Even some of the greatest traditions in the world have succumbed to this. Gaslighting occurs when a person is made to question his or her own reality, internal, external or otherwise.Spiritual gaslighting is another form of manipulation whose scope of power has influenced generations in the quest for spiritual evolution. It can be very challenging to discern as many of us on a spiritual path seek guidance or insight from mentors, teachers or others who have walked the path before us. I myself have had mentors who have been instrumental in my inner work. They were carefully chosen by the inner work I perceived they had done on themselves. I remember in my early twenties how theories like the law of attraction, karma(you reap what you sow), all negative emotions creating illness; left huge imprints on all of us studying the work that many times it left us feeling more traumatized and guilty than when we started our journeys. All of a sudden, all of our life’s manifestations became something to be remedied as opposed to something we needed to take responsibility of in a compassionate manner as simply a part of the coherent whole. The power was put into our hands as opposed to ‘Thy Will Be Done.” If we didn’t remedy the patterns, then we weren’t powerful enough. Spiritual success for many translated into standing in your own power, setting things right, and manifesting. I still hear this today and watch the myriad of clients fall prey into depression when they ‘put it out there to the universe’ and it just doesn’t happen. Or they do years of work on themselves and the pattern doesn’t change. When I share that what changes is their relationship to the pattern, sometimes that ends up being not good enough. Spiritual knowledge will always include theories, mores, rules etc towards evolution. Whether this knowledge comes through books, a friend, a mentor, a filter is always present. My filter is present as I write this. I’m human after all and I embrace every shadow within myself as well as my light. Knowledge will be framed according to the presenter’s own frequency and learning curve. Some form of manipulation is always present in the healing arts. Manipulation in and of itself does not have to be defined negatively. If done respectfully it can allow a thought, an emotion, or the physical body to unwind and create its own relationship with the Divine, not the relationship the mentor is wanting. It might be one in the same, but when a person is destabilized to such a degree on their path from words from a book or a mentor to the extent that they no longer trust anything within themselves, I myself would take a step back and reevaluate. One of my mentors gave me great advice when I was younger. It was something to the effect that after you feel like you have learned and grown a lot, it eventually gets discarded because none of the rules of spiritual engagement seem to apply anymore. That has been my truth as well. The rules are there to give us something to hold onto for fear of diminishing the ego. After a while, it’s just you and God. No book, no mentor, no fellow traveler can come between you and that relationship. So no, if things aren’t going your way, you aren’t manifesting what you feel you should, or you are not where you want to be in this point in your life, it doesn’t mean you did something wrong. There’s a whole universe within you and outside of you where ripple effects take hold and a greater purpose is served beyond our understanding for why things happen and why things don’t. If any of the books you read or mentors who guide you help you find peace within your internal and external universe, then Amen. There is a subtle line between spiritual gaslighting and truth and in the end, it is between you and God to figure out what supports you.