Ever felt let down by the divine? Spiritual betrayal doesn’t mean we’re not spiritual anymore; it simply means it’s time to reframe our perspective of actions and karma.
Have you ever felt super spiritually connected—paying attention to the moon or the stars, getting intuitive messages from your body, hearing God or your spirit guides telling you information that was helping you reach your goals—and then, splat. Your plans turn to ash. You didn’t get what you wanted. Or worse, some terrible thing happened, like a death or a pandemic. Your perfect sandcastle got hit by a rogue wave. And you can’t help but feel abandoned. This is spiritual betrayal.
Almost every faith in the world comes across this fundamental problem. There is a practice to walking with God—following the rules, listening to intuition, manifesting intentions, praying, or tuning into energetic guidance. But ultimately the world is what it is: Bad things happen to good people. Following the rules doesn’t always get us where we want to go. Setting clear intentions doesn’t guarantee an outcome. There’s no real justice in the universe, at least from our small human perspective.
Karma and Spiritual Betrayal
One of the fundamental lessons of the Bhagavad Gita speaks exactly to this: You must do your duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. From that perspective, the concept of karma means that every action has a consequence. We like to think that karma means that when we do good things, good things will happen to us, but it’s more complex than that.
Our actions resonate consequences into multiple future reincarnations all over the world. Karma actually explains why bad things do happen to good people. We have control over our intentions and our actions, but the outcome is not ultimately up to us. There are layers of reality we could never understand that add up to the realities we are living with. We have some influence, both internally and externally, of course, but that’s where our control ends.
The Power of Connecting With Spirit
Connecting with spirit can make us feel like we have power. And we do—setting intentions is massively powerful, especially psychologically. If we set an intention to do well on a test, for example, and imagine ourselves succeeding, we are likelier to study, remember more, and feel calmer when we take the test, which can make our focus better. We’re likelier to succeed than if we focused only on failing the test, which can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Some people believe we can also manifest reality in a more specific way; that we can focus on what we want and bring that reality to life. There is power in this, too: The subtle does affect the dense. Energy work can be surprisingly powerful, especially when we are working on our bodies, which mostly run on electricity and other forms of subtle energies.
While these practices clearly have influence, they don’t work for everyone every time. Spiritual people still die young and suffer from cancer and other forms of illness and loss. We can do everything exactly, perfectly right, and life still kicks us in the butt.
What It Means to Be Spiritually Connected
The truth is, we do have control over our intentions and (some of) our behaviors. Spiritual work can influence the outcome of our lives, but it cannot control it. There are layers of reality (including free will) that we have no ultimate control over and that we’ll never fully understand.
Being spiritually connected is wonderful and can overall make our lives better. But it won’t fix everything for us, and it certainly doesn’t guarantee we’ll never get hurt again. When the outer world doesn’t reflect the work we’ve been doing in the inner world, that’s not because there’s something wrong with us or because our spirit guides have abandoned us. It’s just life—messy, complex, layered life, both in the inner and the outer world. We’re not entitled to the fruits of our actions. But we still have the choice to do our best.
Explore how God, the guru, and the self are one in this teaching from Ram Dass.