What Does NOT Make Someone a Spiritual ‘Master’?

We have come across many people who claim to be a Master of their spiritual teaching or healing modality. What makes someone a ‘Master’? A true master operates outside of ego and has become a master of him or her own self.

We have been asked so many times by different people: How does someone become a Master or get labeled a Master? Do they just declare that they are one or is it bestowed upon them? While we had our own inner sense or knowings of what this meant (we will discuss our understandings of what the qualities are that makes someone a Spiritual Master Teacher in a future post),  we thought we would do an internet search on the topic – and were quite shocked at some of what we saw or read.

Did you know that there are websites that tell people how to be perceived as a “Spiritual Master” so that they may earn people’s trust and their money?! They actually give people tips on how to present to the public as ‘spiritual’ so that their teachings will not be doubted.

Modern Man’s Media Version of How to Create a Spiritual Guru:

BE WARY and CAUTIOUS of any out there who claim to be a “Spiritual Teacher” or a “Spiritual Master”!! There may be a few people out there who are following the suggestions of some of the websites we saw- we are NOT saying that ALL people who claim to be ‘Masters’ are intentionally misleading you or trying to gain access to your wallet. Those who desire to become known as “Spiritual Masters” or to create a “Celebrity Spiritual Master”  facade presence are encouraged by various websites to adhere to the following formula:

  • Get followers to create psychological transference of ‘divine’ qualities/goals to them;
  • Wear the ‘proper’ spiritual clothes (which may be robes, white cloth, crystals, beads, or dark black/white suit depending on the audience they wish to ‘hook’);
  • Change their name to an exotic sounding spiritual one like Swami, Diva, Guru, etc.;
  • Try to teach in a country or culture different from the one they are from so they seem ‘exotic’ and appear to have more credibility;
  • Try to behave (at least in public) as if they are peaceful and loving;
  • To keep the audience in awe and impressed, include words in presentations such as “oneness“, “infinite love”, “loving ourselves“, “we deserve“, “loving what is“, “meditation“, “touching the void“, “quantum *****“, “opening the heart“, “non-duality“, “letting go“, “finding what is true“, “opening the heart“, “letting go“, “being yourself“, “authenticity“, “finding what is true“, “opening the chakras“, “reaching within“, “connecting“, “everything is inside“, and “it is simple“;
  • Use foreign words or phrases NOT to have profound meaning but to ‘pep up’ spiritual talks and sound more ‘exotic’;
  • Develop an abundance of self-confidence and charisma to be more attractive to others who are unsure or ‘seeking’;
  • Never admit to not knowing something – just become silent to seem mysterious or turn the question back on the follower to answer it them self;
  • Up-sell products and teachings with constant increase in  opportunities for followers to purchase time or information;
  • Create genuine or contrived spiritual lineages so followers will await to have enlightenment somehow bestowed on them;
  • Promote the rareness of spiritual awakening to create lack of disappointment if it doesn’t occur rapidly;
  • Create rumors of magical or extraordinary powers;
  • Develop third party endorsements;
  • Create hierarchical access to the teacher by creating a tier or hierarchy in followers with a definite ‘inner sanctum’ of special relationship to the teacher (possibly with use of security guards or private jets);
  • Create an educational or charitable foundation to get more income in the form of donations;
  • Open an ashram or spiritual center;
  • Create a website with a spiritual name;
  • Create supplementary sales by selling part of their energetic vibration (i.e., photos of the ‘guru’, items blessed or energized such as crystals, energized pendants, etc.);
  • Reward the most faithful followers by feeding their spiritual egos and encouraging them on their spiritual path.

In Contrast- Here is the Definition of A Spiritual Master according to Osho:

When you are not there, when you have completely disappeared, the other becomes an open book to you. The more other-oriented you are, the less you can know what is happening to the other. The more you become self-oriented, the more possibility there is of knowing what is happening within someone else. A moment comes when you are completely dissolved. Then you know the other totally. Then the other is not the other; he is not something separate from you. You do not react to him; there is no need. There is a response, not a reaction. Only deep absence.”

We wish you all well on your own spiritual path- wherever it may take you. No one can walk your spiritual path for you as we each have our own journey. There are gifts for us on many paths we can choose to take.

Our intention in writing this post is not to create discord but rather to create inner discussion. To perhaps get people to listen a bit more to their own ‘inner spiritual teacher’ or their own “inner still small voice. We will follow soon with another post on the topic of “What ARE the qualities of a True Spiritual Teacher or Master?” according to ancient tradition.

Wishing you all Inner Peace,

“The Shift Doctors” (a.k.a. Tracy Latz, M.D., Mh.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D., Mh.D.)

**The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.) are available for keynote talks, classes, events or for seminars (1/2 day or up to 5 days) on Energy Medicine, personal transformation, team-building, motivation, anger management, intuitive development, intuitive art, or collaboration for private groups, conferences, corporations or corporate events. Contact them at info@shiftyourlife.com or find out more about their books, DVD’s, CD’s and tools for personal transformation at www.shiftyourlife.com.


  1. DEAR TRACY & MARION . THANK YOU FOR PUTTING A VERY CRISP AND APT POINTER LIST OF WHAT DOES NOT MAKE A MASTER !! excellent job. this one list i am sure will save a lot of ” seekers of Self ” from a lot of non sense , time & heart ache as they move towards thier personal journeys . Half the journey is covered if one reaches the DOOR OF TRUTH . Balance of course will happen by seeekes own persistence & discipline with a open mind .

    This list is more important than scores of books & lessons availaible on the subject of Self realisation in Public domain as ‘WHAT IS THE TRUTH’ is not not known to the seeker starting thier jorney . this list shows that way .

    THANK YOU once again . Keep up this most Highest & Noble endeavour you have chosen to walk and help others .


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