I recently had a conversation with a fellow, a “reading” actually, where, at the conclusion, the fellow expressed a bit of disappointment. It wasn’t that he was unsatisfied with the reading, it is just that he was hoping to get magical, mystical advice on removing energetic blockages, and all I told him to do was to pay attention to the emotions of his body a bit more, so that he could get in touch with his feelings. I told him this because I could “read” a heart chakra blockage in him and it was a primary obstacle towards full bodily activation.
There was an obstacle, and feelings weren’t something he was typically too interested in processing.
I asked him how he felt about this advice and after a few moments he said, disappointed.
I asked “Why?”
He said “I don’t know.”
I said “where you expecting wands and starry robes and pointed magical hats?”
“Yes,” he admitted, “that’s kinda how I see you, and its kinda what I expected.”
Now I’d like to say that I was surprised by this, but honestly I wasn’t. This wasn’t the first time some body expected something like that. The first time was a decade ago when I met a physicist from India who invited me over to his home for a coffee, sat me down with his traditionally clothed wife, and waited for me to utter words of deep spiritual wisdom. It was a bit uncomfortable I have to say and when all I did was engage in small talk he thanked me, showed me to the door, and I never heard from him again.
Or then there was that trip to South Africa. I’m sure I disappointed a lot of people there. They even said that. Apparently I didn’t act like they expected a wise spiritual guru to act. It was funny, in a sad sort of way, but it kinda highlights a very important point — people have certain expectations about what “high level” mystical spirituality is supposed to be like. They have this idea that people like me (i.e. mystics) should be wearing magical robes, waving magical wands, and weaving magical incantations. Collectively we have this image of mystics and spiritual teachers as magicians or mysterious gurus, all floaty and full of wisdom, and always “different” and outside the box of normal. Apparently I should be a little less like who I am, and a little more like Eckhart Tolle, or Mahatma Ghandi, or maybe the magical Mickey Mouse.
Now, I’m not saying this to be rude. I mean, I get why there are these expectations. India has a “guru” culture and people there have been so indoctrinated into it that even high level PhD physicists can fall into it. As for us in the West, we can thank Hollywood and the media for our misconceptions. They present an image of what people like me should be like (i.e. ungrounded, vaguely psychotic, largely unintelligible, and a little fruit loopy) and then, people like me are supposed to fit into the performance mold like all the others out there who don the mantle of spiritual authority.
If I don’t, questions are immediately raised in the minds
Expectations are not being met!
Something must be wrong.
Perhaps I am not not legit.
Honestly though, wizard and wand stuff has nothing to do with spirituality or empowerment or even mystical connection to The Fabric. That is, at best, the childhish fantasy creation of an undeveloped or atrophied right brain, or at worst propaganda pure and simple. It’s reality control stuff really, and intended not only for you, but for people like me as well, for “gurus” as well.
Think “as above in consciousness, so below in matter here.”
Think Parable of the Canvas.
Your will and intent has an impact on our collective reality, and even my individual one.
Your expectations about what I should be like may not force me to act a certain way, but they do put pressure on.
It works like this.
Hollywood propaganda gives you a set of expectations about what a spiritual person should look like, these expectations get translated to will and intent, and this will and intent impacts reality, putting pressure on me to live up to collecive expectations.
I’ll feel it as peer pressure, or guilt, or maybe a desire to please (esp. If my ego is damaged).
You’ll feel it as happiness and satisfaction that I am living up to your expectations,
If I want to release the pressure, I’ll have to change.
I’ll have to be different.
And if I’m not?
If I don’t give in?
Well then I run the risk of being seen as illegitimate.
If I don’t wear the right robes…
If I don’t utter words of guru like wisdom…
If I don’t live up to appearances, if I don’t meet up with your expectations, if I don’t fit into the box provided, then I lose legitimacy and impact.
It is a very subtle, and very powerful, form of reality control and it puts your average spiritual teacher in a bit of a quandary.
We must either perform according to expectations, or risk being made irrelevant, un-viable, and not popular.
It is a problem, I admit, but not primarily for me, primarily for you. In fact, especially for you because frankly I don’t care what your expectations of me might and I’m not about to give into them just to fit into the box provided. In fact, I gaurantee you I’ll work against that mould (like I’m doing now) because I want to break your expectations so that together we can smash the invisible ideological force field that surrounds your mind and keeps it tucked safely away from authentic spiritual insight and growth.
Bottom line, my concern isn’t being popular, my concern is making sure that your path forward is as clear, grounded, rationale, and effective as possible, and I can’t do that if I follow Hollywood’s fantastical guidelines, or India’s guru expectations (like some others have done in the past).
And I won’t.
So, given my resistance to “fitting in” to your expectations, the problem with the expectations is primarily yours, and no where is this more apparent than at the “advanced” level of spiritual study where you will begin to apply your Hollywood expectations about mystical magic to yourself, and you will likely come up short.
You’ll get to the advanced level and you’ll wonder, where are the starry robes an the pointed hats?
You will ask yourself, shouldn’t I be having profound visions and magical experiences?
Shouldn’t I be channeling the lord high command of the intergalactic “white brotherhood” (a euphemism for freemasonry if ever there as one) by now?
Oh sure, by the advanced level of LP study your health will probably have improved, your self esteem and ego may be healed (or healing), your relationships (those that remain anyway) may be better than they have ever been, your understanding of spiritual concepts might be off the scale, and you may even be having “gentle” insights, ideas, and visions, but the moon and the stars, the personality disorder, and the borderline schizophrenia that you see in some lizard obsessed spiritual authors, will missing.
But because your expectations might suggest they should be there, you’ll be wondering, “did I do something wrong” or “is there something wrong with me?”
You’ll wonder if you’ve wasted your time, and your money.
“This can’t be right,” you’ll think.
“Shouldn’t I be floating off into hyperspace by now?”
Well, the categorical answer to that is no, you shouldn’t, because all that stuff is spiritual pathology. Like Hollywood expectations, or the guru culture, it is about social control and nothing more. In fact, if you want my opinion, healthy spirituality is represented by the simple things like improved health (of the physical unit), improved relationships, greater sense of well being, healthy self esteem, increased power to make changes in your life, and so on. It is not about robes, pointy hats, psychedelic colors, or mystical incantations, it is about awarekness, empowerment, efficacy, and health (mental, emotional, spiritual).
If your health has improved at the LP advanced level, if your personal care and relationships are better, and if your understanding of spiritual concepts is off the scale, then you have done everything right. The spiritual journey itself should NEVER lead to paranoia, ungrounded ideation, fear, anger, hatred, confusion, or even dramatic mystical revelations or profound and sweeping visions. Healthy and authentic spirituality should be grounded, healthy, normal, and without fireworks. The goal isn’t to be different, special, dramatic, deep, mystical, or whatever, that’s just your bodily ego talking to you, the goal is calm centered spirituality of the type that blends into the world in a gently insistent, but powerfully transformative, way.
When the body and mind are healthy, when you have established right thought, and right environment, when you engage in right action, and when insights and glimmerings come to you as you walk barefoot in the park, or sit quietly in a chair with a tea and a biscuit, then my job is done and you are where you are supposed to be.
Now, having said this, does this mean that you won’t have grand visions, mystical experiences, or body rocking kunadlini activations?
You can have these things.
In fact, you can work towards them by healing chakras (including the heart charka, and especially when it is “blocked”) and doing the kundalini visualizations provided in the Book of the Triumph of Spirit. At the advanced level, and once you’ve gone through ALL the LP intermediate materials (esp. the stuff on archetypes), you can even jump start the process with entheogens if you like (though this should be done with care and guidance). Either way is fine and either way should be safe so long as you have done your LP intermediate study, have dealt with fears and misconceptions, have processed and integrated new archetypes, have healed bodily ego, and grounded firmly in the 3D reality that you live in.
Now, we’ll explore the more “mystical” side of spirituality going forward at the advanced level of study. Next time we’ll start that discussion by talking briefly about the idea of shortcuts, and by that I mean there are none. Although the LP is billed as a fast route forward, it is so because the foundations are solid, and the pathways well layed out. It is the difference between walking though a thick forest with no path, and a yellow brick road towards the emereld city. In both cases you got to walk The Path, only in the former case it will take longer and be a lot harder.
Now before closing I hav one more comment. If my sugestion of entheogens bothers you, keep an open mind. Entheogens have been a part of the sacred canopy of this planet ever since the human brain was developed enough to respond to them. You could say they are part of the “tool kit.” Altough I have to say they are misued about 99.9 percent of time, when treated with the proper care and respect they can be powerful enhancements towards creative, artistic, even mystical experience. It is really no different than drinking coffee or tea, eating greens for the nutritional value, or ingesting the seeds or lentils that your body needs as nutritional fuel and gastrointestinal fibre. It’s natural, its herbal/fungal, and it Gaia’s gift to you. So consider. Although I will say this in closing, stay away from acidic psychedelic stuff because it is too easy to lose your footing (especially if you don’t discriminate your information source), don’t do anything illegal (always look for legal options in your area), and if there is a history of abuse, boundary violations, bad relationships, and old energy archetypes, step slowly and with guidance. The biggest danger in jumpstarting the mystical side of things is a damaged bodily ego. Be careful, go close, and follow the oft repeated advice to get help if you seem to be losing your ground and getting loose into fear, confusion, shock and awe, or just plain egoic stupidity.
Until next time I am Michael Sharp,
Next time – No Shortcuts
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