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tisdag 6 maj 2008

Jed McKenna again

Jed McKenna is an enlightened teacher. He had an ashram in Iowa, numerous students (several of whom became enlightened), and has three books to his name: Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing, Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment, and Spiritual Warfare. A lot of folks criticize Jed McKenna because he doesn't fit their image of a spiritual teacher.

Jed:

Here’s a simple test. If it’s soothing or comforting, if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy; if it’s about getting into pleasant emotional or mental states; if it’s about peace, love, tranquility, silence or bliss; if it’s about a brighter future or a better tomorrow; if it makes you feel good about yourself or boosts your self-esteem, tells you you’re okay, tells you everything’s just fine the way it is; if it offers to improve, benefit or elevate you, or if it suggests that someone else is better or above you; if it’s about belief or faith or worship; if it raises or alters consciousness; if it combats stress or deepens relaxation, or if it’s therapeutic or healing, or if it promises happiness or relief from unhappiness, if it’s about any of these or similar things, then it’s not about waking up. Then it’s about living in the dreamstate, not smashing out of it.On the other hand, if it feels like you’re being skinned alive, if it feels like a prolonged evisceration, if you feel your identity unraveling, if it twists you up physically and drains your health and derails your life, if you feel love dying inside you, if it seems like death would be better, then it’s probably the process of awakening. That, or a helluva case of gas.

Jed has a stark vision of the quest for Truth:

I like happiness as much as the next guy, but it’s not happiness that sends one in search of truth. It’s rabid, feverish, clawing madness to stop being a lie, regardless of price, come heaven or hell. This isn’t about higher consciousness or self-discovery or heaven on earth. This is about blood-caked swords and Buddha’s rotting head and self-immolation, and anyone who says otherwise is selling something they don’t have.

The emperor has no clothes, and sooner or later everyone is going to see what’s staring them right in the face. When that happens, perhaps, there will be a major shift—a mass exodus away from the complexity and futility of all spiritual teachings. An exodus not outward toward Japan or India or Tibet, but inward, toward the self—toward self-reliance, toward self-determination, toward a common sense approach to figuring out just what the hell’s going on around here. A wiping of the slate. A fresh start. Sincere, intelligent people dispensing with the past and beginning anew. Beginning by asking themselves, "Okay, where are we? What do we know for sure? What do we know that’s true?"

I’m not relevant to anyone’s search. I’m just a finger pointing at the moon. There’s nothing to be learned from the finger. Everybody’s eager to find a distraction from the real work of waking up, but that’s all it is, a distraction.

Your moments of blackest despair are really your most honest moments—your most lucid moments. That’s when you’re seeing without your protective lenses. That’s when you pull back the curtain and see things as they are.

Self-realization isn’t about more, it’s about less. The only construction required for awakening is that which facilitates demolition.

If I were to reduce this book and my teachings to their essence, I would say it all comes down to nothing more than this: Think for yourself and figure out what’s true. That’s it. Ask yourself what’s true until you know. Everything else in this book, everything else I have to say on the subject, turns on that center.

I never thought of waking up as a spiritual pursuit, I just wanted to get to the truth. Looking back, I can see where I might have used the word "infinity" in a koan-like manner; kind of a Western version of mu. Infinity is beautiful; it destroys everything it touches. It annihilates all concepts, all beliefs, all sense of self. No teacher, teaching, book or practice could ever be as effective as simply allowing the thought of infinity to slowly devour you.

"Spiritual awakening," I continue, "is about discovering what’s true. Anything that’s not about getting to the truth must be discarded. Truth isn’t about knowing things—you already know too much. It’s about un knowing. It’s not about becoming true, it’s about un becoming false so that all that’s left is truth. If you want to become a priest or a lama or a rabbi or a theologian, then there’s a lot to learn—tons and tons. But if you want to figure out what’s true, then it’s a whole different process and the last thing you need is more knowledge."

This was something about Jed, fiction ore not, I don't care. Where is the finger pointing....?

1 kommentar:

kristy sa...

Exactly, couldn't have been said better.
I never thought of waking up as a spiritual pursuit until I undertook it, either. My koan-like phrases, like your "infinity," were "truth at whatever cost," "let go," "further," and "fire." Fire is magnificent, everything that comes in contact with it burns. The ancient Greek myth of Persephone being taken by Hades has something telling on fire in it, too. When Demeter could not find her daughter, she roamed the earth in mourning and came to a family who had a son. At night, she would hold the boy in the fire to burn away his mortal parts. True, in a way, you've got to burn away everything that is false. Pick up your cross, dismember yourself completely, yada yada.
It's nice to be reminded sometimes that I'm not the only one out there.