Common Lies of the
Phony World of
Most of the world's great religions started as campfire
religions. The initial spark of the religion may have come from a
remarkable human being having an insight or a vision, but much of the
dogma and tradition was formed by ordinary disciples long after the
founding teacher's death. Many religious myths, which strict
fundamentalists accept as fact, were created by disciples gathered
around a fire at night and telling stories about the glory days of
their long-dead spiritual heroes.
Imagine the world before the printing press and electricity. In
ancient times nights were long, dark, and potentially very scary, with
no television or radio for entertainment. Huddled around a fire
at night, storytellers would gain recognition by fabricating heroic
tales of perfect saintly beings to entertain and comfort. Over
the centuries religious myths became wildly grandiose and the fact was
lost in a sea of invention.
gurus often market themselves as being reincarnations of ancient
religious heroes, or at least being in a direct lineage of some
infallible ancient wisdom. As in The Wizard of Oz, if you pull
away the curtain of falsehood surrounding many gurus, you will find an
ordinary human being trying to make a dishonest living off the
spiritual aspirations of his or her followers. Below are some of
the common big lies told by religious mystics to watch out for.
Hold on to your wallet and your sanity, and be aware that it is easiest
to pick your pocket as you are being hugged by a guru selling cosmic
love and compassion.
Lie #1) "Surrender to me because I am enlightened and thus more intelligent and wiser than you."
The Eastern esoteric definition of 'enlightenment' has nothing to do
with intelligence or wisdom. The Western definition of
enlightenment is intellectual and artistic, as in the "enlightened age"
of the great artists and thinkers. The true Eastern definition of
enlightenment means to have no boundaries, thus you feel the infinite
emptiness of the cosmic Void. There is no wisdom in the Void: no
art, no love, no hate, no compassion, and no good or evil. The
Void simply is! All of the emotional and intellectual content is
in the mind, and enlightenment is far beyond the ordinary mental
level. Enlightenment is the consciousness of raw nature formless
and empty of definable content.
Superconsciousness has subjective experiential benefits in that it
makes you feel truly magnificent. Unfortunately, cosmic
consciousness has no functional benefit and does not increase IQ or
practical wisdom. [See The
Teachings of Wrong Way Rajneesh] Intelligence and pragmatic wisdom are created by a
complex interaction of genetics, education, and life experience.
The opinions of the "enlightened ones" on politics, science, and
economics are of no inherently greater value than the opinions of an
unenlightened person of equal education and genetically derived higher
brain function. Thus, the undemocratic theocracies of the
enlightened elite have failed disastrously in the past and will
continue to fail in the future. The violent history of planet
Earth proves beyond doubt that religion and politics should never be
People who reach the Void can
become corrupt, but their dishonesty is in the human mind-brain, not in
the Void itself. The Void is not human and thus has no mind or
potential for deceit. That is why Zen Buddhists say you should
live in a state of "no-mind." A more accurate term would be
no-thought, as the human mind-brain has other basic autonomic survival
functions that continue even if the conscious thought process comes to
a halt. Interrupting the mind's constant stream of thoughts,
however, is enough to allow cosmic consciousness to enter your
body. You do not enter it. It is more accurate to say that
the ultimate consciousness, the Atman, enters you. You can never
own the Atman, or put your brand on it, but it can save you from the
pettiness and misery inherent to the limited human mind.
The world of gurus and religion is a world of big business, politics,
and lust for power. The more disciples a guru attracts, the more
power and income they can generate. Teachers often say "stick
with one guru" (themselves) because when a guru loses a disciple he
loses a potential source of power and money. As the dishonest
propaganda surrounding a teacher grows more fantastic, the quality of
the guru's disciples always becomes more immature. People who
grow up mentally know there are no perfect human beings, but children
can be fooled by claims of divine infallibility.
Lie #2) "I am enlightened and I have no ego."
Some humans do become enlightened, but no living human being is without
an ego. If you lost your ego you would physically die within two
weeks, because you could not eat, drink, or have any activity other
than basic involuntary movements such as breathing and heartbeat.
It is the same neurological mechanism that talks, walks, eats, and
accomplishes tasks that we also call the 'ego.' You can have a
centralized ego, as most people do, or you can have a decentralized
ego, as enlightened people attain. In the end, as far as behavior
is concerned, it makes little difference. We feel a centralized
ego vividly, so its suffering becomes a tremendous burden. Some
may go on a spiritual path to get rid of their ego, but in truth, we
can only push the ego to the periphery of the mind. The human
mind-brain is vast, with many hiding places in its neural web where the
ego function can hide without notice.
21st-century science knows that the brain is highly adaptive. If
one portion of the brain is damaged, it is often possible for another
area of the brain to adapt itself to take over the lost function.
If a centralized ego comes under fire from the brilliant light of
meditation, it can simply shift its location to an area of the brain
unaffected by the torch of consciousness. A hidden backup
peripheral ego center already exists, because the ego function is
essential to human survival. There is no such thing as total
self-knowledge of the human brain. Even fully enlightened human
beings have blind spots where they cannot see. Just because you
do not feel an ego does not mean that you do not have an ego. The
East deluded itself into thinking that ego could be destroyed, but the
East was wrong.
An insightful reader's comment is posted below with permission from the author.
"Part of the guru is "enlightened," wise, and knowledgeable, and he's
mentally living in this enlightened part of himself. He believes
that he *is* that part exclusively, ignoring the other parts which have
been cut off and dissociated from his conscious awareness. He
becomes identified with the guru aspect of himself exclusively.
The other parts, however, do not disappear. They still exist, but
are simply disowned and regulated to the unconscious." — Charles
Objectively, by any
measurement, enlightened people are as egocentric as anyone else.
Quite often they become even more egoistic if they allow themselves to
be put on a pedestal. Enlightened humans have become liars,
thieves, and murderers. Do not accept the big lie of the egoless
Master. They do not exist now, and they have never existed in the
past. There was no "Lord Buddha," only an enlightened Siddhartha
Gautama. There was no "Lord Jesus," only a carpenter who made
extravagant claims. The only way to become egoless is to
physically die. If you are here and have a pulse, then you have
an ego. Do not fool yourself or allow yourself to be fooled by
Lie #3) "Do not judge the great Masters. They
are on such a high level of consciousness that they cannot be measured
by normal standards of good behavior."
This is a convenient old lie used by gurus to cover up lie #1 and lie
#2, and to turn naive disciples into mental eunuchs, thus making them
more useful as slaves. Gurus do not want to be judged by normal
standards, because that will destroy their business. The corrupt
spiritual teacher always wants a blank check. If he seduces your
wife, it is for your spiritual benefit. If he robs your bank
account, it is a test of your state of spiritual surrender. If
the guru murders someone, it is for the victim's own good and the guru
should not be prosecuted. When spiritual teachers start acting
like pharaohs, "enlightened" or not, they have crossed a line into the
world of criminals.
Lie #4) "Read my new book and it will help you find enlightenment."
The German and Austrian Nazis of the 1930s were wrong to burn
books. Books are a great way to learn about history, science, and
art. Unfortunately, books can also be an obstacle when it comes
to matters of existential truth. Books often turn the search for
truth into a rigid dogma, and books can give people the false
impression that by reading them you can know something about meditation
without actually meditating yourself. In my opinion, the world
would be better off if most of the books written by famous mystics were
used for fuel to keep us warm at night.
Meditation is basic good-clean-fun. It can make you feel filled
with light and highly euphoric, but it will never turn you into a
pedantic reservoir of borrowed intellectual knowledge. Reading
and religion are polar opposites of meditation. In meditation,
you clear yourself of thoughts and become more detached. Reading
and religion fill your head with other people's thoughts, which are
often even more idiotic than your thoughts, and you become attached to
dead teachers, dead philosophies, dead shrines, and dead rituals.
Meditation, by contrast, is thrilling in real life, right here and
Meditation, like gardening,
is a relatively simple affair that requires honest effort and
patience. It is not a highly complex intellectual task, such as
the study of DNA or astrophysics. You can read all you need to
know about meditation in just one hour. A few simple pointers are
enough to get students meditating and on a path to growing
awareness. You cannot read your way to enlightenment, but you can
read your way to the loony bin. Books stimulate the thinking
function of the brain, making your mind spew out even more thoughts at
a faster pace. Meditation means transcending the conflict and
limitations of the world of thought and entering the naturally serene
state of no-thought.
Christopher Calder email@example.com
Opinions expressed on this page must be viewed as the ideas of an
ordinary student of meditation. While I truly believe everything
I say, you should not believe anything unless you see it, feel it, and
know it for yourself. I make no claims of infallibility. I
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