On the important question of Ego, Tantra, Mystical Ideology and other matters
On 13th November 2008, Silvia Michelon from Bristol, U.K. wrote:
I have been thinking about your talk, there are so many things I would like to discuss and ask you! I'll try to articulate here what I feel about the huge amount of information you passed on at the talk.
I am interested in this because I also lecture weekly (before teaching hatha yoga class) to a group here in Bristol. I love it, although often I find it challenging. It's funny cause when I teach I always try to avoid the word God, as lots of people have the wrong association with its meaning. I always try to go the long way around and to explain it in a way the majority of people can understand so I don't lose students. I love your boldness and enthusiasm in using the G word though, I think it's remarkable and I look up to you for that!
In my lectures I always try to simplify through examples the meaning of whatever it is that I am trying to convey; Often it's difficult to talk about metaphysics and esoteric things to people who are very much engrossed in the world. Also, It's much easier to give teachings in my school in thailand cause people come to learn about esoteric knowledge and they come already open minded. However, teaching here is so rewarding, it's so beautiful to be able to help people to integrate a spiritual life with their material one, it's the biggest challenge I believe.
I was very inspired by your use of examples and I loved the way in which you summarised such vast subject neatly.
However, these are some of the things I am thinking about:
1. You say: 'you are God, spread the message'. Great, but you can only ask people to spread the message once they have really realised at least a spark of divinity within. The only way to realise I am God is by self realisation. Admitting the validity of the idea of the inherent unity of everything is a very different process to the realisation of it.
2. What does it really mean and feel to realise God? To come to that realisation 'I am God': So Ham!
What is God? The eternal One life, Underneath all other forms of life. What is Love? To feel the presence of that one life deep within yourself and within all creatures; To be it. Therefore all love is the love of God. -From: 'the power of Now' Eckhart Tolle
A deep awakening of human consciousness, and the capacity of living coherently in that dimension of unity, is necessary. I agree that we are living in an unprecedented moment in terms of awakening, It makes our generation a very priviledge one.
3. It scares me a bit when you talk about the necesssity to convert and make other people realise these ideas, this is the kind of attitude that in the past has driven mankind to wars. It's seeking ideological supremacy. When we are fully identified with our true consciousness the will of God moves already through us, that is when we trully become Karma yogis and operate from a place where we are detached from the fruits of our actions. When we let God move through us we renounce identification with our ego. When you talk about spreding the message and open people's eyes I think that impulse is coming from the ego. God moves trhough us effortlessly, wouldn't God's intelligence guide all our actions to godly perfection? That is the power of Consecration! When we are guided by the higher force that is our Real Nature, that when we stop struggling, that is when we stop grasping and we abandon all fear. When God moves through us, perfection is made manifest!
I think what you are doing amazing work and I can't wait to read your book. However, I would insist more on explaining why and how we are God. I'm on a tantric path and as you know it is very centred in meditating on the divinity of oneself through manifestation, through Shakti, it is a beautiful path and I feel blessed! Your words spoke to me deeply, however, I think many of those you speak to need you to point them to the right direction in terms of understanding your message fully.
wow, what a rant! I could go on for days! This is also all coming at a particular moment for me, not necessarily an easy one, I'm questioning a lot, and like you, I need a sign! Hopefully I will get one soon.
Hope this note finds you well and thanks for your thoroughly thought out and well written email. You’ve raised a lot of relevant and interesting points. I’ll try to answer to the best of my ability.
Yes, I thought a lot about the G word, or not, in the beginning and decided that in order to reach as many people as possible this was definitely the most widely accepted generic term for the Ultimate, absolute, Alpha/Omega, ground of all being etc. etc. Of course the word God has negative asssociations, religion has done a good job of giving God a bad name. I think instead of abandoning the term, another course is to try to clean up God’s image. Also if you allow the fundamentalists and atheists a monopoly on the word God then you’ve cut yourself out of a crucial debate that’s going on in the World today, and one which I think the future of the planet and the survival of the human race depends.
The metaphysical is important though of course it should not only be about that. It’s an amazing fact of the World today that finally we can explain all the really hard mystical ideas such as oneness/non-duality, reincarnation, the Cosmic tree, Cosmic Battle, correspondence Maya/Sanyatta and ultimate the idea that everyone is God in a way that a scientist, philosophy, theologian and everybody, can understand and even accept. It was the late, perhaps not so great, Terennce Mckenna who said ‘If the truth can be told so as to be understood, then it will be believed’. Well, I know that today that is the case and that is what I’m doing and will be doing much more of in the future.
I agree that directly spreading the idea ‘you are God’ is a difficult, mostly futile and even dangerous exercise. What you do is spread ideas of unity, love, peace, saving the planet, opposing World tyranny and creating a better world. From here you gradually lead people towards the mystical/metaphysical and transcendent. Somewhere along the way you integrate the ritualistic, yogic, tantric and social dimension. But it’s really important to completely integrate all these different aspects. If you try the peace, love and unity of humanity approach without the idealogical grounding then ideas current in mainstream society such as ‘Selfish genes’, ‘Materialism’ and the doctrines of the Religious Fundamentalists will work against you. For instance the current view of evolution which is dominant is really the theoretical framework for the justification selfishness, nepotism, racism and corruption. And likewise with the Religious Fundamentalists who have turned religion into a new tribalism. You have to actually explain to the future leaders, movers and shakers of this World, why love, unity, equality, meritocracy, peace is the truth. Likewise if you have the idealogy without the activism, the promotion and expression then it is useless and a mere academic exercise. I guess what we’re talking about here is the Jnana, Karma and Bhakti and I think that it is essential to integrate all three aspects of our lives, our thoughts, actions and feelings. The full, plain and explicit expression of the truth that ‘Everyone is God’ is the Jnana part. Much needed and very necessary it reinforces our actions and feelings towards the sacred.
What does it really mean and feel to realise God? Well the simple answer is that there is no full answer to this question that can be expressed in words, it can only be experienced directly. However all systems of understanding i.e. science/philosophy and of course theology can be made to point towards the truth, but the word can never in themselves capture the truth. Of course the usual expressions used to point towards and partially convey Godness are things like, ‘oneness’, ‘ultimate bliss’, ‘cosmic orgasm’, ‘The peace that passeth all understanding’’, ‘one with the Universe’ etc. etc. etc. At the same time, words are important because we live most of our lives in the realm of thought and language. Society is maintained and run using words and symbol systems. So by expressing the divine in language that points towards God and leads people to orient their minds to things sacred then we can start them on the path of self realisation, which itself might take many lifetimes. The trouble today is not just that people don’t know the way to God, it’s also that they don’t even know that the journey exists in the first place. So you have to tell them in plain language, their true nature and then present them with a reasonable, sound and virtuous way to help them to more fully express that truth in their lives and perhaps even come to fully apprehend or experience the ultimate truth. Language has always been important since the beginning of civilization, so much more so in the age of information, the age of the Internet and the age of modern mass communications.
Concerning the ‘Converting people’ bit, I prefer to think of myself as trying to persuade people and giving people a choice. When what’s on offer, in the perception of most people, is the modern materialist scientistic atheist world view at one extreme or the various Religious Fundamentalisms and Organized Religions on the other. And in between and around, all the varieties of New Age belief and the myriad Cults; What’s wrong with presenting them with an alternative that, we both agree anyway, is the truth? Also a truth that is at the heart of religion and one that is an antidote to religious fundamentalism and also one which is able to fully unify science with religion. Also I believe what I’m doing is quite anti-cult, there’s nothing more equalizing than the notion that everyone is God.
As for ‘idealogical supremacy’, the World is governed and determined by ideas. It is the ideas we entertain that determine what we think and it is what we think which in turn determine how we act and behave. At the end of the day, no matter how you slice it or dice it, it is the dominant ideas of the age and World today which have got us to where we are now and which are leading us towards the abyss. So I reckon it time for some new or alternative ideas. Hegel was right in this respect, history can be seen as a dialectic between competing ideas. If good ideas come to dominate then all is well, is bad ones gain precedence then things become problematic. That’s the situation with the World today and I believe in order to fix the problems of the World you really have to fix the ideas that gave rise to them in the first place, anything else is merely treating the symptom and not the underlying cause. At the heart of the today’s problems lies a spiritual one and the solution is really what can only be described as a true spiritual revival. And one way to trigger this I believe is to fully, widely and explicitly express the truth that gave rise to all World religion and all spirituality in the first place, the idea and direct apprehension that everyone is God.
As for ego, I don’t actually deny that I have one. I’ll have to admit there is a measure of pride and vanity in my behaviour and make up. But there again as you’ll probably agree ‘One must rise by that by which one falls’. That’s the whole point of Tantra after all, the transmutation of energies which really derive from the ego towards the goal of enlightenment which is also the extinguishing and completely taming the ego/self. The resultant path i.e. Tantra, has no need for the aspirant to be holy, virtuous and selfless at the outset, however it is towards this end that all spiritual development converges. The Self/Ego is itself the vehicle for negating the Self/Ego. Without Self or recognition of ones Ego then then there is no spiritual journey in the first place. As I understand it, the essential Tantric pre-requisites are 1./ correct metaphysical understanding i.e. Maya/Sanyatta and our true nature being God; 2./ Detachment or non-Attachment and 3./ Compassion or Boddhichitta. This is where the work begins, the elimination of ego comes at the end of the journey.
I see myself as an ordinary guy and voice in the wilderness who through fate has experienced his ultimate true nature and gained fresh insights into the eternal truth. The rest of my life is about communicating the these truths, giving people new ideas, stimulating people’s spiritual imaginations and somewhere along the way becoming God. I don’t see myself as some sort of guru, pandit or swarmi and my work can be taken on it’s own merits without sanction of any existing organization or justification thru some transmission lineage. I have very specific outward goals and I can be judged on my ability to achieve those objectives. I’m so happy I don’t have to be some sort of paragon of virtue or exemplar of good behaviour, I’d be very bad at it. From my biography and upcoming book it’s quite plain that I’ve lead quite a sleazy low life of disrepute on the deviant outer margins of society so it’s a role I wouldn’t be able to play anyway. I’m glad.
Yes there’s probably some ego involved in my wanting these sorts of ideas to be more widely accepted but other motivations include my dislike for the ideas and idealogies that are already dominant in this World and which are quite frankly mistaken. If you knew that the World was round when everyone else thought that it was flat then surely you’d want to put forth your viewpoint. Especially in the case of the idea of a person’s true nature or rather that of a person NOT knowing it, which has direct influences on behaviour. Also the truth of which we speak ‘everyone is God’ is also the answer to the fundamental Ontological question in Philosophy concerning the nature of existence and of course is the answer to the massive and very current question of ‘what is the nature of Consciousness’. When the alternative answers are so woefully inadequate surely the truth shouldn’t be withheld when it addresses so definitively these timeless questions and perfectly legitimate academic problems.
At the end of the day, everyone has an ego though of course it’s a spectrum from the pretty selfless to the totally egotistical and completely self centred. I believe in the idea of the Golden mean, that virtue in life derives acknowledging that all aspects of life exist as duality and respecting both sides and each polarity. So in this view a virtuous person tries to maintain his or her life in balance around the mean between all extremes, fluctuating about the mean as circumstances dictate. However a virtuous person who is also trying to become God seeks to unite all the dualities in his or her being, unify Good and Evil, the Male and the Female, Self/Non-Self etc. Atonement(At One Ment) in other words. In the course of this process the spiritual aspirant and God in the making has her or his mind fixed on oneness and transcendence. But at the same time has to navigate a World of duality. A word of sexual desire(i.e. unreconciled Shiva/Shakti), Love & Fear, life & death and also non-Self and Self i.e. Ego. So this is how I see the state of play of my life right now. Without ego then I wouldn’t have the necessary attributes that are required to do what I’m required to do and without the energies of the ego then there is no Tantra and there is no motivation for the mythic quest for the Holy Grail and the restoraton of Camelot. However unless the ego is conquered then there can be no enlightenment and it’s business as usual in World. So the beast shall be tamed, the demons shall be reigned. One day that is, but currently till that time, I don’t like to pretend.
I sometimes like to write long emails as well. I wish to post my reply on the IAQ(Infrequently asked questions) section of the website. It gets read quite a lot and you letter has brought out some ideas which I think some of my regular readers will find interesting. With your permission may I use your name and original email, else I’ll use your initials and chop out all personal bits. No worries if you want to keep things private.
I really respect your views and value our connection. It’s great to get feedback from someone so involved in the mystic thing.