Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Spiritual Communista

Since the term communista appears in the title and it closely resembles another word, comunista (or communist in English), let me first address the NSA in the event that their cyber brains register a match of similar words.

Dear NSA,

I have never been, nor will I ever be, a member of the Communist Party. My last trip abroad was for the consecration of a monastery in Bhutan. If you would like to tap my phones or read my emails, knock yourselves out. You too, like my friends, might get sick of hearing about the latest herbs to boost red blood cell production, the perils of film production, or mother-daughter conversations that ramble on and on about girly things.

Yours truly,

A member of the Happiness Party

And now for the subject du jour. In almost every religious and spiritual community, a wickedly nonspiritual hierarchy exists where the guru, imam, priest, roshi, lama, shaman, medicine man, rabbi, professor, yoga teacher, light-worker, psychic or whoever are regarded with an awe of their god-like stature. As the mediators between the All-That-Is and us ignorant creatures, many of us put our advisers on a pedestal and leave common sense and self-respect at the door. Or, expect that our mentors will cure all our ills with their sublime wisdom and give us the answers to everything under the sun and beyond. Hit me baby one more time, as Britany Spears cries out.

After years of puzzlement as to why so many gifted teachers don't demonstrate the normal moral standards of conduct (meaning no adultery, no lying, no stealing, etc.) and their behaviors are rationalized away by students and sycophants, I have come to a conclusion.

An arbitrary but useful breakdown of the psyche  is thus:

1) physical level
2) emotional level
3) mental level
4) etheric level
5) spiritual level
6) gone beyond

The reason why the disconnect between spiritual gifts and reasonable human behavior remains puzzlingly huge is because almost no one on this earth is completely integrated --  complete meaning that all levels 1-6 are all fully developed and running at optimum performance.

Spiritual teachers may have the gift of insight and paranormal perception, yet be woefully lacking in self-reflection when it comes to the power differential with aspiring students. Thus, they take advantage of students via sexual appetites, probably based on unresolved emotional states lingering from childhood.

A astonishingly accurate psychic may be obese and eating junk food all day. In this case, the etheric savvy has not integrated with the physical and/or emotional to fine tune the body as well.

A body builder may have the disciple of a Zen monk when going to the gym, eating the right protein shakes, raw steaks, and green drinks, but be a meat head when it comes to spiritual matters. 

The whole point is that one can be highly developed in one area but not another, while the average seeker of enlightenment assumes that the enlightener is integrated on all levels.

Thus, the number one advocacy policy: for those who want to learn something above their heads, bear in mind that the wise one may have gifts in their area of expertise but be woefully unintegrated in others. If you place your trust in that person for all the levels of human behavior, that light you see in the distance may be the headlight of an oncoming train and not your ticket to enlightenment.

These words come not from a cynical outsider but from one who has been on a spiritual path for the past forty-two years. I still have a guru, will always respect his great gifts, and have tremendous faith in his ability to cut through the bullshit of ego to help me see more clearly. But I have been around the American spiritual community long enough to know that blind faith equates to blind action. And that will lead to a bitter end.

So as the Dalai Lama says, "If you can't do good, then at least don't do harm." Being a spiritual communista means that one sees oneself as the same as the other, whether it be the guru, the gym trainer, rabbi, priest or some other. Yes, respect them for their area of expertise, but respect your own as well. Then, the world might emerge into some sort of balance.

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