Lately I have been conversing with people who claim to be at the top of spiritual development, they are apparently enlightened, free of pain, ego, suffering and completely at peace.  One in particular has resources over the net which will help you achieve the same and has some popular podcasts casts which will help get you there.

All sounds good doesn't it?  That is until you speak to these self proclaimed gurus and ask a few questions.  It soon becomes apparent that they are no more enlightened, free of pain, suffering or more at peace than the average Joe.  What they do like to do is work on you to doubt yourself, your behavior and thoughts so you start to think that there is something wrong with you.  They go on about how peaceful and free they are and how you could feel the same, this is a huge lure to anyone experiencing anxiety, stress or depression on any level.  Their promises are like the calls of the Sirens luring the sailors to their doom.  Ok that might sound a little dramatic but after exploring these philosophies for 20 years and falling for the marketing and promises, witnessing other people who have gone through the same and suffered for it too it soon shows that there are problems with this spiritual trap.

If you mention that you have been through this and doubt their claims, you will then get the pitying look where they tell you how sorry they are that you had the wrong teachers, wrong teachings, wrong attitude and anything else they can think of which will say to you that you did it all wrong and should try their way.  Now I do have a talent (nothing to brag about) for being a little antagonistic and being able to press buttons to see if people will react.  These enlightened folk soon show their true colors!  They claim to be free of what they call ego yet their responses are often arrogant, angry and defensive as they get caught up in the fight for their beliefs.  They manipulate science and when told I won't be debating their fantasy points as this is a draining waste of life as it's the same as debating the existence of a chocolate teapot orbiting Uranus full of little purple people.  The write pages and pages of content they want you to address and this is the tactic of the Guru,  they hope to wear you down so they look intellectually superior.  As I have no need to win any debate on this subject, there is little point in wasting an afternoon going through their fantasy points to life.  I used to see this on Spiritual Forums where they would argue for days with pages and pages of each point being taken apart in order to win. I simply don't have the time or the energy, life is too short to get caught up in another trap like that, there is no winner.

To be free of what they label ego is to be free of consciousness and we really are not capable of that, pain and suffering will happen to us because we are human and people get ill, die or fearful about situations which in context will help their lives.  Being free of all of this isn't helpful to life and suggests we shouldn't have bad times in our lives, yet it's the bad times which can help us grow, become wiser and stronger.  Most of us want a life with more peace but the teaching often offer no more than mindfulness techniques with repackaged quantum physic jargon to make it seem possible to reach the levels they claim but in reality they haven't.  This is delusion and is typical of the spiritual hierarchy where people want to feel special, higher, raised in vibration and so on.

The problems I see with people like this or caught in the trap are:

They become too sensitive,
They become too self aware and too self conscious
They become too self important,
Anxiety, stress and depression are common
They blindly follow teachings or manipulated science without looking deeper or asking questions
Fantasy delusions about spiritual experiences are reinforced with these beliefs

I personally would avoid any teachings claiming to lift you away from human nature with false promises of being free from natural human behavior no matter how much they try and convince you that you can.  They are very convincing!

They are human just like us and what they call enlightenment is just a state of mind which they pretend to access and create a spiritual character which seems to act that way...well until they are questioned anyway.

Oh the enlightened one I spoke to said that they were lowering themselves to my level to converse with me, which I thought was very kind but asked them in future to lead by example as that is much more inspiring than being a defensive and manipulative example.  They didn't respond,  funny that.

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Comment by Heather Spoonheim on April 1, 2011 at 12:08pm
Ha ha, I love some of these gags.  I remember reading Deepak Chopra and thinking, "This guy has turned a brochure for a weekend positive thinking seminar into 400 pages."  I do believe in the benefits of learning not to be controlled by your ego, and that a great deal of 'peace' can be found by analyzing and managing one's thoughts.  One day I may write my own book about it, but it won't sell very well. It won't sell well because I cannot promise happiness and material success, for they can be exclusive states.  It won't sell well because I cannot promise a quick fix - it is a life long struggle.  It especially won't sell well because at the root of it all I believe we need to stop thinking of ourselves as being particularly special, and realize just how tiny a role we truly play in the world; that can be very crushing, but for me it has been very central to building a sense of self worth that doesn't really on external, uncontrollable, and often fleeing constructs.
Comment by Arcus on April 1, 2011 at 1:11pm

It appears to me that many of those who claim to be 'enlightened' have merely come to the conclusion that they have nothing more to learn, and believe their level of knowledge is sufficient to draw ultimate conclusions.

It is the antithesis of all I stand for. The people I find enlightened are those who have expertize in one field and vast knowledge of many close lying ones, yet constantly crave more knowledge.

To quote Socrates: "I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know." 

Comment by Paul Sheppard on April 5, 2011 at 7:16pm

Love your post Heather about our tiny roles, this too plays an important role in just living life without all the fantasy and delusion people add to feel special.

 

Love the Socrates quote Arcus, will post that on my blog :0)

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