[This article, which I believe is one of my best, explains the trap that spiritual seekers fall into when they encounter the spiritual marketplace. Remember that the aim of being spiritual seeker is to become free and to know your true self - not to be a member of a club.]
Spiritual groups are swamps that suck in bona fide spiritual seekers and drain them of their commonsense and natural seeking abilities. Spiritual groups are no better than society which creates compliant and confused citizens. Finding your real self is a process of deconstructing your false identity not adding more rules, behaviours and information to it.
If you are a real bona fide spiritual seeker then you probably find spiritual groups to be frustrating. I was a spiritual seeker for about 25 years and so naturally joined a number of spiritual groups.
Spiritual groups owe their distinct identity and cohesiveness to the fact that they are comprised of individuals who all agree that they have found the Truth, a very particular expression of that Truth. Ironically, spiritual groups are not comprised of people who have actually found the Truth because if they did they would fall apart since a person who has found the Truth does not need a spiritual group.
What a spiritual group actually is, is a collection of individuals who believe they have found the Truth because they have found someone who claims to have found It. That someone is generally called the Teacher. Only the Teacher is considered to fully understand the Truth. Everyone else in the group knows just enough about the Truth to validate that the Teacher does in fact possess the Truth.
The group and their Truth is in fact defined not by the Teacher but by the students. It will be the students who will communicate how great and ineffable is the Truth that the Teacher possesses. But since no one really understands what the Teacher really means, the Teacher’s Teaching is misrepresented. In fact, the Teacher’s Teaching is repeatedly misrepresented, time and time again. To prevent the Teacher’s Teaching, which is considered to be synonymous with the Truth, from being corrupted, the group’s leaders agree to preserve that Truth. Since the Truth has to be preserved and the only form of Truth that the students have are their misunderstandings, they have to preserve the misunderstandings. Students who are particularly good at remembering and reciting these misunderstandings rise to the top of a spiritual hierarchy. The spiritual hierarchy is considered, by the group’s leadership, to be the next best thing to the Truth, indeed it is considered to be the living embodiment of the Teacher’s expression of the Truth.
Newcomers are expected to learn the full corpus of spiritual misunderstandings if they want to become part of the group. It is made clear that joining the group and learning the full corpus of spiritual misunderstandings is a necessary prerequisite for understanding the Truth.
At some point successors will appear, even if the Teacher has not elected them. These new Teachers feel driven by some unknown urge to pass on the corpus of misunderstandings as they have understood them. Since no one would want to buy a collection of misunderstandings they will of course label the misunderstandings as The Truth which is easy for them to do since they have never understood The Truth.
Over time pundits, scholars, theologians and even more Teachers will appear to elucidate The Truth that has now become generally accepted but no one understands. By this time everyone will seem to generally agree on what The Truth is. It then follows that if everyone agrees on what the Truth is then it must in fact be the Truth. This in fact is what has happened in the modern spiritual marketplace which sells trinkets and not the Truth.
For a real bona fide spiritual seeker, someone who really just wants the Truth and only the Truth, spiritual groups are the kiss of death. Finding the Truth is a process of unravelling, not learning and certainly not learning a collection of misunderstandings. The process of unravelling can only be assisted by someone who has unravelled the intricacies of their own false identity. That process is not supported by scriptures, worship, ranking and photographs and there is no one size fits all.
I do not offer you a teaching but a way to unravel yourself and discover who you truly are. Contact me.