This path is only for a select few to tread. Many wouldn’t survive it.
In fact – no one does. Ha.
That’s not to say that people who become enlightened are that special as “people”, that successful or kind or intelligent. They just seem to have that something that you can’t quite put your finger on. An airy aloofness.
Some spiritual teachers are nothing short of conmen. They mislead the people who follow them into believing they are some kind of next level jesus-creatures who live in perfect bliss and that following the spiritual path is a solution to any and all problems, when in many ways the opposite is true.
Becoming more and more enlightened simply presents deeper and deeper problems, the likes of which you had no idea existed and never needed to know. Existential issues that no-one on earth can help you solve. The more you fight against your ego, the more it screams. The more you seperate yourself from your humanity, the more you seperate yourself from your own sanity.
There is definitely something to be said of those who reach enlightened levels of consciousness, however. It makes sense that people look to them for guidance in their lives. Although once enlightened a person can’t really take credit for anything they do or say because they honestly have no idea what they’re even saying. It’s kind of like words and actions are performing themselves through you, constructing and ordering themselves in front of your eyes and you’re just looking on a rather blankly. It’s as if you were always just in front of the words, thoughts, feelings, or maybe in behind or outside them. Meaning itself starts to lose meaning, the mind loses its value.
In my experience I now look at my own character as though I were looking at any other person, from the outside. It means very little to me because I’ve seen past it. Which also makes it difficult to take the problems of other people seriously and identify with their experience.
My most powerful enlightenment experience was realizing totally that reality itself actually EXISTS and that if there is a “something” there is also a “nothing”. Then I began to palpably sense and experience that nothingness, switching from feeling as though I were everything, then nothing, then the ego, then everything again, then nothing again. I had no idea who or what I was anymore. The stability of my mind was ripped out and sucked into oblivion. I became nothing more than a hollow puppet, stretched somewhere between heaven and hell until the world as I knew it disappeared. And “I” whatever that meant, was simply watching all of this happen. The ideas of good and evil, happiness and unhappiness, family and friendship, love, me, you, everything began to drain from my consciousness. I could have looked at a dead stiff baby and a giggling alive baby and had the same level of appreciation of both.
I know that’s pretty messed up.
As this was happening, I realized I could no longer take it, so I tried to kill myself. One attempt by pills and the other by running into the road and ramming my head into two oncoming buses. It was very extreme. I had no ego to lie for, so when the doctors asked me what was happening to me, I told them. They sectioned me and put me on a psych ward. Pretty fair, all things considered.
If someone had offered me some magical opportunity of going back to the way I was and living out the rest of my life in ignorance of what I realized, but to do it I had to cut my own arm off with a rusty knife – in that moment- I certainly would have done it.
In light of the truly horrific experience I just described to you – do you think deep spiritual discovery should be encouraged openly as it is by certain spiritual teachers? And for money, no less? I don’t think so. I don’t want anyone to have to go through anything like what I did. It has not made me a better person, it has not made me kind or happy. It has only given me an impossible obstacle that I can never overcome and distracted me from the real business of life – to enjoy and live.
One of my theories is that most spiritual teachers genuinely don’t care about anything. They accept any outcome. If one of their students decided to kill themselves because of what they discovered about reality (which is very possible because the experiences you have are powerful beyond words and are not always positive), it would be like a small ripple on the ocean of their mind – they would feel very little emotion about such a thing. It’d just be like – oh, they’re gone.
Is that morally right from a human perspective? Is that worth spreading throughout the world? That kind of neutrality and indifference? Is that worth selling like someone selling toilet rolls at the local market? Think of Eckhart Tolle and Adyashanti. They’re injecting dangerous mind-eating diseases into the cultural sphere that don’t encourage healthy minds and hearts but in essence encourage the actual loss of the mind and your attachment to it. (By the way don’t give any more money to Eckhart Tolle, he’s already a millionaire.)
At first it’s all pretty cool, when you’ve still got some ego to experience it, especially the first big seperation between your consciousness and your mind. You will see the world around you as if you were a new born baby. It will be unbearably beautiful at times. You will experience bliss and happiness and also great clarity and power. But when your identity and emotions start disappearing because you’re so detached and unreal, the ego doth protest and protest hard. You, as consciousness will be pulled between ego and infinity until there’s nothing left but the truth.
When you experience that truth it won’t be what you think it is. It’ll be uncontrollably surreal and scary. You might genuinely lose your shit. The sheer scope and magnitude of the discovery is astounding.
Insanity and enlightenment are very hard to distinguish from each other, if there even is a difference. I’m honestly not sure if I’m personally mad or enlightened. Maybe somewhere in between or both.
I think some people are drawn to spiritual teachers because they offer a glimpse of the truth, while also allowing them to not necessarily do the work of becoming enlightened themselves because it is probably the hardest task any human can undertake. It is essentially unwinnable because no ego, no SELF comes out on top. People just want some mantras or prayers or practices they can do to content that voice within themselves that cries out in question of their existence, that voice that would push them to know the ultimate truth of life itself.
Spiritual teachers have done the impossible, to be fair. They’ve endured what cannot be endured. And somehow they’re still alive and pooping- just like you. So you believe you can be enlightened just like them and people will listen to you and think you’re great, but you’ll be so cool that you won’t even care. And everything will be amazing.
And you’ll be a millionaire.
But you probably won’t.
My advice? Just be a SELF. It’s less weird.