In our search for knowledge which we hope will make our life better, we take any opportunity that we are convinced will benefit us. The problem is that we trust others who appear to be in an authoritative position and are presented as trustworthy because our nature, which has long been buried but is still alive, is honesty and truth. That is the nature of our essence.
Because our essential nature is honesty, that makes us trusting. One may also call being trusting an instinctual nature which is so deep within us, humanity has the susceptibility to be unconsciously gullible and easily tricked. That weakness is what the charlatans and false teachers have always taken advantage of. We must be aware of our innate nature to be trusting and gobble any rubbish. We will willingly be fed poison under the guise of health nutrients, and pay a fortune for it on top of that. The Hermetica, a teaching of 3,000 years old, says; “Beware, there are many false teachers.” Nothing has changed, nor will change. All we can do is be aware.
The solution to following a life lead by others to the slaughter house is to develop discrimination and good judgement, to test for ourselves with a sharp eye and mind. This is not being negative and critical for the sake of being critical, it is using good judgement.
Another by-product of our dishonest society is that people become critical of everything for the sake of being critical because we cannot trust anyone. That is not wisdom, it is just looking for a fight and not at all beneficial. Being opposing for the sake of opposing does not equate to wisdom. Rather, be intelligently aware and if contradictions appear, see them and question them, demand an adequate response, otherwise, do not fall for it. At all times, keep an open mind, because you may find truth as easily as lies if your mind is seeking for what is there rather than seeking a flaw.
There are many workshops and methods that have been developed in the past 30 years which take little bits from many other paths. This is done by one person who is trying to make a name for themselves, along with a lot of money. They create something ‘new and profound’ when in reality it is just a mix and match of whatever they could find in their claim to improve on the old. This comes with a severe lack of comprehension of the original methods. If something has been done for 1,000 or 3,000 years, then there may be more to it than they can find in a weekend workshop, or even a lifetime of sincere practice.
I will use one as an example for this lecture, but please do not limit these thoughts to this example alone, seek others that you have encountered. There is a breath work program that I heard of which is a good example of this misleading attempt to create something ‘new’ out of the old and proven giving dangerous results.
This technique uses breathing methods, aggressive loud music, and the planting of the seed in the participants imagination that they may go through a re-birthing experience, movement, crying, laughing, and all sorts of reactions. The participants are told that this is a healing of past scars and wounds and that they will be freed of their limitations and hang-ups after this, possibly even achieve mystical or altered states.
This ‘new’ technique was created by a psychiatrist who attributes his method to a list of different philosophies that covers virtually everything from modern psychology to the most ancient mystical teachings.
However there are many differences between the new and the old. For example in Sufism, the Zhikr is a practice which uses specific methods of breathing, music and some movement. Through this practice, we may experience an altered state of consciousness.
The differences are in all aspects of the exercise despite the similar appearance. In the Sufi music, specific instruments are played which provide a harmonious tone which is never aggressive nor is it lulling you to sleep, and the tempo is regulated by the Master. (Master means master of the skill, not as in slave and master) This leads the participant along definite steps with the focus of the mind towards a clear goal. The words said in Zhikr are one of the names of God, one of His attributes such as Truth, or the name of God itself. Unity with God is the goal. The movements are fixed and have a specific meaning which the participants are well aware of so that the movement adds another dimension to the practice.
In this ‘new’ method, the music is loud and aggressive, which will certainly bring out negative emotions and there is no point of focus for the mind by way of word or thought. The participants are left to do any physical movement they desire which is often guided by the sub-conscious thoughts placed in their mind from the stories of previous participants.
Through the effects of the breathing and the music, you will get into a state where your mind is open to suggestion however, the key factor is that your mind, through the repetition of the Zhikr, is pointed very directly towards God without any other influences. In this new method, the door is left wide open for you to get very lost and confused.
True, this breath work may open your mind to a different state, but it allows it to go to any place the devil may want. Altered states are not necessarily higher or good states leading to growth. In this case, the devil is your own mind and imagination based on whatever thoughts are floating around through the identification to the music, the people around you, what you are thinking from the last few days, any past memory that is bothering you and the suggestions in your mind from the stories you heard of about what this exercise can do etc. If you have a negative past, it will bring it up to your mind, but that does not mean it is healed, or even that it is still hindering you. Memories do not imply hindrances. Imagination does not imply mystical healing, and recollection of past events could just open a wound that is already healed but now brought out as an excuse for current issues.
A major problem is that a person may have some current emotional or psychological issues. They may do some workshop and feel through these experiences that there is some issue from the past. Then attribute their current problem to the past event, blame it on a parent for example, and thus deny the responsibility that the current issue is something they themselves have created and must take action to correct. It basically shifts responsibility away from the only point of true growth, oneself.
This opens the door to self-destruction and fragmentation by building up more false ideas and letting the person think they are profound experiences. Mental imagery based on a susceptibility to external influences does not mean the image has anything to do with a spiritual message. This is far from any mystical training.
On the other hand, if a participant does not have any of these experiences, or do any movement, crying or other such expressions, they may feel yet worse about themselves feeling a failure because everyone else had some reaction. Then of course, there is pity or attack from the other participants or leaders saying that they are too closed and have too many blocks and need much harder work. There is always at least one in every group that does not react and gets this feedback. Knowing this, our sub-conscious mind is even more susceptible to create some sort of reaction and have some sort of imagination so that we ‘fit in’ with the crowd. Yet more imagination which our self-lying tendency leads us to believe is profoundly beneficial. Even if no damage is done by the experience, the belief in the self-lie is harmful.
I was once invited to do a weekend workshop called ‘The enlightenment weekend” which guaranteed enlightenment in the weekend. The woman who invited me to participate said that it was absolutely fantastic and guaranteed to work and that she is doing it again. I asked why, if enlightenment is guaranteed, is she doing it again, and how many times has she done this? This would be her fifth time, because the teacher said she was still too blocked, but this time she will get it, as he most likely said the previous four times. The term ‘cash cow’ normally refers to a productive business, but very often it is a human cow that is getting milked.
There is no better trick the devil has (again I say the devil is your own mind/lower ego in its fragmentation and negative imagination) than to get you to believe you are growing when in fact you are digressing by giving more power to the devil of imagination rather than to your search for Truth.
The devil in sheep’s clothing is the best way to describe it, and most often these ‘teachers’ are so convinced themselves, that they are very good at making others believe them.
Average people do not have years to study and practice many mystical paths around the world. And so it is not possible for you or anyone to recognise truth from false because you would not have the background to test and find the flaws in what the marketing says.
That is the trick of their success, the fact that real knowledge is so difficult to get. When you meet someone who has real knowledge, since the training they offer is not as exciting nor offers the promise of enlightenment in a weekend, but rather says it takes many years of hard work, that one is ignored and put aside. This is why the real schools are small and rare, while false schools are very successful, despite the obvious contradictions.
Oh well, humans have been this way since the beginning of time, I see no reason it should change now, other than for the few who may see through the cracks.
1 Know that your essential nature, which very rarely if ever is expressed, is to be honest.
2 What comes with being honest, is to be trusting, which is innate in your nature and often is active.
3 We live in a very dishonest world because our innate nature makes us easy to be taken advantage of. Greed rules the trusting masses.
4 We are gullible and will believe anything without due consideration and examination.
5 The solution is to test everything to be true with an open mind.
There was a great teacher in Turkey, said to have great wisdom. He only had five devoted disciples. For many years, his disciples asked him why, with all his great wisdom, he did not have thousands of students. In the Sufi tradition, if the teacher feels the student would not understand the explanation, he just does not answer. And so time went on until one day the Teacher and his disciples where walking in the grand bazaar in Istanbul. As they where in the open area, a pigeon fell from the sky and landed dead at the teachers feet. He picked it up and said a little prayer, and the pigeon came to life.
This miracle was witnessed by many people in the crowd and very quickly, this teacher had thousands of people coming to his talks. He became quite famous and in one of his talks to a large crowd, he expelled a very loud fart. The people were so shocked that such a great man could do such a rude thing, that soon enough, he was left again with only his original five. As the six men sat together, the master explained. Those who come for the life of a pigeon, will leave for a fart.
Do not go for fancy tricks, they are not what makes a path worthy to follow. Follow your own results, from your own heart, not your impressionable mind which seeks party tricks to gain followers looking for an easy touch on the forehead to bring enlightenment.
Time is precious, and so is your money. Use both wisely.