The weekend seminar syndrome or how to develop spirituality in two days

For many years, when the end of October approaches, I take advantage of this space to write about the beautiful and hopeful phenomenon that begins to naturalize again. sacred practices, rituals and new searches for a more meaningful life and in a new coherence with who we are destined to be.

Also read: Practical spirituality and spiritual practice

Many people who carry non-traditional knowledge can, in these times, express themselves more freely than decades ago (and centuries ago as well), in which speaking of certain topics was resented, looked at with fear or was only reserved for certain closed groups. I was the protagonist and witness of this transition, but the personal stories are not relevant for this occasion.

The need for “something more”

To all of us who for many years have been cultivating parallel and/or complementary searches to those socially accepted, it generates a certain relief to be able to talk about many topics, practices, knowledge and new discoveries without being suspected of being weirdignorant or being observed as if we were people on the verge of a mystical delirium.

We also welcome those who tag us with those names when they come looking for book recommendations, explanations, or places to learn.

There is something very interesting in this phenomenon. Many people are looking to broaden their knowledge, experience new ways of living better, and understand other languages ​​to alleviate nonsense as a way of self-knowledge or to deepen their professional tasks, too. In the midst of the hubbub caused by uncertainty, there are calls that are impossible to ignore and that is hopeful.

False messiahs and self-proclaimed spiritual teachers are also a phenomenon of this time.

It is very gratifying to see how mysteriously we are preparing for a new time and how individual destinies are directed towards deeper searches while silently intertwining at the service of what needs the strength of the collective that, for so long, has sustained the certainty that there is another possible world in the making.

Times of confusion and times of superficiality

However, this time also brings an energy of confusion and an urgent need to practice discernment. There are too many people talking about “all this” without preparation, without experience, without deepening. As a consequence, they put an endless number of tools and practices at the service of the old mercantilist values ​​and transform everything into a spiritual cotillion. It’s worrisome, it’s disturbing, it’s sad, and it’s dangerous.

We are bombarded with ultra-processed content. Those who create them present them as a service to others. Using disclosure as an excuse, they offer simplifications of knowledge that in reality only reinforces the spiritual pose and ego of those who use it (and us) for questionable purposes. There are too many enlightening promises in express courses and in those increasingly creative weekend seminars. They are not evolutionary shortcuts. For our personal and spiritual development there are no hacks. In some cases they are part of a perverted system that take advantage of our pain, shortcomings and this uncertain time to sell us evolutionary potions and magical cures. False messiahs and self-proclaimed spiritual teachers are also a phenomenon of this time. In other cases, it is the ignorance of those who came to this knowledge very recently and perceive themselves as solid to impart teachings and initiations to the right and (never better applied) to the left.

Know us witches (Photo: Adobe Stock)

During these days we will be able to observe how, with the excuse of the “month of the witches”, social networks are crammed with events, offers and marketing workshops for spiritual awakening. As a mischievous coincidence this year the Halloween celebrations and the start of Cyber ​​Monday extended to three days are the same day. “Take advantage of cyber Monday and access my esoteric store to purchase my courses and sacred herbs with a 30% off.” “Express natal chart with a special bonus of 20%. Come with a friend and take two tarot readings for the price of one”

The dangers of fast food spirituality

“Fast food spirituality proposes placebos to avoid coming into contact with pain.” More than three years ago in Esencia y sentido we published aa note about spiritual bypassing.

The creator of this concept that today seems to be more current than ever was the doctor of psychology Robert Master. In his own words, “spiritual bypassing is the use of spiritual beliefs and practices to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved hurts, and developmental needs.”

Also read: The magic is in us and we can learn to use it

More than four decades ago, Michael Murphy, a reference to New Age spirituality, as it was known at the time, had also given a particular name to a phenomenon that he saw repeated in people who attended seminars and courses. “The Weekend Seminar Syndrome.” He had enough authority to baptize him like that. He was one of the founders of Esalen, a spiritual vanguard center (so to speak) attended by personalities who have made a mark on these issues: Joseph Campbell, Carlos Castaneda, Fritz Perls, Aldous Huxley, Stanislav Groff, among others. Esalen today is a “spiritual refuge” much visited by the great minds of Silicon Valley, for example.

Murphy had watched in amazement the number of people who went through transcendental experiences, that they found the answers to their life, that they discovered unsuspected dimensions about themselves, their sense of being in the world, that they understood the way in which all beings were linked and many other experiences. A few days after withdrawing from these courses, many of them returned to their daily lives and thus also returned to their same problems, neuroses, obstacles and nonsense. Apparently, the weekend seminar syndrome is also more in force than ever.

Master claims that It will not be easy to free ourselves from the temptation of spiritual bypassing. We have all been there and probably many of us will fall back into that so-called “magical thinking”. We will then encourage ourselves to be part of a retreat, a workshop or an initiation rite that offers us a new tool. Yet he is optimistic_ “Honeymooners with false or superficial notions of spirituality are beginning to wane. Enough bubbles have been popped; enough spiritual teachers, Eastern and Western, have been caught with their pants or halo down; Enough time has been spent with spiritual trappings, credentials, energy transmissions, and gurucentrism to feel deeper treasures.”

In weeks like these, I’m not as convinced as he is, so I just have to pray… so be it.

The weekend seminar syndrome or how to develop spirituality in two days