By January 25, 2013 10 Comments Read More →

Commercialized Spirituality – It’s a Business, Not The Real Thing

Belsebuub, Guest Writer
Waking Times

Spirituality is big business, it’s a multi-million dollar industry. A lot of what passes for spirituality today is actually a commercial venture of one kind or another. It should be seen for what it is – business, and not serious, genuine spiritual knowledge.

Commerce and spirituality have different values. Spirituality deals with the non-physical and has its own set of laws, whereas commerce is three-dimensional and abides by very different laws.

One important spiritual principle is that spiritual teachings are free, this makes them open to anyone to receive. If beings in higher dimensions charged money a large proportion of humanity would be disenfranchised from spiritual knowledge and processes. Can you imagine a Jesus who only opened his mouth to talk for a fee?

Spiritual knowledge has its price, which is in the personal sacrifice required to reach it. That’s why its esoteric or hidden in its nature, and few reach it because few are prepared to pay the personal price for entry by changing what they are and how they live. It’s much easier to pay money to be told what you want to hear.

Religions are what they are, set in time, rigid, and prone to being used by fanatical believers and power grabbers. Commercial spirituality seems to offer a viable alternative to mainstream religion, whereas it is actually a set of religious beliefs you have to pay for.

There is a huge variety of choices on offer, but the most successful usually have common principles. One is telling people what they want to hear. Their business depends upon being popular, so it can’t stray from populist ideas. So they offer a watered down antiseptic spirituality for the masses. The masses lack the ability to understand cosmic truths and are easily exploited by clever money making charlatans.

Commercial Gurus

If successful, these people get fame, power and wealth. They tend to be talented at something and use their talent in the spirituality market to succeed. They tend to be excellent writers, speakers and motivators.

They carefully craft their image, tailoring it to their particular market to offer what the public wants and expects to see, which is usually what they and their audience thinks a spiritual figure, or a modern, successful motivator, should look like, they then have to maintain that image. Some even have ghost writers to write on their behalf. There is little or nothing of any real depth in their work, and most of it is actually misleading, even contrary to esoteric reality, but their audience doesn’t mind, they prefer spiritual entertainment to esoteric substance, and don’t like anything that requires too much work, or which upsets their lifestyle.

Commercial gurus often create a positive sounding spirituality that integrates into the lifestyle of their audience. Usually fitting into established successful markets. Some are popular in the mainstream media which requires conformity to its moral and social codes.

Most of them fish around for other people’s work and ideas and re-cycle them amongst themselves, especially the ideas that are popular and marketable. What they all have in common is a skilled intellectual presentation and a lack of serious esoteric experience. Some use channeling, which is either their own imagination or some sinister entity. At best a small number of them have featherweight astral experiences, but even that is beyond the capacity of most of them. Back in 2004 I was out of my body in the astral plane and I saw a person attending my free online courses with the purpose of getting material out of them for their own use, there were awakened beings present and they called him a charlatan. More than a year later someone showed me a book they felt was just like my courses, it was written by the same person I had seen earlier in the astral plane. Funnily enough I’d heard he had said that in 2004 he was stuck and didn’t know what to write, then suddenly his book wrote itself. Hmm…

Large Companies Making Money out of Spirituality

Because so many people search for spirituality businesses are ready to cash in on it. They have money and influence behind them which makes it very difficult to compete with. It’s difficult to reach people when they constantly encounter sophisticated marketing machines designed to catch their attention and seduce them with striking imagery, professional movies, and celebrities, backed by teams of designers and marketers with huge budgets.

They flood the spiritual arena with superficial and misleading garbage that successfully diverts people’s attention from the deeper knowledge, and gives a false, illusory view of spirituality that amounts to a kind of unknowing deception that floods over truth.

Businesses have the commercial markets sewn up, fortunately there are alternative ways to get the information across, which to some extent can sidestep their corporate influence.

I’ve Never Charged Money and I’m free to Communicate as I Wish

I write about the esoteric knowledge that I have experienced, without compromises. In speaking and acting truthfully I’ve upset a lot of people, and thwarted many ambitions, especially of the power hungry, and fanatics, particularly those in religion, and a lot of people have attacked me for it, but I’ll carry on, for the good of truth itself and I’ll speak clearly of what I know to be true regardless of the opposition.

I’ve never, ever charged money for what I’ve done. For most of the time I’ve been passing on this spiritual message I’ve been poor, I spent years in actual poverty, and when it eased I used the opportunities I had to help spread the message, and created different ways of helping. When I inherited my parents house I sold it, and bought another which I renovated and sold to generate huge funds for a retreat for others, I never made a dollar for myself from it. I live simply in quite basic accommodation and aim to live that way. When I had a task to do overseas that could only be done by being paid a wage, I funded my own wages, and diverted donations given to me, to pay it. I even paid all the organizations employment taxes myself. I’ve never made any money from any book I’ve sold, or from any spiritual activity. This gives me freedom, I can say and do what I need to, without interference or concern for other influences getting in the way.

Q: What’s a spiritual marketplace? Is it the same thing that Jesus referred to as “a den of robbers” when he overthrew those who sold animals? What’s the commodity in the commercial spiritual marketplace?

Yes, it’s just like when Jesus went to the temple, and found people outside selling all kinds of goods. And he said that, “Merchants shan’t enter the place of my father”—he was referring to those who place money before spiritual things, who make money surrounding the teaching, which adversely affects those who want genuine spirituality. Those merchants don’t understand the actual spiritual principles which exist, and violate them.

But also, there is a deeper meaning because it’s to throw the merchants from within out—to remove the aspects of an individual, the ego states that sell spirituality for material gain, making their life revolve around money and material things, or fame, or power. His actions also represent the incarnated Son expelling those ego states within, the animals symbolizing the animal ego states.

Q: Before coming across your work I never had an interest in spirituality, mainly because I thought my choices were either religion or new age stuff, and I just wanted to know what was really going on. Neither of these paths answered my questions. I think there are a lot of people who are in the same place I was in; it seems there’s so much garbage out there, there must be so many people who just give up searching. For those people out there trying to navigate their way through all the commercial nonsense, what effect is it having? 

What a person goes though inwardly differentiates someone who’s doing this work from one who doesn’t, and this requires action. Techniques for awakening only contribute to awakening if they are practiced, and those who practice have a different kind of energy going on within them. And tend to be drawn towards like minded people. Although some people search intensively, others give up, which is really sad.

When a person is famous and gives poor spiritual information for money, they take the place of those who could be teaching real spiritual knowledge. A lot of people just settle upon whatever the mainstream gives them and slip into a mundane life, or can never get out of one. Some just incorporate commercialized ideals into their life and it carries on as normal, while others settle upon something established, possibly religious and feel comforted by it. Moreover, most of the ideas that tend to become widespread are those which are acceptable to a wider society and fit that society’s agenda, they have the huge mechanisms of promotion to spread those ideas, and pulling the strings of society are those with power. More is controlled than most people realize and there are a set of unspoken rules and assumptions in society that include or exclude ideas according to their level of acceptance by society. Esoteric knowledge is suppressed for the masses, its marginalized and ridiculed, but is used by elites who know a little of its worth. Unfortunately the knowledge kept by elites is of the dark side, and at best becomes grey.

In ancient times, there were schools which were set up which looked like schools of spiritual knowledge, but they were actually the opposite, they had a number of purposes, one was to mislead people, thus destroying the peoples access to true knowledge, secondly they became used as means of secretly transmitting esoteric knowledge to those who could use its power for darkness. The descendants of many of these secret societies still exist today and exert enormous negative influences upon the world. There are many people in the spiritual field who are today unintentionally or deliberately misleading others. There are so many teaching who are not real spiritual teachers and don’t have their basis in esoteric knowledge, or experience. True teachers are those who have the Son within them and their authority is given from above.

The real knowledge is experienced personally, the information to reach to personal knowledge is difficult to communicate to a wide audience and they lack the capacity to understand it. It also tends to get drowned out by groups and individuals who have companies and marketing behind them, and have a high public exposure.

Q: I’ve started to learn in the astral plane that there are sinister forces and they seem to really dislike this work. I was wondering what role, if any, they play in perpetuating all the commercial garbage out there so people don’t ever have the opportunity to awaken?

It’s one of their main tactics and its part of a wider control they have over society, they keep the masses dumbed down so they never awaken and don’t let others awaken. They’re unseen and work from the infra-dimensions through dark entities to powerful groups within society. They are behind the loss of true esoteric knowledge and its polarization into darkness in ancient esoteric schools and societies. Those schools used many of the symbols of light but inverted or distorted them, turning them into dark forces without the public even realizing it. The people then worshiped demons thinking they were their gods. People are quick to dismiss the esoteric today but it influences their lives much more than they think.

Q: Some people have an opinion that if you offer something for free nobody will really value it and will not develop the commitment necessary to really learn something and to make real progress. Could you please elaborate a bit on this kind of discipline created by money?

Yes, and then they say that they charge a lot because when you pay a lot so you value it more—well, that’s exploitation. There should be a mutual giving and receiving, as that is how the universe functions with an interchange of matter and forces, but it should be voluntary and not coerced in any way, charging money breaks the flow.

In the world value is given to material things, and it seems logical to some that spirituality is one more commodity with a price. But although there are practical costs in teaching, spirituality itself is not a material commodity, to put it as one is to make entry into it dependent upon material value, which is a violation of the free flow of spiritual forces and values that exist in the cosmos.

Reaching actual esoteric knowledge is done through personal experience, which is of higher dimensions, that does have a price, but it’s paid in its own kind, which is in spiritually meeting the requirements for it, which is where the real initiations come in. They act as filters of people in the higher dimensions, separating those who have the required standards in their inner level from those who don’t. The price you pay is esoteric experience is in doing the work to meet those requirements, which means a lot of inner change. The charlatans don’t receive any initiations, nor do they get the true knowledge, what they get is money.

Their audience however take the commercial gurus words as true knowledge and are unable to correlate it to real esoteric experience, because they don’t know what it is.

The flow of give and receive is interrupted by charging money, it should work with complete freedom, with those who wish to contributing donations, or giving whatever assistance they wish, and it is up to the person to decide whether they wish to give and what they give, trying to affect this is violating a person’s own freedom of choice and their own learning in life. Charging money goes against the very spiritual principles of the work, and they can’t be sacrifice for money. In spirituality it’s better to seek truth than it is to make business.

Q: Within the great range of seemingly spiritual literature we get nowadays, do the authors just write things they thought up, or are they thinking they have spiritual knowledge and experiences but are they being misled by negative beings, or could some of the information be from real spiritual beings? If so, can this help someone and how can you tell which is real?

Almost all the information today is intellectual, authors study what’s already written and give their own personal take on it. Esoteric knowledge is actually what an individual experiences themselves, when a person writes from this it has value, if their standard is high enough.

Experiences in the Astral Plane

Hardly anyone does serious esoteric exercises to be able to experience the higher planes of existence. And so very few have any experience of the astral plane or higher, and even those who do can be deceived by negative beings over there, but whether most would even get that far is unlikely. There are some who do travel in the astral plane occasionally, but who don’t do the work to get rid of their ego states, to uncover their subconscious, and so what they see when out of the body is governed by their subconscious, and they don’t realize that what they are seeing is just a projection of their own minds. And yet they can write about out-of-body experiences and dreams and people believe what they say.

Most have no solid internal structure to their bodies in the higher dimensions, and are unable to go to the higher regions or to the infra-dimensions, and so they think that those places don’t exist and tell others it’s like that, but that’s because they don’t have the means to go there themselves. And so they mislead people, they don’t clear their subconscious and don’t practice alchemy to create their higher bodies, and so they don’t really change or transform themselves.

Channeling

Some people use channeling, which is to try to open oneself up to outside entities from other dimensions or through space to speak through the body. These people are usually unconscious of what actually goes through them. If you go to the astral plane you’ll see what it is they are actually communicating with. What’s usually channeled is their own subconscious mind, occasionally they might channel negative entities posing as good figures, thereby being vehicles to spread their deceit, or in the case of mediums, the ego states of the deceased. They do not channel extraterrestrials or divine beings as many believe, because there is a law which all of them respect and that is that a person’s body is their temple and no one can violate that temple by entering another’s. Each person has their own divine being, who is incarnated in the process of enlightenment, the higher consciousness joins with the human consciousness. The human body is for one’s own being to be in no divine being uses another’s temple. Most people who look into channeling don’t realize they are believing in it, which is a form of religious belief, if you believe in channelers, I suggest you go into the astral plane and see what they are actually doing.

Commercialized Spiritual Writers

The majority of writers in spirituality have little or no real esoteric experience. They just write from what they think or believe, and from what they think that people would like to hear, which is most important to them. So they can search around, find a coherent theory or theories, come up with ideas, and then write them or put them into videos, talks, or whatever, and aim it towards the public so that they don’t offend, they try to get the widest audience, or if they have a niche market, they’ll try to fill that niche.

They are not governed by the truth, so they can basically do whatever they want to please the public and be famous. And of course, their companies love them for it, because the larger their audience they get, the more money they make for the company. And then company has all this money to put into its advertising, into its marketing, its brochures, its videos—everything. And then to the general public they seem as though they are the ones who have the knowledge, they have the acclaim, they have everything. But it’s based on something made up. Mainstream publishers are not the judges of spiritual worth, they are the judges of commercial worth. They look at a book and an author in terms of a business proposition, and so what you see in terms of spiritual books for sale in the mainstream are successful business ventures. The mainstream media has no idea of what is a spiritual truth and what is not.

For someone who has real knowledge, over in the higher dimensions, commercial gurus are a bunch of charlatans just talking away. And people love it because they are giving the public what they want; they’re telling people or their niche audience what they like to hear. And they can take bits and pieces of other people’s knowledge from here and there, skillfully put it into a nicely presented package, add their own little twist, and then away they go. Wonderfully marketed, appealing, but misleading, without a basis in truth, real truth, which comes from esoteric experience.

And for a person to know whether something is real or not, well, it’s extremely difficult for the public to find their way through this mire and quicksand. That’s why anyone presenting true information (of whatever kind) should have high standards so that everything that is presented is to a comparable standard with the misinformation that’s out there. If everything is at the standard that the public is used to, then the public has a fair choice. And the information should be presented very clearly so that it’s understandable.

Of course most people won’t be interested, but that’s always the case. A person can find out what’s real or not if they are able to get to the stage where they can practice, and then get to their own experience and knowledge. If they can do that, then they can start to leave behind all the clutter and nonsense of all of the commercial gurus and companies. But they’ve got to be able to break through that, and that’s difficult, because people’s attention is distracted so easily upon different things. The attention span of someone looking around is really low. And if they don’t see something that interests them straight away in one place, they move to another, then to another, and so on. They feed an urge to look for entertainment and information, mistaking it for true knowledge, but that excitement and interest soon dies down, and then they move to something else, or become believers in whatever they’ve found.

Very few have the will to persist and discover genuine esoteric knowledge, it takes a lot of hard work to do it. And those who get used to feeding ego states from entertainment, which many people are brought up to do, don’t have the staying power to get to esoteric knowledge, and remain in the illusions of the mind.

When they hear this message they mentally connect with all the other stuff that they’ve heard, and it just gets drowned out.

The majority of people understand simple concepts, but the esoteric work tends to lose the attention of most. Which is why personal experience of the esoteric or of self-knowledge matters. Without some kind of experience there’s just a set of beliefs.

Genuine choices in spirituality are made out of free will and most people are not interested in this. Not until they leave the body at death that is, and then they have a sudden interest in esoteric things:)

Q: I’ve noticed how people look at this work and take bits and pieces of things and form their own system, and there’s a huge amount of things put out by the media and commercial interests, and so they’ve got their concepts. And when they see a commercial venture or a famous speaker they say that its similar to what you’re doing here, but they have a big auditorium and it costs many hundreds of dollars to listen to them, and so it seems like a loftier version of what you’re doing.

In people’s minds, this is competing with something which seems to be much bigger than it and seems to be much better: there are huge audiences attending a nice place, which is very well publicized, perhaps with a speaker who is famous, or with concepts or beliefs that are very well known, and it feels like attending a special event. The group or speaker will probably be charismatic and skilled at interacting with the audience. And the event seems bigger than the individual, which gives an impression of value and worth. And if a simple exercise is given that has a simple positive result it adds to the impression that there must be some great truth in what’s being said.

And then they come to this it appears to be very low key with little to compare with a large event, and so they take bits from what’s here and move on. Many take parts of information from different sources and draw up their own model of the world and the universe, and become satisfied with that, even though it’s not backed up with solid esoteric experience. And then at some point they die and pass over to the side and have to face whatever comes their way.

That’s their choice, but if someone has a drive inside them that pushes them to search for truth and knowledge, they will look deeper. Most tend not to want to look too deep, and prefer to take scattered information and form their own conclusions, or settle into a belief, or a group, or whatever, and just be content in that. But in this, the sort of people who really do well are those who have a yearning, who search, who are not satisfied with a few little tidbits, but who really want to get truth, wisdom and knowledge, and will do what it takes to accomplish it within themselves.

The fundamental difference in this work is in the practices that are done and what’s behind it esoterically, that is, beyond the three-dimensional world. This is a simple tip of something that reaches into this dimension from beyond it. To discover what’s really behind it takes esoteric experience, and anyone can discover it if they want to.

What someone chooses or thinks doesn’t alter the universal process of enlightenment, if they are not part of that process, what they think about enlightenment is irrelevant to it. It exists within the structure of the cosmos, even if our whole planet chooses not to participate in it. Either a person participates in the process of enlightenment or they don’t.

Beliefs can be a great obstacle to experience as they can prevent someone from doing the exercises that are necessary for esoteric experience. Beliefs can take many kinds, even atheism is a belief, as it lacks proof. A belief can be any spiritual or non-physical concept that has no proof, even ones about a utopian future, or the nature of consciousness. Beliefs can be very tricky.

This is why personal experience is so important, life is what is experienced, and there can be many hurdles to overcome before doing what it takes to even begin the process of enlightenment. This work offers the opportunity to participate in the process of enlightenment, but the process does not depend upon anyone taking it up, it is what it is.

Q: I was wondering if you could comment on the different motives behind commercial spirituality.

For those charging money the motives are often financial, or fame, or power. But some can have a genuine interest in spirituality which goes off track, or some with a genuine interest charge a small fee, without realizing the cosmic principles they are breaking – sometimes for those it’s an honest mistake. For the public who pay money, there’s usually an interest in spiritual things, which doesn’t go very far.

Commercial corporations and gurus are lacking in esoteric knowledge and wisdom, and end up misleading people. Their product has to be tailored to what the public likes for it to be a commercial success, and the public will look for things which satisfies its own interest. And, as many people are like butterflies going from one thing to another in the world of commercialized spirituality, the product must be appealing. Those who want success usually try to get companies to accept them, which provides the opportunity to become popular and make money. But they have to tailor what they do to what the public and the companies want; they’re bound by that. Or, some settle for less commercial exposure and settle in their own niche. Again, if they find the niche, and the public likes what they do, they have some success.

Genuine spirituality has no entry fee, and people are free to take it up. Yet most people are not able to discriminate between a work that has real esoteric wisdom behind it, and that which doesn’t, and nor do most care. They are not able to distinguish between an individual who has knowledge based upon experience, who has been to various dimensions, who has gone through spiritual wonders, who has transformed themselves internally, is going through the process of enlightenment and has seen marvels, and someone who has had just incipient experiences, or none at all, and yet writes in a very appealing way. To make it more beguiling the commercial gurus usually try to develop a look which the public thinks is spiritual, and then flaunt it. This is actually marketing—whereas a person with true knowledge might appear very normal, and have an ordinary personality.

For anyone to separate the genuine from the disingenuous takes the practice of the correct spiritual exercises, in order to get personal esoteric knowledge. Then a whole world of incredible things will open up in front of them and the reality of life will be revealed. And they see with a different kind of a perception, and learn and understand the nature of things as they live.

About the Author

Belsebuub is an author and practitioner of esoteric knowledge. He writes primarily on the transformation and exploration of consciousness from over 30 years of dedicated metaphysical experience. He has authored a number of books on out-of-body experiences, consciousness, and spiritual awakening, including The Astral Codex and Gazing into the Eternal, which are free to download on his website www.belsebuub.com

Belsebuub is the name of his spirit/soul/consciousness. Everyone has their own unique spiritual name; it’s a matter of knowing it.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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10 Comments on "Commercialized Spirituality – It’s a Business, Not The Real Thing"

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  1. Victor Gagnon says:

    Everything, everything, everything, everything that people say is true. Why do we not allow it? Contemplate that.

  2. Paul says:

    spiritus sancti Belsebuub? water, upside down.

  3. “Keep this website online by donating now. Belsebuub.com is provided by Mystical Life Publications” –

    This is the first thing you see when you go to the website, so how does this request fit with the article?

    If you want to teach spirituality you also WORK as a slave of this society as all of us, get a job 9 to 5 and support your spiritual teaching with the sacrifice of your time! That is what I have done during many years without claiming to be a hero! Put that little ego down please! Thank you!

  4. dimitri says:

    Glad to read this as I’ve been on the same wavelength for quite some time. Elizabeth Lesser, one of the founders of Omega Institute, called it Spiritual Capitalism in her book, “The New American Spirituality”. Then she proceeded to encourage its practice and now practices it herself. The explanation these New Agers always proffer is that this is the United States where you can’t get anything done without payments to the business end of getting enlightened. Poppycock!

    You missed out on mentioning our government’s role in supporting the business of spirituality. To this day the Dalai Lama is on the CIA “payroll”, receiving annually outlays of millions of dollars for his “government in exile”. Others like Tich Nat Hanh come to mind. And then there’s the great channeler of all time, Deepak Chopra, who has never said no to any business offer where he sees a buck to be made. He also is on the Washington DC a-list for invitees to various and sundry functions.

    Who’d a guessed that this spirituality thing actually required some sort of genuine, personal commitment?

    • Angela says:

      Well said. It seems it should be obvious that spirituality should require a genuine, personal commitment but incredibly this can be treated with suspicion instead. Perhaps in people’s minds money normalizes the exchange of spiritual ideas, but sometimes there are people who genuinely wish to help others without placing any financial obligation on them for it.

  5. Rory says:

    Yeah there’s a lot I agree with here about the commercialisation of a type of spirituality that people actually use as a crutch or a feel-good pursuit. Not interested in genuine awakening or the stripping away of the little pseudo-entity they take themselves to be. Kinda fooling themselves or patching up the cracks. I guess it is as it is. I fear it’s just adding to society’s complete lack of conception of what genuine spirituality is. The article lost me a bit on all the astral plane stuff though. Feel this piece could have been sliced right down and tightened up and I’d have been happy to share.

  6. Elaine says:

    I agree that there are many people jumping on to the spirituality bandwagon to make money but I find this article very narrow minded.

    There are as many ways to evolve spiritually as there are individuals on our planet. Everyone is unique and should follow their own paths.

    Quoting David Icke “Infinite love is the only truth, everything else is illusion”. Moving into astral planes or other dimensions or densities is just changing game levels.

    Although I don’t approuve of gurus trying to profit from people’s gullability I do believe that they are opening minds to possibilities outside this ridiculous virtual reality which we have created for so many eons.

  7. Henry says:

    I’d love to know where the $200 for the authors book ‘ A Course in Astral Travel and Dreams’ goes? It seems odd that he says at the beginning of the article he makes no money for his books yet on Amazon it’s $200.
    If all this money goes to charity, it still makes no sense as only rich people can buy his books???

  8. Angela says:

    That’s just someone selling a second hand copy on Amazon and trying to get as much for it as they can since it is out of print.

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