The Biggest Lie the Self Help/Spiritual Industry Sells You - Teal Swan Articles - Teal Swan Jump to content

The Biggest Lie the Self Help/Spiritual Industry Sells You

If you are reading this, chances are this is not your first rodeo. You have probably spent considerable time reading self-help books and consuming both spiritual and personal growth material. No matter what role someone is in (whether they are the one teaching and producing and selling content or whether they are the one consuming it) the vast majority of people involved in self-help, personal growth and spirituality, have the same subconscious or conscious aim… To get to a point where life only feels good. 

And here is where some serious confusion needs to be cleared up. The biggest lie that the self help/spiritual industry perpetuates is that there can be an end to contrast. That it is possible to get to a point where life only feels good with no negatives and where no unwanted things happen anymore. It’s at this point that I have to tell you that just because we say we are spiritual but not religious, doesn’t mean that we haven’t carried over the same religious beliefs and given them a makeover. The self-help/spiritual industry is selling you the idea of heaven, just like so many religions have. Only this time, it’s had a makeover. Now, instead of reaching heaven (an end state of positivity) after you die by doing things right and good enough while you are alive, it’s all about reaching heaven (an end state of positivity) while you are alive by doing thing right and good enough while you are alive.  

If many people were honest, this is their actual expectation for doing things like workshops, conscious manifestation exercises, therapy, shadow work, self-help processes, meditations, breathwork and health regimes etc. And so many people suffer because of this hidden expectation that they have either generated or been directly sold.

Contrast is one of the integral elements of this time space reality. What I mean by contrast is the existence and the perception of polarities such as positive and negative, wanted and unwanted, dark and light, pain and pleasure. Contrast is the root of both personal and universal expansion. A physical human is meant to sort through the wanted and unwanted elements of this time space reality so as to give rise to desire. And then, to line up with that desire with their thoughts, words and actions. Doing so, causes a person to actualize the expansion. But this improved state of being will come with a new set of contrast. And so, the process starts all over again, propelling the person into the ever-expanding state of being. For example, let’s say that a person really wants to have a life in nature on a self-sustainable farm. By actualizing their desire, they may have things like a sense of independence and freedom, the peacefulness of the natural world, a life that is wholesome, high-quality food and simplicity. But they may also experience things like inconvenience, lots of labor that needs to be done personally in order to maintain things, a feeling of disconnection from the rest of society and a decrease in financial income. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Want To Succeed? What Pain Will You Say Yes To?

All this is not to say that you should simply give up on life being good and give up on joy and give up on aiming for the constant improvement. It is the desire for life to be good that causes personal expansion. And it is the process of lining up with (so as to actualize) the things that you desire that makes life a process of ‘the better it gets the better it can get’. But this is very different than expecting that you can and should get to a place where there is no more contrast. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: The Ticket to an Empowered Life.

What you are after by chasing a state of heaven while you are alive is a state of ended-ness. No desire and therefore no progress or movement or expansion is born from a being who has everything they could ever want and is only ever experiencing the positive. And you came to this time space reality specifically because you were able to see the value of expansion. To have committed to this time space reality and to seek an end to expansion at the same time, is a contradiction. 

Aside from all of this, there are some main reasons that it is so important to not be doing self-help processes or spiritual practices with the expectation that eventually, if you do them good enough, you will get to a point where you never feel or experience anything negative and life will only feel good.

  1. You will fail at it no matter what you do. And you will fail at it through no fault of your own. You will not fail because you are not doing something right. You will fail at it because the reality of life and how this time space reality was designed is in direct opposition to a state of ended-ness. Because of this, not only will you be out of reality (which only ever leads to unwanted results), you will also feel like something is seriously wrong with you and like you are not doing something good enough or right. This will cause you to suffer unimaginable levels of pain. Some of you who are watching this are already in this pain I am speaking about. Imagine that life is an ocean. In this analogy, the contrast of life is like the waves in the ocean. To master life is to master the art of surfing. To operate with this expectation of getting to a point where life only ever feels good and only wanted things happen is to think “If I just surf good enough, the waves will stop coming”. No person who actually attained enlightenment is teaching anyone how to stop the contrast of life. They are teaching you how to develop a different relationship to the reality of contrast (to the waves of life), and this in turn changes your life experience for the better.
  2. If you engage with self-help, personal growth and spiritual things so as to reach a state of positive ended-ness, everything you do is a ‘so that’. You will be doing a great many things you hate so as to get to a reward you want. But this means that you will hate the process of life and never achieve the reward that you are trying to get to. This is a recipe for burnout, powerlessness and despair. You will especially get into trouble if you are using lots of shadow work to try to reach a state of heaven while you are alive. The here and now experience of life itself will not only be painful, it will not be worth it because the reward for doing painful things (which you think is a life where nothing ever feels negative and you never experience something unwanted) will not come. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: If You Want to Be Happy, Don’t Do This!
  3. If you approach life in this way, you will never live life in the ‘now’. Instead, you’re on a rat wheel trying to get to a perfect future. There will be no actual appreciation of the now. Because even if you engage in the practice of appreciating the now… even that practice is a ‘so that’… something that you are only doing in order to try to have a better future.
  4. You will fail to fully commit to the adventure of life and to mastering the process of expansion. Instead of really committing to playing the game of life and extracting the benefits from it, you’re going to be in resistance to it, trying to get out of it and transcend it. You will not be fully committed to life. You’ll have one foot in and one foot out of life. And you cannot truly manifest if you don’t put all your energy into life. Also, you will be in resistance to both pain and desire. For this reason, it would benefit you to watch two of my videos. The first titled: The Meaning of Pain and the second titled: Are You Afraid of Desire? The Truth about Desire.     
  5. You will walk around with an attitude that if you or someone else is in pain or experiencing negative or unwanted things, you or they are doing something wrong/bad and that it means something about you or them. By the way, this is simply a modern facelift that was done on the idea that if someone doesn’t get to heaven when they die, it is because they did something bad or wrong. What you will most likely make it mean when you experience negative or unwanted things is something that causes you to feel inferior to others who you think are more right and more good than you are because their life is better than yours is… That they are more enlightened than you are.
    And walking around with this attitude will cause you to hold a person in less esteem if they are experiencing pain and unwanted things. You may tell yourself that you’re the more successful or enlightened one. You can often hear this insinuation in people’s voices when they ask “How are you a match to that?”. As if reaching a state of positive ended-ness, a heaven in life, is a measure of how good and right someone is.
  6. This belief and this expectation puts you into a state of narcissism and in a personal bubble reality built for one. At its root, the expectation that one should get to a place in life where nothing negative or unwanted ever happens, arises because a person is desperate to get away from pain. When people are in pain, they tend to be very narcissistic. It’s very hard to care about the wellbeing of others when you are in pain.  And so, even if you have been sold on a practice such as taking the other person’s best interests as a part of your own best interests, you will ultimately only do that because you think that it will lead to you, yourself experiencing no more pain in relationships. And you will only seek to attain a state of oneness because you believe it is the ticket to you feeling good and no longer separated. Again, it is the attempt to manifest a heaven... an ended state of positivity for yourself.

Unfortunately, many teachers as well as the self- help/spiritual industry itself has sold you the lie that there can be an end to contrast. That the goal is to actualize heaven, a state of positive ended-ness, while you are alive. And that if you are not there yet, you need to do something different and better. Because of all of this, you are chasing a goal that you will not reach. You have used your degree of happiness in life as your measure of your own goodness and rightness. You have turned your life into a “so that”. Joy in life is not dependent on there being nothing negative and on never experiencing unwanted things. Contrast is not an oppositional force to joy. You can love your life and still experience contrast. You can do everything right and good and you will still experience the contrast that is inherent to life. Otherwise, the second any being became enlightened, all homeless people would suddenly not be homeless anymore and no animal would eat another animal and no one would ever lose a loved one because death would not be a part of life. So, either no being has ever achieved enlightenment or contrast is inherent to life, whether a being has achieved enlightenment or not. 

With this in mind, I want you to ask yourself this question: If I accepted that there will never be an end to contrast. That no matter what I improve or what desire I attain, there will always be both negative and positive, wanted and unwanted inherent with it… what would I do differently in my daily life today?

And remember, there is no difference between working your ass off to get to heaven after you die and working your ass off to reach a state of heaven while you are alive!


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