Back to top

The “Guru” Trap

By definition, a guru is “an intellectual or spiritual guide, teacher, or leader,” or “one who dispels of darkness; brings forth light,” The following is not an attack on any of the genuine gurus that do the great work and teach others the path. Great men and women carry that distinction with honor. The satire below points out the charlatan who masquerades as a true teacher. Many manuscripts, including the Bible, warn about such people. Hopefully, you can laugh with me as I point out some of the silly shit we, humans, do under spiritual pretenses.




Simply inquiring for directions is an opportunity to get your ears blown black by the ‘guru.’ From their elevated station, this person always creates an opportunity to teach the lowly, unenlightened, common folk. His self-righteousness knows no bounds, though initially he will flatter you to ignite a connection. As the saying goes, “you’ll never meet a con man you won’t like,” and likewise this guru aims to please.


A casual introduction reveals his stump speech or leading questions that give him a platform to pontificate about his take on the spirit world. In fact, he can give an eloquent lecture about people who are self-righteous and indignant all the while completely denying his own nature. Much like a politician or used car salesman, he is a master at manipulation, and particularly self-deception.


His grasp of the new-age culture lingo is profound. Sometimes, it sounds like he’s spitting some kind of spiritual rap. It’s like a sing-song, flowing, spoken word jam; a calling card of sorts that he’s practiced a lot. All of the major cliches and talking points get packed into his spiel or pitch. And, it is a pitch!


His intent, conscious or unconscious, is for you to affirm that he is superior to you, everyone, and everything else. Yet, at the same time, he’s a humble, old soul with great compassion who understands all. Ultimately, the end game is to get you to buy or join whatever he’s pitching or selling.


The Real Game


This type of narcissist is almost beyond redemption. Note, ‘almost’ leaves some room, because “almost” anything is possible. However, you will not fix him nor talk sense into him. The many layers of spiritual dick-measuring tactics protect him from his deep self-hatred, loneliness, insecurity, and downright disdain for others. Your engagement will be at best a good spiritual lingo sword fight. At worst, you will get sucked dry.


If you happen to come across this fellow or gal, kindly excuse yourself. Look at your watch or ask for the time. When he responds, state that you are late and gotta go. Under no circumstances, engage. The trap is set. Engaging means you’ve swallowed the bait, and he can steal your energy, resources, and time. Better to let go and walk away. Run if you must.


Know The Signs


The usual adder of spiritual growth goes from ‘peak experience’ to ‘shift’ then culminates at a ‘full awakening.’ Many of these types have had authentic peak experiences; it’s common. Some have even experienced spiritual shifts. But, none have had an awakening. Fully awakened individuals don’t play those games. In all such cases, one or more of the dysfunctional selves holds the reigns of his spiritual journey.


Unfortunately, a common mistake these folks make is to begin teaching others about spirituality the moment after they undergo a peak experience or an ah-ha moment. Since narcissism rules their roost, they believe they are the only ones having these experiences because they are ‘special.’ Of course, they know on a deep level this is not true. Mere logic can sort that out. But, they easily edit this out of their consciousness and glide on.


One of the many hallmarks of this persona is their blatant advertisement announcing their spiritual path. Usually, it begins with their garb. They tend to wear Eastern or more ethnic clothes with jewelry, piercings, and even tattoos that promote their spiritual persona.


Their body language and gait modifies to reflect their elevated state. Long, awkward, hugs and strange, plastic smiles with drawn out eye gazes up to the left of their field of vision is signatory. Or, there are those who leave you feeling eyeball-fucked with their dagger, penetrating gaze.


And, of course, their name needs to legally change, too. This reflects the new life they chose to embody. Something that sounds more enlightened is best, like Sunbeam Baba Ananda Chilly the Most.


The worst of these novices are those who’ve had an experience from mushrooms, ayahuasca, LSD, peyote, or such psychedelics, then end up changing their name, dawning the whiplash smile, and plastering on the wide-eyed, new-age gaze.


These are just a few of the things he or she “may” do to change their appearance according to what seems more spiritual.


Keep It Real


Now, don’t twist these above observations. Yes, it’s better to shop consciously and support brands that align with your values. And, yes, it more ideal to carry yourself upright and graceful. Certainly, tattoos, beads, tie-dye, and piercings are ok. But, don’t kid yourself. Just as eating a particular diet will not ensure your enlightenment, neither will any external alterations to your appearance.


Many of these folks came through our studio over the years. They are difficult, if not impossible, to wake up. Becoming a guru, not learning and growing, is their prime objective. Acquiring growth-related knowledge, only to the extent that they can use it to elevate themselves and lord over others, suits them.


Reality Check


It’s easy to get caught up doing these things or falling for these type of people. In most cases, it’s no one’s fault. We naturally seek spirituality. It’s draws us in. Deep down, we crave its connection and wholeness. Finally, when we meet someone who claims to be ‘spiritual’ and they behave differently or seemingly spiritual, we emulate their actions or way of being. It’s natural to focus on the exoterics or external signs while first learning about the esoterics or inner work.


Sadly, since these guru-wannabees are not truly awake, having only had peak experiences or a minor shift or worse just simply have read a lot of new age books, they lead many genuine seekers astray. Their uncooked seeds or masked dysfunction gets amplified. Since this dysfunction is running the show, it’s highly likely that some will spill onto you if you hang around too long. Bottom line, this guy or gal wants devotees; people to follow him. The pied piper did, too. So, beware!


Ironically, a genuine spiritual guide is the opposite of the above stereo-type. Chances are they are not overly friendly, but respectful; not soliciting for students; nor telling you what you want to hear. They are real. They are themselves. Think of the Pai Mai character in the Kill Bill series. (Well, that may be a little exaggerated.) As the scripture Matthew 7:20 says, “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”


This work is about devoting yourself to the awareness and embodiment of Shen. That’s it! Do not acquiesce your power or any other precious resource to any such man or woman. And, by all means, do not start believing your shit is uber enlightened and put on the farse of being the “guru.”


If you find yourself becoming activated, as I have so many times, by this archetype use it as an opportunity to go deeper and find the guru within. You’ll know you are getting there when you can feel loving-kindness for the “guru.” To find the guru within, practice the Transformashen Training.


Reach for it!

Erica Rogers