03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Pop Spirituality: Why Heaven And Earth Can Never Meet

The idea that nothing is ever wrong in the higher realms is a loaded statement but here on planet earth that kind of a message is dangerous and irresponsible. Most of us are far from being enlightened and yet the attempt to live from this lofty perspective requires mastery of all human and divine faculties, which takes years if not a lifetime to achieve. If unable, then it becomes the weapon of choice for most to inflict and justify harm.

Bear in mind, that even the most evolved among us, will be subject to struggle with this idea because on a human level all is duality. There is right and wrong. There is good and evil. There is light and dark. To deny this or refuse to accept it for what it is would be delusional. It may very well be that on the higher planes of intelligence, these realities have no validity but we don't live there -- we live on a planet of dualism. We are at the mercy of consequences for actions taken in ignorance or arrogance and therefore implementation of such an idea requires further clarity and illustration to make sense on a practical level. If we don't assert evil and say 'evil', or lies and say 'lies', how can we hope to change and restore the conditions on this planet? Should we act as though there are no problems to be solved, no evil and lies in this world?

In the early nineties, the New Age Movement was just exploding onto the scene with a plethora of literature and products about spirituality and mysticism, which inspired a whole generation of seekers. We learned that the purpose of the spiritual journey was to attain enlightenment and if we were lucky, we would achieve this goal in this lifetime. Many of us conjured up our inner alpha and took to the task like fish takes to water. We read books, searched for gurus, practiced meditation and followed practices prescribed by so-called experts in the hope that we can alleviate our pain, heal our inner child, align our chakras, open our inner mind and voila: "enlightenment". As the new millennium dawned all this navel gazing and enlightenment seeking peaked because the hype far exceeded what is possible. Misconceptions and erroneous thinking about the sacred art of spirituality became pervasive. It was simply glossed over and relegated to the way side.

As more and more people mastered the new age terminology, regurgitated and frivolous concepts entered the marketplace that neither delivered you from evil nor guided you to the gates of heaven. All this free wheeling information became the opium of choice for escaping the realities of daily life. It sure aroused a collective with divine love, divine purpose and a divine mission but left many with a nagging dilemma - how do you do it? If you noticed, no one really explained. Everyone was busy falling into the compassion trap, the admiration trap, and the visualize world peace trap. First, no one explained that compassion used in the wrong context and supplied to the wrong person has devastating consequences. Second, no one pointed out that we don't need more compassion we need more accountability and personal responsibility when it comes to the application of spiritual truths. Everybody overlooked or ignored the fact that millions were seeking relief from the burdens of being a human and in the process gave away their power to charlatans and wannabes. Is it any wonder then that so few seekers found the Promised Land?

Almost two decades after the birth of this movement, spirituality is now perceived as a status symbol, trendy, and cool. Did anyone see this coming? Did anyone think that thousands of years of spiritual disciplines, sacred literature and mystic revelations would one day be in vogue? How could a few months of training with a guru qualify someone to be a healer, a seerer or develop enough capacity to lead people into the world of esoteric sciences? Who are we kidding here? Who really has the power to heal anyone? What if the illness is a required lesson on the journey of life - who is anyone to take away or eliminate the illness? When it comes to the invisible world there needs to be more discernment. A true initiate knows and understands how the invisible world works and is fully aware that to tamper or invoke energies without preparation brings about consequences that can be fatal. What good does having an out of body experience do for your life here on earth? If it happens naturally, fine, but when induced prematurely it is questionable.

Yearning for the other world at the expense of this one is a rejection of spirit because spirit wants to be here to have a human experience and that means we'll be made to experience loss as well as fortune, success as well as failure, love as well as hate, peace as well as chaos. We already are spiritual but we need to learn how to be human. When spiritual principles and truths are not applied within the context of human life then life is left vulnerable to the whims and influences of others. Without an inner compass, the human self lacks the wisdom to navigate through the maze of falsehoods of any kind and therefore will rely entirely on the so-called expertise of others to help guide its course. Even then how worthy is the guidance?

Rather than contribute personal responsibility towards the well-being of the whole, pop spiritualists cater to the desires of an uninitiated ego. The promise of a superior self-image, abundant life and eternal rewards beguiles the masses. Spirituality is neither a magic potion nor a quick fix. It is a process, an exciting unfolding of divine potential. It requires a conscious sacrifice to the authority of the soul, and the beginning of a lifetime of service and study. Can anyone become an enlightened being by merely wishing, affirming and visualizing? Spiritual growth is serious business. It is not for the faint of heart. It requires a deep commitment and for real results to manifest your hands need to get dirty. Spiritual transformation is a messy undertaking and for anyone who thinks otherwise is in for a big surprise. But people don't want to hear this. Time is the enemy. However, Knowledge at the mental plane alone cannot produce lasting change on any level and that is why so many are left disillusioned and real transformation aborted. Accumulated knowledge needs a home, a place within you for anchoring. If spirit is not anchored within then all further study and development will be met with disappointed.

This lack of grounding is due partly to our societal need for instant gratification. We don't have the time to process, to reflect, to absorb, and to integrate. Instead, we are willing to pay a so-called guru thousands of dollars to alter our state of consciousness or give us the breakthrough we are yearning for when the soul can do it in an instant if it chooses. But nobody wants to wait. Everybody wants a spiritual experience, at any cost, by trying to bypass or avoid the real work required to achieve this. One thing should be made clear, you cannot mock, fool or subject the soul to something that it does not wish to give to you because you are not ready or because its not meant to be part of your experience. To push the envelope and to dabble out of curiosity is not wise but extremely foolish. We can no longer afford to live by illusions or delusions, or to excuse questionable behavior, or to rationalize misguided actions taken at the expense of other people or taking risky measures to achieve what can only come in time. Its time to get our spiritual priorities straight and begin doing what we have been avoiding
all along - getting to know our souls.

All the crash courses in instant enlightenment, along with yoga postures for the office, the five minute meditation techniques, or Reiki master certifications in a weekend, and classes to awaken your Kundalini or third eye has all contributed to the celebration of pop spirituality and been made to look ridiculous in the process. All this free-floating, circular, vague, ungrounded methods of initiating change from the ordinary state to the mystic state, abstract concepts and big sweeping generalities about compassion, divine love, and no judgments have created a spiritual culture that cannot distinguish real from imaginary, true from false, right from wrong. If allowed to lead the way then we only end up serving our egos rather than elevating our egos to serve spirit. If we keep perpetuating this kind of infantile, narcissistic and immature form of spirituality and pass off quick fix recipes and instant enlightenment as real and substantial only diminishes its value. Furthermore, its useless idealistic generalities lack genuine power to heal present day afflictions on a personal and collective level and are of no earthly and practical use. It amounts to nothing and is devoid of any meaningful strategy. We have channeled too much energy into painting a utopian heaven without a clear illustration, guidance or directives of what this is supposed to look like here on planet earth and its obvious consequence - heaven and earth can never meet.

Hence, the time is upon us where we must decide who we will serve - the ego or the soul. A decision is imminent and whether we'll choose correctly will determine if we want to be part of the solution or continue being part of the problem. Accepting things at face value is detrimental. We need to do some critical thinking and begin questioning the fundamentals of living a conscious life. Spirituality is serious work and part time dabblers need not apply. Instead, we need to get real, grow out of all this wishful thinking and make believing and get our heads out of the clouds. Refusing to plant our feet firmly on the ground won't accomplish much; in fact, it will derail the work of spirit that is so desperately needed at this time.