Disclosing Spiritual Self-Deception …
FULL DISCLOSURE WARNING: I’m frackin’ pissed … and the following post is sure to piss some people off too, and just so you know I use bad words below according to the word police who think some words are more entitled to be used than others!!!
I watched two short videos today that got me thinking … so, here I find myself sitting in front of my computer thinking about you and me, and what I do for a living that connnects us.
The first video was about “Life Coaching” recommmended by a colleague. It was one by JP Sears on his Ultra Spiritual page. He makes satirical videos about the “spiritual lifestyle and being a spiritual warrior” like, “The Tao of the Man Bun” … so you can learn how to join the New Age elite.
The second was by a well known coach who was not being satirical and talking about spirituality much more seriously, heck he even sounded serious talking seriously about what it takes to be serious about serious spirituality … well maybe I was wrong and it was a satire!
The essence of the second talk was an age old idea called “The Master Game” a phrase I first saw coined in a book by Robert S. de Ropp, originally published in 1968.
Of course no self-respecting life coach will every tell you the sources of their profound and unique revelations … so like all references this reference is never actually referenced and the idea is presented as totally original and emergent from the mind of the life coach (are you beginning to get the kind of stuff that pisses me off?).
BTW I’ve read and loved De Ropp’s book many, many moons age, long before I had “snow on top” as the Japanese masters like to say. FWIW he doesn’t present “the Way” in seven simple steps or three principals or any of that pseudo-spiritual crap (sorry to those of you who have bought into the New Age B.S. hook, line and sinker … but as per Lao Tze who wrote another great book in the genre:
”The Way that can be told of is not an unvarying way;
The names that can be named are not unvarying names.
It was from the Nameless that Heaven and Earth sprang;”
(Watley, trans. from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TaoTeChing)
Now let me share with you the essence of the book and the talk using the same references, albeit using different words making it totally unique and original, that I watched so we can start from a common point of reference …
You are really NOT you, you are more than you … in fact you are everything and everyone, pure embodied consciousness … the only reason you think you are you is because you have succumbed to thought i.e. bad ego informed thinking and social projections … and, now that you know that you can overcome the ego and social projection that you actually exist and return to the pure consciousness that you really are … i.e.: G-d, who by the way doesn’t exist either.
This is the essence of many pseudo-spiritial awakenings posing as enlightened souls who are now experiencing non-dualism by having shed their identities as individuals.
Of course these newly hatched spiritual beings still have the burden of body they have to use to drag their souls around, but soon that too will pass and they will regain their rightful place as the G-d of the Universe that they actually truly are … the creator of all and everything, omniscient and omnipotent.
At least the Hindus believe that this projection is actually all just a dream that Vishnu is having and none of it actually exists … that I can buy into totally, ‘cause I believe that I exist in my own dreams when I have them too.
The Abrahamistic monotheists believe there is a G-d and that G-d is beyond human understanding or containment, and frankly that makes more sense to me as well.
But the idea that I “incarnated” to have a “human experience” as a “spiritual being” because somehow being purely spiritual wasn’t actually spiritual enough and I needed to incarnate in corporeal form to experience my way back to what it is to be be spiritual is FRACKIN’ INSANE!!!
This is the worst logic I’ve ever encountered …
Why I’m Pissed Off …
Okay, again so we’re clear, I don’t want to interfer with anyone’s desire for or approach to spiritual awakening.
Fuck it man, just do your thing!
(Note: I came of age during the 1960s and 70s and the term “man” was a common non-gender reference from a patriarchal society trying to free itself from being a patriarchal society, later replaced by “dude” that also attempted to do the same thing, but less successfully because it actually did become associated with boys or men thereby extending the patriarchal forms it was intended to obliterate, thereby requiring the addition of “girl” as in “you go girl” to the common vocabulary to balance the lingo of the emergent post-partriarchal system that such changes in language forms are intented to bring about … “do your thing” from the same era of the 60s and 70s is more self explanatory.)
What I’m pissed off about are two things …
- The idea of pseudo-spiritual teaching posing as deeply profound consciousness raising and transformative work
- The positioning of pseudo-spiritual teachers who are incredibly materialistic in their approach to “spiritual” enlightenment leading incredible numbers of discontents further into the maya of their own delusions
Now to be sure, I’m no spiritual teacher, guru or Zen master, although I do think the Zen masters from the golden age of Zen are particularly cool and relevant cats to attend to in the writings and teaching we have from them, e.g.: Nagarjuna, a personal favorite of mine, who wrote “Fundamental Verses of the Middle Way”
[BTW, if you actually want to read and understand Nagarjuna I suggest you get the version of his bookshops by Gudo Wafu Nishijima and Brad Warner that makes it much more approachable than 99% of the more scholarly translations – http://amzn.to/28JEji1. (Brad Warner is a young, Gen X, ordained Zen priest and ex-Japanese monster movie fan and claymation animator, who’s one of my favorite writers on the topic, e.g.: “Hardcore Zen” another worthwhile book in the genre IMO – http://amzn.to/28M4GWW).]
Okay, now that we’re totally clear on what I’m not, i.e.: a spiritual teacher, guru or Zen master, here’s my 50 cents on the topic at hand …
Being “spiritual” has nothing to do with being “materialistic” … LITERALLY NOTHING!!!!
So, being spiritual doesn’t mean you’ll get rich … as far as I can tell G-d, Vishnu or Buddha don’t give a flying fuck about whether you’re rich or poor … because, spirituality and materiality are two completely different domains of experience.
You can be spiritual and poor, or spiritual and rich … and you can be either poor or rich and not be spiritual at all!
Are you getting it (my POV and why I’m pissed this morning)???
By the same token you can be spiritual and blissful or spiritual and miserable … or even spiritual and not give a fuck either way!
Another one of my favorite authors on spirituality is U.G. Krishnamurti (not J.K. Krishnamurti of Theosophy and Blavatsky fame.). Try his book, “Mind is Myth” for a taste – http://amzn.to/28M5PxW .
U.G. blows away about 99% of the spirituality bullshit and the bullshit spiritualists. He’s also not particularly happy about anything, or blissful … or for that matter disillusioned or sad or anything else, i.e.: he pretty much makes it clear that he doesn’t really give a fuck. I LOVE THIS GUY!!! (That’s the opposite of being pissed off BTW.)
I’m just tired of hearing all the old ways repurposed for a new and modern audience that trivializes or monetizes them for the personal gain of the presenter.
Even when the presenter is authentic in their beliefs, and their audience authentic in their acceptance and the value you find in the pablum being offered as spiritual steak, it pisses me off!
Why I Do Give A FUCK …
Okay, so why bother writing this at all???
Because the deep spiritual ways … Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist … you choose your path, e.g.: Native American Spirituality, Siberian Shamanism … whatever, do indeed point to “The Way” IMO.
“The Way” as I use the term here is that which is beyond the self (small “s” intentionally).
To paraquote one of my intellectual heroes and mentors, Joseph Campbell …
“The hero is committed to something larger than themselves.”
We are in a state of flux … in society, in the world, in our professional and personal lives.
We are raising children without a shred of resilience, who require “safe spaces” and “trigger word warnings” on university campuses to feel complete, whole and secure as they move through the world … or they collapse in a heap of emotional overload and require counseling and reparations (of course reparations, because after all a significant sum of money will repair their damaged or broken soul considerably, right?) … and pseudo-adult, pseudo-intellectual university chancellors, presidents, deans and chairs who support them!!!
We have pseudo-adults who cannot and do not take responsibility for their beliefs or actions, even after it has been pointed out to them they actually own both … instead they blame “mommy” or “daddy” who didn’t love them enough or at all, or who left them when they were young and now that have an irreparable hole in their soul … or the system or the man … or white priviledge, black hoodlums, immigrants, the godless, the fundamentally religious … there’s always someone to point a finger towards for these folks.
We have and support politicians who are ruthless and self-serving, and an entire system that allows and even encourages “politics for profit.”
We have a movement here in the U.S. of A. in the 2016 election cycle of people who believe it’s time for a woman to be President as though one’s genitals are up for election …
WHAT THE FUCK HAS GONE WRONG WITH US???!!!!!????
The Re-Enchantment of the Self
From an anthropological, psychological profiling position it’s seems simple enough … society is under a mass delusion and it’s members are hypnotized into what appears to be a form of group insanity.
Or going back to one of my uber sources, Joseph Campbell the renowned mythological scholar, again …
We don’t have a cosmology that supports us and the soceity we are living in today … so we depend mostly on cosmologies that are multiple millennias older than we are to make sense of the world based on a way that no longer exists.
This opens the door for pseudo-spiritual teachers and outright spiritual charlatans to occupy our minds and hearts, leading us astray in our desire to regain our center … and, from my view at the edge of the stage it’s causing us untold amounts of misery.
I could list the things I see …
- environmental degradation to the point of dead bio-zones that once flourished with life …
- totalitarian, oppressive political regimes posing as democratic states offering their citizens the illusion of freedom while indenturing them to the bankers that keep them eternally indebted and working as serfs for the system …
- abject poverty raging across the globe for a majority of the people living on it, while others live in decadent abundance , conspicuous consumption and wasteful ignorance …
- and there are more …
But, these are all just symptoms of a deep spiritual vacuum that appears when we are left without a cosmology that fits the times and helps us to make sense of our lives in the shadow of the ineffable.
We are spiritually adrift because we are bereft of a cosmology, or as I say it … we are suffering from mythological distress.
As individuals and as a people we have lost our way, and to find the path we must approach it in that order IMO … we must find ourselves and then our people.
When we discover the center of our being, who we essentially are before all else, we will liberate what it has always been possible for us to become … i.e.: fully human.
Our humanity allows us to connect and participate in the lives of others, to become part of society that we find ourselves within, that contains us and washes over us endlessly with the primordial promise of culture as we know it to be … informing us about what is real and what is not.
Only once we’ve uncovered and made free the unchangable center of ourselves can we hope to withstand the waves of culture pointing us to the “real” and directing our attention away from and outside of ourselves.
Yet, time and again, when I have sat with those who have begun to realize themselves as they are … unchanging and unchangable … they are free to come out and play in the world as it is, without demanding it to be different or changing for them to be at peace with it either.
So this is why I’m pissed … the world does indeed need spiritual warriors to survive, thrive and prosper … and those warriors need to be outward looking, not lost in the contemplation of themselves as the center of the Universe and demanding repartaions when they could be walking lightly and sharing this window of light we call our lives with those they love and the world-at-large.
We do need heroes … those who are committed to something greater than themselves … and heroes need to know the myth they are living so they can escape it and live they myth they are …
Joseph Riggio, Ph.D.
Architect & Designer of the MythoSelf Process and SomaSemantics