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 powering his way forward. I didn’t give him that. I gave him practical advice on dealing with fears, processing issues, and so on. I told him to pay attention to the emotions of his body a bit more. I told him to get in touch with his feelings. I told him to process his emotions. I told him this because I could “read” a heart chakra blockage in him and this blockage was the primary obstacle preventing full bodily activation. When I asked him if I was right, he said he agreed with the assessment. There was an obstacle, and feelings weren’t something he was too interested in processing most of the time. I told him “there you go”. Deal with your heart chakra blockage by becoming aware of your emotions and by learning to process them.
Still, even though he saw practical utility in the reading, he was disappointed.
I asked him “Why?”
He said “I don’t know.”
I said, already knowing the answer, “so, were 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 somebody thought I was wise and magical like Mickey Mouse. The first time was a decade ago when I met a physicist from India who invited me over to his home for coffee, sat me down with his 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, there was that trip to South Africa. I’m sure I disappointed a lot of people there. They even said so. 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 and they are disappointed when they don’t get it. They have this idea that people like me (i.e. mystics) should be sporting white beards, smiling from ear to ear, wearing magical robes, waving magical wands, and weaving magical incantations of deep spiritual wisdom. Collectively, we have this sideshow image of mystics and spiritual teachers as magicians or mysterious gurus, all floaty and full of wisdom. Apparently, I should be a little more like the sideshow caste members, i.e. a little more like Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, teacher or maybe the magical Mickey Mouse, and a little less like myself.
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 fall victim to 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 perform our role as expected. If we don’t play the expected role, questions are immediately raised. Expectations are not being met so something must be wrong!
Honestly though, wizard and wand stuff has nothing to do with spirituality, empowerment, or even mystical connection to The Fabric. At best that is the childish fantasy creation of an undeveloped or atrophied right brain, at worst it is [ire propaganda. It’s reality control stuff meant not only for you, but for people like me as well. It is all about social control really. If you can force people like me into specific roles, and if these roles make us into thin cartoon caricatures of our real selves, then that is a good thing (for the PTB). And it is not so easy to bow out of the role.
Think “as above in consciousness, so below in matter here.”
Your will and intent, your “force and formation” (Sharp 2011) as I like to say, has an impact on our collective reality and even my individual one. Your expectations about what I should be like put pressure on me to act a certain way. It works like this. Hollywood propaganda gives you a set of images about what a spiritual person should look like and act like. These images get translated to expectations in your brain and these expectations get translated to force and formation. This force and formation impacts reality. To be as blunt as possible, your expectations put pressure on me to look and act a certain way. I’ll feel it as peer pressure or guilt at having disappointed your expectations or maybe a desire to please (esp. if my ego is damaged). You’ll feel it as vague annoyance (or maybe even open hostility) that I’m not “fitting in” where you expect me to fit in, and you will do things and say things to try and get me to fit the mold. If I want to release the pressure, avoid your disappointment, or stave off hostility, I’ll have to change who I really am. If I don’t, then I will run the risk of being seen as illegitimate.
If I don’t wear the right robes…
If I don’t utter the right words of guru wisdom…
If I don’t live up to appearances…
If I don’t meet your expectations…
If I don’t fit into the box provided…
….then I lose legitimacy and impact.
It is a very subtle and powerful form of reality control and it is a major problem both for people who want to be spiritual teachers, and for those who want to learn from them. On the one hand, it puts your average spiritual teacher into a compromised position. The average teacher will compromise and perform according to expectations to avoid being irrelevant, un-viable, and not popular. On the other hand, you don’t get what you want or even need from spiritual teachers. Instead you get what Hollywood says you should get, and Hollywood says it’s a sideshow with wands and robes and beards and white hair. Hollywood says you should get Mickey Mouse Spirituality. And because you’re following the script, if you don’t get it, you’ll think something is wrong, you’ll ignore the words of wisdom, you’ll press your expectations, you’ll de-legitimate the master, and you’ll find some guru (living in California no doubt) who will meet your unconscious expectations.
And, if this happens, that would be bad because all that stuff is spiritual propaganda and pathology. Hollywood expectations, the guru culture, the robes and alters of the church, and all the other things that define “average” spirituality are about social control. It is a show and nothing more. 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, increased connection to Consciousness, and so on. It is not about robes, pointy hats, psychedelic colors, or mystical incantations, it is about awareness, empowerment, efficacy, and health (mental, emotional, and spiritual). If your health has improved, if your personal care and relationships are better, if your understanding of spiritual concepts has advanced, then you have done everything right. The spiritual journey itself should NEVER lead to paranoia, ungrounded ideation, fear, anger, hatred, confusion, 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, or mystical (that’s just your body’s ego in control), the goal of authentic spirituality is a calm, grounded, centered spirituality of the type that blends into the world in a gently insistent, but powerfully transformative way.
Now, having said this, does this mean that you won’t have grand visions, mystical experiences, or body rocking kundalini activations? The answer to that is an unequivocal no. You can have these things. In fact, you can work toward them by clearing blockages, establishing right thought, engaging in right action, doing proper visualizations, and so on. The point here is simply that the expectations that we have are Mickey Mouse expectations and they throw us off base and slow our progress down. When we expect the guru, the white man with the white hair, or the mouse waving wands in the air to be our guide, our emotional, psychological, and spiritual progress comes to a grinding halt. Therefore, my advice to you is, put aside the Hollywood fantasy and the guru fascination. Take real steps on a real path home.
Until next time, I am Michael Sharp;
Sharp, Michael. The Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Discernment. St. Albert, Alberta, Lightning Path Press, 2011. Print.