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What does it Mean to Be Spiritual?

Have you ever had the experience of meeting ‘spiritual’ people who do NOT act like ‘spiritual’ people? I have, and I have done so many times. I wondered what was the problem, whether it was them, acting in a non-spiritual manner, or me, not being balanced enough, spiritually? Here are my thoughts, observations and conclusions.

Blog/Article # B 10, What does it Mean to Be Spiritual?

When I was in India for four months, I had the most enlightening conversations with a Holy Man, who proved himself to me, as being an authentic Holy Man. He gave me a discourse on the nature and authenticity of Universal Love and Universal Compassion, which prompted me to become a vegetarian by choice, and later, a vegan, also by choice. In this respect I was honouring and respecting the lives of the animals, sentient beings, who feel love and joy, pain and suffering, and who are totally dependent upon the level of consciousness of the humans who are their stewards. This was one big step on my behalf to actually act like a spiritual person, even though I considered myself as being spiritual most of my life, but did not really act like such.

The Holy Man, in one of his discussions with me, included authenticity, honesty, integrity and enlightenment. He told me that if I found one authentic Holy Man/Guru in a million, I would be doing very well. I was shocked to hear such a comment from an Indian Holy Man in India. He further informed me that there are many charlatans, and people who believed they were holy, spiritual gurus, but, in reality were not such. This gave me the understanding along with my own experiences, that there were at least three types of spiritual people, according to my perception, as follows;

  1. One who truly believes he/she is spiritual, and is unable to perceive that they are not acting like a spiritual person. In my early years I was one such non-spiritual person desperately wanting to be a spiritual person. I said all the rights things, quoted all the right things, acted with spiritual intent, and that was as far as I got. Then. I was served very well by a few people who called me on my apparent inauthenticity, and explained what I was doing and how I was NOT being spiritual.

That lesson shocked me to my core, and it took me one entire week to process and integrate what I was told about myself and my conduct. I emerged a person who had awoken from a deep sleep, and my spiritual life improved immediately. From my own experience I know what it is like to pretend, to want to be something one is not, and the sub-conscious mind cannot accept anything other than what one truly BELIEVES to be. In this respect, I observe people who believe they are spiritual, teachers, gurus, life coaches, and that they act in the appropriate manner, saying the right things, and quoting the right things, and even belong to appropriate spiritual groups, which include the religions like Judaism, Christianity, Islam and even the Buddhist tradition, and everything else in between.  I refer to anything organized by people who rely upon belief, because such belief is structured in consciousness. Consciousness, therefore, whatever level that might be, supports the corresponding beliefs, patterns of behaviour, and programming of each individual.

The Truth is we are all on the path of evolution of consciousness, whether we know it or not. The problem arises when anyone has reached the outer perimeter of their box of perception/the parameters by which they experience life, and they believe they know it all. Little do they realise that the box of parameters they are in, is inside a larger box of parameters/perception, which is also inside a larger box, ad infinite, until we are sufficiently enlightened and have run out of boxes.

Our individual path incorporates;

  • All the un-learned lessons of all incarnations, all our hitherto unresolved personal issues that were formed in past lives and in this one too.
  • All the beliefs, patterns of behaviour that we have learned in this life, and what we brought with us from previous lives.
  • All the programming that was put in place during all lifetimes, past and present.

These distinct experiences, beliefs, patterns of behaviour and programming experienced by you are all different to that experienced by others, generally speaking. There may be some similarities, such as embodying fear, but such fear may have originated from distinct experiences, in this and previous lifetimes, and may not be something that was taught. Spirituality is not a ’One Size Fits All,’ until one is living Unity Consciousness, as I perceive it. We all have different lessons to learn, and it is inadvisable for any of us to judge anyone, unless we have ‘Walked in his/her Moccasins for two weeks (Native American Wisdom), then we will understand.

Another component that can derail a spiritual person is their ego. If their ego is really out of balance, that person will be guided to think, speak and act in a manner that is intended for survival, because that is the job of the ego, and if the ego is out of balance, existential threats can appear where they are not. Of course, trauma, abuse, and one trial and tribulation too many, can cause the ego to become dysfunctional, and many people, including misguided gurus and ‘spiritual’ people, advocate the conquering destruction, suppression and to subdue the ego is necessary to be free of its negative behaviour. I, on the other hand have learned that the ego is a natural part of ourselves, and is to be promoted to a higher position, just like we aspire to develop more of our innate consciousness, and thus promote ourselves to a higher vibratory frequency. As we grow in consciousness, so does the ego, which can continue to assist us while in a higher vibratory frequency. The only part to be destroyed is ignorance of Self, and we do that by acquiring knowledge of Self, and learning how to know.


  1. Unfortunately, there are also those people who profess to be ‘spiritual’ (small ‘s’), and tout themselves as spiritual leaders (including the religious/organized religion), gurus, spiritual teachers, life coaches and the like, who have a private agenda. This agenda is fueled by greed for money and control over other people. There are many of those kinds of people, and many more who blindly follow them like obedient sheep. These people who appear to be the victims, are those who are so desperate to follow a path that will help them, that they fall foul to those who would exploit their vulnerability, fragility and weakness.

The people who resonate with the people of this group seem to prefer that the inauthentic spiritual people with a private agenda, will do for them what they are not willing to do for themselves. even if such guidance is inappropriate, inaccurate, misguided, and even damaging in some way. Unfortunately, there are many people who cannot look at themselves with any clear objectivity, and so will always hide behind a façade of lies, misinformation, and obfuscation


  1. Fortunately, for this realm of three dimensional polarised duality, and perhaps, particularly because of the nature of this realm, which is that, if we have one extreme, there is always the opposite. In this sense, there are those Spiritual Teachers, Spiritual Leaders (including the religious/organize religion) Gurus and Life Coaches who are Authentic Heaven Sent guides to help people help themselves. The adherents of the spiritual people in this group are very well served, and are willing to do the work on themselves, thereby helping themselves to heal, resolve and release all that which no longer serves them well. In this way such people are empowered.

I also feel that the essence in this article can be applied to politics, and just about any other life circumstance which requires people to gather together in one group or another. No matter what we think or feel, no matter what state of consciousness we may or may not have attained, the evolution of consciousness will always take us further, to a higher vibratory frequency, if we allow it. This article is my attempt to inspire all who read it to aspire to the highest possible state of consciousness that you can embody, in this Now Moment. To be the best possible version of yourself, and to love yourself and all others in a Universal manner, living in Gratitude and Forgiveness, with Compassion. In this way, the shackles of this three dimensional realm will hold you less and less, until you are free to soar like the Spiritual Eagle.



Anthony Altman is an author of books on Self-Empowerment, Self-Help/Improvement and Self-Healing, and also provides lectures, workshops and seminars on these subjects. For further information and contact, please visit his website.