Allegiance to any spiritual teaching or teacher – any outside authority – is the most treacherous beast in the jungle. The first thing we want to do when we begin our journey is find the companionship and validity that comes with an established group, and in so doing we effectively end the journey before it begins….
The power of our devotion to teachers and teachings is not a reflection of their value, but of ego’s will to survive. It’s ego – the false self – that exalts the guru and declares the teaching sacred, but nothing is exalted or sacred, only true or not true.
-Jed McKenna, “Spiritual Enlightenment, The Damnedest Thing”
It has been very easy for me to give my power away to teachers, teachings and groups. The past thirty years bears evidence to that recurring pattern. I thought I was done with that at long last, and was finally free from the blind loyalty that has been my usual frame of reference.
I find myself once again comfortably involved with a teacher, teaching and group. My mind rationalizes this by saying, “No, this is different!” How is this different? This teacher is humble, self-effacing, and is all too aware of the inherent pitfalls of the situation. The teachings undermine the ego’s will to survive, rather than feed that will. The group reflects the understanding that there is an inherent emptiness at the core of this illusory creation, and supports each member with gentle encouragement and techniques meant to deprogram its participants from our most basic assumptions about the nature of reality.
Nonetheless, here I am again, about to embark on a facilitator training course, learning to facilitate the inquiries, that, in my personal experience, pull the rug out from under our beliefs about the reality of our separate self, i.e. that this separate self is deficient at its core, that negative feelings and thoughts are real and findable in our experience, et. al.
In my own experience, I have found these inquiries to be powerful in the deprogramming process; so much so that I have the desire to do more of them while I learn how to lead them. So far so good. However, when I stop long enough to take stock of my situation, I have noticed myself posting on the group’s Facebook page, upon occasion, with an underlying motive of gaining approval, to solidify my sense of being someone important, or more significantly, of being someone at all. This would be an effort to cover up my own core deficiency story of being worthless. While there is nothing “wrong” with this, it is a warning shot across my bow that I was falling into a familiar pattern from previous years.
So – in the name of learning techniques that further undermine the seeming solidity of my separate self, have I slipped back into one of my ego’s tried and true fallback positions, that of devotion to a teacher, teaching and group? Am I taking the training in order to, “be someone important?” Talk about irony!
Every time I have used these techniques, I have felt the so-called reality of this separate self crumble, revealing the emptiness underneath. I have noticed that all my seeking thoughts and deeds, are merely appearances in the infinite expanse of awareness that I am. I am no longer dedicated to “fixing” Paul, having seen through the futility and emptiness of that endeavor. The patterns I have been prey to throughout my life will either appear, or they won’t. Either way, Paul is just another appearance in the infinite ocean of awareness. My attachment to and identification with Paul continues to be stripped away, while at the same time deepening the enjoyment of having him for a vehicle in this life. These inquiries have not only been joyful (even while the pain arises), but a true deepening of my recognition of truth.
So why wouldn’t I want to be a part of a group that is dedicated to the same endeavor? Why wouldn’t I read the writings and listen to the words of a teacher who communicates so simply yet eloquently? Would I let a pattern emerging into my awareness be a reason not to take this course? Why would I be afraid of a pattern?
The answer is, I shall go wherever my inner teacher leads, while at the same time noticing the patterns as they come up, knowing they are empty. I have found the simple act of noticing is the most powerful “technique” I know. And anyway, I just feel like taking the training. As my own teacher, I feel it is right for me in this moment.
You don’t arrive in [Truth Consciousness] by convincing yourself that you’re already there, but by destroying every shred of the illusion that you’re not.
-Jed McKenna, “Jed McKenna’s Theory of Everything”
Let the destroying continue!