New Age groups and cults seem to attract people who think that they are special. Nothing wrong with that, except that a percentage of those people are also narcissists. They have difficulties maintaining relationships because they feel that nobody sufficiently appreciates them or is good enough for them. They find in New Age philosophies the perfect explanation and justification for their social difficulties: they’re special, they’re “spiritual”.
When narcissists find spirituality, they are apt to become “spiritual narcissists”. This is obviously not confined to the New Age – you will find them in all religious or pseudo-religious organisations. But the New Age, with its emphasis on individualism and the divine authority of the “secret, sacred self” certainly lends itself to narcissism.
Is there a cure for spiritual narcissism? Psychotherapy offers one possible cure, although this can also be co-opted by the narcissist as further evidence of their psychological self-awareness and superiority over others. “Shadow work” is, after all, just another aspect of their overall personal development. Traditional religion can potentially offer a more effective cure. The following passage from the Gospels, if taken to heart, is as effective a cure for spiritual narcissism as you will find:
“And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:35)