Even better are the events where people meet face to face in real time. Spending thousands of dollars on weekend or week long seminars or attending events is another way to elevate status. The seminars have the potential to be great for connecting or are also helpful in learning to sound good talking the talk. The problems often arise once the seminar or gathering is over, folks often go right back to talking the path rather than walking it. There are books and the internet where they can read up on something or watch informative videos that demonstrate more tactics for talking the talk. The access to too much information as well as mis-information has only exacerbated the problem, once back in the day to day monotony of life that information is sidelined.
The reality is that no matter what the theology is, connection is generally a theme. Connecting to the infinite, the divine, the great web that connects everything as well as connection with others of like mind are all generally featured as precious and are what's for sale. What I wonder is why anyone would pay over and over for something that is innate in all of us. Not just paying with currency but also with time and energy. Sure the ways in which people connect are different, as different as people themselves. It isn’t a matter of proving it or of showing it off or of talking about it rather than doing it. If one is continuously spending time talking the talk they are clearly not spending time walking the walk. Spiritual growth is a lifestyle lived through example. A person can talk the talk until their head explodes but if they aren’t living it there isn’t a chance for real growth as the only thing growing is their vocabulary and knowledge of tedious subjective concepts regarding the subject. It’s one thing to know the best way one can live a spiritually fulfilled life but if one isn’t living it the words are just hollow.
From Dr. Hew Lin to Quan Yin, Sacred Geometry to Astrology, manifestation to multi-verses the trend is to become experts in nothing and talkers in everything. What is often ignored is that what provides insight for one person may not provide insight for another, this is an area where the "experts" can't help you as much as you can help yourself. There's nowhere to go and nothing to do for a person who believes they already have all the answers. They may have figured things out for themselves to a point where they can connect but their answers are their own and aren’t the same for anyone else. The trap is the belief that there is a right and wrong. For the “been there and done that” folks there is nothing left to do and nowhere else to go and that is stagnation, not growth. Folks end up on a self created pedestal they are bound to fall off of sooner or later, the distance they have to fall is a choice they make.
I have heard people talk of connection while alienating people. I have seen people talk of forgiveness and acceptance while harshly judging others and belittling them. Are those the actions of a spiritually evolved person? I think not. Enlightenment is a way of life where one is meant to live by example, to demonstrate through actions rather than just words. Unfortunately, if their experience has been of talking the talk without walking the walk it isn’t a demonstration of growth it’s a demonstration of stagnancy. Most people have a rather competitive nature. They want to have “been at it” the longest, be the best, know the right people, purchase the right documentation or just overall be right in general. People want to be successful, it just makes sense. Of course the spiritual world is different from the real world; success in one doesn’t necessarily equate success in the other.
The tendency is to define success in the real world by what one has. If you have a nice car, a nice house filled with nice things and a good paying job, you are successful. On the other hand, a spiritually successful person might not have a nice home and all the fixings and trappings of what people consider “the good life.” There are exceptions of course, as there always are, but in general terms this is the way it is. There is a prevailing “all or nothing” attitude in the real world that creates an overall tendency toward being extremist. You either “know” or you don’t, you “get it” or you don’t and yet again, there is no one who totally “gets it,” no one who is perpetually enlightened.
The variables involved with enlightenment create varying degrees of the enlightened state. There may be moments where one feels the connection totally. Perhaps they achieve this state through meditation or trance, going really deep into a state of consciousness where they connect to all that is and lose themselves completely in the moments they are connected to something bigger than themselves. That state isn’t something maintained for prolonged periods however. Of course there are other degrees as well. Perhaps at one of those fancy seminars or retreats, surrounded by others of like mind a person can feel connection since they are surrounded by others of like mind that are easy to connect to. That frame of mind is also not easy to maintain in day to day reality or in the mundane “real” world. Perpetual enlightenment would be exhausting and unlikely since the real world is not an enlightened place.
As with most things balance is a key factor. People will talk the talk and walk the walk, doing both is an absolute necessity. There are appropriate times to talk the talk. Conversations of a spiritual nature help us to learn new things and that aids in our spiritual growth. We mustn’t forget that we are all capable of connection, it is an innate part of being a life form and we can all do it if that is the choice we make. However, walking the walk provides the experience we need to learn from action rather than just speculation. The tendency toward extremes, that “one or the other” or even the “my way or the highway” attitude, must be kept in check to leave room for balance. Think of a beam scale of the sort that Lady Justice holds. Put walking the walk on one side and talking the talk on the other. It may be difficult to maintain a perfect balance and that is simply being human, however, maintaining the two sides as close together as possible is a good practice, it is called a spiritual practice after all and living it in balance is key.
As to talking the talk, what are the words used? It’s evident that talking the talk is a necessity but what are you saying? What words are you using? Are they words of kindness, understanding, patience and compassion or are they negative, mean spirited, cynical, rude and impatient? I’m not sure if there is a spiritual theology out there where being rude and impatient with ideas one doesn’t agree with or understand is tantamount to being enlightened. My opinion is that a person who has connected or considers themselves to be enlightened should lead by example and I don’t feel it necessary to explain further, suffice to say, what example are you setting? As to walking the walk, that is another area where there are many ways in which it can manifest and the most important one here as well is to set a good example. To “just be” or “Be Here Now” as Ram Das might say. To be fully present in each moment and thus live it to our best potential, to learn from and not dwell on the past and to not attempt to control but rather just accept the moments as they come and as they go. Finally and most importantly, it is important to put effort into to maintaining balance.