While many of us automatically envision a narcissist as someone who outwardly is overly confident and power-hungry, there are actually many different kinds of narcissists. One type of narcissism is called spiritual narcissism, which is, “turning the pursuit of spirituality into an ego-building and confusion-creating endeavor.”
Spiritual narcissism, says psychiatrist Gerald May in his book Will and Spirit, ‘makes the spiritual quest a self-aggrandizing process rather than a journey of deepening humility.’
Spiritual narcissism is the feeling, thought that I´m a spiritually advanced being, enlightened and because of that I deserve love and respect.
When magicians do magic tricks, they can fool us into believing that they are playing with magic. Once they tell us how their tricks are done or once we figure out how they work, they cannot fool us anymore due to the fact that we know their secrets. In other words, we have become aware of how their tricks are achieved. This is why our awareness can be our salvation.
Spiritual seekers who believe they have been “chosen” can become narcissistic. Like being on the playground and getting picked early for a team, nothing boosts self-importance more than feeling one is among the Select.
In any case, those suffering from true narcissistic personal disorder or (NPD) must meet at least five of the following criteria:
· Has a grandiose sense of self-importance
· Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love
· Belief that s/he is “special” and unique
· Requires excessive admiration
· Has a very strong sense of entitlement
· Is exploitative of others
· Lacks empathy
· Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
“A narcissist is very skilled at getting what he/she wants using charisma, manipulation, mind games, passive-aggressive behavior and control.” –Gena de Silva
Therefore, when we happen to meet someone and are perplexed as to whether they are New Agey or a narcissist, look at the actions and not the words. Often in the mind/body community we become so attached to the right words that we overlook the actions.
While words are important and I for one would never deny the power they have seeing if someone actually walks the walk is even more important.
If we think about it, there isn’t much difference between narcissism and spiritual seeking. Both are self-obsessed, like to spin reality to fit their perception, and filter the world in a way that feeds the ego. Most importantly, both can be a manifestation of deeply ingrained self-hatred, insecurity and low self-esteem. This is not a judgement of anyone. Insecurity is only another part of ourselves to embrace.
Being spiritual meant being spiritually correct as well. It’s like being politically correct, where expressing yourself “correctly” is more important than actually being honest and doing the necessary work. Sometimes it seemed very important to talk about things in a certain way, dress a certain way, eat in a certain way, post hundreds of spiritual messages, selfies on Facebook, and make a zombie face to convince others that I was in the “present moment.”
For those of us who think that we are enlightened and somehow more special than others, it’s a good time for us to face ourselves and understand where this manifestation of self-unworthiness is coming from.
If we’re calling ourselves “lightworkers,” we may might also want to take a good look inside, instead of playing saviors and lovers of the world our positive vibrations are only farts in the universe. Perhaps we need to heal ourselves first, before trying to heal the world.
Ego creates suffering, yet the pain that comes with it is an invitation for us to be more real, authentic and honest with ourselves, if we can embrace the pain as just another expression of love. And often life itself is inviting us to do this. But when we do not fully understand it and resist the process, we become insane and look for an escape in even crazier spiritual theories.
We go from one form of delusion to the other, only because we do not want to commit and take responsibility for everything that we have to heal from. But this commitment gives us a real opportunity to transform our lives and fulfill our dreams even if it means we have to give up all our trying and go with the flow of life.
The path of self-awareness burns down everything that stands in the way of embodying the true, unconditional love that we essentially are.
We must be really honest with ourselves, and embrace the whole truth not just the parts which make us feel better.