A Look at Spiritual Addictions

By on February 12, 2012 — 1 Comment

In Sharon Franquemont’s book on Intuition, “You Already Know What To Do,” she identifies two addictions that tend to plague New Age people: spiritual highs and responsibility prisons. I found it very helpful to consider addiction in the context of spirituality, both in myself and with clients.



Sharon writes, “A spiritual high encompasses surface joy which produces spiritual ‘fads’ as people flit from one spiritual path to another in search of the mystical orgasms which usually accompany new discoveries about God and the soul. Waves of well-being, cellular delight throughout the whole body, and a sensation of joy are part of the early stages of spiritual awakening. To add icing to the cake, people experience multiple synchronicities, plenty of intuition, and everything goes their way. Naturally some people find this period addictive, and in order to maintain the high, they continually seek out new and unusual spiritual experiences. It’s not the spirituality they seek as much as the high…”

I’m reminded of the Zen proverb, “Before enlightenment; chop wood and haul water… After enlightenment; chop wood and haul water.” The tasks don’t change but increasing our inner light does alter everything in our world.

Meanwhile, it was her second addiction that really caught my attention.



“At the other end of the spectrum, people can make the pursuit of soul so serious that it becomes a responsibility prison. Fun and joy are foregone in favour of ‘spiritualoholism.’ This is often a subtle manifestation of the Messiah complex. Workers get convinced that their task is essential right now for the salvation of something — people, animals, towns, planets. For example, dedicated environmentalists can be overwhelmed by a feeling that our planet, who has taken care of Herself for fifteen billion years, must be saved or transformed this week.”

To identify an addiction can be very liberating for all addictions distract and drain our energies. Confessing to major investments in a self-made prison, I remember thinking, many years ago, that if I could meditate with sufficient depth and precision, surely I’d come up with some innovative solution for the energy crisis! My sense of responsibility for Mother Earth had morphed into a completely unrealistic burden.



This type of thinking generates a form of grandiosity that strips us of much of life’s playfulness and joy. Acknowledging there are enormous problems everywhere in our world, when I look through the narrow bars of a responsibility prison, I invariably tend to disregard the potency within my own creative field. By facing this ‘righteousness’ addiction and focusing on tending and nurturing my own soul-seeds, I stay true to myself. This is the simple, essential work needed in these times, rather than grasping desperately at some lofty goal. Feet on the ground, hearts wide open, appreciating both the beauty and challenges in our lives allows us to make the contributions, big and small, that actually serve our world.

And as for spiritual highs... well, some of those are still deliciously tempting at times!


Flower Essences can be very helpful in busting spiritual addictions. For a personal consultation to identify the essences that would support you, see the Raven Essence Consultation page, or go directly to the On-Line store to select your own essences.

One Comment

  1. Andrea, this post reminds me a bit of our online conversation about spiritual by-passing, which I think is or can be caused by our addiction to spiritual highs and our aversion to feeling the human emotions of the downward spiral (and, hence, our aversion to dealing with our human “stuff”). The spiritual high is every bit as addictive as the effects of mood-altering physical substances! Something for us to be aware of.

    The responsibility addiction is something I hadn’t really thought a lot about, but I can certainly see the pattern inside myself and have observed it in others, too. It makes me want to just go out and play and have fun! Enough of being serious about all this stuff 🙂 I like your practice of tending and nurturing your own soul seeds…and as you say, keeping your feet on the ground, heart open and appreciating both the beauty and the challenges, rather than “grasping desperately at some lofty goal”. Great wisdom here!

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