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Parent node: Abusive Guru

Sibling node: Crazy Wisdom

The fallacy of breaking down (the walls of) the Ego

There can be no more destructive practice by well-meaning but ignorant and deluded, non-realised so-called gurus and spiritual masters than "breaking down the walls of the ego". Like the myth of (so-called) "crazy wisdom", this seems especially to be predominant among home-grown Western so-called gurus and spiritual teachers, thus proving the old adage that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing".

How it works is this. Someone, specifically with a lot of charisma and personal power, but only a tiny bit of insight, has a transpersonal experience or preliminary awakening. At this stage they become what , perhaps equivalent to what Arjuna Ardagh calls a "translucent", which is someone with a limited degree of gnosis, or no gnosis at all. Perhaps they even have the tiniest glimpse of the Intermediate zone. Or perhaps they go way beyond "translucent" to full-blown Intermediate zone.

Whatever the case, they now have insights way beyond their previous exoteric surface consciousness.

But lacking the presence of an authentic Realized teacher or master, or even the cultural and philosophical context to understand what has happened, and having onlty what they have picked up from pop- New Age and watered down Westernized spiritual literature, they understandably, if narcisistically, come to the conclusion that they are now "Enlightened" (while being totally ignorant to the fact that they still retain many, if not all, of their old human failings).

Since they were generally of a strong and charismatic personality to begin with, they will attract people to them, regardless of their experience. It's just like if you go to a party or are in some social group, there will always be a strong, outgoing personality (of either gender) that dominates the conversation and the social interchange. Usually these people have nothing to say, and are tedious to be around. But imagine what happens if they get a little bit of transpersonal experience and even a slight opening to the inner realities. Suddenly they are able to discourse on spiritual "truths", combining what they have picked up through reading with their own experience, and filling in the rest with bluff, posturing, fantasy, and stuff they make up as they go (they have to make it up to fulfil the expectations others put on them).

So now more people gravitating towards them (because most people know absolutely nothing at all on these subjects, and hence will be impressed by someone who knows even a tiny bit), asking them for advice, and so on. And since this person now considers emself (gender neutral pronoun, to aboid all the he/she-s and him/her-s) "Enlightened", yet still have a great big ego (which they thing they have transcended), and are being put in the role of teacher and guide by people who are sincere seekers but even less knowledgable thn they are, it is all too easy, and all too human, for em to appoint emself as guru.

But what do ey do next? Because ey aren't actually realized, so ey doesn;'t have any authentic transcendental spiritual insight, onkly some intimations and insights. Or at most, a partial "Intermediate zone" realization. Well, ey would of read in books writetn by otehr people with only mixed and partial knowledge, that in order to attain Enlightenment you have to break down the walls of the ego. So that is what they try to do. Now out of maluiciousness, but with the greatest sincerity and best of intentions. This is breaking the ego, or breaking diown (or through) the walls of the ego, which is nothing but a form of well-meaning (yes, well-meaning) but clearly misguided psychological abuse.

In trying to destroy eir devottees' egos, the so-called "guru" pull all the most extreme tricks ey can dream up, use whatever inspirations come to them from the lower astral (and we all have this stuff; it's just that generally we never act on it!). They might think "well maybe I can get these people out of their egos by breaking through their inhibitions". So they tell them to take drugs or if they are non-drinkers and non-smokers to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. It's very important (the "guru" reasons) for eir devotees to get rid of their attachments, so one way is to give all their money and possessions to the "guru" or (in the case of the male "guru") for the "guru" to have sex with their wives. Or devotees have to take off their clothes or in other ways be publically humilated. Or, if the devotee is male. he should visit prostitutes, to break out of social mores and conventions which the ego depends on. Or they have to immerse themselves in freezing water, or be locked in a room, or subjected to other foirmns of phsyical and psychological torture.

Well, you can see what I am getting at. While a few abusive gurus may indeed be genuinely sociopathic individuals, I believe that this is where most abusive gurus come from. They are abusive with only the best intentions, and only the highest (in their understanding) aims.

But of course let anyone give them the same treatment, they would scream their head off! So I believe that ultimately abusive gurus, even the best intentioned ones (the category of which the majority fall into) do have a sadomasochistic relationsghip with their devotees. those devotees who aren't sufficiently passive and masochistic will leave, report em, expose em, and generally demonize and project their shadow on their former guru, which in a way is just as bad and just as unbalanced.

And how do I know all this is true? Very simple. If you look at the lives and teachings of authentic realizers - look at Ramana Maharshi, Nityananda of Ganishpuri, Anandamayi Ma, or Sri Aurobindo, you will never ever, ever, find this sort of behaviour. Just the opposite, the guru is always self-sacrificing, always giving, never demanding that the disciple go against their conscience or do anything stressful or upsetting, never playing these weird psychological tricks that some (not all!) "enlifghtened" gurus seem to love doing.

Quite simply, the authentic Realizer never forces the ego to break. Rather, the devotee, the sadhak, through their own aspiration and spiritual evolution, goes beyond their lower nature. The walls of ego are not broken from without, by a guru or spuiritual teacher. They are only dissolved from within, through the spiritual growth and influence of the disciple's own spiritual self-natrure.

So if your guru puts that sort of pressure on you, and tries to assurp your own spiritual responsibility, buy presuming to be the one to break down the walls of your ego, if your guru does that even once, that guru (so-called), is a fake, and not deserving of such a noble title. This doesn't mean that they are not dedicated, hardworking, and selkf-scarificing. What it does mean is that tehy are no more Realized than you and I, and quite possibly a lot less!

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 20 September 2009