This is a follow-up to the video about fake spiritual teachers. Not all false teachers are cult leaders, but they have very similar traits. Mostly, the only difference is that they don’t have a following, or at least not yet. If you notice these following signs in your spiritual teacher, you should strongly consider choosing someone else.
The first rule of thumb is to avoid anyone who claims to be a reincarnation of Jesus or any other holy figure. These people are imitators, but many times they delude even themselves. Every human being is unique, nobody gets born twice, and that’s a good thing. A true spiritual teacher embraces his own individuality, shares his own unique perspective, embraces his uniqueness.
Moreover, a cult leader wants to turn their followers into carbon copies of himself. He doesn’t respect the individuality of the members, rather encourages the crowd mentality. He wants everybody to think, feel and act like him, to prove to himself that he is right. In contrast, a true teacher wants you to be yourself, to express your uniqueness, to free you from imitation and limitations. Personally, I would hate to see people around me turning into a mass of mindless robots.
A fake spiritual teacher will also claim that he is special in some way. He will try to impress you by performing miracles, telling unbelievable stories, or claiming special powers. But this is just a sneaky way to seduce you, to gain attention, to seek recognition and admiration. A true teacher on the other hand doesn’t care whether you admire him or not. His only goal is to transform you, his focus is only on you, and not what you think of him.
Claiming to be enlightened is not a red flag for me, especially if the teacher doesn’t make exaggerated claims about it. Enlightenment is nothing special really, it’s very ordinary. It’s the natural state of consciousness that we simply deviated from. In fact, when you become enlightened, you realize that you’re even less special than you thought you were before. It makes you not more but less special.
The fourth sign of a cult leader is that he thinks he’s always right, and everybody else is wrong. He collects followers to prove his own right, and then makes his followers go out and convert even more followers to his beliefs. He can’t take criticism, he can’t be questioned, he can’t be put to a test. He wants blind followers, yes-sayers and avid supporters. He wants a private fan-club for himself.
A true spiritual teacher not only challenges your beliefs, but he questions his own beliefs, as well. His goal is to rid you of all beliefs, and to open your eyes to truth. He doesn’t give a hurried answer, he explores the truth very carefully, and makes sure not to say anything false. But when he does answer, his answer is very clear, easy to understand and cuts to the core of the matter. He doesn’t want to deliberately confuse you or give you something vague. If he doesn’t know something, he admits it, instead of leading you astray.
A fake teacher not only claims to possess ultimate wisdom, but also that this can be acquired exclusively through him. He stands between you and God, between you and truth, between you and salvation. Only he can grant you with the ultimate boon, so he needs to be praised, pleased and prayed to. If you don’t do exactly as he says, your wish will be denied. He makes you dependent on him, but ironically he depends on you even more.
A true Master is first and foremost a master of his own being. He doesn’t need any followers, he’s perfectly happy without anybody’s love or attention. The truth is that you possess ultimate wisdom just like anybody else. Nobody can grant it to you, and nobody can stand in its way either. So don’t seek the blessing of the Master, seek the Master within yourself, and you’ll find the blessing.
The next sign that you’ve probably ran into a cult leader is that he has and promotes black and white thinking. He says: you’re either with me or against me. You either love me or you hate me. You’re either in or you’re out. There’s no middle ground. He intends to radicalize you, to force you to pick a side, to make you more committed. The one thing he can’t stand is to be disregarded, because he craves attention, he thinks that the world revolves around him. He sees everything and everybody from his inflated and distorted egoistic perspective, which colors his view and nothing stays neutral.
This also leads to a kind of us-versus-them mentality, which helps the group members feel special, because they are the chosen ones. This is again an extremely egoistic and not a spiritual perspective of life. A spiritual teacher focuses on the similarities instead of the differences. His worldview is of oneness instead of duality. He promotes unity instead of separation. Just because I wear black and white clothes, it doesn’t mean that I have black and white thinking. Instead, I’m teaching about the integration of the opposites, about the synthesis of the material and the spiritual, about the balance of light and dark.
The last sign that you’re dealing with a cult leader is that he wants to have total control over you. He wants to enslave you, to take your power, to suck out your life energy. He keeps you in his devilish circle of influence with false promises and made-up fears. He says: “Your soul can only be saved if you dedicate your life to me. If you abandon me, you’re damned and something terrible will happen to you.”
A true spiritual teacher would never say something like that. More like: “If you do this and this, you’ll live a better life, and you’ll have more chance to be happy. If you don’t, you may miss an opportunity, but it’s not my responsibility to save you, it depends on you, so choose wisely.” A true teacher knows that he can help you, but he won’t force himself on you, he is simply available and waits for you to be ready too.
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