Friday, March 6, 2009

Populist Gurus and Spiritual Cowboys


Spiritual populism is certainly on the rise in the west and the cowboy-gurus are poppin' out of the woodwork. I imagine that as empirical reality begins to severely bite folks in the arse, many will begin turning to these circus masters.

It's interesting that we seek for new, more sustainable ideas for evolving the empirical world, but continue to accept the same old spiritual claptrap from the spiritual cowboys and 'action-heroes' of "awakening."

Consciousness clearly exhibits it’s resistance to evolution in its compulsion to repeat and idolize the same tired old stories over and over again.


Here's an interview with Jed Mckenna, another populist guru singing the same sad songs we’ve all heard, ad nauseum, for centuries. I was going to purchase one of his books until I read this interview. I was not surprised to encounter the same pithy “pointing to the moon” platitudes that are repeated endlessly.

However, I will admit that Jed's a bit different from the norm in that he adds that good 'ole fundamentalist “fire and brimstone,” of the early 20th century evangelist preachers, to non-dual entertainment. Now we have non-dualist teacher as evangelical cowboy lassoing you for the big round-up of souls. Jed McKenna's gonna beat that 'dualism' right outa ya!

Notice that his third book is called "Spiritual Warfare." Seems to me if we could just get rid of all the testosterone tainted spirituality out there, we might be able to finally get somewhere with this "awakening" business. It is becoming clear, with all these western gurus, that you can't be "male" and enlightened too. But that's just a growing observation I've been experiencing and, obviously, I lump myself in that pile.

In the interview “Jed” tells us what “awakening” is NOT about:
“If it’s soothing or comforting, if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy; if it’s about getting into pleasant emotional or mental states; if it’s about peace, love, tranquility, silence or bliss; if it’s about a brighter future or a better tomorrow; if it makes you feel good about yourself or boosts your self-esteem, tells you you’re okay, tells you everything’s just fine the way it is; if it offers to improve, benefit or elevate you, or if it suggests that someone else is better or above you; if it’s about belief or faith or worship; if it raises or alters consciousness; if it combats stress or deepens relaxation, or if it’s therapeutic or healing, or if it promises happiness or relief from unhappiness, if it’s about any of these or similar things, then it’s not about waking up. Then it’s about living in the dreamstate, not smashing out of it.”
Ahhh… how the western mind loves to “smash” its way to enlightenment, “bring it on dude, I’ll blast ya! Let's kick some ass people!" So who's the Alien we've got to destroy? Why none other than the evil and dreaded "ego" and its "dreamstate" world.

Jed's a hard worker and his brand of enlightenment easily conforms to the paradigm of working to transcend the ego or "no pain, no gain." I’ll bet you his ego loves it and yours will too!

Jed’s “awakening” is:
“On the other hand, if it feels like you’re being skinned alive, if it feels like a prolonged evisceration, if you feel your identity unraveling, if it twists you up physically and drains your health and derails your life, if you feel love dying inside you, if it seems like death would be better, then it’s probably the process of awakening. That, or a helluva case of gas.”

Skinned alive, prolonged evisceration, twisted, drained and derailed, dying inside and seeming like death…is “awakening.” LOL! Seems more like a Bruce Willis movie to me.

Notice that the interviewer writes that Jed’s hobbies are, “he plays video games, he rides a mountain bike, he skydives, he reads Walt Whitman. Jed McKenna is an enlightened teacher.”

Walt Whitman? So what happened to “O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done.”

Nope! Not for Jed. He’s no sissy and in this game, only the strong survive.

So how do we know he’s “awakened”? Well..he said so.
But also “he had an ashram in Iowa, numerous students (several of whom became enlightened), and has three books to his name.” There ya have it, folks. He’s awakened others and wrote books about it. What more proof do you need?

But Jed recognizes he doesn’t fit the bill for your average enlightened guy. But he don’t care a speck,

“a few pockets of resistance pop up, but I plow over them. Their indignation is as meaningless to me as the growls of little pink puppies. I’m indulging myself with a somewhat more forceful manner of communicating now, mainly for my own amusement, and their reaction at this stage is not a factor.”

Ha! And he eats "little pink puppies" for breakfast, don't ya know! This guy sounds like a goon from the Sopranos. He just plows over 'em, yee haw!

Good grief…"but where are the clowns? Quick, send in the clowns. Don't bother, they're here."

So how how does our super-hero want you to "awaken"?
“An exodus not outward toward Japan or India or Tibet, but inward, toward the self—toward self-reliance, toward self-determination, toward a common sense approach to figuring out just what the hell’s going on around here. A wiping of the slate. A fresh start. Sincere, intelligent people dispensing with the past and beginning anew. Beginning by asking themselves, "Okay, where are we? What do we know for sure? What do we know that’s true?"
Yea, well (yawn) we’ve heard that “seek the kingdom within” spiel before. Nothing much new here. However, for Jed this “truth’ is mighty painful and your gonna suffer mightily for it. Non-dualism meets the crucifixion (playing at a theater near you!)

But then imagine my surprise when the interviewer writes this:
“Jed McKenna doesn't exist (I'm sure "he" would agree with this on one level!) -- there is no teacher named Jed, no ashram in Iowa, and no students as described in his books. It is all a fake. What evidence do I have for this? the fact that there is no evidence for any of it. No photos, no face-to-face meetings, no one saying they have ever met the man, much less been a student of his (I welcome any evidence to the contrary)."

"McKenna expertly diffuses this objection.”

JED: "This whole thing really has nothing to do with me personally and it would be counter-productive to shift the focus onto me. I’m not relevant to anyone’s search. I’m just a finger pointing at the moon. There’s nothing to be learned from the finger. Everybody’s eager to find a distraction from the real work of waking up, but that’s all it is, a distraction.”
So there is NO Jed Mckenna and just a finger pointing at the moon? HA!

Doesn’t matter though. Who cares who Jed Mckenna is? Not Jed, since "Jed McKenna" is a pseudonym. Now we have dozens of blogs all gossiping about who Jed McKenna really is.

But here is an important point that "Jed" makes, “Don't you think it's reasonable to ask to know a teacher's success rate? The proof is in the pudding, right? Didn't you ask them about the fruit of their teachings when you started with them?"

Well, maybe that’s not because of the teacher, but because there is NO “enlightenment.” Therefore, anyone who proclaims to teach a fiction should stick to writing books and therefore, "Jeds" teaching is fictionally relevant.

Your experiences are NOT "illusory" and there is no “real” that you need seek. But don’t tell the seekers. Unfortunately, when the new inmate enters the asylum, confidently proclaiming himself Jesus, all the other inmates quickly vie to become his disciple. Look at the history of "awakening" and this "monkey see-monkey do" process becomes abundantly clear. The whole paradigm is an ego fixation. It's time for awakening into the anti-awakening movement. You will learn the truth, but the learning is infinite and can have no outcome.

In fact, if you want to start “awakening” you’re probably better off not reading books by these self-proclaimed charlatans and I haven’t found one that doesn’t fit that bill. However, "Jed" has offered you one piece of sound advice.

Read Walt Whitman.

Now there’s a real guru and a truly enlightened teacher!

NEW ADDENDUM TO THIS POST - "Making Egos Real (or Jed McKenna is one big fact ego)" 

44 comments:

  1. hi Mike...
    i get some of what "jed" says in regard to the "seeking" awakening blowing apart one's life... or however he said it... because as you uncover how subjective all our "truths" are... how subjective all our relational and cultural agreements are - seeing them as conditioned and transient - then yeah... there can be some rattling and shaking as one find out that the truths you were holding on to were not as true as you thought they were... and it can play havoc on relationships etc...
    some of what this guy "jed" says sounds kind of similar to some of what Adyashanti says... and certainly i can relate to this from my personal experience - not that i have become enlightened or awakened - but certainly my view of things kind of exploded and along with it some fairly major relational fallout that may take decades to resolve... if it ever does... anyway - referring back to Adyashanti - i had actually never heard of him until about two weeks ago when i talked to a friend of mine who sat with him in satsang... so i borrowed the book "The End of Your World" that he wrote. and i could relate to quite a lot of it - except i have not had personal revelations of past lives etc that he claims to have had - and i do not call myself awakened...
    i found his style - like the style of most writers that call themselves enlightened or awakened - to be rather... pompous... but maybe that is just a mirror to see my own egoic pompousity...(i like that word...)because if i see him as pompous... i am being pompous - reverse snobbery. yup - ego alive and well.
    and yeah... to be a public teacher - you gotta have that charisma... Adyashanti - he's got the look... the eyes... the clever way of speaking coming so naturally...
    and when i look at me - well - sheesh - i could say pretty well all he does - but i'm fat and oldish and i don't wear makeup and buy and wear kind of dumpy clothes from the thrift shop and there is no feature about me that is charismatic... so likely being a guru wouldn't work for me... ah well... i guess i won't give up my day job at the grocery store quite yet...

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  2. Hi Mike,

    I like that "Jed" does shake up the awakening establishment. We can't know if anyone is really awakened. Buddha, Christ, Adyashanti, Tolle--they may be awakened, or they have have very clever 'spiritualized' egos. We can't even know if there is such as thing as awakening. It's not terribly difficult to pretend to be awakened, since, thanks to the internet, we all know what people expect of the awakened.

    We can't know what awakening is or if there is such a thing, but we do know that there is awareness, and all experience is in Now, and expanding awareness does seem to make for a more enjoyable life. The rest is either true or disingenuous. For example, there is a blogger right now who is describing his awakening experience in real time in a blog. Maybe he's for real. Or he has discovered, as the Bard said, that there's a sucker born every minute.

    Anti-awakening? I understand your sentiments, but how is that movement different the awakening movement? Are Protestants different from Christians? Don't all belief systems and organization lead to the same madness?

    I fully agree with your closing. If you want to "awaken" do it on your own. If you follow the finger pointing to the moon, you might just be following the third finger.

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  3. Arpita,

    I wonder if you go into an ego deconstructing, or even reconstructing, experience with the intent to experience pain then you will. However, if you go into it with the intent to experience joy or happiness through your deconstructing, you will experience that result. Could it be that all this rattling and shaking is just paradigmatic conditioning? Don't know, just wondering...

    Yeah, I've seen Adya's YouTube's and although he seems to be the quintessential neo-advaitist's guru, he doesn't quite sit well with me. Of course, that could just be me. I suppose I will have to investigate further. However, I realize I've conditioned myself to immediately suspect anyone who claims "awakening" or "enlightenment."

    Hey! I'm probably the most gruesome fiend you will ever meet and i'm "awakened"! However, I suppose I too would not make a good spokesmodel for the movement.

    But, isn't it true Christine that all women think they're fat and old after they pass the age of 18? At least, that's what my wife tells me. By the way, they know me by name at the Salvation Army thrift shop. Ha!

    Thanks,
    mikeS

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  4. Hey Kaushik!

    Yes, the "anti-awakening" comment was a bit tongue in cheek. I suppose my underlying intent is to de-sacretize this whole business. Yet most of the devout can easily accuse me of ego-blathering and they would be right. However, I could make the same claim.

    Yes, all belief systems and organizations, particularly once a system is codified, clearly lead to madness.

    I do agree about "expanded awareness." I would only add that if awareness is infinite the expanding never ends, thus, there is no coordinate in time/space where one would say "I am this or that (awakened).

    So Dude, where's your blog? You've got a good mind for this stuff and a measured response (as opposed to my extremism). Might be good to share it.

    Thanks,
    mikeS

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  5. An anonymous "enlightened" teacher is like a homeless man throwing stones at homes with fool's gold. The homeless man hides behind the shrub and lobs fool's gold again and again at the homes, yet he is afraid to face shattered windows and the man and woman of the house. The homeless man claims, "I don't want people to see that I have "gold" this is why I hide behind the shrub." He thinks he is beyond the attention "gold" brings and he actually thinks he has real gold.

    But a person inside the house picks up the "gold" and first discovers it is fool's gold and second, discovers he/she has a broken window. And third, the homeless man has moved on to the next shrub behind the neighbor's home.

    When he is tired, the homeless man comes to see that he has a home of a world with broken windows. He stands in the center, puts down his fool's gold and sees he created a new/old world just as the homes he had taken pot shots at with the fool's gold from behind the shrub.

    Only now the people are left with a new/old world and the homes now don't have windows, and he has to put in the windows, and keep digging for the real gold. This is Jed Mckenna.

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  6. Jed doesn't really exist, and if he did exist, he'd be an a-hole.

    I read "Spiritual Enlightenment" (at least most of it), and am stunned that this guy is popular. It reeks of "I'm enlightened and you're not; I'm a butterfly and you're a caterpiller; I'm in Oz and you're on the yellow brick road."

    I don't know why anyone would want to embrace all these ideas about who is or isn't enlightened. At the very least, don't call Jed's stuff "Nonduality." If Jed claims to have something that ordinary everyday people don't have, that's called "Dualism."

    Teachers who say, "Try this practice for yourself, examine this question for yourself, and see what you experience"... that makes some sense to me. I never would have tried just sitting quietly, or asking "What am I?", were it not for more experienced people who pointed me in that direction and encouraged me to try.

    But after a while, all these teachers who make claims about having some special enlightenment or awakening, or the people who make claims on their behalf... it just seems so irrelevent or unnecessary. In living my life moment to moment, what's the use of carrying around those concepts?

    Stuart
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kH6ZHocFSA

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  7. "Jed doesn't really exist, and if he did exist, he'd be an a-hole."

    Hahaa! Well, Stuart, nothing like getting right to the point. But, yes, I'd have to agree completely.

    Yet, the western consumer culture eats this stuff up, sort of like that Christian Apocalypse series, in which Jesus is a special forces commando.

    Enlightenment has become a truly profitable experience and with the right marketing, you can sell anything. God is $$$

    Thanks for the comment!
    mikeS

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  8. This note is for ananomous up there telling the story about the homeless man. You know "Jed" is just trying to get people to think some, that is all, in a culture where people don't think enough. He puts forward a good effort. Why are you getting so hard on the fellow? JpS

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  9. And he does get you to think.

    I saw a pizza man, carrying a pizza. I thought this man has more accountibility than a fellow claiming englightenment. And sure people crave and desire a tasty sausage and meatball pizza, but some folks really really crave enlightenment.
    The pizza guy has to haul his butt back across town if he doesn't get the order right, even if the customer is wrong. This isn't easy for the pizza man but he is pizza and all those who want a pizza. This he attends to with great joy, as an extension of what he is and loves. He wants to get it right.

    Jed scrawls a few lines in the book about "no fame", after tearing into systems that deal with the time it takes for people to see what they have been all along. This is called selflessness. It is quality that comes with "enlightenment". Hiding out, in the name of "no fame, no students" is silly.

    Jed uses enlightenment as a hide out, claims altruism, but only gets away with it because people don't think. Not because they think- They, in part, like what he says about some trappings in other forms and institutes of spirituality. Jed misses the point and depth on each of these forms and their immeasurable attributes, qualities of time based integrity, and the miraculous potentials for mankind within each if one dives in and gives their lives to both the form and the essence in them. It is called entire self sacrifice. Death of ego on all levels.

    I guarentee he would not be where he is in his development without them. It is simply impossible. His attitude feeds in part on cynicism.

    The pizza man realizes he is in an interdependant relationship with the eater, once he has a menu out. But by putting a book out, and claiming an authority on such a topic which people fear and seek after, he is also in an interdependant relationship. But abandons it before he ever truely began it.(a little gathering of a few people he calls "an ashram" is hardly a dedication to much)

    People read the stuff and become temporily euphoric with the free fall and then are often 3 times more insecure for having left the old belief systems in which he had aided in debunking, in their desire to identify with a new "enlightened" free fall fellow. Or they just cling to what he says newly like their old beliefs. Identify with that.

    Premature De-beliefiation.

    A classic mistake among western, drama teachers of "moreness" enlightenment. It feeds on lack, deficiency, and sooner or later reinforces these feelings. These kind of individuals while having some partial benifits also create more images, fears and wantings around the very "enlightenment" people seek.

    People wanting a pizza seek the tasty sausage pizza, cause they have had it before. Why would they want it otherwise?

    What is the difference between seeking "enlightenment" and their process of coming to order a pizza?

    This brings some common sense questions up. So yes The fellow gets me to think, as you can see. But I have to consider his ways and means as a part of the vehicle(ananomous book) he lays forward. He seems to be a product of anyonomous writings like this one right now. If I were claiming enlightenment while hiding, I would be claiming authority with zero responsibility to myself and others.

    After awhile, a seeker seeking a teaching from some one like Jed, who very well may get his freedom and power from his ananymity, the seeker him or herself, will have no full and entire freedom or power to debunk or live among men and women, as most do, in the world, unless they too are ananonmous and hide themselves.

    The pizza guy will at least show up and put his butt on the line for his product. Jed probably will drag his heels but find out he has to do the same thing in one form or another.
    And then really enjoy and die into all things in the pot as both non-dual and dual as the same. And this enlightenment power trip will be eased in seeker's mind.

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  10. We all "think," but i suppose it's what we "think" about that's the problem.

    "This isn't easy for the pizza man but he is pizza and all those who want a pizza. This he attends to with great joy, as an extension of what he is and loves. He wants to get it right."

    Really! So the pizza man has become 'one' with his pizza? Does he want to get it right to tantalize your taste buds or to increase his profits or both?

    "Jed scrawls a few lines in the book about "no fame", after tearing into systems that deal with the time it takes for people to see what they have been all along. This is called selflessness. It is quality that comes with "enlightenment". Hiding out, in the name of "no fame, no students" is silly."

    Well, western philosophy as been railing against social conditioning for the last 200 yrs and it doesn't seem to have made a dent in the current social fabric. People continue to live out lives of quiet desperation, the same song and dance routine. In addition, you seem to hold to the age old proposition that enlightenment holds "qualities" like any other physical manifestation. Qualities are inherent to the physical realm of parts, but I imagine it has little to do with the truth of wholeness.

    "It is called entire self sacrifice. Death of ego on all levels."

    yes and this old map of enlightenment may in fact be the problem. Ego cannot transcend itself, but in attempting to do just that, merely consistently asserts an aggrandized ego. Therefore, the 'self' belief package you attribute as "you" will never die to itself. However, it may transform itself.
    Nevertheless, the 'map of transcendence' continues to advocate egolessness and these modern gurus are just another version of the old narrative, only dressed up in the latest super-hero fashions.

    "The pizza man realizes he is in an interdependant relationship with the eater, once he has a menu out. But by putting a book out, and claiming an authority on such a topic which people fear and seek after, he is also in an interdependant relationship."

    Interdependency asserts a collaborative venture. The eater and the pizza man are not collaborating, but the eater accepts what the proprietor offers or simply goes to another pizza proprietor if he truly wants pizza. Thus, the eater will become dependent on whoever makes the best and cheapest pizza.Interdependent enlightenment would engage the many in creating truth from that ground of relating. Jed is a proprietor of truth, among millions of others, dead and alive. The proprietor sets the rules for how truth is transmitted. Fail to follow the rules and you fail to have truth transmitted. Therefore, the ego-self simply seeks out the proprietor of truth that comfortably conforms to its own rules. So thus, your ego sets the rules on the truth and not the proprietor.

    "What is the difference between seeking "enlightenment" and their process of coming to order a pizza?"

    This is common level confusion. Sensation has provided memory of pizza and therefore, I will seek out the proprietor who I determine provides the best pizza. While sense impressions have provided no such memory of enlightenment and I know not who is the best proprietor. This opens the door to much deception and attendant suffering.

    "He seems to be a product of anonymous writings like this one right now. If I were claiming enlightenment while hiding, I would be claiming authority with zero responsibility to myself and others."

    He is not claiming anonymity, just pseudonymity. He is using a fictitious name as thousands of authors have done throughout history. To think that he does not reap the rewards of his pseudonym is to become a part of the deception he perpetuates. I imagine this is what he hopes to achieve.

    However, you my friend are truly anonymous!

    My Best To You!
    mikeS

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  11. We come across you mikeS whom debunks even himself and his previous stances, I like it.
    A professional debunker. I've come to the right place. But lets take a look here at just two things.

    Ok so you are saying that writing a unidentifible, unaccountable name on piece of writing would take it from anonymity to psydonymity? Yes yes, I agree with you on this one. Forgive me the mistake and thank you. We will now refer to the vehicle as one of psydonymity. I like this better.

    And-

    "Qualities are inherent to the physical realm of parts, but I imagine it has little to do with the truth of wholeness."

    mikeS, we'll take a look at just this statement of yours. So you'd like to separate the "the truth of wholeness" from the qualities in the physical realm of parts?

    Is this the claim you are making?

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  12. Anonymous Friend!

    "So you'd like to separate the "the truth of wholeness" from the qualities in the physical realm of parts?"

    No, actually when I made that statement "Qualities are inherent to the physical realm of parts, but I imagine it has little to do with the truth of wholeness" I was responding to your comment:
    "This is called selflessness. It is quality that comes with "enlightenment".

    Selfless most certainly could be considered a quality. However, it could just as easily be a quality anyone seeks to acquire, let alone a quality inherent to some vague and abstract concept we call enlightenment. The idea that enlightenment has "qualities" is what I question (respectfully). Does the "enlightened" one have qualities inherent to him or herself or does the audience project the qualities onto those we have decided are enlightened? And if we are the "decider" as to who is enlightened and who is not, since we are not enlightened does that negate our decision?

    In addition, if truth is whole, then why would we expect it to manifest as qualities? Wouldn't manifest qualities, as observed by the ego-self, merely be renditions of relative truth, which, of course, is not truth at all?

    And yes, I don't hold to any paradigm as absolute and thus have been known to debunk myself. self-debunking is a quality of this infinite game we play and that has been played for centuries and will be played for centuries more. I believe that quite possibly those afraid to self-debunk may get trapped in their own fantasies and the fantasies of those who claim enlightenment.

    Hope this clears things up a bit, since this medium unfortunately lends itself to misunderstandings.

    Thanks,
    mikeS

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  13. These three books remain in my core library. The first and second ones resonated with me and were entertaining as well. (to me anyway) The second one gave me a tremendous reading list. The third, not so much. Spiritual Autolysis--did I spell that right?--I have done it over the past 4 years. I am not sure I would recommend it if you are pleased with your current life. It was just the right book for me at the right time.

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  14. inasmuch as I can speak of "I", I have followed Jed's charted map and the results are exactly what he promisses: "abiding non-dual awareness". Enough said.

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  15. Good for you Juan!

    (I'm not sure about having "results" though. Seems somewhat finite)

    Thanks,
    mikeS

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  16. If we are to stick to the truth then we must acknowledge first that Jed Mckenna's books are a projection of my own mind, just like everything else I am able to percieve in this state of manifest reality.
    I have experienced that his writings agitate my ego, just like many other writers on this page seem to have experienced. only I have found this agitation to be precious and invaluable in illuminating my own nature, tendencies, etc. Helping me look at things I would rather not.
    Mike, it seems, (though I could be mistaken,) that you haven't read his books. I think you would like them, as you and 'Jed' seem to have a lot in common. Of course you would have to let go of certain ideas about who, what, and how other people should exist according your laws of the universe, since it's doubtful that you'll ever be able to get them to stick. My own experience with maintaining such views has been one of varying degrees of aggravation.
    Not only is it not fun, but the moral and logistical implications associated with realizing the neccesity of having to destroy 98% of the human population of earth is overwhelming.
    besides, 'Jed' has stimulated a lot of genuine dialogue that simply doesn't come up with most other 'gurus'. Who gives a shit about Jed's personal life? What is that to any of us? Why is 'Jed' ever even a thing to discuss?
    All we have is some paper bound together, with ink shapes arranged in a way that evoke mutually interdependent conceptual formations, to which we have to some extent already agreed upon.
    next...
    -heyash

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  17. heyash

    "Who gives a shit about Jed's personal life? What is that to any of us? Why is 'Jed' ever even a thing to discuss?"

    Hmmm...it seems you do "give a shit" otherwise...

    why ask the questions?

    Focus on one aspect and its opposite is pops up. Assert in one direction and another direction magically appears and beckons. Say 'no' and 'yes' comes into view.

    See how "enlightened" I am...

    and am NOT...

    Thanks,
    mikeS

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  18. You don't define Jed or his books with your whack-off blatherings. You just define yourself as one deeply asleep and dreaming they are awake.
    Sweet dreams to you & hats off to Maya!

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  19. "You don't define Jed or his books with your whack-off blatherings. You just define yourself as one deeply asleep and dreaming they are awake"

    Ha! Thank Gawd there are so many like you around to point that out.

    If this is what Jed's "awakening" brings you...

    Let's hope we all remain sound...

    asleep....

    Zzzzzz
    mikeS

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  20. sleeping is more peaceful. not awakening is the easier softer way. no one ever told me enlightenment is fun.

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  21. From this writing it's quite obvious you haven't woken up yet. If you had, there would be no problem and no judgment about it. Nice try though.

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  22. "From this writing it's quite obvious you haven't woken up yet. If you had, there would be no problem and no judgment about it. Nice try though."

    And from your judgment...

    I can obviously say the same...

    Nice try though!
    mikeS

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  23. Wow mike, you really let your frustrations and anger come out through your criticism.

    You being such an idiot makes me satisfied of your unhappiness.

    Sincerely

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  24. "You being such an idiot makes me satisfied of your unhappiness."

    Ha!

    You gotta love the anonymity of the internet!

    But don't fret fools...

    I will post everything!
    mikeS

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  25. Hey yah all... Mr. Jed appears to have a site. I think it's B.S. In fact, I think the whole enlightenment thing is B.S. Jedmckenna.webs.com is full of B.S.

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  26. Loved your article Mike. I had a very similar response to "Jed's" books. I can't help but wonder (I cannot seem to quell the petty, egoic needs of my mind to delve deeper) if he's pulling a fast one on his readers and his next book may start out with "Gotcha Suckers."

    It seems to me that the hypocrisy and many contradictions inherent within these books are perhaps included on purpose to demonstrate the fallacy and futility in believing oneself to be at an ultimate and finite state of awareness, self-labelled as 'enlightenment'.....there's part of me hoping that the 'real' message exists between the lines of these books.

    The deeper I go into all of this personally, the more I come to realize that as far as 'truth' goes, I can never know anything for sure. If physical existence is in fact illusive, how then could we ever decipher 'absolute truth' so long as we're part of the illusion. (The way I see it, if I'm still having a physical experience, I'm still 'IN' it.)

    The idea that we can completely transcend the 'illusion' and that we can know with absolute certainty that we've done so, is kind of silly in my opinion....haha..and yes, as someone who is NOT enlightened, I have lots of them!

    The thing that Jed and others like him fail to see is that their assessment of 'ultimate truth' is just that also.....an opinion...a belief...another mental construct created by their physical mind.

    If physical life is analogous to a program of sorts, then as a part of the program, how could we ever really know with any level of certainty just how deep the program goes?

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  27. Hi Faye,

    Like what you say.

    So far, all I can say with some sense of assurance (but even that is 'uncertain') is that we can't do it...

    ...alone.

    Thanks!
    mikeS

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  28. Hey Mike,
    I spent about 20 minutes or so reading your blog. Just curious where you are coming from - what's the point you wish to make, etc? You have put a lot of work into this blog, so you must have a goal in mind, no? Thanks for answering.
    Pietro.

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  29. Pietro,

    Actually, I really don't put much time at all into this blog, because there is no real goal.

    Things come up and I jot 'em down. As you can see, some folks like, some NOT.

    Not much more than that...

    Thanks,
    mikeS

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  30. I would love to discuss Jed with others interested in him.

    He clearly has something so fundamental that on one level of all our beings we simply can't deny. Yes, some things seem impossible to go through or do or whatever that Jed talks about, but the fact remains, the center of us is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, and yet at the same time clearly in existence on some level some where some how.

    The deepest experience I ever had was after I got a thing called "Darshan" from a guru called Guru Maharaji (Prem Rawat). Absolute silence in my head not a thought for miles around. Yet personal conversations (emails) I've had with jed, he tells me that the silence/stillness business is bullshit. I don't get that. Seems like abiding non-dual awareness to me if there ever was such.

    Any way, reading Moby Dick (pretty incredible book actually), but the SPIRITUAL AUTOLYSIS thing just never goes any where for me. Just always get to a dead end where every answer is: I DON'T F'ING KNOW. Where the hell do you go after that???

    Well, there's my dead end of trying to do Jed's path. I still read and listen and watch his stuff all the time, but can't bust past that to make any profound changes in me to the NEXT LEVEL(?????). buzz1857@yahoo.com if you want to contact me directly, Mike

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  31. I threw Jed McKenna's first book at the wall the first time I read it I was so angry...a few years later and I have to admit he's right.. the price of truth is everything. I also really liked how a lot of his characters were women. He's the best and I'm not gonna let you Mr. Mike say nothin' against him..ya hear. Maybe you should read the books intstead of writing an article based on an interview based on an article. Straight to the source my man!

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  32. There's a lot of thinking went into these comments. Blah, blah, blah...
    I would find this more interesting if people would share exactly what their moment to moment experience is as to how they are functioning. Though I guess if your moment to moment experience is all in your head, then all it will ever be is blah, blah, blah. Why does everyone want to prove that they are enlightened or not, or someone else is enlightened or not, or bash each others beliefs in with a sledge hammer? I liked Jed. I like every bread crumb that falls in front of these feet. Life is an adventuresome frolic that forever plays hide and seek with itself. No end in sight as far as I can see. No I to see, lol.

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  33. JJed presents some non-original ideas that are interesting but his delivery is ugly and distracting from these ideas.
    He writes contradictions and self-righteous remarks clarifying his manipulations and disrespect for the people around him.
    He knows himself to be “ridiculously uninformed when it comes to people”, and obviously he has little understanding of human nature or compassion for other people.
    He plays stupid and acts nieve, just for fun, but he’s just a jerk and a liar, poking fun at his disciples.
    He doesn’t understand people and demonstrates it with narcissistic, self-righteous and egomaniac characteristics. How could he see past his own nose with those qualities?
    His arrogance and egotism is evident when he explains the need he has to write a third book and seems to think “human spiritually” is something you pick-up and walk away from instead of an integral part of all life on the planet. He sees people as monkeys because he thinks he is so beyond them and enlightened but really he is vane and conceited. He states he was “happy to be out of a spiritual mindset”, which seems to me that he hasn’t yet found a comfortable place for his mind and spirit to join.
    He feels separate and distanced from the universe, “infinitely strange and foreign”, not at one, in relation to, or in harmony with his environment. This simply nullifies any ability for him to relate to things and people in his environment.
    He says, he has forgotten the natural language, which is the language of non-artificial. In fact, the natural language doesn’t even register with him, and with that he will always struggle, misunderstand and be preaching war.
    This book is bragging fest for Jed.
    He puts money as more important then a spiritual understanding because as he says money will buy you companionship. Unfortunately, he is right, many people live in a superficial world of purchases and humans were not meant to live their lives alone.
    He’s encouraging followers to make it their own personal religion and become fanatics at judging the difference between a child and an adult. He promotes the intolerance for differences in the variety of humanity.
    Without managing independence of self-responsibility and awareness, I known some children who have more spiritual understanding then Jed.

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  34. lala,

    Looks like you pretty much nailed it.

    Just read all three books again. Some jewels amidst the turds, but mostly just turds.

    However, we can't deny that the dude has provoked some engaging conversations.
    mikeS

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  35. A donkey carrying a load of holy books is still a donkey.

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  36. Am I really the only one who can see that Jed McKenna is Richard Bach! Read esp. 'Illusions' and a JLSegull for confirmation of content / approach / philosophy. Even the layout and typesetting are similar....
    SallyW

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    Replies
    1. after reading jed's trilogy i asked myself...

      "who is jed mckenna"... the answer is ....he is fictional...so therefore everything he writes must be fictional... nothing says BS like a pseudonym...

      second fact...he wrote a book.. that is widely published and successful...Books are written by authors who seek profit or acknowledgement, which are both functions of ego...

      jed is an amazing writer... and reader.. and his books suggest to me that he is simply making his best attempt to contribute to literature in the same way the authors he mentions in his books have...

      take a kernel of jed's advise and strike out out on your own... all of the answers you need in life are inside our own mind... not in books..

      jed... you claim to be a warrior for truth seeking.. please step out of the shadows and take the first step... say your name.. your true name..

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  37. "And yes, I don't hold to any paradigm as absolute and thus have been known to debunk myself. self-debunking is a quality of this infinite game we play and that has been played for centuries and will be played for centuries more. I believe that quite possibly those afraid to self-debunk may get trapped in their own fantasies and the fantasies of those who claim enlightenment.
    Hope this clears things up a bit, since this medium unfortunately lends itself to misunderstandings."

    Until an hour ago I didn't know anything about Jed fella, I just bumped into a video with quotes from his books, so I decided to check what's all the fuss about. With few random hyperlink clicks I got to this page. Upon reading your article and comments (I find no problem to agree with your assesment) I'm quite sure that actually - you are Jed. If it isn't the case (which it obviously is), than for sure you should reconsider what you have stated in a quote depicted above and perhaps find an unexpectedly fresh explanation of Jed's motivation to do what he does. Anyway, I applaud to the game, it's really nice way to deal with the situation you are in. Cheers and good luck with your effort!

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  38. So...Mike...you are Jed? Interesting! But if you are already married to a woman, you can not be Bill Hicks.

    Does that make any sense to you, Mike?

    If not, don't bother. Making sense is highly overrated anyway.

    Jeeehaaa,
    A-nja

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