A few stories before we start.
I was watching a Youtube video by Adyashanti in which he was talking about the different paths of meditation. I then made the mistake of looking at the comments.
The top comment was something like “There is no path, there is nothing to do. Are already have everything we need.” Followed by 250 words of OMG! I’m so Enlightened, dude.
And this was the top rated comment with more than 300 likes and dozens of replies, every single one positive.
The funny thing was: Just a week or 2 ago, Adyashanti had posted a video saying that the hardest people to reach/teach were the ones who believed they had reached the absolute state. “But Adya, there is nothing to do, nowhere to reach. So why should I meditate?” he said. And Adyashanti has made the same point several times in his books, lectures and videos, so it’s not like anyone could miss it.
And yet, the top comment on his video repeated the same crap.
Years ago, I was in several spiritual forums. In many, there was usually at least one person who would respond to every question with:
“There is no meditator”
“There is nothing to do”
“There is no guru/god/whatever”
“There is nothing to do, we already are what we meditate for”
At one point the moderator lost it and screamed (virtually) at them: “If there is nothing to do, why the hell are you wasting everyone’s time here?”
There was no reply.
And these are the biggest idiots in the spiritual world. While this is a type of Spiritual Narcissism, I have a separate entry for this, as this type of foolishness is very prevalent and even accepted in the community.
No Charlie, It Ain’t All an Illusion
There is a technical term for these idiots– Neo-Advaita practitioners, but I have seen many Zen/Buddhist students use the same language.
The Spiritual Idiots (SI from now on) believe that we are all enlightened, pure consciousness already, so there is nothing to do, nowhere to do, etc etc.
That is, they think that a mental representation of the ultimate reality is the same as actual experience of it.
That’s like saying: A mental idea of how to become the President/Prime Minister of the country is the same as becoming it.
Or that just because you have seen Top Gun, you know everything about being a fighter pilot.
When I was 6 years old, I knew how to fly a helicopter. You see, I had seen it in Rambo II– flip all the switches, press the on button and lift the joystick.
I was a real Neo-Advaitin/Spiritual Idiot at that age! I’m only glad I didn’t put on orange robes and call myself a Helicopter Swami. Swami Rambo-Ananda.
Heck, you can’t become the mayor of a tiny village just by thinking about it. Even that requires a lot of work.
Rise above our animal self, variant of this. pretending w are spiitual; thinking we are beyong our animal isnticnts, fake rational people like mr spock. actually more open to being taken over by lower self
a type of fake transcendance, pretending we are more spirtual than we are (sp materialism??)
Absolute vs Relative Truths
Just because something is true on an absolute level doesn’t mean it is true in our world.
- There is no death in Spirit, but we die here
- There is no evil in the Absolute, but humans can act in horrible ways
- There is no space/time in the Infinite, but we are bound by both
The problem with SI is that they completely ignore the physical world and mentally live in the Absolute.
True spirituality is realising we are the Infinite, but then also realising we are the Spirit trying to manifest in the physical world. Where we have to obey the laws of this world.
If you look at actually Awakened people, like Jesus or Buddha or Krishna, they didn’t go around saying Lol the world is an illusion, bro. So just sit there eating cheese Cheetos and drinking beer, cause nothing matters, my man. Also, did you know how Enlightened I am? Totally.
These masters went around helping humanity. They realised spiritual ignorance is a real problem and that fighting the darkness in the human heart is a big issue. So they not just taught the Path they walked it too.
While we are all enlightened on the Spiritual Plane, that doesn’t mean the Light of the Spirit reaches us here in the physical plane. True spirituality is working with the Universal Mind to bring the Light of the Divine into the darkness of the world. That cannot be done by just intellectual masturbation but requires actual hard work and dedication.
How to Avoid this Trap
The best way to avoid becoming a SI is to be very aware of your spiritual ego– are you confusing intellectual knowledge of the Infinite with actual experience?
The 2nd is to be humble when talking to others: Just because you had an experience of “unity” doesn’t make you special. When living and acting in the world of duality, we need to be mindful of this and not try to force “Advaita” on everything. Like Eckhart Tolle said, “When I am shopping at the store, I am not an enlightened teacher. I am just another shopper.” Save your non-dual wisdom for appropriate times.
And finally, remember, when people are struggling in this world, just telling them “Oh it’s all just an illusion” is very insulting. You need to work with people where they are, which in most cases is this world of duality. And that’s fine because that’s what the Universe expects of us.
Read about more Traps on the Spiritual Path