Seems everybody’s doing it, which makes you wonder... just how real can it be.
As the "awakening' movement takes hold we can just imagine future conversations at the country club: “Buffy, did you hear Chad had an awakening!” “No! Reeeaaally? I wonder how Margot feels about that?”
Awakening is chic....
Nevertheless, you gotta be wounded first, or it simply isn't credible, and many of our modern spiritual teachers are themselves nothing more than the walking wounded (In my kids school, the walking wounded are referred to as the "emo" clique)
The "awakened masters" report that it was intense suffering that brought them to the “truth.” But, then why do they teach us to avoid that same suffering if it was, in fact, the way to truth?
Why teach that there is a "path to awakening” if they got 'it' completely by surprise? Even the most revered, Sri Ramana, had to experience the throes of death before “awakening” to the truth and Eckhart Tolle virtually became suicidal before his illustrious “awakening” (and his more illustrious collaboration with Oprah).
It seems that traumatic suffering is the way to “awakening." Only through trauma can we realize truth, but not just any old trauma... it must be a profound life changing trauma.
But then, do these teachers of “awakening” do us a disservice by providing spiritual ideologies and techniques that seek to make things easier on us (provide shortcuts) if, in fact, there is such a thing as “awakening?
It seems that everyone can “Awaken”…but first you gotta be royally fooked up!
Just another rule of conventional “spirituality” or “I once was lost, but now am found.”
Rarely will you ever hear: “I was rich, fat and happy… and then I became an awakened master.” Since it’s the disciples who choose the 'guru,' we would never choose a guru who did not pay his/her dues, since to be reputable one must be credible. Inevitably, they must conform to your demands regardless of what they think is “true," because they can only teach what you are willing and prepared to accept (and I'll bet you thought you had nothing to do with it).
In other words, you damn well better be close to death, or else it don’t count and we won't revere you!
You have to play the game of "struggle and sacrifice" before you can be a spiritual superstar. You have to traverse Dante’s Inferno before you can have the 72 virgins, walk through the pearly gates, attain nirvana or experience “awakening.”
Ha! But isn’t that like everything else in the world. No pain, no gain! Without enduring sacrifice and plenty of painful struggle, you can't win the 'prize' simply because that's how the game is played.
Nevertheless, once you finally do hit bottom, it’s easy to “awaken” and that’s because anything has to be better than the bottom.
Yet, what they often fail to convey is that, once at the bottom, you suddenly feel the need to reach out to others, because it was loss of ‘contact’ that caused your plummet in the first place. Therefore, the only truth you've awakened to is how much you need others. Nevertheless, as the enlightened ones always demonstrate, soon as you're standing on stable ground, others are discounted as having anything to do with the new and improved, awakened “you” (same as the old “you,” just a bit shinier).
What they fail to convey is that they have nothing to teach, because teaching is simply an excuse for deeply engaging with the world. Awakening proceeds from engagement, it doesn't result in it. It is deeply engaged in relationship from which awakening is experienced.
But individual ego’s don’t like hearing this, since it obviously negates the "personal awakening” that they alone, ‘achieved.’
Obviously, if you’ve come to love your ‘story’ of awakening then you might inadvertently discount other stories, but without other stories, there would be no story of “you.” Does your wife/husband have a story? Your children? How about your parents, your friends and neighbors?
"Ah…what do they know, they ain’t “awakened” yet!"
Ah.... so that's your story????
The parts cannot realize the whole as long as they remain fixated on parts. However, parts can realize “stories” that result in illustrious "awakening" careers.
Image by Caniglia - "Days of No Horizon"