Thursday, August 16, 2007

Worthy Of The Wall

File under: Notable Quotes

A new commenter named Jeff has arrived:
The path to communion with the Divine is littered with boons and traps, and it is ultimately left to the seeker to discern which is which. For ultimately the experience of Oneness is the dissolution of all else - the seeker can become just as easily trapped in either or both.

Miracles, phenomena - they are neither the harbinger of the Divine experience, nor the vehicle to the Divine experience. The reported experiences of others are simply that and nothing more. The role of guru is to raise the disciple above him or herself on the ladder to God, not to keep them bound in obeisance or servitude.

Shaktipat is a flashy trick, but ultimately is a useless and irresponsible endrun around the natural and timely process of kundalini awakening - even moreso in the absence of the structure and guidance necessary to ensure correct and harmonious process.

But likewise don't fall into the similar trap of judgment and dismissal of those who seek to 'lead' through manipulation and glamour - they, too, serve as milestones and provide many lessons on the path to the ultimate Self Realization.
Our way of saying that is: even very bad gurus can work great for good devotees. But that doesn't mean we can't label them as 'bad' anyway. Our beef with the myth-enshrouded big-time gurus is simple: they provide a false impression of self-realization. Now it's true that every impression of self-realization is false, so what these gurus should be doing is disabusing folks of the very myths they instead promote about themselves.

All in all, it's pretty f'ed up, because these myth-impelled false impressions prevent self-realization. They are memes which infect the mind and obscure inner truth, rather than leading to it, until one finally gets wise and drops all that nonsense.

So, while we take Jeff's words as sage counsel, we'll keep trying to entertain you by hitting ourselves with a hammer over and over as we take our teaspoon to the ocean of ignorance that is otherwise known as spiritual culture.

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18 Comments:

At 8/17/2007 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consider the possibility that in your efforts to debunk gurus and make great pronouncements such as "Now it's true that every impression of self-realization is false" and "Shaktipat is a flashy trick, but ultimately is a useless and irresponsible endrun around the natural and timely process of kundalini awakening" you are essentially recreating yourself yet another version of the same illegitimate authority that you rail against. Not that half-baked gurus don't abound... it's just that the wisdom of half-baked ex-disciples is a couple of rungs lower on the ladder of ignorance.

It's a whole lot easier to come to conclusions about things you haven't experienced yourself than to admit that you're just not there. The easiest way out is to invalidate the whole scene - you know... the sour grapes approach - it / he / she didn't get me where I wanted to go, so it / he / she must be fake. No guru ever deceived you as much as you deceive yourself.

 
At 8/17/2007 9:34 AM, Blogger jody said...

No guru ever deceived you as much as you deceive yourself.

Or, folks who can't see just can't see when other folks might.

 
At 8/17/2007 2:18 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

It's a whole lot easier to come to conclusions about things you haven't experienced yourself than to admit that you're just not there.

Not there?! How can you not be there? Wherever you are, it's always there.

For instance, if you're in Oakland, then you're not in San Francisco. But you're still there. Go to Oakland and see for yourself. As soon as you get there, there you are (as we geezers used to say in the 70s).

I think what anony is trying to suggest is that some people go to gurus and get special experiences, and people who don't do that particular scene don't get that particular experience. That's true enough, as long as it's clear that we're talking about some special experience.

But I think more typically, Jody is talking about experiencing Truth, attaining your self, stuff like that. That's not stuff that comes and goes; it's not something that some people have and others don't. If you claim that you need Guru Schmuckananda in order to experience Truth, that's pretty murky, because if you're not already experiencing Truth right now, what the hell is it?!

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/mypage.htm
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 8/19/2007 3:12 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

"you are essentially recreating yourself yet another version of the same illegitimate authority that you rail against."

Pointing out false gurus is not the same thing as offering a false guru in their place.

 
At 8/19/2007 11:07 AM, Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Christopher wrote: "Pointing out false gurus is not the same thing as offering a false guru in their place."

Exactly. What's really frustrating is that people who have taken it upon themselves to point out that the emperor has no clothes are often criticized for NOT offering a replacement guru or method or technique. Steve Salerno has caught quite a bit of flak for criticizing the self-help industry without offering a solution to the problem. Some people, including one of his former agents, think he should at least try to showcase the few self-help people or methods that he feels could truly be helpful. But he believes that his job as a journalist is to write about the problem, not to provide solutions.

And he's really wrestling now with the dilemma, knowing that a more "positive" message is more marketable, but fearing that if he does try to offer "an alternative," he'll become just like one of "them." In other words, he will have sold out.

Jody, I think your job as a blogger is, very simply, to entertain and inform, and IMO you're doing a great job. That's why I keep coming back to this blog. Not too long ago, a disgruntled person wrote to me on my own blog in response to one of the posts in which I'd linked to you. I don't remember the post or the topic and am too lazy too look it up right now. But this person was using various means to try to convince me that you were a hypocrite and have no credibility. The climax, as it were, of the person's post -- the ultimate damning statement (or rhetorical question) -- was: "Did you know that Jody claims to be self-realized?"

And y'know, that means squat to me. For the most part I am not into "guru culture," my beat being the more mainstream New-Age/New-Wage stuff. But I see so many parallels between the lies and delusions of the New-Wage, and those perpetrated by many of the gurus you write about.

And, of course, they do overlap in many cases. Matter of fact, the minister of one of our local New Thought churches is spending this month in India at Oneness University, enrolled in their 21-day Awakening Process. No telling what might come of that, but I'm sure it will be worthy of a blog post or two.

 
At 8/19/2007 11:33 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Cosmic Connie said...
What's really frustrating is that people who have taken it upon themselves to point out that the emperor has no clothes are often criticized for NOT offering a replacement guru or method or technique.

The thing about a "replacement technique" is that once you stop trying to get something from this or that guru, the alternative that remains is something so obvious that we really don't need to explain it much.

That is: here we are, appearing as human beings in this world, and we don't know where we come from, where we're going, why we're here, or who we are. Once we stop looking to authorities to provide the answers for us, we're left with (duh) looking into these questions for ourselves.

"What am I?" is 3 words. Do we really need to say much more about it? Just take up the big question, and let the rest take care of itself. When you're hungry, eat; when you're tired, sleep; when people are suffering, help them. It ain't rocket science.

It's so simple that you'll never get rich charging people thousands of dollars for magical workshops with such teachings. So be it. When you give up on all the holy gurus, you don't need to replace it with anything flashy and expensive. Each moment already offers us a True Master; we don't need to add much else.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 8/20/2007 7:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always felt, reading U.G. Krishnamurti's books, that he was the "anti-guru Guru". In one text, some devotee rambles on about how his sh*t smelled of strawberries, blah blah blah. Really ridiculous. People worshipped and admired UG the same way they do other Gurus. How real was he? I don't know. Never met him. How real is Jody? I don't know. Many people could also say that Jody is quickly developing a following here on the board, in the form of admirers, (like chuck and mule, etc.) whom he duly praises with "worthy of the wall" type stuff. Again, it's the same to me as cultivating disciples, call them what you will. Anyone who encourages people to agree with them (and bashes anyone who doesn't agree with them -- lots of bashing going on around here, imo) is a defacto Guru of some kind, be it fashion, spiritual, or whatever.

I only read this blog to see people's opinions of what other gurus are doing. I don't believe Jody is enlightened, judging by some of his comments, but what do I know (or care?) He's the one taking the time to allow all these posts, which keep me informed of the state of Gurudom in the world.

I often disagree with much of what he says, and much of what others say here. They seem totally bent on making sure that people don't follow anyone but the opinions expressed here, and that annoys me. So what?

 
At 8/20/2007 7:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody,

How do you know what causes or prevents self realization?? You don't. That's all.

You are becoming the guru that you critize. Your way or the highway.

Stuart also annoys me with his all-knowing pronouncements. Who is he? Is he more knowledgeable than somebody like Wee Wee Ravi or Sly Baba? Probably not.

This board is only as useful as the dirt it reports on Gurus. When it begins to preach a "new" philosophy of "anti-Guru Gurudom" then it's no different than Kreepalu, etc.

 
At 8/20/2007 8:01 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Cos Con said...I don't remember the post or the topic and am too lazy too look it up right now.

..................

This simple truth so straightforwardly spoken is itself a thing of beauty! How are things with Rev Ron? I only ask to remind you and other ladies lovely enough to have been members of Father Yob's commune---that Jody, to the best of my knowledge, is still available!

 
At 8/20/2007 11:19 AM, Blogger jody said...

Many people could also say that Jody is quickly developing a following here on the board, in the form of admirers

Any following I appear to have is just an illusion generated by the fact that we share certain points of view. I do regard U.G. as a model of sorts, and I would travel at others' expense to dispense my opinions as he did, but I'll never be anything more than some jerk who thinks he knows. It's take it or leave it with me, not come follow me to the promised land of self-realization.

Anyone who encourages people to agree with them... is a defacto Guru of some kind, be it fashion, spiritual, or whatever.

Except that I don't claim any special powers or divinity, nor do I claim to be able to help anyone toward anything. I'm just some jerk who thinks he knows. Take it or chuck it (not Chuck it) like dog poop if that's what it's worth to you.

 
At 8/20/2007 11:21 AM, Blogger jody said...

How do you know what causes or prevents self realization?? You don't. That's all.

How do you know what I know? You don't. That's all.

 
At 8/21/2007 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jody,

I said, then you replied --
Me: How do you know what causes or prevents self realization?? You don't. That's all.

Jody: How do you know what I know? You don't. That's all.

The only way you could know what causes or prevents self realization in any given individual would be for you to be God, or to be totally omniscient. Since you are not, it's safe to say that I know that you don't know what might cause the realization of any given person on this planet. Even if you are enlightened, Jody, it's like saying "I got to Delhi by taking the main highway, so that's the only way", when in fact, there are many roads leading that way.

Sorry, Jody, you ain't God.

 
At 8/21/2007 2:15 PM, Blogger jody said...

Sorry, Jody, you ain't God.

No duh!

However, there is no way to know one way or the other. I'm sticking with my thesis, that ideas about self-realization actively replace and/or cover up its ongoing truth in a life.

It's always there, closer than our own breath, like it was sitting on the end of our noses. Why can't we see it if it is so immanent? My hypothesis: because our heads are stuffed full of the bullshit these big-time gurus are been putting out about it. Because we believe it will be a, b or c, we can't see that it's none of the above. We're looking for a's, b's and c's instead of seeing that it will never be any of these.

Of course, others' mileage will vary. Since so many see realization as an escape from their damaged humanity, they just won't be prepared to hear the truth that it adds nothing and doesn't render you anything but the damaged human you've always been, albeit with a new, experiential understanding of the truth of your own nature.

 
At 8/22/2007 6:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even believing that it's "as close as your breath" is one more belief about it. Everything you say is simply more pronouncements about something that can't really be discussed.

I only come here to read the dirt on gurus, to see what might be happening around them, what crimes they may have committed, what foolishness (or not, imo) that they may be preaching.

I still believe that nobody, not even an anti Guru guru can tell anyone what will or will not cause their enlightenment. I'm sticking with my own thesis -- that there is no cause. IT happens or not. It may happen in spite of (or because) someone was raped by some sicko "guru". It may happen or in spite of (or because of) some mantras some hindu guru gives. It may happen in spite of (or because of) this or that practice or because of eating peaches. And even all that is another pronouncement or idea about something we probably should not discuss. Its just too personal (and that is also another pronouncement -- haha)

 
At 8/23/2007 3:00 PM, Anonymous Robert Stevens said...

Shaktipat is a flashy trick, but ultimately is a useless and irresponsible endrun around the natural and timely process of kundalini awakening...

I received shaktipat from Gurumayi in the courtyard of the Ganeshpuri ashram in December 1989. Three days later the kundalini sakti rose from the tip of the toes to the top of the head and exited the fontanelle in the form of a silver filament. At some point above the head, I experienced cosmic counsciosness; that is, the personal I pervaded the entire manifest universe as the cosmic I. At the precipice of cosmic dissolution into the mahashunya, there was a slight contraction, in that the universal self was unwilling to surrender to the great void.

BTW, the only two centers that were "pierced" in the classic sense (a spinning and whirring followed by the ejection of, for the lack of a better word, sakti) were the anahata and the brahmarandra.

Make of this what you will, after all "the reported experiences of others are simply that and nothing more." However, if the "role of guru is to raise the disciple above him or herself on the ladder to God, not to keep them bound in obeisance or servitude," I would have to conclude that, in my particular case, Gurumayi has succeeded in her role as guru according to the criteria as set forth by Jeff.

BTW, the taste of formlessnes was attained a few years later by the grace of Nityananda.

 
At 8/23/2007 3:32 PM, Blogger jody said...

I received shaktipat from Gurumayi in the courtyard of the Ganeshpuri ashram in December 1989. Three days later the kundalini sakti rose.

There is no way to ever know if there's a causal relationship between what happened in the courtyard and the experience you had 3 days later. Even if there was causal relationship, it could very well be due to the suggestion implanted in you that something would happen. In other words, your belief in the power of shaktipat engendered your own kundalini experience by way of your faith. Gurumayi was only a placebo in this case.

Finally, I submit to you that there is no "taste" of formlessness. The Self resides in all, equally and at all times. If you "see" it, you don't forget it, as it rends the ahamkara for good. Anything you experience is NOT the Self, but a facsimile of what you believe the Self might be like. If you asked for my advice, I'd say burn that impression right out of your brain, because it may very well be preventing you from seeing the ongoing truth of the Self as it exists in you right now.

 
At 8/23/2007 4:24 PM, Blogger Robert said...

I submit to you that there is no "taste" of formlessness.

Agreed. I use the term "taste" in the sense of recollection of, to borrow a term, what is "always already the case." Yes, the originator of the term is a charlatan but the term is apt.

 
At 8/24/2007 8:11 PM, Blogger jeff said...

Goodness - I honestly didn't think my post would elicit so much passion. I'm not nearly so "contra" the tradition of guru on one's spiritual path as Jody is - more leery of the darker side of the tradition, as it were. He does have a gift of colorful railing...

Just a couple of points of clarification: The gift of Shaktipat is a rare gift indeed, but is still only an active brain center, or siddhi, described in traditional texts as a petal of Sahasrara/Brahmarandra. The ability to bestow Shaktipat does not in and of itself denote Self-Realization. Indeed, the experience of Oneness is beyond all phenomena. Likewise, the movement of Shakti is beyond sense. What one experiences during 'kundalini' movement is actually the vayus moving in advance or in the wake of Shakti. She is the Divine Feminine - she alone decides when she moves. While mahatmas may bestow blessings upon their followers, this is the manipulation and raising of vayus, setting the stage for the Divine Feminine, Kundalini Shakti to rise.

For the receiver Shaktipat can be a beautiful and transcendant experience, yes. However, Kundalini Awakening is THE ultimately specific process, and in the absence of structured teaching and training generally leads to partial or deflected risings, which are the direct cause of many of the experiences against which traditional prohibitions are aimed - don't mess with it unless you know precisely what you're doing. Else it's not terribly comfortable, and results can be extreme - physically and psychologically.

My point of others' experiences is that they are precisely that - even the guru's. Miracles and flashiness are still only siddhis (see above), and again are not harbingers of Self-Realization. Deflected Risings often touch Sahasrara via 'cul de sac' process, but are not stable or permanent. There are traditions that purposefully induce deflected risings for that specific result - how exciting are super powers? But even Patanjali has prohibitions against pursuit of them... The trick is how to separate the flashy flim-flam from the quiet truth.

At long last, here's the point: the goal, first, last and always, is Oneness, which rests beyond all sense and form within - God is silent, eternal, and without name. Everything else is duality, and technique, mantra, guru, merely stops along the way. Surrender cannot entail the loss of your ability and your responsibility to discern that which will and will not aid you in your journey to communion with the Divine.

 

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