This morning, while thumbing through my brand new copy of Buddha on a Bull (one of the most startlingly honest books on enlightenment out there) I landed on this:
“Our minds have a lot of ideas of what an awakened human being looks like. But what if your teacher is not ….a vegetarian? … doesn’t sit in a pretzel all day? …doesn’t greet everyone in the local grocery store by saying Namaste. What if she is…married and affectionate with her mate? … drinks wine and talks politics at dinner with her friends? … works in a corporation or trade stocks at night?”
What author Elena Nezhinsky points to here is relevant not only to self-proclaimed teachers, but the to myriad every day folk who have awakened. Awakening is defined, in this case, as the recognition of true nature — and by default the unplugging one’s identity from the personality based separate character that most people assume is who they really are.
Why this paragraph stands out right now for me, I suppose, is my own journey through the awakening process (with the sudden irrevocable jolt in 2011 that changed everything) and how recently a friend contacted me with the earnest question: “How come you aren’t teaching about enlightenment?”
I wrote back “Because I am chopping wood and carrying water as a Hellenistic astrologer.”
I am chopping this wood because I delight in the chopping. I am carrying this water because it brings me joy to serve others with this celestial and ancient divinatory wisdom. Frankly, I’d be bored stiff sitting in the front of a room with flowers around me, delivering sagely sat-sang-isms.
It’s that simple, really. Spiritually woke folk are not all running around teaching, and truly, it’s near impossible to instruct someone to wake up. The best that can be hoped for is a teacher will point in the direction a student might best stumble into grace.
Nezhinsky goes on to write, “What is correct for an awake, conscious being is purely individual, spontaneous, comes from a natural interest, and involves a certain equilibrium of the mind with an efficient use of energy and biological resources. Like a child who plays spontaneously, the awakened one is in a similar state of play with life’s demands and events. There are no spiritual and unspiritual activities. There is simply a spontaneity and playfulness with any activity.”
So what about the fakers? Well, I put that in the title as a bit of a hook to grab you, but in general it’s easier to tell that someone is not awake than awake. The tells?
If that person is a teacher, and supposedly awake, they are faking it if they:
Tell you that you need them to wake up.
Shame, blame or guilt you for ANYTHING.
Do everything they can to keep you from leaving their orbit.
Insist you to give up your money, your family or your job to follow them.
I’ll end with this sweet tidbit from Buddha on a Bull, that gets to the heart of waking up. (I’ve always said, it’s like orgasm, you can’t mistake that it happened. The only difference it happened without you.)
Writes Nezhinsky, “Let me be straight forward here. Enlightenment may happen at any moment, and at the same time enlightenment can’t happen to you. YOU can’t get enlightened. It is not possible for you. For the YOU who is identified with the person you are (the one who is seeking), it is not possible. Enlightenment is possible but not for the seeker. “Liberation is never FOR the person, it is always FROM the person,” said the famous teacher Nisagargadatta.”
I would add this. A teacher can’t hand you this freedom. Nor can readIng about it, meditating on it, or seeking after it, get it for you. There’s the grace factor, which sometimes makes it look like the teacher was the local source of an awakening — but if anything, that teacher was at best, a force that helped clear the way for grace to enter stage left.
Now, I am going to have a glass of Chablis premier cru, chef up some bacon and brussel spouts, and maybe watch some netfilx.
Awareness is here, domestically blissed.
PS: You can buy the critically acclaimed Buddha on a Bull at Amazon.com here. And you can check out Elena’s website HERE.
PPS: I have a big sale on my astrology readings right now, one third off, that ends October 8th PLUS a new offering called Your Lucky Stars. Find out more HERE.
DISCLAIMER: I am using the word “woke” liberally. These days it means everything from woke to 1. social injustice 2. cabals 3. Five D reality 4. The Mandela Effect. In general, woke up to what most people are asleep to. In this sense, in awakening to who you really are, it applies.