What are we looking for in our spiritual teachers, gurus, yogis and wellness professionals in a post-COVID-19 world? How has the spiritual landscape changed? What do our leading spiritual teachers say? What should we be careful of on our route to self-realisation in a pandemic? Should we be concerned that the far-left and far-right are meeting in the fertile grounds of Covid denial, conspiracy theories and anti-science? What does this mean for the future of new age and spiritual practices? And is vaccination an act of love?
“You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are”Eckhart Tolle
You are a spiritual warrior. If you practice the Islamic tradition you will fearlessly cross As-Sirāt, the bridge to which every human must cross to enter Paradise. Thinner than a strand of hair and sharper than a finely polished sword. Below this precarious path are the fires of hell. Your acts of goodness in your life’s work will help you span this righteous razor sharp tightrope without going down in flames.
“Love is the bridge between you and everything.”Rumi
You might follow a Christian tradition. Again the key to the pearly gates of heaven is your honey in your heart. Do you love thy neighbour? Well, come on in sister.
“So I say to you, Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.”Jesus Christ
The Buddhist warriors practice the art of loving kindness. The metta bhavana, which is an alchemic practice. Transforming your heart, by learning to love yourself, your loved ones, and even your enemies.
“The more you understand, the more you love; the more you love, the more you understand.”Thích Nhất Hạnh
These noble practices are all cultivating one thing. One love.
What is the purpose of spirituality?
“Spirituality is a sense of belongingness with all the people in the world”Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
“We are a social animal. Therefore taking care of one another is the key factor”H.H The Dalai Lama
Pope Francis continues this message, “Let us learn to live with kindness, to love everyone, even when they do not love us.” And, “Let the church always be a place of mercy and hope, where everyone is welcomed, loved and forgiven”.
But wait, beware of spiritual materialism
The Tibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa calls attention to the commonest pitfall to which every aspirant on the spiritual path falls prey: what he calls spiritual materialism. The problem is that ego can convert anything to its own use, he says, even spirituality.
“Will you walk with me, Grasshopper?”Kung Fu
This is a biggie
A big ego is something to look out for. It is a great way to separate the bona fide gurus from the snake oil peddlers. As is humour.You will feel a great warmth. From the sparkle in their eyes to their natural bubbling laughter. You will know. You will see this love of life. And this love of others.
Never mind the bollocks here comes son of Godhead
Look at quasi spiritualists like David Icke for example. He doesn’t smile much. In his world there is no room. He is too busy wrestling with the reptilian elite.
Icke is a critic of the scientific method, describing it as “bollocks”.
Of Covid-19 he says, “demons” persuaded millions around the world to believe in “their plan” and “global tyranny” by using “a fake virus, a fake test and fake death certificates to give the illusion of a deadly disease that has never and does not exist”.
Half Buddhist monk, half scientist
The Dalai Lama has more than an appreciation of science: “My body, this person, half Buddhist monk, half scientist”.
Science is a way of finding the truth. We could burn all our science books. But by practicing the scientific method, you could rewrite them word for word. Can we say the same about religious texts? What would happen if we burnt all the bibles? Could we recreate them?
All great spiritual teachers have one foot on the ground. Many Buddhist and Hindu deities have one foot on the ground. In fact some of the best teachers do it all with the body. The yogis and Tai Chi masters move us to spirituality. The Sufi whirling dervishes dance us to the divine.
Walking barefoot on grass or sand is one of the true joys of life.Somatic practices are always valuable. In fact the art of spiritual living is being grounded in reality. With every step we kiss the ground. Immersion in the breath is a proven somatic meditation.
The spiritual path is a journey inward and to the truth. Not an escape from reality.
How to find a guru
So, in these days of the pandemic, how can we spot the true guru? They may even have a physical mark. Look on their arms. They will have been vaccinated. They will have encouraged their pupils to become vaccinated too.
As we have discovered, the key to enlightenment and self realisation is the happiness of others. A Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism is a person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so through compassion for suffering beings.
Help alleviate suffering during the pandemic
So how can we help alleviate suffering during the pandemic? By getting inoculated.
First of all do so to love yourself. They give you the best protection against COVID-19. You are 12 x less likely to die from the virus. See, who’s had the Covid Vaccine.
But also do it for others. Your brothers and sisters. If you get jabbed, you are 12 x less likely to need a hospital bed. Which means that bed is free for others.
Not everyone does 4 hours of hot yoga a day. Not everyone can afford the healthiest foods, or vitamin D supplements. Some are born with or develop compromised immunity. Some are old. Would Jesus think it ok to let these less blessed die?
So how could a truly spiritual being potentially sacrifice the health of others for their freedom? I don’t think you can call yourself spiritual at all.
Are you vaccinated Lord?
So the first question I would ask any potential guru is: have you been vaccinated?
If they have, they have at least past the first step. They believe in love. Of themselves and of others.
If they say no. Walk on. Do you really want to follow someone who ignores the medical and scientific consensus. Someone who values their own body over those of their fellow man?
Someone who believe they have some right to disregard their greater society or community?
This is not a truly spiritual person let alone a guru. They are spiritual wankers. Knocking one out in the service of their ego. Rubbing one off in narcissism. Not making love for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Beware of fake spiritual teachers. Some will lead you to cults. Some to their beds. Others to mental illness.
Find someone that walks the walk. Someone with a warm heart. Someone who loves others as much as themselves. And most of all do not follow someone that tells you that 5G or vaccines are the devil.
“Love is not selective, just as the light of the sun is not selective. It does not make one person special. It is not exclusive. Exclusivity is not the love of God but the “love” ofego. However, the intensity with which true love is felt can vary. There may be one person who reflects your love back to you more clearly and more intensely than others, and if that person feels the same toward you, it can be said that you are in a love relationship with him or her. The bond that connects you with that person is the same bond that connects you with the person sitting next to you on a bus, or with a bird, a tree, a flower. Only the degree of intensity with which it is felt differs.”Eckhart Tolle,
Conspiritual thinking for yogis
Yoga’s emphasis on self-care and self-discovery chimes with people who feel abandoned by government and healthcare institutions, says Mr Remski, co-host of Conspirituality – a podcast exploring the link between conspiracy theories and New Age beliefs.
He says yoga also shares three core beliefs which are key to any conspiracy theory: everything is connected, nothing happens without a reason, and nothing is as it appears.
“If you have trained yourself in these forms of spirituality, you’ve actually trained yourself in conspiratorial thinking as well,” says Mr Remski, a cult survivor.
The British Wheel of Yoga – the UK’s largest yoga membership group – has hit back at this suggestion, saying the committed practice and study of yoga “runs entirely contrary to the idea of indoctrination by influencers.”
India’s most famous yoga guru Baba Ramdev has said that he will get inoculated with a Covid-19 jab.
The scientific method of vaccination
Deepak Chopra said: “I grew up in India where I saw millions of people die from polio, tuberculosis, malaria and smallpox. If they didn’t die, they were paralysed or scarred for life, so I’m biased. I believe the scientific method of vaccination is the most effective way right now to curb this pandemic and that’s because of my own personal experience growing up in India.”
Dr Chopra said the world needed the help of science.
For real happiness, for real lasting stable happiness, one has to make a journey deep within oneself and see that one gets rid of all the unhappiness and misery stored in the deeper levels of the mind.S.N. Goenka
But natural health is best right?
They reckon that 55 million indigenous people died following the European conquest of the Americas beginning in 1492. More than our swords or muskets, it was our novel viruses and bacteria that killed the vast majority of these people. So effective were these viruses, that the Europeans deliberately used them as ‘chemical warfare’ against them.
Many New Agers will hold reverence for the indigenous people of the Americas. An ancient people who are revered by many for the way they lived in harmony with nature, taking only what they needed and wasting nothing of what they took, deeply spiritually connected to mother earth. No doubt their immune systems were quite robust, being healthy, physical people, often nomadic.
Gaia is a cruel mother
Did the Native American’s healthy outdoor vitamin D drenched lifestyle and robust immune systems stave off these novel pathogens?
Nope. They died in swathes.
“Society is the body; individuals are its members, its limbs. Just as the various limbs help and co-operate with one another and thus are happy, so each must unite with others in being helpful to all in thought, speech and action… One may see to the good of one’s own group, i.e., the group that is immediate to him, and then proceed to others.”Ramana Maharshi
Spread love, not pathogens
Today, like other sensible, well grounded spiritual people they are embracing vaccines. Any sane spiritual teacher, wellness coach or new age healer will do the same. Watch out for the tin foil hat wearing spiritual tossers.
What better way is there to demonstrate your love of your fellow humans than by wearing a mask?
Does wearing a seatbelt take away your freedom of driving your car?
The Dalai Lama, the Pope, Chief Rabbi Mervis, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Baba Ramdev, and Dr Chopra have had, and recommend Covid-19 vaccines.
Vaccination is an “act of love”
“This is very very helpful, very good,” he said as he was given the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab at a facility in the Indian city of DharamsalaH.H. The Dalai Lama
Pope Francis said that getting a Covid jab that is “authorized by the respective authorities” is an “act of love.”Pope Francis
“It is important that every citizen is vaccinated as and when it becomes accessible”Sadhguru
“It is a ‘religious imperative’ to get vaccinated”Chief Rabbi Mervis
“Great to see British Muslim communities recognised for great efforts to support vaccination uptake.”Zara Mohammed
“We want to make sure every Sikh in the United States understands the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.”The Sikh Coalition
Does your guru? Ask them.
28 August 2021
“Rather than converting people from one organised religion to another organised religion, we should try to convert people from misery to happiness, from bondage to liberation and from cruelty to compassion.”S.N. Goenka
“If you cherish another person, another sentient being, there is enlightenment and you cause them to achieve every happiness. If you don’t cherish them, there is no enlightenment for you. Therefore, this person, this one sentient being, is the most precious one in one’s own life. Therefore, what is called I needs to be let go forever. And what is called other, even one sentient being, that is to be cherished forever.”Lama Zopa Rinpoche