Misconceptions and Bullshit about Enlightenment
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 31, 2003 12:27PM

There are a lot of misconceptions about enlightenment that crooked spiritual teachers exploit when setting up personality cults and scams. If you can identify these bogus arguments, you can protect yourself.

Emotional Battery is Not Crazy Wisdom

The archetype of the 'enlightened crazy wise master' has been debased into an all purpose manipulative tactic for con artists, narcissists and crooks.

Inflicting shock on people is a great way to mess with their boundaries, which can then be exploited to recruit the victim into your orbit. In partnered relationships this is called 'emotional battery' and has no mystical value whatsoever.

Many people who have been abused by gurus cope with the trauma by identifying with their tormenter and convince themselves that the abuse was necessary for their spiritual growth. They will insist that gurus are infallible, are exempt from normal moral guidelines and that anyone who disapproves of the abuse lacks good faith and is ‘negative.’ This is the same dynamic that abused children use when they cannot escape from a sadistic adult. They stay loyal to the adult and believe the abuse is good for them. Then they grow up to abuse their own children. Alice Miller has brilliantly analysed this pattern in The Drama of the Gifted Child and For Your Own Good: Roots of Violence in Childrearing.

Spiritual work is high risk and discernment is essential. If things go wrong, you are the one who suffers the consequences. Teachers coddled by entourages, will write you off as too weak and unevolved to 'bear the burden of discipleship'. They will ditch you and go looking for new recruits.

Misconceptions about Enlightenment

Enlightenment will not solve your problems for you or banish pain from your life. If you don’t have sanity and adult social and emotional skills, enlightenment is a booby prize. Some people have been unable to handle it and have gone crazy.

A Zen teacher said, ‘If I could become enlightened instantly, without having to practice wisdom and compassion in every day life, I would refuse. Because without the discipline of practice, I will not know what to do with enlightenment and it will not help me or anyone else.’

The ego is not the enemy. You need an ego in order to function in day to day life. The does not need to be destroyed. You bring the ego into alignment with a wider state of consciousness, but you must do this gently, while continuing to function responsibly in day to day life. You cannot eradicate ego through an act of will.

Real spiritual practice requires allowing emotional states to come and go, clinging to none of them, not even the blissful ones. Even when an enlightenment experience is genuine, it can only be lived out at the highest level of an individual's psychological and spiritual development. Pre-existing neurosis can distort even genuine enlightenment.

So take care and evaluate any charismatic teacher who comes to town. No one can be bullied into enlightenment.

Fear, anxiety and spiritual ambition short circuit any progress toward spiritual evolution. Arthur J Deikman MD, a psychiatrist and Sufi says, 'This fact, that enlightenment requires an enduring change in a person's motivations, has a number of interesting consequences. The most important is that "the secret protects itself”.

'No matter what you may say or do, if your underlying intention is selfish, and even if you are unaware that this is the case, no perception of the Truth is possible. It follows that a teacher cannot bestow the Truth on someone else. The capacity for the perception of the Truth must be developed — there is no short cut.

'Teachers who imply that enlightenment is in their gift are frauds.'

(Deikman 'Evaluating Spiritual Teachers and Utopian Groups.') The rest of Dr Deikman's article may be read (for free and at no obligation of contacting him) here: [www.deikman.com]

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Misconceptions and Bullshit about Enlightenment
Posted by: Bif ()
Date: June 02, 2003 08:41AM

Hi - I'm new here :)

I just had a quick look at that link, corboy and it is one I will study at length I'm sure.

I don't know whether this is the right place either to introduce myself or to make an enquiry. So sorry if either is out of place. :D

've been lurking a while, but have joined because I'm researching a group called "Sacred Peace Center". The leader is "Peace Mother" aka Geeta. Does anyone have any info?

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Misconceptions and Bullshit about Enlightenment
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 02, 2003 10:44PM

To research Geeta and her organization you can do the following if you have not yet tried it:

The Google groups are a gold mine. Go to Google, click the 'groups' tab and then do an advanced search within the Google groups. They cover everything from mysticism, yoga, cult issues, and Indian/asian culture. You can also subscribe to the groups and post a query.

Or you can post something on [www.craigslist.org] Select a Craigslist.org that is near where Geeta has her center. the San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles CL's are especially good because lots of seekers live there.

For a great article on how to evaluate spiritual teachers and utopian groups go to [www.deikman.com] and go to the collection of articles in the cult section. It will give a good framework by which to assess Geeta and her group.

I do not consider myself any sort of authority on enlightenment. Only reason I am doing Zen is that I want to become better able to accept my humanity and connect with other people and not project my fantasies everywhere. Without common sense, ethics and mental health, enlightenment is a booby prize.

My hunch is that people often have unrealistic expectations about enlightenment, some of the expectations are unconscious and its those areas of unconsciousness that crooks exploit.
For a fascinating collection of articles I recommend [www.johnhorgan.org] I have not yet read all of them but two seem outstanding and may give you some food for thought as you research Geeta.

The article on the authors of The Guru Papers also discusses myths about enlightenment and the damage these expectations cause.

Good luck in your search!

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Misconceptions and Bullshit about Enlightenment
Posted by: Bif ()
Date: June 03, 2003 04:19PM

Thanks, corboy :)

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