Posts Tagged With: Alan Watts

The Veneer of Spiritual Specialness

Mike Myers as a guru.

Mike Myers as a guru.

“True initiates, true disciples present themselves in a simple, natural manner and are always approachable. Why do you wish to impress others and attract their attention with superior airs? You will say: ‘But are we not to manifest our spiritual accomplishments?’ You must not hide them, and you must not display them either. Since you are working on yourself and are busy modelling and sculpting your inner being, let this show in the features of your face, in your behaviour, and in your gestures. But you yourself, stay simple and natural. Why demand recognition with affected behaviour? Since you follow a spiritual teaching, know that your qualities of wisdom, purity, and nobility will show through your expression and your attitude, without any need on your part to assume all sorts of poses to advertise it. Allow your inner work to speak for itself, and even without your realising it, it will bear witness to you. In your wish to help others, you are probably going to absorb some impurities, but do not worry. Think of water and tell yourself that you can follow its example. Yes, water, which is so transparent, so innocent, comes down to earth to absorb all the impurities of the creatures here. Then, one day, it merges with the ocean, and recovers its original purity. If you complain of being defiled, taken advantage of, and diminished, it is quite simply because you think of yourself as a pond, or even worse, a small puddle. Instead of identifying with a puddle, identify with the ocean and you will feel that nothing and no one can soil you. Then, in time, you will be seized by the rays of the spiritual sun which will take charge of your purification, and by rising into space, you will leave behind all the impure elements you have absorbed on your journey.”

– Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov

[To my batch of new readers and followers, thank you and welcome. Also, get used to the Aivanhov quotes in this blog. Aivanhov was a Gnostic, Bulgarian mystic and spiritual master and I’m a huge fan of his teachings.]

Aivanhov here is talking about what another late metaphysician, Stuart Wilde called “The Cult of the Chosen One”.
You know what I’m talking about, right?

John Friend, before the fall.

John Friend, rock-star yogi, before the fall.

Those people you meet at either some spiritual group, New Age gathering or at a yoga studio/mala who boast about who is more spiritually advanced than you, who has had more spiritual experiences that you, who has more spiritual faculties awakened than you and then use that as a selling point to make you feel bad about yourself and lure you into their own cult of personality. Unfortunately, many so-called teachers and gurus also display this stupid tendency, and in my book that’s an automatic red flag and a sign to stay the hell away because it’s ego-driven, not based on anything compassionate or genuineness.

quote-pride-makes-us-artificial-and-humility-makes-us-real-thomas-merton-126335

One thing I learned with my time with some of the First Nations Native tribes is that genuine and authentic Elders and wisdom keepers work with absolute humility. Humility in this sense is not about putting yourself down and thinking less of yourself but rather thinking about yourself, your issues and your stuff less. They don’t say very much, they certainly don’t advertise themselves online or put out brochures and they don’t really boast about their abilities on Facebook or Twitter. Rather, once they’ve accepted you as a student or feel you’re ready to receive teachings, little by little, in their actions, you start observing that they may actually know some really neat stuff worth knowing.

Mental telepathy is one ability many sadhus claim to have.

Mental telepathy is one ability many sadhus claim to have.

Hindu lore especially around the sadhus, or the Muslim Sufi ascetics known as fakirs are rife with stories of supernatural abilities, like levitation, the ability to prognosticate the future, forcing a mango tree to grow in front of your eyes from seed, mental telepathy, telekinesis, tricks like producing ash out of thin air like Sathya Sai Baba used to do or walking on water (which is why the story of Jesus walking on water isn’t such a big deal in India). Native American tribes and Siberian/Mongolian shamanic tribes talk about people with the ability to be skin walkers. Practically every culture in the world has stories of people who display what we would consider to be supra-natural ability.

A Siberian shaman.

A Siberian shaman.

Much of the spiritual literature in Hinduism, Sufism, and Buddhism are unequivocal about these abilities which they call “siddhi” and say that should you develop siddhi along your path to Enlightenment/Oneness, don’t pay any attention to them. These are just the little foothills of distractions on the way to the real mountains towering behind them.

Uri Geller and his bending spoons.

Uri Geller and his bending spoons.

So in case you ever meet someone who does have siddhi, like bending spoons or knows how to see your future on a polished fingernail and uses that ability to somehow convince you to join their group or follow them, I would just quietly suggest to give them a pass. Most of them are just trying to distract you. If you’re hunting for big game, this is just small fish in comparison.

Also, the next time you encounter someone who boasts about being “more spiritual” and tries to come across as more special than you, don’t say anything. Instead, just watch their actions closely because that’s where you’ll find your answer and find out everything you need to know about that person.

As for real teachers and real spiritual masters, I can only speak for myself and from my own experiences but I find the legit ones, their words have a consistent ability to almost have an immediate effect on you. They consistently have a knack for getting to the heart of any matter, quite often using simple words, not complicated jargon, which then resonates on such a deep level with you that you just automatically “get it”. Quite often, you’re not the same afterwards or you start looking at the world in a different way completely, and usually for the better.

Teachers and teachings are everywhere. You just got to know how to look and pick up what you need for your journey. They show up in unexpected places and ways and it’s up to you to pick up the trail of cosmic breadcrumbs.

I had written about a little-known Canadian seeress named Alma Rumball about two years ago. Alma is an example of someone whose works have much to teach us should we want to listen. Recently a documentary about her extraordinary life story was finally uploaded to Youtube and it is well worth a watch.

Enjoy.

 

 

Categories: Ascension, False prophits, Pop culture, Raise your EQ | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Yoga with Alan Watts

Apologies Shifters for not posting very much these last few weeks.

3 weeks ago we had a surprise snowstorm of 10cm and now we’re having +27 °C  (81 degrees for the Americans), weather and constant sunshine comparable to July’s weather. Montrealers are outside everyday in force, myself included. It was a long, hard, cold winter and this balmy spring leaves little inclination to stay indoors and write very much.

The riverfront bikepath a stone's throw away from my neighborhood.

The riverfront bikepath a stone’s throw away from my neighborhood.

I’m very lucky in that I live in an amazing neighborhood of Montreal which is literally steps away from the riverside. This affords me to see ducks, Canada geese, beavers, foxes, muskrats, turtles and snakes while I either walk or jog along the river banks among the weeping willows and tall grasses.

Path along the riverside

Because of the insane weather we’ve been having, I’ve started to do my yoga practice outside in the morning as the sun rises.

No, that's not me, but you get the idea.

No, that’s not me, and that’s not my park but you get the idea.

...but more like here. (photo from Walking Turcot Yards)

…but more like here. (photo from Walking Turcot Yards)

Normally I do my practice in silence. I’m not one for flashy props and special effects which is why I don’t get the whole acro-yoga, trance-dance yoga and aerial yoga craze which I see everywhere these days. I’m sure they have their benefits… but it seems more like gymnastics and acrobatics than yoga per se.

Is this really yoga? I dunno...

Is this really yoga? I dunno…

Anyway, I’ve started doing my practice outdoors and have started to do them while listening to the talks of the late, great Zen master and teacher Alan Watts and the combination of the two just seems to click for me. It may not for others, but I just found my equivalent of wild strawberries and fresh cream.

wildstrawberries and cream

Watts, for those of you who have never heard of him or know very little about him, was a weird and wonderful spiritual teacher who made Zen Buddhism accessible to all.

Alan Watts

Alan Watts

Friends with the likes of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, Watts did much of his teaching in the San Francisco area back in the 1950’s,60’s and early 70’s and spent much time with alternative thinkers especially at his Sausalito houseboat and cabin home in the delightfully named Druid Heights near Mount Tamalpais, over on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County.

Give a listen to any of Watts talks on YouTube (they number in the hundreds now) and you’ll quickly realize that Zen wasn’t the only thing which Watts tackled. His talks weave religious history, concepts from Hinduism and Taoism, philosophy, the nature of consciousness and humor effortlessly. Watts died quite young in middle age, unfortunately his womanizing and hard-drinking finally caught up to him.

What I think stands out about Watts, like Joseph Campbell, is that he’s a real teacher. They’ll never tell you what to do in your life. In fact, they’re against that sort of thing on principle, unlike way too many “gurus” and “spiritual seers” I’ve either met or read about in the whole New Age/spirituality racket who are only too eager to exert control or show off their influence. Rather, they’ll help you remember what you’re really all about and leave the trail of cosmic breadcrumbs so that you can guide yourself out of the woods on your own. That’s the way it should be.

Here’s a fun piece of Watts work, interpreted by the creators of “South Park”.
You don’t need to do yoga to get Watts either.
Enjoy.

Categories: Ch-ch-ch-changes, Raise your EQ, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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