False Spiritual Healing: 3 Tips to Spot a Phony Spiritual Teacher

yoga class photo

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that spiritual healing, in one form or another, is making its way into the mainstream. More and more of us want to find happiness and peace in this life we’ve been given. That said–when something becomes popular and even trendy, it can also open the door for those not-so-pure healers to thrive.

1. My Way or the Highway

As humans, we can all be negative at times. We pass judgement, we compare ourselves to others, and we say our path is the only right path. But like Sri Swami Satchidananda says “truth is one, paths are many.”  If a spiritual teacher speaks negatively too often about another form of practice, especially publicly, it can be troubling. While this not a black and white issue, the theme that “their practice is the only one that works” is a turn off to me because negativity isn’t the path to spiritual healing or freedom.

2. Driven By Cash

Everyone has to make a living, even spiritual leaders, but it shouldn’t be the only motivation. While making a living is important, spiritual healing, yoga, and meditation shouldn’t be confined to the rich. While there’s a fine line between being rewarded for good work and being greedy, a spiritual leader that’s also a salesman or woman can be problematic.

3. A Dark Side

To trust a spiritual leader, you need to able to trust their purity. Spiritual healing takes prana, or life force, and excessive sex, drugs, and alcohol drain your body of prana. Getting drunk at a wedding is one thing but larger, nastier scandals have caused big time spiritual leaders to fall from grace. Anusara creator John Friend was accused of and admitted to having marijuana sent to his home office, freezing the pensions of his employees, and having an affair with a married yoga teacher, among many other controversies. Other teachers like Bikram Choudhury have been embroiled in sex scandals galore.

Again, we all make mistakes, and it’s not about judgement, but there are some guidelines that should be observed in order to be a role model to other seekers.

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Image: Barry Silver