Tag Archives: spiritual teacher

The Paradox of Awakened Beings

I learned a hard lesson a few years ago that, by simply being around people, I could either inspire great joy and laughter – or utter anger and disdain. I make many people uncomfortable.

I didn’t understand what was happening at first. Later, I learned that – in a way – I am “radioactive.” Not literally, of course. But there is something about my current configuration that acts as a mirror and an ignition switch. Because all people have the potential to awaken, they resonate with that thing, and those who don’t want to feel that possibility of awakening violently shut down. I wouldn’t say anything – just walk by, but the reactions are strong nonetheless.

People are dynamic processes – not objects – who must have a certain arrangement of their systems to receive whatever I (and others who woke up) “emit.”

As weird as it seems, most people didn’t come here to wake up at this time. They still need certain life experiences before they can move on. My teacher used to say that people need to love themselves and be able to surrender. Many need a strong identity before they can let it go. Surrender to what? To whatever is this mystery that lives us all. Surrender is expressed as care and devotion – and it is not a loss in some battle, or a giving up of oneself (like Westerners typically think). Neither is it worshipping another person, but expressing devotion to a living being who serves as a key. We cannot unlock the ego box by ourselves while inside the box!

Seekers often come to a fork in the road – they can either let go or cling to their identity. I remember my fork. I was riding a train home and felt myself shift into a new awareness. What matters is that I distinctly shut it off. I wasn’t ready – there were things I still needed to address in my life. It wasn’t until 12 years later that I finally transformed.

Over the years, I’ve seen a number of people leave my meditation teacher angry, bitter, and disappointed. Why weren’t they transforming, but others were? Some students just lost interest and wanted a “normal life” again. Those who know, can quickly nod that a path to awakening with a real teacher is far from easy.

Over the centuries there were many teachers with different styles of relating to their students. If you read books about famous teachers, you may think some of them were downright abusive. However, you may need to understand the ego better to see the teacher-student relationship in perspective.

In the presence of an awakened being, something catalyzes everything deepseated in a person to rise up. The process is rhythmic, pulsing in intensity – like a wave beating against a rock wall. When a student’s ego goes on the defensive or aggressive, or hides (to protect the “I”), the teacher may get beligerent and downright scary. For the teacher, it is a kind of act – evoked by the egoic presence. My teacher used to call it “blasting” the ego.

The more evolved the teacher, the more intense the blasting. Those on the receiving end must literally fight to hear the insight, and also fight the intense tendency to collapse into despair. The few who can withstand such confrontation of their limited condition go further, while the rest give up.

Yes, on the surface this may look like verbal abuse to those who are not trying to transform. However, looking deeper, the teacher literally tsunami-waves the ego to break its hold on the student’s consciousness. It takes a great deal of energy for the teacher and the student to maintain this dynamic relationship. And, at some point, the student may say “I had enough.”

While some walk away quietly, others walk away vocally bitter and angry. They literally forget that, at one point, they asked for help to become enlightened. They may even start badmouthing the teacher, diagnose the teacher as a narcissist or sociopath (common), and direct all of their anger at the teacher. While not all teachers are awakened, those who are awakened may still take the risk of a violent “breakup” anyway. They know that a seed was planted and will sprout when the soil is ready. There is no drama on the teacher’s part about something so simple.

I remember times when my teacher would cast me aside and say I wasn’t ready. I remember how aweful and discarded I felt. But I tried harder to find my way back. I felt like there was no other way but through. And, I spent very little time in-person with my teacher…. Such a bond transcends space and time. I mostly knew he was there, I read his unpublished writings, and I studied myself in response to various life experiences in the context of surrendering my life to the Divine. Almost everything I clung to had dissolved since then, and – on the surface – it didn’t look like I was doing anything but living my life.

The whole situation was between me and the Divine, and I knew I could not stop what I started. That was my path, my devotion, and my surrender – guided by whatever my teacher “radiated.” Others took different paths. It didn’t matter because it was not a race. We all got what we needed and were prepared to hold.

Those who leave a real teacher with bitterness and have forgotten why they sought out the teacher in the first place – they may trash what they received and are in a tough spot. While they are no threat to the teacher, their anger will need to be let go – or it will turn inward and feed on them until they realize that they are hurting themselves.

I consciously avoid being a spiritual teacher in any shape or form. I am learning how to move in a way that does not activate those who don’t need it yet. However, there are people who come out of the blue and ask me to help them wake up. Some, I take in. I am simply their friend.

We will do the dance and go as far as the person is willing. There is no fee, no contract, and no requirements but to stand strong in oneself to move beyond oneself. Such beings are still few, but teachers have always walked the Earth just for them – without expectations. The mystery still lives us all.

Spiritual Teacher Clothing Line

When people become interested in enlightenment, they don’t really know what they are looking for. Then come the books, the crystals, the candles, the gongs, the singing bowls, and the meditation cushions. Maybe they meditate or chant. Maybe they spend hours talking about all-things-deeply-spiritual with others.

Some decide that they are somehow advanced or enlightened because they accumulate some basic sanity about life, or some knowledge, or both. Others realize that they can’t do “it” alone and start shopping for a “spiritual teacher.”

Shopping for a spiritual teacher is a lot like shopping for an outfit. If you didn’t have a good mommy, you are looking for a dream mommy. If you didn’t have a good daddy, you are looking for a dream daddy. If you didn’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend, you hope to get one with a spiritual flair. If you don’t need any of that, maybe you hope for a therapist – a voice of reason that will counsel you through life’s ups-and-downs. And there are so many more ways to mix and match for that personalized, custom-tailored spiritual teacher – perfectly suited for the new identity you want to embody.

On the flip-side, some beings actually put themselves in the public view as spiritual teachers. There are very few who have actually transformed – and even fewer agreeing to meet a handful of seekers here and there. Most publicly available spiritual teachers are beings who got a grip on their “life-on-Earth” thing and serve as life coaches. The entrepreneurial spirit of the West has created many identities of “helpers,” “not helpers,” “catalysts,” “healers,” “mentors” – whatever. A shingle on the door, and the teacher…is…in. That being said, some people are excellent life coaches and do help others successfully navigate living.

Enlightened beings don’t go looking to be spiritual teachers. Confusion creates teachers. Those who are free do not need to teach anyone anything. Sometimes, people come by and they need something. Sometimes, it feels OK to support them. Most people who interact with me have no idea who I am. I don’t have a horse in the race and I understand free will. I also understand the value of a person seeing themselves in the mirror very clearly. Some do need to feel – even for a brief moment –  the loosening of the illusion that we can and do have so much control in life, and that this is actually alright.

I can also see through how people want to use the energy I carry for their own agendas. It’s an unconscious craving that people have – they can feel something “powerful” and they want it for themselves, without actually understanding either what they feel or what “it” really is. Nevertheless,  just by being there, I allow a person to see more clearly how they are tripping over themselves and others in life. And then, I watch what they do with that insight. I may end up giving energy to that person to help themselves heal and move forward, but how they use it is up to them. If they decide to use that energy to lash out at life because of their pent up frustration, I encourage them to not come back. I don’t give it or them another thought.

The problem with the “spiritual teacher” dynamic is that people usually just want to have lives that feel happier, better, good-er, and more meaningful. But that is not transformation. I know from experience that transformation is not something that I could imagine before it happened – and continued – for me.

Transformation is similar to the phase changes of matter – liquid to solid, for example. People studying phase changes make computer simulations to show how liquid water cools: liquid water molecules buzz around in a random state and then, suddenly, organize into clear hexagonal molecule arrangements. Similarly, the lives of a few individuals may birth certain trends and social movements: at first, only a few express something, and then many individuals suddenly organize around a cause or an idea or an experience.

Enlightenment is something that happens suddenly and irreversibly to completely reorganize how you – as a living process – relate to the energy that lives you and everything else. The process continues and there seem to be a number of distinct phases someone can pass through – until the body can no longer support the energy of that being’s life.

One cannot be taught into this different state of being. Yet, it does seem to be the next wave of evolution for humanity at some point in the future.

One can get glimpses of transformation by being exposed to a living being that is already in that state. Furthermore, one can try to study one’s life with the help and insight of a transformed being who can see you clearly. Always, you draw your own conclusions.

To most people, feeling such exposure and lack of control – where there is no game that could be played – is not a pleasant experience. In fact, those who do get to experience such exposure and obviousness of themselves, find it terrifying. Only a certain kind of soul can stare right into the stuff they don’t want to see or know about themselves, and then keep looking until things are healed…. Such tenacity requires great restraint that few have to the degree that is necessary to withstand the heat of profound embarrassment that comes with being seen, and then to move through that fire.

Any dream life is a dream, and people love dreams. They tell lots of stories, look at the stars, and pontificate deeply about whether reincarnation is fake or real, or what Christ and Buddha teachings really mean. This mind-driven analysis touches only a micro-atom of the universe that is unfolding. An enlightened being shows reality, stripped of every dream, every illusion, and turns everything that is held near-and-dear upside-down. How? By being in the room. Nothing special is done. Embodying that energy is all that happens. While I have compassion for pain, I do not engage in people’s games at all. Day-to-day, I engage people through real-world tasks or projects that need to be done – that’s mostly it.

A happy, put-together life, where all the ducks are in a row and quacking, the money is flowing in, and onlookers are dazzled – these are about mastering living on Earth. Even so, complete control and stability are impossible for many reasons. And, these things have nothing to do with becoming an open gateway for the energy that lives all – including all on the Earth. Neither kind of life is better or worse – these are just very different ways of relating to the life process.

So, if you are looking to get your life together, find a good life coach or a pastor or a therapist. Learn how to talk to people, get jobs, manage your finances, eat well, have healthy relationships, and express your talents. Let your life be your teacher and bond with people who can help you out.

If you feel that you have been-there-done-that and are trying a different way to relating to life, then a “teacher” will find you. One thing is certain – all beings who have broken through the first transformation barrier begin to serve as natural mirrors for others, and wherever you go there you are. Until then, you do you.

One thing seems true… You don’t actually stop being born until you die. You unfold your entire life. It is a myth that birthing stops upon exiting the womb.