Can there be too much spirituality?  Following are 6 examples of too much spirituality, plus a Zen story about how we often lack control in our lives.

1.  Osho (“You are in prison and you don’t know it” and Rajhneesh  overboard devotees) The Indian Guru Osho transplanted himself to Oregon and was known as Rajhneesh. Worshiping a Guru in excess: How about buying him 93 Rolls Royces over time?  If only ½ of this is true, it is startling:  The Article in Oregon Live 

I have been to his book store in India. (He had written over 90 books, and that may be an understatement). One of the books that Oho wrote is “You Are in Prison And You Think You Are Free”. In the first page of that book someone asks Osho,    “Osho,  George Gurdjieff has said: ‘You are in prison.  If you wish to get out of prison, this first thing you must do is realize that you are in prison.  If you think you are free, you can’t escape.’

“What are the prisons that I call home”?

Osho answers in part:  “Sometimes he (Gurdjieff) went more deeply into the reality of it, and instead of saying , ‘You are in prison,” he would say, ‘You are the prison.’ “That is more true…..For any seeker of truth, this is something to always remember as one of the first principles.”

Osho further:  “Gurdjieff  has said that you are in a prison – but you can come to believe that you are not in a prison, that this is your home.” …”Your home are nothing but beautiful prisons – made by you, decorated by you. You think they are protecting you; they are destroying you.”

2.  Rosicrucian excess. My brother Louis is captivated by Rosicrucian-ism. That’s ok, but he is “all-in” to the point of it controlling his life. Never starting anything on Mondays (or make decisions on Mondays?). Even when I check in advance, I can’t even call him on the telephone on Mondays. On any other decision, on any day whenever, he checks “the cosmos”.  It took Louis over a month to decide on a good day for him to “tag” some belongings,  for possible storage,  to be taken  from his flat in San Francisco,  which became unoccupied after he was taken from the Haight-Ashbury  flat in an emergency ambulance to The University of California Hospital (Louis is an invalid and is now in a nursing home, and needs to continue to be in a nursing home). After he decided on a good date, we were all pleased and lined up several relatives (traveling hours to get to the flat) to help in the tagging. A day or two before the chosen day, Louis called and said “it won’t work out”. I am sure that was because he re-checked the “cosmos”. It is very disconcerting to negotiate or communicate with a person who can’t make his own decisions, and had to check another mysterious source controlling his life.  Even though I class Louis as being Spiritual, he is a good example of too much spirituality.

3.  “Sonia” (not her real name) had been a doctor in Yugoslavia. She transferred to Algeria, where she became the doctor for a factory, with over 2000 workers. Or was it 20,000 workers? She moved to San Francisco, and could have become a doctor in California, but had to pass a test.  All she had to do was to study a lot for the test. But she became involved in a new age awareness group, and psychic phenomenon. She had dramatic all white hair, I believe dyed, and had a presence that would stand out in any crowd. She had unusual talents- for example,  she could through, her mind alone,  anesthetize parts of her body in 30 seconds.)

But, alas, that didn’t help her pass the test to become a California physician. She had a fall in a bus, and ended up on welfare.

4.  Quote from Thich Nnat Hanh  : ”There is a story in Zen circles about a man and a horse. The horse is galloping quickly, and it appears that the man on the horse is going somewhere important. Another man standing alongside the road, shouts, “Where are you going?”and the first man replies, “I don’t know! Ask the horse!” This is also our story. We are riding a horse, and we don’t know where we are going and we can’t stop. The horse is our habit energy pulling us along, and we are powerless.”–In January 1967, the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. nominated Thich Nhat Hanh for that year’s Nobel Peace Prize, stating that he personally knew no one more worthy of receiving the honor.

5.  Bonnie, and the “Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East”. Bonnie was (and is) captivated by a 6 volume set by Baird T. Spaulding.  So much so she traveled to India and now (2013) lives there. I read part of the volumes and my impression was that it seemed that miracles were reported too frequently to believe. So I did some research, and found that, much to my surprise, it is a work of fiction, and the author Baird Spaulding wrote the first volumes, never having traveled to either India or Tibet, as he claimed. See

In part:

Who was Baird T Spalding?

Baird Thomas Spalding is the nom de plume of Bayard Spaulding*, an American writer born in 1872 in Cohocton, New York. Spalding self-published Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East in 1924 which told of a fantastic research expedition to India and Tibet in the 1890′s that witnessed masters who could perform miraculous feats, imparting simple spiritual truths in a format which appealed to Western audiences.

Spalding’s first book was republished by DeVorss & Co and became a runaway hit, selling many thousands of copies and leading Spalding on lecture tours across America. Spalding continue to write three more volumes of Life and Teaching, and led a small group of followers to India in 1935. He died in 1953 in Arizona at the age of 80.

Spalding’s books and his publisher say he was born in the 1850′s in England, and his father/grandfather was from India. What’s your source for saying otherwise?

Baird T Spalding’s family history has been published here, taken from authoritative sources such as passport records, the US census and Spaulding family obituaries and they are unequivocal.

Spalding had no family connection to India, but he did have a lifelong penchant for tall tales. The biography and timeline provided in the books and on the DeVorss & Co website is primarily based on those tales and is mostly fictional, just like Spalding’s nom de plume.

Are the books fiction or non-fiction? Did Spalding actually go to India in 1894?

Many readers are disappointed when they learn that Spalding did not go to India in 1894, and there was no research expedition as described in Life and Teaching. Spalding was only 22 years old in 1894, and he spent most of the 1890′s in the Yukon mining for gold. Spalding’s first visit to India was in 1935 at the behest of his publisher, after the release of Life and Teaching Volume 3

6.  Orange County real estate star Barbara was a very successful real estate broker in Orange County. She was making $80,000 a year and this was a long time ago. She had a husband and 3 children. Then Lifespring entered her life, big time. Lifespring, an awareness training formed by John Hanley, (who was formerly an instructor for Alexander Everett, the father of the Awareness training.  But Lifespring was headquartered and was being taught in San Francisco, and she was living in Orange County.

Barbara left her husband and 3 kids, and her very successful real estate career, and went to San Francisco to become “aware” with further education, mainly through Lifespring seminars.  Using her savings, she eventually ran out of money. She borrowed using an expensive mink coat as collateral, and lost the coat because she couldn’t fulfill the loan agreement on the coat.

She borrowed on a second deed of trust on an Orange County residential property, and eventually couldn’t repay the loan, and the lender became the owner of the note and deed of trust, and the lender ended up making a handsome profit on the note.  There is nothing wrong with Lifespring other than the powerful pressure tactics to join, harassing the people who attend the free seminar that makes extensive promises how paying the course fee and taking the course, hoping to dramatically change one’s life.

I took the basic and the advanced course of Lifespring, and it was part of changing my life from being an analytic “no woo woo” narrow person to a more spiritual person open to beyond the usual beliefs, but I didn’t have Lifespring change my life completely. What I am emphasizing hopefully is being “spiritual” to an excess that overly restructures your life almost completely is going too far and often ruinous, effecting people around you.

7.  Taking the Bible as a spiritual rulebook literally could be classed as too much spirituality.

  • a) The Lord considers Sunday to be a holy day and anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death. (Exodus 31:12-15 NLT)
  • Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)
  • If a girl is proven not to be a virgin on her wedding night the townsmen should stone her to death at the entrance of her father’s house because she committed a crime against Israel. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)
  • A man or woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning.
  • Gays should be put to death for their abominable deeds. (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

About beyondallreligion

Samuel Butler, Author: BEYOND ALL RELIGION Most all religions are based upon a bedrock of lies. Christianity was invented by Emperor Constantine , for political purposes, based upon the myth of Mithra, a Persian savior god born on December 25 , son of a virgin. Mithra performed miracles and was later crucified. Pope Leo X (died 1521) called Christ a “Fable”. Later Pope Paul III expressed similar sentiments. Moses is based on the Sumerian life and legends of Sargon I, King of Akkad, “set in a basket of rushes and “cast into the river”. Egyptians kept exhausting hieroglyphic records. There is a complete absence of any record of Moses leading over 600,000 men, women and children away from Pharaoh’s army. Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, was convicted in a court of Law of being an “impostor”, today a fraud, con man, in 1826. He wrote the Book of Mormon soon after. Question: You decide: Does the text of the verses of the Qur’an correspond exactly to those revealed to Muhammad directly as the words of God, delivered to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel, as claimed? Sample or Buy New Book “Beyond All Religion”, 152 pgs, $9.95 at (Kindle edition $3.49) or send mailing address and $9.95 to Sam Butler, SB 197, POB 25292, Miami, FL 33102."
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  1. Rex Berry says:

    I think first there has to be a definition we can agree on concerning religion and spirituality. To me much of what is being referred to is religion, that is a shamanism where we common folks need to trust the leadership of an individual who has some miraculous divine connection the rest of us don’t.

    To me spirituality is that we are all part of nature, life and that “harmony” we don’t understand. There is no need for the eternal carrot and stick to be a good person. Doing the right thing for each other simply because it is the right thing, is spirituality.

    How is that for a sermon?

  2. Pat Torngren says:

    I like what you say Rex. I think this is complicated by the fact that if ten people say the word “spiritual” they may be thinking of ten different things. If it’s the fear-based “carrot and stick” religions that keep people enslaved, because they are afraid they will land up in hell if they dare question anything, then count me out.

    But there is another side for me — states of awe at the beauty of nature, poetry, art or music, a state of recognition when someone says something very wise and “the light goes on”, and those times when synchronicities come reigning in faster than I can keep up with them and I feel that I am part of something “bigger” (the universe?)

  3. Pat Torngren says:

    P.S. Being a great fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson, two quotes of his that really resonated with me… When asked if he was an atheist, he replied, “The only kind of ‘ist’ that I am is a scientist.” (Science is something to get really excited about!) When asked what he found inspiring, almost to the point of spiritual feelings he said, “The knowledge that I am in the universe. But far greater than that, the knowledge that the universe is in me.” He was referring to the fact that the elements from which our bodies are made, were forged in the incredible heat of exploding supernovas, which created elements like carbon, oxygen and all the others needed for life as we know it. And as the supernovas exploded, they spewed out clouds of dust and debris, from which the next generation of stars and planets would emerge, now carrying with them the elements from which life could evolve. Knowing things like that are what inspire me too!

  4. Mark heartwell says:

    Well said … that was a good sermon…keeping it simple do on to others as you would have do onto-you (respect)(responsibility) .. simply makes for a better life in some ways…. but progression and evolution tends to take us every where … time it can get so complicated one doesn’t know wether they are coming or going…. So if your coming into self realization the greatness of the sermon the way,….that’s fine but sometimes when some one going in the wrong direction true compassion has its merits as to teachings that are good for all…unification trumps seperation.

  5. osho never wrote any books. osho gave daily lectures and it is the transcripts that are published.

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