Written by: Royce Morales, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Probably not supposed to admit this (being a spiritual teacher and all), but one of my biggest pet peeves is when people feign being spiritual. They have the vernacular memorized, cliches perfected, all delivered with a woo-woo-esq wise-appearing smile. These pretenses have become so engrained that they may not even realize they’re faking.
How do I know? Been there, done that, especially in the beginning of my own spiritual journey. This is the voice of experience.
Most actors know that eventually the curtain goes down and the show is over. They wash off their makeup and return to their ordinary existence. But what if that actor has been starring in this play so long that they have forgotten they’re acting? Even though the applause has ceased, the audience has left the building, and they’re no longer receiving a paycheck, they’ve forgotten they are playing a role.
After helping thousands get in touch with their authentic selves by discovering the origins of their acts, I’ve observed one common denominator: The universe does something dramatic to help bust their façade. A traumatic event of some kind; someone calling them out on their phoniness; enough people expressing disdain from their Pollyannaish retorts. Or they might just realize that not being real is more painful than keeping up their well-polished front.
In my own experience, it’s almost impossible to keep up a Joe Spiritual act when up against what life presents.
Truth is, every one of us is on a spiritual journey. Part of that process is removing the masks we’ve taken on so we can evolve to our truest self. However, with so many teachings offering techniques to disguise our humanness, ‘act as if’ and ‘fake it until we make it’, that journey ends up being an enlightened-sounding method to avoid being real.
Here are a few ways Joe Spiritual shows up
Joe Spiritual is proficient at affecting positivity, even in situations that most humans would define as sad or hopeless. They sugar coat negative events regularly, encouraging others to “look at the bright side” even in tragic situations. You tell them your best friend was murdered and their upbeat response is “Well, at least they went quickly.”
“It’s all good” is their motto, even when their body language says otherwise. They pretend they are just fine no matter what’s going on in their lives. They use spirituality to deny their humanness, their emotions, the natural pain they feel when experiencing loss. No matter how evolved one is, a truly spiritual person allows themselves to feel whatever they’re feeling, without judgment, until it runs it’s course and then look at it with a spiritual understanding.
Be in the now
Joe Spirituals espouse letting go of the past and insist on “being here now.” That’s all well and good but forcing oneself to let go of the past is one more way to suppress pain rather than resolve and release it.
This philosophy can include avoiding planning, going with the flow, trusting the process. Spontaneity sounds nice, but most of life does need at least some planning. Not finding a vacant hotel room while on vacation; not saving enough money for retirement; having a cell phone die mid business call is not fun.
An even balance of planning and trusting works better.
The current catch phrase in spiritual circles is: “Believe it and it will manifest.” Yes, there is powerful energy in our thoughts, but emphasizing this can make people feel inept at not having good enough thoughts, lacking in the ability to harness them.
It takes a lot more than training your thoughts to manifest your heart’s desire. It takes discovering those pesky negative ones, especially hidden deservingness issues, and releasing them from the source. Otherwise, they are just suppressed.
All of these ways of being, when coming from an authentic place, are lofty goals to attain along a spiritual path. But Joe Spirituals use them as denial and avoidance tactics. Not only does that not work, but it can cause physical problems, emotional reactiveness, and a permanently embedded mask.
A spiritual person is not only willing to confront their denial (aka shadows) but knows how important it is to be genuine. True spirituality is not always easy since it involves digging deeply and confronting fears, insecurities, false beliefs, societal expectations.
It’s also about acknowledging choices and learning higher consciousness lessons. Importantly, they ascribe to knowing that the life they have chosen is about cleaning up and balancing out anything they have done in the past.
This path is not about comparing journeys or finding the ‘right’ way to be spiritual. It’s about honoring one’s unique path and respecting the diversity in others’ spiritual experiences.
Telling the difference
How do you know if someone’s spirituality is genuine, or just another way to impress people, get attention, validation, control, and avoidance?
As one who not only supports students’ spiritual journeys but has been on my own inner discovery process for decades, I’ve become an expert at telling the difference. Granted, these subjective perceptions are not etched in stone, but there is truth in all of them.
As you read through ways to discern the difference between genuine spirituality and an ego trip, make sure to look inside to see if you might be a bit of a Joe (or Josephine) spiritual yourself. If you notice yourself having judgmental thoughts, there’s probably a mirror for you to see.
True spirituality produces a natural sense of humility. There’s acceptance that we are a tiny part of a boundless universe yet feel an inseverable connection with all life. We know we are all the same manifesting in unique ways, learning individual lessons in these bodies.
Using spirituality to exclude, judge, or belittle others misses the point of conscious evolution. A fully spiritual person knows there are many paths to enlightenment and respects all of them, never asserting superiority over any. They would never stand on a pedestal proclaiming I’m so much more evolved than you.
They know there’s always more to learn and endless experiences to grow from. They don’t claim to have all the answers, knowing that there is truth and value in all teachings. They also know that everything that happens was chosen to assist in personal as well as planetary evolution.
Lessons from buttons
True spiritual people react to criticism and challenging events with grace, even gratitude for the opportunity to reflect deeper within. If they find themselves defensive, taking something personally, feeling judged, insulted or invalidated, they recognize their primitive consciousness (fight, flight, freeze) is running the show. They also willingly acknowledge what denial is being reflected to them when a button is pushed and happily look at their mirrors.
Although many New Age philosophies equate spirituality with power to manifest desires, a truly spiritual person knows that material possessions do not create happiness or fulfillment. Not to say that spirituality means living a meager existence, they can own but not be attached to material things.
Those who are genuinely spiritual don’t crave external validation, recognition or approval from others. They feel content within themselves, and rarely share their spiritual experiences or personal achievements hoping for praise or reassurance. They know their spirituality is a personal journey, not a performance for others.
A key aspect of authentic spirituality is a consistent feeling of gratitude, appreciating the simple joys of life and acknowledging their blessings as well as their challenges. However, they don’t use feeling grateful to bypass other emotions. They can look back at the story of their life and understand the perfection as to why things happened in the ways they did.
Spirituality and ego are often seen as opposites, yet they coexist as partners within this human form. The ego can help define our individuality and navigate the world, but when it starts dominating thoughts and actions, that creates problems.
When the ego takes the driver’s seat in one’s spiritual journey, it perceives our spirituality as an achievement to show off. This leads to needing external validation, proof of success and a gets in the way of sincere compassion.
Most spiritual discipline encourage observing the ego without judgment, steering back toward a place of compassion, humility, and authenticity. True spirituality embraces our shared humanity rather than elevating ourselves above others.
Being aware of these signs doesn’t give permission to police others’ spirituality or give one more way to feed that hungry ego. Keep in mind that there are no spiritual exams to pass and no boxes to fit inside in this deeply personal journey.
Instead, let this understanding further compassion, empathy and tolerance in interactions with others. After all, each of us on our own twisting path with myriad lessons to learn as we connect with our higher self, understand our purpose and discover an inner peace that transcends this physical world.
Growing more comfortable with our own spirituality allows us to become better at discerning where someone’s spirituality is coming from – authenticity or ego. Plus, it will enable us to see beyond their Joe Spiritual act and connect with their deeper spiritual essence. What we all truly deserve.
Royce Morales, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Royce Morales is a renowned trailblazer, creator of an innovative, spiritually based approach to inner transformation. Her program, Perfect Life Awakening, emerged from a lifetime of frustration searching for inner work that worked. She discovered that revealing specific subconscious origins of self-sabotage, removing its persistent influence, life can shift.
She developed a clearing technique that releases programmed, false beliefs from this as well as previous lives. Negative patterns and hidden fears resolve so paralyzing issues lose their impact. This exclusive, time-tested work takes students from triggered to empowered, uncovering their authentic, purpose-driven life.
PLA also provides applicable tools to navigate daily life – ways to rapidly shift from anger to calm, fear to acceptance, judgement to connection. The work emphasizes awareness of, trusting and following one’s innate intuitive wisdom, then taking bold, inspired, real-world action.
The Perfect Life Awakening courses take place remotely and are presented in small groups to provide individual attention. Royce offers private inner discovery sessions to facilitate deeper work, utilizing her proprietary spiritual clearing technique called Spiritual Cognition Integration.
Royce is the author of three books about her teachings: Want – True Love, Past Lives and Other Complications; Know: A Spiritual Wake-up Call and Back: Rebirth After Stroke, all available on Amazon.
Go to Royce’s YouTube channel where she shares enlightening information about her teachings. She posts weekly blogs and writes articles for several other publications.