I read an article yesterday by a spiritual teacher instructing his followers to act from their “highest self.” He was beseeching his readers to be more loving, more kind, more wise; not to act on their emotional reactivity, but to take a wiser approach; the approach their “highest selves” would take. This sounds like lovely advice. It sounds really good, and moral, and righteous. The problem is that it’s not real.
This advice asks people not to act on their emotions, not to act on their normal drives, but to identify with some supremely loving, wise, “higher,” saintlier version of themselves. And to pretend to be that. What happens is everyone walks around pretending to be “spiritual.” Believing that the “higher self” is some kind of doormat, who has no emotions, preferences, or courage to speak up is a mistake. This is fake spirituality. This is religious dogma with a new name. It’s not authentic. It’s not honest. And it’s psychologically unhealthy. (more…)