I remember when I was starting my path (well, was consciously doing so) that I had this idea that if I only reached a certain state, that I would be perfected.
That this was the end goal– a state of continual health, happiness, joy, peace, bliss, or love. That if I only tried hard enough I would not need to struggle, or would find my way beyond it to some sort of arbitrary and static perfected state.
When this illusion was shown to me to be an illusion about a decade in, I felt deceived. I began realizing how illusory the notion of a fixed state of perfection was… which then began an existential crisis about what the point of it all was, and feeling a certain level of meaninglessness.
I began seeing how people (including myself) held onto these fixed ideas that if they only got far enough (or wore a mask hard enough) that they would be all love, all the time.
That this was a “loop” in which a teacher would wear a mask pretending to be all love, or perfected, and both imperfect teacher and student would play the game (or participate in the loop) of this illusion.
We love this illusion, as the idea of this sort of perfected love reminds the wounded soul of the love that they did not receive from their mother or father. It is so easy to externalize this onto another– onto a teacher or healer or another who is more than willing to pretend to be this.
Because it gives them power, because it gets them students, and because they are as wounded as their students, often in the same way, and both are playing out a loop of wounded parental relations with one another from simply different sides.
If you go beyond the surface, you will see that the people that we prize in our culture for reaching such an attained state never reveal any type of nuance. They realize that they are playing a game, or are so wounded that they are desperate to not reveal who they truly are.
Mother Teresa’s journals reveal how disconnected and depressed she felt, Ramana Maharshi especially near the end of his life was often fatigued and could not take visitors, Krishnamurti suffered from grief and migraines, Gurdjieff shouted at his students and had many angry rants.
I am in no way disparaging those individuals, but merely pointing out their humanity. If we only know little about people, it is easy to imagine that they have reached a static, perfected state.
One of my favorite teachers was Nisragadatta (I Am That is still essential reading in my book) because he never pretended. He was the first teacher that I came across (although I have come across a few more by this point) who was deeply human, who would point out to students when they were not ready, when they were steeped in illusion, when they were being stupid.
His work would not likely translate to many modern seekers today because if they are still caught in the loop of idealized perfection or seeking the love they never found through their mothers and fathers, he would have broken through that illusion.
It is a rare student nowadays that is willing to move beyond the ego enough to not only take on a teacher, but to truly be a student. To have their blind spots shown, and to move beyond what they already know.
He also smoked and enjoyed sex, which the modern seeker who dislikes any type of embodiment and feels at odds at this world will point out as not being “perfected” and then move on to someone willing to play the role of external guru for them.
A whole host of teachers and healers who have pretended enlightenment and perfected states eventually show their shadow sides because in such states of pretending, the atavistic instincts, the shadow self, what is untended to within, screams in pain and will find a way to reveal itself.
The modern seeker looks for this type of perfection in their teachers, and will break down, discard, or disregard anyone that does not fit into their personal ideals of perfection. They will idealize and create a narrative around their teachers and when their teachers show to be human (which, you know, humans will) or deviate from the romanticized notions that are divorced from the reality of who that teacher is they will move onto the next teacher who is willing to wear a mask and pretend a perfected state to enact the loop again.
This is an especially vicious loop with individuals who are enacting difficulties with authority/parental issues onto their teachers, as the teacher will inevitably fail to become their projected parent.
Or even worse, the teacher will take on that role, and use it to abuse, control, or take power from their students who are seeking a teacher who wears such a mask. Often they will do this without awareness, as they are not willing to look within at their own wounding (and would rather teach, which is an interesting and common method of resistance to personal healing/attainment).
As long as we are human, we are imperfect. Beyond that, the experience of higher consciousness states not only has a lot of nuance, but is deeply paradoxical and it must be directly experienced to understand those paradoxes.
We become enlightened by digging deep within ourselves and realizing our humanity. It is by sitting with our humanity and really embodying that we can transcend.
We cannot become “lightworkers” unless we have created space for that light by digging in the dirt of ourselves– by examining and sitting with our darkness. By healing it, by realizing it, by accepting it.
We can become “love” by deeply accepting all aspects of ourselves, by loving all aspects of ourselves. This is not by forcing things to become love, but by loving every vicious, atavistic, ugly, dirty, ashamed, wounded, monster-y aspect of ourselves for exactly who they are.
That we can only learn if we are willing to contend with what we do not know.
That we can only progress if we see how much further we can go.
That we can only move beyond knowledge if we educate ourselves.
That we can only move beyond illusion if we contend with the suffering within ourselves that causes for us to create illusions of power, attainment, and achievement.
To liberate oneself requires a lot of discipline. It requires education/study, physical and mental practices to create balance over many years.
You can give anyone some LSD and stick them into a sensory deprivation tank and they will come out talking about “cosmic” something or other, but to truly attain and remain consistently at expanded states of awareness/consciousness requires meditation/mental discipline, physical discipline, and daily practices over many years.
People really do not like to hear this one, and if you look at all of the illusion out there you can really tell it is illusion because it will allow people to remain lazy, uneducated, and unhealed. I realize that this sounds unkind, but the spiritual path traversed with any type of seriousness requires a great deal of effort, and is one of the hardest things that one can do with ones’ life.
It is so easy to break down, to spend our time discrediting, gossiping, or creating illusions. We can create such spectacular illusions about ourselves, and create so many beliefs that allow for us to remain exactly who we are (even if that is not a happy “who we are”) and those at the beginning of their path will always believe that they are at the end.
It is much easier to play the game of perfection and enlightenment, because it requires no effort. You can be an internet troll and share all the right memes, you can be incredibly wounded and create an illusion that you are special and powerful, you can spend all of your days gossiping and attempting to destroy others….and the real question at the end of the day is what the person brings of benefit into the world.
It is through our thoughts and actions that we show who we are. Continually and constantly.
People often ask me how I can manage to get so much done in my day, and I am quite busy. But it is because I question how I spend my time, who I spend my time with, and consider that the spiritual path allows one to express their Will– what they are meant to do in this world.
What is not typically understood without direct experience is that “losing the ego” or “losing an I” is paradoxically also about gaining that “I”. It is not a state of common disassociation– it is an uprising and realization of connection to divinity, to the Earth, to all that is, and that rising also allows a descending– a discovery of the “cosmic I” or the realization (as well as the creative energy) to fulfill purpose in this world.
The more that one heals, the more that one embodies, the more that one grounds, the higher one can go, the greater expansion and perspective one can have.
Paradoxically what happens when we move into states of higher consciousness is that we realize that the illusion of a static or perfected state is just that. An illusion.
That higher states of consciousness are flowing, and dynamic. You are not just one static thing, but many things at once. That anger has a purpose and a beauty and a flow and is as divine as bliss or joy. That you can (and do) feel pain and joy, bliss and depression, and paradoxically it is at the juncture of those, or where those paradoxes meet, that magic, creation, awakening, takes place.
We are just filled with so much backlogged trauma and create such illusions out of our pain that our experience of anger is not one of flow, and is not nuanced, and we have never received the education to understand the message of anger and how to experience it as a flowing state… one that can bring a lot of energy and dynamism if worked with well.
That we are not, nor will we ever be, static beings. That even bliss has nuance, it has darkness, and will flow into something else. That the more that we try to grasp onto such states the less that we experience them.
That we have spent so much time judging ourselves and the outer world according to personal and societal standards that nobody can live up to, including the people that we latch our ideas of perfection onto.
That such perfection has created a cage. That is a method of control, resistance, the wounded aspects of ourselves never measuring up.
We feel that we can control ourselves, the world, and the people in it, if we have rules. If we have models that we can follow. We spend our time judging others for not meeting those rules without understanding that they are our rules, and often come from wounding. That not only that, that they are rules that come from society… rules that are intended to keep us contained, to keep us within the models of conformity that cause for so many of us to feel so unworthy, and in such states of quiet desperation.
It is paradoxically by letting go of our need of perfection, and by continually looking within at what is not working in our lives, what is creating pain, what is not in an adult state (such as using my book, The Body Deva, which is a method of self-inquiry as well as covers emotional intelligence and how to work with emotions), what is not allowing for us to feel alive and joyous and free that we can awaken. It is by grounding deeply in our humanity, in our imperfections, that we can be free… to be the imperfect humans that we are.