Is it possible that how much a person “wakes up” spiritually is contingent upon what they are waking up to? Is it dogmatic? Is it some fear-based philosophy? For a Christian who experiences an awakening the rules are already in place, all chiseled out on stone slabs for them. Generally, it is enough for them to do what they believe their God would will them to do. That kind of faith is admirable but generally stagnant in its manifestation. Meanwhile, for others who experience an awakening the possibilities are totally different but can be just as unfulfilling depending on a number of variables. Often alternatively minded “spiritualists” no matter their title, Shamans, Mystics, Pagans and many others, end up caught in a loop. They equate their advancement on their given path with how long they have been studying it and where and how ancient it is and how shiny the bobbles are. Unfortunately, making an unbalanced study of their path can mean they aren’t spending much time actually walking it.
A person’s path to spiritual growth is very individual and personal. Even people who are in a community, congregation, coven or cult have to ultimately make the journey to true growth alone. It is however, nice to have support along the way. Recently I have made acquaintances with different people, walking different paths in different ways. All of them were walking a valid path and all of them had something to teach. One question raised from time to time has been in regard to what spiritual growth actually is.
I likened the diversity of those on the path to growth as a spectrum. On the one end there are those new to the path of spiritual growth and on the other, those who have been on said path for a very long time. As I thought about the diversity of people on the spectrum I remembered to bear in mind that all people, no matter where they are on said spectrum, are at once teachers and students, and what they do with that is up to them. It was that fact that made me question what spiritual growth is in the first place. As it is an individual path, social networking can be a help or a hindrance depending on how the individual uses the internet and all it has to offer. It brings to mind a quote;
“The internet is light at the end of the tunnel…it is creating a global society”
– Terrence McKenna
I hear a lot about manifestation, there are movies like "The Secret" as well as people blowing up the internet with it as though it's a new concept. Folks drop comments like, “We create our reality” or “reality is whatever you make it, it’s like virtual clay,” that last is an actual quote I found in a forum. It cannot be denied that the "manifestation of manifestation" is shaped largely by circumstance. Some folks are frequently just in the right place at the right time or have been blessed with good circumstances from birth. A lot of them attribute their good fortune to their own powers of manifestation. They suggest that those who are less fortunate just aren’t good at making things manifest. That people who are poor or sick just don’t know how to create their own reality or don’t “get it.”
There is no new trend toward spiritual awakening going on. There are a lot of brands of spiritual guidance or “self-help" for sale these days, most have really just taken ancient ideas and re-packaged them to make them easier to sell. An inevitable trend accompanying the commercialism of spirituality is the tendency to talk the talk but not walk the walk. Talking the talk is necessary; it is in fact step number one in the process. Say it to yourself or say it out loud, it's often the first step toward action. Meanwhile, in the context of those choices pertaining to personal and spiritual growth the tendency is to get stuck in the talking the talk part.
There’s always a "club" or community or group. These are great for camaraderie and such but no matter what you get into it ultimately ends up being less about the club and its purpose for existing and more about your standing or status within it. Are you president? First level? Grand Poombah? Do you know so-and-so? How long have you known them? Are they a founder? For how many generations have you and yours been following? In very general terms there are people who go with the flow and people who frequently fight the current. There have been many groups of people who fought the current, Flappers, Goths, Greasers, Beatniks, Hippies, Heads, Grungers, Punks, Emo’s, New Agers, Swingers, Anarchists, Religious, Spiritual, Religio-spiritual, Outcasts, straights and squares to name a few.
Six Wise Men of Hindustan
There were six men of Hindustan,
to learning much inclined,
Who went to see an elephant,
though all of them were blind,
That each by observation
might satisfy his mind.
Let us imagine that long ago, when literacy was for the few and far between, people who could read and write didn’t take it for granted like we do now. It stands to reason that during that time, those who were literate would read differently than we do now. Perhaps back in the day they read for overall content, content in its entirety, rather than focusing too much on context only as it pertains to a single word or sentence. Being grateful to have something to read they would have taken in what they were reading more wholly than we do now. While in the past they may have been more like to take it in bit by bit, nowadays it seems people prefer to take it apart bit by bit. We have our Google and our many videos, documents and groups full of friends we’ve never even met who agree with us. Back then they wouldn’t have had information at their fingertips, they would have had to inquire using something other than Google.
*A quick note about the title as I have come to understand it confuses some folks. First of all, the title is meant to entice a person to read the article, that is the function of a title, it isn't meant to replace the content of the article itself. Secondly, if one reads the article and understands it, it gives insight as to why that title was chosen. In the context of why the article was written, the title makes sense, as does the fact that it is meant as nothing more than a simple twist on one of the most common things said regarding ego annihilation, that ego blocks one's path to the way of God. The ego annihilation referenced is a response to that, which is mentioned within the article itself. It is not the ego death Joseph Campbell brings to light in his concept of ego death and the hero's journey. When one reads the article it becomes clear that God is not the focus of this piece. Please, don't take the title out of context, it is merely a clearly controversial (and apparently confusing) way to draw the attention of a potential reader.
The extremely intriguing topic of ego has been coming up in various conversations of late and I have put a great deal of thought into how I see things. I have also spent a great deal of time reading what other people think as well, in internet forums. You know where folks comment and share ideas or attack one another making baseless accusations or assumptive statements so far out of context it's hard to not think that maybe they don't know what forum they are on. One theme that has been repeated ad nauseam in these conversations is ego annihilation. Seems that the concept of killing the ego has spread over many religio-spiritual theologies, it’s very en vogue right now, especially among varied christian ideologies. It seems the "Kill the Ego" thing sort of comes and goes, and it's definitely back. it will likely be followed by the philosophies and theologies that encourage embracing the ego as is wont to happen. What is of even more interest to me though is presentation. The way that people present their point of view about ego is fascinating and most of all, ironic. The irony lies in the fact that the majority of people presenting on the “ego annihilation” front are coming from a place of pure ego, as pure as the driven snow.
A thought, something you’ve read perhaps, might seem very profound. You may have an “A-ha!” or “Eureka” moment, whatever you want to call it, perhaps just a simple “moment of clarity.” You go to your favorite social website to expound upon your newly found knowledge only to have someone “BTDT” you or perhaps quote some 16th century philosopher who said the exact same thing long ago. Your epiphany is just that, your epiphany. It's profound based on your own personal experience. It’s likely that those jaded “BTDT” types thought it was an epiphany the first time they came across it too, despite their cavalier attitude toward it now.
Religious unity really isn't such a strange idea. People have been uniting through religion but also uniting different religions together, at least the parts that fit for them. To be clear, it more often isn’t the idea of it that might seem strange, it's the implementation. Look at religion, I have heard many people claim that they believe in unity, there is even a religion where congregants refer to themselves as Unitarian but mostly, it isn’t so. In many cases they say, “We will accept you unconditionally” when what they mean is, “We will accept you unconditionally so long as you are like us or are willing to become like us.”