This is dedicated to you. This you is someone who has had one or more in-depth spiritual practices, teachers or paths — experiences that, for one reason or another, ended.
On this day, 5/31/19 at 8:34 a.m., my browser shows 140,000,000 hits for spiritual teachers.
No other time in human history has provided this glut of influences exploring the truth of who we are, leaving us open to untold numbers of spiritual leaders, religions and practices, with varying levels of congruence, in one lifetime. And depending on our degree of longing, the potential heartbreak of their dissolution.
Unless you’re in the shattered and disillusioned phases of separation, this spiritual big box store of gurus has got to bring a smile. I mean, I’m just sayin’, wouldn’t we have a bit more game as a species if even a very small percentage of those 140 million spiritual teachers were what they advertise themselves to be? Or conversely, there is always the spiritual take — that nothing here is as it appears. We live in a time where this is more apparent than ever before.
My history includes participating in two long-term spiritual communities with teachers who had special abilities. What I notice from this is that we are, each of us, easily fooled regardless of our level of being and wisdom.
Truly, the mystery of how the world works increases for me by the day. It has never felt more surreal. I’m also easily fooled. And I’m writing you from the in between to say if you feel the same, it’s more than okay. It’s a fulcrum, a lifeline to noticing the places we keep hidden from ourselves.
I remember a time I was walking in the woods and this young brave girl was running at top speed ahead of her family on the trail in my direction. She fell flat a few feet in front of me. As I kneeled down to comfort and check on her, she popped up super fast, embarrassed and nervous, saying over and over, “I’m okay, I’m not hurt, I’m okay, I’m not hurt.” As I watched and listened to her, I had such a sense that this was learned behavior. She was taught never to fall, and if she did fall to pretend it didn’t happen.
If you’ve been spit out of one or more spiritual whale bellies, let yourself lie dazed, alone on the shore. Let the not knowing, torn open confusion, sink in, regardless of what your mind is saying.
If you do linger in the in between, without hustling to fill that space, it can be a gateway to a truer way of living, a reduced, concentrated version of what you are — the part that, rather than seeking perfection, is simply not afraid to fall.
The mix up, innocently enough, of having 140 million spiritual teachers at our fingertips is two-fold. The first is that no one can give us what we already have. The second is losing touch with our own inherent wisdom and the courage it takes to connect with that vast resource inside ourselves.
Set aside your longing for the bestowed “Enlightenment Winner’s Circle.” It’s nonsense. Nothing true builds up identity in the first place, certainly not through comparison or accomplishment. Rather, it lives, and cooperates, with reality — however it shows up.