We live in a mad, mad world. I felt it from the time I was seven. I knew this could not possibly be my world. There was too much violence, too much indifference, too much uncaring, too much depression and too much anger. Every one of my readers knows this.
Why is this?
First and foremost, we live in a consensus world, the partially stable world of consensual agreement as to what is real and what is not real. This is the world of commonly perceived objects, social acceptance or non-acceptance, such as with racism, tribalism, family realities, political parties and ideologies, dress codes, education, TV game shows, the nightly news, etc.
This whole bowl of wax is interpenetrated by a network of accepted ideas and interpretations, and to live in peace, we need to shape and contract our incredibly intuitive and powerful self to fit within the common pattern of social acceptance. And this pattern shifts and changes from country to country, and century to century, and in none of this is there real happiness, for we are never ourselves; we are always caricatures, little robots or puppets, that once we discover this, and begin to lead authentic lives in a different reality, we are quickly shuttled away to the sidelines, not accepted, not allowed into the fold of family and society.
Now, as you know, there are tens of thousands of people now claiming to be enlightened. I get emails every week from people who claim to be awakened, and indeed they are if you accept the definition of awakening offered by neo-advaitins, or other Facebook-style gurus. The common thought now is that the whole world is awakening on an unprecedented basis.
This is absolute nonsense. What has happened is that the bar measuring awakening has been lowered so far that even the most minor of “spiritual” experiences are accepted as awakenings, and then they join awakening groups where they congratulate each other.
Yet, essentially they remain the same, but now feel special, enlightened, above humanness in some cases.
You see, they are still blind, in fact even more blind than when they were simple seekers, wondering what was real, wondering what was the true way.
Seventeen years ago I had my first “awakening” experience after 27 years of thousands of different no-mind, oneness, and kundalini experiences. But looking back, I would not now accept that initial no-I, no-self experience as an awakening. The single experiences, no matter how world shattering are not what constitute “awakening.”
To me, the terms “awakening” and “enlightenment” mean absolutely nothing. The big, shattering experiences MEAN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING UNLESS THEY LEAD TO TRUE SELF-REALIZATION AND HUMILITY!
One needs to go beyond any single or multiple awakening experiences, no matter how deep or how persevering, through a long, long period of “training” whereby one loses dependence and primary identification with the conditioned false self, leading to a discovery AND integration of one’s true self, with all of its subtlety and sensitivity.
You see, the process of growing up and surviving in the mad, mad world is one of progressively dying to our deep sensitivities in order to fit and be sane within the confines of our assigned roles and accepted beingness in society.
Self-Realization is a progressively letting go of the conventional, and becoming open to repressed parts of ourselves. By true self, I mean all of the powers and percepts we had to reject in order to stay sane, but at the same time, to recognize the need for the sanity “box” we were forced to contract into in order to fit. It is all me, it is all self.
The totality of this true self is incredibly powerful, incredibly sensitive, incredibly loving, compassionate, but also incredibly vulnerable.
Self-realization is not the result of any single transcendental experience, or even a hundred experiences. It involves a progressive reowning of all of our sensitivities, including love, compassion, and awareness of all levels of the subtle body, including the surface awareness of beingness of the neo-advaitins, but also awareness of unconscious states, and the weird and somewhat disturbing energies and entities found in the so-called astral states, and then the conscious transition across the Causal body of unknowing, and then merger into the Turiya state and beyond. Only then can we say we are self-realized, that we know who we are. Mere energetic or emotional integrations really do not go so deep.
Today we have so many instant gurus, who have an experience one day, and are teaching the next.
They ignore the fact that the great gurus, Ramana, Nisargadatta, Robert Adams, Zen Master Joshu, etc., may have had a great awakening experiences, but did not open their mouths about it for at least 20 years. Ramana did not teach for more than 20 years after his awakening. The same with Nisargadatta, and even moreso with Robert. Joshu supposedly struggled 40 years before his first awakening, and then had 60 years of 16 great enlightenments after that. Did suddenly something happen so that now adays there are thousands of Ramanas, Nisargdattas and Robert around, or only those who think they are?
The descent into all the energies and qualities of the self we had to kill off to gain functional “sanity” in the “real world” of convention is a developmental process in its own right, just like the progressive stages of development of the psyches of the infant, toddler, adolescent, and adult, but now in a transcendental direction of returning to the totality of our true selves. This is done by shedding all the conventions and regaining those parts we buried, yet still retaining the defensive structures that allowed us to cope and function in this artificial world in the first place.
The struggle always remains how to go deeper into ourselves yet retain an ability to function in the common world of insanity and insensitivity that we call modern life.
You see, true self-realization means one becomes ever more sensitive to the world that we buried in order to stay sane, and that world is not the one presented to the average, non-spiritual person. We live in a different world and have to be careful how we present ourselves within “their world” otherwise we are branded as immature, narcissistic, crazy, wacko, or as a “diamond in the rough.”
Only when the whole world becomes incredibly sensitive to every aspect of every embodied, individual self within the universal Self of All, will the world not appear to be insane. This is not a short-term project. We are talking millennia maybe.
In the meantime, we need to learn how to remain sane, exploring an ever deepening inner world of energies, compassion, love and acceptance, while living within a world that is not real. Good luck to all of us.
All of this came to me after meeting one of the most open and compassionate people I have ever been blessed to meet, and then a conversation with yet another such person. What a blessing was bestowed on me during the last few days.