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)."
So there is NO Jed Mckenna and just a finger pointing at the moon? HA!
"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.”
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)"