Staying Alive

I’m going to try and lay this down as simply as I can:

That spiritual “enlightenment” you’re searching for? Not gonna happen.

No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, no matter what you are willing to endure, no matter how much you sacrifice yourself in the hopes of one day “waking up” – every ounce of that effort is literally what is preventing you from seeing what is right in front of your eyes.

This ideal of the “awakened being”, the enlightened one, is an ideological poison that has infected so many brains and completely hijacked their functioning.

Now, I get why it’s so appealing. Society has done us no favors. Its excessive focus on wealth over wisdom, on progress over presence, on consumption over compassion, on “success” over self-knowledge has led to a horrid state of affairs in which we are all alienated from one another and especially from ourselves. We find ourselves in a dull, grey haze of meaninglessness that immediately wilts every form of life it comes upon.

Then, in the midst of such desolation, along comes a spiritual teaching that promises the exact opposite. It promises ecstatic bliss, boundless love for one another and ourselves, a feeling of oneness with all that exists, no more fear of the narrow self-interested ego. We begin to greet others with heartfelt hugs and namastes rather than rough handshakes. We begin to lose ourselves in songs of devotion and rhythmic drum circles under starlit skies and to the sounds of the waves lapping on the shore. We feel effusive love for everyone we meet and see the same reflected back in their eyes. And it seems we have finally found our home and our kin. We have left that grey miserable world behind and emerged into a parallel universe bursting with color, love and truth.

For a time.

Yet, unexpectedly, the old feelings of greyness begin seeping back in. At first we try and rationalize them away as just “having a bad day”. But then it happens more often. Our interactions begin to lack the luster they had before. We continue participating in the devotional songs, the drum circles yet it feels a bit contrived. We continue to greet one another with hugs and namastes but we also see how these shows of affection are somewhat superficial. We begin to see through others and the facades they are projecting because it is similar to the one we are projecting. We begin to see the greyness lurking behind their eyes, the fear behind their smiles, the quiet desperation with which they sing their songs of devotion, the anxiety concealed in every beat of the drum.

Spirituality is the art of pretending things are okay when they are not.

The more tormented a person is, the more complex the cover up. We will do everything in our power to surround ourselves with the things, the people, the teachings and the rituals that allow us to maintain that active state of denial in the most comprehensive manner possible. And when we ourselves ARE the problem then we will seek to deny our SELVES altogether. THAT’S what the appeal of non-duality is. Escape from the self. TOTAL ESCAPE.

Spiritual seekers are some of the most emotionally damaged and psychologically wounded people one will ever meet. And there is a reason why such an incredibly lofty goal such as “enlightenment” appeals to such a person. The solution is in proportion to the problem perceived. And nothing short of a complete overhaul of who we are will suffice to solve it.

This was the rationale feeding the mind of one of the readers of this page before he shot himself a couple of days ago. I had never had the opportunity to interact with him directly but I noticed he liked a few of my posts. I was informed of his death by his best friend who is also an active reader and with whom I have had a fair amount of interaction. He messaged me with the news because this is exactly the sort of thinking I have been criticizing through my writings on this page.

What I felt last night when I heard what had happened was a mixture of deep sadness and rage. I barely slept because the image of this boy, who felt compelled to throw his life away because he couldn’t “awaken”, kept haunting my thoughts. Believing himself to be a failure in life, that sense of failure was further compounded by his “spiritual failure” to awaken. He had been an avid follower of a certain fraudster in Portugal as well as a few others in the non-duality scene.

As a result of all the “enlightenment” propaganda he’d come to believe in, he became convinced that if he could only become awakened, like all his teachers seemed to be, his life would become radically different. That all his problems would go away.

He suffered long with depression, headaches, insomnia and ringing in his ears. But when his friend counselled him to seek help he refused. He chose instead to believe what the brainwashed neophytes of the New Age were echoing around him: that all these were signs of “awakening”…

What a fucking tragedy.

Spiritual propaganda is just another ideological poison, just another narcotic which may help you wean off the drug of materialism that most other people are hooked on to, but in the end will consume you from the inside and leave you a specter of your former self.

“Waking up” has nothing to do with any of this non-dual garbage about transcending the self that people are being fed, these idiotic songs of devotion people are singing to some invisible entity who doesn’t give a fuck about them. It is simply taking a look at what’s around right now and choosing to take responsibility of THAT over anything else the mind can envision as a “better” reality.

And “what’s around” INCLUDES the soaring debt, the relationship woes, the conflict with family, the crippling self-doubt, the uncertainty about the future – all those things that we are attempting to escape using our convoluted spiritual practices.

It also means that we are not seeking to define ourselves in either material or spiritual terms. There is no “success” and “failure”, no “loser” or “winner” in anything we choose to do in our lives. Some things we choose will hurt more than others. But that is all part of the learning process by which we calibrate our own responses.

Nature has programmed us with one job: STAYING ALIVE. Even the lowly amoeba understands this. The only failure is the premature ending of that process.

I’m fed up of this fucking bullshittery. This spiritual circus act with these larger-than-life troupes of performers led by greedy, disingenuous ring masters fleecing their audiences for every ounce of material and spiritual wealth they possess. And the gullible sheep who will willingly swallow whatever shit they are being fed because they are so used to being led out to pasture.

So, I’m going to lay down some truths right now that I am willing defend until the grave so that anyone who is thinking of walking down that road may have a moment to pause.

1. There is no such thing as an “awakened” or “enlightened” person. No such permanent state of consciousness exists. Everyone who has ever existed including the Buddha, Ramana, Nisargadatta and all the other “enlightened” peeps inhabit the same everyday ordinary kind of consciousness as you and I and all the other “average joes” do.

2. Some people have “awakening” or satori experiences which are TEMPORARY spiritual epiphanies. Sudden moments of clarity in which things appear to come together in a way that they previously hadn’t. NOBODY lives in a state of constant epiphany. Every epiphany, every insight, every heightened state of consciousness must eventually subside and give way to ordinary consciousness.

3. There is absolutely NO WAY to intentionally and accurately orchestrate such an awakening experience. Trying to do so is an effort in futility and a surefire recipe for great suffering.

4. Rarely, an awakening experience MAY follow a catastrophic nervous breakdown or a period of intense depression. But depression is NOT a symptom of awakening. It is a symptom that you need to seek professional help! (Just because some people emerge from car crashes with a new zest for life doesn’t mean car crashes are events one must glorify or aspire to experience).

5. Ordinary consciousness IS where the marrow of life exists.

6. No matter how many epiphanies one has had, one’s problems CANNOT simply vanish. They must be FACED. They must be taken RESPONSIBILITY for. They must be SOLVED by oneself and no one else. Otherwise, they simply remain and magnify over time.

7. Whatever you resist, persists. Whatever you suppress, festers. Whatever you deny, grows in the darkness of your ignorance.

8. If you truly are willing to take full responsibility for life AS IT IS, rather than as you wish it to be, you will find that all the tools you need to fulfill that responsibility are at your disposal.

9. NOTHING is worth ending one’s own life over. No suffering is too great. No hardship too difficult to endure. The human spirit is equipped with a power and an endurance that is truly supernatural. There is only ONE thing that can subvert it: IDEOLOGY. That is our kryptonite.

10. A single ordinary moment of being ALIVE is the highest spiritual achievement anyone can aspire to.

Allow all of this to really sink in. Forget what you’ve been taught by society. Forget all the dreams and promises you’ve been fed by your gurus. Watch the twin towers of materialism and spirituality crumble before your eyes. Plant your feet firmly on GROUND ZERO. Take your stand there. And say: NEVER AGAIN.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by life, by feelings of depression, by thoughts of suicidal ideation don’t glorify it as a sign of your spiritual transcendence. Speak to someone. A friend, a family member, a therapist, a counsellor, a physician. And if your adamance prevents you, then speak to me. You can reach me through this page via the personal messaging function.

I will listen to you no strings attached.

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