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Dangers for Seekers in Spiritual Work

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

Gurdjieff and the Gospels allude to many dangers lurking for seekers in their quest for spiritual development. Unquestionably, the road is hazardous and fraught with risk - one must be eternally vigilant as there are many blind alleys and dead ends - if not outright destructive outcomes.

 

Any genuine and rightly conducted spiritual path must produce a movement towards 'humble openness', a recognition that I am fundamentally broken, imperfect, choked with mechanical habits and, for the most part, totally unconscious of all my harmful thoughts and actions - while simultaneously sensing that I am in need of much help in a way I do not understand and the willingness and discernment to try, step by step, to open to this help. The sustained effort of these two movements can stimulate true compassion as I begin to realise that everyone else is in the same boat, the same predicament, all travelling together - none better and none worse - and all are in need of the Grace of God.

 

For modern seekers, particularly those engaged in the Gurdjieff Work and Christianity, some common dangers on the way, either for oneself or for others, are highlighted below:


1. "In it for the buck" - the seeker after profit and security

Soul creation can never be a business or an employment venture as the pressures of commercial realities (unless one is very advanced in Soul Creation) will always sabotage genuine discernment and the necessary decisions and actions - particularly towards oneself - required to navigate them successfully. Professional podcasters, psychics, mediums, healers and philosophers fall into this category - and all should be treated with caution.


2. "I am better than others" - the contemptuousness seeker

Those that constantly affirm about being 'in the Work' or that the group are 'the Chosen Ones' or the like, disguise a rooted narcissism that is difficult to remedy. For when I begin to believe that I am more important than anyone else, that I occupy a special place, it is a guarantee that egoism is dominant and the key impediment to Soul Creation.


3. "The Social Network" - the secret society seeker

Politically motivated, these seekers search out positions of power in spiritual groups (imagined 'secret societies') so that, via association, it can make up for their own shortcomings and lack of genuine work. Unfortunately, these seekers seldom progress past a rudimentary level. However, the biggest danger is that, in holding positions of power, they passively resist or actively suppress the growth and development of others who are seen as 'threats' to their position.


4. "The Pontificators" - the sermon seeker

These seekers are constantly lecturing others on their understanding of spiritual matters believing that, the more they talk about it (rather than actually doing it), the more they become 'enlightened'. This seeker is also convinced that 'time-served' (i.e., how long they've been searching or as a member of some group or community) equals wisdom gained and so, the older they get the worse they become - prematurely crystallising a repetitious and shallow intellectualism.


5. "The Hypocrites" - the 'everyone else is to blame but me' seeker

These seekers constantly affirm the 'sacredness' of the spiritual work they are following and that it is in need of protecting, while simultaneously committing all sorts of moral transgressions such as adultery or inappropriate sexual relationships, criminal acts, fraud, and blatant dishonesty. They become very judgmental and harsh to others - lacking compassion and any consciousness of their own behaviour - eventually, they cut themselves off from friends, family and even themselves in a subconscious defence to avoid witnessing their own shortcomings that would be too much to bare.


6. "Look at me" - the 'arm chair expert'

These seekers constantly talk about their spiritual 'efforts' to impress upon others a sort of implied superiority but, in reality, they don't make any effort beyond the ordinary (and oftentimes even less than this). This seeker goes nowhere quickly.


7. "Huff and Puff" - the 'doing lots' seeker

These seekers constantly engage in all sorts of 'activity' and assume that 'doing more means becoming more'. This path is an evolutionary dead-end as the balance and intelligent effort needed to progress has not been understood and they get stuck in a circular pattern.


8. "Hide in Plain Sight" - the 'run with the herd' seeker

While everyone needs a certain level of support from spiritual friends and community, these seekers hide in groups to mask a lack of genuine motivation, content with 'coasting along'. While comforting for this seeker, they cannot progress much at all because, inevitably, no one can do your spiritual work for you.

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:13-14 KJV

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