, envy, and fear of you moving forward and leaving them. As parents age, they can really start to cause problems with their psychic projections, as their fear levels tend to rise, and they become more psychically manipulative. Then of course, like everyone, they pass on. The bad news is there is often no release from the dramas, as the psychic projections generally continue from the other side. As they say, “He’s dead, but he won’t lie down”.

The thing is that all this psychic messaging can come through in dreams and even visions when you are meditating. It can interfere in psychic readings, and in divination processes, including the ones I recommend in Sage of Synchronicity.

As for possession, it is real, and does occur. This is one of the more difficult areas to explain, and many people simply refuse to believe it. I can’t blame the, as I would not have considered it possible before I became a visionary. Again, most of the time this phenomenon involves loved ones and friends, not demonic entities (although that can happen too, unfortunately). Possession is a two-way street – there is someone possession, and there is someone giving their power away. So it is actually a lesson for the spirit. If you se it in these terms, it is not a simple “good versus evil” scenario. Finally, I might add that I have dealt with possession scenarios myself. My two biggest issues involved one elderly relative, and one uncle. There was also a third involving a discarnate entity. But I won’t scare you with the details.

Returning to the general idea of guidance, the first thing to consider with any form of spiritual input is whether it is life-affirming. Is it leading you towards mental and spiritual health and well-being, or down a slippery slope to the funny farm?

I’ve written quite a bit about David R. Hawkins on my blog, and his critics often equate his work with psychosis (“He’s a looney!”). Yet for someone who has done some inner work and experienced some of the things he writes about, it is easy enough to see the distinction between insanity and higher cognitive development.             For me, Hawkins displays enough knowledge and wisdom to make me feel strongly that his work is genuine. However I should point out that I have not read the book that many critics despise, Truth versus Falsehood. In this book he measures the consciousness levels of various spiritual teachers/teachings, and also popular figures. This has outraged people - well mostly those who got a low rating, or whose preferred teacher or philosophy faired poorly on his scale.          

However, there is another important distinction about spiritual guidance. While it is true that a process that leads to a sense of positivity is generally good, some very painful truths may also be growth-producing and “spiritual.” So it’s not always “love ‘n light”. Alternatively, delusional guidance which may make you feel good (“Grandma is fine, and says ‘Hi’ from her special place in paradise”; “Mr Right is on his way even as we speak!”), but may serve no genuine spiritual purpose.

I don’t like to disparage any other spiritual philosophies, but all mainstream religious and spiritual movements contain elements of delusion. Much of what occurs in New Age and popular spiritual culture is no different. The problem is that the human ego simply cannot perceive truth from falsehood in and of itself. To really ‘know’ a truth from a mental level, it is necessary to let go of all expectation and allow a deeper part of the mind to know. And this is where many people get into trouble. They impose their expectations onto spiritual information.  

The truth is that a very great percentage of the human race is barely conscious enough to be able to genuinely understand spiritual information when it is given to them, and many people are simply incapable of understanding it at all. And for people who can, the whole process requires a real commitment to the truth, because the ego is a trickster.         

Most spiritual guidance - at least most of what I get -is ambiguous. It is deliberately ambiguous, because each soul is responsible for its own evolution, and it is a violation of the person’s autonomy to tell them what to do and think. Better to teach a man how to fish…

My experience is that it is not a matter of “if” we are deluded, but to what degree. If you can appreciate that, then a little humility naturally follows. You never know when someone or something is going to come along and pop your bubble. In fact a little bubble popping is good for the soul, both individual souls, and the collective human oversoul (think, the recent economic crisis). If we are too attached to our interpretations of events and “the way it should be”, there will be drama and suffering. If we just allow what is to unfold, then we can move with the flow of life with a sense of lightness. This was the essence of Lao Zi’s teachings about the Tao, or the way of heaven.        

With synchronicities, it is necessary to analyse things too much. If you relax, the meaning should make itself known to you. If it doesn’t, then just let it go.

Finally, it is well appreciated by most spiritual teachers with a little experience of these things, that it is best not to get too caught up in the psychic realms. They can be useful, but the essence of spirituality should be bringing the mind into presence, and developing the right relationship with the ego. One of my great influences, Leonard Jacobson, recommended that spiritual seekers not to bother with the psychic realm at all, because “it takes you into the mind.” (i.e. the ego). It is sad to see some spiritual teachers get too caught up with “visions”, and really lose the plot. There are one or two very successful New Age authors to whom this has happened to. Mind you, psychadelics have been involved.

If all this leaves you confused, then maybe it is a good thing. Not knowing precedes all knowing. In this sense, confusion precedes all learning. Only in silence can you really know yourself. Thinking too much does lead to confusion. I am not being anti-rational. Reason has its place. But much spiritual knowledge comes from an inner process that is beyond the ‘rational’ mind. You need to learn which is the correct way of knowing to be employed for the knowledge type being sought.



  1. This post is a synchronicity for me.
    Just today, I was speaking about the fine line between genius and madness.I asked a psychologist is there a checklist for insanity?
    His answer was: "To label anyone is to compartmentalise them and allow them no room to move."
    I spoke further of some fairly unusual spiritual experiences I have been having lately, and was deemed not only sane, but an asset to society.

    Could it also follow then, Marcus, that even if someone were greatly delusional at one point in their development, that they could also grow and learn to be more 'centred' in their cognitive and spiritual processes?
    I don't see it as an either / or equation, but rather a continuum of learning and growing.

    Maybe for a time, there could be swaying and swinging of the scales, but ultimately, balance could be obtained on all levels?

  2. Terrific post, Marcus. I especially like the line: "Not knowing precedes all knowing."
    - Trish

  3. Hi Natalie,

    Your point is an excellent one. Yes, there is a long history of discussion about what madness is. Michel Foucault said madness was a civilisational concept. Can't say I entirely agree, though.

    The key is to distinguish between standard 'delusions' (which i simply define as a misunderstanding of the truth), and psychosis, which is a deep level of delusion. I know a bit about that, as I have a brother and a sister who are schizophrenic. My grandmother also suffered from Alzheimers, my mother was an alcoholic and my younger brother possibly had some significant mental problems - he was certainly depressed, and committed suicide.

    Interestingly my wife sometimes questions whether I am also not mad, and its a perfectly natural question, given the family situation. I can't really do more than point out that I manage to live a pretty normal life, whereas my siblings self-destructed.

    Interestingly, I have had many visions of the psychic energy around them. My sister, for example, is possessed by a former boyfriend who has a very dark energy. He controls her completely, even though they haven't been together for years. Basically, he psychically rapes her. But that's her soul issue. It's a never-ending story in her karma. I actually did the same thing to her in a previous life. Sadly she is very unlikely to resolve the issue in this lifetime. She' just too far gone.

    Eventually madness will be better understood when science acknowledges consciousness fields and soul issues, including past lives. Unfortunately, these are not even on the map at present, and nobody will listen to people who know about these things (like me). It's part of the rationalist hegemony that dominates mainstream mind science.

    As for you, Natalie, I can only suspect that your experiences are less catastrophic, and more in the normal range of the many people who have psychic and spiritual experience.

    If you are interested, I can look at the issue for you. It's actually precisely what I do as a spiritual counselor. I work through the energy fields involved. If you like, you can email me

    And yes, any delusion is a growth opportunity. The key is simply to allow life and spirit to "correct" you as you realise the limitations of you "belief". The problem is that we get attached to the delusion. Delusions can prevent us from addressing soul issues, or surrendering control. That's why it is good to allow a space to see them - and you will, in time, if you want to.

  4. Thanks for the offer, Marcus, but I think I have it sorted. One of the people who was psychically attacking me emailed me and confessed.
    I have been told many, many times that I am highly protected, so I guess It is just up to me to be vigilant in my psychic 'housework'.

    In regard to the delusions, I think you are correct in saying that people so often don't have a good hard look at themselves. They also do not give themselves time to integrate their own psychic growth. I consider myself a psychic/sceptic...always questioning.

  5. Marcus, I really respect the way that you don't apply, as it were, a candy coating to the s**t here. As you say, we're adults and we take responsibility for our own lives and psyches when we venture into these areas, and being told that everything spiritual is great and good and straightforward (or that we only have to follow the wise words of X) does us no favors at all.

    But then growth always involves risk, doesn't it? Unfortunately, it's advantageous financially as well as in egoic terms to mislead people by minimizing the risk - good on you for not doing so.

  6. Thanks, Simon. There are different paths for everyone. I'm in a position where I can help people who have suffered trauma and abuse. Others are better off choosing another path. In fact the Champion of the Soul workshops are really only suitable for a small minority of spiritual seekers. Most people don't have the desire or courage required. My other workshops are more gentle, though.