Foundational teachings on how to approach spiritual teachers and organizations

TOPICS: No teaching or organization has a patent on the ascended masters – do not let negative attitude to an organization prevent you from studying the teaching you need – dealing with negative information about an organization – the promise of an automatic salvation – reserving judgment – misuse of the word “cult” – being crucified by the press – passing the tests of the Piscean age – boxing people in with rules – learn from a spiritual organization – the ego games in organizations – how the masters select messengers – looking beyond appearances – a spiritual leader does not have to be superhuman or perfect – use every experience as an opportunity to learn – the devil’s myth about human perfection –

Question: It is my understanding that the ascended masters have worked with a number of organizations in various ways over the past century. Yet some of them have received some bad press, some seem to have had leaders with certain egocentric characteristics and some seem to have been really stuck on following outer rules. I know people whom I consider to be spiritual seekers but who are extremely suspicious of spiritual organizations. Some even refuse to have anything to do with an organization. Do you have any thoughts on what we can look for or how the ascended masters look at spiritual organizations?

Answer from ascended master Jesus through Kim Michaels:

Thank you for raising an important question. Let me give you some thoughts to ponder.

Thought 1
I consider it important that visitors to this website know that the ascended masters have sponsored – to varying degrees – a substantial number of organizations and individuals within the last century. One reason this is important is that I am hoping to help visitors avoid falling into the trap of exclusivity that so easily leads to spiritual pride.

To avoid pride, it is important to be aware that an organization can be left behind by the ascended masters if its leaders and or members do not live up to their responsibility. For example, several of the organizations we have sponsored have been based on the bringing forth of direct revelation from us. Yet once this progressive revelation stopped through a particular organization, the leaders and many of the members often started believing the ascended masters were no longer speaking through anyone.

Obviously, there is much valid teaching brought forth through these organizations. Many of the visitors to this site will not need this information, but some will and it is thus important that people follow their inner guidance.

I also consider it important for the more mature spiritual seekers to realize that the ascended masters are trying to reach a wide variety of people and that we have to adapt our message to the level of consciousness of the audience. It is therefore important not to formulate an image in your mind that the ascended masters should always speak in a certain way or say certain things. It is extremely important for today’s seekers to avoid becoming fundamentalists about the teachings of the ascended masters. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that truth can be expressed in only one way. This is the attitude that has led to most religious conflicts, as I explain in Beyond Religious Conflict.

That being said, let me make it clear that after we entered the Aquarian Age, we have decided that we will no longer comment on specific organizations or individuals. In this age, it is essential for people to develop their Christ discernment, and thus we will leave it up to people to follow their inner guidance concerning what teachings to study and which organizations to join. It is, however, important for people to know that this website is not the exclusive source for ascended masters teachings, and that they should feel free to study other teachings if they feel guided from within.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. And it would be unhelpful if people have adopted such a negative attitude to organizations in general or to specific organizations, that this will prevent them from studying the teachings they need.

Thought 2
Let me comment on the fact that it is so easy to find negative information about many spiritual organizations on the internet and that some people have seemingly made it their life’s mission to criticize a specific organization or person. As a sincere spiritual seeker it is important to keep in mind that when you take in any kind of information, the people publishing the information do, in a sense, become your teachers, your gurus.

Only those with spiritual pride/blindness believe they can walk the path without inner and outer teachers. Thus, a teacher is essential to your spiritual growth and it becomes important to select teachers who will actually help you grow. Only few people can rise above the level of consciousness of their teachers, so when selecting where you get your information, it is important to consider the level of consciousness of the people providing the information.

Do they seem to have a balanced and harmonious approach to life? What are their motives for sharing the information? Do they have a hidden agenda that is self-serving? Do they express any kind of negative feelings, especially anger? Do they seem unwilling to take responsibility for themselves? Do they portray themselves as victims with no control over their circumstances? Such factors will increase the possibility that their information is biased and thus unreliable.

I am not hereby denying that some spiritual organizations abuse people or that some people have legitimate complaints. Yet by considering people’s tone, their level of anger and their level of victimhood, you can gauge their objectivity. It is not hard to see that some people are truly pointing out legitimate concerns, whereas others are merely trying to demonize an organization or teacher in order to defer responsibility from themselves. Such people are not the ones I recommend that you select as your teachers.

Thought 3
One of the themes I consistently seek to get across on this website is that you must be willing to look for the beam in your own eye, that you must take full responsibility for your life and that you must change your inner situation before you can change your outer situation. Unfortunately, many of the people who look for spiritual teachings have not reached the level of maturity that empowers them to take responsibility for their own growth.

The inevitable consequence is that such people look for an organization or teacher who promises them an automatic salvation. Just join our organization and follow all the rules, and you will automatically be saved. For that matter, many mainstream Christians fit into this category, but they would vehemently resist having their churches labeled as cults, even though they gladly label any unorthodox organization as a cult.

The pattern followed by many people is that they enter an organization with the belief that after a while they will automatically become perfect people. By following the outer rules, they will overcome whatever problems they face without having to change themselves or look at themselves. Sooner or later, this bubble inevitably bursts.

The real problem is that these people have not taken full responsibility for their path, and because they have not done so, nothing can be their fault. They cannot admit that they have immature and unrealistic expectations and that they need to refine their approach to spirituality. Thus, it has to be the fault of the organization/teacher who must have made false promises and must have fooled them by various means of mind control.

The simple fact is that no one can control your mind unless you let them. And if you have taken full responsibility for yourself, you will never allow anyone to control your mind. Yet the theme of demonizing other people and turning them into scapegoats – thereby using them as an excuse for not looking at the beam in your own eye – has been repeated countless times throughout history. My point is, once again: do not make such people your gurus.

Thought 4
If you want to know the truth about any topic, seek out the most objective sources of information, seek personal experience if possible and seek the guidance of your Christ self. If you feel you have not found reliable information or cannot get personal experience, there is nothing wrong with reserving judgment.

Many people have fallen into the trap of thinking they have to have an opinion about everything, thus making snap judgments based on whatever information comes across the screens of their minds. As a spiritual seeker, you want to avoid this trap, and you do so by not forming a judgment until you feel you have reliable information on which to base it.

It was for good reason I told people not to judge (Matthew 7:1). For truly, the way you judge others is the way you subconsciously judge yourself.

Thought 5
As I said, scapegoating is as old as Cain and Abel. One aspect of this is to create a label and associate that label with something bad. You then make a sweeping generalization and say that all people who fit into your labeled box are bad people. This was used against the early Christians, it was used by Hitler against the Jews, it has been used against black Africans and many other types of people.

I consider the word cult as a modern version of this form of dehumanization. This word was brought to its modern use by people who are bent on destroying religious freedom and diversity. I strongly recommend that anyone who is a sincere spiritual seeker stops using this word and speak out against it wherever it is used.

You might be aware that even some large Christian churches use this word from the top leadership to the general members. Some of these churches sincerely believe that any church besides their own is a cult. Thus, some fundamentalist Christian churches have labeled the Catholic Church as a cult. Many other people – especially in the media – label anything that is not mainstream as a cult.

Consider what would have happened if the word had been in use 2,000 years ago. I would have instantly been labeled as a dangerous cult leader by the scribes and Pharisees. Imagine what a field day the modern sensationalist press would have had in “reporting” some of my actions and words. “This Jesus fellow seriously believes he is the son of God!”

As a spiritual seeker, it is wise to be aware that there are forces in this world who deliberately work against the spiritual awakening of humankind. Thus, they will aggressively – and by using any means available – seek to destroy any genuine spiritual teacher and organization. In today’s slightly more civilized world, crucifying a “cult leader” is no longer an option. Yet many people have been crucified by the press and once they have been labeled with the infamous word “Cult” who can take them down from that cross? Well, you can—at least in your own mind.

I was subjected to this kind of character assassination 2,000 years ago and it did keep many people from following me. Back then, it was spread only by word of mouth and thus it was not recorded for posterity. In today’s world, it is far easier to spread such false information and thus it can permanently discredit people. Many modern spiritual seekers have been misled by such misinformation and have thus missed opportunities for spiritual growth. Many of the spiritual organizations that serve a valid function as forerunners for a new approach to spirituality have been mislabeled as cults.

Thought 6
If you truly want to understand spiritual organizations, you need to carefully ponder the shift from the Piscean to the Aquarian dispensation. Some organizations were meant to help people pass the tests they needed to pass in the Piscean age. Passing these tests is necessary before you can move into the Aquarian age consciousness.

Therefore, some organizations were designed to not only help, but even to force people, to look for the beam in their own eyes. It is, however, impossible to start any organization without attracting people who have not yet taken full responsibility for themselves. One of the major initiations of Pisces is that you take this responsibility, which means that you cannot blindly follow outer leaders or outer rules. You must be willing to find your own answers within. You must be willing to make your own decisions, and in doing so run the risk of being wrong.

To truly take responsibility for your own salvation, you must understand that the true object of life is to learn, to self-transcend. Thus, even a wrong decision can become a springboard for growth. When people have not understood this, they often become so afraid of making mistakes that they do not want to make their own decisions. They want someone else to make decisions for them.

At the lower stages of spiritual growth, following outer rules is necessary because the lifestream it not mature enough to make its own decisions. Yet there comes a point when you must be willing to look beyond the outer rules and follow your inner directions. If you do not do this, the outer rules/organization/teachings become a trap that stops your growth. Once people are in this trap, they often need to be shaken out of it in order to resume their growth. My point being that at the end of the Age of Pisces many spiritual seekers needed to be shaken out of the tendency to follow the automatic path to salvation.

We went to great length to help people overcome this hurdle and manifest their Christhood. Yet many people did not understand or internalize these teachings and continued to want others to make decisions for them. What are spiritual teachers to do with such students? We could reject them, but that is not a loving response, so we used another time-tested method.

This method is to force people to confront their unwillingness to make decisions by giving them what they ask for—to the extreme. Thus, some organizations did go through a phase in which people were given very specific rules for every aspect of life. The intent was to box people in so tightly with outer rules that they could no longer move and would thus have to either leave or start making their own decisions. Obviously, this intent was not stated publicly or it would have ruined the test. People had to figure it out on their own.

This is not our preferred method of teaching, but at the end of the Piscean age extreme methods were called for. The downside of this is that some people made almost fanatical attempts to follow all the outer rules, and when they finally broke under their – self-created – strain, they became angry and blamed the organization and its leader, who for them became the scapegoat for deferring responsibility for their path.

I am not hereby saying that some people did not have legitimate complaints. Neither the leaders nor the staff and members of a spiritual organization are required to be perfect people. Yet if you take responsibility for yourself, you will NEVER let other people’s mistakes take you off the spiritual path. It really is that simple when you are willing to be brutally honest.

I might mention that many people were not burdened by the outer rules. Some took a balanced approach and followed their inner direction over the outer rules. Some took one look at the rules and decided, “If I have to do everything the organization recommends, I simply couldn’t do it all in 24 hours. So I have to do what feels right and not worry about the rest.” Many other people took a similar approach and never allowed the outer rules or the leader to control their lives. Thus, we might say that there were some people who literally turned the outer rules into a cult environment, whereas others lived mature and balanced lives in the same environment. This, of course, is true of many other spiritual organizations that have been labeled as cults.

Thought 7
The fact is that in any organization of any size, you can find some people who have been offended and who look only at the mote in the eyes of other people. It is very easy to use such people as an excuse for placing the label “Cult” on an organization. Again, I am not saying any organization has been perfect. However, if you take a positive approach, spiritual seekers can learn much from studying an organization, including learning much about how things should not be done or should not be done in the Aquarian age.

However, the most important lesson you can learn from studying any organization is that the goal of spiritual growth is to overcome the ego. The ego plays many subtle games in spiritual organizations. We might say that the underlying game is that the ego is constantly trying to come up with a reason why you should not follow the true spiritual path. Thus, it wants you to leave behind a spiritual teaching or organization that could help you transcend the ego. It is constantly seeking to find imperfections in the organization, its leader, its teachings or its members and use them as a justification to get you to leave.

Thought 8
How do we select a messenger? Well, the first thing you need to understand is that selecting a messenger is not a popularity contest. We do not select messengers based on their potential popularity among people or their acceptability to the media. On the contrary, the purpose of a messenger is to challenge people’s mental boxes, their preconceived opinions, and thus a messenger will by definition be unpopular.

There is no universal standard for selecting a messenger. Each messenger has a specific mission, which is to challenge a certain state of consciousness and help people rise above it. Thus, for each task we select the messenger best suited for that task. For example, say an organization is meant to challenge the Piscean mindset of blindly following an outer leader. Thus, we would need a messenger who was capable of and willing to do this, even to the point of taking on the role of mirroring back to people whatever they brought to the table (in an attempt to magnify people’s flaws and make them visible).

It is also helpful to consider that some leaders were meant to challenge the Piscean illusion that women cannot be spiritual leaders. To do this, they needed to be very determined and, in fact, have many masculine qualities. Only a very strong woman could survived the intense attacks to which many female leaders have been exposed. Yet it goes with the territory that people who are strong and powerful leaders are not soft and gentle. Thus, some people will inevitably see them as too powerful and too controlling.

What I am saying here is that we do not select messengers based on outer criteria. We look beyond the outer personality and look at the deeper qualifications of the lifestream. When selecting a messenger for a specific task, we often have a limited field from which to choose. A messenger must have the necessary inner qualities but must also have an outer willingness to do the job. The twain do not always meet.

As a result, we must sometimes choose a messenger who has the inner qualifications and the outer willingness, but who has certain personality traits that some people will find offensive. This is acceptable because as a spiritual seeker you MUST learn to look beyond outer appearances. If you reject a messenger based on his or her human personality, it shows that you are not yet ready for the higher stages of the spiritual path, where you must look beyond ALL outer appearances. This is another Piscean test that people must pass.

I can assure you that there were people who rejected me because of my personality or what they perceived as flaws in my character and behavior. Many Christian churches have created the idol that I was gentle, loving and soft-spoken. A careful reading of the scriptures will dispel this myth. I was and am a very strong and powerful personality with a flair for the dramatic. In fact, this did cause some people to perceive me in a way that in today’s language would have labeled me as a paranoid and egotistical person who had deified myself and was controlling my disciples.

Thought 9
There is a common misconception in spiritual organizations that the leaders of such organizations should somehow be superhuman and should be perfect according to a standard that no one can quite define. This misconception was created by the prince of this world by using the psychological mechanism that causes people to refuse to take responsibility for themselves. The purpose is always to take you off the true spiritual path, and the devil can win in more ways than one.

Many religious people are trapped in a state of idolatry of their own organization and its leader. They think their organization is perfect (the only true religion) and that their leader is appointed by God and thus must be the perfect human being. This gives rise to the belief that as long as they stay in the organization and follow this perfect leader, they will automatically be saved. It is the dream of becoming perfect through associating with perfect people. As long as people retain this sense of idolatry, they simply cannot rise to the true spiritual path, and thus the forces of anti-christ and their own egos have them under control.

As I explain throughout this website, you cannot manifest your Christhood without taking full responsibility for yourself. This means that you must overcome any idolatry of an organization or leader. Many of the more spiritually mature people on this planet are in the process of moving out of this idolatry. Some lifestreams deliberately chose – at subconscious levels – to become involved with certain organizations in order to overcome this idolatry. One way to do this is to experience a spiritual leader with obvious imperfections, which then helps you overcome idolatry.

An obvious example is the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, which has given many Catholics an opportunity to overcome their idolatry of this organization. I am not hereby saying that sexual abuse is in any way justified. Yet I am saying that the many imperfections in spiritual organizations can have the positive potential of helping people take responsibility for their spiritual growth instead of blindly following a leader.

When the idolatrous dream of an automatic salvation is shattered, people have the opportunity to take a quantum leap forward on their spiritual path. Unfortunately, the forces of anti-christ and people’s egos know what is at stake and they try to take people into various blind alleys. One such blind alley is to go into denial and refuse to acknowledge the flaws of your spiritual leader. Another blind alley is the idea that you were fooled or abused by the spiritual leader, and thus nothing was your fault. As long as you feel like a victim, you cannot follow the true spiritual path. Another blind alley is the idea that the spiritual path is unreal and that there are no genuine spiritual leaders and thus you should give up on the whole thing.

Can you see that the devil will win either way? If you stay in the idolatrous consciousness, the devil has you under control. If you go into denial, the devil has you under control. If you see yourself as a victim, the devil has you under control. And if you give up on the spiritual path, the devil has won. The only way out is that you make a total commitment to using every experience as an opportunity to learn.

So what if you have been involved with an imperfect spiritual organization? You chose that experience because you wanted to learn something from it. So stop looking at the mote in the eye of another and look for the beam – the lesson – in your own psychology. Simply learn that lesson and move on—which is the only way to prevent the devil from controlling you.

Consider my saying, “The prince of this world cometh and has nothing in me” (John 14:30). The devil will have nothing in you only when you have no attachments, when you are willing to transcend any aspect of your life and psychology. In other words, being willing to use every situation as a springboard for self-transcendence is the only way to escape the devil and his attempts to keep you from your God.

I am not hereby trying to tell you what you should think about a given organization or leader. I am simply saying that you need to formulate your own opinion based on your own observations and inner direction. You should always follow your heart, but to do so you will need to look beyond the dualistic ideas that have been programmed into your mind. If you allow your vision of any spiritual teaching to be colored by such dualistic images, you simply cannot hear what your Christ self is telling you in your heart.

Thought 10
Consider why the devil has created the myth of the perfect human being? It is to get people to follow the “way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). The simple fact is that no human being ever has been or ever will be perfect. The concept of human perfection is a lie that has no reality in God. The devil created this myth to make people believe that if they can attain human perfection, God simply has to save them. So people pursue human perfection, as did the scribes and Pharisees. And you might recall my statement, “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20).

Again, the devil can win either way. Some people manage to convince themselves that they are perfect according to some human standard, and thus they refuse to see the beam in their own eyes—their egos. This prevents them from escaping the ego and keeps them on the false path of pride. Others pursue human perfection but realize they always fall short of the mark, and thus they never feel they can be saved. They either spend lifetimes running after the carrot – as a donkey in front of a cart – or they become discouraged and give up. Either way, the devil has won.

Simply reach for the key of knowledge and let your Christ self and spiritual teachers take you beyond this oh so human game. Stop trying to become humanly perfect – which means you must stop demanding perfection of others – and instead discover the real key to salvation, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).


 Copyright © 2012 by Kim Michaels