Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Enlightenment Anonymous

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Brand new Guruphiliac list member Vaj drops the hardcore science for us after observing a particular satsang's socio-psychodynamics recently:
My observation of having recently (over the last year) listened in on a group of satsangers was that what I was experiencing was less a "support group for enlightenment and a possible to way receive the pointing out of own non-dual nature" but more a group which I could describe as Spiritual Codependents. Such a dynamic would probably be contingent on a large number of causes – I can only comment on the patterns I've observed.

In order for the group to work there has to be at least one person claiming awakening/enlightenment, etc. and the idea is that the state can be transmitted, passed on or facilitated.

Once it hives off onto more than one person, a dynamic unfolds where the enlightenmentee (the person who receives the recognition of their own ever-present original face/awakenment) then becomes complicit with the enlightentmenter, the transmitter of the state. The receiver, in acknowledging their own recognition, almost by default accepts the person who transmitted the state as also awakened. Since this is often in a group setting the process repeats, each mutually supporting the others in this "awakening", forming a web of silent agreement. A "gentlemen's agreement" is silently reached "I support your enlightenment and you support mine" – and there is almost always no argument or critical debate allowed. This is a subtle, unconscious agreement. Most do not seem aware of this subtle agreement as it is sealed by intense happiness characteristic of peak experience(s). [Ed.note: All of which have as much to do with true self-realization as our dog's furry little hiney.]

As the group of "enlightmentees" grows, so does the potential complicit contractual agreement which is never spoken of in negative terms but instead only in positive terms: the power of the satsang to awaken others is actually the greatest gift in the world and anyone who would think otherwise would either be ostracized or never dare speak. An important point is, it doesn't matter if the (transmission of the non-dual) state was genuine, just that there was some experience. That state is often "tested" in nebulous ways or not at all. In some cases there may actually be a pointing out of the nondual state. This "pointing out" is often confused with some enlightened state. Non-dual states of awareness can be pointed out by persons who are not enlightened but just have some people skills and good timing combined with some intuition. The quiet self-supporting consensus is that the people who are doing this are enlightened or "awakened". This seems to feed some subtle spiritual ego which is very gratifying, almost unifying to the group consciousness – albeit a group consciousness tinged with subtle unspoken attachments and bound by quiet agreement. It's as if the group has achieved an ego that is self-supporting.

I wonder if a possible mechanism for this dynamic could be codependents who actually can expand their own sense of ego and weave them into/onto groups. I actually wonder a number of possibilities, but this was one of them. This diminishes and removes their own sense of codependence and passes it on to a larger structure: codependent collective consciousness.
Get ye to the list, folks. We're blessed with the presence of some real, asskicking critical thinkers who are engaging in a blessed deconstruction of that ridiculous joke known as the modern transmission satsang, complete with its ludicrous – and much more tragically – utterly occluding ideas about self-realization. You may as well be asking for a head amputation to cure your headache for all the good that transmission nonsense does for anyone.

9 Comments:

At 4/26/2006 11:54 AM, Blogger jacflash said...

Great stuff, Jody, thanks. I just joined the list.

 
At 4/27/2006 9:44 AM, Blogger Alex said...

Hi Jody. Vaj's posts to your group make no mention of the satsang he's describing being in the UK. Where did you get that idea?

 
At 4/27/2006 9:49 AM, Blogger jody said...

Where did you get that idea?

You know, I have no idea. I must have mixed this up with something else I was considering yesterday. At any rate, I removed the U.K. reference. Thanks.

 
At 4/27/2006 2:35 PM, Anonymous Raja-Paparazzi said...

Hey aren't you Prince Alex, the brother of the TM "Raja" for Denver, His Highness Dr Tom Stanley ? Can you get cheap tickets for Aspen?

 
At 4/27/2006 3:18 PM, Blogger rememberallthis said...

Peer-to-peer enlightenment? Very interesting.

 
At 4/27/2006 3:22 PM, Blogger jody said...

Peer-to-peer enlightenment? Very interesting.

Interesting as a window into the psychology of false enlightenment by way of mass hysteria, exactly like that of Bhagavan Kracki.

 
At 5/02/2006 3:37 PM, Anonymous Stuart said...

I'd guess that for all of us, sometimes we're in a fantasy land created by our thinking, and sometimes we're attentive to the experience of this moment.

Some people have had some special experience of waking up to the moment (perhaps losing it the next moment, but whatever), and some people may have some skill at pointing others towards such an experience. It seems reasonable that people gather together to give and get such pointers.

"Enlightenment" and "Transmission" and all are words that can be used for such purposes. Not good or bad, maybe useful or not depending on circumstance.

If you think in terms of "Enlightened moments" and people who may sometimes be able to point others towards such moments, where's the problem?

If instead you look at "Enlightened people," i.e., at "Enlightenment" as some "thing" that you can "get," then sure, I can see all sorts of confusion. So I wouldn't do that.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/mypage.htm

 
At 5/02/2006 3:49 PM, Blogger jody said...

If instead you look at "Enlightened people," i.e., at "Enlightenment" as some "thing" that you can "get," then sure, I can see all sorts of confusion. So I wouldn't do that.

There is a kind of awareness which arises as a result of self-realization – when the ahamkara is broken – called jnana. Jnana is the ongoing and ever-present revelation of one's nature as being the Self. It is something that you can "get" in terms of it being noticed at one point in time and then remaining recognized in the field of awareness. But it can't be got by the individual, as the very nature of jnana is to show the individual to be illusory. It's the Self revealing Itself to Itself, and us (the individuals) being there for the occurrence.

Anything else is not enlightenment in my book, but a fleeting state that gets labeled enlightenment by the spiritually avaricious.

 
At 5/03/2006 1:32 PM, Anonymous Stuart said...

Stuart said...
>>If you think in terms
>>of "Enlightened moments" and
>>people who may sometimes be able
>>to point others towards such
>>moments, where's the problem?
>>
>>If instead you look
>>at "Enlightened people," i.e.,
>>at "Enlightenment" as
>>some "thing" that you can "get,"
>>then sure, I can see all sorts
>>of confusion. So I wouldn't do
>>that.

jody said...
>There is a kind of awareness
>which arises as a result of self-
>realization – when the ahamkara
>is broken – called jnana. Jnana
>is the ongoing and ever-present
>revelation of one's nature as
>being the Self. It is something
>that you can "get" in terms of it
>being noticed at one point in
>time and then remaining
>recognized in the field of
>awareness.
>[snip]
>Anything else is not
>enlightenment in my book, but a
>fleeting state that gets labeled
>enlightenment by the spiritually
>avaricious.

I spent 5 years with Swami Muktananda. He was a guru much like the pantheon that are rightfully mocked on Guruphiliac. And like Guruphiliac, Muktananda was great at skewering gurus, at pointing out how they only offer fleeting states for the spiritual avaricious. Except for himself of course. The brand of enlightenment HE offered was the real thing, unlike all those deluded others.

So it goes with all those who attach to some idea of enlightenment. They can be brilliant at deconstructing others’ ideas of enlightenment, and then they fall into the ditch of their own idea.

The experience where "the ahamkara is broken... the ongoing and ever-present revelation of one's nature as being the Self"... how is that different from the endless other brands of enlightenment that this or that guru offers?

When Muktananda gave his "shaktipat," there's no doubt that it completely transformed peoples lives. Of course it's "ongoing." The experiences offered by ALL these gurus are ongoing, right up until they stop.

"Ever-present"? I for one like to sleep, about 1/3rd of my life in fact. In that deep, refreshing sleep, I think of NOTHING. If this idea that "I am the Self" were truly "ever-present," it'd ruin that sweet taste of nothingness. Why want that? Silence is better than holiness.

Or if you'd prefer, throw away everything I've said above and consider this. Once upon a time, I came into being. That is, this sense of "I" (maybe that's what that foreign word 'ahamkara' means?) appeared out of emptiness. And it's true that at another point in time, this "I" may be realized as just a thought, and it disappears into emptiness.

So this "I" goes back to the same place it came from, the same place where it'll re-appear from endlessly. This experience of the "I" becoming emptiness again... why make it so special with the label "enlightenment"?

People can get attached to names and forms, to thinking, to freedom. Attachment to emptiness is another one, which I don’t see as fundamentally superior.

However nice that experience may be, however much you may like it, I ask: what makes it fundamentally different from the amazing, temporary experiences that all the other gurus tout? The disappearance of the "I" is temporary; it only lasts till the "I" appears again (and of course there's no one there to STOP the "I" from appearing again).

To bring all this to a conclusion: "Enlightenment" is a teaching word. Different people attach to different amazing temporary experiences and label them "enlightenment." Though the experiences are different, they're fundamentally alike in being transitory. Non-attachment to wonderful experiences may be difficult, because they make one feel so special (“I’ve transcended the ego!”). But then, why is specialness so necessary?

We have the option of not attaching to any experience, to any idea of enlightenment. We can throw away words like “enlightenment,” or use them as pointers to the direct experience of this moment: What are you doing right now?

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/mypage.htm

 

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