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New Age Gurus – 20 Qualities That Don’t Make a Good Spiritual Teacher

Updated on October 6, 2013

Since the early 1980's we've explored metaphysical and New Age offerings. We've compiled a list below to help you navigate the metaphysical marketplace.

The following is an extended list of characteristics that, although perceived by much of the population as inherently "spiritual," do not automatically make someone a good spiritual teacher.

*Membership to a sect/religion based in a foreign country

*The appearance of a wise, old sage; older doesn't always mean wiser

*Musical/artistic ability

*The ability to offer an authentic-looking, heartfelt cry on cue

*Having attracted a lot of money/contributions through their adherents

*A foreign accent

*Enigmatic looks

*Lots of press

*Expensive fees

*Expensive seminars and retreats

*Mention of having studied under a "guru" in an exotic foreign country

*Specializing in mysterious disciplines that are difficult, if not impossible to pronounce

*Being a "best-selling" author

*An appearance on Oprah

*Appearing on other national TV/radio shows

*Having testimonials/endorsements from other "spiritual authorities" (i.e., often self-proclaimed)

*A powerfully effective communicator/stage presence

*Having "cured" themselves of a terminal disease through their magic powers that you can have too if you would just pay their fees and buy their products

*Guaranteeing success in manifesting what you want (especially if it contrasts with who you really are/your true path)

*Cheer-leading ability

*Denying reincarnation and karma (usually because accepting these basic spiritual concepts would negate some or a lot of what they preach)

*"Never" saying anything "negative" and always smiling

*Written communication that appears to sound profoundly deep, is difficult to decipher, and that leaves you thinking, "What does that mean?" after the feel-good feeling fades

*Poetic ability

*The ability to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside

*Claims of having communicated directly with God, or guides, or other spiritual beings--especially when the "communications" are sometimes biased-sounding. For example, someone claiming that "God" told them a certain politician/political initiative or corporate initiative is evil, or that one must, for instance, abstain from sex for the rest of his/her life in order to reach "nirvana"

*The willingness to jump on the New Age bandwagon just because a spiritual concept is popular

Copyright © Scott Petullo, Stephen Petullo


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