I wrote previously about how Enlightenment is not convenient, and maybe today’s post is merely a reprise of what was said before. But I had an interaction with someone and what she said is not uncommon, so I felt the urge to share it, in an attempt to expose the silliness of this thinking and give the ego one less place to hide.
Partly this is a byproduct of the recent proliferation of spiritual fads and trends in our culture. I’m certainly not trying to lay blame with the gal who said this to me – she’s not the first to do so and she won’t be the last. When there are so many opportunities to “explore your higher power” and “nurture the inner child” or whatever other latest idea floating around the culture may be, then it’s easy to feel saturated by them, to believe that opportunities to experience Truth abound, that teachers are everywhere and you can just pop into a yoga class to get a dose of nirvana when you need one.
But the thing is, real Enlightenment is quite rare. Exceedingly so, actually.
I’m not about to claim that there’s only one such teacher on the planet (and I’m DEFINITELY not saying that I am it!!!) but I can attest to the fact that a fully-Enlightened Boddhisattva is a rare being indeed. You’re not going to find them on every street corner. They don’t hang out at the local New Age bookshop.
And, there’s a lot of charlatans out there – it’s easy to get duped. It’s hard to know which teachers are legit. (That’s probably a post for another day.)
My exchange with this woman was concerning to me though because of this: When I invited her to attend a special teaching in the next city over, she said she couldn’t come because it was “too far.”
OK, I understand, until someone has experienced Truth and knows what it’s like to sit in the presence of a very evolved Teacher, it’s difficult to recognize the value of the experience. I appreciate that this meditation and self-discovery stuff is inconvenient; thus, my prior post on that very subject.
The issue, though, and the reason for this post, is that this woman then told me in the very next sentence that she was going to be visiting a national park in another part of the state – many hours’ drive away by car – and that was one reason why she couldn’t attend some other classes that are being offered.
So it’s not too far to drive to someplace on holiday, but an hour-long commute to see a spiritual teacher who could radically transform your life is too much trouble.
We know that she wasn’t even aware of the contradiction in what she was saying – and we’ve heard others say stuff like this before, so we totally don’t blame her. This is just the ego talking. It doesn’t know any better – or maybe it does, being very sneaky and crafty and slippery like this. It’s very easy to justify our decisions based on subjective criteria. It can be scary to meet an Enlightened Teacher! Just sitting in the audience when she gives a talk for a couple hours can shake the very foundations of all that you know to be true – in the best way possible, of course. 🙂 But not everyone really wants the truth.
It’s often much more palatable to seek out a certain level of experience in this life and not rock the boat too much. I totally understand. For some people, yes, it’s just too far.