Blowing the Whistle, Chpt. 8: Catching More Flies with Honey: How ‘Love’ and ‘Oneness’ Teachings Are Used to Disempower

This is Chapter 8 in an online book: ‘Blowing the Whistle on Enlightenment: Confessions of a New Age Heretic,’ by Bronte Baxter.

“Love one another.” “We are all one.”

Such beautiful sentiments. Love is the balm that heals the heart, and oneness the reality that joins us. But spiritual teachers with an agenda use “love” and “oneness” teachings to keep the lid down on their disciples’ spiritual development.

Let’s look at these teachings one at a time and see how they are used to manipulate. When a teacher or religion preaches love, at first glance that seems to be a good thing. It encourages people to be selfless and to help their fellows. Because of “love” teachings, religious people give to the poor, volunteer their time, and bite their tongue a lot. They say “the right thing” and don’t do things that other people won’t like. They put their desires on the backburner and focus instead on doing what they think will make others happy. Whenever sentiments of discontent or rebellion arise, they quash them with the stern heel of conscience. They know such feelings are from the dark side, and that they must be vigilant against them.

Years go by, and these well-meaning people become frustrated and repressed. The rebellion in them grows, because they are not listening to themselves. Their soul cries out for experiences, for learning through experience, but they have been taught that personal desires are selfish, so the cries of their soul go unheeded. They grow depressed or angry, because their purpose of embodiment in human form has been thwarted. The frustration comes out in many negative ways: short-temperedness, jealousy, vindictiveness, gossip, judgmentalness.

The sincere people who faithfully follow “love” teachings typically live in a box with the lid down, able to express but little of themselves because instinctual wants are considered suspect or evil. Repressed, their souls turn miserable or spiteful, like a dog chained for years to a stake. “See, it’s a bad dog,” people say when the animal snarls and nips, convinced by such nasty behavior that they were right in chaining that animal all along.

Telling people to be unselfish creates a shadow personality inside them, the very “ego” that religions decry and that wouldn’t exist without religion. It’s ego, teachers preach, that makes the spirit discontent and rebellious. The vices their followers find in their private hearts are proof that the soul is a tainted thing, needing to be risen above or controlled.

So people redouble their efforts to be kind and loving. They volunteer more time, give more money to their church or their guru, and bite their tongue so hard that it hurts. But their “wicked” spirit only becomes sulkier, their negative thoughts stronger, their suppressed rage greater.

The spiritual teacher has, of course, the solution to all this. The Christian struggling with wicked thoughts is told to surrender his soul to Jesus. The disciple plagued by negativity is told to surrender her ego to Oneness Consciousness. It amounts to the same thing. Spiritual aspirants must make an oblation of the will (the soul’s chief attribute and mode of expression) to something perceived as greater and purer than themselves. If they do this, God, they are promised, will destroy the evil in their hearts. Oneness, or Brahman Consciousness, will dissolve their selfish cravings and negative mental chatter. The soul will melt away into the wholeness that is their true cosmic nature, or into the love that is Jesus. The troublesome entity they have fought with for years, their inner self, will be gone. In its place will come a peace that surpasseth understanding, the presence of the Divine alive in their heart.

People who succeed in going the final steps to such surrender do indeed experience peace, but it is the peace of spiritual death. Gone is the cry of their spirit for expression, for freedom to live and do things in the world. Gone is the frustration of the heart that lived in a box all its life. All noise is silenced. The soul has been snuffed out. All that exists in the shell called the body is the presence of something else: a new, “holy” or “cosmic” consciousness.

The consciousness that takes over when we surrender our souls only claims to be divine or of the Source. It is a consciousness that hates life, that abhors uniqueness and diversity. It wants to wipe out the creative spark whose expression was the purpose of creation. That spark, individual consciousness, burst forth from the Source Consciousness in a brilliant firework display at the beginning of time. We are those sparks, children of the Infinite, and our play and display is the reason for the world.

The play has been thwarted for millenniums. The display has been forbidden. Any original impulses that don’t align with institutionalized spiritual programming, in religions of East or West, are judged egoistic or evil. While a few people in society break free from these fetters (becoming our artists, our inventors, our thinkers), most of mankind lives under the yoke of spiritual repression, judging their deepest instincts as suspect, selfish, and wrong.

So we live in miserable marriages, work at miserable jobs, go places we don’t want to go for the “happiness” of our families, and do things we don’t want to do to help the less fortunate. Religious people work so hard to make sure everyone else is happy, but no one does anything that makes anyone happy, because happiness is a luxury they’re told they have no right to expect or experience.

I remember as a girl, how Sundays my family would sit around asking one another how they’d like to spend the day. “Would you like to go to the park?” one person would ask. “I don’t know, would you like to go to the park?” would come the reply. Everyone was so busy being unselfish, trying to do what the others supposedly wanted, that no one ever answered honestly about what they thought would be fun. So we went to the park or museum, never knowing if even one family member really wanted to go there. We were that intent on being good Christians, on sacrificing our personal desires for the sake of everyone else. We thought that made us moral and pleasing to God.

I often think of this sad and ridiculous scenario that was acted out so many times when I was growing up, and what a metaphor it is for all decisions that are based on repressing our inner spark for the supposed higher good. What if instead we all listened to the promptings in our hearts, without judgment? What if we stopped calling those promptings “ego” and considered them messages from the divine within us, messages there to guide us through life?

Those who have succumbed to the teaching that the ego is a self-serving, antisocial, anti-spiritual entity that lives inside waiting to undermine, can never free the creative spark and do the things that truly bring happiness to themselves and to others. When we trust our desires and stop judging them as selfish, the nastiness that once accrued to our inner spirit strangely disappears. The soul isn’t repressed anymore. It is free and expressing, fulfilling its divine promptings. Gone is its envy toward others, its anger and resentment. The soul fills with its own innate joy, and wishes no less for everybody else.

Egoism and evil are not born of this entity; they are born of repressing this entity. Left to itself, unjudged and uncensored, the soul desires good things for itself and for all creation. So where is the selfishness?

Spiritual teachers tell us to love, but true love is never born of an edict. Love is not biting your tongue, doing what someone else wants, repressing your desires, giving money to charity or doing prescribed service. All those things come from an effort at love, not from having love. When you have love, you need no mandates. Love is a tenderness of feeling, an empathy to what another is going through, a perception of the beauty in another.

Not only is a mandate not needed for real love – a mandate is useless in bringing love about. How can a spiritual rule make you feel tenderness or empathy, or appreciation of beauty? Only an open soul can experience those things. A soul shrouded in judgment of itself as egoistic and selfish cannot feel tenderness, empathy or appreciation. It is way too hurt and closed for such delicate feelings. Expecting a judged soul to bloom forth in genuine love is like expecting a seedling you poured drain cleaner on, to sprout forth in beautiful, new, green shoots.

Any spiritual leader who makes love the core of their teaching or who talks of dissolving the “small self” or “ego” leads mankind further into the dark. A truly awake person knows that love cannot be achieved through effort and that egoism is the product of self-flagellation. The truly awake don’t tell people to be loving, they suggest people be true to themselves. They advise self-trust. They are also aware of the nature of religion and its destructive role in the world. They speak out against it in all its forms.

Truly spiritual people recognize that religions use teachings of love and oneness to manipulate humanity into first judging and then surrendering their precious, unique souls (in the form of their will). They perceive that someone stands to gain from this, those who stand at the top of religions, those who call themselves God, gods, or gurus. They know that the true God, the Source Consciousness, has no need for worship and never mandated such. They know that anyone asking for adulation is less than Infinite, less than divine – an imposter pretending to be those things.

The truly aware know that Source Consciousness wants only that its purpose in creation be fulfilled: the play and display of happiness, in a myriad expression of souls, unique in their wonderful forms. They know that religion’s teachings of mandated love and dissolving ego thwart the Infinite’s purpose by destroying those souls.

People who know the truth encourage free expression, independence, individuality. They cheer for things like questioning, dissent, and nonconformity. They never codify “truth” and they never set themselves up as “teachers.” They don’t allow others to put them on a pedestal. They don’t appear on the rolls of “the holy” or “the Self-realized.” They are simple, confident people going about their lives with the light on inside.

No one turns to them as gurus or quotes them as spiritual authorities. They bring light to the world by being who they are and living freely and differently. Their joy and originality inspire those around them to re-evaluate the shrunken, judged personhood inside themselves, to consider whether it, too, might be capable of such luminosity. The truly awake inspire envy and anger in many, whose first reaction to the possibility of freedom is outrage, because it means they may have been traveling in the wrong direction all their lives.

Love is the sweetest expression of life, the flower of God’s creation. Oneness is our deepest nature, the place we all join with God (to quote the poet, Matthew Arnold) like islands “linking (our) coral arms beneath the sea.” Love and Oneness – what could be better?

But teachings that tell us to practice love and to surrender to Oneness are quite another thing. There are those who would twist mankind’s natural spiritual instincts to serve their sinister purposes. Love and Oneness are their calling cards.

(For more about those sinister purposes, see my other articles in the “Blowing the Whistle on Enlightenment” series.)

Bronte Baxter

© Bronte Baxter 2008

Anyone may republish this article on another website as long as they include the copyright and a back link to this site.


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  1. Doven said,

    November 8, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Yes the psyop here is one of giving your power away in a cleverly disguised form of separation. There are many siphons in the form of spiritual practices that act as pied pipers for the soul purpose of redirecting your life force energy to a harvester outside yourself.

  2. Jesse said,

    November 19, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Damn it Bronte, you’ve done it again. Every article I read in this series hits the bullseye right on the mark for me, and I feel overwhelmed with appreciation that someone is expressing all the things I have been thinking over the years. As if we’ve both, through experience, seeking and research, assembled the pieces of the puzzle in the same way, independently, without knowing each other….it’s amazing. The only difference is that I’ve never organized these ideas coherently or said them out loud; I’ve kept them to myself, waiting for the day when I would have the motivation to organize it all together or the courage to speak.

  3. Jim said,

    March 31, 2009 at 5:50 am

    Yes bronte.
    Good job.
    People try too hard and are not risky enough.
    The custodians create a controlled rebellion deep in the soul of people.
    The only rebellion left is true love and instinct.
    Being good is just being. So be. And watch where it takes you
    and be surprised at how safe you can be in a crowd of scared
    insecure lunatics. Fuck yeah.

  4. Alena said,

    April 28, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Very well said, very well said. Appreciated reading this as it clarified what my “instincts” were trying to tell me. Thank you.

  5. Teo said,

    August 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Very very excellent read. I especially love the part about how we have been taught that Ego is something that is self-serving, antisocial, anti-spiritual entity that lives inside waiting to undermine, can never free the creative spark and do the things that truly bring happiness to themselves and to others.

    I have always felt extreme indignancy somehow everytime my ego gets manipulated, in turn manipulating me into not reaching for my own potential.

    We now live in the world where anyone who tries to be the best they can be, get called “egoistic” and “cocky”.

    Anyone who tries to tell the others that they can do alot better, is called “judgmental”.

    Really it is no wonder why eventually our education systems have become completely obsolete, and why the world is increasingly filled more and more with the insecure – because so many of us have been chained to the prison that actually prevents us from expanding and growing; all under the Name of Humility. Humility has become a calling card for those who want to control others, or simply put down others!

    Now of course I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be humble at all. The frustrating thing is – we all practice humility in the areas that just don’t matter, or worse, detrimental to our spiritual growth!

  6. December 22, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    MMMMHHHHMMMM! Right on sister! Ive been through a number of religions and a guru in my search to understand my purpose. Came to similar conclusions as yourself and glad to find this site where you put ideas so succinctly.

  7. DB said,

    June 21, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    I’ve noticed that *service to others* is getting a lot of lip service now, while *service to self* is once again being demonized. If you do not take care of yourself first (which does NOT mean spending your days and nights making sure your wants, as opposed to your needs, are met), you simply end up becoming a leech to others who end up taking care of you.

  8. Steven Stewart said,

    August 16, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Here are two tennets I learned as a teenager;
    Be who you want to be, not what you’re told to be.
    Do as you think, not as you’re told.
    I’ve managed the former better than the latter over the decades, the compromise, having to keep a steady income in order to accomplish my personal objectives.

  9. destiny said,

    September 7, 2015 at 6:10 am

    That truly opened my eyes. Love and oneness are great. But only when that love comes with permission of full self-expression. Only when that love is “not hungry” for praise, material gifts, sacrifice… Oneness is great but not at the expense of sacrificing one’s uniqueness.

    I have found myself trying to love myself by being what others tell me to be. By trying to make others happy because that would supposedly give me happiness. I would go to church to make my family happy. Wear a dress to make my mother happy. etc etc. But now I see that it is really ok to make myself happy! Not at the expense of others in terms of causing them pain or interfering with their free-will, but exercising my free-will in its fullest capacity.

    I think this quote goes along with this quite nicely:
    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    Our Deepest Fear
    by Marianne Williamson

  10. Saiful Rimkeit said,

    December 9, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Some of the story unfolding in this chapter reminds me of what they and I have witnessed in AA. This type of behavior fits the pattern of the child of an alcoholic. There is a correlation between what you write and what I heard at AA and NA meetings being openly spoken by many individuals in attendance.

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